Trump and NRA push for more guns in schools. TRANSCIPT: 2/22/2018. All in With Chris Hayes

Guests: Barbara Boxer, Mickey Edwards, Sam Zeif, Doug Zeif, Jennifer Rodgers

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 22, 2018 Guest: Barbara Boxer, Mickey Edwards, Sam Zeif, Doug Zeif, Jennifer Rodgers

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel wonderful about it. I`m looking forward to going to heaven.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Perhaps it was this pure confident faith that made him such a presence. You felt yourself, by the way in the company of God`s own love. Maybe it was that simple humility. I will never forget meeting him. Billy Graham died yesterday in his home in the North Carolina Mountains. He was 99. That`s HARDBALL for now, thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I spoke with the NRA at the top people.

They`re very close to me. I`m close to them.

HAYES: The NRA`s president arrives at the NRA solution.

TRUMP: We have to harden our schools.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: God help us if we don`t harden our schools.

HAYES: Tonight, the President`s plan to add more guns into schools and the students fighting for much more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?

HAYES: Plus, brand-new charges for Donald Trump`s former Campaign Chairman.

TRUMP: I think that`s pretty tough stuff.

HAYES: Tonight the mind-boggling fraud and money laundering charges are for Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and what all this means to the Mueller investigation and why the Republican governor of Missouri was just taken into custody by the Saint Louis Sherriff, when "all in" starts right now.

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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Forced by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to reckon with the senseless gun massacre that upended their lives last week, the gun lobby and the President they back as strongly as anyone they ever backed are not being allowed to change the subject but they are trying. Trying instead to reframe the debate in terms that serve their own interests, offering up a proposal that would benefit the gun industry and avoid the root problem altogether. Put more guns in America`s schools.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have to harden our schools not soften them up. A gun-free zone to a killer or somebody that wants to be a killer, that`s like going in for the ice cream. That`s like here I am, take me. But I think we need hardened sites. We need to let people know. You come into our schools, you`re going to be dead. I want my schools protected just like my banks are protected, just like everything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: If that language from the President sounds familiar, it`s because NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre used the same exact terms almost word for word earlier today at Conservative Political Action Conference known as CPAC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAPIERRE: Our banks, our airports, our NBA games, our NFL games, our office buildings, our movie stars, our politicians, they`re all more protected than our children at school. We drop our kids off at school that are so-called gun-free zones that are wide open targets for any crazy madman bent on evil. They all must come together to implement the very best strategy to harden their schools including effective trained armed security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: You hear that? Harden the schools, armed security, more guns. Always more guns is the solution to the problems that guns create. And by treating school shootings as a separate issue from the epidemic gun violence more broadly in this country, the NRA and the elected officials it promotes avoid addressing the one factor that sets the U.S. apart from the rest of the world, the sheer number of guns. That red line all the way over there on the right, that is us, OK. We have the highest rate of privately owned guns on earth by quite a long shot. But to the President, however, that`s not enough. To him, the solution is to arm teachers with more concealed weapons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I want certain highly adept people, people that understand weaponry, guns, if they really have that aptitude, because not everybody has an aptitude for a gun. But if they have the aptitude, I think a concealed permit for having teachers and letting people know that there are people in the building with a gun, they`re not going to walk into a school if 20 percent of the teachers have gun. It may be 10 percent or maybe 40 percent. And what I`d recommend doing is the people that do carry we give them a bonus. We give them a little bit of a bonus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Just take a second to think about a school where 40 percent of the teachers are walking around carrying guns and think about what happens when there`s a scuffle in a hallway. Just think about that for a second. The teenagers who survived the Parkland shooting, they are clear-eyed and sane about the problem and what it will take to solve it. In a listening session yesterday at the White House, Stoneman Douglas senior Sam Zeif confronted the President face-to-face.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAM ZEIF, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: I turned 18 the day after, woke up to the news that my best friend was gone. And I don`t understand why I could still go in a store and buy a weapon of war an AR. How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How do we not stop this after Columbine, after Sandy Hook? I`m sitting with a mother that lost her son. It`s still happening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And in a town hall last night with lawmakers and a spokesperson for the NRA, members of the Stoneman Douglas community left no doubt about where they stand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at me and tell me guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in our school this week and look at me and tell me you accept it and you will work with us to do something about guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just told this group of people that you are standing up for them. You`re not standing up for them until you say I want less weapons.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: It`s not the loopholes, it`s the problem that once you start looking at how easy it is to get around it, you would have to ban every semi-automatic rifle that`s sold in America. Fair enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Following up on that unexpected applause line, Senator Rubio tweeted later that banning all semi-automatic weapons may have been popular with the town hall audience but a position well outside the mainstream. Polling does not support that claim. Two-thirds of the public 67 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons according to newest Quinnipiac poll. And they couldn`t have better spokespeople than the students of Stoneman Douglas who just simply refuse to waste time on the tired conventions of the gun debate they have inherited from previous generations. Instead, they appear to be following an approach similar to what Rubio`s Democratic colleague Senator Brian Schatz outlined earlier today. "I`m normally interested in compromise, not this time. I cannot imagine a bill that would make a difference that the NRA supports. We don`t need to cut a deal with them. We needed to beat them." Barbara Boxer is a former Democratic Senator from California, Mickey Edwards is former Republican Congressman from Oklahoma. And Mickey, let me start with you. Does it feel to you like you`re watching some sort of madness when you watch the President or Wayne LaPierre talk about this?

