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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 03/19/15

Guests: Lawrence Wilkerson, Jamelle Bouie, Diarmuid O`Connell, DanielMalloy, Dave Weigel, Sam Seder

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I`m very proud to be the prime minister of all of Israel`s citizens, Arabs and Jews alike. INTERVIEWER: That`s not the way it sounded on election day. NETANYAHU: Well -- HAYES: Netanyahu backs away from his election day rhetoric as the White House ratchets up theirs. JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That cynical election day tactic was a pretty transparent effort to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens. HAYES: As the Iran nuclear talks come down to the wire, can the president get a deal in spite of formidable opposition? Then, the brutal arrest of University of Virginia student sparked campus-wide protests. PROTESTERS: No justice! No peace! HAYES: Plus, what does Connecticut`s historic marijuana ruling mean for the rest of the country? And will Tesla`s victory in New Jersey revolutionize the way Americans can buy cars? And Obama tried to do what exactly in South Carolina? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago. HAYES: Welcome to the official launch of decision 2016 conspiracy theories. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s trying to destroy the United States, the Congress knows this. HAYES: ALL IN starts right now. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This man is a communist dictator. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Something remarkable happened today. And as of tonight, relations between the United States and Israel have reached their lowest point in recent perhaps living memory. The White House just announced that President Obama called Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on, in their words and I`m quote, "winning a plurality of Knesset seats", hardly a ringing endorsement. And in what had to be an incredibly uncomfortable exchange, a senior official says the president made the same comments in private that his administration made in public. Those comments have been pretty unsparing -- taking Netanyahu to task over his racially tinged call to arms against Israeli-Arab voters and in particular over his disavowal of the two-state solution, which has been the pillar of American policy in the Middle East for decades. In an exclusive interview today with NBC`s Andrea Mitchell, his first since being re-elected, Netanyahu attempted to undo some of the damage. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NETANYAHU: I haven`t changed my policy. I never retracted my speech in Bar-Ilan University six years ago, calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state. What has changed is the reality. I don`t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful, two-state solution, but for that, circumstances have to change. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The too little too late. In unusually harsh language by the standards of the U.S. Israeli relationship, White House press secretary today continued to criticize Netanyahu`s end stage campaign strategy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EARNEST: That cynical election day tactic was a pretty transparent effort to marginalize Arab Israeli citizens and their right to participate in their democracy. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Even more ominously for Netanyahu, Earnest declined to deny reports the administration may stop acting as Israel`s shield against international pressure, 11 times in the past decade and a half, the U.S. has single-handedly vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions on Israel. And those days could now be numbered. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EARNEST: This commitment to a two-state solution has been the bedrock of a lot of U.S. policy toward this region of the world. In terms of making decisions at the United Nations and in other multilateral fora. But now, the prime minister of Israel says earlier this week, days before an election, that this is a principle that he no longer subscribes to, and that his nation no longer subscribes to. That means the United States needs to rethink our approach. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Imagine President Obama saying those words, more or less on his phone call with Netanyahu. According to a senior White House official, the president said the White House is, quote, "reassessing its options in light of the prime minister`s new position." This is brand new territory for U.S./Israeli relations. We`ve never been here, quite here before, and it comes as negotiations over a nuclear deal with Iran are ticking down to the March 31st deadline, with nothing less than the future of war and peace in the entire region at stake. If it happens, a nuclear deal could be the defining foreign policy accomplishment of President Obama`s administration, one that Benjamin Netanyahu would stop at almost nothing to block. I`m joined by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who is, of course, chief of staff to Colin Powell at the State Department, knows this terrain very well. Have we been here before? How long has it been since we`ve seen the relationship this obviously and publicly stressed? COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO COLIN POWELL: I think you go back to the Reagan administration and the sale to the Saudis of certain weapons systems, AWACs, F-15s and so forth, or you go back to the George H.W. Bush administration, of which I`m intimately familiar, and you go back to the time when we were trying to keep the Israelis out of the Iraq war, we had the Madrid conference and so forth. But this is a little more strained. And I`m frankly -- I`m happy with what the president has done so far. I think you`re going