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Barr: Mueller findings binary. TRANSCRIPT: 4/9/19. All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Adam Schiff

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  That`s HARDBALL for now.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  I don`t intend at this stage to send the full unredacted report to the Committee.

HAYES:  The President`s Attorney General plays keep away.

BARR:  I was not interested in putting out summaries or trying to summarize.

HAYES:  As Democrats promised a subpoena fight.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  If we don`t get everything, we will issue the subpoena and go to court.

HAYES:  Tonight, why William Barr refused to release Robert Mueller summaries and why he`s refusing to say whether the White House has seen the Mueller report.  Now, Democrats are planning to get the unredacted report with Congressman Adam Schiff.  Then, from health care to tax returns to the border.


HAYES:  The deepening crisis of a lawless president.  We`re bucking a court system that never ever rules for us.

HAYES:  And why two top Republicans are openly undermining an investigation into skyrocketing prescription drug prices.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:  This is a matter literally of life and death.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  The President`s hand- picked attorney general continues to muddy the waters around the Mueller report and delay a full public accounting of what happened during the 2016 election on whether the President has committed misconduct in office.

Appearing today before an Appropriations Committee in the House, Attorney General William Barr said he plans to release a redacted version of Mueller`s report within the week.  Those redactions, Barr said, are entirely up to his discretion.  But the Attorney General has already provided lots of reasons not to trust his discretion.

Like saying his decision to clear the President of obstruction of justice after having written a memo auditioning for the job in which he argued a president can`t obstruct justice when exercising any constitutional power.  And then there was the flood of stories last week.  The first ever in 22 months, the first ever leaks from the Special Counsel`s team warning that Barr`s for page summary mischaracterized the report they`ve worked so hard on.

Now today, there`s Barr`s explanation for why he released that summary, a revealing and disingenuous bit of circular logic.


BARR:  In my judgment, it was important for people to know the bottom line conclusions of the report while we worked on necessary redactions to make the whole thing available.  From a prosecutor standpoint, the bottom line is binary which is charges or no charges.


HAYES:  Charges or no charges, except as the Attorney General full well knows, current Justice Department rules state you cannot charge a sitting president so it is not binary because it is not a standard criminal case.  Under the current rules, the only way to hold the President accountable for criminal conduct is through impeachment in Congress.  The same body from which Barr is now withholding Mueller`s complete findings.

One of the chief concerns said to be raised by some Mueller`s investigators is that Barr did not release the summaries that they had already written and prepared for each section of the report.  According to one source, the report was prepared so that the front matter from each section could have been released immediately or very quickly.  It was done in a way that minimum redactions if any would have been necessary and the work would have spoken for itself.

Now, the Justice Department disputed that claim insisting that every page report was flagged for material potentially protected by grand jury secrecy.  But here`s the thing.  That is not the primary explanation that the Attorney General himself gave today.


BARR:  In my view, I was not interested in putting out summaries or trying to summarize because I think any summary regardless of who prepares it not only runs the risk of you know, being underinclusive or over-inclusive, but also you know, would trigger a lot of discussion and analysis that really should await everything coming out at once.  So I was not interested in a summary.


HAYES:  Oh God, discussion and analysis before everything came out at once.  Heavens to Betsy.  So Barr didn`t want to release the Mueller team summaries because he worried that people would talk about them.  OK.  It seems like that`s exactly what happened when he released his own four-page summary.

Of course, Barr summary was received with open arms and celebration by the President who appointed him.  It`s possible too likely that the same could not be said for the Mueller team summaries which seem to have been much more comprehensive and we still haven`t seen.

Asked today if he shared any more information with the White House than he has with Congress of the public, the Attorney General oddly and quite notably declined to answer.


REP. NITA LOWEY (D-NY):  Did the White House see the report before you released your summarizing letter?  Has the White House seen it since then?  Have they been briefed on the contents beyond what was in you a summarizing letter to the Judiciary Committee?

BARR:  I`ve said what I`m going to say about the report today.  I`m not going to say anything more about it until the report is out and everyone has a chance to look at it.


HAYES:  Now that Barr has publicly ruled out giving a full version of the Mueller report to Congress, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says he will move ahead with the subpoenas his committee authorized last week.  And if Barr`s performance today is any indication, he`s going to fight Nadler all the way to court.

For More in the coming legal battle, I`m joined by two experienced litigators MSNBC Legal Analyst Mimi Rocah, former Federal Prosecutor and MSNBC Legal Analyst Maya Wiley, now Senior Vice President for the Social Justice at the New School.  All right, what did you think, Mimi, of Barr`s performance today?

MIMI ROCAH, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  I think you highlighted exactly the parts that made me sort of want to scream at the television in particular because Barr is using 6E as a shield.  6E is --

HAYES:  Explain to us what 6E is.

