Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 15, 2019 Guest: Angelo Carusone, Michelle Goldberg, Carol Lam, Paul Butler, Stacy Mitchell, Josh Barro, Gavin Newsom, Maxine Waters, Cecillia Wang, Vincent Warren
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re going to be signing today and registry national emergency and it`s a great thing to do.
HAYES: The President undercuts his own emergency.
TRUMP: I didn`t need to do this but I`d rather do it much faster.
HAYES: As a backlash grows --
ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.
HAYES: And the lawsuits begin.
TRUMP: I shouldn`t be sued.
HAYES: Tonight, as the President leaves for golf, California takes him to court.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Fortunately, Donald Trump is not the last word.
HAYES: Governor Gavin Newsom and Maxine Waters will join me live. Plus, inside the new filings for Roger Stone and Paul Manafort.
PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER CAMPAIGN CHAIR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: That`s what he said.
HAYES: Why was Sarah Sanders meeting with Robert Mueller?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: I`ll get back to you on that.
HAYES: And making sense of Amazon`s decision to pull its headquarters from New York.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: I think it`s incredible.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from Los Angeles, I`m Chris Hayes. After failing to persuade Congress to fund his border wall, the one he promised Mexico would pay for, the President did an Enron around the legislative branch declaring a national emergency to repurpose federal funds for the wall. And in yet another unsettling and unstable performance in the Rose Garden, he admitted that the declaration was his answer to a political problem that has nothing to do whatsoever with security.
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TRUMP: I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn`t need to do this but I`d rather do it much faster. And I don`t have to do it for the election, I`ve already done a lot of wall for the election 2020. And the only reason we`re up here talking about this is because of the election because they want to try and win an election which it looks like they`re not going to be able to do. And this is one of the ways they think they can possibly win is by obstruction and a lot of other nonsense. And I think that I just want to get it done faster. That`s all.
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HAYES: In a sign of just how seriously the President takes the so-called emergency of the border, he hopped an afternoon flight to Florida to spend the weekend at Mar-a-Lago. White House says it will divert $6.7 billion from other government programs to fund the President`s wall which he has billed inaccurately as a way to stop the flow of illegal drugs into a country. Those diverted funds include $2.5 billion dollars for a Pentagon program to combat drug trafficking.
Democratic leaders in Congress vowed to fight the President`s power grab as they called it with every means available which could include forcing a vote in both chambers House and Senate on a measure to overrule the President. That is not a showdown that many Republicans are eager to face. The party`s already divided over the President`s unilateral move.
Some like Senators Rick Scott, Lindsey Graham, and Mitch McConnell now voicing support for the emergency declaration that`s to take power away from their own branch of government, while others like Senators Thom Tillis, Rand Paul, and Lamar Alexander announced their strong opposition. Still, others dismiss it altogether as an empty gesture by a fundamentally weak President.
One House Republican telling CNBC`s John Harwood Republicans and me are good. He undoubtedly will be enjoined from carrying it out and we all move on. Ann Coulter who actually wants a wall apparently and whose advice the President has sought and take took a similar though somewhat less satisfied attitude tweeting that the goal of a national emergency is for Trump to scam the stupidest people in his base for two more years.
Already the President`s emergency declaration is facing a barrage of legal challenges. The ACLU announced plans to sue, and California Governor Gavin Newsom responded the President, California will see you in court. And Governor Gavin Newsom joins me now from Sacramento for ALL IN exclusive. Governor, what is your state going to do about the declaration today?
NEWSOM: Well first, I`m just trying to process the fact that I`m agreeing with Ann Coulter for the first time, perhaps my lifetime. But California is prepared to file a lawsuit. California is prepared to call this what this is which is a theater of the absurd. California is prepared to continue to remind the American people this is a manufactured crisis, border crossings up to 2017 with the lowest level since 1971. The reality is at ports of entry most of these drugs are seized and California is prepared to work with the administration but not on a monument to stupidity a wall.
HAYES: You pulled the National Guard -- the California National Guard troops have been deployed to their mission down at the border. Why`d you do that?
NEWSOM: Because it was the right thing to do. Because we don`t want to participate in this show any longer. And the fact is the President of the United States announced that he wanted to put 3,750 additional military personnel on the border rather makes our 360 that National Guard troops look pretty trivial and insignificant.
Look, we just don`t want to play. We don`t want to be a part of this. We don`t want to be part of this theater. We don`t want to be part of this political you know, misdirection. California is better than that. American people I think deserve better and so California wants to stand tall.
