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Top WH officials lack permanent security clearances. TRANSCRIPT: 2/15/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Sean Patrick Maloney, Joyce Vance, Eric Swalwell

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 15, 2018 Guest: Sean Patrick Maloney, Joyce Vance, Eric Swalwell

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: As we on HARDBALL continue to say pretty much what we want here night to night, I want to share this peek into history to you from not so very long ago, not so very far away. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. All in with Chris Hayes starts right now.



REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is not the time to jump to some conclusion.

HAYES: Republicans rediscover their refrain on mass shootings as the list of White House scandals grows.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who knew what, when, and to what extent.

HAYES: Tonight, exclusive NBC News reporting on the fallout from the White House domestic abuse scandal. Plus, new questions about Trump`s lawyer`s payment to a porn actress. Democrats want Steve Bannon held in contempt as we learn about his marathon meeting with Robert Mueller. And the EPA administrator says he only flies first class because people in coach aren`t nice to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you`ve encountered near confrontations in coach.

SCOTT PRUITT, ADMINISTRATOR, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Well, it`s - - you know, I don`t really want to get into the specs.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. A day after 17 people were fatally shot at a high school in South Florida, the President read of some remarks on a teleprompter in which he did not mention guns, not a single time. And for the second day in a row, the White House didn`t hold a daily press briefing which meant that reporters did not have a chance to ask questions about how else the President plans to address the shooting, about the statement this morning that appeared to place the blame for the shooting on the people in the community about the latest in a string of massacres that have taken place under the President`s watch.

Reporters also lost the chance to ask about the truly astonishing number of scandals that are currently engulfing this administration. More than a week since the resignation of top aide Rob Porter whose first wife says he did he this to her face while they were married, White House Counsel Don McGahn and Chief of Staff John Kelly have yet to give a full and factual verified account of what they knew about the domestic abuse allegations against Porter and when or why the White House initially vouched for Porter`s character when the allegations were made public when those photos were published. And now it turns out, Porter was not the only senior aide who had trouble getting a security clearance. NBC News reporting that over 130 White House appointees lacked permanent clearances as of last November, much more on that story coming up.

Then of course, there are the President`s cabinet secretaries, David Shulkin, Veterans Affairs Secretary was probably the least controversial of Donald Trump`s picks, the only Obama holdover confirmed unanimously by the Senate. Now he`s under fire for misleading officials about a taxpayer- funded trip to Europe last summer which included a detour to Wimbledon and various tourist sites and crucially for making up an award to justify bringing his wife with him all expenses paid. Shulkin told lawmakers today that he wrote a check to reimburse the treasury.


DAVID SHULKIN, SECRETARY, VETERANS AFFAIRS: I do recognize the optics of this are not good. I accept responsibility for that. And -- but do I believe it`s important the United States continue its work with its allied countries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not the optics that are not good, it`s the facts that are not good.


HAYES: Not the optics, the facts. And there`s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt who would be familiar to viewers of this program, who is a more controversial figure than Shulkin for good reason, and who is just discovered to have been flying around the word in first class using public funds including a trip on Emirates Airline, the single embodiment of over the top luxury which you may remember from this ad with Jennifer Aniston. The American people paid for that. The EPA initially lied about Pruett`s travel, telling reporters he got a blanket waiver to fly first class. The problem is no such waiver exists, so that was not true. Pruitt himself explained the reason he had to fly first class was because passengers way back in coach aren`t nice to him.


PRUITT: There have been instances unfortunately during my time as administrator as I`ve flown and have spent time of interaction that`s not been the best. And so ingress and egress off the plane, the security aspect, those are decisions all made by the our detail team, by the Chief of Staff, by the administration. I don`t make any of those decisions. They place me on the plane.


HAYES: Just to be clear, the man who works for you, the citizen of the United States, says he can`t fly among you unless have you enough money because if he`s with those people, they treat him well. This after a previous Cabinet Secretary Tom Price at HHS lost his job for taking private jets. Now, that brings us to the President`s long-time attorney, another person in the President`s inner circle. Michael Cohn, that man you see there who admitted this week out of the blue that he paid $130,000 before the 2016 election to Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who claims to have had an affair with the President over a decade ago. Cohn says he used his own personal funds to facilitate the payment denying the Trump organization or the campaign had anything to do with it. It still raises a bunch of questions about potential campaign finance violations and what role the President may have apply played.

And now Stormy Daniels says Michael Cohn`s admission invalidates her own non-disclosure agreement freeing here to tell her story. More on that later, as well. And speaking of large questionable sums of money, today The New York Times solved part of the mystery of what became of the record- breaking $107 million raised for the President`s inauguration, doubled the previous record. The Inaugural Committee said they donate the leftover funds to charity. It turns out, there wasn`t much left to give because almost a quarter of the total, $26 million went to an event planning firm started by none other than an adviser to First Lady Melania Trump. Records reportedly show the firm was created in December 2016, that would be a month before the inauguration.