MICKEY EDWARDS, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN, OKLAHOMA: It feels like I`m watching a lot of repetitive madness because when this happens over and over again. It happens in Colorado, it happens in Florida, it happens in Nevada. We -- and these kids make more sense, are more sane than the people in Congress who can`t deal with this who are afraid to deal with a problem that is just eating us up alive. And the cowardice in the -- in the Congress and the idiocy in the White House are such a difference from the clear, hard voices of these young people who are standing up for what`s rational.

HAYES: I should point out, are you a former Republican officeholder, member of Congress for many years. You served in leadership if I`m not mistaken, correct?

EDWARDS: I did.

HAYES: Senator Boxer, there is a cycle to this. There was a period of time in which Democrats really led the charge on gun safety and gun regulation. It was seen as a winning issue. And things changed in the late `90s, 2000, particularly people attributed Al Gore`s loss to his position in the assault weapon ban. We have seen them touch the hot stove and run away from it. Is that changing now?

BARBARA BOXER, FORMER SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA: I believe it is. And I say that with a full heart because I`ve thought it before when they murdered all those babies at Sandy Hook. But I think Micky Edwards is right. How many times can we see the NRA do the same thing over and over? We`re not fools. Americans are smart. Whenever there`s a horrible, horrific incident, shooting, slaughter, they lay low for a week, then they quietly talk to their people that they really -- they`re like the puppeteers. They talk to their puppets in Congress, their cowards like Marco Rubio, tell them how far they can go. Then they might do 0 something cosmetic or maybe nothing at all and turn the whole thing on its head and basically say we all have to be armed. Well, this is absurd. There`s a beautiful song called Children Will Listen, it`s written by Stephen Sondheim.

And those children in Florida, we need to listen to them. They are the clear-eyed ones. They are the ones who understand what it feels like to go to school, be excited about your work, your learning, your friendships, relationships with the teachers and have that all literally blown apart. We need to listen to them and do what the American people want. And you`ve laid out over and over again what some of those are, some of those steps.

EDWARDS: And Barbara, you know, if you stand up to the NRA and you lose your seat, life goes on. There are things much more important, you know, to protect the lives of young Americans, you know than to say, gee, I want to hold this job for another two years. It`s -- people --

BOXER: You got it.

EDWARDS: -- you know, it`s -- do you remember, Barbara, when we were there and there was this proposal to ban plastic guns --

BOXER: Yes.

EDWARDS: -- which was so common sense and I voted for it and the NRA attacked me. I sent their money back and I said, well, I`m never going to take another penny from this organization. And --

BOXER: Well, that`s what we need. We need courageous Republicans. Most of the Democrats are on the right side of this, not all. I want to make a point though, Mickey. You`re so right. You know, when I started out, California was a red state, then it was purple, then it was blue. But in the days when it was a red state and I was in local office and then the House, I just put it all online like you did. And they came after me, they still come after me. I`m retired, they still chase me around with their tweets. And I proved, I proved that you could win even if you stood up to these people because even the people that didn`t agree with me, said that woman has guts, you know. So let`s see some guts.

HAYES: You know, Mickey, let me ask you this. You know, you`re not -- there`s a certain kind of retired Republican that represents a district that`s now become very Democratic, right? There`s people that you know, maybe they represented New Hampshire, now, New Hampshire has sort of changed. You`re from Oklahoma, right?

EDWARDS: Right.

