Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: April 20, 2018 Guest: Julia Ioffe, Michael Isikoff, Tom Perez, Bernie Sanders
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.
HAYES: New revelations about Trump`s curious relationship to Vladimir Putin.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: He told you that he had a personal conversation with President Putin about hookers?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: Yes.
HAYES: Tonight, why Trump changed his story about his Moscow trip and a bombshell about Michael Flynn.
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Yes, that`s right! Lock her up!
HAYES: Then the Democratic Party files a federal lawsuit against Russia, WikiLeaks, and the Trump campaign.
TRUMP: Russia, if you`re listening
HAYES: The head of the DNC, Tom Perez, joins me exclusively tonight. Plus, did the FBI leak information to Rudy Giuliani?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s got a surprise or two that you`re going to hear about in the next few days.
HAYES: James Comey confirms he was investigating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America!
HAYES: And a check in on the President`s work day.
TRUMP: Golf, golf, golf, golf, more, more.
HAYES: When "ALL IN" starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Vladimir Putin was the first world leader to call Donald Trump after he was sworn in as it will 45th President of the United States. And the President was incensed that staff did not tell him right away, forcing him to delay returning Putin`s call. That is just one of the revelations in the Comey memos, the Former FBI Director`s contemporaneous accounts of his conversations with the President, which have now been made public, thanks to Republican efforts to shake the mount of the Justice Department. Now, presumably, it was an effort, they hoped, would vindicate the President and discredit Comey.
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GREGG JARRETT, HOST, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: There was absolutely no evidence here of any obstruction of justice. There`s nothing else in there, no red flags, no smoking gun that would incriminate the President. And so as Trey Gowdy, who had seen this several months ago said it`s the best Exhibit A defense of President Trump.
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HAYES: Not sure about that because like the Nunez memo of this latest gambit by the President`s allies has backfired in a spectacular fashion. The memos, if anything, bolster the credibility of Comey`s account, showing that his story about his interactions with the President has been remarkably consistent. The demand for loyalty, the urging to let Michael Flynn go, the pressure on Comey to publicly clear the President in the Russia probe. The memos also provide a new window on the President`s bizarre and perplexing relationship to Vladimir Putin. And on his utter fixation with the most salacious claim in the Steele Dossier, you know the one I`m talking about. According to Comey recounting his private dinner with the President on January 27th, 2017, the President said Flynn had just informed him about the call from Putin while British Prime Minister Theresa May was visiting earlier that same day. Now, Putin`s name is redacted in the memo, but multiple reports have confirmed he was the leader in question. "It was then the President learned of blank`s call and he confronted Flynn about it. Flynn said the return call was scheduled for Saturday, which prompted a heated reply from the President that six days was not appropriate period of time to return a call from the blank of the country like blank." The delay in getting back to Putin which clearly got the President quite upset prompted the President to suspect that Flynn had, "judgment issues," according to Comey`s memo. Comey also recounts that the President kept bringing up what he called, "the golden showers" thing, insisting that it could not have been true, because you know what, he didn`t even stay the night in Moscow. "He said he had spoken to people who had been on the Miss Universe trip with him and that they had reminded him, he didn`t stay overnight in Russia for that. He said he arrived in the morning, did events, and then showered and dressed at the pageant hotel, he didn`t say the hotel name and left for the pageant. Afterwards, he returned only to get his things because they departed for New York by plane that same night, very detailed story. Now, the President told Comey that story about not staying overnight in Moscow, hence, not being able to participate in the golden showers thing. He told him that story at least twice. Didn`t stay overnight, nothing could have happened. But here`s the thing, we know that`s not true. He stayed at least one night in Moscow and we know it from news accounts and social media postings and because an NBC News crew was there with MSNBC`s Thomas Roberts, who co-hosted the pageant. This is a photo that Thomas` producer posted in Instagram November 8th, 2013, and there`s Donald Trump on the right. It wasn`t until the following day which, of course, would be November 9th, that Trump sat down to tape an interview with Thomas.
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THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC HOST: Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, a conversational relationship or anything that you feel you have sway or influence over his government?
TRUMP: I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he`s very interested in what we`re doing here today. He`s probably very interested in what you and I are saying today and I`m sure he`s going to be seeing it in some form, but I do have a relationship with him.
HAYES: Julia Ioffe Contributing Writer for The Atlantic and Evelyn Farkas former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, now an MSNBC National Security Analyst. Julia, what is up with this relationship?
JULIA IOFFE, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, you know, Donald Trump did say he showered in Moscow, right, so.
HAYES: Oh, come on!
IOFFE: OK. You know, I think it`s interesting and what -- you know, when I read these memos, I was looking at it from the Russian point of view and you know Vladimir Putin is good. This is -- this is a daft move on his part. He`s done it before, you know, being the first guy in the door to congratulate. He did this to George W. Bush. He was the first foreign leader to call George W. Bush on 9/11, something that Putin make assure to point out. He wants to be the first one in the door, greasing up his subject.
