CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: We`re calling this show appropriately the deciders because the people will be hearing from will be just that. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no please, sir.
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: The President or anybody else.
HAYES: The Justice Department now investigating the origins of the Russia investigation.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Take a look at the oranges, the oranges of the investigation.
HAYES: As Trump`s own lawyers argue he is above congressional oversight.
TRUMP: I am so proud of our Attorney General that he is looking to do it. I think it`s great.
HAYES: Tonight, the President embracing authoritarian tactics. The Republicans helping him do it.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I`m a big fan of the rule of law.
HAYES: Then, the White House escalating tensions with Iran.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): It is -- would be the height of idiocy to do this.
HAYES: Senator Tim Kaine joins me tonight. Plus Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on her efforts to confront the threat of white nationalism. She joins me when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. Donald Trump has never been shy about wanting to throw his political opponents in jail. I mean he campaigned on lock her up, threatened to prosecute Hillary Clinton off the election. And since taking office he has openly and repeatedly lobbied the Justice Department to follow through on that threat while protecting the President himself from any legal liability.
Now, with Attorney General William Barr in control, it looks like the President is getting closer every day to the kind of Justice Department that he`s always wanted. In the past two years, the President has taken a sledgehammer to the post-Watergate norms of DOJ independence, publicly brow being his first Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to shield him from the Russia probe or to follow the President`s orders about who to investigate.
Using the criminal justice system as a political weapon is straight out of the strongman`s playbook, the kind of thing that happens under authoritarian regimes like Turkey and Russia. But that`s exactly what the President of the United States has been publicly campaigning for the whole time in front of us. And with Mr. Barr, he may finally be getting what he wished for.
Last night, the New York Times revealed that on top of two pre-existing reviews that are already underway, William Barr has now assigned another U.S. attorney to review the origins of the FBI`s counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign and Russia.
Now, if Barr actually read the Mueller report, he`d know the FBI received a tip from a foreign government reportedly Australia that George Papadopoulos said the Russian government was offering to help the campaign by releasing dirt on Hillary Clinton which would be unnerving, to say the least, but that is evidently beside the point, because now instead of berating his Attorney General on Twitter, the president is thrilled with it.
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TRUMP: I didn`t know it. I didn`t know it but I think it`s a great thing that he did it. I saw it last night and they want to look at how that whole hoax got started. And you know what. I am so proud of our Attorney General that he is looking to do it. I think it`s great.
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HAYES: The same time that Barr is launching an inquiry with no apparent basis besides the President`s political interests, the President`s lawyers are simultaneously arguing in court that presidents cannot be investigated by Congress. I overstate only slightly.
Attorney William Consovoy, a Federalist Society Member who once clerked for Clarence Thomas, a guy with quite a pedigree is representing the President in his lawsuit to block subpoenas for the president`s financial records. And in a hearing today in federal court in front of a judge, he argued that Congress has zero constitutional authority to investigate whether a president is breaking the law.
This is from the USA TODAY`s report on the hearing. At one point Mehta, the judge, asked whether Congress could investigate the president was engaged in corrupt behavior in office. "I don`t think that`s the proper subject of investigation as to the President, Consovoy said, although executive agencies could be investigated.
Mehta sounded incredulous asking whether Congress could have investigated Watergate which led to President Richard Nixon`s resignation and Whitewater which led to President Bill Clinton`s impeachment. Consovoy initially said, he`d have to look at the basis for those investigations.
Think for just a second about the implications of that argument. If on the one hand, Congress has no authority to investigate the President on breaking the law, law enforcement matters as Consovoy said. And then, on the other hand, the Justice Department cannot indict him under current OLC guidelines, then the president in effect can just break the laws he pleases. According to his lawyer`s argument, the president is fundamentally above the law.
For more on the President and the rule law, I`m joined by MSNBC Legal Analyst Mimi Rocah, former Federal Prosecutor, and Walter Dellinger, former Acting Solicitor General, former Head of the Justice Department`s Office of Legal Counsel.
Mimi, since I have you over here right now. I am not a lawyer I will admit, and I read several accounts of this hearing and it`s possible that in the actual transcript it is a more sophisticated argument, but that strikes me as a wild, wild claim for the President`s lawyer to be making.
MIMI ROCAH, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I think it is a wild claim and it sounds like the judge reacted appropriately to that in the sense that while he still asked tough questions of the government, of lawyers representing Congress, he had that same incredulous you know, response that we`re having which is what do -- you know, essentially a sophisticated form of what are you talking about? How could that possibly be?
