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100 days of Democrats running the House. TRANSCRIPT: 4/12/19. All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Ro Khanna, Masha Gessen, Adam Serwer, Max Rose, Jeff Biggers, JesseBarron

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  This past history, the man running to make one final run for the American presidency, it`s who Joe Biden is.  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The military, don`t forget, kids act like a military would act because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy.

HAYES:  What happens when our pundit president can`t solve actual problems?

TRUMP:  I don`t mind closing the border.

HAYES:  Tonight, the new reporting on a White House plan to drop immigrants into sanctuary cities to get back at Democrats, the plans to build military camps for migrants, and the president`s offered a pardon border officials who break federal law.

TRUMP:  Who to hell could live like this?

HAYES:  Plus --

JOHN YOO, ATTORNEY AT LAW:  No one ever told me that one of the perks of being in the government would be being second-guessed by some you know, pipsqueak at MSNBC.

HAYES:  My response to the torture memo author about public life after government disgrace.  And why even the fossil fuel companies are balking as the President subsidizes more dirty coal.

TRUMP:  Beautiful West Virginia coal.  We love it.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  The President of the United States reportedly offered the new head of one of the government`s security services a pardon to break the law.  According to CNN and the New York Times during a trip to the border last week, the President told Kevin McAleenan that the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection and since elevated to acting Secretary of DHS that he`d pardon McAleenan if he got in trouble for following illegal orders from the president.

New York Times reports the President was urging McAleenan to shut down the border altogether while according to CNN the President told him to block asylum seekers fermenting the country which is against U.S. law.  The sources for both story said it wasn`t clear if the President was joking.  But if the President did, in fact, make such an offer and it certainly looks like he did, it would, of course, fly directly in the face of his constitutional duty to "take care of the laws be faithfully executed."

It would also be the latest example of a much larger pattern with this President, especially where immigration is concerned.  Faced with a genuine complex challenge, a record surge of migrant families arriving at the southern border most of them seeking asylum, the President is basically just sitting at the end of the bar yelling at the T.V.

It`s the same thing he`s always done shouting out half-baked hotcakes like the guys the balcony on the Muppet Show, except now he`s in charge.  He`s the president who`s actually supposed to try and address the challenges he`s been ranting about.  And the harder those challenges get, the more he flails around impotently and throws out increasingly desperate and ugly ideas.

Like for instance releasing immigrant detainees in mostly democratic sanctuary cities as a way to target and punish his political foes.  It`s not clear exactly how this would constitute some kind of retaliation unless you`re the kind of person that thinks that there`s something fundamentally undesirable about immigrants and don`t regard them as humans which the President apparently does.

After the White House downplayed the proposal saying it had been rejected, the President insisted it`s still on the table.


TRUMP:  California certainly is always saying oh, we want more people and they want more people in their sanctuary cities, well, we`ll give them people.  We can give them a lot.  We can give them an unlimited supply and let`s see if they`re so happy.  They say we have open arms.  They`re always saying they have open arms.  Let`s see if they have open arms.

We are giving very strong consideration to having people after a 20-day period because again you`re not allowed legally to hold them for more than that.  We will move them into sanctuary cities.


HAYES:  Oh man, that`ll show him Mr. President.  Can you imagine what would happen if he send immigrants to a place like I don`t know, New York City?  After the President weighed in, the Department of Homeland Security official told The Washington Post that DHS is not drawing up plans to implement the proposal.  The official requested anonymity to contradict the president.

But that`s not stopping the Commander-in-Chief from coming up with more bright ideas to tackle the border surge.  According to an exclusive NBC News report earlier this week, the President and his advisors discussed whether the U.S. military could build and run migrant detention camps.

I`m joined now by one of the reporters who broke that story, NBC News National Security and Justice Reporter Julia Ainsley.  Julia, what can you tell us about this plan?

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY AND JUSTICE REPORTER:  Well, OK, there are two parts of this plan.  One of them is much more likely to happen in as legal, the other one is like all of the other things we`re going through tonight, something that the president can`t let go of even though logic and our laws tell him otherwise.

So what they`re talking about is using the military.  We know they`re already 6,000 troops down at the border, using troops to build tent camps.  These would be erected in El Paso Texas, and Donna Texas, and effectively would be detention camps for families.  These are people who can`t fit into existing detention facilities because they are as you know, coming over and larger numbers we`ve seen in the past.

The Obama administration actually had a tent city in Donna Texas at the end of 2016 to deal with the temporary surge as well.  It`s something they can use to get off the ground quickly.  And one reason they would use troops to construct it is because they can bypass the normal procurement process where they have to allow private contractors to put in bids and go through that bureaucracy.

They think they can do this faster even though it could be more expensive because you`d lose that competition.  The part where he gets illegal is the part where they would consider using those troops to stay there after the construction and run the camp`s.  They could be processing them, providing medical care, interacting with immigrants on a daily basis, essentially being responsible for the detention of migrants.

