Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 6, 2019 Guest: Karen Bass, Carol Lam, Justin Elliot, Joe Neguse
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The bully never tires. What most fear -- what most stirs the American -- those daring to run against him is a passion stronger than political survival. And that`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We are not going to be intimidated or threatened by the President.
HAYES: Democrats ignore the threats.
SCHIFF: We`re going to do our jobs, the President needs to do his.
HAYES: As the President complained.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s called presidential harassment.
HAYES: Tonight House Democrats announced a sweeping probe of the President`s finances and Russia as they hand over cloves of transcripts to Robert Mueller. Then --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just have to tell you a funny story.
HAYES: New reporting on the federal investigation into the Trump inaugural committee. Plus, fire from Democrats on gun safety, climate change, and voting rights.
REP.ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: This is the United States of America.
HAYES: And as the controversy in Virginia explodes, presidential candidate Julian Castro on the standards for leadership in the Democratic Party when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. Last night the President threatened Democrats to stop investigating him in his typical gangster movie style. Today Democrats responded by doing the exact opposite. In a largely forgettable State of the Union speech, there was just one part that stood out.
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TRUMP: An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.
If there is going to be peace and legislation there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn`t work that way.
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HAYES: See, it rhymes. It rhymed. But instead of heading the President`s warning, the new Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff announced that he`s restarting and expanding that committee`s Russia Probe.
Today, Schiff laid out five areas of investigation, one the Russian government`s ongoing efforts to influence U.S. political process. Two, any links or coordination between Russia and Trump world. Three, whether any foreign actor holds financial or other leverage over the President or has sought to compromise him. Four, whether the President or anyone in his orbit is invulnerable to foreign pressure or has tried to shape U.S. policy in service of foreign interests. And five, whether any actors foreign or domestic have tried to impede the investigation into these matters.
The President was asked about Schiff`s plan.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said he was going to launch a deep investigation --
TRUMP: Did you say Adam Schiff?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adam Schiff.
TRUMP: I never heard of him. That would be partisan would it? That would be partisan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But not only into Russia but into personal financial transactions. What is your reaction?
TRUMP: I don`t -- what basis would he do that? He has no basis to do that. He`s just a political hack who`s trying to build a name for himself and I think that`s fine because that`s what they do. But there would be no reason to do that. No other politician has to go through that. It`s called presidential harassment.
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HAYES: Schiff responded on Twitter. I can understand why the idea of meaningful oversight terrifies the President. Several of his closest associates are going to jail, others await trial and criminal investigations continue. We`re going to do our job and won`t be distracted or intimidated by threats or attacks.
Also today in this first act in the new era of Democratic control, the House Intelligence Committee voted to released dozens of transcripts from witness interviews to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. All in all over 7,000 pages of testimony. Now, Mueller has already charged two close associates of the president, his former lawyer Michael Cohen and his longtime political adviser Roger Stone with lying in congressional testimony.
And now a number of other key witnesses could be exposed to prosecution if they lied including the President`s son, his son-in-law, his first Attorney General, his former senior advisor, and the manager of his reelection campaign. But it`s not just Mueller and the House Intelligence Committee scrutinizing the President in his inner circle, he is besieged by investigations on all sides. The latest front his inaugural committee which just received a subpoena this week from federal prosecutors in New York.
That`s the same U.S. Attorney`s Office that already flipped the President`s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen and crucially implicated the President`s self in open court, in black and white, in court filings in the commission of a felony. According to another report, that same office has also requested interviews with executives at the Trump Organization.
And later this week look at the first public testimony from a high-profile Trump witness. That would be acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker who`s going to set to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Jerry Nadler preparing the subpoena in case Whitaker refuses to answer questions.
My next guest is a Democrat Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congresswoman Karen Bass of California, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus who is also in attendance last night. Congresswoman, how did you understand the line about war and the investigation with -- what was he saying?
REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I think that he was essentially threatening that if we were going to move forward and do our responsibilities as members of Congress, that he was not going to cooperate with any legislation. It was another juvenile response and a clearly an example of the fact that after two years of the job he still doesn`t understand that we are a co-equal branch of government and that one of our primary responsibilities is oversight of his administration.
The problem, Chris, is that for the last two years he`s had no oversight so he thinks we`re harassing him when actually we`re doing his -- we`re doing our job.
HAYES: Matt Whitaker set to testify before your committee this week I believe on Friday if I`m not mistaken.
BASS: Yes, that`s right.