to see Mr. Netanyahu being a lot more circumspect about what he says and does, and that`s good. It`s good for the relationship. It`s good to bring balance back to the relationship. It`s time the United States quit being Israel`s lawyer and became a goodwill negotiator, and it`s time that Mr. Netanyahu stepped back and stayed in his governing role, rather than his "Iran is an existential threat and we need to derail the agreement" role. This is good. HAYES: Well, that`s -- I mean, that is the next plot point in this arc, which is that there`s going to be something coming down the pike. Today, there were some details that were leaked. The State Department knocking those down, draft details of the possible deal that might be struck. Both sides saying no deal yet, unclear whether it`s going to get done. Were it to happen, though, I mean -- then we`re going to see what? WILKERSON: That`s a good question. I`m still -- I`m optimistic. A give it a 60/40, but I know there are a couple of things that need to be done yet. And we may not get a framework. We may get an agreement and then work on the framework and the details associated therewith. But I`m discouraged by the fact that the 47 Republicans did what they did. I`m discouraged by the fact that Mr. Corker, Senator Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, still wants to put his legislation forth, because it`s a deal breaker. And if the 47 Republicans and Tom Cotton in particular haven`t convinced Mr. Corker and certainly convince people like Tim Kaine and Angus King and other people who might be an opposite force, if you will, if that hasn`t convinced them that my party and intent on derailing this agreement, I don`t know what will. We need to have a situation where the Democrats to stand behind the president if this agreement is to have any chance at all, if it does come about. HAYES: You`re referring to the Corker-Menendez legislation which would essentially require a congressional vote sign-off on a deal that were to come forward. Corker saying he is going to introduce that. The question of whether it can achieve the filibuster now a very open one. Can you imagine a different trajectory now? I mean, basically, we`re in the situation where you`ve got these very stern words from the White House towards the Netanyahu government. You`ve got the deal looming. You`ve got a strategic bilateral alliance between the U.S. and Israel that is extremely robust and durable and built on a lot in terms of domestic, political constituencies, and strategic interest, et cetera. Can you imagine a new trajectory? I mean, are we off on a new path here? WILKERSON: I think we`re off on a slightly new path. It`s a path that is an off-ramp, if you will, from the 40 years-plus of failure. And I think it has a positive aspect to it. And I`m going to remain optimistic. If we can bring the U.S.-Israeli relationship more to a realistic relationship, if we can bring some pressure to bear on the government in Tel Aviv, if we can get this agreement and have a closer and more trusting eventually relationship with Tehran and not disturb the balance of power in the Gulf too badly by doing that, this could be a very positive thing. But those are very complex ifs, and it`s going to be difficult to negotiate the terrain associated with them. HAYES: If the deal falls through, if the Republicans in Congress get their way, if Netanyahu gets his way, if the administration walks away because they don`t like the terms, or the Iranians do, then where are we? WILKERSON: That`s an excellent question. I would suggest some alternative answers there. Maybe the Chinese and the Russians, who are in some respects, the Russians particularly, not exactly our friends all the time. If they decide that the agreement is fine with them, and maybe even the French and the British and the Germans do too, look at the isolated position the United States is in. This is the danger of these Republicans, my party, and their action. Look at the position we`re in. China would probably hedge its own strategy with regard to us in that respect. What would they do? They would probably accept the fact that the United States was isolated and alienated, trade with Iran, not support the sanctions regime. Others would follow them. Certainly Moscow, and the United States would be sitting out there with the Republicans with their fingers in a place they wouldn`t want them. HAYES: Thank you, Lawrence Wilkerson. Always a pleasure. The governor of Virginia is calling for a special investigation after this man, Martese Johnson, member of the honor committee at the University of Virginia, a student, was left bloody from injuries after being arrested by the alcoholic beverage control agency. Stunning video of that arrest is ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: We`re following breaking news at this hour in Claiborne County, Mississippi, where the FBI is on the scene of a death of an African American man found hanging in a tree. MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid joins me by phone with the latest. Joy, what do we know? JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, Chris, well, I spoke with the statewide director of the NAACP in Mississippi, the family is, in fact, in contact with the FBI that`s conducting a field investigation. What we know is the gentleman went missing on March 2nd. And his family reported him missing about a week later. This is in Claiborne County, a very rural area not far from Jackson, Mississippi, but extremely rural. He was reported missing on March 13th. He was last seen being dropped off by a friend near an area that was near a casino. He was not seen since. And then he was found hanging, not far from his house, less than a mile from his house, hanging in a wooded area. So, now, you have the FBI on the scene and trying to figure out the cause of death. The NAACP saying that they are being very