Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 11, 2019 Guest: Lachlan Markay, Sabrina Siddiqui, Michelle Goldberg, Nick Ackerman, Natasha Bertrand
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what work? A wheel and a wall.
HAYES: The wall salesman meets the resistance at the border.
REP. BETO O`ROURKE (D), TEXAS: We will meet lies and hate with the truth and a vision for the future.
HAYES: Tonight, Beto and Trump and negotiations over what could be another shutdown over Donald Trump`s wall.
TRUMP: I will take the mantle.
HAYES: Plus, big new clues from the Mueller probe pointing at collusion with the Russians.
PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: That`s what he said, that`s what I said, that`s obviously what our position is.
HAYES: And new reporting on the source of the Bezos, leak to the National Enquirer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t discuss who the source was.
HAYES: And what it could mean for the President.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: If they are prosecuted for being part of the Michael Cohen conspiracy, bad news for the President.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes in just a little bit, President Trump will be touching down in El Paso, Texas. That`s the city that he lied about in the State of the Union not even a week ago, falsely claiming it used to have extremely high rates of violent crime. And there he`ll hold a rally to deliver the same old shtick he has been doing for months.
During which time, we should note, he has managed to torpedo his approval ratings, do a political faceplant in the shutdown and convinced people in the middle that actually the Democrats are better on immigration. So now with only three days to go until another deal or another shutdown, Trump is going back to the border.
This weekend blessedly for once a rare moment of complete total clarity and candor about what this entire standoff is all about. Rather than the fake statistics, rather than the lies, rather than the lurid gross made up stories stolen for movies about women with tape over their mouths, the president just came out and said what it`s about, what it`s always been about.
What it`s about for Steve King, what it`s about for Steve Bannon, what it`s about for Stephen Miller, and what it`s about for President Trump, what it`s about for his base. This is what the President tweeted on Sunday morning. Gallup poll, open borders will potentially attract 42 million Latin Americans. This would be a disaster for the U.S. We need the wall now.
Not criminals, not illegal immigrants, not human traffic jurors, not drug dealers, no, Latin Americans. That`s the problem to the president, Latin Americans. And that is the reason that you cannot really negotiate with the President because the fundamental thing that he doesn`t like, that his base doesn`t like is that these people, Latin Americans as the president calls them are in the country.
I mean, here`s the President`s former chief strategist Steve Bannon back in March of 2016.
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STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST, WHITE HOUSE: Isn`t the beating heart of this problem right now, the real beating heart of it of what we got to get sorted here is not illegal immigration as horrific as that is and it`s horrific. Don`t we have a problem, we`ve looked the other way on this legal immigration that`s kind of overwhelmed the country?
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HAYES: That`s it. That`s what it`s always been about. And now we`re getting closer to yet another shutdown for exactly the same reason as before. The President made a promise that Mexico would pay for a ridiculous unpopular border wall that they`re not going to pay for and he will shut down the government if he doesn`t get the money for it. Nothing has changed and only days before the next deadline it`s unclear we`re any closer to a deal.
Joining me now, Julia Ainsley, NBC News National Security and Justice Reporter and Victoria DeFrancesco lecturer at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs and an MSNBC Political Analyst. Julie, let me start with you. Where are things right now in the negotiations?
JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY AND JUSTICE REPORTER: They don`t look good. It seems in the last 48 hours the prospects of trying to reach a deal by the Friday deadline have become even more dim. And it`s weird, Chris, because the debate has really changed. We used to talk about the wall now. It seems that Democrats are willing to give at least a much smaller fraction of money to some kind of border security package, and instead the debate is over beds for ICE detention space on the interior.
Let`s be really clear about what that is. That is not for immigrants who are crossing the border illegally. If you were worried about those 42 million Latin Americans President Trump is talking about, that`s not what this is. These are people in the interior of the country, often people who have lived in the United States for a long period of time, some visa overstays, people who are arrested and then they`re held in ICE custody before they are deported.
And in this case, Democrats want to cap the number of beds, in other words limit the amount of space they have to hold people in ICE detention to just a little over 16,000. Because they want to limit the President`s ability to put people in that ICE detention and to deport them if they`re non- criminal.
AINSLEY: And they think that by putting that cap on it, he`ll have to focus on the hard criminals like President Obama did at the end of his presidency.
HAYES: Victoria, what do you make of the President sort of coming out and saying what he said about -- I mean first of all, the open border stuff is sort of nonsense and the number is not really right or impossible to project. But what do you make of that in its centrality of what the President is doing down the border tonight and what he`s doing in the last shutdown and maybe in this next one.
VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s about the red meat, Chris. In terms of going to his base he`s in a safe space -- safe space. He`s in a rally and he`s saying to his base, look, I haven`t forgotten about you. I`m here. We`re going to build the wall. These Democrats, you know, they`re trying to get in the way but we`re ultimately going to do it.