And you raise exactly the reason why it makes absolutely no sense. He can`t be indicted and it can`t be investigated by Congress for committing crimes while in office or even you know, even the prior to office, I don`t want to limit it to that, but that is part of what we`re talking about right now. And it just makes no sense under our Constitution, under our laws.
And the fact that there are lawyers you know, that will get up and make these arguments, as a lawyer offends me. I mean, I understand you have to do what you do for your client. You`re there to make arguments, but you still have to have a really good faith basis for making these arguments and I don`t even understand what that could be here.
HAYES: Walter, what do you think of this I think fairly novel argument that Congressional oversight cannot be exercising anything except strict legislative purpose and nothing has to do "law enforcement?"
WALTER DELLINGER, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: Chris, and Mimi, the constitutional law professors` e-mail network lit up on fire the second someone says something. Marty Lederman at Georgetown posted this an exam question, has said to any professor who did it, you need to tell your students this is not a trick question. I mean, this is -- this is not a struggle between branches of government, this is a struggle between law and not law.
And the notion that Congress has no power to oversee a president who`s supposed to execute the laws of Congress, that Congress has no legitimate basis to inquire whether the President is receiving funds from a foreign government whether the president has undisclosed conflicts of interests, whether the president`s committed crimes while in office, those were just staggeringly preposterous claims.
HAYES: Mimi, I have a question for you. We`ve got the other side of this which is that you`ve got the sort of this the sword and the shield right. So like the shield is you can`t get any of the President`s records, the sword is go investigate my enemies, right.
The news about William Barr`s appointing this U.S. attorney who`s a person with a very good -- very good reputation to look at the origins of this, there`s two interpretations. This is Barr sort of pawning it off knowing it will go no -- go nowhere and this is another escalation and breakdown in the norms that have the DOJ being independent.
ROCAH: Right. And it almost doesn`t -- I mean, I agree that this investigation if it weren`t undertaken properly which it should be because he is as you say the -- not a partisan person. He you know, will do this in a meticulous way. It will take a couple of years. But it doesn`t matter what he finds. What matters at this is that the investigation has been --
HAYES: That it exists.
ROCAH: That it exists and why has that happened, right. Trump has been asking for it in some form or another for years, and that`s one thing. I mean, I`m not saying we should get used to that, but OK, that`s one thing. But then for the Attorney General to pick up on that vocabulary about spying and then implement that investigation, I find terrifying.
I mean, it`s bad enough when the president did it, but to have the head of the Department Justice -- and it does make me worry about people within the Department of Justice and what impact that will have on them.
HAYES: There`s also something -- Walter, I want to play for you this sort of legendary exchange with Kamala Harris which we played in the open a little bit just to give some context here and then ask you a question. Take a listen.
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SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no please, sir.
BARR: The President or anybody else --
HARRIS: It seems you would remember something like that and be able to tell us.
BARR: Yes, but I`m trying to grapple with the word suggest. I mean, there have been discussions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open an investigation but --
HARRIS: Perhaps they`ve suggested.
BARR: I don`t know. I wouldn`t say suggest.
BARR: I don`t know.
HARRIS: Inferred. You don`t know. OK.
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HAYES: Here`s what so insidious, Walter. I mean, now the president said, well, I never asked me to do this and -- but when Barr announces, the President goes out and says I`m so proud of him. Like everyone understands exactly what`s happening.
DELLINGER: You know, it`s -- the most fundamental of all norms that we don`t prosecute people at the behest of a politically elected official like the President of the United States. And what staggering is Barr`s silence in the face of the President`s attack upon the men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the CIA, and the other National Security Agency?
He`s done nothing to defend those people. And what a chilling effect it must have on those people who are doing their job that if you cross Trump he`s going to demand that you be investigated. And look, lo and behold, an investigation ensues.
HAYES: Yes, to Mimi`s point, the cost is already borne. Like the outcome doesn`t matter, the cost is not there. There is now an investigation. There`s headlines being generated for the right outlets and there`s service for the line agents that had to deal with this. Mimi Rocah and Walter Dellinger, thank you both.
For more on the Attorney General`s apparent willingness to politicize the Justice Department, I`m joined by MSNBC Political Analyst Michelle Goldberg Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times, and MSNBC Justice Analyst Matt Miller, chief -- former Chief Spokesperson to the Justice Department.
