Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 16, 2018 Guest: Kim Wehle, Faiz Shakir, Dorian Warren, Barbara Boxer, Laura Bassett
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our lawyers are working on it. I`m working on it. I write the answers. My lawyers don`t write answers, I write the answers.
HAYES: All eyes on the Mueller probe as the President claims to have answered the Special Counsel`s questions.
TRUMP: I was asked a series of questions, I`ve answered them very easily, very easily.
HAYES: Tonight, the signs that something is happening behind the scenes as a world waits on possible indictments.
TRUMP: I imagine it`s ending now, from what I hear it`s ending.
HAYES: Then the inadvertent revelation of undisclosed criminal charges against Julian Assange.
TRUMP: This just came out. WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.
HAYES: Plus the fight for leadership in the House.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I intend to win the speakership with Democratic votes.
HAYES: And an update on potential ambassadors for the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Daytime, midnight, and the evening.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. This is the day that many people expected something huge in the Mueller investigation. After all, the Midterms are over, there are people flat out saying they expect to be indicted, and the President has ratcheted his anti-Mueller rhetoric up to an absolute fever pitch. Plus, of course, Trump has attempted to install a lackey to oversee and potentially undermine the Mueller investigation in a possible last-ditch effort to head off disaster.
This morning the President was directly asked if he knew something about the investigation that the rest of us don`t.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, on Twitter yesterday seemed a bit agitated about what you might be perceiving the Mueller investigation will do.
TRUMP: No, I`m not agitated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m just curious.
TRUMP: It`s a hoax. The whole thing is a hoax. There was no collusion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But did anything trigger that set of tweets yesterday?
TRUMP: No, not at all, no. I`m very happy -- I`m very happy with the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you seemed unhappy with the Mueller investigation, particularly yesterday morning. I`m just curious about that, sir.
TRUMP: No, it was just a continuation. You can go. And there should have never been any Mueller investigation because there was never anything done wrong. There was no collusion, there never has been, you would have known about it a long time ago if there was. There was nothing -- they should have never had it. They`ve wasted millions and millions of dollars. They should have never been in a so-called investigation which in theory it`s not an investigation of me.
But it`s -- as far as I`m concerned, I like to take everything personally because you do better that way. The witch-hunt as I call it should never have taken place. It continues to go on. I imagine it`s ending now, from what I hear it`s ending. And I`m sure it`ll be just fine. And you know why it`s going to be just fine, because there was no collusion.
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MELBER: Does that sound like a man who`s worried to you? Now let`s be clear, almost nobody knows exactly what Mueller is up to. There were no indictments today, no perp walks, and the famously tight-lipped special prosecutor isn`t talking but there continue to be signs all around that there is something going on just out of sight. This week brought reports that Mueller has been zeroing in on longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone, specifically focusing on his connection to WikiLeaks.
And speaking of WikiLeaks, we learned last night thanks to an apparent mistake by prosecutors that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal. Much more on that in a bit. Early this morning we also learned that Dick Cheney`s former top national security a John Hannah is now to in Mueller sights with the special prosecutor examining Hannah`s interactions with operatives tied to foreign governments. Mueller`s team also files an update on convicted felon Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who is now cooperating with prosecutors. Legal Analyst Renato Mariotti tweeted the filing suggest that there will be a public event between now and November 26 that would permit Mueller to comment in more detail about Manafort`s cooperation such as an indictment of someone that Manafort is cooperating against.
And then there`s Manafort`s former deputy Rick Gates who also pleaded guilty. This week another Mueller filing revealed that Gates is cooperating with prosecutors on and I quote, several ongoing investigations, plural, so it can`t be sentenced just yet. Now Trump himself has refused to sit down with Mueller despite proclaiming he would just love to do so. His legal team did agree to answer written questions and today the President was asked about their progress, the President did not take the question well.
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TRUMP: My lawyers are working on it, I`m working on that. I write the answers. My lawyers don`t write answers, I write answers. I was asked a series of questions, I`ve answered them very easily, very easily. I`m sure they`re tricked up because you know they like to catch people gee, you know, was the weather sunny or was it raining. He said it may have been a good day. It was rainy, therefore he told a lie. He perjured himself, OK.
So you have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions. But no it`s -- the questions were very routinely answered by me, by me. But it didn`t take very long to do them and they were my answers. I don`t need lawyers to do that now. You need lawyers for submittal, you need lawyers to go over some of the answers, but they`re not very difficult questions, OK.
