STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: And that`s going to do it for HARDBALL for now. I`m Steve Kornacki. Chris Matthews will be back here on Monday. Thank you for joining us and "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: You know what I know about Alex, he was a great student at Harvard, he`s Hispanic which I -- which I so admire.
HAYES: A big loss for the president as yet another cabinet member resigns and disgraced.
TRUMP: He`s a Hispanic man, he went to Harvard, a great student.
HAYES: Trump`s Labor Secretary is out thanks to a deal he cut with sex predator Jeffrey Epstein.
TRUMP: I wasn`t a big fan of Jeffrey Epstein, that I can tell you. And now if you look, the remnants hurt this man.
HAYES: Tonight, new scrutiny of all the President`s men amid news his Acting Labor Secretary was a sweatshop lobbyist.
TRUMP: I think you know Pat. He`s a good man, highly recommend.
HAYES: Then, new calls for a complete overhaul of border patrol after the head of the agency is linked to a notorious Facebook group.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Top Border Patrol officials have been aware of the Facebook group and it`s egregious contents for many months and even years.
HAYES: And just one day after caving on the census, Trump tries to spin his defeat.
TRUMP: Not only didn`t I back down, I backed up.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We begin with breaking news tonight. Shocking new pictures tonight from the Trump detention camps on the southern border. Images of men tightly packed into cages as Vice President Mike Pence visited the border on what was supposed to be something of a PR tour.
The administration disputing reports of horrific conditions for migrants. That`s what they say, this is the reality as Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey who was there wrote "the pool was taken into an outdoor porter at the McAllen border station around 5 p.m. where almost 400 men were in caged fences with no cots. The stench was horrendous. When the men saw the press arrived, they began shouting and wanted to tell us they`ve been in there 40 days or longer."
"The men said they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. It was sweltering hot. Agents were guarding the cages wearing face masks. Most of the men did not speak English and looked dirty. They said they`ve been there for 40 days or more upon questioning from the pool."
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not a terrorist. We are not a terrorist. We are not a criminal.
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HAYES: Joining me now, Jonathan Ryan, CEO and President of RAICES which is the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas. Jonathan, I know your organization has represented people who have been in this facility and others like it. Is this what you`ve been hearing about what the conditions are like?
JONATHAN RYAN, CEO AND PRESIDENT, RAICES: Consistently and for many years, Chris. You and I first met actually down in McAllen outside I believe probably of the same -- this same station. And I`ve spoken with individuals from Somalia 15 years ago about these facilities. I`ve spoken with Central American children this year about these facilities. And their accounts are consistent and they are horrific.
The things that take place are beyond the conditions that you see on your T.V. screens which show people packed in with no pillows, no comforters, you can even see the water coolers placed conveniently outside of the place where they`re accessible to these individuals. but frankly, it gets much worse than that.
The treatment that we hear about from the officers themselves indicates not an aberration from training but truly training itself. Rough treatment, bodychecks, disgusting language, it`s all common things inside of these facilities because that is the culture, and frankly, this is what these facilities exist to do, to further terrorize immigrants and frankly to make them give up their rights so that lawyers such as those at RAICES are unable to help them to get the protection that they deserve.
HAYES: So one of the things -- you talked about the duration for which these facilities have been terrible which we`ve had many people who cover this peat for a long time who said that. One of the things that seems to me new and different here are the duration of time that we`re hearing individuals detained in what are essentially makeshift facilities that are supposed to hold people for 72 hours.
What do you say about the fact that we`re hearing people with 20 and 40 days in pens of 400 people with nowhere to sleep?
RYAN: It`s true that the conditions that we see today have been around for many years. But it`s also absolutely the case that what we`re seeing now is a scaled up, toughened up, and unfortunately more streamlined in its own devious way and devastating way to cause more harm to more people.
We`ve never seen anything like the images that are coming out from today`s visit. And to your point is if this was to have been constructed as a P.R. opportunity, I think it appears to have blown up in the face of the vice- president significantly because I am shocked even knowing what I know, I`m shocked by the images that I`ve seen.
HAYES: Jonathan Ryan of RAICES Texas which provides a legal support and representation for many of the migrants down at the border who are seeking asylum, which is, of course, legal under U.S. law. Jonathan, thank you very much.
RYAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Before -- joining me now, Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii who was a Member of the Judiciary Committee. Senator, your reaction to the images that we`re seeing from the visit of the Vice President and some of your colleagues. In fact, the chair of your committee if I`m not mistaken Lindsey Graham was in there, Mike Lee as well who I believe is on your committee as well. They were down there during this trip. What`s your reaction to this?
