Judge: defamation case against Trump can proceed. TRANSCRIPT: 03/20/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Michelle Goldberg, Jason Kander, Eddie Glaude, Bernie Sanders, Ian Bassin, Elie Mystal, Jack Quinn, Kylie Morris

ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES March 20, 2018 Guest: Michelle Goldberg, Jason Kander, Eddie Glaude, Bernie Sanders, Ian Bassin, Elie Mystal, Jack Quinn, Kylie Morris

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want Robert Mueller fired, Mr. President?

HAYES: The President of the United States under legal siege.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President`s new attorney, Joe diGenova, says there is a brazen plot by the FBI and DOJ to frame the President. Does the White House share that view?

HAYES: Tonight as the Mueller investigation bears down, a playboy playmate sues to tell her story, a Stormy Daniels` lie detector test surfaces and a defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump will proceed. Then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you met Mr. Trump?

ALEXANDER NIX, CEO, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: Many times.

HAYES: Part two of the undercover investigation of the Trump campaign`s data firm.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The real question is how did the Russians know how to target their messages so precisely?

HAYES: Plus, the uproar over the President`s call to Vladimir Putin.

TRUMP: I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory.

HAYES: Another cringe-worthy performance from Betsy DeVos and Senator Bernie Sanders joins me live when ALL IN starts right now.

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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight the President of the United States finds himself under near-total legal siege. Donald Trump is now engaged in multiplying fronts of legal warfare, both criminal and civil, with everyone from the most powerful prosecutor in the country to everyday American citizens. On the criminal side, the team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller is negotiating for an interview of Donald Trump even as The New York Times reports the president is laying a reshuffle of his legal team so he can confront Mueller more aggressively. The Times reporting Mr. Trump has weighed allowed in recent days to close associates whether to dismiss his lawyer, Ty Cobb. The paper adds "Mr. Trump`s lead lawyer, John Dowd, has contemplated leaving his post because he has concluded he has no control over the behavior of the President. I wonder what made him think that?"

The Washington Post meanwhile reports the President`s legal team recently reached out to star conservative litigator Theodore Olson only to be turned down. Instead, the President has added a very different lawyer to his team, former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova, who`s peddled conspiracy theories the FBI and Department of Justice are somehow plotting to frame the President. And that, that is just what`s happening on the Mueller front because then there`s the legal jeopardy that the President faces on the civil side where he is already as going into today, already facing multiple lawsuits from various women before things took a decidedly bad turn for him today.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, of course, is suing to have a nondisclosure agreement over an alleged affair declared invalid and the President`s lawyers are now claiming Daniels is liable for $20 million in damages. The President suing a private citizen for $20 million in damages so she doesn`t tell her story. Now NBC News reporting today that Daniels took and passed a polygraph exam in 2011 about her relationship with Donald Trump. You`re looking at a still image of a video recording of Ms. Daniels taking the test. And despite her passing that lie detector exam with flying colors, the White House continues to deny the affair. But the bigger problem for the White House may be that there are other women who may have been emboldened by the Stormy Daniels lawsuit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER OF STORMY DANIELS: We`ve been approached by six separate women who tell six stories. We have not vetted those stories. We are in the very preliminary stages of determining the veracity of those stories. We haven`t determined whether we`re going to represent them. We are at the very, very early stages.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Six women coming forward to Michael Avenetti who represents Stormy Daniels. Well, today, guess what, new suit, this time from ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal who was also trying to break an NDA to talk about also alleged affair with Donald Trump. McDougal was was paid $150,000 for her story by the company that owns the National Enquirer, but now she says she was misled about that agreement and that her lawyer was working behind her back with the Trump camp. And as if all of that were not enough. There is big news on yet another legal front that could have long-ranging implications for Donald Trump and the presidency. Summer Zervos a former contestant on The Apprentice is suing the President for defamation after he called her a liar for alleging unwanted sexual contact.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUMMER ZERVOS, FORMER CONTESTANT, THE APPRENTICE: He came to me and started kissing me open-mouthed as he was pulling me towards him. I walked away and I sat down in a chair. He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his -- placed his hand on my breast. He put me in embrace -- in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed him chest to put space between us and I said, come on, man, get real. He repeated my words back to me. Get real. As he began thrusting his genitals. He tried to kiss me again with my hand still on his chest and I said, dude, you`re tripping right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Trump`s legal team tried to block the suit saying he had immunity by virtue of his office as President of the United States, but in a decision released today, a Manhattan judge shot down that argument finding the President has no immunity for purely private acts, adding "no one is above the law." For more on the President`s growing legal troubles, I want to bring in Ian Bassin, former Associate White House Counsel of President Barack Obama, he`s now the Executive Director of Project Democracy which filed an Amicus Brief in support of that Summer Zervos defamation case, and Elie Mystal, he`s the Executive Editor of the Legal Side Above the Law where he wrote today about the Summer Zervos lawsuit.

And Ian, I`ll begin with you because you guys wrote that Amicus. The argument you make on an Amicus track very closely to the judge`s conclusion. There is an idea you can`t sue the President because if you can sue the President, then everyone would sue the President and the President would spend all his time being dragged before courts and couldn`t do his job. Why should there be an exception in this case?