HAYES: Yes, that`s interesting. So this -- what you`re saying --it`s a move and also not necessarily indicative of anything else. Evelyn, but what there is, is it`s clear that Trump is furious that Flynn doesn`t let him know.
EVELYN FARKAS, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. I mean, actually, there, Chris, I kind of sympathize with the President that --
FARKAS: -- six days is a long time. And if I were his boss, I`d be annoyed. Why is he -- why is he withholding that? So it does -- it does - - there is merit to that point. And I also agree with Julia, you know, this is a vintage Putin move. You know he did it with George W. Bush and really did butter up George W. Bush, you know at that time. That was right before George W. Bush then met with Putin said, I looked in his eyes and you know I saw his soul and of course, later, John McCain said, there`s no soul. So you know he`s a KGB agent and he knows his audience but Donald Trump also, again, in that interview with Thomas, he`s showing how sensitive he is to what Putin thinks of him which, again, is sort of odd.
HAYES: Yes, that is the sort of through-line here. We also have this reporting, Julia, from Reuters, that says, the Russians are saying the President invited Putin to the White House multiple times during that famous do not congratulate call. U.S. President Donald Trump invited Vladimir Putin to the U.S. during the phone call. He said he will be glad to see Putin in the White House. The news agency quoted Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying Trump returned to the subject of an invitation a couple of times during the call last month that Russia was now expecting Trump to formalize the invitation. What do you make of that?
IOFFE: Well again this is a classic Russian move that these details come not from the American press, not from the White House, but from the Russian press. They troll so hard and they`re trying to show, look -- I mean no there -- I`m serious. They`re trying to show, well, you know anytime they`re in the doghouse, they`re like, well, your President likes us. Your President invited us, you know there`s so many things we found out from the Russian side about what our President has said to them and not from the A1merican side and the Russians know that, and they`re doing it on purpose to highlight, again, to kind of highlight and attenuate these tensions in our society.
HAYES: That`s interesting. Evelyn, I want to ask you about the Syria strikes and the fallout from that. Senator Menendez said something to me the other night that sort of struck me and I`ve been kind of puzzling over it. I want to play that and get your reaction, take a listen.
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SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, (D), NEW JERSEY: I don`t know if this was carefully choreographed, because you have a strike against three facilities, the Russians don`t activate their defense missiles against us. The Syrians shoot their missiles after our missiles land and you wonder, wait a minute, was this is a choreograph Kabuki show?
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HAYES: Now Sky news reports Russia says that they were told the U.S. where they could bomb in Syria, which there`s some level in which that seems like a natural way of avoiding some massive escalation, but what do you think of that?
FARKAS: I think it`s something a little short of that. So they have this joint coordination mechanism, the militaries do, where they talk to one another, so we`re not inadvertently shooting at one another, although I should know that on the night of February 7th to the 8th, there was shooting between Russians and Americans, where Russians died. But, you know, generally speaking, we try to avoid this. And you know, unless we`re attacked, which is what happened with the Russians. So I think that we gave enough information that the Russians felt, you know, secure enough to decide not to use their defenses because they have their air defenses, they could have employed against us. And they didn`t. That would have been escalatory from our perspective.
IOFFE: That said, this is very different than what the U.S. did around this time last year. If you recall, they gave -- you know, they didn`t give the Russians or the Syrians much warning at all. This time, Trump tweeting back and forth, will he, won`t he, I will, I won`t. The Syrians and Russians had plenty of time to move everything out of the way and to make the strike look even more kind of ceremonial and performative than it would have been otherwise.
HAYES: All right, Julia Ioffe, and Evelyn Farkas. Thanks to you both.
FARKAS: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent for Yahoo! News and Co-Author of Russian Roulette, The Inside Story of Putin`s War in America and the Election of Donald Trump, NBC News National Security Contributor Frank Figliuzzi, was the Assist Director of Counter Intelligence of FBI. Frank let me start with you. One of the things that comes out in the Comey memo is Reince Priebus directly asking James Comey if there`s a FISA warrant on Michael Flynn. This is when Reince Priebus is the Chief of Staff of the President of the United States, Michael Flynn is the National Security Adviser to the President of the United States, asking the FBI Director, basically, are you tapping the phones of our National Security Adviser and Comey basically appears to say yes. What do you think of that?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first, I can almost feel the cringe that Comey must have experienced because that -- what we`re seeing throughout these memos, Chris, is just a rookie White House that doesn`t know the ground rules. So coming right out and asking, hey, have you got a secret, clandestine wiretap on our guy, not a good move but Comey tries to explain it. But you can see inherent in this is a concern about Flynn that they`ve got a bad guy in their midst. That is he a liability? Do we need to jettison him now? How bad is this? So the wheels are turning and spinning and we`re seeing evidence of that in the Comey memos.
