Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 19, 2018 Guest: Ro Khanna, Kara Swisher, Angelo Carusone, Olivia Nuzzi, Jennifer Rodgers, Matt Miller, Ted Lieu, Harry Litman, Kylie Morris
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you considering firing Robert Mueller?
HAYES: President Trump attacks Robert Mueller.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you done with Robert Mueller, Mr. President?
HAYES: Tonight, Donald Trump formally joins the plot to stop the Mueller investigation as he also hires a new attorney and as Republican leaders stay mostly silent.
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you van innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it.
HAYES: Plus --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To your knowledge, did the Trump Campaign in 2016 use that improperly accessed data?
HAYES: Bombshell new reporting on the Trump campaign's data analytics operation.
CHRISTOPHER WYLIE, CO-FOUNDER, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: This is a company that really took fake news to the next level.
HAYES: Explosive new details about the kind of operation Cambridge Analytica was running and why Facebook's handling of a massive data intrusion could represent an existential crisis.
BRAD PARSCALE, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, DONALD TRUMP'S 2020 ELECTION CAMPAIGN: I understood early that Facebook was how Donald Trump was going to win.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I'm Chris Hayes. New reporting tonight that President Trump's lawyers are now turning documents over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in hopes of limiting the scope of Mueller's interview with the President. That news comes in the wake of the President unleashing his first direct attacks on the Special Counsel as he appears poised to begin a full-out offensive on the man who could take down his presidency. The floodgates opened after Attorney General Jeff Session fired now former FBI Director Andrew McCabe late on Friday amid massive pressure to do so from the White House and Trump allies on Trump T.V. for weeks and weeks and months at a time. They did that less than two days before McCabe was set to retire and collect his full pension. And that move, that's the move that appears to have emboldened the President because, on Saturday morning, the President attacked Mueller by name for the first time when he followed up on Sunday with this. "Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big crooked Hillary supporters, and zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added. Does anyone think this is fair? And yet there is, all caps, no collusion." For the record, Mueller himself is a long-time Republican you. Might call him a hardened Republican were it not for the fact that hardened is the kind of adjective usually used to describe terrorists and criminals. Or if you're Donald Trump, to describe Democrats. Also, Robert Mueller is statutorily barred from looking at the political affiliation of the people he hired. But never mind. Trump's comments mark the end of a ten-month run of public presidential deference to the Special Counsel, deference that had been recommended by Trump's lawyers who had assured the President over and over that Mueller's investigation was close to an end. In the wake of news last week that Mueller had subpoenaed the Trump Organization, which virtually guarantees that Mueller's probe will continue for at least several more months, Trump abandoned that uncharacteristic bit of restraint. There is likely more to come. Daily Beast reports that those close to Trump expect Trump to attack Mueller more directly, even if it means exacerbating his legal standing. And the Times reports a newly embolden Trump now feels confident saying what he really feels that he "ultimately trust only his own instincts and now believes he has settled into the job enough to rely on them rather than the people advising him." Last night Trump lawyer Ty Cobb tried very hard to put the genie back the bottle releasing a statement that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Aboard Air Force One today, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley tried to sell skeptical reporters on that claim.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HOGAN GIDLEY, DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: There are no conversations or discussions about removing Mr. Mueller. At the same time, there has been no collusion. The President has said multiple times. Obviously, I think what you guys have seen is some well-established frustration on behalf of the President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That message, though, was undercut by news today that Trump had added to his legal team a lawyer named Joseph diGenova, who alleges an FBI plot to frame Trump, despite a total lack of evidence to back up that claim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH DIGENOVA, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: The motive would be that they didn't like Donald Trump, they didn't think he was fit to be president, and they were going to do everything within their power to exonerate Hillary Clinton. And if she lost, to frame Donald Trump with a false crime because they didn't think he should be president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I want to go now to MSNBC Contributor Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post" who broke the news a short time ago that Trump lawyers have turned over documents to Mueller with hopes of limiting the scope of the Presidential interview. Trump layer John Dowd told NBC News Leoninig's report is old news, adding in a separate e-mail, it is well, B.S., though those two things are in some tension with each other. All right, Carol, first, what are the documents they're turning over?
CAROL LEONNIG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: So these records are essentially the White House view of key events that are under investigation by Special Counsel Bob Mueller. The records are being turned over in an attempt to limit the scope of the interview that the President very clearly is spoiling for. He has indicated to top White House aides he wants to sit down with Mueller's team. He's got nothing to hide, and he wants to have this discussion. However, his lawyers are keen to limit the questions and the scope of that. They don't really want an extemporaneous free-for-all between a crew of very seasoned lawyers and investigators and the president because he has shown a penchant for hyperbole, and sometimes made some misstatements. And so these documents are an effort to say here are key pieces of information that are already established fact. Here are timelines. Here are contemporaneous memoranda, here are e-mails that show key pieces on information about these moments in the President's tenure that you are scrutinizing. Hopefully, this will resolve those issues, and we can limit our questions to the things that are most pertinent.
