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Trump Jr. Agrees to testify. TRANSCRIPT: 5/15/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Jamie Raskin, Chris Van Hollen, Tammy Duckworth, Rebecca Traister,Brigitte Amiri, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Rick Wilson

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  We`re calling the show the deciders because history serves, the people you`ll be hearing from will be just that.  You don`t want to miss it.  And if the presidential candidates including Trump will be -- want to win, they don`t want to miss it either.

That`s HARDBALL for now.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  This is the White House claiming that the -- that the president is a king.

HAYES:  A White House tells Congress it cannot investigate the President.


HAYES:  Tonight, the incredible new claim in a letter from the White House with Congressman Jamie Raskin and Senator Chris Van Hollen.  Plus, Senator Tammy Duckworth on what looks like a White House attempt to provoke a war with Iran.  And outrage over Alabama.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Women`s healthcare is under attack.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  That`s wrong and we will fight back.

HAYES:  Why even some on the right say the attack on legal abortion is gone too far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think that Alabama has gone too far.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes.  The Trump administration is continuing its full-on assault on Congress`s roles in equal branch of government.  Just a day after one of President Trump`s personal lawyers told a gobsmacked federal judge Congress shouldn`t be able to investigate if the president engage in corrupt behavior, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a lengthy letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler not only refusing to turn over White House records but more importantly claiming that Congress has no standing to investigate Trump at all.

Cipollone wrote, "the Committee is not a law enforcement agency thus the committee cannot justify its inquiry simply by asserting is searching for possible evidence of its false claims of obstruction of justice, or more vaguely it is launching an investigation into non-existent purported threats against the rule of law."

Of course, this ignores the constitutional role of Congress and the congressional oversight manual which lists among the purposes for congressional oversight, one to prevent executive encroachment on legislative prerogatives and powers and two, to investigate alleged instances of poor administration, arbitrary, and capricious behavior, abuse, waste, dishonesty, and fraud.

It also ignores the actual office of legal counsel opinion on why a president can`t be indicted which reads in part, in the event of suspicion of serious wrongdoing by a sitting president, the media and even Congress through its own investigatory powers would likely pursue, collect, and preserve evidence as well.

Cipollone also argued that congressional Democrats can`t just have a do- over since they didn`t like the results of the Mueller report which is pretty rich considering Republicans ran six investigations into Benghazi from the House of Representatives alone and there are currently now three open probes into the origins of the Russia investigation.

Speaking of do-overs, Donald Trump Jr. will get another chance to explain his actions during the 2016 campaign to the Senate Intelligence Committee.  The New York Times first reported the President`s son reached a deal with the committee for a seemingly generous time and subject limited interview especially considering he will avoid the subpoena that had been issued by the committee`s Republican Chairman Richard Burr.

Allies of Trump Jr. have put significant pressure on Burr to drop the subpoena.  Senate judiciary chair Lindsey Graham said earlier this week he would tell him to take the Fifth.  Meanwhile, the Trump Whitehouse continued to stonewall yet another congressional investigation as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin once again refused to release the President`s taxes ignoring a very clearly written law.


STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY, UNITED STATES:  There is a difference in interpretation between Congress, and us, and the Department of Justice around this law.  And this is why there are three branches of government.  So if there is a difference of opinion, this will go to the third of branch of government to be resolved.


HAYES:  Speaking this afternoon, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, the recipient of the White House letter summed up why the behavior of the Trump White House is so dangerous.


NADLER:  The White House is making the outrageous claim that no -- that a president cannot be held accountable in any way to the American people.  They say the Justice Department can`t hold them accountable since the sitting president cannot be indicted.  And now they`re saying that Congress cannot hold a president accountable.  This is ridiculous.  It would make the president above the law.  And we, of course, we totally reject it.


HAYES:  Joining me now a member of two congressional committees trying to conduct investigations into President Trump, Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland who sits on both Judiciary and Oversight committees.  What is your understanding based on the arguments before a federal judge yesterday and the letter received by your community today of the theory, the legal theory undergirding the assertions by the White House Counsel and the President`s personal attorney?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD):  Well, the theory is that the president is essentially a constitutional monarch and he stands above Congress, he stands above the courts, and that`s a complete inversion of the constitutional design.  Under our Constitution, Congress is an article one.  We are the lawmaking power.  We receive the sovereign power from the people.  We can impeach the president.  We can impeach executive officers.  He cannot impeach us.  So he`s got it backwards.

And so Congress is in the process of reasserting our constitutional preeminence.  We are not just a co-equal branch.  We are the first among equals and we have a president who thinks he`s a king and is acting in a completely lawless manner.

HAYES:  But you mentioned something -- you mentioned impeachment there which it strikes me as part of what I understand to be the case here that they seem to be making this argument that you know, there has to be a legislative purpose.  Wouldn`t the beginning of impeachment proceedings just vitiated the legal arguments they`re making?

