Paul Manafort to be moved to Rikers Island. TRANSCRIPT: 6/4/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: And it`s part of who they are.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes.
LEE: And kind of going back to the idea of stifling innovation. There`s
like crop insurance. When you can`t get your seeds in the ground by a
certain point, you will get a subsidy. You`ll get paid out for that.
LEE: But there`s nothing you can do with those crops, right? So you have
this extreme kind of confluence of issues and it`s not sure how it will
play out politically yet, but Jason for sure said he`s not voting for
HAYES: All right. Trymaine Lee, thank you so much. That was great.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris, I cannot tell you how excited I am about
the town hall tomorrow.
HAYES: I am too. I`m extremely excited. I think there`s just – she`s
someone who there`s a lot to talk about with. So, I`m looking forward to
MADDOW: Well, that`s she has turned into a political virtue this whole “I
have a plan for it” thing, but I know that you know that what that means
for prepping to talk to her about something is you that do actually have to
know in and out all of those different plans –
MADDOW: – depending on what`s going to come up. So it does create a
whole different kind of homework than other candidates might make.
HAYES: Her plans are now like the amount of candidates there are.
HAYES: Like someone will crop up and it will be like oh, right, that
MADDOW: Well, I`m totally psyched for, it man. I cannot wait.
HAYES: Me too. All right. Thanks a lot.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
The House of Representatives has just tonight passed the American Dream and
Promise Act of 2019, which offers a path to citizenship for folks who were
brought here as kids, for the Dreamers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this vote, the yeas are 237. The nays are 187. The
bill is passed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: What they`re saying there, from the gallery, and with support from
the floor, from the Democrats on the floor, you see Nancy Pelosi there in
white, what the House – what they`re saying there is “si se puede.” This
is the House tonight passing a path to legal residency and to a green card
if you commit higher education – or complete higher education or military
service, ultimately a path to citizenship.
You`ll remember that President Obama tried to end the legal limbo for many
of these folks who were stuck in this sort of lacuna in the immigration
system. He tried to end the legal limbo those folks were in when he
established the DACA program in 2012, which, of course, invited people to
come out of the shadows and legalize their status and apply for work
permits. Well, one election later, of course, President Trump ripped up
that program and threw those kids back into a status that was really worse
than the limbo they had been in before because of course in the interim
they had come forward to declare themselves to a government that under
President Trump has declared outright war on immigrants and immigration.
That effort by Trump to undo the DACA program is now before the U.S.
Supreme Court. But nevertheless, tonight, the Democratic-led House passed
this bill to establish a path to citizenship for Dreamers, offering also a
reprieve to people from Liberia and Haiti and other countries who had been
allowed to stay because of country-specific disasters in their home
Trump had tried to turn that off and forcibly deport those people anyway.
This bill Democrats passed in the House tonight would protect those people
And the Democrats are under no illusions, I think, that the Republican-
controlled Senate is going to take up this legislation or that President
Trump would ever sign it if they did. But the Democrats in the House did
get a 50-vote margin for passing this thing. All but seven Republicans
voted no. But all the Democrats voted yes.
And it`s interesting. If you compare this vote tonight to the last time
the Democratic-controlled House passed the Dream Act, which was way back in
2010, if you look, the numbers for the Republicans are pretty similar,
right? Republicans remain almost entirely opposed. Same way they were
But back in 2010, there were quite a few Democrats. There were 38
Democrats who voted no along with all those Republicans. Now look, zero
Democrats voted no. Now, it is a unanimous yes on this issue from
Democrats in the House.
Democrats have made it over these past ten years, they have made it a core
part of their party that they are pro-immigrant. As the Trump-era
Republican Party has defined immigrants with increasing aggression and
naked hostility often in crassly bigoted terms defining immigrants and
immigration as the cause of all of America`s problems, Democrats have
changed too. Democrats, you can see from those numbers, have put aside
their own differences with each other on this issue and Democrats now have
unanimity on the issue of supporting immigrants and giving law-abiding
immigrants a path to become citizens in this country. So, that just
That vote in the House is just one of the whole bunch of things that has
happened tonight and it comes amid a whole bunch of stuff we`re watching
for in the overnight hours and into tomorrow morning. Early tomorrow, our
time, because of the time difference, President Trump will be taking a
somewhat strange meeting with the Irish prime minister. He will be meeting
with the Irish prime minister at the VIP lounge at the Shannon Airport in
The Shannon Airport is – nothing wrong with it. It`s not a big fancy
place, though. And I`m guessing that the VIP lounge is very nice there.
But holding that meeting for President Trump in that somewhat awkward
location, that was arranged, that was sort of the plan Z after all of the
other options had fallen through.