HAYES: You know, Michael, I can`t -- tell me if I`m wrong. Is it news that to have it confirmed that there was a FISA warrant and a tap on Michael Flynn?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: I don`t think we knew that there was a FISA warrant on Michael Flynn. In fact, I`m not sure there was. We know that he was interviewed by the FBI very shortly after he became National Security Adviser and they had concerns about his -- there were issues about how truthful he was in the FBI interview, but I`m not sure there would have been grounds at that point for a FISA warrant. Maybe Frank has other ideas on that, but nothing on the public record.
HAYES: I guess my question, one of the things that came through from this, to Frank`s point, do we -- do you feel like we have a clear and full understanding of what it was that was making people worried about Michael Flynn in the national security apparatus of the United States government? Michael?
ISIKOFF: Yes, I think if you go back and look at the criminal charges that were filed against Flynn, there were activities during the transition where he was talking to Ambassador Kislyak of Russia about Russia sanctions and suggesting that they would take a new look at them. But also, the activities at the U.N. about the resolution condemning Israel about settlements in which the United States -- the Obama administration had decided was beginning to abstain. And the Flynn and other Trump transition officials were actively calling ambassadors from the U.N. Security Council, telling them not to vote for that and telling them that the Trump Administration would have a very different policy. Flynn was part of that. That really was interfering in U.S. foreign policy during a time that Trump was not yet president. So, you know, there were Logan Act-like concerns about that activity. And I think that more than anything drove the inquiry into Flynn.
HAYES: Frank, how -- I mean, I guess, how common would it be that someone that close to the President would be the subject of this concern?
FIGLIUZZI: Well, if, indeed, it`s true, and we can`t erase that redaction, black marker, and figure out what`s under it. But if Comey said yes --
HAYES: Well, some of them you can, apparently, actually, after yesterday. But that one we can`t.
FIGLIUZZI: Yes. But if, indeed, they had a FISA on the National Security Adviser, unprecedented, as is most of what we`re talking about here. But there`s something we also need to remember. We do know, and there`s been reporting that the FBI was providing defensive briefings, as early as during the campaign, to senior campaign officials in the Trump camp. And so what we don`t know in terms of timeline is whether they had already had defensive briefings that may have even hinted that Flynn was a problem. My guess is that they did. And my guess is that very senior officials, likely the Assistant Director of Counterintelligence at the Bureau, likely told senior campaign officials if not Trump himself, you`ve got some issues, you`ve got people in your camp meeting with some real persons of interest and you need to watch it.
HAYES: That`s really interesting. Michael Isikoff and Frank Figliuzzi, thanks for joining me.
FIGLIUZZI: You`re welcome.
HAYES: Coming up, the Democratic Party just filed a sweeping lawsuit against Russia, WikiLeaks, and the Trump campaign accusing them of hacking the DNC and a conspiracy to influence the election. My exclusive interview with the head of the DNC, Tom Perez, you won`t see this anywhere else and that`s after just two minutes.
HAYES: Surprising everyone today, the Democratic National Committee filed a huge far-reaching lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Russian officials and WikiLeaks accusing them of interfering with the 2016 Presidential Election. The 66-page complaint alleges that "the conspiracy constituted an act of previously unimaginable treachery, the campaign of a presidential nominee of a major party in legal with a hostile foreign power. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi weren`t alerted about the lawsuit until the DNC was about to file. Tom Perez, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and he joins me now. Chairman, why now?
TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Why now? Three reasons, Chris. Number one, we don`t know how long the criminal proceedings will take and nor do we want to rush that. And so, we have to file in order to preserve our rights under the civil justice system, statute of limitations, things of that nature. So we have that legal imperative. Number two, over the course of the last year, I`ve done my homework. A year ago, it was clear to me that the Russians had hacked the DNC and they did it with the purpose of helping the Donald Trump and hurting the Democrats but we didn`t have the evidence a year ago connecting the Russians and the Trump campaign. We have that evidence now and that`s why we`ve moved forward. And thirdly, Chris, I`m worried about the 2018 elections. There is no accountability for what the Russians did. And when they do things with impunity, because this administration won`t hold them accountable, we`ve got to hold them accountable. That`s what the civil justice system is about. It`s about accountability. It`s about deterrence. Our democracy is on fire and we have to preserve our democracy. We`ve got to preserve full and fair elections and that`s a big part of what this is about.
HAYES: But the enemies aren`t going to be held accountable before the 2018 midterms, right? I mean, I`ve been around civil litigation a little bit, and boy does that take a while?
