Acting White House Chief of Staff speaks. TRANSCRIPT: 8/9/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Robinson Meyer thanks a lot 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. Have a great weekend, my
HAYES: You too.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. It`s good to have
you here. Happy Friday.
Pulitzer Prize-winning “Washington Post” reporter David Fahrenthold is
going to be here tonight with another jaw-dropping scoop in what has now
been a couple of years of jaw-dropping scoops from David Fahrenthold,
particularly about this president and the president`s business record.
What`s always amazing about David Fahrenthold`s series of scoops about
President Trump and bad behavior and misbehavior in the president`s
business is that whatever David Fahrenthold newly reports about them,
whatever it is, and there have been a long series of these stories,
whatever it is, the president`s business, the president`s family, the White
House itself, they never have anything to say about it. They are always
completely blindsided, they always have had no clue as to what it is that
David Fahrenthold is about to report about them next.
Well, David Fahrenthold will be with us here live tonight to talk about his
latest scoop, which, again, both the Trump White House and the Trump
Organization appear to have no response to whatsoever, at least thus far.
Today in El Paso, Texas, authorities publicly released the affidavit filed
by an El Paso police detective about the arrest of the shooter who killed
22 people this week in El Paso after apparently posting online a diatribe
about why he was doing it and how he wanted to stop what he saw as an
Hispanic invasion. He wanted to target immigrants. He wanted target the
Hispanic community, because he thought he was, you know, saving the white
race or whatever.
I say that man “apparently” posted that diatribe online, because while that
appears to be sort of statement of purpose from this mass murderer, no law
enforcement authorities have definitively said that it was he who posted it
online, although it seems like it probably was. If there was any doubt,
though, as to the motivations of the El Paso killer, this police affidavit
about his arrest that was released today would seem to lay any such doubts
This is from the affidavit. Agents and police officers at the intersection
observed a male person, the defendant, to exit out of the vehicle with his
hands raised in the air and stated out loud to the agents, “I`m the
shooter.” The defendant was placed under arrest and transported to police
The affiant, meaning the detective who was filling out this affidavit and
another detective, met with the defendant inside interview room number 4.
They read him his Miranda rights. He waived his right to remain silent.
He agreed to speak about the incident.
Quote: The defendant stated he drove to the listed location in El Paso from
Allen, Texas, which is like nine or 10 hours away. He entered the store
with an assault rifle/AK-47 and multiple magazines. The defendant stated
once inside the store, he opened fire using his AK-47, shooting multiple
innocent victims. The defendant stated his target was Mexicans. Mexicans.
There has been a little ripple that you can start to see growing on the
right. A little ripple of denialism about the El Paso attack. Anti-
immigrant groups in particular have been sort of softly, softly suggesting
that maybe race and immigration wasn`t the motivation for the shooter at
all. Maybe he was just some crazy kid.
I mean, beyond what appears to be the online statement from the shooter
explaining his motives and now what the El Paso detectives say, he said to
them, as soon as he was arrested, having volunteered that he was the
shooter, it does seem like his motive, the racially specific nature of his
motive should now be considered a settled issue.
This weekend will mark the two-year anniversary of what is now just
shorthanded in this country as Charlottesville. The neo-Nazi/white
supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, during
which neo-Nazi and white supremacist protesters marched around holding
torches, saying things like “you will not replace us.” That`s another
paranoid white supremacist theory that was cited by the El Paso gunman this
The day after the torch lit, anti-Semitic white power rally in
Charlottesville, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who had driven to
Charlottesville from Ohio specifically for this racist rally, he killed a
counter protester named Heather Heyer and injured dozens of more people
when he deliberately drove his car at speed into a crowd of anti-racist
protesters in Charlottesville.
This weekend being the anniversary of that murder and that big proud racist
white power display in an American city, that anniversary coming this
weekend, so closely on the heels of our country`s worst-ever terrorist
attack targeting Latinos and immigrants, this self-proclaimed racist
massacre in El Paso just this week. You know, if the president of our
country were so inclined, because of this anniversary and because of what
just happened in El Paso this week, this would be kind of the obvious
moment – this would be a propitious time, one might imagine, for the
president to finally take back what he said about Charlottesville in the
immediate wake of that riot and murder.
As you no doubt recall, the president described people on the neo-Nazi side
of those protests in Charlottesville two years ago as very fine people. If
the president wanted to, this weekend might be a symbolically appropriate
time. If it`s ever going to happen, this might be the symbolically
appropriate time for the president to say, he didn`t mean to say that. He
takes back what he said about there being very fine people on the neo-Nazi
side in Charlottesville. He could do that.