HAYES: So the idea is that these documents substitute for questions. In lieu of questioning the President about these moments in time, the documents, which you said are e-mails and contemporaneous memorandums as well as characterizations of things that happened?
LEONNIG: Correct. But now, let me be clear, Chris, this is not a proffer. This is not the President's first-hand version of events. This is not what a defense lawyer might give to a prosecutor saying hey, here's what my guy is likely to say. But they're more of a hint and an indication and a way to again reduce the number of questions the President is sitting for.
HAYES: All right, Carol Leonnig, thanks for breaking that news and for being with me.
LEONNIG: You bet.
HAYES: Joining me now for reaction on Trump's attack, Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California. First let me start picking up on there as someone who was a Prosecutor in the Air Force if I'm not mistaken. What do you think about this trade here of here, we'll give you some documents if you limit your questions and sort of enter that into the record?
REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Chris, for your question. First of all, I don't think it's a coincidence that Donald Trump went on a Twitter meltdown this weekend that continued to today because he got the list of questions that Special Counsel Mueller wanted him to answer. And now they're producing these documents in response. I think that's good. I think giving additional information to a Special Counsel is a good thing and then it will be up to Special Counsel Mueller's team to see if that satisfies them, and that's up to the Special Counsel.
HAYES: There was a round of comments from Republicans this weekend in response to what you just called the meltdown. I'm going play a few of them for you and get your reaction. Here was Orrin Hatch today on the possibility of the President firing Mueller. Take a listen.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I feel confident that he won't be fired. I don't think the President is going to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you so confident that he wouldn't -- that he won't do this?
HATCH: Because I think it would be the stupidest thing anybody could do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is so it stupid?
HATCH: Well, because he is an honest guy who's doing an honest job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Does that make you more secure?
LIEU: Well, not at all, Chris, because the President has done stupid things. But look, if the President does go ahead and fire Robert Mueller, we would have people take to the streets. I believe there would be widespread civil unrest because Americans understand that the rule of law is paramount.
HAYES: You think there would be civil unrest -- wide spread civil unrest?
LIEU: I do. I think you're going have protests and marches and rallies and sit-ins. I believe Americans would not stand for the firing of Robert Mueller. First of all, the President hasn't been able to point to a single thing that Robert Mueller has done wrong. There is no basis to fire him and he'd have to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein first in order to fire Robert Mueller.
HAYES: Paul Ryan, of course, Speaker of the House, he and Mitch McConnell I thought were -- gave fairly, I don't know, weak minimal statements about the possibility of Mueller's firing and about the President's criticism. This is the spokesperson for Paul Ryan, Ashlee Strong. "As the Speaker has always said, Mr. Mueller and his team should be able to do their job." Is that strong enough?
LIEU: Not at all. And unfortunately, we've seen the Republican-controlled Congress fail on their duty to be a check and balance on the President. And the great thing about America is this November, the voters get to decide. Do they want an actual check and balance on the President? And they will go to the polls, and they'll be weighing on their mind.
HAYES: This is what Trey Gowdy said, which I thought was interesting. He is someone, a Republican who really sort of cut his teeth as a pursuer of Hillary Clinton over Benghazi and the like. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOWDY: If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it. If you believe, as we found there is no evidence of collusion, you should want Special Counsel Mueller to take all the time and have all the independence he needs to do his job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What do you think of that?
LIEU: You know, it is quite telling that all the Republicans who show courage also all happen to be retiring. But I do agree with Republican Trey Gowdy and as a former Prosecutor myself, Donald Trump acts totally guilty. If there was a Richter scale to measure consciousness of guilt, he would be at an 8.0 right now. He is acting completely like not an innocent person.
HAYES: You know, I have to say, I don't know if he's guilty but I have to go ahead and agree with you. The way he's acting, independent of what he did, is not like a person who is super innocent. Congressman Ted Lieu, thanks for being with me.
LIEU: Thank you.
HAYES: With me now is MSNBC Political Analyst Betsy Woodruff, Politics Reporter of the Daily Beast who had sort of the big scoop of the weekend. So Andrew McCabe gets fired and we'll talk about that a little bit later. The President sort of appears to view that as the green light to go after Mueller. And then you talk to John Dowd and he says this to you. "I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe's boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt dossier. That doesn't sound off the cuff despite the fact they walked it back.