careful, just allowing the FBI to do what they need to do to conduct this investigation. This gentleman does have a criminal history, his name is Otis Bird. He`s 54 years old. He was incarcerated up until less than a year ago and was released, and this was in a murder case in which he was convicted back in 1980. So, he`s been free from prison for less than a year. And now, we just have -- are awaiting the official cause of his death. HAYES: And we do not know whether this was possibly a suicide or a murder at this moment, am I correct? REID: That is the issue, right. So we don`t know. I mean, the last time there was a case in Mississippi that became -- you know, it made a bit of a press flash. It was a case of a person that was found hanged, but that one did turn out to be a suicide. So, everyone is being really careful, the family, the NAACP. They`re just allowing the FBI to do their work and figure out what happened. No one`s jumping to any conclusions as of yet. The family has just gotten the -- I guess minor closure of finding their loved one, knowing where he is, but he is deceased. But the cause of death, I reiterate is not yet known. It`s just he was found hanging, whether it was by his own doing or something more nefarious is yet to be determined. HAYES: Joy Reid, thank you for that. We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Two independent investigations are under way. Demonstrators staged protests for a second day at the University of Virginia today, following the broody injuries sustained by a student during arrest on two misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and obstruction of justice without force. The third year UVA student, member of the honor committee and Kappa Alpha Si fraternity, Martese Johnson was arrested after trying to get into a bar after midnight, following St. Patrick`s Day. And this is what he looked like during the arrest. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARTESE JOHNSON, UVA STUDENT: I go to UVA! I go to UVA! (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I go to UVA (EXPLETIVE DELETED)! OFFICER: Stop fighting! JOHNSON: You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) racist! You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) racist! (EXPLETIVE DELETED). How does this happen? How does this happen you racists! How does this happen? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were just like, yo, we need a picture ID. JOHNSON: How did this happen you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) racists! EXPLETIVE DELETED) racists! (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: According to his lawyer, Johnson`s head wound required 10 stitches. Johnson`s lawyer offered details of the incident. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANIEL WATKINS, ATTY. FOR MARTESE JOHNSON: Martese presented a valid Illinois state identification card issued in 2011. The employee then asked Martese for a zip code and he recited his mother`s Chicago City zip code at her current address, which is different from the Chicago City zip code on the identification card that was printed almost four years ago. Nevertheless, Virginia ABC officers who are present on the scene questioned my client about being in possession about false identification. The conversation resulted in my client being thrown to the ground, his head hitting the pavement, the officer`s knees pressed into his back, his face and skull bleeding and needing surgery. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: According to the bail document, Johnson was very agitated and belligerent but has no previous criminal history. Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control, which is approximately 100 special agents with police power with regard to liquor laws, refer ALL IN to its official statement which reads, in part, "While monitoring licensed establishments in the University Avenue in the city of Charlottesville, uniformed Virginia ABC special agents arrested a 20-year-old male early on the morning of March 18th. Uniformed ABC agents observed and approached the individual after he was refused entry to a licensed establishment. A determination was made by the agents who further detained the individual based on their observations and further questioning. In the course of an arrest being made, the arrested individual sustained injuries. The individual received treatment for his injuries at a local hospital and was released." Statement from ABC also indicated the agency will provide whatever assistance is required by Virginia state police investigating the arrest. Last night, hundreds of students protested and Martese Johnson himself appeared at the rally, calling for calm. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHNSON: I want to call on the students out there to be able to share their opinions and share their feelings. And so, I beg for you guys, regardless of your personal opinions and the way you feel about the subject, to please respect everyone here. We`re all a part of one community. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Special agents involved in the arrest have been restricted to administrative duties while the investigation is under way. An administrative investigation has been called for by the governor and a criminal investigation is being conducted by local prosecutors. Joining me now, Jamelle Bouie, you just saw him a moment ago, a staff writer at "Slate", who attended the University of Virginia. Jamelle, I know you`ve been in contact with students at your alma mater. What`s your reaction and what`s their reaction? JAMELLE BOUIE, STAFF WRITER, SLATE: My reaction to this is that it immediately reminded me of an incident two years ago involving a student, a woman student at the University of Virginia who was arrested by ABC officers after purchasing water from a grocery store. They thought it was alcohol. They surrounded her vehicle. They drew guns. It was a very dramatic and dramatically escalated situation. So, I look at this and I see something very similar. ABC enforcement officers sort of going far further than is necessary in doing their jobs, I think. As far as students on grounds, and I talked to a few students and I talked to some faculty, for students, this seems to be emblematic of sort of an atmosphere at the University of Virginia, not so much an atmosphere of racial discrimination, but certainly there are racial tensions at the University of Virginia. The population of African-Americans at the school has been going down consistently for the past several years, and there`s a feeling that the administration, for as much as it says it`s committed to diversity, isn`t necessarily committed to sort of the maintenance of a healthy community of black students at the university. HAYES: Yes, I want to talk about both of those, first of all, just give the context. Virginia`s a state that very heavily regulates alcohol sales, or state liquor stores. I think this idea that there are state liquor cops running around is maybe foreign to some folks that are not in states that don`t have that. How present are they on campus? How present were they? How accountable are they? Did you have run-ins with them when you were there? Are they known to be sort of roving around downtown Charlottesville? BOUIE: That`s the thing. They`re sort of hidden from view. I don`t recall ever having an encounter with them. I certainly heard about them. We knew that they existed, but this sort of them making these sort of things, I just don`t necessarily recall. Part of the problem in terms of accountability, unlike the university police or even the Charlottesville police, which are local agencies and their direct line of communication between the students and those agencies, ABC is a state agency, and the ABC officers in Charlottesville, aren`t necessarily accountable to anyone in Charlottesville personally. And so, it kind of -- the lines of the communication just aren`t there. And I have to imagine that for Charlottesville police, this is a very difficult time as well, because there`s -- in talking about it this incident, we have a tendency to just say "police." And I have a feeling that Charlottesville police are going to be dealing with the fall-out from this, since people don`t distinguish between the ABC cops and the city cops. HAYES: We saw some protesters, obviously a very diverse group of protesters, students, black, white, Latino, and other, all gathering. But, you know, there`s been a marked decline in African-American enrollment in the University of Virginia. What -- I mean, that is the background context against this taking place. What is going on there? BOUIE: It`s sort of hard to know. One thing that might be happening is that in the past couple of years, universities sort of pulled back on its scholarship program for low-income and working-class students. And so, if you think that African American students are going to belong to those categories, pulling back is going to result in some decline. But the decline has been so sharp. And sort of just to illustrate it, when I graduated from UVA, which was in 2009, about 9 percent -- enrollment at the school among African-Americans was around 9 percent. Now, it`s somewhere closer to 5 percent. And that`s such a steep decline that I`m not entirely sure what`s behind it. HAYES: Yes, that is really dramatic. That`s 4 percentage points. So, that`s almost a 50 percent decline in the sort of relative distribution. Jamelle Bouie of "Slate" -- thank you. BOUIE: Thank you. HAYES: Tesla, the revolutionary electric car company that I am admittedly kind of obsessed with, did something no other car company has been able to do in the state of New Jersey. We`ll tell you what that is, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Over its short life, the electric car company Tesla Motors has experienced explosive growth. The company now valued at more than $24 billion. At the same time, Tesla has been waging a war for survival against America`s traditional car dealerships. Traditional dealerships are you independently owned franchises and they are protected by state laws that prevent auto manufacturers from selling directly to customers. Tesla doesn`t want to have a dealer service or middleman. It wants to sell its cars to you, the consumer, through show rooms it itself owns. This is an approach that as Tesla CEO Elon Musk pointed at a 2013 shareholder meeting makes sense to most Americans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ELON MUSK, CEO, TESLA MOTORS: The percentage of people in favor of allowing Tesla to do direct sales varies from a low of 86 percent to 99. So, clearly, if democracy was working properly and the legislators were implementing the will of the people, something else would be happening. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: State by state, Tesla has been waging this battle. They`ve been chalking up both wins and losses in their battle against the dealer lobby for the right to sell cars directly. About a year ago, Tesla lost a big battle in New Jersey, when the Motor Vehicle Commission under Governor Chris Christie blocked Tesla sales after local car dealers argued the franchise system protects consumers. Musk responded to that idea with a scathing statement, "If you believe this, Governor Christie has a bridge closure he wants to sell you. Unless they`re referring to the mafia version of protection, this is obviously untrue." But now, somehow, Tesla has won. Yesterday, Christie signed a bill allowing the company to sell its cars directly to consumers in up to four New Jersey locations. While Musk was celebrating and thanked his boards over Twitter, New Jersey car dealers were outraged with their trade association saying in a statement to ALL IN, "The Tesla factory store