Interview with Julian Castro. TRANSCRIPT: 4/2/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
VALERIE JARRETT, FORMER OBAMA ADVISER: I think your basic core values are
pretty well set by the time you reach adulthood.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Valerie Jarrett, the book is called
“Finding My Voice” and it`s out today, great pleasure to have you. Thank
you so much.
JARRETT: Thank you. My pleasure. Thanks for having me on, Chris.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for the evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Valerie Jarrett making some news with you
there, Chris, saying she`s been talking to some 2020 Democratic
HAYES: Yes, that`s right.
MADDOW: I didn`t know that.
HAYES: I didn`t either.
MADDOW: Well done, my friend. Thanks a lot.
HAYES: Thanks a lot.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
What a weird news day this has been. Seriously, we do – we have odd news
days now and then, it happens. We have news days with unexpected twists
and turns and stuff, but we very rarely get stuff that`s this weird, just
like, over the transom, you know? Here you go. Make of this what you
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope they now go and take
a look at the oranges. The oranges of the investigation, the beginnings of
that investigation. The Mueller report, I wish, covered the oranges, how
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I had no idea it started with oranges. I mean, now it all makes
sense. Everybody`s been teasing him about his makeup tone all this time,
but every time he came out that color, it was a signal about the oranges!
The oranges? It was so weird.
The president today lamenting the citrusy beginnings of the Mueller report.
And I`m sure they are juicy, enough to fill a whole novel of pulp fiction.
What the heck was that? And it wasn`t just one time. He kept going on and
on about the oranges, the oranges. That was very weird.
But that came in the midst of the president doing a public 180, a public U-
turn on whether or not he wants the Mueller report to be released.
Just a couple of weeks ago, on March 20th, the president was asked, does
the public have the right to see the Mueller report? President Trump
replied to that question, “I don`t mind. Frankly, I told the house, if you
want, let `em see it, let it come out, let people see it. I want to see
the report,” he said. “I want to see the report. And you know who wants
to see it? Tens of millions of people.”
That was March 20th. Then five days later, so, we go Monday. The
president was asked if he wants to see the Mueller report, quote,
completely released. The president responded, “It wouldn`t bother me at
all. Wouldn`t bother me at all.”
Now, today, though, apparently, light has dawned on marble head. Light has
dawned on Mt. Tropicana and the president has U-turned on that issue. The
president is now publicly decrying that the Democrats want too much
released from the Mueller report.
Literally, within the past two weeks, he`s been like, let it all out, I
can`t wait to see it, everybody wants to see it! Now he`s like, why do
they want to see it? It`s a grace that they want to see it!
What just occurred to you about what might be in the Mueller report, sir?
Today was the deadline to release to Congress the full Mueller report. The
deadline set by Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and five other committee
chairmen in the House. Attorney General William Barr appears to have blown
off that deadline as he continues to sit on the Mueller report and allow no
one to see it. As of tonight, he has no formal response to that
But that means, according to the Democrats in Congress, that Barr should
expect to have the report subpoenaed tomorrow. Congressman Jerry Nadler
and the other Democratic chairmen have now sent Attorney General Barr this
letter. Quote, on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019, the House Judiciary
Committee plans to begin the process of authorizing subpoenas for the
report and for underlying evidence and materials. Wednesday, April 3rd.
Quote: While we hope to avoid resorting to compulsory processes, if the
department is unwilling to produce the report to Congress in unredacted
form, we will have little choice but to take such action.
During your confirmation hearing in January, you stated that your goal
would be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law.
The chairman continued, quote: We expect the department will take all
necessary steps without further delay, including seeking leave from the
court to disclose the limited portions of the report that may involve grand
jury materials in order to satisfy your promise of transparency and to
allow Congress to fulfill its own constitutional responsibilities.
So this is them saying, hey, listen, we`re going to subpoena you, we`d
prefer not to. You said you were going to be transparent. But, by the
way, if you really are going to try to be transparent here, don`t just tell
us there`s grand jury material in it and say that means you can`t look at
it. If there`s grand jury material, you need to get a court order so the
court can allow the release of that grand jury material. You ought to be
At another point in their letter to Attorney General William Barr today,
the Democrats say that in Jerry Nadler`s recent conversation with Barr
about the Mueller report, Barr, quote, suggested in that call that
redactions made in accordance with Rule 6E, meaning, redactions made
because of grand jury information, quote, will be substantial.
