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The Fight for 2020. TRANSCRIPT: 07/04/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Maxine Waters, Steve Schmidt, Eric Lipton, Elaina Plott, Laura St. John, Lee Gelernt, Richard Painter, Frederica Wilson

Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS Date: July 4, 2018 Guest: Maxine Waters, Steve Schmidt, Eric Lipton, Elaina Plott, Laura St. John, Lee Gelernt, Richard Painter, Frederica Wilson

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: It`s free on Apple podcasts now or wherever you get your podcasts.

Good evening from New York and happy Fourth of July. I`m Chris Hayes, and it is a very special Independence Day episode of "All In," because we thought what better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with some fireworks.

Tonight, we present some of our more explosive interviews from the year thus far from the fiery, always fiery Steve Schmidt to our favorite Richard Painter moment ever and some Scott Pruitt bombshells along the way. But who better to starts us of from the guest who brings fireworks nearly every time she comes all in?

Our first segment tonight aired back in March just after the President of the United States publicly insulted her intelligence. This was our segment with the Gentle Lady from California, one Maxine Waters.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to defeat Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, a very low I.Q. individual. You ever see her? You ever see -- you ever see her?

"We will impeach him. We will impeach the President. But he hasn`t done anything wrong. It doesn`t matter, we will impeach him." She is a low I.Q. individual. You can`t help her.


HAYES: Joining me now is Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Democrat from California. The President has said this twice about in the past week. I want to give you an opportunity to respond.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, you know, there is no response. Everybody knows who this bully is. This President has attacked more women, more individuals, name-calling.

I mean look at this, not only has he talked about Senator Warren, called her Pocahontas. He called Hillary crooked. He`s calling me low I.Q. He called Rubio little. I mean this is what we expect of him.

I just wonder what took him so long. And so since we know who he is and the fact he is, you know, calling people names constantly and talking about the media in the way that he does and calling people sobs, et cetera, et cetera, I`m not surprised at all. All I know is this, if he thinks he can stop me from talking about impeach 45, he`s got another thought coming. I`m not intimidated by him.

I`m going to keep saying that we need to impeach him. And I am so depending on our special counsel Robert Mueller to connect the dots so that he can prove the collusion, and of course we`ve seen obstruction of justice just playing out before our very eyes. So this is a dishonorable human being.

He is a con man. He came to this job as a con man. I really call him, you know, "Don the Con Man." And so that`s who he is, that`s who we expect, and I`m not surprised at all.

HAYES: It`s interesting to listen to your reaction of this because it almost sounds like you and other folks who work in Washington don`t even -- it doesn`t even land anymore when he does this kind of thing because it has become so rude. Is that a fair characterization?

WATERS: That`s absolutely fair. We expect to wake up every morning to him calling somebody else another name or telling another lie. He has no credibility, and so no, we`re not surprised about him, you know, calling names and talking about my I.Q. He might say or do anything. It`s expected.

HAYES: You just mentioned Robert Mueller. I know that you believe that there probably was collusion, there were crimes committed. That`s a contention you`ve made. You think obstruction has played out before our eyes.

Today the House of Republicans in the Intelligence Committee announced very abruptly without consulting Democrats they`re wrapping up their investigation, it`s done and it`s over and they found no collusion. Do you take that at face value?

WATERS: Well, first of all they had no real investigation. And who would believe Nunes was working in a credible way to find out what took place? As a matter of fact, he was simply a messenger boy for the President running up in the middle of the night trying to prove that Obama, for example, had wiretapped the President. And so they can conclude whatever they want.

They weren`t doing anything to begin with. It was not a credible investigation, and so we`re not paying attention to that at all.

HAYES: The President`s former right-hand man senior adviser, Steve Bannon, went to France. He`s been touring around Europe, and he gave an address to front Nazi -- the National Front party there that is a very hard right anti-immigrant some say proto-fascist party. And he said this to that group, and I wanted to get your reaction --

WATERS: Sure. Yes.

HAYES: This is what he said to them. Take a listen.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Let them call you racist. Let them call you zenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor, because every day we get stronger and they get weaker.


HAYES: Wear the term racist as a badge of honor. What do you think about that?

WATERS: Well, you know, he`s always said that. When he was at Breitbart he said, "Look, if race is an issue, we win every time." He`s made it know that he want to race to be the issue. He wants us constantly talking about how racist they are, and constantly he`s organizing people saying that, you know, we`re accusing them unfairly, et cetera. We are playing the race cards.

