Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: May 18, 2018 Guest: Fred Guttenberg, Lucy McBath, Matt Post, Dannel Malloy, Harry Sandick, Lisa Green, Daniel Goldman, Maya Wiley
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was scared for my life. Nobody should go through this, nobody should be able to feel that in school. This is the place where we`re supposed to feel safe.
HAYES: Another school shooting in America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been happening everywhere. I felt -- I`ve always kind of felt like eventually, it was going to happen here, too.
HAYES: Ten dead at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has been going on too long in our country, too many years, too many decades now.
HAYES: Then the president declares open war on his own Justice Department.
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: I wonder what the heck is the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation in the first place?
HAYES: New testimony to the Mueller grand jury. The Russia probe subpoenas two of Trump confidante Roger Stone`s aides and a scandalous abuse of power as the President personally tries to punish an American publisher.
TRUMP: The post office is losing billions of dollars, it delivers packages for Amazon at a very below cost.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. 93 days ago, a former student of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School armed with an assault rifle fatally shot 17 people at that high school in Parkland, Florida. With chants enough is enough and not one more, the Never Again Movement was born in the wake of that mass murder, a movement created by grieving high school students determined to bring about change but wary enough to know it would probably happen again. Today it happened again. A third fatal school shooting since parkland and the worst at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas outside Houston, nine students and one teacher were shot and killed this morning, ten more injured. The suspect a 17-year-old student is in police custody. It was just one month ago that students at Santa Fe High School walked out in solidarity with the never again movement. And today, one Santa Fe high school student said sadly she was not surprised by the day`s events.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there a part of you that was like this isn`t real, this isn`t -- this would not happen in my school?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, there wasn`t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why so?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been happening everywhere. I felt --I`ve always kind of felt like eventually, it was going to happen here, too. So I don`t know. I wasn`t surprised. I was just scared.
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HAYES: Three months ago, Fred Guttenberg`s 14-year-old daughter Jamie was killed in the Parkland, Florida shooting and he joins me now. Fred, first, I have to just ask you how you`re doing today. I imagine it`s an incredibly wrenching day for you and everyone in your community.
FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF A STUDENT KILLED IN MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING: That sums it up. You know? Listen, this whole week for myself and the other families has been brutal. Just a reminder, we started this week with Mother`s Day and our Mother`s Day included or didn`t include a member of our family who we love, in my case my daughter followed by the next day the three-month anniversary.
My heart breaks for these families today. You`ve got parents who now have to go through the process that to me feels like it happened only yesterday figuring out how do I bury my kid? What am I going to say if I say anything? How do I deal with the grief of my other kids? What do we do as a community? I mean, these are -- the next few days in this community are just going to be -- they`re going to be -- they`re going to be hard. They`re going to be emotional.
They`re going to be unnecessary. This should never have ever happened again. I just -- my heart breaks for these people. I`m here for them if they need me. I know the other parents from Parkland feel the same way. You know, I would just advise them for the next week. Take time to be with your loved ones. Bury those that you need to bury and you know, deal with your grief because it doesn`t get easy. It doesn`t get easier. In fact, every day that goes by I miss my kid more.
HAYES: You have really devoted yourself in the wake of the loss of your daughter to this issue, to gun safety legislation. How do you feel about that struggle in the last three months and today?
GUTTENBERG: You know, I`m very upset today. Looking at the last three months, I have a degree of optimism because of what`s happening in local communities. You have communities, cities and states who are enacting gun legislation. You have businesses that are changing their business model. You have banks that are changing the way they lend. You have pension funds that are deciding they go don`t want to be in the business of guns. So there`s a shift. There`s a movement.
The problem is, it`s happening outside of Washington. And in order to have true common sense gun safety, to prevent these incidents from happening again, and when they do, to limit the casualties, you need leadership from Washington, D.C. We have a President who simply refuses to show leadership in the event of these incidents. We have Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell who choose to say nothing. And I will tell you and I said this earlier today because saying nothing is not -- does not equal legislation. Sitting down and shutting up doesn`t mean you`ve done something.
And I`m just furious at their inability to be part of the movement to get legislation done. And I will tell you, the way I`m feeling today is even more committed to making this the number one issue in the November election and firing those legislators who won`t get this done. We all have families. We have kids. And you know what? They deserve to be able to go out in public without fear of being shot.
HAYES: Fred Guttenberg, I really appreciate you taking time tonight. I hope you get some time to process this all this evening. I really appreciate it.
