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Eighth former Trump adviser indicted. TRANSCRIPT: 5/23/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Renae Merle, Mazie Hirono, Elliot Williams, Aaron Blake, AdamSerwer, Jameel Jaffer, Joaquin Castro



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I`m an extremely stable genius, OK.

HAYES:  The President reassures the nation of his own stability.

TRUMP:  Kellyanne, what was my temperament yesterday?

HAYES:  And pulls his staff on the subject.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You were very calm.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kellyanne was right, you were very calm.

HAYES:  Tonight, as the President lashes out against Democrats, a brand new indictment stemming from the Mueller probe as yet another former Trump adviser is arrested.  Plus, is goading Trump in public helping Nancy Pelosi keep Democrats together in private.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  The White House is just crying out for impeachment.  That`s why they flipped yesterday.

HAYES:  Then, new calls to investigate what looks like a cover-up of immigrant deaths on the border.  And the massive implications for journalism in America in the wake of today`s new charges against Julian Assange.

TRUMP:  I love WikiLeaks.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  Yet again, once again a one-time adviser to Donald Trump has been indicted.  It is the 8th indictment brought against a former advisor the President.  And amid on- going investigations stemming from the Mueller probe, it may not be the last.

The latest indictment involves Stephen Calk.  He`s a banker who was also an economic adviser to President Trump`s campaign in 2016.  That is him you see there entering Trump Tower back in January 2017.   That was during the transition.  He was there oddly enough to ear for a job as Undersecretary of the Army.

OK, that`s a big job, important job.  And you might be wondering, well, what would qualify a banker to be considered for a top job running the U.S. Army.  Well, according to prosecutors, his primary qualification was his willingness to illegally approve $16 million in high-risk loans to former Trump campaign chair and convicted felon Paul Manafort.

That is in exchange for Manafort helping Calk getting high-level position in the Trump administration.  Prosecutors say Calk ignored red flags about Manafort`s history of defaulting circumventing and normal procedures and lied to regulators in order to approve the loans.  And they say he gave Manafort a list of just you know top jobs that he wanted at the Trump administration starting with, oh I don`t know, let`s go with Treasury Secretary.

He was ultimately interviewed to become Undersecretary of the Army on Manafort`s recommendation though we should note crucially, he did not get the job.  Calk`s attorney maintains that his client did nothing wrong.

As Trump continues to falsely claimed that he was exonerated in the Mueller probe, let`s remember the reality, he conveniently left off of that ripped off graphic that he brandished in the Rose Garden yesterday, the Mueller investigation is so far yielded 38 indictments leading to seven guilty pleas and a conviction at trial.

Eight different former Trump advisors have now been charged with felonies including his former campaign manager, his longtime personal attorney and fixer, his national security adviser.  And also remember this.  The Mueller team referred 14 different criminal cases for outside prosecution and there appears to be an ongoing probe into the campaign finance violations that helps Michael Cohen to prison in which the President himself is prominently cited as individual one.

Joining me now, Washington Post reporter Renae Merle who covers white- collar crime in Wall Street and co-authored the story today on the indictment of Steven Calk.  It`s -- I mean, according to the facts laid out in the indictment which of course he denies, it`s a pretty wild story.  I mean, what happens here?  What`s the basic quid pro quo of the government is saying happen?

RENAE MERLE, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Well, Paul Manafort at the time was in big financial trouble.  He had several properties that were going into foreclosure and he needed capital really quick.  So he made a relationship with this small Chicago bank.  This Bank is really -- you would call it not even in the world of titans of Wall Street, a really small savings and loan.  And he started to -- started by asking them for about $5 million, then $9 million, and then $6 million more.

He was really under pressure to find money to save his properties from foreclosure at the same time that just turned out the CEO the bank wanted to be connected to the Trump administration first working at the campaign and then he wanted a senior administration job.

HAYES:  So he strikes up a relationship with the banker first and that is - - and then through that, the banker gets on to the campaign, is that right as an economic adviser?

MERLE:  Exactly.  So basically days or weeks after the initial approval for $9 million loan, the banker Stephen Calk was put on this 14-member economic advisory panel which also included Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross.

HAYES:  Amazing.  OK.  Then, the government alleges that he`s running through all these red flags internally.  He`s lying to regulators, approves the loan, and then somehow what`s remarkable to me is Manafort is off the campaign by the time that he managed to get into Trump Tower to interview for Undersecretary of the Army.

MERLE:  Exactly.  Well, even though that he wasn`t part of the campaign, he`d still had a relationship with the people on the transition, and that is what that Calk and Manafort were really banking on that he who had all these connections and could get Calk into the front door.

HAYES:  It sounds like Manafort also may have paved the way.  I think Rick Gates testified that it sort of come through the transom by Manafort like you should talk to this guy.

