House passes resolution condemning Trump tweets. TRANSCRIPT: 7/16/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think there are some campaigns
that clearly have done a really good job of it.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes.
KOFINIS: I would say Warren has been at the top of that list. I think
Harris actually has done that. The others are struggling, especially the
second and third tier candidates. If that doesn`t change, how do they stay
in for long?
HAYES: All right. Tiffany Cross and Chris Kofinis, thank you so much for
That is ALL IN for this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Much appreciated my
HAYES: You bet.
We`re going to have breaking – sorry – as you can tell, I`m scrambled
here on set just as I`m starting the show, in part because we`ve just
thrown out the first half of the show because of the breaking news that has
just broken in the past few minutes. Sorry for my stumble at the part
there, but NBC News has confirmed in the last few minutes that retired
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has died at the age of 99. He died
at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida of complications
following a stroke that he suffered yesterday.
Justice Stevens died peacefully. His daughters were at his side when he
passed. He`s survived by two of his children, nine grandchildren. He
served on the court for nearly 35 years, third longest-serving justice in
Supreme Court history.
He was a Chicago native. He was born to one of the wealthiest families in
Chicago. He enlisted in the Navy. He was a decorated code breaker during
World War II in the Navy. He won the Bronze Star.
He was appointed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by Richard Nixon and
then five years after that was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gerald
Ford. By the time he retired from the Supreme Court in 2010, he was
considered to be the most liberal member of the court, the leader of the
But he had been appointed by – first to the appeals court by Nixon, then
to the Supreme Court by Ford. So, both of those appointees, obviously,
He always maintained that he considered himself to be a conservative. He
says that he did not become more liberal but, rather, the court and
American electoral politics evolved away from what it once was.
In terms of his tenure on the court, Justice Stevens famously dissented
when the Supreme Court struck down laws banning flag burning. That was one
of the only very famous decisions in which he was involved, in which he did
not side with the liberal wing of the court. He did lead the unanimous
court ruling in the Clinton era that determined that a sitting president
can face civil lawsuits while in office.
Piecing together his record, though, almost doesn`t give you the sum of its
parts when it comes to John Paul Stevens. I mean, in terms of his rulings,
he was – he wrote the majority opinion in Atkins v. Virginia, in which the
court banned capital punishment for the mentally impaired. He later stated
after he retired from the court that his one vote that he regretted was the
opinion that he wrote in 1976 to uphold the death penalty overall.
He authored approximately 400 majority opinions. He authored the majority
opinion in one of the key Guantanamo cases that determined that Guantanamo
detainees needed to be able to face court-martial rather than being
detained indefinitely. He also somewhat famously wrote the dissenting
opinion in Bush V. Gore, on the losing side of Bush v. Gore.
But in terms of his overall legacy, it`s not just that he was on the court
for so long. It`s not just that he was appointed as a moderate
conservative and went on to lead the liberal wing of the court. It`s that
he was respected so widely by everybody who had anything to do with him.
And his legacy was considered to be one of such integrity and
thoughtfulness and skill on the bench that it`s hard to imagine there ever
being another justice like him. President Gerald Ford, who nominated
Justice Stevens to the bench, famously wrote in 2005 that he would let
history`s judgment of his entire presidency rest entirely on his decision
to nominate John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court. When Justice Stevens
retired at the age of 90 in 2010, President Obama presented him with the
Medal of Freedom, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Chief Justice John Roberts, the current chief justice of the Supreme Court,
released a statement tonight on the occasion of Justice Stevens` death,
saying, quote: On behalf of the court and retired justices, I am saddened
to report that our colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, has passed away.
A son of a Midwest heartland, and a veteran of World War II, Justice
Stevens devoted his long life to public service, including 35 years on the
Supreme Court. He brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness,
humility, wisdom and independence. His unrelenting commitment to justice
has left us a better nation.
We extend our deepest condolences to his children, Elizabeth and Susan, and
to his extended family.
Again, the breaking news tonight, Justice John Paul Stevens has died at the
age of 99.
Joining us now is Linda Greenhouse. She`s a lecturer at Yale Law School.
She`s covered the Supreme Court for “The New York Times” for all the best
stuff from 1978 until 2008.
Ms. Greenhouse, thanks very much for joining us tonight. I really
appreciate you being here on short notice.
LINDA GREENHOUSE, YALE LAW SCHOOL (via telephone): Oh, thanks for having
MADDOW: Obviously, Justice Stevens was old. He was 99 years old. He was
known to have suffered a stroke and had some other health problems, so it`s
not biologically a shock that we are hearing this news. But it does feel
shocking to know that he`s gone just because of how large he looms in legal
What`s your top-line thought tonight about his passing?