RASKIN:  Well, I think it would.  You`re right about that.  Of course, it`s unnecessary because the Supreme Court has repeatedly said that the power of inquiry is the integral and essential to the legislative branch.  I mean, think of it as kind of the First Amendment condensed into the legislative process.  This is how we discuss things.  This is how we get information.  This is how we decide what to do.

And never before has any court said that Congress has to give the executive branch a reason for getting information about our government.  This is our government.  These are our leaders.  If you don`t want to be involved in the process, you should just resign and get out of here, otherwise, you do what the presidents did during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, during the Benghazi investigation, during Fast and Furious.  You turn over the information.  That`s it.

I mean, they that is the role of the executive branch.  So this is a completely unacceptable attempt to elevate the president into a king.  And we`re not going to accept it we`re going to use every means at our disposal to prevent this takeover from happening.

HAYES:  You say that but I want to give you an interpretation of the facts and the actions of Congressional Democrats as many people see them and get your response.  A lot of people think you`re just terrified of impeaching him, that there`s a consensus that it would be politically -- it would lead to political backlash, that Nancy Pelosi said he`s baiting you towards it, that it would be a misstep.

And because you`re terrified the political consequences, you`re not going to do it, but you have to kind of pretend like that`s what you`re pursuing.  And so we get this weird sort of hemming and hawing and kicking the can down the road that amounts to nothing.

RASKIN:  No, I don`t think that`s true.  I mean, you know, obviously, it`s got big implications to impeach.  The Republicans impeached Bill Clinton over absolute trivia compared to the high crimes and misdemeanors that the president is likely guilty of having committed and we`re not going to fall to their standard.

But we`re going to take it at our own pace and we`re going to confront the lawlessness of the administration.  But if they think we`re going to be goaded into impeaching to suit them because they have no other public policy agenda other than searching for the mythical deep state conspiracy behind the whole investigation which is what they want to talk about, they`ve got another thing coming.

We`re not interested in that but we are going to focus like a laser beam on the corruption of this administration, on the lawlessness of this administration, and on the continuing obstruction of justice both with the special counsel and now with Congress itself.

And remember, article three of the Nixon impeachment articles was all about obstructing Congress in the execution of its constitutional duties.  And Donald Trump has gone way beyond anything Richard Nixon ever did because Trump has said no subpoenas.  We`re not going to comply with any of them.

You know, the Oversight Committee is fighting about subpoena of the President`s accountants.  Yesterday, the President`s lawyer went to court and said that the president doesn`t have to comply with any subpoena at all, and that we need to tell them what our specific legislative purpose is which is a wholly fanciful doctrine just made up out of whole cloth.  And the judge basically laughed at him and said that`s ridiculous.

And today, we had testimony from a number of law professors who said it`s completely outlandish.  It overturns centuries of jurisprudence.  We are the lawmaking power.  Everybody owes us their lawful testimony including the President of the United States.  He`s not above the law.

HAYES:  What do you think -- I mean, the way that Steve Mnuchin described this, the way I`ve heard it before right, is that there`s a dispute between Congress and the President and it will be essentially adjudicated by the federal judiciary.

The judge in the case of those subpoenas for the accounting records is a sort of expedited review.  I think there`s even a possibility of a preliminary ruling next week.  Is that your expectation of how this happens?  Is that what you`re anticipating is the next point after which you`ll make new decisions about what to pursue?

RASKIN:  Well, look there are multiple points of contact because we are defending the essential prerogatives of the legislative branch so some of them will indeed be in court.  And we`re going to go to court to make sure that we get the complete Mueller report.

Remember, you know this is a couple of months later now.  We still don`t have the Mueller report, the special counsel report in its entirety.  For two years they did no investigation in judiciary oversight saying we`ll let the special counsel do it, then the special counsel report comes in and then they blockade that.

The Attorney General of the United States distorts its meaning, puts out a propaganda press release, withholds it for three and a half weeks, and now they`re fighting us every step a long way.  But that`s just one part of it because we do have lots of other powers available to us.  We have the power of the purse, we have the power of impeachment.  We have the power of censure, we have the power to negate the President and to disapprove of the emoluments he continues to collect from foreign governments at the Trump Hotel, at the Trump office towers.

Don`t count Congress out.  We are the people`s branch.  We have been working on the people`s agenda.  We`re working on lowering prescription drug prices.  We`re working on passing equal pay for equal work.  We worked in passing the toughest new gun law in 20 years in order to close the internet in the gun show loopholes for purchases.

And of course, the Republicans aren`t doing anything about that.  We`re getting the same kind of obstruction from the Senate and from Mitch McConnell that we`re getting from Donald Trump on the legislative front.  But we`re going to continue to push there at the same time that we`re going to insist on the rule of law in America.  And believe me, my colleagues are getting angrier and angrier about this.

HAYES:  It sounds like that.  Congressman Jamie Raskin, thank you.