ROCAH:  OK, 6E prohibits disclosure of grand jury material, so it`s a criminal rule, like you actually are breaking the law.  That is correct if you violate the rule.  But it is not this black box.  It is not ironclad.  It is not impenetrable.  It is not something for which there are not exceptions and for which you just say you know, it`s got a stamp on.

You know, how when doctor`s read you before you have a procedure.  They redo all the horrible things that might possibly happen to you and you say yes, and you sign it anyway because you know --

HAYES:  I always say no and I don`t get -- that`s just me.

ROCAH:  That`s a different problem.  But that`s what the 6E stamp is, OK.  It doesn`t mean every word of the document has 6E in every page literally because there`s a stamp on it has this grand jury material and he absolutely cannot turn over these summaries because that stamp was on there.

HAYES:  It`s a precaution.

ROCAH:  It`s a precaution.  And there are exceptions written into the rule.  One of which I think could apply here which is about turning over grand jury to Congress in connection with a judicial proceeding.  I don`t want to get too far into the legal weeds here but there are strong arguments that that would apply here even without impeachment proceedings having yet been commenced.

But the point is that I think overall, when you look at what Barr has done, from the moment he released that first non-summary summary, to his follow- up letters, to his testimony today, he just looks like and is I think someone who is doing everything he can to protect what is clearly some damaging information at a minimum in that report from getting out and that is not his job I don`t think.

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  I`m going to just hold Mimi`s hand right now because what she said -- let`s go back to Barr`s confirmation hearing where he said the most important thing for the American people was at the - - as much of this report that could be made publicly available being made publicly available.  And we all went, right.

HAYES:  Right.

WILEY:  And now to Mimi`s point about the 6E, he also said today that he would not -- would not seek approval from the court to make available grand jury material that he absolutely has the power to go to the court and say, I think this should be made public.

So if transparency -- and let`s put aside what the report says and what the implications of the report are, for our democracy the most important thing for us is to know exactly what Mueller knew and for voters and Congress to make decisions.  Voters make decisions on whether or not they want to vote for Trump again.  Congress has to make decisions on whether there`s an impeachable offense.

The constitutional order requires transparency and what Barr promised was transparency, and that`s not what he said today.

HAYES:  Today, in fact, he said he talked about these various kinds of redactions under various -- and he`s going to do it color coded.  And I just had this image because look, during the -- during the grand jury proceedings, right, we would get redacted parts of the Mueller probe and it would say like something really interesting leading up to something and then blacked out.

It`s like, why don`t -- you know, why did Konstantin Kilimnik get the polling gate or whatever it is?  And if we do that again, I`m going to lose my mind.  I mean, I swear to God, like if that`s the thing, I`m like, oh here it is, open the box, and then inside is another box that`s locked.  That`s maddening.

ROCAH:  And the things is -- I mean, during the investigation, more tends to be redacted.  Again, that doesn`t mean that there is nothing that will fall under that exception now, but there should be a lot less.  And we now know -- I mean, Barr essentially confirmed today that Mueller`s team wrote summaries.  And as you said, he didn`t say I didn`t release them because of grand-jury.  He`s --

HAYES:  That was such a tell. Wasn`t that a tell?

ROCAH:  Yes.

HAYES:  I didn`t want people discussing and analyzing it.

ROCAH:  Right.  That`s exactly what we`ve been doing.

WILEY:  Well, that was amazing.  You know, part of the problem with the conversation is we keep having a conversation about the election in 2020 rather than a confirmation about what the rule of law requires and what our Constitution requires.  I actually -- I don`t -- it`s not about what --

HAYES:  Yes, I don`t care either.

WILEY:  I don`t care what --

HAYES:  I just want to know what is it -- what happened.

WILEY:  And if you have the man -- I`m going to keep going back to this because the person who sat before Congress and said transparency is the most important thing here so the country can move forward, and yet we know that you were handed summaries that the Mueller team wrote -- and you did not dispute that today by the way in the testimony, did not dispute that you could not release the summaries in short order but chose not to.

HAYES:  Correct.

WILEY:  Where is the transparency?  Where is the very thing you said was so central to what we needed to do as a country to move forward?

HAYES:  Mimi Rocah and Maya Wiley, great to have you both on this.  Thank you very much.  For more on the political stakes of Barr`s fight to withhold the Mueller report I`m joined by MSNBC Contributor Betsy Woodruff, Politics Reporter for The Daily Beast, and MSNBC Political Analyst Zerlina Maxwell who is Co-Host of Signal Boost on Sirius XM.  Zerlina, there`s also this weird -- there`s this kind of gas lady thing that`s happening here.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yes, that`s what`s happening.

