"Do not congratulate." TRANSCRIPT: 03/21/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Faiza Patel, Josh Barro, Dorian Warren, Curt Barbella

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 21, 2018 Guest: Faiza Patel, Josh Barro, Dorian Warren, Curt Barbella

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- more to the right than Democrats are to the left. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I`d get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so.

HAYES: President Trump defends his praise for Russia and Putin`s election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think you congratulate someone for a fake election.

HAYES: Tonight, why Trump is ignoring his national security team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the President thinking?

HAYES: And why he refuses to confront Vladimir Putin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would the Russians may have something on him personally that they could always roll out?

HAYES: Plus, new reporting tonight. The Saudi Crown Prince bragging he has Jared Kushner in his pocket. Then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Karen McDougal had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump.

HAYES: The mounting legal trouble for the President and the women suing to tell their stories and an update on Trump`s best people.

BEN CARSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: This $31,000 table had been bought. I said what the heck is that all about?

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The President is defending himself for congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on winning what observers have concluded was a rigged election. The President tweeted today. I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory in past, Obama called him also. The fake news media is crazed because they want me to excoriate him. They`re wrong. Getting along with Russia and others is a good thing, not a bad thing. This follows as the Washington Post report that the President ignored the specific advice of his own National Security Advisers about the call including apparently a section in his briefing materials in all capital letters stating quite forthrightly, do not congratulate. That extraordinary leak to the Post within hours of the phone call has reportedly infuriated White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

The leak also embodies the bizarre divide between President and his own administration when it comes to dealing with Russia from the Pentagon to the State Department, the President`s own Security Adviser, administration officials have responded aggressively to apparent Russian provocations. But the President himself just cannot do it. Not only did he congratulate Putin for winning a sham election but according to the White House, he did not bring up Russia`s interference in the U.S. elections which is on National Security Chief say is on-going, nor did he mention what officials have concluded was a Russian attempt to assassinate a former spy carried without a chemical weapon attack on the soil of one of America`s closest allies.

For the man who seems to have no permanent friends nor enemies, whether it be China or the members of his own inner circle, the President has been remarkably, astonishingly, incomprehensively consistent on just one individual, Vladimir Putin, object of his praise and admiration. It`s a pattern that goes back at least as far as 2013 when Trump tweeted, do you think Putin will be going to the Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow? If so, will he become my new best friend? Since then, Trump has been bent over backwards to avoid criticising the Russian president.

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TRUMP: I think I`d get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so. People would say what do you mean? I think I`d get along well with him. Obama and him, he hates Obama.

He`s running his country and at least he`s a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But again, he kills journalist that`s don`t agree with him.

TRUMP: Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe.

In all fairness to Putin, you`re saying he killed people. I haven`t seen that. I don`t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know names of the reporters that he`s killed? Because I`ve been -- you know, you`ve been hearing this but I haven`t seen a name.

He is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, oh, isn`t that a terrible thing? He called -- the man has very strong control over his country. Now it`s a very different system and I don`t happen to like the system but certainly, in that system, he`s been a leader far more than our President has been a leader.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And we know the President has sought business deals in Russia with Putin approval, continuing those efforts even as he was running for office. But his persistent deference to Putin has led some, including former CIA Director to conclude that something more sinister maybe going on.

I think he is afraid of President of Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA: Well, I think one can speculate as to why that the Russians may have something on him personally. That they could always roll out and make his life more difficult. The Russians I think have had long experience with Mr. Trump, and may have things that they could expose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something personal perhaps?

BRENNAN: Perhaps. Perhaps.

HAYES: Maybe. Just putting it out there. Even before the President`s phone call with Putin yesterday, MSNBC Military Analyst Barry McCaffrey, retired four-star general wrote on Twitter, "reluctantly I have concluded President Trump is a serious threat to U.S. national security. He is refusing to protect vital U.S. interests from active Russian attacks. It is apparent he is for some unknown reason under the sway of Mr. Putin. And General Barry McCaffrey joins me now. What convinced you? What prompted that?

BARRY MCCAFFREY, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think the attempted assassination by Russian intelligence of the former agent and his daughter was a final straw. That was a signature assassination. Putin wanted to say, look, I`ll come murder you wherever you are on the face of the earth if you oppose us. He`s killed other people abroad. He`s killed people at home. You know, when we talk about rigged election, it just wasn`t ballot box stuffing. One of the main potential opposition members was murdered in if Moscow right near the Kremlin. Others have been prosecuted. So this guy, Putin, is running a criminal enterprise which has opposed NATO interests and U.S. national security interests across the board. Chris, we had a major attack on U.S. military forces in Syria by several hundred so- called Russian mercenaries, and we may have killed as many as 200 of them. The President hasn`t commented on it. What is going on?