So, this is a public-facing letter that they have sent, right? They sent
is this to the attorney general. They also made it available publicly. In
this public-facing document, they are basically letting us know that what
they`re surmising from Barr`s comments to them so far is that the Mueller
report is going to be redacted within an inch of its life, on the grounds
that it contains a ton of grand jury information, which William Barr is
taking it upon himself to cut out, not only before he shows to it public,
but before he even shows it to Congress.
The Democrats want him instead to get a court order allowing for that grand
jury information to be disclosed. That is what happened in Watergate.
That is what happened in the Ken Starr report. That is what has happened
in every other investigation like this. That is what the Democrats in
Congress would like to happen now. So far, no response on that from the
attorney general whatsoever.
The Democrats today also included a long legal analysis for the attorney
general, explaining on what grounds they believed they should be able to
see an unredacted version of the report and why they need to see the report
now. Why there is some urgency as to their request. As, again, Barr
continues to sit on it for going on two weeks now.
Because I think that portion of the Democrats` letter to Barr was supposed
to explode like a little bit of a firework, that legal analysis that they
sent him starts off, right at the top, with this. Quote: The attorney
general`s March 24th letter indicates that the special counsel found that
President Trump may have criminally obstructed the department`s
investigation of Russia`s interference in the 2016 election and related
matters. The special counsel pointedly stated that the evidence the
investigation uncovered, quote, does not exonerate the president of
obstruction and includes potentially criminal acts not yet known to the
It is difficult to overstate the seriousness of those actions if in the
wake of a hostile – excuse me – if in the wake of an attack by a hostile
nation against our democracy, President Trump`s response was to seek to
undermine the investigation rather than take action against the
perpetrators. These are not only matters of addressing the harm that has
occurred, these are urgent ongoing concerns. As has been publicly reported
and referenced in the March 24th letter, multiple open investigations
referred by the special counsel`s office to other U.S. attorneys may
implicate the president or his campaign, transition, inauguration, or
businesses. These important inquiries could be compromised if the
president is seeking to interfere with them.
So, in other words, hand it over. They lay out in detail why all of the
different categories of redaction the attorney general says he`s going
through right now to cut stuff out of the Mueller report before he allows
anybody to see it, they go through in detail why none of those categories
of redactions should apply to a report that is released to Congress, not
the grand jury stuff, not the classified material, not the ongoing
investigation material. All of that stuff can be handled and is handled,
as a matter of course, by Congress with sensitive documents.
But, again, this is a fight now. This is the Democrats trying to pry loose
the Mueller report in its unredacted form. It`s now 11 days since Mueller
Tomorrow, unless it is finally shook loose from the attorney general`s
office, they`re telling us that we are going to get the first subpoena for
the Mueller report and then we`ll have to see how the attorney general and
the Justice Department respond to that subpoena. So, tomorrow should be a
big day. Tick-tock.
And, if that`s not enough for one day, we are also now in the midst of an
ongoing showdown between the administration and the Democratic-led Congress
over these new whistleblower claims, that the White House has been
overruling security staff to hand out security clearances to people who
otherwise would not be approved for them. And while security clearance
procedure might seem like an arcane thing, what this boils down to is that
the Trump administration, the Trump White House, has been insisting on
making classified information available to people who are considered to be
too much of a risk to handle such information. And they`ve been overruling
career security staff in order to do it.
Well, today in the midst of that ongoing standoff, we got a new story to
put in this quiver. Tonight, a charging document in a Florida court
indicates that the president`s private club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, was
just this weekend the site of a very strange security breach of its own. A
Secret Service affidavit filed in court today states that a woman, this
weekend, on Saturday presented herself at Mar-a-Lago, at the Secret Service
perimeter checkpoint there.
She told the agents that she wanted to use the pool. She showed two
different Chinese passports to the Secret Service agents at Mar-a-Lago and,
despite the fact that they weren`t totally clear on what she was doing
there and she was showing them Chinese passports, they nevertheless let her
in. They didn`t just let her in, she was brought to the front desk at Mar-
a-Lago in a valet-driven golf cart. Then having arrived at reception, at
the front desk, the receptionist at Mar-a-Lago found that the woman
couldn`t give any real or plausible explanation as to what she was actually
Luckily, the Mar-a-Lago receptionist was on the case! That receptionist
called the secret service back to say, uh, I don`t know why you let this
person in, but she doesn`t seem to be cleared to be here. She doesn`t seem
to be here for any legit reason. The Secret Service then, oops, questioned
her again. She told them that she wanted to talk to members of the Trump
family about Chinese/U.S. economic relations. Oh!
