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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 03/09/15

Guests: Chris Murphy, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Charles Bagli, David Feige

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: The end of these negotiations isn`t an unintended consequence of congressional action. It is very much an intended consequence. HAYES: Republicans declare war on peace talks, writing an open letter to the mullahs in Iran to try and sink a nuclear deal. Tonight, the president is responding. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it`s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iraq. HAYES: Meanwhile, in Hillary land -- JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: All of this is just the same cockamamie stuff that we go through. HAYES: Why new polling shows America is on track to get the election it deserves. Plus, a true crime bombshell from HBO. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was found inside this. HAYES: Charlie Bagli of "The New York Times" on re-opening the case against Robert Durst. And why a hip-hop musical about America`s first treasury secretary has everyone from Paul McCartney to Rupert Murdoch raving. (SINGING) HAYES: My interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius behind "Hamilton." LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, PRODUCER: The fight between Hamilton and Jefferson are the fights you`re still having on your network. HAYES: ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. A stunning escalation in Republicans` attempts to sabotage nuclear diplomacy with Iran was on display today. The latest move, an extremely unusual open letter signed by 47 Republican senators written to the Iranian regime, essentially instructing them that any deal they reach with Washington won`t be worth the paper on which it is printed. Quote, "It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time." The letter was organized by freshman Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas who proudly admitted to a conservative audience back in January that he wanted to quash the ongoing negotiations. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COTTON: Certain voices call for congressional restraint, urging Congress not to act now, lest Iran walk away from the negotiating table, undermining the fabled yet always absent moderates in Iran. But the end of these negotiations isn`t an unintended consequence of congressional action. It is very much an intended consequence -- a feature, not a bug, so to speak. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: In other words, all this time, the White House has been urging Congress not that pass new sanctions while negotiators were working out a deal with Iran, because new sanctions might spook the Iranians and kill the deal. But Republicans are saying, yes, that`s the point. It`s a strategy that`s been playing out in other ways too. Just last week, we saw the culmination of another highly unusual diplomatic gambit on the part of Republicans when House leaders invited a foreign leader to come to Washington to speak to Congress to essentially campaign against the president`s Iran policy without even notifying the White House the invitation had been extended. It is perhaps an unprecedented series of power plays as the deadline for a deal with Iran grows near and experts say negotiators are close to a historic deal. The White House today framed Republicans` latest move in the context of a partisan strategy to undermine the president on the issue. The president himself sought to remind everyone who shares the Republican goal who else wants to see any potential nuclear deal scuttled. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I think it`s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran, it`s an unusual coalition. I think what we`re going to focus on right now is actually seeing whether we can get a deal or not. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Whatever the merits or objections to the individual deal that might be reached with Iran, the details of which we do not know, I should note, it`s striking to consider a world in which the opposite scenario were playing out. Just now, imagine a Republican president openly planning a military engagement against Iran, and nearly the entire Democratic Senate caucus signing an open letter to the Iranian leadership, saying the president does not have the constitutional power to go to war and expressing an interest in a negotiated peace deal. And that should be quite different. Joining me now, Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut. Senator, your reaction to this? How unprecedented is this? How normal is it? Where does it rank in that scale? SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: I have never seen anything like this. And to play out your analogy to recent events, imagine if in the days or weeks or months leading up to the Iraq war, if Democrats in Congress had sent a letter to Saddam Hussein advising him of Congress` role in declaring war on a foreign enemy. There`s no way that would have happened and Democrats would have been roundly and rightly denounced for doing it. So, I`ve never seen anything like it. I`m glad at least that Tom Cotton is admitting that the reason for this is really to scuttle negotiations. And hopefully, Republicans now will be willing to, you know, have a really honest conversation about what they really want, because if you are so enthusiastic about scuttling negotiations, but you are also so enthusiastic about making sure that Iran doesn`t obtain a nuclear weapon, then there`s really only one place to go, that`s a military strike against Iran. That is a war with Iran. It`s something that even President Obama has left on the table. But maybe now we can have an honest conversation about the consequences of their actions that they`re