MERLE:  Yes.

HAYES:  The government has charged him with essentially with a variety of financial crimes, right?

MERLE:  He`s been charged with basically one charge of bribery, using a financial institution.

HAYES:  Here`s one question.  You`re on the white collar crime beat.  Every time we get one of these indictments, I think to myself, but for the random spotlight of the Mueller probe, this incredibly high intensity, long- lasting, well-resourced criminal probe, he probably would have walked away with this.

MERLE:  Unfortunately I think that`s true.  Because the bank`s regulator, the OCC didn`t even know about this issue until it came up in the press.  And then the OCC went back and looked at this loan and said hey this is not a great deal.

HAYES:  This story was broken by reporters and not regulators.

MERLE:  Exactly.  And so the reporters hadn`t brought this up.  Perhaps they would have just -- he would have gotten through the loan. 

HAYES:  It`s really sort of amazing that part of it.  Renae Merle, thank you for being with me tonight.  I appreciate it.

MERLE:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Joining me now, Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono, member the Judiciary Committee, kind enough to join us on the night when just about every elected official is trying to get out of Washington.  You see some of them apparently walking across the shot right now.  Senator, your reaction to an eighth former advisor being indicted.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI):  I`d say that when you use government resources and access for a personal gain, that`s a culture of corruption and that`s - - there`s way too much of that and the -- what I call, the moral dead zone of the Trump White House.

HAYES:  Are you confident now -- I mean are you confident that none of that is happening now, right?  I mean here`s a --

HIRONO:  Of course not.

HAYES:  -- sort of pay-for-play sort of I -- you give me a loan, I get you an interview.  There`s lots of favors that various people need from the government all the time, lucrative contracts, all that stuff.  Are you confident that none of that is happening now?

HIRONO:  Of course not.  Because you have a president who I think even now there`s some reports that he wanted the Army Corps of Engineers to send a contract to somebody who`s a big donor to Trump.  That is not how things work around here.

And as I say, when you use government resources and access for your personal gain, that`s corruption.  And I would say with this administration, it starts at the top.

HAYES:  That story you just mentioned was broken recently that there`s a North Dakota firm with a sort of prominent conservative CEO who is a GOP donor as well that Trump has been actively advocating to steer a border wall contract to which of course would -- I mean, I think on its face violates the law.  My knowledge of contracting law is not great but you can`t do that right?

HIRONO:  Well, we have a various requirements when a contract is issued and it certainly isn`t to pay off political donors.  So as I said, I think Trump attracts people who think that they can use government resources for their own gain and so they flock to him.  You know, as they say, the fish rots from the head.

HAYES:  Last night, there`s a picture snapped of the Attorney General United States Bill Barr at the Trump Hotel in D.C.  That`s a place that a lot of people in Washington go particularly you know, foreign governments who want to put people up and maybe put a little money in the President`s pocket and give him some business.

Given today`s news that the Department of Justice did go through this indictment Stephen Calk, there are these fourteen other cases, does that make you more confident that a firewall has been established, the independence of those cases can move forward even though A.G. Barr is sitting at the top of the organization.

HIRONO:  Well, the fact that he`s sitting at the top of the organization and continue to act like he`s Trump`s attorney gives me no sense of reassurance that they`re going to prosecute who they need to prosecute.  And as the earlier mentioned, there are 14 other referrals from the Mueller team to other investigation -- investigators and Barr is the boss of all of that.

And so let`s hope that he`s not doing anything that interferes with any of these other investigations.  But it gives me no assurance that we have sitting as Attorney General, a guy who is very happy to act like the Roy Cohn for the president.

HAYES:  There`s obviously a lot of discussion about how the House is going to deal with the President`s obstruction, stonewalling, evasion of their subpoenas.  From your perch over the Senate, have you formed opinions about what you think should be done and what you think of the President`s relationship to this Congress right now?

HIRONO:  I`ve said that on your show quite a few times that the president cares about two things, protecting himself and money.  And so these are not normal times when you have a president who that`s what he cares about and he lies every single day for those purposes.  It`s not normal time.

So you look at the mother report and you see all of the indicators of obstruction of justice, you would think under normal times that this would be enough to proceed with the I-word but these are not normal times.

This is why I very much think that the House needs to continue its investigations and shine some light on all of his financial dealings, his tax returns, etcetera, and should they proceed down the impeachment route and they should have as much ammunition as they can because these are not normal times.

HAYES:  I see.  That`s interesting.  So you think that this sort of proceeding using the course to try to gain access to the information acquiring as much action as possible before the launching of any formal impeachment inquiry.

