Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: May 30, 2018 Guest: Jennifer Rubin, Jason Johnson, Ruben Gallego, Sam Seder, Laurence
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do.
HAYES: Another conspiracy theory collapses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is such an outlandish and outrageous allegation.
HAYES: As the President humiliates Jeff Sessions.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Attorney General made a terrible mistake.
HAYES: Tonight, the latest on the plot to stop Mueller and how the vice keeps tightening around the President`s lawyer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you feeling about your court hearing? Any comment?
MICHAEL COHEN, LAWYER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: Have a great day, guys.
HAYES: Then --
JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: If you`re smuggling a chide, then we`re going to prosecute.
HAYES: New details on just how many migrant children are being separated from their parents. And she was fired for espousing racist conspiracy theories and he built his political career on one.
TRUMP: Why doesn`t he show his birth certificate?
HAYES: Roseanne Barr, Donald Trump, and the conspiracy caucus.
TRUMP: A year into office, you`ll be saying wow, I remember that interview.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump, I hope you can help uncripple America.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Special Counsel Robert Mueller just collected a new piece of evidence in his obstruction of justice probe into the President of the United States and that would be the President himself declaring this morning he regrets hiring Attorney General Jeff Sessions who was recused from the Russian investigation due to conflicts of interests. The President tweeted a quote from Trey Gowdy, the Republican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee which reads in part, I think what the President is doing is expressing frustration that Attorney General Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job, not afterward. There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else. And I wish I did, the President added.
The Gowdy quote came from a T.V. interview this morning. The Congressman was asked about a report by the New York Times the President pressured Sessions last year to un-recuse himself and retake control of the Russia inquiry. Mueller is now examining that incident according to Times making the Attorney General the United States a key witness in the obstruction of justice investigation. According to Rudy Giuliani, the President currently has no plans to take action against Sessions at least for the time being.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Sessions is staying until after the investigation is wrapped up, is that what you`re saying? Securing his job?
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: I think anybody in the cabinet and any administrators is ever secure. Somebody -- totally different could go wrong. But yes, I don`t think the President is going to touch him, Mueller, or Rosenstein.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have he ever said to you, Man, I`d like to get rid of Jeff Sessions?
GIULIANI: I decline to answer that.
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HAYES: That`s funny laugh. Sessions was later spotted leaving that very same White House staff declined to explain why he was there at all. And while the President took an interest in Gowdy`s interview this morning tweeting out the Congressman`s defense the way he`s treated Sessions he had nothing to say about the part of the interview that actually made headlines, and that would be Gowdy pouring ice-cold water on the President`s laid up -- latest made-up conspiracy theory about the Mueller probe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the president says Spygate, that`s not -- there was no spy inserted into the campaign. Have you seen any evidence of that?
GOWDY: I have not. That`s an espionage term, that`s not a law-enforcement term.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You believe the FBI acted properly in this matter.
GOWDY: Based on what I have seen, I don`t know what the FBI could have done or should have done other than run out a lead. Informants are used all day every day by law enforcement. I can`t think of any major case I handled in twenty years where there was not someone willing to provide information.
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HAYES: Gowdy who`s retiring next year is the highest profile GOP lawmakers to publicly debunk the President`s baseless claim about a spy in his campaign and he would know being one of the few members of Congress who has actually been briefed on what the FBI was doing. And now even some of the people on Trump T.V. are breaking ranks.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump has also claimed the feds spied on his campaign with an informant. The President calls it Spygate. Fox News can confirm it is not. Fox News knows of no evidence to support the President`s claim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Trump people think that the FBI had an undercover agent who inveigled his way into the campaign and was there as a spy on the campaign seem to be baseless. There`s no evidence for that whatsoever.
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HAYES: Baseless, no evidence, get the picture. Nevertheless, the White House maintained today the President still has reasons to worry about political bias in the Mueller probe while declining to identify what exactly those reasons are.
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SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are a number of things that have been reported on and that show I think not just for the President but a number of Americans, a large cause for concern and we`d like to see this fully looked into. The President still has concerns about whether or not the FBI acted inappropriately having people in his campaign and certainly, the president has concerns about the overall conduct of the FBI when it comes to this process.
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HAYES: To break down what all this means, the obstruction of justice probe, I`m joined by a constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, Professor at Harvard Law School, co-author with Josh Matz of to End A Presidency: The Power of Engagement. Good to have you here.
LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Good to be here.