That is illegal.  It violates a very old law in our country called closed Posse Comitatus which is an act that prevents the military from enforcing domestic law.  You can think of a lot of examples in human history, Chris, that gives us a reason to have that law, and immigration law is domestic.  And so you wouldn`t want to use the military to do that.

But apparently, even though this is something the president has been told he cannot have, it is not officially off the table because again, there are just ideas here that no one is ruling out that we would have thought we would have ruled out far long ago if not even mentioned.  I mean, it`s surprising this came up frankly.

HAYES:  Yes.  So this -- I mean, one of the things is a little hard to take how is this ranting and they`re letting the president rant or they`re letting Stephen Miller rant or are there serious proposals being pushed that are being stopped by the lawyers.

AINSLEY:  As I understand it, the more serious proposals to use troops for construction.  We know about White House meetings where both of these things were discussed, but in terms of what actually got trickled down to people who were doing operations and trying to come up with requests for proposals to be shared between DHS and DOD.  The only thing they`re talking about right now it`s construction.

But I think this gives us a window into the things that are being talked about inside this White House.  And the President has gotten rid of the people who said no like Kirstjen Nielsen who said no very rarely but she did say no to reinstating family separation.

But, Chris, the big reason why I think we still have to focus on this is you remember you and I were some of the first reporters in February of 2017 and March 2017 when we heard about the idea of separating children at the border.  And we thought there`s no way they`re just putting this story out there.  It`s scare tactic.

Well, it`s something they really did.  And so that`s why I would argue that we should cover things that seem like they`re from the dark place of someone`s mind, they could actually become things that are at least tried and then may be held up in courts.  But if they are tried and they are being discussed in this White House, I think it`s worth us having a discussion and the public.

HAYES:  100 percent.  February of 2017 Julie Ainsley and a Reuters reporter and Chris Hayes at ALL IN both got our hands on documents from whistleblowers basically saying they`re considering this radically horrendous unprecedented step.  They climbed down but it was in the toolkit that they went to later on.  And I totally agree with you that it`s important to keep our eyes on all this.  Julie Ainsley, thanks for reporting.

AINSLEY:  Thanks.

HAYES:  My next guest represents one of the areas where the President wants to send migrant detainees, Congressman Ro Khanna, Democrat from California.  This is -- this is government by trolling fundamentally.  It is -- it has an ugliness to it that`s very obvious.  I guess I`ll ask you to react to it even though it`s obviously not a serious proposal.

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA):  Well, it`s a total stunt.  Chris, has you know, migrants, have the right to move before their courts proceeding.

HAYES:  Yes.

KHANNA:  So unless Donald Trump literally wants to build a Berlin wall around San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, the plan is totally unworkable.  I mean, migrants, even if you put some there they can move.

Second, his own ICE director has said that it`s going to be an extraordinary cost.  I mean, you have Fox News railing against people in four seasons like detentions.  You really think Conservatives are going to want to pay for the transportation of people to these cities?  So it`s a complete propaganda move for his base.  It`s got no basis in the law.

HAYES:  Here`s what strikes me the fundamental problem.  There`s a -- there`s a challenge at the border.  I don`t think it`s a crisis.  It`s not you know, they`re -- Colombia got half a million Venezuelans and I mean we`re not talking about anything like that right, but there`s a challenge.  There`s a capacity challenge, a logistical challenge, the courts are challenged.

There is a problem to be solved in some ways.  That could be solved if there were people serious in good faith that wanted to undertake it.  Can you take this President at his word in good faith on anything having to do with immigration?

KHANNA:  No.  Because Chris, if you wanted to solve this issue, there are two concrete things you could do.  First, you wouldn`t be cutting aid to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.  The Vanderbilt study shows that our aid which is about $450 million, put that in context compared to $700 billion of a defense budget, our aid has reduced violence there by nearly 50 percent.  And the reason people are coming here is because they`re fleeing violence.  So you would think one logical thing would be help them reduce violence.

Second, you would have in-country processing.  Obama had that.  He actually said let`s process these cases in Guatemala, in Honduras, in El Salvador.  Guess what this president did, he cut that program.  So obviously he`s got no real interest in doing the things that are going to solve the crisis.

HAYES:  You know, this is also -- there`s also a flailing quality of this.  So the president is posturing as tough.  He`s posturing as a meanie, right, (INAUDIBLE).  But the fact the matter is they`re acting befuddled and impotent fundamentally.  I mean, they really do seem frenetically panicked that they are not up to this task.

KHANNA:  Well, I think he has no basis in the law.  He doesn`t understand what he can do because as he uh needs these correctly said that after twenty days, you have to give someone a court process.  And there`s nothing the President of the United States can do to overturn that.  That`s Congress and that`s the courts.

And so if he doesn`t have any creativity in how to solve this and doesn`t have legal advisors offering him something, the only thing you can do is go out to Twitter and rally his base but there`s nothing concrete in solving it.  And at some point, people are going to see through that.