HAYES: The folks in the district you represent are, are they -- do they want more guns in schools? Is that an idea that`s going to sell where you used to represent?

EDWARDS: Well, you know, I don`t know. That district has gotten much more right-wing than it was when I represented it. When I was elected, it was a heavily Democratic state and it has moved pretty far to the right. But we`ve got a lot of Congressmen and legislators, state legislatures in Oklahoma who are smart, good people, and who would like to see something done. And it just takes the courage to say look, our kids are more important you know, than our party line. It`s more important than trying to make sure we win the next primary. And you know, it`s also, you can be afraid of what happens when the -- when the hard liners turn out in the primary. You got to get your people out there because there are more -- there are more Americans who want to put a stop to this than there are who are willing to go along with it.

BOXER: And Mickey, I think it`s important to note this. It is tough sometimes but when 85 percent of the people support better background checks and they know that weapons of war shouldn`t be on the street, it shouldn`t take much courage.

HAYES: Barbara Boxer, that was fascinating by the way, thank you both. And you reminded me of that insane plastic gun issue from back in the `90s and the NRA basically said no, no, we have to have plastic guns which is (INAUDIBLE) position. Barbara Boxer and Mickey Edwards, thank you, both.

EDWARDS: Thank you, Chris.

BOXER: Thanks.

HAYES: Sam Zeif is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who attended that listening session in the White House yesterday. He`s here with his father Doug Zeif. And thank you both for making time. Sam, first, obviously, the entire nation is watching all of you in a kind of awe at the grace that you`ve shown and we send our condolences obviously. Watching the President a day after that listening session sort of ruminate about teachers carrying weapons and hardening schools, what was going through your mind?

S. ZEIF: It`s not right. Teachers, they don`t go to get degrees to shoot. They get degrees to teach, to mold young lives every single day, to mentor, to build relationships, to love and protect. But how can you put that responsibility on a teacher of knowing whether or not they`re going to have to point a gun at their students that day? What happens when a teacher and a student get into the an argument and the teacher thinks the student is a little more sensitive to the subject and after the argument, the student reaches in their bag for a school supply and the teacher thinks they`re reaching for a gun so they pull the gun out on them first and -- the rest is history.

HAYES: Yes. Doug, what do you -- what do you think of how this has played out in the national conversation since what happened in your sons` school?

DOUG ZEIF, SON SURVIVED IN THE STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING: Well, I think we`re talking about some of the wrong things here. We should be talking about -- this is not about the NRA. I mean, yes they`re a powerful organization but the truth is, our politicians have enabled them and empowered them to be powerful. If we just stop taking special interest money from organizations like the NRA, we wouldn`t be having this issue right now and we`d still be honoring the Second Amendment. So first and foremost, we need to have sensible gun control in this country and it needs to start yesterday. And maybe it needed to start Tuesday of last week instead of Wednesday, after Wednesday. Secondly, we do have a mental health issue. It`s a small one. But mental health is a lifetime thing for most people and honestly, I`m more concerned about mental health right now for the grieving families than I am about a would-be shooter.

If a would-be shooter can`t get an automatic rifle or a semi-automatic rifle or high capacity magazines, we have no issues with mentally ill people necessarily. And third, as far as background checks go, yes, we need a system of really improved background checks, absolutely. So the dialogue I think has moved away, it`s become obviously very political and it`s really shouldn`t be political. This is about our Constitution. I agree. But the interpretation of our constitution is what`s critical here and how our founding fathers -- I said this earlier -- our founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they knew how far our society has fallen from the values that they put forward in the say 1770s.

HAYES: Sam, you`re nodding your head.

S. ZEIF: I am. I`m in complete agreement. The Second Amendment was -- it was put in place for defense, not offense. The second amendment was so that you could walk and feel safe with protection. But not to walk around with an AR. You don`t need to walk around with an AR to feel safe. You walk around with an AR to kill people. And that`s what happened, that`s what`s been happening. And when is it going to end? That`s my question.

HAYES: Sam, can I ask you, you mentioned your best friend you lost, and I just wondered if you could -- if you could tell us his or her name.

S. ZEIF: Joaquin Oliver.

HAYES: I`m sorry about Joaquin`s loss. We`re all desperately sorry about Joaquin`s loss.

S. ZEIF: Thank you.

HAYES: Doug, how do you feel about watching your son and the students he goes to school with somehow deal with all of this in the way they are dealing with it?