They then, at that point, finally noticed that even though they`d let her
in because she said she wanted to use the pool, she didn`t actually have a
swimsuit on her. But, they did find that she was carrying four cell
phones, an external hard drive, a laptop and a thumb drive that the Secret
Service discovered was infected with some sort of malware. She brought all
of that stuff into the president`s private club during the president`s
visit this weekend.
Again, luckily, the receptionist was on the case! So, we`re protected,
I mean, this comes hot on the heels of news that another woman was
literally marketing access to the president and his family members and
Trump cabinet officials at Mar-a-Lago for a price. She was marketing a
package to Chinese nationals, marketing it in China. The deal was, you
would pay her cash money and then she`d get you to Florida, get you into
Mar-a-Lago, and get you access to Trump officials, Trump family members,
and maybe Trump himself, if you paid her.
She is also a member of numerous organizations affiliated with the Chinese
government and the ruling Chinese Communist party. She also owns day spas
across Florida and was the original owner of the one where Patriots
football team owner Roger Kraft and at least one major Republican Party
donor were recently arrested in a prostitution sting.
So, naturally, that`s who`s selling access to the president at Mar-a-Lago.
You know, what could possibly go wrong?
I will say, for my money, all of this latest Mar-a-Lago stuff pales against
the time that president Trump allowed all the paying guests at a Mar-a-Lago
dinner to basically sit in on a makeshift Situation Room, as he and
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strategized about how to respond to a
surprise North Korean missile launch. Remember that one?
It`s an outdoor dinner at Mar-a-Lago and they convene all of their advisers
to deal with the missile launch and start looking at all the documents.
That`s the one where staffers and waiters were gathered around the prime
minister and the president looking at all of these sensitive and classified
materials and the staffers and waiters were using the flashlights on their
cell phones to illuminate the documents so those world leaders could read
them more easily. Because it was outdoors and it was nighttime.
Luckily, you know, I`m sure those phones definitely had no cameras in them
whatsoever. They were definitely just flashlight phones and not camera
phones, so I`m sure it was fine to have them illuminating classified
documents in that moment. I`m sure everything was super secure.
As Democrats in Congress continue to raise concerns about the Trump
administration`s ability to handle national security matters and classified
information, today, the Oversight Committee led by Congressman Elijah
Cummings approved a subpoena to the security director from the White House
personnel office, who was involved in security clearance decisions that a
whistleblower has now brought to the attention of Congress. This is an 18-
year career official. She works as a securities adjudication manager for
the office of administration and the executive office of the president,
which means she looks over people`s background checks to decide if they can
get security clearances.
She says she has a list of over two dozen cases in which career security
officials recommended against issuing a clearance for someone who applied
for one in the Trump administration and on more than two dozen occasions,
she says there was intervention from the Trump White House to overrule
those career security officials and disregard the red flags that came up in
people`s background checks, to give people clearances they otherwise
wouldn`t have been able to obtain.
As Congress is now investigating her claims, her former supervisor, who
until recently was security director at the White House personnel office,
he today was subpoenaed by Congress. At the same meeting of the Oversight
Committee today, subpoenas were also approved, related to the roiling
controversy over the next census, the 2020 census, and the Trump
administration`s efforts to insert a new question into the census about
This is an issue in which the administration has been absolutely ripped
apart by multiple federal court rulings already. Now, Congress is after
it, too. And the Oversight Committee tonight has subpoenaed Commerce
Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr, also another
senior Justice Department official. They`re all subpoenaed to answer
questions and provide documents about how the Trump administration has
handled or mishandled this issue about the 2020 census.
On the issue of immigration and citizenship today, which is what the census
fight is about, today, for the first time, a 2020 presidential candidate
unveiled a complex, detailed, far-reaching immigration policy proposal.
That policy was unveiled today by Julian Castro, who`s going to be our
guest in-studio here tonight. You`ll get to hear him talk about this new
proposal in his own words in just a few minutes.
But in an online post unveiling this big policy proposal today, Castro in
his trademark mix of extremely eloquent and resolutely practical, he
explained part of it, at least, this way.
Quote: Last year, the Trump administration told Americans that if we would
just be cruel enough to separate little children from their parents, that
cruelty would deter more families from seeking asylum at our southern
border. It turns out this was totally wrong, both morally and factually.
More families are coming. Their policy of cruelty is a failure and we
should choose compassion instead. We should choose people first.
Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, the former secretary
of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, he has a remarkable
family story to tell to back up this big policy rollout today. His
grandmother was orphaned as a child. As a child, as a 7-year-old, she
emigrated from Mexico to the United States to come live with her surviving
relatives who were in this country.