HAYES: I want to ask you a question I asked Beto O`Rourke last night when I was in El Paso. There`s fencing in El Paso that separates El Paso from Juarez. It didn`t exist for a very long time. Only constructed in 2009 pursuant to the Secure Fencing Act back in 2006. There is fencing on your border. It`s about 140 miles total border and much of that is fenced in the state of California. And I want to play you what I asked him and then ask you the same question. This is what I had to ask O`Rourke last night. Take a listen.
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HAYES: If you could, would you take the wall down now here?
BETO O`ROURKE (D), FORMER REPRESENTATIVE, TEXAS: Yes. HAYES: Like you have a wall.
HAYES: Knock it down?
O`ROURKE: I`ll take the wall down.
HAYES: Have you think the city -- you think the -- it`s a referendum here in the city that would pass?
O`ROURKE: I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Would you take the wall down that is currently up in the California border?
NEWSOM: I`m not prepared to say that. I think in many respects it`s appropriate in certain areas, it`s inappropriate in other areas. That`s my opposition to 2,000 miles in the wilderness and unnecessary waste of resources time and energy.
But at these major ports of entry, I think it`s appropriate. I believe in border security and I believe there are appropriate places for barriers. But I do not believe that we should even be playing in to the current discussion particularly with the president that couldn`t even spend the money that Congress appropriated him last year.
He spent less than ten percent of the $1.7 billion Congress gave him over a year ago. He can`t even get that money invested. Why are we even having a conversation about additional investment or even this notion of an emergency.
HAYES: Let me zoom out for a second. There are question about the state that you now govern, a fifth or sixth largest economy in the world. There was a long time in which Republicans very powerful in your state. It was a conservative state for a long time. A lot of people think the proposition was put on the ballot sort of viewed widely as an anti-immigrant proposition turn the corner in that state made the Republican Party there increasingly toxic, has led to Democratic governance increasingly to the fact that now is unified. And many people see that as a warning signal to national Republicans.
As the governor in the State of California, is that your thesis as well?
NEWSOM: Yes. I mean, look America in 2019 reminds me a lot of California in the 1980s and 1990s, xenophobia and nativism. We had a governor at the time Pete Wilson that was promoting of Proposition 187 which with respect would make Donald Trump blush, Proposition 227. We were advancing aggressive crime measures like three strikes and you`re out. We were fearful of other people.
And now here we are. Fast track to your point, Chris, we are not only the most diverse state in the world`s most diverse democracy but we`re in a state where 27 percent of us our foreign-born, a majority minority state. Where we`re living together and advancing together quite well across every conceivable and imaginable difference. The only people that are not advancing together right now is a Republican Party which is quite literally third-party status now in California.
If that`s not a cautionary tale for the National Republican Party, I think it should be. Donald Trump is walking them off the same cliff our former governor of California walked the Republican Party off in the 1990s.
HAYES: I want to ask you a question about the presidential campaign of 2020. Obviously, presidential leadership key here. There are many candidates. Kamala Harris who represent your state in the U.S. Senate has received some prominent endorsements. Barbara Lee in the Congressional Caucus there. Dolores Huerta, the legendary labor organizer today announcing. Do you have someone that you`re endorsing in this presidential campaign?
NEWSOM: Yes. I`m very enthusiastic about Kamala Harris. And you asked me first so I`ll let you know I`ll be endorsing her candidacy for president. I know her well. I`ve known her for decades not only as District Attorney where she did an extraordinary job with a very progressive record, but I watched her up close as lieutenant governor when she served as attorney general and I have the privilege to working with her as a U.S. senator. I think the American people could not do better.
HAYES: That is news, am I correct? You have not said that yet?
NEWSOM: I haven`t said that publicly, no.
HAYES: All right. Well good. Well, thanks for coming on and come on anytime you want to make news, Governor. Governor Gavin Newsom of California, thank you very much.
NEWSOM: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: For more on the Congressional response to President`s emergency declaration, I`m joined by Democratic Congressman Maxine Waters of California. What are the discussions happening right now among Democratic leadership in response to what the President announced today?
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, let me just tell you there are discussions going on about a resolution of disapproval. That resolution of disapproval can be taken up by any house and voted on even if it`s not by sent to committee, and we can let this president know what we think about this fake emergency that he`s creating.
HAYES: The resolution of disapproval, which my understanding on this is because of the national emergencies act, right? It gives Congress a check. And then both houses end up taking it up. I mean there`s an opportunity here for the Democratic-controlled House to sort of force the Senate`s hand, is that right?
WATERS: Oh, absolutely. If we take it up, they must take it up.
