CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s not an interference. They have information. I think I`d take it.
HAYES: The president invites foreign states to help keep them in offense.
TRUMP: Oh, let me call the FBI. Give me a break.
HAYES: Tonight, how the president keeps getting away with calling for collusion in public.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He does not know the difference between right and wrong.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Undemocratic, un-American, disgraceful.
HAYES: And how Republicans just blocked a new law that might stop him.
SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): And I will object.
HAYES: Then --
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell you tell what the Hatch Act is and how one violates it?
HAYES: Why the Office of Special Counsel just made the unprecedented recommendation that Kellyanne Conway be fired.
CONWAY: Let me know when the jail sentence starts.
HAYES: Plus, DNC Chair Tom Perez with a big announcement on the candidates for the first Democratic debate. And Senator Bernie Sanders on why his brand of socialism is better than Donald Trump.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He believes in corporate socialism for the rich and powerful, I believe in a Democratic Socialism.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission has just issued a stinging rebuke of the President in the wake of his remarks last night.
I`m quoting here, I would not have thought I needed to say this. Let me make something 100 percent clear to the American public and anyone running for public office. It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with the U.S. election. This is not a novel concept. Any political campaign that receives an offer of a prohibited donation from a foreign source should report that offer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
After a shocking comments embracing for an election interference, it`s clear the president has drawn two lessons from the Mueller report in its aftermath. One is if you`re president, they let you do it. The other is as long as you do the crime out in the open, you`ll be fine. I mean, three years ago he looked into a camera and said these now famous words.
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TRUMP: Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.
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HAYES: Everyone heard that and then spent months and years asking did Donald Trump collude with Russia? He said out loud on camera. Please, Russia hack my political opponent. They did by the way hack his political opponent. And nothing happened to Donald Trump.
And Trump has been under investigation since he made those comments. He is still the president and now he knows the best way to flout the law is to do it as regret aggressively and publicly as possible. And no one will hold them to account.
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GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Your campaign this time, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers the information on their opponent, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?
TRUMP: I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. I don`t -- there`s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, we have information on your opponent. Oh, I think I`d want to hear it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You want that kind of interference in our elections?
TRUMP: It`s not an interference. They have information. I think I`d take it.
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HAYES: There`s so much happening in that clip. Trump is actively inviting for an intervention into America`s elections. And if you think for a second it`s just going to be the Russians, you forget who else Trump has been hanging out with.
We know that an Israeli security firm tried to dig up dirt on former Obama officials to undermine the Iran deal. A private investigation by Amazon CEO and Trump nemesis Jeff Bezos found that Saudi Arabia obtained compromising pictures to share with the parent company of the National Enquirer.
And what, what was the original high profile hack used for geopolitical purposes? North Korea`s hack of Sony. Do you think Kim Jong-un is above lending a hand to an American president who meets with them and praises him, and talks about how much he loves him, and lets him keep his nukes?
At nearly every turn the so-called America first president has worked to benefit foreign interests. He`s been surrounded by people who were secretly on the payroll of foreign interests sometimes. He has undisclosed business interests around the world that we really don`t know anything about. And now he has quite publicly in front of us in a "Russia if you`re listening" style of declaration put an open for business sign on the front door of the White House.
Meanwhile, Republican leadership spent the day bending over backwards to spend Trump`s words. Here`s House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a man who was let`s remember, recorded saying he thinks Putin pays Trump, attempting to defend Trump`s comments under questioning from MSNBC`s Kelly O`Donnell.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are saying --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would you have done?
KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Doesn`t the president have to set a tone about what is right and what is wrong?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think the President has been very clear. The president does not want foreign governments to interfere in our election.
O`DONNELL: He said he would welcome that assistance.
MCCARTHY: He did not say --
O`DONNELL: He said he would look at the information, listen to it, and if there were a problem, he would go to the FBI.
MCCARTHY: I`ve watched the president. I believe the president would always do the right action.
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HAYES: I mean, obviously. This afternoon when Democratic Senator Mark Warner attempted to pass a bill requiring presidential candidates to tell the FBI that any offers from foreign agents, Republicans Senator Marsha Blackburn objected claiming the legislation was overly broad and could hurt DREAMers?
The position of the Republican Party today is the following. Foreign interference is good as long as it helps us and we would like to see more of it if it helps us. Now, whether they say it or not, that is the functional position of the totality the Republican Party through their actions. If it wasn`t, they would do at least one single thing to protect America`s elections.