IAN BASSIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROJECT DEMOCRACY: Well, so, one of the points that we made in this brief is that hasn`t happened. The court considered that 20 years ago in the Clinton V Jones case that potentially this could drag the president into all of this civil litigation around the country. And in four terms by two presidents over the last 20 years, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, that didn`t happen. Now, if it ever were to happen, Congress, of course, could step in and change the jurisdictional rules but they haven`t done that either. So absent those things happening, the judge said exactly what we argued in our brief she should say, which is the President is not above the law.

HAYES: And the judge says this in strong terms.

ELIE MYSTAL, EDITOR, THE LEGAL SIDE ABOVE THE LAW: Yes, this was a full bench slap today of the Trump legal argument, OK? The judge said that there was no immunity, that he`s not above the law, that there`s no way to read the supremacy clause to think that his purely private actions that have nothing to do with his public office should be immune from a lawsuit. So we`re going to have some discovery now.

HAYES: Which is a crazy thing to consider, I mean because you know, we`re going to move to the consensual affairs in a second but this is a place where a woman says that the president you know --

MYSTAL: Sexually assaulted her.

HAYES: -- sexually assaulted her, pressed against the wall, thrust his genitals at her and she is -- he called her a liar. She`s suing for defamation and you`re saying now there is going to be discovery.

MYSTAL: Yes. And there are three general ways to defend yourself from a defamation suit, right? One is to say I didn`t defame you, what I said was true. The President can`t say that we don`t think. The other way is to say, OK, even though what I said was not true, so it`s not true that she`s a liar, but I didn`t say that with a reckless disregard, that`s a term -- that`s the term of art, a reckless disregard for the truth. That most likely is an argument the President can`t make either. So what I think, and granted I`m a little bit on an island here, I think that Trump has to defend himself under the clear parity standard. So basically he has to say that he`s the onion. That nobody -- that nobody who listens to him could possibly believe that he`s telling the truth.

HAYES: That`s an amazing idea. So you`re saying that you honestly think (INAUDIBLE) it`s to say everyone knows that when Donald Trump calls someone a liar, that`s just like -- that`s the wind --

MYSTAL: No reasonable Trump listener would believe him when he says--

HAYES: Is that going to fly?

MYSTAL: -- that he doesn`t have -- that didn`t sexually assault these women. That`s what I think is his best argument.

BASSIN: The problem is he can`t really make any of these arguments, right? And so what this ultimately means that I think the American people have been waiting for, right, is this is a President who is lying multiple times a day. And you keep hearing people ask like isn`t there a consequence for that at some point? The answer is this may be the consequence -- if you lie that often, at some point it`s going to catch up with you and this could be the time that happens.

MYSTAL: Unless he settles, right? And this is the other thing, right? In every other aspect of Trump`s life, when he gets to this point, he pays the woman off and they go away. Like that`s his M.O. He would bind her, he would settle, he would bind here with an NDA and she would go away. Is Summer Zervos going to take a settlement in this case?

HAYES: And not only that, you`ve now got a situation in which those other NDAs are starting to come unraveled. The McDougal filing today basically says I he was essentially hoodwinked by my lawyer who was working in properly with Donald Trump and Donald Trump`s representation to sort of smuggle us in.

BASSIN: Yes, you wonder where Trump gets the idea for these NDAs, right? The report the other day that he had senior White House signed NDAs. He`s used to the situation in the private sector where he used it to sort of silence people who say something you don`t like. One, you can`t do that in government. We may find out that even in the private sector when you try to quash dissent like this and you`re the President, that may not work.

MYSTAL: There`s also this issue with the NDAs that I think is important to always bring up because people sometimes get it twisted. Even if you violate an NDA, that`s not a jailable offense.

HAYES: No.

MYSTAL: You don`t go to jail for violating NDAs. It`s a civil offense. You might get a fine, but that`s -- even that fine has to be conscionable. $20 million --

HAYES: Right, I mean, that`s the thing, right? I mean, well, I mean, I think the idea -- what`s interesting about the counter lawsuit, right, so Stormy Daniels says I want to tell my story, that I`m getting rid of the NDA and they sue, right? They sue for the penalty. Every infraction is a million dollars. They say we want $20 million. Now before they sued I think people thought the President is not going to sue a private citizen for breaking NDA. Well, they are and now the legal question becomes will a court enforce that?

BASSIN: Well, and the other question is how many times can he get away with saying I`m going to pay $25 million in damages to the students at my University but I didn`t do anything wrong. I`m going to pay off this person you know, who says that I`m lying but I didn`t do anything wrong. I might even take the Fifth, but like at some point, that`s going to catch up with the American voters.

MYSTAL: No matter what he does, he can`t stop her from talking, (INAUDIBLE) apply, all right. The Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint, OK?

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: You can sue her all you want for damages.

MYSTAL: You can sue her all you want at the end of the day but you can`t stop her from talking so I think that 60 Minutes interview is going to happen.

BASSIN: I thought you were going to say that Judge Schecter was pulling a (INAUDIBLE) there are rules. There are rules. The President is not immune from suit.