President Trump started off planning this trip to Ireland by initially
trying to get the Irish prime minister to come visit and hold the summit at
President Trump`s Irish golf course. Now, that is a request that the
government of Ireland rejected for obvious reasons, right? No, we will not
use our government to create a commercial for your golf course, even though
you, sir, are clearly comfortable using the American government to hold a
commercial for your golf course. We`re not going to do that.
So they`re not going to meet at the president`s golf course like he
insisted. They`re not going to meet at another nearby castle which the
Irish government offered as a second choice. Instead they will meet at the
airport, which is a little weird.
But this whole overseas trip has been pretty sort of clunky for the
president. The president for one thing brought along his adult children.
Not just Jared and Ivanka, who work in the White House, but he also brought
along his other adult children, all of them, including the two who have
ongoing roles in his business but no role supposedly in the government. He
brought them to the state dinner that was held in his honor in the U.K.
But this was not an official British government visit to host the Trump
kids, you know, to host the Trump family. This was an official British
government occasion to host the president. But nevertheless, the president
brought Don Jr. and Eric and Tiffany and all the rest of them with the
White House never really explaining what exactly they were doing there.
The president was greeted in Great Britain by large and occasionally quite
funny protests in London. The president told reporters that he believed
those people were not protesting him, they were celebrating his visit.
Which I guess if you squint and you don`t read the signs maybe you can get
away with that.
The president must have noticed, however, that he was not invited to
address parliament on this trip as previous U.S. presidents have done,
which is quite an obvious snub for President Trump. President Trump was
also quite publicly snubbed by Boris Johnson, the conservative party`s own
sort of Trump-like figure who has recently declared his candidacy for prime
minister now that Theresa May is stepping down.
Trump went out of his way to praise Boris Johnson by name on his way to
Britain. He praised Johnson as someone who would be excellent. “I know
Boris. I like him. I think he would do a very good job.” Meaning as the
next British prime minister. The president all but endorsing Boris Johnson
for prime minister on his way to Britain.
Soon after Trump arrived in Britain and Boris Johnson said, no, he would
not meet with Trump, he didn`t have time.
I mean, part of the public welcome that Trump got from the people of Great
Britain also include these comments from Boris Johnson about Trump being
projected onto the side of Big Ben. And it doesn`t exactly look like the
way you remember Big Ben because it`s covered in scaffolding right now.
But this is Big Ben.
And after Trump praised Boris Johnson, basically anointed him to be his
choice for the next British prime minister, this is what greeted Trump in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I think Donald Trump is clearly out of
his mind. If you think that`s a sensible way to proceed, you can`t ban
people going to the United States in that way or indeed to any country.
What he`s doing is playing the game of the terrorists invade and seek to
That is exactly the kind of reaction they hope to produce. Donald Trump
says there are parts of London that are no-go zones. I think he`s
betraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold
the office of president of the United States. I would invite him to come
and see the whole of London and take him around the city, except I wouldn`t
want to expose Londoners to any unnecessary risk of meeting Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He says at the end there he would not want to expose any Londoners
to the unnecessary risk of meeting Donald Trump.
Who thinks – raise your hand – if you think that president Trump knew
that that`s how Boris Johnson had been talking about Trump publicly before
the president endorsed him to run the British government. Do you think
that President Trump had ever had those clips played for him before? Do
you think he knew that`s what Boris Johnson had been saying about him?
I think that those comments from Boris Johnson about Trump may have been
projected onto the side of Big Ben by the same folks who also projected
this onto the side of the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London. You can
see the sort of gentle dome of that building provides a nice aesthetic echo
to the crown of the ball cap that says USS John McCain, the Arleigh Burke
class destroyer and the ball cap that its sailors wear. That`s the
destroyer that had to be hidden from view on Trump`s recent visit to Japan
because he doesn`t like John McCain too much.
So I hope you have enjoyed your trip to London, Mr. President. Boris
didn`t have time for you.
All of London turned out unanimously to basically drop their drawers and
moon you. And parliament did not wish to hear from you while you were
there. Plus, on all prominent buildings in London, things designed to
embarrass or upset you were prominently projected and displayed.
But you and your kids all got to dress up and look great with the royal
family. Also, Mr. President, I hope you have an excellent time at the VIP
lounge at Shannon Airport tomorrow, which is a really weird place for you
to be meeting the Irish prime minister.
As I say, the president`s overseas trip has been clunky. Meanwhile, at
home the president`s campaign chairman has just learned he`s being moved to
Rikers Island. Paul Manafort is already serving a 7 1/2-year prison
sentence for multiple federal felony charges. That`s not going to stop
him, however, from also having to face state felony charges in New York.
He`s being charged with 16 felony counts in state court in New York. And
ahead of those proceedings, FOX News was first to report today that
Manafort is expected to be moved from the federal correctional facility
he`s currently living in in Pennsylvania, instead to the Rikers Island jail
complex in New York City and all of its notoriety.