HAYES: What do you think the politics of this are on -- in the country and on Capitol Hill? The President many people thought today looked rather weak. Like he was trying to explain a failure. What do you think?
WATERS: Well, I think that this president is literally being pushed by the right-wing conservatives that he listens to every day when he`s taken the so-called executive time and they`re saying to him if you don`t get this wall, you`re not going to be reelected.
And so he`s up against the wall by trying to make sure that he does everything that he can to make it look as if he`s fighting really hard to get this wall because he believes as they are advising him that if he doesn`t get it he`s not going to be reelected. He`s lied so much about this so-called wall.
First of all, don`t forget, he told us that he was going to build, a wall a big beautiful wall and he was going to make Mexico pay for it. Have the American citizen forgotten what he said? And now he`s trying to make the American citizens pay for this wall. Well, we`ve done a good job in negotiating this bipartisan legislation by saying you`re not getting any $5.7 billion. We`ll give you $1.375 billion. That`s all you`re going to get.
And so now he`s going to try and go to other agencies where money is appropriated and take that money from them to make up for this $5.7 that he did not get. So yes, he probably looked uncomfortable because he is uncomfortable. He can only lie for so much and for so long.
HAYES: What do you think the precedent is here being said, I`ve seen some conservative both politicians and writers concerned of about a Democratic president using some similar gambit for something like climate change or something else. What do you -- as someone who`s been served in Congress for a long time both in the majority and the minority, what do you think the precedent is?
WATERS: Well, I think that that`s what some of them are frightened of. And that`s why I really expect that we`re going to have a growing number of Republicans that are going to join with us in this disapproval. Yes, their concern that if a Democratic president gets elected, then they could use emergency powers to do a lot of the things that they don`t like.
And as you know, they don`t believe in climate change. As you know they don`t want us to talk about Medicare for all or any of those subjects that they think will spend too much government money even though they have created the largest debt that we have seen in government for many, many years.
HAYES: Congresswoman, one of your colleagues Gwen Moore of Wisconsin said something last night I thought was interesting. She said, if Trump circumvents Congress to declare a national emergency, it would be grounds for impeachment. This is a lawless president who`s threatening the constitutional authority of Congress and making a mockery of the separation of powers upon which our democracy is built. Do you agree?
WATERS: Oh, I absolutely agree. As a matter of fact, you know that I`ve been talking about impeachment for a long time. I am absolutely stunned and amazed that the American people are taking so much off of this president. This president has lied and I think it has been documented over 8,000 times in the last two years.
This president has committed obstruction of justice right before our very eyes. And if we could ever get Manafort to tell the truth, then we will find that they conspired to get Trump elected so that sanctions could be lifted off of Russia. President Obama created these sanctions, place them on Russia because of their invasion basically in Crimea and they can`t drill into the Arctic and do some of these things that they want to do. They don`t have the equipment. Our allies are working with us to honor these sanctions. And this is what this is all about.
The Americans have taken too much off of this president. He is dishonorable, he does not deserve to be President of the United States. As a matter of fact he loves Putin, he loves dictators. He loves Kim Jong-un talking about they`re in love now. And so it`s time for everybody to stand up. All hands on deck to refuse this president, these fake emergency powers that he`d like to have.
And so I`m urging everybody, get together. Rally in every community across this country all this weekend. Send a message to Washington D.C. No Mr. President, we`re not going to allow you to do this.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thank you very much.
WATERS: You`re so welcome.
HAYES: Coming up, the President admits that there`s no need for a national emergency while declaring said national emergency which will likely be a big problem for him in court. The many lawsuits that are starting to pile up in front the right -- White House right after this.
HAYES: The first lawsuits were announced just hours after the President announced his emergency declaration for border wall. Tonight, the list of organizations and states who either planning to sue the president or considering suing the president over his emergency declaration keeps growing and growing. I believe we actually have one lawsuit that`s already been filed.
One of those groups, the ACLU and their Deputy Legal Director Cecillia Wang joins me tonight along with Vince Warren Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. All right, a lot of -- a lot of criticism for this legally. Let me start you, Cecilia. What is your contention -- what`s the ACLU`s contention about the legality of the national emergency declaration?
CECILLIA WANG, DEPUTY LEGAL DIRECTOR, ACLU: President Trump`s declaration today is a bogus emergency and therefore is patently illegal. It flies in the face of the rule of law, the checks and balances that Congress has imposed on the President, and that`s why we`ll be in court next week to challenge it.