I mean, it`s interesting, as we head into this weekend, I have felt this
Charlottesville anniversary looming more than I do most things. And as
that has been approaching, I have been stuck all week on something sort of
big-hearted and I think wise that was said by the congresswoman from El
Paso, the congresswoman whose district includes the site of the massacre
this past weekend.
It was said by Veronica Escobar. It was actually said here on our air on
our on MSNBC in the immediate aftermath of the El Paso massacre, on Monday
night, after the massacre had happened on Saturday.
I didn`t expect Congresswoman Escobar to say this at all or anything like
it, but since she said it on Monday night, I have to tell you, I have not
been able to get this out of my mind all week long.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): We need the president to accept
responsibility, apologize, and take back those words, so that his
followers, the people who cling to his every word, who follow his rallies,
who get riled up and excited about the bigotry that comes from his speeches
at those rallies, they need to hear that the president acknowledges that he
was wrong. And that his words were wrong, and that every human being has
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Congresswoman Veronica Escobar on Monday, the
congresswoman from El Paso, so soon after the El Paso massacre in her
district and in her community. And she was answering a question there
about why she had say that she didn`t think it was appropriate for
President Trump to come to El Paso in the wake of the massacre, given his
own words about an invasion at the border, words that were echoed, if not
quoted, by the shooter.
The way he had talked about immigrants, the way he has talked about people
from Mexico in particular, the way he has talked about border communities,
including El Paso. She was asked to explain why she thought, given the
president`s remarks of those kinds. He shouldn`t come to El Paso after the
But that idea that she expressed in response to that question, that the
president actually could do something here, that he could help, that he
could redress some of what`s wrong, that he could apologize for his hurtful
words, that he could take them back, that he could say he knows those words
are wrong and that they cause harm and here`s why they`re wrong and here`s
why I take them back – I mean, that is not a huge and unimaginable thing
to ask for from a national leader at a time like this, especially if you`re
in a position of moral – if you`re in the kind of moral position that the
congresswoman from El Paso is in after what just happened in her town.
And I don`t know that Congresswoman Escobar expects that from President
Trump, you know, that he`ll, you know, take back the things he said about
El Paso. That he`ll take back the things he said against immigrants. But
this weekend, on the anniversary of Charlottesville, on the two-year
anniversary of Charlottesville, on the one-week anniversary of El Paso, if
the president wanted to, this would be his chance to take back his words,
to apologize, to express that he understands the hurt caused by, among
other things, his compliments to the very fine neo-Nazis who, among other
things, killed someone in Charlottesville immediately before he made those
I`m not holding my breath. I`m just saying.
One of the things we have been keeping an eye on this week as we approach
this Charlottesville anniversary this weekend is an effort by the victims
of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville to try to get
justice for what was done to them. 10 people who were hurt by these
violent white supremacists in Charlottesville two years ago, including
three people who were hit by the car that killed Heather Heyer, are now
plaintiffs in a lawsuit that is designed to go further than the individual
criminal charges that were brought against individual rioters and killers
among the white supremacists from that weekend. This lawsuit by the
victims from Charlottesville targets the leaders of white supremacist
And in fact, it targets the organizations themselves and the Websites that
they run, basically, to try to dismantle them. To hold them to account for
having not just organized that white power event, but specifically for
having planned and organized the violence that took place at that white
So, we`ve been watching that suit by the Charlottesville victims really
closely. And today, as we head into this weekend`s anniversary of
Charlottesville, today, a federal judge decided to hand down a little bit
of an anniversary present. Today, a federal judge ordered sanctions
against some of the primary organizers of the white power violence that
took place in Charlottesville two years ago.
One organization, a group called Vanguard America, the guy who killed
Heather Heyer was seen at the Charlottesville riots holding a shield that
had the Vanguard America logo on it, that organization and two other white
supremacist leaders who took part in organizing the violence in
Charlottesville, today, they were all – that organization and those two
people were ordered by a federal judge to pay the attorney`s fees of the
plaintiffs. To pay the attorneys` fees of these 10 victims who were
injured by the violent white supremacist in Charlottesville.
That organization and these two white supremacist leaders are among two
dozen individuals and groups who are defendants in the Charlottesville
lawsuit. They have been flouting court orders and ignoring the judge in
this case from the very beginning. Well, today, the federal judge hearing
that case had had enough, saying, quote, defendants have continually failed
to fulfill even their most basic obligations to this court. Their behavior
has, quote, stalled the litigations progress for months on end.
