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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  June 9, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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leaves behind. that is our broadcast for a friday night and for this week. thank you so very much for being with us and good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. >> tonight on all in. >> why are we having a meeting without russia being in the meeting? >> the president stumps for the kremlin. >> russia should be in this meeting. > as the man who ran his campaign is indicted for conspiring with a suspected russian agent. >> but that's what he said -- i -- that it's what i said. >> tonight what we know about the new charges from the special counsel. >> will you pardon paul manafort? >> and senator chris murphy on president's attack on western alliances, plus how trump world is using the arrest of a senate intel staffer to undermine robert mueller. >> happened last night. it could be a terrific thing. >> and how the latest trump sneak attack on obamacare doubles as a brazen attack on the rule of law.
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>> obamacare is finished. it's dead. >> when all in starts right now. >> good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. the president today gave russian president putin a major return on his investment in the 2016 election calling for russia to be reinstated in the group of leading industrialized nations currently known as the g-7. >> whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run. and in the g-7 which used to be the g-8, they threw russia out. they should let russia come back in because we should have russia at the negotiating table. >> russia was expelled from the group in 2014 after invading ukraine and anneching crimea in violation of international law. since then, russia has been wage aginformation war against europe and the u.s. which included its unprecedented attack on the 2016 election. we know the president was the beneficiary of the attack.
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what we don't know is whether he made any kind of explicit quid pro goal deal with russia in exchange for their help. if he conspire with russia in 2016, those comments pushing russian interests are the exact policy reversal one messengers putin has dreamed. >>.whether or not they had a formal arrangement, the president is colluding in plain sight with the foreign government that helped elect him kind of like that time he asked russia to hack his political opponent. >> 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. >> the president is colluding with russia out in the open. his former campaign chairman according to robert mueller has been including in secret with a suspected russian agent. today the special counsel filing a third superseding indictment against manafort adding new
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charges for allegedly conspiring with an associate tied to russian intelligence to obstruct justice in the mueller probe. that of person constantine kilimnik was also indicted today, the 20th person to be charged by the special counsel. in a filing earlier this week, mueller alleged manafort and kilimnik had tried to tamper with witnesses in an attempt to cover-up their work for a pro-russian party in ukraine. highway that work goes back to 2006, the attempted cover-up continued through to you this past april according to mueller. manafort who is now under house arrest could end up spending the rest of the summer in jail before going on trial. kilimnik has disappeared from ukraine fleeing where else but to russia. for more on the significance of these new charges by the special counsel, i'm joined by former federal proper harry sendek and ken vogel. ken, you reported about kilimnik and manafort for awhile. describe the two men's
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relationship for us. >> well, constantine kilimnik who can goes by kk or kostia an friends started with manafort back in 2005. he was recruited from the international republican institute's moscow office where he was -- had been fired actually, depending on who you listen to because of suspected ties to russian intelligence even back then but when he starred with manafort, he started as a translator and gradually worked his way up becoming integral to manafort's kiev operation and actually playing a huge role in implementing of this lobbying plan on behalf viktor yanukovych who is manafort's client, the pro-russian president strong mann president of ukraine, kk was very much involved in this effort that manafort helped fund and implement to essentially buff the reputation of viktor yanukovych on the world stage at
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a time when he was under mounting criticism from the u.s. and from our allies for both his pivot towards russia, his corruption and his prosecution of his former rival timoshenko, kk was pivotal in executing that strategy. >> this is the first time that we have an indictment by mueller of a russian associate of an american associate with the trump campaign. the closest it seems to me we've come to the two parts touching. > yep. that's right. and i think it is -- it's significant in part because of that. people are going to wonder why somebody like this be a close business partner of someone who president trump would pick to run his campaign, and to the extent that people are looking for you know, collusion to use the buzzword not a legal term, this looks like collusion although it is collusion after the election in 2018. but here we have someone who is
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now in russia who probably isn't going to come any time soon to face these charges having conspired with donald trump's campaign manager. >> you know ken, it's remarkable to me to consider girvet legal peril paul manafort is facing, he's currently wearing two ankle bracelets facing charges in two different federal districts staring at the possibility of dying in jail, that he is according to what's alleged in the indictment and the complaint document running around attempting to sub born perjury and cover up and collaborating with a possible russian intelligence agent. >> yeah, my sources tell me that manafort's close allies have been trying to convince him to stop doing this because this is not the first thyme prosecutors have called him out for working with konstantin kilimnik since his indictment. in fact, they monitored some communications between manafort and kilimnik to try to place an op-ed under a ukrainian's
