Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 21, 2019 Guest: Bernie Sanders, Matt Miller, Jamil Smith, Venita Gupta, Katie Hill
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: But it should never be bad form for anyone to say I want to wait for all the facts before I react. And if we created an environment where it is, that is a problem we all ought to address.
That`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
ROGER STONE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Oh my God, busted.
HAYES: Roger Stone spectacular smackdown. Tonight, the President`s longtime advisor gagged by a federal judge. Plus, why the president`s lawyer was meeting senators on the Hill today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen, any message to the President?
HAYES: Plus Matt Miller on the silence from the President after the arrest of an alleged right-wing domestic terrorist inside the federal government. Then, the election fraud hearing in North Carolina takes a stunning turn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have any knowledge of a ballot harvesting operation in this election.
MARK HARRIS (R), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, NORTH CAROLINA: Absolutely not.
HAYES: And his presidential campaign is two days old and already breaking fundraising records. My exclusive interview with Bernie Sanders When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from Los Angeles, I`m Chris Hayes, and it is another absolutely insane news day. Indicted Trump ally Roger Stone has been hit with a strict gag order by the judge in his case after he posted her picture online alongside an image of crosshairs.
A new congressional election was called North Carolina after an election`s board hearing on flagrant electoral fraud to boost the Republican candidate. There`s been a string of reports the Mueller probe may be poised to wrap up any day as longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen prepares to testify three times before Congress next week, and Democrats are taking their first concrete legislative steps to block the president`s national emergency declaration at the border with a resolution to terminate his effort to circumvent Congress to build the wall Mexico was supposed to pay for.
And then there`s all the action in the race to take on Trump in 2020. New Time Magazine cover depicting Trump looking back over his shoulder as a crowded field of declared and potential candidates eyes the Oval Office.
Two days ago, a major candidate formally entered the race properly raised nearly $6 million in just 24 hours. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the runner up for the Democratic nomination last time around declaring the time had come to quote complete the revolution and make his vision a reality.
And joining me now for his first primetime interview since declaring his candidacy Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator, let me just start with the emergency declaration since that`s in the news today. Chuck Schumer says the Senate is going to introduce a resolution as well to pair with the House. Do you support that resolution?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Of course, I do. What the president is doing is unconstitutional, it`s illegal, and it is part of his movement toward an authoritarian society. This guy clearly is not familiar with the Constitution, clearly not familiar with the separation of powers. He thinks he`s got it all. He`s the only one running the government and that has got to stop.
HAYES: You ran for President in 2016. I think that it was a long race. It was a hard-fought race. It`s a very different world two years later for a lot of reasons. There`s probably a dozen or so candidates on more who will be in the race. The issue, platforms have changed quite a bit. There`s several candidates who have endorsed Medicare for all or free college which are issues that you a champion. Why`d you take a look at this race this time and say I have to run again?
SANDERS: Well, I think for a couple of reasons, Chris. First of all, I`m proud of what we accomplished in 2016. And I`m proud that we change the political discourse in this country that ideas that today are widely accepted are part of the mainstream are being supported by many Democratic candidates. If you will recall, three years ago, why these ideas was considered to be radical and extreme and in fringe -- and fringe idea.
So we have come a long way I think in transforming the Democratic Party and making it into a more progressive party.
Second of all, part of the political revolution was to mobilize millions of people at the grassroots level. And what I`m very proud of in terms of what we have accomplished in the last two days, the media talks about the money. That`s great. But we now have close to one million people who have signed up who want to be involved in an unprecedented campaign.
And why that`s important is that I believe from the bottom of my heart that if you learn from the civil rights movement, from the trade union movement, from the women`s movement, from the gay movement, you know that real change in this country never occurs unless millions of people are standing up and fighting back.
So if we are going to pass Medicare for all, we need to mobilize millions of people to stand up to the insurance companies and the drug companies. That`s what this campaign is about.
HAYES: I want to -- I want to ask another question about the -- this campaign versus last campaign because obviously, that was a very hard- fought primary. It went on for a very long time. It was competitive in a way I think some people didn`t expect at the beginning of it. And if you`re going to win this time, there are people who voted for Hillary because in the last time around whose votes you will need this time in a Democratic primary, and there`s still some bad blood.
I mean, there are still folks who I talked to who exist in the political worlds were loyal Democrats who feel frustrated by what they felt was your lack of loyalty to the party or your support of Hillary Clinton or extending the primary too long. And my question to you is what is the message for those folks out there who may still have had sort of feelings about that?
SANDERS: You know, I do understand that, Chris. But let`s get the facts correct. After I endorse Hillary Clinton, I went all over this country and I worked as hard as I could to see that she was elected and I think we should get that clear. I think the main point to be made is that where we are right now is that many of the major issues that I have been talking about the years are now widely supported by the American people.