HAYES: What are you expecting there? This is someone who is the most powerful law enforcement official in the United States of America, runs the Department of Justice, has not been confirmed in the Senate, is the subject of multiple lawsuits, and hasn`t really said much in his tenure.
BASS: Exactly. And so one of the things we want to know is, is he willing and is he committed to doing his job. And so if he`s committed to doing his job, then he needs to recuse himself because remember, he was on the air talking for months and months before he got the position with the DOJ that he did not believe that a President should be investigated, a president could be indicted, etcetera. And also didn`t believe that the Mueller investigation made a lot of sense.
So the question is, until we have a permanent Attorney General, will this attorney general follow the law?
HAYES: Are you confident that he is not -- are you confident A, the President has not interfered with him? There`s reporting the president berated him after one of the Michael Cohen filings. There -- and there`s questions about whether he has exercised any undue influence down the line whether that`s the Mueller probe or the Southern District. Are you confident he hasn`t?
BASS: I don`t have an ounce of confidence. I really don`t. I mean, I don`t know why we would expect that that he would. One thing about the President is that if you attempt to do your job as a member of the cabinet, he berates you publicly. He talks about you, he calls you names, etcetera. And he`s been radio silent about this guy. And so that`s one of the reasons why we would like for him to come before the committee.
HAYES: Oh you think -- that`s interesting. You think the lack of rage tweeting about Attorney General Whitaker as compared to Jeff Sessions is essentially a tell out in the public that Whitaker is doing his bidding?
BASS: Isn`t that his pattern? I mean, I think that has been his pattern with anybody that has criticized him. You know, again, I mean 24 months in the job he still thinks that he`s running a company. He is supposed to be running a government which means that the people that work around him -- you know the head of the Justice Department works for the United States. It`s not his personal law firm. And that`s what he struggles with.
He struggles with the basic understanding of his job. And everything that we`ve been told about him, we know he doesn`t read we know he believes that he has the best opinion, we know he doesn`t need facts. And so given that he has really struggled to understand what his job is.
HAYES: Right. Congresswoman Karen Bass, thank you so much for making a little time tonight. For more on where the investigations on the President are heading, I`m joined by Carol Lam former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California who also served as a Superior Court Judge in San Diego and MSNBC Legal Analyst Cynthia Alksne, a former Federal Prosecutor.
Carol, let me start with you on what we`re hearing out of the Southern District. It strikes me as quite important because it is independent and parallel to the Mueller probe but also that is a famous part of the American justice system. They called the sovereign district. What kinds of conversations as someone who ran a U.S. Attorney`s Office do you think are happening that office right now as they are undergoing this?
CAROL LAM, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I`m sure there`s a drama of its own going on in the Justice Department. But an important thing to remember is that evidence obtained from any U.S. Attorney`s Office, Chris, can be shared with the Special Counsel. So what we do know from the fact that a subpoena was issued in the Southern District of the New York is that they believe that they have venue and reason to be investigating the inaugural committee and the funds received by the inaugural committee but they can share that evidence with any other U.S. Attorney`s office or with the Special Counsel so and vice-versa.
So I think there are lots of negotiations and discussions taking place within the Department of Justice with the Special Counsel as to who is going to be handling which parts of investigations, but it doesn`t necessarily signal where certain charges will be brought at the end of the day.
HAYES: Cynthia, the House Intel transcripts were released to Mueller as Chairman Schiff promised. It`s the first sort of major action that the chair has taken in his capacity. Donald Jr., Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Brad Parscale, what kind of legal issues and exposure arise for those individuals now?
CYNTHIA ALKSNE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the first thing to know is that Mueller probably already has the transcripts. He doesn`t have the transcripts that are formalized and have the seal on them from the House but he has the transcripts. So this is not -- it`s not like Mueller`s office is sitting up all night long going oh my goodness, he said that? No, he knows -- they know exactly what`s in the transcripts. So that`s number one.
And it all sort of -- it all meshes together. Not only is there the legal question about the possible perjury -- because Adam Schiff has already said that he thinks Don Jr. did not tell the truth in that hearing. But at the same time, the House Committee is going to call back people who basically stiff-armed them.
Remember, Steve Bannon went in there and claimed executive privilege which is not his to claim, it has to be claimed by the White House. And it was sort of wishy-washy. You know, it was an executive privilege during the transition when Trump wasn`t even the executive.