HAYES: What do you think, I mean the President is sort of been very public about the Jeff Sessions stuff, what do you think the significance of the sort of latest revelations on it. I think the latest revelations show that even before he fired Comey, he was basically twisting the arm of the Attorney General to violate the rules of the Justice Department about conflict of interest and to take over the Russia probe even before the public knew as much as it seems Trump himself knew about what it was that he could hide. That was the beginning of clear evidence of obstruction of justice. It got worse when he fired Comey after a cooked up story about his reasons and then on national T.V. talked to Lester Holt and said it was because of the Russia thing. We have seen over and over again evidence of corrupt endeavors to undercut the efforts of the federal government, the Justice Department to get to the bottom of the invasion of our sovereignty by a hostile power. It`s serious stuff.
HAYES: I want to play you what Giuliani said about that Sessions -- the request that Sessions un-recuse and his argument and get your reaction. Take a listen.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he did ask, would that be considered obstruction of justice?
GIULIANI: Oh, no, hardly. I mean, you got to be able to ask a cabinet member to do things you think they should do even if he commanded him to do it, it wouldn`t be an obstruction of justice.
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TRIBE: I don`t think Rudy Giuliani has a clue what he`s talking about. He may one time or another have been a good lawyer, but clearly, he doesn`t understand the meaning of obstruction either under the federal criminal law or more importantly as a potential article of impeachment. When the president to protect himself tries to deflect attention from his potential wrongdoing even if in the end he`s just paranoid and he really didn`t do anything worth covering up, that is an impeachable offense. We know that from the history of impeachment, we know it from Dick Nixon. But in this case, increasingly there are not just smoking guns but smoking howitzers all over the place in plain view about how his entire campaign worked hand in arm with Vladimir Putin`s oligarchs and when as neutral and observer with as much experience in national intelligence as Clapper concludes in his recent book facts and fears that he is quite confident not only that Russia meddled in our election, but that it actually tipped the election to Trump. That`s a really serious problem. It`s not literally treason but it`s treachery and it`s something that people really ought not to tolerate.
HAYES: Your new book again co-authored with Josh Matz is to impeach president, it`s about impeachment and I want to play you this because Giuliani I think, it occurs to me when you say you know, he may have one time been a good lawyer, he`s not really making legal arguments. He`s making fundamentally political ones and I think he gave away the game of why that is. I want to play you what he said about how he understands what he`s doing and what`s happening. Take a listen.
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GIULIANI: We`re defending -- to a large extent remember, Dana, we`re defending here it is for public opinion because eventually, the decision here is going to be impeached not impeach. Members of Congress, Democrat, and Republican are going to be informed a lot by their constituents. So our jury is -- as it should be is the American people and the American people yes are Republicans largely, Independent pretty substantially, and even some Democrats now question the legitimacy of it.
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TRIBE: Of course it`s not that they question the legitimacy of it, it`s that these people are undermining its legitimacy by constantly repeating the big lie that even Trey Gowdy says has no basis, that it`s all a big conspiracy to get Trump. In a sense he`s right. The American people ultimately have to come together and form a bipartisan consensus in favor of removal. The book that I wrote with Joshua Matz argues that that might not happen. Yes he could be impeached even though that`s not high on the Democrats agenda, they want to do affirmative things but impeachment just means he`s put on trial in the Senate. I at the moment cannot really imagine 67 Senators voting to convict and remove him and then he`ll say see, I`m vindicated, no obstruction, no collusion and he`ll be stronger, not weaker.
HAYES: And in fact, it would be unprecedented in American history both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton managed to escape that fate.
TRIBE: That`s right. But in this case, I mean we really have a stronger set of arguments than we`ve ever had for concluding that a President is dangerous and tyrannical. It doesn`t mean that we should pull the impeachment sort of wand out because it`s not a magic wand. It doesn`t necessarily do what a lot of people would want it to do, and that`s what the book is about.
HAYES: All right, Laurence Tribe, it`s great to have you here in studio.
TRIBE: Great to be here, Chris.
HAYES: For more on the President`s attacks against the Attorney General, I`m joined by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Democrat from California. First I`d like to get your response to a New York Times story that was just published and it`s about Rod Rosenstein and check in on where you think your level of confidence in him is. In a meeting of the Justice Department, Rosenstein said the President had originally asked him to reference Russia in his memo. That`s the memo he prepared laying this for the groundwork for Comey`s firing. Rosenstein did not elaborate on what Trump wanted him to say. One person who is briefed on Rosenstein`s conversation with the President said Mr. Trump had simply wanted Mr. Rosenstein to mention he was not personally under investigation in the Russia inquiry. So this is new information about a memo written by Andy McCabe saying that Rosenstein had been explicitly asked by the President to mention Russia in the Comey firing memo. What do you think of that?