And what we have got to do is take Trump`s desire to divide us up by the color of our skin or where we were born or our sexual orientation or our agenda, we have got to bring our people together around a progressive agenda. Health care is a human right. We`re going to raise that minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. We are going to in a highly competitive global economy make public colleges and universities tuition-free and lower student debt.
We are going to address the existential crisis of climate change, transform our energy system and create millions of jobs in the process. Criminal justice reform, immigration reform, those ideas are now ideas that the overwhelming majority of the -- of the Democratic Party believe in and we got to bring people together around that agenda.
HAYES: One more question about 2016 and about your campaign because you were Mayor of Burlington Roth so you have some executive experience but that campaign was a large enterprise you were managing. There`s been some complaints, it`s been well reported. I know you met with some folks in the campaign about the culture and atmosphere and that camp particularly as it pertains to sexual harassment being tolerated and the diversity of the senior leadership of that campaign at a time when the Democratic Party is a diverse party being excessively white and male and not having enough voices. Do you take those criticisms to heart? Are you doing things differently this time?
SANDERS: Absolutely. We take those criticisms at the heart. When people said that our campaign was too white, too male-oriented, they are right. You take a look at the step that we are putting together right now. Take a look at who our national co-chairs are. You will see a fundamental difference in the way our campaign is operating.
In terms of the issue of sexual harassment, that has troubled me immensely. And we are putting together a protocol now which will be stronger than any campaign has ever put together so that we prevent any of the problems we saw in 2016.
HAYES: You just -- you just talked about a lot of issues that are issues that you feel passionately about that you`ve campaigned about, a Medicare- for-all, climate in the Green New Deal, criminal justice reform, but prioritization is it seems a key question in this primary and it`s a question I`ve been asking every candidate we`ve had on which is what is your first -- your inaugurated and by -- electoral miracle or a lot of hard work because the Democrats have majority in the Senate and in the House. What`s your first piece of big domestic legislation that you move?
SANDERS: I don`t look at it that way, Chris. What I look at is looking at 100 day period and pushing forward that progressive agenda. We`ve got to raise that minimum wage to a living wage. We have to pass Medicare for all. We have to transform our energy system. So I don`t see it is one piece of legislation.
We have enormous crises in this country in terms of income and wealth inequality, in terms of millions of people living in poverty, in terms of a shrinking middle class. It`s not just one issue. We need a progressive agenda. That`s what I`m been campaigning on.
SANDERS: But let me tell you something else for a second --
HAYES: But wait a second. Let me just stop you there for a second. You`re a United States Senator who knows your way around the legislative process and you know how important political capital and sequencing are and prioritization. We know that parties come in and they have priorities and those priorities when they come in first, those bills get the best sort of amount of force behind them and then you go later through the administration and they get less and less. That`s just the facts of how things work.
SANDERS: Well, I think you`re looking at the past. You`re not looking at I think what life would be like if I`m going to be elected President of the United States. There`s going to be a sense of urgency. We are not going to do things the same old way. We have major crises in this country. And especially after four years of the disaster of what will be the disaster of Trump if he lasts four years. We`re going to have to move rapidly in addressing issue after issue after issue.
And let me mention some other issues I think that I have not been talked about. We have to pay more attention to rural America. Life expectancy going down, opioid epidemic, young people leaving their communities. We have to pay more attention to rural communities. We have to pay attention to the impact that artificial intelligence and robotics is having on our society in driving people out of the jobs they`ve had for years.
So there is an enormous amount of work to be done and we thought are going to need a president and a Congress to focus on issue after issue to transform the economic and political life of this country.
HAYES: We`ve talked a lot about domestic issues and you`ve been fairly active on some foreign policy issues particularly on Yemen where you`ve worked with some centers across the aisle on the War Powers Resolution which was successful in the last Congress and might come up again. And there`s been reporting about sort of your foreign policy staff being filled out more.
I wonder like is there -- is there a Sanders doctrine, is there a way that you view American leadership and foreign policy were you to become president?
SANDERS: In 30 seconds or less right?
HAYES: Exactly -- well 15. I had to get some other stuff.
SANDERS: All right. All right. You got a president today who supports -- literally supports authoritarian regimes all over the world, who supports governments run by kleptocrats who are billionaires. My vision of American leadership in the world is leadership which supports democracy, supports human rights, supports the entire world coming together to address the planetary crisis of climate change.
And I see huge potential in the world. People all over the world saying you know what, it affects China, it affects India, it affects the United States. We`ve got to work together. I see a world beginning to address massive global income and wealth inequality where today you have a few hundred people owning more wealth than the bottom half of the world`s population. I see us addressing the problems of global poverty.
So I see us being the country where the rest of the world looks to the United States and says thank you America for supporting human rights, democracy, and economic justice.
HAYES: I want to ask you about socialism. There`s an e-mail that went out I think in the last few days from the Trump campaign which of course is already up and running. It`s a fundraising e-mail. It says Bernie Sanders announced he will be running for president 2020 with a very simple platform, full-blown socialism, not partial socialism, full-blown socialism.
