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Trump threatens to cut aid. TRANSCRIPT: 4/1/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Jamie Raskin, Rudy Mehrbani, Dara Lind, Bob Moore, Lachlan Markay,Aisha Moodie-Mills, Zephyr Teachout

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Thanks for being with us on this April 1st day.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The Trump administration is a walking, talking, living, breathing threat to national security.

HAYES:  A White House whistleblower says the Trump administration is a threat to national security.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP:  There were anonymous leaks about there being issues.

HAYES:  Tonight the growing scandal surrounding security clearances inside the White House as Democrats start the process to subpoena the Mueller report.  Then is the president about to name an anti-immigration zealot as his new immigration czar.  Plus --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I love the Saudis, many are in this building.

HAYES:  Why Jeff Bezos now says the Saudis did obtain his private information.  How Joe Biden is answering allegations of impropriety.  And why the President is trying to stop aid for millions of Americans.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ:  3,000 Americans died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  Where is our response?

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  You can never take anything utter by the Trump Administration at face value, and anyone who does ends up looking like a fool later on because they lie about just about everything.  We saw yet another example that today thanks to Democrats first big push into the White House security clearance process.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings revealed today that a whistleblower told the committee it wasn`t just Jared and Ivanka who had their security clearance denials overruled, there were, in fact, dozens of these cases.

A memo released by the committee today says according to the whistleblower these individuals in a wide range of serious disqualifying issues involving foreign influence, conflicts of interest concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct.

The highest profile people that we know have benefited from this our senior White House officials Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump, and it`s obvious this was a special favor at least in part due to nepotism.

But remember and this is what`s important here, they lied about this through their teeth, OK.  This is what the president said at the end of January.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Did you tell General Kelly or anyone else in the White House to overrule security officials?  The career veterans?

TRUMP:  No, I don`t think I have the authority to do that.  I`m not sure I do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You do have the authority to do it.

TRUMP:  But I wouldn`t -- I wouldn`t do it.  Jared is a good -- I was -- I was never involved with his security.  I know that he you know, just from reading, I know that there was issues back and forth about security for numerous people actually, but I don`t want to get involved in that stuff.


HAYES:  Just a complete lie, absolute lie.  He did get involved in that.  We know that now.  And this perhaps even better, this is what Ivanka said in February.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There were some issues early on and there are a lot of people that question whether you were given special treatment by the President overriding other officials.

I TRUMP:  Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Can you speak to that?

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:  That also a lie.  The anonymous leaks were in fact accurate.  The New York Times reported "Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump both complained to the President about the situation" current and former administration officials said.  And it`s the context of this constant, ceaseless, frankly exhausting deception, this inability and unwillingness to be honest about the simplest things that`s good to keep in the front of your mind as we watch the drama surrounding the Mueller report play out.

Attorney General Bill Barr released yet another letter on Friday saying there are no plans to submit the Mueller report to the White House for a privileged review but there are four categories that he, the man the president hand-picked for the job will be redacting.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler seems to be following a don`t trust and then verify strategy.  Nadler responded to Barr`s letter by standing by his original deadline for Barr to turn over the full Mueller report, and that deadline is tomorrow.

It seems likely Barr will missed that deadline but now this committee will then prepare to vote the very next day on whether to subpoena the report.  There is now at least one avenue for shaking loose the truth.

Joining me now a congressman who sits on two committees conducting major investigations on the president and his associate Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland.  He`s a member of both the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees.

Congressman, with your Oversight Committee hat first, the news about a whistleblower inside the White House.  How big a deal is this?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D), MARYLAND:  It`s a very big deal.  And she went to six supervisors, she went to her immediate supervisor Carl Kline, she went to his supervisor Mr. (INAUDIBLE), she tried to reach people in the White House counsel`s office. 

She exhausted every possible avenue of trying to get the administration to take this seriously saying that there were dozens of people, at least 25 people who got security clearances, who the professional security clearance personnel thought should not have them in any way and they all gave her the back of the hand.

And she came to our committee basically in desperation saying that this was her last stop and her only hope and she`s terrified and frightened about being retaliated against because already she`s seen them make moves to retaliate against her.

HAYES:  Well, just to be clear about this individual.  She does not have -- I mean, my understanding, this White House staff don`t have whistleblower protections.  She just was -- she did this at enormous risk to her job.

RASKIN:  The tremendous risk to her job, her security, she said that she basically couldn`t live with herself if she led her country down in this way, and her family down and her children and her future. 

So what we`re talking about is people whose job it is to determine whether someone presents a security risk to the country and there a series of categories that they can use to say this person really should not be given security clearance.  One of them is involvement with foreign countries, foreign influence, another is a criminal record, another is business conflicts of interest and so on.  But they have to be very serious and substantial things.