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, what I think is we have enough information about this President and his attempts to control Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions and to literally have them protect him from this investigation. I think it is clear that he`s obstructed justice. I think that the more we delve into it, the more we see not only signs of it but actually efforts by this president to get them to basically protect him from the fact that he has colluded with Russia. And that`s it. I mean, you can call it any way that you would like to call it, but the fact of the matter is that we see the evidence of it. We see what he said you know, to Jeff Sessions and the way that he`s treating Jeff Sessions because Jeff Sessions said, listen, I`m recusing myself. I`m not lying for you. I`m scared of this stuff and I`m not about to get myself into a position where I can be indicted. And he is really upset with him. He would love to get rid of him but for the fact that he`s got friends over at the Senate side, these Republicans are saying you`d better not do it, Mr. President.
HAYES: You were one of the most outspoken critics of Jeff Sessions, a very critical of his nomination to be Attorney General and his performance in that role, so I`m very curious in the past you said even on the show you think Sessions should be fired or he should quit. He should -- he should not have the job. What you make of the President`s sort of continued public humiliation of his Attorney General.
WATERS: Well, here`s what I think. I think that the President does not care who you are. If in fact he needs you and you do not respond to him, if you do not protect him, if you do not lie to him he will throw you under the bus, he will attack you. He has humiliated Jeff Sessions, I don`t know why Jeff Sessions would even want to stay in the job. But he has shown that he does not care about Jeff Sessions or anybody else. He cares about saving himself. You know, as it`s been said Jeff Sessions was you know, the first Senator I believe to support and endorse him in his campaign, to stand by him just to you know, clearly indicate that he wanted him to be elected, but he`s thrown all of that aside. He doesn`t care about that. He is saying to Jeff Session, you`re supposed to be here to protect me. You belong to me. And Jeff Sessions is saying I`m not going to lie, I`m not going to endanger myself, not at this point, I`m not doing that. And the President does not like that, he wants him out, he just does not know how to get him out without incurring the wrath of the Senators -- Republican Senators who support Jeff Sessions.
HAYES: Does that change your mind though about -- I`m just curious if it changes the way you think of Sessions in his character?
WATERS: No, I know who he is. I mean, I know how he`s defined himself. He`s a racist and he has demonstrated that in more ways than one. I understand that. This is a different situation. Now, this is about him and whether or not he is going to end up doing something that may cause him to be indicted. It`s two different things. He`s still the races but on this question of whether or not he`s going to go down for the President, I think it`s a different question and he`s not prepared to do that.
HAYES: To the point that Laurence Tribe was just making about impeachment and the question of it which Rudy Giuliani seems eager to litigate which supporters of the president seem eager to litigate and Democrats seem reticent to. Where is your thinking on that question and the Democratic Party`s approach to it as a whole?
WATERS: Well I`m with the seventy percent. Seventy percent of Democrats who have been polled say that they think that he should be impeached. I`m with the 70 percent. I understand the reticence of my colleagues and the Democratic leadership who`s saying don`t feed the notion that is being presented by the Republicans that say that that`s all they want to do is impeach the President because they`re mad about the fact they lost the election. I get that and I understand why that would cause them to not want to talk about it. But I just don`t have those fears. At some point in time, we have to deal with reality. We have to deal with some truths and we have to deal with some facts. I know that people are saying we`ve got to wait and we`ve got to see what our special counsel will come up with. I get that. And I believe that we need facts in order to move forward, but the discussion must take place.
We must not allow the President of the United States of America who has this relationship with the country who hates us and who`s undermined us and who is undermine our democracy to not be talked about, to not be discussed, to not be talked about the reticence of our members to deal with it. I just will continue to talk about it. I think it is dangerous, I think that we should stand up for our country. This president has no respect for the Constitution. He`s in bed with Putin and the oligarchs of Russia and the Kremlin and it`s come out already. So let the Special Counsel keep doing what he`s doing in order to connect the dots for those people who say we need the positive proof. And I think we`re going to get to the point where people are either going to have to stand up and resist this president and talk about he`s dangerous for our democracy are they going to go down with him.
HAYES: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, always a pleasure. Next mounting pressure on the President`s lawyer as Michael Cohen`s legal team sorts through the millions of items seized in the FBI raid including shredded documents. That`s in two minutes.