Just from a political perspective, I do feel -- I mean we are leading the show with it tonight. It does strike me that it should be a bigger deal in the world. The President`s personal attorney got up in court today in a federal court and said before the entire land you can`t have any of this Congress at all. He can do whatever the heck you want.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that`s what`s so you know, both kind of terrifying and demoralizing about this moment, right, is that there`s so many bad things happening all at once. There`s so much breakdown. There`s you know, kind of threatening war with Iran, there`s this -- there`s this trade war, there`s so much lawlessness, there`s the president`s son refusing to testify although now he`s kind of come to some sort of agreement.
There`s such a breakdown that it`s hard to focus on any one thing. And I think if you had described this exact situation you know, two and a half years ago, it would have seemed like almost a worst-case scenario not just to Democrats but to Republicans. And they would have -- they would have sworn up down that they would never allow something like this to happen, you know.
And now they`re all just sort of sitting back, pretending they don`t see anything, or pretending it`s justified. And you know, as to this -- there`s a (INAUDIBLE) quote that I keep coming back to and I might not get the exact language but she basically said it`s not enough for the totalitarian to say that unemployment has been eliminated, they will eliminate unemployment benefits too --
HAYES: Right. To show, right.
GOLDBERG: Right. And I kind of feel it`s the same way you keep seeing this kind of policymaking or law making us propaganda where it`s not enough to say that the origins of this investigation were corrupt and illegitimate, we`re going to open this investigation to say see we told you so.
HAYES: There -- Matt you have been very consistent on this point, and I think it`s been an underappreciated one because one of the things -- and I`ve been given to this kind of thinking at times which is you look at the whole system, you say the system keeps holding, right. He tried to follow -- fire Mueller, it didn`t work. He tried to browbeat Jeff Sessions to unrecuse, it didn`t work. Everyone held steady.
But you`ve been making the point that the pressure itself is having an effect. And I do feel like today in the wake of the Barr news is where that is becoming its most obviously manifest.
MILLER: Yes, look, I think -- I think for a long time the system was holding. There was a serious effect on the Justice Department for the last couple of years. You`ve seen people leaving, you`ve seen the department`s reputation hurt publicly. I assume there are people -- you know Republicans all across the country who just think that the FBI and the Justice Department are out to get the Republican Party which is damaging but the institution was mostly holding.
That changed when Bill Barr became Attorney General. And now you have an attorney general who is acting the way that the President always wanted to wanted an attorney general to. He`s basically found his Roy Cohn finally in Bill Barr. And I think the change not just for -- you know, Mimi made the right point about this investigation I assume is going to go on through the -- through the election.
That`s -- you know, John Durham takes his time. He took a long time when we appointed him in the Obama years to investigate torture. And so the president will always have this talking point. And that in and of itself is bad enough. But the long-term effects I think are that the norm of this line between the Justice Department and the White House you know, that there being a red line doesn`t exist anymore.
And it will exist for Democrats because Democrats are responsive to norms and the rule of law, but it`s just not going to exist for Republicans. And if you see the way Republicans in Congress are reacting to this the way they`ve been behaving, it`s clear that this norm will exist for the next Republican president.
HAYES: I mean, Lindsey Graham was the chair of the -- of the of a Senate committee told Don Junior to not respond to a subpoena from another community chair.
HAYES: That -- I mean, they worked out some deal that he`s going to talk for two hours, but that`s how -- that`s the point we`re at. I mean, you`re a person who has every institutional interest to uphold the principle that people should listen to Senate committee subpoenas and yet so slavishly devoted are you to this weird cult that`s built up around this 44 percent president that you`re happy to sort of you know, cut off your nose to spite your face.
GOLDBERG: Yes, I mean, I think we`ve seen the total breakdown of any sort of institutional solidarity right. Any kind of solidarity that says yes, we`re on different political priorities but we have a shared interest in protecting and defending these institutions. That`s just gone now.
And so yes, I mean, I think, you know, that`s where we are. It`s worse -- it`s you know, and it`s happened in sort of other situations of democratic breakdown where you basically see -- you know, it doesn`t happen just because you have one bad authoritarian leader. It happens because the people around him including people -- moderate conservatives you know, give in.
HAYES: Signed on the agenda.