HAYES: That -- when you identify, there speaks to something that part of a broader pattern here which is that it`s not that the Trump administration has had a lot of forbearance against Russia. They as you said, U.S. military engaged those Russia mercenaries in Syria. In fact, it was an engagement I think unprecedented in terms of the scope of the destruction and the casualties the Russian mercenaries took. They`ve authorized lethal weapons to be sold to Ukraine which was a point of contention. So there are people who say, look, if you look at the administration, the administration as a whole isn`t acting in this way. What do you say to that?

MCCAFFREY: Well, you`re right. I mean, Secretary Jim Mattis, thank God he`s in office. You know, he`s not just worshiped by the Armed Forces, he`s also a stable, thoughtful law-abiding person. Nikki Haley in the United Nation is very strong in defending U.S. interest. Admiral Rogers just left as head of the NSA said look, we lack the tools deter this guy. So there`s no question. H.R. McMaster, denounce Russian aggression in Munich at an international conference in which promptly rebuked by President Trump in a tweet. So the question is, why would the President who`s Commander-in-Chief only of the armed forces and intelligence services, why isn`t he defending U.S. interests?

HAYES: If you could stick around, General McCaffrey, we`re going to go to some breaking news now that I want to get your reaction too so if you`ll stay right there, I want to bring in Ryan Grim, who`s the Washington Bureau Chief for the Intercept reporting tonight on another senior White House official who may be under the sway of a foreign leader and t his is a remarkable story that`s been playing out sort of in the background sort of in parallel to the Russia story crossing at the time. The Saudi Crown Prince boasting that the President`s son-in-law Jared Kushner is "in his pocket." Ryan, what is your reporting say about the relationship between Jared Kushner and the current Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia?

RYAN GRIM, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE INTERCEPT: It depends where you want to start this story but you know, you could pinpoint it in late October when Jared Kushner took an unannounced trip to Riyadh and sat down with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the two princes stayed up late at night, a couple of nights in a row talking what David Ignatius later described as talking strategy, talking politics. Over the weeks before that, we`ve since learned Jared Kushner had access to highly sensitive intelligence that detailed the names of some political dissidents within the Saudi royal family who were skeptical of the rise of the Crown Prince, something we put it that way. We don`t know exactly what happened in the room between Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman but we do know that after bin Salman came out, he started boasting to people that Kushner was in his pocket and Kushner had given him the names of people that were disloyal to him.

HAYES: Wait a second. Wait a second. You`re reporting based on sources that heard this from Mohammed bin Salman that he has been boasting that the President`s son-in-law gave him U.S. intelligence about who his own internal enemies are?

GRIM: Mohammed bin Salman might be making it up. We don`t know, but -- right.

HAYES: Right, but your report is that he has been telling people that.

GRIM: That`s right. And we also have independent reporting that shows that Kushner would have had access to the precise type of intelligence that bin Salman is saying that he gave to him. A week later was that infamous Ritz crackdown where he rounded up all the royals and the elites and put them into the -- into the Ritz Carlton. Some of them were tortured. One of them was tortured death. It was -- you know, a big shakedown that was built as an anti-corruption investigation which also happened to have the benefit of consolidating power for the Crown Prince and the people that were named in the intelligence report were part of that roundup.

HAYES: Jared Kushner, according to your reporting, his office, his lawyer denied it. But I thought it was interesting that NSC and the White House directed you to Kushner`s personal lawyer for comment?

GRIM: Right, and it is an interesting denial. It`s one of those no comments from a lawyer where it says this is so absurd it doesn`t even deserve comment. So -- but yes, that`s the responses to refer questions to Kushner`s lawyer and Kushner`s lawyer said this is absurd.

HAYES: All right, well, the Intercept`s Ryan Grim breaking that story tonight. That is fantastic reporting, eye-opening. Let`s bring back Retired General MSNBC Military Analyst Barry McCaffrey. You know, this has been -- we know it`s been a frustration of Rex Tillerson when he was at State, the freelancing of Jared Kushner on the world stage and the possibility, even if Mohammed bin Salman is lying, that he can essentially tell people that he has the President in his pocket or the President`s son- in-law in his pocket because of this freelance, what`s your reaction?

MCCAFFREY: Well, look, you know, putting Jared Kushner, a 30 something person with no foreign policy or defense policy experience as a leading the representative of the United States is simply outrageous. The officers of our government under the Constitution have to get confirmed by the Senate whether they`re ambassadors or generals or senior officials of the government. So reading out the State Department and having one-on-one contact between Jared Kushner, by phone and in person, is a huge threat to a rational policy-making process. H.R. McMaster allegedly has been commenting on it. The Secretary of State was outraged. It just has no precedent in my view in American government modern times.

