IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Judge blocks Wisconsin GOP limits on Governor. TRANSCRIPT: 3/21/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Stephen Lynch, Erin Banco, Neal Katyal, Mehdi Hassan, JeffreyMandel

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  And that`s HARDBALL for now, or softball.  Thanks for being with us.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Let it come out.  Let people see it.

HAYES:  As the world awaits some word from Robert Mueller --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The fact that they don`t respond to even one single request begs the question why.  Why are they -- what are they hiding?

HAYES:  Disturbing new details about the President`s top aide.

TRUMP:  She`s so formal.

HAYES:  Concerns about how they handled classified information.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP:  The President had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband`s clearance.

HAYES:  And how they communicated with foreign leaders.

TRUMP:  Jared has done an outstanding job.

HAYES:  Tonight, the investigation into Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.  Just whose interests are they serving?

TRUMP:  It`s always corruption.  It`s always corruption.

HAYES:  Then, what to expect when you`re expecting the imminent end of the Special Counsel investigation?

TRUMP:  President Trump is waiting for the Mueller report.

HAYES:  Plus a rebuke of Republican attempts to snatch power in Wisconsin.  And just what the heck is going on with Brexit?


HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  As the country waits for the Mueller report to finally settle the question of whether the President of the United States is compromised by Russia, new revelations by House Democrats raise further questions about exactly whose interest the most powerful people in the country are serving.

In a letter to the White House Council, House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings disclosed today that senior White House officials including the President`s daughter and son-in-law Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have been using personal e-mail accounts and messaging apps to conduct official business in apparent violation of the Presidential Records Act.

According to Cummings, Kushner`s personal lawyer confirmed in December, Kushner has used and continues to use WhatsApp as part of his official duties in the White House.  Lawyers said Kushner keeps records of those communications by screenshotting them.  Sure it`s real.  Let me make sure to do that.

When asked if Kushner has ever used WhatsApp to communicate with foreign leaders, his lawyer confirmed that Kushner "had communications with people outside the United States."  According to Cummings, the lawyer said Ivanka Trump has continued to receive e-mails relating to official business on her personal account -- Am I saying this?  I`m saying this.  This is what`s happening -- without forwarding them to herself at the White House as required by law.

Jared and Ivanka`s lawyer disputed some of those claims contending that Ivanka does forward official business to a White House account and that he never said Jared had message with foreign officials.  OK, well, Cummings revealed today that two former White House officials have also used personal accounts for official business, former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland and a former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.  Remember that guy?

According to Cummings, they both communicated about a controversial plan to give the U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia using personal e-mail in McFarland`s case in AOL account.  Cummings who first started investigating the administration`s use of personal e-mail over two years ago gave the White House two more weeks to answer his questions and turn over the documents he`s demanding.

Telling that, he said, "we will be forced to consider alternative means to obtain compliance."  The Oversight Committee`s investigation gets one of the most troubling questions about an administration riddled with conflicts of interest.  Are senior public officials serving the interests of the American people or are they serving themselves?

Kushner has been reported to conduct something like a rogue foreign policy shop particularly concerning Saudi Arabia leaving his own government out of the loop about his contacts of Saudi officials and in some cases keeping no records of their conversations.

In fact, his contacts with foreign officials caused so much concerned they were said to be part of the reason that he couldn`t get a security clearance.  That is until his father-in-law intervened although Ivanka said that did not happen.


I. TRUMP:  There were anonymous leaks about there being issues but the President had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband`s clearance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What were the problems early on?

I. TRUMP:  There weren`t any.


HAYES:  Not true.  Not true at all.  The things she said into the camera that we all saw, that was not true, OK.  It turns out Jared is not the only Kushner interested in Saudi Arabia.  According to New York Times his brother Josh, a venture capitalist went there to talk business with Saudi officials in 2017 at almost the exact same time Jared was in town to conduct U.S. foreign policy.

Josh Kushner is not the only one who stood to benefit from favorable policies towards Saudi Arabia like oh I don`t know, refusing to hold them accountable for the brutal hatchet murder of a journalist for an American newspaper.

Do you remember that plan to get the Saudis nuclear technology which Elijah Cummings says White House officials were discussing on their personal e- mail accounts?  The person e-mailing them according to Cummings was Tom Barrack, friend of the president, chair of his now being investigated inaugural committee.

And Barrack`s investment firm did visit he Saudis as reportedly seeking new ways to profit under the Trump administration.  For a president who ran on the slogan America first, it`s remarkable how many of his associates put other interests, foreign powers included and their own bottom line ahead of the country`s.

And after the lock her up chants, attacking his opponent over and over again for her records retention and e-mail security practices, now the resident has a burgeoning e-mail scandal of his own.

I`m joined now by a member of the committee conducting this investigation Democratic Congressman Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts who sits on the House Oversight Committee.  Congressman, why do you think the White House is stonewalling and how normal is this?