HIRONO:  I`d say they need as much ammunition as possible on President Trump and that`s why I`m glad that the courts at least the two that have weighed in and required the disclosure, there being the independent branch of government that they`re supposed to be, no thanks to Trump and everybody else who wants to totally pack the course with their kind of people to OK whatever the heck they`re doing.

HAYES:  All right, Senator Mazie Hirono, again, thank you --

HIRONO:  Thank you.

HAYES:  -- on this holiday Thursday night when everyone is getting off for joining us.  I now want to turn to two great legal minds MSNBC Legal Analyst Jill Wine-Banks, a former Assistant Special Watergate prosecutor, also counsel of the U.S. Army, and Elliot Williams former Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

I`ll start with you Jill Wine-Banks. I mean, Undersecretary of the Army, this is not a -- not a small job.  This is not a spot on the President`s you know physical fitness commission or a voluntary posting.  It`s -- that`s a big deal.

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  It is a big job.  And it`s not as big though as the other jobs on his list.  He wanted to be Secretary of Defense.  He wanted to be Secretary of the Treasury.  He wanted to be the Ambassador to the U.K.  He certainly had high aspirations but yes, the Army is an important position and being undersecretary gives you a lot of power.  And it shouldn`t be something that`s a quid pro quo for giving a loan to the head of your campaign or to the former head of your campaign.

And I also want to point out that he had a meeting about his loan.  Manafort a meeting about that loan the day after he had the Trump Tower meeting of July.  I`m not sure if it was June or July that he had the meeting about the loan but it was just sort of strange that he was meeting in New York around the same time as he was meeting about Trump Tower with the Russians.

So he was quite active and this was a definite quid pro quo.  The law that he has been indicted under Stephen Calk requires basically a quid pro quo using the financial institution`s money to pay off somebody to get something you want and that was a definite quid pro quo.

HAYES:  Elliot, as someone who worked at DOJ, I want to ask you the same question I asked for Renae, and I keep being stalked by this sense throughout the entire Mueller probe.  I mean Paul Manafort is a perfect example.  He`s out there doing all this stuff.  Journalist broke some of his sketchy real estate transactions, but for the Mueller probe, he may have never faced any legal accountability and it seems to be but for the Mueller probe, Stephen Calk would have walked away from it.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL:  And he maybe could have been Secretary of Treasury.

HAYES:  I mean, that`s right.  That`s the other thing.  Right, yes.

WILLIAMS:  Literally Secretary of Treasury.  But here`s the thing, there`s nothing fundamental -- and I want to make something clear.  There`s nothing fundamentally wrong with supporters of a president getting jobs in an administration.  Look, I went through the transition process back in 2009 with the Obama administration.  They check you out, they vet you and so on.

But the problem here is that there`s a whole lot of people it seems who were willing to behave in a corrupt manner and engage in the acts of quid pro quo and buying each other off in a just purely arrogant manner.  And I want to read you one line from the indictment that sort of hit me over there two eyes for the indictment to hit me over the head today.

So from the e-mails, this is Manafort and Calk e-mailing each other.  I look to your cleverness on how to manage this underwriting.  Cleverness so you know, he`s -- like he`s fixing a puzzle for a kid.  And then the next day, the next e-mail is I also want to thank you for fixing my issue.

Now, the issue was a total financial failure and $300,000 of credit card debt that barred him from being extended hundreds of thousand -- millions to $16 million in loans.  And the very notion that there`s people with this degree of you know, it`s as if they`re not talking about -- it`s just minor inconsequential products.

Think about the dollar amounts here.  Most Americans will never see this kind of money in their lives, right.  And these were being thrown around by people who simply were not fit and we`re not qualified to be receiving loans you know, of this magnitude.  And if anything, set aside the government issue, it talks about your shows gross inequities in our financial services.

HAYES:  Totally.

WILLIAMS:  That you could just buy off friends and then end up in the highest reaches of the cabinet, not even -- not even the subcabinet, that cabinet.  He wanted to be Treasury Secretary.

HAYES:  Elliot reading from those e-mails, Jill, reminds me of sort of broader issue when I was going back to the indictment which is that the Presidents` people -- he`s surrounded by people that talk like mobsters, they act like mobsters, the indirection, the code.  People that are used to sort of trying to get over to hustle at the edges.

And everyone knows putting aside the question of high crimes and misdemeanor, everyone I think knows that now, that this is the milieu in which the President operates.  And if you take a step back and you think about that in any other circumstance, it would be an enormous scandal.  There`s eight people around the guy who`ve been either indicted or pled.

BANKS:  It`s true.  And it`s no different than during Watergate.  It comes from the top.  The president sets the tone and that`s what`s happened here is everybody thinks they can get away with anything and that corruption is OK because they see the president doing that.  And this particular case is different than your average pay-to-play.