HAYES: To that point, there`s more reporting tonight from the Daily Mail and we don`t have this, NBC News cannot confirm this. The Daily Mail reporting the Saudi Crown Prince boasts he got Tillerson fired after telling Jared Secretary of State had to go. And the Crown Prince in the UAE also close to Kushner is making the same claim. So again, you have it appears people sort of spinning their relationship with Jared Kushner in a way that would appear to undermine the sort of the unanimity of American foreign policy.

MCCAFFREY: Well, look, the other thing is on foreign policy contacts, if you`re in Saudi Arabia, you never see a senior official without the U.S. Ambassador present. You always want a note taker there. Again, this kind of secretive one-on-one, the son-in-law, it sounds like some third world country. We just saw the same thing, to be blunt, with Ivanka Trump in Mexico where she went to see Pena Nieto minus the U.S. Ambassador who`s been doing this for 20 somewhat years in Latin America. This is the personalization of a family business dealing with U.S. policy.

HAYES: I want to return finally to that tweet and your question about the suspicions that you might have about the President. I mean, articulate them to me. John Brennan sort of hinted at them. I mean, do you think -- do you think the Russians have something on the President? Is that what you think?

MCCAFFREY: Well, it`s unknowable at this point, but the only thing I would say if I was the President`s lawyer, I would tell him look, "If you think they have video on you, audio of financial dealings that are outrageous, he better get it out now because Putin will stick it to him prior to the next election or after he leaves office. So I don`t know but his behavior, his policy decisions are not and explicable in terms of sensible, U.S. foreign policy. He is supposed to defend our interests.

HAYES: All right, General Barry McCaffrey, thanks for your time tonight.

MCCAFFREY: Good to be with you.

HAYES: Congressman Eric Swalwell is a Democrat from California, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. I`ll start on the point that the President may have tweet that President Obama did congratulate Putin in 2012. It was his sort of first election back after the (INAUDIBLE) of Medvedev. So what`s the big deal?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, good evening, Chris. The big deal is that President Putin here cleared the field of his opponents. He also just recently speaking of elections, interfered in ours. He`s not somebody worthy of congratulating. And also, Donald Trump says all the time, wouldn`t that be great to get along with Russia? Well, yes, if that is a tactic behind a larger policy objective. What does that mean? Does doing along with Russia mean pressing them on what they`ve done in Ukraine? Does it mean that we end the mess up they`re making in Syria, that we can stop what they`re doing in our own election? So getting along for getting along`s sake hasn`t gotten us anything but a mess here in our own Democracy.

HAYES: It`s also the case, and correct me if I`m wrong that as we were with General McCaffrey, it`s not like the U.S. is getting along with Russia. The U.S. -- various aspects of the U.S. government are doing a variety of things counter to Russia, whether it`s enforcing sanctions, whether it`s military engagement on the battlefield in Syria. It`s the President himself who rhetorically is getting along with Russia.

SWALWELL: That`s right. What are we getting out of this is what we all should be asking. It`s not like they`re reducing the number of times they`re engaging our aircraft or the number of our allies whose election that they are meddling in, or you know, there`s some reports that we have been looking at that they are supporting the Taliban on the battlefield who have killed American soldiers. So what do we get out of just getting along with Russia? Because you`re right, it doesn`t look like they want to get along with us.

HAYES: I want to ask you about another story that relates to Russia and relates to Russia inquiry. It`s about a man named George Nader who`s sort of strange figure or kind of fixer, in and out of American politics and Middle Eastern politics. He was questioned by Robert Mueller. He showed in Trump Tower, he showed up in (INAUDIBLE) the President. He`s been convicted of child pornography in Europe. He was arrested for that here in the United States if I`m not mistaken. He has now fled the country A, and there`s a bombshell New York Times report about the way that he`s attempt to do essentially cultivate a Republican official and extend his interest and the interests of the -- of certain Gulf States for this President. Have you gotten a chance to talk to this individual or are you concerned that he`s fled the country?

SWALWELL: No, Chris, we have not -- we want to which is all the more reason that we are outraged that tomorrow we will see the Republicans officially end our investigation into what Russia did. They will vote tomorrow to put out to their -- to the American people an incomplete and inaccurate report. And part of what we will be objecting to is that we`ve not heard from people like George Nader, we have not heard from George Petropoulos or Paul Manafort, or Rick Gates. We have not heard from so many people who gave incomplete answers who made up privileges to refuse to testify to our committee. And then, of course, Chris, we have just learned this a week about the true role that Cambridge Analytica played in the past election, which has raised only dozens more questions that need to be answered. So it`s irresponsible to put out this report tomorrow when we continue to learn new information about Russian backed channels and people like George Nader.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Eric Swalwell, great to have you.