RASKIN:  Great being with you, Chris.

HAYES:  And joining me now is Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.  He`s a member of the Appropriations Committee that question Treasury Secretary Mnuchin earlier today.  And Senator, let`s start there were you`re all persuaded by what the Secretary of the Treasury had to say.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD):  Well, not at all, Chris.  In fact, he really didn`t make an argument.  He sort of said, well, we`re going to go to court because he couldn`t really answer my question which was doesn`t the Congress have a legitimate interest in verifying that the IRS has required the President of the United States to pay all taxes do and knowing.

And the reason he really couldn`t answer that is that the original reason for the law, the IRS code 6103 was way back during the Harding administration, President Harding`s administration, Congress was worried that the Secretary of Treasury wasn`t paying his taxes, and that`s why Congress originally passed the law to hold high executive officials accountable and make sure that the IRS was requiring they pay all the taxes they do.  So that was the origin of the law.

HAYES:  I`m curious what you make -- in a variety of venues, there`s a kind of coherent theory coming together of what the president`s lawyers say which is basically that he`s kind of like a private citizen and you`re harassing him in ways that exceed your constitutional bounds, that if you were doing this to just (INAUDIBLE) you couldn`t just you know, shake him down for all his records and his taxes, and all this stuff that would be beyond your constitutional limits and you can`t do it to the president.  Does that square to you?

VAN HOLLEN:  Well, obviously the President of the United States is in a very different when it comes to congressional oversight.  I mean, the whole reason the framers created three branches of government including the Congress was for checks and balances.

It`s not checks and balances over Joe citizen, it`s to make sure that we can root out wrongdoing and corruption in the executive branch.  And then exactly -- that`s exactly why the Congress passed a law way back saying that Congress should be able to review the work of the IRS because the IRS of course ultimately comes under the jurisdiction of the President.

And so Congress as an independent body should be able to verify whether or not the President is get any special treatment or not.

HAYES:  Do you envision any way of this being resolved other than the courts?  I mean, essentially there`s a kind of standoff here, and I guess is your understanding and your colleagues understanding the courts will rule on this and that will be that?

VAN HOLLEN:  Well, I think the courts are going to be the ultimate arbiter here.  Clearly the president, the administration is flouting what has been the justifiable and recognized oversight responsibilities of the Congress, and that means we have to take it to court.

So the courts are going to be essential.  The issue is you know is the timeline here right.  I mean, this seems to be a deliberate strategy to try and drag things out which is why we hope the courts will expedite some of these hearings and decisions.

HAYES:  Lindsey Graham who is the chair of Judiciary Committee advised Donald Trump Jr. to ignore or disobey a subpoena from a fellow Republican committee chair in the United States Senate.  Have you ever seen something like that?

VAN HOLLEN:  You know, I have not.  And it is a really bad day for our constitutional system of government when you have a member of the legislative branch essentially saying to someone who`s related to the course the president, don`t listen to the Congress, don`t pay attention to the Congress and the legitimate concerns to the Congress.

That was the subpoena of course that was issued in a bipartisan way in the United States Senate.  But we`re regardless of whether subpoenas are bipartisan or not, the reality is we have a duty to oversee the executive.

HAYES:  Donald Trump Jr. is now going to testify I think for -- they have essentially arranged a deal for two hours in a limited fashion.  Do you see this as essentially a win for legislative oversight or essentially concession?

VAN HOLLEN:  Well, I have questions which I`m not sure what the answers are.  I`m hoping, assuming this is going to be under oath, and that you know, I don`t know if they`re going to make a transcript available.

So in terms of public accountability as well as accountability to the committee, I have a lot of questions about how that conversation is going to be structured.

HAYES:  I mean, aren`t we just -- look, are we or are we not seeing a sort of fundamental shift that`s been going on for a long time in culminating now in the way that government operates in which essentially partisan solidarity is more powerful, much, much more powerful than any institutional solidarity.

You remember of a Republican Party or the Democratic Party is what matters.  Those are your bonds of affinity.  Those are the people that you have to work with and fight for.  And your fellow members of the U.S. Senate or Congress or some constitutional entity just don`t matter.

VAN HOLLEN:  Well, what we`re seeing in this administration is that trend going on steroids.  I mean, you`re right, there`s been sort of a creeping in that direction overall.  But under this administration, you see Republican senators just totally caving into what they otherwise would have stood up to.

I think that you`ve got a lot of political cowardice going around and they`re just more afraid of what the Republican -- what the President will do to them on one of their Republican primaries than they are you know sticking up for Constitution and the powers of the legislative branch.

But you`re -- look, you`re right, Chris.  This is -- I think it`s a very dangerous trend.  It erodes the powers of the legislative branch when you know, one party just decides to cave into whoever`s in the White House.

HAYES:  All right, Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, thank you very much.