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HAYES: Joining me now, NBC News National Security Contributor Frank Figliuzzi, former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the FBI under Robert Mueller. Frank, let`s talk timing here. You worked with Robert Mueller, you`re someone who`s familiar with high stakes investigations. How do you think about how Mueller and others are thinking about the timing of how they proceed now that the Midterms are over?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: So Chris, they know their days are numbered. There`s no question of that. And clearly, Bob Mueller is a master chess player so he`s prepared for anything and I think he`s put several things in place that would allow him to press send on packages of prosecutable -- prosecutorial packages, I call them prosecutorial parachutes that would go to various U.S. Attorney`s offices, state`s attorneys general. He`s ready for that but the time frame now is extremely compressed. We`ve got Whitaker in place. In my observation, Whitaker has one mission, one mandate, that`s to mess with the Special Counsel investigation despite all the added stations to the -- to the contrary from Senator Graham and others.
So what does that mean? It means that we`re coming to a head here with regard to the timing of Trump submitting his answers that he allegedly did himself, all by himself, to the Mueller team where we`re going to come up on a line where Mueller is going to say the time is now to submit those answers or I`m going to move otherwise.
I keyed in on this, Chris. I keyed in on this recent request for a delay in the Manafort status hearing, right? That tells me that something`s happening in the next several days that will allow the Mueller team to tell the court something that gives them greater insight into the level of Manafort`s cooperation. What is that? It could very likely be that Mueller will point to indictments saying Manafort helped make that happen. So watch that to happen in the next couple of weeks.
HAYES: Yes. So that was the filing where they said we`ll come back to you in a few weeks with more on how things are going with Manafort and the implication being that something will happen in the interim that shows the court how useful he has been as a cooperator.
FIGLIUZZI: And both sides agreed to that. So there was no fight over this delay right? Ordinarily, you say, hey, wait a minute, my client wants this done. Let`s move on. No, both sides agreed to that. I read that as Manafort is cooperating perhaps in a big way and will be able to see the fruits of that cooperation in the next couple of weeks.
HAYES: When you talked about timing, it`s really interesting right, so you view this as Whitaker bearing down a kind of clock ticking and there`s always been this kind of weird game of chicken with the President and Mueller about the answering the questions partly because my understanding is a sense that the Mueller report can`t be written until the questions are answered. And Maggie Haberman pointed this out today and I want to get your response. She says, one important point here re him ascribing negative motive to Mueller, Mueller has been seeking answers from Trump for nearly a year. During that time Trump has complained about Mueller letting the probe drag on while playing stall ball on answering. What do you think of that?
FIGLIUZZI: I have to tell you this. I think that Mueller is just fine without answers from the President. I think he`s got what he needs legally. I think much of this is window dressing and public perception. Let`s not forget. We may be headed toward articles of impeachment and what is that all about, it`s about public perception and people are talking to their members of Congress and saying yea or nay.
So Mueller is keenly aware of that political side. He needs to say I asked for answers, I got them. The President needs to say publicly. I submitted my answers, lest he be able to complain that I never got my say in this. But I`ve got to tell you, I think it`s in large part window-dressing.
HAYES: All right, Frank Figliuzzi, thank you very much. I want you to stick around because we have more to talk about in just a little bit. We`ll be back to you. But first, I`m joined now by MSNBC Legal Analyst Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Wehle who`s Associate Independent Counsel in the Whitewater investigation. And Kim, let me start with you. What -- do you take the President his word that he answered the questions?
KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, if you were so -- it was it was so easy to answer the questions that there`s -- then I would ask wise and he actually being interviewed live. I think any good lawyer, given the opportunity to craft responses that are -- is going to immunize their client from any problems it`s going to do that. This isn`t not unique to criminal investigations, it happens in the civil litigation process as well so -- and we also have a president who says what he feels like he needs to say and doesn`t have a problem with telling things that aren`t accurate. So I think that`s really beside the point and probably not true but you know, I`m just speculating.
HAYES: Yes, it seems -- it seems unlikely to me. What do you think, Barbara?
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I think it`s possible that he shared some information with his lawyers and maybe even wrote down some information but that no doubt the lawyers are going to very carefully look through anything that he`s put together. The reporting has been that he spent several sessions with the lawyers, one four-hour session, another three-hour session talking through those answers. And so I have no doubt that the lawyers are going to be heavily involved in whatever answers ultimately gets to Robert Mueller.
HAYES: You know, one thing that struck me today about this piece, Kim, and you had been in the independent counsel`s office earlier which is different than the special counsel but it`s sort of similar dynamic in some ways. You`re investigating the president. This piece today that ran about Mueller looking at a man named John Hannah. Mueller might be opening another frontier. His mandate is to examine Russian collusion but there`s a clause in his mandate that`s very open-ended to the effect of and any associated matters could be a separate line of inquiry about efforts to influence the election by foreigners. The thinking here being some regimes in the Middle East. What do you -- what do you think when you hear that in terms of the scope of what he may be working on?