He`s invoking his powers under a law that Congress passed saying in the case of an emergency the president can use emergency funds for military construction in support of the emergency use of the Armed Forces. He as you said earlier before the break actually said at the very moment that he`s declaring this bogus emergency, I didn`t need to do this. By definition, that`s not an emergency and what he`s doing is illegal.
HAYES: Vince, we`ve seen before in cases, lawsuits against presidential actions, the president`s own words being cited in court particularly with regards to the travel ban which began as his Muslim ban. And courts which are usually not that inclined to sort of point to that have used presidential speech to say look, this is -- goes to the nature of the intent here. Did he hurt himself legally today with his admission that Cecillia just cited?
VINCENT WARREN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Oh, he totally did. And you know, what you don`t want as a lawyer is a client that will give a press conference and add three separate paragraphs to the complaint that the state filed against them right? Number one, I didn`t need to do it. Number two, I just wanted to do it fast and free because it`s politics.
Most certainly the President`s words will be included in the briefing and considered by the courts and primarily because in determining whether this is an emergency or not, context is important. We`ve been hearing from this president for weeks that at some point he`s going to declare an emergency. That`s not an emergency. You declare an emergency when there is one. This is a fake emergency. This is a violation as Cecillia said of the rule of law.
And frankly what I`m excited to see is that not just organizations like the ACLU, wonderful organizations and others, but we see States, we see cities. We would likely see private property landowners because even if the courts were to find that he had this power, he`s essentially saying that eminent domain is going to be used on the border.
One-third of the border is owned by the federal government, the rest private property states and Native American lands. And you just can`t take this kind of property on a whim for some fake wall because of a fake emergency. You just can`t do it.
HAYES: You know he -- the president did this very weird riff where he did a little federal procedure 101 in a kind of singsong today about how this case will go, that it will go to the district court in the appellate court and then up the Supreme Court where he had some confidence. What is your - - I mean there seems to be a sense among this administration that they`ve got the votes on the Supreme Court. Well, how are you gaining this out, Cecillia?
WANG: Well, I think President Trump in his singsong refrain really is recognizing that he -- what he`s doing is illegal. He is on thin ice or no ice at all and is falling through into the abyss. We`ve got people, members of Congress from right to left. You`ve got the National Review joining Maxine Waters in saying that this is possibly an impeachable action and we`re not going to comment on that.
But it`s certainly true that the president has repeatedly said that that the Supreme Court is going to come to his rescue. He claimed it during his government shutdown when he claimed that the court was going to intervene on DACA and they did not do so. And so I think the President is really counting his chickens before they`re hatched and he`s and he`s wrong on the law and he`s wrong on the facts, and hurting Americans in the process.
HAYES: From a constitutional perspective, Vince, here, what are the constitutional issues at stake? It does seem quite different from other national emergencies that other presidents have declared.
WARREN: Oh, it definitely does. And one of the key pieces is that Congress, of course, has the power of the purse. And one of the things that is impermissible constitutionally is for the president to circumvent that to get funding from other sources when Congress has expressly not given that authority.
Another piece of it is also with respect to private property in an eminent domain. And I think the third piece is that there are states that will argue that they are being harmed by these particular actions. And so you have a sort of a panoply of these types of constitutional claims that we think that are going to be raised in a variety of different case.
And I think you know, with respect to the Supreme Court question, the Supreme Court got it wrong on Japanese internment which was done although not under this statute, under national emergencies warrantless wiretapping. And essentially Trump has the criminal proclivity of President Nixon and he also has the power grab mentality of Dick Cheney. And whether or not the Supreme Court gets it right, this is going to be a problem.
HAYES: Cecillia Wang and Vince Warren, thank you both very much. Next the disastrous rambling in the Rose Garden today is exactly what happens when the president spends too much time watching his stories. I`ll show you what I mean next.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, could you tell us to what degree some of the outside conservative voices help to shape your views on this national emergency?
TRUMP: I would talk about it. Look, Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I did. Rush Limbaugh, I think he`s a great guy. He`s a guy can speak for three hours without a phone call. I tried doing that sometime. Laura has been great. Laura Ingraham. Dr. Carlson has been great.
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HAYES: It`s true what he said about Rush. It is hard to talk to three hours of ten calls. There were several notable moments during President Trump`s meandering speech today. For instance, the President`s take on potential legal challenges to his national emergency declaration.
TRUMP: I`ll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office and we will have a national emergency and we will then be sued and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit even though it shouldn`t be there. And we will possibly get a bad ruling and then we`ll get another bed ruling, and then we`ll end up in the Supreme Court and hopefully, we`ll get a fair shake and we`ll win in the Supreme Court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Did his brain break there? What was going on? That was weird. But if you are an avid viewer of a certain cable news program, the president`s words probably sounded pretty familiar.