GUTTENBERG: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Lucy McBath is the mother of Jordan Davis a victim of gun violence. She has served as spokesperson for every time -- for gun safety, is a Democratic candidate for Congress. Matt Post is a Senior at Sherwood High School at Montgomery County Maryland, a student member of the Board of Education, spoke at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington. His group took part in a lie-in in sport of gun safety legislation outside of House Paul Ryan`s office today. Lucy, let me start with you and I want to get your reaction to something that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said in the wake of this because you are now running for Congress. You`re involved in these policy discussions. Take a listen to what he had to say after words starting getting out about the shooting.
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DAN PATRICK, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, TEXAS: We may have to look at the design of our schools moving forward and retrofitting schools that are already built. And what I mean by that is there are too many entrances and too many exits to our over 8,000 campuses in Texas. Maybe we need to look at limiting the entrance and the exits into our schools so that we can have law enforcement looking at the people who come in one or two entrances.
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HAYES: What do you think about that idea?
LUCY MCBATH, MOTHER OF JORDAN DAVIS, VICTIM OF GUN VIOLENCE: I think it`s not a good idea. I think that poses a safety issues there limiting the number of exits and entrances for the students. In the event of these shootings, if the students don`t have ways to exit the building, then that is a liability in itself. I just don`t think that`s the answer.
HAYES: Matt, you were shaking your head, as well.
MATT POST, STUDENT MEMBER, MONTGOMERY BOARD OF EDUCATION: Yes, I mean the central problem with that is that this is not a school safety issue. This is an American safety issue. And while it hasn`t been making the headlines the past three months, the steady churn of violence that`s happening every day in Chicago in D.C., in Baltimore is continuing. We need to address all gun violence, not these newsworthy instances of them.
HAYES: You`re nodding your head, Lucy.
MCBATH: Yes, I agree with him 100 percent. And the fact that we do have you know, a government that continues to turn a blind eye and try to find additional solutions outside of really doing what`s really right and credible, what we know statistically, what we know with research and data really proves that in order to reduce the instances of gun violence, we have to change the laws, the ways by which people are allowed to use their guns.
That is the most credible common sense solution that we can do. And if our federal government, if our legislators continue to do this very thing that they`re doing is turning a blind eye and acting as if this is not a human and moral issue, we will do something about that in the fall. And it`s incumbent upon the American people to understand and know that they have a right to just not allow these kinds of things to continue to happen but they have the power and they have the tools to do something about it.
HAYES: Matt, your group was protesting outside Paul Ryan`s office today. What was that about?
POST: We were demanding the same thing, thousands and thousands and thousands of millions of kids across this country are demanding which is universal background checks. Paul Ryan needs to bring a universal background check bill to the floor of the Congress. 87 percent of Americans support a bill like that. The only reason that it is not being passed, that it`s not being brought to the floor is because of NRA money, a small group of extremists and radicals are causing people to die.
HAYES: Lucy, you`re running for Congress now. I first met you years ago after the loss of your son and you`ve been active in this movement. What prompted you to make that move from being an activist and spokesperson to actually running for Congress?
MCBATH: Well, actually, it`s been a number of tragedies over and over again. But the catalyst for me was Parkland. I had just come from Colorado spending time with the legislators there. They do some really good work with background checks for all gun sales. Just there continuing to talk with their legislators and continuing to encourage them to do the good work they`re doing. The moment that I stepped off the plane in Atlanta, my phone was blowing up over Parkland. I could barely get out of the airport. My heart was so heavy and I was so emotionally burdened by the fact that here we go again.
And I just decided that our children need support. They need help. If they are going to do the right thing and demand that our legislators be accountable to them, I was going to do whatever it took to help them. And that is the reason why I`ve decided to run for Congress because I know that as a victim, I have the ability to you speak to credence to this issue. And that is my number one policy agenda in Washington. I`m going to do whatever I can to prevent these tragedies and our children from dying in their own schools and on the streets.
HAYES: Matt, you`ve been active with the Never Again Movement. It caught fire, it was such a sort of -- it`s been so amazing and inspiring to so many, the March For Our Lives. But it`s hard work day in and day out even when the cameras are away. Give us a sense of where that movement, your role in and others is at this moment.
POST: We`ve been working regardless of whether the cameras are on us. We`ve been holding town halls or organizing voter registration drives, organizing protests in front of the NRA Headquarters. The work continues. And ultimately, the object at the end will be November 6th, 2018. We have 170 something days until that day. We`re going to make sure that kids are showing up making our voices heard and anyone who takes a cent from the NRA or gun lobby is not going to get re-elected.
HAYES: What would you be saying to your colleagues in Congress if you were there today or on Monday, Lucy?