This is his game and this is what he does. And we have to stay on some of these issues and stop following some of this stuff that he`s doing and that the President is doing. They like diverting us and diverting the attention from the real issues.

I`m sitting here as the ranking member of the Financial Services Committee trying to hold onto the reforms that we have made with Dodd-Frank. That Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Mr. Mulvaney is over there trying to dismantle since Mr. Codray is gone is extremely important. We`re working on issues trying to deal with the big banks and to implement the Dodd-Frank reforms that we`ve been involved in, to make sure we never have another crisis like we`ve had where the big banks basically took advantage of so many of our citizens with these exact loans and with these loans that were resetting in a short period of time.

We had foreclosures all over this country --

HAYES: Right.

WATERS: -- that we had to learn how to do modifications for and keep people in their homes. We need to be talking about these issues. We need to be talking about the sanctions and why there`s no implementation of the sanctions.

Why is it that Tillerson had $120 million, didn`t spend a dime of it to find out about what it happened with hacking into our DNC? Why is it Mnuchin who`s a Treasury Secretary supposed to help implement these sanction is excusing himself and talking about, "Oh, that`s something the State Department was supposed to do?"

This President in my estimation has a deal with Putin where he agreed to lift the sanctions, where he agreed that there would be no more sanctions. In exchange to that, I think, I believe no matter what anybody else says, that is what was worked out between the two of them, that Putin helped him become President in the way that he has done all of the trolling and all that that he`s done. And so I`m not surprised about anything that he`s done, and it`s time to talk about the issues.

He can call me all the names that he wants, it doesn`t make any difference. And I want to tell you he is exactly who we know him to be. He is "Don the con man," that`s who he is. He`s a con artist.

HAYES: Congresswoman, Maxine Waters, thank you for making the time.

WATERS: Thank you.

HAYES: This past May we witnessed one of the ghastliest contrasts of 2018 when the Trump Administration held an opulent celebration in Jerusalem to celebrate the President`s decision to move the U.S. embassy there while just 40 miles away Israeli soldiers shot and killed dozens of protesting Palestinians. Trump`s decision reversed decades of American foreign policy designed to maintain the fragile prospects for Middle East peace.

That night we were joined my MSBNC Contributor and now Former Republican Strategist Steve Schmidt who did not hold back.

STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Everything we will see Donald Trump do from now until the midterms to try to stave off a disastrous midterm election defeat is try to intensify support in his base through policies of incitement. And so we saw the two theocratic nut job preachers at the crossroads of civilization and religion be able to antagonize Judaism, Catholicism, Islam and Mormonism all in the same day because of their previous bigoted pronouncements, their extreme ideology.

This is not about making the Middle East more secure. It`s not about making the United States more secure. It`s not about making sure that we don`t have yet another generation of American kids dying in Middle Eastern wars. It`s all about Donald Trump being able to score a point, ephemeral though it may be in the news cycle and to position himself for the midterm elections.

It`s clear as day that he has no sense of history. He`s completely ignorant of the religions in the region. Do you think that he could tell you the origins of the Sunni-Shia schism? I suspect not.

He knows nothing about anything. He`s bumbling around, and he destabilized with his rash move the Middle East. And as I said when he announced to move to the embassy, I said there will be blood on his hands, not because he pulled the trigger but because he destabilized the region without having any clue what he was doing, and that goes for Jared Kushner as well.

HAYES: I don`t want to just -- you mentioned Robert Jeffress who is one of the pastors who gave an indication today. This is what Mitt Romney had to say bout him.

"Robert Jeffress says you can`t be saved by being a Jew, and Morminism is a heresy from the pit of hell." He said the same about Islam. "Such a religious bigot should not be given the prayer that opens the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem." John Hague also giving an indication today.

So you think this really is an entirely domestic political management of the Trump base?

SCHMIDT: Of course it is. It is an appalling disgrace that these two were allowed to open in prayer under the flag of the United States, an official U.S. government event given their mountains of bigotry, their anti- Catholicism, anti-Judaism, anti-Islam, anti-Mormonism. We don`t talk about who these people are enough, so let`s do it for a moment.

Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, Mike Huckabee, all of them they dress up as man of God, but they are not. They are in business, and they are in politics. And the type of politics that they advocate is an extreme and theocratically tinged politics. You see that they thirst for the nectar of political power. The gospel is secondary.