HAYES:  And I think it`s actually a little different than the tax return fight in which it`s one of those rare instances where they`re being admirably clear.  They`re like, you`re not getting the taxes.  We don`t care.  The Barr thing is like you`ll get it, you`ll get it.  You`re going to get it. Just calm down.  It`s like -- so where is it?

MAXWELL:  Right.  Well, I think that -- gas lighting is the exact term because he`s basically saying I didn`t want to summarize it.  I didn`t want to release the summaries because the summary would be counterproductive to being transparent as Maya said.  But that`s what he did.

And for the last few weeks, we`ve had a four-page memo and we`d been doing all this analysis and I don`t really understand how because there`s no report. 

HAYES:  Right.

MAXWELL:  And again, you know, I thought there`s a whole time.  I`m glad that basically we got confirmation that the reporting about there being summaries is correct.

HAYES:  Yes, that was significant.  I agree.

MAXWELL:  Because that is important.  To understand that Mueller`s team was living in the same political climate that we are all are living in, they were working in a vacuum but they obviously knew it was going on the outside, and so they prepared summaries that could be released in this specific climate knowing all of the flags that could potentially be out there.  And I think that he`s blocking this because he was put there to block it.

HAYES:  I also think, Betsy.  So there`s some part of me that thinks God, just get the thing out as transparently as possible because you know, at this point, it is what it is.  And even if literally -- even if it was massively derogatory about the President, he would still probably be fine politically.  I think it`s like nothing`s going to change one`s mind.

But my sense of the White House and all of the people there is that it`s just a kind of battle mentality on everything.  You think that`s right?  Like they don`t -- they`re just going to fight everything.

BETSY WOODRUFF, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  I think that`s basically correct.  And the curious thing that Trump likes to do is he will say publicly that he`s ready to play ball with investigators like Mueller`s team.

HAYES:  Exactly.

WOODRUFF:  And then his lawyers will swoop in and do you know, clean-up on aisle nine and say actually, the President is not allowed to tell you what he plans to do vis-a-vis Mueller.  We saw this in a very dramatic fashion over the last year or so when Mueller`s team was trying to secure an in- person interview with the president.  Trump himself said that he wanted to do it and that he would be fine with it.  And you know within about 30 seconds, his lawyers were on the phone with me saying actually, not, not going to happen.  We`re the deciders here.

And that`s also what we`re seeing here in the case with this Mueller report where Trump himself is saying of course, it can be public, total exoneration.  I`m not worried about it at all.  But in reality, we have Bill Barr who trump installed at the Justice Department going very slowly to redact through this report and in addition not releasing portions of the report that Mueller`s own investigators which Barr himself didn`t dispute today, reportedly wanted to be public right away.

Those things aren`t consistent because Trump is President and Trump and his lawyers are basically never consistent.

HAYES:  But there is something sort of devilishly ingenious about this approach about the -- Barr know what he`s doing.  He`s not an idiot.  He`s been around Washington for 30 years.  Like he know exactly what he did when he released that summary.

MAXWELL:  They knew what they were doing by putting him in this position.

HAYES:  Yes.  And they know what they were doing putting him there.  Like people, these are all grown-ups here.  But what it does is it says, you know, the President takes his victory lap.  Oh, I`ve been exonerated and everything.  Then we`re going to get something -- some redacted version and that`ll sort of let more -- you know, who knows what`s in it, but then there`s going to be a fight for the redactions.  And you kind of attenuate the intensity of the desire to see the full thing.

MAXWELL:  Right.  I think what they`re setting up is to make everyone who`s demanding information look like sore losers.

HAYES:  That`s exactly right.  Yes.

MAXWELL:  I mean, we already saw this from the beginning.  When Democrats were saying wait, these summaries seeing is very cursory.  You`re using selected words, partial sentences.  I mean, what comes before the part where you said the President didn`t commit a crime but he`s not exonerated.  I would like to know what comes before that thought. 

And so I think that the country was waiting for results from this two-year investigation, the black box.  We haven`t been able to see inside and we still can`t see inside it and they won`t let us.  But as voters, I think we need to demand that we put pressure on all of the folks in Congress so that they can use their levers of power to get this information because even giving Congress a redacted version, I mean why are we doing that?  Congress, especially the Intel folks, they need to see everything.

HAYES:  We`re going to talk to Adam Schiff on just a moment on precisely that.  Betsy, I also think that there`s a -- there`s a degree here that the privileged review which I always imagine the White House would undertake.  I thought it was a little bit of a tell by Barr today as well when he refused to say they hadn`t seen the report which he had said previously but seemed to me like he was even saying, yes, the White House has.  How did that read to you?

WOODRUFF:  I found that interesting as well.  And I don`t think any spokespersons for the White House have gone the records, certainly not to me saying whether or not they`ve had a chance to eyeball the Mueller report.

