Paul Manafort to be moved to Rikers Island. TRANSCRIPT: 6/4/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests:
Eric Swalwell, Adam Ebbin
Transcript:

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. 

 

HAYES:  Yes.

 

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

Trump. 

 

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

it. 

 

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 – 

 

HAYES:  Yes.

 

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. 

 

MADDOW:  Yes.

 

HAYES:  Like someone will crop up and it will be like oh, right, that

person`s running. 

 

MADDOW:  Well, I`m totally psyched for, it man.  I cannot wait. 

Congratulations.  Thanks.

 

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. 

 

(CHEERS)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on

the table. 

 

(CHANTING)

 

(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

countries. 

 

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

once again. 

 

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

back then. 

 

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

happened tonight. 

 

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

Ireland. 

 

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

London. 

 

(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

divide us. 

 

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

charges. 

 

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

immunity. 

 

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

nights. 

 

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

others out. 

 

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

Virginia. 

 

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

with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(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

impeachment-worthy? 

 

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

investigations. 

 

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

offender. 

 

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

impeached. 

 

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

general. 

 

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

contempt there. 

 

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

chairmen? 

 

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

Daniels. 

 

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 – 

 

SWALWELL:  Yes.

 

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

for president. 

 

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 – 

 

SWALWELL: Yes.

 

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. 

 

SWALWELL:  Absolutely. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  See if you can spot the difference.  Today, there was a hearing in

the Democratic-controlled House about reproductive health care,

reproductive rights. 

 

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

subject. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

Prevention Caucus. 

 

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

will listen. 

 

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

colleagues. 

 

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

an organization. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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.

 

                                                                                                               

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