I mean it is one thing as Elliot said where you contribute to the campaign or you are actively involved in campaigning for president, you come to the attention of the president through that activity and you get selected for a job.  That`s different than saying I`m going to give you a specific thing in exchange for this job.

That`s a very different kind of thing and it`s particularly different because he wasn`t even using his own money.  Stephen Calk was using the bank`s money, and that makes it a federal crime punishable by up to 30 years for one count.  That`s a pretty hefty sentence for one violation.  So it shows how serious it is.

WILLIAMS:  And on top of that.  Chris, one more thing.  Let`s also look at how poorly individuals have consistently been vetted in the administration for some of these senior jobs.  And look at the number of frankly cabinet level positions that have imploded.

You know, just a couple months ago, the head of public affairs at the State Department, that nomination imploded over you know, problems in her background and you had individually who have been the CEO of Carl`s Jr. for Labor Secretary who wasn`t paying his own labor.

So once again, you seem to have these this constant pattern of not checking in to the backgrounds of people and some of them are felons.

HAYES:  You know, in some ways, the miracle of the stories the guy didn`t get nominated to be undersecretary of the Army which there`s some part of that story that I`d like to hear more about.  Jill Wine-Banks and Elliot Williams, thank you both for being with me.

Next, the leader of the Democrats in the House as the president needs an intervention for the good of the country and the president goes on camera to pull his employees about his relative state of mind.  The on-going effects of Nancy Pelosi`s public goading of Donald Trump in two minutes.



PELOSI:  I pray for the President of the United States.  I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.  This is not behavior that rises to the dignity of the office of President of the United States.


HAYES:  At the same time she`s working behind the scenes to quiet the calls for impeachment within her caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is waging a public campaign to bait the President into acting like a total weirdo.  She called on his aides to state intervention one day after he stormed out of a meeting on infrastructure, declare to the world that he doesn`t "do cover- ups" and announced that he won`t work on any more legislation at all until Democrats stop investigating him.

But the President says he`s not mad about it.  In fact, he is so not mad he`s telling anyone who will listen just how not mad he is tweeting today that he was extremely calm in the meeting yesterday and then pursue -- proceeding to hijack an event announcing his welfare package for farmers that he stiffed with his tariffs to make clear that he is not mad in any way.


TRUMP:  Crazy Nancy, I tell you what I`ve been watching her and I have -- I have been watching her for a long period of time.  She`s not the same person.  She`s lost it.

Kellyanne, what was my temperament yesterday?

CONWAY:  Very calm, no temper tantrum.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You were very calm and you were very direct.  And he sends a very firm message to the speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You were very calm and --

SANDERS:  Very calm, and straightforward, and clear.

TRUMP:  It was sad when I watched Nancy all moving the movement in the hands and the craziness and I watched it.  That`s, by the way, a person that`s got some problems.  I`m an extremely stable genius.  OK.


HAYES:  I mean, obviously, it just -- it`s unanimous there in the room.  And any objective observer would conclude from that entire spectacle, the president was in fact not at all mad, clearly.  Meanwhile, as Pelosi is reportedly trying to tamp down impeachment fever among some House Democrats, she`s now acknowledging the President may have committed high crimes and misdemeanors.


PELOSI:  The President`s behavior in terms of his obstruction of justice, the things that he is doing, it`s very clear, it`s in plain sight. it cannot be denied.  Ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice, yes, these could be impeachable offenses.

I do think that impeachment is a very divisive place to go in our country and what we can get the facts of American people through our investigation, it may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment or not.


HAYES:  For more on policy strategy and the president`s reaction, I`m joined by MSNBC Contributor Betsy Woodruff, Politics Reporter for Daily Beast, and Aaron Blake Senior Political Reporter for Washington Post.

Betsy, I`m sort of confused by the standoff in some way and I think it`s a little like The Princess Bride or Wallace Shawn is sitting there trying to figure out what which one`s the poison chalice.  And he`s going you think - - if you think that I think that you think that I think that it`s poisoned, that maybe you`re telling me to drink this one.

It`s like Nancy Pelosi thinks the President is trying to goad her to impeachment and the President thinks that Nancy Pelosi is trying to goad him into impeachment.  And I`m losing track of like who`s doing what?

BETSY WOODRUFF, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  It`s chess not checkers.  It`s 3D chess not checkers.  I chatted about this a little earlier today with a Democratic staffer who has you know, who`s very well wired in sort of this at these impeachment conversations.  And the way it was laid out to me and I find this a helpful way of looking at it is that this past week has been a totally wild ride for the Democratic conference when it comes to the impeachment issue.

On Tuesday, the number of House Democrats who supported impeaching President Trump doubled because of McGahn refused to testify to Congress.  Then the next day, Pelosi brought in Democratic members only into a closed- door meeting and explained to them that if they wanted to impeach Trump, they`d have to go through her first.  That she was not ready to be on board with it.