MCBATH: I would remind them why we are there. I would remind them that we have been elected by people that believe in our ability to give them a good quality of life and to keep them safe. And that this is a moral issue and a crisis. We are at the tipping point. And if they are not about doing right by the people that elected them, then maybe they don`t need to be there. And that`s what I intend to do is hold Washington accountable, hold them accountable. And I think that any other person that is willing to really be about the business of doing what`s right for democracy, for the people that put them in office, then yes, they deserve to be there. But if but are not about that, then you must be removed.
HAYES: Matt, can I ask you one last question? You`re in high school now, am I right?
HAYES: I always wonder, what is it like in a high school that you haven`t had a shooting there as far as I know after something like this happens, how do kids talk about it?
POST: Kids are afraid. People are scared to go to school. Some people don`t go to school for days after these shootings.
POST: Yes. This has become our reality. But it doesn`t have to be. That`s the thing. The inaction of Congress is violence and we are looking to our national leaders and begging them to give us some shelter from this fear, some shelter from this violence and they`re continuing to do nothing. And I don`t know whether to feel despair or rage about that.
HAYES: Lucy McBath and Matt Post, thank you both.
MCBATH: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, progress on gun control has been happening. In three months since Parkland, it`s been happening in state houses. We`re going to bring you a governor leading on this issue next. Plus, the President spent the morning tweeting some pretty wild stuff as he escalates the open warfare on his own Justice Department when we`re back in two minutes.
HAYES: The school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas comes just three months after the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. And in that short period of time, the Parkland students have shaken the country out of a learned helplessness about gun violence and inspired some real concrete progress. Florida`s Republican Legislature and Governor instituted what`s often called a red flag law allowing police to temporarily remove guns from a person at risk and they raised the minimum age to purchase a gun, added a three-day waiting period and banned bump stocks.
Vermont`s Republican Governor also sign a bill raising the purchase age, banning bump stocks, limiting the size of magazines and requiring all sales to go through a licensed dealer. Maryland which has a Republican Governor as well, enacted a red flag law and banned bump stocks. Plus, and domestic abusers in the states can no longer have the guns which is now the law as well in deep red Kansas. New York also tightened up its laws for domestic abusers. Oregon closed the so-called boyfriend loophole.
Nearby Washington State banned bump stocks and back on the East Coast, Rhode Island joined Florida and Maryland with a red flag law of its own. Now, all of that, just since Parkland, all that action follows Connecticut`s lead which passed sweeping gun legislation in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. I`m joined now by the Government of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy who`s also the Co-Founder of States for Gun Safety, a coalition to combat gun violence. Governor, am I wronging that there has been quite a bit of progress in a very short amount of time at the state level?
GOV. DANNEL MALLOY (R), CONNECTICUT: At the state level, Chris, is where it`s happening. Quite frankly, I think that the NRA doesn`t have the level of influence by demand because they pay for it in state capitals that they do in Washington. Now that I`ve said that, they put more resources into state capitals but the reality is though, Connecticut had a law that takes away guns temporarily from people who are acting erratically since 1999. It made sense then, it makes sense now. I don`t care how late you come to the table, just get it done in your state.
Let me give you a statistic about Texas. In 2016, the last verified figure, over 3,500 people in the State of Texas died as a result of gun violence. In my state, it was 172. Now, I understand they got a bigger population so let me break it down. 12.6 individuals lost their lives per 100,000. In my state, it was 4.6. You can make your state safer. You can be part of changing the culture that death is OK in the pursuit of some idealized idea about what the Constitution says. The reality is our first obligation as elected officials is to make our citizens safe and so many people are failing that test.
HAYES: What are the -- what are the things that Connecticut did to -- in the wake of Sandy Hook? What are some of the best practices from your perspective if a state is looking to reduce the levels of gun violence?
MALLOY: Well, listen, number one, we should make sure that every gun changes hands by a licensed individual or at least is subject to a background check and a three-day waiting period. We have done away with those, the weapons that have been so often used although not used in this incident. We`ve banned bump stocks.
We`ve banned large capacity magazines. In the last four years, in part as a result of what we did on gun violence, Connecticut has had the largest drop in violent crime of any of the 50 states by almost 30 percent above the next nearest state. We`re making progress. I`m proud that we`re showing a way to get this done. And it`s not just about violent crime, people, children, in particular, are killing themselves because their parents has a gun.
You know, we should have a form in this country that everyone signs and actually gives this statistic by state, how much more likely it is that your son or daughter will kill themselves at your home as a result of you having a gun or that your son or daughter or yourself will kill yourself or that somebody will use it a crime -- in a crime? How much more likely it is that someone in your home will be injured as a result of the gun being in your home? If we actually told the truth to the American people on an ongoing and regular basis, we could make America safer.