ALKSNE: Maybe it was waived because he had already told all this stuff to Michael Wolfe. I mean, the whole thing was a wishy-washy mess and the Republicans would never take it -- take it seriously and do anything about the fact that Bannon had this wishy-washy executive privilege.
So all kinds of things are coming together, all the planets are aligning to try now to get a real answer to what happened during the campaign regarding the Russian involvement and what happened during the transition and the inaugural.
HAYES: Carol, let me ask you this in your experience. We`ve seen Mueller now either get pleased or charged I think five people at least for false statements. It has been a recurring theme, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, all those people who gave false statements. Is that typical or what do you make of his use of that prosecutorial tool in this investigation?
LAM: Well, I can`t say it`s typical to have that many people within a single investigation being charged with making false statements or obstructing justice. That does seem highly unusual but it`s -- I don`t know if it`s so much a tool as it could be also the Special Counsel simply saying you know, these are relatively easy charges for him to bring and he might be saying you know, this is what I`m going to charge you with at this point in time. It`s not going to necessarily mean I`m not going to charge you with something in the future, but it does sort of set the table, and you know he can move on to other things and then revisit other charges later if he wants to.
HAYES: Well, and the questions, Cynthia, I mean, as I -- as I look at the people if you want to put those back up who`s transcripts released to Mueller, Don Jr. I think being in some ways the most central in all this. You know, this is -- this is a group of people that in the public record has had some trouble with the truth.
I mean Jeff Sessions did not tell the truth under oath and his you know, nomination hearing about meeting with Russians. Jared Kushner`s had to refile his SF-86 form under penalty of perjury countless times. Don Jr. gave us the story about -- you know, independent of what they did with the Russians. It does seem to me they might have a little bit of an issue here.
ALKSNE: Right. I mean, Adams Schiff has already said Don Jr. has an issue.
ALKSNE: I think -- I don`t think there`s any question. And I will say this also. There`s something offensive that is inspirational for prosecutors. When people so blatantly lie and it`s almost taunting, it`s almost like you think we`re -- you think we`re stupid, you know. All these people in the adoption game and the creating the fake story to the New York Times by the President and -- what you don`t want to do is insult people so much that it inspires them to go you know, these are the easy charges. How could you think I`m so stupid that I`m going to believe that? And there`s some of that going on here.
HAYES: That`s really interesting. Carole Lam and Cynthia Alksne, thank you both. The investigation into the President`s inaugural committee takes a serious turn. Next the confidential memo suggesting a top member of Trumps inaugural committee was trying to monetize his connection with the president. The reporter who broke the story in two minutes.
HAYES: Even as House Democrats begin their own investigations at Donald Trump, federal prosecutors are not slowing down as we mentioned. We know the Southern District in New York is now probing the Trump inaugural committee and how it raised and spent more than $100 million.
There have always been a lots of reasons to be suspicious about what went on. They raised way more money than any inaugural committee ever in history. Look at that bar chart there. It`s been accounted for that money extremely shoddily and weirdly if at all. Here`s the man who ran George W Bush`s second inaugural committee trying to make sense of it.
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GREG JENKINS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GEORGE W. BUSH`S INAUGURAL COMMITTEE: My best understanding of this is we put on I think four times as many events as they did and we had three times as many staffers as they did and those are by far the two largest expenditures. So in today`s dollars, I think we -- I think what we raise comes out to be about $54 million. So quite a bit less than what the Trump inaugural committee raised. I cannot imagine where that money went. It didn`t go to staff and it didn`t go to events.
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HAYES: Where did the money go? Now, keep in mind this is a group of people around the President who had just won an election they did not expect to win and they were about to take the White House and be some of the most powerful people in the world and there were all kinds of opportunities for all kinds of people to trade on their proximity to the surprise next President of the United States.
Now, a new report from ProPublica and WNYC show how the company run by the Trump Inaugural Committee Chairman was planning to take advantage. ProPublica Reporter Justin Elliott joins me now he`s reporting as part of ProPublica`s Trump Inc. project with WNYC. Great to have you here.
Tom Barrack is the man at the center of this and a company called Colony. What was Barrack`s role? What was Colony`s role here?
JUSTIN ELLIOTT, REPORTER, PROPUBLICA: Sure. So Barrack is a really interesting figure. He`s an extremely old friend of Donald Trump. He was an advisor in the campaign. And then when Trump won the election, Trump asked him to run the inaugural committee which is this nonprofit that raised all the money that there`s still so many questions about. But he also has this other ad which is he was the founder of a huge investment firm called Colony Capital.