GREENHOUSE: Well, you know, his career on the court is a reminder of the
way things used to be. That somebody like him could be appointed by a
Republican president without any particular ideological overhang.
President Ford assigned his attorney general, Edward Levi, to just find me
the best person, and, you know, I`ll just mention one other thing that
reminds us how things have changed.
So, John Paul Stevens was the first justice to go on the court after the
court decided the abortion case, Roe against Wade. So, Roe against Wade
was decided in January of 1973. John Paul Stevens was nominated by
President Ford in 1975, almost three years later. He did not get a single
question at his confirmation hearing about abortion.
GREENHOUSE: That just tells us something. And what I think it tells us is
that it was only later that abortion became the political lightning rod
that we have all grown up thinking of it as, and it was just – just
another issue among many back in 1975.
MADDOW: It`s interesting to me the sort of heterogeneous nature of that
issue of publicity in the courts and politics in the courts when it comes
to Stevens` career. I mean, that anecdote you just mentioned about
abortion is incredible. Also, I believe he was the last justice to be
confirmed to the court without having his nomination or his confirmation
That`s another matter that has changed, I think the politics and the way
the Americans view the court. At the same time, though, after he stepped
down at the age of 90, he was quite a public figure, quite a public
intellectual and made lots of statements on lots of issues before the court
and about the Constitution and about the country president, for example, as
recently as a few weeks ago this year. He did – he didn`t shy away from
the idea of the court as a public institution and one that had something to
say about political matters.
GREENHOUSE: Well, that`s right. I mean, he wrote three books and the most
recent was a memoir that came out this spring. It`s called “The Making of
a Justice: My First 94 Years.” Actually, I`m just reading it right now as
it turns out, an account of an amazing long life.
And he wrote a book about the parts of the Constitution that he thought
should be amended. He wrote a short member our about the chief justices
that he served with. He wrote for the New York review of books.
I always had the feeling – I never talked to him about it – that he was a
tiny bit sorry that he retired. He retired quite abruptly in 2010 after –
he decided to retire after reading from the bench his dissenting opinion in
the Citizens United case, about which he felt very strongly, and he found
himself stumbling over words and that was unlike him.
It turned out he had had a small stroke and he decided it was time to
retire, but he obviously lived another nearly decade in quite robust health
intellectually, if not physically.
So I think some of what he did in those years was to kind of fill the time
and feel that he was – he felt he still had something to contribute and
something to tell us, and he certainly did.
MADDOW: Linda, I also wanted to ask you about this idea that the court
sort of shifted around him, which is the way that he described it. He
never described himself as having changed in his position on the
ideological number line or having become more liberal, even though he was
nominated by a Republican – by a Republican president and ultimately was
seen as a leader of the liberal wing.
What was he like in terms of comity among the justices, in terms of, you
know, as – as the makeup of the court changed during his decades on the
bench. What was he like in terms of putting together majorities, putting
together consensus, what was he like in those conferences with the other
GREENHOUSE: Well, I think in the early years, the sort of knock on him was
that he was a go it alone kind of justice. He just said what he thought
was the right thing to say. He had a number of famously solitary opinions
and that sort of thing, but once he became the senior associate justice,
and since he happened to be on the liberal side of the bench by then, he
was really in charge of kind of marshalling the liberals. He became quite
strategic, I think.
As you mentioned in your kind of open that you gave at the top of the hour,
that he wrote one and actually he wrote a couple of the major Guantanamo
decisions in which he was able to write in a way that got Justice Kennedy`s
vote, for instance, and form a majority for the right of the Guantanamo
detainees to get before a federal judge.
And he – you know, he became more strategic. I`ll just say one more thing
about that. I mean, it`s true that the court changed around him, but he
wouldn`t have denied – he didn`t deny that his own views had changed, for
instance. Late in his career, he came out against the death penalty, for
And he gave a took, oh, maybe about ten years before he retired in which he
said, you know, part of the job of being on the court is learning on the
job and to keep learning, and I always read that as a kind of a, you know,
coded way of saying, yes, sure, I`ve changed my mind about things. And he
was – he was open to change and, you know, I think he would listen through
to every argument, but he didn`t see things toward the end in the same way
he necessarily had seen them in the beginning.
MADDOW: Linda Greenhouse, lecturer now at Yale Law School, former Supreme
Court reporter for “The New York Times.” Linda, you were the first person I
wanted to talk to tonight when I heard this news. Thanks for making time
for us. I really appreciate it.