Joining me now from one the state of the party of law and order, former Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo. He is now an MSNBC Political Analyst. Congressman, one of the things the president said was that people do this all the time. People in Congress do it. This is a common thing for political candidates to accept foreign intelligence. Is that true?
CARLOS CURBELO, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Chris, it is not at all common. And what the president suggested is very dangerous. He has essentially invited every foreign intelligence service to dig up dirt on his opponents and to deliver it to him. Of course, that is very likely a violation of the law.
And secondly, it would in debt the President to foreign countries and foreign interests. So it is not something that`s commonly done. I don`t know anyone who has sought information about opponents from foreign governments. I certainly never did it when I ran for office. And this is something that should be universally condemned.
Thankfully, some Republican senators did speak out today. Senators Romney, Graham, Tillis, Gardner among others, but that`s not enough. All members of Congress Republicans and Democrats should make a strong statement against any kind of foreign interference in our elections.
HAYES: Yes. Let me play -- there were a bunch of Senators who were asked today. I want to play you some of the clips of some of the senators who along the lines of what you were saying said that they would call the FBI or reject any kind of intrigue like that. Take a listen.
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SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (D-SC): If a foreign government comes to you as public official and offers to help your campaign, giving you anything of value, whether it be money or information on your opponent, the right answer is no.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): If a foreign agent approached me with anything including but not limited to dirt on my opponent, I`d call the FBI.
SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): The first phone call of make after it occurred to me would be to the FBI. The second phone call would be to corroborate the information.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If somebody, a foreign adversary called you and said I have information on your opponent, would you call the FBI?
MCCARTHY: I would put it -- I would put it -- I would send it to the authorities, yes.
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HAYES: So it seems to me, Congressman, the rubber hits the road though in terms of Mitch McConnell allowing a vote on legislation that would turn that into actual policy.
CURBELO: That`s right. And the truth is that both houses of Congress should move that legislation. That`s not controversial that`s probably something again that`s already law. And you read the statement from the official at the Federal Elections Commission.
So look, I`m glad those Republicans spoke out and stated clearly that they would follow the law and uphold our democracy but they do have to go one step further. And they have to have courage and they can`t be motivated by fear and they have to say the president is wrong. They can say it respectfully. They don`t have to be nasty.
But I think the American people deserve to hear simple truths. And the simple truth is that the president is wrong to invite foreign interests to intervene in our elections.
HAYES: You know, is there some sense -- I guess this is sort of the thesis that I was just saying, but what do you think about the idea that he`s already accomplished what he needs to, right. I mean, in some ways, it`s an open for business sign has already been sent out into the world.
People don`t have to be rocket scientists if you`re say Mohammed bin Salman who the president has been protecting, whose intelligence agents hacked to death the U.S. columnist whose agenda in the region has been entirely pushed by the American government, sometimes at cross-purposes with their own party. He`s smart enough to understand what the president`s saying to him.
CURBELO: That`s right. The President has reduced what have traditionally been American standards where sure, we have tough competitive elections here, but we don`t invite foreign interfere and we don`t violate the law to try to defeat our opponents. And the president has sent some dangerous signals and this started before he was president.
CURBELO: And you played the clip when he asked the Russians to please publish whatever e-mails they may have. I don`t think -- I hope he doesn`t understand how dangerous and how twisted what he is suggesting really is.
HAYES: All right, Carlos Curbelo former member of Congress from the great state of Florida, thank you very much, sir. I appreciate it.
CURBELO: Good to be with you, Chris.
HAYES: Joining now for more on the president`s lawless behavior former -- Ned Price former Special Assistant to President Obama on the National Security Council, now an MSNBC National Security Analyst and Michelle Goldberg Op-Ed Columnist from the New York Times and an MSNBC Political Analyst.
It is amazing to go -- to watch the clip of Stephanopoulos go back to the "Russia if you`re listening" clip, and now look back at that moment with the context of what we know.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And I think one of the things that we now know is that it wasn`t just that Russia then hacked into Hillary Clinton`s servers. They started trying to do it five hours later, right. I mean they took it as a direct command. And there is no reason to believe that all of these other regimes shouldn`t do the same thing, right.
So you`re right. It wasn`t just one of these you know, occasionally Donald Trump will tweet something that is so riotously outrageous or offensive that it sort of breaks through our numbness and we all freaked out a little -- for a little while, but it doesn`t have any consequences. He -- this wasn`t just a statement. It was an action.
