Skip navigation

All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

May 15, 2014

Guest: Eric Schneiderman, Tsedeye Gebreselassie, Bernie Sanders

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris

Today, thousands of fast food workers walked off the job to protest
for higher wages. In dozens of cities across the country, from Los Angeles
to Atlanta to New York City people took to the streets to fight for 15.
They did the same thing in Chicago and New Orleans.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not enough money to be working for $8 an
hour. That`s why I`m here again if it has to be twice, third time, five
times I`m going to be here.

JEMERIE CALHOUN, MCDONALD`S EMPLOYEE: We want common respect and the
ability to unionize without anything coming back to harm us and our

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to make the difference. We have to
change. We have to do something so they listen to us.


HAYES: This time, it`s not just in the United States. Protestors in
33 countries from South Korea to Nicaragua, rallied in support of demands
for higher wages. It`s a movement that has really captured the
imaginations of people, at a time when 44 percent of the jobs created in
the last four years are low wage jobs.

The fight for $15 an hour has managed to do something profound -- put
inequality and the minimum wage front and center in the national debate.
The sustained protests have been able to do for the left what the Tea Party
has been successful in doing on the right, which is to push the boundaries
on an issue and drag the politics behind it.

When the fight to raise wages for low wage workers kicked off 18
months ago, it was a very small grassroots movement. Today, it has
entirely changed the politics of the country. The president made raising
the minimum wage his signature policy proposal during his State of the
Union, signing an executive order raising wages for tens of thousands of
federal contractors. New Jersey has voted to raise their state`s minimum
wage to $8.25. Connecticut passed a bill that would raise the minimum wage
to $10.10 over several years. Maryland voted to do the same, and Vermont
is on track to have the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $10.50 an

That`s just to name a few. Meanwhile, the center of the debate has


things that we should be for. One of them is reasonable increases from
time to time in the minimum wage.

know part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue
of minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it.

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Let`s not make the argument
that we`re for the blue collar guy but against a minimum wage increase
ever. It just makes no sense.


HAYES: Of course, we should note all those Republicans are people
without power in the current GOP.

Meanwhile, the people who are in power have been left behind as public
opinion moves in the direction of those strikers that you saw today,
particularly the 2016 contenders.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe in the minimum wage?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, I think that when you look at
raising it, all of the studies show that if you raise it, you get more

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If you raise the minimum wage, the
inevitable effect will be, number one, young people will lose their jobs or
not be able to get their first jobs. Unemployment among young people will
go up.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I don`t think a minimum wage law


HAYES: It`s not just those vying for the Republican presidential
nomination. It`s almost the entire Republican class of 2014. In North
Carolina where 61 percent of the population supports raising the minimum
wage, Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis came out against a federal
minimum wage hike, saying, "minimum wage decisions need to be made by the
state," the preferred dodge of candidates these days. Tillis then, of
course, refused to say whether or not he supported a state minimum wage

Republican Joni Ernst, who is running for Senate in Iowa, said
something similar. But it`s up to states rather than the federal
government which sets the wages.

That`s just a nicer way of saying you don`t believe in a federal
minimum wage.

There`s a reason why Republicans aren`t running on that belief,
because the American people are against them on the issue and they know it.

Joining me now, New York state attorney general, Democrat Eric
Schneiderman. His office is looking into reports of wage violations in the
state`s fast food industry.

Attorney General, you`ve been opening this investigate that centers on
the lack of power that these workers have. One symptom of that is the
wages that they are paid. The other symptom is that even the wages that
they should be paid are often not paid.

coincidence that we`ve been able to make these cases because workers are
coming forward where they were reluctant to before. At the same time
they`re raising their voices and organizing. This is part of the same

So, we can`t do anything in law enforcement if people don`t report
crimes to us and now they`re speaking up. And in the last few months,
we`ve gotten probably 3,000 low wage workers back wages from employers who
were beating them out of $7.25 an hour and 8 bucks an hour. And there are
-- most employers this is an important to understand about this debate --
most employers would like to pay their workers a decent minimum wage. They
like to pay their workers a living wage. They are undercut by bottom
feeders. If you don`t raise the minimum wage and you don`t have good
enforcement, that`s something we`re seeing all over the state of New York.

