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Manafort conspired with suspected Russian agent. TRANSCRIPT: 06/05/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Etan Thomas, Cornell Belcher, Jess McIntosh

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: June 5, 2018 Guest: Etan Thomas, Cornell Belcher, Jess McIntosh

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- heard the term political football, it`s when you take a matter and try to exploit it politically. Donald Trump is now taking football itself and made it into a political football. Nice work Mr. President. Couldn`t have done it without you. That`s HARDBALL for now, thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know Mr. Manafort. I haven`t spoken with him in a long time.

HAYES: The man who ran Donald Trump`s campaign accused of witness tampering.

PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: That`s what he said, that`s what I said.

HAYES: Tonight new details on what the Special Counsel is alleging and why it could have major implications for President Trump. Plus, why the Trump team is preparing for a subpoena fight with Robert Mueller. Then --

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HOST: Is it an absolutely necessary, General, to separate parents from children when they are detained or apprehended at the border.


HAYES: Exclusive new reporting on the exploding number of children being separated from their parents by our government as Jeff Sessions tries to explain it away.

SESSIONS: Most are not infant, most are teenagers, although we do have a number of our younger ones now.

HAYES: And the president of the United States snubbed at the White House.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The former Campaign Chairman to the President of the United States could be spending the summer in jail. That`s after getting caught doing something that the President himself should probably take very serious note of allegedly trying to tamper with witnesses to get them to lie to federal law enforcement. In a court filing late last night, Special Counsel Robert Mueller accused Paul Manafort of violating the terms of his bail by repeatedly contacting two former associates to get their story straight about Manafort`s secret lobbying work in Ukraine. That work is the subject of dozens of criminal charges that Manafort now faces. One of the former associates told investigators they explicitly understood Manafort`s messages to be an effort to quote, suborn perjury.

In other words, to get him to commit a crime. According to the new filing Manafort enlisted the help of a Russian Ukraine henchman referred to only as Person A in court documents but news reports have identified him as Manafort`s longtime business associate, a man we talked about before Konstantin Kilimnik. And according to another court filing back in March, FBI agents assisting the Special Counsel`s office assessed that Person A, AKA Kilimnik has ties to a Russian intelligence service.

Mueller`s latest filing suggests Manafort was in touch with Kilimnik about these witnesses as recently as April, just a couple of months ago. Which if true -- think about this for a second, the President`s Campaign Chairman, the guy that ran his campaign who headed up his whole delegate operation at the convention months after being indicted on numerous fraud and conspiracy charges, after being put under house arrest and forced to wear not one but two ankle monitors for each of his upcoming trials, after his business partner Rick Gates, the President`s Deputy Campaign Chairman pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate the probe, after all of that, Paul Manafort is still according to Mueller at least, conspiring with a suspected Russian agent to deceive investigators and break the law.

A spokesperson for Manafort replied to the Mueller filing in a statement, Mr. Manafort is innocent and nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense. We will do our talking in court. His legal team has until Friday to respond officially ahead of a June 15th hearing in Washington D.C. This would not be the first time that Manafort colluded with his Russian friend to defy the court. According to Mueller, the two teamed up a few months ago to ghostwrite an op-ed defending Manafort`s work in Ukraine in violation of a judge`s gag order. They were previously in touch throughout 2016 while Manafort was working on the Trump campaign. This Russian henchman Kilimnik serving as Manafort`s liaison to powerful Russian interests.

It was Kilimnik who Manafort contacted about leveraging his new role in the campaign back in that summer to curry favor with a billionaire Russian oligarch writing in an e-mail you may remember, "I assume you have shown our friends, my media coverage right? How do we use to get whole?" Besides the Trump Tower meeting, that`s about as close as we`ve come to a smoking gun on collusion, like Manafort and like Manafort`s former boss, this guy Kilimnik is not acting like someone with nothing to hide. More recently according New York Times, Ukrainian law enforcement allowed Kilimnik to flee where else but to Russia putting him out of reach for questioning by the Special Counsel. To help break down what all this means the case against Manafort, I`m joined by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. What do you make of this latest filing from the Special Counsel?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: What I make of this filing is a desperate self-destructive act by someone who is digging deeper into quicksand not only for himself but also for the President of the United States because Paul Manafort has intimate knowledge about the President`s involvement in potential collusion. It gives the lie literally to Trump`s claims about a witch hunt and hoaxes because here is Paul Manafort committing a serious profoundly severe federal felony in witness tampering which is going to make a judge very, very angry and gives the Special Counsel even more leverage over him.