But the NRA has passed laws to make sure that that doesn`t happen. We can`t even do national research. Now, recently, Connecticut and New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, now joined by I think it`s Delaware and Massachusetts have a consortium where we`re going to do our own research and we`re going to publish all of those results. We`re going to work together across state borders to share information about dangerous individuals and what`s going on in gun trafficking.
But you know, one of the things about Connecticut is, we require all the things that I previously mentioned but guns still get to our state almost always from states that have these gun show loopholes or other loopholes that make 41 percent of gun sales in America not subject to any background check.
HAYES: You have been in this political fight for a while. How would you characterize the politics of this issue at this moment three months after Parkland and on this day in which ten of our fellow citizens in the U.S. were killed?
MALLOY: I should have begun by saying that my heart does go out to the parents of those individuals and to the loved ones of those individuals. It is a terrible thing. We had our own tragedy in the state and quite frankly, I and so many other Americans don`t hear of some gun shooting without thinking of what happened in Newtown. But the difference between some states and others is some states are doing something about it and then some other states are cowering.
I understand that Governor Abbott is embarrassed he had a mass shooting in a church and now a mass shooting in a school and that he has 3,500 people per year die of gun violence. Hey, listen, join us. Do something about it. Make your citizens safer by telling them the truth, by passing sensible gun laws. That`s what this thing is all about. And it is happening in more and more states. As you mentioned Kansas which is no Connecticut when it comes to our politics, I`ll be the first to an admit but they`re doing something about it. If Florida can be brave enough to change their laws, why can`t Texas do it?
HAYES: It would be something else. Dannel Malloy, thank you for joining me.
MALLOY: Thank you.
HAYES: When we return, Trump and Rudy. A cornered president and his T.V. lawyer spin a wild conspiracy tales as the effort to undermine the Mueller investigation gets more desperate.
HAYES: The President and his apparently pro bono lawyer and their allies in Congress have now declared open war on the Mueller investigation and the president`s own Justice Department leadership. They have cooked up a new conspiracy theory, it must be the eighth or ninth about a secret FBI source who`s been helping the Russia probe claiming without evidence that that source wasn`t just an informant aiding a criminal investigation but rather was sent to spy on the Trump Campaign as part of a plot to frame the President.
The President tweeted this morning, "Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted for political purposes into my campaign for President. It took place very early on and long before the phony Russia hoax became a hot fake news story. If true, all-time biggest political scandal." Again, there`s no evidence to support that claim which the President`s own lawyer copped to earlier today.
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GIULIANI: This informant, if there is one -- first of all, I don`t know for sure if there was the president -- if there really was one. We`re told that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Told that by whom?
GIULIANI: We`re told that by people who -- for a long time we`ve been told there was some kind of infiltration. At one time the President thought it was a wiretap.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s never been any proof that he was on a wiretap either.
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HAYES: No, no proof. But that`s not what matters here. What we know according to the Washington Post is that the source, the person who did help the FBI apparently in this criminal investigation is a U.S. citizen who`s provided information over the years to both the FBI and CIA and aided the Russia investigation both before and after Mueller`s appointment a year ago. We also know the President`s allies in Congress now, led by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes have been attempting to expose the FBI`s source in their latest scheme to sabotage the investigation. They`ve stopped even trying to conceal their real motivations. They`ve dropped all pretenses.
Giuliani telling The Post that if there was actually a spy inside the Trump Campaign, it would render the whole Mueller probe "completely illegitimate." According to the Post, the stakes of this battle are so high the FBI has been working over the past two weeks to mitigate the potential damage if the source`s identity is revealed, taking other steps to protect other live investigations the person has worked on in trying to lessen any danger to associates. The President`s handpicked FBI Director sounded the alarm on this very matter in Senate testimony earlier this week.
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CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: Human sources in particular who put themselves at great risk to work with us and with our foreign partners have to be able to trust that we`re going to protect their identities and in many cases their lives and the lives of their families. And the day that we can`t protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe.
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HAYES: For more on what exactly the President and his allies are up to, I`m joined by former Associate White House Counsel Ian Bassin and former Federal Prosecutor Harry Sandick. Harry, let me start with you. Have you ever seen anything like this?
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I have never seen anything like this. The President`s defense team in their eagerness to protect the President not only is tearing up norms in other areas of our government and law enforcement and calling FBI agents Stormtroopers but they`re now actually putting real human beings at risk. Human beings who apparently have gone out of their way to take steps to protect our government, to protect our people and assist in national security investigations. It`s very serious.