And my understanding is that Pelosi has sort of a number of reasons and forming her thinking on this.  For the -- for starters, there are vulnerable Democrats who just won in tough seats who could you potentially risk political problems if impeachment moves forward.

On top of that, they don`t have a ton of legislative days left for Democrats in the House to move bills that they can use in 2020 to say hey look, while Donald Trump is bragging about his mental stability, we`re getting things done on health care and voting rights and other issues where Democratic base and you know, persuadable independent voters are very much following or trying to pay attention to what Democrats in the House are doing.

At the same time though, there`s a sizeable and growing contingent of House Democrats who say this is not the time for political calculations, impeachment is the right thing to do, it`s simple, we should do it, and we should get it done.

HAYES:  Aaron, you`ve been writing about the sort of political lay of the land here and I thought what you wrote I think today or this morning or yesterday was interesting.  What`s your read on it?

AARON BLAKE, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST:  I think it`s really interesting that Pelosi is starting make this argument that the President wants to be impeached.  This is an argument that`s starting to leak out from the White House as well.  This is apparently their secret strategy here.

I`m skeptical of this.  I think that you know, if you look at Nancy Pelosi, she has made it very clear that she does not want to impeach him.  A great way to make that argument is to tell people that president, in fact, wants you to walk into this big impeachment trap that everybody thinks it is.

But I`m also somewhat skeptical that you know, everybody kind of assumes that impeachment would just be this big disaster, that the lessons of 1998 would apply directly today and this would play into the president`s hand and wind up strengthening him ahead of the 2020 election.

There are some similarities between what happened in the late 1990s and today.  The president is accused of obstruction of justice.  He has tried to cover up certain things.  But that was also an impeachment process that was held right during a midterm election.

This is during an off year they could get it done in three months.  It could be basically be forgotten by the time we get around to the 2020 election.  And the President, unlike the late 1990s is not a popular president.  Bill Clinton was very popular at that time, Donald Trump is not right now.

HAYES:  I think to your point, Betsy.  I thought this line from The Associated Press was interesting and it sort of squares what seems manifestly obvious to me.  Whatever the strategic or tactical considerations, the political principle considerations, Trump has worried that impeachment would be the first line of his political obituary even though he was confident being saved by the Senate which is to say just from a personal ego standpoint, it`s hard to think that Donald Trump wants that.

WOODRUFF:  Certainly.  No president wants to have that mark on their record.  It`s not a benefit.  At the same time without question, there`s a calculus within the White House that having Democrats go after the president with some sort of impeachment proceeding could excite his base and could result in the people who sort of materialized particularly in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

That those blue-collar voters who perhaps wouldn`t be energized by a traditional Republican candidate could be really galvanized if they see kind of the split screen that the Trump administration will present which of course will be Democrats going through a complex and sometimes difficult to understand legal impeachment process versus whatever Trump is doing at the White House and whatever political argument he is making.  And if the economy stays up, that`s something the president obviously is going to be hammering.

HAYES:  Although one point that Aaron just made which Aaron -- you know, the timing here is interesting.  I remember Kavanaugh.  Kavanaugh was an incredibly rallying and unifying force in the American right.  The broad spectrum of never Trumpers and hardcore Trumpers all came together.  There was real enthusiasm and that was right before at midterm.  That`s just a few months.  It kind of faded in the two months it took to get to the midterm.  I mean the timing here is such that this would be like a year from Election Day if that.

BLAKE:  Yes.  And in 1998, this -- the impeachment proceedings in 1998 were launched basically one month before the election.  The -- you know -- so everybody talks about how Democrats had a good midterm election, how Republicans, this really backfired on them.  Well, let`s look two years down the line after 1998.

In the 2000 presidential election, Republicans won back the presidency.  So if impeachment was such this massive blunder, you would think that they would not be able to do that just two years later.  And that`s actually more similar timeline to where we are today.

This is a like I said, a two, three, maybe four-month process.  It would basically be done by the fall if they were to do it right now, and you`d have an entire year to talk about some other things in the 2020 election.

HAYES:  I remember when we had the first shutdown which was like the really brief one.  It was two or three days I think, and people were saying that was going to like impact the midterm elections.  It was like -- and then when I talked to a senator about it, he was like I forgot about the first shutdown.  Betsy Woodruff and Aaron Blake, thank you both.

WOODRUFF:  Thanks, Chris.

BLAKE:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Coming up, new calls to investigate what looks like a cover-up of migrant deaths on the border.  Congressman Joaquin Castro is leading those calls and he joins me next.