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politicians name in the english language newspaper in ukraine, essentially trying to spin manafort's work on behalf of yanukovych as somehow pro western instead of pro-russian. they called him out on that and said this is a violation of the judge's order you not try to judge this case in the press. after that, which occurred last year, there were people around manafort saying knock it off. you don't want to be working with kk anymore. he's already on the radar. he's long been on the radar of u.s. intelligence. here are you giving the special counsel ammunition for his case against you. obviously manafort ignored that advice. >> have you ever had as a prosecutor a situation where you have a person out on supervised release engaging in this kind of activity? >> absolutely. it does happen. it seems crazy. it may be crazy. >> you've got imagine, if you're him you've got to imagine that
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they're monitoring me, they're surveilling me obviously. i'm not going to get away with it. >> you know the stakes are high. they tell you at the moment you're released a judge or someone in the clerk's office looks you in the eye and says if you commit another crime while on release, your bail is subject to revocation. you'll wind up in custody. i can think of someone who was arrested driving 180 miles an hour on the george washington bridge. he went right into jail. you're not allowed to do this. it's surprising that people are telling him to stop. one of them is probably his lawyer. >> there's two things mueller has done. they filed this complaint he's going around trying to sush bon perjury and the indictment. there's two ways to interpret that. one is they're ratcheting up the pressure, the other is they're at wit's end with this guy who won't stop breaking the law. which do you think it is? >> i think it's both. they clearly want him in and had
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now is being done on the same day that manafort has to file his papers in opposition to the bail revocation request that's due tonight. there will be a hearing next friday and the indictment's already in place. if you thought the government wasn't taking this seriously, they are. i do think the lead story is that they need to convict him in order to cooperate him. he's clearly not interested in doing it now. and then signed up his son-in-law, signed up his business partner and it's not working. so they need to convict him. >> it seems clear he's not going to cooperate. what about kk who has very interesting circumstances fled from ukraine to russia. there's an allegation the ukrainians let him go as a kind of tacit quid pro quo because they were trying to land an arms deal with the u.s. government. >> that's right. the ukrainian government was really in the crosshairs of the trump administration partly because of manafort. manafort was telling trump even
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during the campaign before he was sort of forced off in august of 2016, hey, the ukrainians are it out to get you and using me in this effort to drum up this case against me to come off you. there was some thought there would be bad blood between ukrainian government and the trump administration and this effort to essentially call off the dogs to end investigations in ukraine of paul manafort was seen as sort of an olive branch by the ukrainian government and as part of that constantine clip nick was essentially released told that he could go his own way and he went right back to moscow where he lives with his family in a house not far from one of the key airports there in moscow. and my sources tell me he is so unworried i guess is one way to look at it by these charges, he doesn't even have a lawyer who he's working with right now. >> i don't think he's going to find himself an american court anytime soon. ken and harry, thanks for
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joining me. the president's campaign chairman was decided today for conspiring with a suspected russian agent. president was pleading russia's case to the international community attending a g-6 summit in canada meeting with some of america's closest allies already furious with the president over tariffs. he added fuel to the fire by calling for russia to be welcomed back to the summit. >> russia should be in this meeting. why are we having a meeting without russia being in the meeting? i would recommend and it's up to them, but russia should incumbent meeting. should be a part of it. you know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run. and in the g-7 which used to be the g-8, they threw russia out. they should let russia come back in. because we should have russia at the negotiating table. >> joining me chris murphy a
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member of the senate foreign relations committee. letting russia back into the what would be g-8. do you think it's a good idea? >> this is a pretty high roi for russian interference in the 2016 american election. they are getting a big return on their investment in that they have done absolutely nothing to deserve to come back into the g-8 in particular, they have not move one inch inside ukraine. they got kicked out because the g-7 thought it was probably a pretty important principle to tell countries inside our club you can't invade other countries. and that having been unchanged they don't deserve to be back inside. but they paid a lot of money to try to get president trump into office. and they're getting their return on their investment today. >> what do you think -- i mean, what is your mental model or theory of that kind of thing? do you think this is just quid pro quo right in front of everybody's eyes?