HAYES: There also seems to be a parallel a little bit between what the behavior watching from Paul Manafort on what we`re learning more and more about the White House. Are you worried that people in the White House are engaging in sort of parallel activities as the Special Counsel`s investigation draws closer?

BLUMENTHAL: What`s common is an utter contempt for the rule of law, a sense that the normal rules don`t apply. And remember also that before even all of the other violations of the bail terms happened Paul Manafort`s home was raided, a no-knock pre-dawn raid that could be justified to a federal judge issuing warrant only on the representation with plausible evidence that evidence would be destroyed, another act of contempt for the rule of law. And I am extremely concerned that this obstruction of justice involving the White House as well as Paul Manafort and the people in that orbit will infect the Special Counsel`s investigation and that`s the reason why I hope my Republican colleagues stand up and speak out to protect the Special Counsel against the potential interference.

HAYES: Two items from the -- from the President today. One, a tweet saying that he wished Sessions had told him he would recuse otherwise he wouldn`t have made him an Attorney General which seems to be an admission that the Russia probe was foremost on his mind when deciding who should be the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.

BLUMENTHAL: And one of the reasons why he thought that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions should not recused himself was he knew there was no collusion. In other words, he is implicitly alleging the knowledge that led Sessions to use himself which was the right decision for Sessions to make. So the level of absurdity simply increases. Donald Trump is shattering all the norms and unfortunately as one of my colleagues has called it the water boiling with the frog in the water as the temperature rise. We lose track of how absurdly contemptuous of the rule of law the President is becoming.

HAYES: To that -- to that end, a story in the Washington Post that he is now obsessed with pardons. We`ve watched him hand out pardons that Dinesh D`Souza won last week, White House official this week said Trump is obsessed with pardons describing them as the President`s new favorite thing to talk about. He may sign a dozen or more in the next two months, a person added. Are you worried that he is moving towards using the pardon power essentially as an extension of his attempts to sabotage the investigation into himself in his campaign?

BLUMENTHAL: The message from all this talk about pardons to potential witnesses like Flynn or Manafort or Papadopoulos or others is that it could come into play. And yes I`m profoundly worried about it. Some of our Republican colleagues have spoken up. Today the Republican leader Mitch McConnell said it would be wrong. Yesterday it was Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. But there has to be a really resounding emphasis that there is no power of the President to pardon himself that has been settled by a 1974 office of legal counsel opinion when the issue was raised by Richard Nixon and that`s because no one can be a judge of his own case, but also this indiscriminate use of pardon power for political purposes as indicated by the D`Souza pardon and by the talk about Stewart -- Martha Stewart being pardoned also has to be countered very aggressively and vigorously.

HAYES: All right, Senator Richard Blumenthal, thanks for your time tonight.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

HAYES: For more on the witness tampering allegations against Paul Manafort, I`m joined by MSNBC National Security Analyst Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff to both the Secretary of Defense and the CIA Director and former Federal Prosecutor Juliet Sorensen, Professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Jeremy, what do you -- what do you make of this latest activity from Mueller`s office?

JEREMY BASH, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: First, these are very serious allegations by the Special Counsel against Paul Manafort. First that he is violating the terms of his bail which means his bail could be revoked. He could be thrown behind bars and nothing concentrates the mind in terms of cooperation with the government and spending time behind bars. Second is it could be a new offense, it could be a new obstruction of justice defense and it shows I think it`s a clear signal from the Special Counsel that they`re taking the obstruction issues very, very seriously. And then I think it`s also a signal not only to the President but to Rudy Giuliani and others in the President`s Circle.

HAYES: Juliet, every lawyer I`ve talked to in the last 24 hours since this news broke has been gobsmacked by the alleged behavior. I mean, they just can`t imagine a client doing this. What do you make of it?

JULIET SORENSEN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It seems to me this client isn`t following his lawyer`s advice. It is reckless to be sure. He`s under house arrest. The conditions of his pre-trial arrangement are obviously being continuously surveilled by Robert Mueller and his team. So it seems ludicrous to think that he could get away with what is alleged.

HAYES: Do you think -- to follow up on that and to something that Senator Blumenthal said, there is -- what do you think the judge is going to make of this in terms of the ways judges think about reviewing a pre-trial release?

SORENSEN: Well, you know, the filing by Mueller`s team actually did not ask for a specific form of release -- relief. It did not go out there and ask that Manafort`s bond be revoked. It did not ask for a specific remedy with regard to the violations of his home confinement. I think it`s basically putting the judge and Paul Manafort on notice that they know exactly what`s going on. The judge is obviously going to become angry assuming that she agrees with the allegations in the filing. But I would add one more thing to consider and that is that there`s a strong possibility that the Special Counsel could introduce this at trial as evidence of Paul Manafort consciousness of guilt. That is to say, engaging in witness tampering is evidence that he himself is trying to cover up the crime with which he has been charged. And this is also sending a strong signal that Mueller would seek to introduce that if this case were to go to trial.