VAN HOLLEN:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Later in the show, if you tried to predict two years ago the worst- case scenarios of a Trump presidency, it might look a lot like what we are watching unfold right now.  We`ll talk about that, but first, our own allies are suggesting the Trump administration is inflating threats to try and provoke a military exchange with Iran.  Senator Tammy Duckworth have seen the horrors of war up close, joins me here in two minutes.


HAYES:  The Trump administration is very clearly trying to convince both the American public and U.S. allies that Iran is currently engaged in escalating threats against the U.S. and its interests.  And those claims are being met with widespread skepticism.  The New York Times reports "a senior British military official told reporters at the Pentagon he saw no increased risk from Iran or allied militias in Iraq or Syria.

That British official just happened to be the deputy commander of the entire American-led coalition fighting the Islamic state.  But U.S. Central Command, CENTCOM, knocked that down with the press release saying there were credible threats from Iranian backed forces in the region.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been doing his part trying to convince allies of the impending Iranian threat.  So far it`s not working so well.  The EU`s foreign affairs chief push back and even quote Iraqi officials said they were skeptical of the American intelligence that Mr. Pompeo presented last week on a surprise trip to Baghdad.

And yet today, the U.S. ordered a partial evacuation of its embassy in Baghdad citing intelligence that Secretary Pompeo is referred to as Iranian activity that puts American facilities and personnel at risk.

Now, it is hard to know what the actual facts are since they`re all hidden from public view but it sure does look like the Trump administration is manipulating or inflating intelligence in an attempt to provoke a military exchange.

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq war veteran and Purple Heart recipient met with Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and ask him about the New York Times report the administration is considering sending 120,000 troops to the Middle East, and she joins me now.

The Pentagon plans for everything.  We know that.  If there`s all sorts of files over there with all sorts of scenarios, what`s your sense though from your conversation with the Acting Secretary of Defense about what they`re thinking is over there right now.

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL):  I mean, I think they`re just backing up what`s coming out of the White House.  Although frankly I think what`s coming out of the White House is inconsistent at best.  I really think this is something that Mr. Bolton is really pushing forward.

HAYES:  Elaborate on that.  What makes you say that?

DUCKWORTH:  Well, I think Mr. Bolton has made it very clear that you know, time and again he`s referred to two ways that we could go to a conflict with the U.S. forces in Iran and two of those -- both of those ways the things that he`s already set up.

One because -- if Iran ramps up their nuclear production, of course, by pulling us out of nuclear agreement, that it just opens the door for the Iranians to ramp up their nuclear efforts.  The other is for attacks on U.S. forces.  And now they`re talking about sending as much as 130,000 troops into the region which increases the number of targets.

You know, when I talk to Mr. Shanahan, he really didn`t have any additional information to share me in terms of intelligence estimates as to what`s happening in the region.

HAYES:  Do you trust if they are not manipulating intelligence?  Do you feel like you can take at face value what they are saying the intelligence is telling them?

DUCKWORTH:  Unfortunately I don`t trust a lot that`s coming out of this White House which is why I am asking for a briefing.  Listen, Congress is the only branch that has an ability to declare war.  We deserve to get this information and really it`s very troubling to me that they say that what this information exists, we`re pulling out our us personnel from our embassies.

Our allies are not, so you telling me that we`re not sharing this important information with our allies, and we`re leaving them in the lurch?

HAYES:  This this item in the New York Times reporting that was in part about that partial embassy closure caught my eye and I wanted to get your reaction to it.  One American officials speaking on the condition of anonymity so the new intelligence of an increased Iranian threat was quote small stuff and did not merit the military planning being driven by Mr. Bolton.

The official also said the ultimate goal of the year-long economic sanctions camp by the Trump -- campaign by the Trump administration was to draw Iran into an armed conflict with the United States.  Is that a legitimate objective of U.S. foreign policy?

DUCKWORTH:  Well, I don`t think it`s a legitimate objective at all.  But do I think that is the objective of Mr. Bolton?  Yes.

HAYES:  But that just strikes me as manifestly wrong.  I mean, that should not be the case that any U.S. administration is trying to draw anyone into armed conflict.

DUCKWORTH:  I agree.  That should not be the case.  And in fact, only Congress has the ability to declare war.  Let me restress that.  And frankly, if such intelligence exist, then they need to brief the members of Congress.  Listen, I`ve got a top secret clearance.  I`m happy to go and listen to the Intelligence Estimates.  I know that the President is not very keen on listening to intelligence briefings but I am.  I take my job very seriously.

So come on, give me this briefing, and in a bipartisan way the members here in the Senate call for such a briefing and yet we still have not received one.

HAYES:  You know, as someone who probably knows better than anyone is serving United States Congress at this point or as well as anyone in the United States Congress, what the realities of war look like, do you -- what do you think the odds are of some kind of military escalation right now?  Do you trust the president to be judicious and even-tempered in this?