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>> who knows. i guess we're all going to wait to see what's in the mueller report and we'll have a better idea of it at that point. he's gone both ways on russia. there are things he has done that have been incredibly soft. there's a coup moments where you thought he might be getting his act together in particular wleg he decided to transfer some weapons to the ukraine xwranz by and large, russia has gotten everything they wand. in addition what they want is for the u.s., european club 0 break up. so this is a particularly great 24 hours for russia because not only is trump saying that we should just ignore what they're doing in ukraine and let them back in but also this division between the united states and europe that continues to grow bigger and bigger, that essentially predicts that our set of sanctions against russia aren't going to be able to hold together either. that's good news for the kremlin, too. >> what is your assessment about where things are with respect to the other g-7 countries right
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now as we enter the summit? >> so it's interesting, as i was talking to our european al lines traveling through europe in 2017, they were freaking out. their partner was literally walking away from the table. they didn't know how to deal with him. 2018 is different. our european partners are moving on and deciding to make different plans. they've set up a defense initiative inside europe where they're going to start doing planning and procurement outside of nato. they're not confident that trump's going to stay inside nato. macron made it very clear from the united states doesn't want to be in, they'll make it the g-6 and start making economic plans and long-term strategic plans without us. and so that's what i think is happening inside europe today. they are making decisions to do things without the united states. that's bad for our economy and national security. great for countries like russia. >> do you think this is temporary?
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i mean, the big question to me is this a temper tantrum or even if you give him benefit of the doubt a sort of clever negotiating tactic? he's going to blow things up and they'll come to some tariff agreement on dairy with canada and pose for a smiling photo op? what's your sense how real the rift is? >> i think it's real and for the duration of the trump administration, it's permanent. >> really? >> well, i think that's why i spoke to what the europeans are actually doing. so the europeans are not just launching tweets. they're setting up new entities that are designed to go around the united states. they are doing trade deals with other countries besides the united states to hedge their bets. so they are betting that this disruptioning will last the entirety of the trump administration. and i think they're probably making a smart bet. >> what's -- to someone that says let them do it, i think it's sometimes hard to -- when you talk about the post world
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war ii order and all these international institutions, the u.s. at the center of it, yada yada, it can feel airy and abstract and remote. what do you say to someone who says let them do whatever they want or even if they think the president is acting poorly, it's like what's it matter either way. >> first, let's think about it vis-a-vis russia. as our unified resistance to russia's invasion of ukraine starts to at trophy, that's happening right now, it will it be really hard to keep sanctions together if we're at war with each other. that's message to all sorts of other autocrats and would be autocrats they can start to erase boarders without any consequence. let's think about the real threats to the united states. that continues to be a terrorist threat that frankly is not likely to come straight from syria. it's likely to come through europe. our counter-terrorism operation and our communication with european countries is probably the most important set of
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relationships to actually get good information to keep us safe. so as european law enforcement agencies are taking readouts from their governments that the united states isn't interested in coop raising any longer that, makes us less i've in terms of that threat. there are practical consequences for the world and for us as had relationship starts to fall apart at the seams. >> senator chris murphy of connecticut, thanks for making time tonight. >> thanks. next the president walks as the g-7 summit feuding with al lines stumping for the kremlin. we'll talk about what happened in quebec and what happens next in two minutes. oming. and it's time to get outside. pack in even more adventure with audible. with the largest selection of audiobooks. audible lets you follow plot twists off the beaten track. or discover magic when you hit the open road. with the free audible app, your stories go wherever you do. and for just $14.95 a month you get a credit, good for any audiobook. if you don't like it exchange it any time.