HAYES: Right now federal investigators are piecing together the contents of a paper shredder from Michael Cohen`s office. That`s what a U.S. attorney told a federal judge today in a court hearing regarding the boxes of documents and cell phones and hard drives seized from Michael Cohen`s home and office which are being poured through to determine what might be subject to President Trump`s attorney-client privilege with Michael Cohen. Here`s the status. More than 250 items are subject to the privilege according to lawyers for Trump and Cohen, more than one million files from three of Cohen`s cell phones, three of them, contain no privileged information and will be turned over to the government. And there is still a trove of data to sort through including those shredded files. MSNBC Legal Analyst Nick Akerman, former Watergate Prosecutor and Elie Mystal, Executive Editor of Above the Law legal blog join me now. Let`s start with you, Elie, on the significance of the evidentiary hearing today.
ELIE MYSTAL, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ABOVE THE LAW: Yes. So it struck me as you -- they are going to the mattresses by putting together shredded documents, OK. Like they didn`t do that for Enron, right? So they`re going for (AUDIO GAP) thing that they said. And this is really -- this has been a conservative talking point all day. The judge set a timeline. She said that any other review that Cohen`s lawyers need to do needs to be finished up by June 15th. That`s about two weeks from now. Now the conservative talking point has been like, oh my God, there are three million documents. How -- please. Michael Cohen is being represented by lawyers from McDermott, Will, and Emery which is one of the biggest white-shoe law firms that we have. And having worked in one of those kinds of firms before, trust me, they can eat three million documents in two weeks like I can mow my lawn in a day, OK, like it`s not --
HAYES: Document review is what they do.
MYSTAL: Yes. They`ll get it done. So what -- by setting the timeline, what the judge is saying is that Cohen`s team has to speed it up. They can`t just extend this out infinitely. They have to like come to play ball.
HAYES: That seems like part of the fight here, right? The part of the fight that`s happening right now between Cohen and the government is about -- is about timing.
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: And it`s not just Cohen. It`s Trump`s lawyers are involved in this too.
HAYES: Right. That`s what`s remarkable.
AKERMAN: Right. Because the privilege belong to Trump if it is privileged. I mean, that`s a big if. So what he`s trying to do is he`s trying to slow roll this. He`s trying to slow roll it for two reasons. One is he wants to get Rudy Giuliani out there denigrating the Mueller investigation as much as possible. He`s trying to keep indictments from coming because this evidence is extremely important before Mueller brings any major indictment and it`s important to try and look at as many documents as you can. Because what he`s trying to do is to find out exactly how damaging Cohen can be to him. There are thousands, millions of documents in there. Those lawyers are looking for what is in. They don`t care about what`s privileged. They care about what is incriminating with respect to Trump. So all of this talk last week about what the White House would have learned about that informant pales in comparison to what they`re going to be trying to learn in this process.
HAYES: I want to play something that Stormy Daniels or Michael Avenatti who got something of a --
MYSTAL: Took an L.
HAYES: Took an L. That`s what (INAUDIBLE) said. He and Drake, from the lawyer from the bench who said basically like you got to you know, cut it out with the publicity. But this is what Avenatti had to say about the what he calls the Trump tapes. Take a listen.
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MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER OF STORMY DANIELS: We now have what I will refer to as the Trump tapes. Mr. Ryan admitted that there are audio recordings that Michael Cohen was taking for years and that those recordings are to quote him not only do they exist but they are under lock and key and some of them relate to my client and her attorney-client privileged communications.
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HAYES: He`s now saying that he knows that some of it has to do with Stormy Daniels former lawyer and that the President is on one of these tapes. What do you make of it.
MYSTAL: Yes, so cut through the jargon, what happened today is that Avenatti has to make the argument that this case, this criminal investigation to --
HAYES: This is not the lawsuit, this is the federal government looking into Michael Cohen.
MYSTAL: -- is so important to his adult film actress client that he should be allowed to parachute into New York where he`s not barred, so you should be allowed to just pretend that he`s barred in New York and have standing to also review the documents in the case.
HAYES: Right. Have a look at the documents.
MYSTAL: Right. And the judge was like, come on.
HAYES: There`s no harm in trying but that doesn`t seem like it`s going to happen.
MYSTAL: The judge was like slow your roll there sir. And Avenatti has already withdrawn his motion to try to do that, right? So at this point, he`s trying to keep -- Avenatti and Giuliani are not in substantially different situations right now. They`re both kind of shouting at the media and they`re playing this out in court, in the in the court of public opinion but in a way that has no real relevance to the actual criminal case.
HAYES: So my question to you is like what is the timeline here? What is your -- I mean, that is a lot of documents. We don`t know what`s in there. You`ve got this June 15th mark. Like, what is your understanding?