BETSY WOODRUFF, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, not at all. And I would also note that we should all aspire to have friends and partners in our lives who describe us the way John Dowd describes the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility after the firing of Andrew McCabe. That all that we should all be hoping for. But of course, look, if you look at this statement, and that is not something that necessarily reads like it was, you know, something that was just sort of popped out there. That said, there's an important piece of chronology here that matters. When I first received this statement from Dowd, it looked like something that was thoughtful. I believed it was. I e-mailed him back and I said, now can you tell me, did you create -- did you write this statement on behalf of the President? Dowd responded to me and said yes, speaking as his counsel. So I thought good to go. We published the story. The story went up. Shortly afterward Dowd followed up with me and said that in fact he was speaking on his personal behalf, not behalf on the President. So we edited the story and include the fact that he walked it back afterwards. But when he first wrote that statement, and I first communicated with him about it, he was unequivocal that he was speaking for President Trump and not for himself.
HAYES: I feel like there is this sort of preposterous game we've all been playing in which obviously the President-- the President and the President's legal counsel wants Robert Mueller to go away, would love it if he disappeared and wrapped up and maybe they would love it if he was fired. Ty Cobb or whoever is telling the President we've got to stiff upper lip but then we play this game of the White House pretends like how dare you suggest we want to fire the Special Counsel? And then we get reporting that like, oh, yeah, he instructed Don McGahn to fire the Special Counsel. Like, clearly this is something he wants to do.
WOODRUFF: Why would you think the President wants to fire the Special Counsel when the President tweets that the Special Counsel's investigation never should have existed? How on earth would you connect those two things? It's -- I mean, this is something that is not unique to the way the President talks about Mueller's investigation over the entire course of his presidency and going back to the campaign. There is often and lying been a dissonance between the things Trump says and the things that Trump's spokes people say. It's not just a Special Counsel issue, it's related to just about any issue you. You pick, there's been a difference between Trump's own words and the words of people around him. They're always trying to do clean up on aisle 6. It doesn't work because the President is always comfortable speaking for himself. And as it seems to be the situation now, the longer he's in office, the more of a sense of I guess confidence he has in his power as the President, the more we're going to hear him saying what he thinks.
HAYES: I want to bring in Harry Litman, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. We're so used to the President sort of tweeting in this slightly unhinged fashion that he did but it is fairly remarkable, and not with a lot of precedent for the President to go after a Special Counsel this way.
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, that's right. I mean, he has only started naming him as of Saturday. It's -- the timing is very odd, Chris, because there's nothing that happened in the Mueller investigation which is still being done rapidly, professionally, and with great result. But he is obviously -- he feels he's got a victory with the McCabe scalp. And I agree with Betsy, it kind of -- his confidence waxes and wanes but now he chuffed and he is taking the next step on his own and being more aggressive with something that of course, he wants to do, which is get Mueller out and never have to deal with him.
HAYES: Harry, what are the impediments to him being able to do that?
LITMAN: There -- it depends how you -- how you go about it. Basically, there's the regulation within the Department of Justice that says you have --you would have to fire him for cause. But he has a lot of possibilities. If he can get a more hospitable supervisor in there either by firing Rosenstein and going down the line, Saturday night massacre style, or installing someone in Sessions' place who wouldn't be recused who could stifle Mueller from the top. I think his chances of getting Mueller completely out may be less than his -- than his chances of really hamstringing him. But if he brings in the right sort of yes man for himself, the ability to really put his boot on the neck of neck of the probe is pronounced even if Mueller is nominally still in the chair.
HAYES: Right that's an important point, right. So Mueller can stay and you can put a supervisor that really sort of chokes off his oxygen, more than firing him. Betsy, it is your sense the White House sort of understands the kind of box they're in?
WOODRUFF: Yes. And I think the President's attorneys, you don't have to have a particularly incisive view of human nature to ascertain that the President's attorneys do not relish the idea of having the President sit down for an interview with Mueller either. A strong sense that I've gotten over the course of reporting all this out is there is very much a appointed antipathy of the idea of having to sit down for that interview. However, as long as Mueller is in the Special Counsel's office, that interview is very much a great likelihood. One of the challenges for White House, and that is something that many of the President's greatest critics have taken great heart in is the President has actually had trouble installing political lackeys at the Justice Department. Sessions, of course, disappointed him within a month of being confirmed and essentially turned the President against himself. Rod Rosenstein was a career federal prosecutor, not a political guy. He was a member of the Federalist Society, but not somebody who is ever seen as a political activist. He is the person in charge of the day to day activities of the entire Justice Department, along with the Mueller probe. And on and on the people who we see who are in the very highest levels of federal law enforcement, despite the President's best efforts, are not close, loyal allies of the President. Chris Wray over at the FBI, despite the fact that he worked with Chris Christie is close, is sort of in the same broad social circles, in the same world as James Comey, Andy McCabe, and Bob Mueller. If the President-- if the President wanted a Justice Department that would sort of cater to his whims, he's not getting it.