She made it only through the third grade. She ended up working her whole
life as a maid and a cook and a babysitter. His grandmother had one
daughter, one child, a daughter. And when that daughter was ready to give
birth to twins, the grandmother paid for the hospital bill for the delivery
of those twins by winning a cooking contest. It was a menudo cooking
contest. She won $300, and that`s what paid for the hospital stay where
those twin boys were born.
Those twin boys grew up in San Antonio, Texas. They both went to Stanford
University, and then to Harvard Law School.
Joaquin became a congressman. He still serves in the U.S. Congress today.
His identical twin brother, Julian, at age 26, just one year out of law
school, became the youngest city councilor in San Antonio history. He
ultimately became mayor of San Antonio. He was the youngest big city mayor
in the country.
In 2012, as a rising national star in the Democratic Party, he was tapped
to give the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 4, 2012)
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American dream is not a
sprint or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don`t always cross
the finish line in the span of one generation, but each generation passes
on to the next the fruits of their labor.
My grandmother never owned a house. She cleaned other people`s houses so
she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the
first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard
for civil rights, so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Julian Castro at the Democratic National Convention,
giving the keynote address in 2012. Within two years, 2014, he was asked
by President Obama to become the youngest member of the Obama cabinet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: The first time most Americans heard this
man speak is when he gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention
almost two years ago. And they saw this young guy, pretty good speaker,
not bad looking, talk about how America is the only place where his story
could even be possible. And I watched and I thought, that`s not bad.
Julian`s grandmother came to this country from Mexico. She worked as a
maid, worked as a cook, worked as a babysitter, whatever she had to do to
keep a roof over her family`s head. And that`s because, for her and
generations of Americans like her, home is more than just a house. Home is
a source of pride and security.
And maybe one day, the kid grows up in that home and is able to go on to
get a great education and become the mayor of San Antonio and become a
member of the president`s cabinet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: After taking that job in President Obama`s cabinet in 2014, Julian
Castro made the very, very, very shortest short list of potential running
mates for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Ultimately, he did not get the running
mate gig. And of course, we know how 2016 worked out.
But now, Julian Castro is running of his own accord. He is 44 years old.
He is the only Latino who is currently a declared candidate in the
presidential race. His People First immigration policy, which he unveiled
today, it is the first big detailed policy proposal on the immigration
issue from anybody who is running on the Democratic field.
Among other things, he is proposing what he calls a Marshall Plan for
Central America, to support stability in our hemisphere and mutual economic
growth and to address the most dire conditions in Central America that
ultimately send people north toward our country out of desperation.
And let me just say one other thing before we bring on Julian Castro for
tonight`s interview. You may have noticed that there are a gazillion
people, roughly, running for the Democratic presidential nomination this
year. That`s not an exact term. I`m rounding up to the nearest gazillion.
But it`s turning out to be a crowded and also an exciting contest already
for the Democratic nomination, even before everyone has jumped in. As far
as we can tell from our own research here on my staff, as far as we can
tell, the largest field of candidates to ever run from a major party was
the field of 17 Republicans who competed for their party`s nomination in
And we know how that worked out. The Republican Party looked at those 17
options and chose Donald Trump of all people. And he went on to win the
general election in November.
Now, if you`re trying to handicap the field for the Democratic contenders
this year, if you`re trying to game out now who might win this year to run
against Trump in 2020, consider that at this point in the 2016 race, not
only was Donald Trump not favored to win the Republican nomination, he
wasn`t even being included in most polls at this point in the race in 2016.
Nobody was even asking about him when they were polling on the race.
At this point in the Republican race in 2016, the guy who was widely
considered to be the prohibitive front-runner was Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney
didn`t even end up running in 2016. To that point, in the previous cycle,
in 2012, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin at this point in the race were
considered top-tier contenders. Neither of them ended up running in 2012.
At this point in the cycle before that, in 2008, the guy who was way out
ahead in all the national polls was Rudy Giuliani, seriously. And Rudy
Giuliani, he did, in fact, run for president in 2018. He won nothing. He
didn`t win a single contest, didn`t even get close.
So who`s ahead in the polls for the Democratic nomination at this point
tells you very, very little about who is going to win in all likelihood.
But, also, again, looking at history, having a gigantic field of candidates
running does seem to be a net positive when it comes to that party`s
chances of winning in November. And every year is different and there are
exceptions to every rule.
But if you`re going to try to draw a pattern out of big-field races, it
looks good for that party. I mean, again, 17 Republican candidates in
2016, a record for either party. As unlikely as it seemed as the time,
their ultimate nominee got the nomination and went on to win the presidency
against Hillary Clinton.
