Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 27, 2018 Guest: Lawrence Tribe, Anna Galland, Michael Avenatti, David Brody, Xavier Becerra
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be clear, he continues to deny the fundamental charge that she has which is that she had this sexual encounter with him in 2006.
HAYES: The White House gets explicit on Stormy.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: Yes, the president denied those allegations.
HAYES: Tonight as the President stays quiet.
SANDERS: I didn`t say he punches back on every single topic.
HAYES: The lawyer for Stormy Daniels on the White House denials and Donald Trump`s continued silence. Plus, just where is the line for White Evangelicals supporting Donald Trump.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing beats the bible.
HAYES: Why the Trump administration`s proposed census question on citizenship could change American democracy as we know it. And as the Never Again Movement gains steam, should gun safety advocates start calling to repeal the Second Amendment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand for us or beware the voters are coming.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from Chicago, I`m Chris Hayes. We have breaking news tonight. Stormy Daniels` lawyer says that eight women have now come forward to share stories similar to Daniels, including two who signed confidentiality agreements, more in a moment with the attorney for Stormy Daniels. But first, in his time in office, there has seemingly been no issue too minuscule, too trivial, too petty for Donald Trump to weigh in on. As President and these are just a few examples, Trump has claimed Vanity Fair`s Anna Wintour is beside herself in grief and begging for forgiveness. He has deemed Meryl Streep one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, attack an on-air personality for her supposed impact on ESPN`s ratings and promoted a Sean Hannity appearance on Fox and Friends. Yet in the wake of Adult Film Actress Stormy Daniels` appearance on 60 Minutes where she alleged to 22 million viewers, she was paid hush money to keep silent about a sexual encounter with Trump, a President who seemingly never misses a chance to hit back for some reason won`t say or tweet one word.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You also called him a counterpuncher many times, why has he not punched back on this one?
SANDERS: Look, the President -- I didn`t say he punches back on every single topic. If he did, he would probably be addressing a lot of stories that most of you write every single minute of every day. He has a country to run and he`s doing a great job with that.
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HAYES: Despite his public silence, the President is reportedly seething behind closed doors. Washington Post reported that privately, the President has lobbed sharp attacks at Daniels in her media tour calling her allegations a hoax and asking confidants if the episode is hurting his poll numbers. The President even has griped to several people that Daniels is not the type of woman he finds attractive which to his credit is a very funny line. Trump has left it to his surrogates to deny the encounter took place and to lob attacks at Daniels` credibility.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This woman said she signed false statements, she said that she told a mistruth to the public. She said she didn`t want her kids to find out and yet she`s out doing a huge 60 Minutes interview. She has no credibility.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the President slept with Stormy Daniels in 2006?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, the Washington has denied the allegations.
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HAYES: OK, the White House has but the President hasn`t. He has not. He has not addressed Stormy Daniels` claims in public, not once, not one time. Late last night, a senior administration official told NBC News that Trump has discussed Daniels` claims with aides and several had counseled him. It doesn`t rise to the level of a Presidential response also a funny line, unlike I suppose for instance, Alec Baldwin`s supposedly dying mediocre career and allegedly terrible impersonation of Trump on SNL and how they should bring back Darrell Hammond, funnier and a far greater talent because SNL casting apparently does rise to the level of a presidential response. So the big question in all seriousness is why is the President who doesn`t have a reputation for self-restraint or discipline, why is he being oh so careful, so canny, so retrained so as not to utter a single word about Stormy Daniels? Well, my next guest might provide some insights on that. With me now Stormy Daniels` lawyer Michael Avenatti. And Mr. Avenatti, do you have a theory on this?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER OF STORMY DANIELS: Well, I mean, I guess there`s twos theories. One maybe we`re not punching hard enough. Maybe we`re not being aggressive enough and that`s why he`s not counterpunching. So we`re going to examine that tonight.
HAYES: Do you judge yourself harshly for that if that`s true?
AVENATTI: Yes, I mean, I guess you know, I guess, we`ve been pretty weak in our approach over the last three weeks and we`re going to have to re- examine how we`re going to approach this thing. So that`s one theory and we`re going to go to work on that tonight. And then the second theory and I actually think this is the theory that holds, he knows it`s true, Chris and you know, he wants deniability. It`s the same reason why he didn`t sign the agreement so he could later claim he didn`t know anything about it and now he sends Sarah and others out to talk to the press so that he can later claim, well, they didn`t understand what I told them, and that`s exactly not what I told them, and I didn`t say this and yadda yadda yadda. I mean, he wants deniability. I mean, that`s why we haven`t heard from him.