undertaking. HAYES: Let me sort of get on the other side of this and play devil`s advocate for a moment. I find myself torn between sort of two different impulses on foreign policy, one is a preference for diplomacy over war particularly in the circumstances as the general rule but the other is a belief that the executive has gotten too powerful. Congress has really passed the buck on matters of war and peace and there is something -- there is some sort of institutional prerogative for Congress to insert itself. What do you think about that? MURPHY: So, I think that`s right and, you know, of course, if you read that letter, there`s nothing to really disagree with except for the -- you know, maybe significant point that Cotton and his friends actually get the Constitution wrong, it`s not actually the Congress that ratifies an agreement. It`s the president that ratifies it. Congress approves that ratification. But the reality is that Congress has abdicated its role on setting foreign affairs, but there is a line which I think is inappropriate to cross. When the president is sitting down across from a foreign power negotiating a deal that can save the world from war, the Congress should wait until that deal is signed and then weigh in appropriately. I agree that Congress has the ability to step in and essentially cancel out this deal by legislative initiative if it`s a bad deal. But we don`t have a deal yet and so it is inappropriate for Congress at this point to be stepping in and essentially trying to substitute itself for the executive. That`s not what the Founding Fathers, I think, envision when they asked Congress to play a role, both in oversight and approval of these agreements that the executives are entering into. HAYES: You know, today on Twitter, something trending was #loganact, 18th piece of legislation that essentially makes it a criminal violation, illegal to conduct foreign policies with private citizens. Some people are saying the Republicans are guilty of this. What do you think of that? MURPHY: I don`t buy that. I think it`s certainly within the bounds of Congress` legal ability in order to send an open letter to the Iranian leadership as they did today. But again, I just think we should take this for what it is and there`s this, you know, corresponding effort to have Congress weigh in immediately upon this deal being reached. And I`ve been arguing to a lot of my clicks to be careful about going down that road, because I just don`t think the Republicans will look at this deal honestly. I think everything is going to be colored by their hatred for the president. And I think this is just another signal coming on the heels of the partisan invitation to Netanyahu that Republicans really aren`t interested in evaluating this deal. They`re just interested in trying to embarrass this president. And let`s be honest, if this deal results in Iran divorcing itself from nuclear weapons this a verifiable way, then there is no president, a Republican or a Democrat, who is going to walk away from that deal and, of course, none of us have seen it yet. HAYES: Senator Chris Murphy, thank you, sir. Appreciate it. MURPHY: Thanks. Joining me now MSNBC political analyst and former RNC chair, Michael Steele. Michael, is this politics as usual or is this an extraordinary step? MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: This is politics of the unusual in many respects. I think the senator is right. I don`t think we`ve seen this kind of reaction to a president`s negotiation in the past and certainly I know as well as you and the senator noted, that if this were on the other foot, the shoe on the other foot, Republicans would be outraged if Democrats had done a similar thing during the Gulf War and during the war in Iraq. Having said all of that, though, I think there is certainly recognition or there should be that the Congress does have a role to play here. The question is, are they playing it prematurely? I think a lot of that has to do not to shift the focus or blame or anything like that, but how much is the administration really working with the intelligence committees and the House and the Senate, the respective leadership to make sure that they are part of this process and they have this sense that there is a level of verification. There is a level of truth to what the expectation is going to be once this deal is executed. No one in Washington or the diplomatic community, the political community, foreign affairs community believes that right now Iran is going to be a position to adhere or support or live up to any agreement that is broached by the administration. They`re biding time given what`s going on economically in that their country. HAYES: First of all, I would just disagree with that. I mean, there are lots of people who believe that they have incentives entering into a deal and can enter into a verifiable deal. I mean -- STEELE: And the incentive is not the same thing as honoring the deal three, four years from now. The incentive -- HAYES: Right. But the question becomes what are the -- (CROSSTALK) STEELE: Why do you put a subset provision on the deal? HAYES: Right? STEELE: But why is the administration advocating a sunset provision on a deal like this? Ten years out, we`re going to revisit this conversation about whether or not Iran should have nukes, either they`re allowed to have them now or they`re not allowed them 10 years from now? HAYES: That`s exactly not the issue, right? Because the issue is it`s not a question whether they`re allowed to have nukes, right, the problem is they could be a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, and as we saw with North Korea, essentially under the cover of the NPT`s allowances for civilian development, develops civilian weapons and step out of the treaty in the next day, or within a few months, or within six months have a weapon. The question is how long that`s delayed and if bombing