Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 5, 2019 Guest: Dan Kildee, Nancy Gertner, Philip Bump, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Mehdi Hassan
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Well, today`s development is a tribute to promise of human science and those who give their sweat and tears to find cures. Thank God we have these researchers among us. And that`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fact is that -- I guess we got 81 letters.
HAYES: As the President complains.
TRUMP: 81 people or organizations got letters. It`s a disgrace.
HAYES: Another investigation is launched.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: To your knowledge, did the President ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?
HAYES: Tonight, new evidence that Americans increasingly believe their president is a criminal. As Democrats outlined plans to get the president`s tax returns, a brand new investigation of the Trump Organization began.
CORTEZ: Who else knows that the President did this?
HAYES: Then, a who`s who look at the Democrats list of 81 Trump target. Plus, is Roger Stone about to go to jail for an Instagram post?
ROGER STONE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Oh my God, I`m busted.
HAYES: And Ilhan Omar and the fault lines in the Democratic Party when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. The President is looting losing the battle for public opinion over his own guilt. The new Quinnipiac poll finds it 64 percent of Americans believe Donald Trump committed crimes before he became president and many believe the President continued to engage in criminal activity from The Oval Office. 45 percent say that Trump has committed crimes during his presidency.
This despite Trump and his allies insisting again and again at nauseam that investigators are engaged you know mean-spirited witch-hunt targeting an innocent and pure hearted public servant.
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TRUMP: The witch hunt continues. The fact is I guess we have 81 letters. There was no collusion. That was a hoax. There was no anything.
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HAYES: No anything. Strong denial. At this point, not a lot of people are willing to take his word for it. Even if warmer trunk fixer Michael Cohen, a man who was literally convicted of lying to Congress has more credibility than the President. 50 percent of American now say they believe Cohen more than they believe Trump.
And despite Trump`s near constant effort undermine Robert Mueller, a majority of Americans believe he is conducting a fair investigation. Mueller is just one of the President`s problems. He also faces an ongoing and wide and raging probe from the Southern District of New York. Just today we learned that this exchange between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the President`s lawyer from last Wednesday`s oversight hearing is bearing fruit.
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CORTEZ: To your knowledge, did the President ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?
CORTEZ: Who else knows that the President did this?
COHEN: Allen Weisselberg, Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari.
CORTEZ: And where would the committee find more information on this? Do you think we need to review his financial statements and his tax returns in order to compare them?
COHEN: Yes. And you`d find it at the Trump Org.
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HAYES: Tonight, New York Times reports that New York regulators have issued an expansive subpoena to the Trump Organization`s longtime insurance broker, the first step in an investigation of insurance policies and claims involving Trump`s family business.
Meanwhile, yesterday, Jerry Nadler, House Judiciary Committee issued document requests as the President mentioned to 81 individuals and identities with a focus on investigating possible obstruction of justice, public corruption, and abuses of power. Adam Schiff`s Intelligence Committee is also stepping up its investigation hiring among others former federal prosecutor Daniel Goldman who has overseen prosecutions of Russian organized crime networks. Goldman was also until recently a legal contributor to this network.
Over in the Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters is probing how Trump secured loans from Deutsche Bank when other banks refused to loan Trump any money at all. And Democrats are also demanding documents concerning Jared Kushner security clearance in the wake of that New York Times report that Trump overruled top officials and ordered them to give Kushner a top secret clearance despite the misgivings of intelligence agencies.
The White House is refusing to hand over those documents by the way but ultimately it may have no choice. Democrats now have the power of subpoena. And then there`s Trump`s tax returns, that you know, the ones he would love to release if only that pesky audit would finally end.
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TRUMP: As I`ve told you they`re under audit. They have been for a long time. They`re extremely complex. People wouldn`t understand him. Nobody turns over return when it`s under audit, OK.
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HAYES: The President really does seem opposed releasing his tax returns for some reason, but House Democrats are not having it. Today, the Washington Post reports that Democrats are now preparing to seek ten years of those returns in the coming weeks. Trump is clearly feeling besieged.
After meeting with the President this morning, Senator Lindsey Graham said that Trump "believes Democrats are taking a wrecking ball to his life." At this point after literally thousands of lies, the President`s credibility is so thoroughly shot that Americans believe a convicted liar more than they believe him.
And that means as the investigations continue, the President is going to have a pretty hard time convincing Americans that all this is just and I quote presidential harassment. Joining me now Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee in Michigan, a member of the Ways and Means Committee who -- which is reportedly now preparing to seek ten years of the President`s tax returns.
Congressman, can you tell us about what the thinking is there, where your committee is on that inquiry.
REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Well, our committee has been really deliberate on this. We had a hearing to establish the legal authority to gain access to returns. We`ve been creating a record as to why these returns are in the public interest. And you know, I think what President Trump fears is not that people won`t understand his tax returns. What he`s really afraid of is that they will.