HAYES:  Well, then, what happens next?  I mean, the problem is he`s the president.  Like he can -- he`s yelling at the T.V. screen and he`s you know, he`s calling into Rush Limbaugh with his idea that`ll teach the lids by bussing in the immigrants, but someone -- like there`s an issue that has to be dealt with.

KHANNA:  Well, at some point, one hopes -- and this is where I hope Congress comes in where we can be honest with the American people about what it`s going to take to solve this issue.  We ought to be frankly increasing our foreign aid to these countries.

I had members of Congress colleagues of mine recently go to El Salvador.  And one of our programs there is helping kids learn computer programming.  And there were a thousand kids who said I want to be computer programmers in El Salvador.  We don`t want to come to the United States.

Now why wouldn`t we be funding programs like that?  Why wouldn`t we be funding more immigration judges to process these cases?  And I think what it`s going to take is leadership to say yes, we don`t -- we understand there`s a challenge.  We can`t have people just coming here without some proactive solution, but let`s talk concretely about what`s going to solve it.

HAYES:  All right, Congressman Ro Khanna, thanks four times tonight.

KHANNA:  Thank you, Chris.

HAYES:  To help what the President`s plans and his rhetoric in context I`m joined by New Yorker Staff Writer Masha Gessen whose latest piece is titled "How to resist validating President Trump`s view of sanctuary cities" and Adam Serwer Staff Writer for The Atlantic.

Masha, I`ll begin with you.  What did you want to get across in that point out in that piece?  How do you resist it?

MASHA GESSEN, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER:  Well, the piece is largely about how the media covered it last night.  Last night we saw the Washington Post and then there was a series of other reports on this plan, right, leaked by a couple of whistleblowers.  And there was no -- none of these articles took issue with the premise that there`s something that could be seen as retaliatory about sending people to sanctuary cities.

And we didn`t see a politician -- I mean there was a statement from Nancy Pelosi who apparently was one of the politicians targeted by this imagined plan.  Her office responded by saying that it is not nice to use people as pawns which of course one has to agree.

HAYES:  It`s true.

GESSEN:  But we need somebody to say, bring them here.

HAYES:  Yes, that`s right.

GESSEN:  They are welcome.  That is the point of being a sanctuary city.

HAYES:  Yes, call the bluff, yes.  And in fact --

GESSEN:  It`s not just calling the bluff, it`s actually --

HAYES:  No, it`s actually affirmatively saying.

GESSEN:  -- having a moral position.

HAYES:  And in fact, I will say The Daily Beast went around and interviewed a bunch of mayors at sanctuary cities who by and large said exactly that.  Sure, yes.  And you know, Adam the idea that it`s like some rhetorical masterstroke to be like oh well, New York City, you like immigrants so much, just wait till they come to your city.  It`s like sure, yes.  Go ahead.

ADAM SERWER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC:  Well, look, my plan is to release them near Trump hotels because they`ll get jobs immediately.  But seriously though -- seriously tough, I mean, in the President`s feverish mind, he believes that everybody deep down has the same hatred for these people as he does.

And in his warped mind he believes that -- let`s take -- in the premise in his head, he thinks that these immigrants will cause violence and death and so he`s willing to inflict them on Americans who don`t share his political views in order to punish them for disagreeing with him on immigration.  He thinks that should result in violence and death.

HAYES:  Yes.

SERWER:  Now, that`s absolutely disgusting but it is a sick fantasy.  These immigrants when they come into United States, these are the places they go anyway.  That`s why there is political support for these cities being sanctuary cities.  So it`s just a complete fever dream that all it does is express the absolute contempt that this president has for human beings because of where they come from.

GESSEN:  I think it`s a little bit more than a fewer dream.  I think that it introduces this idea of basically internal deputations of people.  I mean, there are countries that send asylum seekers to particular cities.  There`s actually nothing wrong with that in you know, in and of itself.

But the way that he is portraying it, the way that he`s putting it across, clearly the idea behind this plan is akin to you know, the way the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union used to move ethnic minorities from one region to another because they were not desirable elsewhere.

HAYES:  Right.

GESSEN:  And of course it just continues to validate this idea that immigrants are dangerous, immigrants are a threat, and immigrants are going to make everything bad.

HAYES:  And there`s this -- you know, Adam, you wrote this essay that I see referred to and cited and quoted almost as much as anything written the last few years and what you called about that these -- that cruelty is the point right, that the performance of cruelty is the point.  You also have this piece about how Nazis have always been trolls about the sort of trolling nature of this certain kind of bigotry.

I guess I wonder sometimes with these moments, they`re born of impotence right.  The President is thrashing around because he is fundamentally not up to the task before him, and yet they are also dangerous in their own way in terms of what concepts and rhetoric they enforce.

SERWER:  Yes.  Well, just to clarify earlier.  The idea that these immigrants are going to turn these American cities into dens of fire and death is the fever dream, not the possibility that Trump could do these things.  But look, for Trump`s base, this sort of proposal, I`m sure they get a kick out of it.  They get a kick out of anything in which the President seems to look like he`s sticking it to the people that they hate so much.