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hours after delivering his appeal to reinstate russia as a member of the g-7 president trump arrived at the meeting of world leads are bringing with him the notion that america's close friends have become a nuisance. city complained prime minister trudeau is being indignant and he's grown tired of theresa may's school mistress tone.
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he's not long for the summit. the president will leave tomorrow morning well before scheduled sessions on client change. the fact that may not bother emmanuel macron who tweetedness the president may be isolated but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be. joining me evelyn far cas are, and karen kornbluh, former ambassador to the organization for economic cooperation and development in the obama administration. karen, let me start with you. two ways of viewing this. like you know, one of those kind of temper tantrums or negotiating tactics or we're seeing something that is a genuine structural shift and rift and tectonic shift in american alliances. which is it? >> i think the latter. i disagree with the senator a little bit because i'm not sure that the europeans can can go it alone without us. i think macron is bluffing a
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little bit. u.s. is really the leader of this club. we built this club. and it's really that it takes a lot of the nurturing to keep this together. the president seems to have the idea we're supposed to make money on all of these clubs like nato, the g-7. that's like thinking that you're going to make money on your pire department. we're the biggest house in the neighborhood. we very an interest in a strong fire department. if somebody else house catches on fire, it's bad for property values for everybody but especially for us. i think we're making everybody question the fire department. >> that's a good metaphor for these strij strategic alliances. can i ask you a question, evelyn, how much does the trash talking and acting out matter? i wonder how fits of pique, personal relationships, being
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insulted play in these kind of settings? >> it probably depends on foreign leader in question. some of them have thicker skin than others. i actually find that the democratic leaders are more able to shrug off criticism than the autocrats. i'm not that award about any of our allies feeling personally offended. but i do worry about alliances and you know, i like karen's metaphor. i was thinking on my run today about the fdic. we have guarantees for americans if they put their money in the bank, that if there's a run on bank or some kind of collapse, they can get their money back up to $250,000. that's the fdic. alliances are like that. they're sort of a guarantee we make to other countries and they give to us that if it goes to hell in a hand bassquette ket, if we go to war, that we'll come to one another's assistance. these are our allies. it's already worrying that the president is throwing a lot
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of -- he's throwing into question the trust that they should have in the united states. it's not a personal thing but it's a country-to-country and a you know, organization to organization issue. >> does the -- karen, the situation with canada seems particularly bizarre to me. i can't -- seriously. has there before and a u.s./canadian relations seem very poor at the moment. we're contemplating/possibly entering into an actual trade war with our biggest trading partner which doesn't seem like a great move. >> no, you know, there's economic anxiety in the country and there are things we could do to respond to that. we could get canada to relax some of their protections on their dairy. we could get japan to consume more, germany to consume more. we could do things at home to help struggling families. but instead, we're blowing up the trading system which we've built so hard.