DUCKWORTH:  Well, of course, I don`t think that the president will be -- has ever been described as even-tempered.  I also don`t trust Mr. Bolton.  I think he`s driving the Train on this.  I don`t think Mr. Trump is.  And it`s at because that`s our commander-in-chief.  I think Mr. Bolton is the one who is driving this escalation.

And it frankly is terrifying and deeply concerning to me that someone who`s you know not elected by the American people is making these key decisions and pushing us towards a greater and greater escalation.

And again if this truly exists, then share the information with the Senate -- with the Senate.  Let me see those estimates.  And if they truly exist and there`s a real threat, then why are you not sharing them with our allies in the region.

HAYES:  Final question.  You talked about Congress being obviously the branch that declares war.  We have seen Congress flexes muscle on this question with regards to Yemen in which in bipartisan -- majorities in both houses passed a War Powers Resolution to direct the U.S. withdrawal from any involvement in that conflict.  Do you think there would be similar votes to stop U.S. military conflict with Iran among your colleagues particularly Republicans?

DUCKWORTH:  Especially if they don`t -- I do think that there could be a similar vote especially they do not share any credible estimates with us.  Any credible intelligence reports that show that there`s an increased threat, if they can`t produce anything, then yes.  I think there could potentially be such a vote.

HAYES:  All right, Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, thank you for your time.

DUCKWORTH:  Thanks for having me on, Chris.

HAYES:  Ahead, Rebecca Traister on the National outrage after Alabama passes the most restrictive ban on abortion and the legal implications for every one of the 50 states after this.


HAYES:  It is now law in Alabama.  The state has just passed the most extreme anti-abortion law in the country, one that is manifestly unconstitutional under current Supreme Court precedent by the admission of its own authors.  The bill effectively bans abortions altogether making it a class A felony for doctors to perform the procedure, punishable by up to 99 years in prison.

It was signed into law just earlier this evening by a Republican governor, Kay Ivey, who has a long anti-abortion record, and stood with her state party in 2017 supporting Roy Moore`s campaign for Senate even after he was credibly accused of preying on multiple under-aged girls.

The bill was passed out of the state Senate last night by these 25 Republican Senators.  And if you`re sensing a theme, you`re not crazy, all of them white, all of them male, and 21 of them voted to get rid of an exception that had been put in, in the bill, for victims of rape and incest. 

So the result is now, state law, that could give a doctor who performs an abortion on a woman who is raped more prison time  than the rapist himself.

The bill is so extreme that even some right wing opponents of abortion are worried it goes too far.  For years, abortion opponents` legal strategy has been to whittle away at the edges of abortion access by imposing medically unnecessary requirements and restrictions, but that was before Donald Trump took office and nominated two justices to the Supreme Court.

Now states like Alabama are attacking reproductive rights head on and they are very explicit about the ultimate goal.  This is from a statement by Alabama`s lieutenant governor last week, "it is important we pass this statewide abortion ban legislation and begin a long overdue effort to directly challenge Roe V. Wade.  Now that President Donald Trump has super charged the effort to remake the federal court by appointing conservative jurists, I feel confident the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe and finally correct its 46-year-old mistake."

If he`s right, Alabama`s abortion ban could end up being the law of the land for the entire United States.

I`m joined now by Rebecca Traister, writer at-large for New York Magazine, author of good and mad, the revolutionary power of women`s anger; and Brigitte Amiri, who is a deputy director of the reproductive freedom project of the ACLU, which just vowed to file suit over this new Alabama law.

Let me start with you, Brigitte, first on the sort of constitutional law here.  We saw all of these laws over the last several years, trap laws -- you have to  have your hallways be this wide and to try to sort of make it more and more difficult for abortion providers to exist.  This is in a different category, right, in terms of what they`re doing.

BRIDGITTE AMIRI, NEW YORK MAGAZINE:  That`s right.  We are seeing the true colors of the anti-abortion movement.  For years, they have chipped away at the right to abortion, passing restriction on top of restriction, pushing abortion care slowly out of reach for many people.  And now this is a direct aim.  This is an attempt to ban abortions not just in Alabama, but in Kentucky, Ohio, Mississippi, and Georgia.  And this is a direct attempt to try to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

HAYES:  You know, I remember during the Kavanaugh hearings a lot of people were saying like, look, this is obviously the subtext of this whole thing is Roe, like, Kennedy was the vote that kept the Roe majority together.  Kavanaugh is going to replace him, like this is about Roe.  And there was all this kind of tut tutting from people about, like, oh you`re are being hysterical and Susan Collins saying, oh, I think you know he`ll listen to precedent.  and then I look at this, and it`s like, well, someone down in Alabama didn`t get that memo.

REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE:  Yeah, activists have been pointing that out that this is the ultimate goal of the Republican Party in advance of Donald Trump for decade.  People have been pointing that out in various ways through -- you know, starting in 2010 -- I mean, s tarting before then, too, but in 2010, the rise of the Tea Party, which we were told over and over again by pundits and by politicians was about tax policy, but what they wanted to do was de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Karl Rove around the same time was instructing Republicans to take over state legislatures for just this purpose, right.  This has been Republican strategy for a long time.  And the chipping away, which is a different strategy than this full aiming to overturn Roe, has actually, as Brigitte said, made abortion inaccessible, all but illegal for vast swaths of Americans in this country, vast swaths of this nation where you have to travel hours, hundreds of miles, to be able to get an abortion, because those chipping away laws, the closing of clinics, the trap laws, the limits, having to wait overnight, makes it economically inaccessible in a country that practically as soon as it codified abortion as legal passed a legislative rider called the Hyde Amendment that prevented poor women from using federal insurance programs to pay for abortion.

So, abortion has been becoming ever more inaccessible ever since it became legal, and there have been a lot of people who have been pointing this out, a lot of people who have been yelling about it, arguing about it, filing lawsuits about it.  And we have always been cold we were hysterical, that we were being over dramatic, nobody is really going to turn over Roe. 

It`s bad even if they don`t turn over Roe.  And now we`re looking at the fact that of course they will try to do so.

HAYES:  Right.  I mean, that -- it has always been, there`s this sort of conventional wisdom, right, that like they are not going to try to go through the front door basically.  And I don`t think it`s like a crazy conventional wisdom insofar as like people do game out the constitutional strategy here.

I guess my question to you is like this -- I mean, look, my understanding is the federal courts will strike this down.  It`s unconstitutional on its face.  And then it will be appealed, and then who knows, and like are there four votes on the court to grant cert and like take a run at Roe?  Like is that basically where we`re a t ?

AMIRI:  That`s basically where they are at.  It`s blatantly unconstitutional.  The district court and the court of appeals in all of these places are going to strike down this -- these bans and then whether the court takes one of the cases and what they do with it is another question.  But there are so many other cases already in the pipeline about all the other restrictions that Rebecca is talking about and that you`ve been talking about as well that could present an opportunity to the Supreme Court to undermine or undo Roe versus Wade.

So, it`s not just the not just pieces, it`s all the other cases in the pipeline.

HAYES:  And they can -- obviously, they can pick and choose, and be tactical if they are thinking -- you know, Roberts is thinking about preserving that majority.

AMIRI:  Correct.

TRAISTER:  And under other circumstances maybe they wouldn`t have gone for such a full frontal challenge to Roe, but they would have been aiming towards the same thing anyway, which is depriving women of their reproductive autonomy and with it their economy, social, sexual,  professional liberty, their humanity, their rights, that`s what they`ve been aiming for.  Whatever -- and they will take whatever strategy they can get.

Right now, Trump and the Republican Party`s control of the judiciary has opened up a new door for them, and they are trying to go through it, but they have been going through all the other doors up until now.

HAYES:  There was this moment in the Supreme Court recently in a case called the Franchise Tax Board of California V. Hyatt in which a precedent was overturned and there was a dissenting view and Steven Breyer was in the dissent.  And he said the majority surrendered to the temptation to overrule Hall even though it is a well reasoned decision that has caused no serious practical problems in the four decades since we decided it, today`s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the court will overrule next.  Did you read that the way many did as a warning from Breyer about Roe?

AMIRI:  Right, well, Justice Breyer cites Planned Parenthood versus Casey, and that was the 1992 decision that upheld Roe vs. Wade.

We were on the brink of having Roe versus Wade overturned in 1992.  And we were able to hold on to the fundamental right to abortion, the core of it.  But it was definitely whittled away in that decision.

So, I think that that`s definitely a concern, and we are deeply concerned that the Supreme Court will whether they will abide by these -- this decade`s long precedent.

HAYES:  The last thing I would say here is that people I think fail to recognize, a lot of people fail to recognize, that the goal is total abortion ban.  Like, you should -- everyone should take seriously the actual ideological commitments of the people who are fighting for this, who are not doing it for a corrupt purpose, they`re not doing it because like there is some big special interest that`s like paying them, like this is an ideological crusade, and the people who are telling you what they believe believe what they believe.

TRAISTER:  Yes.  You should believe them.  They mean this.

And by the way, I read Breyer`s call, not just I think a lot of people heard it about the Senate and talking about we need a Senate that is going to exert better control over Supreme Court nominations, I would also hear it as a call to pay attention to every kind of election in addition to, and besides, very much besides the presidential election.  It`s Senate elections, it`s state legislative elections, it`s gubernatorial elections, it`s statehouses where these laws are being made.

HAYES:  Yep.  Rebecca Traister and Brigitte Amiri, thank you both for joining me.

AMIRI:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Coming up, how the worst case scenarios of the Trump presidency seem to be just on the horizon.  But first, why Ted Cruz was raising his concerns about space pirates in the Senate today.  Thing One, Thing Two is next.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, ever since he took office, Donald Trump has been proposing big ideas, and one of the biggest is, of course, Space Force, which everybody definitely thought was a joke, at first, but I guess not?