According to First Lady`s spokesperson, the First Lady had no involvement with the Inaugural Committee nor any knowledge of how the funds were spent. So this is a remarkable coincidence that the person who is a friend and adviser of hers managed to get this contract. Then, of course, there`s the slow-motion scandal that`s grinding on the background that has shadowed the entire Trump administration, of course, the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller which waxed and waned in the public consciousness. We`re going to talk about a couple of big developments tonight in the Russia probe coming up. Through all of this, President`s many scandals, the Republicans who control Congress which of course has oversight of the chief executive have largely been content to look the other way. That does not appear to be the case with the domestic abuse scandal at the White House. Congressman Trey Gowdy of all people, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee announced yesterday he is now investigating the scandal, demanding answers from the White House and the FBI within two weeks.


REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Who knew what when and to what extent? And if you knew it in 2017 and the Bureau briefed him three times, then how in the hell was he still employed? I don`t -- the security clearance is a separate issue. It`s an important issue but separate. How do you have any job if you have credible allegations of domestic abuse? How the hell did this happen?


HAYES: Mike Memoli, is an NBC News National Political Reporter, who co- wrote the story on the White House special permanent security clearance. Let`s start with there. It sounds like Congressman Gowdy, based on your reporting, is going to expand his inquiry. What have you found in looking into this?

MIKE MEMOLI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Chris, thanks for having me on. With my colleagues Carol Lee and Kristen Welker, as well as Rich Gardella, we yesterday we came in possession of these documents detailing over 504 employees in the executive office of the President that including a range of agencies that are housed, these are all officials who report to the President or report to officials in those agencies. And we began running the numbers and we`ve been still doing today but our initial headline was what you just mentioned, more than 130. It`s actually 135 officials have been operating at least as of last November with some form of interim clearance.

Now, there might will be a number of reasons why is an official would be operating on an interim clearance while the investigation continues. And what`s significant is that even our own reporting up until yesterday was that number was much lower, perhaps only 30 and 40 -- 30-40. And the White House in explaining even that number said you know, this is possibly an issue of a backlog, and it`s true. We spoke with officials from other administrations who said yes, in the first year, we had perhaps dozens of officials waiting for a background check, waiting for this clearance review to happen. But I think what was most surprising to me is when you talk about the most upper echelon of a White House official, these are people whose titles include assistant to the President, there are 30 of those in the Trump administration and ten of those, 10 of those officials were operating on a completely are interim clearance, and that includes Jared Kushner, it includes Ivanka Trump, Dan Scavino, the Social Media Director who was involved in a lot of these meetings taking pictures.

We have another group of officials who did have top secret clearance but were waiting for the highest level clearance, it`s so-called SCI Clearance in order to view the same and most specific classified documents that the President would encounter. And so, one of the explanations again has had to do with whether there was a lag, a backlog of -- but what`s important to note is that there were 12 officials who starred after Ivanka Trump officially went onto the White House payroll who all managed to get the highest level of clearance while these other officials are still waiting for theirs.

HAYES: I just want to clarify that. So what you`re saying is there are a bunch of people who did start -- there are a bunch of people who started at the same time, some managed to get permanent clearance and there`s a bunch who didn`t and we do not know the answer as to why?

MEMOLI: That`s exactly right. There are any number of reasons why is somebody in the course of an investigation would have their clearance held up, but our own Ken Dilanian was reporting today that there`s an additional in addition to the standard SF-86 questionnaire that every executive branch official would be go through. There`s an additional questionnaire that White House officials would have to deal with which specifically gets to issues that might make somebody susceptible to blackmail. It could be a lot of foreign enchantments, a lot of foreign travels, it could be high levels of debt, issues of substance abuse. Those are the kinds of things that would raise red flags in somebody`s application.

I was interested to hear, as well in the last hour, we has Christopher Lu who helped run the Obama transition in 2008. He just said that they cleared -- pre-cleared in the course of the transition period, even before the election 200 officials who are immediately going to need this high- level access before the election even happened. I think we know that any preparations that had been done by the Trump transition team before the election were essentially thrown out the window after election day, of course, when Chris Christie who had been running the transition team was dismissed and Mike Pence, the Vice President-Elect took it over. We know that there was essentially starting from scratch in terms of all these officials.

HAYES: All right, Mike Memoli, thanks for you reporting. Thanks for being with me.

MEMOLI: Thanks.

HAYES: I`m joined now by Democratic Congressman Name who held the same position as Rob Porter, Staff Secretary under President Bill Clinton. Is this normal, these kinds of numbers?

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: No, it`s not normal. And it`s particularly egregious when you talk about the assistants to the President. That is the highest staff level at the White House. And to be have ten of 30 without this clearance, 14 months in is very unusual.