She said that in at least three cases, two involving senior White House staffers, one involving someone from the National Security Council, they raised multiple problems in these cases, and were just overridden very quickly.

She protested that her superior certainly had the right to do it but they should state precisely why they were doing and why they were overruling the professional staff, said it forth, and explain what mitigating circumstances there were to negate the findings of the professional staff that these people presented a security threat to our country, and they didn`t do it.

So far the White House has not turned over a single document or granted a single interview that Chairman Cummings in the committee have asked for.  And we`re going to demand that we get this information and we`re going to get to the bottom of it.  It`s of the utmost seriousness and importance to the American people.

HAYES:  I mean, the president has the authority to grant security clearance to basically anyone he wants, at least under the sort of understanding we have of the National Security Act and the system that set up.  What does it indicate to you that they`ve lied about it repeatedly?

RASKIN:  Well, we don`t know why they`re lying about it.  It doesn`t look good that they`re trying to basically pack the administration with people who can`t pass a basic security clearance process.  And these are expedited so it`s not like they`re waiting around for years.  They do a very serious intensive search but they go right to the front of the queue.

I mean, I`ve got a lot of constituents in the 8th District of Maryland who wait months or more than a year to get their security clearance.  These people got attention right away but they came back and they said we did the background check and these people don`t pass it and the administration, the White House just flipped it over.

HAYES:  Final question on Judiciary Committee.  It seems that the Chairman wrote back to Barr and it looks like your committee will move forward with -- to subpoena the Mueller report is that right, this week if they do not get it delivered which it looks like it will not happen.

RASKIN:  Well, I believe that majority of our committee will vote to grant the Chairman subpoena power whether or not it issues this week or not, I just don`t know.  I mean, that`s going to be within the discretion of the Chairman to determine when it goes out.  But this too goes right to the question of we`re going to -- whether we`re going to allow ourselves to be stonewalled by the administration.

We are the Article One lawmaking branch of government.  We have a right to all of this information that we`re asking for, and they have no right to play games with us and to play hide-and-go-seek for example with the Mueller report.

I mean, you know, we`ve been waiting more than two years for this and it`s just a scandalous situation that the Attorney General would interpose himself in the situation, declared that the president is not guilty of obstruction of justice when the special counsel wouldn`t do that after two years of investigation, and then withhold the critical document in the case.  We want the report.

HAYES:  All right, Congressman Jamie Raskin, thank you very much.

RASKIN:  Delighted to be with you, Chris.

HAYES:  Joining me now for more on the significance of the Trump administration security clearance lies, Rudy Mehrbani, who`s a former Assistant to President for President Personnel under President Obama and he`s now a Spitzer fellow, Senior Counsel of the Brennan Center for Justice, and Jason Johnson who`s a Politics Editor at The Root, has been covering this administration and their habits with the truth.

Rudy, let me start with you.  For people that aren`t familiar with this process, like how big a deal is what we are learning about the process inside this White House?

RUDY MEHRBANI, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT FOR PRESIDENT PERSONNEL:  So this is more than just a bureaucratic process.  This is a system that has been developed and supported by both Republican and Democratic presidents over an extended period of time that`s meant to protect some of the most sensitive information that our government officials handle, and the president him or herself from embarrassment when issues arise with those people who are handling it.

So the fact that we now have allegations that there`s been repeated deviations from the process in favor of partisan interests and nepotism is something that should concern frankly all Americans.  And I`m pleased to see that the Oversight Committee is looking at this.

HAYES:  Jason, you know, there`s two aspects to this.  There`s the conduct and then there`s a way they`ve dealt with the conduct, right?  I mean, what is strange is that they could have forthrightly say look, it`s the president`s prerogative to do this and he felt it was important to have Jared Kushner -- I don`t know, coming up in the Middle East peace plan, and his own daughter to be a senior advisor but they didn`t do that they lied.

And they lied on camera into the camera, into recording devices right at everyone like they weren`t lying.  Then they got busted and they`re like oh yes.  And that to me is a striking part of dealing with these folks on everything including the Barr report.

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THE ROOT:  Well, yes, Chris.  Because the issue is that the Trump administration, they lie so consistently and they lie in ways that everyone can catch them.  And you remember, Jared Kushner lied on his application about who he was in contact with.  Ivanka lied.  You`ve had so many different people in this administration lie when it comes to issues of national security.

And I want to really focus on this, Chris.  I have members of my family who`ve gone through security clearances.  I know other people have gone through security clearances.  We`re not talking about you can`t get a clearance because you had a wild weekend in Rio, right?  We`re not talking about you know, you did drugs in college a couple times it got a bit wild.

These are things like you can`t account for vast periods of your life.  We don`t know where you were.  We don`t know where you got this money.  Your debt ratio is in a way that`s so destructive that you might be liable to bribes.  These are the kinds of things that people have legitimate concerns about.