model creates a vertical monopoly, limits consumer access to service, and steers money and jobs out of New Jersey and into Silicon Valley." Joining me now, Diarmuid O`Connell. He`s Tesla`s vice president of business development. Mr. O`Connell, how did you get the job done? How did you win? DIARMUID O`CONNELL, TESLA MOTORS: Well, you know, it`s an interesting story, but I should probably add a little context here. You characterize this as a story of our survival. Actually, the truth is, that we`ve been largely successful in opening up stores around the country. The truth is that in most states, this is non-controversial. There`s a small, maybe, handful of states where manufacturers are clearly prohibited from selling. And in a lot of those states, there are actions right now in the legislatures to open up those states, so that a manufacturer such as Tesla, who`s never had franchise dealerships, can sell directly. So, New Jersey was an interesting case, we had stores open, a regulatory action was taken to suspend those license or pullback those licenses. And so, we engaged in a year-long advocacy campaign in the legislature, with the public, which bore fruit ultimately yesterday when the governor signed a bill which had been passed unanimously in the New Jersey assembly and overwhelmingly in the New Jersey Senate. So, we`re open for business and that`s really the punch line. We`re open for business in New Jersey selling cars again, and we`re really pleased about it. HAYES: You`ve been blocked, I know the biggest states you`ve had trouble with are Arizona and Texas, is the biggest one if I`m not mistaken, where you still have these rules prohibiting direct sales, right? O`CONNELL: That`s correct. It`s just as I said, a handful of states. Texas is the most prominent among them. I mean, Texas is, of course, a big market. And so we`re interested in moving the needle there, and we`re engaged in -- I`ll characterize it as a debate in the legislature down there right now. The Texas legislature meets for the first part of the year every two years and that debate is under way right now. HAYES: You`d think Texas loves freedom, although it`s also the home of Buddy Garity, so you`ve sort of got cross pressure there. Do you think this is going to change the industry more than Tesla? I mean, the fear that dealers have, right, is that, OK, you guys want to sell your electric car yourselves for your own weird idiosyncratic reasons, but this is just the camel`s nose under the tent is going to destroy the whole dealership system. O`CONNELL: So, first off, they aren`t weird, idiosyncratic reasons. The reason we`re doing this fundamental to the mission of the company, which is we`re trying to launch a new technology, a novel technology that people aren`t familiar with. And our stores are really education centers. We`re trying to bring people along to help them understand what the technology is. It`s a very sales-intensive -- it`s a very education-intensive process. It takes place over multiple hours and multiple visits and the existing third-party dealer model doesn`t really support that, that`s a model that`s built on making sales every 20 minutes and moving the metal, that`s literally where that expression comes from. So -- but as regards like where we are in the debate and where we are in certain places like Texas, I mean, fundamentally, this is a free market issue, and really consumer-choice issue where, you know, it`s -- while it`s true that for historical reasons cars have overwhelmingly been sold through third- parties, through dealers since the 1920s or `30s, that that`s not -- things have changed. I mean, people are buying very substantial products directly from manufacturers across our economy. These dealer distribution monopolies, whether enshrined in law or just enshrined in practice, are really anomalous. In almost every other industry you have manufacturers who are selling direct to consumers and who are also selling to third-parties, to retailers and franchise dealerships or franchise stores. And so, you know, it`s really the fact -- I mean it`s, as I said, it`s exceptional that this is still the case that you have these horizontal monopolies, these distribution monopolies. You have it in the dealership world. But, you know, I understand the instinct of the dealers in these states. I mean, it`s a very good business. It`s a protected business. And, any businessman who enjoys those sorts of advantages would be within their rights to protect it. O`CONNELL: Diarmuid O`Connell from Tesla, thank you very much. HAYES: It`s throwback Thursday and Connecticut`s highest court just made a ruling that could erase some unpleasant past incidents for thousands of the state`s residents. I`ll talk to the governor about it next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: There`s something happening in Connecticut that could radically change the way this country handles marijuana conviction. This week, Connecticut State Supreme Court cleared the way for people preciously arrested for marijuana possession to have those cases erased from their criminal record. The seven to zero ruling came down on Monday in favor of Nicholas Menditto, who has sought to have his convictions overturned. Now, Menditto and his lawyer seemed to believe they had a pretty good argument to have those convictions thrown out because back in 2011, Governor Dannel Malloy and state lawmakers changed possession of a small amount of marijuana, less than half an ounce, from a misdemeanor, which carried jail time, to a fine, roughly on par with a parking ticket. And, Connecticut has a law that allows people to petition to have their convictions erased if their crime has been decriminalized. Connecticut Supreme Court agreed, saying the ruling, quote, "the state has failed to suggest any plausible reason why erasure should be denied in such cases". Now, Connecticut is one of several states that now has some sort of liberalized marijuana policy on the books. 