HAYES: You know, Matt, there`s also this asymmetry and both Michelle`s mentioned in you have and I found it very frustrating. You know, when you say that they`re politicizing the DOJ, there`s an entire -- millions of our fellow citizens who think that that`s A, what everybody does and that`s what the Obama folks already did.
Like this is -- this is, of course, the way it always is. Like this idea that there was ever a norm is like preposterous legal fiction that is sold to dopes.
MILLER: Yes. And I can tell you that that is not the way it was. It`s not the way we behaved in the Obama administration. But you bring up a good point. I mean, let`s pretend for a minute that all Trump`s complaints about the investigation into him are true. Let`s pretend that Barack Obama did order this investigation into him. What is his complaint?
Under Trump`s own conception of how the Justice Department ought to operate, it exists to go after your political opponents. It exists to kill investigations into you. So if Trump you know, really believes that`s the way the Justice Department operates and it wasn`t until now, then you shouldn`t actually have any complaint about it investigating him during the campaign.
HAYES: Not only that. I mean, this is, of course, the ultimate thing is that it never leaked during the campaign, right. I mean, I just keep -- I have to keep telling myself to remember the fact that this explosive set of facts were there just beneath the surface as Hillary Clinton was being called on lock her up, and James Comey was writing letters and giving public testimony. Meanwhile, they`re running around trying to find out if the President`s campaign is compromised by Russia and it never comes out.
GOLDBERG: Right. And I think you could argue that that was a sort of dereliction of their broader democratic duty in the service of defending these norms --
HAYES: The institutional norms.
GOLDBERG: -- these norms of following the rules in the strictest possible sense.
HAYES: Yes. That is the ultimate sort of threshold for that. Matt?
MILLER: I was going to say, I agree with that. They were following the norms. But also the reason there was this asymmetry is because the asymmetry between the two parties. Comey behaved the way he did with respect to Hillary Clinton because he was pushed by Republicans in Congress over and over and again.
So you had to adjust Justice Department that was handling the investigation into Republicans the right way and handling the investigation into Democrats inappropriately because of all the political pressures. It`s -- not a new problem with Trump.
HAYES: Michelle Goldberg and Matt Miller, thank you both for joining me. Next why Senator Tim Kaine says the Trump administration is trying to provoke Iran into war. What he calls the height of idiocy in two minutes.
HAYES: Yesterday I mentioned a story about an attack on these tanker ships in the Middle East. Several news outlets ran a report citing a single, one person, anonymous U.S. official who said that the preliminary intelligence finding was that Iran was responsible for those attacks on Saudi oil tankers.
As I said yesterday, you will forgive me for taking that with a pretty hefty grain of salt given the history of national security adviser John Bolton, given the obvious desire of some in this administration to militarily escalate with Iran.
Now as of today, I should note, there doesn`t seem to be any further corroboration of the lone anonymous officials preliminary account and it is very clear there are interests inside the White House, John Bolton being chief among them, who very much want some kind of military confrontation with Iran.
New York Times is reporting that last week the President was presented an updated military plan that envisioned sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. When the President was asked about it today, he basically both confirmed and denied it at the same time.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are planning to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East in response to Iran?
TRUMP: I think it`s fake news, OK. Now, would I do that, absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we`re not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, I would send a hell of a lot more troops than that.
HAYES: Democratic Senator, former Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine who has a son in the Marines responded to the proposed escalation.
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KAINE: It is -- would be the height of idiocy to do this. A president may think it`s a little army men he can move around. These are real live human beings whose lives would be at stake, many of him in my state, I got a kid in the military to have backed out of a diplomatic deal and blundered us closer to war and now we see what the potential consequence would be 120,000. It would be ridiculous.
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HAYES: Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia joins me now. Senator, you had a strong reaction to that New York Times story about the military options being mapped out by Pentagon planners on Iran. What is going on here?
KAINE: Well, look the President and the -- apparently had a discussion about you know, hundreds of thousands of troops, more than a hundred thousand troops potentially into Iran. And Chris, this is a president who broke a diplomatic deal that was working. We did a diplomatic deal with Iran that was limiting their nuclear program. This president scrapped it. And now we`re going to potentially put a 125,000 troops in to stop them from enriching uranium when we broke the deal?
This is very reminiscent of Iraq. A president got us into a war telling us there was weapons of mass destruction program. There wasn`t. Now, this president when we had an effective limitation on Iran`s nuclear capacity, this president destroyed the limit, and now wants to potentially put troops back into the Middle East over a deal that he broke.