HAYES: OK, but I don`t understand what the exposure is. I genuinely mean this. I have watched this president, covered this president out for several years, he`s happy to say things that are untrue. He`s happy to say things that are manifestly untrue, that everyone knows is untrue. Why is this? Why is this something -- I mean, it almost begins to look like the White House is literally crafting his public schedule to shield him from questions. That`s how careful they`re being about this whole thing. And yet what happens if he gets caught in a lie here? I don`t even understand what the exposure is, do you?
AVENATTI: Well, I think there could be some considerable exposure. I mean, if he`s found to have been lying about his knowledge about this agreement and the $130,000 payment, that can have significant consequences from a campaign finance violation perspective and other things. I mean, that could really put him and Mr. Cohen in the crosshairs. Now, I believe they`re operating under a fallacy which is if he never comes forward and denies it, that he`s in safe waters. I don`t believe that`s the case at all because we`re going to get to the bottom of this one way or the other whether he makes a statement publicly or not.
HAYES: Well, but here`s the thing about this, right? So your -- the complaints you filed, you`re basically saying, look, we want out of this NDA. It`s an illegitimate contract for a variety of reasons. Firstly, he didn`t sign it. Second, because there`s actually a public policy (INAUDIBLE) that he violates. It was a party to an attempt to evade campaign finance. I thought that argument was well laid out. But all that can happen is that she speaks. I mean, the point of the hush money was for her not to talk. She`s talking now, why not just walk it away and just say goodbye to your $130,000 if all you guys are saying is let us out of this agreement?
AVENATTI: Well, I mean, it`s an interesting question but you know, the approach has been just the opposite. I mean, the president and Mr. Cohen and Mr. Cohen`s personal lawyer although he`s on the sidelines, in this case, I really don`t understand what his involvement is, Mr. Swartz, but in any event, they`ve doubled and tripled down on this. And now they`re saying they`re going to sue my client for $20 million. Now they`re claiming they`re going to sue me, trying to threaten and intimidate me. I mean, they`re not paying attention, Chris. We`re not going away.
HAYES: Well, so yes, here`s my question, right? So Stormy Daniels has told her story. She told it once to In Touch in 2011, she told it on 60 Minutes. I guess my question is has she said everything she has to say? Because that is one reason if you were the President or the President`s attorney or people around him that you would want to keep pursuing this because you are worried there`s more that she has to say she might have to say and is that the case?
AVENATTI: Well, there`s no question. I mean, the initial interview was about two hours and I think that the total time for her on the 60 Minutes piece was probably 16, 17, 18 minutes. So there`s a lot of information that was left on the cutting room floor, there`s a lot of details, there`s a lot of embarrassing information that has yet to come out. There`s a mountain load of evidence. And so perhaps that`s why he`s continuing to deny it. But you know, it`s shocking. I agree with you. We didn`t think that he would stay silent this long and I think it`s pretty clear. He is scared of my client and perhaps of me and he should be.
HAYES: Will you tell me a bit more about the other women that have talked to you. Obviously, anyone can call you up and say this happened to me and that`s something you would have to run to ground. What are the implications if there are women out there who also have NDAs?
AVENATTI: Well, I think a lot of the implication or the implication would rise and fall on the timing of those, whether they would have coincided with the election, you know, in the case of my client we`re talking about within two weeks of the election so it`s a critical time period as it relates to campaign finance law. But I think the timing of those payments would you have a lot to do with it. But again, I want to be clear about something. I am not vouching for the allegations that we`ve heard from these other eight women. People come out of the woodwork all the time, Chris, you know that. They fabricate things. We`re still running that to ground. What I do know is my client is 100 percent credible bulletproof and think she proved that the other night to the American public.
HAYES: Final question, the most explosive thing that was aired in that 60 Minutes interview, of course, is the allegation of a threat being approached in a Las Vegas parking lot I think it was in 2011. You said you`re trying to figure out who that individual is. Have you made any progress on that?
AVENATTI: We have made progress over the last 36 hours. We`re not ready to identify anyone quite yet. We`ve got a lot of work left to do. We`re going to be very diligent and very careful before we identify that individual. And we`re hopeful that once we have, we`re going to get to the bottom of who sent him. We think it`s pretty clear who sent him but we`re going to prove it and we`re going to let the American people decide if that`s acceptable conduct, Chris.
HAYES: All right, Michael Avenatti, thanks for being with me.
AVENATTI: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me now is David Brody, a Chief Political Correspondent for CBN News from the Christian Broadcasting Network. He`s the Co-Author of the new book The Faith of Donald J. Trump, a Spiritual Biography. And I`m tempted to make a joke about the book being short. Here`s something -- here`s something you said in the wake of the interview. Attention mainstream media if you think the Stormy Daniels 60 Minutes interview on CBS News is going to move the needle downward regarding evangelical support for Donald Trump, you would be dead wrong. Don`t expect any change. I saw that and agreed with it. Why is that the case? What`s the fundamental dynamic here?