When you look at their exploications of Donald Trump from all sorts of behavior that they previously condemned is for expedient partisan political purposes. One of the things that is certainly true about this movement, wherever you look around the world and you see the fusion of the state with religion, whether it is Putin and the Orthodox Church complicit in his power or other places around the world. The ideology advanced and represented by Hague et al always veers towards the autocratic. It`s always less free. It`s always dominated by an extreme animus towards gays.

There are people who would much rather tell you how to live and what birth control you`re allowed to take, for example, if you`re a young woman than would ever dare to say what is so obviously true about conduct by this President that is so obviously wrong. These are the modern day pharaohs in the temple. They are hypocrites.

And one of the blessings of Roy Moore`s candidacy is we know who they are, and no one in this country ever has to pretend again when they hold up a cloak and say you`re attacking my religion to do anything but laugh out loud. They`re politicians and extreme ones at that.

HAYES: All right Steve Schmidt, thank you so much for coming out tonight. I appreciate it.

Much more ahead including a tour through some of the countless scandals of the swampiest creature in Washington, D.C. Scott Pruitt, that`s next.


HAYES: Welcome back to our special All In 4th of July fireworks show as we turn now to the bombshells, get it, of Scott Pruitt, Trump`s administrator of EPA who is still employed despite being involved in so many scandals. It`s hard to keep crack of them all.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has spent more than 58,000 taxpayer dollars on noncommercial flights. Pruitt also gave himself, listen to this, an 18 person 24/7 security detail at a cost of more than $830,000 in just three months.

Pruitt used public money to have his office swept for hidden listening devices and bought sophisticated biometric locks for additional security. The EPA spent nearly $25,000 to build a soundproof communications booth for Pruitt`s office.

Pruitt has been routinely flying first class, such as a $1,600 first class ticket to fly all the way from Washington, D.C. to New York and a round trip flight to Italy that costs at least $7,000 in the stupendously opulent business class cabin on Emirates Airline.

Last summer, more than -- and I almost can`t believe this is true, but it is -- more than $120,000 in public money was spent for Pruitt to take one single trip to Italy. Scott Pruitt took a bribe from a wife of a top energy lobbyist who gave Pruitt a sweetheart deal on a condo.

Pruitt`s security detail broke down the door of the condo when it was believed Pruitt was unconscious and needed to be rescued. He was reportedly discovered waking up from a nap. Scott Pruitt lied to Congress about using private e-mail -- have I ever heard of that before, using private e-mail to talk to Big Oil as Oklahoma attorney general.

In another corner of the Pruitt scandal universe is the news that Pruitt bypassed the White House to give big raises to two of his favorite aides. You`ll remember Scott Pruitt got in hot water over a $50 a night apartment he rented from a lobbyist in D.C. who had business before the EPA.

And now, we know he once bought a house with a lobbyist. There`s another FOIA request on another 12 silver fountain pens and personalized journals that came in at the cost of the low, low price of $1,560 for the 12 fountain pens, spending $1,500 for a dozen pens is one thing. Can you go lower?

How about, oh, I don`t know, getting a government employee to try to buy you a used mattress from Donald Trump. Scott Pruitt enlisted an EPA aide to help his wife find a job with Chick-fil-A.

Pruitt directed agents of his security detail to drive him to multiple locations in search of a particular lotion on offer at Ritz-Carlton hotels. That must be some special lotion. In the wake of one of those scandals, I spoke last month to two of the top reporters on Scott Pruitt, Eric Lipton of the New York Times and Elaina Plott of The Atlantic.

It was Elaina Plott you might recall who while in the course of doing her job was called a piece of trash by the EPA spokesman.

HAYES: What happened in this phone call in which you were told that you were garbage?

PLOTT: Well, as one does when you`re a reporter, you get a tip, you confirm it and then you call a spokesperson asking for comment. And instead of getting a comment, I was told I was a piece of trash. And so there you have it.

I know I haven`t been doing this very long, but I have to believe that relations between the press corps and flux (ph) throughout the administration haven`t always been this acrimonious.

HAYES: You were just calling to confirm this set of facts, right? I just want to be clear here, like it was --

PLOTT: Correct.

HAYES: You heard that someone resigned, you called the state, did this person resign, and you were told that you`re a piece of trash?

PLOTT: Exactly.

HAYES: All right. Eric, what is going on over there?