You`ve called yourself -- you`ve called yourself a socialist for years. It`s been a question interestingly I think on the campaign trail. Other candidates have said they`re not socialist or capitalist. But there`s this debate that has ensued about what does that mean. A lot of conservatives have pointed to Venezuela and said food shortages, increasing authoritarianism is what socialism means and it`s what Bernie Sanders wants.
What is your definition of socialism? What`s your model for it?
SANDERS: I think that when we look at a modern democratic civilized society, you are looking at economic rights in addition to political freedoms. So right now we have a constitution, you have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etcetera.
I happen to believe that in the year 2019 with all of the wealth around us, we can create an economy which guarantees health care to all people as a human right, which guarantees education from childcare well higher education as a human right, which guarantees the right of people to have decent and affordable housing which make sure that you`re living in a community with water that you are drinking and the air that you breathing is clean.
HAYES: Let me ask --
SANDERS: So economic rights is human rights. That`s what I mean. And by the way, Chris, it`s not a radical idea.
HAYES: But how is that -- let me ask you this -- right, that`s my question, right? So what you`re describing is the mixed economy and we`ve -- you know, there`s a National Health Service in the U.K., there are -- the United States Public Housing.
SANDERS: Right. Of course, of course.
HAYES: We have -- we have public provisions of those goods. Is there something above that distinguishes your vision from a kind of welfare state mixed economy?
SANDERS: Well, I should also add that in 1944 this is exactly what Franklin Delano Roosevelt talked about. He talked about jobs and health care and education as a human right to be guaranteed by the government. And what I`m talking about exists in many countries all over the world. You know, you go to country in Scandinavia, college education is free. Every other major country on Earth guarantees healthcare to all people as right.
Most countries have higher minimum wages than we do. So essentially what we are talking about is making sure that a vibrant democracy, make sure it guarantees that all of our people can have a decent standard of living and that we do not have this grotesque level of income and wealth inequality where three people end up owning more wealth than the bottom half of the country where a handful of billionaires can spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy elections.
That`s what the political revolution is about. That`s what Democratic Socialism means to me.
HAYES: So I`m going to return to the Venezuela case because it is been so used by Conservatives in the -- in the U.S. on exactly this. You`ve been critical of the Maduro regime, I think also critical some of the steps taken by the Trump administration sort of ratcheting up pressure. But what is the Bernie Sanders theory of the case for why Venezuela is the way it is. What went wrong there in what was an avowedly socialist project?
SANDERS: Oh well, I mean, that`s a long story that we can`t -- I don`t think we have the time to get into. But this is what I do -- will say, and that is that I think there must be free and fair elections in Venezuela. The last elections were not free. Second of all, we have got to do everything0 that we can to provide humanitarian aid along with other countries so that people do not starve to death.
And thirdly, we need to make certain that the United States does not do what it has done time and time again in our history and that is get involved in overthrowing governments in Latin America. We did that in Chile, we did that in Brazil, Guatemala, other countries. We should not be doing that now. The future of Venezuela must rest with the Venezuelan people not the Trump administration.
HAYES: You spoke before about a political revolution, talked about an ambitious 100-day agenda. One of the kind of bottlenecks for all of that right now is the House of Congress you call your own the United States Senate. It has a filibuster which as we know from the history increased rapidly in its deployment. It`s essentially used as a 60-vote threshold for almost everything other than a reconciliation and budgeting.
Some people have come out in favor of abolishing the filibuster. Do you favor abolishing the filibuster?
SANDERS: Well, one of those people is Donald Trump so I think we should be thoughtful and clear about this is what Trump would like to see. Look, before we get into that which is a very legitimate question. We need to A, make sure the Democrats control the United States Senate which is not guaranteed by any means.
HAYES: No it is not.
SANDERS: And second of all, it`s not good enough to have 51 Democrats or 50Democrats and a Democratic president. It is important to have progressive Democrats. Because if you think that every Democrat currently in the United States Senate is going to support a progressive agenda, think twice, that`s not the case.
HAYES: Right. But isn`t that, even more, the case for 60 votes?
SANDERS: I think what we have got to do -- I mean, you`re asking a legitimate question but I think let`s get first things first. Let`s elect the Democratic Senate. Let`s make sure that as many as possible are Progressives. But this is what I believe. It`s what I said a moment ago. We make change when millions of people demand that change. And I believe that when people stand up and fight back, yes, you`re going to have the United States Congress start listening to ordinary Americans rather than wealthy campaign contributors.
HAYES: All right, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, thanks so much for taking time tonight. I appreciate it.
SANDERS: My pleasure.
HAYES: Next, Roger Stone`s dirty tricks catch up with him again. The amazing scene that unfolded in court between the President`s former political adviser and a federal judge right after this.