D. ZEIF: Well, you know, it`s a terrible thing for a parent or a sibling to go through this. And honestly, we won the lottery last week. 17 families are broken forever. And we`re having to deal with our grief of both of our children. My wife`s grief for standing on the street corner in Parkland waiting for -- surrounded by SWAT team and Sheriff`s deputies and police and am ambulances and EMTs wondering if both of her children were alive or dead. I mean, I can`t even imagine. It`s still surreal to me that our nation is still going through this at this point in our -- in our civilization. After 9/11, I`m a New Yorker, I revere New York. After 9/11, we fixed that almost immediately.

There were a couple little tweaks that needed to be made to our Homeland Security system such as the bottles of water, the liquids, shoe laces, all of that but we fixed it immediately right after the first incident. We should have fix this after Columbine and it should have been done. And people that have little elementary school children like in Sandy Hook or the nightclub shooting or it could be any shopping mall. This could never happen in a civilized society. We`re still -- I maintain that we are still, still misinterpreting the way the Constitution was meant to be used and honestly, my generation has failed these kids.

HAYES: Sam, there are so many people watching you and watching your classmates who want to support you. I mean, I think you sort of awakened a real kind of conscience in people. People want to do what they can for you. They want to make things better for you. What can they do? What should people who want to support you do?

S. ZEIF: We`re not going to stop. We have a march coming on the 24th of March in D.C., all over the country also. Come out. Come to Douglas, come support us, come be with us. We`re going to fight this. You know, we were lucky enough to start at the White House at the top with the legislators but that`s not working so far. So far, it`s been over a day since being there, and nothing`s been changed. So that has not worked. We are going to having to start from the bottom now. We`re going to have to start from the judiciary and work our way right back up to the top.

HAYES: Doug Zeif, Sam, I got to say, I got an almost four-year-old boy and I would be delighted if he grew into the kind of young man that you are and Doug, you should be very proud of the job you did. Thank you, both. I really appreciate it.

D. ZEIF: Jennifer and I both are. Thank you.

HAYES: We`ll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: New charges revealed tonight in Robert Mueller`s Russia probe, yet more indictment. Special Counsel unseals an additional 32 counts against former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and his aide Rick Gates. The new indictments claims Manafort and Gates hid income from the U.S. government and defrauded banks in applying for a series of loans including jaw-dropping sums of money, "in total more than $75 million both from the offshore accounts, Manafort with the assistance of Gates laundered more than $30 million, income that he concealed from the United States Department of Treasury, Department of Justice and others. These are in addition to previous charges from October against Manafort and Gates including money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent. These latest charges come less than a week after Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for, of course, interfering in the Presidential Election.

And they come only two days after a Dutch lawyer who no one have ever heard of before pleaded guilty to lying to investigators specifically about some of his interactions that he had with Gates. It`s a far-flung web of charges that so far does not in any way implicate the President himself. The New York Times reports that Mueller could be trying to leverage that information to get closer to the White House. "Mr. Manafort`s friends have said in Mr. Mueller`s indictment is an effort to pressure him into providing information about Mr. Trump and his campaign. If so, Thursday`s indictment adds to that pressure." To sort out what`s going on here, I want to bring in Jennifer Rodgers, she`s a former Federal Prosecutor and Ben Wittes, of course, MSNBC Legal Analyst and the Editor-in-Chief of LawFare blog which is a must read always. Ben, let me start with you. What do you make of this?

BEN WITTES, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, so there`s a lot of confusing aspects of it. So first of all, I think it is an effort to ratchet up the pressure on both Manafort and Gates. The new charges are much more focused on financial crime which was a significant element of the previous set and less focused on you know, on things like foreign agents registration violations. It`s a more money-based indictment. And I think it, you know, there`s some confusion today about you know, this case was brought across the river from the other one in Virginia, not in Washington and there are conflicting reports this evening about whether Rick Gates is or is not in a near a plea agreement and is -- and who his counsel is going to be at this point. So there`s a fair bit of confusion but I think it`s clearly you know, a ratcheting up of pressure by the Special Prosecutor against two people who are already in a world of trouble.

JENNIFER RODGERS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I agree. I agree. It`s clearly ratcheting up the pressure. It`s also in some ways the fairly typical move because as a case goes on and gets closer to trial, you`re going to add the charges you find. Tax offenses are notoriously slow. It takes a long time to get approval to charge them. So I`m not surprised that they added the tax fraud accounts that clearly were coming if you read the first indictment. So that`s not a surprise, but you know, we`re still in a little bit of you know, not knowing what`s going on.