We believe that this is a basic transparency. The President broke a half a century of norms by not releasing his tax returns. People don`t take his word for it when they say he`s done nothing wrong, they want to see the evidence. And I think they have the right to that. This is fundamentally an issue of transparency and we`re going to get to the bottom of this.
HAYES: There`s the argument that I`ve seen from Kevin Brady who is the ranking member if I`m not mistaken on your committee, Republican and others is that this is a slippery slope. Next thing you know, this committee is nosing around everyone`s tax returns to try to detonate political opponents. What`s your response to that?
KILDEE: This is a rarely used law that has been on the books since the Teapot Dome scandal. So there`s no slippery slope here. What is out of the norm is that the President of the United States who committed to provide his returns has broken with a half a century of tradition and transparency. That`s what`s out of sync with reality.
And the fact that Mr. Brady whom I respect that happened to disagree with on this would point out that we are using the tool when the fact that we have to use it is because this president was so opaque when it comes to his personal interest. He continues to maintain by the way complete control over all of his financial holdings, another norm that has been broken. He pushed through a tax law that significantly benefited real estate investors. He`s one of them.
The idea that this would be somehow out of bounds means that the law itself must not be a valid. The reason that this law is in place is just for this circumstance.
HAYES: You know, this is part of the -- there`s two sort of lines I`ve seen in the last few days, some from Republicans who obviously have just a transactional interest in trying to beat back the Democrats. But I`ve seen among sort of pundits and so a kind of conventional wisdom that Democrats have to be careful. That this is risky territory, that they risk a backlash, they risk exciting the President`s base.
And I wonder how much -- how much that resonates with you as someone who`s at the center of that. Is that how you`re thinking about this politically?
KILDEE: Well, I think thinking about it politically is where we get into trouble because what I fear is not upholding the oath of office that I swore. I said that I would uphold this Constitution and sometimes that means doing hard things. Look this isn`t -- this isn`t necessarily a popular thing to do among some and it`s certainly going to be something that we are attacked for. But I don`t think we have a choice.
The American people elected us to do a job and I think it would be a mistake for us to try to overthink this. We should simply adhere to the oath that we swore and do the job that we were elected to do. And that means revealing to the American people all the interests that this president will not reveal to them himself.
HAYES: You know, it`s funny you say that because I see -- there`s a story that`s being told that the Democrats are being pulled towards these inquiries by their base. And I actually think that story gets it wrong. I actually think by and large the base is motivated about other things. There`s a lot of folks on the Mueller report.
What you`re telling me and I just want to clarify, you`re just basically saying you literally feel a sense of duty, an obligation to do this even if the politics of it are bad.
KILDEE: For sure, Chris. You know, every time I walk into the U.S. Capitol, I`m awed by it. And I realize the responsibility that I have. And what I say to my Republican colleagues would be -- who seem to be so willing to defend this president no matter what he does is that they should think about the institution, they should think about what it means to our democracy, but they should especially think about how the long view of history is going to measure them in this moment.
I do not want nor should they want to have been a member of Congress who looked the other way when a president of the United States stomped all over the rule of law in the basic institutions that have held our democracy together for two centuries.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Dan Kildee, thank you so much your time tonight.
KILDEE: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: For more on the situation the president now finds himself in I`m joined by MSNBC Political Analyst Cornell Belcher, Democratic pollster and strategist and MSNBC Political Analyst Michelle Goldberg, Columnist in the New York Times.
So I want to be clear here, politicians are political animals. I think there`s a whole bunch of motivations that are driving Democrats. An actual substantive commitment to duty, also a degree that I think they think and some of them think it will be politically advantageous. I mean, they`re going to knock the president around.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and I think -- and I think that -- and not just that they`ll knock the president around. I mean, I think that in as much as there is this conventional wisdom that you referred to that this is risky, I don`t understand what it`s based on, right?
This Quinnipiac poll that you mentioned today shows both kind of overwhelming belief in Trump`s criminality but also you know, 46 percent of the country -- I mean a majority of the country disapproves of the president. 46 percent of the country strongly disapproves. That`s a plurality of American voters. The percentage that strongly approves of him is in the 20s, right? And yet it seems like this small fraction of loud Trump supporters, they`re the ones that people are always somehow worried about offending.
And you know, I actually think that the base of the Democratic Party maybe not the base that`s on Twitter but the base of the Democratic Party, the people who organized and got out and voted in numbers that people have not seen in a midterm in whoever -- how many years, they care very much about the rules.
HAYES: Yes, that`s true.
GOLDBERG: You know, they`re desperate to see this president held to account. And so I think that you know, this is one of those cases where the sort of patriotic course of action, the politically expedient course of action are one in the same.
HAYES: But I would say -- I would say just evolving that. I think they care about it not as a political -- politically instrumental. I mean, people feel like they need to restore something that`s been lost as opposed to this will be the thing that takes them down, although I think there`s some hope about it as well.