AKERMAN: The timeline is very important here because I don`t see how Mueller can go ahead and bring down a major indictment. And we know that there was a crime when they broke into the Democratic National Committee and stole e-mails. That is a major crime. If you take that as an example, he is going to want to make sure all of that evidence is scoured to determine whether or not there is truth to the Christopher Steele allegation that Cohen was in Prague dealing with the stolen e-mails, dealing with paying off the hackers, dealing with participating with the Russians in giving money to these hackers to hide them out after the fact. So they`re going to want to know that. And to do that, it`s going to slow down the timeline a bit.
HAYES: That`s interesting.
AKERMAN: So what they`ve got to do is they`ve got to come up and put all those documents in a major database and they`re going to be doing word searches and doing a lot of work trying to sort through that material.
MYSTAL: What I don`t know is that how that possibly helps Trump, right? Like we agree that Trump is the one that`s kind of --
HAYES: Right. If you drag it out.
MYSTAL: But like, that`s going to just be drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, all through the midterms. Trump keeps saying like it`s -- or Giuliani keeps saying it`s going to be done in two weeks. It is not going to be done in a politically kind of advantageous way for them.
HAYES: Nick Akerman and Elie Mystal, thank you both.
MYSTAL: Thank you.
HAYES: After the break, shocking numbers of how many immigrant children on average are being taken away from their families and their parents every single day. Do not go anywhere.
HAYES: 50 children a day, 50 each day right now in the U.S. That`s about how many immigrant children on average were taken from their families, from their parents at the border over a nearly two-week period this month. That`s when we learned from a Senate subcommittee hearing last week.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From May 6th, when this started until May 19th, our records show that 658 children with 638 adults have been in the prosecution process.
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HAYES: OK. Just be clear, 658 children taken away from their parents forcibly by the United States government. And the picture is becoming clearer now that not only the scope of this operation but also the strategy the Trump administration is employing to do it. Process immigrants as criminals for prosecution, then use that to justify ripping apart the families and taking away people`s kids. And the goal to be a deterrent, to scare off anyone who might be trying to seek refuge here with their family.
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JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: If you`re smuggling a child, then we`re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you probably as required by law. If you don`t want your child to be separated, then don`t bring them across the border illegally. It`s not our fault that somebody does that.
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HAYES: Here to discuss what the government is doing to immigrant families, Congressman Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Nevada (sic). First, respond to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that it`s these parents` fault, it`s not the U.S. government`s fault, for having, say, their 1-year-old, their 18-month- old, their 3-year-old taken from their arms and separated from them.
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO, (D) ARIZONA: Well, it`s just ridiculous. I mean, as a parent, if some thing like this would happen to me, I would just be terrified not knowing if I am going to be able to get in contact again with my son, not knowing how to get in contact, whether I`ll ever see them. And the fact that we as the United States government are doing this purposely is just disgusting.
Number two, it is entirely the Donald Trump administration`s fault. They changed the policy to actually make this happen.
And number three, the reason this is actually happening is because they actually got rid of a really good policy where people were allowed to stay in their country and apply for refugee status, instead, because Donald Trump had to fulfill this like hard on immigration campaign promise, he cut that program and now people are fleeing Central America to get here.
This is all because of Donald Trump, and this is all because they`re trying to appease their base. That`s all this is.
HAYES: I want to zero in on that last thing, because this is confusing for people, so I just want to walk through it carefully. There are two ways you can come, right, refugees -- you stay in your country. You`re in Honduras. You apply through the U.S. embassy to be a refugee. The other is an asylum seeker, which you just show up on the shores in a port of entry or at the border and say I want to be taken in, because I am fleeing violence or persecution.
And you`re saying the Trump administration actually changed the refugee process to make it more difficult?
GALLEGO: Absolutely. I think it was in August of 2017 that they changed the policy under President Obama who was trying to stem the tide of unaccompanied minors coming north that he allowed people to actually apply for this actually within their home countries, which did diminish the amount of people trying to come over.
But, you know, in order to be hard, the president ended up being stupid and pushing this type of issue that ended up creating more immigrant flows north.
HAYES: Do you feel like the administration is being forthcoming, or transparent with congress and congressional oversight about what they`re doing with these children, about what their policies are, about what their plans are for them?
GALLEGO: Not really. Like, we`ve had some warnings and at least some description what they were planning to do. But then you have the president just outright lying when the blowback started saying that because of Democratic policies, or policies under President Obama, that these types of separations were occurring when in fact, this is all under the executive order of this president. This is all what Jeff Sessions has been bragging about, it`s what Secretary Nielsen has been talking about, even Secretary Kelly and now Chief of Staff Kelly was talking about doing this in the future.