SWALWELL: Yes, my pleasure.

HAYES: Next, a former Playboy model is suing to be able to tell her story about an affair with the President. And tonight, the lawyer is speaking out. The mounting legal mess for President Donald Trump in two minutes.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER STRIS, LAWYER OF KAREN MCDOUGAL: What Karen wants is what anyone I think in her position would want which is a court to declare that this contract she has is void because absent a court declaring this void, she is going to be under the thumb of, you know, forgive my words, a sleazy company that has tricked her and manipulated her for years.

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HAYES: Karen McDougal`s attorney laying out why the former Playboy model is suing to break a Nondisclosure Agreement. McDougal has more in common with Stormy Daniels than just allegations of an affair with Donald Trump, allegations the White House denies. Both women claim they were silenced by legal agreements, Daniels with Trump and his lawyer, McDougal with AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer. But while the legal instruments differ, both these women are crying to drag agreements negotiated in secret and kept from public into the light asking the courts to free them to speak. And in some ways, McDougal`s case is a more dangerous one for the President. Joining me now to untangle Trump`s legal walls, Megan Twohey who`s been covering some of the lawsuits against the President for the New York Times. The most -- so to start with this, McDougal appears to claims that she has a consensual affair with the President that starts around the same time I believe as Stormy Daniels. Who is the person on the other side of this agreement she signed?

MEGAN TWOHEY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, McDougal signed an agreement with American Media which is the parent company to the National Enquirer.

HAYES: And -- so you got this difference. McDaniels has an agreement with this LLC that we`ve now been revealed is Michael Cohen and the President. But this a third party, this is not the President, right, that she got locked into this NDA with?

TWOHEY: That`s right, and it`s -- I think that the American public is getting a crash course on the role that American Media, David Pecker is the Head of American Media. He`s been a long-time friend to Donald Trump. And there are mounting questions about what role he played and what role this media organization played in catching and killing damaging -- stories that could be damaging to the President.

HAYES: So there`s sort of an allegation in the lawsuit that he`s filing now that first of all her lawyer was sort of in cahoots, says unknown to Miss McDougal, Mr. Davidson, that`s her lawyer was working closely with representatives for Mr. Trump while pretending to advocate on her behalf. I would imagine that`s kind of a no, no.

TWOHEY: Right, well, and it`s important -- you were talking about this similarities, what do Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal share? Well, they also shared an attorney. Keith Davidson represented both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in the settlements that legally silenced them. And in kind of going to the court and saying she wants to speak out and break her settlement with American media, Karen McDougal has said that her lawyer wasn`t acting in her interests.

HAYES: What is America Media -- I mean, we know what Michael Cohen and the President`s response has been which is to sue Stormy Daniels for $20 million. What does American Media say?

TWOHEY: American media has continues to defend its actions. It says that it was -- it did nothing improper in buying her story and sitting on it. They say they weren`t able to verify it and that she would be able -- in 2016, they altered it to say that she could actually speak out and answer legitimate questions regarding Trump. But it should be pointed out that she in filing this suit has said that that`s actually not the case. That you know, she actually spoke -- she had a conversation with the New Yorker. Some of the details about what had happened with her came out in the New Yorker and she says America Media basically sent her something saying you know, you can`t talk.

HAYES: Right, I want that to be very clear because there -- speaking that of both sides of their mouths, right? America Media is saying, oh sure, she can say whatever. She now -- she says in this filing that after she talked to Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker, they -- she got contacted by American Media being like, don`t do that.

TWOHEY: Right, and American Media has said that it`s you know, eager to basically handle this and settle this in an amicable way but it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I mean, on the other hand, you`ve got the President`s personal attorney moving forward with you know, with legal action to silence her and say you know, we`re going to basically take you for $20 million for breach of contract for not staying silent.

HAYES: In the case of Stormy Daniels. There`s also another thing that`s happening here which I find fascinating from a legal perspective is, these NDAs were sort of to be locked up in arbitration, right? So the idea was anything you want to negotiate, again, it`s all in this -- it`s not in federal court, it is not with public filing that`s journalists like us can look at and in both cases, the attempt is to drag it out of it.

TWOHEY: That`s exactly right. In fact, the President`s personal attorney Michael Cohen is very eager to keep the case against Stormy Daniels in arbitration. And she and her attorney have got you know, are arguing -- are trying to bring in to public court so that the American public can see what`s going on. What is the President`s personal attorney doing to basically keep this woman locked in silence so she doesn`t come out and share the details of her experience with him?