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TRUMP: I`ll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office and we will have a national emergency.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: The national emergency would be challenged as we always see with the Democrats.
TRUMP: And we will then be sued.
HANNITY: They`ll get to the Ninth Circuit.
TRUMP: And they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit.
HANNITY: The President will lose the first round.
TRUMP: And we will possibly get a bad ruling and then we`ll get another bed ruling.
HANNITY: He`ll lose the second round --
TRUMP: And then we`ll end up in the Supreme Court and hopefully we`ll get a fair shake.
HANNITY: But in the Supreme Court, the president is on solid legal ground.
TRUMP: And will win in the Supreme Court.
HANNITY: I believe when it gets to the Supreme Court he`s going to win.
TRUMP: Look, Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For more on the nexus of Trump and Trump TV, I`m joined by Michelle Goldberg, op-ed columnist for The New York Times and an MSNBC political analyst, and Angelo Carusone, who is president of Media Matters.
Angelo, this is your vocation, your area of study. So, I guess my question is, who -- who is listening to whom? I can`t figure it out. Is -- does the president take the marching orders from Sean Hannity and the arguments? Does Hannity run the interference for him? Like, how does this work?
ANGELO CARUSONE, MEDIA MATTERS: Here is one -- I get this a lot, and here is one way to think about it. You know, Fox News, in particular, but Hannity and some talk radio, it`s the lens through which he sees the world.
So imagine if I had the power right now to make you think that a baseball was coming at your face, right. There is a reflex, you will react to that. And I think a lot of it is less about this direct instruction and more about shaping the world that Trump sees, and so the reactions are much more instinctual and consistent with what he is seeing.
And so that`s, to me, the biggest part about it is that it`s not so much that they`re the grand puppeteers, but in fact it`s even deeper than that, in some ways scarier, it`s that they`re actually shaping his entire world view, because that`s the lens through which he sees it all.
HAYES: You know, Michelle, I was in an airport today during this press conference, or whatever it was, and it was on and there were some people watching, most people ignoring it, scrolling through Twitter, and it`s one of these things where at the end of the day I guess we like play the little clips and we say, oh, the president said this and he made news on this, but the entire performance was just draw dropping and worrisome that if a friend or loved one talked like that, you would be really concerned.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES: It just shows how inured we are to the kind of catastrophic horror of this presidency. If you had kind of said, you know, in the days after Trump was inaugurated, when there was mass protests, that within two years he would be standing on the lawn of -- that he would be out there declaring a national emergency and also going on a bizarre rant about the advisability of summary execution for drug dealers, which was a part of this speech that didn`t even make headlines, because we are so used to just sort of fascist rants from this man, and we`ve -- in our numbness we can no longer really react appropriately.
HAYES: You also saw I thought, Angelo, today that, you know, people always say -- you know, people need to confront the president and calm him on his lies, and people do that, people did it today at the press conference, you know, what he -- there`s no -- there`s no shame and there`s no him saying I`m caught. He just says I have better statistics than you when, for instance, he`s called out on making statistics.
CARUSONE: That`s right. And the other part about it -- because there`s the other side of that coin, or the foundation for that is that has a really deep propaganda operation, and an entire infrastructure around him that will reinforce that for the people that matter most to him, right. I mean, you tend to -- if you`re a politicians, the people that have the most power over you are your supporters, that`s why he always talks about his base. And if he thinks his base is shored up and with him he can get away with anything. And that`s why you`re going to see Rush Limbaugh on the Sunday shows this Sunday, right, because he`s going to get out there and make sure that the base is seeing it the same way that Trump is.
HAYES: Do you -- Michelle, I think that the president overestimates -- I think he underestimates his own hold on people independent of Trump TV, and is part of what has backed him into this corner. What do you think?
GOLDBERG: You know, it`s hard to say. I mean, he was back to this language that I haven`t actually heard him use for a while about real Americans, right, real Americans support this. And so I think in some sense he`s incapable of really conceptualizing a -- the broad part of the country that has rejected him, right. And because -- and so it`s why he sort of hasn`t taken on board at all the rebuke that he suffered in the 2018 midterms, because even though most Americans reject this president, reject what he`s doing, to him once they reject him they stop being real Americans at all.