PEREZ: Well, absolutely, we won`t finish the case before now. But we want to send a very, very clear signal. If you want to mess with elections here, they are going to be consequences. We are raising the cost of your interference. We know that this administration is Putin`s poodle. And so they`re not going to do anything. So we will continue to act. If you want to do that, if you`re going to punch us, quite frankly, Chris, we`re going to punch back. And that`s what this lawsuit is about. We are protecting our democracy. When you do after the right to vote, when you go after the institution of elections, that is the essence of our democracy. So this wasn`t simply an attack on the DNC. This was an attack on our democracy.
HAYES: Just a few of the reactions from some of the people that are named here. Roger Stone says it`s bogus, it`s meritless, it`s baseless, based on conjecture, speculation, and supposition. Some lawyers will have to be sanctioned for wasting the court`s time. The Trump Campaign says the Trump Campaign will be prepared to leverage the discovery process, explore the DNC`s now-secret records about the actual corruption they perpetrated, and of course, the President tweeting that -- it`s good news that it will now counter for the DNC server that they refuse to give to the FBI. And then he said, the Wendy Wasserman Schultz server. I think he then later corrected to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a document held by the Pakistani mystery man in Clinton e-mails. The people you`ve sued have gotten your attention, I guess.
PEREZ: Well, I mean, I saw that response, and it was kind of a greatest hits of all of their wild conspiracy theories. And here`s the thing for me, Chris. I spent 12 years or so at the Justice Department. They were some of the best years of my professional life. I worked as a career prosecutor under Republican and Democratic administrations. I believe in the civil justice system. This case now goes before an Article 3 Judge. It`s not trial by Twitter, it`s trial in a court of law, where fake news and the things that they`re talking about, that are just so -- you know, unfactual --
HAYES: But what they`re saying -- wait a second. What they`re saying and I want you to be clear on this. What they`re saying is this is fundamentally a political messaging document. It is not a serious lawsuit.
PEREZ: Well, I`ll tell you, Chris, this is not about partnership, it`s about patriotism. And I`ll tell you one other thing. When the lawsuit was filed by the DNC against the Nixon campaign, that was the exact response of the Nixon campaign and John Mitchell and other folks who later became convicted felons. And we saw what happened in Watergate and we will see what will happen here.
HAYES: That`s true. 1972, shortly after the break, the DNC filed a lawsuit settlement on the day that Nixon leaves office if I`m not mistaken. Finally, Senator Claire McCaskill, who`s in one of the most contested races in the entire country, in Missouri, of course. She called this lawsuit a silly distraction. And I wonder if you -- your response to that.
PEREZ: Well, we can walk and chew gum. I love Senator McCaskill. We`ve invested in her race. We`re going to continue to invest in her race because she`s a great Senator. But I`ll tell you, I disagree for the simple reason that our democracy is at risk here. We have to make sure that the elections coming up in November are fair. And they invaded us the last time. They hacked the DNC. They tried to influence the outcome of the election. There`s no accountability in the White House and why wouldn`t they do it again? And we can walk and chew gum at the DNC.
HAYES: All right, DNC Chairman, Tom Perez, thank you very much.
PEREZ: Thank you.
HAYES: After the break, Senator Bernie Sanders is here on set to discuss a bunch of topics, including why he and Chuck Schumer are pushing to decriminalize pot, that`s next.
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SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I`ll be introducing legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level from one end of the country to another. The legislation is long overdue.
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HAYES: The Democratic Party is starting to catch up to the nation when it comes to the issue of marijuana. Polls show that nearly two in three Americans including a majority of Republicans support legalization and recreational or medicinal use is now allowed in 29 states. My next guest has Co-Sponsored the bill to decriminalize the drug and require federal courts to expunge prior marijuana convictions. Joining me now, Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, good to have you here. You and Cory Booker, I think, are on that -- on that piece of legislation together. It seems like there`s a breakthrough now with the Democratic Party on this issue.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, you know, during my campaign, I talked about it. I was one of the many issues that was just too radical. But you know what, prohibition doesn`t work. Studies show that over half the American people smoke marijuana. It is insane to be arresting some 600,000 people a year for possession of marijuana. States are moving forward with decriminalization, legalization. Vermont moved forward with decriminalization. So the time is now to say that we are not going to punish people for smoking marijuana. States want to go forward and legalize it. That is their right.
HAYES: If prohibition doesn`t work though, doesn`t the logic that extend past marijuana?
SANDERS: To --
HAYES: Crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy. I mean, if the issue is prohibition, they`re all prohibited substances.
SANDERS: In Portugal, I think, has moved in that direction.
HAYES: They have.
SANDERS: You know, let`s take one thing at a time. This is a major step forward. Look, the issue that really hits me here is that you have thousands and thousands of people whose lives have been wrecked because of being arrested for possession of marijuana. They got a criminal record. You`re a young kid, you`re going out to get a job. Boss says you have a record. Well, I do. You can`t get a job. So this is a step forward and I`m proud to support it.