HAYES: One of the people is Don McGahn. I don`t understand how this is possible, frankly, for the White House Counsel to not have permanent clearance. It`s one of the most important jobs in a White House. He`s got to deal way lost sensitive information. What do you make of that?

MALONEY: Well, it`s not good. And Chris, look, I mean, I went through this personally. I can tell you the FBI sent field agents from the Montevideo, Uruguay South American Field Office over to the small Peruvian village where I worked as a volunteer with the Jesuits between college in law school to interview the Peruvian villagers, OK, and it was done fast and it was done with exacting precision. And here, the worst part of the Porter thing is that this is a guy with top-secret folders on the desk and a burn bag under the desk because you incinerate the material he reads every day. People don`t understand everything goes to the President through the Staff Secretary. The National Security Adviser gives his memo to the Staff Secretary.

And when you know right the first couple of months that this guy can never be cleared, then it is grossly incompetent and it is negligent to allow him to stay in the job. Others can take some time. Others may be a lower level or they see a different level of classified information. The White House Counsel that you`re talking about, the Staff Secretary, Assistants to the President, they have to be cleared fast. And if there`s a problem and you know it`s a permanent problem, a disqualifying problem, then you sideline the guy. And in this case, they should kick him down the stairs because he was beating his ex-wives and you should care about that.

HAYES: Well, the other question I have here, right, is that you know, we know the Porter story now. We know this is an individual that was told during his background check, ex-wives told the FBI this person was violent, this person was tyrannical towards me, et cetera. That led to a delay in getting permanent security clearance which looks a lot like a rejection that never sort of came so they can kind of you know, continue to kick the can down the road.

MALONEY: Ye, I think that`s a great point.

HAYES: I guess my question is, do you have concerns that that`s the case that there`s something like that lurking somewhere in these other dozens of ones that are outstanding, particularly the ones that have been there a longtime?

MALONEY: That is exactly why a bunch of us have called on the Oversight Committee to look at this. that`s why it`s good that Trey Gowdy has started down this road. I hope he stays on it with at least the same vigor he applied to the handling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and then as Secretary of State. I mean, this is really the key question right now. who else is down there handling our country`s top secrets with a secret of their own? We already saw a speechwriter leave also for domestic violence. I mean, 130 people is a lot. And ten of the assistants to the President is very unusual to me. We should get to the bottom of it quick.

HAYES: Do you think that you can get to the bottom of it? I mean, obviously, this is a very sensitive kind of process. It`s not something that people are going to be forthcoming about what`s going on with.

MALONEY: No, but in the case of Mr. Porter, I`m not sure why there`s any reason why we should know what he said to the FBI, whether he made material omissions on his form, that`s a crime. If the White House knew it, we want to know what they knew because if they were assisting him in that, that`s very serious. By the way, the President has said he knew nothing about this which begs the question who actually cleared him even temporarily once they knew this information. And so I think it`s very important that the Oversight Committee get these documents and find out who`s working down there looking at our top secrets who may be subject to blackmail. It`s not too much to ask. This is basic competence and I think it`s very disappointing that John Kelly who was brought in to run that place seems to be up to his neck in this. He`s been all over the map on his explanations. And I respect his service but he`s accountable -- he`s accountable for what happened underneath him and it`s a mess.

HAYES: Well, I would like an answer to the question to whether Don McGahn currently has permanent clearance. It seems like an important thing.

MALONEY: Well, and if he doesn`t, how is he doing his job and what`s in the way of it and when is it going to get resolved I`d like that answered too.

HAYES: Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, thanks for your time tonight.

MALONEY: My pleasure.

HAYES: Next, exclusive reporting tonight from NBC News on Steve Bannon`s marathon interview with Robert Mueller. And there is the late-breaking reporting tonight that the Mueller investigation is about to flip yet another witness. We will get to both stories in two minutes.


HAYES: -- pretty big developments in the Mueller probe today. First an exclusive reporting from NBC News that former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon met with Mueller`s team multiple times over the past week and spent a total of some 20 hours in conversations with the team. The last few hours, a report that Robert Mueller may have just flipped his third cooperating witness. CNN reporting tonight that Mueller`s team is in the process of putting together a plea deal for former Trump Campaign Adviser Rick Gates.

Sources familiar with the case tell CNN that Gates has already had what a criminal -- what criminal lawyers call a queen for a day interview in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutor`s team including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed. For more on what a Rick Gates plea deal could mean for the Mueller investigation on Donald Trump, I`m joined now by Joyce Vance, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. And let`s start on that idea of queen for a day. What does that mean? What happens there?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: This is a session that sometimes is called more technically a proffer session. And it`s a chance for the prosecution and the potential cooperating witness to get to know each other. So you have to understand that at this point, this potential cooperator who`s also a potential defendant has a lot to lose by being candid with the government. So he has the ability to come in and tell the prosecutors everything that he knows with the promise that it won`t be used back against him unless he lies or takes the witness stand and says something contrary to what`s in the proffer. This is an opportunity for the government to test drives the witness and see if the testimony will bring value to them to give them the opportunity to investigate it and make sure it`s truthful, and ultimately, if both parties are satisfied after they kick the tires a little bit, they`ll conclude a plea agreement.