The judge said today, quote, this behavior is unacceptable and will be
sanctioned. Quote: Ordinary defendants must participate in the ordinary
process of litigation, even if they do not want to.
According to the nonprofit group that is supporting this litigation against
the neo-Nazi groups and the white supremacist groups that organized the
violence in Charlottesville, their called Integrity First for America, they
see these sanctions today as basically a wholly appropriate way to mark the
anniversary of what happened two years ago in Virginia.
Quote: These sanctions – excuse me. Quote: Over and over and over again,
these defendants have defied court orders in an attempt to avoid
accountability for the racist violence they planned and caused in
Charlottesville. These sanctions make clear, that time is up. Today marks
one more important step forward in holding these neo-Nazis, white
supremacists, and hate groups accountable for their actions.
So, like I said right at the top there, happy Friday. Just a little
something to hold in your heart this weekend. Literally, the neo-Nazis and
the white supremacists who did what they did in Charlottesville, not only
are they being sued by the people who got hurt there, but those white
supremacists have just been ordered by a judge to pay the victims` attorney
fees, which means the neo-Nazis are now being ordered by a court to pay for
the privilege of themselves being sued and to pay the costs of the
attorneys who are suing them.
Hold that in your heart a little bit. Let that keep you warm this weekend.
Because of President Trump`s attitude toward this particular type of
violent extremism, because of his public indifference or even indulgence of
this type of extremism and even this type of violent extremism, there is
now this super unsettling prospect that we`re confronting now as a country,
particularly in the wake of El Paso, that the federal government, which
Donald Trump controls, might not be the best place to turn to for our
country to try to address this specific type of terrorism. Because of
that, because of the president`s sotto voce alliance with white nationalism
in this country, it has been interesting to look at the civil cases where
it`s the victims themselves taking it upon themselves to try to identify
the terrorist groups that have encouraged and organized this violence,
finding them out, identifying their role in promoting this stuff and
through these lawsuits, disrupting them as organizations, potentially
bankrupting them as organizations.
It`s a really interesting tactic right now, in large part because it
doesn`t depend on Donald Trump`s Justice Department doing the right thing
about these kinds of crimes and this kind of organized terrorism. And as
we head into this weekend and this anniversary, I think it`s worth noting
that these types of cases are really on a roll right now. It`s not just
the Charlottesville case, where they got that bang up order just today from
that federal judge. It`s also a new ruling today from a different federal
judge involving the country`s most long-standing and frankly most putrid
online neo-Nazi gathering place.
It`s a website called “The Daily Stormer”. It`s named as homage to a Nazi
newspaper from the Third Reich.
You might have heard over the last couple of months that “The Daily
Stormer” has been on the receiving end of some really expensive lightning
bolts thrown at them in court by some of their past victims.
In June, it was comedian and commentator Dean Obeidallah. A couple of
years ago, Dean Obeidallah had written a column for “The Daily Beast” in
which he had described a bunch of murders that had been committed in the
first year of Donald Trump`s presidency by killers who had expressed white
supremacist beliefs or motives. The column said in part, quote, Trump
refuses to call these acts what they are, white supremacist terrorism.
Well, the neo-Nazis at “The Daily Stormer”, a Website that, it should be
noted, endorsed Donald Trump for president, they did not like that
criticism against President Trump in that column by Dean Obeidallah and
they responded the following day by making up some fake tweets that they
attributed to Mr. Obeidallah, and they published those fake tweets online,
which made it look like Mr. Obeidallah was actually a terrorist.
They had these fake tweets made that – where he appeared to be taking
credit for various violent terrorist attacks around the globe, using this
false information that they put online. They then directed white
supremacist trolls and neo-Nazis around the country and around the world to
go get Dean Obeidallah and to go threaten them, to which, of course, they
did to massive and terrifying effect.
Well, you can`t necessarily do that. And in June, a federal judge handed
down a $4.1 million judgment against “The Daily Stormer”, against that neo-
Nazi Website and the guy who runs it, ordering the website and its
publisher to pay $4.1 million to Dean Obeidallah.
Now, it is a good question as to whether or not they`re going to be able to
get that money and how, but Mr. Obeidallah told “New York Times” in
response to that judge`s ruling that he full-on plans to pursue all of
their assets in the United States. Quote: We want to collect some money,
because that`s a more powerful message than just a judgment on paper.