So, this is clearly a Trump administration program. And now that they`ve actually have some blowback, because Americans are good people, don`t believe a family should be separated, they`re trying to distance themselves from it. And when they`re doing that, they`re not being transparent with the American public, they`re certainly definitely not being transparent with congress and in general with the oversight that we should be conducting to keep them in check.
HAYES: Another area of congressional oversight where I feel like there`s a lot of questions to be asked is about the federal government`s response to the hurricane in Puerto Rico. We have a new Harvard study yesterday with a staggering almost incomprehensible number, over 4,500 deaths due to the storm and its aftermath, something that exceeds by above factors of 10 the official estimates.
Has the government, the federal government, been straight about what happened in Puerto Rico? And should there be some kind of investigation?
GALLEGO: 100 percent they have not been straight. I actually sit on the committee on oversight, and I asked many times questions both to FEMA, both to the U.S. government, even to the government of Puerto Rico, and every time they were trying to paint us this happy, rosy scene when we knew better. We knew people were going without water, we knew people were going without electricity, we knew people that were dying because of lack of dialysis. All these things.
And the president did not focus on Puerto Rico. If Puerto Rico had been a state, if Puerto Rico had been Texas, had been Florida, the president would have been all over it. But because Puerto Rico is not a state, because I believe Puerto Rico is filled with Democrats. The president just didn`t care, neither does this administration. Instead, what you saw was, you know, the United States allowing its citizens to suffer for months. And they still are suffering right now.
And we should have an investigation. And people within this administration should be held accountable for doing that to American citizens.
HAYES: Arizona, not Nevada, I misspoke earlier.
Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego -- well, you know, it`s an important thing to get right. Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego, thank you for joining me.
GALLEGO: Have a good one.
HAYES: Still to come, why Roseanne is no outlier, but actually representative of a crucial part of the president`s political base. I`ll explain ahead.
Plus, a plot twist no one saw coming in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two. It`s a good one. Next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, I promise you has a happy ending, but it sure does not start out that way.
Yesterday in Ukraine, reports of a horrible murder. Officials announced that prominent Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko, who fled his country last year, had been shot in the back multiple times as he left his Kiev apartment. His wife found him in a pool of blood, and Babchenko died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
The reaction to the news was swift. The Ukrainian prime minister blamed the Kremlin Babchenko`s death, suggesting he was killed for being a critic of Putin.
Russian foreign minister shot back, saying the allegations was nonsense and it was a tragedy.
Meanwhile, Babchenko`s wife and children mourned, memorials were erected, condolences flowing in from all over the world, until today when Babchenko walked into a press conference in Kiev. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: It was an absolutely incredible scene in Kiev when journalist Arkady Babchenko, who had supposedly been murdered yesterday, showed up at a press conference today.
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HAYES: Wait a second. So what the heck actually happened here? The details are a little sketchy. Still, Babchenko explained that his murder had been staged as part of a month`s long operation by Ukraine security services to thwart a plot to kill Babchenko that they say came from Russia.
It`s unclear why they had to go to such dramatic lengths to do that, but they did apparently catch one suspect, releasing this video of the arrest of a Ukrainian citizen who they said was recruited by Russia to find someone to carry out Babchenko`s murder.
It is also unclear why it was necessary for Babchenko`s own family to be convinced that he was dead, but he apologized profusely to his wife today, who had found him yesterday pretend shot and pretend dead. He said he had no choice. Babchenko said he plans to live until the age of 96. And I have a feeling he`ll continue apologizing to his wife every day until then.
HAYES: Roseanne Barr insisted today that she has been unfairly maligned, quote, "I am a fighter for fairness in all aspects of U.S. life. I am tired of being smeared over a stupid mistake erasing 30 years of activism."
But in recent years, what Barr calls activism includes a record of both racism, Valerie Jarrett was not the first black woman she compared to an ape, and of pushing wild conspiracy theories direct from the foulest corners of right-wing fever swamps.
This year she has repeatedly promoted QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory that makes Pizzagate look tame, which claims that Trump had secretly ordered the mass arrests of top Democrats involved in a massive, satanic, child sex trafficking ring. If, which of course, it`s not true.
Just yesterday, Barr falsley and repugnantly accused George Soros, who survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary as a young Jewish teenager of being a Nazi who, quote, turned in his fellow Jews to be murdered in German concentration camps and stole their wealth..
And Roseanne is not an outlier, OK. The president`s own son, one should note, Don Jr., retweeted Roseanne`s Barr`s shameful attacks on George Soros. And Roseanne appears to hold the same view as too many Americans who consume and promote an alternative informational diet of toxic conspiratorial sludge produced by the likes of the odious Alex Jones who has repeatedly suggested that mass shootings are staged by the government and who the president of the United States sure seems to like a lot.