HAYES: I will note however, he did get his way on Andrew McCabe --
LITMAN: That's true.
HAYES: -- after berating him for over a year. Betsy Woodruff and Harry Litman, thank you for being here.
WOODRUFF: Sure thing.
LITMAN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Next, incredible new charges against the company that ran Donald Trump's data operation, making sense of Cambridge Analytica and the shocking recordings of just how they do business, in two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WYLIE: Cambridge Analytica was founded on misappropriated data of at least 50 million Facebook users. And I want to bring attention to that so that people understand that their data has been used improperly by this company. So I think it's really important for Americans to know what this company has been doing with their data and it's really important I think to find out was this data used to help elect Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Trump's campaign big data company now stands accused of wrongdoing, including possible criminal acts on two continents. Just days after whistle-blower alleged that Cambridge Analytica weaponized the personal information of 50 million Facebook users, saying he created, "Steve Bannon's psychological warfare tool," an undercover video investigation shows Cambridge Analytica in action. The head of the company caught on hidden camera bragging about possibly criminal strategies to get clients elected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER NIX, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: We'll have a wealthy developer come in, somebody posing as a wealthy developer.
MARK TURNBULL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: I'm a master of disguise.
NIX: Yes, they will offer a large amount of money to the candidate to finance his campaign in exchange for land, for instance. We'll have the whole thing recorded on cameras, we'll black out the face of our guy and then pose it on the internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So on Facebook, Youtube, or something like this?
NIX: Send some girls around to the candidate's house. We have lots of history of things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Cambridge Analytica denies any wrongdoing. Kylie Morris is the Washington Correspondent for the U.K.'s Channel 4 News which conducted that undercover investigation of Cambridge Analytica. I would recommend people watch the entire piece on the web or read the article. So first tell me who is that gentleman? The head of Cambridge Analytica we see there in the glasses speaking. What -- who is he and what does he do?
KYLIE MORRIS, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE U.K.'S CHANNEL 4 NEWS: So he is Alexander Nix, Chris, and he is the CEO of Cambridge Analytica. He's also the CEO of the British sister company which is SCL. So this is a company that has many decades in fact experience in kind of psychological warfare almost. It has a background in military intelligence and it's worked in over 200 elections across the world they say over the last 25 years. However, in 2013-2014, there was a new company set up, a kind of spin-off from SCL which was Cambridge Analytica. Now it was funded in large part by Robert Mercer, the kind of mega-donor, Republican mega-donor. Steve Bannon was involved at that very early stage and Alexander Nix is the CEO.
HAYES: And now your investigation, I mean this is Alexander Nix being approached by someone he thinks is a possible client who's going to want to get people elected I think in Sri Lanka, is that correct?
MORRIS: Yes, that's right.
HAYES: And what kinds of things does he say he's willing to do, or that they have done in the past?
MORRIS: So the setup, Chris, I think it's important to understand, our operatives, if you like, a glamorous word, posed as representatives of a Sri Lankan family who wanted Cambridge Analytica's help to win elections in Sri Lanka. So they were looking for kind of a sales pitch from Cambridge Analytica, and that's what they got. Initially, there were four meetings. In the first few meetings, it was much more kind of timid stuff, talking about the kind of data analytics work that Cambridge Analytica does and the kind of psychographic profiling of voters that it offers up. However, at the final meeting, which was the meeting that Alexander Nix came along to, it took a slightly nefarious turn and he started talking about, as we heard, Ukrainian women potentially or bribing officials and filming it, and then kind of leaking it out into the bloodstream of the internet. So I should say that Cambridge Analytica in rejecting these kind of allegations against them are saying that this was largely part of the sales patter, and that they were, in fact, trying to work out whether or not -- whether or not the clients, if you like, were legitimate clients and that this is something that they engage in. I've got a statement from Alexander Nix here. He says that in the meeting, he regretted that he had behaved in the way that he had, and that he was simply following the line in going along with a series of ludicrous, hypothetical scenarios in order not to embarrass the clients.
HAYES: So Cambridge Analytica is paid I think, if I'm not mistaken, $15 million by the Trump campaign. They provide a kind of data engine for a lot of what the campaign is doing on Facebook. At the same time your investigation just came out. It's in the wake of the news about the essentially purloined data of 50 million users here in the U.S., and also users I believe in the U.K. and they are now facing really serious possible consequences in the U.K. over that. Is that right?
MORRIS: That's right. I mean, there is a horde of investigators making their way to the offices of Cambridge Analytica. It's been an amazing scene tonight I'm told because Facebook apparently sent in a forensic data team to look what was being stored, what was being held at Cambridge Analytica. Officers talk to people there. And at the same time, the Information Commissioner was on air with us saying that she was looking for a warrant. So she is kind of the chief regulator in the U.K. She was looking for a warrant to go in to those offices too. And then there was apparently a standoff between Facebook and the Information Commissioner. Now those forensic data people have left the offices around the Information Commissioner is seeking a warrant to go in there tomorrow to effectively seize hard drives and begin their investigation.