DAVID BRODY, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CBN NEWS: So many different reasons underlying that, Chris, but I`ll tell you this. Look, when it comes to the mainstream media, the Evangelicals do believe in what Donald Trump calls fake news. And I know that term is toxic and I know Donald Trump kind of came up with it in the last few years, but look, Evangelicals are believing that about the mainstream media for a very long time. So the more the mainstream media piles on Donald Trump and they consider Stormy Daniels part of the pile on, it`s not going anywhere. That needle is not moving at all, Chris.
HAYES: Well, OK, but that`s -- so there`s one issue, right, where you can say, well, these are a group of people who just do not trust what they hear. But here`s what I found really interesting. This is White Evangelicals being polled on this. Do you believe Trump or the women, OK? 40 percent say the women, 36 percent say, Trump, 24 percent aren`t sure. A plurality actually believe the women. So the issue here isn`t they`re saying this is fake, they`re saying yes, I believe this happened. I do not care.
BRODY: Yes, but Chris, here`s the thing. They believed some of -- all those other stories too from the `80s and `90s and look, Donald Trump got into this race and everybody knew, this just in. He`s not a boy scout. And they understood that. They voted for him anyhow. Now, there`s a lot of reasons as to why we`re getting to all of that but the bottom line is they see this culture go to you know what in a hand basket and say you know what, enough of that. They also feel they`re being played by the Republican Party and say you know what, we`re going to give this guy, we`re going to give this guy a shot.
HAYES: Well, so from a purely pragmatic perspective, I get that, right? There are two political coalitions in American life. He`s on my team, he represents my coalition, he empowers it. I don`t care what he does in his personal life. I`m going with him. But if that`s true, does that at least sort of retroactively apply where we`re not going to see evangelicals make a big deal out of you know, the private behavior of politicians, Democrats they don`t like. Do they regret everything they said but Bill Clinton when they were just basically marching to Washington to get they guy run out of town because of his dastardly private deeds?
BRODY: Legitimate question, Chris. Look, they believe in the grace principle. And you know, they understand that we`re all in need of God`s forgiveness. We`re all sinners. And so, you know, where does grace run out? Well, here`s the good news. Grace doesn`t run out with Jesus Christ at all. Now, it might run out --
HAYES: Yes but --
BRODY: Well, hang on, Chris, it might run out with liberals or conservatives or you or me but not God.
HAYES: David, David, I`ve read my bible and I grew up in the church. And grace doesn`t come cheap and you got to the ask for it and you got to ask for forgiveness and you have to be pious and you have to pray to your Lord, God, and Saviour and you have to ask for it. You have to have a change of heart. You have to reach out spiritually. Is there a single person on God`s great earth who believes that Donald Trump is doing that?
BRODY: Well, I can tell you this. I interviewed him. You can Google it, Chris. I interviewed him in 2015 in August -- excuse me, September of 2015 and he said he does ask God for forgiveness. He`s talk about that. Now, look, that`s his word. I mean, I`m not God --
HAYES: He also talked about -- he also talked about -- when you asked him what God means to him, he talked about how great his golf course is, that he didn`t have a mortgage on it.
BRODY: Yes, the bottom line is this, Chris. Evangelicals and Donald Trump see the world very much in absolutes. Good versus evil, right and wrong, all of that and I`m telling you, maybe it`s a Dr. Phil experiment at some point but I`m telling you what`s going on. They`re both are bold in their views and they`ve also been Chris, they`ve been criticized for those views and you put it all together and they feel a kinship between themselves.
HAYES: That -- again, that I get. Absolute -- a set of absolute beliefs and being in the bunker with him. I think that`s actually quite descriptive. But here`s the question. Is there a breaking point? Is there a revelation that could come out about Donald Trump about his private behavior, about his public behavior, about anything he did? Roy Moore, we saw this put to the test with Roy Moore, this is a person credibly accuses of molesting children who still won what 80 percent of White Evangelicals in Alabama. Is there something that Donald Trump could do to lose the support or is it just the case he could literally do anything?
BRODY: Chris, Bill Clinton had a Monica Lewinsky. Right now we don`t see a Monica Lewinsky in the Donald Trump White House. If that happened, Chris, game set match. It`s over for Donald Trump with evangelicals. Now, you say --
HAYES: Wait a second. You think -- you really think that? OK.