HAYES: You covered Harvey Weinstein for the New York Times, Weinstein coming in announcing bankruptcy and releasing people from NDAs. And one of the things we`re learning is just how prevalent these contracts are and how powerful they are to buy -- to sort of keep people silent.

TWOHEY: Yes, that`s absolutely right. And it`s worth noting that Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump have a couple things in common here. Not only the use of settlements and NDAs to keep women quiet, women who they don`t want to be out there telling their -- talking about their experience with them but also, the use of American Media and David Pecker in the National Enquirer. We found in the course of our reporting on Harvey Weinstein that American Media David Pecker had been willing to do him favors when he was working to keep women silence, that they were willing to dig up dirt on his accusers.

HAYES: Wow, that is an amazing overlap. Megan Twohey, thanks for joining me. After the break, what we`re now learning about Steve Bannon`s involvement in Cambridge Analytica, how that played into the Trump Campaign after this.

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ALEXANDER NIX, CEO, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: 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: Before Donald Trump ran for President, the man who would ultimately become his campaign chairman Steve Bannon was working at Cambridge Analytica to test the potency of appeals to racial grievance. Washington Post reporting a year before Trump announced his presidential bid, the data firm already have found high-level alienation among young white Americans with a conservative bend. These voters responded to calls for building a new wall, to block the entry of illegal immigrants and to thinly veiled form of racism towards African-Americans called race realism according to whistle blower. Rick Wilson, Republican Strategist and Media Consultant and Kurt Bardella, USA Today Columnist and former Breitbart News Spokesman join me now. Kurt, as someone who is at Breitbart, what were you thinking when you read that?

KURT BARDELLA, COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: It confirms a lot of what I pretty much knew was going on in real-time that Steve Bannon live this kind of double life of running the Breitbart platform but also running Cambridge Analytica and that there really wasn`t a line of separation between those two rules and I think it raises the question as Cambridge was doing in this data analytics, as they were using Facebook data and using other applications to get access to even bigger pools of data, were they also using it not just for the campaigns they served but also for the Breitbart platform? And if so, is that information still in Breitbart`s hands?

HAYES: That`s a great question. So, let me just follow up on that. Was it a known thing, like, around Breitbart that Cambridge Analytica exists, it was one of Steve`s projects? It was a presence?

BARDELLA: I think as time went on, it certainly became that. And part of the reason why I know that is at some point, when reporters started looking at Cambridge, as they were doing work with Ted Cru, Bannon tried on get me to work Cambridge and actually set up the meeting with me and Alex Nix (ph). I talked to him one time in person and that`s when I realized how intimately involved Steve was in that process.

I wasn`t aware until that moment that he was the one running the show, that he was on the board, that he was in a position to actually make decisions and really direct Alex Nix on what he should do, who he should work for, who he should work with, how he should handle different inquiries coming from the media. And it was kind of that realization, wow, you`re not just running Breitbart, but you`re also running command and control for Cambridge.

HAYES: Rick, there has always been this question about the Trump message and where it came from. Was it something that Trump sort of happened upon? Was it something that he field tested effectively, as Sam Numberg (ph) tals about, that they would go to CPAC and see kind of what works, was it something that Bannon really injected? Was it Cambridge Analytica? Reading about this stuff from Cambridge Analytica, what is your thinking?

WILSON: Look, I think that there is a combination of Donald Trump as a sort of lizard brained guy that fits also in with his own personal sort of racial animus and his sort of dumbass economic populism.

But I do believe you could chart a lot of the messages and themes that were being pushed out by the campaign and by Trump himself, and therefore -- and there are also linked with those themes that were appearing on Fox, in Breitbart, all at the same time there was this sort of broad coordination of the message and the strategy. And the markers of it are too clear and too easily determined to just be random Donald Trump verbal diarrhea. This was the kind of thing that you can see there was a hand behind it. and that hand was the grisly claw of Steve Bannon.

And we should say, as we`re talking about racial animus and white racial grievance that the Times of London reporting that Mr. Nix referred to two black potential clients as n-word in an internal email, (inaudible) reveal, which is -- tells you something about the character of Mr. Nix.

There is also the question here, Rick, of whether this is essentially a con or not. And this is sort of fascinating, right, because you watch these videos undercover, and the guy does look like he`s BS artist. He looks like he`s selling. There this Cambridge Analytica claiming all these grand things they did and then other people sort of in the know in that world to say it was really a lot of nonsense.

Mike Murphy, who is a GOP strategist, saying they were telling me they had to sell was more advanced than anything I had ever seen. They were just throwing jargon around.

Where do you come down on that?