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  President Trump will also sign a new space policy directive that will lay out our plans and our time- line to create the new sixth branch of the armed forces, the U.S. Space Force.



HAYES:  Yes, the U.S. Space Force is a real thing, and President Trump really wants $2 billion to start it up, and then an operating budget of $500 million per year.

This week, the Democratically-controlled House made a counter offer in the military budget, $15 million, with an M, to study the idea of a Space F.  With this very specific language, quote, nothing in this provision shall be construed to authorize the establishment of a space force.

Now, just to put this in some context, $15 million is not enough for Space Force, but you might be able to afford a couple of space suits, they reportedly cost somewhere between $2 million and $12 million a pop.  Maybe Mike Pence can wear one around the White House and that can be the Space Force.

But the president does have an ally in the capital who wants to help him get that space money.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS:  Mike Lee, I am your father.


HAYES:  Space Ted is Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  It`s a ending in Y, which means that Senator Ted Cruz is being roundly mocked on Twitter.  And this time it`s because in his new role as Trump sycophant, he made the case for a Space Force to protect us from space pirates.


CRUZ:  Since the ancient Greeks first put to sea, nations have recognized the necessity of naval forces and maintaining a superior capability to protect water borne travel and commerce from bad actors.  Pirates threatened the open seas, and the same is possible in space.

In this same way I believe we, too, must now recognize the necessity of a space force to defend the nation and to protect space commerce and civil space exploration.


HAYES:  Totally, dude.

The dunking on Twitter began immediately.  SpaceX founder Elon Musk replied with just a pirate flag emoji.  Someone replied to Musk with this updated SpaceX logo.  And @Lylenick summed up a lot of people`s feelings writing somebody put Ted Cruz in a rocket.

Take all the shots you want, but if Ted Cruz were capable of embarrassment, he would have been gone a long time ago.


CRUZ:  I will confess that phrase of rebellion against oppression conjured up to me, the Rebel Alliance fighting against the Empire, the Empire being the Washington, D.C. establishment.  And indeed, immediately on hearing that phrase, I wondered if at some point we were going to see a tall gentleman in a mechanical breathing apparatus come forward and say in a deep voice, Mike Lee, I am your father.



HAYES:  Right now the Trump administration is actively fighting in court to deny citizenship to the children of American same-sex couples who used a surrogate or sperm donor abroad.  The State Department has been insisting that those children, born aboard, to Americans be biologically related to a U.S. citizen in order to get citizenship.  In the case of one couple, an Israeli man married to an American, each donating sperm to one of their twin children, it has resulted in the preposterous conclusion on part of the U.S. government that only one of the twins is an American.

It`s an awful lot of legal effort to produce intense cruelty and uncertainty for a relatively small group of American parents, but one can`t help but conclude, as Adam Serwer (ph) famously wrote, that the cruelty is the point.

And if the Trump administration`s attempts to deny citizenship to children of same-sex couples sounds like the kind of nightmarish dystopia conjured in the imagination after Trump shocking win?  Well, there is more where that came from.

Everywhere you look right now, we are headed toward some of the worst-case scenarios imagined for this presidency.  I`ll explain ahead.


HAYES:  If you asked me right after Donald Trump was elected what my worst case scenario was for his presidency, I`d probably say something like this: he appoints Supreme Court justices who then provide the majority needed to outright overturn Roe v. Wade, starts a trade war with China that kicks the economy in a tailspin, and starts a new war in the Middle East with Iran, and also he has a kind of authoritarian cooptation of the Justice Department with an attorney general who shields the  president from accountability, investigates and prosecutes his political enemies.

We`re not there yet on any of those fronts, Roe is still the law of the land, the China tariffs are escalating, but not cataclysmic, we haven`t gone to war with Iran, and William Barr hasn`t sent any of Trump`s opponents to jail, but good lord, it sure does feel like we are marching step by step in the direction of the worst case scenario.

To talk more about this and other horrible things come to pass, I`m by Aisha Moodie-Mills, fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, and Republican Strategist Rick Wilson, contributor to the Daily Beast, author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies."

It feels like an extremely fraught and perilous moment to me.  And partly I think because of the specter of Iran where the sort of full scale and scope of both the president`s power and what could go wrong if he wields it in the wrong way suddenly seems on the table.

And there doesn`t seem to be sufficient guard rails on him at this point.

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, FELLOW, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL INSTITUTE OF POLITICS:  No.  And by insufficient guardrails, we mean that the Democrats don`t exactly know what to do, and seem to just be in this posture of talking points, but anxiety.  And as a result, they`re doing a lot of nothing.  But that`s what makes me most nervous.

I think that, you know, everything you said in your opening is true, that we kind of said these are the worst case scenarios.  But then we also know Donald Trump is being who we expected him to be, and I think that we could have planned ahead for some of these scenarios, because he is literally being who we know that he was going to be, the man is dangerous, and he is reckless.