HAYES: Roger Stone is officially gagged. That`s pursuant to an order from Judge Amy Berman Jackson today in federal court. The hearing called by the judge herself after the notoriously publicity-hungry Trump adviser posted a picture of Judge Jackson next to what appeared to be crosshairs.
Stone was apologetic, quite apologetic today in court but the judge was not buying it. She alluded to the Coast Guard member who officials say compiled a hit list of public officials and a stockpile weapons saying you don`t even have to look at the papers beyond today to know that inciting extremists to violent action is a possibility.
Judge Jackson also warn Stone this is his last chance before she revokes his bail sending him to jail. "Today, I gave you a second chance. This is not baseball. You do not get a third chance." To discuss the judges actions today and what they might portend to Roger Stone, I want to bring in two MSNBC Legal Analyst Paul Butler, a former prosecutor worked in the Department of Justice`s Public Integrity Unit on Cases of Public Corruption and Maya Wiley, the Senior Vice President of Social Justice at the New School.
Maya, you don`t see this that often but I guess you don`t see people who are like Roger Stone that often.
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It is very rare to have someone -- particularly someone who should be as knowledgeable and who is as well represented as Roger Stone literally threatened a federal judge. And that is what happened here. And one of the things that we must focus in on is one, the judge was restrained. She clearly was concerned but also really gave him the opportunity.
She -- remember that prosecutors wanted him more gagged than she agreed to gag him. He can still talk about his innocence, he can still ask for donations for his legal defense, but he can`t talk about the case. And what he posted by the way, it wasn`t just the crosshairs. I think it`s really important to elevate that he talked about the Mueller probe as the deep state.
And the reason that lends itself to being threatening particularly where he has named a federal judge as if she is not an unbiased and impartial jurist is that the deep state reference has caused people to go out and threaten the lives of others in the past particularly using the Infowars platform which Roger Stone himself has used.
So just go back to Pizza Gate and the guy who showed up with an assault rifle after Pizza Gate that he saw. So it`s not theoretical. And she was both restrained but also trying to protect both the integrity of the process. And he -- I think what was really interesting is he finally got that you know his dirty tricks as he refers to himself as a trickster, his dirty tricks here which he may not intend, we don`t know what his intention is in terms of promotion of violence. Maybe it was just a better way to fundraise. It doesn`t really matter when people go out and actually commit violent acts because of what you said.
HAYES: You know, Paul, I`ve seen a lot of -- I`ve seen immigration lawyers and public defenders and defense attorneys weighing in today saying if my client was out on bail and then posted an image of the judge in the case with crosshairs, they`re not getting a second chance. What do you think?
PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. I think the judge went too easy or Roger Stone. So, Chris, remember the FBI Wray with 29 armed agents, the SWAT team, the assault rifle, they justified that by saying this is a dangerous guy. Nonetheless, he got released on bail. And what does he do he post an image on Instagram of the judge in crosshairs and then has the temerity to go to a court and lie about it saying I didn`t know they were crosshairs. I thought it was an occult symbol.
So if this was a guy named Kwame or Pedro, and not Roger Stone, not only with the judge have locked them up today, the prosecutor would have charged them with threatening a judicial officer.
HAYES: Yes. I should note one small thing was that the crosshairs were just adjacent to the judges picture just to be scrupulously factual about the image that was posted. There`s also, Maya, now -- there`s a strange thing happening on the Roger Stone case which I can`t get my head around so maybe you could illuminate.
The Stone case is going to go for months right? I mean, he`s going to go to trial and we have this reporting of the Mueller reports going to be delivered, but those are Mueller`s prosecutors right? They`re going to have to stay on that case. Is that your understanding?
WILEY: Look, yes. What I said earlier today was you know, there`s a -- journalists will say this is wrapping because they`re we`re hearing that there`s going to be a report from Robert Mueller. What lawyers here is this is -- we`re finishing act two of a three-act play and now we`re moving into the third act.
It`s not because it`s over. There`s not a wrap. There are -- there`s a trial. There may be more indictments and there`s the continuing investigations that are happening out of the U.S. Attorneys` offices which are a continuation of the Mueller probe even if they`re not called the Mueller probe.
You know, and what we heard and what we learned yesterday from Nicole Wallace from the Andrew McCabe interview which is so important is he intentionally organized the probe, what became the probe in a way that would protect the integrity of the investigations so that they could go where they needed to go without interference from the White House. That is critically important.
BUTLER: And, Chris, there`s --
HAYES: Yes, Paul.
BUTLER: And, Chris, actually, so for today`s hearing some kind of bad news for Donald Trump. So Roger never apologized, never say you`re sorry. Stone, he graveled, man. He graveled, he fled, he begged the judge not to send him to prison. This is a man who does not want to go to prison who`s charged with five counts of false statements that he does not have a defense to. That`s why he`s attacking the judge and the prosecutor rather than making a case.