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we've worked so hard to build and protect after the financial crisis, we put in place a process to monitor all the countries to make sure that nobody was cheating and putting in place protectionist measures. now merkel offered to do something like that up in canada with the g-7. let's negotiate, let's work on this so we don't all resort to tit-for-tat and trump blew it out of the water and said absolutely not. so we're entering into the tit-for-tat that works against our own countries. we're the one who's benefit the most from all this. it's really sad. >> evelyn, they're something ironic. america did bid the post world war ii system, all these international institutions. the critique has been abroad and domestically particularly from a left perspective it's kinds after imperial project that benefits the u.s. at the expense of others. there's something ironicing about watching the president who
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sits at the center of this massive vortex of power complaining the u.s. is the one getting the raw deal on therein entire system that's been built to project american influence the world over. >> chris, it's like so many things this president says or does, says and does. it's upside down. yes, we created the system because we were coming out of, well, part of the system has to do with economic depression. world war ii got us out of the depression. we came out of world war ii. we wanted to prevent both things from happening again. we set up a structure that would provide certain guarantees built on trust, that word trust is really important. and our president doesn't understand that that's what gives the united states strength. and these are all voluntary things. countries fight to get into u.s.-led clubs like nato like you name it. but basically, the problem be now that we are almost attacking our own children and the
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europeans are trying to defend them because they've benefited from the system, as well. you know, iran is the other context with the iran deal. the europeans see to have caved because they sent a letter this week asking for an exemptions from u.s. secondary sanctions. they're kind of admitting i guess that the u.s. is going to get its way on the iran deal. they don't seem to be fighting. i wonder whether in the aftermath of this meeting they might take a harder line against us also. >> evelyn and karen, thank you very much. after the break, the fbi seizes a reporter's contacts as part of a leak investigation and what may be part of a strategy to stop robert mueller. that story next. here to tell you about the colonial penn program. if you're age 50 to 85, and looking to buy life insurance on a fixed budget, remember the three p's. what are the three p's? the three p's of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price.
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in the first indictment since the trump administration announced a renewed effort against anyone who leaks classified information, a long-type senate staffer appeared in court today but not crucially and this is important for leaking classified information. james a. wolff former director of security for the senate intelligence committee was charged with making statements to the fbi about his contacts with reporters. prosecutors also secretly seized years worth of a "new york times" reporter's phone and e-mail records. reporter says the fbi only told her of the seizure after the fact in february. to help make sense of this and other collateral investigations from the justice department, frank figure luz zi who is a nbc news national security contributor. frank, people that work in the media like myself hate this kind of thing. they find it an offense to the first amendment.
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there are doj guidelines when you go after report persons what do you there about it? >> there's a couple of noteworthy things here, chris. i used to head up the counter intelligence division at the bureau and leak investigations of this nature were assigned to my division. but here's some distinctions that i see already in this case. first, the focus was always on the leaker and look, catching leakers, leakers who leak classified information, what's bad. our nation's security needs to remain intact. so we would go aggressively at that, but the distinction is that there was tremendous respect for freedom of the press and for the media and for the journalist involved. and so there are policies in place at the bureau and the department of justice so that when you're seeking phone records, e-mail, electronic communications of a reporter it requires such a high level of authority and review to include by the way, the attorney general
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himself when you're seeking those records on a reporter that it's often not even done out of respect for journalism and because the case can be worked through parallel construction. you can get the phone records of the alleged leaker. you can see the reporter contacting various times and you don't need to infringe on the rights of the reporter. we're not seeing that here, chris. we're seeing a different twist here. and i think now we've got a line in the sand being drawn by this justice department and this white house that they're going aggressively at journalists. >> i want to be clear here on two things. one there is some precedent. the obama administration did doing surreptitious collection of reporters in the case of james rosen at fox news. james risen in which they did. the methodology seems more aggressive than and what was established by obama administration. but secondly, here's my question for you. when i take a step back and look at had, up an think about the ig report coming out about comey's
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behavior it, seeps there's a pivot of trump and his allies to recognize they can't get rid of mueller and the investigation. but they can kick cup other investigations surrounding the investigators leak investigations, ig reports, investigations of the investigators to produce ageffecting in which everyone's being investigated and people are leaking and indicted to try to muddy the waters. is that a fear of yours. >> i think the fear that i have you if any is that we see an abuse of the process. so what i'm concerned in looking at this case is that the white house may have been literally directing the department of justice as to how to handle this case. and how to handle it contravening their own positions perhaps. so typically in this case as we know the facts, the attorney general before this one would not -- and several of the predecessors would not have signed off on this. look what they charged the leaker with. not leaking classified.