The biggest field the Democrats have ever put forward for a nomination was
the field of 16 candidates the Democrats put up in 1976. So many Democrats
ran in 1976 that literally new candidates were still joining the race even
after the New Hampshire primary was already over. It was a ferocious
campaign among the Democrats in 1976, just like it was a ferocious campaign
among the Republicans in 2016. With every one you can think of running and
the competition stretching on and on and the lead changing hands a million
But just as the Republicans emerged from that giant field of competition in
2016 to take the White House in the fall, so, too, in 1976 with the biggest
ever field of Democrats. Picking a nominee and emerging in the fall to win
the White House, behind the banner of former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter.
So I know it has become sort of fashionable to bemoan the size of the
Democratic field and to make light of every new entry into the race.
There`s already like 15 Democrats who are either qualified for the first
debate already or on track to qualify. I can name you even on top of those
15, I can name you five more people off the top of my head who I think will
probably run who haven`t even announced yet who will have a pretty good
But as the country now takes the time to meet all of these candidates and
to hear what they have to offer, you`re going to hear from Julian Castro
here in just a moment, do not bemoan, do no winge about the amount of work
it`s going to take us all as citizens to get to know all of these
candidates this year, as more and more of them keep jumping in the race.
I mean, if you are hoping for the Democrats to win against Trump in the
general election, history suggests that the size of the Democratic field is
actually one of the Democratic Party`s greatest assets.
But Julian Castro is here tonight for the interview. I am very excited to
have him here. Lots to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I`m very pleased to say that joining us now live here in studio
for the interview is Julian Castro. He`s a former very young city
councilman and then mayor of the great city of San Antonio, Texas. He was
Barack Obama`s secretary of housing and urban development. Now he is
running to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
Secretary Castro, thank you for being here.
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Great to be here. Thanks for
MADDOW: Really good to have you here in person.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about being 44 years old and running for president.
If you – if you won, if you became president through this campaign, you
would be the youngest president since JFK, the second youngest ever
elected. Is your youth part of what you have to offer as a candidate?
CASTRO: I think so, yes. When I go out there and I travel the country,
what I hear is that people want a new generation of leadership. They want
somebody that is a new face in Washington. I think they want the voice of
a new generation.
And I think that during this election, inspiring young people to get out
and vote like we saw in 2018, where, you know, in the midterm, young people
went out and voted at a much greater rate than 2014, that`s going to be
important in 2020. So I see that as an asset, sure.
Also, as you know, and others have pointed out, in this modern era of
presidential politics, since 1960, JFK was 43, Bill Clinton was 46, Barack
Obama was 46 or 47, so, you know, I would be 46 –
MADDOW: You`re in the sweet spot.
CASTRO: Yes, I guess I say – I don`t see that as particularly
CASTRO: Because that`s actually been the norm. The oldest of those
Democrats that was elected during that time was Jimmy Carter in `76. You
just pointed out that very crowded election, and I think he was 50 or 51.
So, that`s been the norm more than the exception.
MADDOW: I think part of the way it dovetails for me and the reason I put
that right up top is because of your experience as an unconventional path.
You`ve been a cabinet secretary, the only cabinet secretary in the running
for the Democrats. Before that, being a big city mayor. I think people
sometimes conflate your brother`s experience as a congressman and thinks
that you`ve been a congressman, too.
CASTRO: He shaved his beard. He had a beard for a few weeks.
MADDOW: It was such a good trick for differentiating you two.
MADDOW: I mean, is it – is being a big city mayor better preparation for
running the federal government than working in the legislature, than being
in Congress, being in the Senate, as so many of your other candidates have?
CASTRO: Yes. I think what people ask me all the time, every time I go out
to an event, they say, we have a crowded field, what distinguishes you?
And I tell them, I`m the only former cabinet member, basically a federal
executive. If you`re president, you`re a federal executive. You`re in
charge of the federal government, right? And that being mayor is all about
getting things done.
And people, I think, are tired of this administration`s incompetence, its
inability to get good things done. And they want somebody in there that
can hit the ground running, will be able to get things done. So, yes, I
see both my cabinet experience and my experience as a mayor and my track
record of getting things done as a real positive. And something that I
think people are going to respond to as the months go by.
MADDOW: One of the things that I know you are proud of from your time as
mayor in San Antonio was a universal pre-K program for the city. You paid
for it by raising the sales tax by an infinitesimal amount, an eighth of a
CASTRO: An eighth of a cent, yes.
MADDOW: Is that the kind of thing that you think could be scaled
nationally? Does that experience in that city give you a sense of how to
tackle something like that on the national level?