The U.S. needs to stop being an aggressor and trying to instigate and provoke military action with Iran and the president can`t constitutionally do it without coming to Congress.
HAYES: John Bolton by all accounts both publicly on the record in the past and also reporting behind the scenes now is that the sort of head of pushing for this. We have anonymous officials talking about intelligence reports that are somewhat opaque about Iran aggression.
I mean, you`re a U.S. Senator. Do you trust what you`re hearing? Do you trust them not to manipulate intelligence in these circumstances?
KAINE: I do not because as a member of the Senate, I actually also have information about the things that the U.S. is doing to provoke and poke Iran. I think that there is an effort under by the U.S. to try to instigate Iran to doing something, and if they do something in response to U.S. provocation, then the Trump administration will say away, how dare they do this, and then use that as their pretext for 125,000 troops or as the President said today might be more.
HAYES: Do you think -- there`s some line of thinking that that report is you know, the Pentagon has planned for everything A. B, some kind of show of strength behind the scenes essentially a bluff right, that this is all a kind of way of squeezing Iran and not serious and don`t worry they`re not actually going to start a war or get into a war. What do you say to that?
KAINE: Well, look, if the President is bluffing when he`s talking about troops numbers, let me say this to him. Our troops are not your pawns. This isn`t toy soldiers that you move around the table. These are -- these are living, breathing, feeling people. Virginia`s a very military state. I have a kid in the military.
When you talk about -- and it comes out 100,000 troops in the Middle East, the President may think that`s a bluff but do you know what that does to military families who have already seen their members deployed over and over and over again into the Middle East, and especially something as stupid as this? We would talk about putting our troops into a war after the president broke a diplomatic deal that was keeping us from going to war? How unjust would that be?
And I`m going to do anything I can in the Senate to convince colleagues. And I`ll have both Democrats and Republicans that will stand up to stop this president from getting into an idiotic war against Iran.
HAYES: You know, there`s a sort of gobsmacking exchange that happened today. A British officer, a top British officer who works with the U.S. in the joint anti-ISIS coalition gave an on-the-record statement basically saying that there is no increased threat we`ve seen in Syria, Iraq from the Iranians. That contradicts official statements that have been coming out from Mike Pompeo among others.
And then after that CENTCOM puts out a release basically smacking him down and saying no, no, no, don`t listen to him. What is going on?
KAINE: Well, it`s that -- look, when the U.S. is fighting against allies like the Brits over something like this, and of course this is not new for this administration. All of our allies including the Brits said stay in the Iran deal, then-Secretary Tillerson, then-Secretary Mattis, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunn for the IAEA, they all said the Iran deal was working.
And so I mean this is a sad situation where it wasn`t Iran that broke down the diplomacy that was keeping their nuclear program, one that was not producing weapons, it was the U.S. that broke the diplomatic deal. So I don`t give a lot of credence to CENTCOM statements like that, that I think might just be pushed by the White House press shop.
Further, you would have to ask the question if there are things that Iran is doing that pose some threat to us now. Are they doing it on their own are they doing it because they`re being provoked by the United States? And I happen to believe that this administration since the day they tore up the deal nearly a year ago, they`ve taken a series of steps trying to provoke Iran and they need to stop it.
HAYES: All right, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, thank you for making time tonight, sir.
HAYES: Next, freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar confronting the threat of white nationalism. She joins me right after this.
HAYES: Republicans are now on day two of their latest sustained round of bad faith attacks against Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. This time it`s for expressing the personal meaning she derives from her ancestors` land in what is now Israel being used to create a safe haven for Jews after the horrors of the holocaust. That sentiment has been twisted in truly odious ways from an accusation of anti-Semitism by the Republican National Committee Chair Ranna Romney McDaniel to absolutely vile remarks from Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney suggesting that Tlaib was trying to delegitimize Israel.
But among Tlaib`s supporters is one of her most stalwart defenders, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Omar and Tlaib are the only two Muslim-American women in congress. And have consistently had each other`s backs as they have each endured a series of attacks.
Today, Congresswoman Omar, along with her Jewish colleague, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, wrote an op-ed calling for building alliances between the members of the Muslim and Jewish faiths and for an end to bigotry.
And Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is here with me now.
Congresswoman, I want to talk about your op-ed, but first I want to ask how you, given the experience you`ve had in the sort of center of firestorms, how you are interpreting what is happening with respect to your colleague`s comments?