HAYES: So there`s twos people that he have already had plea agreements, George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn. There`s two people who were charged and pled not guilty, that`s Rick Gates, this individual who is the Deputy of Paul Manafort, of course, who is the Campaign Chair for the campaign. What is the significance, if he were to become a cooperating witness?

VANCE: So this is interesting because we don`t know the answer to that. Much like we don`t know everything that the Mueller investigation is working on. We`re not sure whether Gates has value because he`s going to cooperate and testify against Manafort making it that much more likely that Manafort too will decide to cooperate and testify and help out the Mueller investigation or does Gates have some value of his own that he can offer against other key targets. We know that he stayed on with the campaign for a little ways at least after Manafort left. Perhaps he was around at the convention when there was this is change to the platform that favored Russia. He might be able to shed some light on that. But it`s not really clear. Is he valuable intrinsically or just because he helps with Manafort?

HAYES: Is this fairly standard this trajectory of a charge and then a not guilty plea and then it appears that Gates changed his representation and is now looking towards a plea. Is that something that you see fairly often?

VANCE: I think that this is exactly what we would expect to see. You know, everybody pleads not guilty in the federal system at the time of arraignment. And then there`s a dance back and forth, prosecutors reveal their discovery, the evidence that they have against a defendant. People begin to assess it`s extremely expensive to go to trial for someone like Mr. Gates and we see some reports he may be in some financial difficulty at this point in time. So this is exactly what we would expect to see. He`s got a trial team in place and, of course, there`s an effort sort of under seal so we don`t know the details where that team of lawyers is trying to disentangle themselves. The new lawyer that he`s working with is someone that you would expect to see negotiating a plea deal.

HAYES: All right, we`re going to have to find out. Joyce Vance, thank you for joining me. As we mentioned, we learned today that Donald Trump`s former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has now been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, NBC reporting the interviews took place over multiple days this week for a total of some 20 hours. Bannon has been less than forth coming with the House Intelligence Committee. You may remember his first encounter with House Intel last month did not go well. On the White House orders, he refused to answer questions about the transition and his time in the West Wing and was issued a subpoena on the spot.

Bannon did essentially the same thing when he returned to Capitol Hill today answering only 25 yes or no questions written by the White House and replying no to each one. Now the big question is, will the committee hold him in contempt. Joining me is someone who was there for the interview today, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. So I`m a little confused about how this went down today. Bannon came in and what happened?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Good evening, Chris. And first, let me say my head and heart are with the families down in Florida. And it`s a disgrace that Congress recessed early today and will be out all next week without doing anything. But we did have Mr. Bannon before our Committee today and he asserted new privileges that we`ve never heard of which include that even if he talked to somebody yesterday or in the past few days and he acknowledged that he had, that he can`t tell us about it. And so we are seeing further efforts to obstruct and he`s doing this, he said, on behalf of the White House and so you know, it`s quite disturbing and if our subpoenas are to ever mean anything, the next step we should take would be to hold him in content.

HAYES: I want to play what your -- the sort of Acting Chair of your committee because Devin Nunes has kind of recused himself although not really. It`s all very unclear. But the sort of Acting Chair right now, vis-a-vis this investigation had to say. Take a listen.


REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R-TX), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Contempt is a big deal and it`s -- I don`t have unilateral control over that conversation but we will have conversations about House equities as to how important our subpoenas are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you personally feel like he should be held in contempt.

CONAWAY: I think he should answer our questions.


HAYES: What do you -- what`s your take away from that?

SWALWELL: Well, they`re in the majority. They have the subpoena power. And you know, ha has done an admirable job considering the circumstances he`s under where Devin Nunes comes and goes mostly as a disruptive force. He wasn`t there today. We should have moved this immediately to hold him in contempt. And the problem is there`s other witnesses who are also asserting these bogus privileges from Attorney General Sessions to Donald Trump Jr. to Roger Stone and we are telling them, we`re telegraphing that we don`t care, that we`re not going to do anything about it. And I think it could have just a destructive effect in the future. There will be future investigations and we`re setting a really dangerous precedent.

HAYES: His behavior before this committee has been unique, right?

SWALWELL: Oh, yes. Certainly, though he has unified Democrats and Republicans in wanting to hear from him. But what concerns me is, the test is to whether the Republicans are serious about taking the necessary steps toe compel his testimony. But here`s what concerns me, Chris. He is represented by same attorney who is representing Don McGahn. And this is interesting because Don McGahn is the White House Counsel who is asserting executive privilege. So you have an attorney representing one client who is telling another client that they can`t testify. It tells me one that they`re working together but it`s also I think one of the greatest conflicts of interest I`ve ever seen in the law.