So unless he`s making a deal, homeboy is going to prison for ten or 20 years. And so the fact today that he clearly does not want to get locked up means that he`s got to make a deal or again he`s got to be in prison for the rest of his life.
WILEY: Or you know, Donald Trump pardons him which is apparently he thinks what`s happening.
BUTLER: Yes, that`s true.
HAYES: Right. Well, that`s -- but it`s a great point because everyone who was in that courtroom today and when you saw the transcript was noting that Mr. Defiant Nixon impersonating down the block tuff Roger Stone was nowhere to be found as he lay himself before the mercy of the court.
And Paul, it`s a good point because, from a psychological perspective, that was a tell that the man is not particularly interested in spending time behind bars which is, of course, the threat that is looming over him right now which is something the White House might take note of. Paul Butler and Maya Wiley, thank you both.
WILEY: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, deafening silence from the White House on the arrest of white supremacists working inside the government planning a mass terror attack. What we`re learning about the Coast Guard lieutenant arrested last week and why Donald Trump hasn`t said anything about it.
HAYES: We`re learning more today about the Coast Guard lieutenant who is being described by prosecutors as a domestic terrorist who intended murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country, that`s a quote.
Christopher Hason appeared at a hearing this afternoon where the judge ordered him held for at least two more weeks, and prosecutors revealed that he spent hours online researching famous mass attackers, including the Unibomber and the Virginia Tech gunman.
Hason was arrested Friday on drugs and weapons charges. Prosecutors say he had 15 weapons, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a stock pile of drugs and a list of targets, including prominent Democrats and journalists.
The only reason we found about any of this is because of a college professor, Seamus Hughes, who is the deputy director of the program on extremism at George Washington University, tweeted about the the case yesterday after learning the details from a detention memo that was filed in a Maryland court.
Naturally, when news outlets saw this, they picked up the story. But to be clear that`s not how we normally learn about these kinds of things. This is a case where good police law enforcement work nabbed someone who appears to be clearly dangerous before he was able to do something terrible. Usually, law enforcements wants to take a victory lap when that happens.
And yet nearly a week after the arrest, there was complete radio silence from the FBI, from the investigator, from the prosecutors, from the Justice Department, and from the White House, and there`s still no response from the White House, despite repeated questioning from NBC News about if or when the president was briefed and if he was aware of the arrest when he tweeted yesterday that The New York Times is the enemy of the people.
I`m joined now by someone who used to literally run communications at the Justice Department, whose job included putting out press releases on these kinds of cases. Matt Miller, former chief spokesperson at the DOJ and an MSNBC national security and justice analyst.
OK, Matt, I was scratching my head yesterday about how did we not learn about this for a week? Am I wrong that this is weird?
MATT MILLER, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CHIEF SPOKESMAN: It`s absolutely weird. You know, it`s been six days now. You would expect them to put out a press release when they arrested him on Friday. And if not on Friday, yesterday when they revealed these details about what exactly he was plotting.
And I would say, you know, your point about them wanting to take a victory lap is true. They very much do want to take a victory lap, but there are also law enforcement reasons why they like to publicize these cases, not just for this case, although that`s important, you`d like to know if there are other people who know information about them. You`d like them to come forward, but because this isn`t the only white nationalist domestic terrorist out there. These have been on the rise and by sending, by publicizing this case, you send the message that we`ll take it seriously, and you also let other people who might be around potential domestic terrorists know the warning signs, if someone is stockpiling guns and reading right-wing manifestos, that`s a warning sign it`s time to call the FBI.
It makes our country less safe by not publicizing these cases.
HAYES: That`s a great point. So if there`s someone in your life who you are encountering who is like very obsessed with like, you know, eliminationist rhetoric and constantly talking about mass killers and stockpiling weapons, you might be a little concerned and something like this can sort of give people a little bit of an incentive to think harshly about that.
MILLER: Yeah, that`s absolutely right. And that`s why the Justice Department publicizes these cases, and similar cases. Although, I will say, this isn`t the first time under this administration they have sat on one of these. There was a case of a white supremacist last year in Nebraska, last January, who tried to take over an Amtrak train. He had a gun, took over a train and was subdued by the crew and passengers. And the Justice Department in that case didn`t put out a press release either. They only found out because some local reporter, as happened here, was combing court filings that happened to come across it.
It makes no sense. It`s not the way we did things when I was there. It`s not the way we did -- the Justice Department did things in previous administrations. It`s really hard to come up with a good reason -- I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt here, but I cannot come up with any reason why they wouldn`t publicize this case.
HAYES: Yeah, it`s also the case that I think there`s concern -- obviously, this is -- there is a kind of embarrassment factor a little bit, because the guy is a current officer, a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard, he`s in the Marines for 20 years. I mean, you wonder if that plays into it, too.
MILLER: It shouldn`t for the Justice Department. Obviously, that`s the case for the military. There`s an uncomfortable question about whether there is white supremacy on the rise in the military. There have been studies and polls about that recently that have seemed to indicate that`s true.