Across town in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, today there was a bail
hearing for another Trump campaign figure, George Nader, that took frequent
meetings during the campaign with senior Trump administration officials,
including Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn and Steve Bannon and the president`s
eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. George Nader is also the one who reportedly
arranged the meeting in the Seychelles Islands during the transition
between a Kremlin-connected Russian banker who was there at the behest of
the government and Erik Prince as a representative of the Trump transition.
After Trump was sworn in as president, George Nader was also reportedly a
frequent visitor to the Trump White House, including specifically multiple
visits to Steve Bannon`s office just off the Oval. As of yesterday, George
Nader is now facing serious child pornography charges, and not for the
first time in his life. Mr. Nader was arrested yesterday at JFK airport.
He was held overnight at the federal detention center in Brooklyn.
At his bail hearing today, the judge agreed that George Nader will be held
one more night overnight in the federal detention facility in Brooklyn.
Then tomorrow he will be driven by FBI agents to the eastern district of
Virginia, which is where he`s expected to face trial on those child porn
Now, George Nader of course was also an important cooperating witness for
the Mueller investigation. He`s said to have provided testimony to the
grand jury in Mueller`s investigation as well. All in exchange for limited
Now, what kind of immunity did he get? How at the end of that deal did he
end up getting charged with these serious felony charges? It`s just one
little piece of the many mysteries that surround this disturbing and
unusual character who played such a strange role in the Trump campaign, the
Trump transition, and the first year of Trump being in office as president.
Presumably when these court proceedings start against him in Virginia on
these child pornography charges, presumably, that will give us at least
some window into what has happened with him overall.
Meanwhile, today was the deadline for former White House communications
director Hope Hicks and former chief of staff to White House counsel Don
McGahn to hand over documents to the Judiciary Committee in response to a
subpoena from that committee. Both Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson were
witnesses for Mueller`s inquiry. They both provided documents to Mueller
and his prosecutors.
The Judiciary Committee wants to speak to both Hope Hicks and Annie
Donaldson themselves. They want to see supporting materials as to what
Hicks and Donaldson testified about.
Today, the White House sent this letter to Jerry Nadler, chairman of the
Judiciary Committee, telling him nope, they should not expect those
documents or that testimony. The White House is now insisting as they are
with other Mueller witnesses that Annie Donaldson and Hope Hicks will not
be allowed to testify, they will not be allowed to hand over documents.
There had been some expectation that one or both of these witnesses might
try to say that they wouldn`t testify and they wouldn`t hand over documents
pertaining to their time working in the White House specifically.
But Hope Hicks, for example, also spent time working on the campaign and on
the transition well before Trump was president. There was some expectation
that that period of time she spent in Trump`s employ would be fair game,
right? That that wouldn`t be covered by anything that could be construed
as any sort of presidential privilege since that was all before Trump was
president. That had been sort of the expectation as this subpoena deadline
for Hicks and Donaldson approached today.
But ultimately, we got a letter from Hope Hicks` counsel today declaring
than only would she not testify or hand over documents related to her time
in the White House, she`s also not handing over anything related to her
time in the transition. Nor will she hand over anything related to her
time in the campaign. In other words, they can have nothing from her.
The only things that Hope Hicks is willing to hand over to the Judiciary
Committee are documents that she`s already previously given to other
committees. And other than that they can take their subpoena and project
it up the side of Big Ben.
And so, as the Democratic-controlled House tries to follow up on the
Mueller investigation, tries to investigate what Mueller found and the
implications of what Mueller found, the White House is as promised taking
steps to block Congress from accessing any materials, any personnel, any
witnesses. And Don McGahn, White House counsel, crucial Mueller witness,
is defying the subpoena that has been issued to him. Hope Hicks, former
White House communications director, Annie Donaldson, who`s chief of staff
to McGahn. They are now defying these subpoenas that have been issued to
them by Congress as well.
The attorney general himself has defied a subpoena issued to him by
Congress to hand over the unredacted Mueller report and its underlying
evidence. And that one actually took an interesting turn tonight. It`s
been about 24 hours roughly since the Democrats announced that they would
schedule a vote in the full House of Representatives for next week, Tuesday
next week, to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing
to comply with the Judiciary Committee`s subpoena to hand over the redacted
portions of Mueller`s report and the underlying evidence.
And, you know, there`s been a lot of bluster from the Justice Department
about that subpoena and how unbothered they are by it and how much disdain
they have for the Democratic-led committee that has issued that subpoena.