HAYES: That`s a great point. It was a speech act, right? He was saying like -- and Ned -- and Ned, I mean, what I keep sort of obsessing over here is you know, we`ve talked a lot about Russia and obviously Russia played a prior role, but there are just multiple regimes with multiple digital capacities and all kinds of intelligence apparatus is at their disposal with extremely vested interests.
And let`s just be clear, on both sides of an election, like you do not want to create a kind of like American election as digital proxy war for very various global regimes.
NED PRICE, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I think Donald Trump is under the illusion that the Russians favored him in the 2016 election. They didn`t favor him. They favored the candidate who would work to secure their interest which is precisely what he did.
All that to say in 2020, the Russia or the Chinese or the North Koreans or whomever could favor another candidate. Look, I think you`re right that President Trump you know, has reached his having you no decency moment. And the answer is clearly no.
But this isn`t the first time he`s essentially put a for sale sign on the Oval Office. I mean, in some ways we didn`t learn all that much about Donald Trump yesterday. He and his team has sorted broadcast this attitude for the better part of two years. Just as you said, as long as they do it out in the open, they seem to be fine.
In July 2017 when Trump was first asked about this, he said you know what, most people would have taken that meeting referring to the Trump Tower meeting. Rudy Giuliani has recently touted his plan travel to the Ukraine to pick up dirt on the Biden campaign.
Jared Kushner recently told Axios, he didn`t know if he would go to the FBI if this were to happen all over again. And now you have this. I think that the point is right. This team has done this with impunity. They have paid no legal, no political, no price otherwise.
I think the one thing that I would add though, is not only have they paid no price, they actually got the ultimate prize. They got the Presidency of the United States by actually pursuing this strategy in 2016.
HAYES: This to me is the most sort of troubling aspect of the moment we`re in right now which is that it just seems to me that they keep learning the lesson Trump particularly that he can push and push and push and there`s nothing on the other side.
GOLDBERG: Right, yes, and that basically as long as he`s delivers priorities for the far right, they`re not going to stand up to him and the Democratic Party has shown or at least Democrats in the House are going -- have shown that they are unwilling to take any real risks to hold him to account.
One of the things that you realize when you read the Mueller report was that as kind of criminal as his first few years in office were, there was a lot of things that he was trying behind the scenes to do that were even more obstructive or that were even more outrageous. And there were still adults to push back on him but there was also fear of what was actually going on in the Mueller investigation.
Now the Mueller investigation is over and in the absence of an impeachment inquiry, he doesn`t have something hanging over his head to restrain him.
HAYES: Yes. What do you think -- what sort of incentives and structured does this set up now as we head towards a presidential election, Ned?
PRICE: Well, it sets up a lot of incentives and structures for foreign governments to do what many of them have always tried to do. I think you know, we tend to think about this idea of foreign interference in our election is something new. That is far from the case.
The 2017 unclassified intelligence report that the intelligence community put out on Russian interference made the case that the Russians have been doing this for decades. Other countries have tried to do this. Obviously, the Information Age has set up a new dynamic. But I think you know, there is now a for sale sign as you said on the -- on the Oval Office.
It is not only President Trump. I think he has set a precedent and this Congress has set a precedent by failing to take you know, a very simple step in making this illegal to do what`s been done. And it sends a very disturbing message to governments that would want to meddle in our election around the world. It is open season. 2020 is right around the corner.
HAYES: You know, the brain breaking part of this which is I think part of -- part of a theme is we are used to politicians being hypocritical or like pretending to have some sort of universal moral code and then like applying it selectively. The President doesn`t pretend to have a universe. Like it`s -- it literally is like if it helps me or my family or my campaign, it`s OK, and if it doesn`t, it doesn`t, and like that`s just the way he views everything.
GOLDBERG: Right. And he also thinks everyone else is doing the same thing. And so sort of you can tell whenever he accuses anybody else of doing something, it`s in some sense a signal about either, how he operates or what he thinks the standards are.
HAYES: And that`s why I think everyone should keep their eyes on the ball about how this government conducts his foreign policy with respect regimes they know can help them like the Saudis for instance. Michelle Goldberg and Ned Price, thank you both.
Still ahead, according the Office of Special Counsel, Kellyanne Conway should be fired from the White House and removed from Federal service. We`ll explain why in two minutes.
HAYES: What appears to be the first time ever, a federal ethics official appointed by the president, a career prosecutor, a former Republican aide is calling on the President to fire a senior advisor because of repeated flagrant violations of federal law. The Office of Special Counsel, no relation Robert Mueller is urging the White House to remove Kellyanne Conway for brazenly disobeying the Hatch Act which bars federal officials from using their authority to try and influence an election.