HAYES: There was also a kind of funny Coulter moment today, and again giving Ann Coulter attention, but she figures prominently in the president`s thinking, and he has cited her as the basis for much of his immigration policy, including her "Adios America" book. This is, Angela, what she had to say talking about the president digging his own grave. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE PUNDIT: More than any other presidential mandate in the history of the nation, Trumps mandate was to build a wall. No one thought, oh, look, he was the governor of the biggest state in the union, he was -- used to run the CIA, he was Reagan`s vice president. He was -- you know he was FDR`s -- no, it was one thing. The promise he made every single day at every single speech.
So forget the fact that he`s digging his own grave. This is just, look, the only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: I can`t help but note, Angelo, she omitted the fact that the promise also was Mexico would pay for it.
CARUSONE: Well, I mean, look, in some ways you know the word pay for can mean multiple things to Trump supporters, right. Initially, it meant that they were going to physically pay for it with money, but now it could just mean that he`s going to make them pay for it, right, revenge. And as long as they feel like he`s sticking it to them in some way, his base will be satisfied for that.
And it`s interesting that Coulter will go against him in this way. The part about it that I find interesting is that it will have a marginal effect, but not really, and that`s because unlike Hannity and Limbaugh, she doesn`t have a platform, right, she only gets to borrow a few minutes of other people`s platforms.
HAYES: Which is part of the reason that she also is liberated to go against him, interestingly enough.
HAYES: Michelle Goldberg and Angelo Carusone, thank you both.
Next, breaking news tonight, the special counsel`s team is recommending up to 24 years in prison for Trumps former campaign manager Paul Manafort. The details right after this.
HAYES: Breaking new tonight and the ongoing criminal cases, plural, against Trump`s former campaign manager tonight, just an hour ago, the special counsel`s office submitted its sentencing recommendation for Paul Manafort`s conviction on financial crimes in the eastern district of Virginia last year. Prosecutors are asking the judge for a jail sentence of approximately 19 to 24 years and a fine ranging from $50,000 to $24 million.
Mr. Manafort is 69. That could easily amount to a life sentence.
The sentencing request came as William Barr started his first day as Trumps brand new attorney general. He is now in charge of overseeing the Mueller investigation.
Joining me now, Carol Lam, a 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 Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor.
Carol, let me start with you. I guess, this is not technically a recommendation, the government saying essentially these are the guidelines and we agree with those guidelines. What do you think about the special counsel`s filing in the Mueller case today -- in the Manafort case today?
CAROL LAM, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA: Well, it`s really not a surprise, Chris, that they`re going for a very high sentence here. What`s shocking to me is that Paul Manafort has done pretty the worst job one can do in terms of defending one`s self against very serious criminal charges. He put the government to its test in taking him to trial. They prevailed in that trial on eight counts. He then said he would cooperate. He broke that plea agreement. He lied to the special prosecutor. The judge has now found -- the judge in that case has now found that he lied. And his attorneys made the special prosecutor`s team very angry by continuing to brief the president`s lawyers while he was purporting to cooperate with the special counsel.
So, its very clear that the special counsel feels they owe Paul Manafort nothing at this point, and they are going for a very heavy sentence and a lot of money.
HAYES: We got some transcripts from the hearing on Wednesday, Paul. And this is what the judge found in that, which I thought was interesting because it goes to the crucial issue of this meeting or contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik. "I find by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Manafort made intentional false statements to the FBI and the grand jury with respect to the material issue of his interactions with Kilimnik, including, in particular, the [redacted].
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, Chris, the stakes are really high here. Manafort is getting not book thrown at him, Mueller is throwing the whole library at him. And the question is whether Mueller is really that mad at Manafort`s failure to cooperate that he wants to lock him up for the rest of his life, or, on the other hand, is Mueller still hoping that Manafort will come pleading about this crucial aspect of the investigation.
So we know that the judge found that Manafort lied about his contact with Kilimnik. We also know that there`s this mysterious meeting, Kilimnik comes all the way from Russia to meet with Manafort at the time that Manafort is a campaign chairman. So why is the chairman of Trump`s campaign giving private polling data to a person with ties to Russian intelligence and then why is he lying about that when that lie is likely to send him to prison for the rest of his life?
HAYES: You know, there is also, Carol, there was an interesting ruling today where a government response for a motion Roger Stone`s case. Roger Stone basically saying, look, I have the same judge as the judge that has case of the indicted Russians who committed the hack, or allegedly committed the hack. We want a different judge. And then the government, the special counsel`s office responded by being like, no no, these are linked.
"The defendants arranged a release through Organization 1," that the defendants, meaning the Russians, Organization 1 being WikiLeaks, "some of the documents they stole, including documents from the Democratic National Committee. Defendants through a fictitious online persona they created, Guccifer 2.0, also interacted directly with Stone. Concerning other stolen materials posted separately online and it appears that have already issued search warrants for Stone coming out of the case. What does that tell us?