But Attorney General William Barr also apparently really, really, really
does not want to be held in contempt. And you might remember that he got
to this point where he was defying an Intelligence Committee subpoena and
he was going to be held in contempt and at the very last minute the Justice
Department weighed in and said no, no, no, we think we can give you some
stuff, just don`t hold him in contempt, don`t hold that vote. And the
intelligence committee backed off and they said they started finally to
receive some materials from justice.
Well, the Justice Department today tried the same trick with the Judiciary
Committee. The Justice Department today sent this sort of remarkable
letter to Congress saying that they are prepared to negotiate, they are
prepared to talk, they are prepared to try to come to some kind of
accommodation with the committee over the subpoena. They`re prepared to
find some way to answer some of the requests Congress is making with this
subpoena. But they`ll only do that if the House unschedules their planned
vote to hold William Barr in contempt.
Quote: The department is prepared to resume negotiations with the committee
provided that the committee takes reasonable steps to remove any threat of
an imminent vote by the House of Representatives to hold the attorney
general in contempt.
Quote: We look forward to your confirmation that the contempt resolution
has been withdrawn and following such confirmation, to returning to our
efforts to accommodate the committee. We would be happy to meet and
discuss these matters further.
Did I say happy? I mean just delighted. We`d be over the moon. Just
don`t hold the attorney general in contempt, whatever you do. We`ll do
anything you want.
Do not hold that vote. Please take that vote off the calendar. We`ll talk
to you about this stuff. We`re sorry. Just don`t do that.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler responded tonight by saying thank
you, no. Jerry Nadler sending a response back to the Justice Department
saying basically we`re happy that you`re willing to resume discussions with
us and you`re willing to talk about accommodating this request for these
materials, but we`re not unscheduling that vote.
Nadler telling the Justice Department tonight, quote: We are ready to
proceed without conditions. Quote: We urge you not to make the mistake of
breaking off accommodations again. We are here and ready to negotiate as
early as tomorrow morning.
But again, no, they are not calling off that scheduled contempt vote for
the attorney general on Tuesday of next week. And why would you, right?
Now you that know how much the attorney general really, really cares about
that vote. It seems to be the only thing that`s driving him and the
Justice Department to hand over anything in response to these lawfully
binding subpoenas that are coming at them from Congress, that they`re
otherwise super happy to defy.
So there`s a lot of things in motion right now. Again, just before we got
on the air tonight, the House voted to – overwhelmingly to pass
legislation to protect the Dreamers. And, of course, Republicans are not
having it. The Republicans voted overwhelmingly against it, only seven
Republicans siding with the Democrats on this.
But still, the Democrats run the House, they got an overwhelming majority.
Republicans won`t do anything with it. Mitch McConnell won`t let the
Senate vote on it. President Trump will never sign it.
But the Democratic-led House is showing the kind of policy and the kind of
legislation that they value and that they would pursue and that makes up
their governing agenda. And if there is a Democratic Senate elected in
2020, they`re saying basically, look, we already teed this up with an
overwhelming vote, now you guys pass it, this is ready to go.
Simultaneously, they`re pursuing from every angle the oversight efforts
that at least in the Judiciary Committee right now center on the Mueller
investigation and what happened to the Mueller investigation. Document
requests are becoming subpoenas. Subpoenas are being defied. Defied
subpoenas are becoming contempt votes. Contempt votes are freaking out the
potential subjects of those contempt votes.
I mean, it can feel like a slow motion train, but it is a train that is
definitely in motion. And the president is having a terrible and
embarrassing long trip abroad. And meanwhile, the Democrats who are vying
to run against him in 2020 are starting to hit their first benchmarks.
The Democratic National Committee has set up the first debate in the
Democratic presidential primary to have slots for 20 different contenders,
a two-part debate with ten podiums on the stage for each of two successive
Well, today, congratulations, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, today the
20th Democratic candidate hit either the polling threshold or the fund-
raising threshold to qualify to make it onto the stage for that debate.
The problem for the Democrats is that we`re still almost a month away from
that debate and they`ve now filled the 20 slots. There are more than 20
candidates running. There`s plenty of time for yet more of them to hit
either the polling threshold or the fund-raising threshold to technically
qualify to be on that stage.
But as I said, as of today, that stage is right now full. So the
Democratic Party will have to come up with some way to allow people to be
on that stage up to 20 while coming up with some other criteria to keep
You know, the president`s campaign chairman is in prison. He`s about to be
moved to Rikers Island. The president`s personal lawyer is also in prison,
in Upstate New York. This guy pictured here with the president was just
arrested yesterday at JFK airport and tomorrow will be driven by FBI agents
to Virginia to face child pornography charges in the eastern district of
The president`s deputy campaign chairman has pled guilty to multiple
felonies and is awaiting sentencing. The president`s first national
security adviser has also pled guilty to felony charges and is also
awaiting sentencing. The president`s new attorney general is about to be
held in contempt of Congress.