Cornell, as a pollster, what do you make of these numbers from Quinnipiac? I actually was kind of surprised by them, I have to say, particularly because there has been so many -- there`s so many warnings to Democrats about overreach. 64 percent of Americans think the President committed a crime. You know, he`s a criminal -- before -- and 45 percent of them thinks he`s committed a crime as president.
CORNELL BELCHER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think -- I think you were getting to the point where we`re as baked in. I think when you look at the broad swath of Americans, particularly those Americans that are in the moderate middle, I think they have now decided. And that`s where you get numbers like 60 percent. You don`t get that 60 percent if those moderate persuadable voters are still thinking about it.
So I think the majority of Americans have landed on what they think of the president and clearly they think he`s dishonest and perhaps -- and perhaps even a criminal. And I think if you go further, if you look at the NBC- Wall Street -- you know NBC polling out here, if you look at his reelect and you look at his job approval going into -- going into re-election ,it is worse than what Obama`s wasn`t worse than what Bush is was.
He has an uphill fight to win reelection because you got to remember he has not expanded his base of support at all. In fact, I would argue that he shrunk the base of support overall for Republicans particularly when you look at college white voters who once upon a time majority of them were voting Republican. This time around they`re not. And right now Trump has only a 55 percent disapproval among College white.
That is almost panic size when you start looking at the suburbs around Philadelphia and you start looking at suburbs around other battleground states.
HAYES: Yes, there`s -- someone noted today that his approval rating right now is right around where it was an election day 2018 right? And it doesn`t change that much for Donald Trump. You`ve got a column out spacely making the point that he has also lost control of the story that`s being told.
GOLDBERG: Right. I mean, I think that you know, the Michael Cohen hearing was just the opening right. I mean, sort of there`s a sense that we`ve had this madman in charge and he`s had his fingers on all the levers of power and everybody who opposes him which is the majority of the country has been totally disempowered. And now we`re sort of seeing the cavalry come in right?
And so all of these different committees you know, not only are they empowered to get information but they`re going to air it publicly. And so we`re basically going to see you know, the trial of Donald Trump in several different venues on television.
And one of the things that happens with this scandal and people talk about it on this network all the time or the overlapping networks of scandals that constitutes everything about Donald Trump is that there`s so much of it that it is very difficult to keep it in your mind, right?
And even those of us who spend all our all of our time thinking about it can`t keep track of it. Never mind people who have you know, jobs and lives or better things to do with themselves --
HAYES: Right, who are socially useful individual.
GOLDBERG: Right. And so what I think Democrats have the chance to do now is to dramatize it, you know. To kind of bring in all these characters, who is Felix Sater who`s going to be testifying next week? You know, explain, who was Donald Trump before this freakish thing catapulted him into the White House?
HAYES: You know, that point about the sort of dramatization, Cornell, that`s what was striking to me about the Cohen numbers, who do you believe Michael Cohen or Donald Trump? I mean, Michael Cohen is a liar. He`s an absolute liar. He`s lying for other people, lying for himself, illegally lying, engaged in fraud. I mean, the guy`s got very little credibility.
For people to watch those hearings and come away being like yes, I believe him over the president is something.
BELCHER: Well, also we have -- we have a documented liar and the president -- and the president as well.
HAYES: Of course.
BELCHER: And while I think -- long-term, look, I think sort of the Americans are making their decision minds upon the president being a liar and they don`t trust him. But what I think was problematic for Republicans is what the Republican members on that committee did and how they were trying to protect the president at all costs.
When you look at the percentage of Americans particularly in Middle America who think this president is lying, who think this president has done something wrong, for the Republicans in Congress to be lockstep in line with him and trying to protect him, I think long-term that helped -- that hurts them in some districts.
I think they might actually lose more seats going into this election than they last loss in the midterms.
HAYES: That`s a bold prediction. Cornell Belcher, you`ll be back on many times before that does or does not come true. Michelle Goldberg, thank you both for being with me. Next a closer look of the list of 81 people and organizations targeted in the new sweeping House investigation. Some of the key people you may not have even heard of. I do this for a living and I had to remind myself. We`ll walk you through that with what we`ve learned in two minutes.
HAYES: A day after Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee unveiled their broad investigation into President Trump and his associates, the President was still raging this morning not surprisingly tweeting among other things, "The greatest overreach in the history of our country -- capital-C country, arguable and a lot of overages. The Dems are obstructing justice and will not get anything done, a big fat fishing expedition desperately in search of crime when in fact the real crime is what the Dems are doing and have done."
Speaking later in an event for veterans, Trump was asked about a different congressional investigation into his administration but still just had one thing on his mind.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, your response to the Democrats who are calling for a criminal investigation into Jared Kushner`s security clearance?
TRUMP: The witch hunt continues. The fact is that -- I guess we got 81 letters. There was no collusion. That was a hoax. There was no anything.