REP. STEPHEN LYNCH (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  This is extraordinarily rare.  I think you can go back a dozen or more administrations where the White House has generally been very cooperative with a -- with a Congress controlled by the opposite party.

The thing here, Chris, is the President on most of these requests, document requests has not articulated any privilege.  They haven`t produced a single document.  We have -- we have inquiries with seven different executive departments, none of them have produced a single document.  So I think we`re rapidly approaching subpoena time for a lot of these individuals and I think that is where Chairman Cummings is going if we -- if we continue -- we continue to be stonewalled.

HAYES:  Yes.  So I just want to be clear.  What you`re saying is they`re not responding to you and saying here`s why we can`t produce the document you`re asking for legal reasons right?  They`re covered by executive privilege or we don`t --

LYNCH:  That`s right, Chris.

HAYES:  They`re just saying -- they`re just not answering.

LYNCH:  No, it`s just crickets.  It`s silence.  They`re not give us any -- giving us any documents.  In some cases, we have whistleblowers who have reported to us about this attempted sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.  So we have very specific -- we know the documents we`re looking for and they know that we know because they`re so specific and yet still nothing from the administration.

HAYES:  So when the chair says, we will be forced to consider alternative means to obtain compliance, that would be a subpoena.  Who enforces that?  How enforceable is that or do you just end up in a standoff?

LYNCH:  Well, it depends on what we`re looking for.  Now I think in this case, if it went to a court and they had produced no documents, no briefings, no information, I think they would be in a much worse case as if they were fighting over this document or that document.

HAYES:  Right.

LYNCH:  Right now we`re getting nothing, right?  So I think a judge, a federal judge wouldn`t look and say wait a minute, there is a role of oversight for Congress to get some of these documents.  You can`t just say no.  You can`t just refused to offer any privilege that you`re asserting here and just completely shut out Congress.  They have a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight.

So I think we will have a strong leg to stand on in terms of going into court and enforcing some of those subpoenas.

HAYES:  One of the other Congressional inquiries into the President`s meetings with Vladimir Putin particularly one-on-one meetings in which no American translator was present, a meeting in which he infamously after the meeting ripped up the notes according to reports.  And today there was a reply from the White House in those inquiries.

I want to read you what the White House Counsel said and get your response.  The White House Counsel said, "Since the founding, the executive branch has correctly and successfully asserted that information concerning the conduct of foreign affairs is constitutionally within the exclusive control the executive branch and Congress cannot demand it`s disclosure.  What do you think of that?

LYNCH:  Well that would be a violation of the Presidential Records Act.  That`s exactly what we are trying to enforce in that case.  So he doesn`t have the ability to go rogue and then not record what those actions are.  So we don`t have a -- he`s not the king.  He`s the executive branch of a you know, a three branches of government so he`s got to conform with the judiciary requirements and he also has to cooperate with Congress.

HAYES:  Is the concern -- I mean, when we talk about using WhatsApp and personal e-mail and AOL, right, I mean there`s this obvious hypocrisy.  We all watch them rail against Hillary Clinton for doing that.  They said that she should be in jail because of it, that she should be locked up.  But is -- what is the concern here?  Is it a first order of concern about the violation of the law, the hypocrisy, or what they are obscuring by using these means that you cannot get access to?

LYNCH:  Well, look at what they`re doing with them, though.  So they`re -- you know, if you look at Mr. Kushner and the President in an occasion, they`re going completely on their own without Mr. Kushner avoiding our own embassy in in Saudi Arabia dealing directly with Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince trying to conduct business where you know, he`s actually trying to transfer sensitive nuclear technology without the cooperation of Congress which the Atomic Energy Act requires.

So it`s not only the use which is -- which is a real vulnerability to the national security industry, that`s a concern to my subcommittee on national security.  But he`s also -- the things he`s doing like that are borderline in terms of legality.

HAYES:  All right, Congressman Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, thanks for your time tonight.

LYNCH:  Thank you, Chris.

HAYES:  For more on what the revelations tell us about the Trump administration`s conflicts of interests I`m joined by Erin Banco National Security Reporter at the Daily Beast and MSNBC Legal Analyst Paul Butler who`s a former Federal Prosecutor.

Erin, I`ll start with you because you`ve reported a lot about Kushner and there has been from the beginning particularly with the Saudis essentially a parallel Jared Kushner based foreign policy with the Saudis staying up late with Mohammed bin Salman maybe helping him plot purges of members of his family, meeting with him after Khashoggi, and basically appearing to sort of tell him everything was OK.  Like what is the deal with that relationship?

ERIN BANCO NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST:  Yes.  You know, we know from his latest trip to Riyadh that Embassy staffers in the embassy in Riyadh were very upset that they were shut out, essentially shut out from these meetings between Jared Kushner and MBS.

You know, they said that they have concerns about what those conversations you know, how they went on, what the details of them were, did they talk about nuclear technology, did they not.  We`ve gotten some pushback from the administration saying well, wait a minute, you know, we did have somebody from the State Department in those meetings.  That individual was a man named Brian Hook who`s at the head of the Iran Action Group.