LIPTON: It`s just been a series of embarrassing slip-ups by Scott Pruitt. It`s been-- I mean, in the last five days, we`ve done five different stories. You know, it turns out the lobbyist who was lobbying -- that rented the condo to him even more than we thought. There`s a coal executive who gave him tickets and seats that you have to make a $100 million dollar donation to get access to, you know, the bid, the effort to get to use bid and now the resignation of his people and that check play.

I mean, that`s five days worth of stories. I mean, it just, you know, no wonder the press office there feels under siege, but we aren`t making these stories up. We`re just reporting them. And there has been a bit of a tension between the reporters and the press shop, but, you know, we`re just doing our jobs. I`d actually rather be writing about environmental policy, but Pruitt keeps his focus on his management.

HAYES: Well, Elaina, let me ask you this. I mean, there is a sense in which all we keep having more and more stories. I`m going to just read a partial list here, and Eric mentioned some.

There`s a sweetheart condo deal form lobbyist, $3 million spent on a mass of security detail that`s entirely unprecedented, uses security detail for personal trips, first class travel on the public dime, circumventing the White House to give those huge raises to aides, which were by the way tens of thousands of dollars a year. There`s the Chick-fil-A franchise request, making aide personal task, the $42, 000 soundproof office phone booth, the $1500 set of 12 fountain pens, which is sort of a kind of like a boutique kind of bee-side scandal, $5700 biometric locks and office doors, using flashlights in motorcade, the lobbyist aide trip to Morocco, seats to a college basketball game for a lobbyist.

Here`s my question to you. Is this penetrating in the EPA or are they all just like, "Ah, nothing is going to happen to him."

PLOTT: Well, I think what EPA aides have learned that they can do quite well and same goes for Administrator Pruitt, the cover-up is almost always worse than the crime in most cases. I broke the story about the two raises given to both Sarah Greenwalt and Millan Hupp, and what congressional investigators ended up asking about was not the raises themselves but whether Pruitt had lied about it.

So I think as you absolutely noted, a lot of these are kind of bee-side scandals, things that in past administrations have not happened. I have to wonder if the Administrator or secretary in whatever department would have just apologized and we would have forgotten about it the next day.

HAYES: Is there a significance of the two individuals that came with him from Oklahoma who were clearly close to him and who received these salary increases of the two individuals, Eric, that resigned or quit today?

LIPTON: Yes, I`m hearing directly from some of his closest people that he brought with him from Oklahoma that there`s a lot of disappointments and feeling that they have been -- their own careers partially have been sacrificed as a result of their commitment to him, and that they have been hurt by their working with him. And there`s a lot of disappointment among the top political people. Not only among the career people that have worked, you know, for decades to try, you know, defend the quality and environment of the United States but even his political people which is the most surprising part of it.

HAYES: Elaina, you want to say something.

PLOTT: Absolutely. I think what we have to understand too with Sarah and Millan gone, those circle aides that Eric is referencing, those closest to him, is shrinking, you know, smaller and smaller by the day. So you have to wonder either what deluge of stories comes out within the next few days or at what point Pruitt just decides I don`t have anyone to lean on anymore other than the President, which at this point honestly, Chris, maybe enough.

HAYES: Well, that`s the way it looks, Eric. I mean, the President going out of his way to praise Pruitt today. And remember, Republican over the Congress sort of making noises a little bit about getting frustrated with this, but nothing major enough to threaten the guy`s job as far as I can tell.

LIPTON: Yes. My colleague Lisa Freeman was on the Hill today trying to button hole senators. She spoke with approximately ten of them. And I was actually surprised that the Republicans continue to, for the most part, be reserved in criticism. There were a few that were quite critical but they were not surprising who they are.

So, I mean, really, the only person that matters here is President Trump. And so far at least he continues to have the President`s support. But it`s always obviously very unpredictable as to where these things are going to play out with the President. None of us really know what`s going to happen.

HAYES: All right. Eric Lipton and Elaina Plott, thanks for both of your great reporting and for making some time tonight.

PLOTT: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Coming up, the interview that helped kick off the month of public outrage that finally forced Trump to back down. That`s next.


HAYES: On the Friday going into Memorial Day weekend reports were beginning to surface that the Trump Administration was separating migrant children from their parents after they crossed the southern border. I talked to two people working on the front lines of the issue providing legal representation to detained immigrants, the ACLU`s Lee Gelernt and Laura St. John of the Florence Project.