HAYES: That is a great point. I had not considered that. There`s also the fact that, Jeremy, I mean, Kilimnik is a key player in this. This is someone that he sends an e-mail to this incredibly incriminating e-mail "how do we use to get whole?" I mean, this is someone who just got hired on a presidential campaign, turns around e-mails his associate in Ukraine who`s been doing some very shady business of how do we get money out of this essentially. And the idea that he would still be talking to him and that Kilimnik have fled to Russia, what is that all that up to in your mind?

BASH: Yes, Kilimnik is a former Russian intelligence officer who was the business partner of Paul Manafort in the consulting realm. And don`t forget what they were doing was they were advancing the Kremlin`s agenda by supporting the pro-Russian Yanukovych regime This all stemmed from an effort to get European lawmakers and politicians to lobby governments on both sides of the Atlantic and illegally in the case of Washington because they were not registered as lobbyists. They were doing that basically to advance Russia`s political agenda. And if you just kind of zoom back the lens and kind of take a deep breath, what is Mueller asked to investigate - - asked to investigate Russian political interference in the affairs of the United States of America adversaries efforts to undermine our democracy. That`s what Kilimnik, that`s what Manafort, that`s what they were doing. Do you think, Julia, the trial timeline here would put a trial starting in September, does that seem realistic to you?

SORENSEN: You know, the indictment against Manafort, the superseding indictment that is -- contains many allegations, many counts, but it seems to me that the Special Counsel and his team have their ducks in a row. If they need to get ready for trial in September, I think they can.

HAYES: Jeremy, finally I got to play this bit, the Manafort talking back in 2016 about whether he had contacts or entanglements with Russian oligarchs because it always strikes me as kind of an important moment in that campaign given everything we know now. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So to be clear Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs?

MANAFORT: That`s what he said and that`s what I said, that`s obviously our position is.


HAYES: Not super persuasive but I imagine we might finally learn the truth at some point?

BASH: No, and maybe hanging on the present tense from Norah O`Donnell`s question that he currently has none and Paul Manafort kind of looked at his shoes, stared and said if that`s what he said, well (INAUDIBLE). I mean basically he had no substantive response, I think because he knows that there are long-standing financial ties well-documented between the Trump Organization. And the Kremlin -- and the key proof point here was that during the Presidential Campaign Chris, the Trump Organization, Donald Trump were trying to build Trump Tower in Moscow. That`s the deal that Michael Cohen and Felix Sater we`re negotiating.

HAYES: All right, Jeremy Bash, and Juliet Sorensen, great to have you both.

BASH: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Next, never mind what Rudy Giuliani says tonight. There are new signs the Trump legal team is preparing for a legal showdown with Robert Mueller. More on that in two minutes.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, have you changed your mind at all about being willing to sit with Robert Mueller?

TRUMP: I would say this. If I could be, I would love to speak. I would love to. Nobody wants to speak more than me. In fact, against my lawyers, because most lawyers say never speak with anything.


HAYES: Donald Trump`s legal team has spent months playing coy about whether the President will actually agree to be interviewed by Robert Mueller. The letters talk about preconditions in the scope of the questions and how they`re negotiating, and then well, noting. Time just keeps passing with no interview. Last night, Trump`s legal team leaked to the Washington Post that they were "making plans to prepare Trump for a possible Mueller interview," though they said preliminary efforts had not gone well due to the President`s anger of the probe. That may be true. Who knows? But it certainly seems like the President is right. His lawyers really don`t want him to voluntarily testify because well, I think it`s pretty obvious.

The real news the Post piece it seemed to me was that Trump`s lawyers are now prepping for a far likelier eventuality, a subpoena from Muller that would seek to compel Trump to testify in the investigation which would likely prompt a legal battle that could be decided by the Supreme Court. Joining me now is MSNBC Political Analyst David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief at Mother Jones an MSNBC Contributor Betsy Woodruff, Politics Reporter of The Daily Beast. Betsy, let me start with you. I mean, I they have been making these noises about oh, we`re going to talk to them. We got to get the scope narrowed down, but it just seems increasingly clear to me that that is not going to happen. They`re going to force Mueller`s hand with a subpoena.