Now, Conway weighs in on candidates for office all the time both in person, in the White House, and on her Twitter account. She`s even mocked the toothlessness of that law.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m quoting the Office of Special Counsel which says that impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama Special election.
CONWAY: Blah, blah, blah. Listen, right, blah, blah, blah. If you`re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it`s not going to work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not trying to silence you. The Office of Special Counsel said you violated it.
CONWAY: Let me know when the jail sentence starts.
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HAYES: The White House took great umbrage of the OSC`s findings writing in a letter from the counsel`s office that OSC`s report makes unfair and unsupported claims against a close advisor president and is the product of a blatantly unfair process.
I`m joined by Ian Bassin, former Associate White House Counsel who had the Hatch Act in his portfolio, now executive director of the non-profit Protect Democracy. All right, you worked on Hatch Act stuff in the Obama White House. How seriously did you guys take it.
IAN BASSIN, FORMER ASSOCIATE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Very seriously. When we as Americans pay our taxes, we`re not making contributions to the Trump campaign or the Obama campaign. We`re paying for our government to function. That`s what this law is about. It`s making sure that the government works on behalf of all of us and not on electing particular candidates for office.
When I was in the White House policing the Hatch Act, we would go around every six months to every office in the building and people cared. They wanted to follow the law because they understood that it was about public trust, that they weren`t using taxpayer money to advance a partisan end. This White House clearly just doesn`t care.
HAYES: I mean, they clearly don`t care. She mocked it. But I guess the question is like, isn`t it kind of a gray area anyway everyone working the west wing. Like it`s all political -- I`ve always sort of thought about -- like I get why the Hatch Act exists because you can`t have the army of federal employees marshaled every four years, right, as like a kind of daily machine to go out -- and that`s the way it used to be obviously before we had civil service protections and before these things. So I get that part of it. But people who work in the White House, it feels like well, it`s fundamentally a political job anyway.
BASSIN: Yes. And there`s a lot of gray area to this. And one of the things that I realized and when I got into the White House was do you remember that scandal back in the Bush administration about Karl Rove using an RNC e-mail account.
BASSIN: I actually think they were trying to comply with the Hatch Act. I think that was a really innocent reason for doing that. There`s a lot of gray areas. Here`s what the problem is. What OSC is pointing out is not a gray area.
What OSC is saying is, if you use your official office, your official government title and go out there holding yourself out as a representative of the American people in your public official capacity, you can`t endorse candidates and try to win an election.
And that`s what she`s done and she`s done it repeatedly, and they`ve pointed it out to her and her response is what you just showed.
HAYES: When the jail sentence -- right. So what you`re saying is like yes, there`s gray areas, yes it`s complicated. This is black-and-white stuff that you just -- and that`s -- and that`s -- you know, it was striking to read that letter because this is not -- I`ve never seen -- like no one ever gets dinged for this right? No one ever -- like is there anyone --
BASSIN: Wait a minute. This isn`t a ding. If you`ve never heard a government Special Counsel investigator bureaucrat scream through a document, this is a scream. Now, why is Henry Kerner Turner screaming. Henry Kerner who as you pointed out was appointed by Donald Trump. Henry Kerner who is a long-time operative of the conservative movement --
HAYES: Yes, Republican lawyer.
BASSIN: Republican Prosecutor. This is not a hit job by someone -- and the reason he`s screaming and saying things like if left unpunished, her actions erode the principled foundation of our democratic system, the rule of law, is because he`s saying look, we have laws in this country. And if the president can say to his top officials they don`t apply to you, ignore them, what happens to the system.
Yesterday, the president said ignore the Federal Campaign Finance Laws. Today he says ignore the Hatch Act. What`s it going to be tomorrow, ignore bribery laws? At what point do we cease to be a government of laws and not of men?
HAYES: So what is the recourse here? I mean, that this is part of what`s so maddening about watching all this unfold, right. I mean, OK, like literally a sternly worded scream from the Office of Special Counsel, and Kelly and Conway is up there being like when is the jail sentence start like ha, ha, ha.
The President is like, of course, I take foreign -- like what`s -- I mean, who`s to stop anyone from doing anything right now?
BASSIN: And therein lies the problem because there is no recourse here. The assumption has been if Congress passes a law and appoints an office to enforce the law, and that enforcement mechanism is to tell the president hey, you need to remove this person, they`re blatantly ignoring the law, and the president says go walk off a pier.