But what`s so frustrating from you know, understanding of immigration is that he talks about all of these 42 million Latin Americans coming over is he completely ignores the fact that immigration is about push and pull factors and that the United States has some very healthy pull factors especially in terms of employment at both ends of the economic spectrum. In terms of our high-tech industry and in terms of our low tech, in terms of farm workers needed to pick our fruits and vegetables, folks needed it in our construction industry.
And the e-verify solution, one that would be very low cost very easy to implement is completely absent from this discussion. But it`s a lot easier for President Trump to villainize the 42 million Latin Americans in persons of Latin American descent of which I am one than actually delve down into the real issues of immigration push and pull factors.
HAYES: So Julia, so when you talk about the border funding package, right, so they`re down to something like less than $2 billion. It`s unclear how they`re going to massage the fencing or not fencing. Republicans are claiming that Democrats have sprung this on them, the bed cap at the last second. But having reported a bit on it and you have as well, it has been something that Democrats have been talking about throughout this entire process.
AINSLEY: Yes, they`ve actually even been talking about this during the 2016 campaign. Amber reporting on ICE raids, some Democrats were a really critical of even Obama`s plans to raid at one point. He was the deporter in chief before he said at these priorities. And even with those priorities in place, Hillary Clinton used to criticize the mass arrests of immigrants that would make them feel unsafe in their communities and forced them underground and not have them cooperate with law enforcement.
So this idea has actually been put in place for a long, long time. This hasn`t been sprung on them at the last minute. The one thing I will point out though is that Democrats right now what they`re trying to do is use the power of the purse because they don`t have the power of the White House. When they had President Obama in the White House, he could reprioritize and he said that I should only go after the most serious criminals.
And we`ve seen a shift since 2016 to the last fiscal year when you go back and look at the data. The number of non-criminal immigrants in ICE detention has risen. It still only makes up a little over ten percent of those people, but even the criminals aren`t as serious. They`re not people who pose natural security threats. The number one conviction or charge of people in ICE detention who are about to be deported is a DUI. Under that it could be a non-violent traffic offense or simply entering the country again illegally.
So all of this to say is no, this is not new from Democrats but this is them trying to use the power of the purse to try to force these priorities when they`re not in the position in the White House to do that through an executive action or you know God forbid pass legislation on all of this.
HAYES: Victoria, what do you think the rhetorical effect of the President`s arguments about this and he`s back again today in El Paso, have been on people`s understanding of the issue of the politics of immigration more broadly?
DEFRANCESCO: Right. Well, he`s simplifying the issue of immigration and he`s also confusing immigration and illegal immigration with the refugee and asylum system. So the caravans have been in the news over the past couple of months because we have seen large numbers of caravans coming to our southern border. But these are folks who are coming to seek asylum, to apply for the asylum process. They`re not coming over here to sneak over illegally.
In some instances, we do see that because folks are so desperate. They see the wait times going into six, seven, eight months where they might wait you`re across the border. But these are folks who are in a totally different category than the potent "bad hombres." They want to come over and make their case. So it`s very easy for President Trump to say they`re all undocumented immigrants, they`re all illegals, but the devils in the details here and really understanding these are asylum seekers.
HAYES: We should know that we`re at this moment, Beto O`Rourke and a bunch of community leaders are having a sort of counter-rally in El Paso where they`re sort of putting an anti-wall demonstration together. It`s a city that`s part of this binational community that has been extremely opposed on the whole to Donald Trump`s immigration agenda, to his rhetoric about the border.
That`s true of elected officials there I`ve spoken to, on the current member of Congress Beto O`Rourke who used to represent at the mayor and so forth. Julia Ainsley and Victoria DeFrancesco, thank you both. I really appreciate it.
Joining me now former Democratic Senator from Missouri Claire McCaskill. She is now on NBC News and MSNBC Political Analyst. It`s great to have you here.
CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
HAYES: OK, first question is given what happened when you were in the United States Senate with the DACA deal which was that the president sat there and said, you bring me a deal, I`m going to sign it. I`m not going to say I don`t like this, I don`t like that, then he ripped it up. Is -- can you make a deal with this president first as a just broad question?
MCCASKILL: Well, I think he wants to make a deal because there`s a couple of things we know he has fixated on crowd size and his polling numbers. And he knows his polling numbers took a deep dive because of all the chaos around his shutdown. So I think he wants to avoid another shutdown. So I think he stepped back and I think Mitch McConnell said let us get this. I think they`re close to a deal. I know they`re meeting again tonight.
The question is if the Democrats press this issue which I don`t disagree with, we`ve got to make sure the messaging is very clear. No one is opposed to putting serious criminals in prison. What we`re opposed to is finding a grandfather because you`re doing a sweep who 20 ago -- who`s overstayed a visa, lived in this country for 25 years, and 20 years ago he had a DWI.