BETSY WOODRUFF, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think that`s right. And the person who perhaps matters most in this whole conversation is also the member of Trump`s legal team who is the quietest and that`s Emmet Flood. Emmet Flood made a splash when he first joined the White House legal team about a month ago but since then he`s been completely under the radar. He doesn`t do this Rudy Giuliani shtick of sputtering from interview to interview rather Emmet Flood has been almost entirely off away from media attention. But what I can tell you is that one person very familiar with Flood`s thinking told me, on the day Flood was named to be the White House lawyer working on the Mueller probe, that Flood was likely to do everything in his power to keep the President from consenting to having an interview with Bob Mueller. I think as we`re seeing this shape up to look more and more like it`s going to be a subpoena fight, it`s likely that Flood`s influence is sort of the component of this that`s flowed under the radar but it`s been really important.

HAYES: David, you had -- you had a piece today I thought was very good just sort of taking a step back and to Betsy`s point there about sort of heading towards this kind of climactic battle with -- over subpoena in Supreme Court. Now you said Donald Trump is getting away with the biggest scandal in American history. What do you mean by that?

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, to begin with, I think it`s the biggest scandal because it deals with the sanctity of our elections. In 2016 you know, we call it meddling but really Russian attacked. It was an act of information warfare against the United States. And we already know, I mean, this is where we get caught up in Trump`s "mishegoss" -- that`s craziness in Yiddish --

HAYES: Thank you.

CORN: -- about know collusion or witch-hunt over and over again. We get caught up following that but really we already know that while Russia was attacking the United States, Trump Campaign with a Trump Tower meter -- meeting tried to collude with what they thought was a secret Kremlin plot. We know that during that summer when it was public that Russia was involved in this attack, the Trump campaign tried to set up secret contacts with Russia clearly sending a signal where they didn`t mind the attack was happening.

And then, by the end of the summer after Trump was briefed by the U.S. intelligence community that this was happening he cut coming out and saying there`s no Russian attack, it`s all a hoax. In essence, he aided and abetted the attack. His campaign was involved in a profound act of betrayal siding with and helping a Russian attack on the United States. And to me, that`s the essence of this yet we get caught up worrying about whether he`s going to be subpoenaed or not, whether there`s collusion and all these other side things which are important but distract us from the core of the scandal.

HAYES: To that point too, it`s also the case that the sort of obstruction, whether you want to call it that in a sort of conceptual or literal statutory sense is also happening right in front of us. I mean, one of the things that`s fascinating to watch, the pardons rolled out, right? So everyone now wants a pardon from the President. And I want to play for you, this is fascinating. Simona Magiante who is the wife of George Papadopoulos really has changed her tune about her husband, his involvement in the investigation. I want to play this for you Betsy and get your reaction because it looks to me like the pardon dangling may be having an effect. Take a listen to how she used to talk about everything and how she`s talking about it now.


SIMONA MANGIANTE, WIFE OF GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS: As soon as he find out that he committed a mistake, he took responsibility for that and he has to the right side of history in my -- in my view.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s why he decided to cooperate?

MANGIANTE: Exactly. I think he has been sort of the first domino in the Russia game.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Do you think Donald Trump should consider a pardon for George Papadopoulos?

MANGIANTE: Yes, as I said yesterday, I really wish, and I asked yesterday for a pardon.

mostly in the light of the circumstances that came out recently and became public recently, I think that it would complete justify and make a pardon appropriate in this case and deserved.


HAYES: So Betsy, she was calling him the John Dean of the -- of the investigation. Now she`s saying James Comey is corrupt. What do you -- what do you think is going on here?

WOODRUFF: Well, I think it sounds like she`s certainly courting President Trump`s to try -- to try to pardon her. And it would say something about, Ari Melber show if President Trump is deciding who to pardon based on who goes on-air on MSNBC. I think that would -- that would be quite -- that`s quite attack for her to take. I think Fox and Friends might be the better route for her to go to court a pardon but such as life, you work with a material that you`ve got. Look, the President himself has indicated in his own tweets that he would be open to pardoning some of these people. Any time the President tweets about lives being ruined, you should view that as an overture to a pardon.

We should view that as the President saying that he thinks not just the probe itself is a problem but that there are victims of the probe. The President is engaging in the process of victimizing all the people who have been punished, who have been indicted, who`ve been arrested or had any sort of interaction with the criminal justice system because of the Mueller investigation. The President is in the process of trying to persuade the American people that these guys are victims. That`s what he`s doing. And once you decide that someone is a victim of the criminal justice system rather than justly punished for breaking the law, then you`ve already laid the groundwork for potentially issuing pardons.

HAYES: Do you agree with that David?