HAYES: So my understanding is this is part of a sort of multi-part investigative series. And this is part two. And part three has to do with the Trump campaign and the connection between Cambridge Analytica and their actions in the U.S. When does that come out?
MORRIS: That comes out tomorrow evening in the U.K. so tomorrow afternoon here. And it's kind of an extension of some of what you've seen today, but more --applied more directly to the election in 2016.
HAYES: We're very curious about that. Kylie Morris, thank you very much.
MORRIS: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, reports the President no longer feels like he needs to rely on his aides, and instead is going with his gut feeling. What that looks like, right after the break.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Drug traffickers kill so many thousands of our citizens every year, and that's why my Department of Justice will be seeking so many much tougher penalties. But the ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty. Now, maybe our country is not ready for that. It's possible. It's possible that our country is not ready for that and I can understand it, maybe, although personally, I can't understand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Donald Trump doesn't have the world's greatest track record when it comes to calling for the death penalty. Hello, Central Park Five. But he is not exactly worried about things like facts or details when it comes to his new rhetoric on drug policy, or when it comes to his latest attack on the Special Counsel investigating his campaign and his business. That's because The New York Times reports we're getting a glimpse of a newly emboldened President who has developed more self-confidence as he settles into the job. Those close to him say privately that Mr. Trump does not understand the job the way he believes he does. They fear he will become even less inclined to take advice.
With me now Olivia Nuzzi, Washington correspondent for New York Magazine who has a fantastic piece on the departure of former White House communications director Hope Hicks; Jennifer Rodgers, former federal prosecutor, and Matt Miller, former director if Office of the Public Affairs for the Justice Department.
Two things happening simultaneously this weekend, I feel like -- internal war at the White House,which is sort of constant but churning out a little bit more into the open. Would you say that's fair?
OLIVIA NUZZI, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Yeah, I think it's spilling out. And they're all -- they seem to feel more comfortable waging war publicly in a way that, you know, usually in the first era of this administration would happen a little bit more under cover.
HAYES: So you think they're getting more comfortable doing it?
NUZZI: Or they're getting worse at it, and it's spilling out publicly more often.
But I think as fewer and fewer people are there, it becomes more and more obvious where the splits are among the...
HAYES: Are they working over there? No, honestly. I feel sometimes like everyone in that White House is full-time massaging reporters, or talking to reporters, or spinning reporters, or gossiping, or shivving people.
NUZZI: It's a difficult position, right,because that is attractive to reporters.
HAYES: Of course. Nothing better than hanging with a source for like four hours.
NUZZI: Exactly, but sometimes there is a sense where you're in there for an extended period of time, and you just think don't they have something else to be doing? And I guess the answer is, no. There are people there that clearly are trying to work, but how do you work in an environment like that I guess is the question.
HAYES: At the same time that you have this kind of front, these sort of fissures inside the white House, Matt. You've got the president really opening up, I mean, really sort of going after the Justice Department in a new way. You've got the firing of McCabe, which whatever the merits are of the IG investigation, which we don't have access to, was the product at least contextually of a president bringing tremendous pressure to bear.
What do you make of that as a kind of turning point?
MATT MILLER, FORMER DIRECTOR OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: You know, I think that that story in The New York Times, if you think about that story about the president feeling more comfortable now, and you think of the feedback loop he would have received over this weekend. So for months he has been calling basically on Jeff Sessions to fire Andrew McCabe. He has been doing it very publicly over Twitter. Even when institutionalists, and I'm sure people in the White House, like Don McGahn, have been saying this is an inappropriate thing to do, stop doing it.
But look what happened? He got what he wanted. The attorney general, despite the fact that he should have been recused, fired McCabe, got rid of him. And the response from Republicans on the Hill was nothing. So, if you're the president you've been told for months you have to leave the Justice Department alone and in this very big instance you didn't follow that advise. You were very clear about what you wanted to have happen at the Justice Department, and it happened and the consequences for you were nothing.
So you take that, and you see him follow up with these tweets over the weekend, talking about Mueller, going after the special counsel, it feels a little bit like a president who got what he wanted with one piece of business at the Justice Department and now is turning to other pieces of business.
HAYES: Is that how you read it, Jennifer?
JENNIFER RODGERS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I don't know. I was maybe a little less pessimistic about it. I mean, there no question it was petty. It was vindictive, right. But McCabe wasn't there anymore. He wasn't doing anything. So, to me it seems a little more like I'm going to get this, I can do this, I'm the president. But not so meaningful. So, you know, I didn't necessarily see that it's a step towards taking Mueller out, the tweets aside for a moment. I didn't see the Mcabe move necessarily as a next step being taking Mueller out. We'll have to see.