WEHLE: Well, the mandate that was actually handed off by Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General who previous to Mr. Whittaker was in charge of this probe is quite broad. I`ve read it carefully several times and I don`t think there`s a whole lot of question that`s something like -- that would arise out of the Russia probe. That being said, the big difference really between the Whitewater investigation, that I worked on this one was that what was governing the Whitewater investigation was an act of Congress. And the act of Congress was passed because of the Saturday night massacre. That is President Nixon trying to game the system in his favor when there was an investigation of the White House. And here we are with history repeating itself.
We don`t have a statute anymore, that state chest was allowed to lapse after Whitewater and we only have an internal DOJ regulation and there`s a lot that Mr. Whitaker could do to stymie this investigation including amend that actual piece of paper that hands are up the scope of the investigation among many other things actually that he could do. So there`s a real question here thinking we have to assume that Mr. Whitaker is talking to the President. So the President has to know what`s going on whereas I would suspect knowing Rod Rosenstein under Rod Rosenstein that was not the case.
And then the question becomes OK, where is Mr. Trump going to actually pull his levers of power. Is he going to do is stop it at, say his former associates, would it be his family, would it be his business, or would it be him? And of course, if there`s any criminal liability for him whether it`s impeachment or indictment, then we are in a full-scale constitutional crisis. I have little doubt that that`s going to be pushed to its limit.
HAYES: You know, Barbara, I sort of when I take a step back and look at the scope of what this office has done as we`re sort of here, what we feel like are possibly you know, towards the day we want. I mean here`s an incomplete list of people that have been interviewed by the special counsel or his grand jury. And you know, I follow this professionally every day. There are names that I have to like jog my memory about who they are. The scope here is really remarkable.
MCQUADE: Yes. And you know, I think though that one of the things that Robert Mueller has shown is that he is very disciplined in following his mandate. He no doubt is taking a broad search for connections to Russian interference and connections with the Trump campaign, but when he finds something that looks like it`s too far afield, he has farmed it out to other U.S. Attorney`s offices. For example, Michael Cohen going to the Southern District of New York, other cases going to the District of Columbia.
And not only does that help him keep him focused with his eye on the ball of what he`s investigating, I think it also prevents critics from arguing that he`s gone too far afield, and I think it preserves those cases if there should be a bomb that explodes the Special Counsel`s Office figuratively speaking and shuts him down. These other cases have tentacles now in other districts that will continue even if he is removed from office. And so I think it`s a very strategic way of casting a wide net but then once he decides what is related to his case focusing solely on that and sending those cases elsewhere.
HAYES: Let me let me follow up and then I`ll get your take on this, Kim, the same question but is it a possibility at this point some of that farming out has already been done? I mean, people talked about the possibility. They`re being sealed indictments or cases already having been farmed out along very different parallels, it is a -- is it a possibility that that has been done?
MCQUADE: It certainly is. It`s possible that cases have been farmed out for investigation or have even been filed under seal. For example, the erroneous unsealing suggesting that Julian Assange has been charged in the Eastern District of Virginia in that U.S. Attorney`s Office. And so there could be a sealed indictment there and other indictments against others and other districts as well already.
HAYES: What do you think, Kim?
WEHLE: Yes, sure. And I think the key there also though is that Mr. Whitaker, of course, is in charge now of all of those U.S. Attorneys offices.
WEHLE: So we don`t -- we can`t siphon off those special prosecutors the way we could with Ken Starr and where that was really a fourth branch of government that the Supreme Court upheld is constitutional. Now, to the extent to which he`s handing things off to the states were in a situation where Trump has very little control over that and certainly he couldn`t even do a pardon so I think that that`s significant.
HAYES: Yes. All right, Barbara McQuade and Kim Wehle, thank you both for being with me.
WEHLE: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, federal prosecutors mistakenly reveal as we said criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, one of the central figures the Russia Investigation. What we know about those charges and the potentially massive implications and the variety of directions in just two minutes.
HAYES: Federal prosecutors have apparently filed criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It was supposed to be a secret. The exact charges are unknown but the implications are huge. And it came to light completely by accident. Here`s what happened. A counterterrorism expert at George Washington University who regularly combs through court documents came across something odd and he jokingly tweeted you guys should read EDVA, Eastern District of Virginia Court filings more, cheaper than a Journal subscription.
He posted a screenshot from a court document which ended with this "no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged." Wait what now? The court document was from an entirely unrelated case with a couple errant paragraphs about Julian Assange included. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia confirmed it was an error, probably a cut-and-paste error, but news organizations took notice and now The Times is reporting that indeed Assange has been criminally charged according to a person familiar of the case.