And the fact that this administration is basically handing out security clearances like Oprah on her show, you get one, you get one, oh I like how you gave me coffee, that is a danger to all of us.  And so when we hear about these stories of is Jared selling information it, is China getting special deals, or all these countries cutting deals is it coming from inside information.

This is why we have these concerns because security clearances have been given to people who we don`t know who are probably not qualified to get it.

HAYES:  And of course, Rudy, in the -- in the -- in terms of Jared Kushner, I mean, he is centrally involved in American foreign policy.  In fact, he is so involved in American foreign policy with the Saudi regime which of course recently hacked to death and murdered an American journalist or a Saudi journalist who`s working for an American paper, The Washington Post.

He essentially runs point on that and up a whole bunch of other things.  Lord knows what -- you know, what folks have on him.

MEHRBANI:  I think that`s right.  And there have been reports that some of our adversaries in other countries have actually already targeted Jared as somebody who might be potentially vulnerable to manipulation or coercion.

And I think that the Trump administration has lost sight as to the purpose of these kinds of rules.  And I don`t know what it`s going to take, frankly.  I mean, I saw the report today that Carl Kline simply said that this conduct and the problematic behavior shouldn`t be concerning because it occurred prior to the person`s White House service.  Now that cuts against the entire purpose of the background investigation process.

HAYES:  I mean, it`s literally definitional.  Everyone goes into the White House and gets evaluated on their prior -- things they did before they got the White House.  There`s also I think, Jason -- I mean, as we think about the Mueller report and the Barr letter on it, as people try to think about how to evaluate what is in front of us.  I think everyone agrees we need to see the actual full thing.  But you know, the degree to which you should take in good faith actions by say someone like Bill Barr appointed by the president, to me at least is colored by watching Ivanka look into that camera and sort of you know, say that the people are lying when she, in fact, is lying.

JOHNSON:  Yes.  There are no articles of good faith with this administration, Chris.  I mean, they lied about babies and cages and we had video of it.  So why would we ever believe that anything that Barr says about a report that at one point was 700 pages, then it was 400 pages, now it`s 300 pages, now we don`t know?  There is nothing that can be believed from this administration.

And this is one key thing that I think is encouraging in some ways about this report.  This is why elections matter.  Because this woman has been seeing this going on for two years in this administration --

HAYES:  With no one --

JOHNSON:  And she had no one she could complain to.  Now that Democrats run the Oversight Committee, there`s at least someone that can investigate this issue.

HAYES:  What`s the -- Rudy, is there an avenue of redress here?

MEHRBANI:  Well, I think that the process is just getting started with the Oversight Committee beginning to use their threat of subpoena more seriously.  They`ve talked to one whistleblower who by the way I think needs to be commended for her courage and coming forward.

I mean, this is somebody who also has been identified as having a physical disability and will be the target of a lot of hate for what she`s doing.  And the fact that she`s a nonpartisan career professional who has served for 18 years in her position has what has been reported to be a sterling reputation in doing her job.  People that I know worked with her directly and have said nothing but positive things about her.

And so the fact that she`s coming forward should make all of us concerned and it may actually result in other people coming forward.  So I think that we`re at the beginning of this process and we`re going to learn a lot more.

HAYES:  Yes.  She`s clearly pretty freaked out if she`s doing this.  It`s really -- it`s striking to me knowing a little bit about how this process works, knowing how sort of loyal and behind-the-scenes those career officers are.  It just -- it would really take a lot to get to this point.  Rudy Mehrbani and Jason Johnson, thank you both.

MEHRBANI:  Thank you very much.

HAYES:  Next, as more asylum seekers reach the southern border, the President ratchets up the threats like cutting off aid from three Central American countries and potentially installing a hard-line anti-immigrant official to oversee immigration.  That in two minutes.


HAYES:  Faced with an increase of migrant families seeking asylum at the southern border, the Trump Administration has continued to rack up its actions, its rhetoric, and its threats.  The President has now vowed to cut off aid to three Central American countries in retaliation for what he called their lack of help in reducing the flow of migrants at the U.S. border.

Those countries include El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, or as Trump T.V. described them instantly iconically this weekend three Mexican countries.  The president is also saying he will close the U.S.-Mexico border, that`s with actual Mexico next week.  That`s a threat he`s made at least seven times since last October and has never made good on likely because it`s so idiotic and would be economically danger -- disastrous,

And now the President is toying with the idea of adding an immigration czar.  The Associated Press reporting tonight two potential candidates for the post include former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, two far-right Conservatives with strong views on immigration.