The tweets, though, I was troubled by.
HAYES: Well, McCabe says this. He says the investigation by the Justice Department's office of Inspector General has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. I'm being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. And he basically says, I am trying to be discredited as a witness in all of this.
RODGERS: Here is the thing. You know, the inspector general of the Department of Justice, I know him, Mike Horowitz, he is a straight guy. He's a career guy...
HAYES: I've heard from a lot of Justice Department people who...
RODGERS: He is nonpartisan. And so I'm inclined, without of course seeing it, but I'm inclined to believe that that investigation has credibility.
HAYES: But here is the thing, this comes to the sort of dynamics in that White House, both of these things can be true. It can be true that there were reasons on the merits for the IG to return the report it did. It can also be true the president has wanted this guy out from the campaign when he was going on and on about this guy whose wife is running as a Democrat, which is his ultimate sin, right?
And it can also be a case that on the merits decision ends up being a red cape in front of the bull for a president who, to Matt's point, sees him getting himself what he wants.
NUZZI: Right. I think he -- as we were talking about before, people being bored in that White House. The president is the central bored figure in that White House. And when he doesn't have much to do, which is an unbelievable idea for a president of the United States, he is sitting around and tweeting.
HAYES: They literally whisked him to the golf course -- it became very clear that they took him out of the house because he was tweeting too much and needed to get some fresh air.
NUZZI: It happens to me all the time. But, Katie Rogers has a really good piece in The New York Times today about the fact that these arguments are spilling out on Twitter between people in the intelligence community and the president. And you have Comey tweeting back at the president and the president tweeting these insane things. And I don't think -- I think obviously it's redundant to say we've never seen anything like this.
HAYES: I thought this -- Matt, this John Brennan -- he says "when the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America. America will triumph over you."
It's really, really strong words from a former CIA director.
MILLER: Yeah, look, and John Brennan is not a really fiery guy, at least in terms of this kind of rhetoric. But you see him joining -- former generals who have been speaking out, other former members of the intelligence committee, people like Michael Hayden who is very obviously a Republican and served under President Bush.
Back to this point about institutionalists. There are institutionalists from both parties who see what this president is trying to do and worry about it and kind of try to push back about it. The problem is all those institutionalists are outside the government. There are people that work inside the government in a career job, but in the senior ranks inside the cabinet, you don't hear that kind of pushback, and you certainly don't hear it on Capitol Hill.
And we know the president just doesn't really care what people -- what the career people think. He doesn't care what people on the outside think. This weekend really felt to me like the tweets felt testing the waters. He was testing the waters to see what he can get away with. He didn't get a lot of pushback on Capitol Hill. That doesn't mean he is going to fire Bob Mueller tomorrow, but it might mean the pressure Justice Department continues. It might mean he tries to take out Jeff Sessions or Rod Rosenstein and put someone in place who will clamp down on that investigation in a tougher way than Rod Rosenstein is.
HAYES: Where do you think we are in terms of things holding, in terms of these basic sort of institutional setups that it felt like the president was rattling the cage this weekend a little bit. But it is holding?
RODGERS: So far, so good. We'll see.
I mean, if we have the current setup at Justice stay, if Rod Rosenstein stays, Mueller stays, Sessions stays, which is an important except. If hs is replaced, of course, then Rosenstein is no longer in charge, I think it will hold for a while.
I mean, still the Republicans in congress are at least saying that they believe in the institutions of the DOJ and the FBI. So, we're OK for the moment, but we'll have to see.
HAYES: Wait until we get chief of staff Corey Lewandowski, which I feel like is a total possibility.
Olivia Nuzzi, Jennifer Rodgers and Matt Miller, thanks for joining us.
Still ahead, Facebook scrambles for answers in the wake of bombshell stories about data intrusion. Plus, tonight's Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, in a world where Donald Trump is president of the United States, it seems like anyone with some fame to their name could be a candidate for high office, like Stacey Dash, best known for her supporting role in the 1995 movie lueless, who announced last month she is running for congress. Or Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, former pro wrestler, now the highest paid movie star on the planet who said he is seriously considering a 2020 presidential run.
And of course Oprah Winfrey, who is widely rumored to be considering a run for the White House following her viral Golden Globes speech earlier this year. Today, we learned that another celebrity has decided to throw their hat into the political ring with a run for governor of New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH JESSICA PARKER, ACTRESS: Shouldn't we be dating men our own age?