It was done under seal secretly as far back as August, maybe earlier. Assange has been in the government`s sights since WikiLeaks published whistleblower documents from the Pentagon in 2010. His platform also famously published the Russian hacked e-mails from Hillary Clinton`s campaign and the DNC in 2016. MSNBC Justice Analyst Matt Miller is a former Chief Spokesperson for the Department of Justice in the Obama Administration, still with the NBC News National Security Contributor Frank Figliuzzi, former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the FBI. Both of you gentlemen were in the government when people were talking about Assange.
Matt, I`ll start with you. It was my understanding that the Obama administration came the conclusion and I will say correct concussion that there is no way to prosecute Assange for publishing documents because it would be a violation of the First Amendment and would be overturned.
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE ANALYST: Yes, and that`s basically right. Look, the government -- the Justice Department is wanted to find a way to charge Julian Assange really since 2010 since the you know, the Chelsea Manning leaks that first brought him to prominence. The problem as you said that the Justice Department up against, it`s hard to see how you charge him for publishing documents that doesn`t then set a precedent that could also be applied to save reports in the New York Times. And it`s not just the act of publishing documents, it`s also doing things like soliciting classified information. That`s always also something reporters do all the time.
And it`s not because Julian Assange is a journalist, he`s very clearly not a journalist, never has been, but the First Amendment protections in the Constitution don`t anywhere say that they only apply to journalist, so you have to be you know, you have to think both about the precedent that you`re trying to set and the bad law that you don`t want to make and also the fact that that you know, bringing charges that don`t survive a court challenge doesn`t do anything for the Justice Department.
So I think the -- you know a couple possibilities here. One, the government has found a way to charge him for something let`s call publishing plus, not just publishing but maybe you know, conspiring to violate hacking laws or maybe you know, acting as a foreign intelligence agent if you - if these charges relate to the Russian hacking. Or it`s possible the Trump administration just isn`t worried about the president charging someone for publishing only and they`re not worried about the court challenge and potentially losing the case. I think all these are the possibilities that we`re looking at right now.
HAYES: Yes, what do you think, Frank?
FIGLIUZZI: Well, this is spot-on discussion and boy there was great debate over whether WikiLeaks was more like a journalistic entity or more like a foreign adversary. But it appears that something`s happened and that it may be linked to Mueller. And here`s -- there`s recent reporting, Chris, as recently as this afternoon that we may be talking about a complaint as opposed to an indictment.
What does that mean? Complaints are done in a hurry. Complaints are done when you`ve got information and you need to act on it quickly, and you don`t want to get to the grand jury, maybe you don`t have time to get to a grand jury. If that reporting is accurate, then it lends credence to the idea that maybe the special counsel became into possession of interesting information and needed to move quickly on it.
And so maybe we`re looking at a sealed complaint. That would be fascinating. Think of the whole collusion picture, the Russian involving pictures, basically three parts three pieces of a puzzle. We`ve got the Russian piece, right? We`ve got over two dozen indictments of Russians, we got that. But with regard to how the Russians use WikiLeaks as their arm to get that stuff published, we don`t have that, we`re missing that.
And if Mueller has got that then the third piece could fall into place which is who in the campaign knew about that, knew about the connection to Russia, and had that stolen material published.
HAYES: So this is key. I want to just say that they -- that WikiLeaks is cited in one of those indictments brought against the GRU officers. They`re referred to as organization one. The conspirators posing as Guccifer 2.0, that would be the pose of the GRU, folks who are doing the hacking, discuss the release of stolen documents and timing of those releases with organization one to heighten the impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Everyone understands that`s WikiLeaks.
So what you`re saying, Frank, and this is I think really important. So one possibility that Matt brings up is the Justice Department of the Trump Administration doesn`t have any problem with prosecuting someone for publishing, right? They just say we don`t -- we don`t care about that. We don`t care about protecting that First Amendment right. We`re going to go at them. Number two is some new piece of information that is about maybe soliciting stolen information or number three which I think you`re pointing to is that this has something to do with the Mueller investigation.
And Matt folks have pointed out that this came out of the Eastern District of Virginia and obviously that which is not the special counsel shop. Is there any conclusion we can draw about what that means?
MILLER: Yes. I don`t think a direct conclusion but I think we can you know, we can make some guesses. So I think given the fact that this case was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia or I should say the case that you know, this -- we found out about this because this complaint was you know, mistakenly copied and pasted into another complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia by a prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia. That leads me to believe that if he was -- if there was a complaint filed under seal, it was probably by prosecutors in that office and it was in that district.
That leads me to believe that this complaint probably isn`t at least directly related to the Russian hacking charges that we`ve already seen filed because those were brought by Mueller in a different district in you know, in the District of Columbia. It`s possible but it seems unlikely to me.
Now that said, you know, if the Eastern District of Virginia which is where the original WikiLeaks investigation began, the one for the Chelsea Manning case, you know, they could be continuing to look at him and maybe charging him for leaks in 2017 from the CIA. There`s the famous Vault Seven release of CIA information that made it onto WikiLeaks.