We`re going to give their money to organizations that fight white
supremacy, run by the very people that these guys hates, like Muslims,
African-Americans, Jewish Americans and the LGBTQ community.
That was June. Then in July, last month, it happened again. The same neo-
Nazi outfit and its same publisher was hit this time with a $14 million
judgment for having directed an anti-Semitic terror campaign against a
Jewish woman in Montana who ran a business in the hometown of white
supremacist leader Richard Spencer.
That $14 million judgment was ordered by a magistrate judge. It`s now
being reviewed by a federal district court judge. But you`re starting to
get a sense of how these things are going.
If you are ever motivated in your life, God forbid, to make a donation to
“The Daily Stormer”, your donation will now be garnished, will now be taken
by the court and instead given to these victims of online racist and anti-
Semitic attacks waged by “The Daily Stormer” and its adherence. It`s nice.
And now today, again, happy Friday! It`s happened again. There`s a new
one. Again, this just happened today. It`s been kind of a bang-up day.
This time, it concerns this young woman, seen here in this footage we`re
about to show you in a very happy moment after winning an election. This
is footage from then campus TV station at her school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President, Taylor Dumpson!
REPORTER: Crowds cheered when Taylor`s name was announced. We caught up
with Taylor and here`s what she had to say.
TAYLOR DUMPSON, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: I don`t have words for this. I just
– I don`t have any words. I`m shocked. I`m so ecstatic. Honestly, like,
I can`t help but thank God for this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Her name is Taylor Dumpson. And in the spring of 2017, she won.
March 2017, she was elected student body president at American University
in Washington, D.C., the first African-American woman to ever be elected to
that position. Great day.
The day after she actually took office as student body president, though,
somebody on campus took it upon himself to tie up a bunch of little nooses
to hang up all over the American University campus. There were nooses made
out of black cord and they were holding bananas, in case the racial
implications weren`t quite clear enough. Also on some of them were written
the initials “AKA” for Alpha Kappa Alpha, which is the sorority to which AU
president Dumpson belonged.
So this was this shocking racist incident at American University in
Washington. It got some news pickup when it happened. But what happened
after that is what brings us to the judge`s ruling today.
Because when news articles appeared about this racist taunting at this
college, these nooses and bananas that had been posted on campus in
response to this young woman`s election as president, when those news
articles started circulating, they were seized on by this neo-Nazi online
hub, by “This Daily Stormer” Website, where the founder of the website
thought this harassment campaign against the new university president was
excellent news. And he thought that what all the neo-Nazis and white
supremacists on his site should do in response is ramp up their own kinds
of harassment and attacks on her as much as they could.
They posted personal information about her. They explicitly encouraged
their members to attack her, and that unleashed a torrent of neo-Nazi abuse
and violent threats against this kid, right? Against this young woman, who
had done nothing whatsoever, other than to be an African-American woman and
to be recognized by her peers, by her fellow students, by the student body
of American university as the one best suited among them for the top
leadership role that they had.
Well, today, a federal judge in the United States district court for the
District of Columbia awarded that young woman, Taylor Dumpson, more than
$700,000 in damages and attorneys` fees to be paid by the Nazis. To be
paid by “The Daily Stormer” and its founder that directed this tirade of
abuse and violent threats against her.
That case was brought on Taylor Dumpson`s behalf by the Lawyers Committee
for Civil Rights Under Law. The lawyer who led that case joins us next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Today, a lawsuit brought by the National Lawyers Committee for
Civil Rights Under Law made a lot of people`s day. It couldn`t have come
at a better time. Their lawsuit today resulted in a federal judge ordering
a neo-Nazi Website publisher to pay more than $700,000 to an African-
American college student body president, who had been attacked by those
Joining us now is Kristen Clarke. She`s president and executive director
of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Ms. Clarke, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you
KRISTEN CLARKE, LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Let me first ask you. I tried to summarize the case, what
happened to your client and what happened today in court, did I basically
get that right?
CLARKE: You did.
And let me just say that Taylor is a remarkable young woman. She is a
courageous young woman, but she suffered tremendously because of the
incidents that you described – the noose that was hung on campus, the
banana peels, racist trolling. And Anglin and “The Daily Stormer” indeed
unleashed people on her and instructed them to go out and racially harass
her and they did.
She`s suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder. She`s suffered
tremendous weight loss, anxiety, depression. She was fearful walking
around campus. She feared for her life.
So, she truly suffered. But she found the courage in her to fight back.