HAYES: But also, I mean, this ultimately someone`s going to have to rule on this. I mean, either you`re going to have to press the case on your committee or he`s going to win and you walk away or you keep going but what he`s asserting my understanding is quite a radical interpretation of the scope of this privilege.

SWALWELL: Certainly. He has asserted that again, even in his time after leaving the White House, if he talked to someone who never stepped foot in the White House that he can`t talk to us about that. That happened a number of times today. So it`s really on us. It`s whether we want to be a serious investigation or not. We can keep trying as Democrats to change our colleagues` minds or Chris, we`re going to having to change 24 seats and do this investigation the right way come January.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

HAYES All right, still to come, the Sheriff in charge of investigating the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, is asking for more power to detain people over their social media posts. Sheriff Scott Israel will join me live coming up.


HAYES: Today the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a man who has as much control as anyone over what Congress can actually do on any given matter of public interest spoke about yesterday`s school shooting, about the murder of 17 students and teachers.


RYAN: Right now, I just think we need to take a breath and collect the facts.

This is not the time to jump to some conclusion not knowing the full facts.

So I just think what you don`t do is knee-jerk and say let`s just take away a citizen`s rights.


HAYES: If that sounds familiar, it is because it is. Listen for instance to what Paul Ryan said after the shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 dead.


RYAN: What we are trying to do is find out the facts and make sure that what our response is actually addresses the problems without, without infringing upon the rights of law-abiding citizens. We want to make sure we don`t violate a person`s rights if they`re a law-abiding citizen. You have to think these things through before we just have knee-jerk reactions. That`s my point.


HAYES: And then listen to what Paul Ryan said after the shooting in Oregon that left nine people dead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ryan says now is not the time for "knee-jerk reactions" to the Second Amendment.

RYAN: I think by going after citizens` Second Amendment rights after these tragedies is to overlook the real problems that underlie these particularly in the area of mental illness.


HAYES: Yes, mental illness. You`ll see a rot lot of Republicans talking about mental illness. And they might have a point, although the data doesn`t quite bear it out. But it might be a little more persuasive if Congress was doing anything about that issue. In fact, literally, the only gun-related bill to be signed by this Republican President with the Republican Congress was a bill last year that rolled back an Obama era regulation that actually makes it easier for a person deemed to have a mental disability to purchase a gun. So while Paul Ryan avoids a knee-jerk reaction to yet another mass shooting, we move forward towards the next one without any reaction at all.


HAYES: Residents in Parkland, Florida, tonight mourned the victims after yesterday`s horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Hundreds attending a vigil this evening, many in the crowd breaking down in tears as speakers offered prayers and remembrances.

Alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder today amid new details about the assault, including that Cruz took an Uber to the campus before the shooting began and went to McDonald`s before he was captured.

Joining me now for his first one-on-one interview, sheriff of Broward County Scott Israel. And sheriff, first, how are you? And how are the people of Broward County and that community doing this evening?

SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY SHERIFF: Well, it`s very rough, obviously, no parent should ever have to bury a child. It`s devastating to the community. My wife and I raised our tripletts in that very community. They graduated high school. Coach Feis, who was tragically killed was the football coach that I coached with and coached my two boys, so it`s a really, really tough time in Parkland.

HAYES: Where is the investigation at this point?

ISRAEL: We continue to interview the suspected killer. We created a timeline. Our detectives have done an amazing job of putting this timeline together by connecting video from the school. The -- our detectives, along with ATF, have traced the gun to its origin, where it was bought, and sadly, it was bought legally by the suspected killer when he was 18 years old.

The -- we know where the gun was purchased and we continue just to follow leads. We have over 2,000 people to speak with as we try and find out why, who, what, where. So much to do.

HAYES: You know, the president this morning tweeted about the warning signs. And there were some people who interpreted that he was sort of saying that people should have done more.

Obviously, there were certain things known about this individual. He was expelled from the school for this very reason. What is your feeling about that?

ISRAEL: My feelings are that different states talk about being able to involuntarily take a suspect or a subject who might be the victim of mental health illness and bringing them to a facility where they could be evaluated and treated. In Florida, we call it a Baker Act. The only time a police officer can Baker Act a subject is when they`re an immediate, an immediate threat to themselves or someone else.

You know, we keep saying we`re going to have conversation. We have got to stop having conversation and we got to do something proactive to save children, to save people from these horrific events. I`m going to asking every legislator, every lawmaker that will listen than this Baker Act statute needs to be changed and police officers, deputy sheriffs who have information that a subject has posted some horrific pictures or videos on his or her website -- bloody bombs, guns, rifles, things like that, police have to have the ability to take these people involuntarily, if necessary, to be examined by mental health professionals.