HAYES:  We have more information tonight about the 6th migrant child to die after detention by border authorities.  CBS broke the story last night about a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador who died in the care of the office of refugee and resettlement.  A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs ORR, told CBS the girl had a history of congenital heart defects and  entered the facility in March in a medically fragile state.

The spokesperson said the girl suffered complications from a surgical procedure and passed away in September due to fever and respiratory distress.

Now, these circumstances, we should be very clear, they are quite different than those of other migrant child deaths such as this 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vazquez who died in a CBP facility one day after being diagnosed with the flu, a 16-year-old died of the flu.

But it`s not just the 10-year-old girl`s death that`s upsetting, it`s that her death appears never to have been to disclosed for months.  As enterprising immigration reporter Aura Bogato tweeted a few days ago  she started asking CBP about deaths in custody, quote, I went back and forth with CBP about it and have now simplified my question: have their been more than five deaths?  That`s when the agency stopped responding.

Here at All In we, too, tried to get a straight forward answer to that question from CBP.  A spokesperson directed us to their public website, but we were not able to get definitive on the record answers to our questions.

Here with me now, Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas who says the Trump administration covered up the girl`s death for eight months.

Is there anything in the law that requires reporting of this as it stands now?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, (D) TEXAS:  The closest thing, Chris, is an appropriations language in the appropriations bill that requires the administration to report to the appropriations committee when there is a death in custody.  And many of us have been asking after the time that this young girl died whether any migrants died in custody or were seriously injured, and we were never told  that this girl die died in September of last year. 

So, for eight months the congress and the public didn`t know about this.  That to me is a cover up.

HAYES:  I want to play you an exchange with then DHS Secretary Nielsen back in March 6 -- again, this would be months after the death of this girl who apparently again was quite ill, had a congenital heart problem.  This is Nielsen being asked a sort of series of questions around this.  Take a listen.


REP. NANETTE DIAZ BARRAGAN, (D) CALIFORNIA:  Madam Secretary, do you know how many children have died in CBP custody under your tenure as secretary?


BARRAGAN:  Can you give me the numbers of how many children have died?

NIELSEN:  Yes, I can if you give me one second, I just don`t want to misspeak.  But this last we had -- or so far this year we have three, as you know, in CPB custody.


HAYES:  Now, she does not say ORR, which is different, but it seems like a notable evasion there.

CASTRO:  Yeah, that`s right.  And there is no way that the Secretary of DHS wouldn`t know about a death that was handled by ORR.  And if the secretary didn`t know that, then the administration is completely incompetent.

HAYES:  What is the solution here?  I mean, step back for a second and we now have six children who have died.  And the circumstances of some of these are really distressing.  I mean, a 16-year-old dying of the flu is -- should not happen.  It just shouldn`t happen, you know -- very young children, very old folks, but a 16-year-old otherwise healthy dying of a flu, what needs to happen here?

CASTRO:  Well, there are several things, Chris.  And, you know, many of us in congress have gone out and visited ORR sites, Border Patrol sites, processing centers.  And what we  found is that these places are woefully underprepared to deal with migrants and even agents who come into emergency situations.  So, immediately they need to be resourced.  People need to be trained medically on how to handle these emergencies and how to spot medical emergencies.  And so Dr. Raul Reese (ph), who is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is going to be proposing a bill soon to establish better medical standards and humane treatment of migrants.

That bill needs to be passed by the House and the Senate right away.

HAYES:  The position of the White House, just to be clear, they say there is a humanitarian and security crisis on the border.  Democrats won`t play ball, because you don`t like the wall idea and ergo you are not giving the resources and staffing necessary to prevent these kinds of tragedies.  That is their position?

CASTRO:  Yeah, that`s not true at all.  In fact, we have given them billions and billions of dollars, and instead of spending that money on helping make sure that people don`t die in their custody, they are dedicating it to a wall.  Even so, we have said that we are committed to make sure that they have the resources they need to take care of people when they get sick and when they fall ill.

HAYES: One more question, and I`m going to ask you this, because this just came out.  The White House issuing a statement, and you`re on the intelligence committee -- the president issuing what appears to be an executive order, ordering intelligence agencies to cooperate with the review that the attorney general`s order of the spying, that`s the president`s words, that happened in the campaign.

It also appears in Section 2 of the executive order to give the attorney general the ability to declassify or downgrade the classification status of things as he goes through this investigation.  What do you make of this?

CASTRO:  Yeah, that is really amazing.  The difference in cooperation on this spying investigation versus the cooperation the president offered on the Mueller investigation.

And really, Chris, what I think this is, is an attempt by the president to let the women and men of the intelligence community know, FBI agents and others, know that if you investigate him, he is going to come after you, that Bill Barr and others are going to come after you.  That`s what this is.

