House passes resolution condemning Trump tweets. TRANSCRIPT: 7/16/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests:
Linda Greenhouse, Cliff Sloan, Tom Malinowski
Transcript:

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

joining us. 

 

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

friend. 

 

HAYES:  You bet. 

 

MADDOW:  Thanks.

 

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

liberal minority. 

 

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,

Republican presidents. 

 

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

me, Rachel. 

 

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

American culture. 

 

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. 

 

MADDOW:  Wow. 

 

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

hearings televised. 

 

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

judges? 

 

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

instance. 

 

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

35 years. 

 

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

at all. 

 

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

Democratic Party. 

 

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

this case. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

be lost. 

 

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

Amash. 

 

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

racism. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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. 

 

MADDOW:  Yes.

 

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

than that? 

 

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

conscience. 

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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,

nothing. 

 

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

Facebook? 

 

I have – I have questions.  I have the perfect person to ask, who is here

next. 

 

Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

this.  Whoo.

 

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

court. 

 

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

infinitely patient. 

 

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

with witnesses. 

 

MADDOW:  Right. 

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

adopted. 

 

(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.

 

                                                                                               

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