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Well, based on what your -- the prior person just said, they saw the tremendous overcrowding. I heard people shouting they`re not criminals, tremendous overcrowding which is what their own I.G. that they -- has said. Dangerous overcrowding, extended stays in these facilities would endanger the health and safety of these people and that`s what`s going on.
And if in fact, this is what they saw, I`d be very curious to hear what Vice President Pence and Chairman Lindsey Graham have to say because -- what, are they going to say everything`s great, you know everything`s done -- going great which is how the president describes what`s going on in the border.
HAYES: Yes. The president spoke early this morning. I don`t know if we have that tape and that -- I want to show you what the President had to say this morning about the trip and the conditions in the facilities. Take a listen.
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TRUMP: Today in a few hours, Vice President Pence and the head of Homeland Security are taking the press and Congresspeople into detention center. And we`re the ones that said they were crowded. They are crowded because we have a lot of people. But they`re in good shape. We`re taking a tours there. I`d love to be there but I`m going to Ohio, Wisconsin --
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HAYES: They`re in good shape and this is what -- this is what the Vice President has to say. He tweeted this if we have that tweet. He -- this is what he had to say after he -- after he visited the facility, we`ll get that tweet in a second. What do you want to say to the president after seeing these images?
HIRONO: These are images very similar to what we have seen before where the administration kept saying and of course the President is saying that these facilities are being run well and that nobody is deprived of anything. So these are images comport much more closely than with what we`ve all been seeing that there`s tremendous overcrowding.
And at the same time, here`s an administration that thinks that by being cruel to people especially the children and these facilities, that`s going to stop people from coming over, at the same time cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the northern triangle countries where most of these people are coming from.
So the cruelty that is being subjected -- that we`re seeing is unconscionable and I`m just wondering you know, are you trying to find what Pence said because I don`t know how anybody can go to a place like that where the smell, the heat, the overcrowding is obvious. And what exactly did Pence say about the conditions there?
HAYES: He said that -- something to the effect that even under great overcrowding, that the conditions were humane. "Toured the Donna Processing Center, the Second Lady saw firsthand how even the face of our overwhelmed facilities, CBP is providing humane and compassionate care. Congress must reform our laws to end this unsustainable crisis of illegal immigration of the border." Humane and compassionate.
HIRONO: They must have a very different definition of humane and compassionate where people are incarcerated basically and they don`t have access to showers, they don`t have some other basic necessities. They have a very different definition of humane and compassionate.
HAYES: What is -- your colleagues, I don`t know where your vote was on that $4.6 billion supplemental package to DHS but it passes broad bipartisan support in the Senate. There are some controversy in the House but it passed there and was sign into law. There`s a question now of is the problem your capacity of money or is it something deeper about the culture of CBP and ICE so you keep particularly running facilities like this. What is your view?
HIRONO: It`s both. Obviously, there`s a culture of I would say cruelty and sadism, I would say, in these facilities, not by everyone of course. But when you have conditions like that where people are all smashed together and the president keeps talking about these migrants as less than human, I think that you create an environment where certain kinds of behaviors and statements that are very detrimental and not regarding these people as human beings comes to the fore, and that`s what`s happening.
HAYES: Senator Mazie Hirono, thank you so much for being with me. One small just addendum to what I just said. The president -- the vice president`s tweet was about the Donna Processing Center. That`s another facility than this center which is at McAllen which we saw. Although one can imagine that the conditions aren`t surprisingly different there and we have not heard any comment here.
Josh Dawsey who is the pool reporter from the Washington Post who was there who I should say to his credit was on full duty and according to his full report, negotiated with the Vice President`s staff and the Secret Service to be let into this facility which was not -- if I understand his reporting, the pool report initially on the tour. Kudos to Josh and to the crew that got in there.
He talked to the vice-president afterwards. The vice-president basically said he wasn`t surprised by what he saw. These horrifying pictures come just hours after the Acting Inspector General of DHS testified before Congress about the terrible conditions they`ve seen and the dangers of those conditions pose.
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JENNIFER COSTELLO, ACTING INSPECTOR GENERAL, DHS: Our recent unannounced inspections revealed a situation far more grievous than those previously encountered by our inspectors. For instance, when our team arrived at the El Paso del Norte Processing Center, they found that the facility which has a maximum capacity of 125 detainees had more than 750 detainees on-site. The following day that number increased to 900.