So, of course, they like it.  Of course -- even if it never happens, it take a measure of satisfaction from the fact that he is -- he is punishing the people that they want to be punished even if it`s just in theory.

HAYES:  What do you think about the sort of balance between the danger of the way of talking about human beings this way.  And again, he`s talked about them as an infestation.  This is --  the premise of this entire stick is that he`s essentially releasing a plague unto people, right, in a retaliatory fashion.  And yet at the same time again, he is weak, right.  He`s thrashing.  He`s --

GESSEN:  You know, I`m not convinced that he`s weak and thrashing.  I think that he very much believes that he`s fighting a war.  He is he has all the power in this war.  He has all the troops.  But the more he talks about it, the more of a word becomes.  And there`s great power inherent in that.  And just be the fact that the -- he can`t pursue a coherent policy, doesn`t mean that he isn`t fighting this war.  And it`s killing people and it`s killing more and more people.

HAYES:  Adam, Greg Sargent had a piece today about Stephen Miller who essentially is effectively running a cabinet agency despite the fact he has not been confirmed.  He says, when Democrats -- when are Democrats going to try to summon Stephen Miller to Capitol Hill and grill him under oath about its direct role in some of the chaos and incompetence, increasingly malevolent extremism gripping the Trump administration right now.  What do you think of that?

SERWER:  I think that Congress is entitled to subpoena whatever administration official that they like to subpoena.  But I think the fact is that it`s useless to try and look for someone behind Trump who is making Trump act like this.  This is who Trump is.

He is a person who believes that you need not respect the rights of people who are different from him.  It`s just fundamentally who he is.  It`s what -- it`s the thing that he believes more than anything else, and it`s the thing that has earned him the love and admiration of millions of Americans, and that`s what`s frightening.

HAYES:  All right, Masha Gessen and Adam Serwer, great to have you both.  Next Congressman Max Rose on where Democrats stand a hundred days into their House majority in two minutes.



TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL:  She`s completely out of touch.  She`s no idea what America is like.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She doesn`t know very much policy wise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She`s very confused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Her ideas make absolutely no sense economically whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Picking on AOC again and just --

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL:  Well she`s just sensitive.  I noticed that if you even mentioned her name, she`s like tweeting out like crazy.  She can`t handle --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No she can`t but that`s OK.


HAYES:  There has been a huge, one might even say pathological amount of attention paid some of the most liberal members, the House freshman class particularly AOC.  But the new class of Democrats is a pretty ideologically diverse one.

While a number of progressive Democrats who represent liberal districts have gotten a lot of attention, there are nearly two dozen other Democrats that represent districts that voted for Trump.  One of them is freshman Max Rose, the First Congressional Democrats represent Staten Island here in New York City since 2008.

And joining me now is Congressman Matt Rose, Democrat from New York.  Good to have you.

REP. MAX ROSE (D-NY):  Thanks for having me.

HAYES:  I want to start with something that we have not played on the show for obvious reasons.  Mr. President --

ROSE:  Thank you for not doing that.

HAYES:  -- tweeted out a video of some comments Ilhan Omar made that I thought were taken out of context in which she was talking about bigotry against Muslims in 9/11 inter spliced with extremely horrendous images of mass murderer.

ROSE:  Sure.

HAYES:  What do you think of that?

ROSE:  Look, we need to take a step back.  Let`s just talk New Yorker to New Yorker at this point.  That that was a horrifying day that especially affected my district Staten Island in South Brooklyn.  You know, we lost more cops, more firefighters, more first responders than any other district in the country.

And certainly, Ilhan`s comments touched a nerve.  And I`ve openly said that I think that they were insensitive and defensive and that`s honest critique.  But what we see with this video is a hyper and dangerous and shameful escalation that divides this country and it is not what a leader supposed to do.

After two years you would think that this president would understand that.  But you know, I spent a ton of time with first responders.  Now people that were there on 9/11, many of them are sick, sick because they served us after 9/11.  And this Victims Compensation Fund is running out.  You know, even though they are sick, they still say I would do it again.  That`s the quality of these people.

So I would like to focus our attention on renewing this fund permanently for the duration of this century.

HAYES:  Let`s -- can we talk about -- let`s just stay on that for a second because I want to ask you that I don`t get this.  I`ve watched this now for -- I remember guest hosting countdown years ago with the first responder on who is there trucking through the halls of Capitol Hill for the fund renewal.  Why does it have to keep happening?

ROSE:  It is messed up.

HAYES:  Why?

ROSE:  It`s messed up.  So look, it`s a two-part answer.  The first is because Washington DC is broken, plain and simple.  And even when people agree on something, we can`t get it done because they`re looking for some type of partisan division.  You know, it`s motherhood, apple pie supporting law enforcement.  And for some reason we still cannot get this victim`s compensation done.