But the embassy itself was largely shut out from those conversations.  And in terms of security, you know, MBS provided a lot of the security for Jared.  So they`ve been feeling increasingly frustrated over the past few trips that Jared has gone on that they you know, have no real insight or transparency into those meetings.  And so that`s concerning not only to the embassy but to lawmakers on the Hill.

HAYES:  There`s also -- there`s also the fact, Paul, that -- I mean the Presidential Records Act seems sort of errored and abstract at some level but it is also the way that we actually get enduring records of what exactly an administration does.  And I know for a fact that it was taken extremely seriously under the Obama administration.

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Yes.  So not only is it arid, Chris, it actually doesn`t state a penalty for when it`s violated so it`s unclear what should happen other than that.  The Congressional Democrats will go to court and if they can get a subpoena to try to enforce it that they could possibly get civil fines.

But to be sure, yes, there are always issues.  And, Chris, as you know, no president loves congressional oversight.  So this was also an issue with the Obama administration with the Fast and Furious investigation.

The Republicans in Congress ended up holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt.  That went to court.  Three and a half years later it was resolved.  Congress won, no executive privilege, but it took a long time.

The difference with the Trump administration is in a word that Donald Trump used, war.

He said we`re not going to comply it`s going to be war.  This is what he said after the Democrats took over their House.  Again, it`s unconstitutional because of the congressional power to oversee the executive.  It`s all about checks and balances.

HAYES:  Yes.  We should we should be clear that in the Fast and Furious case, the Department of Justice produced tons of documents.  They didn`t just like not answer.  It was after several rounds of back-and-forth that essentially that you know, they said we can`t give you anymore and the Congress disagreed.

But the sort of central underlying thing I keep coming back to in the case of Jared Kushner particularly that is revealed in the latest stuff about K.T. McFarland is this nuclear deal.  You`ve reported on this, Erin, and I feel like we still don`t know the root of it right?  That as late as March 14th, the Trump team is still pushing for this deal to happen.

Michael Flynn was texting about it at the inauguration.  Tom Barrack maybe stood to gain monetarily from it.  Like what is this deal?  What is its origin?

BANCO:  So I think people get a little bit confused about discussions between government to government, what those conversations are about a potential one-two-three agreement or perhaps some sort of other agreement regarding the export of nuclear technology, and then what separately IP3 might be doing to gain a contract with Saudi Arabia.

They`re two completely separate things.  And while there may be some overlap in terms of conversation about the export of nuclear technology, in terms of the ongoing backdoor conversations that are happening right now, what we know is that within the State Department itself and within the Department of Energy, there are conversations about how can we come up with a deal that the Saudis are on board with.  And there are -- they`re still working on that deal and in constant communication about it.

And separately, IP3, we know from some recent reporting we`ve done is still also talking to Saudi Arabia about what they want to do and what that contract would look like with Saudi Arabia.  But I think that the IP3 contract in and of itself would look quite different than I think some people might realize.  I think that those conversations have developed a lot over the last you know, six or eight months.

HAYES:  Paul -- yes, please.

BUTLER:  No, I was just going to say, very related to (INAUDIBLE) concerns is Chairman Cummings subpoena about the security clearance for a Jared Kushner.  So we know that President Trump asked Kushner -- asked his White House Counsel Dan McGahn and Chief of staff John Kelly to give Kushner a clearance.  They said no Mr. President.  And they were so concerned about being asked that they both wrote contemporary memos to the file documenting that they refused the President`s request.

We don`t know what`s going on why they refused to give Kushner the security clearance.  Cummings is trying to find out.  And again they`re stonewalling.

HAYES:  Yes.  That`s -- and that is -- that is sort of one part of this thread that I would like to get to the bottom to.  I think a lot of people are on how is Jared Kushner conducting American foreign policy and in whose interest is he doing it and under what authority.  Erin Banco and Paul Butler, great to have you both.

BANCO:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Coming up, the frenzied anticipation across the country as the Mueller report is expected any day now.  And Neal Katyal on what happens when the special counsel is finished in two minutes.


HAYES:  The entirety of the National American news media, this news organization included are staking out the Justice Department and Robert Mueller`s office in anticipation that the Mueller report will be submitted any day now.

Here are some pictures The Associated Press snapped the Robert Mueller on his way into work early this morning.  Here`s a tweet from 3:00 this afternoon noting that Mueller never came out for lunch even though he usually does.  Speculation abounded about Attorney General Bill Barr`s visit to the White House today even though the president wasn`t there.  Politico`s Jake Sherman pointed out that someone flew a DOJ jet to London Tuesday but why.  And as we stand right now, there`s no Mueller report speak of.

Joining it out Julia Ainsley NBC News National Security and Justice Reporter.  She`s been camped out at DOJ again today.  What do you got for me today, Julia?