BRODY: Well, let me explain. When I say game, set, match, remember, he won 81 percent of the evangelical vote, the ones that showed up 81 percent. He`s not going to get -- he will not get 81 percent. And if he doesn`t get 81 percent, it`s game, set match for him. So that`s important to point out. And you might ask, why in the world does that matter compared to 12 years ago? Because Evangelicals at that point, just like any constituency would feel played at that point. He`s promoting Judeo-Christian values but then doing something you know, against that in the year now. That would be a real issue for them. But once again, we don`t see that. And in the book, I can tell you that he has so many evangelicals around him right now from a spiritual perspective that the sense is from our reporting over 100 interviews he is on a spiritual journey that has evolved. And last year, if you remember, Chris, you`re talking about 10, 12 years ago. We haven`t seen anything in the last few years. That`s what the book shows.
HAYES: I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways if he is in fact on a spiritual journey. David Brody, thanks for being with me and I really appreciate it.
BRODY: Thanks, Chris, anytime.
HAYES: Still to come, in the wake of the March for Our Lives, a former Supreme Court Justice calls for the repeal of the Second Amendment, but is that the best strategy to achieve more gun safety? We`ll debate that ahead. And next, the uproar over the new Trump plan to add a citizenship question to the next census. Attorney General of Arizona has -- of California has already filed a lawsuit to fight it. He joins me in two minutes.
HAYES: It may not seem like much at first but the decision by the Trump administration to add a single question to the upcoming U.S. census is tonight being called an attack on our democracy which could upend the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans urban and rural Americans, white people and people of color. You see, since 1950, the census questionnaire which every single household has to fill out every ten years has not asked people about their citizenship status. Immigrants are understandably cautious about handing over data to the government if they fear it will be used to round them up. And given what they`ve been seeing online and on the news lately and coming from the White House, people picked up on the street hauled away from their families who exactly could blame them for fearing that. But the Trump administration decided that for the first time in decades, the next census will ask about citizenship, raising concerns that immigrant communities won`t be counted accurately. And that could, of course, stack the deck for the GOP when that data is used to redistribute political power. Xavier Becerra is the Attorney General for the State of California who`s now suing the Trump administration over this citizenship question. I`ll start on a policy question and then we`ll move to the legal question. Policy question, Ted Cruz today said, hey, this is great. We should know this information. What`s wrong with just asking the question?
XAVIER BECERRA, ATTORNEY GENERAL, CALIFORNIA: Well, if Ted Cruz is the one saying that, that should make you have some real concern. But to give you a more substantive response, it should concern you because a lot of policy will be made based on what the census shows us. And if the census has a severe undercount of the people in this country, there will be many portions of the country, many regions that will be left without the resources they should have and perhaps even the Representatives in the House of Representatives that they should have. So, Chris, it`s crucial and the reason we haven`t seen this census question in four decades, five decades is because we know that it could undermine the ability to the actually get everyone to participate.
HAYES: So that`s the policy rationale is if you ask this question, you`re just going to get a less accurate count and the whole point of this thing is to accurately count how many people there are, right? The legal issue is that`s separate from saying it`s illegal. Last night, in a tweet immediately after this, came out, you said it`s illegal. What`s your case on that?
BECERRA: Well, because the Constitution requires the Federal Government to get an actually count of all the people in this country, citizen, and noncitizen. We`ve been doing that since 1790. It doesn`t say get a count of the citizens of the country. And so to violate the Constitution would be to go straight to the heart of what we`re supposed to do and trying to get an accurate count.
HAYES: So you actually think that this is -- you`re making a constitutional claim that this is a constitutional violation because they know it will result in a less accurate count and that the Constitution mandates as accurate a count as possible?
BECERRA: Simple as that.
HAYES: You`ve got a lot of other states supporting you. What do you say to those people who say, look, this is the states that fear that they`re going to have power taken away from them?
BECERRA: Well, at the end of the day, it hurts everyone because when it comes time to deciding what school your child will go to and if you`re concerned about class size but if a particular child has not been counted in the census because the parents were afraid to actually submit the questionnaire because they were immigrants, then all of a sudden, the monies that would help avoid having large class sizes in our schools those problems start to surface. And so whether you`re a parent with kids in school, whether you`re driving on a highway and you`re stuck in traffic, congested traffic or because there are too pot holes and they have to wall off a particular lane on the highway, all those things could be determined because they`re not getting enough resources to build a highway, build enough schools because the census doesn`t drives the dollars where they need to go.
HAYES: Yes, so just to be clear, what you`re saying is that that count is the underlying number for a bunch of different calculations from federal monies for highways to schools to all kinds of things aside from political reapportionment, all of which could be skewed if the count is not accurate?
BECERRA: Not only may be skewed, will be skewed.
HAYES: How sure are you of that? How can you know that that`s the case?
BECERRA: The majority of monies that we send to the Federal Treasury through our taxpayer dollars are redistributed to the states through formulas that are derived from the census numbers so we can make sure that we`re distributing tax dollars fairly. If a region is undercounted because its people did not fill out the census bureau questionnaire, then you will not get those monies sent back to you even though you`re paying those taxes. And so it`s not a question, it`s a certainty that regions of the country will lose. But if regions of the country lose, if California loses and we`re the economic engine for the country, if we start to have problems, guess what, pretty soon the rest of the country will feel those problems, as well.