And that`s why we filed this lawsuit on her behalf. So, today is indeed a
A federal judge, Judge Collier, found that “The Daily Stormer” violated the
law and violated her rights. And in particular, found that by unleashing
this racist troll storm, they essentially denied her the right to enjoy
equal access to her campus, American University.
So, it`s a groundbreaking win. No federal court has issued such a ruling
before, and so this essentially provides a road map that can now be used by
other litigators across the country who want to fight back and find other
ways to hold white supremacists accountable.
MADDOW: Part of what is obviously so compelling about this case is story
of your client, who is this remarkable and blameless young woman, who had
this brought down on her for absolutely nothing that anybody could have
ever associated with her, nothing imaginable. Part of it is that story and
her getting this redress in her story, as you described is her strength in
deciding to pursue it in this way.
It`s also fascinating as a civil rights tactic, and as an anti-terrorism
tactic. And we are seeing – I`ve been sort of following over the course
of this week, looking at different civil suits and other ways that
activists and attorneys and civil rights organizations and people trying to
get justice for these victims have basically been trying to dismantle the
groups that are the pillars of the white supremacists terrorist movements
in this country.
I don`t know that you`re ever going to get this money from these guys.
CLARKE: So, that`s right. Anglin is on the run. But, look, if he steps
foot in this country, his lawyer claims he`s out of the country and on the
run. If he steps foot on U.S. soil, he cannot resurrect this operation
again, because we now have a judgment that`s been issued by a federal court
that he has to pay up.
So it`s all about kind of ripping the heart out of these operations and
dismantling this infrastructure of white supremacy that is unleashing
terror on people like Taylor Dumpson all across our country. I`m really
proud of the work that we are doing here. You know, online hate, I think,
is a crisis in our country right now.
We have white supremacists who are marching hoodless in the streets, but
then there are the white supremacists who are operating behind their
computer screens. And that`s how they are fund-raising and recruiting new
members and doxxing victims and unleashing troll campaigns like what
happened to Taylor Dumpson here.
We are using the law to say that we`re going to hold you accountable. You
are not above the law. We are going to paralyze your operations and bring
them to grinding halt. We`re not going to wait on the Justice Department
that, you know, is just simply not doing enough, we`re going to use every
tool in our arsenal to fight back and let victims of hate crimes across our
country know there are civil rights lawyers who are prepared to stand up
for them and fight back.
MADDOW: Let me also just ask you as last question, how`s your client
doing? You opened here by talking about what she went through here. It
happened to be heartening to her to be affirmed in her fight here by this
judge. Obviously, she`s in a different place in her life now. This has
been a very difficult couple of years. How does she feel about this?
CLARKE: She feels good. The court found that what she experienced was
based on her race and gender and that`s important to her. And she`s in law
school now and wants to fight for justice some day. We`re tremendously
proud of her.
MADDOW: That is a perfect coda to this story tonight, although I know this
an ongoing story.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee
for Civil Rights Under Law, keep us apprised. I`m really interested in as
a tactic, I`m really interested in this success. Thanks for coming in.
CLARKE: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: All right. Much more to get to tonight. As I mentioned at the
top of the show, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Fahrenthold will be
here in just a moment with his latest scoop, which the White House has zero
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Immigration and Customs Enforcement handcuffed hundreds of
immigrant workers and loaded them on to buses, as coworkers and family
members watched in disbelief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Por favor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pease, can I just see my mother, please?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please.
REPORTER: Kids left not knowing where their kids were being taken. This
11-year-old says her father was among those detained.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need my dad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOW: After the chaos and the visceral upset of the huge anti-immigrant
raids the Trump administration carried out in Mississippi this week,
stranding little kids without their parents, stranding families, it was
interesting to see this report last night in “The Washington Post.” U.S.
defends secretive Mississippi ICE raids as local state officials decry
effect on children.
But it was amazing to see way down in that story the reporting that
officials at ICE specifically and deliberately did not tell the president
before they carried out that raid. Right, of course, you can`t tell him.
If you tell him, what will he do? He`ll tweet about it in advance, like
he`s done before. And apparently, they did not want that to happen this
But then on top of all of that, it was super amazing to see this in “The
Washington Post,” which has spent months uncovering the Trump
Organization`s, the president`s businesses` own hiring of undocumented
employees across all of Trump`s properties.
Along with his colleagues at “The Washington Post,” reporter David
Fahrenthold has spent the last several months interviewing more than 40
undocumented immigrants who have been employed by the president at his
various clubs. That reporting turned up at least eight different Trump
properties where the president is employing undocumented workers, even as
he travels around the country inveighing about how terrible they all are.