To help explain what`s actually going on I`m joined by Dara Lind who covers immigration as a Senior Correspondent for Vox and journalist Bob Moore who writes about the southern border for both the Washington Post and Texas Monthly.  Dara, let me begin with you on the idea of cutting off aid to what are called the northern triangle countries, the Central American countries, a good idea, a bad idea, what would that mean?

DARA LIND, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, VOX:  Certainly very few people other than Donald Trump and Mick Mulvaney think it`s a good idea.  The Trump administration lined that it`s kind of a response for them not doing enough to stop people from coming isn`t exactly how governance works. 

The line before Trump and even some Trump administration officials have used is that this is actually the only long-term solution to getting at the root causes of migration, you know, getting economic development and better security in place so that people don`t feel a need to leave their home countries as often.  So it`s very least getting a tool -- a solution out of the toolbox that the president could be using.

MELBER:  Bob you`ve been covering on the ground in El Paso what`s been happening there with CBP.  They say they`re overwhelmed.  Kirstjen Nielsen says they`re overwhelmed.  There is statistical evidence to suggest that more and more families, again families which is the key here are coming over the border seeking asylum.  What does it look like down the border?  How do you understand what`s happening there?

BOB MOORE, CONTRIBUTOR, THE WASHINGTON POST:  It`s very chaotic and it`s clearly evidence of you know, ignored warnings for five years about the changing face of migration.  We still have a border enforcement system that`s designed to stop single Mexican men from sneaking over and finding work and we`ve done nothing despite this these repeated surges to adjust our strategies to either interdict or care for families coming over to seek asylum.

HAYES:  So that means that those facilities that are designed to process basically young single men seeking work and trying to evade authorities are ill-equipped it appears and increasingly ill-equipped to handle these families with young children?

MOORE:  Absolutely.  You have 40 or 50 people crowded into these small cells with a single toilet that doesn`t have a door on it for example, very cold conditions, very unhealthy conditions.  Felipe Alonso Gomez, the little boy who died in December in New Mexico was at a highway checkpoint being held in a cell there when he was desperately ill.

HAYES:  Dara, part of the issue it strikes me is there is clearly a need for changing and increase in the capacity of CBP at the point of apprehension with these families seeking asylum to expand the capacity for them to process them and house them humanely.  And yet the administration that wants to do that as having a very hard time I think understandably convincing anyone that that`s what they would do.

LIND:  Right.  There was some money in the funding bill that Congress put forward that they passed in February.  It was not by any means on the order of say the billion dollars that the Pentagon has just reprogrammed for the border wall.  And the other problem of course here is that it takes time to stand up facilities especially facilities that are actually equipped to deal with the needs of young children.  And that time isn`t really something that we have right now.

We`re seeing huge increases even from January, to February, to March in the number of people coming in.

HAYES:  Did you -- do you have a theory of that -- does anyone understand - - I remember back in 2014 when this first became an issue.  It was largely unaccompanied minors.  There was this idea that somehow the president`s DACA order had trickle down to Central America and people thought that their kids could come over.  That proved largely to be a myth and not the case.  But does anyone have a handle on the cause and effect here of why there are more people crossing now, Dara?

LIND:  There`s definitely some innovation in tactics, the use of high-speed bus routes to go just five days without having to do a lot of the trekking at night through Mexico has made people feel more comfortable going.  But it`s really at a level that we haven`t seen and it`s probably going to take a certain amount of time to sort out just what people are being told and how that interacts with facts on the ground.

HAYES:  Bob, I know you`ve been interviewing the folks that often in sort of either faith organizations or social service nonprofits that are often dealing with the people that have come over particularly when they`re released by CBP.  What are they seeing about what they`re hearing?

MOORE:  The big issue lately was you know the keeping people under the bridge and just keeping them in these horrific conditions.  But you know, one of the things that`s really clear is the President`s own rhetoric winds up driving some of this because the smugglers are able to convince people hey, look if you don`t go now, something bad is going to happen.

And so these sort of on-again-off-again policies that the administration keeps trying which are all punitive and have all failed so far actually wind up driving more migration than would have occurred otherwise.

HAYES:  Wait, I want to make sure I`m clear on that.  What you`re saying is that smugglers can say to people in making their pitch essentially to take their money to move them to the southern border through Mexico, look the doors closing basically.  They`re going to -- they`re going to build the wall, they`re going to do whatever -- you can hear what Trump says.  You got to go now.  That`s what you`re hearing.

MOORE:  Absolutely.  And combined with what Dara was talking about with these much more convenient routes right now that the message is going out, you got to go now, the weather`s nice.  We can get you there quickly.  And if you don`t go now, hey listen to what that guy in Washington is saying.

HAYES:  Yes.  What -- does that -- is that sync up with some of your reporting, Dara?