WILSON: Look, as a media consultant, I`ve been in any number pitches where I`ve had to compete against guys who came in and said, why yes I invented the first video camera and I made the first TV ad in history and all this. And, you know, I`ve created all the infrastructure of the internet to get your message up.

I`ve seen a lot of BS in my day. I`ve seen a lot of those guys.

You know, they come in, they over-promise, they underperform. It`s a common, common thing in political consulting.

And I do think from watching the Channel 4 videos. There is some BSing going on. There`s some fluffing going on about how great they are and how tough they are. But on the other hand, you know, the person they`re pitching is a virtual stranger and they`re in there rolling out the big intimate secretas of the Trump campaign and the big intimate secrets of using Ukrainian hookers. And I want to see where that whole thing merges together as people start to as Cambridge some deeper questions.

HAYES: Well, that`s -- Curt, brings me to this question about the nexus between Cambridge Analytica and the Russia investigation. We know it`s something that Mueller is interested in. We know it`s something the House Intelligence has looked at and feel like they don`t have sufficient time to look into.

There`s this fascinating little data anecdote that data firm met with Lukoil, which is a Russian firm. The firms employees had contacts in 2014 and 2015 with executives from Lukoil, the Russian oil giant. Lukoil was interested in how data was used to target American voters, according to two former company insiders, which really makes you go, huh?

BARDELLA: I can`t imagine why they would want know that type of information about American voters, Chris. That`s shocking given how things would play out. Really, really has you ratcheting our brain. I mean, I think we`re seeing the symptom here of this really Steve Bannon and the Mercer money and how the tentacles reach into so many different buckets and how ultimately over time they all intersected with one another.

Really, I think that ultimately Alex Nix, much like Steve Bannon, they were running a con. And Rick is absolutely right, you know, it is kind of the old adage that success has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan. And because Trump won, a lot of people were walking around taking credit to try to explain what many of us saw as the unexplainable.

And off of that, they tried to build this business. They`ve gone around the world pitching different countries, really talking advantage of people`s ignorance about how social media and data analytics actually work to enrich themselves. It is the same hustle that Steve Bannon has done. It`s the same hustle now that Cambridge has done. And at the end of the day, as Rick says, we often see, that they end up coming up a lot short of what they promise that they can deliver to people.

HAYES: We`ll find out, as the investigation continues, what exactly was underneath the hood, which we still don`t really know.

Rick Wilson and Curt Bardella, thank you.

Still ahead, keeping up with the lavish spending habits of the Trump administration. Trump`s best people coming up.

Plus, Betsy is back in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.

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HAYES: Thing One tonight, 10 months ago, Congresswoman Katherine Clark wanted to know if Trump`s Education Department would block federal funding to a private school that openly discriminates based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, a question that Education Secretary Betsy Devos really did not want to answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KATHERINE CLARK, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Would you say to Indiana, that school cannot discriminate against LGBT students if you want to receive federal dollars? Or would you say the state has the flexibility in this situation?

Yes or no.

BETSY DEVOS, EDUCATION SECRETARY: I believe if they continue to have flexibility in putting together programs.

CLARK: So, if I understand your testimony, I want to make sure I get this right, there is no situation of discrimination, or exclusion, that if a state approved it for its voucher program, that you would step in and say that`s not how we`re going to use our federal dollars? There`s no situation if the state approved it that you would put the state flexibility over our students? Is that your testimony?

DEVOS: I think a hypothetical in this case --

CLAR: It`s not a hypothetical, this is a real school applying for -- that receives scholars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lady`s time has expired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: OK, so 10 months later, Congresswoman Clark finally got an answer. And that exchange, which is satisfying, is Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: So, the question on the table: does the secretary of education support or oppose funding private schools that openly discriminate? That`s it, right? Pretty simple question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLARK: As you were looking at federal dollars under your program going to private schools, will you put in protections of nondiscrimination for all students, whether on sexual orientation, race, religion, or gender?

DEVOS: Congresswoman, as I`ve said before, where federal dollars flow, federal law must be adhered to.

CLARK: Will you guarantee as secretary of education, that that money is included with nondiscrimination policies for those private schools?

DEVOS: As I said, federal dollars --

CLARK: Is that a yes or a no?

DEVOS: Federal dollars going to any program require --

CLARK: So what is your interpretation of federal law?

DEVOS: I think I`ve made this clear.

CLARK: Then just say yes or no.

DEVOS: Federal dollars going anywhere for education, federal laws are adhered to.

CLARK: So you would not be able to send federal dollars to a private school that did not adhere to the full panoply of civil rights laws in this country?

DEVOS: Federal law must be --

CLARK: Is that a yes or no? Just say yes or no. Yes or no.