HAYES: Now, you`re also introducing legislation or you have legislation that would allow for criminal penalties or liability for opioid manufacturers, drug companies, correct?
SANDERS: If, if -- this is the story.
HAYES: It seems like there`s a little tension there.
SANDERS: No. Here`s the story. We have, as everybody recognizes, an opioid epidemic in this country. We lose over 60,000 people a year from overdoses, hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from addiction. Here`s the question. The question is, when did the opioid manufacturers know that the product that they were selling to doctors was addictive? There is evidence out there to suggest that in fact, they knew, and they were pushing a product that they knew would cause addiction, suffering, and death. States are suing all over the country on this. The federal government has been way, way, way behind where the states are. You`ll recall that in the 1990s, Congress brought the tobacco manufacturers in front of them and asked them the hard questions. What did you know? When did you know it? We have got to do that with the opioid manufacturers. And if, but I`m not passing a judgment now, but if it is true that these guys were producing and selling a product that they knew was killing people, they have got to be held accountable. Right now, we`re spending as a nation about $70 billion a year to treat the opioid crisis. Those guys are going to -- should not be making billions of dollars here. They have got to help us solve the problem.
HAYES: Does that same logic of where the fault lies in the liability apply to gun manufacturers?
SANDERS: It does. If we know that a gun manufacturer, for example, is loading a whole lot of weapons into a town far more than you would expect, and we know through a straw man process that those guns are going out into the community, into criminals, should they be held liable if we can prove that they knew it, absolutely.
HAYES: Didn`t you support legislation in the other direction?
SANDERS: I am a sponsor and co-sponsor of a bill that deals with that issue. The issue is not should a gun manufacturer be held liable because you make a gun that does what it`s supposed to do. No.
HAYES: That`s the distinction you`re making?
SANDERS: Right. Should a gun -- if they`re dumping guns into an area in a volume that no one thinks what the local population...
HAYES: I see.
SANDERS: Yeah, that`s the issue.
HAYES: I`m wanting to talk to you about trade, because, you know, you have been a critic of the kind of trade consensus in this country for a long time.
HAYES: And there`s a number of other people, Sherrod Brown is one of those folks. He wrote a book about trade when he was -- and I think it`s fair to say that in some key ways Donald Trump has departed from some of that consensus -- pulled out of the TPP, renegotiating NAFTA. We`ve seen these tariffs...
SANDERS: Although he`s claiming he wants to rethink that. I don`t know where he is today.
HAYES: Well, who knows where he is. What do you think of this trade agenda? Is this -- does this look like what you envisioned as the alternative to the consensus you`ve decried?
SANDERS: Trump deserves credit for at least dealing with this issue. Look, the truth is, our trade policy has been a failure. It has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs. We have lost tens of thousands of factories in the last 20 years.
And bottom line, there is companies that are shutting down to find cheap labor in China and in Mexico. Is that an issue that has to be dealt with? Absolutely.
Do we want to demonize the people in Mexico or the people in China, as Trump often does, the answer is no. So we need comprehensive trade policies.
HAYES: But what about -- so a lot of that folks on the industrial base, right, manufacturing.
HAYES: But there`s two sides to this. And one of the things we`re seeing now with these tariffs is, you have got a lot of farmers in America who export grains -- you`re from a rural stat You have got soybean shipments that are being impacted. You`ve got sorghum ships that are circling around the Pacific Ocean. Does it -- I guess I wonder, does it make you think about, OK, what does it really look like when we play this out?
SANERS; Look, trade is a very complicated issue. No one thinks there`s a simple solution. Bottom line is, overall -- and there are exceptions. There are the agricultural sectors, which have done well under various trade policies. By and large, in my view, trade policies have been bad for the middle class and working families of this country and that`s got to change.
You`re never going to come up with a process that works for 100 percent of the people. You`ve got to do the best that you can.
HAYES: Meaning that there`s going to be trade-offs, right?
HAYES: Even when you start getting in there and messing...
SANDERS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
But right now, by and large, we have been losing -- the American people, working people, have been losing.
Here`s the issue when you talk about trade. Trade is a good thing. You want to trade with me? What have you got? I`ll buy it, if it`s a fair praise. No, that`s what trade is.
HAYES: I got a pen and a few papers.
SANDERS: All right.
HAYES: But what is not fair, ultimately, is American workers having to compete against people in Vietnam where the minimum wage is something like 70 cents an hour. That`s just not fair.
So I want to see fair trade, not unfettered free trade.
HAYES: All right, Senator Bernie Sanders who is here in New York City, which is a treat. It`s great to have you here.