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TRUMP: I just want to finish by saying your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down. You will be very, very impressed, I hope. And I think we`ll be speaking a lot.
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HAYES: It`s not an accident that Donald Trump aligns himself with Alex Jones, or that he celebrates Roseanne Barr as a standardbearer for his supporters.
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TRUMP: Look at Roseanne. I called her yesterday. Look at her ratings. Look at her ratings. They were unbelievable. Over 18 million people. And it was about us.
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HAYES: Roseanne Barr, in all her bile-laden Twitter glory, speaks to a certain part of the president`s base, it`s the part that Trump harnessed when he launched himself into conservative politics in the first place with a laser focus not on taxes or abortion or health care, but on one issue. What did he do? The racist conspiracy theory that the first black president was a secret Muslim from Kenya.
Trump cultivated the part of the base that was willing to believe that racist lie, that loved when he told them that racist lie, and he used it to take over the entire Republican Party.
Now, last night I was attacked on Twitter for writing that Roseanne`s problem turned out that she was far too authentically represented the actual worldwide view of a significant chunk of the Trump base. But I think that`s true, indisputably. And when we come back, we`re going to talk about what it means for America when Roseanne arr is a reflection of what too many people are willing to believe. Stay with us.
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JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY KIMMEL: Weren`t you a friend -- like a good friend of Hillary Clinton`s at one point? What happened? I know you`re very, very down on her. What happened?
ROSEANNE BARR, COMEDIAN: Down on her?
KIMMEL: Well, I think you accused her of being a murderer on Twitter, didn`t you?
BARR: I did not! Yeah.
KIMMEL: Then you know I`m going to find that tweet in the next 40 seconds, right?
BARR: I deleted it.
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HAYES: I deleted it. I deleted it.
Joining me now to discuss the fact a significant chunk of the Trump base thinks a lot like Roseanne Barr, MSNBC contributor Jennifer Rubin, conservative columnist at The Washington Post; MSNBC Political Analyst Sam Seder, host of the Majority Report podcast; and MSNBC political analyst Jason Johnson, politics editor at The Root.
Jennifer, let me start with you. That statement that there is a significant chunk of the Trump base that has this sort of paranoid conspiracist, racist worldview. What do you think of that statement?
JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: I made the same comment and got the same criticism you did, Chris. So, you`re not going to get much of an argument against me.
Listen, I think there are people in Trump`s space who are simply traditional Republicans who any time there is a guy with an R after his name are going to pull the lever. There are people who are true racists, who are part of this conspiracy mongering, part of the Alt-Right. And then there are people, frankly, who are just too passive who say, yeah, he is a racist, but. He is a racist but. Yeah, he takes kids away from their parents at the border, but.
And frankly, that`s a form of racism too. And I think those people have gotten too much of a pass.
So when Roseanne Barr comes along and says what at least a significant chunk as you say of his voters think, lo and behold, ABC, they should have done this before, decides I don`t think that`s what ABC wants to be associated with, so they dump her.
It`s better than what the Republican Party has done, I`ll tell you that. HAYES: Well, you know, Sam, part of what`s remarkable to me, too, is when you go back and look -- and I don`t know like Roseanne Barr. I loved that show when it was first on, the first one. I think she is very talented. I think she is very funny, like, I have like still a lot of vestigial affection for Roseanne Barr. I don`t know what she has gone through. I know where she`s at, like, in her state, but if you go through that Twitter feed, it`s nutty, it`s super nutty. And it`s nutty in a way that relates to like Michael Flynn Jr., the president, the National Security Adviser, tweeting Pizzagate stuff. It`s all of that ilk.
SAM SEDER, HOST, MAJORITY REPORT: There is two things that are going on. One is that this is not a Trump phenomenon.
SEDER: I mean, look, you had the last -- John Boehner was asked on this network will you tell the 10 people in your caucus who are trying to bring up some bill about President Obama`s birth certificate? No. That`s not my job.
The years in which they kowtowed to Rush Limbaugh. I mean, I professionally would follow every congressman from the Republican Party who would kowtow to Rush Limbaugh, because they -- and Rush Limbaugh was peddling this stuff. I mean, this is where the Hillary Clinton is a killer comes from.
SEDER: It comes from decades of Rush Limbaugh saying this on his radio programs with absolutely no accountability, no response from the Republican Party for decades, for decades.
And what`s happening with Roseanne is not about Roseanne, it is about pent up demand for accountability. People watch Donald Trump get away with this.