I can tell you that yesterday I spoke with Jay Sekulow who`s one of the lawyers for the President`s outside legal team and he said the outside lawyers had not had a chance to see the report but presumably questions related to executive privilege would be handled by the White House lawyers themselves and not by any of the outside folks.

So it`s kind of weird that Barr himself wouldn`t address that today if for instance, it was something that would you know, potentially burnish his credibility as somebody handling this report.  It would behoove him to let people know if he had kept it from the White House.

HAYES:  Sketchy about everything.  I mean, just like always, all of them sketchy about everything even when they`re not covering something up.  That`s the thing.

MAXWELL:  If it was known, he would have said no.

HAYES:  Right.  But it`s also like, you can`t just assume they`re covering up because everyone is so reflexively sketchy about everything, you don`t even know.  Betsy Woodruff and Zerlina Maxwell, thank you both.

WOODRUFF:  Thanks.

HAYES:  Up next, there are now multiple Democrat efforts to get an unredacted Mueller report.  House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff on his new plans in two minutes.



LOWEY:  Did the White House see the report before you released your summarizing letter?  Has the White House seen it since then?  Have they been briefed on the contents beyond what was in you a summarizing letter to the Judiciary Committee?

BARR:  I`ve said what I`m going to say about the report today.  I`ve already laid out the process that is going forward to release these reports hopefully within a week and I`m not going to say anything more about it until the report is out and everyone has a chance to look at it.


HAYES:  Among the interested parties watching today`s hearing was the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff who shall we say was less than thrilled by what he heard from Attorney General William Barr.  Schiff noted on Twitter that Barr still won`t commit to giving Congress the full unredacted Mueller report.  They won`t request court approval to give us grand jury material and that Barr won`t even say if the White House has seen or been briefed on the report leaving Schiff to conclude that Trump got his Roy Cohn.

To explain what he means by that, I`m joined now by Congressman Adam Schiff, Democrat from California, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.  What did you mean when you say the president has found his Roy Cohn?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  Well, let`s look at what`s happened just in the two years of the Trump presidency when most of the post-Watergate reforms have been essentially eviscerated.  The President now is if you`re a president under investigation, you can fire the FBI director who`s conducting that investigation.

If you`re Attorney General not ignore the advice of ethics lawyers and intervene on your behalf, you can fire the Attorney General.  You can then hire a new Attorney General who`s written to you about how he thinks the case against you is bogus and then that person can get confirmed by the Senate of your party even without requiring that that attorney general recuse themselves.

And then in place, that attorney general can do exactly what he was hired to do and make the obstruction of justice case go away and also prevent the Congress from seeing the results, the full results of that investigation.

That`s what I mean.  That`s what Roy Cohn would do.  And sadly this is where we are only two years into this presidency.

HAYES:  What is your understanding -- so there`s a fundamental dispute here of a conflict which is that Barr has arrogated to himself the role of screener for what material Congress can and cannot see.  And my understanding is that as your position and Jerry Nadler`s position that he does -- he does statutorily and constitutionally does not have that role.  What is your case for why the law says that Congress gets to see all of the material?

SCHIFF:  Well, first of all, it`s important for people to realize what Barr did today and that is he made a choice.  And answering the question and saying that he would not seek court support to release this material, he made a decision not to share grand jury material with the Congress.  That was not inevitable and indeed it betrayed I think the commitment he made during his confirmation to be as transparent as law and policy allow because law and policy would allow him to go to the court and seek permission to provide that material.

But here`s the thing.  We`re going to insist on it.  We have a right to see that information.  We can subpoena if necessary.  And Chairman Nadler has made it very clear that he will do so if the Attorney General is not forthcoming.  And at the end of the day there is a provision within the grand jury rules to provide that to Congress.  We have seen that provision used in the past.

We`ve seen this same Justice Department just last year decide that the interest of transparency outweigh the interests of third parties who are not indicted.  They gave us 880,000 pages of information about people who were not indicted in the Clinton e-mail investigation.  They gave the GOP Congress information on pending investigations I.E. the Mueller investigation.

They gave the Congress classified information.  They declassified information.  So they have demonstrated as recently as last year that all of that gives way to an interest in transparency.  And so we are going to insist on that and we have every right to and we`re going to do whatever is necessary to make that happen.

HAYES:  There`s some question also about a provision of the Patriot Act that would allow you in your capacity as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to get some of the underlying information should Barr try to block you.  This is from a former general counsel on the Senate Intel side is this federal law requires that the Attorney General provide to the Director of National Intelligence any foreign intelligence information collected during criminal investigation, then the director must by law provided the Intelligence Committees of Congress are there by sending a notification or acting in response to a request from the committee`s.

