Attorney C. William Barrett Interviewed on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” Regarding Defamation Case Against the New York Post
On Friday, June 7, 2013 Attorney C. William Barrett was a guest on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” and discussed the devastating effects the New York Post’s false, inflammatory, and libelous assertions about the plaintiff’s involvement in the April 15, 2013 Marathon Bombings had on the plaintiff. Attorney Barrett emphasized that when the New York Post called the plaintiffs the men responsible for this heinous act of terrorism, the newspaper was making a claim far worse than just calling them suspects and was defaming the plaintiffs.
Guests: Cedric Leighton, Bill Barrett
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes and
thank you for joining us.
Tonight, Rupert Murdoch`s “New York Post” has put some scummy stuff in
the papers, but paper`s latest lapse (ph) is landing the “The Post” in
Also, with the vote on immigration looming, conservative congressman
like Peter King are committing political suicide in broad daylight and no
one is noticing. I`ll explain what that`s all about.
And if it`s Friday, it`s time to sneak Ryan Gosling into #click3.
But we begin tonight with one of those moments that remind you,
regardless of what you think of him, President Barack Obama is and remains
one of the most fascinating political figures ever to take the world stage.
The president was in California today at a healthcare event. And with
the White House press in attendance, President Obama was prepared to
comment on reports that the National Security Administration has collected
American phone records and Internet data.
The president agreed to take one question from a reporter and to no
surprise, the question was about the secret government surveillance
programs that have been brought to life this week largely by “The Guardian”
But what actually surprising, really remarkable, was the amount of
detail President Obama explained about programs that had been secret just a
few days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When it comes to
telephone calls, no one is listening to your telephone calls. That`s not
what this program is about. As was indicated, what the intelligence
community is doing is looking at phone numbers and duration of calls. They
are not looking at people`s names and they`re not looking at content.
But by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify
potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism. If
these folks — if the intelligence committee then actually wants to listen
to a phone call, they`ve got to go back to a federal judge, just like they
would in a criminal investigation.
So, I want to be very clear. Some of the hype that we`ve been hearing
over the last day or so, nobody`s listening to the content of people`s
phone calls. This program, by the way, is fully overseen, not just by
Congress, but by the FISA court — a court especially put together to
evaluate classified programs to make sure that the executive branch or
government generally is not abusing them and that it`s being carried out
consistent with the Constitution, and rule of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, some restraint is in order here because I can spend the
whole next hour telling you about the deficiencies of the FISA court.
There`s a genuine need to examine whether these actions are consistent with
the Constitution and the rule of law, and I will get to that.
But, first, back to the president, who also addressed the reports
about the NSA`s so-called PRISM program which is alleged to have mined data
from nine major Internet firms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Now, with respect to the Internet and e-mails, this does not
apply to U.S. citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United
States. And again, in this instance, not only is Congress apprised, but
what is also true is that FISA court has to authorize it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: With his defense of the program out of the way, the president
turned to a defense of his own ideals. And what we see in this next clip
is the president who is having a very public argument with the 2009 version
of himself. That version being the newly elected president of the United
States who said explicitly in his inaugural agrees that the American people
reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Having said all that, you remember what I seed a couple weeks
ago, about the perpetual war mind-set, I said specifically one of the
things we have to discuss and debate is how are we striking this balance
between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about
privacy? Because there are some tradeoffs involved.
I welcome this debate. And I think it`s healthy for our democracy. I
think it`s a sign of maturity, because probably five years ago, six years
ago, we might not have been having this debate.
And I think it`s interesting that there are some folks on left but
also some folks on the right who are now worried about it, who weren`t very
worried about it when it was a Republican president.
I think that`s good that we`re having this discussion. But I think
it`s important for everyone to understand and I think the American people
understand that there are tradeoffs involved.
I came in with a healthy skepticism about these programs. My team
evaluated them. We scrubbed them thoroughly. We actually expanded some of
the oversight, increased some of the safe guards. But my assessment and my
team`s assessment, was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks.
And the modest encroachments on the privacy that are involved in
getting phone numbers or duration without a name attached and not looking
at content, that on, you know, net, it was worth us doing. Some other
folks may have a different assessment of that.