The Democrats appear newly enthused about the prospect of subpoenaing
Robert Mueller to testify about the president and about Mueller`s
investigation if they have to, if Mueller won`t do it voluntarily. The
Democrats are showing themselves broadly to be capable of both passing
significant legislation like the Dreamers Act they passed tonight and also
simultaneously investigating the president from a whole bunch of different
angles, like an octopus holding eight different gavels at once.
And so, yes, in that context every Democrat who has ever looked in the
mirror and thought yes, maybe, why not me, every Democrat on earth is
running for president right now because they all want the chance to run
against this guy in the general election. And yes, that creates its own
drama and its own complications inside Democratic politics. What are they
going to do when more than 20 of these candidates qualify to be on that
debate stage and there`s only 20 slots?
It does create its own drama and its own complications. But you know what?
That`s why this is the greatest job on earth. Days like, this news cycles
like, this strategic and political drama like, this is what we are made
for. It`s fine. Everything`s fine.
One of the Democratic presidential contenders who is right in the middle of
this in a lot of different ways joins us here live in studio next. Stay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”: Why are you against impeachment now?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
BEHAR: Are you going to change your mind very soon?
SWALWELL: I think we`re ultimately ending up there. I`m the only
candidate running for president who actually would have to try the case
because I`m on the Judiciary Committee.
I`ve called for immediately impeaching Barr and Mnuchin. I think they`re
front door obstructers and they`re holding the evidence that we need right
now. I firmly believe as a former prosecutor no one is above the law. And
there has to be consequences when people break the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Congressman Eric Swalwell there stating Attorney General William
Barr and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin should be immediately impeached
themselves for blocking the release of the unredacted Mueller report and
underlying evidence, Mr. Barr. And in Mnuchin`s case, the president`s
financial documents and his tax returns.
Joining us here on set is Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He`s on
the Judiciary Committee and on the Intelligence Committee. He is also very
busy running for president.
Sir, thank you very much for being here.
SWALWELL: Thank you. Of course. Thanks for having me back.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
So, let me ask you about this prospect of impeaching Barr and Mnuchin.
They are both defying subpoenas that should require them to do something
fairly simple, in each case just handing over materials. You think that`s
SWALWELL: Oh, absolutely. And also, I believe the attorney general lied
to Congress when he testified and stated that Bob Mueller had never
contacted him, that no prosecutor had objected to the way he characterized
the report. I also believe that the work that he`s doing for the president
of investigating the investigators has a chilling effect on any future
You know, what do you do if you`re an FBI agent and you get a tip that the
president`s team is still working with the Russians or some other country
and you see the attorney general is having this clampdown. I think there`s
a number of reasons to move on the attorney general and Mnuchin where the
law`s clear, he should turn over the tax returns. Not to take off the
table at all impeaching Donald Trump, but we want all the documents if
that`s where we end up. And right now, they`ve buried those documents. So
they should be held responsible for that.
MADDOW: Cabinet officials being impeached is something that doesn`t happen
much if at all.
Is the process of mounting those sorts of impeachment efforts similar to
the type of structure that you build around a potential presidential
impeachment where you essentially start it in the Judiciary Committee, you
start hearings, and then it goes to the full House, the same way?
SWALWELL: Or a bottom-up prosecution, right? A lot of times in like money
laundering cases or, you know, prosecution of the mob. You know, it`s
bottom up and you get the evidence that you need to go after the real
The real offender here is Donald Trump. I just as a former prosecutor, I
want to make sure that we get it right and we have all of the evidence as
we reach that crescendo.
MADDOW: It strikes me as I`ve been following what`s happening with the
attorney general himself that he really, really, really, really does not
want to be held in contempt of Congress.
SWALWELL: That`s part of my wagering here. I think he is impeachment-
worthy but I also believe that he is a serious lawyer and unlike this
president, who I don`t think is serious about many things. I think we
actually may get what we want if we hold the attorney general responsible.
He may say, OK, like, I`ll give you what you want. I don`t want to be
He doesn`t want that stain on him. I think that`s what he doesn`t want to
be held in contempt.
MADDOW: Well, it`s interesting because you are in a unique position of
being both on the Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee, both
of which have pursued some degree of contempt charges against the attorney
SWALWELL: That`s right.
MADDOW: And the two committees are handling it differently. So, you`re
sort of the man in the fulcrum in the middle of this.
On intelligence, the attorney general was told to hand over intelligence-
related information that pertain to Mueller`s investigation, including
unredacted material from the report. He refused. There was a threat of
When you guys got right up to the wall there, we got in letter from the
Justice Department saying, please don`t hold him in contempt, we promise
we`ll give you some stuff.