It could be that. I wouldn`t -- I wouldn`t -- even if the charges are being brought related to that though, I wouldn`t say that there`s no nexus with the Mueller investigation because obviously if the Justice Department can get their hands on him, in Ecuador`s position on this who you know Ecuador has been housing him for a long time in London, has been seen -- has seemed a bit to be just a little bit softening. If they can get their hands on him, Bob Mueller obviously is going to want to take a crack on questioning him and trying to get him to flip.
HAYES: Final question, Frank. You know, you could publish -- you know my view of this and I think it`s sort of consensus legal view is publishing documents protected by the First Amendment, stealing documents is a crime. There`s an interesting place in between those two which is asking someone to steal documents right? So you know, reporters might have a confidential source and they bring them a document and the reporter says this is great but I kind of need more, could you get more? And there`s a question about the legality of that. What is -- what is your sense of what the legality of that is and whether that might be tested here?
FIGLIUZZI: So it`s one thing for a reporter to passively sit back and receive information perhaps shape and guide what that source is getting, it`s another thing to direct a source to commit a crime and so I think that`s where the Justice Department would probably focus. But there`s another issue as well and that`s the larger charge of espionage that would involve intent to harm, intent to distribute national defense information with the intent to harm the United States. If they can show that, then they could even flip into a larger espionage charge.
HAYES: All right, Matt Miller and Frank Figliuzzi, thank you both. As troops continue to sit and wait at the border as a result of our Midterms stunts pulled by the White House, we are learning more about the man President Trump wants to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That story next.
HAYES: President Donald Trump has deployed more than 5,000 U.S. troops to the border to thwart migrant women and children mostly from coming to ask for asylum. 1,500 of those troops are in Arizona where NBC News National Security Reporter Julia Ainsley reports they will likely stay through Thanksgiving. What you might ask they are up to, well, in Nogales, according to Ainsley, "ten American soldiers dangled their legs off a concrete ledge spitting out sunflower shells and tobacco juice as they waited the better part of Thursday morning for their forklift to arrive. That, of course, is all the product of a political stunt by the President. But behind the theatrics, this administration is making serious immigration policy moves.
President Trump is trying to restrict asylum claims from anyone who enters the country from Mexico outside a port of entry and the president`s pick to lead ICE Ronald Vitiello is now trying to get confirmed appearing before a Senate committee yesterday. Vitiello was a top Customs and Border Protection official who helped oversee the separation of migrant children from their families. Here to talk about all those immigration changes Faiz Shakir, he`s the Political Director for the ACLU. Faiz, let`s start with the new nominee to head ICE. The ACLU is opposed. He says he has years and years of experience in the agency, knows what he`s talking about, so what`s your opposition?
FAIZ SHAKIR, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, ACLU: He was just on Fox News a couple of days ago talking about the huddled masses yearning to breathe free this so- called migrant caravan and he was asked about it, he said game on, right. It reveals his mind-set, game on. Literally a giddiness of an aggressor who wants to deploy forces and beat up on people who he sees as subhuman, others.
And that has been his mentality when he was the head of ICE. He viewed the family separation crisis as a good thing. Of course, he framed it as deterrence. We now see migrants coming across to America, family separation did not deter anybody. What Tom Homan is all about is treating these immigrant people, both in America and across our borders, as something other than equal human beings, depriving them of liberty.
HAYES; There are still many children still separated. The total has come down a tremendous amount. There`s 25 in custody who the administration says are not eligible for reunification, 99 in custody, deported parents have chosen not to reunite, at least that`s according to the administration. The ACLU has been a party to the lawsuit. What is your position on where things stand?
SHAKIR: It`s been painful, obviously. It`s a painful episode, but thankfully because of us and so many NGOs, Chris, that families are being reunited, many of them. There`s only a handful who are still out there looking to reunite.
And I would say this -- many people don`t know this, but for months and months, the government had information that they could have turned over voluntarily about cell phone numbers of parents in order to more quickly reunite families. They withheld that information, fought the ACLU in court for weeks while we`re running around Guatemala looking for these parents and trying to ask them if they would like to be reunited with their children.
The government is refusing to hand over information that it has. And finally we get that information and thankfully parents are being reunited. But it tells you about the mind-set, right, that even if you`re told to reunite, oh, no, I`m not going to help you do that.
HAYES: So, the government`s position was we`re not going to -- you`ve compelled us to reunite these families, we`re not going to lift a finger to do it, you do it NGOs, ACLU.
SHAKIR: And not volunteer information that they know they had. Oh, you didn`t ask for those phone numbers, ACLU. I didn`t know you wanted it.