But I think it`s important to recognize that you can`t have a hundred
percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy and zero
inconvenience. You know, we`re going to have to make some choices as a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That answer, President Obama gave us the clearest indication
of his presidency to date — just how much tension there is between the
ideals of a candidate and realities of an officeholder, not to mention the
overwhelming gravitational pull of our enormous national security
The president may have given us an indication of how much he wrestled
with this conclusion, because President Obama did something that he almost
never does. He returned to the podium after a second question was shouted
to him. He was not about to leave the answer to speculation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: All right. We will have the chance to talk further during the
next couple of days. Thank you, guys. Thank you.
REPORTER: Do you welcome the leaks, sir? Do you welcome the leaks if
you welcome the debate?
OBAMA: I don`t — I don`t welcome leaks, because there`s a reason why
these programs are classified. You know, I think — I think that there is
a suggestion that somehow any classified program is a, quote-unquote,
“secret” program, which means it`s somehow suspicious. But the fact of the
matter is, in our modern history there are a whole range of programs that
have been classified because, when it comes to, for example, fighting
terror, our goal is to stop folks from doing us harm, and if every step
that we`re taking to try to prevent a terrorist act is on the front page of
the newspapers or on television, then presumably the people who are trying
to do us harm are going to be able to get around our preventive measures.
That`s why these things are classified.
But that`s also why we`ve set up congressional oversight. These are
the folks you all vote for as your representative in Congress, and they`re
being fully briefed on these programs.
And if in fact there was — there were abuses taking place,
presumably, those members of Congress could raise those issues very
aggressively. They`re empowered to do so.
We also have federal judges that we put in place who are not subject
to political pressure. They`ve got lifetime tenure as federal judges, and
they`re empowered to look over our shoulder at the executive branch to make
sure that these programs aren`t being abused.
So — so we have a system in which some information is classified, and
we have a system of checks and balances to make sure that it`s not abused.
And if, in fact, this information ends up just being dumped out willy-nilly
without regard to risks to the program, risks to the people involved, in
some cases on other leaks, risks to personnel in very dangerous situations,
then it`s very hard for us to be as effective in protecting the American
That`s not to suggest that, you know, you just say, trust me, we`re
doing the right thing, we know who the bad guys are. And the reason that`s
not how it works is because we`ve got congressional oversight and judicial
oversight. And if people can`t trust not only the executive branch but
also don`t trust Congress and don`t trust federal judges to make sure that
we`re abiding by the Constitution, due process and rule of law, then we`re
going to have some problems here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We do have some problems here, because the president is
leaving out a crucial detail. Let`s not forget this administration has
fought toot and nail to keep these programs secret. Not just the
individual activities, but the entire scope of the activities engaged in
they are determined to keep secret. They have also kept secret their
interpretation of the law. How they justify what they can do and can`t do
under the Constitution.
The idea that all three branches of government have signed off on this
is just fundamentally misleading and untrue. No one is really arguing that
these actions are not lawful under the White House`s own interpretation of
the Patriot Act or their own interpretation of the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act, or any other law Congress signed off on.
But people are arguing, these actions violate the most foundational
document we have, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and specifically
the Fourth Amendment, the right to security against unreasonable search and
In our system of government, there is one body we generally view as
having the ultimate say so as to whether something is constitutional or
not. It`s called the Supreme Court. And it`s because laws get challenged
in court and go through a chain of appeals in an adversarial process and
wind up on the docket of the Supreme Court, that is how judgment on
constitutionality is ultimately rendered.
But — and this is crucial — we have not allowed that process to
unfold with regard to anything within the massive, uncharitable universe
that is post-9/11 secret government, because any time someone want to
challenge it in court, the court says you don`t have standing or the
government tells them they can`t.
These programs are too secret and too important to face the scrutiny
of the judicial process. So, none of this has been signed off on by the
one body with the power to render constitutional, the Supreme Court.
So, yes, let`s have this debate. I will have it with former deputy
director of National Security Agency. He joins me, next, and I want him to
try to tell me why I`m wrong.
HAYES: I`m about to debate former deputy director of the NSA about
that agency`s surveillance program.