HAYES: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who oversees the department in the Commerce Department that runs the census is making the argument this is necessary to include this question to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Acts to protect what he says are minority voters. Is lying?
BECERRA: Chris, you know, that one is really hard to swallow that all of a sudden, the reason in the dead of night last night right before the Department of Commerce has to make a decision about what questions to include they`re now including this because any want to protect the voting rights of people? I got to tell you, that one is as far away as my wanting to buy or sell you some real estate in the desert. It`s just -- it doesn`t fly. I know that`s their argument but that`s why we feel very confident when we go to court that we can prevail.
HAYES: Final question on another topic. Your office has announced an investigation of the shooting of an unarmed black man in Sacramento and taking that over I guess from local police. Having just watched Attorney General investigation in Louisiana clear the police who shot Alton Sterling, why should people in California have confidence the result here is going to be any different?
BECERRA: Well, let me make sure the record is straight. We are going to do an independent oversight of the investigation that`s underway in Sacramento. We`re not taking it over. We`re going to be providing independent oversight. That means that we don`t lose our ability to take whatever action we as the Department of Justice in California think is necessary whether it`s through investigation or eventual prosecution. But we are working with the investigation that is being done by the Sacramento Police Department. What is important to understand is that this should give us a better sense and hopefully a greater degree of confidence that at the end, what comes out from this investigation is something that people can have some faith in. And here`s where I think it`s important and I believe California is going to try to move the ball further so that people can have that trust between communities and the men and women in uniform who serve them.
HAYES: Xavier Becerra, thanks for being here.
BECERRA: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, a deeper look at the Republican mission to maintain minority rule of the government and when one of my next guest says asking about citizenship on the census is "greatest threat to the democracy in the U.S."
HAYES: Citizenship question on the census is just the latest example of efforts by one political party to consolidate power even when this means abandoning the basic logic of democracy. Republicans at all levels of government increasingly seem to be using extreme tactics to maintain control of the government even as a demographic change shrinks their base. Ari Berman Senior Reporter at Mother Jones, author of Give Us the Ballot, The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, Christina Greer is a Fellow (AUDIO GAP) Poverty Policy and Research at NYU and Michelle Goldberg is an Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times. Ari, you tweeted about the census question as a threat to American democracy and connected it to a lot of reporting you`ve done on voting rights. What`s the connection?
ARI BERMAN, SENIOR REPORTER, MOTHER JONES: Well, the connection is that the census really forms the basis for voting and for the core infrastructure of our democracy. The Census forms the basis for how many Congressional seats and electoral votes states receive. The Census forms the basis for how congressional districts and state districts are drawn. And so if the Census is corrupted, if the Census is rigged our entire democracy is corrupted and rigged as a result. And that`s why the citizenship question on the census and the larger threat to the Census more broadly are such a threat to democracy because they impact every single facet of our democracy.
HAYES: Yes, just to be clear, like, it`s zero sum. There is going to be 435 members of the House and there`s going to be 538 electoral votes. So, if Illinois, New York, and California lose population because you don`t count the folks that are undocumented, they`re going to go to other places. Right, Michelle? And this has to do with something you`ve written about in your columns about the sort of desire to kind of use changes to the rules of the game to maintain a hold on power even as their coalition experiences demographic decline.
GOLDBERG: Right. And it`s not just a desire, it`s a reality. I mean, they have basically done it. I mean -- and it`s not just the fact that we have a minority president and it`s not a coincidence that it`s the second minority president out of the last how many, three, four? And that they`ve both been Republicans, right. So you see this kind of structural advantage for Republicans at all levels of government. And some of it is inherent to just the way the population is distributed.
You know, liberals tend to be clustered in big cities, but some of it has been this deliberate attempt to pack liberals into certain districts and spread out conservative advantages in other districts. There`s a report from the Brennan Center that says that in the midterms, Democrats will need to get 11 percent more of the popular vote in order to take back the House. And other -- you know, people have disputed that number, some people have said, no, it`s really more like 7 percent.
But there`s no question they need to vastly overperform just to be -- just to have any power in the federal government, that the majority of the people have no say in the federal government and it`s entirely possible that even if they mobilize and go out and try to make their voices heard, it won`t be enough to overcome these structural impediments.
HAYES: Yeah, I agree it`s been funny to watch people going back and forth -- oh, it`s 11 points, it`s seven points, it`s six points, but it`s like, well, it`s a national election. I mean, obviously that`s not the way it`s run, right. I get it. It`s not the system we have. But in a sort of broad sense of democratic legitimacy like that should matter.