DEVOS: Federal law must be followed when federal money is involved.

CLARK: Is there some problem? Yes or no. Will you guarantee --

DEVOS: I think I`ve been clear.

CLARK: Then say yes or no.

DEVOS: Yes.

CLARK: Great. Thank you. Wow. It took year. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have to get the best people. We can no longer be so politically correct. You know, we do things today, we`re so politically correct. People are afraid to walk. They`re afraid to talk. We need to get the best and the finest. And if we don`t, we`ll be in trouble for a long period of time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: From time to time, we here at All In like to check in on the people Donald Trump has picked to staff his government, you know, the best people. Our first update tonight concerns one of the many cabinet secretaries who used public money for lavish travel. Scott Pruitt, the oil and gas industry darling that Trump put in charge of the Evironmental Protection Agency, who we now now spent more than $105,000 on first class flights in his first year alone on the job.

Now, Pruitt is supposed to fly coach, as previous administrators did, but the EPA insists he has to fly first class due to security threats, threats lie, for instance, non-rich passengers confronting Pruitt about what exactly he`s doing to the environment.

It`s not just the cost of Pruitt`s flights, last summer more than -- I almost can`t believe this is true, but it is -- more than $120,000 in public money was spent for Pruitt to take one single trip to Italy.

Now, somehow Pruitt isn`t getting quite as much grief for his travel, $120,000, as HUD Secretary Ben Carson is getting for trying to buy a dining set for the relatively thrifty price of $31,000.

And Carson was pressed to explain the dining set on Capitol Hill yesterday, insisting it was deemed necessary, because the old dining set was pretty much a death trap.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN CARSON, HUD SECRETARY: I was told that the dining room set needed to be changed. I said why? Because people being stuck by nails, a chair collapsed with somebody sitting in it, it`s 50 years old.

(END IVDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The HUD spokesperson initially claimed Carson was unaware of the order, but then emails contradicted that claim. Carson testified, however, it`s not his fault blamed the love of his life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARSON: I asked my wife also to help me with that. You know, I left it with my wife. I said, you know, help choose something. But the next thing that I quite frankly heard about it was that this $31,000 table had been bought. I said what the heck is that all about? Investigated. I immediately had it candled. Not that we don`t need the furniture, but I thought that that was excessive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: The man suspected of terrorizing Austin with a series of deadly bombs over the past few weeks blew himself this up morning early this morning after a detonating a bomb inside his vehicle during a standoff with police officers. Police say 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt of Flugerville, Texas (ph) is responsible for at least five explosions this month, killing two people and injuring at least four others. In a press conference earlier this evening, Austin`s police chief said that Conditt left behind a 25-minute recording describing what he did, but didn`t mention why he did it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I can tell you, having listened to that recording, he does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate. But, instead, it is the outcry of a very challenged young man, talking about challenges in his personal life that led him to this point.

(END IVDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Which, once again, leads us to ask, when do we get to call something terrorism?

With me now, Josh Barro, senior editor at Business Insider; Dorian Warren, president at the Center for Community Change Action; and Faiza Patel, co- director of Brennan Center`s Liberty and National Security Program.

There was Sarah Huckabee Sanders the other day was, no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time. This is before we knew who the suspect was. But it seems like in that usage, what that word means is the person`s not Muslim, basically, right?

FAIZA PATEL, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: Yeah. I mean, when we see violence by Muslims, generally both law enforcement and the press is pretty quick to place it into a pattern of terrorism.

HAYES: Or even just use the word, like they say this is a nexus to terrorism.

PATEL: Right, but using terrorism implies that it`s part of a larger whole, that it`s part of this conspiracy by Muslims here and abroad to attack the United States, it makes it seem more threatening and it also means that people view it as being a Muslim problem, so terrorism becomes a Muslim problem. And when you`re talking about violence by non-Muslims which may also be ideologically motivated, which is how we commonly think of terrorism one case and then there`s this other case, and that has a lot of implications both for the ways we perceive danger, but then also for the way that resources are allocated to investigating these acts.

HAYES: And then you see a lot of people on the other side, like you`ll see people wanting to sort of balance that ledger, right, and be like, well, you know, Vegas is a perfect example, right, which is a crazy -- you know, the largest mass shooting and unbelievably terrifying, clearly done to induce terror in people, right? People say, well, why is that not terrorism?

JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, we still don`t know what the motive of the Vegas shooter was, which is bizarre.

HAYES: Deeply bizarre.

BARRO: Deeply bizarre. But I mean, you know, terrorism is violence committed with a political or social motive. And so I think, you know, because there is a rush to judgment in certain cases, especially around Muslims, I think there is a desire to say here, here, let`s rush and stick that label on white people too, but we don`t know what the shooter`s motive yet.