Plus, remember when “The New York Post” pinned the Boston marathon
bombing on these two totally innocent guys? We`ll find out what this cover
story did to their lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: With respect to my concerns about privacy issues, I will leave
this office at some point, sometime in the last — next three and a half
years. And after that, I will be a private citizen. And I suspect that —
you know, on a list of people who might be targeted, you know, so that
somebody could read their e-mails or listen to their phone calls, I`d
probably be pretty high on that list. But it`s not as if I don`t have a
personal interest in making sure my privacy is protected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That just might have been the president`s best argument today
in defense of the newly disclosed phone and Internet spying programs that
allow the government sweeping access to phone records and web activity of
millions of Americans.
But knowledge that Barack Obama himself will soon be subject to the
national security dragnet his administration is perpetuating right now does
not convince me that I should just trust in it.
Joining me now to tell me why I`m wrong is Cedric Leighton, former
deputy director of the NSA, who is now founder and president of Cedric
Leighton Associates of Strategic Risk and Leadership Management Consulting
All right, Cedric, why should I — why should I be cool with the
revelations that we`ve gotten in the last few days about Verizon turning
over every single call record to the government for a three month period
everyday and the newly disclosed PRISM program, which is targeted at people
who are foreign, we`re told, but does have access to a tremendous amount of
content and data from American citizens.
CEDRIC LEIGHTON, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NSA: Well, Chris, there are
a lot of concerns with programs like this. So when you take the programs
in their entirety, it looks like a lot of spying and essence going on
between — you know, from the NSA directed at the American public and
people all around the world. But the point of fact is there are a lot of
safeguards in place that I personally worked and I`ve been a part of for 26
years, and those safeguards include some very significant training that
prevented dissemination of personal data of U.S. citizens, U.S. persons as
its known, to people who shouldn`t have that information.
So if there is any collection, and even incidental collection of U.S.
persons, that is against policy and that policy is a policy that is taken
to a level of extreme compliance in the national agency and the associated
agencies with it.
So the idea that we are going in and that NSA is going in and taking a
look at every single e-mail is just not true. What is true is that they
have a data mining capability that can look at every single facet as
described in certain of the press releases not in all of them. But the
basic idea is they can go in, take a look at who is connected to whom.
And once they have figured out who is connected to whom, where those
dots are connected, then they can seek a further warrant and go in and say,
OK, I`m interested in Chris tonight and how he`s talking to Cedric.
HAYES: Right. So —
LEIGHTON: And how is that going to work and that`s what the
HAYES: So, here`s — there are two questions here, right? One is —
one is a privacy concern.
There are two questions. One is, are safeguards that are secret
really safe guards, right? You can tell me you`ve trained people to obey
the law, but all of these safeguards, not only the safeguards are secret,
but the actual legal reasoning here is secret as well.
My question is: why should I trust that — when, and let me just give
one example, we know that Bush administration was engaged in a warrantless
wiretapping program through the NSA for years. That was not covered, that
was not briefed to Congress, that was not explicitly authorized unlike this
And it was four or five years before one whistle-blower came forth, a
guy by the name of Thomas Tamm along with a few others. And he said, “I
thought the secret service is something other branches of government should
know about. So they could decide, do they want this massive spying program
to be taking place. If someone were to say, who am I to do that, I would
say, I`ve taken an oath to uphold the Constitution.”
And this line really caught me. It is stunning that somebody higher
up the chain of command didn`t speak up.” Right?
So, we know there was a possibly unconstitutionally, certainly
illegal, warrantless wiretapping program happening in the NSA for years,
that nobody blew the whistle on until he camp forward.
So, why should I trust that same agency`s secret safeguards?
LEIGHTON: Well, NSA is going to will follow the direction of
executive branch, because ultimately they work for the president. And if
there is a problem with anything that is decided within the executive
branch, then obviously it becomes a matter for the courts.
And as far as the warrantless wiretapping under the Bush
administration is concerned, there are so many aspects to that. You know,
clearly, there were, you know, in spite of what you have heard, I can tell
you there were members of Congress who were briefed on at least the rough
outlines of that program.