Oh, no, we wanted to go running around Guatemala looking for them. Why don`t you help and be part of a solution? No, we don`t because we want to send this message that these people are somehow awful, evil, that we need to send them a clear message and to anyone like them, that they are not welcome here. And that`s what`s going on, obviously.
HAYES: Then they`ve now proposed changes to asylum. They want to deny asylum to anyone that does not enter a port of entry, even as they squeeze those ports of entries and turn people back from them. The ACLU has sued over that. And there`s talk now the administration is considering ways to force people to wait in Mexico for their immigration cases. What do you think of that?
SHAKIR: Well, there`s long established U.S. and international law on asylum seekers. And to tell this person you`re referencing, architects of family separation, they`re openly talking about how they are ready to violate U.S. law and inflict harm on people coming across as refugees, as asylum seekers. We`ll be in court on this again.
And unfortunately the Trump administration, as you rightly note, is not only putting architects in place, but they`re also funding it. If you look at what the funding debate that`s about to happen in December, Chris, it`s unidirectional. There`s only more money for border patrol. There`s only more money ICE. There`s only more money for detention beds. This is going in one direction unless we the people rise up and stop it.
I mean, this budget is out of control. The agencies are out of control.
HAYES: Not to mention what the estimated $200 million that`s looked to be spent on the 5,000 U.S. service members who have been dispatched to different parts of Texas and Arizona to string on concertina (ph) wire, chew sunflower seeds and wait for some kind of mission.
SHAKIR: I hope that people sense that one of the verdicts of November 6th politically was that this kind of politics is being -- is revolting, and that people are revolting against it. And ultimately the Trump administration did not seem to hear those messages. They did put Homan in place. They do put Patella (ph) in place. They continue to fund this deportation machinery. They`re saying full steam ahead. And if that`s the course they chose politically, I think they`re heading into a disaster zone, and legally they`re going to head into a disaster zone. They`ll meet us both at the ballot box and in the court room.
HAYES: All right, Faiz Shakir, thank you so much for your time.
SHAKIR: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: All right, still to come, certain House Democrats are staging a showdown over Nancy Pelosi`s bid to return as House speaker, but why? It`s sort of hard to tell. We`ll talk about the leadership fight ahead.
Plus, a look at the very rigorous decision making process of picking U.S. ambassadors. That`s tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, it`s Friday and you may have forgotten that Melania Trump straight up got somebody fired this week, and not just anybody, the number two person at the National Security Council, Mira Ricardel. The hammer came down in the form of an official statement Mrs. Trump`s spokesperson on Tuesday, quote, "it is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she" -- Ricardel -- "no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House."
Now, that is something you don`t see every day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, TALK SHOW HOST: If you wanted to get someone in your husband`s administration fired, how would you...
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: Why do you ask?
We had wonderful people in our administration.
KIMMEL: And you never had a situation like that?
OBAMA: Not once.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, the White House has tried to put their best spin on it. No, no, she hasn`t been fired, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Wednesday, Ricardel would transition to a new role within the administration, and by transition, they meant pack your stuff and move to Estonia. You`ve been Melania`d.
Bloomberg reports that President Trump offered to nominate the fired Ricardel for the post of ambassador to Estonia. But alas, she turned it down.
So what`s next for Mira Ricardel? I really don`t care. Do you?
But that wasn`t the only ambassador nomination news of the week. We`ve had one other happily accept the offer.
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LANA MARKS, HANDBAG DESIGNER: The beautiful oceans, the blue oceans and the waves of the oceans lapping up against the shoreline.
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HAYES: And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Lana Marks has a wonderful tale of riches to riches. She`s from a well to do family in South Africa and started her own exotic handbag company in the `80s.
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MARKS: Invited onto the Queen of England`s yacht Britannia, which was both in Bermuda at the time to celebrate her birthday party. And I said to my husband I would just love a red American alligator handbag, which I would love to wear at this event on the queen`s yacht Britannia Looked at all the collections up and down Worth Avenue, couldn`t find anything that was my taste level and very high in handbags in red alligator and realized if I was looking then there might be other people out there looking...
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HAYES: Light bulb moment.
Lana Marks is also a member of Donald Trump`s Mar-a-Lago club where maybe that story is relatable, and she`s been described as having some real Trumpian tendencies. The Palm Beach Daily News calls her a relentless self- promoter, protector of her brand and teller of fantastic tales of wealth and privilege. She`s repeatedly been accused of stiffing her attorneys, accountants, landlords and employees in more than a dozen past lawsuits.
She likes to brag of her celebrity connections, like her friendship with the late Princess Diana, and now Donald Trump has selected Lana Marks to join his administration. Ladies and gentlemen, our new nominee for United States ambassador to the Republic of South Africa.