LIND:  That -- I mean it sounds absolutely correct.  It`s generally true that smugglers will use any available information, and if there isn`t any available information they`ll make stuff up.  But absolutely the kind of off-again-on-again policy regimes that the administration is putting out there make it very hard to say for sure that they won`t be allowed into the U.S. or that they should wait another couple of months.

HAYES:  All right, Dara Lind and Bob Moore, that was a edifying.  I really appreciate it.  Thank you.  Ahead, what to make of the new explosive allegations that the Saudis hacked the phone of Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.  Trump, Bezos, and the Saudis next.


HAYES:  Jeff Bezos` security chief Gavin de Becker is now on the record in The Daily Beast alleging that the Saudis had gained access to Bezos` phone and stolen private information.  This is a huge development because you probably remember that back in February, Bezos the Amazon founder believed to be the world`s richest person revealed that the parent company of the National Enquirer AMI had threatened to publish intimate photos of him.  In fact, he had e-mails of them doing that in what Bezos called an attempt at extortion and blackmail.

AMI, of course, is the Trump friendly media company that once upon a time paid Karen McDougal to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with the president, also played a pivotal role in temporarily buying the silence of Stormy Daniels.

And AMI threatened to publish Bezos` intimate photos unless, unless Washington Post which Bezos owns dropped an investigation into how it was that the Enquirer had attained text messages exposing Bezos` extramarital affair.

So Bezos goes public with all this.  And after he goes public, The Enquirer insisted that its source had in fact been the brother of Bezos` girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, and that that man Michael Sanchez was indeed paid by AMI.

But Bezos` security chief now says no, no, no.  The original source was not Michael Sanchez.  No, it was the Saudis who had targeted Bezos in the wake of the Washington Post`s aggressive coverage of the killing of Jamaal Khashoggi, The Post columnist brutally murdered by the Saudi government.

AMI insist the Saudis had nothing to do with all this but it`s worth noting that the two already in a cozy relationship.  Last year AMI published and placed on American newsstands a slick magazine celebrating Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Joining me now Daily Beast Reporter Lachlan Markay who has been covering the Bezos story.  So Lachlan, Gavin de Becker is a guy with a very good reputation in the world of this sort of security stuff.  He was hired by Bezos to sort of sniff out what was going on.  What is he saying now?

LACHLAN MARKAY, REPORTER, DAILY BEAST: Yes, so he`s actually been in Bezos`s employ for about 22 years now, they have a longstanding relationship.  And Bezos basically turned to him and said find the people who did this. 

So he now has conducted this very wide-ranging probe.  He`s consulted with a lot of sort of security experts, and has determined that, you know, it`s not clear whether it was hacking, but that through some means, could have been hacking, could have been, you know, the interception of  communications, he even leaves open the possibility of physically possessing Bezos` phone, that the Saudis somehow gained access to this information.

There are still plenty of dots that he didn`t connect in the column that he published in The Daily Beast over the weekend and those are leads we`re running down now.

HAYES:  OK, so i just want to be clear here, right, so what happens is the National Enquirer has a big scoop.  Jeff Bezos is in the midst of an affair and we have text messages about them.  Then Bezos starts to investigate and that`s when this weird blackmail thing goes down, right.  They say call off your dogs or we`re going to publish these photos of you.

MARKAY:  Yeah.  And one of the new bits of information in his column that we didn`t know previously was a few lines of text in this statement that AMI wanted Jeff Bezos and Gavin de Becker  put out in their names, and it essentially said that, you know, we affirm that AMI did not use any material that was hacked or intercepted by any state actor in the course of reporting this out.

HAYES:  Huh.

MARKAY:  Obviously, they refused to put that in any sort of statement.

HAYES:  So, they`re explicitly saying you got to take us off the hook for possibly being in cahoots with the state actor that acquired this in your public statement as a condition of this sort of what appears to me like attempted blackmail.

MARKAY:  Right.  And, you know, you can give them the benefit of the doubt and think, well, maybe they thought that this theory would be floated at some point and they were sort of trying to preempt it.  But obviously this was a theory that was on their minds.  They were concerned that that information, or that that claim would get out, whether through Gavin de Becker  or someone else and they wanted to have that statement available to be able to sort of preempt that.

HAYES:  There is another part of this, which is basically after this whole thing blows up, right, so like the Enquirer goes after Bezos.  Everyone is like, whoa, what`s the deal here?  A lot of people are thinking that the president has attacked Bezos and the Amazon Washington Post, are they doing it for him?

The Saudis are not happy with Jeff Bezos, because they murdered one of his columnists, and then Washington Post covered that aggressively. 

Michael Sanchez, who is the brother of the woman in question, right, AMI  basically pins it on him in a kind of weird way more or less, right?