LAM: Well, first of all, it would be very, very unlikely that a judge would actually send a case somewhere else for reasons such as those. And, you know, we`re getting bread crumbs and unfortunately that`s all you`re getting are some bread crumbs that indicate that the special counsel`s office is not looking at all this and saying, gee, we don`t know what to make of this. They are actually putting the story together.
HAYES: Paul, the Stone got also -- he got a gag order that he has to stop making statement to the media. What is the normal sort of protocol here. Stone has been obviously a very anomalous defender insofar as he`s throwing up the Nixon victory sign, he`s fundraising, he`s out doing stuff like that. What are the sort of legal issues in whether or not there`s a gag order?
BUTLER: So, you know, there are obvious First Amendment concerns about people both having the right to freely express themselves and to defend themselves in the best way that they know how. The judge is saying, well, really Mr. Stone, I`m doing this on your behalf, in part because everything that you say on TV can be used against you if you take the stand in the court of law. You`re also possibly trying tamper with the jury pool. So you`re putting your own right to a fair trial at risk.
You know, The other thing Stone has in common with Paul Manafort is neither one of them really has a defense, and they`re both looking at possibly dying in prison, but they seem to be willing to do this on behalf of Donald Trump.
So, the question is do they have some kind of pardon for -- some kind of promise of a pardon from Trump, is that what they`re banking on, is is it again they`re so afraid of ticking off Donald Trump that they`re willing to die in prison on his behalf?
HAYES: All right, Carol Lam and Paul Butler, thank you both.
Still to come, what to make of Amazon`s surprising decision to abandon plans for a New York headquarters. How it happened ahead.
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TRUMP: So the order is signed. And I`ll sign the final papers as soon as I get in to the Oval Office. And we will have a national emergency. And we will then be sued. And they will sue us in the 9th Circuit, even though it shouldn`t be there. And we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we`ll get another bad ruling, and then we`ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we`ll get a fair shake. And we`ll win in the Supreme Court.
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HAYES: Aside from being bizarre and somewhat disturbing, that riff from the president today was actually a tell about his administration`s strategy with the courts. They want their cases to go straight to the Supreme Court because they believe they have five conservative votes to win on everything.
Legal observers have actually noticed this for a while. The administration keeps appealing rulings they don`t like from district courts, that`s the lowest level, straight to the Supreme Court, bypassing the usual appellate process in between, the appellate courts.
It is highly irregular. They`ve already done it several times. They did with DACA, the travel ban, a lawsuit over climate change, just to name a few. And today the Supreme Court gave the Trump administration what they want a green to leap frog the appeals courts and hear a case about adding a question about citizenship to the next census next year.
The DOJ argued they needed this expedited review from the highest court in the land, because the Census forms need to be prepared in June. The Census Bureau itself has said they could actually push that back to September.
Now, opponents of the decision say the citizenship question could make both undocumented and legal immigrants less likely to respond to the Census, which could reduce democratic representation and affect the distribution of hundreds in federal spending. And the plaintiffs in this case won in district court last month. The judge blocked administration from adding the question saying that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cherry- picked facts and deceived congress in his efforts to change the census.
But now the administration will get a chance to reverse that humiliating defeat in front of the Supreme Court where, thanks to the two new justices appointed by President Trump, they have a conservative majority.
And it`s a fascinating and enraging case. We`ve actually done two episodes with one of the ACLU lawyers working on it, Dale Ho, on "Why is this Happening?" our podcast. Check them out wherever you get your podcasts.
HAYES: Amazon is one of those powerful companies in America, possibly the world. It`s also one of the most popular companies in America. A survey from December showed that for the second year running, Amazon is America`s most-loved brand, except that popularity didn`t necessarily carry over to everyone in New York after a significant, concerted, organized backlash to a proposed Amazon headquarters in Queens with a price-tag of $3 billion in tax incentives, Amazon announced, somewhat suddenly and abruptly, they will not move forward with the New York HQ.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just wanted to get your reaction to the Amazon decision.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D) NEW YORK: I think it`s incredible. I mean, it shows that everyday Americans still have the power to organize and fight for their communities, and they can have more say in this country than the richest man in the world.
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HAYES: Joining me now, Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Focal Self-Reliance, and Josh Barro a business columnist for New York Magazine.
And Stacy, you`ve been a longtime critic of Amazon, particularly the HQ process. Were you surprised by this decision? What do you think happened?