We should not be spending money keeping him in prison. We should be focusing on the hardened criminals. We got to make sure that messaging is clear because up to now, the messaging has been very clear, Mexico is not paying for the wall and he`s lying about the facts.
HAYES: Right. Well, and it`s interesting you bring that up because one thing I think it`s funny inversion in these -- in these discussions is that it is extremely staggeringly expensive per bed per person in this system, $800 to $1,000 like what you would pay for the Ritz-Carlton. And so the question is like should we pay the money for your you know, example of your grandfather or all kinds of other people up $1,000 a day to put them in these facilities? Does that make sense as a use of the public purse?
MCCASKILL: Especially when you realize, Chris, the needs we have. I`ve been down to the border. I have talked to -- I`ve gone on night patrol with Border Patrol agents. I know what they told me. They were using night-vision goggles that had duct tape on them. I mean, need technology we need more personnel in the ports of entry, that`s where the drugs are coming through, not in the places between the ports of entry.
And most importantly more judges so we can facilitate these asylum claims in a more -- in a more quick manner so that we do not have people waiting around for months and sometimes years to have their claims heard.
HAYES: It`s interesting you just said that because I generally have heard Democrats, the sort of general Democratic message and it`s been the case since I`ve been covering immigration policy since the McCain-Kennedy bill back in -- back in 2006 is yes on border security. It`s important to secure the border and also these other things. And what that`s led to is a real increase in the money, the dollars and the labor force and the technology, and all the stuff is down at the border.
Is there a point at which you have to sort of start attacking that rhetoric head-on about this crisis and about the security problem down at the border?
MCCASKILL: Well, I think that`s what Beto is doing tonight and I think it`s great that he`s doing this. I know what Trump`s going to be worried about. The president is going to be worried about crowd size tonight. That`s the only thing he`s going to be worried about. He`s going to be furiously and frantically asking everyone how big is his crowd, how big is our crowd. That`s what he`s worried about.
The issue here is the resources are needed but there misplacing the resources. This is about priorities. We do want to get the fentanyl coming in this country. I want you to know the Department of Homeland Security under their own staffing models have woefully understaffed the ports of entry and they have positions to fill that are funded and they haven`t even filled them.
So the notion that we need all these many more agents between the points of entry when they haven`t even addressed the most dangerous part of the system is really frustrating.
HAYES: What is your sense of your former colleagues and the Democratic caucus in the United States Senate particularly where they are politically or what their stomach says at this moment because there was a lot of unity the first fight, the president claim credit for it in advance which I think sort of took a little bit of the load off Democrats in both houses. Where do you think they`re at, how they`re thinking about what the red lines are in terms of this negotiation?
MCCASKILL: Well, I like it that both dick Durbin and John Tester in the room. This is you know, a little bit of a yin and yang in a Democratic Party. This is why we hopefully will be successful in 2020 because we can welcome everyone into our party regardless where they are in the spectrum, center, a little left of center, very left of center. And I`m hoping that they will get the deal done because I do think -- I would rather the Congress agree on a deal and the President refuse to take it --
MCCASKILL: -- if something bad is going to happen than us having this deal fall apart at the 11th hour. So hopefully they`ll get this figured out tonight and can move forward before Friday, and then who knows if the President takes it.
HAYES: Well, that`s the thing, right? That`s the thing. I talked to Barbara Lee who`s on this program you know, just a few days ago when she was on the first day of the conference committee and who knows, right? I mean, they can work out a deal and it`s just totally unpredictable whether president decides to rip it up as he`s done now three or four times on this very issue.
MCCASKILL: He`ll have to call Laura Ingraham and find out if it`s OK. He`ll have to call you know, Bannon and Stephen Miller will have to decide if it`s OK. If it`s not, then he`s going to be forced to declare an emergency and then we do have a constitutional crisis that will obviously on the courts for some period of time.
HAYES: Senator Claire McCaskill, a great pleasure to have you on this program. I`m really glad that you make some time.
MCCASKILL: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Come back anytime.
MCCASKILL: You bet.
HAYES: Right. We talked about the border so often and in our political conversations as if it is some place, but it`s a place that way the East Coast is a place. The Southern Border is 2,000 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, desert and mountains and farmland and cities and towns and rivers in concrete and scrub grass and sand.
To truly comprehend it, you have to see it for all its vastness which is what we are going to try to do this week. At this moment, we right now have correspondence driving the entire 1,933 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. And on Thursday night, I will be live in El Paso, Texas for a special report on the reality along that expanse. ALL IN America Live at the Border right here, 8:00 P.M. Eastern on Thursday night. I hope you`ll join us for I think will be a pretty epic show.