HAYES: Ian Bassin and Elie Mystal, thanks for joining me. That was fantastic. For more on the President`s legal stand up with Robert Mueller, Jack Quinn is a former White House Counsel of President Bill Clinton and MSNBC Legal Analyst Jill Wine-Banks who`s a former Watergate Special Prosecutor. And jack, let me start with you. What does it mean having worked in a White House that was embattled legally on several fronts, to be fighting the number of battles that this President is currently fighting in the courts?

JACK QUINN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, it`s a challenge. It`s not only a challenge for the lawyers who are involved, both the lawyers inside the White House, but the lawyers who represent the President outside, but it`s enormously distracting to all of the other people working for the President in the White House who have day jobs, you know, who have lots of important things to do for the American people. And you know, they`re constantly besieged by questions about all these -- all these other events, some of them salacious, some of them you know, merely awfully interesting.

HAYES: Jill, what was the situation, you were a Watergate Prosecutor, how did Nixon deal with his legal representation as that started to bear down on him, and the legal representation for other people that he wanted to sort of keep in the fold?

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: He had a very large and pretty high- quality legal team, which is not the same as we`re seeing here where the lawyers are not your top tier lawyers. And Ted Olson has turned down the opportunity to join the team. He would have been a top-tier lawyer. So I think that Nixon treated his lawyers fairly well. He followed their advice. I don`t know whether he was completely honest with them. I don`t know if he told them the truth about, for example, the 18-minute gap but he did not fire his lawyers and he didn`t try to bring in new ones to disrupt the workings of his current team.

HAYES: You know, there`s -- Jack, there`s reporting that John Dowd is thinking of quitting or has considered quitting because he can`t control his client. What kind of challenge is that, I mean, when you`re dealing with a President of the United States and trying to offer him legal advice?

QUINN: You know, look, in all honesty, I`m torn here because I think that Mr. Dowd has been giving him some pretty terrible advice. He`s the one, I believe, who has put the idea in the President`s head that he can refuse to testify in front of Special Counsel Mueller. I don`t think that`s the case and we can go into that at some length if you like. But I think just having him obsessing about that is a disservice not only to the investigation, it`s a disservice to the President because instead of preparing himself for the evidence which he is in my mind absolutely bound to give and will give, he`s, you know, fooling around with these crazy ideas that he can somehow simply put his foot down and say I`m not going to show up.

HAYES: And, Jill, you`ve had that same position. He`s compelled here. This is a question about the details.

BANKS: There is absolutely no question that the subpoena power of the Special Prosecutor will force him to come in to testify. It would be nice if they can work out some sensible accommodation, but if not, that`s what has to happen. And I agree with Jack, that the advice that the President is getting is not good. And it`s not just what he mentioned in terms of John Dowd, but remember John Dowd also sent an e-mail to the media over the weekend saying he was speaking on behalf of the President and then said, oh, no, I`m really not speaking on behalf of him, I`m speaking on behalf of myself.

He tweeted for the President or at least he`s now claiming that he tweeted for the President that he had taken action because Flynn had lied to Pence and to the FBI. That was very damaging to him. So he`s not getting good advice from John Dowd and he`s not going to get good advice from diGenova who is more of a talk show agitator than a serious lawyer. And he will only make it worse because he will encourage Donald Trump to go for his own worst instincts.

HAYES: Jack, do you want to add something?

QUINN: Well, simply that you know, it`s really important that the President`s lawyer have credibility and when he says something and then takes it back and then says something else and says, well, I didn`t mean it, it wasn`t really me, it was somebody else.

HAYES: Right.

QUINN: This is not helpful to the President`s cause. Now look, all that said, where you started was will it -- will it be problematic if he leaves. I`ll tell you, I think that as much as I think he could use some additional help, we can all use additional help from time to time, I think that having the President`s legal team fall apart would be a very bad thing because it`s going to protract this investigation and it`s not going to get us to the important point. At the end of the day, the important point here is Russia, Russia, Russia. And Mr. Mueller has an important task in front of him.

He needs to find out whether the conspiracy about which he filed indictments earlier extends to things like the hacking of the Democratic National Committee e-mails. He needs to find out whether there were any Americans involved in that conspiracy. He needs to find out whether that conspiracy extended to the point where there were quid pro quos of illicit activities in return for positions on public policy, like Russian sanctions, and so on. These are the critical issues we`ve got to get to, not all of this silly jockeying that some of the lawyers are engaged in.

HAYES: All right, Jack Quinn and Jill Wine-Banks, thanks for your time. Still to come, new reporting the President was warned by his own National Security team not, not to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his election win, but did it anyway. Next, new video from the on-going undercover investigation into the Trump Campaign`s data company. Tonight, how they claim they helped Trump get into the White House. That`s next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you met Mr. Trump?

NIX: Many times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have?

NIX: We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data-informed all the strategy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you met Mr. Trump?

NIX: Many times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have?