HAYES: When you say 3,000 workers, I mean, when you say beat out,
like what is happening such that they`re not getting the money they`re due.
Again, we`re not talking about raising it above what they`re making, we`re
talking about the fact that there`s an epidemic in this country, which I
have seen as a reporter face to face for years of low wage workers simply
being stiffed out of paychecks and out of money.

SCHNEIDERMAN: We`ve gotten back wages from McDonald`s workers,
Dominos workers, or car wash workers. There`s great organizing campaign in
New York. They`ve been helped in the fast food industry a lot by the SEIU,
(INAUDIBLE) committed the International United to this. And they have come
forward to raise complaints.

And when they raise complaints, we`ve actually put some of these
employers in jail. These guys will not pay the minimum wage. They
sometimes make the workers stand around and only clock in when the store is
busy and then they have to clock out and sit around. So, they`re not
making the minimum wage.

HAYES: These are people on the job who are being told by their
bosses, take your punch card, when the store is busy, clock in, we`ll pay
you for that and when the store is not, clock out, which is illegal, I
should note.

SCHNEIDERMAN: This is illegal. But it`s important to understand --
again, why raising minimum wage is important and why enforcement is a
critical component of it because there are always employers who will try to
pay less and try and do less.

It`s the usual evasion of regulations. It`s not just bad for the
workers but for the good businesses that want to do the right thing. And
we have seen folks who wouldn`t pay for laundry allowance, we have illegal
deductions, who make -- pay people tipped wages when they`re not in a job
that gets any tips, which is a lower minimum wage.

And again, more than 3,000 workers who`ve gotten back wages when one
of the franchise, Dominos franchises tried to retaliate and fire 25 workers
because they were trying to organize, we got them their jobs back within a
couple of days.

So, if workers come forward, those of us who do law enforcement can
help them enforce this law. Wage theft is like car theft. It`s like any
other kind of theft and we have to treat it that way.

HAYES: But it isn`t like car theft and the example you give of the
Dominos workers was the exception rather than the rule, in fact, in this
country, what happens when people try to step forward. Often they are
retaliated against and there is no law enforcement there to protect them.

SCHNEIDERMAN: Well, that partly and this comes to state by state. In
New York, we have a strong anti-retaliation statute. It`s much stronger
than the federal law.

And, again, your point is correct. Ideally this should be done at the
federal level. It`s not something that should be left to the states. The
enforcement should be done at the federal level.

Tom Perez, the labor secretary is a great guy, but they just can`t get
things done in Washington and the minimum wage bill was killed even in the
Senate, which the Democrats control much less the House. So, it`s clear
we`re going to have to take action at the state level.

And what`s gong on at the state level? The state with the highest
state minimum wage, Washington, has the fastest rate of job growth. You`re
listening to these guys and their position on economics is as credible as
their position on climate change. This is not a position any responsible,
honest economist would take. It`s not true that minimum wage increases
affect job growth.

HAYES: Do you actually said the thing -- I want to come back to the
thing you said in the beginning, because it`s striking to me. Do you
actually think that this movement, this fight for 15 movement, the
organizing we`ve seen around that, has emboldened people to come forward
with complaints? You`ve actually seen that in your own eyes.

SCHNEIDERMAN: I know that. I know that.

We have had folks in our office. We`ve had people giving information.
Again, in a couple of cases there was a taco factory where we locked up the
employer. There was a movie theatre cleaning company, we locked up the

We can bring criminal cases. We can -get people their wages back.
This is true in a lot of states. When people find their voice to organize,
they also find their voice to report crime.

HAYES: Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York, thank you so


HAYES: Joining me now, Tsedeye Gebreselassie, a staff attorney for
the National Employment Law Project.

Tsedeye, it`s great to have you back.


HAYES: How much progress has been made? I want to play out two
parallel facts.

One is that these movements have grown. They`ve moved public opinion.
We`ve seen minimum wage raised in states. We`ve seen the highest minimum
wage in a city being negotiated in Seattle.

At the same time these folks that we`re seeing that are working at
McDonald`s or Taco Bell are no closer to having unions or the protections
or having their raise waged by their employer than they were 18 months ago.