GREENHOUSE: Oh, of course. Good night.
MADDOW: Good night. Thank you.
Joining us now is Cliff Sloan. He was a clerk for Justice Stevens at the
Supreme Court. He`s now a visiting scholar at Georgetown Law School, just
a next step of what has been a long career of public service, including in
high-level positions at the State Department.
Mr. Sloan, thanks very much for joining us tonight. I appreciate you
making time on short notice.
CLIFF SLOAN, FORMER CLERK FOR JUSTICE STEVENS: Well, thank you. I
appreciate being here.
MADDOW: So I know that this is just breaking news. We`re all learning
this over the last few minutes, but given your experience working closely
with Justice Stevens, your experience clerking for him, I just wanted to
ask what you can add to our understanding of him as a jurist and as – and
as a man, as your employer for the time that you spent in his chambers.
SLOAN: Well, let me start as a jurist. And he is truly one of the greats,
unquestionably one of the greatest Supreme Court justices we ever had. He
was the rule of law justice.
When he was first put on the federal bench, somebody described him as a
judge`s judge and that was the perfect description because he was the rule
of law justice, whether it was Guantanamo, as Linda Greenhouse was just
saying, and upholding the legal rights there, whether it was in his
memorable and historic dissent in Bush v. Gore or in his decision in the
Paula Jones versus Bill Clinton case, where he said, and it was
controversial at the time for the court, that the litigation could proceed
because the president is not above the law.
He always stood for the – for the rule of law and he was not a predictable
player. With him, one saw the Supreme Court at its best, which is the
Supreme Court rising above predictable political partisanship, predictable
political sides and standing for the majesty of the law. And one could go
on and on in different fields of law, but his influence on the law
tremendously consequential – gay rights, abortion, free speech on the
Internet, just on and on and on. He had a – such a profound impact in his
MADDOW: I know that – sorry, go ahead, sir.
SLOAN: I`m sorry. No, I was just going to say, as great as he was as a
justice, he was truly a very special man. He was kind and gentle.
And let me just give you one example. And, you know, for his powerful
legal insight and his intellect, he was the most unassuming guy and he
would love to tell the story of when he first moved to Washington when he
came on the Supreme Court. He was doing the things that you do when you
move to a new city. He was opening a bank account and that kind of thing.
He`s filling out the bank application and there is a space for occupation,
and he puts down justice and the bank official kind of shrugs and says, OK,
last week I had a guy who said peace. And he just – he loved that story.
And that tells you a lot about him as a person.
MADDOW: Let me just ask you, Cliff – I know that Justice Stevens, like a
lot of Supreme Court justices, after they retired from the bench or even
while they`re still on the bench for older justices, sort of preside over a
community of clerks. Clerks who had served with them over the years, they
stay in touch. I know that Justice Stevens went out of his way to host his
clerks and see people frequently, right up through this year.
I wonder if in that community if he ever engaged with his former clerks and
with his colleagues about his decision to maintain this public life that he
did after his retirement. As Linda was saying, writing multiple books,
writing a book about suggested amendments to the Constitution, write an op-
ed in “The New York Times” just last year in which he said people looking
for gun reform in this country should seek a repeal of the Second
Amendment. He made very pointed comments about President Trump and his
necessity in following the law in terms of complying with subpoenas.
He really stayed at the forefront of a lot of very controversial public
issues even after his retirement. I wonder if you ever talked to him about
those matters or if you know anything about whether he wrestled with that
SLOAN: Well, he felt very, very strongly about these legal issues and
these public issues, and any time you talked to him, he was just brimming
with ideas and insights.
And he actually had a get-together of all of his former clerks just this
past May to celebrate his 99th birthday, which was in April, and the
publication of his wonderful memoir about his entire life, including in
detail his time on the court.
And, you know, Rachel, to your point, it was very interesting because at
that gathering, there was a question and answer session, and one of the
clerk said, you know, Justice, you care so much about the rule of law and
the rule of law is under such attack and faces so many challenges these
days and what can we do? He looked out at all of us and he said, all you
can do is do your best every day and fight as hard as you can.
And I want to say that while we are all touched by sadness that we have
lost this great and wonderful man, we also want to celebrate his life, and
the best way of honoring him is to do exactly what he said, which is to
fight every day as hard as we can for the rule of law. And he understood
deep to his bones that that has never been more important than it is today.