CASTRO: It does. Now, ours wasn`t quite universal, but we did ask voters
in Texas, right? Because everybody loves a tax increase in Texas.
MADDOW: Yes, right.
CASTRO: To raise the sales tax by an eighth of a cent, because we could
see that what was missing in that city was the kind of educational
achievement that we needed to have, the prosperity that we wanted. And so
I said, you know, I`m asking, you know, all of you to basically pay, on
average, $7.81 more, a year, so that 22,000 4-year-olds can get high-
quality full-day pre-K education.
And what I found was that if you`re straightforward with people, if you
give them the value proposition, if you paint the vision of what we can be,
then people are willing to accept that, you know? And I think that that
does translate to an America where we need to invest in people, we need to
invest in greater skills and education.
I had the experience as mayor of working with people who didn`t always
agree with me, because even though I`m a proud progressive and a Democrat,
I actually came up in a non-partisan context. So, I used to go and knock
on the doors of people who were Republican, who were conservative, and talk
to them about the importance of job creation, of neighborhood safety, of
simple things, like streets and drainage, but also the aspirations of the
And I feel like one of the things that people want, because this president
has been so divisive, is even those that are very progressive, we want
somebody that is willing to speak to part of the country that doesn`t
disagree with us. And I have experience doing that.
MADDOW: Do you think you could carry Texas?
CASTRO: I do. I do.
MADDOW: In the general election?
CASTRO: Oh, absolutely.
CASTRO: I actually believe the future of the Democratic Party is the 78
electoral votes, the 11 electoral votes of Arizona, the 29 electoral votes
of Florida, and the 38 electoral votes of Texas. If I`m the nominee, I`m
confident that I can carry all three of those states.
MADDOW: Beto O`Rourke has also declared his nomination – or his attempt
to run for the nomination. He`s run statewide in Texas, you haven`t. I
imagine the two of you both have a serious claim to the loyalty of
Democratic voters and activists and staff in Texas.
How do you negotiate that?
CASTRO: Well – first of all, I think Beto is a fantastic guy. My brother
and were happy to support him when he ran against Ted Cruz and I wish him
well in this race. We`ve got 15 or 16 candidates.
But just going to go out there and work hard. Like I said, I think one of
the things that distinguishes me is that I have actually run something, I
have executive experience. I think people are looking for that. I have
also articulated a strong, positive and powerful vision for the future of
And at the end of the day, I mean, we`re going to go and work hard. I`m
not a front-runner right now, but, you know, I wasn`t born a front-runner.
I didn`t grow up on the west side of San Antonio as a front-runner. There
are a whole bunch of people out there that don`t feel like a front-runner
right now. And I`m going to go and talk to them and tell them how every
single day, I`m going to work hard so that their children can get a good
education, so that their family can get great health care when they need it
and they have good job opportunities out there.
MADDOW: Our guest is Julian Castro, he is running for the Democratic
presidential nomination. Stick with us. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: There was the time President Trump blurted out highly classified
code word-level intelligence to Russian diplomats in the Oval Office.
There was the time his national security adviser was allowed to hang around
in that job for 18 long days, after the White House was warned that Mike
Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by the Russian government. There was the
time the president discussed North Korean missile launches with the
Japanese prime minister during dinner on the terrace at Mar-a-Lago while
paying guests looked on and took pictures and posted them to their Facebook
Handling classified information has not been a strong suit for this White
House. Now, we have a new whistleblower who says at least 25 times career
staffers raised serious red flags about applications for security
clearances, including applications for very senior White House officials,
career security staffers noticed those red flags, raised concerns, said an
application for a security clearance should be denied, but those rulings
were ignored and overridden by the White House.
We know that`s the situation we`re in right now. But imagine you`re
running for president. Imagine you`re going to be the next president, who
has to follow in the footsteps of that.
With that issue as with so many other things from the Trump administration,
how do you cram that genie back into the bottle? I mean, security
clearances are a presidential prerogative. How do you go back and
reestablish norms after processes like that have been broken as badly as
they have by this president?
Back with us now is former HUD secretary, Julian Castro, who is now running
in the Democratic presidential primary.
Mr. Secretary, thank you again.
CASTRO: Great to be here.
MADDOW: On that security clearance issue, I don`t know much about your
national security background and the – your relative hawkishness on these
sorts of issues, but I do want to just get your response to this current
controversy that`s happening. This standoff that`s happening now between
Democrats in Congress, who are upset about the way that Trump
administration`s handling national security and classified information, and
the Trump administration and its defenders who are sort of saying, this is
– this is no big deal.