NIX: We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data-informed all the strategy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Head of Cambridge Analytica seen there boasting about how integral the company was to Donald Trump`s election victory has now been suspended after series of investigative reports by UK`s Channel 4 News and with that CEO, Alexander Nix appears to promote bribes and blackmail in an undercover video in which he thinks he`s speaking to a Sri Lankan client. Nix was suspended today, the company saying a statement Mr. Nix`s comments do not represent the values or operations of the firm and the latest installment of the Channel 4 investigation another Cambridge Analytica executive named Mark Turnbull spells out a strategy used for the Trump campaign that sounds strikingly similar to the Russian disinformation effort.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK TURNBULL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: You just put disinformation onto the blood stream on the internet and then -- and then watch it go. Give it a little push now and then out again over time to watch it take shape. And so this stuff infiltrates the online community and expands but with no branding so it`s unattributable, untrackable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Kylie Morris, the Washington Correspondent for the UK`s Channel 4 News which conducted that undercover investigation of Cambridge Analytica. And let`s start with that. It`s an interesting claim to make that essentially we can do a no fingerprints information campaign on social media. Is it credible? Is that the kind of thing that they did actually do?

KYLIE MORRIS, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, UK`S CHANNEL 4 NEWS: Well, yes, I think there is kind of evidence that they were able to use proxies. Indeed they were quite detailed in some of their evidence to us or some of their comments to us about that, about how you can go in and use a charity, for example, or use some other kind of unbranded entity and make sure that that`s the way you get this message out. So as a kind of humble Facebook user, you have no idea where that message might be coming from.

I mean, that is also an issue that has raised some concerns and questions indeed about whether or not there was any overlap between their work on different parts of the campaign. Of course, there are campaign financing regulations that mean that they should have had firewalls in place to make sure that they weren`t involved using money to send messaging on behalf of super PACs and at the same time doing work on the core business of the campaign. Now, they say those firewalls were in place, but certainly, as they have detailed some of their campaign work, it`s very difficult to distinguish where that line might have fallen.

HAYES: Hillary Clinton was interviewed as part of the Channel 4 story and she raises the question of the possibility, the question of the possibility of any coordination with Russia. I want to play that and get your reaction. Take a listen.

MORRIS: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: You`ve got Cambridge Analytica, you`ve got the Republican National Committee, which of course had always done data collection and analysis, and you`ve got the Russians. And the real question is how did the Russians know how to target their messages so precisely, to undecided voters in Wisconsin or Michigan or Pennsylvania?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Cambridge Analytica boasts about their targeting acumen and it`s not something that you would imagine that the Russian operation would have. It seems like a fair question to ask.

MORRIS: Absolutely. I mean, other people, Congressman Adam Schiff when we spoke to him today from the House Intelligence Committee, he said, look, of course, they`re interested in the idea of any overlap, you know, accidental or intended, between the kind of modus operandi of the Russian and the modus operandi of Cambridge Analytica. Maybe this is just the way that you disseminate misinformation online and they`re kind of kind of common instruments that you reach for. But certainly there is a kind of -- it seems to be a blueprint at work that can be traced to both the Russians and a data analytics group like Cambridge Analytica.

HAYES: There`s the regulatory environment in the U.K. which means that Cambridge Analytica has a lot of folks breathing down its neck. You just mentioned FEC and campaign finance law. Here we have a new breaking story tonight that I want to just give you a chance to respond to that Steve Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analytica`s collection of Facebook data, according to the former employee, the whistle blower, who said that Bannon, who sat on the board of that company was sort of overseeing a lot of their actions that he oversaw and sort of gave the green light to this big kind of data scraping that Cambridge Analytica did that has them in trouble with U.K. regulators.

MORRIS: I mean, I can`t speak to the kind of direct line of control when it came to harvesting that Facebook data, obviously, but, you know, Steve Bannon was -- part of the reason why Steve Bannon was interested in Cambridge Analytica was because of the kinds of models they were testing, the kinds of psychographic models that they were testing. The only way to ensure that they were -- they might be effective and to ensure that they were able to test messaging, which we know they were doing early on too, you know, things like drain the swamp. The only way to really decide whether or not that messaging could be effective was if they had a large pool of data to work with.

So certainly you could imagine there would have been the desire for that data to be available. Now, Steve Bannon we know was in you know, talks with Wylie in 2013, by 2014. You know, Robert Mercer was involved backing it. By that point, Steve Bannon is the vice president of Cambridge Analytica. So certainly, you know, he is a presence within the new entity, the new U.S. entity, Cambridge Analytica, at the time that Wylie is discussing.

HAYES: And finally there`s a sort of remarkable moment of Alexander Nix talking about his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee and it`s the first time we`ve seen this, a kind of unguarded report back from someone who got called before that committee about the different treatment they got from Republicans and Democrats. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIX: I went to speak to them and the Republicans ask three questions, after five minutes, done. Democrats asked two hours of questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you have to answer everything.

NIX: No, it`s voluntary but I did because I`m trying to help. We have no secrets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

NIX: They are politicians, they are not technical, they don`t understand how it works. They don`t understand that the candidate is never involved. He`s told what to do by the campaign team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the candidate is the puppet?

NIX: Always.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The candidate is the puppet, but I thought that was a remarkable thing to say. He`s very clear about what`s happening on a partisan basis on that committee that he testifies before.