And so, I would like to suggest that the occasion of his death is an
occasion for celebrating this man`s wonderful life and his values and it is
an occasion for all of us to redouble and retriple our efforts to fight for
the rule of law because he felt so strongly that there is nothing more
important to our American system. And, Rachel, in answer to your question,
every day in every conversation he thought about that very, very much and
cared about it very deeply.
MADDOW: Cliff Sloan, who was a clerk to Justice Stevens at the Supreme
Court, now a visiting scholar at Georgetown Law School – Cliff, thanks for
making time to join us tonight, getting to the studio as we got word about
Justice Stevens` passing tonight. I really appreciate you being here.
SLOAN: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Before we got word of the passing of former Justice
John Paul Stevens, again, that breaking news, he has passed away at the age
of 99. He leaves behind him a community of former clerks and colleagues
sort of unparalleled in the judiciary in terms of the respect that people
had for him, I think across the ideological spectrum, and the integrity
with which he was seen to have lived his life. Just a very sad day to lose
Justice Stevens, but also, as Cliff Sloan was saying there, an opportunity
to celebrate his 99 years on the earth.
As we were learning the news of Justice Stevens` passing today, of course,
it had already been a very hectic day of news. Just tonight, a Democratic
congressman named Al Green brought articles of impeachment to the floor of
the House against President Donald Trump. Congressman Green did this
tonight against the wishes of the Democratic leadership in the House, but
he did it in concert with the wishes of dozens of Democratic members of
Congress who do want impeachment proceedings to start against President
Trump. That`s also true of lots of the voters who make up the base of the
So there is ongoing drama about this decision by Congressman Green tonight,
not only because impeachment articles are inherently dramatic, but also
because of the conflict between these back bench members like Congressman
Green who are pushing for this and the leadership of the House that really
does not want it, at least not in this way and at this time. Tonight,
there was further drama in the House as well as all Democrats and a handful
of Republicans voted to condemn the president`s recent racist attacks on a
handful of female minority members of Congress who he said should go back
to where they came from, as if they`re not Americans, as if they`re not
serving members of the U.S. Congress.
For several hours today during the debate over that measure, Congress was
brought to a halt by what amounted to a food fight over whether or not
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was allowed to call the president`s racist
tweets racist tweets. Honestly, there was like an entire Tony Awards worth
of drama just in the House of Representatives, just this afternoon and
tonight and some of it is ongoing. We`re going to have more ahead on that
for you tonight.
There was also drama today in court. The ACLU today filed an emergency
legal action to try to block the Trump administration from essentially
ending asylum law as we know it in this country. There is a longstanding
right in this country for you to apply for asylum here if for some reason
you are not safe or you fear persecution in your home country.
The Trump administration is trying to undo that. They only announced
yesterday that they were going to try to essentially upend asylum laws.
They tried to put it into effect today after announcing it yesterday. The
ACLU acted today in court to try to block them from making that change.
We`re keeping an eye on that.
Also today in federal court in New York, the judge who has initially
blocked the Trump administration from messing with the census, to try to
use the census to engineer an undercount of Latinos in immigrant
communities, that New York federal judge today permanently enjoined the
Trump administration from even trying to use the census in that way. After
many lower court rulings and a Supreme Court ruling, the Trump
administration and ultimately the president himself had to admit defeat in
the courts on this issue, but just in case there was any doubt, federal
court district judge in New York who ruled against the administration on
this today issued a permanent injunction barring them from even trying it,
and a Maryland judge who issued a similar ruling is being asked by the
plaintiffs in that case to do the same. So, it`s a sort of belt and
suspenders thing right now in terms of whether or not the Trump
administration is going to try to change the census.
Tomorrow, the head of the agency that runs the census, Commerce Secretary
Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr are going to face a vote in
Congress holding them in contempt on the census issue, holding them in
contempt for refusing to hand over documents to Congress about the whole
census fiasco. Attorney General Barr in the past has freaked out a little
bit when he has faced the prospect of being held in contempt, even as he
has frequently ignored binding requests from Congress.
When the House votes inevitability tomorrow to hold him and Wilbur Ross in
contempt, I think you should expect some fireworks from William Barr and
the Justice Department as that census disaster continues to pin ball its
way through the administration.
I should also tell you that in terms of court drama tonight, there was also
a remarkable hearing and a remarkable court ruling today in federal court
in Washington, in which one of the president`s longtime advisers, a man
named Roger Stone was on trial for lying to investigators about his contact
with WikiLeaks and Russian intelligence cutouts during the campaign.