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HAYES: It`s like a dollar you pull a string on. Joining me now for a closer look at those 81 people and organizations Philip Bump, National Correspondent of the Washington Post. He has written a very, very helpful article titled The 81 People and Organizations Just Looped Into The Trump Probe and Why They Were Included, which also good straightforward headline on that. Also with me Maya Wiley, Senior Vice President of Social Justice in the New School and an MSNBC Legal Analyst.
So I was just saying to Michelle Goldberg when she was talking about even people who follow this day in day out, you can lose the threads. And when this came out yesterday, it was going through being like right, right, oh wait, which one is that. Let`s talk about some of the more obscure ones who are in there. Maybe Rinat Akhmetshin, who is fairly central figure but a little more on the obscure end.
PHILIP BUMP, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: He is -- so this is a guy -- he was one of the participants in the Trump Tower meeting. He accompanies the Kremlin linked attorney as she`s referred to Natalia Veselnitskaya to that meeting. They had worked together in part apparently at Fusion GPS as well working on some Russia related issues. But he was at that meeting. He also -- has apparent ties to Russian military intelligence.
Now he -- his people push back on me today and said, well, actually he served in a unit which supported military intelligence and so there`s a lot of nebulousness there. But he is -- I think a lot of people see him as the most direct conduit between Russia and what was happening in the Trump Tower.
HAYES: Because he`s sort of a Washington figure right? Like, he had been a lobbyist. He`d lobbied for Russian interests, if I`m not mistaken.
BUMP: That`s right.
HAYES: He`s in that world.
BUMP: That`s right.
HAYES: What are the one names it that`s stuck out of you, Maya?
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I am -- I fall directly in that category of you could guess what I`m interested in. I`m looking at all of like Tony Fabrizio, you know, who is the pollster for Paul Manafort who knows what was in that polling information that Manafort shared with Russians. Like I`m looking at how do we know exactly what kind of information was shared by whom and of what import, of what impact.
HAYES: Tony Fabrizio is a great -- he`s the pollster that Manafort was using and there`s this real question that we don`t know because of the ways things are redacted. We know that polling data was shared. We don`t know the story behind it, how in-depth it was. Like the most exculpatory stories like he just printed some stuff off his computer and it was kind of like a con job to make this guy feel like he was part of something. The most inculpatory story is that it was real stuff from inside and presumably Tony Fabrizio would know that.
WILEY: That`s right. And even if he wasn`t part of an arguable -- I`m not saying that there`s evidence yet of a conspiracy but an arguable conspiracy, you know, he could at least just knowing the substance of the polls be able to indicate whether or not Paul Manafort was really sharing something that was of value to the Russians for interfering in the election.
And you know, I think they`re just several names that kind of float around that from Cambridge Analytica you know. So that -- all of the people who kind of float directly to what information may have been shared by the campaign with Russian operative.
HAYES: And because that`s the closest we`ve come to the thing the two sides touching right? I mean, that`s the one place where we know they touch, right? Like we know Paul Manafort gave this polling data which is a weird-ass thing to do in the middle of the campaign. What about Annie Donaldson? This was someone whose name came up and I think a lot of people had to do some googling. Why might she be key and important?
BUMP: So Annie Donaldson was chief of staff to Don McGahn who was the White House Counsel. And so she was right-hand person, right. And so she was there. And one of the things we learned -- the New York Times reported this actually fairly recently is that she took copious notes about what was going on about her conversations with McGahn, about what was happening in the White House. And she was there -- she also served in the transition with McGahn so that may be of interest to investigators.
But she was there for things like the Comey firing. She was there for the Flynn firing. She was there -- actually I think, she came after the Flynn firing but she was definitely here for the Comey firing. And that is something that she took notes on paid attention to and that is now actually in the Mueller`s team`s hands.
HAYES: Now, that`s something -- this is a place where you know you can make document requests. You can ask subpoenas although that`s fairly rare, right? Usually, this is worked out through a negotiation. Something like that is a place where you can see a plausible assertion of executive privilege coming from the White House, right, Maya?
WILEY: Absolutely. And I think this is where even though it`s very hard to win on executive privilege because it`s the weakest, you know, while it has been recognized by the Supreme Court. It`s not a strong privilege. You don`t get to withhold things if there`s an indication that a crime may have been committed. You can`t use it to withhold evidence. But you can litigate it. And so the --
HAYES: You can fight and you can delay.
WILEY: You can fight and you can delay and you can delay for years potentially and catching it up in a legal process. So I actually look at those witnesses in part who are not connected to the administration in order to --
HAYES: That`s a great point.
WILEY: -- where they can get information much more quickly and much more useful.
HAYES: So someone like Tony Fabrizio or Keith Davidson who`s the attorney who represented Stormy Daniels in the hush money band, it`s really hard to see any plausible claim of executive privilege there. Like these people had nothing to do in the White House, never worked in the White House.