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC News National Security and Justice Reporter:  Chris, I thought I would come back with it today.  I really did.  I thought this might be the day.  It was not the day.  And we`re told that the Attorney General really does operate around normal business hours so I don`t think it`s going to break tonight or you know, overnight or in the middle of your show.  But you know, we`ll be on standby again tomorrow.

One thing I`ll tell you tonight that I wasn`t quite sure if we could say last night is that we do expect the national media to know when the Attorney General gets this report, and then to know again when he transmits his briefing to Congress.  At first because it is an outline that he has to tell us, we weren`t sure if he would, we do now expect that.

HAYES:  I see.

AINSLEY:  But I think what`s more important -- I mean, there is a lot of drama.  I could give you all the color about the angst inside this press room and the pressure on all of us, but I think what`s really important is to figure out what this means when it does come.

I mean it`ll be a binary thing.  He has it.  We won`t know much more than that.  But what that does mean and we were able to confirm this today is that Robert Mueller`s job will be over.  They will be able to close up that office even if parts of this gets spun off into other investigations.  His job and his funding will end when that report comes.  I think that is fundamental to remember.

HAYES:  So that`s -- I don`t think I quite knew that.  So you`re understanding from the Department of Justice is when that is transmitted to the Attorney General, that is the end of this special counsel`s office, not just his investigation?

AINSLEY:  Yes.  I mean, they could -- for example, we know that Roger Stone still needs to go to trial in November.  So they could move that over to another -- for example, the U.S. Attorney of D.C. could handle that.

HAYES:  Right.

AINSLEY:  But essentially, the end is the report and that`s the end of the funding and the office as we know it.

HAYES:  So let me -- final question.  We`re -- it`s not a totally like some sort of collective mania or delusion that has people thinking it`s coming any day now.  Like is it?  I don`t know.  I`m not convinced I guess.  Like there`s some data, there`s some information to suggest this.

AINSLEY:  There is.  I`m glad you asked because I think that people on Twitter just think that we`re all just wrapping ourselves up into a frenzy, they might have something to that.  But no, we have I think whether you`re a Justice Department reporter or White House reporter or Capitol Hill reporter, there have been strong signals from people in a position where they would need to know because they would need to be ready to receive this report and respond to it, to tell us to get ready, that we are now on a day by day hour by hour wait.

So I know people think that this is a crazy fool`s errand.  As of now we`re not told that it is.

HAYES:  Julia, if you and I are having this conversation in six months, I`m going to remind you, I`m going play back this tape.  I`m just telling you.

AINSLEY:  OK, fine.

HAYES:  It`s on camera.

AINSLEY:  Fine.  Fair, fair.

HAYES:  Thank you.  Julia Ainsley, thank you.  Today, former FBI Director James Comey wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing Americans should not hope for a specific outcome from the Mueller report only for maximum transparency about the special counsels work.

Meanwhile, former Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal has provided five rules for when news about the Mueller Report comes out.  And Neal Katyal joins me now.  All right, Neal, what are you looking for, how are you thinking about it?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL, UNITED STATES:  Well, I`m thinking about it the most important thing and it`s fitting that you had Julia right before me is transparency and it`s what Jim Comey is written about too.  Which is you know, this is one of the most sensitive investigations in the history of the United States.  Parts of it have already implicated President Trump in raw direct wrongdoing, the Southern District investigation that is said that he orchestrated the commission of campaign finance felonies.

So given all of this backdrop, given the fact that there have been so many guilty pleas by the president`s top inner-circle, folks like Michael Flynn and the like, I think transparency is the most important thing we should be looking for.  We need to see what the Mueller report says as Americans.

HAYES:  Isn`t there a lot of latitude though in that transparency?  It`s still unclear to me what the parameters or boundaries of most or least transparent are?

KATYAL:  Yes, you`re absolutely right.  The Special Counsel Regulations which we wrote in 1999 were written in general terms because they were written for a variety of investigations not just investigations of the president, but lower-level officials, and not just crimes necessarily like you know the most serious like conspiring with Russia, but those could be even garden-variety in which you might want a special counsel if there was a conflict of interest or something like that.

And so you know, I think the regulations themselves don`t squarely require that disclosure of every jot and tittle of the Mueller report.  It`s more the animating spirit behind them and or rule of law which is the idea that when you`re talking about the nation`s most powerful man and the person who controls the full prosecution power under our Constitution, you`ve got to be more forthcoming.

HAYES:  There`s always of course because there`s a counterintelligence aspect of this and I`ve dealt with this as a reporter many times, classification, national security is just the easiest way to throw things underneath a blanket and no one gets to see it and no one gets to even like on the press side to peel it.  Like how much of it that is going to be a challenge do you think?

KATYAL:  Right.  I think it is a challenge.  Now, look, I am a believer in those redactions for national security reasons.  Sometimes there are sources and methods that are important to protect and you don`t want them released.  At the same time I`m very worried about this administration which is so abused the National Security card it`s going to make it hard for it to have any credulity in the courts or in the court of public opinion for years to come.