CORN: Well, I do. And what he`s doing in a wider sense is trying to discredit the entire federal prosecution system. He`s done that with Scooter Libby, he`s done that with all his recent pardons and he says these are out-of-control prosecutors. Well, who is the number-one victim in his world of an out-of-control prosecutor? It`s Donald Trump. And again, he`s trying to get us to focus on whether there was a spy planted in his campaign. Of course, there wasn`t. Whether Obama wiretapped him and now whether the FBI and out-of-control prosecutors are gunning for him all to distract us or at least change the channel from looking at what really happened at his own culpability for going along and somewhat helping a Russian attack on an American election.

HAYES: David Corn and Betsy Woodruff, thanks to you both.

CORN: Sure.

HAYES: Ahead, the President heckled in his own backyard after his petulant cancellation of a meeting with Super Bowl champions, really a bizarre day at the White House. And after the break, the Attorney General gets grilled on the Trump Administration`s policy of stripping migrant children away from their parents. Plus, an exclusive NBC News report on just how big the problem is next.


HAYES: The Trump Administration continues to lie about their own policy of tearing children away from their parents at the border. Donald Trump tweeting today again that "bad legislation by the Democrats was to blame which is not true. It is a choice by the Trump Administration which began a so-called "zero-tolerance policy" which they themselves announced and advertised toward undocumented immigration this year. And what they`re doing is prosecuting every single undocumented immigrant including crucially families with children crossing the border seeking asylum. The administration then claims that they have to separate those families. And it`s a way for the administration to cater to its base while simultaneously avoiding responsibility for what it is doing. Just like Attorney General Jeff Sessions who announced that zero-tolerance policy himself did in an interview this morning.


HEWITT: Is it absolutely necessary, General, to separate parents from children when they are detained or apprehended at the border?

SESSIONS: Yes. What`s happening is we`re having more people coming bringing children with them entering between the ports of entry, between the ports of entry illegally and they`re not -- you cannot give them immunity. That`s an offense. We believe every person that enters the country illegally like that should be prosecuted and you can`t be given immunity to people who bring children with them recklessly and improperly and illegally. They should never do that. And so those children are being well taken care of. Within seventy-two hours, they`re taken to the Health and Human Services to be sure they`re properly cared for. And those persons will have -- the adults will be prosecuted like the law requires.

HEWITT: I understand the prosecuting part but is it necessary to separate the children? Could they not be detained in facilities where at least mothers and infants could remain together?

SESSIONS: Well, most are infants, most are teenagers, although we do have a number of younger ones now, more than we`ve seen recently.


HAYES: In fact, the Trump administration has detained so many kids they have now created another crisis. NBC reporting that shelter beds for immigrant children are filling up faster than authorities can make space.

The NBC News reporter who broke that story Julia Ainsley joins me now. Julia, what is going on? What did you find about the bed space for these kids?

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS: So, the first thing to know, Chris, is that there is a place where children can be held and processed for about 45 days while health and human services workers try to find them a sponsor or a relative or foster care for them to go to. That`s been done for a long time for children who cross the border without a parent.

What is new under this policy, and it`s really a self-inflicted wound, is that the Trump administration is forcibly separating children from their parents. And that`s creating a backlog before they even get to Health and Human Services, and at place at border stations where they don`t get the proper care.

Often there`s not enough bedding. They might have to sleep on the floor. They might have to share a room with an adult male who they don`t even know, without their parents. And so we see now that over half of those children, there are about 580 unaccompanied children who are in those facilities now at the border stations, about half of those are under -- about half of those have been there over 72 hours and then about 150 of those are under the age of 12, that`s ages zero to 12.

We really want to drill down on some of those youngest children and figure out how they`re being cared for, whether or not they`re getting the proper attention they need, and why they haven`t been able to be moved out of that care.

On the other hand, HHS, because they`re scrambling and not able to take in those children, they today, Chris, started touring air force bases to take in more children. That also has been done in the past, but under a surge of unaccompanied children, not children who were made unaccompanied because the administration came in and took them away from their parents.

HAYES: So, I just want to be clear here, because I know this is complicated, right. So there are these facilities -- we saw Jeff Merkley, Senator Jeff Merkley, at one down near the border. It was an old Walmart with the windows blacked out. That`s an actual facility. It`s run by a contractor hired by HHS to care for minors there. We`re not even talking about those kinds of facilities, we`re talking about before they get there, a processing facility that is in no way, shape, or form designed to care for children, correct?

AINSLEY: That`s absolutely correct. We`re talking about the children who actually want to get to that terrible Walmart.

HAYES: Right, that`s the thing they want to get to is the Walmart with the blacked out windows where they`re away from their parents at least in the custody of people who are professionally supposed to care for kids. They`re not even getting there yet.