And, Christina, it`s not an accident, all right, of which way the demographic and racial divides break in this question.
GREER: Not at all. I mean, as Michelle said, you know, when you`re gerrymandering particular districts you either pack or crack for the most part. And what we see with largely African-American and Latino communities is they are packed into hyper Democratic districts or you know, so there`s racial gerrymandering, there`s partisan gerrymandering. And when it comes to voters of color, there seems to be some sort of overlap considering the vast majority of black Americans are democratic voters.
And so they`re packed in these particular districts which leaves all these other districts spread out where Republicans have a really distinct advantage. And what`s so important about this question about citizenship is that we already know that communities of color do not like interacting with the state on a particular level in these institutional mechanisms. And we know that immigrant communities also don`t like interacting with the state and these questions coming into your home.
We also know that there`s so many families that are mixed status households, where you may be documented, but someone -- your sister or your spouse may not be. And so those people are less likely to fill out the census.
So, what we saw, you know, the last time we took the census was in Queens actually reporting that they lost, you know, members of the borough, which we know for a fact is not true, but we also know that Queens is one of the most diverse and ethnically and immigrant diverse boroughs in the country.
HAYES: And now you`ve got the question, right? So, there`s use of these different ways the rules actually work like the census map, the gerrymandering. But then there`s been a development, Ari, I think that is really worrisome which is that even when those are challenged, this sort of desire to nullify by Republican legislators. So, in Pennsylvania, the state`s highest court says, look, this is unconstitutionally gerrymandered district. You`ve got to refile new districts. And the Republicans start talking about impeaching the members of the state supreme court.
BERMAN: I mean, the fight for democracy is never over it seems. I mean, you have Pennsylvania where they`re trying to impeach the supreme court justices that struck down Republican gerrymandering. The most extreme example, which I know you`ve covered already, Chris, is in Wisconsin where Scott Walker just flat refusing to hold special elections for vacant legislative seats since December. A federal court said, no, you have to hold these elections. The Wisconsin constitution is very clear on this. And then immediately after the court orders him to hold special elections, Scott Walker and the Republican legislature say we`re going to hold a special legislative session to change the law on special elections so we don`t have to hold elections.
And this is such a disturbing trend where basically if Republicans think they`re going to lose an election, they cancel the election. And if they lose a court order, they decide they`re going to nullify that court order. This really gets to shattering core basic norms of democracy.
HAYES: Well, and Christina, when you use the words nullify or think about massive resistance, right, there is this historical echoes here of like, no, we`re not going to bow down to what the courts tell us.
GREER: Right. I mean -- you know, Chris, we`ve talked about this for well over a year now with Federalist 51 where we talk about the separation of powers. We have courts in place to make sure that no branch overreaches, and that even operates on the state level. So, we cannot have governors as the executive of their state working with the state legislature to essentially overturn the rule of law.
But we see this time and time again especially as the civil rights movement, which is a long arc, where each time we make some strides, there are different ways the institutional mechanisms of this country work hard to make sure that there are particular communities that stay marginalized. And so with this particular political moment, we see the Republican Party really feeling like they`re losing not just numbers, but obviously, you know, they are a party that is largely homogenous. So, they fear that as black, Latinos, Asians, and other marginalized groups sort of form these coalitions together, they are going to lose ground.
So, their winning strategy is to institutionally just essentially change the rules in the middle of the game and consistently move the goalposts.
HAYES: And I think, Michelle, they really have come to view anything that stands in the way of that as illegitimate. Like I think there`s a genuine view that the institutions that would constrain that aren`t legitimate.
GOLDBERG; Well, right. I mean, you know, I always go back to this one comment that Trump made at the very beginning of his administration where he said the only thing that matters is the uniting of the people, because those other people don`t matter. So when they talk about the people, they mean a very specific slice of the American population. And at some point it`s going to be a minority slice, but they really believe that they have a right to rule.
And so in as much as they`re able to substantive minority rule, I think we`re heading towards a real crisis of democracy.
HAYES: I think we are almost -- we`re already starting it.
Ari Berman, Christina Greer, and Michelle Goldberg, thank you all for being here. I appreciate it.
Still ahead, as the Never Again campaign gathers momentum, a former Supreme Court justice calls for just out repealing the Second Amendment. But is that the right focus for the movement?
And our next story is brought to you by the letter "n." That`s tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, Trump, like all of us, is constrained by character limits on Twitter. And so he has to figure out ways to cut or abbreviate. Sometimes it`s somewhat cryptic like Senator G, apparently referencing Lindsey Graham, sound bite on Fox & Friends; or Crooked H friend Terry M talking about Terry McAuliffe and of course Hillary Clinton. But sometimes his shorthand seems to be a random abbreviation like last year when the president tweeted big increase in traffic into our country from certain areas while our people are far more vulnerable as we wait for what should be Easy D.