SANDERS: Good to be with you, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, the investigation into whether certain members of the FBI leaked information during the campaign to the president`s brand-new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. But first, the latest installment of what the president does with his time. Thing One, Thing Two is next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, take a look at the president`s public schedule on this lovely spring Friday. A little sparse, huh. Just one item, a roundtable with RNC supporters starting at 5:20 p.m. We know President Trump gets up early. He was tweeting at 6:34 this morning. So, he had to find something to do to fill the time.
And since he`s in sunny 80-degree Mar-a-Lago, why not use all that free time for a round of golf. According to the travel pool, the president arrived at his own Trump International Golf Club at 9:20 this morning, left nearly five hours later at 2:00 p.m., on a weekday.
Now, we unfortunately don`t have any images to show you from today because the White House never lets reporters get anywhere near the president while he`s golfing. We do have these photos taken by the Japanese ministry of foreign affairs on Wednesday when Trump played 18 holes on that same course with the prime minister of Japan.
If this sounds to you like a lot of golfing for the leader of the free world, you`re not alone. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: The president spent nearly five hours at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, today, a Friday, when most people, including yours truly, are working. It marked his 108th day at one of his own golf properties since taking office. I know somebody who would find that disgraceful.
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TRUMP: I love golf. But if I were in the White House, I don`t think I would ever see Turnberry again. I don`t think I would ever see Doral again. I own Doral in Miami. I`d just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off, make great deals, right? Who`s going to leave?
I`m not going to play much golf, because there`s a lot of work to be done. You need leadership. you can`t fly to Hawaii to play golf.
Obama, it was reported today, played 250 rounds of golf.
Obama went golfing every day.
Golf, golf, golf, golf. More, more, learning how to chip, learning how to hit the drive, learning how to putt. Oh, I want more!
If you become president and you go to the White House, why would you want to leave the White House? When you`re in the White House, who the hell wants to play golf?
If I get elected president, I`m going to be in the White House a lot. I`m not leaving.
I`m going to be working for you, I`m not going to have time to go play golf.
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HAYES: So, whatever happened to the internal FBI investigation surrounding the man who just joined Donald Trump`s legal team? We`ll look at what Rudy Giuliani is up to, ahead.
But first, among the stories that went under the radar this week was the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Republican, Jim Bridenstein to lead NASA. Bridenstein, who has no background in science, just squeaked by the Senate on a party line vote, and now a Republican congressman who says he`s not sure humans are the primary drivers of climate change will lead the $20 billion bureaucracy charged with studying the man-made effects of climate change.
One of the NASA programs is called Operation Ice Bridge, which tracks how climate change is affecting the Earth`s all-important polar regions.
MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff went to Greenland to see how NASA collects this crucial information.
NATHAN KURTZ, LEAD PROJECT SCIENTIST NASA OPERATION ICE BRIDGE: The Arctic sea ice has been changing dramatically in the last several decades. Looking at the data in a scientific sense, I`ve seen changes in the thickness, in the extent of the ice. And all that`s pointing to thinning ice, shrinking ice cover.
JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC: And that leads to climate change?
SOBOROFF: This year, during the coldest part of the year, the Arctic experienced its warmest levels ever recorded, and the second lowest sea ice levels.
Greenland is ground zero for these radical changes. And that is why NASA`s Operation Ice Bridge is up here. Its mission is to map Earth`s polar ice and understand its connection to the global climate.
Cruising altitude on Operation Ice Bridge is 1,500 feet, perfect for an extraordinary view of our climate`s changing in real-time.
JOE MACGREGOR, DEPUTY PROJECT SCIENTIST NASA OPERATION ICE BRIDGE: On average, we now know that the Greenland ice sheet is losing nearly 300 gigatons of ice per year. And that works out to thousands of tons of ice being lost from this ice sheet per second.
SOBOROFF: Wait a minute, you just said thousands of tons of ice are lost per second.
MACGREGOR: Exactly. So, that works out to a new subdivision worth of homes of ice being lost every second.
SOBOROFF: Joe MacGregor is the mission`s deputy project scientist. To collect this data and compare it to previous years, he and the other sciences rely on radar, lasers, and a camera that shoots thousands of photos in flight.
What do we have got here?
MACGREGOR: So, we have multiple instruments onboard, all with the goal of measuring what is going on with the ice beneath us, how it`s changing, what its properties are.
SOBOROFF: Our destination for the day was Peterman Glacier, set in a canyon 15-and-a-half miles wide, its walls taller than our plane, which made for a pretty bumpy flight.
This glacier is one of the glaciers left in Greenland that still has an ice shelf at the end of it. In other words, floating ice that is attached to the original glacier.
Hang tight! Hold on, guys.
And that glacier is changing significantly. It`s capped some really large icebergs these last few years.
SOBOROFF: And it`s not just here, the country`s massive sheet of ice is melting faster than at any time on record, losing on average nearly 300 billion tons of ice per year. If that rate keeps up, it will mean a 3-inch increase in sea levels by the end of the century.