Is that something you`re considering as an avenue to pursue?

SCHIFF:  Well, we have considered that already and made a request sometime in the past -- in the recent past for that information.  And the heart of the matter is that under the National Security Act, the Intelligence Community, the Department of Justice are required by law to fully briefed us on any significant intelligence or counterintelligence activity and findings.  And I don`t think there`s been a more significant counterintelligence investigation in my lifetime.

So they are required to brief us.  Now they have not done that yet.  And so we wrote to them to demand that they do so and we will insist upon it.  And moreover, there is in addition to everything else an exception to the grand jury secrecy rules where if it involves counterintelligence information, that also can and I think must be shared.

So we will press this also.  But our first priority is getting the fully unredacted report because the counterintelligence findings may not even be covered in that report and I think it`s most essential that the public get to see the product of Bob Mueller`s work.

HAYES:  Do you have a timeframe in mind for that process?

SCHIFF:  Well, you know, we will I think very soon after we see whether it`ll be necessary for the Judiciary Committee to subpoena the report move forward with our own demand that they comply with the law.  So we will await the conclusion of the Judiciary Committee and the outcome of the that redaction process.  But we are proceeding along a parallel track.

We want to be sure that we`re informed of the full scope of the counterintelligence investigation and findings which as I say may not even be discussed in the Mueller report.  But the priority right now for both of our committees is making that report available to the public.

HAYES:  Quickly, on a scale of one to ten, how much trust did you have on William Barr when he was nominated and how much trust you having him now?

SCHIFF:  Well, look, you can`t place trust in a man who applied for the job by saying that he thought the case against the President was bogus because he came in with such an obvious prejudice.  One of the questions I would like to ask, and I hope you will be asked is did you seek the advice of ethics lawyers and did you follow it?  Because it`s hard for me to conceive that advice would have been any different than the advice given to Matt Whittaker for exactly the same reason.

So you know, this doesn`t give the trust in someone who`s not willing to follow ethics advice and who had such an obvious bias against the investigation.

HAYES:  All right, Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much for making time tonight.

SCHIFF:  Thanks, Chris.

HAYES:  Next, the president says he wants lower drug prices.  So why are two GOP representatives undermining a congressional investigation into the skyrocketing costs.  That story right after this.


HAYES:  The shocking cost of drugs in this country particularly necessary, health saving drugs like insulin is a pressing political issue getting worst by the day and ostensively it is a rare point of bipartisan consensus that drug prices are too high.  Everyone says it. 

The President ran on it.  He still says it.  He always sort of talks about some magical solution that`s always just around the corner but never shows up.  Congressional Republicans are constantly saying they`ll bring down drug prices.

Even the HHS Secretary, Alex Azar, whose tenure at Eli Lily coincided with massive list price increases on insulin, says drug prices are too high and need to come down.

So, you would think that when House Democrats on the Oversight Committee sent out letters to drug companies requesting information, that would not be controversial proposition, but you would be wrong.  Instead, two of the Republican members of the committee are trying to jam a stick in the spokes of the inquiry by writing separately to the drug companies basically telling them not to trust committee chair Elijah Cummings.

Joining me now, a member of that House Oversight Committee, Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California.  What is going on here?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) CALIFORNIA:  Good question, Chris.  I mean, let`s be clear, the American people deserve to have lower drug prices.  The president even said so.  And so two of my Republican colleagues, rather than being on the side of their constituents trying to bring down the cost of drugs, are writing kiss letters to the pharmaceutical companies telling them to be aware of what the chairman, Mr. Cummings, is doing and trying to lower drug prices.

It really shows you where the two parties are in terms of drug pricing.

HAYES:  Well, but here`s my question,m there is always some tension, particularly in the House and particularly in the polarized times between the minority and majority of a committee.  But then also, all of you have to work together at some level, particularly the ranking member and the chair.  Is this like normal level hijinx or it feels to me like there is a kind of insurrection and an escalation of tactics among the minority on your particular committee that we have seen in the last few months?

SPEIER:  You know, Chairman Cummings has gone out of his way to show that he wants to cooperate, bringing subpoenas to the committees, so that they can participate, something the Republicans never did.  But what we saw today when we were talking about climate change, what we will see tomorrow when we talk about insulin cost increases, is that they are going for the jugular.  They have no intention to work cooperatively with the chairman.

HAYES:  So there are three -- all of the three U.S. manufacturers of insulin are going to testify before congress, I think is that right tomorrow, is that your committee or its energy and Commerce, it`s sort of clear to me.  Which is it?

SPEIER:  I believe it`s our committee.

HAYES:  OK.  So, they will be before your committee.  Do you feel like you have a handle of what is going on?  We are seeing these anecdotal and also empirical reports about this skyrocketing of insulin and Cigna and other insurers sort of voluntarily capping the price.  What is going on?