REP. ILHAN OMAR, (D) MINNESOTA: Hi, Chris. It`s really good to be here with you. You know, I tell my sister, Rashida Tlaib that her and I have the strength to endure any of the mischaracterization or efforts to distort and vilify our message.
And I think we are seeing what happens when people really see these attacks for what they are. It is designed to silence, sideline, and sort of almost eliminate public voice of Muslims from the public discourse.
And so I`m really excited that we have an opportunity to build alliances and push back and fight this attempt to marginalize our community`s voice.
HAYES: You know, you have this op-ed with Jan Schakowsky today, talking about sort of this sort of shared interests of Jews and Muslims and sort of fighting bigotry and white nationalism and white nationalist violence. And I wonder what your experience has been, because obviously there have been, I think, there are some folks who have come after you in bad faith, but there are some who were offended in good faith by things that you said or tweeted about allegiance to Israel or a tweet about it all about the Benjamins, vis-a-vis money, and there are folks who consider themselves progressives or liberals or Jews who were offended and are skeptical maybe about where you were coming from.
What have you learned? And what do you say to them as you seek to sort of build this alliance?
OMAR: I mean, the one thing that Jan and I realized was that when you see something wrong, that you have to use your influence and your voice to speak out against it. And what we have noticed is that there is a threat. Our communities are being terrorized by white supremacy. We`ve seen the attacks on synagogues. We`ve seen the linkage that they have to people who seek to terrorize mosques. We notice that there is people on the right wing who are fueling that hate. Their message is being used to fuel the sort of violence against both of our communities because of our faiths.
And it is time for us to make sure that we don`t allow for them to use any misunderstanding there might be to divide us, that we collectively work together against the collective hate that is coming from the right wing and white supremacy.
HAYES: When the president tweeted out a video a few weeks ago, it was a video of you, comments you made before CAIR wrenched, again, I think similar to this sort of wildly out of context and juxtaposed with some of the most horrific images in recent American memory, which is the destruction of the Twin Towers, what was the effect of that on you personally, on your life? Did that materially create danger for you?
OMAR: I was speaking about the erosion of our civil liberties as Muslims in this country, and our inability really to exist as individuals. And you can see really what happens when someone like the president tweets something like that. It`s not only an attack on myself, but it becomes an attack on all Muslims, and it becomes an attack on women of color, it becomes an attack on immigrants and refugees, because that message was really being used to sort of vilify everyone who shared an identity with me to other them to say that you don`t belong.
And then I think this is what we speak about in our op-ed, this is what I have really used my platform to speak about. It is really important for us to recognize that we are -- we must be united in our diversity, that we can`t allow people to pin us against one another. We have to recognize that this country is one that is built for all of us, that as much of a citizen as I am is what Jan is, is what Rashida is, and is what most of, you know, our colleagues and our community members are.
If we allow for people to tell us who is in and who is out, then we all get to lose. So that`s really the important message.
HAYES: A final question for you. I mean, you`re someone, you`re a freshman member of congress. You represent a district in Minnesota. You have been the target of a lot of attacks. You sort of, I think, elevated by certain folks in your political opposition who view you as a useful rhetorical cudgel. What do you, Congresswoman Omar, want to be known for? If you get to write your own story about what people know you for, what do you want to be known for?
OMAR: So when I am in the district, what people know me as is this fierce fighter for their progressive values, someone who understands that we can`t only fight for individual progress. We have to fight for collective progress. They know that I am out here fighting to free them from the shackles of student debt, that I`m out here trying to make sure that every single person has an opportunity to be housed, that there is no mother or father going to sleep crying because they don`t know where the next meal is going to come to feed their families, and everybody knows that I am a fighter for a more just and sustainable society, and that`s what people already know me as.
I think everything else that you might hear in the headlines that feeds into a particular narrative that people want to fuel to silence my voice, and to minimize the kind of work that I want to do in driving for a more just world is not something that the people that sent me and entrusted their votes to send me to Washington to represent them know me as. And I`m quite content with that in knowing that they`re happy that I`m representing them and fighting for them every single day.
HAYES: All rig ht, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, thank you so much for making the time.
OMAR: Thank you so much for having me.
HAYES: Coming up, do you remember that time when that senator from Florida said Russians hacked their voter data in 2016 and people ridiculed him? Well, it turns out he was right.