Am I right to believe that the Justice Department did in fact start handing
over some of those materials after you got close to that vote?
SWALWELL: As I understand, that was supposed to have come last week and
we`re going to be able to review that very soon. We authorize a lot of
their programs too. And I think Chairman Schiff recognized that and, you
know, has stood firmly to get all of those materials.
MADDOW: And once the Justice Department did that and said, OK, we don`t
want you to hold that contempt vote, we`ll give you some stuff, Chairman
Schiff took his foot off the gas and said, OK, we won`t hold you in
contempt then. Let`s – this is the way it`s supposed to go. You`re
supposed to hand stuff over.
Opposite process happening now with your other chairman in Judiciary, where
Chairman Nadler was just told today by the Justice Department, OK, OK,
we`re ready to talk, just unschedule that contempt vote. And he said, no,
we`re keeping that on the calendar and we`re happy to talk.
What do you make of those two different approaches from those two different
SWALWELL: Well, I actually think they both are using the tools that they
have. Chairman Schiff, we`ve got the authorizing ability for many
programs. I think the Justice Department recognizes that.
Here I had I think the attorney general as you describe doesn`t want to be
held in contempt and to have that public vote and that permanent stain.
And that`s something that Chairman Nadler can control.
I just want to back up too and say we are still proceeding from
intelligence to look at the president`s finances. We think we`re the first
set of eyes to look at his finances.
And here`s what we see – is that it`s probably a virtual certainty that
Donald Trump has cheated on his finances over the last 10 years. We think
it`s a virtual certainty that Vladimir Putin probably knows this if he
knows about Hillary Clinton`s e-mails. It`s a virtual certainty that
Donald Trump has been blackmailed in the past. We saw that with Stormy
So, the question is, would he sell America`s secrets to protect his own?
And we`re going to find out.
MADDOW: When you say it`s a virtual certainty he cheated on his finances,
what do you mean by cheated on his finances?
SWALWELL: Well, I think – it`s a lot of what the “New York Times” has
already laid out and what he`s done with his taxes. I believe that he`s
acting guilty in his refusal to turn over his tax returns. You`ve got
consciousness of guilt and you have what Michael Cohen has testified to
Congress in his over-inflation of assets.
So I think he has a lot to hide. And if he has a lot to hide, that means
Vladimir Putin would know a lot and that if he is willing to be blackmailed
as we`ve seen in the past, what would he trade to not have that exposed?
MADDOW: As you are part of these processes, both in Intelligence and
Judiciary, pursuing this stuff –
MADDOW: – chasing these things down, having these fights with the White
House and the Justice Department over access to materials and witnesses and
contempt votes and subpoenas and all of this stuff, you are also running
SWALWELL: Yes, there`s that happening.
MADDOW: There`s that happening too, which is keeping you very busy. I
wonder how those two things are balancing for you.
Obviously, it`s a question for the Democratic Party writ large. Can we
pursue these investigations and tell the American people what they need to
know about their president and at the same time pursue a governing agenda,
pass the Dream Act that passed tonight in the House –
MADDOW: – and otherwise show people that we are addressing the pocketbook
issues and the needs that are most important to voters?
SWALWELL: Yes. There`s a cost of this corruption. The cost of this
corruption, one is we have a president who will not act on behalf of the
American people on infrastructure, on the Dream Act, on gun safety
measures, we passed background checks already.
But taking a bigger step back, what I see when I look at Republicans who
have told me privately, friends I`ve worked with, passed bills with,
traveled to war zones with, who say I know what he`s doing is wrong, I`m
just worried – one person said I`ll have my head lopped off if I go
against him. The real issue here is the money on the outside that will be
dumped on their head and put a primary challenge against them.
Until we get rid of the dirty money and the dirty maps, you`re never going
to see people put our country above their job. People always think it`s
party over country, what we`re seeing. It`s just their individual jobs.
That`s what I see.
MADDOW: So you think it`s not so much a matter of finding individual
courage, finding character among these individual people, it`s a structural
problem that doesn`t allow them to be brave.
MADDOW: Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the Intelligence Committee
and the Judiciary Committee and a Democratic candidate for president, as we
are getting down –
SWALWELL: And a father who sent his kid to preschool this week for the
first time. So, there`s a lot going on.
MADDOW: First day of preschool is this week.
SWALWELL: That`s right.
MADDOW: How`d it go?
SWALWELL: It went OK. We`ll get through it. It will fine, right?
MADDOW: It`s the start of something. Thank you, sir.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: See if you can spot the difference. Today, there was a hearing in
the Democratic-controlled House about reproductive health care,
Democratic Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon is on that subcommittee that held
that hearing today and she tweeted out this picture. She took pains to
point out that the panel of witnesses called to testify at this hearing
today happened to be a panel of women, expert witnesses who are all women,
there to testify about women`s rights and reproductive health. The
congresswoman tweeted out this photo and said, quote: When you hold a
hearing on the threats to women`s reproductive rights, this is what the
panel should look like.