How does what`s going on out here affect us at home?
MACGREGOR: When more mass is lost from the ice sheet in a year than is gained via snowfall, the ice sheet is losing mass overall, that goes into the oceans and sea levels rise as a result.
SOBOROFF: And so that`s what we see in Miami, the Gulf Coast, New York City. I mean, that`s directly connected to here.
MACGREGOR: Exactly. So even though many of us may not get to see these areas in person, their future affects our future, because so many of us live along the coast.
SOBOROFF: Nathan Kurtz is the lead scientist of NASA`s Operation Ice Bridge. His team`s mission will last for six weeks.
KURTZ: In order to look at long-term changes, we need a long-term record that goes year-to-year. We need to put all of the pieces together to really find out what`s causing changes.
SOBOROFF: The data and images collected over the course of the spring will be taken back to NASA to be analyzed, and its findings made public later this year.
When you hear politicians back in Washington, D.C. say, you know, the science is inconclusive about climate change, you`re actually creating the science in real-time. What do you think?
KURTZ: I think that the data that we are collecting is valuable, it`s real, it`s showing changes that are happening, and regardless of what some people might believe, the facts are the facts. They speak for themselves.
SOBOROFF: Climate change is real.
KURTZ: Climate change is real.
HAYES: Jacob Soboroff is back in L.A., joins me now.
Jacob, Trump`s nominee was just confirmed to lead NASA. It was a really narrow vote. What could he do to the agency`s climate change programs like Operation Ice Bridge?
SOBOROFF: He could, quite frankly, just slash the budget, but not if any of these folks I met have anything to do with it, Chris. These are some of the most passionate, dedicated, professional scientists I`ve ever met in my life, if you think about what they do. They dedicate a huge portion of their lives every single year, some of them the last nine years, to go to one of the most remote places on earth to ensure that all of us have a sustainable future on this planet. So when things happen like the Trump administration proposing a complete cut to five NASA Earth science programs like they did in their budget proposal earlier this year, congress, of course, restored those.
You know, this is just another adding insult to injury, to have a NASA administrator who is a politician, candidly, and not a scientist. It could be catastrophic. But for now, congress has restored these budgets and Operation Ice Bridge will proceed as planned.
HAYES: All right. MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff, great reporting. Thanks for joining me.
SOBOROFF: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, one of the president`s other best people, his new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the FBI investigation into whether he was getting leaked information during the election. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Did Rudy Giuliani and, therefore, the Trump campaign have advance notice from inside the FBI that this announcement from you was coming?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Not that I know of, but I saw that same publicity. And so I commissioned an investigation to see if we could understand whether people were disclosing information out of the New York office or any other place that resulted in Rudy`s report on Fox News and other leaks that we were seeing in the media.
I don`t know what the result of that was, I got fired before it got finished, but I know I asked that it be investigated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Last night in this very building, fired FBI Director James Comey confirmed he looked into leaks from the FBI during the election, in part because Rudy Giuliani kept dropping massive hints.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, we got 14 days. This bill -- does Donald Trump plan anything except for a series of inspiring rallies?
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?
GIULIANI: You will see.
He has a surprise or two that you are going to hear about in the next few days. I mean, I`m talking about some pretty big surprise.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard you say that this morning. What do you mean?
GIULIANI: You will see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s weird. Philippe Reines is adviser to Hillary Clinton; Elie Mystal is the editor of the Above the Law blog.
Philippe, your reaction to the fact that Comey apparently initiated an investigation into that stuff.
PHILIPPE REINES, ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I guess my question is, he was there six months after the election. I`m not sure what would take so long for the -- either the FBI or the Department of Justice or the inspector general to look into the matter. He seemed rather nonchalant about it.
I guess the question is now, what is its status? Who is conducting it? Is the FBI office looking at itself? And I think there`s another data point beyond Rudy sitting there looking like a peacock. Laura Trump was on TV, on Fox, of course, two days earlier than Rudy, on October 24. And she said they had a trick up their sleeve.
So, I can imagine Rudy walking around saying, I`ve got a secret, I`ve got a secret. And it shouldn`t be too hard to figure out for an administration that calls for everyone who has leaked to go to jail, they seem to be rather not caring about this one.
HAYES: You know, there`s some evidence to support the idea that there were folks that were sort of opposed to Hillary Clinton in the New York field office who were sort of leaking to Rudy Giuliani. The Guardian ran a story in which there`s a quote saying the FBI is Trump land, anti-Clinton atmosphere spurred leaking, sources say. Wayne Barrett, the legendary Wayne Barrett, who has since departed, had a story saying that -- talking about the sort of ex-FBI Trump fan who was using it.
So, there was stuff to make you think there might have been a pipeline there.