SPEIER:  Well, what`s going on is what`s going on with most drugs.  Four of the top 10 drugs in America since 2011 have seen a price increase of 100 percent.  Type one diabetes insulin, again, 300, 400, 500 percent increases -- EpiPens have gone up 500 percent.

So, the drug manufacturers are taking advantage of the opportunity to raise their prices, because they fear there might be controls placed on the prices of drugs.  It`s obscene.  And we need to put a stop to it.  And I`m calling on the president to do what he said he was going to do during his entire campaign, which is bring down the cost of prescription drugs.

Stop building a wall and bring down the cost of prescription drugs.

HAYES:  Is there a channel for executive action on this, or do you need to pass legislation that reforms essentially the structure of drug pricing?

SPEIER:  Well, as the president has done on so many other issues, there is much he can do through executive order.  I don`t know precisely what he can do, but I`m certain he could use the executive order opportunity, and he can certainly work with Democrats, who are in control of the House now, and pass a bill and put the pressure on the Senate.

And I can guarantee you that all of the millions and millions of senior citizens in this country who see their prices go up -- I mean, digoxin, which has been around since 1930, is now going up in price because the number of manufacturers has dropped.

This is a ripoff of the American people.

HAYES:  You know it strikes me as the rare political win-win in our times, if the president and Nancy Pelosi got together on a bill to cap, or reduce, drug prices that would actually be good for people and good for both the president and Democrats, which almost never happens.  But it is the rare Vin diagram, it seems to me.

SPEIER:  This could be the issue.  And in fact the president did talk to Speaker Pelosi within the last two weeks about prescription drugs.  And she said to him very clearly we want to work with you and we will be happy to sit down with the president and come up with a plan and he can help us move it through the Senate, because we can get it through the House.

HAYES:  I would not hold your breath.

But, Congressman Jackie Speier, thank you very much.

SPEIER:  Thank you, Chris.

HAYES:  Coming up, from the ACA to border security to his own tax returns, the national crisis of a lawless president ahead.  Plus, Maxine Waters is reclaiming her time again in Thing One, Thing Two next.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, it has been nearly two years, believe it or not, since Congresswoman Maxine Waters had that legendary exchange with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.


HAYES:  Is there some reason why I didn`t get a response to the letter I sent May  23?

STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY:  So, Ranking Member Waters, first of all, let me thank you for your service to California.  Being a resident of California, I appreciate everything...

WATERS:  Thank you very much...

MNUCHIN: there.

WATERS:  I want to take my time back.

MNUCHIN:  I also appreciated the opportunity to meet with you several times.

WATERS:  Reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time.  Reclaiming my time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The time belongs to the Gentlelady from California.


HAYES:  Well, Auntie Maxine and Secretary Mnuchin met again today, but this time she had the gavel.  And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  It was a busy day on Capitol Hill today.  Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin testified at one of the many hearings, this one held by the House Financial Services Committee.  And with congresswoman Maxine Waters now running the show as chair, the Maxine/Mnuchin rematch was worth the wait.


WATERS:  If you wish to leave, you may leave.

MNUCHIN:  I don`t understand what you are saying.

WATERS:  You are wasting your time.  Remember you have a foreign dignitary in your office.

MNUCHIN:  I would just say that the previous administration -- when the Republicans, they did not treat the secretary of the Treasury this way, so if this is the way you want to treat me, then I will rethink whether I voluntarily come back here to testify, which I have offered to do.

WATERES:  Mr. Secretary, I want you to know that no other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time in the way you are doing.  So, if you want to use them as examples, you have acted differently than they have acted.  And as I have said, if you wish to leave, you may.

MNUCHIN:  If you wish to keep me here so that I don`t have my important meeting and continue to grill me, then we can do that.  I will cancel my meeting and not be back here.  I will be clear.  If that`s the way you would like to have this relationship.

WATERS:  Thank you.

The gentleman, the secretary has agreed to stay to hear all of the rest of the members.  Please cancel your meeting and respect our time.

Who is next on the list?

MNUCHIN:  ...foreign meeting, you are instructing me to stay here and I should cancel.

WATERS:  No, you made the me an offer...

MNUCHIN:  I didn`t make you an offer.

WATERS:  You made me an offer that I accepted.

MNUCHIN:  I did not make that offer, just let`s be clear.  You are instructing me.  You are ordering me to stay here.

WATERS:  No, I`m not ordering you.  I`m responding.  I said you may leave any time you want.  And you said OK, if that`s what you want to do, I will cancel my appointment and I`ll stay here, so I`m responding to your request if that`s what you want to do.

MNUCHIN:  That`s not what I want to do.  I told you.

WATERS:  What would you like to do?