They`re going to probably have to comply or that process we can imagine being faster. Things in the White House do you imagine the White House is going to go nuclear in terms of fighting that in every step they have.
BUMP: Yes, absolutely. I mean, we saw -- I think it was last year that Donald Trump Jr. tried to claim executive privilege in conversations with his father. Like they have a very expansive if not legally dubious way of looking at executive privilege. But it seems pretty clear that anyone who still maintains loyalty to the White House will try and exert.
HAYES: OK, last little thing is the Peter Smith loose thread here which shows up which is a story that we covered in a story that`s always been bizarre to me. Who is Peter Smith?
BUMP: So Peter Smith is a long term Republican operative. He was -- he is sort of an anti-Clinton guy back in the 1990s.
HAYES: And a donor.
BUMP: Yes, exactly. And he during the 2016 campaign sort of took it upon himself to find e-mails that he believed had been stolen from Hillary Clinton`s private e-mail server. He raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to do this. He claims to have -- to have a relationship with Michael Flynn and other figures within the campaign.
He actually solicited experts trying to weigh in and he was on what he`d like to call the dark web which I don`t know who`s really the parkway, but you know, he like to have sort of this air of espionage about himself pretty clearly and it ended tragically.
He was -- the Wall Street Journal reported on him on this effort and ten days later he took his own life in Minnesota and it remains this sort of black box and it`s either this guy is doing some sort of weird freelancing or it`s something that`s potentially --
HAYES: Yes. I`ve always wanted a sort of more definitive accounting of where we ended up on that whole thing because it seemed possible and it is just a bizarre freelance exercise. Philip Bump and Maya Wiley, thank you both.
Still to come, Roger Stone is doing just about everything he can to end up in jail. Now despite his gag order planned to release his book about the Mueller investigation. What happens next after this.
HAYES: Not a good day today for Roger Stone who seems to be trying really hard to land himself in jail. You will remember that after Stone was indicted, he was giving press conferences and interviews but he really managed to galvanize everyone`s attention when he posted an image on his Instagram account of the federal judge who is overseeing his case with crosshairs alongside the picture.
Now, Judge Amy Berman Jackson didn`t take too kindly to that. She responded by issuing a strict gag order. Stone was pursuant to her order forbidden from making public statements about the special prosecutor`s investigation, his criminal case or anybody involved in that case.
Then last week, Stone`s lawyers came out with a huge oh, by the way, they asked the court for a clarification on that gag order. Why? Because stone wanted the judge to OK the imminent re-release of a Roger Stone book about the "myth of Russian collusion with a brand-new intro on the Mueller investigation packed with lines like this, "clearly, I was targeted for strictly political reasons. We know that because it`s already online.
But that`s not all, the special counsel`s office then alerted the judge to this, "Who Framed Roger Stone," another post on Roger Stone`s Instagram account and an instastory, later deleted.
Today, in a new court order, Jude Jackson made the court`s displeasure with this pattern of behavior crystal clear. The judge basically shredded the defense team`s argument that the Roger Stone book wasn`t a violation of the gag order, because it was previously planned. And the judge gave Stone until March 11, next Monday, to explain how he planned to come into compliance with the gag order.
And to explain all recent social media posts, including deleted one.
And this is the same judge who in issuing the gag order just a couple of weeks ago had said, quote, "so I want to be clear today, I gave you a second chance, but this is not baseball, there will not be a third chance."
Joining me now, Nancy Gertner, who is a former U.S. district judge for the district of Massachusetts, is now a senior lecturer at Harvard Law School.
I`m so glad that you were able to come on, Nancy, because you sat -- you presided over criminal cases and civil cases, and you have had lots of -- I guess the first question is do you ever someone like Roger Stone who just can`t seem to help himself?
NANCY GERTNER, FORMER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE: Yeah, I`ve had people. I mean, you know, on the one hand -- on the one hand I want to sort of analogize it to the child that you say bedtime is 8:00 and they`re going, oh, two more minutes, another book, except it`s really serious. And he really is playing with fire.
HAYES: Yeah, what did you make of the tone of that order today? So there`s this question about whether he`s violated this gag order and the judge issues this order today and says you have to present on March 11. What was your reading of that document?
GERTNER: Well, the document was way detailed about all the chances that she had given him, you know, about -- and you have to -- I do want to step back and say I mean this judge was very cautious about the kind of order she was going to give him. There wasn`t a gag order on him initially, it was only on the lawyers. He couldn`t speak outside the court house.
Then there is the picture with the crosshairs, which the picture of a federal judge, you know, with negative comments is really extraordinary. I have never seen that before, and I`ve seen a lot. And then, then comes this incredibly disingenuous pleading last Friday, which is we want clarification about the imminent release of the book, p.s., it was the book that had already been released.