HAYES: And you uncovered a memo, right? This is what the story is based on. And what is the memo spell out?
ELLIOTT: Right. So this is a Colony memo dated February 2017. So right after Trump is sworn in, right after the inaugural. And what it is a plan essentially for Colony to profit off its relationships with Donald Trump, the administration on the one hand, and foreigners on the other hand. So they actually lay out in explicit terms that they want to establish a big Washington presence although they say we don`t want to have the appearance of lobbying.
And they essentially say they`re going to put themselves in the middle of meetings and events where both administration officials and foreigners are present and they`re somehow going to profit from this.
HAYES: Here`s a little bit of the story calendars obtained by the watchdog group American Oversight show Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met at least three times Colony executives in the four months following inaugural. And April 14th meeting with Mnuchin in a private room in the Georgetown restaurant Fiola Mare included the ambassadors of Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Also at the dinner Tom Barrack and Rick Gates.
HAYES: What`s Gates doing there?
ELLIOTT: Right. So Gates actually also helped to run the inaugural. Rick Gates who of course we now know has pleaded guilty I believe to lying and conspiracy charges. And then after the inaugural, Tom Barrack hired him as a consultant I believe at $20,000 a month to work for Colony in Washington. So then as you said, we see them having meetings between -- there are meetings with cabinet secretary and foreign officials which sounds a lot like what`s in this memo. Although I should say that the company is saying this was just a plan. We never --
HAYES: We never pulled the trigger.
ELLIOTT: We never -- we never pulled the trigger and a lot of this didn`t happen.
HAYES: But this meeting happened. A meeting with Tom Barrack, Rick Gates, the entire ambassadorships of the Middle East and Steve Mnuchin.
ELLIOTT: Yes. Actually a series of meeting happened between Colony executives and Steve Mnuchin. Those are just the ones we know about.
HAYES: You know, when you go back to Michael Cohen story which has been lost the memory which is that all these companies were paying him these like weird off book amounts of money, enormous sums of money, Korean airline company, right, that made -- I think made planes, was paying $500,000, all these other companies were. You start to get there sense of a little bit of a wild west between election day and into the early parts of the administration particularly in transition and the inauguration where no one`s got relationships with the Trump inner circle and the people who do are open for business.
ELLIOT: Yes. And I also think now that we know that the inauguration is under criminal investigations, they`ve got subpoenas this week, this show - - this sort of puts Tom Barrack who is the chair of the inaugural committee in a different light. It shows at least one person at his company was thinking -- was thinking up ways to profit off their access, essentially at the same moment as the inaugural.
It`s been widely reported that one of the things that investigators are interested in is whether foreigners gave money and whether they wanted to essentially buy influence and you know, some of what`s in the memo sort of sounds like that.
HAYES: And there`s already been a one plea deal for an American who admitted to making a straw purchases for an inaugural that on behalf of a Ukrainian politician to the inaugural committee. So that`s already been established as fact that at least one straw purchase happened.
ELLIOTT: Yes. Foreign money made its way into the inaugural. I mean, that is now we`ve learned. And what we`ve written about is that money from this nonprofit inaugural ended in Trump`s pockets through payments to the Trump hotel, over $1 million. It`s something we`re still looking at. But there actually -- I mean, the overall question about where the money went, I mean, that really has not been answered.
HAYES: Yes, there was -- the New York Times got its hand on some ledger that punitively accounted for every dollar. But did it?
ELLIOTT: You know, that was a good -- that was a good story and it did show there was a lot of crazy spending that I would put just sort of in the category of waste, you know.
HAYES: Right. Not like the craft but just ridiculous ways.
ELLIOTT: Right. But they didn`t lay out you know, where the entire $100- plus million went and there`s been no public accounting of that yet. And look, we know from the subpoena this week that prosecutors asked for materials about all the money that went in and out, in and out essentially.
HAYES: Final question. Inaugural committees are very loosely and lightly regulated but there are hard red lines. Like you can`t take foreign money for instance right?
ELLIOTT: You can`t take foreign money and actually there`s IRS rules about self-dealing. Like some of the money that went to the Trump Hotel, there are -- there`s laws around that.
HAYES: Fascinating. Justin Elliott, great reporting. Thanks for coming by.
HAYES: Coming up, fireworks today as we get our first glimpse of Democrats in power and the hearing begin. Plus the powerful moment from Congressman and Chair Elijah Cummings you do not want to miss. It`s incredible. That`s next.