MARKAY:  Yeah.  I mean, this whole saga has been very bizarre, but one of the most -- I think interesting aspects from a journalistic perspective, you know, obviously every news organization will sort of go to the mat to protect their sources, especially on such a massive story like this. 

AMI, over the last two or three weeks, has fully burned their what they claim is their sole source on this.  So that I thought, you know, when that began happening a couple of weeks ago with their lawyer going on the Sunday shows and all but naming him, I thought that was very odd.

When The Wall Street Journal came out with a story last week, they said, or they suggested, that there were actually two stories on this.  And this is what really -- this formed a lot of Gavin de Becker`s (ph) theory on this is that Michael Sanchez was the source of text messages, the text of which ended up in the Enquirer story, but that someone else actually tipped them off to this affair ahead of time.

He`s now saying that that was very likely the Saudi government.

HAYES:  I just want to be -- I mean, this is -- it`s complicated, but I want to be clear about what the core sort of allegation by de Becker  is, that The Washington Post, a First Amendment protected newspaper in the United States, has a columnist who is murdered by the Saudi regime, largely because of the things we think that he published in The Washington Post.  The Saudi regime attempts to cover it up and they are caught.  The Washington Post aggressively covers the cover-up, and in essentially retaliation this regime, protected by the Trump administration and defended by the Trump administration at every turn, turns to a vendetta against the owner of the Post as a kind of recrimination because they aggressively covered their murder of a Washington Post columnist.

MARKAY:  Right.

And de Becker  even goes further than that and says that there were these sort of online trolling campaigns and boycott campaigns that were meant to look sort of grassroots that took place in Saudi Arabia that he alleges were actually the actions of a state sponsored Saudi sort of information warfare apparatus, very similar to what we saw in the 2016 election sponsored by state actors in Russia.

So this is, you know, as de Becker  is telling it, a very wide-ranging campaign that goes  beyond just this one National Enquirer story and involves sort of a full spectrum of information warfare essentially against Jeff Bezos, The Washington Post and Amazon.

HAYES:  I mean, if it`s true, and I don`t know if it is, but if it`s true, it`s as real and immediate a threat to free speech in the U.S. as one could possibly imagine if a foreign government that doesn`t like dissidents speaking out of turn so much it murders them, then attempts to blackmail and destroy the publishers of newspapers who cover it.

MARKAY:  Yeah, and not just the first amendment, but we have to remember that Amazon  right now is bidding on a $10 billion Pentagon cloud storage contract, so there are tremendous national security implications here as well, and that`s something that, you know, can`t be ignored when Bezos`s top security guy is making these sorts of allegations.

HAYES:  All rig ht, we`re going to follow this story.  Lachlan Markay, you`ve been doing great reporting on this.  Thank you for your time tonight.

MARKAYE:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Still to come, the accusations of inappropriate behavior against Joe Biden as he weights a 2020 run.  We`ll talk about that ahead.

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.


HAYAES:  Thing One tonight,the president is back in D.C. today following a relaxing weekend in Florida.  And this weekend marks the record breaking 165th golf outing of his presidency.

The president hit the links Sunday morning at his own Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.  It`s a course the president happens to have won the 2018 men`s club championship despite never playing in the tournament. reported last month the president challenged the actual winner of the club championship to a winner takes all nine-hole playoff.  The president somehow won the playoff and he`s now the champion with a little plaque on his locker to prove it.

The question is, did the president cheat?


SAMUEL L. JACKSON, ACTOR:  I actually played golf with him with Anthony Anderson one  day.


JACKSON:  And we were all playing together.  We clearly saw him hit a ball, hook a ball into a lake at Trump National in Jersey.  And his caddie told him he found it. 

MEYERS:  And was the caddie soaking wet when he said this?

JACKSON:  No, he was not.  He just took off running and the next thing we know --  I got it, Mr. Trump!

Did you see a splash?  We saw a splash.


HAYES:  We`re learning a lot about just how much Trump cheats at golf, and that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  President Trump gets very upset at any accusation he cheats at golf.  After actor Samuel L. Jackson told Seth Meyers a story about the president hyjinks on the links, Trump fired back on Twitter, quote, "I don`t cheat at golf, but Samuel L. Jackson cheats with his game.  He has no choice.  And stop doing commercials."  Burn.

Well, in the new book, "Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump" author Rick Riley describes the president as a prolific cheater.  Shocking, I know.

"To say Donald Trump cheats is like saying Michael Phelps swims," Riley writes.  "He cheats at the highest level.  He cheats when people are watching and he cheats when they aren`t.  He cheats whether you like it or not."

In one instance, playing with veteran PGA Tour pro Brad Faxon (ph), Trump dunked a shot into the lake, but as his opponents weren`t looking he simply dropped another ball and then hit that into the water, too.