And in an extraordinary footnote in her decision, I mean really, you feel like this is a decision that the edges should be burned, you know, and in a footnote to the decision, she says I think I know why he filed that order, that motion about the imminent release of the book, because it would attract attention to the book. It was a way of increasing sales. I mean, it was extraordinary.
HAYES: Yeah, I just want to quote it, because it`s -- she writes, "defendant`s March 4 submission gives rise to the impression that the March 1 motion in which they asked about the book was intended to serve as a means to generate additional publicity for the book."
GERTNER: Right. So he says the imminent release of a book that in fact has already been released. And then this past Sunday, so that was on Friday, Sunday there`s the Instagram post, you know, "Who Framed Roger Stone." I mean this man is -- I mean at this point she has -- she has two choices and it seems to me that one is a more likely one. One choice is to say don`t do it again. It`s very hard to do it under these circumstances. The other choice is to say I revoke your bail, which it seems to me is maybe the more likely response.
HAYES: So she can do that. She has the power to revoke bail and put him in jail because he is not complying with the terms of his bail?
GERTNER: Right. And what`s extraordinary about this order was that the language of the order that he is supposed to follow was drafted by his lawyers. It was drafted by his lawyers, and he`s disobeyed it.
HAYES: Oh, you`re saying the language of the order, his lawyer said, here, we propose these following restraints.
HAYES: The judge signed onto them and he is now violating what his own lawyers proposed as the rules of the road for being Roger Stone pending trial?
GERTNER: Right. And so I don`t know what the explanation is here. I don`t know what the explanation is.
She`s asked for correspondence with his publisher to sort of figure out when he knew this book was coming out, but I don`t see how this isn`t anything but a violation of the terms of the order.
HAYES: If it is a violation, does that mean that he would be in a situation similar to Paul Manafort in which he`s just in jail in pretrial detention until the trial?
GERTNER: I mean she`s sort of a little bit in a box. Yes, she can revoke his bail because as a condition of bail, you have your freedom on the condition that you follow the rules of the court. And if this is an explicit violation of those rules, then she has a right to revoke his bail. She could cite him for contempt, but that is a more complicated process and a more difficult process.
No, she could easily revoke his bail. She could cite him for contempt, but that`s a more complicated process and a more difficult process. No, she could easily revoke his bail. Manafort was in more sense a more serious offense, because his was tampering with a witness, but this is really -- saying to a federal judge in your face...
HAYES: Yeah, you`re right about Manafort. It was more serious, because it was tampering with a witness and it was violating -- but also, you have these two individuals who have known each other forever, in fact started a lobbying firm together notoriously in Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, just as a kind of characterological takeaway that these two individuals cannot help themselves, but violating rules, laws, things like that, it`s really pretty striking.
GERTNER: It`s extraordinary. It`s unnecessary. It`s, you know, sort of undermining the authority of the court. It`s a sociopath.
HAYES: That`s what it looks like.
Nancy Gertner, thank you very much.
Still to come, Congressman Ilhan Omar and the polarizing generational fight within the Democratic Party. Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, The New Yorker dropped its big report about the very cozy mutually beneficial partnership between President Trump and his mouthpiece, Fox News. And you might think that after getting caught red- handed like that they both might want to lay low a little bit. But instead, the president`s Twitter feed last night was a full-on Trump TV live blog. Long quotations, I mean long quotations of his favorite booster, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson and guests from appearances on multiple shows. I mean, you just watched them all, even shared a clip of the auburn-haired Fox Business host Lou Dobbs.
And if you listen closely, you can how the perpetual Trump nonsense machine operates.
(BEIGN VIDEO CLIP)
LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS: This is nothing but a political persecution. It`s not even an investigation. This is purely and straightforwardly an assault.
I want to talk about what these lazy, indolent, passive son of a guns can do on a declaration of war against the radical dems against the president and the American republic.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: As the the Democrats endless investigations, the hate Trump agenda is now hitting literally psychotic levels of derangement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard they actually subpoenaed the chef that makes the Taco bowls over at Trump Tower, that`s how dirty they`re getting. It`s revenge politics because Hillary lost. The only thing Trump obstructed was Hillary getting into the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But, let it not be said that there isn`t journalism being practiced at Trump TV, the hard-hitting investigation that you might have missed is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: It`s been nearly a month since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos accused the National Enquirer of trying to blackmail him. And although we don`t know for sure, there`s quite a bit of suspicion that the guy who runs the Enquirer, David Pecker, was going after Bezos as a way to please his long- time buddy and kind of business associate, really, President Donald Trump.