What they told me has brown up into perhaps blown up into the biggest self- made crisis of this presidency. More than 2,000 kids and then babies, just a few months old, taken away from their families by the U.S. government with no immediate plan to reunite them. That interview went viral overlong holiday weekend and we followed up every single night since then.

This country is now systematically taking children from their parents at the border, thanks to new directives issued by the Trump Administration.

Immigrants arriving at the border often seeking asylum. So not trying to sneak in. They`re there to tell border patrol they`re there are having their children ripped away from them. Immigrants and civil rights groups are saying they have never seen anything like this. Kids as young as 9 years old or 7-year-olds, cases of children as young as 18 months, OK, ripped out of the arms of their mother, and put those children into government-run shelters for a very specific reasons, to punish the immigrants, to serve as what White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly, " a tough deterrent" in an NPR interview this month.

And when confronted with the idea that separating families and mothers from children is cruel, he added quote, the children will be taken care of, put into foster care or whenever. That`s a verbatim quote, or whatever.

And if Kelly`s words or whatever about the state of 18 months old don`t exactly fill you with confidence, the federal government has aware with all the capacity or attention to take care of these children, their track record makes it clear that your doubts are warranted. Because last month "New York Times" reported that the HHS lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children placed with sponsors. Of more than 7,000 unaccompanied minors, those are minors who come without parents who cross the border, that`s 1,500 children lost by the government.

Here to help me understand what the administration is doing to these children and their families. Lee Gelernt, the National Immigrants` Rights Project, ACLU was recently in El Paso and Laura St. John, Legal Director at the Florence Project and nonprofit in Arizona provides free legal services to people in immigration custody.

Let me start with you, Laura. I just want to start in a sort of a factual basis, which is the government`s doing something they haven`t been doing before which is to separate children from parents, right?

LAURA ST. JOHN, LEGAL DIRECTOR, FLORENCE PROJECT: That`s correct, Chris. I mean, what`s happening right now is really unprecedented. What we`ve seen here in Arizona is actually since January over 200 cases of parents being separated from their children. And some of these children are extremely young as you mentioned.

We`ve actually seen children who are 2 years old regularly. And just last week we saw a 53-week-old infant in court without a parent.

HAYES: I don`t -- I`m sorry. I`m having a really hard time thinking about this. So, a 53-week-old infant comes with presumably his or her mother and they`re apprehended by customs border patrol. And then their process in some way and at some point someone from the government in a uniform comes and physically takes a 53-week-old baby away from the mother?

ST. JOHN: That`s correct, yes. What happens oftentimes at the border is that the parents are separated and taken into separate custody and the children are brought into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and brought into shelters that are run by the government.

HAYES: There are shelters, and then who -- like it`s hard to run a child care system. Like, who`s watching the 53-week-old infant?

ST. JOHN: So again, it`s the Office of Refugee Resettlement is tasked with housing children who are unaccompanied minors. And in the past that`s always referred to children who cross the border sort of on their own, and wasn`t really involving young children like what we`re seeing now.

HAYES: I see.

ST. JOHN: But what we`re seeing now is because the government is separating the children as unaccompanied minors and making them unaccompanied, and bring them into these shelters.

HAYES: So, you -- OK, so that makes -- now I understand. So you`ve got a situation where there are unaccompanied minors who cross the border by themselves and they tend to be 14, 15, likely.

LEE GELERNT, ATTORNEY, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: You know, and that`s unfortunate that they`re here by themselves and they need somewhere to go, that`s one situation, but why create that situation? That`s what`s happening now. We`re creating it.

HAYES: OK. So -- but I just want to be clear. We didn`t do that before. Policy used to be you show up with an 18-month-old in your arm, you`re not going to given -- you`re not going to be told, hey, you can come to US. You will be process with that child.

GELERNT: This is unprecedented. This is the worst thing I`ve seen in 25 plus years of doing the civil rights work.

I mean, I am to these mothers and they`re describing these kids screaming mommy, mommy, don`t let them take me away, 5 years old, 6 years old. And they are just being ripped away.

HAYES: Do they see them?

GELERNT: I really -- they don`t see them. They get to speak to them once in a while. But, of course, you`re talking about an 18-month-old, 3 years old, they can`t speak on the phone. I really feel like this policy debates are becoming so abstract.