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HAYES: Also testifying at that oversight hearing, several members of Congress who have been inside some of those facilities who described what they saw through their colleagues and clearly as Senator of Hirono was just saying, there`s a combination of factors in play including an actual appreciable uptake in border apprehensions of people seeking asylum, and a culture at Customs and Border Protection that seems frankly at least from the outside and for the news we`re getting pretty rotten to its core.
Just last week for example, ProPublica reported on a Facebook group for current and former border agents filled with sexist memes and mockery of immigrant deaths. At the time, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said "these posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor, integrity I see and expect from our agents day in day out.
But get this. In a new piece out today, the Intercept found that not only was Provost a member of that same Facebook group, she even commented on a post albeit not on any of the racist or sexist content. The Intercept report she has since left the group. Here with me now to talk about what`s gone so wrong with the culture at CBP Ryan Devereaux, the Intercept reporter who broke that story and Jenn Budd who is a former Senior Border Patrol Agent.
Ryan, I want to come to you a second. Jenn, I want to begin with you. You worked for CBP. You served as an agent. What is your reaction to what we`re learning now and what you are seeing in these images and the Vice President today and the OIG reports?
JENN BUDD, FORMER BORDER PATROL AGENT: Well, first I need to be clear that I was a Border Patrol Agent under the prior system before CBP came about but it is the same agency that in the Border Patrol and it is the same environment and the same culture.
But when I see these pictures, I honestly, Chris, I`ve never seen anything like this before in my life. Those detention facilities I`ve seen and I know them well, their processing centers, but they`re kind of like a drunk tank and that they just have one toilet and then they just have some bench seats, but they`re not meant to hold anybody more than even really honestly 24 hours.
HAYES: Yes. And we`re hearing people 40-day, yelling 40 days. Ryan, you`ve been doing a reporting on the culture of this place. Tell me about this Facebook group and how the Acting Director was involved in it?
RYAN DEVEREAUX, REPORTER, THE INTERCEPT: Well, the Facebook group was called I`m 10-15. It`s since had its name changed. It`s been archived but I managed to get access to the group several weeks ago and we started archiving hundreds of posts in the group. And those post sort of reveal the culture inside CBP, inside the Border Patrol specifically when agents feel like they`re not being watched.
It`s an invite-only group so folks are in there kind of expressing their unvarnished opinions about a lot of things. A lot of meme sharing. In a lot of ways, it`s sort of indistinguishable from kind of the worst right- wing content you might find on the internet except this is populated by current and former federal law enforcement officials.
HAYES: Including the acting head of the agency?
DEVEREAUX: That`s correct. So we were able to find a post from Carla Provost, the Chief of the Border Patrol in November 2018, three months after she took over the agency officially in which as you -- as you mentioned, it was a rather innocuous quote, but what it shows is that she was a member of this group, knew that this group existed, participated in this group. And she`s one of several supervisors that we`ve been able to identify who took part in this -- in this group.
HAYES: Oh so it`s not just her, there are other supervisors you have identified who were part of this group?
DEVEREAUX: We found three supervisors of whole sectors and then several law stationed patrol agents in charge.
HAYES: Jenn, are you surprised to hear about the tenor of some of the racist, sexist, and really kind of vile memes have been on this message board?
BUDD: No, I`m not surprised at all. And honestly, that`s what I`m used to seeing from the Border Patrol. It was that way back when I entered in 95 and it`s always been that way. And it`s just gotten worse over time.
And frankly when they first you know, responded to this with their press release saying they didn`t know anything about it, and then not too long after that they released a second press release stating that they had known about it for years and that they were monitoring it, my first response on Twitter was I think maybe they`re saying that because we`re going to find out that some higher-ups are on it and they`re going to try and say that they were monitoring it.
And so I`m not surprised at all that she was on this. It`s shameful and it`s disgusting.
HAYES: What is your reporting indicate about the culture of this agency at this moment when it is clear -- I mean, we should be clear there the numbers really are up. It really is under strain. They are detaining more people. They are apprehending more people. There are more families coming at the border. That is a real actual empirical fact in the world that`s changed in terms of what CBP had been doing which was largely for a long time apprehending people trying to cross in an unauthorized fashion who were single man. This is a different thing starting 2014 getting worse now. Where is this agency right now?
DEVEREAUX: Yes so it`s been interesting monitoring the Facebook group up until it was exposed last week over the last month and a half or so. It seen a sort of rising level of anger and frustration. I mean, which was always sort of part of the group but it is really -- it really sort of it hit, a sort of fever pitch in the -- in the last few weeks especially as the sort of conversation around concentration camps heated up, and you saw a lot more posts about that, a lot more posts about Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, her visits to the border.