Former ESPN announcer, Mike Tirico recounts another shot with Trump.  When he hit a shot towards an elevated green he couldn`t see, but when he got to the putting green, Tirico`s ball was nowhere to be seen.  Instead it was 50 feet left of the hole in a bunker.  Tirico was baffled until Trump`s caddie came up in him and said you know shot you hit on par 5, it was about ten feet from the hole, Trump threw it in the bunker.  I watched him do it.

Well, at least the president doesn`t go around bragging about his golf game or anything.


TRUMP:  Jeff actually watched me make a hole in one.  Can you believe that?  I actually said I was the best golfer of all the rich people to be exact, and then I got a hole in one, so it was sort of cool.  Thank you very much.




REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D) NEW YORK:  On the events of September 11th, 2001, thousands of Americans died in one of the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  And our national response, whether we agree with it or not, our national response was to go to war in one and then eventually two countries.  3,000 Americans died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  Where is our response?


HAYES:  Our Green New Deal special on Friday, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that despite the horrific death toll of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath in Puerto Rico, our government has done almost nothing to figure out what happened and how to prevent it in the future.

To my mind, it`s one of the most egregious, indefensible failings of this administration, perhaps the worst.  Not only the incompetence that apparently led to thousands of deaths, but worse than that, the lack of curiosity about what happened, the cruel indifference in the wake of that suffering.

Now, 18 months later the reality is that Puerto Rico still needs a lot of help.  The notoriously unreliable utility company PREPA still is in control, as journalist Jonathan Katz (ph) has reported in recent dispatches, there are still blackouts in entire towns, kids going to dark, hot schools.  Traffic lights not fixed since Maria.

Instead of helping, we know the president is basically pursuing a perverse vendetta against the  people of Puerto Rico, actively trying to block federal aid and telling Republican senators that Puerto Rico`s getting too much hurricane relief.

Today, a Republican disaster relief bill failed to advance in the senate.  It provided millions of dollars less than what Democrats say is needed.

The Daily Beast also now reporting that Puerto Rico is a sore spot for Trump.  He`s bitter and angry over people who suffered and whose family members died because apparently they have the gall to make him look bad.

And the White House is now stonewalling attempts to find out what happened.  Oversight subcommittee Chair Jerry Connolly telling The Daily Beast that he still hasn`t seen key documents from the administration detailing its response to the hurricanes, and he may use the committee`s  subpoena power.

But administration incompetence and a president`s perverse narcissism aside, we as a country need to understand what happened in detail in Puerto Rico, because the era of climate disaster will surely bring more Marias, more extreme weather events, not just in Puerto Rico but throughout the country.

And it is just inexcusable.  There still is 18 months later no committee or body of inquiry to get to the bottom of the basic questions here.  No 9/11-style commission to find out what happened.

We need answers, whether the president wants them or not, why those 3,000 Americans died, and how do we make sure it doesn`t happen again when the next extreme weather event comes bearing down on us.


HAYES:  For years, people have noticed the somewhat strange and often, let`s say, overly familiar physicality of one Joe Biden, specifically with women.

Numerous photos have shown Biden in close contact with various women, prompting headlines like "Joe Biden, we need to talk about the way you touch women."

Late last week, former Nevada Lieutenant Governor Candidate Lucy Flores wrote about her own experience with Biden, writing that at a campaign event in 2014 Biden put his hands on her shoulder`s, quote, "inhaled my hair and proceeded to plant a big, slow kiss on the back of my head."


LUCY FLORES, FORMER LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATE, NEVADA:  I`m not suggesting that I felt in any way sexually assaulted or sexually harassed, I felt invaded.  I felt that there was a violation of my personal space.


HAYES:  Today, a Connecticut woman relayed a similar experience of Biden at a 2009 fundraiser.  Amy Lampos (ph) telling The Hartford Current "it wasn`t sexual, but he did grab me by the head.  He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me.  When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth."

NBC News has not verified either of those incidents.  Biden said in response to both allegations, he does not believe he ever acted inappropriately, adding "if it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully, but it was never my intention.  I may not recall these moments the say same way and I may be surprised at what I hear."

Now, the discussion has occasioned a debate about both Biden`s past, in total, and his record heading into a possible presidential run, as well as how to deal with this type of behavior, an invasion of personal space that is highly gendered, even if it doesn`t fit into the category of sexual misconduct.

Joining me now, Democratic strategist Aisha Moodie-MIlls, a fellow at Harvard University`s institute of politics, and Democratic political consultant, Zephyr Teachout, who is also an associate professor at the Fordham University School of  Law, and a former candidate yourself.

Zephyr, let me start with you.  You`ve run for office.

I`ve gotten a wide spectrum of feedback on this just from emails and conversations with people.  What is your -- how are you thinking about this?