Roger Stone today was ordered by a federal judge to not just stop talking
publicly about this case, the judge already ordered him to do that. Now,
she`s gone further and banned him from social media, as of today. She
banned him from using Twitter or Instagram or Facebook for any purpose.
He has continually pushed the envelope of the gag order that the judge had
already instituted in that case. He has been pushing that. She further
restricted him today and said he couldn`t use social media at all if he
wasn`t going to be able to use it properly and avoiding the gag order in
Perhaps inevitably and also amazingly, within two hours of the judge`s
order saying he could no longer use Twitter or Instagram or Facebook,
within two hours of that order, Roger Stone`s wife was on Instagram posting
stuff about herself and Roger and today`s hearing.
So it`s clear at least that the spirit of what the judge was trying to do
here is not being followed by Roger Stone and his family and presumably his
lawyers. It actually turns out legally to be sort of a fascinating turn in
this case so we`re going to have more on that coming up this hour as well.
Like I said, it has – it has been a whirlwind news day, particularly in
terms of legal news. But just capped with the very sad breaking news that
we`re just learning this hour that former Supreme Court Justice John Paul
Stevens, who became the leader of the liberal wing of the court in his
later years, having initially been appointed to the bench by Gerald Ford,
considering himself a Republican – excuse me, considering himself a
conservative. John Paul Stevens, a remarkable career on the bench, a
dissent in Citizens United, the dissent in Bush v. Gore, the ruling that
blocked the execution of the mentally ill, key rulings in terms of
prisoners at Guantanamo being allowed due process.
John Paul Stevens has died tonight at the age of 99.
We`ve got much more to get to this hour. Stay with us.
MADDOW: This is the title “Resolution condemning President Trump`s racist
comments directed at members of Congress.”
Whereas the Founders conceived America as a haven of refuge for people
fleeing from religious and political persecution and Thomas Jefferson,
Alexander Hamilton and James Madison all emphasized that the nation gained
as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their
families, whereas the declaration of independence defined America as a
covenant based on equality, the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness and government by the consent of the people.
Whereas Benjamin Franklin said at the constitutional conventional, when
foreigners after looking about for some other country in which they can
obtain more happiness gave a preference to ours. It is a proof of
attachment which ought to excite our confidence and affection.
Whereas President Franklin D. Roosevelt said remember, remember always that
you and I are descended from immigrants and revolutionists. Whereas
immigration of people from all over the earth has defined every stage of
American history and propelled our social, economic, political, scientific
and technological interest as a people and all Americans, except for the
descendants of native people and enslaved African-Americans are immigrants
or descendants of immigrants.
Whereas the commitment to immigration and asylum has been not a partisan
cause but a powerful national value that has infused the work of many
presidents. Whereas American patriotism is defined not by race or
ethnicity but by devotion to the constitutional deals of equality, liberty,
inclusion and democracy and by service to our communities and struggle for
the common good.
Whereas President John F. Kennedy whose family came to the U.S. from
Ireland stated in his 1958 book “A Nation of Immigrants” that the
contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national
life, we see in religion, in politics, in business, in the arts, and
education, even athletics and our entertainment. There is no part of our
nation that has not been touched by our immigrant background. Everywhere,
immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric – everywhere,
immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.
Whereas President Ronald Reagan and his last speech as president conveyed
an observation about a country which I love, whereas President Reagan
observed the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents
our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents and our
ancestors. And it is a Statue of Liberty and its values that give us our
great and special place in the world.
Whereas other countries may seek to compete with us, but in one vital area
as a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world,
no country on earth comes close. Whereas the great life force of each
generation of new Americans that guarantees that America`s triumph shall
continue unsurpassed through the 21st century and beyond and is part of the
magical intoxicating power of America.
Whereas this is one of the most important sources of America`s greatness.
We lead the world because unique among nations we draw our people, our
strength from every country and every corner of the world, and by doing so,
we continuously renew and enrich our nation.
Whereas thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity,
we`re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy in new ideas and
always on the cutting edge, leading the world to the next frontier.
Whereas this openness is vital to our future as a nation, and if we ever
close the door to future Americans, our leadership in the world would soon
And whereas President Donald Trump`s racist comments have legitimatized
fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color, now, therefore, be it
resolved that the House of Representatives believes immigrants and their
descendants have made America stronger and that those who take the oath of
citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in
the U.S. for many generations.
The House of Representatives is committed to keeping America open those
lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression and those
who are willing to work hard to live the American dream, no matter their
race, ethnicity, faith or country of origin. And the House of
Representatives strongly condemns President Donald Trump`s racist comments
that have legitimatized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and
people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants and
those who may look to the president like immigrants should go back to other
countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as invaders and by
saying that members of Congress who are immigrants or those of our
colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants do not belong in
Congress or in the United States of America.