CASTRO: It`s ironic based on how he ran his campaign – you know,
slandering Hillary Clinton about her e-mails, her e-mails. And this
administration has been the sloppiest, and that`s a generous term, the
sloppiest administration when it comes to handling classified information
and these issues related to national security.
My hope is that Congress will continue to assert its authority and get
ahold of documents to investigate exactly what has happened in terms of the
White House basically overruling the career staff that has made
recommendations on whether certain individuals should get a security
clearance or not.
You mentioned, you know, understanding what the norms were before this
administration busted through all of these enormous. That`s important. I
think not just with regard to these security clearances, this process, but
a whole bunch of other processes within the federal government. I also see
that as one of the reasons that, you know, I have – I`m well-prepared for
this office, because I was there before.
I had the opportunity to see an administration that was actually doing
these things in the right way. And we need to get back to that.
MADDOW: We`re starting to see another standoff take shape between the
congressional Democrats and the administration, particularly the Department
of Justice, as to whether or not the Mueller report is going to be released
to Congress or the public and in what form.
How hard do you think Democrats should push on that, if, in fact, push
comes to shove?
CASTRO: The American people are with the Democrats on this. Poll after
poll has showed that people want to see the full report. They know that
we`re not going to know the full truth until we see the full report. You
know, they won`t even say how many pages, exactly, this report is, but they
summarized it only with four pages, probably for hundreds pages worth of a
So Democrats should keep pushing on that. There`s no reason that they
should let up on that. And sometimes this issue comes up where people ask,
well, do folks out on the trail in Iowa or New Hampshire or whatever, do
they ask you about the Mueller report? You know, it comes up every now and
But what people do ask about is accountability in government. They want
integrity, honesty, and accountability in government. And fundamentally,
that`s what this issue is about.
MADDOW: You unveiled your own immigration proposal today, which is the
first in the field from all the Democratic candidates, a comprehensive
proposal – talking about the prospect of putting people first, putting
compassion back at the center of the way we deal with immigration. I feel
like on immigration policy, since the early days of the Bush
administration, there`s been this wah-wah pointless talking point about
comprehensive immigration reform that never has motivating force behind it
because there`s so much disingenuous politicking on the issue.
Do you feel like you can transcend what has become a – not just a partisan
standoff here, but what feels like a cul-de-sac where no real and
substantive policy ever gets developed?
CASTRO: I believe so. I mean, that`s what I`m trying to do with the
People First immigration plan they put out today. Basically, Rachel, you
know, those folks that saw it today, I hope that they`ll go to
julianforthefuture.com and look it up. I also had a Medium post.
I`m not buying into the B.S. that basically says that little children and
mothers who are desperate and fleeing desperate circumstances are a
national security threat to our nation. I said that we should de-
criminalize people who are coming here, crossing the border. We should go
back to treating this the way that we did basically before 2004, as a civil
We need to end detention. I don`t think we should be putting people in
We need to increase the number of refugees that we take into this country.
You know, this is somewhat politically incorrect to say, I think, for
people on the right, but we need a lot of these immigrants. You know,
several of the industries in this country benefit already from their labor.
Our unemployment rate right now is 3.8, 3.9 percent, right? And even at
that in a lot of these industries, they can`t find the labor that they
We seek countries around the world that have an aging population, the
United States birthrate is declining, we have an aging population. We have
baby boomers that are turning 65 and drawing down more and more on Social
Security. We need a young and vibrant workforce. And if we`re not
careful, if we don`t get this right, in 20 or 30 years, this nation is
going to be begging for immigrants to come to this country.
We have – we are a great nation. We have people that are fleeing danger
and the president wants us to believe that we have to choose between border
security and compassion. I believe that our border is more secure than
it`s ever been and we can continue to make investments so that it stays
secure. But I want us to choose compassion, not cruelty.
MADDOW: Julian Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development,
can you stick with us for just one more segment? I have another thing that
I`m going to ask you about that you are not going to want to answer.
We`ll be right back with Julian Castro right after this.
MADDOW: We`re back with Julian Castro, who is a former cabinet official
under President Obama, is now a 2020 presidential candidate.
Secretary Castro, thank you again.
Have you spoken with your former boss, have you spoken with President
Clinton about your intentions here?
CASTRO: Do you mean President Obama?
MADDOW: Yes, who did I say?
CASTRO: Clinton. I spoke with President Obama –
MADDOW: I was in a parallel universe there for a second. Sorry.