So you know, I very much hope that Attorney General Barr looks at this very, very carefully and before he invokes any sort of privilege because you know, nothing could be worse for the American people than a cover-up or a cover-up of the cover-up.

HAYES:  I wanted to ask about points two and three and this thing you wrote about the scope -- what the scope the report is and whether the report is limited to criminal acts.  Why are -- what are those things you`re thinking of?

KATYAL:  Yes.  So first of all, remember Mueller`s mandate is really a criminal mandate and possibly also some aspects of counterintelligence.  But there are a whole variety of things that have come out in the course of the investigation and other investigations that aren`t necessarily criminal. 

Take for example President Trump saying during the campaign in 2016, I`ve got no business dealings in Russia.  We now know from the investigation that that isn`t true.  That`s not a crime to lie to the American people, but gosh darn it, it`s a pretty significant thing that the American people need to know about.

So when we read the Mueller report or whatever the Barr you know, version of it is, we got to know what the limits were.  So that`s one thing.  Another is there were all sorts of Investigations that Mueller has given to other offices most notably that campaign finance investigation in the Southern District of New York.  The Mueller report may not deal with that at all.

And so even if the Mueller report were to conclude for example, the President and conspire with Russia and didn`t obstruct justice by firing Jim Comey, that may not get Donald Trump off the hook when it comes to these very serious crimes out in New York. 

HAYES:  OK.  But here`s the thing.  So that thing you just said, I think about this sometimes right.  The normal way you think about criminal prosecutions is you either indict or you decline to indict, right?  You pursue the charges or you don`t.  And if you don`t pursue the charges, you don`t say this person is hereby exonerated, you just say this -- we don`t have sufficient evidence to pursue it.

But this is such a weird different circumstance.  The president can`t be indicted according to the you know, the old OLC decision and a lot of the way people think.  Let`s say he can`t.  Then what are you saying, right?  Like you can`t make a declension decision here.

KATYAL:  Right.  So first of all, even in situations that don`t about the president, sometimes you actually do go further.  Think about the Ferguson report for example in which we -- there was no indictment but a long description of the events and a lot of facts presented.

Here it seems to me the case for disclosure is at its height because we are talking about the president who controls the prosecution power.  So the only way the public can have confidence in the prosecution and the investigation because the president controls the investigation and he already fired one investigator, Jim Comey.

So the only way the public can have confidence that an investigate was thoroughly done is by release of the report.  There is no substitute for that.

HAYES:  All right, Neal Katyal, thank you very much.  I appreciate it.

KATYAL:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Coming up, how the Republican power grab in Wisconsin was today stopped in its tracks.  We`ll have the lawyer who won today`s big victory to join me next.


HAYES:  You might remember in the midterm elections that Wisconsin elected a Democratic governor, Tony Evers, and a Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul.  And you might also remember the dubious lame duck maneuver by the state`s GOP legislatures attempting to take power away from those incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, and which mimicked similar moves that had happened in North Carolina.

Then Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, now the attorney general, came on this show and made it clear there would be a legal challenge to what they were up to, and today a judge agreed with the groups suing to stop the Republican power grab.

Here with me now, Jeffrey Mandel, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in that challenge.

All right, let`s start with what the changes were made.  You`ve got a lame duck section, right, they`ve just lost two statewide races, the governor and the attorney general, and you`ve got the legislature teaming up with the current governor to say let`s take power away from the governor and attorney general.  What are those powers they tried to take away?

JEFFREY MANDEL, WISCONSIN ATTORNEY:  Well, there are a whole bunch, Chris.  There`s a tremendous amount that was within these bills.  But let me just give you a few examples.

They -- these bills restricted the authority of the attorney general to litigate on behalf of the state of Wisconsin, saying that he needed permission from the legislature to do several things.  They allowed the legislature to hire its own private attorneys and intervene in litigation involving the state of Wisconsin instead of letting the attorney general and the Department of Justice handle that litigation.

They changed the way that the executive branch they do rule making and regulation and gave more power and more vetoes to the legislature.  In general, they just interfered in several different creative and new fangled ways with traditional separation of powers and the way that government works.

HAYES:  All right, so then you have a lawsuit.  And it was always unclear to me what are you suing under, what`s your standing and what your injury?  How do you show the court that this is a violation?

MANDEL:  Well, Chris, there are number of lawsuits going on in Wisconsin.  Our lawsuit, on behalf of the League of Women Voters and a couple of other groups as well as several individuals really challenged the procedure by which the legislature started these laws.  What you`re calling the lame duck session last December, the legislature aptly describes as an extraordinary session, and it`s kind of a funny word. 

But the Wisconsin constitution limits when and under what circumstances the legislature  can meet.  Here the extraordinary session violated those limits.  And so we sued, explaining the procedure that the legislature used was invalid under the state constitution and therefore everything they did was unenforceable and null.

