Interview with Julian Castro. TRANSCRIPT: 4/2/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests:
Julian Castro
Transcript:

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

presidential candidates. 

 

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

will. 

 

(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

it started. 

 

(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. 

Very pulpy. 

 

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

congressional deadline. 

 

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. 

That`s tomorrow. 

 

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

doing that. 

 

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

public. 

 

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

submitted it. 

 

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

doing there. 

 

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,

America. 

 

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

citizenship status. 

 

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

2016. 

 

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

times. 

 

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

shot themselves. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

having me. 

 

MADDOW:  Really good to have you here in person. 

 

CASTRO:  Yes. 

 

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. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

CASTRO:  Yes, I guess I say – I don`t see that as particularly

groundbreaking, right?

 

MADDOW:  Right.

 

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.

 

CASTRO:  Yes.

 

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

percent. 

 

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

community. 

 

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. 

 

MADDOW:  Really? 

 

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

our country. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

pages. 

 

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

report. 

 

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

then. 

 

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

matter. 

 

We need to end detention.  I don`t think we should be putting people in

cages. 

 

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

need. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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 –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

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

good advice. 

 

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

interested – 

 

MADDOW:  Right.

 

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

party. 

 

CASTRO:  Yes, and I think that she chose very well.  Governor Kaine,

Senator Kaine had great experience.  They won Virginia, right? 

 

MADDOW:  Uh-huh. 

 

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

fund raising. 

 

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

substantiated? 

 

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. 

 

MADDOW:  Uh-huh. 

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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. 

 

                                                                                               

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