HAYES: Democrats are back in charge of the House after eight years of GOP control and today we saw just how much things have changed. In the wake of news that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record ever, cooler only than the previous three years, and that the Himalayas could lose two-thirds of its glaciers by 2100. There were two hearings today in the United States Congress on climate change.
The first, the Energy and Commerce Committee in six years and the first of the Natural Resources Committee in nearly a decade. Over the Judiciary Committee, there was the first hearing on gun violence in eight years though tellingly most the Republicans didn`t bother to show up. And in the Oversight Committee, there`s a hearing on a new bill that would make it easier to vote among other things and included an impassioned defense of voting rights from Chair Elijah Cummings.
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REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: One year ago today, on my mother`s dying dead at 92 years old, former sharecropper. Her last words were do not let them take our votes away from us. They had fought -- she had fought and seen people harmed, beaten trying to vote, talk about inalienable rights. Voting is crucial and I don`t give a damn how you look at it. There are efforts to stop people from voting. That`s not right.
This is not Russia. This is the United States of America. And I will fight until the death to make sure every citizen whether they`re Green Party, whether they`re Freedom Party, whether they`re Democrat, whether Republican, whoever has a right to vote because it is the essence of our democracy. And we can play around and act like -- and guess what, I want to be clear that when they look back or in this moment 200 years from now, that there are those who of us who stood up and they`ll be able to say they stood up and said we will defend, they defended the right to vote.
Because you know what the problem is for so many people, their rights are pulled away from them, then they got to put in the laws and get them back. Pull away from them, what does that mean? They cannot progress rapidly. They cannot progress with the rest of society and all they`re trying to do is trying to control their own destiny.
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HAYES: Joining me now for more on today`s hearings, freshman Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado who participated in both the climate change hearing and a gun violence hearing today. A busy day for you a, sir. As a freshman, first let me start with Congressman Cummings comments. How central is this broad effort to enfranchise for H.R. 1 to what you view as the mandate of the Democratic Party`s new majority?
REP. JOE NEGUSE (D), COLORADO: Well, thank you for having me Chris. I think it`s the core of our agenda in this 116th Congress. As you know, Chairman Cummings is incredibly eloquent and today was no exception. I thought his remarks were so powerful. You know something that is often lost I think on folks is the reality that we have many civil rights heroes serving in this congress, people like Elijah Cummings, our whip, Jim Clyburn, of course John Lewis. And so when you hear them speaking out, as the chairman did today, with such passion and such credibility on the issue it`s because they were on the front line
So and of course and the fact that the hearing today in oversight took place on a HR1 speaks to how important that bill is to the House Democratic agenda and 116th Congress, so it is foundational in my view.
HAYES: You were in a climate hearing today, which is I think the largest threat that the country and planet faces, above anything else. The IPCC says we have 12 years to cut emissions in half. There hasn`t been a hearing in six years in one committee, eight in the other. What was it like to talk about the topic?
NEGUSE: You know, as I said during the committee hearing, it was a breath of fresh air. You know, i believe, as you do, Chris, that climate really is the defining issue of our time. I think about it as young father as I know you are, my wife and I have a six month old, and the world that she will inherit. And so again -- you know, when you think of last year`s election, the voters spoke in a very resounding way, that they wanted leadership, that they wanted a congress that would tackle the big problems. And there is no problem bigger than climate change.
So the fact that the natural resources committee, of which I`m a member, held its first hearing and the fact that was on a climate change again speaks to resolve of the House Democratic caucus in making really progress and moving the needle on some of these incredible challenges that we face as a country and as a world.
HAYES: I want to get to the gun hearing in a second, but just to follow up on that. What is your understanding of the purpose of these hearings? It`s divided government. I don`t think Mitch McConnell is going to move a climate bill. That means crazier things have happened in American politics, but that`s just my guess
What do you see as the role of what you`re doing over in the House where you do have a majority and have control of the committees?
NEGUSE: Well, I mean, one, I think it`s two-fold. I think first and foremost, I think we intend to get things done for the American people. And I know we`ll talk about the gun violence prevention hearing in a moment, but that bipartisan background check bill, HR8, that we heard today has many Republican sponsors. And if I think if we build enough pressure, we could get that across the finish line in the House and in the Senate.
But, you know, second reason that these hearings are important is ultimately shining a light again on these vexing public policy challenges that we face. And so today`s hearing, the ability to bring in scientists so that we can ultimately hear the facts and we can talk about about an issue like climate change, it`s incredibly important for the American people to be able to hear those witnesses and for us to give them that platform.