People say, what about their rights? And I`m cognizant of their rights and I spent a lifetime in law enforcement protecting people`s rights. But at the end of the day, the rights of our children must be first and foremost. We need to protect our kids. Our kids go to places like schools and libraries with book bags and pencils. And we need to do what`s in the best interests of our children. And lawmakers got to change the way they do things. The same old same old just ain`t working.

You could talk about gun control and what have you. We need less guns in America, not more guns in America. And guns should never fall into the hands of people who are on no-fly zones, convicted felons. And while I pray for people who suffer from mental illnesses and I want them to get better and I want them to heal, if a person is suffering from a mental illness, in the opinion of this sheriff, they shouldn`t be around a gun, able to be possess a gun or buy a gun. And those are things we need to do to keep America safer and our children alive.

HAYES: I understand.

Obviously, this is like extremely complicated terrain for a bunch of reasons. And you`re in an incredibly complex situation here.

But just to follow up on that, you know, if the way that you could detain someone against their will is they`re posting things on Instagram like this individual did of their arsenal, I mean, there`s literally millions of people in America doing that. I mean, posting lots of pictures of your guns or posting pictures of yourself holding a weapon or holding knives, that`s not that uncommon in this country. We`re talking about lots and lots of people, right?

ISRAEL: Rright. And I expounded upon that a little bit. I`m talking about being around bombs, possibly talking about I want to be a serial killer, talking about taking people`s lives. Just taking a picture with a gun or a knife or a weapon that, in and of itself is clearly not even remotely something that we`re concerned about, but when you take a totality of pictures and statements and verbiage that a subject is writing or posting and you have a reasonable suspicion that this person might be a danger to children, to society. I think we have an obligation as lawmakers to change the laws so we can doing something about it, to do the same old thing over and over again, what the poet described that as insanity. We need to do things differently. We need to stand up as lawmakers. We need to give police the powers to take people that are suffering from mental illness to medical health professionals.

And you know, I feel strongly about that. And everybody has their opinion. But I have mine. And I don`t know how many people with their opinions went into a school yesterday and saw 17 dead people.

HAYES: I guess to follow up on that, I mean, there is this question about taking people`s rights away. And in the wake of this, we have a national conversation about it. It seems to me that the right to purchase a weapon is a lesser right than the right to move around freely. I mean, you`re talking about something quite extreme, and I understand why in this case that makes sense given what this individual is alleged to have done.

But just so I understand where you`re coming from, you don`t think an individual like this should have been able to legally acquire a weapon?

ISRAEL: No, I don`t. If we knew the things we knew, what we`re probably going to know -- what we don`t know tonight, but what we`re probably going to know three, five, seven days from now, if we knew that, you know, a year ago or two years ago, I believe we should have the empowerment to prohibit that person from being around a weapon and from being able to Baker Act that person as we call it in Florida, and take him for evaluation and for the help he may need.

HAYES: Sheriff, you were, I imagine, in that school yesterday.

ISRAEL: I was.

HAYES: What is -- what does that kind of firepower do to a place and do to the people in it?

ISRAEL: Well, you know, I don`t want to get graphic about it, but it produces great carnage. It`s a devastating weapon. The rounds fired were -- I don`t have a round count. It`s going to be incredibly high. And it`s a high powered -- you know, it`s an AR-15, it`s a high-powered rifle. And it`s going to devastate people and kill people.

HAYES: All right. Sheriff Scott Israel has been working tirelessly since this happened. We appreciate you taking the time and wish you and everyone in that community the absolute best the entire country obviously watching and pulling for you. Thank you very much.

ISRAEL: Well, thank you and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to come on your show. Appreciate it.

HAYES: You bet, sheriff.

All right, we`ll be right back.


HAYES: A bonus Thing One, Thing Two tonight without a break in the middle. The coach of the NBA`s Golden State Warriors has been known to courageously speak out on social issues. Last night, Steve Kerr spoke about gun violence in America in the wake of the Florida shooting.


STEVE KERR, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS COACH: It doesn`t seem to matter to our government that children are being shot to death day after day in schools. It`s not enough apparently to move our leadership, our government, people who are running this country to actually do anything. That`s demoralizing. We can do something about it. We can vote people in who actually have the courage to protect people`s lives and not just bow down to the NRA because they`ve financed their campaign for them.

So, hopefully we`ll find enough people, first of all, to vote good people in, but hopefully we can find enough people with courage to actually help our citizens remain safe.


HAYES: The coach is right on this score that the majority of Republicans in Washington have proven they do not have the courage to do anything on this issue or really the will, it`s not even a question of courage. I don`t think they want to.

But maybe not all Republicans? Because today, Thing Two, the moments Republican members of a state legislature stepped up to help pass a gun control bill. The Oregon House of Representatives advanced a gun safety measure that closes the so-called boyfriend loophole. The bill bars gun ownership for those who have been convicted of domestic violence, who have a restraining order or a stalking conviction even if not married to their victims.