And I don`t think, I don`t think it`s good for us to rush to judgment in all cases because we do in some. I think we don`t know yet what the shooter`s motive was. We may learn that he had a political or social motive, although it doesn`t sound like we have information to that effect, yet, but more broadly, I think it`s probably better if people look at these things as isolated incidents rather than as part of some big, scary conspiracy whole.

Because these rare events. It`s very unlikely for people to face death or even injury from these sorts of things. And so in general I think people worry too much about these sorts of attacks. It`s probably better if people think of them more as isolated incidents and less as a grand whole.

DORIAN WARREN, CENTER FOR COMMUNITY CHANGE ACTION: There is something about this case that even if we don`t call it terrorism, which I think we have to wait for the facts to come out, there is a sense that many of the communes affected feel terrorized. And in this case, you can`t take race out of Austin, because in the first three bombings, I think, and the first four victims, there were black and Latino. And we have to remember, Austin`s a very segregated city, like most of the neighborhoods in which we live in America, 6 percent of the population is African-American. So the fact that the three first victims were black, for that community.

HAYES: First two were black and one was Latino.

WARREN: Exactly. And -- well, there was an injury in terms of the mother. So, in terms of that community, there`s a sense of feeling a history of racial terrorism that we have not reckoned with in this country and a feeling of being targeted by this person even if we don`t know his motives yet.

HAYES: It also seems to me that the word terror, or terrorism, has -- kind of cultural meaning about importance. I mean, really that`s what it comes down to, right. Like, what it`s saying is this is an important crime, this is an important violent act, this -- and the victims are important, and it`s important to us that we get this right and that we find the person. And so what ends up happening in the war on terror age is that we use that word, we think about that word in the context of expressing this matters, this is important and the victims matter.

PATEL: Yeah, and I think -- but it`s also really important to think about what this does to resources, right. So if look at the FBI now, I mean, the most recent numbers we have is from 2010. They have 7,000 agents who are dedicated to counter terrorism, something like 350 of those are allocated to domestic terrorism, that`s a big discrepancy at a time when you are seeing a range of different kinds of attacks being perpetrated, mass attacks, but the focus of the agency still seems to be very much on what they call international terrorism.

I mean, look at statistics, for example, right. Recently, the Trump administration put out this report, their 90 day report, in which they were like, oh, look at all these international terrorism cases where, you know, these third generation immigrants came and committed these terrorist attacks.

But, they didn`t even look at domestic terrorism. There is simply no context for provided. And I think that is important.

WARREN: Especially in a moment of open source, because the question we all have to ask is how did he get the materials and the formula to make these bonds? And there`s a way in which that information is much more available for homegrown domestic terrorism.

BARRO: I think the other thing you`re seeing happen is you are seeing a number of these mass violence events by disaffected young men. In some cases, they end up drawn to some organized, ideological thing, whether that`s right-wing extremism, Islamism, or other things. Sometimes, it`s an expression of personal grievances, but I think in a lot of cases, it`s, you know -- the personal grievances were prior to the ideology. They were drawn in that direction.

HAYES: Right.

BARRO: And so --

HAYES: And that`s true of wanna-be jihadis, too. We should be very clear. I mean, that`s one of the things that gets erased, right, is that like if they`re not a jihadi, then they have some sort of personal struggle or they have some problems.

PATEL: They`re messed up.

HAYES: But like you can be real messed up, and the thing that you`re messed up, you want to join ISIS.

BARRO: Right. Yeah. And so I think to the extent we`re talking about a broader social problem here. I think that`s something to focus on and how to intervene and prevent that -- you know, either prevent people from acting in that manner, or prevent them from doing dangerous things once they feel the need to act in that matter.

HAYES: We should note, though, that there, as you just -- to see your point, like there are very classical examples of what we call terrorism, domestic terrorism. There`s three men who are -- jury selection`s beginning, they were plotting a terror attack on a Muslim immigrant in Kansas. They were talking about blowing up mosques. I mean, this is like pure, we have an ideological vision. We want to use violence to essentially act that way. We want to terrorize this populace. And it`s true that those don`t seem to get the same sort of attention, particularly from the president.

PATEL: And it`s not just the president, though, and I don`t think we can only blame Trump for this. I mean, this is something that`s been going on since 9/11 where we have had this very intense focus on international terrorism. Even when the international links are really tenuous, right. So, any sort of Muslim violence easily gets categorized. And we have ignored this rising threat, which law enforcement has identified.

HAYES: All right, Josh Barro, Dorian Warren, Faisa Patel, it was great.

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

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