HAYES: Final question. You referred to the gun safety hearing today, it was sparsely attended on the Republican side. There are Republicans co- sponsors on the underlying legislation. One attendee is a congressman from Florida who sort of has developed a reputation for himself as a bit of a troll, I think it`s fair to say. I don`t even know if he`d disagree with the characterization.
I want to play a little bit about how he purported himself in the hearing and get your reaction to what it was like. Take a look.
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REP. MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA: HR-8 would not have stopped many of the circumstances I raised. But a wall, a barrier on the southern border, may have and that`s what we`re fighting for.
It was the fact that we have an immigration system that allows people to come here violently. We engage in...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be no comments.
GAETZ: Is there a process in the committee whereby if the very same people are repeatedly interrupting the time of the members, that those people will be asked to depart the committee?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Manual Oliver is the man you saw standing there in objection. He lost his son in the Parkland shooting. Matt Gaetz tried to have him thrown out What was that atmosphere like, congressman?
NEGUSE: Well, I found the remarks that were made by that particularly congressman deep disappointing. As you might imagine, I think as you know, Chris, my parents are immigrants. They came here as refugees. And so the notion that yet again when we`re talking about an incredibly important issue like the pandemic of gun violence in our country that you have folks on this side of the aisle who then default, again, to demonizing rhetoric around immigrants I just think is unfortunate.
And I wish they would have spent more time listening to the stories that we heard. You know, one of the survivors of the Parkland shooting was one of the witnesses who spoke today during the hearing and her testimony was so powerful there was not a dry eye in that room, and I wish -- I wish they`d spend more time listening to those folks then, you know, bloviating about immigration and so forth.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Joe Neguseof Colorado, a freshman who is now working -- the shutdown is over, you`re working. You`re in it. It`s good to have you, congressman.
NEGUSE: Good to be here, thanks again, Chris.
HAYES: All right, still to come as the top three officials in Virginia are embroiled in scandal, I`ll talk with presidential candidate Julian Castro about the crisis of leadership in the Democratic Party ahead.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, if you thought the president was a little robotic last night, that might be because he wasn`t in love with the speech either. Apparently it wasn`t mean enough.
The New York Times reports as Trump and his team drafted his address in recent days, he groused about the text, complaining it was too gentle on Democrats. The president insisted on sharpening some of the lines in the speech and rebuffed aides who urged him to congratulate Ms. Pelosi on her ascension to speakership.
The president does have a history of trying to change the script, like the time Conan O`Brien`s team wanted him for a comedy bit to just pour himself a glass of water.
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TRUMP: You didn`t think of that, did you? All right. Is that OK with you? Why not?
Do you like it or not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll keep that as an option.
TRUMP: I thought that was very funny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`d say it`s more funny hmmm than it is funny ha-ha.
But Trump always knows more than the writers, which is why he tried to rewrite the words of the animatronic Trump at Disney World, and that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: One Thing since November 2016 that can never be undone is that robot Donald Trump will have a permanent place in the Disney World Hall of Presidents. There`s an animatronic version of every U.S. president in there, Nixon, Jackson, and of course 45 himself.
And the Happiest Place on Earth did face a backlash when it brought in robot Trump. There were a lot of complaints that it didn`t look much like him, even a conspiracy theory that Disney had prepared a Hillary Clinton robot and had to rework it in the last minute.
Mostly, the animatronic is just a little -- a lot creepy.
But what it says is harmless enough. The robot`s voice is Trump himself.
We`re learned recently, however, the president wanted to inject an extra bit of Trumpiness into the script. Former White House aide Cliff Simms explains in his new book Trump wanted his robotic likeness to tell Disney goers that Americans had invented the skyscraper and to remind them of his own career in real estate.
Quote, "then I can add a little, which of course I know a thing or two about, all right," Trump suggested his robot say.
Simms reports Disney brass objected to the request saying that Americans hadn`t actually invented the concept of skyscraper. One protested it`s just a taller building.
So, is robot remain presidential, at least, it was happily ever after in the Magic Kingdom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Constitution of the United States, so help me god.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lock him up. Lock him up. Lock him up. You`re not real. Lock him up. Lock him up. Lock him up.
TRUMP: ...defend our freedom. (inaudible) independence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yesterday, a federal judge toured the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, it`s a federal jail where the more than 1,600 inmates inside suffered through a week of no electricity and limited heat with temperatures outside near zero.