MNUCHIN:  What I told you is I thought it was respectful that you would let me leave at 5:15.

WATERS:  You are free to leave any time you want.  You may go.

MNUCHIN:  OK, well, then please dismiss everybody.  I believe you are supposed to take the gravel and bang it it.

WATERS:  Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee.  This is a new way, and it`s a new day chair, and it`s a new chair, and I have the gavel at this point.  If you wish to leave, you may.



HAYES:  The U.S. Constitution charges the president of the United States with the responsibility to take care that the law is faithfully executed.  The current president is fundamentally a lawless man and makes a mockery of that charge every day he`s in office.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said of the president after he left the administration that, quote, so often the president would say here`s what I want to do and here`s how I want to do it and I would have to say to him Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can`t do it that way, it violates the law.

The president is, at his best, most charitably, care less when it comes to the law, and at his worst, and frankly more often than not, contemptuous of it.

And just last week, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal, requested the president`s tax returns over requests that shall be heeded according to the black letter law.  But today, Steve Mnuchin he and the White House have been basically conspiring to evade the law.


REP. CAROLYN MALONEY, (D) NEW YORK:  Did your team ask for the White House`s permission to release the president`s tax returns?  Did the White House ask your team not to release the tax returns?

MNUCHIN:  We would not ever ask for the White House`s permission on this, nor did they give us permission.  As I said, we consulted, which I believe was appropriate of our legal department.

MALONEY:  Well, I think the fact that there was any communication with the White House about this is deeply troubling and certainly violates the spirit of the law if not the letter of the law.


HAYES:  On health care, as you may know, the president has reportedly overruled his own advisers and his own attorney general into forcing the Department of Justice, that are your lawyers and our lawyers, right, the people`s lawyers, to adopt a ludicrous and lawless position that abandons the ACA, which is the law of the land, and calls for it to be completely destroyed on a legal theory so absurd, so vanishingly stupid, one critic called it embarrassingly bad, and that it`s reasoning required twisting yourself in knots to reach a particular conclusion.

And on immigration, the president both publicly and privately has urged just about everyone within earshot routinely to break the law.  In fact, he purged his security service yesterday with the explicit intent of finding willing supplicants who will break the law in pursuit of maximum cruelty.  He told a group of border patrol agents to simply break the law, reportedly saying if judges give you trouble, say, quote, sorry, judge, I can`t do it.  We don`t have the room.

It was left to border patrol leaders to step in and explicitly instruct the agents to ignore the president. 

So, that`s where at.  The man tasked with faithfully executing law is the law`s enemy and front line civil servants are forced  to instruct their charges to ignore the ravings of the commander-in-chief.  Of course, nearly an entire universe of  elite, well credentialed conservative lawyers are more or less fine with this whole thing, despite the windy sanctimony they love to offer on the law and its meaning and the big bad liberals and activist judges who want to ignore it, because they and their buddies get appointed to the courts and their white-shoed clients` interests have free reign at the agencies.

I suppose the only silver lining is that most of them, George Conway, and some others excepted, have shown that all their professions about the law and its plain meaning was nothing more than a giant con.

That said, no one should have any illusions about the genuine severe damage being done right now to the rule of law in plain sight.  And we`re going to talk about that next.



TRUMP:  We have bad laws.  We have a judge that just ruled incredibly that he doesn`t want people staying in Mexico.  Figure that one out.  Nobody can believe these decisions we`re getting from the ninth circuit.  It`s a disgrace.

And we`re being very strong on the border, but we`re bucking a court system that never, ever  rules for us.


HAYES:  If the court system never rules for you, there might be a reason for that.  President Trump, the self-proclaimed rule of law president, law and order president, again, today, complained about judges enforcing the rule of law when the outcome doesn`t suit him.

For more on what can fairly be described as presidential lawlessness, bring in Walter Dellinger, former acting solicitor general and former assistant U.S. attorney general; and Jonathan Adler, who is a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Jonathan, let me start with you.  I think you consider yourself a conservative.  You are in sort of conservative legal circles.  Obviously, all presidents come into conflict with the law.  They push the boundaries, there`s contestation and conflict about what they can and can`t do.  It does strikes me that this is something distinct if this president`s orientation to the law.  Do you think that?


I mean, I think with most presidents, as you said, there are times where people will have good faith disagreements.   There will be times where an administration thinks it needs to try and push the boundaries a little bit for a particularly important agenda item or something that`s particularly important to the country.  But as I think you`ve noted, in this administration, concerns about what is legally required, what traditional norms are within the Justice Department, or what the government is supposed to be trying to do with law enforcement or administrative procedure is secondary, and that`s very troubling.