Now, you know, fast forward to the present situation, members of
Congress have clearly been involved in it, as you know, and there are so
many different element of control. Now, are there people that can make
mistakes or are there people that deliberately violate policies? Sure.
That does happen.
But they are punished and the basic rule that happens with folks like
that is that the very minimum, they will lose their security clearance,
which means they lose their job and in many cases, they can go to jail,
depending on the severity of the issue.
So, there are safeguards in place. There are significant career and
personal consequences for people who don`t follow the rules. And for
people who deliberately violate the rules or engage in, you know, what
could be rogue operations.
So those kind of operations are very much circumscribe and there a
great deal of control within NSA and other agencies to prevent that kind of
thing from happening.
HAYES: Cedric Leighton, former deputy director of the NSA — thanks
so much for talking to me tonight. Really appreciate it.
LEIGHTON: My pleasure, Chris. Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Imagine to have yourself on the front page of “The New York
Post” fingered as a suspect for the Boston bombings when you had nothing to
do with it. My next guests will tell us.
HAYES: When talking about surveillance and privacy, one of the things
that you hear is what do you have to worry about if you don`t have anything
to hide. But it`s really important to note here, the loss of privacy isn`t
just about the NSA or the FBI. It`s absolutely omni-directional, leaving
you without control of anything.
If you don`t believe me, maybe you will believe Salaheddin Barhoum and
Yassine Zaimi. That`s them on the April 18th cover of “The New York Post”
under the headline, “Bag Men: Feds seek this duo pictured at the Boston
These men had nothing to do with the Boston marathon bombings, but
they ended up the victims of a 21st century vigilante surveillance. Voters
were assembled in Reddit, where they were widely on social media. That
kind lynch mobs surveillance, combined with a reckless disregard for
journalistic integrity by Rupert Murdoch`s media empire led to photos of
innocent men in the midst of the most dramatic terrorist attack on American
soil since 9/11 splashed across the page of “The New York Post”,
essentially labeling them terror suspects.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I just don`t want it look at people. Because
when they look at me, they will be like oh, you did this. How could you do
that? Why would you even do that? There are so many people killed. If
you look at it, it wasn`t me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A few days after “The Post” cover ran, “The Washington Post`s”
Eric Wimple ran a piece called, “Young men, please sue `The New York
Well, he got his wish on Wednesday. That`s when 16-year-old Barhoum
and 24-year-old Zamia filed a defamation lawsuit against “The New York
Post”, accusing the tabloid as falsely portraying them as suspects in the
deadly marathon bombings.
According to the court complaint, the front page would leave a
reasonable reader to believe the plaintiffs had bombs in their bags, that
they were involved in Boston marathon. “The New York Post” is yet to come
on the suit, but when story first ran, the paper`s editor this chief, Col
Allan, stood firmly behind it, saying, “We did not identify them as
Allan`s boss, Rupert Murdoch, tweeted, “All `New York Post` pics were
those distributed by FBI and instantly withdrawn when FBI changed
Tonight, right now, that April 18th cover story is still online and
shows two innocent men with giant red circles around their heads, probably
drawn on Microsoft paint. If you scroll down, there is another picture of
the men with the caption, “The men in blue still has the bag over his
shoulder in the crowd later. But the black back bag, the men in the cap is
wearing is no longer visible.
There is an addendum at the top of “The Post” that says, men were
cleared by investigators, so I suppose it is all good.
Joining me now is Bill Barrett, the attorney representing Yassine
And, Mr. Barrett, my first question is, what was the affect of
appearing on the cover in this context for your client?
BILL BARRETT, ATTORNEY: Thank you for having me.
It was devastating. Yassine is a terrific young adult and had real
come over here expecting to work hard, live the American dream, and to run.
Running was his passion. And this marathon Monday was essentially Super
Bowl Sunday to him.
When he saw he was being accused of being a terrorist, a bomber of a
heinous — committing a heinous crime, it was devastating to him. He lost
his breath. His mouth went dry. He sought assistance from a counselor at
He has since broken out in terrible hives. He has been unable to
sleep. He has suffered from depression. Most importantly from Yassine, he
wasn`t de e one thing that he loves to do, and that`s run. He hasn`t been
able to do that since the incident and has no desire to right now.