Still to come, new reporting on how the National Enquirer got a hold of those Jeff Bezos text and what the president might have known about the process. I`ll talk with one of the reporters who broke that story in just two minutes.
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O`ROURKE: No one tells our story better than we do and to the lies that the President offered in his state of the union about El Paso being dangerous before the wall, we are the living proof. Because it`s a safe community because we`re good to each other, we treat one another with respect, with dignity. This is powerful, this is positive, this is peaceful, this is the best for the country.
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HAYES: That`s Beto O`Rourke just a few minutes ago with our own Garrett Haake. He is part of that anti-wall rally and march that`s taking place in response to the President`s arrival in El Paso, a city of the he has as Mr. O`Rourke said lied about in terms of what has happened in that city. We`re hoping we can do more coverage of that, possibly talk to Beto himself and we`re down in El Paso on Thursday night so stay tune for that.
Now, the Daily Beast believes they might know who gave Jeff Bezos` texts to the National Enquirer. Sources saying Michael Sanchez, that would be the brother of Bezos` girlfriend Lauren Sanchez passed the messages on.
Further, that Michael Sanchez according to documents reviewed by The Daily Beast "believe me Enquirer pursued its story about Bezos with President Trump`s knowledge and appreciation. Here with me now, The Daily Beast reporter who broke that story Lachlan Markay. Lachlan, how do you know this and how solid are you that you this?
LACHLAN MARKAY, REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: We have multiple sources in AMI itself and an additional source who`s spoken at length with AMI leadership about this, all of them confirm that Sanchez was the source The Associated Press just reported that the internal probe that Jeff Bezos commissioned to find out who the leaker was here has also concluded that Michael Sanchez was the source.
And you know, you saw on Sunday the organization`s attorney going on George Stephanopoulos` show on ABC and not naming Michael Sanchez but narrowing it down so far that it was fairly clear to us who he was referring to, someone known to both Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez who`s been a longtime source of The Enquirer. That points -- that points directly at Michael Sanchez.
HAYES: So -- and the security chief for Amazon had appeared to make some intimations that there was a suspicion or a fear that some government intelligence apparatus had perhaps participate in a hack. Obviously, this would be exculpatory in that respect and a key distinction between the kind of worst-case theory of how this might have happened.
MARKAY: You know, my sources pushed back on that from the minute that started being floated and said that that investigation had never really seen any evidence that it was hacked or that a government entity was responsible for obtaining the texts.
Now there`s a separate question which is the National Enquirer did they pursue the story with the vehemence that they did and devote the resources that they did to it in to please some other party whether that`s President Donald Trump who of course AMI CEO David Pecker is longtime friends with, the Saudi government which we find out today was collaborating with the National Enquirer on a glossy issue that was very praiseworthy the Saudi royal family.
Those questions remain unanswered but they are ones that investigators are looking into in Jeff Bezos` circle of advisers that have been probing.
HAYES: So the sense that jumps out the most in your reporting is this. That that Sanchez -- that according to the documents you reviewed, that Sanchez was providing -- that Enquirer was pursuing its story about Bezos with President Trump`s knowledge and appreciation. What`s that mean? How could he know that?
MARKAY: This was Michael Sanchez speculating. You know, I don`t -- I don`t take it as him having direct knowledge of that fact but it`s worth noting that he`s also he has long-standing business and personal relationships to some notable people in President Donald Trump`s orbit chiefly Roger Stone, Carter Page, and Scottie Nell Hughes. So that`s something that --
HAYES: Wait, Michael Sanchez does?
MARKAY: He does. Yes. He formerly represented Carter Page and Scottie Nell Hughes and Roger Stone confirmed to us that the two of them are friends. And in fact we know from additional documentation in prior reporting that Michael Sanchez and Roger Stone were in touch about this story very shortly after it ran in the National Enquirer.
HAYES: OK. So, well, that because clarifying. I guess the question is how -- I don`t have access to my siblings texts. Certainly nothing of the order that is being discussed here. How exactly does Michael Sanchez got his hands on what is the digital property of his adult sibling?
MARKAY: That`s something we`re continuing to do reporting into and we understand folks in Bezos` inner circle continue to look into. The answer right now is we simply don`t know and it`s something for either Bezos` team or the law enforcement authorities that they`ve now referred to their findings to that you know, those are people who might potentially be looking into that question. But as of now, our reporting hasn`t uncovered that.
HAYES: Two more questions. One, on Sanchez, do we know definitively one way or the other whether he was freelancing here which is I liked President Trump, I`m a supporter of President Trump, I`m stumbled into this situation that may prove embarrassing for someone that I perceive to be an enemy of the president which is weird and creepy, or at the direction of anyone or as part of some sort of you know, up essentially?
MARKAY: Yes. This is one of many questions that remains outstanding. Michael Sanchez you know, can go on his Twitter account and see he`s a very outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump. He shares Trump`s distaste for the fake news, mainstream media, but we don`t know what was in his head when he decided to leak these texts.