So that was today. See if you can spot the difference because who among us
here is old enough to remember this panel? From the last big House
oversight hearing on contraception access and health care from back in 2012
when Republicans controlled the House. This was their panel on the same
At the time, Congresswoman Caroline Maloney famously said about that
hearing, quote: What I want to know is where are the women? But look, it
only took a few years and somebody found the women, anybody looking to hold
hearings on women`s health care in the future, heads up. Somebody will
hold you to account in this same way, depending on how you book it.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Virginia Senate bill 1458 would allow law enforcement to
temporarily prohibit somebody from purchasing a gun if they posed a
substantial risk of injury to themselves or others, one of these red flag
bills. That bill was blocked from ever getting a vote.
Senate bill 1467, designed to protect victims of domestic violence. It
would force people with permanent restraining orders to surrender their
firearms. That bill did not get a floor vote either.
There was also a bill this year in Virginia that would let localities
prohibit firearms at community meetings. That was also blocked from
getting a vote.
How about a bill that would let local authorities prohibit guns at events
in big public areas? Areas where there`s an increased risk of a mass
shooting? That was blocked from coming up for a vote too.
Another bill would have required a gun owner to report if his or her
firearm was stolen. Lost or stolen firearm, you have to report. Not a
crazy idea, right? That one was blocked too.
Same with the bill designed to combat gun trafficking, as well as a bill
focused on universal background checks, all these gun reform measures were
proposed just in Virginia, just this year. Not a single one of those bills
was ever allowed up for a vote. They were all knocked down in committee in
the Republican-controlled Virginia state senate.
And this happens with all of these bills, and it happens every year now.
One of the bills they killed this year, the way they killed all the others,
was this bill, Senate bill 1748, which would do something very specific.
It would stop the sale of large-capacity magazines, extended capacity
magazines like the ones used by the gunman in Friday`s shooting in Virginia
Beach in which one gunman armed with a semi-automatic handgun and multiple
extended magazines for ammunition was able to murder 12 people before dying
himself in a shootout with police.
That bill would have prohibited the sale of magazines designed to hold more
than 12 rounds of ammunition. He would have had to reload more frequently,
use more magazines. He would not have been able to shoot off quite as many
rounds before having to break, stop, and put in another.
That bill was struck down in committee on a party line vote. All eight
Republicans in that committee voted against it.
None of this opposition to gun laws is new, especially in Virginia.
Democrats always bring this legislation up. It`s mostly Republicans who
always vote it down.
But in the wake of Friday`s mass shooting, in the wake of what happened in
Virginia Beach on Friday, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam said today that
he`s going to convene a special session of the legislature, a special
session of the Virginia legislature to take up a package of gun control
bills. He indicated that he is looking to hold the special session soon,
and he means soon, like this month.
And while it is true that gun reform legislation has not fared well in the
state of Virginia, after what happened in Virginia Beach on Friday they
will be taking up these bills in a different climate. At least this time
they know the whole nation will be watching as they take up these gun
reform measures that they have been so happy to knock down every single
time before now.
Joining us is Democratic Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin. He proposed
the bill to ban large capacity magazines one similar to those used in last
week`s shooting in Virginia Beach. He`s also co-chair of the Gun Violence
Senator Ebbin, thanks very much for coming on the show this evening. It`s
a pleasure to have you here.
STATE SEN. ADAM EBBIN (D-VA): Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: So, it is with hindsight that we look at that extended magazine
bill that you proposed and we picked that out. We highlight that now among
all of the other gun bills, all of the other gun reform efforts that have
died in the Virginia state legislature. That one seems like it glows in
the dark because of what happened in Virginia.
I wonder if you feel like the politics around that may have changed in the
state now given what you`ve just been through.
EBBIN: Well, we`re hoping that the ice will crack and there will be some
more serious consideration. In the past, we`ve seen all these bills
dismissed out of hand. And by having a special session I think the
governor`s forcing a focus on these proposals and that the people of
Virginia are demanding action. So, we`re hoping that their legislators
MADDOW: I feel like because of the way Democrats have proposed these
things in the past including your bill on extended magazines, they`re very
narrow-cast provisions, right? And a lot of the reforms that are being
talked about, potential reforms, potential remedies, things that might have
made a difference in Virginia Beach, things that have that been talked
about over the last few days, are narrow-cast reforms.
The question of whether or not it might have made a difference to police in
the response time to the shooting at Virginia Beach had the alleged shooter
not had a silencer. Should silencers be legal to sell? Should the kinds
of extended magazines that he used so that he didn`t have to reload as
frequently as he otherwise would, should those be for sale in Virginia?