I was just on Fox News earlier today.  You know what I said, I said Mr. President, you have monitored and administered the VCF in an effective manner, in fact so effectively that we`ve had more applicants coming forward and the Compensation Fund is basically depleted.  We have to renew it.  We have to get the money in.

So you -- I mean it`s -- I can`t get in their head why it`s not happening.  I`m confident it`s going to pass the House.  And then here`s what I know about the Senate.  Here`s what I know about the Senate.  If anybody does not want to support this, you have no right to say you know, we`ll never forget 9/11.

You have no right to come to New York City when you want to raise money and then you go to some firehouse because you want to look tough and tweet out a picture with firefighters.  You have no right to do that anymore because you don`t support this city and you don`t support law enforcement.

HAYES:  The VCF funding bill, the Victims Compensation Fund, is Ilhan Omar a co-sponsor on that?

ROSE:  She is.

HAYES:  Is Dan Crenshaw who highlighted her comments, Republican from Texas, is he --

ROSE:  Right now he is not.  I certainly hope he will be.

HAYES:  Just -- a final question on this, and again it`s a little policy weeds but it drives me insane.  Is it just that they can`t -- is it -- why does it have to be re-appropriated constantly.  Like wouldn`t there be -- couldn`t you imagine some universe -- I mean, I think they`ve done this for black lung.

ROSE:  That`s our goal here.  Our goal here --

HAYES:  Right.  To actually create essentially an endowed chair right, an endowed --

ROSE:  We need to make this permanent just like with the Zadroga Act we made the health program permanent.  We put this --

HAYES:  Right, because the  Zadroga Act actually did that right?  It took it off the aprops cycle.

ROSE:  Exactly.  So we have to -- this community has been put through incredible stress every other year.  Oh it might not work out anymore.  It is disgusting that we do this to people who were there for us in a time of incredible crisis for the city and the country.  And we have to fix it.

And quite frankly, we don`t ask in Afghanistan how much do bombs cost.  We don`t ask that.  Let`s not think about how much this cost and let`s do the right thing.

HAYES:  You`re part of a freshman class that like I said has wide ideological diversity and represents a wide array of districts.  What are those conversations inside the caucus like?

ROSE:  We`re a happy family, right?  Look --

HAYES:  They just had a shouting match in the New York State Senate that went out on the papers.

ROSE:  Here`s what I know, is when you look at the members who flip seats, it`s incredibly powerful.  The Chrissy Houlahans, the Mikie Sherrills, the Elissa Slotkins, the Lauren Underwoods.  And what they did is they spoke to people`s core interests.  We spoke about anti-corruption, lowering health care costs, universal health care, infrastructure.

And one thing I think sometimes is that so much of this attention by the Republican Party, they`re diverting it towards the far left elements of the party because they`re afraid -- they`re afraid of that majority of the Democratic Party.  That wing of the Democratic Party that flip seats is going to hold on to the majority is actually going to help people.  It`s unbelievable when you look at this group.

HAYES:  But why -- I mean, I guess there`s always this question right about when you look at like do you feel that you speak for yourself and do you feel like you can go before your constituents and say look, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez represents a different district.  She`s got different politics of me.  I`m a colleague of her.  We work together on stuff or do you feel like some weird defensiveness about her?  Because they think you do.  You know what I`m saying?

ROSE:  I don`t feel -- I think you know me long enough now that you know I don`t feel a weird defensiveness about anyone or anything.  And look, I just passed the 20,000 Twitter threshold today and I`m actually extraordinarily --

HAYES:  Look out, world.

ROSE:  I`m honored, I`m excited, man.  We`re good to go.  Congress is filled with 435 independent contractors, all of whom are egotistical and insecure.  That`s the way it`s always going to be, OK.  Everyone is going to represent their district and do what`s right by their district.  But what`s shocking here is that I think actually the American people are incredibly unified right now.

Donald Trump, he runs on anti-corruption and infrastructure, and he runs on -- talks about protecting Social Security and Medicare.  We haven`t seen nearly enough of that.

HAYES:  Lower drug prices?

ROSE:  Lower drug prices.  He talked about eliminating the carried interest loophole.  He co-opted the Democratic populist agenda.  And now we are retaking that back but we have to actually get some of this done.  This should not be hard.

HAYES:  All right, Congressman Max Rose, always good for you to drop by -- come by.

ROSE:  Hey, man.  Good to see you.

HAYES:  New Yorker and New Yorker.  Ahead, even the coal industry knows the coal industry is dying and the fossil fuel industrial complex knows exactly what`s going on with climate change.  But first my response to John Yoo, the man who wrote the infamous Bush-era torture memo.  It seems like it`s news to him that I am not the only one calling him out.  That`s next.


HAYES:  Earlier this week, I did a commentary about Kirstjen Nielsen`s future in which I argued that she`s responsible for some truly terrible things as a government official, and as such deserves to be held accountable.  And I referenced another person who is responsible for some truly terrible things as a government official and who has gotten off more or less Scot-free, and that would be John Yoo.