STACY MITCHELL, CO-DIRECTOR INSTITUTE FOR FOCAL SELF-RELIANCE: It really backfired for Amazon in New York. I mean, they expected to come in and use the same strong arm tactics that they have been using for a long time in both business and to get government subsides, and they really ran into organized opposition to a community that wasn`t going to have this and that engaged elected officials. And as it became increasingly clear that those subsidies were in jeopardy and that Amazon was actually going to have to talk to the people of New York about its plans, the company decided that they pull out rather than having to face that kind of negotiation.
HAYES: You know, Josh, what I found interesting here is building stuff in New York is a hassle and a pain, just whatever you`re doing it`s a hassle and pain. You got to fight with people. It`s just the way things go. And they just -- it was interesting to me they just didn`t seem to have the heart for it.
Like if they wanted to, they could have kept going. they could have had their meetings, but they were just like no, we`re out.
JOSH BARRO, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, if they really needed to be in New York, they would have done that, but the thing was, you know, Amazon, they have gotten so big that the talent they want to attract, they basically can`t be all in Seattle, they want to spread out their campuses. And so they settled on New York and Washington. And when there was this generous incentive package and they thought the mayor and the governor had cleared the way for them and it wasn`t going to be as much of a pain for them as it is a lot of people who build in New York, they were excited about that. When it became clear that maybe the incentive package was not going to manifest in full and that they were going to have to have other political fights, they don`t need a campus with 25,000 employees in Queens, so I don`t -- you know, I think that New York didn`t owe Amazon $3 billion, Amazon did not owe New York a new headquarters campus.
So, I think it made sense that the deal fell apart. I think it`s a little weird that people are acting like Amazon had some obligation to come back to the table. They can go elsewhere.
HAYES: I totally agree with that. I mean, I think -- but here is one thing I did find interesting, Stacy, this is a reporter who says one factor that concerned Amazon executives was how activists in New York City broadened their attacks from the specifics of the deal to the company`s practices far beyond the Five Burroughs on unions and working with ICE for two people familiar with Amazon`s decision. What do you think of that, Stacy?
MITCHELL: What I found really striking in looking at what people on the ground were saying, and what elected officials were saying in New York was that they consistently talked about the notion of who sets the rules. You know, this idea that Amazon was going to come into this city and they were going to set the terms, they were going to set the rules, and that there was going to be no public process. And I think that that message really resonated and it began to tie into a lot of broader concerns that are shared across the country about Amazon`s growing structural power in our economy, its increasing influence over government, I mean, this is unfolding not just in New York, but we`re seeing growing opposition to Amazon`s expansion in Virginia, and in Nashville, I mean there are questions about this company and I think Amazon really started to feel as though this spotlight in New York and what this conversation was kicking off was a deeper conversation about the nature of Amazon`s role.
HAYES: Although, I should note, Josh, and this is something I`ve seen you note in your writing about this, we do have some polling on this. All New Yorkers supported it 56 percent, but there is sort of an interesting racial, ethnic breakdown here of sort of 50/50 white New Yorkers, 70 percent of black New Yorkers, 81 percent Latino New Yorkers. And in fact today there was a letter from some tenant leaders at the the housing projects near where this would have happened basically expressing their frustration and dismay.
So, there was not unified public opinion on this.
BARRO: No. I mean, this was not an unpopular proposal. There were two polls that I`m aware of, one from Quinnipiac, one from Siena, one that had it about tied a little more support than opposition, one that had support more than 20 points ahead of opposition for the $3 billion package for Amazon. So, there were a lot of people in the city who wanted this to happen.
And it even divides constituencies on the left. Obviously the mayor is a nationally known progressive, was an architect of this deal. You also have a number of unions here in New York City, some who were critical of Amazon and its posture toward Unions, but others that were going to get a piece of this in construction, building workers in 32BJ really wanted this deal to get done.
So I think, you know, there are definitely strong criticisms of this deal. Ultimately, I think New York was going to be overpaying for Amazon, but there were a lot of people who had reasons to feel good about this deal. And I think when you`re sort of celebrating the defeat of it as Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez did there, I think, you know, there are a lot of people in the city who are looking at this and saying hey, you know, I actually -- I would have liked to see that happen, maybe don`t, you know, dance for joy about -- they`ve we`re going to have 25,000 jobs not come here with Amazon.
HAYES: I think it will be interesting to see what the next chapter of that conversation is, particularly for the political representatives who represent those areas.
Stacy Mitchell and Josh Barro, thanks for joining us.
BARRO: Thank you.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now. Good evening.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END