She became a sort of obsession on the group. And we saw a lot of posts shared about her, a lot of very vulgar and violent posts shared about her. And I should add, it wasn`t just memes that were that we`re seeing in here. We see group members complaining about times they weren`t able to use lethal force on the job and how they`re not going to make that mistake again. There were users joking about roasting migrant kids alive in the sort of mylar blankets that they`re given in detention centers.
It was a lot of really aggressively violent content. And also users sort of playing a game in which they would share the "stupid Central American name that they`d come -- they come across in a detention center, and then sharing and identifying information from migrants who had been brought into custody to sort of one-up each other. So it was a really ugly culture that sort of developed on this -- in this secret Facebook group.
HAYES: All right, Ryan Devereaux, fantastic reporting, Jenn Budd, thank you both for your time tonight. I really do appreciate it. Ahead there is late-breaking news on the timing of Robert Mueller`s testimony for Congress. And next a big loss to the President as the Labor Secretary finally resigns after outrage over the plea deal that he cut with sex predator Jeffrey Epstein. The fallout from the Epstein scandal continues and that is next. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: The man who cut a secret non-prosecution agreement with a known sex predator will soon be out of a job. That would be U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta. It was announced today that he is resigning effective next Friday over criticism of the lenient treatment he gave to Jeffrey Epstein when he was a US Attorney in Florida more than a decade ago.
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ALEX ACOSTA, SECRETARY OF LABOR, UNITED STATES: I do not think it is right and fair for this administration`s Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy that we have today.
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HAYES: Epstein pled not guilty in New York Monday on charges that include sex trafficking of underage girls. He faces up to 45 years in prison. Prosecutors saying he abused dozens of girls some as young as 14. Today prosecutors accused him of witness tampering, saying that Epstein paid 350,000 to tamper with potential witnesses against him.
Epstein had faced similar charges in Florida but served just 13 months in prison with work release privileges thanks to the deal that Acosta cut secretly with Epstein`s lawyers. That deal came just a few years after Epstein`s long time former pal Donald Trump told New York Magazine that Epstein was a "terrific guy, adding he`s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do and many of them are on the younger side."
Acosta defended his handling of the Epstein case on Wednesday blaming state prosecutors and insisting he cut the best deal possible but it wasn`t enough to save his job. Sources tell NBC News that Trump spent yesterday asking friends and allies about whether Acosta should be fired, was assured that a cost it would leave on his own, which must have been a relief for president who pretty much never has the guts to fire anyone in person.
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TRUMP: I just want to let you know this is was him not me because I`m with him. He was -- he`s a tremendous talent. He`s a Hispanic man, he went to Harvard, a great student, and Alex I think you`ll agree. I said you don`t have to do this. He doesn`t have to do this. You know what I know about Alex? He was a great student at Harvard. He`s Hispanic which I -- which I so admire.
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HAYES: You did hear that last part right. The President said he was a great student at Harvard. He`s Hispanic which I so admire. Acosta will be replaced by the latest acting member the Trump administration incoming Acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella who used to work for disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff doing work that included and I quote here, pushing to prevent congressmen imposing minimum wage laws on the Northern Mariana Islands.
According to the Leadership Conference on Civil Human Rights, the two men were lobbying for policies that essentially allowed for unchecked slave labor. Yes, that`s right. The new labor secretary was effectively a lobbyist for sweatshops. So that`s who is going to be in charge of a department that is supposed to advocate for worker rights.
I`m now joined now by Franklin Foer, National Correspond at the Atlantic who wrote about Pizzella`s lobbying way back in 2001, also with me former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. Frank let`s I guess start on the Pizzella -- dig into the archives here of what he was involved in with Abramoff in the Mariana Islands.
FRANKLIN FOER, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTIC: So the Northern Mariana Islands are an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. They`ve been part of the Commonwealth of the United States since World War Two. And they`ve existed in this weird Netherlands. Since 1975 they`ve been allowed to ship goods to the mainland of the United States, duty-free, tariff-free, stamped with the made in the USA label. But the Ford administration granted them an exemption for all labor laws.
And so it became a magnet for foreign sweatshops where you had laborers coming from China and other places in Asia who would live in guarded barracks, they would be subjected to coerced abortions, they would be paid meager wages. Their barracks were filled with rats and there were no -- there were very few toilets.