John Yoo wrote the infamous torture memo during the Bush administration.  The memo redefined what interrogators could do in order to allow them to commit what is widely understood, and was understood before his memo, as torture and just not call it torture.

On Trump TV, Mr. Yoo was asked about me calling him out and this was his response.


JOHN YOO, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL:  I got to say, no one ever told me that one of the perks of being in the government would be being second guessed by some, you know, pip-squeak at MSNBC years later.  While this guy`s probably in college, trying to pull all-nighters and get hot coffee at 1:00 a.m., the serious point  is, you know, we were sending men and women to Afghanistan, some of them to die, to stop a future terrorist attack.  And I wanted to do my small part as a lawyer, was to make sure they had all the tools at their disposal within the law to stop the next attack, and that`s what we did in the Bush administration.  And there were no other successful following attacks.  The Obama administration stopped these policies.  And unfortunately we`ve had a litany of attacks, the Boston marathon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, they never wanted people to work again.  I mean, we all know that, they never want people to be able to work again, that is how desperate the left has become.


HAYES:  We invited John Yoo to join us tonight, talk about all of this, he declined.  But here are some of the points I would have liked to make to him.

If John Yoo didn`t understand before he went into government that people could criticize him, well then he never should have been in government.  And if he`s that profoundly ignorant about the nature of public criticism, he shouldn`t be teaching law, because of course it`s one of the most fundamental aspects of the constitution, the first amendment, and American democracy, that when you go into government, you get criticized.

So, I`m sorry he didn`t realize that ahead of time.

In fact, you can even get criticized by people like me, who it is true, was just a 23-year-old out in the world when John Yoo wrote his memo, and I didn`t have any of John Yoo`s fancy credentials.  John Yoo, I, however, thought that the war on Iraq was a terrible idea and torture was wrong.  Those two ideas that John Yoo did not believe with all of his fancy credentials.  But here`s the thing, he was wrong and I was right.  Even with John Yoo`s Yale law degree and Supreme Court clerkship.

Also, for him to come out and invoke the troops who were out on the battlefield in Afghanistan and hide behind their valor in service of what they did is as cowardly as it is pathetic.  John Yoo did not serve in the military, he did not go to Afghanistan, he did not serve in the wars, he did not actually implement the detainee policy that he himself authorized.  He did not have to suffer the trauma of being tortured or of torturing people or of being in the room with them, nor the legal or moral exposure that  came with it.  No, John Yoo sat a at a desk writing memos that led to other people committing those acts.  That was all the bravery that John Yoo showed.

Also, the idea that stopping torture stopped attacks is belied by the fact that while the U.S. was employing torture, and using Yoo`s member, U.S. troops and Iraqi and Afghan civilians were attacked time and time and time again at the cost of thousands and thousands of lives.

Finally, on the idea that this is some out there critique offered by some wild-eyed cable news host or a leftist or a liberal, let`s just go chapters and verse.  There are dozens of imminent scholars, experts on international and domestic law, who have written that Yoo`s memo was wrong.  In fact, it was so lawless, it was formally withdrawn by the Obama administration when it came to power. 

And this is not limited to liberals, here are a just few of the people who think that what John Yoo justified was wrong and in contravention of American law and the Geneva convention -- Senator Lindsey Graham, former military lawyer, who told Newsweek in 2006, when you say, weapon won`t use torture unless we think we really, really need it, then we`re not a rule of law nation; General Colin Powell, who was secretary of state during the invasion of Iraq, wrote in a 2006 letter that due to Yoo`s policies, quote, the world is beginning to doubt our moral basis for the war against terrorism; and Senator John McCain, who of course experienced this firsthand when he was tortured while a POW in Vietnam, who wrote in a 2011 op-ed, quote, much of this debate is a definitional one, whether any or all of these methods constitute torture.  I believe some of them do, especially waterboarding, which  is a mock execution, and thus an exquisite form of torture as such they are prohibited by American laws and values and I oppose them.

An exquisite form of torture prohibited by American laws and values.  And John Yoo worked to facilitate that exquisite torture.  He justified it.,  And he continues to this day to justify it.  Definitely the kind of person you`d want teaching in your law school.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, it`s been a big week in space news.  On Wednesday, scientists unveiled the first-ever photo of a black hole -- think about that for a second -- located at the center of a nearby galaxy.  The image, which looks to us like a person emerging belly button first from a very dark room, was captured by a network of eight telescopes located around the world. 

And then yesterday, SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, managed to do that super cool thing they do where they landed all three boosters from its Falcon Heavy Rocket safely back on Earth to be reused in future flights.  The first two landed in sync on launch pads at Cape Canaveral in Florida, and the third, incredibly, touched down on a drone ship out in the Atlantic Ocean.