But that`s not the Justice Department`s concern. The Justice Department doesn`t have any concern about that case, they have a concern about more than a concern about keeping the country safe. And the way you keep the country safe is when you arrest these people, you alert the public so they know how to be on the lookout for others with warning signs.
I can see why the Coast Guard would have this concern, and I know why the White House might have different concerns, political concerns, but there`s no reason -- no legitimate reason the Justice Department shouldn`t be talking about this case.
HAYES: All right, Matt Miller, who worked at The Justice Department, thank you for joining me.
MILLER: Thank you.
HAYES: Just ahead, so what was Donald Trump`s lawyer doing on Capitol Hill today? One of the members of congress who is about to question Michael Cohen has some answers next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen, why were you on The Hill today?
Sir, were you meeting with the Senate intel team?
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP PERSONAL ATTORNEY: We`re answering no questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your message to the president ahead of the Mueller report?
COHEN: Watch your step (ph)...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Michael Cohen was on Capitol Hill with his lawyer today to review classified documents with Senate staff ahead of his closed door testimony at the Senate Intel Committee on Tuesday. He`ll be appearing under subpoena there before voluntarily appearing before two House committees later in the week.
His testimony at the House Intel Committee on Thursday will also be closed, but crucially on Wednesday the whole world will get to hear exactly what Michael Cohen knows when he testifies at the House Oversight Committee in an open session. Cohen is taking full advantage of the platform after House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings announced the hearing yesterday, Cohen tweeted, quote, "the schedule has now been set, looking forward to the #americanpeople hearing my story and my voice #truth" with a link to his GoFundMe defense page.
One of the House Oversight Committee members who will be at that open hearing on Wednesday and joins me tonight, Congressman Katie Hill of California. It`s great to have you here. Nice to be in your neck of the woods.
REP. KATIE HILL, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thank you so much.
HAYES: OK, I understand that this may be a thing that the chair of this committee was handling in the scheduling, but do you have -- it was on and then it was off and now it`s back on. What should we make of it?
HILL: Well, listen, I mean, it was very clear that both President Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were intimidating Michael Cohen. So he was -- he was -- it came off because of that exactly. I mean, his family was in jeopardy. He felt credibly in fear for his family`s safety. And so the fact that we`ve been able to now get him to come voluntarily is something that we`re really happy about. This is something that the American people do need to hear in an open setting.
HAYES: There is a sort of document put out by Elijah Cummings office about the scope and purpose of the hearing. It includes the president`s debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election, the president`s compliance of financial disclosure requirements, compliance with tax laws, efforts by the president and his attorney to intimidate Mr. Cohen or others not to testify. What are you looking for? You`re going to get a chance to question the man. What are you looking forward to finding out?
HILL: So, the pieces I`m most interested in are these conflicts of interest pieces, because I think that there is sign after sign after sign showing that Trump and his allies, his appointees, the people who are working for him care more about business interests and who they`re protecting than they do about the American people, and I think that is incredibly dangerous, it`s disturbing, it`s something that we all need to be watching very closely, so I want to focus in on those conflicts of interest.
I also think that the debts and payments around the influence of the election is something we really need to be paying attention to. There are attempts to undermine our values and to undermine democracy, western democracy, as it is. And so all of that needs to be exposed as much as we possibly can so we can move forward. It`s a travesty
HAYES: You know, that -- I want to zero in on the last thing, so it`s a sort of remarkable thing. The president essentially stands accused in federal court, according to the Southern District of New York and Michael Cohen of more or less ordering him, directing him is the word, to commit a felony, which was the hush money payments in violation of campaign finance law. Like, that`s just a thing that we all kind of know, but move on. What do you think about that? How serious is that?
HILL: Honestly, this blows my mind, right, because you look back to Nixon and Watergate, these are things that were happening in the dark, right. And these are things that we ultimately got the tapes and that`s what showed that this was -- that, you know, what we were finally able to bring him to impeachment and that he ultimately resigned for, was basically the hiding of things.
HAYES: Right, the smoking gun tape.
HILL: Right, but he`s doing it -- Trump is doing it in public, on Twitter, and it`s almost like you don`t even know -- the justice system doesn`t even know quite how to respond to that, because when somebody`s committing a crime so blatantly, there`s no hiding it anymore. So I think figuring out how to -- I also think that over the past couple of years, because there has been just so much noise about this, so much noise about the Russia investigation, it seemed like partisan politics, at least to many, people in the beginning, that I think a lot of people are drowning it out, and they`re getting sort of deaf to it and, that means that we`re losing the gravity of this. And I think we really need to bring that back up to the public`s eye.
HAYES: Well, it`s interesting you say it, because I think I would agree with you and I think open hearings are a big part of sort of rectifying that. I`m curious, you`re a freshman member, right?