I am most concerned that the Democrats don`t seem to have a direct strategy to put some guardrails around that, and I`m waiting for Nancy Pelosi to say something other than cautioning us from reacting.

HAYES:  I also think there is a dangerous, Rick, I think there`s a dangerous belief among Republicans and sort of Republican establishment who talks smack about the guy behind his back, but are too cowardly to do it in public.


HAYES:  That like he`ll be reined in and basically if like you ignore the boss when he tells you to go do something stupid, he`ll forget about it because he is addled in the brain, and I think that just under -- it discounts how dangerous it all is.

WILSON:  Right.  And I think that there is an awful lot of Washington`s culture where they nod and they wink behind -- they go out and say oh, my gosh, Donald Trump created the universe.  He is the best thing since prepared mustard.  We love him.  And behind the closed door they`re like, ah, let`s get this tax cut, let`s get this regulation, let`s get these judges, and we`ll just deal with this kookiness later. 

Well, there will be a point where the mad king is mad.  There will be a point where he does things that you can`t walk back.  There will be a point when the trade sanctions with China escalate to the point where they stop buying t-bills one month and watch the stock market then.  There will be a point where you can`t just imagine that you`re this genius negotiator on all these different fronts and fail time and time and time again and not have any international consequences.

You know, we`re not at the apocalypse yet, but we`re knocking on the door, and Donald Trump would really, really like to go in.

HAYES:  You know, I had a conversation with Michael Lewis wrote this really good book about sort of government and risk in the Trump era.  And one of the things that we spoke about on my podcast was the fact that there is all these risks out there that are maybe one in a million.  And if you have a really terrible system of government or president, those could be one in a thousand, which is an enormous increase in the risk.  But in your day the day life, you don`t get it, right?

And I feel like the risk, Aisha, is turning up in front of all of us, even if it`s not being delivered into Americans` homes every night.

MOODIE-MILLS:  Well, yeah, the risk is there. I think that it`s on behalf of all of us to remind people regular Americans who are sitting out there that there is a risk and that this is eminent and that we are living in perilous times.

I think, too, that there are enough people paying attention, and frankly, the people who sent -- who gave Nancy Pelosi the gavel, the people who gave the Democrats the majority in the House in  2018, they`re paying attention, because they sent those folks to congress to actually do something to stop this president.

Remember, they won on resist, resist, resist.  And we are not seeing much resistance.  We`re seeing a lot of talking points, we`re not seeing much resistance.

HAYES:  You don`t buy the -- I just want to follow up on that, and I`ll come back to you, Rick.  But the sort of case, you saw Jamie Raskin earlier, right.  The case is, look, we`re being prudent.  We`re sort of dotting every i, we`re crossing every t, we`re going through process, we`re taking him to court, and we are checking all the boxes because we believe in the constitution, we believe in process, and that`s what we`re doing.

MOODIE-MILLS:  If you`re playing a game by the rules and you`re playing against somebody who is cheating, then your rules aren`t going to get you far.

HAYES:  Right.  This is always the issue, right.  I mean, this is sort of the issue always, Rick, is that like can you match the shamelessness of the person sitting across the table from you.  And the guy`s gotten by for 40 years losing a billion dollars and being sued into oblivion and going bankrupt four times and then becoming president of the United States, by basically out shamelessing whoever was across from him.

WILSON:  Right.

And that`s a fundamental problem I think with the Democrats strategy right here, is they`re like well, we`ll impeach him and he`ll be so ashamed, his behavior will change.  What?  He`ll wear it like a badge of honor.  He loves this idea because nothing will happen in the Senate.

So, a lot of the things that Democrats are doing...

HAYES:  Wait a second, wait a second.  Let me stop you there.  You think he wants -- you -- see, I don`t subscribe to this theory, but you do subscribe to the theory he welcomes impeachment?

WILSON:  I think he wants impeachment like no thing else on earth.  He wants to be a martyr.  He wants to be a whiny little baby every day on Twitter about how cruel they are to him, and to snivel like the little -- sorry, I`m not going to curse on TV tonight...

HAYES:  Thank you.  Good.

WILSON:  But he wants to snivel every day.  And he wants to complain every day and he wants to send out direct mail and email fund-raising and raise $300 million from the rubes out there, because, oh, they`re so mean to me.  That -- he -- you can`t shame the shameless, like you said.  But what you have to do is increase the pain level by holding his people to account and working your way up the chain with investigations and sanction.

MOODIE-MILLS:  I think the Democrats` responsibility is to actually save America.  And they need to be focused as much on that as trying to stick to it Donald Trump, understanding that he is a symptom of something bigger than just himself, and that we need to get rid of him, sure, but this is about the democracy.  It`s about our constitution.  That`s why they need to act.

HAYES:  Aisha Moodie-Mills and Rick Wilson, thank you for joining us.

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

Good evening, Rachel.