MORRIS: That`s right. When we spoke to Adam Schiff again, actually the one thing he said to us today is well, actually, that bit is kind of accurate, the way that Nix is describing the dynamic within the committee. I think the other information that came out of that segment where he`s talking about the fact that these investigators simply can`t keep up. They don`t really understand what it is a company like Cambridge Analytica might be doing, particularly when, you know, Alexander Nix later goes on to suggest that it would be a good idea if the clients were to get this kind of secretive, self-destruct e-mail so there`s no tracking available. So that is the real challenge isn`t it, for regulators, for committees, you know, House, Senate and otherwise. How do you investigate this when obviously they`re very good at covering their tracks?

HAYES: All right, Kylie Morris, fantastic reporting and thank you for making time tonight. I really appreciate it.

MORRIS: Thank you.

HAYES: Ahead the secret of Trump`s success is cheating. That`s what Michelle Goldberg writes from the New York Times. She joins me to explain just after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Donald Trump, as it has been established, is a notorious cheater. He cheats like hell at golf. He has got a long history of stiffing contractors. And now we`re learning explosive allegations about the data firm that helped elect him.

Michelle Goldberg writes in The New York Times, "if the Trump campaign had a social media advantage, one reason is that hired a company that mined vast amounts of elicitly obtained data. With each day, it`s clear the secret of Trump`s success is cheating. He and those around him don`t have to be better than their opponents because they`re willing to be so much worse.

With me now Michelle Goldberg, columnist at The New York Times; and Jason Kander, former Missouri Secretary of State, president of the voting rights group Let America Vote; and Eddie Glaude Jr., and MSNBC political analyst and professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton.

Explain -- I thought the column was fascinating. What`s the main idea?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES: The main idea is that there`s a lot of debate about did Cambridge Analytica really work, right? I mean, was it just like Steve Bannon himself, high-tech snake oil and all a big scam and their kind of vaunted psychographic targeting, did that really matter. I would say that that debate, while interesting, is somewhat kind orthogonal to the fact that you had these people who we now know cheated, not just cheated in sort of normal ways, but in ways that even I, who consider myself one of Trump`s more vitriolic critics, would not have imagined, right.

So, one of the things that`s difficult in understanding Trump is that you have to constantly have to expand your imaginative grasp of human villainy. You know ,you have to constantly have to think that like, wow, people will actually do this? And once you kind of realize what they`re capable of and what they`re willing to do, it makes some of the scandals around Trump, I think you see them in a different light.

So it matters that he has these people who are out there talking about kind of framing their political opponents with Ukrainian prostitutes and bribes and ex-spies and fake IDs. The fact that these are the people who are on Trump`s payroll at the heart of the campaign, it doesn`t really...

HAYES: So right, yeah. So, there`s two issues to me. One is like on that, there`s like -- there`s rule making and like corner cutting. And then there`s sketchiness. And there`s just a deep -- really -- there`s a sketchiness to the president`s associates, the way the president conducts. I mean, Cambridge Analytica, watching them be there they`ll be like get this email program so that no one can trace your email. Like, there`s a question -- I guess there`s a question of like does that catch up to them?

JASON KANDER, FORMER MISSOURI SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, yes, in the sense that the American people look at this and I think they`re seeing that there`s a certain level of predictability to this, right. They`re like, yeah, this is what the guy does.

And it just goes back to, you can`t assume that because the guy won the election with 46 percent of the vote that, therefore, the American people have validated this approach, right. I mean, that`s not the case. They didn`t like him then. They don`t really like him now. And what he`s doing, he`s going to try to do the same thing again, right?

And the whole concept behind it is that they don`t think they have a good enough argument to win.

EDDIE GLAUDE, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, I want to trouble this a bit because I think it`s one thing to focus on Trump. I think it`s Trump plus instruments, tools that exist in the political culture as it is, right?

So what we see here is that there`s a way in which microtargeting, there`s a way in which psychographics can be used and has been. Remember, Ted Cruz`s campaign used or hired Cambridge Analytica.

HAYES: We should also say that former Obama people said we did a lot of data scraping off of Facebook, which they let us do, which wasn`t precisely analogous but also a little envelope pushing.

GLAUDE: So what we`re seeing here in interesting sorts of ways is perhaps the manufacture of consent 5.0. And then you add a bad actor: Donald Trump. Not to say that the others aren`t bad actors either, but you add bad actors and then what you have here is not just so much that Donald Trump is a cheater, what you have, I think, are the ingredients to a very troubling undercurrent to American democracy.

The ways in which the demos can be manipulated by Donald Trump, a cheater, or by Barack Obama or by the Clintons or by whomever.

HAYES: But that`s the question, right, that gets us back to this sort of like does it amount to anything question, right? Like did it work essentially.

GOLDBERG: But I think that it`s a problem that we always ask did it work with all of their kind of -- with all of their rule breaking. You know, the DNC break-in was in the 1970s was delegitimizing even though nobody had to prove that what they learned in that break-in had any effect on the 1972 election, right.

So, their cheating in this process in which they eked out a minority victory, I think delegitimizing this president whether or not any of these little escapades was the...