HAYES: We don`t know what`s going on with Gates but one thing that stuck out to me when you talk about pressure is, people made this how those first set of charges were called paper cases that you don`t need witnesses, that a lot -- you know, either registered or you didn`t. There`s a bunch of stuff. And there`s some evidence here, I mean, what these people are putting in e-mails. One of the things that`s happening here Jennifer is they`re alleged to be doctoring financial information in order to acquire loans. And at one point, the document first submitted to Lender B, a conspirator working at Lender B whose working with Manafort on this allegedly says it looked doctored. Can someone do a clean excel doc and PDF to me? A subsequent version was submitted to bank. I mean, they do seem pretty exposed here.

RODGERS: Oh, they clearly are. I mean, the first case is the paper case, but this is a paper case too. I mean, you don`t need really witnesses to prove this up either. You`ve got basically the e-mails that you just mentioned, you`ve got the tax records and you know, the contrary accounts that`s really all you need. So this is a paper case too, it`s a very strong case. You can`t make up how dumb people are sometimes in their e- mails.

HAYES: Well, and Ben, I mean, I`m also just -- I`m sort of amazed that here`s Paul Manafort just doing this stuff. I mean, until Robert Mueller comes along, here he is doing what a lot of these are public transactions what he`s alleged to have done in terms of money laundering where he finds stuff and cash and he`s taking out mortgages against them. And no one was knocking on his door and he wasn`t in any criminal peril until Robert Mueller starred sniffing around.

WITTES: Well, so, I`m not sure that`s quite right because there were you know, prior investigations.

HAYES: Yes, right.

WITTES: There were -- there were -- was previous scrutiny, and including in Ukraine. And so one of the amazing things about Paul Manafort is that given the prior scrutiny of some of his activities that Donald Trump made him the Campaign Chairman in the 2016 campaign, you know, some of this stuff about Paul Manafort was actually known. And so, you know, it was a highly risky thing for a presidential candidate to do to give him the chairmanship of the campaign in the first place. That said, you`re certainly correct. This is incredibly brazen activity --

HAYES: Right.

WITTES: -- involving astonishingly large sums of money and over a remarkably long period of time, too. And you know, the fact that he, you know, got away with it and you know, it`s not that he didn`t take steps to hide it, he certainly did. And some of the -- that`s why some of the allegations involve you know, fraud but you know, there is a lot of this stuff that there was not a whole lot of secret about who Paul Manafort was.

HAYES: And this relates to what he`s saying it`s not only that that the President hired him, that he wanted to get on that campaign. The reporting indicates that he was like, I need to get on this campaign. This guy was cash-strapped by all indications of the who goes to work for free for the campaign and is dying to get on the campaign. It seems like we don`t know the full story there yet.

RODGERS: Well, that`s -- I mean, the other thing that`s happening here is before the allegations all ended, you know, before his time on the campaign, these charges go all the way into well into 2016. So not only is he on the campaign at the time he`s on the campaign, he`s doing all of these frauds. So I mean, the campaign wasn`t keeping him busy enough. I don`t know what was going on. That`s another interesting --

HAYES: Yes, that`s a great point, Ben, that this rolls the clock forward the stuff that he`s doing while he`s serving on the campaign.

WITTES: Well, so there is -- you know, the conduct does include the period of time. It actually runs into January of 2017. And so you know, it does include a period of time in which he is working for the President or the person who becomes the president.

HAYES: Think of this. You`re the campaign chairman for a major party nominee and you`re like -- you`re allegedly like laundering money and doctoring financial -- it is -- it is a shockingly brazen set of activities if indeed the indictments are true. Jennifer Rogers and Benjamin Wittes, thanks for your time.

WITTES: Thanks for having us.

HAYES: Still to come, the party that chants lock her up in the afternoon and faces indictments in the evening, guess which state`s governor was led from his office in the custody of a sheriff today, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Lock her up! That chant is still going strong on the right, some 471 days since the election of Donald Trump. Ironic, because just a few hours after that scene at CPAC, the Mueller probe filed even more criminal charges against Trump campaign officials. Special Counsel Robert Mueller`s ongoing criminal investigation investigation of the Trump campaign has yielded indictments or guilty pleas from 19 people and three companies including more charges today for the president`s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his campaign deputy Rick Gates, his former national security adviser, who is a felon, by the name of Michael Flynn, who has already pleaded guilty, same as campaign foreign policy adviser George Padopoulos. Those are the people the president selected to run his campaign and put into his White House respectively.