AINSLEY: Right. Well, what we`re talking about is a border station, the very first place that they would see on the border. I`ve toured these places, Chris, before they became these places that were keeping hundreds of children. They are really -- they sort of have little offices in the back. They have small really cells, some of the migrants actually call them iceboxes, they have a word for that in Spanish that they use because they`re kept so cold and a lot of these people are wearing just very little clothing because they`ve come from such a hot journey. It is not a place where you would want to stay no matter your age.

And the law says that people cannot stay there longer than 72 hours, no matter their age and now we have children younger than 12 who have been kept there past the legal limit, because they can`t even get into those places that you`re describing that the senator saw recently.

HAYES: I`m going to reiterate this again, because this is important. We have Jeff Sessions, the chief law enforcement officer of this country, saying the law requires us do XY and Z. The law this, the law that. And what you`re reporting is finding is that the law requires that no one be kept in those facilities longer than 72 hours, and that law is being violated by the government, because of the backlog they have created through this new policy.

AINSLEY: That`s absolutely correct. And we wanted DHS to have lots of time to respond to that. They did not respond. We got a document from DHS that was leaked to us. And we understand that it actually goes completely against what the attorney general says. So there are people who have been kept there longer than 72 hours, 300 of them are unaccompanied children, and about 150 of them are these young children that should be priority -- yes, under 12. They`re known as tender age children, because they would obviously have separation problems leaving their parents and they should be prioritized. But even with those priorities, even with the way the law is set up, they simply haven`t had the space to find them a place even in HHS care, let alone in a home.

HAYES: All right, Julia Ainsley, great reporting, and thanks for making time tonight.

AINSLEY: Thank you.

HAYES: If you`re interested in this subject and want to know more, you should absolutely listen to the latest episode of "Why is This Happening?", our new podcast, which is all about the state of this specific policy and immigration more broadly. I was able to be talk to ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt, who is suing the government about this, and how we got to this point. It`s really informative, provides a lot of context, gives you a sense of what`s happening. You can get it anywhere, like Apple Potcasts. And please, let us know what you think.

Still to come, the White House scrambles to save face after the president throws a tantrum after getting snubbed by the Philadelphia Eagles. How that unfolded ahead.

And the Pruitt clan looking to get into the Chick-Fil-A game. That`s tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, the swamp Olympics are still going strong and Scott Pruitt remains the front-runner for most corrupt Trump administration official. Last week, we learned the EPA administrator spent a whopping $1,560 on a dozen customized silver fountain pens. And we wondered had we reached pure weirdness/pettiness from Pruitt?

Well, no, not so fast, because yesterday we found out Scott Pruitt had, and I am not making this up and I can`t believe I`m reporting it to you, but it`s what happened, tasked his publicly funded government employee assistant with tracking down a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel in D.C. I guess to save a few bucks maybe?

It seems like Pruitt would be a little more concerned with what things cost when he`s spending his own money as opposed to yours.

And that was the absolute weirdest Scott Pruitt headline you could ever possibly imagine util The Washington Post dropped this beauty today: "Scott Pruitt enlisted an EPA aide to help his wife find a job with Chick-Fil-A." And that story is Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: A Washington Post report tonight, Scott Pruitt has once again misused his power at EPA administrator, this time to get his wife a gig with Chick-fil-a.

All right, new emails released as part of a FOIA by the Sierra Club, show that Pruitt has his executive scheduler, that would be a government employee who is paid through public money, try to set up a meeting with the chairman and CEO of the Chick-fil-a company last year about a, quote, "potential business opportunity," which is weird in and of itself. He`s running the EPA. Why is he doing that?

The email show that Chick-fil-a referred the request to the director for regulatory and government affairs, assuming this was some sort of official business. Eventually, Pruitt did speak with someone from Chick-fil-a`s legal department and only then did he reveal the opportunity on his mind was a job for his wife Marlyn. Specifically, he wanted his wife to open up a Chick-fil-a franchise. A company representative also told The Washington Post that Mrs. Pruitt started, but did not complete the Chick-fil-a franchisee application.

Well, that`s too bad. But if she ever wants to finish that application, I hear her husband has some fancy new pens she could probably borrow.


HAYES: It`s primary night in America and potentially pivotal for the Democratic Party`s hopes of taking back the House in the midterm elections in November. Democrats are eyeing a handful of GOP-held seats in New Jersey, which holds primaries today, but the biggest target is California where Democrats are trying to flip up to ten GOP-held congressional districts. MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki is at the big board. Steve, how does it look?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, the big story, you`re right, is California tonight. Overnight, tomorrow for the days to come, could be a long count. But right the votes are starting to come in, in New Jersey. As you say, Democrats nationally, we know their magic number is 23 pickups in the House. They need 23. They could get four out of New Jersey, that`s their grand hope here.