Last night, Trump`s second best investigative journalist friend had a blockbuster investigative report of his own. Hannity Watch, an investigation, into the 2020 candidates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right, time for Hannity Watch, our investigation into a 2020 candidates. This weekend, Senator Bernie Sanders kicked off his 2020 campaign in Brooklyn, wasted little time before revealing, well, more hypocrisy. Democratic socialist, open borders advocate, held a rally and was happy to greet his supporters from behind a barrier. Why is the fence up, Bernie? Oh, a barrier is acceptable if they protect you personally? They`re only wrong if they`re used to protect our border and the American people, just like how many celebrities in Hollywood and politicians have armed security guards. And Bernie flies in private jets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s right, Bernie. You`re burnt.
OK, this has been a Hannity Watch investigation. And all kidding aside, there are serious questions that need to be asked here, like, is that guy OK?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And Hannity, how good is Hannity? How good is Hannity? And he`s a great guy. And he`s an honest guy. And he`s an honest guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do you remember back in December when unexpectedly seemingly out of nowhere Donald Trump tweeted that he was pulling U.S. troops out of Syria? The position itself that U.S. troops should leave Syria is defensible. It might even be the right position. I tend to think it is. But the decision was made with little to no preparation, no consultation with congressional leaders, even much of the Department of Defense itself was in the dark.
In fact, Trump`s shock announcement appeared to precipitate the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who rebuked the president in a scorching resignation letter.
And then, because Donald Trump has no mastery of anything or even any guiding principles, forces quickly went to work on him to reverse that decision. And today it looks like he has indeed backtracked, scrawling I agree 100 percent. All is being done on a letter sent by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in support of keeping U.S. forces in Syria.
Of course who knows what that means in concrete terms, are or even how long until the president changes his mind again. That is the real danger right now of foreign policy in the Trump era, that an ignorant, incurious, incompetent president follows his impulses with no planning or consistency while a coterie of hawkish advisers stand ever ready to swoop in and push him towards their own ends, whether that`s to undue the Iran deal, to adopt a maximally aggressive approach to Venezuela or to keep troops in Syria.
Already the presidential inattention is having an effect. Donald Trump once threatened North Korea with fire and fury and seemed to be pushing us towards the brink of war, war before he and dictator Kim Jong-un, as he put it, fell in love, that`s a literal quotation. And now after a summit that was abruptly broken up for reasons that remain somewhat unclear, North Korea, voila, appears to be rebuilding a long dormant long-range rocket site.
A thoughtful, coherent foreign policy might have had a strategy to prevent this sort of this thing, but that is not how this president operates. And the situation is frankly untenable. We`ve been lucky so far, but at some point our luck could very well run out.
HAYES: Tonight, House Democratic sources are telling NBC News that a planned resolution condemning anti-Semitism will now include language denouncing anti-Muslim bias. The vote on that resolution comes as a response to controversies surrounding freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Omar, one of only two Muslim women in congress, both elected in this last election, has been attracting criticism for her commentary on Israel since before she got elected. Back in 2012, during the Israeli offensive in Gaza, Omar tweeted that, quoted, "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel."
Last month, Omar seemed to imply that U.S. lawmakers support for Israel was fueled by money, tweeting somewhat glibly, quote, "it`s all about the Benjamins, baby," and then amidst a bipartisan backlash, Omar apologized, writing, quote, "anti-Semitism is real." And then added, "we have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize."
And then last week in a bookstore even in Washington, D.C., Omar spoke about the frustration she has when it comes to trying to discussing and advocate for human rights and abuses against the Palestinians. And then she said something that again sparked controversy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ILHAN OMAR, (D) MINNESOTA: I`m going to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries or big pharma and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policy?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: These comments have polarized the Democratic Party, I think it`s fair to say. Some of Omar`s colleagues, like fellow Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have defended her. Back home in Minnesota, a collection of elected officials started a stand with Ilhan hashtag that was trending on witter yesterday. Others in the Democratic Party, including very senior members of the House, have condemned her saying she continues to perpetuate her full anti-Semitic stereotypes.
To talk about all this, I`m joined by Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, and Mehdi Hassan, a columnist with The Intercept.
Jeremy, how do you see all this?
JEREMY BEN-AMI, PRESIDENT, J STREET: Well, look, let`s start by saying anti-Semitism is real and we can agree. My mother fled the Nazis in 1938, so let`s agree we can condemn it and move on. If you are going to have a serious discussion about hate and intolerance in this country, let`s start at the top, let`s start by having a House discussion about the president`s intolerance and his racism, let`s have a discussion about the xenophobia and the racism that`s coming from the other side of the aisle, and let`s stop using the discussion of anti-Semitism as a way of avoiding a real discussion about policy towards Israel and Palestine and the issues that are actually on the table about occupation and the treatment of the Palestinians.
HAYES: Do you think that`s what is happening here?
BEN-AMI: I think absolutely. There is an attempt to silence the debate by focusing the discussion on the question of anti-Semitism rather than the underlying issue that really needs to be discussed which is our American policy toward the region.