After an outcry as this dawned on people`s realization from activists, and family members, politicians and lawyers, the heat and the electricity was restored Monday. But a whole lot of questions remain about how it happened in the first place and crucially what it says about the management of federal prisons.
Our own Trymaine Lee went to talk to some of the folks who had been inside and outside and trying to get answers.
BETSY GINSBERG, ATTORNEY: I was here in the Metropolitan Detention Center Sunday morning meeting with my clients. They were locked in for virtually 24 hours. There was no heat in most of the units. My client told me that they were receiving one meal a day, often a cold meal. I`ve heard from him and other stories of retaliation against people who have spoken out, people who have been attempting to communicate with the protesters outside.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: what kind of retaliation, like a physical retaliation?
LEE: From corrections officers?
GINSBERG: From corrections officers.
He also told me that there were several days where there was no potable water in the cell, and remember they were locked in to those cells all day.
JUMAANE WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: You walked in and you speak to some of the people who are there, they hadn`t showered in three days. I can only imagine what it felt like days before when there were Arctic temperatures or that same night when it got cold and there was no heat and there was no lights.
LEE: It`s an emergency now.
WILLIAMS: It`s been an emergency. Pretend this is your house or pretend that 1,600 people live there, you get it fixed. The lack of urgency for the humanity of the entire place was appalling.
LEE: No one seemed to care?
WILLIAMS: No one, it just -- there has to be an investigation of what took place and why. Why are there no emergency plans for people who in buildings that are incarcerated?
KIRSTEN FOY: Congress has a role to play here. What happened to the emergency response plan? Was this the tone set from above? We have a president that told police don`t worry about being careful with the prisoners. Bang their heads. And these are people just been arrested.
LEE: Do you think there is a trickle down when it comes to criminal justice from the top? Donald Trump down?
FOY: There`s no question about it. If you believe that your president has no respect and regard for communities of color or people who are incarcerated, you`re going to behave in a way that is enabled by that. . LEE: how much do you think the way this has been handled, because we`re dealing with vulnerable poor black and brown people mostly?
MYSONNE LINEN: I think that`s real a what it boils down to. The top brass does not value black and brown lives, how do we expect people who run underneath him to do the same?
FOY: We see even in the prison system we see the disparity. So, we see white collar criminals, so-called white collar criminals go the minimum security facilities that look like country clubs with fences around them. We come here and we see a facility that`s denying 1,600, almost 2,000 people, the very basics for human survival.
The difference clearly is race. The difference clearly is class and the priorities set by the administration to care for these people is reflective of how they see us.
HAYES: We should say we reached out to the federal bureau of prisons to get access inside the facility we were denied. We also asked for an interview, but instead the bureau released a statement today requesting that the office of inspector general should undertake a review of this matter to determine if the Bureau of Prisons responded appropriately to the heat and electricity failures at MDC Brooklyn.
Now, the man who runs the Justice Department, which controls that facility, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will go before an oversight committee this Friday. And the chair of the committee just so happens to be Congressman Jerry Nadler who toured the facility this weekend and was outside with the protesters.
I would say that Whitaker should come prepared with some answers.
HAYES: Political chaos in Virginia today where Ralph Northam has still not heeded calls to resign from fellow Democrats after the discovery of that racist yearbook image. And then today a woman named Vanessa Tyson, a political science professor, came forward to accuse the 39-year-old African-American Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault back in 2004. He denies that accusation, says the encounter was consensual.
Now Fairfax would be the next in line should Northam resign. And should Fairfax resign or decline to ascend, the next in line would be the state Attorney General Mark Herring, who today released his own statement admitting to dressing in black face while he was in college at age 19.
The Democratic Party in Virginia and around the nation is painfully struggling in real-time with what it means to be truly a party of gender equity and multi-racial democracy and the standards it sets for elected officials in the party itself.
Joining me now, the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for Northam to resign, Julian Castro.
Good to have you here.
JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER HUD SECRETARY: Good to be here.
HAYES: You were first out of the gate when the image came forward. Did you -- are you comfortable with the call you made?
CASTRO: Oh, yeah, I am comfortable with it. The -- just so you know how I made it, first of all, we had somebody who did this when he was a medical school student. This is not somebody who was 15-years-old. It was in 1984. And so we`re not talking about 50 or 60 years ago. And also, to me one of the significant things was he did not come forward affirmatively. This is -- somebody did this research and brought this forward.