And Pizzella lobbied to maintain the Mariana in this the state. And he did so by essentially corrupting the conservative movement or taking conservatives, bringing them on junkets to the Hyatt at the Marianas. They played golf, they would sip cocktails with umbrellas in them that go on tours of these factories and they`d come back and they`d write these articles about how the Mariana were a petri dish of capitalism, to use Tom DeLay`s words.
And he successfully managed to stymie protection of these workers who were living in the most disgusting fetid conditions.
HAYES: This came up, Bob, during actually his confirmation hearing because he was -- he was a deputy and Al Franken, then in the Senate at that point pressed him on it. Take a listen.
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AL FRANKEN, FORMER SENATOR: Did you and the so-called team Abramoff lobbyists lobby against the Murkowski legislation?
PATRICK PIZZELLA, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF LABOR, UNITED STATES: You know, we might have. I don`t actually remember if we lobbied against that legislation, but I would assume we did.
FRANKEN: Would it bother you to know that you were lobbying against protections for thousand workers who are being abused?
PIZZELLA: Well --
FRANKEN: Would that bother you?
PIZZELLA: Of course it would. But what you mentioned were allegations made. I -- we were --
FRANKEN: Cases that were documented many times over and over again while you were lobbying against --
PIZZELLA: Increasing the minimum wage.
FRANKEN: Increasing the minimum wage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Bob, what do you think? Good call for Secretary of Labor?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: Well, you know, Chris, every time there is a new vacancy in the Trump administration, the next person who goes in is even worse than the one before. I don`t know where the bottom is. I mean, you`ve got -- you`ve got foxes guarding almost every henhouse across every agency in the federal bureaucracy right now, and this guy just seems even worse in many respects than Acosta.
You know the problem here really is systemic, and we`ve got to understand this as systemic. You`ve got a cabinet of temp workers who don`t even understand their agencies and you`ve got foxes guarding every single henhouse. The American public is really not being treated in a fairly and in a responsible way.
HAYES: Yes, Frank, I mean, I think there`s been 13 cabinet departures, at this point Obama had zeroed (INAUDIBLE) had one. When you look at DHS, you see what this looks like. You`ve got acting at CBP, you`ve got acting at the top of the agency, you`ve got acting at ICE. Here are the actings just to the cabinet level. Labor, Defense, Homeland Security, U.N. Ambassador. You go down to FEMA Director as a storm bears down in New Orleans and you`ve got an acting.
I mean, this is -- at some point this is going to bite very hard don`t you think?
FOER: It`s an astonishing list and it speaks to a lot of the incompetence that we see. And I think one other vital point is that Acosta was criticized by some for not moving quickly enough to dismantle worker protections. And we have to remember -- and Secretary Reich remembers this, knows this better than anyone. He -- this is a department assigned to protect the American worker and the American workplace in the regulatory state that it presides over. It has a real meaningful effect.
And to bring a guy in whose idea of freedom is a sweatshop island, I mean it really does speak to their vision for the American worker.
HAYES: How much damage can be done, Bob, when you`ve got very loose supervision, no meaningful check because you don`t have advice and consent of the Senate in a lot of these places and someone motivated by a specific either corporate or ideological agenda.
REICH: Well, Chris, a great deal of damage can be done particularly because Trump likes to have acting directors and acting secretaries. It gives him much more leeway. He says it gives him more flexibility. What it really means is there`s no accountability to the public, to the Congress. There`s no vetting and the Labor Department I can tell you is a collection of very, very dedicated and capable public servants.
But to treat them the way that they have been treated is really -- well it`s not bringing out the best in the department. Let`s put it that way. And the public needs those labor protections.
HAYES: Franklin Foer and Robert Reich, thank you both for being with me.
REICH: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, Robert Mueller`s testimony before Congress are now officially delayed. More on that breaking news next.
HAYES: We have more breaking news tonight. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler says former special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to reschedule his testimony. Mueller had been scheduled to testify this coming Wednesday, now he will testify a week later on July 24. According to Nadler, Mueller has agreed to appear for an extended period of time in front of both the judiciary and intelligence committees
Joining me now is Buzzfeed News legal reporter Zoe Tillman. This seems like it was in the works. What do we know about how this came about and what it means?
ZOE TILLMAN, BUZZFEED NEWS: What we had been hearing earlier today and as the days were getting closer to the much anticipated July 17 date was that the time restrictions were concerning to some of the more junior members of the committee, who were concerned that they would not have time to ask questions, that there wouldn`t be enough time for robust questioning of the former special counsel, and it look likes with the delay of a week and the extension of time, that that will allow more members to ask questions and will allow generally for a longer and in theory more comprehensive hearing, although it`s not clear how much the special counsel is really willing to say, regardless of the length of time and how many people ask questions.