HAYES: Mehdi, here is an argument that I`ve seen people make. And I find kind of persuasive. And I say this because Omar herself made it in the last apology, which is basically, look, there are sort two coalitions in American life, one coalition is like you`re all snowflakes, why is everyone so offended by everything? Why can`t you deal with language? What`s your problem? There`s another coalition that says look when you offend people, and they say in good faith I`m offended, you listen seriously to that and if they say that language is bad for these historical reasons, then you do your best to avoid that. Do you think that applies here in the case of Omar herself and some of the sort of tropes, for lack of better word, that some say she played on.
MEHDI HASSAN, THE INTERCEPT: She hasn`t played on things. Has she maybe unwittingly echoed tropes? Yes. But I think, Chris, the bigger issue here is do people have some good faith objections? Yes, they do. Has the reporting been awful, Chris? It has. Let`s be clear. She hasn`t said anything about Jews. She`s not said one word about Jews.
I got an email today from a Jewish reader saying you wrote an article and you didn`t mention how she accused us Jews of having loyalty to Israel. Why didn`t you mention that, because she didn`t say that. She talked about supporters of Israel insisting that politicians in the U.S. show allegiance to Israel, and that`s kind of undeniable. I mean, that`s been reported on for years. And I think that is what is important here, Chris, a lot of good faith criticism is based on kind of misreporting of what she said and done.
And the bad faith criticism, I completely agree with Jeremy, the idea that the Republican Party are going to give lectures on anti-Semitism it`s like taking lectures on climate change from the Republican Party. I mean, these are the guys who are trafficking in globalist, Soros, all of this language that helped inspire the guy who walked into a synagogue in October and murdered 11 Jewish worshipers. That wasn`t a guy who inspired by Ilhan Omar, that was a guy who believed in the same kind of conspiracy theories that Donald Trump and Republican members of congress put out day in, day out.
So, it`s the bad faith attacks to the real problem here and I agree with Jeremy, we need to be looking at the big picture here.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise. And we need to understand why it`s on the rise, it`s a far right ethnonationalist problem. It`s not a problem from people who are criticizing Israel.
And one quick point, Chris, the most important tweet of the last couple weeks has not been Ilhan Omar`s tweet for me, it was Juan Vargas, the California congressman, who tweeted yesterday after criticizing her additionally questioning the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable. Cat out of the bag there.
HAYES: Well, he said those two sentences right next to each other, which I thought was honest and important, because he was distinguishing between the two. And to me, Jeremy, it also gets at a deeper issue here, right. So, there is this discussion about anti- Semitism, which is very real, I think, you know, it is tearing the Labour Party apart quite literally. It`s rendering -- it`s rented asunder in England and there is a lot of sort of complex ways people feel about that, the degree to which it`s in good faith or bad faith, but it is central there.
Then there is a question of this sort of generational view of Israel. And it seems to be part of the issue here is there is a gap between senior leadership in the Democratic Party and how they feel about Israel and younger members of the party and younger members of the base who watched a Netanyahu government for almost a decade, who do not feel the same way about the state.
BEN-AMI: Right. And not only do they watch the Netanyahu government, but they watch the similarities between Netanyahu and Trump. And they know that they`re opposed to Trump and they oppose his racism and his undercutting of democracy and his attack on the institutions of our democracy, and they see the exact same thing happening there and here and they say, well, if we`re opposed to what Trump is doing here, why can`t we just be opposed to what Netanyahu is doing over there. And that`s legitimate. And it`s a legitimate thing to criticize the policies of the government of Israel. And not everybody who does that is either anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. In fact, most of the people that I work with who are critical of Israeli government policy both love the state of Israel and are Jewish.
And so I think it`s that distinguishing -- it`s the distinction of that line that we need to focus on.
HAYES: I guess the point -- the argument made on the other side, right, Mehdi, is that those two things go along for a reason, often. And when you find the sort of more conspiratorial corners of say Facebook posts by Labour members of parliament which are gross and antis-Semitic, that there is a reason that there is an overlap there, because people`s views are being driven by anti-Semitism.
HASSAN: Yes, but the problem is, as Jeremy pointed out at the start, let`s look at big picture. This resolution they`re putting forward now on Thursday says really important things about the rise in the number of anti- Semitic attacks, the outrageous statements about Jews, discrimination, hate. Ilhan Omar it has nothing to do with any of that. She has not expressed any hate, animus, or discrimination.
And, you know, she`s been on the receiving end of the hate, and she has a Republican party in West Virginia saying she`s a terrorist. You have an adviser to the president going on Fox and calling her fifth. So, the idea that she should be targeted by a resolution is absurd.
And would say one thing here, everything she said about Israel, she`s pretty much said about Saudi Arabia. So, if she`s an anti-Semitic, she must be an Islamophobe as well.
HAYES: She has been hard after Saudi Arabia from the beginning, which is worth noting. And that poster there was in the West Virginia capital the other day, put up by the Republican Party.
Jeremy Ben-Ami and Mehdi Hassan, thanks for joining us.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END