CASTRO: If he had come forward and said, look, I messed up, you know, and I`ve learned since then, that might have been different. But those are the things that I thought about.
I think maybe the most important thing is -- and you alluded to this a second ago, that the party is struggling through this, we are the party that respects everybody and that says that everybody counts. And we`re trying to live by that example. This is part of that. And this could be painful. We`ve had instances over the last couple of years that have been painful, that have been messy. But I am confident that at the end of the day what we`re going have is not only a stronger Democratic Party, more importantly, we`re going to have a stronger country that lives by these values of respect for everybody.
HAYES: I want to say that -- I want to offer some sort of arguments I hear from folks in the Democratic Party and Democratic base here and have you respond to them. They`re not necessarily what I believe. I think it`s a complicated situation. I hear from folks all the time, Al Franken, who are angry about what happened to Al Franken, things that shouldn`t have happened. It was unfair. And look who is the president of the United States. What is your feeling about that?
CASTRO: Well, number one, I would say that we always have to take these things on a case-by-case basis, right, but you have to look at the evidence that you have in front you. In this case of Northam, he acknowledged on Friday that that was -- basically acknowledged that was him.
HAYES: Although he seems to have moonwalked that back.
CASTRO: You know, said something different. When they did this, how they did it, all of that matters.
I guess in some of the critique,what I do hear and I understand is people saying, look, for a long time, when claims like this came forward, the problem was that nobody took them seriously.
CASTRO: Right. There was this culture of dismissing them that was wrong. What they say is we understand now. They shouldn`t be dismissed. They should be taken seriously. But we need some way of figuring out a process of figuring out when should somebody resign, when do we act and when do we not.
And to be honest...
HAYES: do you feel you have that figured out? Like in the case of Justin Fairfax, do you have an opinion about what Mr. Fairfax should do?
CASTRO: Do I have all of that figured out? No, I don`t. And I think that your description is accurate, that right now we are -- we are going through this process. I don`t know if I would only say struggling, but I would say thinking through how we do that.
I read through Dr. Tyson`s statement. I`m inclined to believe her statement. I believe that it`s credible.
Now, he has denied that. My hope is there will be some process to get to the bottom of that. He has said now he is saying he takes it seriously. I think that we should all take it seriously.
And, you know, if -- if we don`t take these claims seriously, then we`re going back to this time when in every workplace in America they can be dismissed.
CASTRO: We cannot go back to that place.
HAYES: You know, one of the other things I hear, and people have emailed me a lot who have been watching the Virginia story unfold, but also other things, this kind of time warp discomfort people have, right. How do you -- what do you do when you were 21 or 25? And if that came out, you wanted to are your life destroyed about that?
Like is there a -- do you think about these things in terms of statute of limitations? Do you think of it in terms of your own life? Did you run through in your head as you were preparing to run for president, like, what have I done?
CASTRO: I think everybody does that. And nobody is perfect, right. I think all of us at different points have done things you have to go back and think, oh, well -- and also because I think it`s fair to say that...
HAYES: Do you want to tell me what those things are?
CASTRO: I`m sure the oppo book is there. It`s there, Chris.
No, I mean, to be clear, I have not dressed up in black face.
CASTRO: I have not harassed individuals. But this is an opportunity for all of us to demonstrate that we take claims seriously, and also, I think to get to a point where we understand how to handle, seriously handle these claims and ensure that there is fairness and justice in the end.
The other thing I would say, and this came up in the Northam conversation is that it`s -- it`s different to forgive, accept and forgive an apology and for somebody to stay in a position of trust and authority.
HAYES: You mean, the distinction about how you feel about the human being in a sort of redemptive sense, like, should the person be canceled. Do I write them off and should they be the governor of Virginia?
CASTRO: That`s right. I believe in forgiveness. I believe in redemption.
Is it always appropriate for that person to remain in his or her position of power? Usually it`s a guy like this. No, it`s not appropriate.
And I think the problem, one of the problems for Governor Northam, is that he can no longer lead the state of Virginia effectively. And the people of Virginia deserve a governor who can lead effectively.
HAYES: Do you think this will -- do you anticipate this playing out in this primary?
CASTRO: Well, I think it is already. One of the reasons that I came out when I did was because I believe that it`s important for us to lead with our values. And if we`re going talk the talk, we need to walk the walk. So, yeah, I think in different ways.
HAYES: Julian Castro, former secretary of HUD and running for president of the United States, based out of San Antonio, good to have you here in New York.
CASTRO: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Come by any time. Thank you.
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