ELIE MYSTAL, ABOVE THE LAW: It`s like Trump thinks the job of his lawyer is to become the subject of the investigation, to like to take the heat off of him, right, like to actually take the bullet.
Look, you interviewed very well Tom Perez earlier today. He was talking about the RICO lawsuit. It`s important to remember that the very first application of the RICO lawsuit in a federal case was by Rudolph Giuliani in 1985. And I bring that up to point out that Rudy Giuliani has not been a good lawyer since the `80s, all right.
It would be -- Trump calling him in right now would be like the Mets calling Keith Hernandez down from the booth to play first base, all right. He is way past his prime.
I think that the reason why he is here, aside from just he`s part of the family and Trump knows him. He`s one of the only lawyers left that will take Trump`s call. I think one of the reasons why he is here is -- not because of the Mueller investigation, but because of the southern district of New York SDNY investigation into Michael Cohen.
It s worth remembering that the current head of the SDNY, Jeffery -- or George Berman, who replaced Preet Bharara, Berman is buddies -- is a former law partner of Rudolph Giuliani.
MYSTAL: And that`s the...
HAYES: So, you think that`s what it -- you think it`s about that relationship?
MYSTAL: Even though Berman has recused himself from the Cohen stuff, I think it`s about that cozy relationship that Giuliani has with the SDNY, because we`ve got to remember the thing that Trump is most concerned about is what Michael Cohen is going to say.
HAYEs: Do you agree with that, Philippe?
REINES: Absolutely. I mean, Rudy`s claim to fame is his America`s mayor, being there for eight years. He clearly thinks he has the place wired. And by all indications, he does have it wired.
And this, I think, Chris, is an important point that this isn`t just a matter of setting the record straight. Rudy Giuliani is now becoming the president`s lawyer. Why he`s not going on the White House staff, he will require security clearance to look at the material that are relevant to defending his client. If there`s an ongoing investigation into his work, into his background, into his leaks, that is extremely relevant. At the very least, the Department of Justice or the FBI should confirm to us that there is either an ongoing investigation, or it has been closed, otherwise it`s just yet another person walking around the White House without a clearance.
MYSTAL: But I hope he gets the job, actually. Because I think people need to remember -- again, he is not a very good lawyer anymore. Let`s remember, Rudy Giuliani is the principal author of the first Muslim ban, of the first travel ban, a document so legally farcical that it basically got thrown out of court on its ear. If this is the level of legal work that Trump wants to bring in to the process, I say go for it, man.
HAYES: Philippe, I have got to get your reaction to this news today in The Wall Street Journal about the Comey memos, in which the Justice Department IG is now probing the Comey memos because apparently there are people who say that some of the information contained in two of them were classified. And I could not help but notice, this is precisely what happened to Hillary Clinton and what initiated, of course, the chain of events we`re all familiar with.
REINES: Yeah. I mean, I can name at least one other person that couldn`t help but notice that, too. I mean, this is their playbook. They have this...
HAYES: Who the is they? Who is the they?
REINES: My erstwhile boss, the -- should-be president of the United States right now. There is a hypocrisy and an irony to it that they are going after these documents, they`re going after Comey on the basis of being classified.
And by the way, Comey didn`t release these documents, the Department of Justice did, presumably. They scrubbed them and redacted them beforehand.
But they`re running the same play they ran with Devin Nunes, which is alluding to something that just by the sheer fact of not being able to have, therefore is nefarious. But just like the Devin Nunes memo, it backfired on them. The content of the memo completely confirmed and really basically told us that what we had thought about the whole thing is right. The Comey memos -- again, the Comey memos reinforce everything we believe. I mean, it`s clear that if you are going to obstruct justice, don`t do it with the FBI director. These guys are lawyers. They take notes. They write everything down.
HAYES: Final question here. There`s this idea that like Giuliani is being brought in to negotiate an end to the probe. I don`t know what to make of that.
MYSTAL: Look, the legend of Rudy Giuliani has always far outstripped the ability of Rudy Giuliani. So, it`s not surprising that he comes in and being like I`m going to end this in two weeks. And we`re just going to make a deal.
He is transactional in the same way that Trump is transactional. I think that`s one of the reasons why they are friends.
But again, I don`t think Giuliani is going to have anything -- he is not going to have any power with the Mueller investigation. Robert Mueller is not scared of Rudy Giuliani, right. So, I really do think this is more focused on Cohen, the SDNY, and like how that whole ball of wax is going to go down.
REINES: And remember the baggage that comes with Rudy Giuliani. I mean he again, he is a peacock. What is clear from President Trump`s behavior is that he doesn`t like anyone getting the limelight. And maybe they told Rudy you are doing this little slice of the pie. I`m not sure Rudy Giuliani is going to get that message.
HAYES: Yeah, he`s going to be on TV a lot.
Philippe Reines and Elie Mystal, thanks for joining me.
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