BASSIN: Where does that leave us as a country?
HAYES: And this is -- to me, this is the full test right now of the Trump administration at this moment, right. And we haven`t -- it hasn`t been on like you know, there are bigger things that he could be testing on. Like he could be starting a war under false pretences, a thing that happened recently, but this is these small -- relatively small things Hatch Act violations of just like testing what the law actually means when the rubber hits the road for the most powerful person in the country.
BASSIN: You talk to the experts -- and we do this at Protect Democracy, who`ve studied how autocrats have dismantled democracies around the world in the 21st century, and what they tell you is they don`t roll the tanks into the middle of the square.
BASSIN: They slowly pull the threads out of the system until there`s no system left. And what you`re watching happen with the president who`s yesterday his lawyers went to court and said Congress cannot investigate the president for breaking the law. Last night he invited foreign governments to interfere in our elections.
Today his own appointees are saying your appointees are breaking law and you`re not doing anything about it. The president is poking his finger in the eye of Americans and saying this is Trump stand, not the United States of America. Are you going to do anything about it.
HAYES: That is exactly where we`re at. Ian Bassin, it`s always good to have you here.
BASSIN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, DNC chair Tom Perez joins me exclusively with tonight`s big announcement about the first Democratic debates which will air right here on MSNBC in just 13 days. Circle your calendar. Who made the cut and how next.
HAYES: Well, folks, we are just 13 days away from the first two debates of the 2020 election and they are being held right here on MSNBC along with NBC and Telemundo. And tonight, we now know the 20 Democratic candidates who made the cut to participate in that two-night event.
They are as follows and take a deep breath here. Ready? Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, Former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Texas Congressman Julian Castro, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, California Senator Kamala Harris, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Washington governor Jay Inslee, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Congressman Beto O`Rourke, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, California Congressman Eric Swalwell, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, self-help author Marianne Williamson, and former tech executive Andrew Yang. Julian Castro of course is a former HUD secretary.
The candidates will be split into two of ten -- sorry about screwing that up -- who will participate in two separate debates held over two consecutive nights on June 26th and 27th with moderators Rachel Maddow, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Jose Diaz-Balart and Savannah Guthrie.
The DNC decision to cap the participants at 20 based on their standing in polls and how many donations they have received left for fairly big-name contenders off the stage including Montana Governor Steve Bullock whose campaign maintains that he should have been included.
The job of whittling down the candidates is not an easy one. Here to talk about who got in and why is the chair of the DNC Tom Perez. Well, let me just start, Tom, by saying, I don`t envy your job which I`m saying that honestly and not as flattery.
Like it genuinely seems you have a hard problem on your hands to figure out the best way to do this. Is there some part of you that looks at say Governor Bullock or Congressman South Moulton who are you know, elected representatives in good standing in the Democratic Party. Steve Bullock, he`s the only state-wide elected I think from a -- state Trump carried and think well it`s kind of a failure on our part that they`re not included.
TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DNC: Well, first of all, Chris, I`m looking forward to partnering with NBC, and Telemundo, MSNBC in less than two weeks. And you know, this job has its challenges but I wouldn`t want to be anywhere else because we`re taking back our democracy.
And, you know, Steve Bullock and Seth Moulton, two people I know and respect and like, and I worked with when I was labor secretary. And so, it certainly isn`t easy when we have to do these things. At the same time we drew these rules and announced these rules months ago. We did that because we wanted to give every candidate who was in a fair shake and fair notice. And that`s exactly what we did. And so, this does not preclude them from making the debate stage next month. And if they do, we will welcome them with open arms.
HAYES: So we got 20, it`s going to be divided over two nights. You made very early decision which I think is commendable of not having a kind of like poll-based tiering, right, so there is the kid`s table debate that it was called last time around 2016.
This is sort of a strange question because I work here at this network and working in partnership with you, I have no idea how this process is being run. It`s above my pay grade by literal sense or some group of people that are dong it. But it`s not just a draw, right? I mean there are some process being done here so that it`s neither tiered but also some sense of kind of balance between two nights, is that the basic idea?
PEREZ: The challenge that we are trying to -- the needle we are trying to thread, Chris, is that we want to make sure that we maintain two nights where we have maximum eyeballs. We didn`t want to do JV varsity --
PEREZ: -- and at the same time if you simply throw 20 names into a hat, so to speak, and pick them out randomly, we run a risk of just luck of the draw having folks who have been polling near the top all on one night.