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they charged him with false statement to the fbi about his relationship and contacts with the reporter. that tells me they don't want to the scrutiny on this one. they don't have enough and charging him simply with lying. >> that's a great point because the president tattoo today when he comes out and says, here is the president talking about it this morning. take a listen. >> it's vet interesting that they caught a leaker and a very important -- it's a very important leaker. so it's very interesting. i'm getting information on it now. happened last night. it could be a frisk thing. i believe strongly in freedom of the press. i'm a big, big believer in freedom of the press. but i'm also a believer in classified information. has to remain classified and that includes comey and his band of thieves who leaked classified information all over the place. >> two things there.
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as you said, they surveilled this guy and couldn't get him leaking classified information. do you think if they found that, they would have charged him with that. >> i think they would have. they could come in with a superseding indictment here. remember comey explaining when he was in the oval office, trump said he would like to see some reporters taken out and they needed to do that. that's being done. let's not forgetting what this guy may have leaked. it's alleged he was talking about the carter page investigation and wiretap. that's what's got trump wound up and that's what's got them targeting this particular leaker. >> not only that, the piece at issue if i'm not mistaken a piece he confirmed the basic details of it. frank figliuzzi, thanks so much for your time. >> still to cop, the trump administration's latest brazen attack on the rule of law by way of their latest attempt to the destroy the affordable care act. why experts are raising the alarm ahead.
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and the quest to get scott pruitt some lotion is tonight's thing 1, thing 2 next.
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thing 1 tonight, scott pruitt is still employed. the epa administrator with a thing for moisturizer and used mattresses survived another day. some of the weirder scandals are taking on a life of their own. yesterday we told but emotion. "the washington post" reporting
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pruitt directed agents of his security detail to drive him to multiple locations in search of a particular lotion on offer at ritz-carlton hotels. that must be special lotion. lucky for scott pruitt, someone showed up with a big bottle of the stuff at the faith and freedom conference where he was speaking today. but of course, she was thrown out because obviously that was not ritz-carlton lotion. why is it so hard to get ritz-carlton lotion around here and also free speech i guess? >> it's interesting about this type of discussion is here we are talking about free speech. religious liberty. and folks won't let you engage in it at times. >> she's the one who got dragged out of the room. you're still at the microphone. that's why you get for trying to bring a guy some lotion i guess. she wasn't the only one trolling pruitt. there was lotion on the floor of the house today, too. that's thing 2 in 60 seconds.
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scott pruitt is setting records for the most ethical violations and corruption
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scandals of the entire trump swamp. finally today, the president gave pruitt something less than a full defense. >> scott pruitt is doing a great job within the walls of the epa. we're setting records. outside he's being attacked viciously by the press and i'm not saying that he's blameless. but we'll see what happens. >> we'll see what happens. that's usually the last thing you hear before trump gives you a nickname. it probably doesn't help mattress lotion scott that democrats in congress are now using props on the floor of the house. they were highlighting pruitt's ever growing list of scandals including lotion gate and signing a letter formally requesting the doj investigate him for potential criminal conduct. while the used mattress and fancy lotion and $1500 pence ancic failly scandals may be a little weird, some of them are possibly illegal and scott pruitt's not exactly denying it.
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>> look, my wife is an entrepreneur herself. i love, she loves, we love, chick-fil-a is a franchise of faith and one of the best in the country. so that's something we're very excites about. time you saw a dinosaur?
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never thought i'd see one in real life. [ dinosaur screeches ] the park is in the past. run! we're not on an island anymore. there is a town five miles from here. am i dead? not yet, kid. change was inevitable and it's happening now. welcome to jurassic world. rated pg-13. the trump administration tearing immigrant children away from their parents daily, we still don't know how many families have been ripped apart. the numbers we have are startling. the intercept telling nearly
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1400 children so far that we know of from october to about mid-april plus two weeks in may. that doesn't include stretches of several weeks when this new policy has been put into effect meaning the true figure could be much higher. in fact, the trump administration has been so aggressive, they've caused another crisis. they're running out of beds. so now they're sending hundreds of immigrants it on the federal prisons thousands of miles away to wait for their hearings. including apparently parents who have had their children ripped away. some mothers have reportedly been taken to federal prison in washington state where both the governor and attorney general demanding to know when they can see their children again. taking children from their parents as u.s. policy is cruel and inhumane. and apparently even donald trump thinks so. because he consistently refuses to acknowledge that it's his policy. >> i don't like the children being separated from the parents. i don't like it. i hate it.