HAYES: Yesterday, the president praised and rolled out the red carpet for Hungary`s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a man who is widely seen as an anti- democratic menace and who has quite openly used anti-Semitism as a key political cudgel.
And on that same day that was happening, Trump and his allies were accusing a Democratic member of congress of anti-Semitism, which is, to me, a perfect microcosm of the way in which anti-Semitism as a political weapon has become increasingly divorced from reckoning with the actual manifestations of the very real and very dangerous phenomenon.
So, in that context, I wanted to have a conversation with someone who studies the origin and the history of anti-Semitism. Deborah Lipstadt wrote a book called "Anti-Semitism Here and Now." And we talked about the trajectory of anti-Semitism on "Why is This Happening?"
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DEBORAH LIPSTADT, AUTHOR: I often compare anti-Semitism to a herpes virus. And I know herpes virus is a horrible thing to have. Thank god I don`t, but I know people who do. But it`s a terrible thing. And the truth of the matter is that from what I understand medically once you have it, you`re never quite free of it, and under pressure, at difficult times -- the day before your wedding, you could suddenly have an outbreak, whatever it might be, you`re under pressure. And I think that anti-Semitism is like that, it sits in the society, and at pressure times it can be unleashed.
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HAYES: You can get the whole episode wherever you get your podcasts.
HAYES: Believe it or not, dear viewer, we are about six weeks out from the first Democratic presidential debate. And there are now at least 22 people running for the nomination. Quick, name them. But with the first two debate nights capped at a total of 20, we`re now speeding into the first big make or break moment for presidential hopefuls. We`re going to be taking a closer look at the candidates here on All In, including New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker who is going to join us live for a special town hall next Thursday, May 23, at the Iowa Tap Room in Des Moines, Iowa.
And you can be there, too. For more information on how to attend, head to our website AllIn.MSNBC.com. Hope to see you there.
HAYES: Before Rick Scott was a Senator from Florida, he was the state`s governor, and he was locked in a hotly contested race with the then incumbent Senator Democrat Bill Nelson. And last summer during that race and during a public appearance, then Senator Nelson said this about the integrity of the state`s voter files.
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BILL NELSON, (D-FL) FORMER SENATOR: We wrote and signed (inaudible) to all 67county supervisors to tell them the Russians are in Florida`s records and they need help.
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HAYES: Did you hear that? The Russians are in Florida`s records, and then later that day Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times that the Russians have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free reign to move about.
Now the GOP and Rick Scott made a huge stink over this claim saying it was baseless scare mongering. The state of Florida, the officials there, then obviously controlled by Governor Scott, who was also running, said they had no information to support that.
The Washington Post fact checkers weighed in and they gave Bill Nelson Four Pinocchios, and then Rick Scott hammered Nelson, demanding he provide proof of Russia`s successful hacking.
All in all, Nelson`s assertion was used by his political opponents to not too subtly suggest that the then 75-year-old senator was past his prime and slipping. Nelson went on to lose by just over 10,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast statewide.
Well, it turns out Nelson wasn`t slipping. In fact, he was right. And all the people that ridiculed him and fact checked him were wrong. Because today we found out via the new governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, that in fact, the Russians did penetrate two Florida counties` voter files in 2016. DeSantis announced this publicly and assured everyone they did not change any of the data, although that`s not super reassuring given that it appears they clearly could have.
Also, weirdly, DeSantis says he signed a nondisclosure agreement, which bars him from saying which two counties were hacked by the Russians.
The Tampa Bay Times described the scene, quote, "DeSantis` comments came during a surreal capital news conference during which he wouldn`t elaborate on the highly unusual situation of the federal government asking a governor to sign a nondisclosure agreement, especially in a case involving that governor`s own state."
So, Bill Nelson spoke the truth and was ridiculed and punished and ultimately lost, and now the question is, do people like Rick Scott or Donald Trump or anyone else in charge have any genuine incentive to preserve the integrity of our voting systems if they think any intrusions might ultimately redound to their benefit?
HAYES: A day after the Dow plummeted on the news of China`s retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, today it was up as markets regain their form, although who the heck knows why that happens on any given day? Certainly I don`t.
But it is strange the ways in which the titans of finance and the Republican Party, and the business press, seem weirdly at peace with our growing trade war, which blasted off again last Friday when Trump hiked tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods.
Mitch McConnell was decidedly diplomatic about the whole thing today.