Also today, just hours after the CPAC crowd did their lock her up chant, it was announced that Missouri`s Governor Eric Greitens was indicted on a charge of felony invasion of privacy, a first-term governor, a rising star in the Republican Party -- that`s his mugshot you`re looking at, by the way -- until, well, probably today.

The details behind this explosive and fascinating news story next.

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HAYES: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, a first-term Republican, was indict today by a St. Louis Grand Jury on a felony charge of invasion of privacy. Kansas City Star reports the charge stems from a 2015 affair and allegations he threatened to release a nude photograph of a woman, the one he was having an affair with, taken while she was blindfolded and her hands were bound if she ever spoke publicly about the affair.

He was arrested by St. Louis city deputies and arraigned today.

Republican State Representative Nate Walker, an early supporter of Greitens, told the Star, quote, "I called for him to step down three weeks ago because I thought this was going to happen. My understanding was he was led off in handcuffs and that`s not a good sign for an executive of the state of Missouri."

Joining me now, one of the reporters on that story, Jason Hancock, government and politics reporter, for the Kansas City Star.

What is going on down there?

JASON HANCOCK, KANSAS CITY STAR: It`s definitely been a busy day for us in the Missouri state house press corps.

HAYES: So, we know the allegations, right? I mean, this came forward that there was an affair and the woman in question that he had taken pictures of her. Did anyone see this coming today?

HANCOCK: There was some murmurs of it early in the day, but for the last few weeks you can imagine just how many rumors and wild speculation we`ve been dealing with. It wasn`t till late afternoon that this started to really feel real. And it was close to the end of the day that the district attorney made the release that the grand jury had indicted him for this allegedly taking the photo of this woman and threatening to release it as a form of blackmail.

HAYES: So, this affair that had, it came out recently, right. He has acknowledged it, is that correct?

HANCOCK: Right, he`s acknowledged the affair. And it took place in 2015 before he was governor. He was sort of in the early stages of his campaign for governor before he officially announced it when he was in the exploratory stage, but he`s vehemently denied that he tried to blackmail this woman, although strangely he`s refused to say yes or no to questions like did you take the picture. He said he has not taken a picture for blackmail but he hasn`t made it clear whether he has taken -- took a picture of this woman while she was bound and blindfolded or not.

HAYES: So he has -- I`m sorry, we`re getting my train of thought back. So, he is -- was seen as a real rising star in the Republican Party. The guy`s got an exceptional resume. What is his political life like right now in Missouri?

HANCOCK: Well, just to give you a perspective, just a few months ago I was in Iowa at an event with him where people were actively speculating that he might run, maybe not in 2020, maybe 2024, or beyond. He`s a young man, like you said, with a great resume, a former Navy SEAL, former Rhodes Scholar, former Democrat for that matter, actually.

But as far as in Missouri, he had burned a lot of bridges in his first year, didn`t have a lot of friends even within his own party. And when the news broke, you know, there`s the old saying that the hardest time to find a friend is when you need one. And so he just didn`t have a lot of political capital with the people who now hold his fate in their hands. You already have the speaker of the house talking about launching an investigation that could lead to impeachment. And a lot of his Republican allies are not there to speak up for him or stand next to him to defend him.

HAYES: Republicans seem to be -- a lot of them seem to be throwing him and anvil at this moment.

Finally, has he said what he`s going to do about these charges?

HANCOCK: He`s going to fight them. They`re going to -- his attorney released a statement saying that they`re going to file for a motion to dismiss. He released a statement later saying that he`s innocent, he hasn`t committed any crimes. So, it looks like he is going to double down. He was supposed to be in Washington, D.C. this weekend. We`re not sure if he`s going to make that trip or not to the NGA conference. But it looks like he`s going to try to continue to serve as governor despite all these calls for his resignation.

HAYES: Bob Menendez managed to just sort of keep going as a senator while being indicted and then tried. So, maybe Eric Greitens can do it as governor.

Jason Hancock, thanks for joining us.

HANCOCK: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: Coming up, the head of the NRA speaks for the first time since the Parkland shooting, and what he had to say had less to do about guns, and more to do about being essentially an ideological front group for the Trump administration.

Plus tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts right after this.