Of course, The Enquirer in the past has been known to pay sources for major stories so that`s an option that we`re looking into as well. But as of now, you know, we haven`t been able to report definitively what is his motives were. Of course the other question is the National Enquirer`s motives in all of this and closeness with President Trump is factoring into questions on both of those fronts.
HAYES: Yes. And I was going to ask you about the legal exposure. Briefly, do we know what this means for their non-prosecution agreement in the Southern District or other legal exposure they have?
MARKAY: Well, the big legal exposure, of course, is going to come from allegations from Bezos himself that they attempted to extort or blackmail him into shutting down this investigation. Now the investigation is out there. I`m not sure that there`s much they can do on that front except release more photos. It doesn`t look like they could do that at this point. But yes, we`re told that the SDNY, the Southern District is looking into that.
HAYES: There are a bunch of questions that it is extremely important answer about how this whole thing went down, they just want to say for the record since I was sick last week while this was happening. Lachlan Markay, thank you very much.
Next, the newly released Mueller transcript offers a rare look into Special Counsel`s investigation including one, particularly eye-catching detail. The biggest revelations after this.
HAYES: One of Robert Mueller`s top prosecutors just offered a tantalizing glimpse of the sealed black box of the Special Counsel`s investigation according to the redacted transcript of the close hearing last week. The Prosecutor said the following of a meeting that took place on August 2nd, 2016 between Paul Manafort then still the chairman of the Trump campaign, Rick Gates another campaign aide, Manafort`s deputy, and their Russian- Ukrainian associate Konstantin Kilimnik "this goes to the larger view of what we think is going on and what we think the motive here is."
This goes I think very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel`s office is investigating. He continued. There is an in-person meeting with someone who the government has certainly proffered this court in the past is understood by the FBI, assessed to have a relationship with Russian intelligence. That meeting and what happened at that meeting is of significance to the Special Counsel.
Now, other than a reference to "Ukraine stuff," all descriptions of the substance of what appears to be that very consequential meeting are heavily redacted. But we have gotten hints from previous court filings including the one that Manafort`s lawyers failed to redact properly, remember that one?
It says Mr. Manafort conceded that he discussed or may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik with more than one occasion. One exhibit attach another filing showed that Manafort had edited a word document entitled new initiative for peace and in an on-the-record interview not long after the President`s inauguration. Kilimnik said he had drafted a plan to bring peace to Ukraine in the nearly three-year-old conflict with Russia.
To help understand what this tells us about the Mueller investigation, I`m joined by Natasha Bertrand, staff writer for The Atlantic, covering national security, and MSNBC legal analyst Nick Ackerman, former Watergate prosecutor.
Natasha, I`ll start with you. What do you take away from this as someone who`s covered this very closely?
NATASHA BERTRAND, THE ATLANTIC: Yeah, Chris, so two big takeaways from this. The first, obviously, is that Manafort was sharing very detailed polling data with Rick Gates during the election. Why is that? And his lawyers actually did a major flip-flop on that issue, at first saying that this polling data was largely public, that it was nothing really nothing proprietary, but then during that hearing saying that actually this was very detailed and very complicated, prompting the judge in the case to say, well, that is exactly what concerns me. Why is Paul Manafort lying about this if it is just simply public and of no real consequence?
The second thing we learned, of course, is about that peace plan. And I think that that could do a lot to inform what we know about that mysterious kind of Ukraine platform change at the RNC in July of 2016. I think that there was a concerted effort underway for the campaign to mend relations with Russia by pushing on the side of everything that they were already doing a potential plan to lift sanctions.
And then what would happen is Russia would get out of Ukraine, it would be this big, you know, quote/unquote peace plan. But it just seems to all kind of come together now that we know that Manafort was pursuing this not just in 2016, but well into 2018, for his own benefit, as well as for Trump`s.
HAYES: Yeah, this timeline here, according to the judge, Judge Amy Rue Jackson in that hearing transcript, they met August 2, 2016 -- which, again, think about how weird that is, just out of nowhere. You`re running a presidential campaign and your old like Ukrainian Russian deputy comes to meet with you so you can talk about granular data about the state of like -- at that point, normally, you would be like, I`m a little busy, buddy, let`s do something in December. How about we get together in December, but no, they meet there. They meet in December 2016, January, February, and winter in 2018.
Nick, you have said, it has been your contention from the beginning, it`s all about the sanctions. Russia is obsessed with the sanctions. The quo they want is sanctions relief. So what do you hear when you hear peace plan?
NICK ACKERMAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: What I hear is this is the quid pro quo for Russia`s help to the Trump campaign during the election. And this all started back on December 1 of 2017, when Michael Flynn plead guilty. He plead guilty to lying to the FBI about the Russian ambassador and sanctions.