This reporting in “The Post” has already shamed the Trump business into
saying that they`ll stop hiring and stop using undocumented immigrants at
their – at Trump properties. But according to Fahrenthold`s latest
reporting, which was just out this afternoon, the Trump Organization is
still going on with hiring undocumented immigrants.
Here`s the lead to Fahrenthold`s latest story. Quote: For nearly two
decades, the Trump organization has relied on a roving crew of Latin-
American employees to build fountains and waterfalls, sidewalks and rock
walls at the company`s winery, and its golf courses from New York to
Florida. Other employees at Trump clubs were so impressed by the laborers
who did strenuous work with heavy stone that they nicknamed the Spanish
word for the Flintstones.
Their ranks have included workers who entered the U.S. illegally. Another
employee still with the company said that remains true today. That remains
true today – despite the Trump Organization`s promises that they wouldn`t
do that anymore.
And today`s report is not just that Trump`s golf clubs are continuing to
employ undocumented workers, even as the president makes his vitriol and
hatred of undocumented immigrants the centerpiece of his re-election
campaign. The centerpiece of this reporting today is that the managers at
Trump`s clubs not only hired people who were undocumented immigrants, they
explicitly told these employees, these ultimate immigrants, that they
should get illegal papers to fake their status.
One undocumented worker named Edmundo Morocho told “The Post” that his
manager, a man named Frank Sanzo, quote, instructed the crew to buy fake
Social Security cards and green cards in New York so they would have
something to put in the Trump Organization files. The employee said he
bought his papers for $50 in 2002.
Frank said, you can go buy a social, meaning a Social Security number in
Queens, they sell them in Queens, then come back to work, it`s no problem,
said Mr. Morocho. He knew.
In a phone interview this week with “The Post”, Frank Sanzo, the manager,
said he didn`t remember Morocho. When asked whether he told employees to
buy fake documents, Sanzo said, they can get them on the street, too. He
did not directly address the question.
Joining us now is “Washington Post” reporter David Fahrenthold, who shares
the byline today with his colleague Joshua Partlow.
Mr. Fahrenthold, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Appreciate
you being here.
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, THE WASHINGTON POST REPORTER: Great to be here.
MADDOW: What is the Trump organization`s response or the Trump White
House`s response to your reporting at this point?
FAHRENTHOLD: The White House`s response was nothing. We sent them
questions asking how much contact has President Trump had with this
company, has he had contact with ICE to push them away from enforcing the
immigration laws at his company. The response was nothing. They declined
The president`s company responded very briefly. We`d sent them a lot of
questions about this. As you can imagine, there are a lot of complexities
here. We wanted to make sure we understood their side of the story.
The Trump Organization just sent back a few – a paragraph saying, we`re
doing our best to identify any workers who have given us false documents.
And if we find them, we`ll terminate them.
MADDOW: Is there any difference in terms of potential liability for the
president and his business here, that there are these allegations, and
we`ve now seen repeated allegations from multiple Trump properties that
Trump employees, Trump managers, Trump supervisors didn`t just hire people
who they knew to be undocumented, they explicitly directed those
undocumented immigrants that they should go get fake papers? Is that a
different type of misbehavior? Is that a different level of potential
liability for the president or the business that he owns?
FAHRENTHOLD: Well, it`s certainly a different level of liability,
potentially, for his company. As you said, this is not just – it`s a step
beyond just looking the other way, which they seem to have been doing on a
pretty broad scale.
In those cases, and you`re right that there`s more than one we documented,
the Trump supervisor said, go get a Social Security number or this document
you gave me is bad, go get a better one. That is taking in the knowledge
that their workers are here illegally and asking the workers to sort of go
out and further the fraud.
If this ever comes a legal liability for the Trump Organization, the
question will then be who knew about? How high up the chain did that go
and did it go to the president?
MADDOW: One of the other developments here that seems important to me is
that after previous reporting by you and your colleagues at “The Post,” the
Trump Organization, having been exposed publicly for all of the
undocumented workers they have been using at all of their properties for so
many years, they have made a sort of quasi-public affirmation that they
don`t want to do this anymore, that they maybe did this in the past but now
they`ll stop or try to get a handle on it. This new reporting from you
about what they`re now calling the Mobile Payroll Construction firm, right,
this company that Trump is operating, that`s using these undocumented
workers, this seems to be not only current, but it seems to post-date the
affirmations from the Trump Organizations in the past that they wouldn`t do
FAHRENTHOLD: It does, you`re right. In January, which was three to four
years after President Trump had sort of built a political career on the
idea that undocumented immigrants were a threat to American jobs, American
lives, the Trump Organization at that point, three or four years later,
they undertook an effort to sort of purge their ranks of undocumented
workers and they found a lot of them. Many of whom had given – they had
been working for them for 10 years or more.