HAYES: As you -- you were a prosecutor, right?
HAYES: So you`ve built cases before. Is it -- informants are -- how common are they?
SANDICK: Informants are on every case. And you have different kinds of informants. The type of informant here essentially is what we might call a source of information. They aren`t someone who you implant as a member. You know, let`s introduce this person.
HAYES: This is not Donnie Brasco inside the Trump Campaign.
SANDICK: This is someone who says, look, if I see something interesting, I`ll give you a call. And that seems to be what happened here based on the public reporting.
HAYES: There`s a way in which it seems they are getting more sophisticated in their attempts to subvert the investigation. So, it`s not just that we`re going to fire Mueller and fire Rosenstein, but the sort of subterfuge in which they team up with members of Congress to try to build this case and use congressional authority to team up with the White House to go after his own Justice Department.
IAN BASSIN, FORMER ASSOCIATE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Yeah, I mean, it seems like they have concluded that they can no longer deny some sort of collusion or conspiracy took place, right, and so they`re moving their defense to a different tactic, which is well, distract with attacks on the investigation which is what you`re seeing with this attack on the potential FBI informant, or even saying even if there was some sort of conspiracy or collusion, that`s OK.
So my organization, Protect Democracy, filed a civil suit against the Trump campaign for conspiring with Russia. And yesterday there was a hearing in the case which was the first time that Trump lawyers stood up in open court to answer questions about the Russia conspiracy. And amazingly, the Trump legal team didn`t really push back very hard on the idea of a conspiracy. They essentially were arguing, look, even if we did work with Russia to dump these emails that were hacked, well, well, that`s just political activity and our first amendment right to do so.
BASSIN: They did that. It was absolutely stunning that that`s essentially the argument they`re making.
When you think if you were innocent, the alternative would be to say, oh, there was an FBI informant in our campaign? Great, that person can confirm that we didn`t do anything wrong but they`re not saying that.
HAYES: That is a good point, right. I mean, if -- and everything that is going on here seems to sort of resolve around fear that that`s not what is going to happen.
SANDICK: That`s right. And it does seem, as Ian was saying, that, you know, you would want to say, if this were legitimate to say thank goodness that the FBI was here. The FBI there`s been reporting told the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, if you are approached by foreign agents please let us know. We have concern about foreign agents influencing the election. This was only a month after the so-called Trump Tower meeting. Nobody ever told the FBI.
HAYES: There`s part of this, too, which is also strange is this sort of, you know, this dance with congress where Devin Nunes sort of doing the White House`s bidding even though against their own Justice Department, right?
The Washington Post reporting that Nunes has purposefully not been talking to Trump to avoid accusations he`s providing sensitive information to the president, instead Nunes has been relaying the status of the battle, the Justice Department to White House counsel Don McGahn.
As someone who worked in a White House counsel`s office, is that a meaningful distinction?
BASSIN: Well, it`s not a meaningful distinction. And here`s the question I think for the lawyers working in the White House counsel`s office. I sat in those offices. You know, Trump may not care about tearing down the norms of our democracy but surely some of these people do.
You know, to go back to Joe Welch (ph) during the McCarthy hearings, like have these people no decency left? We`re talking about Trump trying to out an informant that could endanger lives. I would hope the good people still work in the White House and government don`t want that on their conscience, and when they going to start speaking up and saying we`ve crossed a line and gone too far.
HAYES: It strikes me, to go back to the first thing you said here, that this is part of a broader strategy really. I mean, for awhile there -- when Ty Cobb was working there and even John Dowd, there was this kind of - - yeah, of course we`re cooperating, of course, the president will be cleared and we give them all these documents and we`re looking forward to being wrapped up. They seem to have dropped that in favor of total war.
SANDICK: It does seem that way. And this is a perfect example of it. And the extent to which they may be willing to burn down the building in order to accomplish their ends because not only will this person and people who have worked with this person be exposed, but who would come forward tomorrow and say to the government, you know, I normally would call the FBI, but look what happened to the last guy. He was outed. He was revealed the moment that his name was turned over to congress, it was in the public eye in 10 minutes.
BASSIN: And here`s the bigger danger. When we formed Protect Democracy the first thing we he did was consult experts who had studied autocrats around the world over the last 30 years. And here`s what they warned us. They said if you want to know if American democracy is in danger, look for a couple things. One, are they trying to politicize independent institutions like law enforcement? Two, are they trying to put out disinformation to confuse the public. Three, are they trying to eliminate checks that could hold the executive accountable. Four, are they trying to corrupt elections.