HAYES: The cause.

GOLDBERG: ...determining factor.

And also I want to push back against the idea that Obama -- that Obama did this or that other people -- certainly Obama scraped Facebook data, although not under false pretenses, right? And also a lot of the tools -- I`ve spoken to some early Facebook people and people who have worked on Facebook privacy, people who worked inside Facebook on privacy issues, there`s a lot of tools that just didn`t exist before this election cycle that they were able to take advantage of. So this was something qualitatively different.

KANDER: So, look, the president behaves like a gangster, and not like in a complimentary way. What I mean is there`s a reason that he initially wanted only family members around him, right? Like they usually don`t talk to the FBI.

So my point is, is when you deal with, say, organized crime or any sort of organized enterprise to go around the law, one of the things you have to do is look at how they`re doing it.

So we really need to make sure we`re having a serious discussion. We`re clearly not going to get presidential leadership on this from him, but you know congress at some point -- probably going to need a new congress to do it -- needs to step up and say, look, the platforms through which this happened have an enormous amount of influence and they are going to have to bear some responsibility.

GLAUDE: This is an important point. And this is the point I`m making, right, is to say we can have an argument about Donald Trump as a bad actor with unbridled executive power, and we could have -- which would mean that we would need a critique to bear on imperial presidency, an imperial presidency that`s not reducible to Donald Trump as a bad actor.

So, when you combine the two, all hell breaks loose. So we have all these elements in our democratic process and then you add Donald Trump to it and, boom, you get this...

HAYES: Not just that. I mean, when you -- if you talk about Watergate, right? What happens after Watergate? A whole bunch of reforms around the rules of the game for campaigns. The first big error of campaign finance, what you can and can`t do with campaigns. So it wasn`t just well, Nixon is bad, it was, well, Nixon broke all these laws, but he also was taking advantage of an environment in which the rules have to be restored, like legitimacy has to be restored.

And I think that to me, even if whatever happens independent of what Donald Trump`s fate is, that to me is the point about this cheating and your point about legitimacy, which is there feels like there`s a deep illegitimacy problem now.

GOLDBERG: Well, I think -- yeah, I certainly think there is, both because of taking advantage of rules and also, I think, breaking rules. And I`ve written before that assuming we survive this presidency, there needs to be a de-Trumpification process in which we rebuild some of the norms and pass new laws and kind of say as a society we are creating the structures to make sure this never happens again.

KANDER: I was going to say, look, we make sure that people at the end of TV ads say things like we approve this message. Our laws need to catch up to the fact that that`s not the only way people communicate.

HAYES: there is legislation in (inaudible) we should say that`s the simplest, most clear example of the way the rules haven`t kept up, right? Like, this idea that you can have covert ads on Facebook, People don`t know where they come from, like that violates plainly fair law in other areas.

Michelle Goldberg, Jason Kander, and Eddie Claude, thanks for joining us.

All right, before we go, breaking news now out of Austin, Texas, where the police Twitter account from that city is now reporting yet another explosion there. We`ve had NBC News`s Gabe Gutierrez on the ground in Austin. He`s on the phone with the latest.

Gabe, what are you learning?

GABE SHERMAN, NBC NEWS: Hi there, Chris. We`re heading to the scene right now. But what we`re hearing from someone else, NBC News team that`s already on the ground, is that this entire neighborhood is being evacuated. And just a few minutes ago, there was a package that exploded there, according to authorities. And what we understand is one male in his 30s has been transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Now, Chris, this comes after a very fluid day in this investigation in Austin. Just a short time ago, the ATF and the FBI confirmed that five explosions, and one other package that was intercepted by authorities today, is connected to the serial bomber that has been terrorizing the Austin area so far.

Now, Chris, this all began back on March 2 with an explosion that killed a 39-year-old man. Since then there have been a series of explosions. The first three of them were packages that were left on people`s door steps quietly overnight. One of them also killing a 17-year-old boy.

Now, on Sunday the investigation took a twist when the package that exploded late Sunday, it was triggered by a trip wire. And that`s what investigators are very concerned about, that this serial bomber appears to be taking different tactics.

Now, overnight near San Antonio at a Fedex facility, a package exploded there that initial dispatch call suggests was filled with nails. There was one worker there that suffered minor injsuries. He`s expected to be OK. Later on in the day, however, at another Fedex facility here in the Austin area, a package was intercepted -- and again just a short time ago, the ATF, the FBI, and local police said that those five previous explosions, along with that other package that was intercepted today, all appear to be connected.

But right now, the breaking news, just a few moments ago, a neighborhood is evacuated for yet another explosion here in the Austin area. We see some emergency vehicles rushing to the scene right now and we`re trying to get more information as we get it. But what we`re told is that the explosion may have happened at a restaurant.

And again, a man in his 30s is apparently transported to the hospital, Chris.

HAYES: Yeah, U just wanted to follow up on that. So the first three, we know that they were delivered to a doorstep. We believe they were placed there by the bomber, though we`re not clear. The fourth was a trip wire. And then there was one package that went off in a Fedex facility, one that was intercepted. Do we know if this was like that fourth one, a trip wire, or do we know -- or left on the door or do we not know?