HAYES:  Oh, I see, so this wasn`t like there was a proforma session they were going to go into, like congress, for instance, always has a lame duck session, and sometimes they pass some stuff.  This is a session that was called for a specific purpose.  And there are rules about how and when, under what conditions you can call it and your contention is they violated those and so everything that happened in that session is just null and void?

MANDEL:  That`s absolutely correct, Chris.  Unlike congress, which meets sort of continuously, here in Wisconsin the legislature can meet in two and only two circumstances.  First, at a time as shall be provided by law, and second if the governor calls them into special session. 

No one contends the governor called this session or what`s -- who is now the former governor -- called this session.  So the question was this session at a time that was provided by law?  And the answer we believe and the court resoundingly accepted today is absolutely not.  The legislature`s post hoc attempts to say that the law allowed this are really meritless.

HAYES:  So, then what`s the bottom line here, like why is this an important battle from the sort of small "d" democratic standpoint?

MANDEL:  Well, I think there are two reasons.  One is that Wisconsin`s constitution limits when the legislature can meet, because that is something that the people of Wisconsin felt at the time of building the constitution, and since in amending it, was important, that the people retain this power and they only gave a little bit of it, or so much of it, to the legislature.

The second thing I think is really important is that we talk so often about federal constitutional law, and we don`t talk often enough about state constitutional law.  This is a place where the state constitution, at least here in Wisconsin, differs from how the federal constitution and the federal government work, and today`s ruling really shows that courts will, if people ask, respect and enforce those constitutional limits that are in state constitutions.

HAYES:  All right, Jeffrey Mandel, thank you very much.

MANDEL:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Still ahead, there is breaking news emanating from the Brexit nightmare unfolding in England.  The one and only Mehdi Hassan is here to explain what`s happening and why it`s a big deal.

Plus, the art of the clap back in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, you may remember last fall when California was suffering from those devastating wildfires and the traveled to the scene of the fires to Trumpsplain to the elected official standing there about what they did wrong.


TRUMP:  We got to take care of the floors, you know the floors of the forest.  It`s very important.  You look at other countries where they do it differently and it`s a whole different story.  I was with the president of Finland and he said we have much different -- we`re a forest nation.  He called it a forest nation -- and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don`t have any problem.


HAYES:  Raking, just like that.

They should have just raked the forest floors, of course, everybody knows that, except the president of Finland never actually said anything about raking, though he did tell Trump that Finns took care of the forest, he did not specifically recall mentioning raking as part of the planning.

And the Finnish people promptly took to the woods to mock President Trump posting pictures of themselves meeting their raking quota, and in one case even vacuuming the forest floor.

Well, today, another wild misconception about the Finns from Trump world, and another epic Finnish clap back is Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  So the Democratic presidential hopefuls are staking out their positions on expanding health care coverage, and Senator Bernie Sanders, making his case for Medicare for all on Twitter recently writing in the U.S. it costs on average $12,000 to have a baby.  In Finland, it costs $60.  We`ve got to end the disgrace of our profit driven health care system.  Pretty compelling data.  It did not sit right with Donald Trump`s former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, she fired back, tweeting.  "All right, @BernieSanders, you`re not the woman having the baby, so I wouldn`t be out there talking about skimping on a woman when it comes to child birth.  Trust me.  Nice try, though."

"Health care costs are too high, that is true, but comparing us to Finland is ridiculous.  Ask them how their health care is, you wouldn`t like their answer."

Well, one of the wonderful things about the Internet is that people in Finland have it, and they can see that tweet, and reply to let Nikki Haley know exactly what they think about their health care.

"It`s pretty great, thanks for asking."

"We skimp on pregnant women`s health so much that the infant mortality rate is almost 3 times higher in the U.S. than in Finland."

"the system is great," said another Finn.  "And by the way, I`m an MD PhD and paid 0 euros for my university studies.  Thanks for asking, we`re fine."

And Finland`s permanent representative to the UN also clapped back at his former colleague writing, "apologize for the delayed replay, we were out celebrating our rank as the happiest country of the world."



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You said it is time for the U.S. to recognize Israel`s sovereignty in the Golan Heights.  Why now?  Why did you send that out?

TRUMP:  I`ve been thinking about doing it for a long time, it`s been a hard decision for every president.  No president has done it.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE:  It`s not about Netanyahu`s reelection?

TRUMP:  No.  I wouldn`t even know about that.  I wouldn`t even know about that.  I have no idea.  I hear he is doing OK.  I don`t know if he`s doing great right now, but I hear he`s doing OK.


HAYES:  OK, the White House, seemingly out of nowhere today, announced a huge policy change, calling for the U.S. to officially recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel.  Now, the UN considers the land occupied territory since Israel annexed it from Syria.  And previous U.S. administrations have not  taken the provocative step of officially recognizing Israeli sovereignty over it.