is going to set them back for five years and diplomacy sets them back for 10, it does seem to me like ten is greater than five. STEELE: Yes, by the new math you`re absolutely right. HAYES: It`s not new math. It`s the old math. STEELE: But I think -- I think -- I think in terms, of how we`re calculating the security of the Middle East and security of the world, whether or not we want to even go down that road, and I think it`s a legitimate question for Congress to ask, what is the administration negotiating? Yes, they can wait and see what the administration signs and puts on the table then play catch-up, but I also think, it probably given the significance and severity of this, that it is in the administration`s best long-term interest to get a deal done to have at least some input, some communication -- I`m assuming there isn`t given the Senate`s reaction. HAYES: Let me ask you this, I thought the document -- the document was interesting in a few ways. One, it`s couched as an open letter to the Iranian regime and sort of constitutional lesson. Presumably right -- I mean, whatever you think about the sort of moral stature of that regime and all the terrible things they`ve done in terms of human right and abuses, like they`re not idiots, right? Like presumably a country sophisticated enough to put together a nuclear bomb can hire people to they will them how the constitutional system works, right? STEELE: Well, I have to admit that part of it was a little bit off- putting to put it politely. I mean, it was like a little civics lesson. You know, I was thinking -- remember that old program in the `70s, this is how a bill is made. HAYES: That`s right, they should have sent them -- they should have tweeted them -- STEELE: Just send a tape. HAYES: Schoolhouse Rock. Michael Steele -- STEELE: Go ahead. HAYES: No. Please, finish your point. STEELE: No, you know this, is serious stuff and I think, you know, the Congress has a role to play. The question that needs to be worked out between the administration and the Congress is, do they have a role now or do they have a role later? HAYES: Let me just say this, I do think -- I sort of on the question of sort of treaty ratification, advice and concept a strong question about what role Congress plays on this. I just think it`s massively premature. Michael Steele, always a pleasure. Thank you. STEELE: All right. Here`s a quote today from a piece I love from journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty on possible Bush-Clinton presidential race. Quote, "It will be a boring substance-less grind that turns on just which candidate`s operation can direct slightly more of the public`s disgust over the worst parts of the last two decades at the other candidate." On the bright side, it could be quite the learning opportunity and tell you why ahead. Stick around for that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Co-creator of "The Simpsons", Sam Simon died yesterday at 59 after being diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and given just three months to live. Late 1980s, he was hired to help put together a show based on animated characters created by Matt Groening which became, of course, "The Simpsons", the longest running animated show in history. He ran the writers room and came up with the look for some of "The Simpsons" characters, including Mr. Burns, Dr. Hibbert, Chief Wiggum. He left the show after just four seasons because of tension with Groening, but Sam Simon is more than just the co-creator of "The Simpsons". He`s described as being but is described as an animal rights activist, or depth vegan, philanthropist, art collector and poker champion and decided to spend "The Fortune", he made from "The Simpsons", charity telling "Vanity Fair" in an interview I`m an atheist but there is a thing called tithing. Ten percent was the minimum and I always outdid that. Here`s Simon in an interview last year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So how does that work? Someone tells you have basically very limited amount of time to live and you say it`s the happiest you`ve ever been. Explain that to me. How is that possible? SAM SIMON: Somehow I ended up surrounded by people that love me and take care of me and will do anything for me. It`s a good feeling. That`s called happiness. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When people around you that love you and you let it in. SIMON: I think I may have had a problem letting it in before. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So cancer has been an incredible lesson to you? SIMON: It`s -- it`s been a fight. It`s been an adventure. It`s been an education. It`s been the most amazing experience of my life. (END VIDEO CLP) HAYES: All day people have been sharing their favorite "Simpsons" moments on Twitter and Facebook. If you`d like to share yours, go to our Facebook page at and leave it in the comment section. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: Jeb Bush has tried to set himself apart from his brother and father by insisting that he`s, quote, "my own man." The fact that the presumptive presidential candidate is closely related to two former presidents came up more than once this weekend during Bush`s quasi-campaign tour of Iowa. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: A lot of people know me as George`s boy or Barbara`s boy or W.`s brother -- all of which I`m very proud of to be honest with you. I came back to work on my dad`s campaign. I learned a lot by campaigning for my dad and for my brother. People in Iowa treated all of the Bush family so well. I really had a good time and my dad won. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: While Bush was in Iowa spores supporters of Hillary Clinton were trying to play down the revelations that Clinton used a private e-mail exclusively as Secretary of State, something Clinton herself is expected to publicly discuss for the first time later this week. Much like Bush, Clinton supporters spent a lot of time talking about the past. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARVILLE: You remember Whitewater, do you remember foul-gate, do you remember travel-gate? Do you remember pardon-gate? Do you remember Benghazi? All of this is just the same cockamamie stuff -- the story isn`t right but says something larger about the Clintons. This is never going to end. There`s one set of rules for the Clintons and there`s one for everybody else. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: James -- CARVILLE: There`s always going to be a distraction in Clinton land. There never is a time when there`s not. I have lived through this for 20 years. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: As all of this was going on this weekend, something clicked imperceptibly in the place for me in my head, a feeling not unlike the despair felt by Michael Brendan Dougherty when he considered a potential Clinton/Bush presidential race. There`s a very good chance that`s the race we get. Clinton is in as strong a position as any non-incumbent trying to win a major party nomination has ever been. She appears to be a far stronger candidate than she ran and almost won the nomination years ago. Bush locked down the most sought after minds in his party. He`s doing very well in the exceedingly important GOP money primary. Last week, we learned that Bush is reportedly -- I love this detail -- asking donors not to give him more than $1 million for now since all the big donations could appear unseemly. Meanwhile, new polling today from NBC News and "The Wall Street Journal" finds there is some dynasty fatigue out there, the majority of voters saying both Clinton and Bush represent a return to policies of the past, most do not object to a general election featuring members of the Clinton and Bush families. Now, I find the prospect of general election that no matter the outcome will result in America having four out of five presidents in a row come from the same two families, I find that dispiriting, let`s say. It would also, though, however, I have to say be a pretty honest reflection in which power in concentrated among the elite and well- connected and where most Americans, social mobility is little more than an abstract idea. If Bush-Clinton is the election we get, it`s about as truthful a mirror you could possibly hold up in the state of American democracy. Joining me now, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of "The Nation". What do you think of that? KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION: You captured a lot of what I think. There is something going on whether fluke or structural that we confront this dynastic moment. It does parallel the concentration of wealth and power and what one might call the end of social mobility in this country. It is not healthy for our democracy. At "The Nation", we believe a contested primary certainly on the Democratic side is good for the country, for the candidate, for the Democratic Party. HAYES: For everyone. VANDEN HEUVEL: For people, for activists, for everyone. HAYES: Arguments are good. (CROSSTALK) VANDEN HEUVEL: Debates, I mean, this country has enormous challenges, right? You want an election that is commensurate with the scale of the problems, the challenges this country faces, and if it`s just this kind of even dynastic process, you`re not going to get those debates. You need people who are going to come in and challenge the limits of the debate. There are people out there -- you know that, Chris, I mean whether it`s Bernie Sanders, James Webb, former senator from Virginia, Governor O`Malley of Maryland and, of course, there`s Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has such -- (CROSSTALK) VANDEN HEUVEL: -- so resonated with the American people, many that you have a Draft Warren campaign. On the other hand, I do think Senator Clinton, to be fair, you know, we hear a lot about dynastic politics. The Bushes are a dynasty. The polls, Rand (ph) are a dynasty. The Clintons are not a dynasty. It is a political marriage and I think it`s -- HAYES: It`s an important distinction. VANDEN HEUVEL: I have a lot of issues with her issues, Senator Clinton`s. HAYES: Sort of substantively. VANDEN HEUVEL: Substantively, but she is a woman that`s been two-time senator, secretary of state and, you know, occasionally one could argue the baggage of her marriage has not helped her. HAYES: Yes. VANDEN HEUVEL: So I do think we need to think hard about the differences. HAYES: This is an important point, right? So, when you talk about the Bush family, right, and the Clinton family, the Bushes and Clintons, there is a real distinction between two sons that inherited a mantel from their father who inherited the mantle from his father, who of course, was a senator, you know, down the line and a woman and a man who met as real equals and forged an equal partnership and has her own profile, as Rebecca Tracer (ph) pointed out as they met in a time -- VANDEN HEUVEL: In their lives. HAYES: -- in their lives, and particularly in this sort of women`s equality movement, such as that this was a way that it was very difficult to imagine running as a 25-year-old woman back -- VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely, and when she spoke as the commencement speaker at Wellesley and she was on the Watergate Commission and Children`s Defense Fund, then she made a wifely move moving with her husband to Arkansas. I do think -- listen, I think Senator Clinton is too tethered to Wall Street. I do think you have a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party between what I might call the Warren wing and Clinton wing of the party. On the other hand, she is going to run in a different way than 2008. She is going to embrace gender. She is going to bring to the fore the centrality of women`s economic issues and link that