PEREZ: And so what we did, again, in consultation, and together with NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, is to look at the two-tier draw, if you will.
HAYES: I see.
PEREZ: And a number of people who are above 2 percent will be in one category and below 2 percent in another. And if that number for instance is say 8, who are above 2 percent, we don`t know -- I don`t know the exact final number, but let`s say it`s eight then you`ll have a draw from those eight. Four and four. Four will go one night and four will go the next. And similarly from the other 12, six go one night, six go the next.
HAYES: So you don`t end up with a situation which I -- so just I understand (INAUDIBLE) situation because there`s -- there some clustering at the top. You know, there`s about four or five or six candidates who sort of above say 5 percent and then there`s a whole bunch that are below that threshold. So, the idea you`re talking about 2 percent is that you don`t end up with just sheer lottery like the four top people --
HAYES: -- in one night and not on the other night. You sort of make sure that there is a mix essentially across the sort of spectrum of polling on both nights.
PEREZ: That`s exactly right. And that`s why we are going to have in effect a draw of one set of participants and another draw another set of participants. And that`s how we try to solve for this goal we have which is we want to -- both nights, we`re going to have great people on the stage. I want to make sure that everybody is watching Wednesday and Thursday night.
HAYES: Let me ask you a personal question. As I`m talking to you this. I mean I`ve known you for a long time. I introduced you many way for a while you were civil rights lawyers, Department of Justice secretary you were secretary in the Department of Labor. You worked in government. This just seems like a completely like distinct and strange enterprise that you`re running that you find yourself in. Like, what is your lifelike trying to manage this thing?
PEREZ: Well, I will tell you, here`s why I ran for the job. Our democracy is on fire, Chris, and it`s a five-alarm blaze. After November 8th, 2016.
HAYES: The way you`re dealing with that is you`re having to parse out like who`s got the 1 percent polling. It`s just very hard problem that you`ve sent yourself to.
PEREZ: Well, they`re challenging times. But you know what? The North Star is always fairness. I know I will disappoint some folks.
PEREZ: If I`m a fan of Steve Bullock`s, I understand that now. And I understand that which is why we`re going to continue to make sure that everybody and I`m confident that he`s going to continue to campaign hard. But we`ve got to make sure that everybody at the end of the day understands that what our North Star was, was that everybody got a fair shake.
PEREZ: We`ve set forth the rules early. Transparently we didn`t change the rules in the middle of the game. There was a very strongly held view by many, many people in 2016 that these rules were designed as an effort to help one candidate over another. And we`re not doing that here. And I hope people see that. They may disagree with some of our decisions, but I hope they see that what we`re doing every single day is to make sure --
PEREZ: -- that this incredibley talented group of candidates, everybody gets a fair shake to communicate their vision. And then we`re going to talk about issues in less than two weeks. We`re not going to be talking about hand size. We will talk about health care and climate --
HAYES: That`s a fair prediction.
PEREZ: -- and all the critical issues.
HAYES: All right. Well, like I said, you have a very hard job. I think you`re handling with the diploma. DNC`s Chair Tom Perez, thank you.
PEREZ: Thank you very much. Have a great night.
HAYES: You, too. Coming up, one of the candidates who`s pulling near the top and who will be on that stage is Senator Bernie Sanders joins me. His defense of democratic socialism ahead. Plus, tonight`s Thing 1, Thing 2 starts next.
HAYES: Thing one tonight, oh, how the Trumps love them on Twitter.com. They will tweet any time, anywhere, about anything. And every now and then, boy, do they really step in it as Donald Trump, Jr. did today. We tried to tweet threaten Republican Congressman Justin Amash who has of course been calling for daddy Trump to be impeached. Junior writing, See you soon, Justin. I hear Michigan is beautiful during primary season.
For which Amash replied, if it`s what you say, I love it especially later in the summer.
See, that`s a call back. And the time Donald Trump Jr. accepting offer of election interference from the foreign power. Twitter burn.
And then Trump senior decided this will be a good day to start attacking other Twitter users for their spelling after he spotted a one-letter typo by the "Chris Cuomo Show." Doesn`t any better things to do. The President either spilled diet coke on his phone or this was his burn quote, "Is equals if spell! Not like Chris.
Whatever it was, Trump`s timing was not great since it preceded by about 12 hours one of his all time greatest misspellings. The "Prince of Whales," this thing too in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Donald Trump has never really been one for spelling or reading or geography so when he tweeted this morning about the quote, "Queen of England (U.K.)," well, nobody was going to get in the weeds with him in the whole England versus Britain versus United Kingdom thing, it`s complicated.