CYNTHIA NIXON, ACTRESS: Good luck finding one. There are no available men in their 30s in New York. Giuliani had them removed along with the homeless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That's Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Safe to say the Trump era has opened the floodgates for all sorts of personalities to run for office. And actress Cynthia Nixon is the latest to step into the fray. Former Sex and the City star announced her run for governor of New York today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIXON: I love New York. I've never wanted to live anywhere else. But something has to change. We want our government to work again on health care, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us. I'm Cynthia Nixon. I'm a New Yorker. And together we can win this fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, to those who don't follow New York politics, this may seem out of the blue, but is by no means a random move. Nixon has been very active in progressive politics for years. She has repeatedly been a high profile critic of Governor Cuomo. Rumors started circulating last year she could be challenging him. When she actually hired Democratic strategists earlier this month, Governor Cuomo reacted by laughing off the Emmy, Grammy, and Tony award winning artist, calling her a, quote, second tier celebrity.
We call that response Trumpian, but she has actually been treated better by Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLP)
TRUMP: OK. And the Emmy goes to Cynthia Nixon, Sex and the City.
NIXON: Thanks very much! Oh my goodness, thank you!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MANLEY, AUSTIN POLICE CHIEF: And we're asking you to stay in your residence until we've had the opportunity to ensure that this neighborhood is safe. And if you have an emergency, please call 911. Give us the address so we can come in and safely escort you out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There has been yet another terrifying turn of events in Austin, Texas over the weekend. A fourth bomb detonated on Sunday as authorities now say a serial bomber appears to be blamed. Now, latest going off in Travis County Neighborhood in Southwest Austin seriously injuring two men. The first bomb went off on March 2, killing Anthony House, 39-year-old African-American man. Two more bombs went off on March 12, one wounded a 75-year-old Hispanic woman, the over killed 17-year-old Dralen Mason, also African-American and injured his mother as well.
Authorities say Sunday's explosion presents a new complication. The first three bombs were contained in packages directly delivered to people's homes, perhaps targeted to those individuals, but last night's bomb was left by a roadside. And it appears to have been detonated by the use of a trip wire, meaning it could have been triggered by a random passerby.
In addition, Sunday's victims were both white, perhaps complicating earlier concerns the bombs are racially motivated, though of course we still do not know.
Authorities ask residents in the Travis County area to stay indoors early in the day with the school district warning it was unable to send in buses to the neighborhood today. And this is now properly turned into massive federal investigation. More than 500 agents from the FBI, ATF, other agencies on the case. The reward for information leading to an arrest now totals $115,000.
After the break, the top security chief at Facebook is reportedly out, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg remains silent. A look at what the company does next, right after this.
HAYES: Facebook stock plummeted today on the news that Trump campaign's big data company allegedly harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook users. And by the end of the day, Facebook lost about $36 billion of its market value.
I want to bring in Kara Swisher, executive editor at Re-Code; Angelo Carusone who is president Media Matters for America; and Congressman Ro Khanna, Democrat representing California's Silicon Valley.
Kara, let me start with you, let's bracket for a moment what Cambridge Analytica did and the use of Facebook data. What is so revealing to me was the way Facebook went around the management of the publicity over it, which is they make this announcement at Friday at 10:00 p.m. in the kind of like sketchiest, most nothing to see here way possible that just makes me feel like they are acting guilty or they have something to hide.
KARA SWISHER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR RE-CODE: No, I think they were trying to get ahead of two really devastating stories how their platform was misused again. You know, there had already been those series of stories about Russia using them and news and advertising and content and advertising and now there is this, which is a clear violation of their terms, but they weren't there to police their terms. And so I think they were probably just trying to get ahead of the situation, although, you know, different PR strategies, something I probably wouldn't have done, but they were I suppose trying to make some news before the big news came out.
HAYES: Do you think, though, they have been sufficiently forthcoming through this series of stories about what exactly they know about how their platform is being used?
SWISHER: Well, there is two things. I don't think they knew exactly until they knew...
HAYES: Right, yeah.
SWISHER: You know, they haven't been (inaudible), so they haven't been aggressively examining it. And this has been something that's been a Facebook thing. I've talked about it over the last year, the slow roll about everything. Oh, there is not a problem. Oh, there is more of a problem. Oh, there is more of more of a problem. I think that's the issue is they either don't have their hands around this massive platform, which is completely believable given how big it is, or they don't quite know how to handle what is clearly a misuse of the system that they don't have control over. Any way you play it, it's not good for Facebook. And obviously today the stock market finally reacted. It hadn't been doing so before this story.
HAYES: Congressman, you represent Silicon Valley. And I thought this was a really interesting statement from Aaron Levy (ph) of the cloud based storage company Box. He said "welp, tech is definitely about to get regulated and probably for the best."
Do you think that's true?
REP. RO KHANNA, (D) CALIFORNIA: I do. I mean, if you look at Europe, they have general data regulations that is going into effect in May regulating the use of data. Now, I don't think we need to emulate exactly the European model, but there's no doubt that we need better oversight and regulation on whether you have to opt in for your data use, whether you have control who is selling your data, and it's high time we had basic regulation here.