It passed with overwhelming support from Democrats as well as three Republicans who joined them, including state representative Richard Vial, a gun owner who has received donations from the NRA, but decided not to do their bidding.


STATE REP. RICHARD VIAL, (R) OREGON: All week long, as I have anticipated this moment, I frankly have been inclined to crawl under my desk in the fetal position and ultimately reach for that left-hand button when the time came. I sincerely regret the timing in hearing this matter given yesterday`s tragic events in Broward County.

My heart`s broken as I think about my own grandchildren potentially facing similar horror. I want finally to make it absolutely clear that my yes vote today in no way reflects disdain for those who disagree with me. Frankly, I pray that all of us can continue to work together for the common good in this body. Thank you, madam speaker.



HAYES: All right, there`s a big day in the senate today because there were four immigration proposals brought up for a vote in that body. All four of them failed.

Now, the biggest defeat, and this is interesting and important to recognize, the biggest defeat went to the plan that would dramatically reshape and limit legal immigration that was backed by the president. That plan, that did the worst. It got a mere 39 votes, didn`t even get a majority, nevertheless

Now that gives you a sense of how outnumbered the people that support that kind of vision out, how outnumbered the immigration restrictionists are. And yet today, once again, those immigration restrictionists, the minority, illustrated that even though they do not have a majority of congress or of the American people, they continue to wield a veto over the lives of millions of people.

Of the three plans that address DACA, the one that came closest to passing was a bipartisan, more centrist proposal, and it only failed because the White House itself went out of its way to sink it. The president tweeted this morning the bill would be a, quote, "be a total catastrophe," and on a background call today, an anonymous White House official trashed Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the Republicans behind the plan.

If that was all too subtle, the White House issued an explicit threat, quote, "if the president were presented with an enroll bill that includes the amendment, his advisers would recommend that he would veto it." So, that`s a veto threat.

And even the Department of Homeland Security got in on the action, issuing a Breitbartesque statement that implied the plan crafted by a bipartisan group of senators would essentially lead to another 9/11, which means that the best chance to protect Dreamers went down because the White House, its allies and congressional leadership wanted it to go down. That`s what happened today.

And the reason they wanted it to go down is that the president and his party`s most powerful faction want Dreamers to be subject to deportation. That is their revealed preference, that is what their actions show loud and clear.

Now the problem for them, and the reason this debate gets so confusing and bizarre is that that position they have that, they they what Dreamers to be subject to deportation, it is a wildly unpopular one. So, they cannot just come out and admit it.

Remember what the president said just last month.


TRUMP: And Chuck, I will say when this group comes back, hopefully with an agreement, this group and others from the center from the House comes back with an agreement, I`m signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I`m not going to say, oh gee, I want this or I want that, I`ll be signing it.


HAYES: Wait a second, but that`s exactly what the president did.

First, he unilaterally announced an end to the DACA program, which was providing protection for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, then he instructed congress to come up with a bipartisan solution, and then he rejected a series of bipartisan solutions.

The entire farce on display in the Senate today was simply about staging enough votes to try to confuse people about where the two parties actually stand on this question. There will be no DACA deal, because the president and his advisers and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell do not believe that DACA recipients should be protected from deportation and allowed to live their lives as Americans.

Now, they share that view with a minority of the country, to be clear, but that is the minority of the country that is currently in control.


HAYES: The Stormy Daniels story took a strange turn this week when President Trump`s personal lawyer, under pressure from a watchdog group, admitted paying $130,000 to the adult actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Now, in a 2011 interview with InTouch Weekly that was published last month, Clifford alleged a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump after meeting at a golf tournament soon after Trump`s wife, Melania, had given birth to their son, Barron.

A month before the election, October 2016, when that story was about to break in various news outlets, that is when Clifford was paid $130,000 as part of a non-disclosure agreement.

Trump`s personal lawyer Michael Cohn, issued denials of the affair while avoiding comment on the payment, that is until this week when he was forced to comment. After a complaint filed with the federal election commission claimed that the $130,000 payment was an in kind donation to the Trump campaign and therefore illegal, Cohn came clean, kind of, and said he, quote, facilitated the $130,000 payment with his, quote, own personal funds and that neither the Trump campaign or the Trump organization reimbursed him.

But Cohn`s highly illegalistic admissions raise even more questions. And according to Stormy Daniels herself, Cohn has now broke the non-disclosure agreement. Her manager saying, quote, everything is off now and Stormy is going to tell her story.

MSNBC political analyst Jason Johnson, who is politics editor at The Root, professor at Morgan State University; MSNBC contributor Sam Seder.

What do you make of the Michael Cohn statement?