HAYES: You ran a race, and I looked at your race, I looked at some of the ads, it was a race that had a lot to do about health care and the sort of kitchen table issues. I guess what do you think about communicating to your constituents about how important this is, how much they should care about it whether or not they`re knocking down your door about it.
HILL: No, this is literally something that has been on my mind constantly lately, especially -- I just came from the Munich security conference, and heard all about how Russia is the number one threat to us and to our allies. And it is known, it is broadly known within the defense community, it is known within every one of our allies, it`s just common knowledge, right. But then to see the way that all of this kind of cozening up has been happening, it kind of brought it all into focus for me of like, wait, this isn`t just noise, this isn`t just something that`s related to Democrats and Republicans, this is completely about the security of our country and who`s in power and who they`re looking out for.
And so I think that, you know, we took an oath to defend -- to protect and defend this country from threats, foreign and domestic, and that usurps everything else because frankly health care doesn`t matter if we don`t have a country.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Katie Hill, thank you very much.
HILL: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, we have a massive development in the Republican election fraud case unfolding in North Carolina. What happened in that court room today. Shocking stuff next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Yet another stunning development today in North Carolina`s Ninth Congressional District, where we have been reporting for months about what appears to be widespread electoral fraud by the Republican campaign. Just hours ago, a state board unanimously voted to hold a new election, that coming after the Republican candidate himself, Mark Harris, did a dramatic about face.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK HARRIS, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Through the testimony I`ve listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called. It`s become clear to me that the public`s confidence in the Ninth District`s seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now remember, Republicans first dismissed any chance of fraud when ballot irregularities came to light just in the few days after the elections. And then when it became obvious that something weird did happen, they said it didn`t involve enough ballots to affect Harris`s apparent 905 vote lead.
And Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the state`s Republican Party, even attacked the state elections board saying, and I quote him here, "we think they have abused their discretion and violated the statute. This will inevitably end up in court. The fact of the matter is Mark Harris won the race. He got more votes."
Now, when it became obvious Harris maybe didn`t win after all, Republicans began saying Harris didn`t know anything about what went on, or about Leslie McCrae Dowless, the operative who appeared to run the whole illegal absentee ballot scheme and was paid by his campaign. Then that contention was shot down yesterday by none other than Mark Harris` own son.
Assistant U.S. attorney John Harris shows up at the hearing and testifies he emailed his own father in writing back in 2017 about worries that Dowless was breaking the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you wanted to be clear that this could all blow up, be referred to the DA
JOHN HARRIS, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes. There is a legal dimension which I thought they were illegally collecting ballots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All of which led to the Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris, the father of the man seen there testifying kind of against him, a man who had sued previously to be seated in congress because it was not fair that led to his emotional reversal before the state board of elections today.
Here with me now, WSOC TV reporter Joe Bruno, whose stellar reporting on this story, just won a Polk Award this week and has been following the case.
Joe, really quite something. What was it like to see Mark Harris in that room on the stand today?
JOE BRUNO, WSOC TV REPORTER: It was a really interesting day. As one person put it, it`s been a week full of bombshells, and today was nuclear.
Really after lunch break, it was a really weird feeling inside the room. We saw people walking back and forth. There were no signs of Mark Harris. I saw his campaign manager storm out, walk briskly on the phone, that`s when we all knew something was up. Of course, when the state board came back in, Mark Harris eventually came in the room, he got on the stand, and he had his stunning admission saying that he does believe that there should be a new election.
HAYES: He has fought that for a long time. In fact, they had been fighting in court. Now that has been called, the question is what happens next? And what happens next for Mark Harris?
BRUNO: So what happens next is there is going to be a new election, and recently lawmakers in North Carolina passed a law that will require a new primary. So, we`re going to have a whole crop of Republican candidates, I have a feeling, that are going to want to jump in this race. Of course, they`ll want to look and see if Mark Harris going to run for this seat again. Maybe they`ll look and see if the former representative of the seat, Robert Pittenger will jump in the race as well.
But we`re looking at a new election here with a new primary, potentially a second primary, and I`m thinking we`re looking at a similar timeline to the third congressional district seat, which was Walter Jones` before he passed away.
HAYES: Final question, McCrae Dowless, has he faced criminal charges as of yet?
HAYES: No, he has not. And we actually checked in with the Waite County (ph) district attorney today who is overseeing the criminal investigation of this manner. It`s a separate parallel investigation. She has been monitoring this hearing all week. She`s expecting the state board to send over their findings to their office. And one thing she stressed no one got any immunity for the testimony that they provided.
HAYES: Yeah, that`s another shoe that seems like it will surely drop soon.
Joe Bruno, thanks again for all your great reporting on this.
Republicans have been fear mongering about fictional voter fraud by Democratic constituencies for years. The president even set up a panel to investigate what he claimed were millions -- a preposterous claim -- millions of fraudulent votes in 2016.