GUTIERREZ: We don`t know that right now. This happened just a few moments ago and we`re hoping to get more information from the scene. All we can tell you is it appeared to be in or near a restaurant there.

Now, this -- one thing I forgot to mention, Chris, is that we also heard from investigators that they are now searching some surveillance video from another Fedex office facility here in the Austin area where it is believed the bomber or someone perhaps dropping off these packages may have mailed two of these packages -- the one that was found in the Fedex facility near San Antonio and then the one that was intercepted in this other distribution center near the airport in Austin, that someone mailed them from one Fedex office facility in an Austin suburb.

This latest explosion that happened just a few minutes ago, it`s about four miles from that Fedex dropoff point, so certainly investigators are going to be trying to figure out what link, if any, and where this package may have traveled, if it did indeed come in from that Fedex office location. They are going through surveillance video right now. We saw several of them going through some of the different stores in that strip mall where that Fedex office location was. This is still a very fluid investigation, Chris, and now all of this -- these law enforcement agencies are converging on this spot right in Austin.

So certainly it`s going to be a long night for some of these investigators.

HAYES: All right, Gabe Gutierrez, thank you so much for that dispatch.

Still to come, Senator Bernie Sanders and why he says congress isn`t doing their constitutional duty. He joins me live, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory. The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-too-distant future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Vladimir Putin`s electoral victory came in an election that pretty much no one is calling free or fair. Putin`s most prominent opponents were barred from running. Election observers reported instances of intimidation and voter coercion. Cameras captured several instances of people literally stuffing ballot boxes.

Senator John McCain released an angry statement in response to Trump`s congratulatory call which read in part an American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections.

Trump`s call came just days after the U.S. placed new sanctions on Russia for interfering in our election and he made it despite an apparent Russian- orchestrated assassination attempt on a former spy that involved the deployment of a nerve agent on the soil of America`s closest ally.

The Washington Post reports tonight that Trump`s own national security advisers warned him not to congratulate Putin, but he just did it anyway despite a section in his written briefing materials imploring him in all caps, do not congratulate.

Not only that, Trump ignored talking points from aides instructing him to condemn Putin about the recent poisoning.

At the White House, Sarah Sanders, whose job it is to justify the president`s behavior no matter how unusual it might be, told reporters that Trump did not bring up the poisoning or Russian election interference on the call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the White House believe that the election in Russia was free and fair?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, in terms of the election, we are focused on our elections. We don`t get to dictate how other countries operate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: So, the White House doesn`t like talking about the sham elections in other countries except when it does, like last year when Venezuela.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This recent actions culminating in yesterday`s outrageous seizure of absolute power through the sham election of the national constituent assembly represent a very serious blow to democracy in our hemisphere. Maduro is not just a bad leader, he is now a dictator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Same podium, same white house, same issues with the election, but somehow Putin gets a pass.

When we come back, Senator Bernie Sanders is here to talk about the president`s posture towards Russia and the brutal war the Trump administration is helping to wage without congressional oversight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont. and let me just start on the question of Putin congratulations, a bunch of your colleagues have put out strong statements saying that they not approve of the president congratulating Vladimir Putin. Your thoughts on that.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Look, it should be clear to everybody that we have a president with a strong authoritarian personality. He likes people like Putin, like Xi in China, the Duterte in the Philippines. He hosted today the leader of Saudi Arabia, a monarchy which has nothing close to elections. That is who he is. And what frightens me is not only his respect and adoration for tyrants all over the world, but his disrespect for democracy in our own country in terms of voter suppression, in terms of gerrymandering, in terms of his attacks on the media.

So, that`s who we have as a president. Our job is to stand together and say hey, Mr. Trump, you know what, in this country, we believe in Democracy, not authoritarianism.

HAYES: Just the specific question about -- in your view, should he have congratulated Putin?

SANDERS: Of course not.

HAYES: No, OK.

SANDERS: How do you do that? You got a sham election. Putin`s major opponent was barred from running. Putin controls the media. They stuff ballot boxes. What kind of election is that?

HAYES: You have -- there is an omnibus, which is sort of flying under the radar right now and it is going to have to happen to fund the government. And one thing that some people have been talking, about and I want to talk about a few aspects of it, is whether there should be something attached to it to protect Robert Mueller. And I want to show you Mitch McConnell`s view on that and get your reaction. Here is what Mitch McConnell had to had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you prepared to take any action to protect the special counsel or Rob Rosenstein?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: Yeah, I don`t think it`s necessary. I don`t think Bob Mueller is going anywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: What do you think of that?

SANDERS: Well, you know, we have an unpredictable president who acts often in irrational ways. I hope that McConnell is right, but to my mind, we have got to do everything possible to make it clear that if Trump forces Mueller out, this is in fact an impeachable offense, it is not acceptable.

And I`m glad to hear that a few Republicans, not Senator McConnell, but some others, have made that same point.

HAYES: You had a piece of legislation today and it was voted for down today 55-44 on the same day that Mohammed bin Salman of -- the Saudi prince -- was in town that would have essentially required congressional authorization to aid sought Saudi Arabia and its war in Yemen.