HAYES: The argument I suppose that you will get from the “New York
Post” is that they were just passing along an image, that image had been
circulated by some police authorities it appears and it found its way from
the internet into some of the e-mail traffic that the police authorities
were sending around adds they were searching for pictures of the suspects.
And they never explicitly said they were suspects. They called them bag
men. What`s your response to that?
BARRETT: Actually they did worse than calling them suspects. They
call them the men responsible for a very heinous act of terrorism. They
called them bag men. Feds seek this duo pictured at Boston marathon. They
called them the men with the bombs in their bags. They didn`t just call
them suspects. They said they were the men responsible for doing it. That
is libel. That`s what this case is about.
HAYES: What is the legal standard here in I will show you, the “New
York Post” did not cover itself in glory, as you may know, during week, in
a whole other variety of examples, authorities ID person of interest as
Saudi national in marathon bombings under guard at Boston hospital. There
are a number of erroneous reports. What is the difference between just
getting something wrong in the midst of the fog of post bombing confusion
and actually doing something that is worthy of a court judgment?
BARRETT: Well, let`s get something very clear. There was no
confusion. There was no confusion in putting these men on the cover of
“The Post” and saying, they are the men with the bombs in their bag. They
weren`t confused about that. They didn`t have any evidence at all that
these two were in any way being sought by the federal authorities or even
local authorities. They had no evidence of that.
And they compounded the problem by calling them the guys with the
bombs in their bags, by as you pointed out in your opening, on pages 3 and
4, they said, feds have two men in their sights, seen in pics with backpack
and bag. They didn`t have and then they show my clients with red circles
around their face. That is not true.
That is patently untrue. The feds did not have these two individuals
in their sights. That`s irresponsible. When that irresponsibility is
actually untrue and it causes damage that we talked about a little bit
today, our defamation laws allow us to bring a cause of action. They also
had the right to privacy violated. We have account for negligent
affliction of emotional distress. All of those are viable claims. I`m
HAYES: OK, Bill Barrett, you are the attorney for Yassin Zaimi, thank
you so much for coming on the show tonight. Really appreciate it.
BARRETT: Thank you very much.
HAYES: We`ll be right back with Click 3.
HAYES: A chorus of boos rained down on House Republicans yesterday as
they passed Congressman Steve King`s measure to deport the children of
undocumented immigrants. Yet another terrifying warning sign, the GOP is
about to blow up the tenuous immigration reform deal, that story ahead.
But first, I want to share the three awesomest things, the NSA saw me
see on the internet today. Beginning with some serious snarking deployed
over that very story. The news of the NSA sweeping surveillance of
internet phone records has caused a Twitter fire storm.
Salon has compiled some of the best tweets. Here is a quick sampling.
What a snapshot. It was really just an NSA front this whole time. Instant
parody accounts from my favorite excuse for a police state and if you play
Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon,” it tells the story of the wizard of Oz.
Of course, every viral subject needs a creative hash tag, hash tag,
close FISA — while paying tribute to most — of internet outlets,
divisions include 32 corgies how more interesting phone records than you,
43 people who wish they didn`t know Glenn Greenwald and 17 adorably
romantic moments caught on remotely activated web cams. Proving that
anything even terrible disheartening stories about the government`s
domestic surveillance program can be made better with a simple kick and
The second awesomest thing on the internet today, a taste of mistaken
identity in Detroit, the motor city has fallen on tough times in recent
years so when actor Ryan Gosling starts walking around the city, you better
believe the people living there are going to be happy about it. Except
this isn`t Ryan Gosling. This is Doug, a local tax accountant.
When Doug dawned a pair of sunglasses, people thinking he is Ryan
Gosling got a tad creepy and confessional, like this woman, explaining what
her favorite part of “The Notebook” is. The real Ryan Gosling was dawning
in Detroit last month. No word yet on whether Doug will try his hand in
acting or get his own series of non-cereal eating lines for that matter.
OK, that line wasn`t really going anywhere. We just want an excuse to show
you more of Ryan Gosling not eating a cereal.