In this story alone, you`re looking at all of those things.
So, this is not just a danger to the investigation, it is a danger to the very foundation of the Republic.
HAYES: Mark Warner, senator, had this to say -- I thought it was interesting. He, of course, the ranking member. He said it would be at best irresponsible and at worst potentially illegal for members of congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our election."
SANDICK: It could well be illegal to do that. First of all, the disclosure of the name, if it comes from congress, could well be illegal. And I think what he`s saying is that if it`s done to obstruct the investigation, your congressional immunity may not protect you.
HAYES: I would just note that Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey was investigated by the FBI while Barack Obama was president. And when they needed his vote on a lot of stuff, and can you imagine if congress was running around trying to out sources from that investigation while it was happening?
Ian Bassin and Harry Sandick, thank you both.
Coming up, new subpoenas in the Mueller probe as the man at the nexus of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian interests prepares to testify before the special counsel. But first, how the president tried to use the federal government to punish the owner of The Washington Post. The story of a blatant abuse of power uncovered next.
HAYES: In an astonishingly blatant abuse of power, the president of the United States attempted to use the power of his office and the power of the federal government to financially injury a company owned by a plan who published journalism the president doesn`t like
"The Washington Post" reporting today that Trump has personally been pushing the Postmaster General to raise slipping rates on Amazon, a company owned by Jeff Bezos, who also happens to publish "The Washington Post". And for months, as you probably noticed, the president has repeatedly insistently linked Amazon to The Washington Post, calling the, quote "fake Washington Post a lobbyist for Amazon," saying the paper functions as a tax shelter for Bezos while also falsely claiming Amazon rips off the Post Office.
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TRUMP: The Post Office is losing billions of dollars and the taxpayers are paying for that money, because it delivers packages for Amazon at a very below cost.
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HAYES: We now know that was not idle chatter. The president has reportedly been working behind closed doors to punish Jeff Bezos financially, pushing the Post Office to double Amazon`s shipping charges, according to The Washington Post.
The postmaster general and Trump had met at the White House about the matter several times already, beginning in 2017, most recently four months ago. The meetings have, interestingly, never appeared on Trump`s public schedule.
So far the postmaster general has resisted by explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission.
Joining me now, Maya Wiley, former assistant U.S. attorney. You also worked as sort of the council to Mayor Bill DeBlasio, right? So, I want to just ask you this. So, let`s say you`re in that position, you`re advising the mayor, this mayor, who fights with the New York press all the time. And he comes in and he says I`m going to go and threaten to revoke the zoning of The New York Times. He says I`m so fed up.
MAYA WILEY, FRM. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: It would more likely be the New York Post.
HAYES: You`re right, the New York Post, perfect. He said we`re going to screw them on the zoning. I want to call the zoning commissioner in here. And I want to go after him and change it for the New York Post. What would you say to him?
WILEY: Well, before or after I started spluttering and fell down on the floor, I mean, because it`s so outrageous, so outrageous I can`t imagine anyone other than Donald Trump ever actually raising this even as a question of whether he could do it in the first place. I mean, usually it doesn`t even come up as a question, right, do I have the power to actually go after someone I don`t like just because I don`t like them or because what they`re saying about me as a public official.
HAYES: Why is that? Why does that not even come to people`s minds?
WILEY: Well, first of all there`s this thing called the U.S. Constitution. It has this amendment in it with the First Amendment that protects free speech. So number one, it is a constitutional protection. I mean, that`s -- and if you`re an elected official, you expect to have the media examine you, critique you, say maybe things but you don`t like. In fact, it happens every day to every politician across the country no matter what party you`re in.
HAYES: Every level of government everywhere.
WILEY: Every level of government. And the other thing I find so outrageous about this is not only -- first of all, if he wanted to do something that was legitimate, he could go to congress.
WILEY: Because the U.S. Postal Service does not operate fully as an independent entity, right? It`s a quasi governmental institution, but it`s really governed by congress. And in fact one of the reasons it has the financial problems it has right now is because congress required it in 2006, to pay 75 years in advance on all retirement health -- imagine if someone came to you and said you have to take out of your paycheck 75 years worth of retiree health benefits up front, you would actually be homeless.
So that`s essentially what we did to the Postal Service. He could go to congress and say I think the Postal Service is giving Amazon a pass. They should actually look at what they`re charging for packages for third parties. That`s not what he did.