23 states allow marijuana for medicinal purpose. 18 states have decriminalized marijuana possession of varying amounts. And, four states, and Washington, D.C. have legalized the recreational use of pot. According to the ASLU between 2001 and 2010, someone was arrested for marijuana every 37 seconds in this country. What`s taking place in Connecticut could potentially open the door for millions of Americans to erase their marijuana convictions. Joining me now, Connecticut Governor, Dane Malloy. And, governor, my understanding is you are glad the court did what it did? DANNEL MALLOY, CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR: I am. I think it`s the right thing. I think we`ve had a long and storied fight with respect to drug usage and I think, in most cases, we`ve used the wrong tools. I think it ended up with a lot of folks having convictions and therefore, in some sense their lives being made difficult with respect to housing or jobs or education. When we decriminalized marijuana, we found that it led to 6,000 fewer arrests per year. That`s 6,000 fewer lives that are perhaps thrown into some sort of chaos as a result of those arrests and in many cases, ultimately leading to convictions which really cause a chaos. HAYES: you were first elected governor in 2010, and you had a very ambitious agenda in that first term, did a lot of stuff, and, you know, people fought you, you had a tough re-election that you won in 2014. Where was this in the scale of items on your agenda that created backlash? That created opposition? Or was this something that people kind of, shrugged their shoulders and said, yeah, this makes sense? MALLOY: No, there was a fair amount of backlash on this issue. HAYES: You`re like, don`t get me wrong, Chris, they fought me. MALLOY: Yeah, they -- well, it was funny. In fact, I was told to make a choice, because I wanted to make medical marijuana legal and I wanted to decriminalize marijuana. And then I was basically told by even my supporters in both regards that I had to make a choice, that it had to be one or the other. And I said, well, let`s go with decriminalization, because I understood the adverse impact that this was having on many people`s lives, and this whole idea of conviction of a crime can be very detrimental, particularly with a behavior that is somewhat ubiquitous, a lot of experimentation at the very least. I`m not talking about people who are selling drugs. I`m talking about people who, at some point in their life, may have tried marijuana and it ended up with an arrest and I`m trying to prevent people from having criminal backgrounds if they don`t have to. HAYES: It does appear, according to (inaudible) polling that support for the policy has actually increased. Last year, it was about 52% in favor. Last week, it was up to 63% in favor. There`s a lot happening on this issue in which the states really are the laboratories. And I wonder what you think, as a governor, someone who had this policy change in your state, as you look towards what`s happening in places like Washington and Colorado. MALLOY: Well, I want to draw the line there. I`m not advocating a legalization of marijuana. I`ve drawn the line where I thought it`s appropriate. It should be decriminalized with respect to possession. Obviously, sales should be treated differently under that definition. I also think that making medical marijuana available for treatment is very important, and we now have that law in the state of Connecticut. I`m not sure we have to throw out more things that can cause difficulties in people`s lives and by, quote/unquote, making them legal and allowing for easier sale. Perhaps cause more people to use the substance, which quite frankly, I don`t think is good for people, except under certain circumstances. HAYES: Are you persuadable on that, though? I guess my question is, you know, we`re doing this very rare thing, where we`re conducting these live, real-time experiments, in which you have states taking a fairly radical policy departure, and I just wonder whether you and other fellow governors and legislators are thinking about this in an empirical sense of what happens in Colorado and Washington? MALLOY: Well, I suppose you never say never, right? But the early work doesn`t convince me yet, and I`m not convinced, based on everything I`m seeing and hearing and I certainly don`t think states should be going down this road simply for the tax revenue. I think that`s the wrong idea, wrong headedness. On the other hand, I have a very aggressive program for recreation of a second chance at society. In Connecticut, we tripled our prison population between 1985 and 2008. And it really was not in our best interest, I think, in many ways. We ended up with many, many people having, not only a criminal record and a felony record, but being incarcerated, which makes education, housing and employment almost impossible or very difficult to accomplish. And I`m arguing that we need to treat, for instance, other possessions of drugs as a misdemeanor, as opposed to a felony. I think we need to untie the hands of judges and let them decide what the best treatment for someone in those circumstances is. HAYES: Governor Dane Malloy, thank you for joining us. MALLOY: Thank you. HAYES: All right, pop some popcorn, grab a frosty beverage, because I`ll be doing some good, old fashion, right-wing myth busting ahead. Plus, one of the best moments so far from March Madness. All that is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: We witnessed possibly the greatest moment in dad coaching today when 14 seated Georgia State pulled off an incredible upset against third seated Baylor 57-56 in March Madness. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to push this to the basket. Take it to the basket, guys. Nine seconds. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No time-outs left. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are they doing? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: R.J. Hunter for three! Good! (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That was Georgia State coach Ron Hunter`s son R.J., scoring the winning three-pointer. And in all the excitement there, you may have missed what happened on the sideline. Let`s watch that again. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to push this to the basket. Take it to the basket, guys. Nine seconds. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No time-outs left. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are they doing? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: R.J. Hunter for three! Good! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron Hunter has fallen off his stool, for good reason. Georgia State up by one. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: All right, so that`s Coach Hunter, his son hit the game winning three, in a huge upset. He was sitting on his stool because on Sunday he tore his Achilles celebrating his team`s Sunbelt championship win. Georgia State will now face off against Zavier on Saturday. Ron Hunter should probably have some kind of seat belt installed on his stool before then. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: R.J. Hunter for three! Good! R.J. Hunter for three! Good! R.J. Hunter for three! Good! (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Okay, so yesterday we played you a an exchange between Rick Santorum and a woman named Virginia who was at an event in South Carolina in which this woman asked Rick Santorum a rather rambling question that involved a few factual assertions that were pretty intense. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VIRGINIA, WOMAN AT EVENT: I don`t think the country will be around for the next election. Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago. And the three admirals and generals, he has totally destroyed our military. He`s fired all the generals and all the admirals that said they wouldn`t fire on the American people if you asked him to do so, if he wanted to take the guns away from them. This man is a Communist dictator. We need him out of that White House now. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Rick Santorum went on to answer the question and express his offense that he was called a member of congress. That`s what he found most offensive about that question. But after I listened to that the sixth, or seventh, or eight time, it occurred to me, maybe in my rush to hold up Virginia as representative of some broadly kind of, paranoid tendency in the right-wing base, I had missed a pretty big story. Take another listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VIRGINIA: I don`t think the country will be around for the next election. Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago. This was news to me. Seemed like something we should run to ground. So, we looked into it today. Now, it`s not the first time that someone at a Town Hall, a conservative event, has asserted things about the President or about what the government`s up to that don`t quite, really stand when you first hear them. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you people ignoring -- He`s not an American citizen. He is not an American citizen. He is a citizen of Kenya. UNIDENTIFED MALE: I`m getting long in years. Would you address the death (inaudible) that we`re going to have? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never refer to Obama as President. He is an avowed Muslim. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy, as Obama has expressly supported this policy? (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: So, you get a lot of that. And there`s a lot more. I mean, if you go onto the internet, you can find some pretty intense theories about what the President`s up to. I remember being an expert on these in 2008 and 2012. We want to check in on the 2016, blow up a nuke in Charleston vintage. We`re going to do that right after this break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: I can`t trust Obama. JON MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I got it. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: I have read about him and he`s not -- he`s a -- he`s an Arab. He is not -- MCCAIN: No, ma`am, no, ma`am. No, ma`am. He`s a decent family man citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that`s what this campaign is all about. He`s not. Thank you, thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Jon McCain famously, if slightly off topically, dispatched with one particularly ill informed supporter at a Town Hall in the closing weeks of the 2008 Presidential campaign. That is not always the way our elected leaders treat the purveyors of fevered conspiracy theories. And, as the 2016 election cycle nears, I think it`s safe to say we can expect a whole new bunch of stories from the e-mail forward fringes. Joining me now to reflect on that old and new, MSNBC contributor and host of Majority Report, Sam Seder, and Dave Weigel, reporter for Bloomberg Politics in New Hampshire, where today he was covering Donald Trump. Let`s start with a pretty important fact check. Dave Weigel, did Barack Obama try to blow up a nuke in Charleston? DAVE WEIGEL, BLOOMBERG POLITICS: He did not. As realistic as it sounds, what this goes back to a rumor that started on Alex Jones` site and a bunch of conspiracy-minded websites, based on which seems to be kind of a fabricated Russian intelligence report, and the theory went that Obama tried to start a false flag attack, ended up detonating a nuke that caused an earthquake, and he fired generals to cover it pup. The generals were indeed fired, but for other reasons. The nuke did not blow up. And, I mean, that`s not the sort of thing people