As Vanity Pair put it, Twitter melts down after Trump tweets about Easy D. Easy D caused a raft of headlines and speculations. Was Easy D a person? Do people know what Easy D is? But we never really found out what or who Easy D was.
But now President Trump has come out with a brand-new abbreviation with a tweet that ends with build wall through M. Well, how could you possibly know what M is? One way is to look at what Trump TV was airing. And that, of course , is thing 2 in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So, some consternation ensued when President Trump tweeted early Sunday morning, because of the $716 billion gotten to rebuild our military, Capital M, many jobs are created and our M military is again rich, which itself is weird. I mean, it`s just out tax money.
But, anyway, building a great border wall is all about national defense capital M, capital D. Built wall through M.
It seems that when Trump wrote build wall through M, he did not mean build wall through Mexico, some might have thought, or Montgomery or mallow mars or Marmaduke or muffins. No, the M is for military. Build wall through military.
And I wonder where he got that idea?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where does he get the money to build a wall that you say he can build as national defense? Where does he take the money from?
ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE PUNDIT: The same place Reagan took the money to invade Grenada, the same place he took the money to bomb Syria. He has money to spend on national defense and this is a much bigger problem of national defense.
But all of this can be done under his powers as commander-in-chief if he cared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, The Washington Post reported that indeed Trump is now pushing for "M," the military, to pay for his border wall. The president is following Ann Coulter`s advice perhaps trying to get back in her good graces. She`s been attacking Trump for signing the budget bill.
But here`s the problem, Trump can`t simply build wall through "M." That would require an act of congress. And he can`t force the military to pay for his wall just as he can`t make another country foot the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And who is going to pay for the wall?
TRUMP: And who`s going to pay for the wall?
TRUMP: Who`s going to pay for the wall?
TRUMP: I`ve never done that before. That`s actually cute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, we got a partial answer to one of the mysteries that`s been sort of lurking around the edges of the story of Russian influence in the 2016 election. And it started with reports like this, that the FBI`s investigating whether Russian money was funneled through the NRA to the help elect Donald Trump, specifically Russian money from this man, that would be Aleksander Torshin, a top banker, alleged mobster, and close friend of Vladimir Putin.
Now, Torshin is also he is a lifetime NRA member. He`s a real gun enthusiast. He attended the 2016 convention of the group. And there he sat next to the Donald Trump Jr. at a dinner and then tried to broker a meeting between Trump Sr. and President Putin.
Over the course of the 2016 elections, the NRA spent a record amount of money: $55 million, including $30 million just to support Trump. So, while investigators look into Torshin, the top Democrat on the Senate finance committee, Ron Wyden, just asked the NRA directly do they receive contributions from anyone acting as a conduit acting for foreign interests and their answer was yes kind of, saying in response to Senator Wyden, we do receive some contributions from foreign individuals and entities, but none of those entities or individual is connected with Russia, which is a very (inaudible) phrase -- and none of their contributions were made in connection with U.S. elections.
Now, the problem with the last assertion is that the NRA has multiple accounts, including some that don`t require any reporting to the FTC, no disclosure whatsoever, it`s all dark money, and they also acknowledge moving money around saying transfers between accounts are made as permitted by law.
Now, the NRA also won`t disclose the amounts or sources of the foreign donations. So, we know definitively the NRA does take foreign contributions, which fine, but not how much or from whom. And given what`s at issue right now, given the pall that all this is cast over the election, that really seems like something that we should know.
Now the NRA has a former Supreme Court justice calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment, a big debate on the left about whether or not that call for repeal is a good strategy. And we`ll have that debate here next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH CHADWICK, STUDENT, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: This is not a red versus blue issue, this is a morals issue. And to the politicians that believe that their right to own a gun comes before our lives, get ready to get voted out by us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The March for our Lives movement seems to be taking a step towards real change when it comes to tougher gun laws. There was already evidence of that. And the movement`s concrete policy demands has a list of five of them all work within the scope of the Second Amendment as currently interpreted by the Supreme Court. But former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens argues the best way for this movement to achieve its aims is demand a repeal for the Second Amendment as it would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States unlike every other market in the world.
Joining me now to discuss the merits of this argument, Lawrence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard, and Anna Galland, executive director of Moveon.org.
Professor Tribe, I take it you think this is a bad approach.
LAWRENCE TRIBE, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I do. When I listen to the survivors of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas, people like Sarah Chadwick and Emma Gonzalez and others, I`m inspired by their passion, but also by their practicality. I mean, they realize that it`s money, like money in the story that you just had before the break, money that is pouring into the NRA and then in the form of dark money into various campaign coffers, that`s what is calling the shots.