That resolution this evening condemning the president`s racist tweets was
passed in the House of Representatives. It targeted – the vote was 240-
187. The resolution received the votes of just four Republican members of
Congress, as well as recently exiled Republican-turned-independent Justin
The vote was gaveled in just before 7:00 this evening following some
impassioned speeches from Democrats on the House floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Telling four members of this body to go home
because of where you believe they are from is racist. There is racism
coming out of the White House.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I
feel it. And at the highest level of government, there is no room for
REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): They are just as American as any one of us, and
it`s shameful that the leader of our country would seek to disparage them
for political gain.
REP. PRAMILA JAPAYAL (D-WA): It`s not the first time I`ve heard “go back
to your own country,” but it is the first time I have heard it coming from
the White House.
REP. TOM MALINOWSKI (D-NJ): After the president`s tweets, the neo Nazi
“Daily Stormer” Website gloated that this is the kind of white nationalism
we voted for. Now, we have to decide, is this the kind of politics that we
want in our country?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The lead author of tonight`s resolution condemning the president
for his racist remarks is a Democrat who was not born in this country,
although he is not one of the Democrats who was targeted by the White House
for it. He`s the man who you saw there speaking at the end there, New
Jersey Congressman Tom Malinowski. He joins us next.
MADDOW: House of Representatives tonight voted to pass a resolution
condemning President Trump, specifically condemning President Trump`s
racist comments directed at members of Congress.
Joining us now is the author of this resolution that has passed the House
tonight, New Jersey Congressman Tom Malinowski.
Sir, thanks for being here tonight. I appreciate you making time.
MALINOWSKI: Thank you, Rachel, and thank you for reading the resolution.
That`s the first dramatic reading I`ve heard.
MADDOW: Well, unfortunately, I`m a bad actor, and so it wasn`t as dramatic
as it should have been.
MALINOWSKI: It was good.
MADDOW: Well, it`s an eloquent piece of work. And I know you`re the lead
author of this resolution.
I have to ask about your thought process that went into asking the house to
weigh in on something like this formally and why you structured this the
way you did.
MALINOWSKI: I saw the tweets with everybody else this weekend, and as you
mentioned, unlike three of the four congresswomen that Trump attacked, I
was actually born in a foreign country. I`m an immigrant. I – I took
that oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States for
the first time when I was 10 years old, getting sworn in to be a citizen of
the United States five years after my mom brought me here from Poland.
And so I thought, you know, I don`t – I don`t necessarily share the same
politics as AOC or Congresswoman Tlaib or Omar, but if you`re going to go
after my fellow members of Congress because of where they are from or
appear to be from or how they look, you`re going to have to go through me.
And so, I offered this resolution and I`m glad the House passed it today.
We said that we are better than this. The president doesn`t speak for the
country. We do.
MADDOW: I know there was a lot of consternation in the House during the
debate over this resolution about the use of the word racist. It`s in the
title of the resolution condemning President Trump`s racist comments
directly at members of Congress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to deal with a real tempest today when she
used that word to describe the president`s statement as well. There was a
big controversy over whether or not she was allowed to describe the
president`s remarks that way.
Did you struggle at all with whether or not to include that specific word,
expecting it would be as much of a lightning rod as it was?
MALINOWSKI: Well, it`s hard to avoid. Obviously they were racist. These
words that – that people who are immigrants or who look like immigrants
should go back to other countries, that`s – that`s classic racism that`s
been thrown at generation after generation of new arrivals to America,
whether they`re Irish or Polish or Italian or Indian or Muslim or Jewish.
So I didn`t struggle with it intellectually. It turns out there is an
arcane House rule that says you can`t accuse the president of being racist
in a speech on the floor. A little hard to defend a resolution condemning
his racist remarks if you can`t refer to them.
MALINOWSKI: So we had a – this was a distraction because some of the
Republicans I think wanted us to be talking about this and not the main
issue, which is that the most powerful person in this country is saying
things that we teach our children to be wrong.
MADDOW: You did get a handful of Republican votes. You got four
Republican members joining all the Democrats in this vote today, plus
Justin Amash who recently left the Republican Party. Did you expect more
Obviously, it was interesting to see the president sort of whipping
Republicans to not side with Democrats on this, to not vote in favor of
this resolution. That signaled to me at least that the president cared
about this outcome. I wonder what your expectations were.