SAM SEDER, HOST, MAJORITY REPORT: I mean, I think it`s possible a guy like that knew my job is to go and expend $130,000 and if you are to believe the theory that the Trump people didn`t think that they were necessarily going to win the election, maybe he thought that money would come back later when there was less scrutiny about it.

It also occurs to me that maybe this was pretty good timing, I mean to announce something like this. I don`t know what the stakes are of Stormy Daniels. I don`t think there`s going to be a lot of surprises. But if it`s not Porter, if I was the Trump people, I`d rather be talking about Stormy Daniels than Porter.

HAYES: But here is the thing about -- the way that they treated this from the beginning, Jason, is the way they dealt with it has seemed incommensorate (ph) to the threat it represents to Donald Trump`s reputation.


HAYES: That`s the part of this I don`t understand. Like, that`s a lot of money. They don`t like throwing around a lot of money. I don`t get that part of it.

JOHNSON: I mean, look, if you -- Chris, if you pay somebody $130,000, they either did something or you`re trying to keep them from saying what they did, right? But we`re talking about something that happened 12 years ago. It doesn`t have a huge impact. Donald Trump will still stay president. He`s not going to get impeached because he may or may not have had a relationship with a porn star.

But here is the other thing that I think is really strange about this. And this goes back to sort of what happened with Jon Edwards. After Citizens United, I mean, this just shows how sloppy a lot of the Trump supporters and his campaign team really are. If he had created a super PAC called Hide your Mistress, and paid her through the super PAC, he would have gotten off Scott free. This is how sloppy it is.

HAYES: Well, just to be clear, they did create an LLC. They did create a Delaware LLC that has this anodyne name that paid it. But he was under pressure to make this admission, Sam, because of the filing, that what is very clear here is that the way it`s structured is someone did reimburse him, it wasn`t the entities that he said it was.

SEDER: Right. Well, I mean, it`s possible that somebody reimbursed him. You know, and whether you speculate about the $130,000, why that could have been such a big number, look, we have no idea what the arrangement is with Donald Trump and his current wife. And it is quite conceivable that there are certain stipulations when people with that kind of money get married, there is often certain documents that are drawn up, prenuptials. Who knows...

HAYES: That`s a very good point.

SEDER: ...the revelations...

HAYES: There are contracts. And he, obviously, is someone who -- I think, yeah.

SEDER: So, you don`t know. I mean, I think from the...

HAYES: So, you`re saying there are maybe -- there is consequences for this beyond the public and political. There might be very intense intimate and financial consequences in terms of his relationship with...

SEDER: I mean, except for the slight intrigue, is there anybody out there whose perception of Donald Trump is going to be changed by this story in any way?

HAYES: Right. I don`t think so.

SEDER: I don`t think so.

HAYES: Yes, it would be very #onbrand for this to be the case.

I mean, the other question, it is the fact, Jason, weirdly, this story, which again it`s not surprising anyone from a sort of brand perspective, although it is when you say the president of the United States`s personal henchman paid $130,000 to an adult film actress right before the election to cover up the fact they had an affair, or she alleged one. It is true, though, that he has not been asked bout it, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders and I wonder the extent to which Stormy Daniels being in out in public changes that.

JOHNSON: Well, yes, if she feels that now this non-disclosure agreement has been violated, she`s going to go out and talk. She`s not going to dance out it like she did with Jimmy Kimmel a couple of weeks ago. She will find the largest outlet she can. And this will be benefit her.

Look, her PornHub searches have gone up by 375 percent. I literally looked this up. Like, there will be a benefit to her coming out and talking about this sort of thing.

But I think there is also another question here and it goes back to what we`re mentioning about maybe the marriage, or maybe what contracts. If we go by sort of Fire and Fury, the book about the Trump White House, if we`re to believe, we don`t know, that the Trump marriage was on the rocks and that they were going to get divorced as soon as he lost this election, it is highly likely that this might have been something that was done in order to save Donald Trump money if he had a really ugly divorce.

HAYES: Well, and let`s just say this, the other thing it precipitates is like where is money moving in what direction? You combine this with the inaugural committee story today. $26 million to someone that was a friend of Melania including $1.6 million personally to her, I just feel like we haven`t learned the full total of which money changed hands where under the Trump campaign.

SEDER: Well, you know, for us, the story might be Stormy Daniels, but for other people who are investigating the flow of money, the story might be the way in which this lawyer set up this LLC. I mean...

HAYES: And whether a gift tax was filed and what happened.

SEDER: We don`t know what the most relevant part of this story is. Somebody leaked this and it was somebody that wanted to do damage to Trump or to people around...

HAYES: You`re saying the initial story, that`s right.

SEDER: And we presume it`s based upon the notion of who he paid off and the intrigue around that, but it could very well be.

HAYES: A bread crumb trail.

SEDER: A bread crumb to look at the path of the money.

HAYES: Jason Johnson, Sam Seder, thank you.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.