CASTRO: I had a chance to speak with President Obama and Secretary Clinton
right before I announced and let him know I was going to run and got some
MADDOW: Uh-huh. You were almost Hillary Clinton`s vice presidential
running mate in 2016. What did that process teach you or what were your
reflections from that?
CASTRO: Oh, it`s crazy. It`s the craziest process in politics, because
there`s this dance that you`re supposed to do of not really being
CASTRO: – and, you know, you`re not even under consideration.
Also, what I`ve enjoyed about being in politics is going out to the people,
you know? And that process is so much about sort of the decision of the
candidate, as it should be, and so it`s kind of, you know, it`s all behind
the scenes. That`s not really my type of politics, but –
MADDOW: It`s interesting, though, because it is the most anti-democratic
party of our presidential nominating process. More so even than the
Electoral College. The vice president is effectively chosen behind the
scenes in an invisible process by the person who is the nominee of their
CASTRO: Yes, and I think that she chose very well. Governor Kaine,
Senator Kaine had great experience. They won Virginia, right?
CASTRO: So I don`t mean to say that there was anything wrong with that
process. That`s the process. I was always just – I wrote about this in
my book last year. It`s just an interesting process, odd process.
MADDOW: Last question for you. Part of the qualifying process this year
for the Democratic Party for making it into the early debates is a fund-
raising threshold. You haven`t hit that fund-raising threshold yet.
CASTRO: I have not yet. No, our fund-raising has accelerated and really
picked up over the last couple of weeks, but I`m not quite yet at 65,000
contributions. So, we`re out there fund-raising, working hard. You know,
I`m not taking any PAC money. I`m not taking money from federal lobbyists,
because I want people to know if I get elected president, I`m going to make
decisions in the best interests of them and their families, not people who
usually get their way in Washington. But we haven`t hit it and we`re still
MADDOW: One last question for you and I realize this is probably an
uncomfortable subject. But the elephant in the room in terms of the
Democratic field is the question of whether or not Vice President Biden is
going to run. Tonight in “The New York Times” just reports that another
couple of women have come forward, saying that he has interacted with them
in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.
I wonder how you feel about these allegations that have been made about
Vice President Biden and how you think they should be handled?
CASTRO: Well, you know, it is good that in today in 2019 that we take
women who come forward, like these women are and talk about how
uncomfortable they`ve been made seriously. Because for the longest time,
whether it was in politics, it was in entertainment, different industries,
people have not been taken seriously.
The vice president, former vice president has said that that`s not what he
intended. You know, he said I think that`s not what he recalled. And so,
I think that that`s for the American people to decide based on the
statements that people have made, what they believe.
MADDOW: Do you think allegations like that are disqualifying if they`re
CASTRO: Well, I don`t think that he intended – I know that he`s a good
man. I don`t believe that he would have intended to cause discomfort. I
haven`t had the opportunity to read the newest allegations and so I`m
speaking without information about that.
CASTRO: But at least based on what I`d seen, you know, I think that`s a
decision for him to make and the American people to make.
MADDOW: Secretary Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development
secretary, former mayor of San Antonio, Democratic presidential candidate -
- it`s an honor to have you with this much time in studio. Thanks for
being here, sir.
CASTRO: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. More to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Hey, here`s some breaking news just crossing my desk. The great
city of Chicago has just made history tonight by electing an African-
American openly gay woman to be mayor of Chicago. “The A.P.” is now
reporting that Lori Lightfoot, former federal prosecutor, has beaten the
current Cook County president Toni Preckwinkle to run the nation`s third
largest city after New York and L.A.
It`s interesting. Although Lori Lightfoot is a former prosecutor, this
will be her first time ever holding elected office. She was a surprising
front-runner after the first round of voting in February. Fourteen people
had been on the ballot to try to replace the current mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
Her campaign was focused on cleaning up corruption in city hall, helping
low income and working class people.
Tonight after this run-off, she has won. Lori Lightfoot will be the new
mayor of Chicago. She`ll be sworn in on May 20th.
Congratulations, Madam Mayor.
MADDOW: That does it for us tonight. But keep in mind for tomorrow, today
was the deadline Congress set for Attorney General William Barr to hand
over the whole un-redacted report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Attorney General Barr has thus far been sitting on that report for 11
straight days. He has not responded at all to the congressional deadline.
The House Judiciary chairman and five other committee chairmen have now
notified Attorney General Barr that they plan to start issuing subpoenas to
try to obtain the report as of tomorrow.
So it will not come as a surprise, the House judiciary`s process has
started to begin at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Expect that to light the
fuse on some fireworks in Washington tomorrow.
That does it for us tonight, though. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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 content.>
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