But what`s not at all complicated is what he wrote right after that about how he talked to the Prince of Whales. No, that`s not how you spell that.
Trump tried to pull the delete and retweet move, when I happened to have done myself few times. But it was too late. The whale have left the barn and the photo shots came rolling in like this and this one and this one.
This one features Aquaman, in case you couldn`t tell. And there`s this one, this one, this one, this one. This one is actually a meme, not a photo shop, but its but its caption quote, "Does the Prince of Whales know about the Saudi Prince Salmon? They can`t both control the sea!"
All in all, another good day on Twitter.com for the President of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump`s very, very large brain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Amid the apparently ceaseless wave of sketchiness coming from the White House these days, it is very easy to forget that there are not one but two sitting Republican congressmen indicted last year before going on to win reelection. Chris Collins of Western New York under indictment for insider trade in and Duncan Hunter the vaping congressman from California who in a 60 count indictment was accused of using campaign funds for personal expenses and then trying to cover it up.
There was a wrinkle in Hunter`s case. He was indicted along with his wife whom he promptly threw under the bus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So are you saying that it`s more her fault than your fault?
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, I`m saying when I went to Iraq in 2003 the first time --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
HUNTER: -- I gave her power of attorney and she handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got into Congress because I`m gone five days a week, I`m home for two. So she -- and she was also the campaign manager. So whatever she did on that, that`ll be looked at too, I`m sure. But I didn`t do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. There was more of the charging documents including what appeared to be campaign money used for personal relationships, as when the indictment noted, but Hunter once spent campaign funds for personal stay at a D.C. hotel where the so called Individual 14 who is not his wife because she was named in the indictment. You can imagine the family conversations after all of this.
Well today, the other shoe dropped. His wife pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against him.
That`s probably not great news for the congressman who is scheduled for trial in September, but it does leave plenty of time to start buttering up the President for pardon.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights. And that is what I mean by democratic socialism.
HAYES: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders giving a full throated defense of democratic socialism yesterday, explicitly laying out why in his view it`s the only way to defeat Donald Trump. Sanders remains in the top tier of Democratic candidates and Republicans who think many voters will blanch at the very label socialist who keeps running around saying that they would love to be running against a guy who`s a real died in the wool socialist.
A lot of people aren`t scared of that word anymore. A recent poll found that four in 10 Americans say they would prefer living in a socialist country including 55 percent of women between 18 and 54. Sanders shouldn`t have a problem getting those votes. It`s the folks not in that group the speech seem to directed to.
And joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders, 2020 presidential candidate. Here`s my first question, why does it matter at the end of the day, the term? Like the agenda is the agenda, the program you had program, people might like it, they might not like -- you`re waving your finger at me, but why does the term matter? Why even fight about it?
SANDERS: OK, I will tell you why, Chris. You know, I`m thinking that over the last 40, 45 years there have been 20 some odd elections, and every candidate who runs for office say we need to improve health care, we need to improve education, we need to improve the environment. But not a lot happens.
Today, the average American worker is earning an inflation account for dollars the same amount of money as a worker did 43 years ago. Today, you have massive levels of income and wealth inequality, three families earning more wealth than the bottom half of America. And why does that happen? Is it that the candidates are liars? I don`t think so. None -- most cases. Many cases they are very decent people, trying to do their best.
What we have to recognize and the reason that I use the term Democratic socialism is because I believe that we need policies to protect working families and not just the 1 percent. But in addition to that, it is imperative to understand why so little progress is being made economically.
And that is, and I think my campaign is unique in saying this, if you want real change in America, if you want health care for all, if you want real climate change reform, if you want education opportunities available for all, we have got to take on the ruling class of America.
SANDERS: That is Wall Street, the drug companies, the insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex. And what I am saying is that I as President can`t do it alone. The only way we bring about substantial change in this country is when millions of people stand up and fight for that change. And that`s why our campaign is called us not me because no President no matter how well-intentioned can do it alone.
HAYES: Well let me ask you this that so one of the sort of touchstone points in the speech is about FDR and the new deal and the economic bill of rights. And again I would agree with you that -- well as critics called him a socialist, and by today`s term you`ve been called socialist. But FDR didn`t call himself a socialist. A socialist at the time, so he was peddling pale pink pales and he was basically a sell out capitalist. He probably did that for a reason, right? I mean that was a political judgment by FDR about his own efficacy. Why does the word matter more than the agenda?