If the policy makers could sit in those ICE offices down there at the border for a day and watch these little kids begging to not be taken away. They`re already traumatized from having to flee their countries and then they`re taking away. The medical evidence is overwhelming that we may be doing permanent trauma to these kids.

And yet, the government is finding every way they can to try and justify it. And let me make two points about the statements that the secretary has been putting out, Secretary Nielsen. She is saying, you don`t want your child taken away, go to a port of entry and present yourselves, and say you want asylum. People who are presenting themselves including their Congolese mom who was the (inaudible) presented themselves at a border, still had their child taken away.

HAYES: I want to talk about this story for a second. A woman fleeing the Congo --


HAYES: --comes to the United States not sneaking in. She showing up at a port of entry to say, I am here seeking asylum in America, the beacon of liberty, with my child. I throw myself on your mercy and the US government does what?

GELERNT: They put her in a makeshift hotel with the daughter for four days, and then they say to them, we want the daughter to come in another room for a second. And the daughter goes in another room and the mother then hears the child screaming, please, please don`t take me away from my mommy.

The mother wasn`t told for four days where the child was going, she went to Chicago, the mother is San Diego. Chicago might as well be the moon for someone from a little village in the Congo, gets to speak to the daughter once every few weeks for a few minutes.

When we filed the lawsuit, then the government says, well, by the time she made it to the Congo, she no longer at her papers. Well, of course not. And they said maybe she wasn`t really the mother.

The judge says, well don`t you do a DNA test? They do the DNA test which takes two seconds.

HAYES: And of course she`s the mother.

GELERNT: Of course, the mother.

HAYES: I want to read to you, Laura, from one of the declarations from Honduran mother name Miriam who was separated from her 18-month-old son just about that moment that happens.

"Immigration officers made me walk out my son to a government vehicle and place my son in a car seat in the vehicle. My son was crying as I put him in the seat. I did not even have a chance to comfort my son because the officers slammed the door shut as soon as he was in the seat. I was crying too. I cry even now when I think about that moment when the border officer took my son away."

Is that common? Is that happening a lot?

ST. JOHN: You know, I think what our client`s report in terms of the devastation that they feel having been separated from their children, I hear stories of that nature pretty regularly, unfortunately. And the type of devastation that we`re talking about, you know, what Lee mentioned where a family are separated, the mother doesn`t know where her child is for four days.

That`s entirely common right now in this administration, is that children and parents who are separated sometimes don`t have any way to communicate with each other for days, for weeks. I`ve seen months where a parent had no idea where their child was after the US government took the child away.

HAYES: You`re suing?

GELERNT: We are.

HAYES: Can they do this?

GELERNT: We don`t believe they can. We are waiting for the decision. We are hoping the judge says this can`t happen any longer.

And I want to make one other point. Even though women and fathers across the border, they`re being prosecuted. We don`t think the asylum seekers should be prosecuted.

What we`ve said to the government, what we`ve said in court is, you want to prosecute them for this misdemeanor, and they get a few days in jail, they take the kid away for those few days, give the child back after.

We have a client, the main plaintiff in our case, one of the main plaintiffs, she did time served for a few days for the prosecution. It`s been seven months, they haven`t returned her child.

HAYES: Where is the kid?

GELERNT: He`s in a facility in Chicago and they told her--

HAYES: In Chicago?

GELERNT: And she`s in Texas. And they told her your son is in Chicago. And she said to us, I don`t know whether Chicago is a man, a place, a facility. That`s all they said to her. Your son is in Chicago.

HAYES: Your -- what is a lawsuit contend about why they do not have the power to do this? I mean, it`s morally odious.


HAYES: It`s obviously despicable.


HAYES: I`m sorry, I`m editorializing. Why is it not permissive?

HAYES: So we say the due process clause prevents a family from being separate, a parent-child, unless there is compelling reason. But that`s traditionally mend, if the parent is a danger to the child.

Of course, you separate if the parent is beating the child or neglect or unfit. But you don`t just separate for no reason and we -- and so now the government won`t, in court, admit that they`re doing it to punish and deter, even though they were saying publically, so they`re trying to come up with these red--

HAYES: Really, they`re not being clear about that?

GELERNT: No. And so, they`re coming up with these retroactive justifications like what--

HAYES: So they`re saving -- they`re doing it for a reason, not a blanket policy to stop people keep them from coming.