to the struggle of the middle class, and I think she will do so in an atmosphere in this country where there`s much more resonance for kind of a populist tinged economic feminism than there was in 2008. HAYES: There is this problem which is sort of distinct from that. I mean, the thing about I think part of what was extremely inspiring about Barack Obama`s story was that it was a story about America that`s the most -- the kind of story we like to tell ourselves about what kind of country we are. Only in America could this kid go from where he was to go to the White House and I think everyone -- a lot of people felt good about themselves we were the kind of country that produced that. You know, that`s not looking like -- even the insurgent, right -- as you pointed out this is an important point. Even one of the big insurgents, anti-establishment candidates in the Republican field is just the son of the last insurgent anti-establishment candidate. VANDEN HEUVEL: But, you know, to go back to the issues, Chris, you began by talking -- I mean, this is the first real post-Citizens United open the slosh gates of big money, individual corporate -- HAYES: Without an incumbent, exactly. VANDEN HEUVEL: Without an incumbent. So, what we`re witnessing is the corrosion of American democracy and in that, we will witness if we don`t -- when I say we, I`m talking about independent movements, independent activists, people who want to have a debate that will raise the issues this country needs to hear and I think that is incumbent upon us, the people, because we the people deserve better than this dynastic. HAYES: And it`s not an accident big money and dynasty, sort of, go hand in glove, right, because social networks, donor connections. We`re seeing it play out everywhere. VANDEN HEUVEL: Yes. HAYES: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, always great. VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you. Thank you. HAYES: Thank you. All right. If you come from an Irish Catholic family, like I do, you know that often the way our people deal with problems and crises is simply never to mention them, hoping that somehow makes them go away. Apparently, the state of Florida is trying that too with perhaps the single biggest threat they face. I`ll explain, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: So, an organization called the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting had a big scoop about how they run things down in Florida off Governor Rick Scott. Apparently, according to Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, the state`s Department of Environmental Protection has banned the term "climate change" and "global warming", not allowing its staffers, or attorneys or anyone else to use it. Now the state is denying this, saying there is so such policy, but the Center for Investigative Reporting has interviews, some of which on the record, with people that used to work at the DEP saying it was known when Governor Rick Scott came in you could not talk about climate change or global warming. Now this is more than a little bit ironic, because if you had to pick a state in the union that was risking the most from climate change, Florida would be right up there. South Florida is facing, as The New York Times said, ominous prospects from rising waters and, of course, Florida is in the hurricane path. Most of the climate modeling we have shows that as the Earth gets warmer and that ocean holds more and more warm energy, hurricanes are going to get stronger and hurricanes have a way of finding themselves on the Florida peninsula. So Governor Rick Scott decides that the way to counter that is simply to make sure that his state agency doesn`t discuss the thing, the way that at a family dinner you might talk about your uncle who is alcoholic. This all reminded me of a piece of art I saw that had stuck with me. It`s by an artist name Isaac Cordall. It`s that big image there there. And the title of the piece of work is politicians discussing climate change. I think if you squint real hard right there in the back you can make our Rick Scott. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Time for a bonus ninth day of genius in MSNBC`s seven days of genius project, and it`s the genius of founding father Alexander Hamilton, the subject of an amazing new production here in New York City called "Hamilton." It is the single hottest ticket anywhere off or on Broadway, winning rave reviews from everyone from Andrew Lloyd Weber to Rupert Murdoch. Recently I had the opportunity to talk with the genius behind "Hamilton," Tony-award winning composer and my good friend Lin-Manuel Miranda who has been working on this project for years. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, COMPOSER: I`m thrilled the White House called me tonight because I`m actually working on a hip-hop album that`s a concept album about the life of someone I think embodies hip-hop, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. (MUSIC) HAYES: Guests at the White House gathered that night probably weren`t expecting a hip-hop performance based on the life of Alexander Hamilton as told y his nemesis Aaron Burr. But that`s exactly what they got from actor and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda. (MUSIC) HAYES: What they also got was a very early sneak preview of the biggest hottest ticket currently off Broadway. MANUEL: So I started writing in 2008. I wrote that song I performed at the White House in 2009. That was the only thing I had written at that point. HAYES: Which is now the show`s opening number. MIRANDA: Yeah. HAYES: That show is called "Hamilton." I was lucky enough to catch it in previews. After all, Nin-Manuel Miranda and I go way back to our days at Hunter College High School. And over the last few weeks a parade of bold-faced names have made the pilgrimage to New York`s public theater to see it. Everyone from Bill Clinton to