These are four Republican-held districts right now. One of them actually went for Hillary Clinton, is Frelinghuysen almost went for Clinton. These all are potentially within reach for Democrats. The question in these district was were Democrats going to get the candidates they thought were strongest out of some of these primaries tonight, in particular down here in the southern part of the districts they recruited a candidate, Jeffrey Van Drew, got an A rating from the NRA, a little bit more conservative than we`re used to seeing from Democratic candidates, early, very early numbers , they are getting their candidate. Early. We`ll see if this holds. But you see if this holds, but he see is a big early magin there, again, not getting a lot of numbers elsewhere.

This, we want to flag for you, though, Bob Menendez, hung jury in a federal bribery trial, admonished severely by the senate ethics committee, has what we thought was token opposition in the Democratic primary tonight for renomination. Did not get a major challenger. The party closed rank behind him. Right now, and I can tell you, we can update this number now, there`s about 10 percent of the vote in, and Menendez is sitting at about a 58-42 lead against a completely unknown Democratic challenger. This suggests a lot of discontent in the Democratic rank and file about the party getting behind Menendez so quickly and so thoroughly.

But as you say, California later tonight, 11:00 p.m. the polls are going to close. There are seven Clinton-won Republican held districts that Democrats are targeting. The big immediate story is can Democrats get on that top two ballot in November in the 49th, in the 48th, and in the 39th. There`s the possibility that Republicans could claim those top two spots tonight just based on the number of Democratic candidates sorts of things like that.

So, again, 11:00, the action starts in California. But, Cchris, we`ve got some stuff to follow on the east coast before that.

HAYES: All right, well, we will be watching the big board late into the evening. Steve Kornacki, thank you very much.

KORNACKI: After the break, the president gets snubbed at the White House and now the administration is scrambling to spin it into a culture war. That scene after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Today, the tradition of champion sports teams visiting the White House, in this instance Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, was turned into something else altogether with a brass band out on the White House lawn and the president forgetting the words to God Bless America.



HAYES: The lyrics are pretty memorable.

The reason that particular spectacle took place, the president`s petulant decision late last night to cancel the Philadelphia Eagles invitation to visit the White House, because of bad optics after many of the players decided to skip the event. Then the president lied about why attendance would be so low, claiming that the team disagrees, quote, "with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem." Not true. Because none of the Eagles knelt during the playing of the Anthem last season, and that sent the White House scrambling to regain some kind of cultural war high ground in this whole ridiculous enterprise, announcing they would hold this afternoon`s patriotic celebration of America event instead, insisting the Eagles were the ones who had let down all their alleged fans that showed up to the event.

Yet when a Philadelphia-area TV reporter asked six of the fans at the White House who was the Eagles quarterback during the Super Bowl, not one person knew.

I want to bring in Jess McIntosh, executive editor at Share Blue; Cornell Belcher, MSNBC political analyst; and Etan Thomas, former NBA player, author of "We Matter: Athletes and Activists."

Etan, what is your take on this spectacle?

ETAN THOMAS, FRM. NBA PLAYER: Well, the first thing I thought of was my 10-year-old daughter, Imani (ph) and her classmates. You know, and they have their birthday parties, and sometimes word gets out that one girl is not going to go to the other girl`s party so she uninvites her and then makes up a reason why. That`s the first thing I thought of.

So Trump basically uninvited the entire Philadelphia Eagles and made up a reason why. He said it was because they were disrespectful to the flag and all taking a knee when in actuality none of them actually took a knee.

But that`s what he does, he creates a narrative and he`s doing it pretty much to be able to be divisive and to be able to really appeal to his supporters during these mid-term elections.

HAYES: What I thought, Jess, was so interesting here is that, nope, they - - they didn`t want to go to the White House. And there was this great quote from someone today who is saying yeah, a lot the white players didn`t want to go to the White House.

JESS MCINTOSH, SHARE BLUE: The conservative ones.

HAYES: The conservative white players didn`t want to go and stand next to this guy. And so he got mad. He got upset. There was some reporting saying there would only be like two or three players and the owner and a mascot. And so...

MCINTOSH: Just the mascot -- oh, sorry.

HAYES: And then they -- but they -- what was interesting about this today is I think they think they have the better side of the argument, the politics, but they looked panicky and sort of on the wrong side of it today.

MCINTOSH: I think that they have always thought that they had the upper hand with this weird NFL fight, but the only place that actually plays is with the 26 percent of America that voted for Donald Trump in the first place.