The move is similar to the way the Trump administration moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  Again, a long standing desire of many in the Israeli government that previous presidents hadn`t gone for.  And contrary to the president`s fairly bald-faced disingenuousness, it`s clear to basically every sentient observer in the U.S. and in Israel that the Golan Heights move is a transparent attempt to aid Benjamin Netanyahu`s reelection in a few weeks.

Netanyahu and Trump are buddies and allies and similar figures in many ways.  Both right-wing demagogues who are running from corruption investigations.  Netanyahu is widely expected to be indicted in a corruption probe, and in an effort to shore up his political base, has formally invited into his coalition the progeny of the racist Kahanist (ph) party in Israel, a shocking move that earned his widespread condemnation across the spectrum, particularly here in the American Jewish community.

Haaretz`s Barack Ravid saying the move would be like Donald Trump inviting David Duck into the Republican Party.

It was only 25 years ago that a Kahanist (ph), Baruck Goldstein, went into a mosque in Hebron in the West Bank, and fired, murdering 29 worshipers.  And now, Netanyahu, fresh off inviting that political movement into the fold, and with Donald Trump 100 percent behind him, is coming to the U.S. next week to talk to AIPAC, alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

The progressive group MoveOn in response is now urging 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to stay away from the AIPAC conference out of protest of Netanyahu`s racism.

And somewhat remarkably, lots of the candidates are agreeing, like senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, as well as Beto O`Rourke, Pete Buttigieg and Julian Castro, which highlights the bigger problem for AIPAC and all of the others folks that are invested in maintaining a strong pro-Israel bipartisan consensus, it`s this, the Netanyahu government has now acting for years, and continues to act now, in ways that American liberals, Jewish and non-Jewish, view as utterly indefensible, and that, that central fact is getting more and more difficult to simply paper over.


HAYES:  There`s breaking Brexit news tonight.  The European Union just agreed to delay Britain`s exit from the EU, which was meant to happen in just eight days.  It will now happen in May if the British parliament if the British parliament agrees on a withdrawal deal, or it will happen in April if they remain hopelessly deadlock.

Now, if, like me, you have been sort of following the insanity of the British Brexit negotiations, and been really confused about what the hell is going on over there, allow me to give you a little taste of how things are looking right now.

Headline: "toilet paper maker stockpiles in case of a no deal."  IT turns out most toilet paper in the UK is manufactured in the EU, on the continent, and so if things go sideways and the UK ends up leaving the EU with no trade deal  to guide the movement of goods and services, the islands could find themselves up a  proverbial creek. 

As always, whenever I need to find out what on Earth is happening in this whole Brexit thing I turned to my favorite Brexipert, Mehdi Hassan, columnist and senior contributor at The Intercept, host of the Deconstructed podcast.

All right, Mehdi, I am confused right now.  There is a logjam, there`s an impasse that has happened.  They can`t get it done.  What is going on?

MEHDI HASSAN, THE INTERCEPT:  What is going on is embarrassing for the United Kingdom and its government and its Prime Minister Theresa May who told us for two years, Chris, that Britain would be leaving the European Union at 11:00 p.m. next Friday, March 29th.  That is now not happening.  She`s had to go back to the EU and say please, sir, can I have an extension.  And they gave her an extension.  Not the extension she wanted, she wanted a three-month extension, to try to get this deal. 

She can`t get her deal through parliament, Chris.  It`s beyond embarrassing.  It`s humiliating.  She should actually be out of a job.  She`s been trying to get MPs to vote on a deal that would, you know, that would set in place that trade agreement when Britain leaves the EU.  They rejected it in January by a record margin of over 200 votes, the biggest defeat in British political history.  And they rejected it again last week by more than 100 votes.

She wants to do it again next week for a third time.

HAYES:  Wait, OK, so right, so she`s negotiated a deal, then she goes to parliament and says here is a deal.  We`re leaving the EU, but here is now the toilet paper is going to back and forth, and here is how the buses will go.  I mean, there is a lot of stuff, right.

HASSAN:  And on a serious note, although obviously toilet paper is a very important part of your daily life, there`s also Northern Ireland, which is one of the big logjams, which could actually return to violence if we don`t get a proper deal there with the border.

HAYES:  Right.  So, there is a border there that will now be a hard border, or some kind of hard border, because of the withdrawal.

But -- so she`s got a deal, she goes to parliament, she controls a majority of parliament, that`s why she is the -- that`s why she`s the leader of England.  And yet she can`t get them to vote for it, that`s the fundamental problem, right?

HASSAN:  Well, of course, she doesn`t have a majority in parliament, she does by having the support of a hardline right-wing Northern Irish political party, who she has to keep bribing and kowtowing to.  She lost her majority,  Chris, in 2017 when she went to the polls and said I`m going to have an election to get the support of the public for my Brexit plans, and they said, mm, we`re going to lose you your majority.