Naturally, the panel found nothing because there was nothing to find. In Texas, the Republican secretary of state even had to apologize for a false claim about supposed thousands of illegal votes, one of course which the president tweeted about. And the grand irony, of course, is that the biggest case of electoral fraud in recent memory, one that has nothing to do with all the restrictions Republicans say would solve the non-existent problem of voting fraud, the biggest case of electoral fraud in recent memory, no, came from a Republican campaign in North Carolina.
Just imagine for a second if Democrats had done what the Mark Harris campaign appears to have done in that congressional race? Here to talk about that, Venita Gupta, the president and COE of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Jamil Smith, senior writer at Rolling Stone.
Venita, play out the thought experiment. What would we be looking at if there was a Democratic congressional candidate who had engaged in what appears to be flagrantly illegal criminal ballot, you know, ballot fraud.
VENITA GUPTA, PRESIDENT AND CEO THE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS: I mean, there would be no question that we would have seen about, you know, 20 tweets from the president and the whole cadre of folks who have been peddling these lies for so long, really to advance policies aimed at shrinking the electorate and preventing folks of color, mainly, from exercising the franchise.
This would be a massive thing just, you know, that they would be using to justify a whole slew of proposals and policies to shrink the electorate. And that`s what is so deeply ironic.
I actually think what`s so interesting right now is we`re in this moment in this country where the November elections brought out voters that were frankly really annoyed and fed up with the corruption in our political system and, you know, voting for democracy reform up and down. And we`ve got HR1 now in congress seeking to end all of these lies. And that`s where, I think, the American public need to be. But this kind of scandal, I think, really -- the crickets that we`re hearing from that crowd that has been peddling those lies I think is fairly telling.
HAYES: Jamil, what do you think?
JAMIL SMITH, ROLLING STONE: I think that she`s right. I think we see here evidence of what actual voter fraud looks like, what ballot fraud looks like, and I think that we shouldn`t forget that, you know, North Carolina`s Ninth Congressional district is a very heavily white district. You have a district that`s almost 80 percent white, and yet, the primary targets of this fraud were black and Hispanic voters. And so there is still a lot of missing ballots here. There is still a lot of things that are left to be investigated. This isn`t over.
HAYES: Yeah, that`s a great point. I want to play a little testimony. This is a voter in North Carolina, a Precious Hall, who is testifying before the hearing on Monday about basically having her vote stolen. Take a listen.
PRECIOUS HALL, NORTH CAROLINA 09 VOTER: After that, my ballot and they did their signature and then took the ballot. They just took the ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So part of the scheme here appears to be, Venita, that this was both stuffing ballots, sort of taking ballots and filling them out for people, but also essentially erasing the votes, tearing up or getting rid of the votes of people they suspected were voting for the Democrat, primarily African-Americans.
GUPTA: Yeah, I mean, look, this is a criminal illegal scheme. And the Justice Department in Washington should be investigating.
My understanding is the FBI is investigating. Bladen County used to be covered by the Voting Rights Act. We -- you know, the Shelby County decision gutted that. And we now need to enact and restore the Voting Rights Act and pass a whole slew of reforms to protect the franchise.
We saw massive voter suppression tactics just in the most recent election. This stuff is not from the 1960s and `70s. We are seeing the stuff playing itself out and undermining people`s faith in our democracy right now. And that`s why we need to really pass these major reforms that we`re seeing passed in states around the country, we need to do it federally.
HAYES: Jamil, one of the an ironic details of this is the fact that so much focus has gone into voter ID on the Republican/conservative side, to stop what they say is some, you know, vast amount of in person fraud. In this case -- and the thing we know is that that essentially doesn`t exist. The one place there might be vulnerabilities is in absentee ballots, which we also know Republicans constituencies tend to use more than Democratic constituencies.
SMITH: Right. And so the thing I see here is vigilance. I think we`re not going to see the reforms pass that we need. We`re not going to see the Voting Rights Act magically restored. What we need to have here is voter vigilance going forward, at least through the next couple of years, potentially until we get at least another president, potentially Democratic takeover in the Senate to get these reforms passed.
Democrats are going to signify what their priorities are in the Senate with HR1, with perhaps other legislation. But voters are going to have to make sure that they are on top of their own stuff. Their state laws, their local ordinances, and frankly their candidates own morals, as we see with Mark Harris, to make sure that their votes count.
HAYES: Yeah, do you think there will be fallout from this, Venita, in a sort of national sense?
GUPTA: Yeah, I mean, look, there is fallout from the 2016 election. I mean, that I think the kind of level of concern around Russian meddling, voter suppression targeting and kind of really preying on the vulnerability of racism in this country by outside actors, by folks inside, the peddling of these lies around, you know, massive illegal voting in person, illegal voting. All of this stuff is having a really corrosive effect and I think there is no question that we will see in the upcoming election, these issues play themselves out in real -- on the national stage as they well should.
HAYES: Thank you both for your time. That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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