If energy is put in the impossible task of getting rid of the Second Amendment, instead of the quite possible task of making gun safety a single issue matter, the way gun rights have become on the other side, and really voting out the people who are too spineless to pay attention, that will get something done.
But trying to get rid of the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court has said is perfectly consistent with very substantial gun regulations, that seems to me to be a quixotic venture, not a good one, and in fact, it plays into the hands of the NRA when they argue that the Second Amendment is an absolute. It plays into the hands of those who say that every regulation of firearms is just a step toward confiscating your weapons and getting rid of the Second Amendment. That`s not true.
But it will seem true if we organize our efforts around the impossible task of getting rid of the Second Amendment.
HAYES: Anna, I know that Move On has been doing a lot of work on this issue. You guys have a petition right now about repealing the Second Amendment. What is your thought on it?
ANNA GALLAND, MOVEON.ORG: Yeah, so, first of all, I should say I think everyone can agree right now that everyone who is a person of good conscience who cares deeply about the lives of our children, our grandchildren, ourselves can agree that we absolutely need to vote out the people who are standing in the way of sensible reforms to our gun laws in this country, one of the most resident chance at the march I attended here in Chicago was a vote them out. So no disagreement there.
I think the petition you referenced, Chris, was a Move On member petition. And I can say what`s coming up from my perspective is that we are in a real movement moment. This is a big, enormous, vibrant, fiery movement of Americans who have been inspired by the leadership of not only the Parkland students, but also young people around the country who have been fighting gun violence in all its forms for a long time, groups like the Dream Defenders in Florida and others.
And what`s happening is that this real grassroots movement is surfacing organically all sorts of important policy demands. For example, universal background checks. For example, raising the age that you need to be to acquire a gun. For example, limiting weapons of war in our streets, getting rid of assault weapons. And, yes, one of the new demands that I`m seeing coming up from folks in the Move On member communities, not at all a consensus position is to repeal the Second Amendment.
The fact that the conversation is moving there, including from people with the stature of Justice Stevens, is a testament to the incredible work these students have done moving the conversation in the right direction.
HAYES: Yeah, so let`s just say for a second, right, that stipulating that amending the constitution at this point in the country as polarized as we have it with the thresholds that exist is really hard, basically well nigh impossible at the moment, it looks like.
But Professor Trive, to sort of Anna`s final point there, it seems to me -- so forget about, like, should we pursue this to the practical end, but just as a declaration, of principle, what it seems to me what Justice Stevens is saying, what others are saying is that what we`re saying is like we just reject the fundamental content here, that -- you know, we have to kind of bow and scape before the gun owners and say things like I respect the Second Amendment, but comma, as opposed to I think there are a lot of people who feel like guns are bad. There shouldn`t be a lot of guns. People shouldn`t have guns. Maybe it was a good idea at the time. I reject it. What is wrong with that as a sort of North Star?
TRIBE: I think it`s the wrong North Star. I mean, I`m in favor of every one of the things that Anna lists -- universal background checks, getting rid of weapons of war on our streets, all of those things are great, but all of those things will be harder to do if we weaponize the crazy argument of the NRA that those are all steps toward getting rid of all guns.
You know, in a world that was as peaceful as I`d like it to be, nobody would have a gun. That`s not our world. Our culture is steeped in guns. I love the idea of setting up a North Ltar, a lode star, but the lode star should not be something that is so out of reach that these kids who are so passionate will simply become disillusioned.
I don`t want them to reach for something that`s impossible and I don`t want them to buy the idea if personal liberty to many people in this country includes the idea of having a weapon at home, a firearm at home to protect you as a matter of self-defense, I don`t want them to think as long as that`s part of our culture, we have to be awash in guns. And we have to allows the AR-15s on the street. It`s not an either/or.
HAYES: Anna, do you see part of the job of MoveOn others as thinking of an alternative world that we could inhabit?
GALLAND: Yeah, I mean, I was going to say I think the North Star that the students are setting out for all of us is save our lives. That`s the North Star.
GALLAND: That`s the thing that -- that`s the challenge they`re putting out to us. And I do think the role of organizations, institutions, groups that are out there to support the organizing energy that these students are calling forth is to help find imaginative ways that we can live into the world that we need. I think one of the important things for all of us to understand is it`s not enough to say no in this ear of catastrophic attacks on all fronts from the Trump administration, from the NRA and others, we have to talk about what we want to see and what we want to see is a country that`s safe for everyone.
HAYES: All right, Lawrence Tribe -- sorry, Lawrence, I have to go. I have to hand the show over to Rachel.
Lawrence Tribe and Anna Galland, thank you for joining us.
Everyone, by the way, should read Justice John Paul Stevens` amazing dissent in the Heller case, which is the big gun case in 2008. It`s a great read. Very convincing in my mind.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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