So they said at the time, look at us, we`re now doing the right thing,
we`re enrolling our business in E-Verify, we`re auditing their documents
and getting rid of the folks that shouldn`t be here. What we learned with
this story is that that was not a complete, thorough purge.
For these folks who work for this in-house construction crews, these are
valuable workers, they know how to build stone rock walls, they know how to
build everything to the Trump Organization`s specifications. These
valuable workers, to them it`s like nothing ever happened. As workers were
being purged at other golf clubs, to them, nothing had changed. They just
MADDOW: Fascinating. David Fahrenthold, “Washington Post” reporter, thank
you so much for joining us, particularly appreciate you being here on a
Friday night, David. Thanks a lot.
FAHRENTHOLD: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Lots more to come tonight. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Meyer, your first census was when?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 1910, April, 1910.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel about doing all the climbing in the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I`ll tell you, I don`t climb as fast as I used
to. After 50 years, you slow down, here, there, everywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any other changes you`re seeing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, years back, we used to take the horses and the
cows to the stables. We used to get paid for that. Today, we don`t find
any around. In fact, years back, I found where they kept a horse in the
house, and I had to designate a number on another street where the horse
was grazing, so I could get a dime. We got two and a half cents those
years and 10 cents for the stable. And that dime, I needed 50 years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: They kept the horse in the house! I gave the horse a fake address
so I could get the dime, because I otherwise wouldn`t count as a stable, it
had to be a house and a stable. The horse was right there in the house.
That was the late, great, WNBC correspondent, Gabe Pressman, my friend,
Gabe, interviewing a U.S. census worker back in 1960. That employee, you
know, lamenting the fact that he no longer got paid for counting horses as
part of his census work, whether they were in the house or in the stable.
Not like the good old days, back in 1910, when we got paid for counting the
Decades from now, when we are looking back on old news packages about this
census, the 2020 census, one of the big takeaways will be about this
census, that the Trump administration tried to rejigger it. They tried to
hotwire it, basically. They tried to turn this year`s census into a
political weapon by changing it in ways that would undercount Latinos and
immigrants, which would undermine their voting power.
Now, that effort by the Trump administration was, of course, stopped by the
Supreme Court earlier this year, when the court in part upheld a lower
court ruling from the Southern District of New York. That ruling had found
that the Trump administration`s decision to add a citizenship question to
the census to change the census, it was against the law, because the
decision to add that question was, quote, arbitrary and capricious.
Basically, the Trump administration decided they were going to change the
census and add that question for their own reasons, only later they tried
to shoehorn a false rationale on to it for why they needed to do it. The
Supreme Court didn`t buy it.
Well, now a similar situation seems to be playing out at the U.S.
Agriculture Department. For the past few weeks, we have been covering the
way the Agriculture Department under President Trump has been trying to
decimate science at that agency. Presumably because scientists at that
agency keep producing work that has inconvenient scientific findings that
this administration doesn`t want to confront.
Scientists at USDA were given a month to decide whether they would move
halfway across the country for no good reason at all or else be fired.
About two-thirds of the scientists chose door “B.”
Well, today, those employees started receiving their termination letters,
telling them that they will officially be out of a job come the close of
business on September 27th. The union representing the workers at USDA
today announced that they have won a few concessions from the agency for
employees who have decided to accept this forced transfer.
But at this point, the move would seem to be a done deal, except for the
fact that there are two important data points worth keeping an eye on here.
The first is that on Monday, the USDA inspector general released a report
concluding that the agency didn`t actually have this authority to pay for
relocating the science departments without budgetary approval from
Congress, which they absolutely do not have and will not get.