And the third awesomest thing on the internet today takes us to Russia
where Vladimir Putin and his wife of nearly 30 years, Lvudmila, attended a
ballet together then went on Russian state television to announce their
divorce. One of the reasons for the split as Lvudmila explains flying is
difficult for me, which is interesting considering she met her soon to be
ex-husband on a plane working as a flight attendant.
People flock the social media to voice their own theories on Putin`s
divorce. Here`s the couple in happier times. If these two can`t make it
work, what hope is there for the rest of us? Just imagine how Lvudmila was
able to control herself all those years, married to this sheer horse of
Putin made a full-time job out of posing for photographs while
brandishing a weapon. While shirtless and posing for photographs while
shirtless and brandishing a weapon. Yes, this soviet strong man is single
and ready to mingle. For the soon to be ex-Mrs. Putin, she is getting
plenty of offers too. Don`t worry, Mrs. P. That`s Ryan, not Doug. You
can find all the links for tonight`s Click 3 on our web site,
allinwithchris.com. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: After the last election, hard right anti-immigrant demagogues
like Iowa`s Steve King were supposed to be pushed to the side in favor of
the new Latino-friendly faces of the Republican Party. But that`s not
exactly the way things are working out. In the same week that Marco Rubio
signaled he might blow up his own bill, and Republican Congressman Raul
Labrador walked out of the House`s Gang of Eight.
GOP opposition to comprehensive immigration deal continues to
intensify led by, you not surprisingly, Steve king himself who proclaimed
today if they think they`re going to force feed amnesty, there`s going to
be a rebellion.
And a rebellion we are getting. Yesterday House passed by a vote of
224-201 an amendment sponsored by King that would take away funding for a
policy that let undocumented youth who have been in the country for years
stay in the country effectively demanding the government force out so-
called dreamers who came to the United States as children.
Keep in mind this was a purely symbolic vote to deport kids. A vote
that every single congressman who voted in favor knows will go nowhere, but
every single Republican except for six in the House voted for, to deport
children just because.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The amendment is adopted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was the scene of King-sponsored amendment passing the
House with 221 Republican votes. Now keep in mind, this includes 14
Republicans from districts that are least one quarter voting age Hispanic.
So a quick recap, the same Republicans who voted to deport kids, those are
the exact same congressmen who will be voting on the immigration reform
King was boosting today, if the vote might indicate that we are not
particularly persuaded, which brings us to the Senate, the chamber viewed
as somewhat of a safe space for the immigration bill, Harry Reid announced
yesterday a July 4th deadline to vote on the bill. But today, Senate
opposition rallied, Senator Jeff Sessions leading the charge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: Virtually no one is being
deported. How did the legislation become as defective as it is? It will
definitely give amnesty today. It would definitely give immediate legal
status to some 11 million people today and quite a number of significant
areas weakens current law. Right, the amnesty, done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You talk to immigration advocates and even people on the Hill
and the White House, those folks remain optimistic that a comprehensive
immigration will get done, but given the high stakes, 11 million people on
the line, the biggest domestic policy priority the president`s second term,
I can`t help but watch the developments of the past week, the past few days
and start to panic that this is not going well.
Joining me now are two people who have been intimately involved in
trying to make this bipartisan compromise happen, Lorella Praeli, director
of Advocacy and Policy at United We Dream Network, the largest immigrant
organization in the nation, and Ali Noorani, executive director of the
National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy and policy
Ali, I guess I want to begin with you. You come from the conservative
side of this and the idea was the conservative elite and the folks in the
business community and the donor class and you know, elected members when
you get together and basically have a come to Jesus moment with the
Republican Party about the need for supporting comprehensive immigration
reform and that looks like it is falling apart in front of us. Why am I
ALI NOORANI, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM: Well, there`s an active
debate occurring within the conservative world. You have on one end, you
know, Steve King who thinks he is going to bring the Republican Party back
to the forefront but sadly he is wrong. On the other hand, you have people
like Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio and others who are trying to take a pragmatic,
But when you look across the country, Chris, you see that those who
hold a bible, those who wear a badge and those who own a business are all
looking for a practical solution to the immigration system. These are
people who are conservatives and moderates in the middle of the country,
who are going to key to getting us to a win. So we are very optimistic —
HAYES: But Ali —
HAYES: You just lost a vote on Thursday, a symbolic vote, 221
Republicans got in the House and they said, what is probably the least
controversial aspects of a comprehensive immigration reform package, when
and it f it happens, which is the dreamers on a symbolic bill that actually
isn`t going to come up to be, right, got up in the well on a Steve King-
And I`m talking about people like Peter King, a congressman from Long
Island, who has a ton of Latinos in his district, it was a district that
Barack Obama won, got up there and took a vote, a symbolic vote saying,
yes, I want it deport these people, basically. How am I supposed to
understand that vote if not an indication that the Steve Kings of the world
are winning and your side is losing?