HAYES: That`s a great points, because it`s -- in some ways this has been happening in front of us. I mean, he berates Amazon. He calls them the Amazon Washington Post, and then he talks about the sweetheart deal which is not true actually. Factually in terms of the cost.
But there`s something about the secret meetings of lobbying the postmaster general that looks like he`s trying to get away with something.
WILEY: Right, when you`re talking to the former FBI director about certain investigations.
HAYES: That`s right. And this is -- I mean, I...
WILEY: It`s a pattern of behavior.
HAYES: It is a pattern of behavior. And I don`t want to sound hyperbolic, but to me what`s impeachable, what`s not. But as abuses of power go, this is really up there, like trying to use your power to shut -- to screw Jeff Bezos, to punish him for what the free press writes about you, that`s real serious.
WILEY: And there is a difference here. He has a history and a pattern of using his tweets to attack his enemies and including other corporation he disagrees with or doesn`t like or supporting corporations that he does. This is very different because it was a secret meeting, because he could have gone to congress if it was a real legitimate policy matter, and he could -- you know, there is this thing if Jeff Bezos should think about called civil action under Bivens (ph), which is a Supreme Court case that says you can sue a public official for violating your constitutional rights.
HAYES: I think that would be very interesting if they sued him, particularly given what we just learned today. Maya Wiley, thank you for being here.
WILEY: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, the Mueller probe snags not one but two men associated with long time Trump whisperer Roger Stone. What that can mean for the investigation coming up.
HAYES: A big development today in the special counsel`s collusion probe. Andre Artemenko (ph), a Ukrainian politician aligned with Russia, is reportedly scheduled to appear under oath before a grand jury on June 1. And today he told Politico that in at least two interviews with the FBI over the last year, ones he`s already had, agents asked him about his meetings and dealings with congressmen, senators and representatives of the White House administration.
He also said the FBI agents asked him a wide circle of questions that touched on Russia. Artemenko appears to be drawing the special counsel`s scrutiny because he could provide a key link between Trump associates and Russian interests. It all goes back to a Russia/Ukraine peace plan Artemenko put together last year that, if approved by the Trump administration, could have given the president a reason to lift sanctions on Moscow. And of course we know that that has long been a priority for the Kremlin. It was a topic also discussed in the infamous Trump Tower meeting.
The New York Times reported in February 2017 that Felix Sater, who has been a guest on this show, a long-time business associate of Mr. Trump`s with connections in Russia, was willing to help Mr. Artemenko`s proposal reach the White House. Sater, in turn, put Artemenko in contact with none other then Michael Cohen, the president`s personal lawyer and fixer, and Cohen, according to The Times, said he would deliver the plan to the White House.
Cohen told the newspaper he left the plan in Flynn`s White House office about a week before Michael Flynn was forced to resign as National Security Adviser. So, Sater to Cohen to Flynn, which is an interesting chain.
Now, Cohen would later call The Times story, quote, fake news, but Mueller`s interests suggest otherwise, as does his focus on two long-time aides to another Trump confidant, Roger Stone. And that story is next.
HAYES: Not one but two associates of long-time Trump whisperer Roger Stone have reportedly been subpoenaed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Reuters reporting the subpoena was recently served on John Kakanis, who has worked as a driver, an accountant and operative for Stone. And that`s the second subpoena of a Stone associate in recent weeks. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Mueller had issued two subpoenas to Jason Sullivan, a social media and Twitter specialist, Stone had hired to work for an independent Political Action Committee he set up to support President Trump.
To talk about what these subpoenas can mean, what else is happening in the Mueller probe, Attorney Lisa Green, and former assistant U.S. attorney Daniel Goldman.
So, I want to talk about the Artemenko story we just did and the subpoena.
So, let`s start with these subpoenas. T he significance of subpoenas of Stone`s associates while he hasn`t been called to talk to Mueller.
LISA GREEN, ATTORNEY: Is evidence of a methodical approach by Mueller and his prosecutors. You want to gather a lot of evidence and move up the chain. So, I see this as a back to basics move. We`ve only gotten peephole visions into what Mueller`s been up to. But for all the people who say the investigation`s gone far afield of its original intent this is evidence to the contrary. This is at the heart of the original intent of getting the special counsel involved.
HAYES: How do you feel -- what would you tell Roger Stone if you were advising him about what is likely happening in terms of him and his time in the barrel to coin a phrase?
DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, the first thing I would tell him is to stop talking to the media. I think every time he goes on television or speaks to the print news -- he was quoted in that Reuters article as well...
HAYES: He loves it. He can`t help himself.