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but that's a democrat bill that we're enforcing. we can change it in one day. all they have to do is come and see news that's a lie. it's an absolute lie. it's a lie the president has repeatedly told. you control all the branks of government. here's the thing. he's in luck because today today senator diane fine stirngs democrat of california dropped a new piece of legislation. the keep families together act designed to do exactly that, keep families together and halt this an bam novel practice so donald trump and republicans can solve this in one day, pass this bill, sign it into law and stop there barbaric practice that has become a national shame.
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something happened late yesterday afternoon that almost never happens. in an obscure court filing three career justice department lawyers, people whose job it is to defend the government's position in litigation, withdrew their names from a government brief. the move set off a massive freakout on legal twitter, which yes, is a thing. "guys, i have a very bad feeling
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about this," tweeted law professor nick bagley who first spotted what was going on. and that bad feeling was quickly borne out. minutes later in a truly shocking move the department of justice, whose job to be clear is to defend the nation's laws in court, decided instead to attack them. siding with a group of republican states who are suing the government to completely abolish the obamacare legislation, to overturn it, specifically the doj said it will no longer defend the requirement that people have health insurance or, or provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any pre-existing medical conditions. joining me now to help explain just how big a deal this is, guite who first flagged what was happening. university of michigan law school professor nick bagley. also with me julie fernandez the open society foundation who was deputy assistant attorney general at the doj civil rights division. and maya wily of the new school, a former assistant u.s. attorney in new york. so nick, let me start with you. you noticed them pulling their names off the briefs, and then the brief from the government later, and you had this whole
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tweet storm about how crazy it is they're taking this position. why? why is it such a big deal? >> it's really hard to overstate how unusual this really is. the justice department, one of its most important jobs is defending acts of congress. and there's a long-standing durable bipartisan commitment to defending any and all laws so long as a non-frivolous argument can be made in their defense. and there were lots of arguments that the trump administration could have made to brush back this really veriy lawsuit that's attempting to undermine the affordable care act yet again. but instead of making those arguments the trump administration decided to throw the statute under the bus. >> julie, you're nodding your head. the argument i've heard from conservatives who are defending this, they said look, the defense of marriage act, very famously the department of justice refused to defend it. you're shaking your head already. >> because it's such a different situation chris, as you know. in the doma case there was a constitutional question where the country was moving in a
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direction that was inconsistent with the statute. there was a huge constitutional values question that was being presented here. here, and nick just said the catch phrase. the department has a duty to defend as long as there's a non-frivolous argument. here the arguments are thin. their duty is clear to enforce the law, defend the law. doma was a very different type of case. >> you know, maya, it strikes me one of the things that's happening is there's all this focus of tension on rosenstein and the white house and him pressuring session pz. you've got sessions over doj. but sessionsize really going to work at the doj even if he has so far maintained the integrity of the mueller investigation as far as he can. >> jeff sessions is on the home team. >> that's right. >> and the home team is really about a policy position, which is a policy disagreement with the affordable care act. >> right.