So, she`s been losing a lot, Chris, that`s why people are wondering, you know, is she --  you know, is she going to survive beyond next week.  She - - people are talking about her as the worst prime minister in British political history, and there is a lot of competition for that title.

But I think, you know, if next week she tries to go for a third time lucky and fails, I think she has to go, her own party are saying she has to go.

She`s getting increasingly desperate, Chris.  On Wednesday night, she gave a speech, which sounded, according to one of her own MPs, Trumpian.  She`s told the British public I`m on your side, the politicians aren`t.  It`s very dangerous rhetorical, this kind of pseudo populist stuff she`s now coming up with.

HAYES:  Well, but here`s the thing, I mean it seems like this fundamental breakdown of how the system works, how a sort of parliamentary system works, which is that generally if you lose -- if you cannot deliver the votes, hen the government collapses and there`s new elections, but no one wants to be prime minister, because you`ve got the leave thing to deal with.

HASSAN:  Well, nobody wants to be the prime minister, because nobody actually knows what to do here, it`s not as if Boris Johnson...

HAYES:  Right, that`s the problem, like, you can rag on here all you want, but anyone who would be prime minister would sort of be screwed.

HASSAN:  So, here is the problem, if she loses her job next week you get a new prime minister, but you don`t get a new deal, because no one knows what the deal is that gets everyone`s support on all sides of the House.  And if you get this extension, which she`s now got, what does that do?  That just moves the cliff edge.

HAYES:  Yes, it`s the same problem.

HASSAN:  You will just invite me back in a month or two, so we`ll have this conversation again.  And you`ll say what`s going to happen next week, and I`ll say who the hell knows because this is a mad decision.  They should never have done it in this way with the referendum campaign based on lies and misinformation and a weird binary question, then invoking Article 50 saying we had to get out in two years with no plan.

The Donald Tusk, the European leader, said recently there`s a special place in hell for the people who decided to do Brexit with no plan as to how to implement it.

HAYES:  I mean I feel like I`m watching like a Roomba that`s like stuck in a box where it keeps bumping against all the obstacles.  There is no functioning majority among British public opinion for what to do and how to handle the thing that they voted for two years ago.

HASSAN:  Indeed.  And we see today 2 million people signed a petition saying revoke article 50, get rid of Article 50, but Theresa May said no we won`t do that.  She wants to have this third vote.  The speaker in parliament, Chris, has said no, you can`t have a third vote, you can`t just keep voting on the same thing.  According to parliamentary protocol going back to 1604, she said you can`t do it again.

So, guess what they`re now saying -- this is rumors, I don`t think it is going to happen, but there is talk of going to the queen and saying shut down parliament, shut down parliament for a day, then reopen it, then it will technically be a new session and then we can vote again, which is of course nonsense.  I don`t think the queen, who is a savvy neutral political player is going to do that.

But look, serious point, Chris, is there is no deal and the Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal in April or May, there will be chaos.  I mean, there is talk today of the Ministry of Defense setting up a special military team in a nuclear bunker to discuss what happens on the streets of Britain.  At the ports, are we going to have shortages of medicine or food or fresh produce.  This is madness in one of the richest countries on Earth.

HAYES:  Yeah, that -- I mean, the queen thing, so, because there is no constitution, Britain, right it`s governed by sort of...

HASSAN:  Protocols.

HAYES:  Protocol, tradition, precedent, right, that the queen come in and make a new one so she could get her vote.  But what is so wild about this is we`ve watched back and forth here on the border wall.  But with all this stuff it`s like there is no hard deadline.  I mean, there was and we had a shutdown for 35 days, so that shows you what happens when there is a hard deadline.  But this is a deadline that controls the entire economy of the UK.  I mean, everything it`s coming back and forth and it could just happen.

HASSAN:  It`s already been damaged.  We have had two years of Brexit related problems.  You have companies relocating abroad, banks heading for the exit door.  You know, there`s lot of people  leaving.  There is already economic problems, but everyone agrees that if there is a no deal Brexit, the British economy really tanks, then.

But, look, here is the problem, would they have been obsessed with Brexit for so long, there are sorts of other problems that aren`t getting any coverage.  And one Conservative MP said this week, look, I support Brexit, but I wish it hadn`t happened, because then we can talk about something else.

HAYES:  All right Mehdi Hassan, thank you for illuminating us.

And while Brexit is not happening on March 29, anymore, you know what is happening that day?  Our hour-long prime time special on the most important issue of our time with the freshman congresswoman behind one of the most controversial policy proposals to fix it.  I`ll be meeting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in our shared home borough of the Bronx for an in depth look at her signature proposal, the Green New Deal.  It`s going to be a fascinating discussion, and you can come watch it in person.

We`ll be taping in the afternoon on Friday, March 29.  It will air right here on MSNBC that night, March 29.  We`ll put details on how to register to attend on our website and our Facebook page and the All In Twitter account, so check that out.  We hope to see you in the Bronx in eight days.

That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with Joy Reid in for Rachel. 

Good evening, Joy.