HAYES: So it`s a week later, but a longer period of time.
There was something else happening today on the sort of congressional oversight beat, which was an oral argument before the D.C. Circuit that was an appeal of a District Court finding that basically said a congressional subpoena of a financial firm that worked with the president, Mazar`s, that the president had to turn over the documents. They appealed to the D.C. Circuit today. And there were oral arguments there You got to listen to them. What happened there?
TILLMAN: It was not another great day for the president`s attorney in these cases. Right now they are challenging subpoenas to financial institutions, both here in court in Washington as well as in New York, and the president`s personal attorney faced a lot of skeptical questions about his argument that basically, the House Oversight Committee lacks any power to look into the president`s personal financial matters.
There were questions especially from Judge Patricia Millett basically saying are you arguing that congress can`t initiate an investigation into corruption by the office of the president? And the president`s lawyer effectively said yes
HAYES: I want to play that sound with Judge Millett and William Consovoy who is representing the president. Take a listen, because it is remarkable sound. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICIA MILLETT, D.C. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: Imagine you have in the future the most corrupt president known to humankind, open flaunting, doing it. What law could congress pass?
WILLIAM CONSOVOY, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think it`s very difficult to think of one.
MILLETT: OK, you can`t think of one
CONSOVOY: I understand that sounds extreme, but I`d like to take a shot and explain why it`s not. So just look at the presidential records act, that would be the most innocuous one, and it survived constitutional review.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So he is basically arguing like they just don`t have the power as an almost constitutional matter to do this, right?
TILLMAN: That`s right. And it`s really consistent with the arguments that we`ve seen coming from not just the president in his personal capacity, but also this administration basically saying there should be limits to what congress can demand of executive branch agencies. There should be limits on what congress can demand of outside parties that are connected to the president. We expect to see a similar argument raised in a lawsuit that Democrats have filed against the Treasury Department seeking the president`s tax returns, so the Justice Department effectively made the same arguments in a legal memorandum that we saw coming from the president`s personal attorney.
So they are launching a full out strategy of trying to limit court review of much as possible.
HAYES: Ah, this will be interesting, because this is almost certainly going to end up before the Supreme Court. Zoe Tillman, thank you very much.
HAYES: Next, after caving on putting a citizenship question in the census, President Trump says he didn`t back up. I`m sorry, I screwed that up. He didn`t back down, he backed up.
But conservatives are upset over this failure in their effort to maintain minority rule. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Not only didn`t I back down, I backed up. Anybody else would have given this up a long time ago. The problem is we had three very unfriendly courts. They were judges that weren`t exactly in love with this whole thing. And they were wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president for the second day in a row pretending he had not been dealt defeat in his quest to put a question about citizenship on the U.S. Census. But it was a defeat. And his allies in the conservative Federalist Society know it. And Axios quoted one of those conservative leaders today calling the whole situation a total waste of everyone`s time that will give people pause the next time one has to decide how far to stick one neck`s out.
Oh, they`re sad.
The reason they`re ticked off, and the reason there was such strenuous effort put in to have the citizenship question put on the census in the first place is that this effort to get the question is part of a much broader GOP and conservative project that extends across the entire coalition from Trump to Mitch McConnell, to state legislators, to the Supreme Court. And the project is to alter the structures of American governance and representation to protect minority rule for an increasingly outnumbered white Republican base.
And the president`s failure on the census means he blew the whole thing, or at least part of it for everyone involved.
Joining me now, Maya Wiley, former assistant United States attorney in the civil division and MSNBC analyst, and Will Wilkinson vice president of research at the Ninconin Center (ph), whose latest work deals with urbanization, polarization and the populist backlash.
I knew I was going to screw that up, Will.
Here is what`s remarkable to me, Maya, the Trump administration lied about what they were doing on the citizenship question. They even acknowledged it so much because now when you ask them why they are doing it, they don`t go with the lie that it was the Voting Rights Act, they lied before the courts, they lied before congress, they lied before the American people. They lied in representation to lower court judges about their motives, four justices on the Supreme Court, the four conservatives, including two appointed by Trump, said that`s fine. Go ahead. We want you to be able to lie about this, because basically, we support the project, right?
MAYA WILEY, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. A TTORNEY: Pretty much. I mean, what they say is you can -- so the interesting thing about the opinion, and I think Linda Greenhouse wrote an excellent piece on this, you know, they spent 22 pages, including Chief Justice Roberts, 22 pages explaining you can do this
HAYES: Right. You the power to do this.