MALINOWSKI: Of course he cares. He wants us to think he doesn`t, but of
course he does.
Of course, I hoped for Republican votes. And you noticed I`m sure when you
read the resolution, half of it was from Ronald Reagan. And what I really
wanted, what we wanted was for every member of Congress, especially my
Republican colleagues, to choose between Reagan`s open, hopeful, confident
vision of America and President Trump`s fearful vision.
And, you know, I`ll take – I`ll take the four plus Justin Amash who chose
Reagan. We will build on that and the rest will have to answer to their
MADDOW: New Jersey Congressman Tom Malinowski, in Congress now as the
latest iteration of his long career in public service – sir, thanks for
being here tonight. I appreciate you making time.
MALINOWSKI: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: All right. Much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: In February of this year, the president`s longtime friend and
adviser Roger Stone had what he thought was a bright idea. Mr. Stone is
awaiting trial on charges that include lying to Congress about his
interactions with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign, when they were
releasing information stolen by the Russian government. And while he`s
awaiting trial, while he`s being allowed by the court to await his trial at
home and free instead of in jail, which was the other option and which is
within the court`s power to order, Roger Stone decided that it would be a
brilliant idea to post online a picture of the federal judge hearing his
case with a crosshairs next to her head.
That earned him a strict gag order from the judge, Judge Amy Berman
Jackson, banning Mr. Stone from making any public statements about his case
or about the broader Russia investigation from which his case has sprung.
Then last month, Roger Stone had another bright idea. This time he would
go on Instagram and call for former CIA Director John Brennan to be, quote,
hung for treason, which, again, would seem to fly in the face of that gag
order, and that was one of many recent Roger Stone posts and reposts
related to his case on the Russia investigation more broadly.
Well, eventually when there`s a federal judge overseeing your case and
you`ve been ordered not to do stuff like that, you do some day have to
answer for it. Today at a federal court hearing in Washington, it was
abundantly clear that Judge Amy Berman Jackson was done with Roger Stone`s
shenanigans. Judge Jackson started by reading back to him Stone`s order
words, begging in her courtroom for a second chance.
Judge Jackson said today, quote: My first question for you was never
anything unclear about my order, her gag order. Stone`s lawyer responds
no. Do you agree that Roger Stone is 100 percent responsible for his
Instagram post? Yes.
Judge Jackson: All right, I want to go through a number of communications
one by one. Did he after I issued my order send a text message to
“BuzzFeed News” saying Michael Cohen`s statement regarding the Russia
investigation is not true? Stone`s attorney: He did.
Judge Jackson: So what about the Instagram post from March 29th about Adam
Schiff? Stone`s attorney: Yes. Judge Jackson, how about this one from
June 2nd? Stone`s lawyer answers before she even asked the question: Yes,
this was Mr. Stone`s.
Stone`s attorney, quote: I understand the government thinks that he crossed
the line and apparently you think that he may have crossed the line. Judge
Jackson: don`t tell me what I think.
By the end, judge Jackson was, as they say in law school, on fuego. The
judge, quote: The clarity of my order is undisputed. The fact that the
defense said it was fine and the order was not challenged on First
Amendment grounds or any other ground is a matter of record. It didn`t
take a week before the defendant was emailing “BuzzFeed” calling a witness
in this investigation a liar. To suggest that Roger Stone`s posts are not
statements by Roger Stone about this case ignores the essence and
exponential power of social media and what makes it different from writing
a letter or talking on the phone. Maybe his lawyers don`t understand it,
but he does.
It is obvious to me, the judge continues, that you either can`t
differentiate between the very broad range of speech that you`re entitled
to engage in and the limited restriction I imposed on you. Either you
can`t understand it or you won`t.
Quote: I have twice given you the benefit of the doubt. Your lawyer, Mr.
Stone, had to twist the facts, twist the plain meaning of the order and
twist himself into a pretzel to argue that these posts didn`t cross the
line, and in the end, it was unpersuasive. Judge Jackson, quote, so what
am I supposed to do with you? It seems as if once again I`m wrestling with
behavior that has more to do with middle school than a court of law.
Whether the problem is that you can`t follow simple orders or you won`t, I
need to help you out and the remedy appears to be to modify the conditions
of release and make the restriction even more clear so that it calls for no
interpretation on your part whatsoever.
And then she slaps a social media muzzle on him, ruling that he is banned
from posting anything from here on out on Instagram or on Twitter or on
Facebook. He`s banned from posting anything, from liking anything, from
reposting anything, retweeting anything, no forwarding of anything,
So I have some questions. I mean, one of the other things the judge could
have done here was say you violated my order. This order is part of why
you`re free and not in jail awaiting your trial. Maybe now you should
spend the rest of the time you`re awaiting trial in jail.