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HAYES: Thing One tonight, Florida Sheriff Scott Israel, the man heading up the investigation into the Parkland shooting, called out NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch last night with this unambiguous demand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY SHERIFF: We do needed to have some gun control reform. 18-year-olds should never have a rifle. An 18-year-old kid should not have a rifle. 18-year-old kid, they`re not adults yet. They`re in high school. These kids should not have a rifle.

Bump stocks should be illegal. They should be outlawed forever.

Automatic rifles should be outlawed forever.

And anybody who says different, I don`t know about other people, but Emma and I, we`re calling BS on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: But perhaps recognizing the power of the NRA and the politics around gun control, Sheriff Israel offered this advice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISRAEL: Columbine, Sandy Hook this, Stoneman Douglas and a host of other tragedies, doing it the same way isn`t working. And I could tell you, you`re not going to change -- with all due respect, and I think you`re an amazing woman -- you`re not going to change her mind. There`s only one way to make America safely. What you have to do, as I said this young generation, we didn`t get it done, but you will get it done. Vote in people who feel the same way you do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Vote people in.

It appears Texas Democrats are ready to do just that. The numbers from the first day of early voting down in Texas is Thing Two in 60 seconds.

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HAYES: Texas Democrats, Texas one of the reddest states in the nation, Texas Democrats are fired up.

On Tuesday, the first day of early voting in Texas for the 2018 primaries, there was a surge in voting, but especially among Democrats. In the 15 counties where the most people registered both parties saw increased turnout from the last mid-term election, while 16 percent more Republicans turned out, Democrats saw a 51 percent rise over 2014.

In Dallas County, Republicans first day turnout shrunk by 19 percent while Democrats saw a 56 percent surge. And overall more Democrats cast ballots than Republicans, something that hasn`t happened in the deeply red state since 2008.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA CEO: They want to sweep right under the carpet the failure of school security, the failure of family, the failure of America`s mental health system, and even the unbelievable failure of the FBI. And President Trump`s election, while crucial, can`t turn away the wave of these new European style socialists bearing down upon us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Today, the CEO of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre spoke in public for the first time since the Parkland, Florida school shooting. In a speech at CPAC that wasn`t on the official schedule and that pivoted pretty quickly, frankly, from the Second Amendment and guns to socialists in the Democratic Party, I guess?

Now, there is a key strategy at play here. The NRA no longer has a Democrat in the White House, like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama to sell the fear that those presidents will take away your guns. In fact, the Republican George W. Bush was president, NRA membership leveled off. So now in the Trump era, the NRA has accelerated a new plan, moving from being a single issue gun group to being a hard right organization on every conceivable issue, a kind of right wing vanguard of Trumpism running ads like this one last summer which attacked the protests against President Trump and railed against educational doctrination, the Hollywood elite, the liberal media, yada, yada, yada.

The group also launched its own streaming service, NRA TV, just weeks before the 2016 election which not only runs infomercial style shows about guns, but also shows that covers topics like immigration, race, health care, fake news and of course the violent left.

The NRA is not only a mammoth lobbying arm for gun manufacturers, it is also a kind of ideological front group. So, how are you supposed to debate that? That`s next.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA LOESCH, NRA: Many in legacy media love mass shootings -- crying white mothers are ratings gold. And notice I said "crying white mothers" because there are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend and you don`t see town halls for them, do you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Just -- there aren`t thousands of murders in Chicago every weekend. And it`s generally stepping in a kind of rhetorical quicksand to attempt to take the bait from someone like Dana Loesch of the NRA. But that said, it should be noted we literally did a town hall in Chicago about gun violence there. We talked to mothers in Chicago that lost their children. And if Dana Loesch, who so breezily invokes the suffering of actual human beings, actual real people in Chicago, to score her political points, bothered to look at the evidence she, of course, would already know that.

But then that`s the point. The NRA does not exist to make good faith argument, which is why it`s become pointless to argue with them at all.

MSNBC contributor Jennifer Rubin is a Washington Post columnist, writes the Right Turn column, Charlie Pierce is a writer at-large at Esquire.

And Charlie, you`ve been writing about the NRA and the role it plays in the right for years. And what is it right now? How do you characterize what it has become?

CHARLIE PIERCE, VANITY FAIR: Well, first of all, you`re absolutely correct in that it is essentially a lobbying organization, it`s the lobbying arm of the weapons manufacturing industry. That`s the most basic thing that it is. But I think, to be perfectly honest with you, I think it`s making a mistake if it -- as it tries to become just another general clearinghouse for conventional conservative thinking and getting away from basically what it was good at which was defending the right of every American to own as much as -- as many AR-15s as can fit in their garage.