miss. A birth certificate might get lost in a filing cabinet. A nuke will not. HAYES: Well, the sort of telephone-esque nature in which a foreign report that takes some germ of actual truth, which is there were some generals fired because the oversight of the nuclear program has been a disaster, and sort of morphs that into something that then gets passed along such that you end up with Barack Obama tried to detonate a nuke. Are there any other kind of 2016 theories like this that you`re hearing out on the trail? WEIGEL: It`s early days yet, but I`ve heard some of this at Town Halls. I mean, you mentioned that I was just at a Town Hall with Donald Trump. There was a man who noticed I was a reporter and wanted to convince me afterward that Michelle Obama was born a man. That`s been going around. I was in South Carolina a few weeks ago and I had heard that there are training camps for ISIS soldiers in the United States that Barack Obama refuses to shut down. And, you do notice that the first person to mention this was just talking to me. He wanted to ask Donald Trump. As a reporter, I`m devastated he did not get a chance to ask Donald Trump that question on camera. But -- I don`t know, I feel like we`re still feeling how much these conspiracies are going to flower in a post-Obama election era. We know what kind of conspiracies were for Hillary but we`ll see. We`ll see what there are after Obama. HAYES: What do you think, Sam? What can we expect as we move towards Town Hall season? SAM SEDER, MAJORITY REPORT: Well, I`m going to just take Weigel at face value and just assume he`s telling the truth about this whole thing. HAYES: Maybe he`s in on it. Maybe it`s a false flag by Weigel. SEDER: I mean, I -- it`s sort of impossible to know on some level. But, I`m sure there`s going to be a lot of sort of Benghazi sort of variance that come out. Because it`s going to -- at one point, it`s going to shift to Hillary Clinton. HAYES: That`s right. When do we start seeing the pivot? That`s going to be an important moment in the kind of, in the sort of collective subconscience of the conservative base. SEDER: I`m not convinced that a lot of this isn`t, you know like a, for instance, Louie Gohmert the other day was talking about how of course, how President Obama refused to help deal with a Nigerian deal with Boko Haram. HAYES: I want to play that sound. It`s good stuff. Here`s Louie Gohmert talking about why we won`t aid Nigeria, apparently. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LOUIE GOHMERT, REPRESENTATIVE OF TEXAS: It was reported from Nigeria that this administration said, unless you change your law to allow same-sex marriage, then we`re not going to help you against the radical Islamist Boko Haram. Which is killing Christians, having girls, young girls raped and sold into sex slavery. I mean it is incredible the way this administration is turning its back on Christians and Jews around the world. (END VIDEO CLIP) SEDER: I mean, the question is, how does he pivot this, now, to Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, this is our foreign policy, or maybe they just full stop and just sort of take a left or a right turn and they just start with something new. HAYES: Well, the other thing is, there`s this great body to draw on with Hillary Clinton. So I went to today, which, of course is this amazing internet site that does debunking, right?. And let me just say, it`s not completely ideologically limited. There are lots of conspiracy theories across the ideological spectrum. I believe they have a particular virulence on the right. But at the top of Snopes, which sort of order its debunking based on what`s around, there was this story about how Hillary Clinton refused to meet with the mothers of people -- soldiers who died. Gold star moms, right? That is a story that I wrote about when I wrote a cover story for the nation about right-wing e-mail forwards in October 2007. Eight years ago I wrote about that and it was based on an incident that happened in 2001. So Dave, there is so much Hillary stuff that you can kind of, bring back out of the attic and start passing around that doesn`t even like, forget all the Benghazi stuff, you can go decades back. We`re going to be talking about the Rose law firm before all of this is over. WEIGEL: Yeah, that`s definitely going to color the way that more responsible Republicans talk about the Clintons. I feel that Trey Gowdy is in the position he`s in, running the Benghazi Select Committee, because Republicans are confident he wouldn`t do anything like that. They remember when Dan Burton ran the oversight committee in the `90s, how the Clinton scandals were taken away from them. And, the Clinton operation is very good at emphasizing the craziness that can bubble up on the right. But I should say, it`s not like I do deep investigative reporting beyond showing up to things, and reading what popular online. These stories are not stoked by Media Matters or Correct the Record or the Clinton network, I`ll notice them because they were shared 50,000 times, or they were tweeted 20,000, or, a human being mentioned them at a Town Hall. HAYES: That`s the key point, Sam. Like, these are out there, they are getting around always. SEDER: They go around through e-mail chains, and through what used to be fax trains, basically, probably when that gold star moms thing started, and frankly there`s also, I`m convinced, sort of -- there are people out there monetizing this stuff. I mean, I`m surprised Dick Morris didn`t pick up to the South Carolina thing and say here`s the secret, if you own real estate in North Carolina it will all be coastal or something. HAYES: Right, right. That kind of paranoid mode is very monetizable. Sam Seder, David Weigel, thank you both. That is All In for this evening, the Rachel Maddow show starts right now. Good evening Rachel. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END