HAYES:  All right, Congressman Joaquin Castro, thank you so much.

Ahead, the profound implications for journalism and the First Amendment in the Trump administration`s last round of indictments for Julian Assange.  I`ll explain coming up.

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


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, among the many differences between President Donald Trump and one of his potential Democratic challengers, Mayor Pete Buttigeig, is that one served of these men served in the military and the other did not.  Can you guess which one served at -- no.  Obviously, it`s Buttigeig.  He spent eight years in the navy reserves, including a deployment in Afghanistan for a seven-month tour in 2014.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, infamously dodged the draft during the Vietnam War with a sketchy diagnosis of bone spurs in his heels from a Queens podiatrist.  According to The New York Times, that doctor rented office space in one of Fred Trump`s buildings and diagnosed the younger Trump as a favor to the man who gave him a break on his rent increases.

Today, Pete Buttigeig offered an opinion on that whole thing you don`t want to miss.  And that is Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  Mayor Pete Buttigieg gave an interview today to The Washington Post live.  And when Robert Costa asked him if he was ready for President Trump`s attacks, should the two ever meet on a debate stage, his answer is worth hearing in full.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, FORMER MAYOR OF SOUTH BEND, INDIANA AND 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  So, look, I don`t have a problem standing up to somebody who was, you know, working on season seven of Celebrity Apprentice when I was packing my bags for Afghanistan. 

But at the end of the day, it`s not about him. 

 UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I have a question, do you think he should have served in Vietnam?

BUTTIGIEG:  Well, I have a pretty dim view of his decision to use his privileged status to fake a disability to avoid serving in Vietnam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You believe he faked a disability?

BUTTIGIEG:  Do you believe he has a disability?

Yeah.  At least not that one.  He -- no, I don`t mean to -- this is actually really important, because I don`t mean to trivialize disability, but I think that`s exactly what he did when -- I mean when you think about the way somebody can exploit the system.  And needless to say the way he has treat and mocked disabled people is just one more example of the many affronts to just basic decency that this president has inflicted on this country.

But manipulating the ability to get a diagnosis.  And if you were a conscientious objector, I would admire that.  But this is somebody who I think it`s fairly obvious to most of us took advantage of the fact that he was a child of a multimillionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place.

And I know that t hat dredges up old wounds from a complicated time during a complicated war, but I`m also old enough to remember when conservatives talked about character as something that  mattered in the presidency. 


BUTTIGIEG:  And so I think it deserves to be talked about.



HAYES:  Today, the Trump administration announced new criminal charges for Julian Assange.  This is the second round of charges, the first did not indict Assange for publishing classified material, but instead alleged that he sought to aid in the actual hacking of a government password, which if true, clearly isn`t protected by the First Amendment.

Quoting from the first indictment: "to knowingly access a computer without authorized and exceeding authorized access."

Now, today`s indictment is different.  It charges Assange under the 1917 Espionage Act, which is a terrible piece of legislation passed during the first red scare and rife for governmental abuse.  The charge is that his publishing of classified information itself violated the act, stating that Assange, WikiLeaks affiliates and Manning shared the common objective to subvert lawful restrictions on classified information and to publicly disseminate it.  That`s according to the indictment.

This is, to put it bluntly, wrong, unconstitutional, and downright tyrannical.

If Assange`s publishing of classified information runs afoul of the law, so does the work of just about every single serious press outlet, this one included.  The first amendment protects the basic right of the free press and a free people to publish truthful information about matters of public import, whether the government likes it or not.

Classified information is a category for those who work for the state, not for those of us in civil society.  In fact, the Obama administration had actually considered charges of precisely this kind, but ultimately concluded it would violate the First Amendment and had an intolerably destructive effect from the free press.

As The Washington Post reported back in November 2013, justice officials said they looked hard at Assange but realized that they have what they described as a New York Times problem.  If the Justice Department indicted Assange, it would also have to prosecute The New York Times and other news organizations and writers who publish classified material.

This administration, of course, has no such reservations.  The president has been calling the press the enemy of the people for years, and now his hand-picked attorney general, fresh off of covering the president`s tracks, is sicking the power of the DOJ on potentially every single news outlet in the country.  Just what it all means is next.


HAYES:  For the first time ever, the Espionage Act has been invoked against the publication of truthful information about the government.  And in an indictment listing 17 new counts against Julian Assange, the Justice Department attempts to distinguish the WikiLeaks founder from traditional news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post, where many legal scholars say those distinctions  fall flat.

I want to bring in Jameel Jaffer, who is executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, former deputy legal director at ACLU and co-led litigation teams that compelled the Bush administration to disclose the torture memos.

Also with me tonight, Adam Serwer, staff writer for The Atlantic, who has written extensively on press and free speech.