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SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: One thing I think we ought to agree on is that nobody wins a trade war, and we`re all hoping, as others have suggested here, that these particular tactics get us into a better position vis-a-vis China which has been our worst and most unfair trading relationship for a very long time.
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HAYES: To talk more about this ongoing trade war, I`m joined by Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under president Barack Obama.
Do you agree with me that there seems generally less freaking out about this than one would expect, certainly than I would have expected if, say, Barack Obama were pursuing this strategy.
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMY ADVISER: Well, I agree with that part, you know, Republicans would have been up in arms if Barack Obama did anything. But actually, I think a lot of the business community, and even the business conservatives, are really, really upset and nervous about this.
While today, the stock market did not go down, we`ve had multiple days of multi-hundred drops in the Dow, and you`ve got CEOs who are normally absolutely toting the Trump line, getting up and saying, wait, this will not work, and we shouldn`t do it.
And you`ve got the entire farm, agriculture, and rural communities, in most of the states in the United States, in abject panic. You know, as you know, farm incomes have already been down. They`ve been running through a tough period. And this is to put a $50 billion tax on American consumers and -- and penalize American farmers. And I don`t see -- I think you`re going to see thousands of them go bankrupt, if this continues.
HAYES: So here`s the argument that I want to give the best-case argument for pursuing the strategy and get your response. Basically, American leadership has been asleep at the switch for 30 years while this incredibly dysfunctional relationship has grown up between the U.S. and China. It is extremely -- they`re now bound to each other. It`s complicated. There are enormous capital and goods and services, flows between the two countries, but fundamentally, China is cheating. They`re using industrial policy, they`re manipulating their currency, they`re stealing IP, they`re doing all these things, and there`s no way to stop them from doing that without some pain. And you got to -- someone`s got to stand up and say, look, we`re going to not do this anymore. What do you say to that argument?
GOOLSBEE: I mean, what I say, I say two things. I think that`s confused. And the Trump administration hasn`t done their homework. That`s a fundamental problem here.
So we have succeeded in the past at getting China to change their behavior. We got them to stop being a currency manipulator, for example. And the way we did that was we got all of our allies on the same page, we went to them behind the scenes, not attempting public humiliation. And we said here`s what we want you to do, all of us are onboard with the same thing, and if you don`t do it, we`re going to have to do a, b, and c. And that got them to stop.
What the Trump administration`s done is try to publicly humiliate them while making us pay, the American people, we`re the ones paying this tariff. It`s our farmers. It`s General Motors saying they lost $1 billion last year, because of these Trump tariffs. And they`re not accomplishing anything.
They haven`t done their homework. They don`t even know what they`re asking for. They`re just piling tariff upon tariff. They were bluffing. And now we`re getting into this spiraling trade war, which if that continues to spiral, I think it`s going to lead to a recession in both of our countries.
We should just take a step back and go about this the way that has been documented to work in the past, which is not the way they`re doing it.
HAYES: But I guess the -- the response of a lot of people would be that it hasn`t worked in that fundamentally, the U.S./China relationship has not been good for the U.S., it`s given us a lot of cheap goods, particularly a lot of cheap electronics, it`s been very good for China, but fundamentally has been bad and part of the wage stagnation, hollowing out the American middle class. Business as usual doesn`t work is the argument.
GOOLSBEE: Yeah, look, I know they keep saying that, but how does putting a $50 billion tax on American consumers actually achieve anything? It`s not -- they told us that were going to raise our taxes $50 billion, cripple our farmers, but it would just be a short-run thing and probably would never be enacted, because the Chinese were going to do what we wanted.
Well, they didn`t. And they didn`t even ask for anything specific. So how would China even do that?
And at the same time, we`ve now got our own allies in Europe, in Canada, in Mexico, in Japan, threatened with trade wars from from this president, now more likely to actually side with China against the United States at the WTO than the opposite.
It`s completely bonkers.
HAYES: You know, I hadn`t thought of the last part, but that`s an important one. I mean, having gone through these skirmishes now individually with allies, there`s every reason for them not to be particularly supportive of what we`re doing here.
GOOLSBEE: Of course, of course. They`re not supportive. They`re irritated. They`re angry. We`re about to slap tariffs on Canada and on Europe. And Europe is about to have retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.
HAYES: All right, Austan Goolsbee, thank you for joining us.
GOOLSBEE: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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