HAYES: Sanctions, right. He lied about whether they were going to lift sanctions or talk about sanctions.
ACKERMAN: Exactly. But the key piece was that Flynn also admitted that that lie was material, and materiality is a critical element of lying to the FBI. The materiality of that was that it related to the FBI`s investigation into the coordination between the Russian government and the campaign, all of which says to me, what they`re looking at here is the quid pro quo, what the Russians are giving to the Trump campaign because the Trump campaign is getting help from the documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee.
HAYES: So that has been your theory of the case for a while. And there`s lots of reasons, I just want to be clear, like, you`ve got Flynn lying about the sanctions, you`ve got the Trump Tower meeting was about lifting the sanctions, it was about adoption, you have got back-channel conversations through the transition that are about the sanctions, you have got them coming in, we know that the Trump administration`s efforts when they came in was to lift the sanctions. We know there was another secret peace plan being floating that maybe went through Michael Cohen to Michael Flynn, and Felix Sater was somehow involved in, another peace plan to resolve the sanctions. So, this is a theme that emerges here.
ACKERMAN: What really messed them up was on December 28 when President Obama put more sanctions on the Russians. And that had them all scurrying back and forth with Kislyak, calling Flynn in the Dominican Republic, Flynn calling his assistant, T.K. Roland in Miami, at Mar-a-Lago, and they all come up with this crazy story that ultimately results in Flynn lying to the FBI about this lifting of sanctions.
HAYES: Natasha, there`s the huge thing to me also is the centrality of Kilimnik, and the idea that the Kilimnik/Manafort relationship, there`s so many different people, so many different people, so many different players to keep track of, this transcript makes me think that that is at the heart of the collusion investigation, if, in fact, that is what they find.
BERTRAND: It certainly could be. And, of course, Kilimnik is associated with Russian military intelligence, the same Russian military intelligence unit that hacked the DNC in 2016. And that, of course, you know, it might not just be because he went to a school in, you know, the `70s or `80s that produced GRU agents, it might just be, we just don`t know, that he has ongoing ties to Russian military intelligence. That certainly seems to be what Mueller`s team thinks.
And we haven`t seen all of that information, but I think that Mueller`s team is also particularly shocked about the fact that Manafort, while he was clearly in legal jeopardy, was continuing this project with Konstantin Kilimnik to try to lift the sanctions on Russia and bring back Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted president of Ukraine, to reinstall him, essentially, and divide Ukraine, in order to have a puppet there.
And, you know, the sanctions issue goes even beyond just the quid pro quo of having the emails released during the election, it also go to Trump`s business deal. He wanted to build a Trump Toward Moscow, that would have been easier with sanctions lifted. Michael Flynn was also pursuing a nuclear power plant energy project that would have benefited from the sanctions being lifted.
So everyone in Trump world seemed to have wanted this. And it seems that when the spotlight started to actually get on them, especially when this Michael Cohen peace plan thing blew up in, you know, early 2017, then they started to be pressured by congress, especially, to re-implement the sanctions and codify them.
HAYES: So there`s another moment here I want to talk about, and it has to do with what were Manafort`s lies, right? So the hearing that we have a transcript of is a hearing about the breach of the agreement, right? And basically that Manafort agreed to be truthful to cooperate and Mueller`s team says he was not truthful, he was a liar. Manafort`s team says, well, he misremembered stuff or he disemphasized stuff, but it`s all the truth, basically.
And one of the things here, and prosecutors say, Mr. Manafort gives an explanation for why it is that it end, that meaning, the discussion about the Ukraine peace plan, which is that, to use Manafort`s phrase, it was a back-door redacted, and because of that he was not going to countenance it. A back-door what?
ACKERMAN: I mean, it makes absolutely no sense. I mean, this really plays right -- the way to look at this, Chris, is that there are two conspiracies that have been charged against the Russian intelligence agents, one relating to the social media, the other relating to the theft and the staging and release of the emails.
You can basically put everything into this transcript, into those two conspiracies, whether it`s the social media, using the polling data. I mean, that wasn`t given so that people could send out Christmas cards in Ukraine, this was given -- this is very detailed information about voters` likes and dislikes in particular areas of the United States that were critical to Donald Trump, so that he could suppress the Hillary Clinton vote.
The business about the break-in at the Democratic National Committee was all the same. The scope of that conspiracy, as alleged against the Russians, is the staging and release, not just the break-in. And that`s what`s being discussed. And that`s what Manafort lied about.
But keep in mind, the good news is, Rick Gates knows most of what Manafort knows and so does Michael Flynn.
HAYES: Natasha Bertrand and Nick Ackerman, thank you both.
Still to come, the normalizing of racism for the president and the first family, we`ll talk about that ahead.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the conservative local news giant that force its anchors to read commentaries that could have come straight from the White House press office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that CBS 4 News produces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But...