NOORANI: The symbolism here is that the far right wanted to show the
president who was, quote, “in charge in the House.” But the reality is
we`re going to see legislation and that is an opportunity for the country
to see if Republicans can actually govern. At this point what majority of
Americans want, they want solutions.
And it is going to be on the backs of the Republican Party, in the
House of Representatives to pass a common sense immigration bill that
creates that road to citizenship and that creates that road to citizenship
and that creates actually the 21st immigration — 21st Century immigration
system. So we have to move from symbolism to substance and that`s where
the test will be — really be fought.
HAYES: So you are someone who worked on the dream act and then what
is called deferred action, the program, which was what they voted to defund
in the House. What was your reaction to that vote? This is something you
have worked all of your teenage years and the small bit of your adult life
on, right. How do you read that vote?
LORELLA PRAELI, UNITED WE DREAM NETWORK: I think there was outrage
across the dreamer community and I think there was a very clear
determination and commitment to continue to fight. Deferred action didn`t
just happen. We made that happen. We forced the president to do it and I
think we will continue to fight, not just to keep deferred action there, I
really don`t think it is at risk.
But to make sure that the GOP makes the right decision on immigration
and I think the Democrats also hold the line. So I think what you were
saying is, you know, how does this caucus supposed to vote for an
immigration reform bill that`s comprehensive. And I think the message that
I get out of this week is the GOP has a decision to make.
I really do think Speaker Boehner is going to have — be playing a big
role here. Are they going to define, are they going to let the Steve Kings
of the world, anti-immigrant, extremists people define the future of the
GOP and their effort to rebrand, right, their party or is someone going to
step in here and —
HAYES: So let`s talk about the person who steps in on the Senate
side, the Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio, the great salvation of comprehensive
immigration reform. OK, he is a Tea Party darling. He himself is Latino.
He was going to be the person that brought these two worlds together.
And he turns around this week and he says he has been crafting an
amendment with John Cornyn that if it`s voted on is going to blow, almost
certainly blow up the piece of legislation. So Ali, you mentioned Marco
Rubio in your first answer. What the heck am I supposed to make of that?
If even the Senate leader of the “Gang of 8” is now talking about voting
against his own bill, then why should I believe this is on the right track?
NOORANI: Well, I mean, let`s — I mean, last week, Marco Rubio was
leading into the bill and saying we can get this passed. In the beginning
of this week, I`ll just submit. It`s been a little shaky.
HAYES: Thank you for that initiative.
NOORANI: Today, he created some space. He made it very clear that
this is a John Cornyn amendment and in my opinion that amendment is very,
very hazardous to the health of the bill. But then Marco Rubio also said
today that we can get to 60. That`s what we think. We can get to 60 votes
and we can get a bill into a conference committee with something coming out
of House because at the end of the day, there are conservatives across the
country who are pushing Republican members of Congress to get in line with
the solution. That is something we have never seen on this issue across
HAYES: So I want to hear about what that actual lobbying effort looks
like and how strong it is. I also want to talk about Sheriff Joe Arpaio
who has announced a new calling that I think could really, really help
things move along on the immigration front if we remove one of the biggest,
most recognizable demagogues in that area, all of that after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF: I`ve been a poster boy for
illegal immigration. I`m going to be a poster boy this time around for all
the senior citizens out there, the discrimination against them whether you
want to believe it or not, there`s a discrimination against senior
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of course, one of the
most colorful populist demagogues against immigrants and immigration reform
who has announced that he has found a second calling, at this stage in his
career, he is moving from immigration to discrimination against seniors,
which I salute him in moving on to that issue. I think it is a much better
one for him to work on and also sort of a perfect demographic
representation of the modern Republican Party.