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MARKS: This collection, it is inspired by nature, starting with the beautiful oceans, the blue oceans and the waves of the oceans lapping up against the shoreline. The sky during daytime, midnight and the evening.
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HAYES: Nancy Pelosi has been the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives for just about 15 years. She became the first woman elected speaker of the house in 2006 after the party took power in the midterms. And now the Democrats have won the House again, there`s a debate roiling about whether Pelosi should step aside for some, quote, new blood or younger leadership.
It is worth noting that this debate, helped long by Republicans in the conservative media, is nothing knew. Six years ago, Pelosi was asked about it by a reporter and she gave a pretty good answer.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of your colleagues privately say that you`re just looking to stay on, prohibiting the party from having a younger leadership and it hurts the party in the long term. What`s your response?
PELOSI: They always ask that question, except to Mitch McConnell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, you, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Clyburn, you`re all over 70. Does staying on prohibit younger leadership from moving forward?
PELOSI: So, you`re suggesting that everybody step aside?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m simply saying delay younger leadership from moving forward in the House Democratic ranks.
PELOSI: I think what you will see -- and let`s, for a moment, honor it as a legitimate question, although it`s quite offensive, but you don`t realize it, I guess. The fact is -- the fact is, is that everything that I have done in my almost, I guess, decade now of leadership is to elect younger and newer people to the congress.
In my own personal experience it was very important for me to elect young women. I came to congress when my youngest child Alexandra was a senior in high school, practically on her way to college. I knew that my male colleagues had come when they were 30. They had a jump on me because they didn`t have to stay home.
Now, I did what I wanted to do. I was blessed to have that opportunity. So I don`t have any concern about that. And as I`ve always said to you, you`ve got to take off of that 14 years for me because I was home raising a family, getting the best experience of all in diplomacy, interpersonal skills. No, the answer is no.
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HAYES: When we come back, the 2018 version of that great Nancy Pelosi debate. Don`t go away.
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PELOSI: I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be speaker of the House, and certainly we have many, many people in our caucus who could serve in this capacity.
I happen to think at this point I`m the best person for that.
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HAYES: Democrats just notched another win in the House. NBC declaring Katie Porter the apparent winner in California`s 45th congressional district.
Right now, Democrats already have a net gain of plus 36 seats in the House with several races still uncalled. And on the wave of that victory, minority leader Nancy Pelosi is once again running for speaker of the house. She is facing some pockets of resistance. At least 17 Democrats have now reportedly signed a letter pledging to vote against her bid.
To talk about what exactly is going on here, I`m joined by former Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat from California, host of the Boxer Podcast, along with Dorian Warren, president for the Center for Community Change Action, and Laura Bassett, politics reporter at The Huffington Post.
Senator, let me start with you, because you`ve known Nancy Pelosi a long time. I don`t actually get what this fight is about. It is sort of mystifying to me. The people that have signed the letter are generally in the sort of center right of the caucus, so it doesn`t seem to be an ideological angle. And there is no actual opponent yet. Like what do you make of this?
BARBARA BOXER, FORMER SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA: Well, I`m going to try to demystify it for you. I served the for 10 years. Part of the time Nancy and I shared the representation of San Francisco.
She is the best of the best, just as a human being. And, you know, I often said to her, Nancy, as she climbed up that ladder, it`s really tough to be in leadership in the House. It was something I never was interested in, either in the House or the Senate to go to the top of the echelon, because what you have to do is set aside your own goals, understand what everybody needs from you, understand when they can be with you, understand when they can be with you, understand when they can walk away.
Look, there is nobody better at strategy. There is nobody better at mentoring. There is nobody better at getting things done. The woman got Obamacare done.
BOXER: She got a climate bill through.
So I don`t know what`s happening there, but I think that there are just some people that are impatient, that`s what I think.
HAYES: Dorian, you did a lot of work sort of grassroots around this the midterms and particularly connected to a bunch of progressive groups nationwide. MoveOn has come out and endorsed Nancy Pelosi. And the labor unions have. What is your read on the ideological valance of this battle to the extent there is one?
DORIAN WARREN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR COMMUNITY CHANGE ACTION: Chris, I think, as Senator Boxer said, Nancy Pelosi objectively, objectively is probably the best Democratic legislator since LBJ, so let`s just start there.
Now, I think you`re right to point to this little, you know, internal fight with the five white guys who are not progressives, let`s be very clear about that, who are gunning for her leadership. And I think the criteria that I think progressive groups would say is if you look at the backbone on the Democratic Party, and on a day of like today where many of us are heartbroken over Stacey Abrams and the governor`s race in Georgia, and think about the black women of the Democratic Party who are the most consistent, the voters who actually vote in their own self-interests and for progressive policies, I think the question is, is Nancy Pelosi the best for them?