SEDER: Similar to the #metoo movement. There is no accountability coming from the guy from the highest position in the land and they are -- she becomes a proxy for that demand.
HAYES: Jason, what did you want to say?
JASON JOHNSON, EDITOR, THE ROOT: Well, I want to add to this. There are levels. There is levels of conspiracies, right? There is conspiracies born of being an oppressed community. I`m a black person. We have all sorts of conspiracies in the black community, born of the fact that you had the Tuskegee experiments and every other week. You find police officers saying, hey, you know, pull over black people. Some conspiracies are actually borne of actual experiences that people are having in this country.
What is problematic about the kind of Scooby Doo logic that you have from Roseanne Barr and a lot of people who support Trump is they`re not based on anything. They`re not based on communities actually suffering as a whole. They`re based on a desire to change the world into an attacking place to justify the authoritarianism that they want. So, that`s why it`s much more dangerous than the kind of conspiracies that you might hear from actual other communities.
HAYES: I just think -- and also, Jennifer, I mean, to the point about Roseanne -- and I keep thinking about Michael Flynn Jr. tweeting, Pizzagate who is tweeting while someone shows up with a gun at this pizza store in D.C. And Don Jr. retweeting a really vile thing to say about George Soros, which is, let`s be clear, part of a long-standing right wing conspiracy theory about George Soros.
Just where people -- like, the breadth of the reach of that kind of information, it really makes me think about that, how much mindshare does George Soros was a Nazi have right now? And it`s bigger than should it be.
RUBIN: Right. I think what we discovered in 2016 is it was much bigger than we thought.
Listen, there were people who, for instance, myself, who were comfortable within sort of the mainstream. Sure, I was little a squishy, but within the mainstream of the Republican Party. I liked John McCain. I liked people like Lindsey Graham. But I tolerated those people, because I thought they were a minuscule section of the Republican Party. That apparently was wrong. Bad on me. They`re a much bigger group than we suspected.
RUBIN: And Donald Trump helped elevate them. He fired them up.
HAYES: Well, that`s the other thing.
RUBIN: He brought them out of the woodwork. And now we see them in all their glory, and they have, in fact, taken over the Republican Party.
SEDER: You know, as much grief as organizations that highlight what these people are saying get, you know, you take a guy like Ben Shapiro who is being feted in all of these mainstream magazines as the new conservative philosopher. This is a guy who trades in those very same George Soros myths. I mean, they trade on these things as if they are gospel.
I mean, you can hear -- someone like Dana Loesch a year or two ago talking to Ajit Pai about net neutrality saying you got to be careful. I`m surprised you`re not going to get Vince Fostered.
Now, I had to explain to the 30-year-olds who work in my office what that meant. But there is a whole group of people in this country who knew exactly what she meant just on those two words.
HAYES: And, Jason, I thought you made a great point. I want to say the same thing, which is that people of all political persuasions and ideologies have conspiracy theories. There is all kinds of information out there that people get their hands on. I run into people all the time who say I heard this. Is this true? And I say, no, that is not true.
But the real -- the difference, I think, a lot of it is what the market is and what the gatekeepers are doing? And here you have Donald Trump going on Alex Jones saying you have a great reputation and playing footsie with these people throughout his campaign and presidency.
JOHNSON: Right. And, Chris, and here is how this extends to being dangerous for our democracy as a whole. When you have a president who peddles in conspiracy theories that can constantly be disproven, right? I mean, he is like 8 million Hispanic people voted illegally. And it`s like, no, that`s not true. And even the author of the study that you`re quoting says it`s not true. It makes it very difficult for our democracy to function.
I have thought about this heading into 2020, possibly 2024. Will there be an election we can have in America that Donald Trump will think is legitimate? Probably not. And if everything is a conspiracy theory, we may face a constitutional sovereignty crisis in this country if this guy loses in 2020, because he`ll say it was a whole bunch of bots and Hispanic Hillary supporters that did it.
HAYES: Let me just say, today was the day I believe the report was issued by the state of New Hampshire, which looked into the claim that I think it was the president and others that said thousands of illegal votes in New Hampshire. They did an audit, a comprehensive analysis of the millions of votes cast in New Hampshire, or hundreds of thousands of votes and found five. A total of five.
Jennifer Rubin, Sam Seder, and Jason Johnson, thanks for being with me tonight.
Before we go, a quick reminder, you can get this show, All In with Chris Hayes as a podcast, and you can get bonus Chris Hayes content in your ears with my new podcast Why is this Happening? Which has a great episode up this week if I do say so myself. It`s about the internet and why it`s gotten so bad.
Go check it out. Make sure you subscribe.
That is ALL IN for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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