That aside, here is my question. OK, please explain to me the game
plan here. The game plan is supposed to be this bill the “Gang of 8” holds
together. They held up through mark up. It gets a big majority. It gets
60 votes, maybe even 70. It comes out of the Senate and that forces the
House to take it up. I don`t understand if that game plan is still
operable right now. So explain to me how this moves forward. Why I should
believe this is going to happen?
PRAELI: I actually feel like the House has its own process. There is
a gang of seven now because Labrador is no longer there in the House
working on a comprehensive bill. I think that Goodlaw is also working on
his pieces of immigration. And I think that the House is going to have to
go through its process.
I actually do think that the leadership and the person that we are
looking to in the House is Speaker Boehner. He is going to have to assure
us, our community, that there are procedural protections for any bill
moving through the House. The House Judiciary Committee is composed of
many, many anti-immigrant destructionists.
HAYES: Basically a bunch of Joe Arpaios.
PRAELI: Right. You know, any legalization title that moves through
there I think is very vulnerable so we would have to have some assurances.
HAYES: So the idea is that something is going to come independently
out of House. The question is, is it going to get a vote? Ali, this is
where I think the kind of business community and the folks that you`re in
touch with come to play. Here is my comparison for you.
When the financial industry of this country and business community
wanted the bail without pass, when they wanted TARP passed, it came up in
the House and got voted down the first time. It was voted down by a whole
bunch of Republicans. In fact a lot of kind of Republicans who are
probably going to vote against comprehensive immigration reform.
What happened in the day between that first vote and second vote was
that the lobbyists of corporate America went into the Hill office to
office, meeting by meeting, saying the world end if you don`t vote the
right way on this. My question is, is corporate America going to bring to
bear that level of pressure to make sure this thing gets a vote in the
House and that Republicans vote the right way, if they really care about it
as much as they say they do.
NOORANI: You know, Chris, this is completely different of what we saw
of the financial crisis. It is bigger than the corporate community.
Across the country, there are bibles, badges and business who are
conservatives advocating for comprehensive immigration reform.
In fact, next week, we`re expecting hundreds of them. If you go to
the web site bbb2dc.org, you will see that we have Governor Haley Barbour
leading Evangelicals, leading law enforcement officials, leading business
corporations, all starting to work together, not only in D.C., but across
the country in the districts where it matters most.
And that`s what is different here. It is nothing like the financial
crisis. It`s nothing like guns. There is a clear incentive for
conservatives to bring a conservative vision to the immigration debate.
That`s why I believe that the House of Representatives will craft
legislation that makes it through. We are going to see a bill on the
president`s desk this summer.
HAYES: OK, so here`s one of the issues I see, every day that passes,
if you say that is there immigration reform, I would say yes because
everyone had a death bed conversion. Everyone saw the 44 points spread
among Latinos and the over 50 points spread among Asian-Americans, which is
actually a faster growing demographic than Latinos in this country.
Karl Rove and Sean Hannity and all of the big wigs in the Republican
Party can read the exit poll and they were like, man, we cannot win
national elections with these kind of margins and a big thing that`s making
us toxic right now, the threshold issues is where we are in immigration.
Every day that passes we are a day further from that election and a
day closer to a midterm election in which the electorate is going to look
much older and much whiter, almost certainly, than it did in 2012. Is that
part of what is exerting a gravitational pull and is that part of what is
creating urgency on your part for this thing to move forward?
PRAELI: I think what`s creating urgency on United We Dream`s part for
this to move forward, is the fact that our families continue to be
separated. People continue to be deported every day and that people have
been living in the shadows for far too long. I think the clear political
mandate for Republicans and Democrats out of the elections continues to be
relevant. If Republicans want to see the inside of the White House again,
Chris, I think they have to change their politics and tone on immigration.
HAYES: I think that is absolutely true. My big question is — I
think people are losing sight of that.
PRAILE: I think you remind them. I think it`s not just on dreamers,
I think it`s on the whole community.
HAYES: Lorella Praile from United We Dream Network and Ali Noorani,
the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, thank you.
That`s 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