GOLDMAN: ...this is a media campaign against me. I guarantee you that Bob Mueller is not looking to the media for evidence in his investigation, but the second thing I would say to him is that you need to start thinking about what`s going to happen when you get charged.
HAYES: You think that?
GOLDMAN: I absolutely do. I think that -- I thought that for a while because...
HAYES: Is that because of the facts, or because of what we know about the fact that he hasn`t been -- that Mueller hasn`t talked to him yet?
GOLDMAN: Both. I mean, we don`t know that many facts. But, for example, we know that his right-hand man for a long time, Sam Nunberg, was called to the grand jury a couple months ago and was -- and Nunberg came on this network and explained what all the questions were including about Roger Stone.
HAYES: And explained and explained and explained.
GOLDMAN: Many times over.
And we also know about some of the emails and the questions as to where Stone was and when and whether he met with Julian Assange, and there`s some sketchiness about the documentation he tried to provide in order to show he wasn`t there. We have known they`ve been looking at him.
And when you know that you`re being looked at and no one is reaching out to you, that is a bad thing, that is not a good thing. And he tried to spin it as it`s a good thing, they`re not reaching out to me, but you don`t want to be the last person that they speak to, you want to be someone that`s either interviewed early or you want to get out in front of it and go and reach out to them yourself and talk to them and come clean. That`s the better course.
So waiting until they reach out to you, or may be the case here, they don`t reach out to him and they just charge him.
HAYES: I just want to say for the record it would be shocking if a guy with literally a Richard Nixon tattoo on his back were indicted for doing something untoward in a political context. Truly a plot twist.
Artemenko, the Artemenko story, which gets a little complicated, but the basic -- I think to me what`s so key to the nexus here, right, is that this is a guy who is floating this peace plan that would essentially mean that Russia gets to keep Crimea more or less and the U.S. drops the sanctions. And that dropping the sanctions seems like that`s been a key thread in all this. What`s your sense of the significance?
GOLDMAN: I think this is incredibly significant. The sanctions are the biggest hammer that the United States has against Russia and Russian oligarchs. It freezes their money and they can`t get their money out of Russia and that is everything to them. So the fact that they had organized and brokered a peace plan through Artemenko that would potentially lift sanctions, and more importantly that this was brokered to the administration by Michael Cohen in February of 2017 when, you`ll recall, this was after the inauguration and he had not gotten a job in the White House, what is Michael Cohen doing dropping off a peace plan to the National Security Adviser if he is completely separate and untethered from the administration? That is the big question.
GREEN: Right. And what we see here is for all our attention on Michael Cohen`s other activities, which include paying off people to remain silent, this is a far more serious and significant matter. He claims not to have that much to do with it. I suspect this witness, unlike Roger Stone and so many other people in the Trump orbit, is not going to use PR as a primary form of defense and may well be forthcoming with a lot of information very useful to Mueller.
HAYES: Well, that`s what`s interesting to me is what`s in it -- it`s not compelled testimony. He`s just a Ukrainian dude. He doesn`t have to come and give testimony, right?
GOLDMAN: That`s true.
Well, if he`s subpoenaed here and he wants to come back here, then he does have to.
HAYES: Right, you never get to come back through JFK unless you come and give the testimony.
GREEN: Yeah, no TSA Pre for you.
But you know the other thing is he may well feel, this is speculation, that he`s got facts that really are quite different than the current narrative, but the time is right to tell it for personal reasons or other.
GOLDMAN: But remember, Michael Flynn is cooperating. He has given Mueller all of the information from his side of things which is on the receiving end of this peace plan. So, it`s not like Bob Mueller is just asking questions out of thin air here as to what Artemenko thinks. He knows a lot from has Flynn has said.
GREEN: I`m so glad you raised that, because for all of the tweeting and agony and whining on the part of the president and his supporters about the length of this investigation, you`ve gotten a symmetry here. Mueller is silent, but that doesn`t mean he has -- doesn`t have the upper hand.
GOLDMAN: Silence is deafening.
HAYES: Lisa Green and Daniel Goldman, thank you so much. Have a good weekend.
A reminder tonight, you can get this show, our show, All In, as a podcast wherever you are. You can listen to All In with Chris Hayes, that`s me. I`m the host. And also, make sure you check out all three episodes of our brand new podcast "Why is This Happening?"which is a special new project we`ve been working very hard on and we`re proud of it. It features long form deep dive conversations about the big themes and ideas driving this moment in history with really fascinating people. And don`t forget to subscribe to that while you`re there, because, here`s the thing, on Tuesday we`ll be dropping a brand new podcast with my absolute favorite, favorite, favorite podcast guest in the entire world.
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