WILEY: You have the power to do this. Just go back, because you don`t even have to talk about those four dissenting justices, even Chief Justice Roberts, just go back and come up with something else.
WILEY: It`s essentially what he says. Even though -- because Elena Kagan in the argument says you want us to believe that after you came up with the reason, after making the decision you wanted the question, and then you started shopping around for the rationale.
WILEY: But we`re supposed to believe your rationale And that did not sway the justices. And it`s really interesting to think about how much the new evidence that was not before the Supreme Court that really an intentional decision to disenfranchise, essentially, large groups of people of color was really what was underneath it.
HAYES: Will, you just wrote this great report about the sort of urban rural divide to oversimplify American politics. And you have this argument that basically Republican Party is becoming the party of what you call pastoralist supremacy. What does that term mean? And why is it so important for them to put structures in place that allow essentially minority rule?
WILL WILKINSON, THE NEW YORK TIMES: : Well, in my paper, i explain that our politics has become split along population density. And the Republican Party has become basically the party of white older lower density America and the Democratic Party is the multicultural party of the city.
The problem for Republicans is that their base is a minority of the overall population, and a shrinking one.
WILKINSON: T hey could -- our system is already rigged to favor smaller populations and lower density states, but that`s not good enough given the size of that coalition.
HAYES: So what they need are means of electoral college and the U.S. senate which are baked into the U.S. constitution but also political gerrymandering. This is another thing the court did uphold, right. This all part of the same project. It`s got the same people behind it. These are the gerrymanders, this is the Wisconsin one, which was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Roberts, right, he said, oh, you were too grievous in the way you lied I have to ding you on this, the Dems got 53 percent of the vote in Wisconsin and they got 36 percent of the state assembly seats. The GOP won 45 percent of the vote, a minority, and got 64 percent, almost a super majority.
If you rig the game like that, you can get away with minority rule.
WILEY: This is exactly why after the Supreme Court said, you know, we`re gut -- even though majority of senators, bipartisan, have historically and continuously said there`s a need for the Voting Rights Act, that we have continuing discrimination, and there`s no way to protect voters of color after elections. They`ve already lost their political voice, so we have a pre-clearence rule. We say you have to -- those places that have a long history, including a recent history, still have to get permission to do something that might harm voters of color.
When the Supreme Court says, you know what, we`re just going to gut that now. The flood gates open in states like Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, that continue a process of making it extremely difficult for strict voter ID laws, you know, ending early voting -- you know, in Georgia we saw disenfranchisement by purges and also by, you know, typos -- disenfranchisement by typo.
So, all of these -- and in some states, very explicit statements by Republican legislators, that this is to ensure political power.
HAYES: It does, Will, seem to me like we`re headed towards a real kind of Democratic crisis here, because your argument in that paper is that they have every incentive to create structures, either through the courts or through other means, to kind of barricade themselves of a degree of political power as their base shrinks.
WILKENSON: Yeah, I mean, it`s a -- it`s not necessary. It`s a contingent thing. The Republican Party, because they have the advantage of the low density, low population bias, could easily maintain its electoral edge every cycle without what I call the anti-majoritarian firewall. They could keep winning elections if they just dig in one or two percentage points to the non-white vote share every election cycle, but they won`t do it because they have become invested in the idea that their base, as presently constituted, is the only true and legitimate manifestation of real American identity.
So, they have to hunker down into that identity.
HAYES: Will Wilkinson and Maya Wiley, thank you both for joining us.
Ahead, as Tropical Storm Barry closes in on New Orleans, the city faces an unprecedented set of dangers we`re going to go live from New Orleans, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALVA JOHNSON, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: And so he just starts getting closer and when I realize that he was going to kiss my lips, I turned my mouth and he caught me right in the corner of my mouth And I was just kind of frozen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Back in February, I interviewed Alva Johnson, this is a woman who worked on the Trump campaign and then filed a lawsuit for unequal pay against the campaign, and for battery against President Trump,alleging that then candidate Trump had forcibly kissed her on the mouth in August of 2016.
At the time of her interview, she was the 15th woman to accuse the president of some kind of unwanted sexual contact. And since her accusation, the writer, E. Jean Carroll, has alleged the president raped her violently 23 years ago in the Bergdorf Goodman changing room.