When it starts talking about Saul Alinsky and immigration and all this other stuff, it just becomes part of the noise and it loses the, I think, the unique purchase it had in the constellation of right wing organizations.

HAYES: do you agree with that, Jennifer?

JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINTON POST: Yes, and no. On one hand it has a -- I think a rather indefensible position at this point which is anyone should own any weapon of any type in any quantity at any time that they please.

So, what have they done? Rather than make this about guns, I think they`ve gone someplace to make it about identity, to make it one of these cultural touchstone issues. And that way, even if you don`t own a gun, even if you don`t like guns, if you think of yourself as a conservative this is one of those hot button issues you must believe in. Just like you believe in climate change denial, just like you believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

So they have turned this into an irrational issue because they are irrational. And it has now to do about who you are, it has to do about liberals trying to change a way of life, and it`s about urban elites trying to tell you what to do.

So, in that sense, it sort of makes a weird kind of sense because that`s the kind of politics that the right is practicing.

On the other hand, the risk is that they come out in public and they sound like lunatics and people realize that they`re lunatics. And you put them up against these kids from a high school and their grieving families and they look cruel and insane.

HAYES: Yeah, and I think -- I mean, to Jennifer`s point, I also wonder, Charlie, whether it`s good from a marketing standpoint. I mean, if you define gun ownership as tied to this tribe, you know, it`s a 50-50 nation or whatever it is, right, there`s hundreds of millions of people. There`s that old Michael Jordan line about Republicans buy sneakers, too, about why he wouldn`t speak out on a political issue.

It seems to me that you`re actually saying -- you`re kind of a message that like if you buy a gun you have to be part of this -- the kind of people that like Dana Loesch, which seems like not a great idea.

PIERCE: Well, I think liking Dana Loesch is a terrible idea, but we`ll leave that aside for just a second. I think Jennifer is right to an extent. I think it is something tribal, but then again that`s nothing new in conservative Republican politics. I mean, almost every issue over the last 30 years has been converted to tribalism. And now basically the way you debate the NRA is the same way you debate the moral majority or you way you debate the Club for Growth. I mean, you`re arguing against a bunch of self-contained universes that have their own facts, their own history and at least in the case of climate change their own physical laws.

HAYES: There is some evidence, Jennifer, that to -- to what Charlie is saying about this bubble, right, there`s some evidence of what you`re saying about how this is all playing in the world outside that auditorium. Three major rental car companies dumping the NRA -- Enterprise, Alamo, National, which had partnership with NRA to provide discount to members, ending the program within the next month, and an NRA branded Visa card dropped by First National Bank of Omaha in the wake of this. What does that say to you?

RUBIN: Well, it says that this may be coming to a new dimension, which is a commercial hit to the NRA and to those companies that are seen identifying with it. And I think that is an avenue that may have rich rewards for people who want some sensible gun safety laws.

If they make the NRA brand itself noxious, why then they`re making some progress here. And just as I think you see the shuffling and the mumbling and the looking at their shoes routine from the Republicans, pretty soon you`re going to have business executives who are doing the same thing and they are much more sensitive to public opinion and consumers I think than some politicians are.

HAYES: That`s a great point. The other person I think who is weirdly sensitive to public opinion, although you wouldn`t know it, is the president who is sort of -- you know -- I think has an antenna out for this.

And Charlie, he seems to me to recognize both that he has to go to the NRA and that he`s at the wrong side of it at the same time.

PIERCE: Well, I think -- I mean, this is what comes from having no real ideas of your own.

HAYES: that`s right.

PIERCE: I mean, this is -- you know, I mean I feel very strongly both ways. I do think that his instinct, his reflex -- I won`t even say it`s an instinct -- it`s more like, you know, a lizard brain instinct -- is to be for more extensive background checks and bump stock banning and maybe even going so far as to make just a little bit harder for people to own the weapon of choice of the IRA, which is pretty much what the AR-15 is.

But then again I`m not the last person to talk to them on any particular day, because that`s the only person that really matters.

HAYES: And we know who that is going to be, because it`s going to be someone like Wayne LaPierre, I think -- and we saw this play out with DACA. It`s going to play out very similarly here, I think.

Jennifer Rubin and -- sorry, Charlie, I have to get to Rachel.

PIERCE: Sorry.

HAYES: Jennifer Rubin and Charlie Pierce, thank you both. That is All In for this evening.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END