And secondly, where is the rise in leadership for black women, say Barbara Lee or Karen Bass? And I know that Pramila Jayapal, for instance, from the Congressional Progressive Caucus has been negotiating with Speaker Pelosi, soon to be Speaker Pelosi, around progressives broadly speaking on important committees.
So I think that`s where the action is. And that`s the most important thing to take away here.
HAYES: Well, one of the things that is happening in this fight is everyone now senses leverage, right. So, you have freshman who are coming who want committee assignments. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez joined a bunch of demonstrators about getting a climate select committee.
And this is the way it works, right, people sense leverage. And they`re -- smart wielders of that, you`re going to see something happen. There is going to have to be a bunch of deals made for this to get over the hump.
LAURA BASSETT, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Right. And those deals are being made. I mean, this is what Pelosi does and I think this is what she wants, right.
I don`t think she wants to just sail into the leadership. She would love to have a fight here. And she knows she`s going to win, you know, and she has already met with progressives and she has promised them prominent positions on committees, and that`s what they wanted, and then they came right out and endorsed her.
HAYES: Right, which in some ways is like a microcosm of exactly what she is good at.
BASSETT: That`s why she is good, right, that`s why she is still a leader. And I think the people who are opposing her, as he just said, the five white guys, they have this kind of really vague opposition to her. Like, we need something new, but they haven`t put up a leader that`s as effective as her, and they haven`t given specifics as to what exactly she has done.
HAYES: This is what is weird to me, senator. It`s like elections are choices between candidates, they`re not referendums. Like, you can`t replace the speaker of the house with a computer algorithm or a robot. Someone is going to be the speaker of the house. So, if you don`t want to be Nancy Pelosi, god bless you, run some people and then you can have a choice amongst them.
But this weird thing about not her is strange.
BOXER: Well, there is impatience. And, you know, I can only tell you this, because of my experience. Nancy has a lot of tools in the tool box, as your guests have noted. They`re not only committee assignments, there are many other things. There are jobs in the leadership.
And she knows how to bring people together. I`m telling you, I know her as well as I know any member of my family. And there is nobody else there.
Now, I also want to point out John Lewis, who is an icon of the civil rights movement. He adores Nancy. Nancy has fought for equality her entire life. She is a champion for equal rights, for voting rights. Who do you want making sure that we protect Social Security, preexisting conditions? You know, we could be on all night. And I know you don`t want that, so I`ll stop.
But she is the best to do it.
HAYES: Part of it -- I think, Dorian, part of the issue, obviously, is that there is a bunch of members that made pledges they wouldn`t vote for her partly I think out of political expediency, because she does have high unfavorables in a lot of districts around the country, because she`s been the target of a lot of, you know, negative advertising. And they don`t want their first vote to be breaking their promise. And I`m sympathetic to that, right, aren`t you?
WARREN: Yeah, sure.
Look, they`re politicians. They know how to explain votes that they have to take that they don`t want to take, so, you know, it`s not a hard vote to take. And especially if they can leverage it for at least the strategic and smart ones, the five white guys don`t seem to be strategic nor smart to me, in going and trying to grab Marcia Fudge (ph) is not a good strategy in my book.
But they can explain away a vote for the speaker and say this is what I got out of it. This is what the trajectory looks like by the way for 2020 in terms of new voices in the party that are coming up in the leadership that will be groomed and mentored.
So if they can negotiate that, which I think the Congressional Progressive Caucus actually did in a smart strategic way, I think that`s the way forward.
HAYES: What do you think?
BASSETT: I agree. I don`t think they have put up any alternative to Nancy Pelosi. And I think the fact that Republicans campaigned against her and lost in a big way...
HAYES: That`s part of it too, right. It`s like I want to go back in time to those candidates and say you didn`t have to -- if you were doing it out of expediency, it turned out you probably didn`t have to do that.
BASSETT: Right. And Republicans would not have campaigned against her if she was a weak leader. Obviously they see a formidable enemy in her and that`s exactly what makes her good for the Democrats.
HAYES: Well, there`s also, senator -- you know, I think there is sometimes a little misapprehension of the job. I mean, Mitch McConnell isn`t particularly popular with the American people is, you know, he has got huge negatives, but he is damn effective as the majority leader of the senate, you know, like the job is not necessarily to be popular.
BOXER: In a grumpy way, he is very effective, there is no question. I often look at Mitch and I think he seems so unhappy in the job.
HAYES: He does.
BOXER: Nancy is more of a happy warrior. Mitch is so grumpy.
HAYES: He is. He does always look kind of miserable, but I imagine there is a light shining somewhere deep inside him as he tallies up additional judicial confirmations.
BOXER: Let`s hope there is. I haven`t found it yet.
HAYES: Senator Boxer, Dorian Warren and Laura Bassett, thank you all.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END