Adam, let me start with you.  You were outspoken on this immediately.  And I think there`s a lot of people who don`t follow this closely and really view Assange as a bad actor.  They view him as odious, and particularly the role that WikiLeaks played in 2016.  What do you say to those people?

ADAM SERWER, THE ATLANTIC:  That`s why this is the perfect venue for Trump to set a precedent for prosecuting the people he really wants to prosecute.  He has picked Assange precisely because liberals loathe him and blame him so much for the elevation of an authoritarian racist president.  But what he is attempting here is attempting to expand his powers so that he can go after the very journalists who have been exposing his corruption for the past  three years.

HAYES:  There`s a tell here, which is interesting to me, that you`ve got these two sets of indictments, right.  So the first doesn`t touch -- there`s always a sort of question lurking in the background, that 2013 reporting I read about like, you know, what -- do you encroach.  They managed to indict him in a way that didn`t seem to do that.  Now you`ve got these.  What do you make of that?

JAMEEL JAFFER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY:  Well, the first indictment did mention the Espionage Act.  It basically said that the violation of this other statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, was in furtherance of an Espionage Act violation.  And so it already sort of raised the specter that something like this was coming.

But this is really what free speech and free press advocates have been worrying about.  You know, this is the first time in a hundred years that the Espionage Act has been used, I mean since the act became law, the first time it`s been used against a publisher for publishing information of public concern.

And it really does cross a new frontier.  You had the Bush Administration begin prosecuting leakers as spies.  And then you had the Obama administration prosecute more Espionage Act cases than all previous administrations combined.  But none of those prosecutions involved a publisher.  Now we have a publisher.

HAYES:  I just want to be clear on that distinction, right.  The people that were prosecuted that were people that had done the leaking.

JAFFER:  That`s right.

HAYES:  And were I think in all cases government employees.

JAFFER:  That`s right.

HAYES:  ...who were -- the government said bound by the classification system.

JAFFER:  Yeah.  There was one other case that involved AIPAC.  It fell apart.  But otherwise, yes, that`s right.  They were all leakers, they were government employees or otherwise bound by the government`s classification system.  This is not that kind of case.  It really is crossing a new, and in my view very dangerous frontier.

HAYES:  Adam, it also strikes me as a kind of message indictment, I mean, for the reasons you said.   I mean, it`s not an accident that the president who says look at these scoundrels there at the back of the room who calls the press the enemy of the people, who has stopped briefings, who is not allowing any information to come out for congressional oversight, that this lands with Bill Barr at the helm of it.

SERWER:  It`s not a coincidence at all.  And I think what people need to understand is this does not mean an end to the leaking of classified information, what this means is that the government will leak the information selectively that it wants to be able to manipulate people politically, but journalists who obtain information for people who are trying to show that the government is not being honest or is doing something illegal or wrong, those people will be prosecuted for reporting those stories.

So, what this is, is essentially...

HAYES:  That`s a great point.

SERWER:  So what is this is essentially making it one-sided so that the government can manipulate the public using classified information any time it wants to, and the public absolutely has no response.

HAYES:  In fact, this comes on the night that the president has ordered -- has given the power to declassify to Attorney General Bill Barr as he runs this investigation of the origins of the  counterintelligence probe of 2016.

And to Adam`s point, it does seem like there`s now a profound asymmetry if this case goes forward.

JAFFER: Right, I think that`s the whole point.  I think Adam is right, that this is about allowing the government to selectively disclose, and it`s about control of information.  Everybody knows, or they should know, that but for the kind of journalism that will be chilled by this indictment, we wouldn`t  know nearly as much as we do about the Bush administration`s interrogation abuses, we wouldn`t know about the Obama administration`s drone program, we wouldn`t know about warrantless wiretapping.  There`s tons of stuff we wouldn`t know about government conduct and government policy that the public has a right to know.

And this indictment is, I think, meant to send a message to the very journalists who do that kind of reporting.

HAYES:  Maybe a dumb and tactical legal question, but I`ll ask it anyway.  Do you have to wait for the trial and some verdict to then appeal it on the grounds of the First Amendment, or can Assange`s attorneys do that now?

JAFFER:  No.  I don`t think they can do it now.  I think they would have to wait.  I mean, it`s not even clear that he`s going to be brought to the United States.

HAYES:  Extradited.

JAFFER:  But you don`t need a prosecution in order to send a very chilling message...

HAYES:  Well, that`s the problem, right, exactly.

JAFFER:  And that`s the real worry, that even without this trial moving forward even one step, the indictment itself is going to send a very chilling message.

HAYES:  Yeah, this is a four-alarm situation.  This is a very, very big deal what happened today.

Jameel Jaffer and Adam Serwer, thank you gentlemen both.

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