Literally, everybody else can see this for the racist ploy that it is, not to mention football is kind of an American pastime like deciding that you`re going to square off against football players is not really an easy sell, especially for the tough guy crowd.

HAYES: Slash against the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles who, again, I reiterate, I think, have every right to kneel during the National Anthem to express themselves, but did not actually do that.

MCINTOSH: No, they didn`t. And we can enumerate all of the embarrassments for today. He chose to put himself in front of that choir so that we could all find out that he had not bothered to learn the words to the National Anthem before he had his celebration of the Anthem today, and that he didn`t know the words to God Bless America.

He could have stood nicely off to the side, hand over heart, looking at the choir and we wouldn`t have seen that. But he put himself front and center, must have known that he didn`t know the words to these. And then he filled the crowd with White House staffers. He couldn`t even get people from Philadelphia to be there.

HAYES: And the funniest thing is that someone actually knelt during the Anthem who was in the crowd, aside from someone else heckling him.

Cornell, I think -- my prediction is when we -- come October, the Republican message for the midterms is going to be MS-13 is coming to kill you and the people that you love, and those spoiled athletes won`t kneel for our Anthem and that is going to be 90 percent of the message the Republican Party because that`s -- I think they think that`s where the blood is. I don`t think they think it`s in the tax cuts. I think they`ve learned that that`s not what`s going to keep them in power.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: But I do think that`s where their base is. And I just want to add something that I just saw on social media, because I think this is -- this story gets worse, because I think LeBron apparently is saying that if they win they won`t go to the White House either and if the Warriors win, they won`t go to the White House either, which Curry, I think, sort of nodded to agree to, but you have got to check that because it`s social media and not everything there is true.

But that`s right. I mean, he is a creature of chaos and division and that`s what he`s fanning right now. I think -- I`m sad for the NFL who capitulated, because they can`t get out of this thing, right. And long term, we did some polling around this and the majority of African-American voters think that, in fact, the NFL owners are colluding against Kaep and you have over a third of them saying that they are watching less football or stopped watching football because of it.

And long-term, when you look at how America`s growing more diverse and younger, the long-term for the NFL, this capitulation I think is most problematic.

HAYES: Yeah, just to be clear for folks who have not tracked this, the NFL announcing a new policy in the off-season they will fine players who do not stand during the Anthem, the Players Association objecting to that. But to how to deal with this president, I mean, this is what you get, right. You capitulate and this is your reward in getting disinvited.

The NBA has taken a very different tact to this. I do want to mention this. This is what LeBron James had to say earlier today when asked about the Trump rescinding the Eagles` invitation.


LEBRON JAMES, SMALL FORWARD, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: It`s typical of him. I`m not surprised. Typical of him, and I don`t know. I know no matter who wins the series, no one wants to invite anybody, so, it won`t be Golden State or Cleveland going.


HAYES: Steph Curry, as Cornell, as you said, Steph Curry agreed with that.

That reprises the greatest LeBron James Twitter moment ever, which was after Steph Curry and the Warriors were disinvited from the White House for basically the same reasons, LeBron saying you bum. Steph Curry already said he ain`t going, so therefore ain`t no invite. Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up."

Etan, the NBA seems to have a much clearer-eyed view of all this.

THOMAS: Yes, they definitely do. And they have a -- you know, that`s one of the things that I talked about in my new book "We Matter: Athletes and Activism." You know, the NBA, although they do have an anthem policy, you don`t get the feeling that you`re going to be punished if you do speak out. Now, the NFL has been very clear that they want to set a precedent and say if you do speak out, if you step out of line, you, too, will be Kaepernicked, you know what I mean, and we`re going to hijack the message and we`re going to acquiesce to the whims of Donald Trump. And we`re going to make a new role.

But the thing about it is that, you know, I spoke to Eric Reed (ph), and I spoke to some of the athletes like Tory Smith (ph), and they said the reasons why they were protesting in the first place was because of police brutality, it was because of the killings of unarmed black men and women, and that`s the part that Trump has so successfully hijacked as the message to make it about the military, and say, look, these ungrateful black athletes are disrespecting our great military and he`s drumming up his support of his base of having the line drawn in the sand where as the black athletes who are ungrateful and all these patriotic Americans that love America. And that`s what he`s doing.

And, unfortunately, he`s successful at doing because so many people don`t fact check after he says what he says.

MCINTOSH: I mean, of course the military is full of patriotic black Americans, which I think is also a thing that he forgets. But the people who are really messed up by this display today are all of those Republicans in Hillary winning districts on the ballot tonight.

HAYES: Yes. And in places like Pennsylvania where it`s not going to go over that well.

Jess McIntosh, Cornell Belcher, and Etan Thomas, thank you all.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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