HAYES:  You know, Walter, I guess there`s one argument that goes like this: the courts have done a decent job of constraining the president, that they knocked down two iterations of the Muslim ban, that they keep -- you know, they keep freezing out different sort of cockamamie legal theories.  Three district courts have found against this administration on the census question.  And so, you know, things are -- the system is holding.

Is there damage done just in the commission by the executive in pursuing these sorts of lawless claims even if the courts check them?


I mean, I -- and I do think that we`re eroding our fundamental sense of the rule of law.  When the president has his chief of staff go out and say, in the face of a clear statute requiring his tax returns, his chief of staff says that issue was litigated during the election.  Well, now that`s not how we change the law.  You don`t get to not comply with the law.

And also if it were litigated, he lost by 3 million votes.  I mean, he`s lawfully entitled to be president, but you can`t -- one saving grace of the Electoral College is that president`s aren`t the voice of the people, like some plebiscite dictator in a  third world country.  But he has no -- he has shown regard for the co-equal branches of government, not just disagreements with them, but really, you know, unwillingness to provide congress with the information to which it is entitled, in which it needs -- his attacking judges by name and his attacking the independence of his own Department of Justice in criminal matters.

You know, I think Chris, and I`d be interested in Jonathan view on this, too, his willingness to call for an investigation of the father-in-law of Mr. Cohen who was going to be a witness in a matter in which the president was personally involved seemed to me to be just the -- what I thought was the end of the line.

U do want to note, there are a number of conservative scholars who have really come through on this question of the absurd attack on the Affordable Care Act.,  And I believe Jonathan may be one of them.  I know Elia Soman (ph).

HAYES:  Yes.

DELLINGER:  And Michael McCaley Stanford (ph), and others will be the -- Jonathan, you`re there on that, right?

HAYES:  Yeah, I would say that -- Jonathan wrote, what the lawless Obamacare ruling means, not based on the solid legal arguments or the exercise in raw judicial power. 

There`s two things happening here, Jonathan.  I mean, again, the Department of Justice generally defends the laws, and there are deviations, and famously that was the case with marriage equality and the Obama Department of Justice, which was hugely controversial, but went through a pretty complicated process.  And I think there`s a sort of defensible claim, and ultimately I think in the end history will judge them well.

Why is this different in the way the Department of Justice has taken on this pretty wild claim?

ADLER:  Well, I mean, I think the brazenness of it is quite distinct.  I mean, as you noted, plenty of us criticize the Obama administration`s refusal to defend DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.  Here, you had the Justice Department saying that certain arguments really could not be made. 

There were arguments that the Justice Department always makes when defending federal statutes such as challenging the standing of litigants trying to find other ways of keeping the case out of court.  The Justice Department did not even put on the table.  I mean, that is incredibly irregular and sets an incredibly bad precedent, and the underlying legal arguments in this case that the Justice Department has embraced, are so far outside the bounds of -- of normal disagreement. 

I mean, in the Defense of Marriage Act case, we could disagree whether the Obama administration should have defended it in court, but the underlying constitutional position the Justice Department embraced was a defensible one, and it`s one, in fact, that I agreed with.  But here, the underlying legal argument is -- is so far outside of what anyone who works on these issues thinks is reasonable.  It`s really quite shocking.

HAYES:  There`s also -- there`s some kind of pressing constitutional issue, Walter, right now, with the advise and consent provision of the congress` role in providing advice and consent to executive nominees, which is the president is just doing a whole scale end run around it.  I mean, today the number three at DHS has submitted their resignation so he could check down the depth chart to get the person he wants there.

You`ve got actings in all these different agencies.  And at a certain point it does come to look like a flagrant violation of this basic constitutional principle.

DELLINGER:  Yeah.  And there should be a constitutionally-based remedy for that which is the Senate of the United States.  It`s just shocking that the majority leader of the Senate will see its critical role just simply eroded by the president who frankly says he would just rather run the government without any involvement of the Senate.

And I think the role of government lawyers -- you know, conservatives like Jonathan have been standing up for the rule of law, but their government lawyers who are signing on to briefs that I`m not sure how they look themselves in the mirror in the morning.

HAYES:  All right. Walter Dellinger and Jonathan Adler, thank you, both, gentlemen.

ADLER:  Thank you.

HAYES:  All right.  If it`s Tuesday, that means we have a new episode of our podcast out this week.  We talk about getting rid of prisons.  You heard that right.  You need to hear guest Miriam Coba (ph) make this case for this idea.  And you can find that episode wherever you get your podcasts.

And speaking about podcasts, some exciting news about my friend down the hall and on the other side of this hour, today Rachel Maddow`s singular limited series "Bag Man" was named a Peabody nominee.  It is phenomenal piece of work, big congratulations to that whole team.  It goes without saying, if you have not listened to it, you should do yourself a favor and check it out.

That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.