GELERNT: When the judge pressed is and said what`s the reason, they said, "Well, maybe it`s not really the parent. And the judge said what about DNA?" And, you know, it just went like that, one after another, they are saying--

HAYES: They won`t admit what the policy is?

GELERNT: They won`t admit the rationale for the policy. But when you go through their rationales and none of them make sense, it`s clear why they`re doing it. They`re doing it to deter the asylum seekers.

HAYES: And just to be clear, Laura, like -- I just want to be clear on this because I know that there`s a lot of things about the way that immigration policy works in this country. They have been broken and terrible for a long time.

And sometimes people find them in the Trump administration and turns out there`s been stuff like this happening for a long time. But this is not that, right? You`ve been doing this work. This is new.

ST. JOHN: Yes, absolutely. Again, this is unprecedented. The number of people that we are seeing being separated is like nothing I`ve seen, and I`ve been here for nearly a decade in Arizona doing immigration work.

HAYES: Does it take a toll on -- I keep thinking about having that job of taking a screaming child away. Does it take a toll on the people who are doing this?

ST. JOHN: You know, I can`t speak for anybody who works for border patrol. But I will say that I think what is happening is absolutely inhumane. I think you mentioned that a lot of things about immigration law are complicated and can be confusing. And I would say this is not that situation.

You know, taking parents and children and separating them for no good reason, there is no reason to do that. It`s just unjustifiable, frankly and inhumane.

HAYES: If you`re watching this and you feel like it is unjustifiable, I mean, I would really urge you to contact people that represent you in the United States government and to tell them that you feel that way. Lee Gelernt and Laura St. John, thank you both.

ST. JOHN: Thank you.


HAYES: We are back with the all in 4th of July fireworks show, and if you are going to mix-up the elements for a truly explosive breaking news story, a president, an affair, an X-rated movie star, that should get you TNT.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Donald Trump`s long time personal fixer had paid an adult film actress named Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her alleged affair with the president. We spoke to Richard Painter, the Chief White House Ethics Lawyer under George W. Bush, now a Senate candidate in Minnesota. His response was memorable.


HAYES: To the extent that you don`t care about the president being unfaithful to his wife, what ethical issue is there here from your perspective?

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER CHIEF WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, the whole thing is disgusting. We`ve had a disgusting past week to ten days. And we have a president who refers to the countries where Americans of African descent, from as ass-holes. And now we have this, using $100,000 buy off silence from some porn star and he`s having some kinky sex with.

And now he`s going to fly down to Mar-a-Lago, get a $100,000 they had on some fundraiser, guess who`s going to pay for him to fly down there on Air Force 1, the taxpayers. I mean that`s the big picture here.

He probably does not have legal liability with respect to this payment. The prosecution theory in the John Edwards case I think was a very weak one.


PAINTER: We have a lot of right wingers spending money to try and nail Clinton on his sexual affairs and nobody called those campaign contradictions to Republicans. I don`t think that theory works very well.

If he engage in money laundering, anything like that, he could get in trouble. I don`t think he made the mistakes that (inaudible) made when he was kind of buy a silence with people he had actually sex with, we views as children.

But the main point here is, Donald Trump uses these LLCs and all these shell entities and he has hundreds of them for all sorts of purposes. And paying off porn stars that he`s had affairs with, that`s only one of his purposes.

He may be getting money from the Russians. I mean, Rob Mueller, Robert Mueller needs to get to the bottom of what`s going on with the finances. And every time Robert Mueller goes there, Trump gets upset, which means there`s something there.

We`ve known that Donald Trump has had these LLCs, many of them. We`ve known that for months. And that Mr. Cohen setup a lot of them, some of his other lawyers setup other ones. Robert Mueller needs to look at every single one of them. Robert Mueller is not going to make the mistake Ken Starr did and getting all worked (inaudible). Yes, we know we`ve got a pervert in the White House.

But he`s going to focus, Robert Mueller is going to focus on the money and money that comes from foreign nationals and from other sources. If there is money laundering, that will be prosecuted. That`s Mueller`s job, not focusing on the sex.


HAYES: Coming Up, when White House Chief of Staff John Kelly blatantly lied about a Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson offered a fiery response right here on "All IN." Don`t go away.


HAYES: When John Kelly was hired as White House Chief of Staff, he was touted as the adult in the room, the person who was going to restrain the president`s ugliest impulses. There were reasons to be skeptical if you had heard him talk about, for instance, immigrants as a secretary of Homeland Security.