People like Virginia Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton have been waving the
flag on this point, calling into question the legality of the move. But
then there`s also this from the White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: You`ve heard about drain the
swamp. What you probably haven`t heard is what we`re actually doing. I
don`t know if you saw the news the other day, but the USDA just tried to
move or did move two offices out of Washington, D.C., I think to Kansas
Yes, you can applaud that one, because that`s what we`ve been talking about
doing. Guess what happened? Guess what happened? More than half the
Now, it`s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker. I know that because
a lot of them work for me and I`ve tried, and you can`t do it. But by
simply saying to people, you know what, we`re going to take you outside the
bubble, outside the Beltway, outside this liberal haven of Washington, D.C.
and move you out into a real part of the country and they quit. What a
wonderful way to streamline government and do what we haven`t been able to
do for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker unless you pull a
move like we just did. Isn`t this awesome? They`re all quitting. This is
how we`re going to get them to quit.
You just said that out loud. You got that big round of applause. You know
what else you got?
Throughout this relocation, the Agricultural Department had stressed it
only wanted to do this sort of thing because it had the best interests of
its staff in mind. They want to improve USDA`s ability to attract
qualified staff. They said the whole reason for moving was simply to move
the federal workers closer to the farmers the agency serves.
Also they`d be saving money, an argument that has already been disproven.
This is not saving money.
But now, the White House chief of staff trying to get a big round of
applause at a conservative event has let the cat out of the bag. They did
this not because they wanted to do everything by retaining their staff but
they wanted everybody to quit, by doing this as onerous a way as possible.
The question is now that Mulvaney has made this admission, does this change
anything? We`ve already seen the Trump administration get slapped down for
making up bogus pretextual reasons to justify what is bald-faced political
move. Isn`t that just absolutely exactly what`s happening here as well?
MADDOW: This time next week, we will no longer have a director of national
intelligence. The current DNI Dan Coats is out effective next week.
The president`s first choice to replace him was a rapidly pro-Trump Texas
Republican congressman named John Ratcliffe. That imploded when it turned
out the congressman bragged about lots of things on his resume that were
not actually things he had done.
Given the humiliation of what happened with Ratcliffe, you`d think the
president would be careful about his second choice for this job. Ha, ha!
Now, actually, one of the names they`re floating for the job is a man named
Pete Hoekstra. Remember him?
Mr. Hoekstra`s name started popping up in press accounts last week as a
potential new director of national intelligence. This morning, reporters
asked the president about Hoekstra. From the White House transcript, what
the president said is, quote, I like Hoekstra a lot. I want to get
somebody that everybody can really come together with. I like Hoekstra a
lot. He is great.
It`s possible there`s a different Pete Hoekstra than the one we`re all
thinking of, I hope so. Because the Pete Hoekstra I`m thinking of, the one
I think the president is talking about for director of national
intelligence is the man who earned himself the nickname the human sieve
because of his terrible track record of leaking like a sieve and being
unable to keep even the most basic secret.
Like the time in 2009 he went on a congressional delegation to Iraq, a trip
that he was supposed to keep secret for operational security reasons and he
ended up live tweeting it all in real time. The Pete Hoekstra I`m thinking
of published an op-ed in “The New York Post” to complain that leak Tuesday
the news media have seriously undermined anti-terrorist intelligence
programs, and then two paragraphs later in the same essay Hoekstra himself
leaked classified information about that year`s budget for human
intelligence programs, in print.
The Pete Hoekstra I`m thinking of in 2006 convinced the Bush administration
to post a whole bunch of documents seized from Iraq on the Internet. These
documents must be posted publicly. It turns out the documents included
instructions in Arabic for making an atomic bomb.
The Pete Hoekstra I`m thinking leaked classified information to “The
Washington Post” about the ties between the Fort Hood shooting suspect and
a radical Yemeni cleric, and on and on and on. The man is a colander.
That`s the Pete Hoekstra I am thinking of.
If the president is seriously thinking of the same guy specifically to be
director of national intelligence, I should be Miss America. I mean, that
But watch this space.
MADDOW: Thanks for being with us tonight. Before I go I just want to put
one little item on your watch list for Monday. On Monday, one of things
we`re going to be watching is the start of the criminal trial for former
White House counsel in the Obama administration, Gregory Craig.
He`s the only Democratic administration official who`s been caught up in
any of the prosecutions that derive from the Mueller investigation.
Mueller`s team passed on the Greg Craig prosecution to other federal
prosecutors. That trial is going to start on Monday.
They had initially charged him with two felony counts. A judge this week
threw out one of the two felony charges so he`s just going forward one
felony count related to work he did in conjunction with President Trump`s
campaign chairman Paul Manafort. It should be a fascinating trial that`s
going to start on Monday. We`ll be watching that before we get back to you
here on Monday night.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD.” Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence tonight.
Good evening, Ali.
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