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we don't like this. >> we don't like it. and actually, both what nick and julie are saying that is so important is what we are supposed to be protected from as a people by the department of justice is because there's a change in administration simply making a policy decision not to defend the laws of the united states. you're not supposed to do that. >> right. you're destroying the basic idea of like continuity. >> and remember, this is a -- congress tried, depending how you count, 50 to 70 times to dismantle the affordable care act and has succeeded in some small measures but generally failed to undermine the entire statute. and now we have with very thin legal arguments a policy fight by the nation's lawyer in chief rather than protecting our laws he's attacking us on policy grounds. >> and nick, it also was the manner they did it in that i found really fascinating. even if you fake doma as the closest analog, there was a big
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public debate about it. there was congressional notice. they defended it in the lower courts. and then they stopped at at pellate level. you were just noticing this happening like this didn't -- it almost seemed like they tried to sneak this past everyone, nick. >> this came out of nowhere. you know, the three line attorneys that withdrew their names from this case, they're civil servants. these are people who have served across administrations. they have defended programs they disagree with. they've made arguments they personally disagree with. but it just goes to show how outlandish this argument truly is. and the aggressiveness with which the trump administration is pressing it. i think there's a temptation on the -- from the critics and the people who invoke doma to normalize this, to say that this is something we've seen before. but that's just not the case. this is new. it is different. >> go ahead. >> the other point i'd like to make here is this is part of a pattern. so this is not a one-off by the trump administration or by the sessions justice department.
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the most egregious example of this is the joe arpaio pardon. right? the trump folks see themselves as above the law and not sort of confined by law, precedent, or the way sort of the justice department is supposed to operate. let's remember joe arpaio was the sheriff of maricopa county. he was held in contempt of court by a judge because he refused to comply with an order that was to stop integritily discriminating. and so trump pardoned him for contempt. >> and he violated a court order for a judge in a case that was brought by the federal government. right? the department of justice against him for violating civil rights. he criminally violated a contempt of court, and the president pardons him. >> pardons him. so what does that mean the president's view is of the rule of law, of the role of the justice department? the texas i.d. is another example. where they were arguing the justice department for years was arguing and winning on a set of facts about again intentional
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discrimination in texas. and then the justice department reverses position as if they found the facts no longer were the facts. it's what maya was saying. this is policy disguised as law. this is i get to do what i want because i've got the power. that's what this is. >> absolutely. it's also bad policy. i mean, one of the reasons congress has not been able to completely dismantle the affordable care act is because it's popular and actually has support. it's popular because people need to see a doctor when they're sick and they couldn't get all of their own party to agree because of their concerns about low-income people being charged pre-existing conditions either losing their health care or being charged more money because they're sick. >> and nick, that's the policy implication here, is the government of the united states is now on the record saying the court should gut the entirety of pre-existing conditions protections and insurance market reforms that constitute some of
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the most popular parts of the 56rdable care act. and today a bunch of insurers were freaking out a bit. >> absolutely. of course they are. this is their business model, to sell insurance to people who are paying into the kitty that we all contribute to in order to cover our health insurance. there are about 130 million people in this country who have pre-existing conditions. and if they don't get insurance through their jobs and they don't get insurance through medicare or medicaid, if the affordable care act goes away they're going to be out of luck. this is a very high-stakes debate. >> let me follow up on that, nick, just quickly. is this -- i remember when there was a statutory interpretation question around the subsidies and saying this is crazy and then it got up to the supreme court. is this going to go anywhere? >> i would have said yesterday no way, and i would still say i think it's extremely unlikely. but we've seen arguments move from off the wall to on the wall. >> that's right. >> i think this is so krazy that it's unlikely to move to on the wall. but i will say that the trump administration is doing everything it can to dismantle the affordable care act with
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hammer and tongs. >> nick bagley, julie fernandes and maya wily. thank you very much. that was great. have a great weekend all of you. that is "all in" for this evening. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> this is "dateline." >> he married the woman of his dreams, beautiful and sweet. >> she was just angelic. >> and was folded into her tight-knit family headed by an elderly religious might arc. >> you were part of their family or you weren't. together they had a little girl, sydney. >> their view, sydney was their property. >> one day he went to pick up his little girl for a visit and was never seen alive again. >> he died right there. >> but who would kill a devoted dad? the unbelievable choice, his golden girl wife or the gracious family might arc?

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