CROWD: We are concerned about one-sided news stories plaguing our country. This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Trump claims that Sinclair is, quote, far superior to CNN, even more fake NBC, which is a total joke, perhaps because Sinclair flat-out admits that it is here to deliver trump`s message.
Here`s trump with Sinclair`s chief political analyst, Boris Epstein.
(BEIGN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I actually say that the fake news media is truly an enemy of the people. It hurts our country tremendously.
BORIS EPSTEIN, SINCLAIR CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But the people see through it, don`t you think?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Don`t you think?
Epstein was a senior adviser for the Trump campaign and worked in the White House before turning his attention to news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EPSTEIN: Wouldn`t you want someone talking to you about politics, only if you had actually worked in politics and knew the people he was talking about? I know that I would want someone giving opinions about medicine only if they were an actual doctor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, you might think the doctor of politics would have the expertise not to say, get into a fight with an obvious parody account on Twitter, but if so, well, you just don`t know Boris. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So the chief political analyst for conservative local news giant Sinclair Broadcast Group, former Trump campaign senior adviser, Boris Epstein, thought he had Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dead to rights.
Epstein had seen a tweet, which read, "we will not stay silent on this reckless move by President Trump pulling out of the IMBD treaty with Russia."
Epstein saw his moment to pone the young Democratic star. Uh, you mean INF? IMDB is a movie database that you seem to be so desperately want to have a big profile on?:
Oh, you`re burnt, Alexandria. Only Epstein was responding to a parody account, as is well pretty darned obvious. It actually says the words "parody" right there on it.
And Boris should no better, he -- the parody of him on Twitter is a top search result.
But facing widespread mockery, Epstein insisted he had not been owned, no, no, don`t worry, I have not been owned, proclaiming that both of his points still stand. It`s called commentary. Look it up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EPSTEIN: Here`s the bottom line, I am proud to be the chief political analyst at Sinclair. My goal with every segment is to tell you facts which you may not already know and then my take on those facts. I am thrilled to keep sharing the truth and my perspective with you day in and day out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As you watch the continued right wing caterwauling about the Green New Deal, here`s what to keep in mind: particularly as all kinds of denialists and cranks talk about what is and is not serious. The bar for entry into the conversation for seriousness in said conversation is some framework, some proposal to reduce U.S. carbon emissions from human sources by almost half, 45 percent, from 2010 levels by 2030. That`s 11 years from now. Half of emissions. That`s what the international panel on climate change says has to happen globally to avoid the worst effects of climate change. And those effects of climate change, they are happening, and they are getting more visible and more present every day.
Here`s The Guardian writing up a new scientific study, the current site of insect life on the planet. The world`s insects are hurdling down the path to extinction, thanks to pesticides and, yes, climate change, threatening a, and I quote here, "catastrophic collapse of nature`s ecosystems." Doesn`t sound awesome, according to the first global scientific review.
Now, insects are one of the fundamental building blocks of our ecosystem, so spells trouble much higher up the food chain, as well. But if the future absence of insects is still a little bit of an abstraction to get your mind around, I present you this image, perhaps the most amazingly little expression of the threat of climate change. Yes, that`s a polar bear invading a Russian apartment buildings, nosing its way past a child`s stroller in the hallway. It`s part of a group of 50 polar bears who have made their way into town, because their habitat is too warm. The town has declared an emergency. That`s the new normal.
Dozens of apex predators looking for new places to eat because their habitat is literally melding away, so go ahead, continue to quibble over how tough it`s going to be to pass a Green New Deal. We have got all the time in the world.
HAYES: Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar has apologized for a comment she made on Twitter about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, of two comments, insinuating Republican support of AIPAC`s agenda and Israel was motivated by money, all about the Benjamins, baby.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, Democrats are still trying to figure out the path forward as that state`s governor Ralph Northam says he won`t resign over the blackface photo in his med school yearbook.
Those -- both of those stories were big stories today. They are big stories. What is not a big news story today is the vile racism coming from the president and his eldest son. The president once again tweeting out a racist slur at Elizabeth Warren followed by what appeared to have been a Trail of Tears reference, the horrifying ethnic cleansing carried out by our government.
Then his son enthusiastically responded to an Instagram comment about the president`s tweeting saying that Native American genocide continues with another murder by the president, har, har, "to which Don Jr. responded "savage."
Now, this is all disgusting, offensive stuff that would be a scandal in just about any other context.
Liz Cheney was asked about it, and she completely side-stepped the issue, called Warren a laughingstock. That`s because the president and his son being racist is kind of a dog bites man at this point, I suppose, from a news perspective.
Joining me now, Michelle Goldberg, columnist for The New York Times who has a piece out tonight called Ilhan Omar`s very bad tweets, and Sabrina Siddiqui, White House correspondent for The Guardian.