HAYES: Anglo, you've been really tracking the roll that Facebook played in the last election. And there are some people I see saying like basically Cambridge Analytica, they're kind of -- it's sort of a con job on their part in terms of what they are selling. It's not that big a deal they got this data. Where do you come down on that?
ANGELO CARUSONE, PRESIDENT, MEDIA MATTERS AMERICA: I think that -- I want to split that. Because the con job I agree with to an extent. When they talk about all their psychographic stuff and all of that, it's just marketing. And I don't put much stock into it. But there is something really important that they did have, which is actual data. You know, when the research place goes to Facebook and legally and acceptably acquires this data so that they could do research and then Cambridge Analytica takes that data, that is against Facebook's terms of service. They never should have had those 50 million profiles. And with that, they're able to do a lot of targeting.
And I think that was really their advantage with the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign is downplaying their relationship with Cambridge, too. But I think the critical thing is there is that if you look at Brad Parscale (ph), who is the digital director then. He was bragging Project Alamo and the size of their database. The size of the Trump campaign's database is the exact same number as the size of the Cambridge Analytica database. And they talked about the fact that they used Cambridge as models in order to use lookalike audiences.
So, to some extent on the regulation front, I treat this like a consumer product. It isn't just the fact Cambridge did something wrong here, it's then all the derivatives from that. So, anything that took place on this ill-gotten data to begin with, the way I'm considering it is the fruit of the poison tree. And so I look at any other place out there that basically replicated or cloned this dataset. What is going on with them?
HAYES: Well, Kara, and that's sort of the thing that I think everyone sort of thinks after this is so you've got this data and there's these terms of service and they come along and they do something they shouldn't have. And Facebook sends them a message saying hey, delete all that and then that's it and it just sort of makes you wonder like who is controlling all this? And almost in a surprising way that Facebook doesn't care more about controlling it given how central it is to how they make money.
SWISHER: Well, you know, everyone in Silicon Valley always acts like they don't have power when all they have is power and money. So, I think what's interesting about the regulatory -- I've parts is -- I just recently interviewed Senator Schumer who was not as regulatory-minded as others, but also I saw Senator Warner at South by Southwest and he was quite peeved at Facebook and Twitter and all the others and talked about regulation. So did Senator Cory Booker.
So, it will be interesting when the Demorats get back in Power. They have always been tech supporters like Congressman Wyden who just sent -- lobbed a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, but now they're sort of turning and I didn't think regulation would happen but I do now. I do now.
HAYES: Congressman, is there a change in the sort of temperature of this on Capitol Hill?
KHANNA: I do.
And I'd make two points. First of all, a lot of these platforms are going to have to change because they are going to want to compile with their European law. So, they are introducing a lot of these tools anyway.
Now, the European laws I do think are probably overly cumbersome, but we don't have any framework. I mean, there are simple things we could do. For example, in this case, when you download an application, you were basically consenting to have your data used and a lot of people didn't know they were consenting to that. We could have more affirmative consent.
The second thing to realize here is this is about $100 million probably of data, if not more, that Cambridge Analytica used for the Trump campaign. And one thing we ought to be raising is, is there an FEC violation. I mean, Trump didn't pay for this data. When I used data for a campaign, I have to pay for it. How did he access all of this information without paying for it? I mean, there is serious FEC issues.
HAYES: Angelo -- yeah, go ahead.
CARUSONE: i was going to say on the regulation front, I'm very sensitive to the idea -- sometimes regulations, especially here, because the tech stuff is so hard. I mean, just think about how difficult it is to cover this on TV. It's complicated, it's tough stuff. And so I worry about that to some extend. On the other hand, I think that if you look at it from the consumer protection angle and also the market, I mean, the reality is a lot of other advertisers were also ripped off here.
And so if Facebook doesn't get themselves together, just like the congressman had pointed out, other people have to play for even a sliver of this data, including other marketers. So, that's partly why you saw that stock tank today.
But the thing that scares me from a democracy perspective is that this data was actually deployed by the Trump campaign to run the single largest voter suppression effort ever. And I think that -- and it was enabled by and facilitated by this ill-gotten data that should have never been there in the first place. And at minimum, Facebook should have done something, or at least known about this after Brad Pascale (ph) was out there bragging. That's the part that concerns me is why did it take more than a year?
HAYES: Well, I'm looking forward to Kara Swisher getting an interview either Zuckerberg or Cheryl Sandberg about this, which I...
SWISHER: I'm trying. I'm trying.
HAYES: I know. I know. And I'm crossing my fingers for you.
Kara Swisher, Angelo Carusone, and Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you very much.
KHANNA: Thank you.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END