But, perhaps the best space related video, the thing that has everyone really riled up, was released just this afternoon, and that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  The month was April, the year 2015, when the very first trailer for the first film, the brand-new J.J. Abrams directed Star Wars trilogy was released, and everybody, including me, went absolutely nuts for it. 


HAYES:  First of all, that shot, that shot alone, which appeals to be some massive imperial vessel in the background, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:   The star destroyer, of course, that shot alone is awesomer than anything in the last three movies.  That single shot is awesomer than three movies so far.


HAYES:  Yes, we did that on the show.  You have to understand, the news cycle back then was really slow.  We were desperate for content.  And everyone loves Star Wars. 

Today, almost exactly four years later, we`re not going to give it the Mystery Science Theater treatment, but the very first trailer for the third movie in the Star Wars trilogy is out, and it looks kind of awesome.


MARK HAMILL, ACTOR:  We`ll always be with you.  No one`s ever really gone.



HAYES:  So there were two things in there at the end that energized the light sabers of millions of Star Wars fans today: that maniacal laugh, which sounds a whole lot like the return of Emperor Palpatine from the original movies, the big bad guy who everyone assumed was dead; the other is the title "The Rise of Skywalker."  Today was the first time anyone had seen that.

So, hopefully that gives you a little context for the reaction of the audience at the Star Wars celebration in Chicago where the trailer debuted today.


HAMILLL:  No one`s ever really gone.





HAYES:  Do you remember Solyndra?  In the wake of the financial collapse, Solyndra is one of the companies that benefited from the Obama stimulus program.  It`s a solar energy firm, and it got a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy and then it failed.  And Republicans seized on the company to attack Obama for refusing to let the free market do its work.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  President Obama simply doesn`t understand that it`s the free enterprise system, it`s the private sector, the productivity sector, not the government sector, that creates long-term, self-sustaining jobs.


HAYES:  OK, you got that?  The GOP is the party of free markets, of the private sector, the invisible hand decides, not the government.

Ron Johnson even went so far as to suggest that Obama`s policies belonged in the Soviet Union or Cuba.

Now, this has been a Republican talking point just about as long as I can remember.  In fact, just yesterday, Mitch McConnell said the path to success for his party in 2020 would be to run as, quote, the firewall that saves the country from socialism.

The thing is, this is complete and utter nonsense.  The GOP absolutely intervenes in the free market all the time when it suits its political interests.  And nowhere is this more obvious that in its efforts to prop up the coal industry.


TRUMP:  We`re going to put the miners back to work.  We`re going to put the miners back to work!  We`re going to get those mines opened.


HAYES:  Dig it up, dig that coal.

The truth is the free market is killing coal.  And it`s largely become more expensive to produce energy from coal than from natural gas or wind or solar.  One study found that 42 percent of global coal power plants now run at a loss.  Think about that. 

It helps explain why coal plants across the country keep closing, but Trump and his fellow Republicans refuse to less the invisible hand in the free market do its its work.  Last year, Trump ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the closing of unprofitable coal and nuclear plants around the country, a move The Washington Post called positively socialist.

Republicans are pushing coal bailouts in the states, as well.  Wyoming recently enacted a law that forces utilities seeking to shut down unprofitable coal plants to try to sell them first, and then to buy back the power from the new owner, even if cheaper power is available.  Mmm, free markets.

Indiana, the Republican-led legislator is actively working to keep utilities from moving away from coal.

In Montana, Republican lawmakers have pushed a bill to save a troubled coal plant and pass the costs onto consumers.

And in Kentucky, President Trump, Republican Governor Matt Bevin, and noted anti-socialist Mitch McConnell aggressively pressured the Tennessee Valley Authority, that new deal government entity, not to close a costly and unreliable coal plant.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY:  Time and again, the people of Kentucky have loudly spoken in support of coal.  I`m proud to join them today in opposing the closing of Paradise Unit 3.


HAYES:  Well, the Tennessee Valley Authority voted to close the plant anyway, its CEO saying it is not about coal, the decision is about economics.

And that`s the thing, pretty much everyone realizes that coal`s time is over, except for a president and Republican Party that keep trying to prop up a dying industry.  Everyone else is planning for a cleaner energy future.  Those plans and what they mean for the planet, right after this.


HAYES:  Starting in the 1970s, Exxon began researching climate science and discovering that fossil fuels warmed the planet.  The company then spent much of the next several decades hiding what it had discovered while outwardly expressing doubt about the science of climate change and lobbying against efforts to block any action to prevent climate change, yet today Exxon, like so many other reluctant institutions, is preparing for a future with a rapidly changing climate that they knew would come almost half a century ago.

Joining me now, journalist Jesse Barron, whose latest piece for the New York Times magazine, "How big business is hedging against the apocalypse," looks at business and finance and how it`s preparing for climate change; and Jeff Biggers, journalist and historian who has written extensively on issues surrounding coal and coal mining, the author of the book, "Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland."