SANDERS: Because it is imperative for people to understand -- look, a lot of people are going to say a lot of good things. But for two reasons, I think the word democratic socialism is relevant. Because if you are serious about, A, defeating Trump`s authoritarianism, which by the way is an international phenomenon, you have to do what Roosevelt did and say, you know, what I am taking on the ruling class. And you remember I mentioned this yesterday, and these people hate me and I welcome their hatred.
In other words, you cannot go forward unless we are prepared to take on incredibly powerful --
SANDERS: -- special interests. There is no shortcut around that.
And second of all, when I use the word democratic socialism what I mean is not that A, we`ve got to improve the health care system. I mean that economic rights, our human rights, people are entitled to health care, to education, to a clean environment, to retirement security, to decent housing.
This is not just some abstract idea. Freedom of speech is what America is about. I believe that economic rights must also be about what America is about. And by the way, you mentioned in your preface that Republicans are just chomping at the baits --
HAYES: They say that, that`s what they say. They say they`re very excited about this and that you`re going to scare off people. And this -- they would love nothing more than run again socialist.
SANDERS: Let`s take a look at some of the polls there. We`re beating Trump in some cases by 10 points. But the point here --
HAYES: It`s early.
SANDERS: It is, absolutely.
HAYES: Let`s not --
SANDERS: I accept that, OK. But, the other point that I would make, Chris, is that we live in many respects in a socialist society today if the definition of that is massive federal aid to a certain group of people.
SANDERS: Problem right now is you have as, you know, Martin Luther King Jr. talked about, we`ve got socialism for the rich but rugged free -- and a bit free enterprise --
SANDERS: -- for working people. We have to turn that around on its head.
HAYES: You just said something, you talked a fair amount about sort of international authoritarianism, sort of an international force. And I thought about it a little bit in the context of the president said yesterday about, you know, welcoming a Russian help. My first question is, what is your position if you were offered help from a foreign government or foreign adversary, would you call the FBI? Is that your position?
SANDERS: It is illegal, so yes I would.
HAYES: And I guess my second question is, are you worried about that aspect in this campaign? And, you know, we talked at the top it`s not just Russia, but like Saudis for instance. You`ve been very outspoken about the U.S. backed Saudi war in Yemen. The Saudis have tons of interest and a lot of investment and Donald Trump being the President of the United States, he`s given them free reign (ph). Is a live issue to you, the fact that if Bernie Sanders were the nominee like, the Saudis probably would like to see you defeated.
SANDERS: You think so. Yes, I would agree with you. Look, here is what I think we should be very nervous about above and beyond your legitimate concerns, and that is we have a president who doesn`t believe in the constitution or doesn`t understand the constitution, thinks he is above the law. And I think that what we are likely to see, I hope I`m wrong, but we are likely to see is a president who will merge the agencies of the federal government and his position as president and combine that with his position --
SANDERS: -- as a candidate. And we should be very mindful of that. And I think we should all be watchful as to how we proceed.
HAYES: Well, I guess that`s the question is what to be done about it. I think you -- I mean that seems like a live issue. We saw today the letter from the office of special counsel of Hatch Act violation which is designed.
HAYES: Do you think that -- I mean what I hear from you, do you think that`s important actually? That`s not a trivial thing.
SANDERS: I do. And it`s not just Ms. Conway, you know, it is -- I don`t think, you know, I don`t think in his own mind he sees much different. He`s a candidate, he`s the president, what`s the problem? Use all the resources you can to win in addition to the fact that he is a pathological liar and all and that he will have the backing of a lot of very, very wealthy people in this country including his own personal wealth.
So yes, it is in my view a real issue of concern. But it comes down -- let me respond and tell you what I think the antidote is. And the antidote is a strong progressive message that says to the working people of this country and to the young people that now is the time in this unprecedented moment in American history for people to become involved in the political process. And you go -- I go back to the word democratic socialist. It`s not the same old, same old.
SANDERS: We`ve got to stand up, we got to fight back, and we have to beat oligarchy and we have to defeat authoritarianism and Donald Trump as well.
HAYES: All right, Senator Bernie Sanders, who`s a senator from Vermont, 2020 presidential candidate who will be on that debate stage. One of the two nights, 13 days from now. Thanks for making time.
SANDERS: Thank you.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: That was a super smart, super interesting interview and you asked him totally different things than he ever gets asked and that was great.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END