But it was not until Kelly`s confrontation, the Democratic congressman from Florida, that it became crystal clear how much he shares in common with the president he serves.

It all began last year after four US soldiers were killed during an operation in the West African nation of Niger. And one of those soldiers was army Sergeant La David Johnson, a family friend of the Florida Congressman Frederica Wilson. And Wilson was there with La David Johnson`s widow when a phone call came from the president of the United States.

According to the congresswoman that call did not go out. In fact, she told reporters, the president was, quote, "insensitive" to the soldier`s widow, telling her that her husband knew what he signed up for but when it happens, it hurts anyway. In response, the White House went beyond simply denying Congresswoman Wilson`s account. They sent Chief of Staff John Kelly to the White House podium, where he delivered a full on character assassination.


GEN. JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: In October -- April rather of 2015, I still on active duty, and I went to the dedication of the new FBI Field Office in Miami.

It was dedicated to two men who were killed in a fire fight. There were family members there. Some of the children that were there were only three or four years old when their dad were killed. A congresswoman stood up and the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building. We were stunned, stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.


HAYES: That story was a lie. We know it was a lie because there was a video the event Kelly was lying about which we played in fall here on "ALL IN."


REP. FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: Well, all men and women and first responders who work in law enforcement stand up, stand up now so that we can applaud you in what you do. Stand up, we are proud of you.


HAYES: But even after being exposed as a liar, John Kelly, the adult in the room, insisted he had done nothing wrong.


KELLY: Do you feel like you have something to apologize?


KELLY: No, never. I will apologize if I need to but something like this, I absolutely not. I standby my comments.


HAYES: There was no surprise when John Kelly`s credibility again a few months later when it was revealed the Rob Porter, the White House Staff Secretary who handled every classified document across the president`s desk have been accused of domestic abuse by two ex wives, and that senior White House officials knew all about it. Kelly told reporters that he fired Porter as soon as he learned the allegation is credible.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you clarify to us exactly -- the reporting about the timeline when you found out about it? Can you clarify that?

KELLY: Tuesday night. Tuesday night.


KELLY: The accusations approved (inaudible).


HAYES: That was another lie. Tuesday night in question, Kelly had defended Porter in a public statement calling him "a man of true integrity and honor, a friend and confidante, and a trusteed profession."

The following day, the White House, the White House was still standing by Porter, even after images emerged of his ex-wife with a black eye, which she said she got when he punched her in the face. That night, we thought we a little perspective from someone with firsthand experience of Kelly`s dishonestly, Congressman Frederica Wilson and her response did not disappoint.


WILSON: This is classic Kelly. He lied on me and now he`s lying everyday on the news. And the sad part about it is, this is a four-star general, retired, who I supposed was an honorable man and wakes up every morning watching TV, as he loses each one of those stars. Each one he has lost for lying.

And he has gotten himself into a situation where the entire body of people surrounding him are willing to lie for the president of the United States. This is crazy. Why would he put his wonderful career on the line for Donald Trump who will throw anyone under the bus? It is just beating his time before he throws him under the bus. It is awful. It is awful.

HAYES: Do you think that he can continue to do his job, Mr. Kelly, given what you just said?

WILSON: He`s going to get beat up everyday. People are not going to forget that he tried to take up for or defend a wife beater, someone who did not have security clearance to work in the White House? And I believe the president knew, too. I believe they all knew months ago that this gentleman beat up his wife, two of them, and it is my understanding that a girlfriend came forward.

I don`t think people will forget that and just move on? They`ll continue to speak about it because that`s wrong and it`s painful. And he has not even expressed one ounce of sympathy to those poor victims who had the courage to come forward and tell of their experience.

And when you have a security clearance, the FBI questions you and they know. And they say this gentleman did not pass his security clearance. So why is he still there? Why are they protecting him? Because they don`t respect women.

HAYES: Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, thank you for your time tonight. I really appreciate it.

WILSON: Thank you.


HAYES: We will be right back to wrap up our own 4th of July fireworks show. Don`t go away.


HAYES: I have begun a new project this year that I`m really excited about of my new podcast "Why Is This Happening," which has new episodes every Tuesday, featuring in-depth conversations with some of the most interesting people I know. You can download it anywhere you get your podcast and do not forget to subscribe. Thank you for joining us on this special 4th of July edition of ALL IN. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now.


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