Why didn`t that happen today? Why didn`t the government, why didn`t
prosecutors ask for that today? And isn`t Roger Stone just going to keep
posting on other social media venues that aren`t Instagram, Twitter and
I have – I have questions. I have the perfect person to ask, who is here
Stay with us.
MADDOW: A federal judge in D.C. today ruled that while the president`s
longtime adviser Roger Stone is awaiting the start of his criminal trial,
he`s no longer allowed to post things on social media. He`s repeatedly
blown through the ban that judge had put on Stone making any public
statements about his case and about the Russia investigation more broadly.
Now, as of today`s order, Stone is banned from posting anything, anything
at all on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram.
And then two hours later we got this. Roger Stone`s wife posting stuff
about him and today`s hearing on Instagram.
If you`re having a glass of wine with your dinner tonight, have an extra
one for the judge in this case. I`ve had frustrating days at work, but
Joining us now is Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney, former senior
Justice Department and FBI official.
Chuck, thanks for being here tonight. Much appreciate it.
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: My pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: Because of the previous interactions between the judge and Roger
Stone and his legal team on this issue, I expected that if this judge found
that Roger Stone had blown through that gag order yet again that she would
change the terms of his release, that he might say, all right, you`re going
to wait for your trial in jail since you can`t follow the rules of this
Was that a reasonable expectation or was this a more likely outcome, what
we saw today?
ROSENBERG: No, I think that`s a reasonable expectation. She has been
And, Rachel, for more context, if you recall, and I know you do, one of the
things that Stone is charged with is witness tampering. In count seven of
his underlying indictment, he told a witness to prepare to die. That alone
could be enough, should be enough, often would be enough to get someone,
you know, detained pending trial.
MADDOW: Why do you think the judge is erring in the side of sort of
leniency? It was striking that the prosecutors in this case today didn`t
explicitly asked the judge to confine – to confine Stone. They didn`t ask
for any punishment whatsoever. They simply seemed to be directing the
judge to further restrict his speech.
ROSENBERG: It may have been that the government expected that she would
after three strikes revoke his bond and put him in jail.
What I think the judge is doing, however, is a little bit different. She`s
playing a long game. She has been incredibly patient but she`s also wise.
She`s keeping a very clean record, number one, and number two, her primary
concern, frustrated as she may be with Mr. Stone, is that both parties, not
just the defendant but both parties get a fair trial.
So as long as she`s convinced that she can draw a fair jury and he`s not
influencing witnesses, it appears that she`s willing to give him a little
more leash. I`d be very surprised if he violated yet again another gag
order that she would continue to let him remain out on bond pending trial.
MADDOW: To that point, we did see two hours after her order Mr. Stone`s
wife start posting about him, photos about him and discussion about today`s
hearing on Instagram. That`s obviously from her, not him.
Would a judge or would a court usually expect that a defendant`s immediate
family members would respect the same sort of restriction that was imposed
on the defendant?
ROSENBERG: There is the spirit of the order, which they`re clearly
violating, and then there is the letter of the order, which she apparently
did not violate. But this is not a judge to be trifled with. Remember,
she didn`t hesitate to revoke Mr. Manafort`s bond when he was tampering
ROSENBERG: So, I`m not sure, Rachel, this is the straw that breaks this
particular camel`s back, but they`re getting awfully close and it`s not
wise. And, by the way, in the end, because he will be a convicted felon,
this will be the judge that will sentence him. Don`t forget that.
MADDOW: I`m sure she won`t forget it. Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S.
attorney, former senior Justice Department – Chuck, as always, thank you.
ROSENBERG: My pleasure.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Best new thing in the world today. We have not done this in a
long time, but come on. You know we can show it.
All right. This is so great.
The great folks at C-Span do a public service each and every day. They
broadcast the day to day happenings of the floor of Congress, no matter how
long and drawn out and boring. You can imagine C-Span employees get to see
a lot that`s exciting, but sometimes they get bored. Maybe they need a
little innocent blowing off of steam, who can blame them? So great.
This is the C-Span feed of the roll call from the House`s resolution to
condemn President Trump tonight. Just listen through to the very end.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do do do do, la, la, la, la, la –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeas is 240, the nays are 187. The resolution is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Do do do do la la la.
God bless you, C-SPAN. God bless every single person who works for you.
Best new thing in the world today.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the