Well, this week, a new development in the Johnson lawsuit. The president`s defense team produced a video of the alleged incident taken by a Trump campaign volunteer. Here it is. The defense says this shows that Johnson`s characterization was wrong. The allegation that he forcibly kissed her and kissed her on the mouth are entirely false. The exchange was an innocent moment.
Johnson`s lawyer said in a statement, the video, quote, corroborates exactly what Alva said. Now whether or not everybody would have felt violated by that is an open question, but Alva was.
You can make a judgment here yourself from that video, which now everyone can see.
There will be further judgments on this very question from the court.
As to whether the president should some day have to answer for the multiple credible allegations of sexual misconduct, including the allegation of rape, well, you can be the judge of that as well.
HAYES: The first major storm of the season is heading straight for the Louisiana coast. And tonight, Tropical Storm Barry is expected to make landfall tomorrow morning as a category one hurricane, bringing with it a major threat of storm surge and flash flooding as well as just massive amounts of rain. 25 inches are forecast in some areas of the state, 10 to 15 inches in the city of New Orleans where the Mississippi River is already eight feet above normal levels
The river is rising faster than expected at this very hour, although forecasters are still projecting it will crest after the storm at about 19 feet, which is a key number because it`s just below the height of many of the levees currently protecting New Orleans. The mayor is now calling for a voluntary evacuation for everyone outside of the city`s levees and asking residents planning to ride out the storm to shelter in place starting at 8:00 p.m. local time tonight.
I want to bring in New Orleans city councilwoman Cindy Nguyen, who is joining us tonight from the Ninth Ward, which she represents, where she is sheltering from the weather in a grocery store.
Councilwoman, what is the latest there? How does it look for the folks who live there are not going to be leaving the city?
CITY NGUYEN, NEW ORLEAN CITY COUNCILWOMAN: Good evening, Chris. Well, it`s pretty calm right now. We have a little bit of wind in the lower nine area. And people are still kind of making sure they are taking care of their preparation for the storm. But it looks like many people are staying. I see a lot of cars on the median. I still see some cars traveling on the street.
But we are very hopeful. We are very blessed that we have a very robust team that the mayor has put together to ensure that all citizens, not just in district eight, but the entire city of New Orleans will prepare to weather out the storm.
HAYES: You`re in the lower ninth, and of course everyone remembers what happened during Hurricane Katrina in the lower ninth where levees did fail. It`s a part of the city that`s particularly below sea level. Are you confident that the adjustments, changes, increases in levee strength and height that happened since Katrina put you in a good position to be protected from this kind of event?
NGYUEN: I spoke to the Corps of Engineers at length yesterday as well as this morning. They are confident in their levee protections. And they are the experts. And so I`m going to follow along with them. I`m going to continue to pray to make sure that all the citizens, not just the L9 (ph), but in Venetian 9 (ph), (inaudible) and the entire city is going to be safe during the storm
HAYES: How have things changed over time, particularly as we have climate models suggesting we`re going to wetter weather, probably more intense storms, even if they come less often, in how you and city officials think about planning when something like this happens?
NGUYEN: I think mostly it`s about education, but making sure that we have been pushing a lot about cleaning out the Cash Basin (ph). I know my colleague, Councilman Jay Bank, has been really pushing that. His area got flooded on Wednesday heavily. And I know he started a massive movement in making sure the Cash Basins (ph) are cleaned out and making sure that people are not leaving debris out on the curb-sides so that way all of the drainage area is able to drain out the water. Because water has got to go somewhere. And if our drainage system is clogged up, then it`s going to go somewhere. And we definitely don`t want to go into anybody`s homes. We want it to go into the drainage system where it`s going to go out to where it needs to go to.
HAYES: All right, do you have a place that -- are there places that people can go inside the city of New Orleans that they can`t get out? Is the recommendation they shelter in place at this hour?
NGUYEN: Yes, yes. Mayor Cantrell has opened up several shelters, one is the Rosenberg Recreational Center. People can actually call 311 and there will be an arrangement for people to be sheltered there.
HAYES: You expressed confidence in the Army Corps. Has the Army Corps won that confidence from the city in the last 13 years?
NGUYEN: I believe they are working on it and they have continued to monitor the levee system. They have been at it, you know, since Wednesday, and even before that. It`s not just because of the storm that they have been monitoring the levee system.
I will be out here tomorrow with them to make sure that the levee is going to be good. They have put and added sandbags to make sure the water doesn`t topple over. They will feel very confident about the levee system, and our citizens is going to be safe.
HAYES: All right, Councilwoman Cindy Nguyen. We`re all pulling for you. Thank you for joining me.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END