Paul McCartney. As Hamilton lyrics will tell you, it`s the story of the $10 founding father without a father as chronicled through hip-hop anthems and R&B ballads. And it`s been years in the making. Fresh off his debut musical "In the Heights" for which he won a Tony Award for best original score, Miranda got his inspiration for Hamilton an 800-plus page book. MIRANDA: I still lived in the heights when I picked up Ron Chernow`s biography. At the end of the second chapter it was like, oh, this is a hip-hop story, you know, Ron really captures the relentlessness of Hamilton, and that`s what I sort of hooked into, too, this is an immigrant who wrote his way into the top of American society, helped create the country, and then wrote himself out of it. HAYES: Miranda has spent the past seven years working on his latest creation. MIRANDA: And I wrote -- spent 2009 writing my shot and then in 2010... HAYES: You spent a year writing that song. MIRANDA: I spent a year writing that song. HAYES: OK. What does that -- this is what is fascinating to me. Like what does it mean spending a year writing a song? MIRANDA: It means Hamilton is so much smarter than me that I need to -- this is the song where Hamilton like comes into the room and blows everyone away with the strength of his oratory and so every couplet has to be amazing. HAYES: "Hamilton," which is headed to Broadway this summer, not only reinvents the musical genre but remakes our view of the founding father. Portraying America`s first treasury secretary of reeking of new money. Hamilton and his contemporaries are depicted as over the top braggarts full of swagger and wit. MIRANDA: New money. HAYES: It`s new money, yes. In fact, Jefferson says smelling like new money in the second act. MIRANDA: Yeah, yeah and people made fun of him because he also like overdressed like crazy. He designed his own uniforms for his own like group of soldiers. He was like, well my soldiers are wearing this. It`s very Kanye. It`s very like -- it`s very like -- like my guys have to be dressed tight. It`s really quite mad. HAYES: The story of Alexander Hamilton is a story of ambitious 18th Century immigrant from the Caribbean, a man who sheer force of will helped lay down the foundation for a country, unique and quintessentially American. Hamilton was he a genius. MIRANDA: Hamilton was a for real genius, surrounded by geniuses. HAYES: But like, for -- he was more -- watching your show made me realize how much of a genius he was. MIRANDA: Yeah, yeah, because he was largely self-taught. He really wrote his way out of his circumstances and sort of played catch-up. He was reading about monetary policy during the Revolutionary War in the event that he`d be call to serve as treasurer -- like he was thinking ten steps ahead. I mean, I think if that`s the essence of genius, if it`s OK we have to win this war, but also have to like figure out how not be in perpetual revolution which is what we see all over the world today, which is what we see time and time again throughout history. You know, you see America stick the landing and then you see the French revolution which goes -- which cycles from chaos to dictator Rose Pierre to another genius Napoleon, who grabs everyone and says we`re going this way, and American really stuck the landing. And it`s a credit to one, you know, the virtue of coming up in the age of enlightenment, and two, these men who thought how do we -- and there was a lot of trial and error and I think one of the things that I`m proud of about the show is they come off as very human. And Napoleon and says we`re going this way and American really stuck the landing and it`s a credit to one, you know, the virtue of coming up in the age of enlightenment and two, these men who thought how do we -- and there was a lot of trial and error, and you know I think one of the things is that I`m proud of about the show is they come off as very human, and their fights are petty and, but the stakes are a country that will last and so the fights between Hamilton and Jefferson are the fights you`re still having on your network. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACTOR: I am not throwing away my shot. HAYES: The genius of Alexander Hamilton as told by the genius of Lin- Manuel Miranda. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: What would you tell like, 18-year-old or 19-year or a 20-year- old Lin-Manuel Miranda who is like working on the heights, or someone else out there who`s watching who`s like, I want to be -- I want to do this? What do you know now that you didn`t know then? MIRANDA: I know now that life`s not short, it`s long. Which is the thing that Washington keeps telling Hamilton. Dying is easy. Living is harder. To really get it right you think, oh, my gosh, look at this amazing first draft and then you realize what ten whacks at it can do to it, and you learn, oh, I didn`t know anything. I didn`t know anything. And so I would just tell them to hang on. In the words of Outcast, hold on, be strong. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: If you`re watching that and you`re a hip-hop head, a history buff, someone who loves musical theater or just loves things that are awesome and you were thinking to yourself, wait, how can I see that, you`re in luck. The run to the public is sold out but they just announced they`re moving to Broadway this summer and tickets are already on sale if you come to New York. All right, when Robert Durst was acquitted of murder it surprised a lot of people. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: The New York Times, generally not known for their ironic, humorous take on things, "New York City Real Estate Heir is Acquitted of Murder in Texas. Durst, Who Cut Up A Body, Argued Self- Defense." That`s as close as The New York Times will ever come to literally just making a joke on the front page. That`s like The New York Times just going can you [ bleep ] believe this? (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: All right, now a new document The Jinx may lead to the re- opening of that case. We`ll talk about it ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Last week, we brought you our special All In America investigation into the case of Rodney Reed who is currently on death row in Texas for the 1996 rape and murder of Stacey Stites. The prosecutor`s case hinged on a time line first established by Stites` fiance, himself an initial suspect; and also a match between Rodney Reed and DNA found inside Stites` body. There was no other forensic evidence linking him to her murder. The jury just took hours to convict him. His case is now in the hands of the Innocence Project who says there`s new evidence that exonerates him. And thanks to their work, a court stayed Reed`s scheduled execution. It remains to be seen what that court ultimately decides about Rodney Reed and his guilt or innocence but over the course of our investigation into his case and what it might indicate about the state of criminal justice in Texas, one juxtaposition kept resonating, the difference between Rodney Reed`s trial and that of another far more famous murder trial in Texas, that`s the 2003 trial of Robert Durst. Durst is the wealthy son of one of New York City`s most successful real estate tycoons. He had been living under an assumed identity in Galveston, Texas when arrested for the murder of his 71-year-old neighbor. The victim`s body was later found dismembered and dumped in Galveston Bay. Robert Durst skipped bail and was on the run for a month before getting arrested in Pennsylvania and extradited back to Texas. His $2 million defense team argued that Durst himself was the victim in the case, that his neighbor had confronted him with his gun and in the ensuing struggle, the gun went off, that in a panic, Durst chopped up the body, put it in garbage bags and tossed them into the sea. After deliberating for five days, the jury bought that self-defense argument finding Durst not guilty, even though he admitted to butchering the body, dumping it and skipping bail. The jury didn`t find enough evidence of premeditated murder. That wasn`t the only death or disappearance linked to Robert Durst. The reason he was in Galveston in the first place, according to his own testimony, was because a New York prosecutor had re-opened the investigation into the 1982 disappearance of his first wife. One of the people prosecutors were hoping to talk to was a friend of Robert Durst, a woman by the name of Susan Berman, but she was murdered in her home on Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills in December 2000. And as detailed in the HBO documentary miniseries "Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," there was a clue as to the identity of Berman`s killer. an anonymous letter sent to the Beverly Hills police department postmarked on the day police believe Berman died, alerting them to a cadaver at her home. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Susan Berman was found shot dead. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first person I thought of was Robert Durst, because we were about to speak with her. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Beverly Hills police department received a letter in the mail, 1527 Benedict Canyon and the word cadaver. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re writing a note to the police that only the killer could have written. (END VIDEO CLPI) HAYES: Then on last night`s episode of "Jinx" a shocking discovery: Susan Berman`s stepson finds a handwritten letter from Robert Durst to Susan Berman that looks horribly familiar. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He showed me a letter from Bob to Susan that was March before she was murdered. The address written on the front is exactly like the cadaver note down to the misspelling of Beverly. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That bombshell could be a new break in the case. Today, The New York Times reporting the district attorney in Los Angeles has recently re-opened an investigation into the killing of Mr. Durst`s friend Susan Berman in December 2000 and is tying it to the case about his missing wife in New York according to four people who have spoken to investigators. The reporter who broke that story and who has been reporting on Robert Durst for 15 years joins me next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Joining me now The New York Times reporter Charles Bagli and former public defender and author of "Indefensible: One Lawyer`s Journey Into the Inferno of American Justice" David Feige. Charles, let me start with you. You been reporting for the New York Times on this case and the Durst`s for 15 years. At this moment in the "Jinx" last night, which by the way I just want to say is an incredibly well done series, you`re in it and you feature fairly prominently in it, basically the way the cops know that Susan Berman is dead inside her apartment is they get this note, right, this anonymous note. Or they know -- they find the body before that, but this is the big clue, someone sends them an anonymous note. Last night we see a letter we know came from Robert Durst in which Beverly is misspelled the same way and it looks exactly like the handwriting. Did you know that reveal was coming? CHARLES BAGLI, NEW YORK TIMES: No, you know, it was so shocking because it looked like a -- an exact copy. And here`s the thing, in 2002, while Robert Durst is sitting in jail in Texas, the L.A. police ask for a handwriting sample and so, you know, Bob writes out something. But, you know, it`s very hard to get a handwriting expert to say the block lettering is the same because it`s different. HAYES: Ah, interesting. BAGLI: So, they thought, okay, that`s a dead end. So for, what is it now, 13 years it`s been a dead end. So this is a complete shock. HAYES: So you saw that moment live in real time. BAGLI: Yes. HAYES: And you were just like, oh. I mean... BAGLI: It was a holy shit moment. HAYES: Apologies for the word there. They don`t print that in The New York Times. Did you -- so you reported today about the fact that they are now re- opening the investigation? BAGLI: Yes. HAYES: What`s going on with that? BAGLI: Well, L.A. has been -- they`ve been in New York interviewing witnesses relative to Kathy Durst... HAYES: That`s the disappearance of his first wife. BAGLI: And they`ve been interviewing people in California relatives of Susan Berman, because there`s a whole story there too about Susan`s relationship with Bob. HAYES: And these have been cold cases for a very, very, very long time, people sniffing around trying to solve them. David, let me bring you in here and I want to ask you this. You know, I want to -- when you think about how important resources are to a defense, I mean, one of the episodes in this is this -- it seems like this guy is dead to rights, right, I mean, he admits that he chopped up the body of someone. He`s found with the saw that did it. Usually, usually... DAVID FEIGE, AUTHOR: That`s a bad fact. HAYES: Usually, yeah, that`s a bad fact a lawyer would say, right? Usually your lawyer is going to say, hey, buddy, let`s plea this one out and hope for the best. I mean, how -- I guess the question is, is it the case that with enough resources can you beat anything? FEGIE: No. It is the case that you`re more likely to beat anything. But, remember, for every Durst, there`s a Dennis Kozlowski, there is a Ken Lay or a Jeff Skilling, those guys spent tens of millions of dollars on their defenses and they all got convicted. So it is inaccurate, though tempting to say, that you can always buy your way out of things. What`s true is you have a much, much better chance and that money influences every aspect of the criminal justice system from the beginning to the end. HAYES: And I think the other thing to keep in mind is how much of -- we are used to watching "Law & Order" and we`re used to seeing big celebrity trials that go to trial and it`s very easy to lose sight of the fact that 9 percent of the iceberg sitting below the water is plea deals, plea deals, plea deals, plea deals. FEIGE: Absolutely. HAYES: And your lawyer often telling you to take the plea because that`s the most efficient way for the whole system to operate, for him to go on to the next client and deal with them. FEIGE: Well, I`m glad you brought it up, because frankly, one of the biggest places that money has an impact is bail, because bail is what determines whether you get to fight your case from a position of freedom or whether you sit incarcerated until it winds its way through the system. Now, it doesn`t make that big difference in homicide cases, because there`s never going to be a three-year offer, but in the vast majority of cases -- and homicides are only a small fraction of what happens in the criminal justice system. HAYES: Tiny. FEIGE: You sit in jail because you can`t afford to pay your way to freedom and often confronted with a deal that goes like this, plead guilty get out, maintain your innocence and go to trial, stay in. And that I would say is perhaps the biggest place that money literally cash money affects the outcomes in criminal cases. HAYES: There`s also a fascinating way that resources and money play a role in the Durst case in that we find out that the Durst family hired a lawyer for their son Robert when his wife went missing. This is lawyering up before anyone`s named you as a suspect or puts cuffs on you, right Charles? BAGLI: Absolutely. I mean, it`s also clear here Kathy goes missing in West Chester County on a Sunday night. So Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, it`s not until Friday morning that Bob goes to a police station and reports her disappearance. But it`s in Manhattan, it`s not in West Chester, County. So the investigation is off on the wrong foot from the first day. HAYES: Five days, right. And we also note -- Dave, do people... FEIGE: Do people... HAYES: Yeah, please. FEIGE: I was just going to point out that -- and I think you were driving at this very thing, there is another big difference in terms of money which is by and large if you are a poor criminal defendant, you can`t get pre-arrest representation. Most public defenders -- I mean by the way the place I used to work, the Bronx Defenders, open 24/7. You can walk in and get a lawyer. But most public defender offices do not take cases pre-arrest. And so you don`t get that service. HAYES: Right. And that`s a key -- I mean we see time and time again. In fact, we see often in cases where there`s an exoneration that a lot of exonerations stem from false confessions because people aren`t lawyered up and from the very moment with Bob Durst that family made up he was lawyered from the jump -- Charles BAGLI: Absolutely. I do want to say one thing. In the trial, there is no question, Bob had three of the best lawyers, perhaps in the country, defense lawyers, I mean, they were great. But I think also that they -- the prosecution stumbled because here you`ve got this horrific event, somebody cutting up a human being, you know, very carefully with a bone saw, double wrapping in plastic bags and tossing it. But the prosecution thought they had all the evidence in the world. They had a newspaper that was in one of the plastic bags that tied it back to the house. They had Bob`s optometrist appointment and tied it back and so they didn`t think they had to explain motive, why this happened or anything. In the absence of an explanation of a good narrative from... HAYES: Defense filled in the blanks. BAGLI: Yeah. Here`s Morris Black, your nightmare, your worst nightmare of a neighbor and he was. HAYES: Charles Bagli, David Feige. Thank you both very much, gentleman. That`s All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END