Why is that something that you view is important?

SANDERS: Chris, take a deep breath and think about modern American history. And if you think about the two worst foreign policy blunders in our modern history, they are the war in Vietnam where the Johnson administration used the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to suck America into that Vietnam quagmire, it just so happened that that Gulf of Tonkin incident turned out to be a lie, and Johnson and McNamara, his secretary of defense, essentially lied to congress and lied to the American people, and an entire generation of young people suffered terribly as a result of that war.

Then, you think 15 years ago today, the war in Iraq where we had a Republican president George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, vice president, lying to the American people about Saddam Hussein colluding with Osama bin Laden, involved in 9/11, not true, working on weapons of mass destruction not true. We went into that war, which destabilized the Middle East, resulted in hundreds of thousands of people there dying, displacement of millions of people, 4,400 of our own young men and women dying in that war.

What`s the commonality of those two wars? Congress did not play the constitutional role that is supposed to. Article I, section 8 says it is congress, not the president, who declares war. We have advocated that responsibility. Right now in Yemen, we have an unbelievable humanitarian disaster. A million people with cholera, 40,000 wounded, 10,000 dead, millions of people being displaced, congress has got to determine whether or not our military plays a role in that war. We have not done that and that`s what I try to do today.

HAYES: The argument of the Trump administration and those who voted against this I think is that the U.S. has an interest in essentially helping the Saudis defeat the insurgence in Yemen and aid the blockade, which as you said and all organizations have said has caused tremendous, almost unfathomable humanitarian crisis. Do you think they`re wrong about that?

SANDERS: Yeah, I do think they are wrong. But more importantly, if you think the U.S. aiding Saudi Arabia in the destruction and what`s going on in Yemen is a good idea, then vote for it. What happened today is a motion to table our resolution was passed. So the congress didn`t even have the guts to vote up or down or whether they thought it was a good idea for the U.S. to be supporting Saudi Arabia.

So bottom line here is we cannot continue to give presidents Democratic, Republican, whatever, carte blanche to do what they want militarily. The constitution is very clear. Congress has got to accept its responsibility. If you want to vote for the war in Yemen, vote for the war in Yemen, but don`t duck the issue.

HAYES: All right, Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for being with me. I appreciate it.

SANDERS: Thank you.

HAYES: We have more on the breaking news out of Austin, Texas tonight where Austin police are responding to what they say is another explosion. NBC`s Jay Gray joins me live from the scene and what do you see there?

JAY GRAY, NBC: Hey, Chris. Yeah, a lot unfolding here right now as you can see. I want you to take a look behind me. We`re several blocks away from the scene of what is another apparent bombing here in the Austin area. In fact, police telling us right now they are going through a secondary sweep to see if there are any other devices that could be in this area.

We`ve learned a little information, it`s still coming out, as you would imagine -- this just happened within the last 30 minutes or so. We know at least one man in his 30s it appears was rushed from the scene by ambulance. He has serious, but not considered life-threatening injuries at this point.

We`ve seen not only Austin police and state police, but also federal agents, FBI and ATF, rushing into this area and vehicles continue to pour in. It continues to be a very active scene and very active investigation.

The latest that we`ve heard, Chris, is that this is an area with some restaurants and shops and this explosion may have gone off in one of the shops. Again, still very early in what is going on here and details still very slim at this point.

We are only about three miles from a Fedex office where late this evening, police confirmed two suspicious packages, one that blew up in the Fedex sorting facility outside of San Antonio, and another in facility here in Austin that is being examined were shipped from, so only three miles from where those bombs were apparently mailed.

And again, it looks like another explosion here in Austin. It would be the sixth in the last three weeks and the third in the last two days here.

HAYES: Are police confirming at this point, at least, that there was an explosion? Had that been established -- that is established by police, right?

GRAY: Yeah, police are saying here that there has been an explosion. They are not saying it was a package bomb. They say that there was some type of explosion. Again, they are just on the scene here.

HAYES: I got to imagine, I mean, this has sort of spooled out over the last few weeks. It starts on March 2, but it seems to be accelerating intensely over the last three or four days that folks must be quite on edge in Austin right now.

GRAY: Yeah, very much so. A lot of people very frightened. And especially, Chris, because of the random nature here. We had bombs on every side of the city and then close to San Antonio as well, and so people aren`t sure when or if the next explosion may come. It`s been a very frustrating situation, not only for residents and families here, but also -- and Chris, right now -- they are asking us to move back from here. They are just continuing to push us a little further back from the area where the latest explosion happened.

Can you tell us anything about what is going on about this point? I mean...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned an explosion. That`s all we have right now.

GRAY: OK. And a secondary scan, I would assume.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are doing a protective sweep right now.

GRAY: Excellent. Thank you, officer.

So, we keep moving, but...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...just go to the side, you know, but I can`t let you walk....

GRAY; I understand. I understand. Thank you.

So, there you go, Chris, that`s the latest from here. Back to you.

HAYES: All right, Jay Gray on the scene in Austin where there just has been another explosion, as you heard.. And that`s going to do it for All In this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.

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