Jeff, let me start with you.  I`ve been reading your work on coal for years.  The story that coal folks would tell me when I was down in coal country a few years ago was Barack Obama was killing coal and then coal country voted for Donald Trump, and so coal was going to come back.  What has happened?

JEFF BIGGERS, JOURNALIST:  You know, one quick detail, Chris, is 67 percent of our coal jobs actually were lost in the two decades prior to Barack Obama even coming to office.  So what do we have now?  Coal is really like a fourth string pitcher in the nation`s energy production, only 24 percent of our energy production now is coming from coal, and we have less than 50,000 jobs of coal miners in the entire nation.

HAYES:  And that`s just a market, I mean, there are reasons for that to happen over and above policy, but largely that`s being driven by market forces independent of the fact that coal is the dirtiest, most carbon intensive fuel, right?

BIGGERS:  Exactly.  You know, we all know, we`ve been saying this for years, and it bears out that of course natural gas essentially created the hard reality that it is a cheaper source of energy.  And now we have wind and solar.

You know, Chris, I`m speaking to you tonight from Des Moines, Iowa, where 45 percent of the electricity tonight for this program is coming from wind energy in a state that used to be one of the largest coal consumers.

HAYES:  Wow.

Jesse, your piece is great, by the way, people should go read it in The New York Times Magazine, which I think it is a whole climate issue.  And it`s about the way that companies are dealing with the fact that they realize, first of all the energy markets are changing, change is coming both in the climate and how energy will is going to be produced and consumed in this country.  What did you learn?

JESSE BARRON, JOURNALIST:  So, that`s right, Chris.  You know, these companies are well aware that the climate is changing and that eventually their energy sources may be regulated out of use.  So beginning in 2007 Exxon, to take just one example, started disclosing, the climate change posed a risk to their business.

Now, of course, what they mean is that the threat of regulation for climate change poses a risk to their business, but nonetheless, they`re aware of it and they`re aware of the threat.

What they see, however, is that there is no national policy.  There is no national climate policy.  There is no global carbon tax.  The agreement thresholds are being missed and so.  And in the meantime, these are giant publicly traded corporations with shareholders that they have to generate returns for.

You know, the largest shareholder in Exxon is the Vanguard Group where people`s retirement accounts are.  So they`re going to go out and try to make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time possible for their shareholders, and as long as hydrocarbons are the most profitable way to do that, that`s what they`re going to sell.

HAYES:  That`s unnerving, because it means we`re going to keep heating the planet to really, really, really disastrous thresholds if that were to continue.

But there is a shift in the political economy that`s happening that I think is really interesting.  This Bloomberg article, Jeff, is -- so, we know the Republican Party is the party of coal and coal barons, and coal magnates, and there`s a lot of coal folks that give money, but Bloomberg says the party -- the GOP is on pace to receive more money than ever from solar industry this election cycle, based on government records, and lawmakers who are seeing their districts benefit from a renewable energy job boom want more.

Do you think the -- who has the maximum power on Capitol Hill is shifting?

BIGGERS:  I think there`s been a watershed shift really in the last two to three years, Chris, and I hear that.

You know, I come from Southern Illinois where, you know, we`ve relied on coal for literally 150 years.  But this week, for example, in Washington, was the first ever hearings on mountain top removal, which is an incredibly destructive strip money operations that you`ve done many programs on that has really left much of Appalachia in ruin.  And at that hearing, there was testimony by a retired coal miner from eastern Kentucky named Carl Schrupp (ph) who was disabled due to an accident.  And Carl (ph) talked about his own son, a former coal miner, has now opened his own business in energy efficiency and retrofitting houses and that this is really the new way that we`re seeing in coal country, that in fact, you know, coal communities want what the rest of the nation wants, which is a sustainable, diverse economy that they can compete with.

And this has been a watershed shift that I`ve seen in my own coal communities and throughout Appalachia and the west.

HAYES:  Jesse, you were going to say -- yeah.

BARRON:  Yeah, I mean, that all may be true, and I reported from West Texas, which is now the heart of the American energy industry for my piece in The Times.  And it is exactly as you say.  There is oil men who were lifelong petroleum guys who are now building solar farms on top of their fracking fields and so on.  That is happening.

But globally what`s happening is that the demand for energy is rising.

HAYES: Right.

BARRON:  And the EIA says it is going to be 28 percent higher within this generation, 28 percent in this generation.  And the share of that energy that is coming from renewables is rising, but the net amount that`s coming from hydrocarbons is also rising, that`s the problem.

HAYES:  We`ve started the process, which is that the clean stuff has gotten better and it`s gotten cheaper and it`s getting deployed, but we have not been substituting, we have just been expanding the total pie, and that`s where policy I think really comes into play and fast.

Jesse Barron and Jeff Biggers, thanks for joining us.

All right, we`ve got a great "Why is This Happening?" this week you should definitely check out in which I talk to prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba.  It`s a way of thinking about criminal justice I think will really change the way you see things.  Check it out WITHPod.  That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. 

Good evening, Rachel.