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, FORDHAM SCHOOL OF LAW:  We are in this incredibly exciting moment where the norms are changing.  And they`re changing in private or private quasi public, but legal norms are changing.  They`re changing when it comes to how men in power interact with women, and that`s an incredibly important and good thing.

It`s also changing, by the way, it`s the same weekend this happened, you saw this big story about presidential candidates hiding their donors.

HAYES:  Yes.

TEACHOUT:  Instead of trumpeting their donors, so the norms about legal fundraising behavior is changing, too.  And we`re calling out candidates for spending time talking to big donors. 

So, I think that`s incredibly important.  It`s incredibly important to be part of demanding that we change -- change our expectations for how powerful men treat people.  And at the same time, we have to remember that for the vast majority of Americans who are living with, you know, real insecurity, more and more contingent workers, dying because they can`t afford insulin.  They are desperate to hear about policies, and that policies have an invasive -- can -- policies are violent, policies invade people`s lives. 

You know, I was just talking to somebody about this today, about, you know, for a lot of voters -- primary voters and general voters, Joe Biden`s vote on the war in Iraq, leading to the death of 500,000 Iraqis, you know, that`s real violence that matters to voters.

And I think the puzzle as a candidate is like how do you both be out front in making sure that you`re part of leading this change in the norms, which is a really good thing, and continue to consistently speak to the, you know, anxiety that  voters are feelings.

HAYES:  What do you think, Aisha?

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS,  DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, you know, the idea of what Zephyr is saying about actually being a candidate who leads on the fact that the norms are changing is what Joe Biden needs to lean into.

I think we`ve had a last several days of having conversation about whether he`s creepy, whether this is acceptable, I think we`ve gone beyond like questioning whether it`s OK for him to nuzzle his nose against somebody else`s, particularly a woman, or kiss the back of somebody`s head.

I appreciate his statement.  I think that he always shows up with a bit of dignity and says I`m willing to listen if people think that I`ve wronged them.  But I want to see is more of a leaning in to the fact that this is not OK.  And some affirmation that moving forward, he will be more conscious of the personal space that he takes up and the way that he invades other people`s, and doesn`t just say, well, you know, I`m being a nice guy and I didn`t think I was hurting anybody`s feelings, but to say, you know what, I get it and I`m  backing off, and I`m going to  change my posture, and let me be a model, then, of behavior change and of understanding, where we are now where women deserve to be heard, and certainly I deserve -- you know, I need to back up so that women don`t have to, you know, kind of like look at me and push me away.

HAYES:  Yeah, I should note that Stephanie Carter, who is the spouse of Ash Carter, who was the Secretary of Defense wrote this piece today that I thought was interesting.  There is this iconic photo of Biden sort of with hands on her shoulders, which is often been included in the round-up of like, oh,, he is being too personal.  She wrote a piece today being like, that was actually welcomed.  And I had a really tough day.  And I had this horrible -- I had fallen and sort of defending him saying like the picture doesn`t tell the full story of whatever is happening in this specific moment.

But in the broader question of norms, I want to give you an argument that people have made to me.  It`s not my argument, but I hear it from lots of Democratic voters, which is that Democrats are crazy, and they`re cannibals, and they`re going to just like eat each other alive finding things wrong with everyone.  And because the norms are shifting, they are going to look out of touch with an America still clinging to older norms, or not even clinging, just inhabiting older norms.  What do you think about that?

TEACHOUT:  Yeah, I think one of the things about in particular this sort of whole array of ways in which men can be creepy with women, we know it`s ubiquitous, and we saw with #metoo how even more than creepiness is ubiquitous, that it`s a story that everybody experiences.

And that sort of -- not a double-edged sword, but has two different implications.  One is that everybody can relate to it.  And the other is that a lot of these behaviors you`re seeing are behaviors where, you know, maybe my ex-husband did that or maybe my brother does that.

HAYES:  Right, they`re really common.  And I know people that do them.

TEACHOUT:  And I don`t want to sort of cancel them from my life, so that I both don`t like it, I  want to change it, but just because I want to change it doesn`t mean I`m quite willing to cancel folks.

HAYES:  Well said I think.


MOODIE-MILLS:  Yeah, so I`ll say this, Chris, is that, you know, I`m tired of this conversation  about whether nervousness of whether candidates aren`t going to appeal to or are going to isolate people and they`re going to be out of step with where the people are.

What I`m looking forward to is having a candidate that`s actually a little bit more forward thinking and aspirational around where we want to be.  And so I want people to show up with the kind of values and the kind of posture that is actually the way that we want to be and who we aspire to be and not regress to some, like, social norms that we should just kind of like take on because people just do it that way.

HAYES:  Yes, I think that`s well said.  Aisha Moodie-Mills and Zephyr Teachout, thank you both for being with me tonight.  That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.