I wonder if you feel like the smaller scale the ambition the more likely
you may be able to at least enter into dialogue with your Republican
EBBIN: Oh, sure. There can be more like – we`d be more likely to have a
good dialogue that way. But that doesn`t mean we shouldn`t have a
comprehensive approach. It`s not enough to pass one little measure. We
need things also like universal background checks, extreme risk protection
orders, as you detailed earlier, and child access prevention.
We can`t count on one measure to make the entire state safer, but we`ve got
to try and enact a package.
MADDOW: How do special sessions work in Virginia? Obviously, the
governor`s saying he`s going to convene the legislature for this special
session. He can call the legislature back into session. But with a
Republican-controlled legislature, they can decide what to do thereafter.
Couldn`t they just shut down the session right away if they don`t want to
talk or think about these things?
EBBIN: They could try. But that`s – I think that the public wouldn`t
have it. The governor will call the session for a date certain, probably
in the second half of this month. We`ll go down there. There will be
rules adopted by the rules committee about what`s taken up. And I would
expect that we meet not just once but more than once.
MADDOW: Let me ask about Virginia and the issue of the NRA. The NRA
obviously is headquartered in Virginia. The NRA historically has been a
juggernaut in loosening gun regulations and in certainly blocking any
reforms aimed at gun safety or preventing gun violence.
The NRA is also in a pickle right now in a lot of different ways. They are
caught up in the Russia investigation. They are caught up in multiple
financial investigations. They`re caught up in some epic infighting.
They`re facing inquiries in New York state, where actually their charter
that potentially pose an existential threat to the organization essentially
being delisted as a nonprofit organization, which may be fatal to them as
I`m wondering if the NRA as a factor has been a sort of different type of
force, different magnitude of force on these issues in Virginia than it
might be right now.
EBBIN: No, it`s – it`s been a significant factor where the NRA gets its
way on your – on every bill, and I guess your question is, is it going to
be diminished? And I think they`ll still be there and people will still be
taking their point of view into account, but the question is whether or not
their constituents` point of view is the one that is going to be the one
that matters to legislators.
MADDOW: Democratic Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin, thanks for your time
this evening, Senator. I appreciate you being here.
EBBIN: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Still more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The government of the great state of Michigan changed hands six
months ago, January 1st. Republicans had been in full control of state
government until this year. But thanks to the November 2018 elections,
Democrats in January were sworn in to take over the top elected jobs in
that state, including governor and attorney general.
And when Governor Gretchen Whitmer was sworn in January 1st, it`s
interesting, she made it her first act as governor to issue an order that
required state employees to immediately report any threat to public health
or safety. And that`s because this is Michigan and Michigan is home to
Flint, Michigan, and Flint, Michigan is home of one of the worst manmade
environmental disasters in this country`s history, and the people who man-
made it were the government in Michigan. The government which caused the
lead poisoning of that city and its kids with a series of terrible policy
errors that they should have known better to commit.
So, the new Democratic governor takes over January of this year, and her
first act is a direct response to what happened under the last governor,
under Republican Governor Rick Snyder, whose legislation really did lead
poison the whole town of Flint. Fifteen state and local officials have
faced criminal charges for the poisoning of Flint thus far. A few are even
facing charges of manslaughter.
Governor Snyder himself has not been charged in connection with the Flint
water crisis created by his government. He may never be charged. But this
week, we learned that the new administration of Michigan has taken an
intriguing investigatory step. “The Associated Press” was first to report
that state prosecutors obtained search warrants that allow them to seize
the state-owned mobile devices of former Governor Rick Snyder. You can see
his name there among a list of 65 other people who served with him.
Inside the attorney general`s office, the solicitor general who is handling
this matter now says the Flint water criminal prosecution team is
investigating the Flint water crisis as a whole. What that means about
existing cases over the Flint water crisis or potential new cases,
potential new charges, we don`t know yet, but this new administration
sounds determined to go back to the very basics, starting with former
Governor Snyder`s cell phone, which is being searched in connection with
this crisis for the first time.
We`ll keep you posted.
MADDOW: You might have noticed the great Chris Hayes was coming at you
from Chicago tonight, not his usual studio locale, but that`s because Chris
is flying west, and, boy, are his arms tired.
Chris and his team are on their way to Fort Wayne, Indiana, because
tomorrow night is when Chris Hayes is moderating that town hall with
Senator Elizabeth Warren, and a big live audience. You must watch the
Elizabeth Warren town hall with Chris Hayes tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
If you are used to tuning in at 9:00 to watch me, tomorrow night, you have
to tune in at 8:00 to instead start with Chris.
All right. That does it for us. See you again then.
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
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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