You know, it is striking the Omar news cycle -- like the president literally said he didn`t -- the president, the most powerful man, like, I don`t want Latin Americans coming and also used the Pocahontas slur.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right, but like you said it`s dog bites man. And I also think it`s that, kind of the bigotry and prejudice plays very different roles within the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, right. Prejudice, I write in my piece, sort of holds the Republican Party together, so it`s not politically volatile unless it goes way over the line like Steve King and they can`t explain it away anymore.
You know, whereas with Ilhan Omar, and I think both her tweets were bad and the reaction to them, the overreaction, the day-long news cycle -- which I`ve now added to -- was sort of nuts. But the fact is, is that there really is this opportunity that Republicans want to exploit to divide the Democratic Party over Israel.
HAYES: Well, I think there is more than that, too, and it`s the way it relates, Sabrina, to what is happening in Virginia, which is that the Democratic coalition is grappling in day in, day out, in putting together a pluralistic, multi-ethnic, multi-racial coalition that`s committed to gender equity, that takes seriously accusations of sexual assault, and tropes of anti-Semitism, and anti-black racism, and Islamophobia, and that means doing a lot of work all the time with the participants in that coalition.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: Absolutely. I think that there is a completely different set of standards within the two parties, and a lot of it has to also do with the constituents of both parties. And so while the Republican Party, it`s base is primarily comprised of white voters, Democrats have a lot more diverse of a coalition and so that changes how they respond to issues regarding race, regarding sexual assault, as you also rightfully pointed out. It`s not just the different response that you saw from Democrats with respect to Ralph Northam calling on him almost immediately to resign, with Ilhan Omar in condemning her tweets, even if you look back at the Al Franken controversy, which is now going to be a factor in the 2020 primary, soon as one of their own was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, they essentially, Democrats called on him to resign, whereas the president, of course, has been accused by as many as 17 women of sexual assault and Republicans kind of just look the other way in the same way that they`ve looked the other way that he says something that is xenophobic, that you can say is objectively racist.
And so you have, one, a different standards between the parties, and also just a different landscape and how they`re covered by the media.
HAYES: Yeah, for the final point I`ll just make on this, and we actually have some breaking news I want to get to, is just it`s also case that the principal here which is that this kind of behavior, or those sort of things that are antis-Semitic or traffic in anti-Semitic tropes or racism, that those are bad and you shouldn`t do them, and the right is caught in this weird sort of meta-analysis of like are you going to hold him to the same standards and then when they do, they`re like you`re going after someone for ridiculous -- like they don`t know where they stand on the issue.
GOLDBERG: Right, and then it puts people on the left in a difficult position of -- because you don`t constantly want to be like what about, right? Like Kevin McCarthy attacks on Ilhan Omar are so hypocritical, his own anti-Semitic tweets are so egregious.
HAYES: No, but you have to have a first order -- dealing with the thing.
GOLDBERG: Right, even though it sometimes kind of means that you`re going to enact different standards.
HAYES: Sabrina, I want to -- we have breaking news that was just confirmed, so this was sort of percolating in the background, which is that it appears those conference committee conferees who came together have the outlines in principle to avert a shutdown, that`s a big deal for a lot of reasons, not the least of which the president is about to take the stage in El Paso and he`s getting a message from Capitol Hill Democrats and Republicans saying we have got a deal struck here. What do you think that means?
SIDDIQUI: Well, it`s an agreement in principle, so it is not actually a bill. But Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, says that they have resolved the question of funding for some kind of barrier, as well as demands by Democrats that there be a cap on detention beds, some constraints on recourses toward detention facilities.
Now, we still don`t have details, so we don`t know what concessions either side has made, but the big question is going to be will it be sufficient for President Trump? And if it doesn`t include funding toward a wall, is he going to drag the country into yet another shutdown over what we all know is simply a promise that he made to his base.
And of course, there is still the open-ended question as to whether or not he declares a national emergency and that`s how all of this ends.
HAYES: It would be funny if the conferees were like we will build the wall when Mexico pays for it. That`s the deal we worked out, Mr. President. But he`s ripped up deals before, Michelle.
GOLDBERG: He has. I mean, although I have to think that -- who knows, right, he could decide to do it tonight.
HAYES: Who knows.
GOLDBERG: He might be totally kind of committed to taking this deal and then feel the energy in the room.
HAYES: Get in that room, I totally think that`s a possibility, exactly, because the wall started that way.
HAYES: The wall started as a thing that he...
GOLDBERG: As a rally device.
HAYES: So he might get out there and his advisers say you`ve got to take this deal, sell the deal, and he gets out there, the next thing you know he`s tearing up the deal in front of the assembled throngs.
Michelle Goldberg and Sabrina Siddiqui, thanks for joining us.
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