GEBRESELASSIE: Well, I think -- I mean, we`ve -- so, 18 months ago,
there was one strike in New York. Right now, there are strikes in 150
strikes and across the country.

HAYES: That`s what it started with, one strike in New York.

GEBRESELASSIE: One strike in New York City, and workers have seen
small victories. You know, there have been workers that have won some
small raises and that has spurred further action and just further
emboldenment to take more steps.

On the policy front, the fact that Seattle is poised to enact a $15
minimum wage, that`s a direct result of the last 18 months. That figure
didn`t come out of nowhere. So I think the fact that the strikes are
catching fire, that people now know that contrary to industry`s claims,
these are not teens, these are adults that are trying to support families,
70 percent of the workforce are adults.

And also the focus on what in the meantime CEOs are racking in in
terms of compensation. So, even as the average wage is $9 an hour, CEOs
are making the $24 million a year and people are starting to know that.

HAYES: It`s striking to me that we have the situation which the best
avenue forward is legislating minimum wage, precisely because there`s such
an imbalance between corporate power and worker power. I read a great
piece today which was written by a McDonald`s worker in Denmark basically
said, right, I make $21 an hour and you should, too, I think was the
headline. I`m making $21 at McDonalds, why aren`t you?

You see, I work for McDonald`s in Denmark where an agreement between
our union and the company guarantees that workers older than 18 are paid at
least $21 an hour. To anyone who says that fast food can`t be good jobs, I
would answer that mine isn`t bad."

What do you make of that?

GEBRESELASSIE: That`s right.

I make of that -- I mean, it shows that it`s not just about raising
minimum wage because that`s just the floor. It`s clear that $7.25 is way
too low and we`ve seen seven states in the last three months, take action
to raise the minimum wage, but there has to be more than raising the
minimum wage.

And we`ve seen over decades what happens when workers organize and
build collective power and are able to negotiate directly with their
employer. In this case, employers that are racking in tremendous amount of
profit and can certainly afford to pay a lot higher than the minimum wage.

HAYES: Are you surprised by how much this has gained traction?
Organizing is hard work. My dad is an organizer, my brother is an
organizer. It`s hard to get people to speak out against their bosses

Are you surprised by how well it`s gone?

GEBRESELASSIE: I`m not -- I`m not surprised. I mean, I am heartened.
I think it`s a little different.

I`m not surprised because people are really angry. And they`re seeing
an economy where everybody says that the recovery is happening but it`s not
happening for them. They`re working harder and harder and not getting
raises. You know, you`ve seen interviews with workers that have gotten a
50 cent raise in the meantime.

HAYES: And it`s symbolic of something broader, which is that the
American worker in toto hasn`t gotten a raise for a long time. It`s not
just fast food workers.

GEBRESELASSIE: Exactly. From 2000 to 2012, wages for the bottom 60
percent of our workforce are stagnated or declined. So, if you`re not a
fast food worker, even if you`re not a low wage worker, but you`re a middle
income worker, you`re still struggling to get ahead, so you can absolutely
identify with the issues that the fast food campaign is raising.

HAYES: Do you think it`s a wedge issue in politics?

GEBRESELASSIE: Absolutely. I mean -- you said in your intro, the
broad majority of the American public support raising the minimum wage.
You have leading Republican voices such as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty
saying that we need to raise the minimum wage and specifically,
highlighting the concern that they have of the consequence of their
counterparts in Congress who are blocking any meaningful increase in the
minimum wage because they know. I mean, they see the trends that we`re
seeing, the polling.

HAYES: They understand that people are frustrated and angry.


HAYES: And they understand that their support for precisely what
we`re seeing today in cities across the country and cities across the

Tsedeye Gebreselassie from the National Employment Law Project --
always a pleasure having you.

GEBRESELASSIE: Thanks so much, Chris.

HAYES: All right. Coming up, former Massachusetts Senator Scott
Brown who is running for Senate in his new adopted home in New Hampshire
just handed his Democratic opponent material for the best campaign ever.
I`ll tell you what he did, next.


HAYES: The NRA has an image problem. So, what did they do? They
create a new online network for shows like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is it possible for me to walk out of a gun
store with a $5,000 rifle in a cardboard box?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Literally in a cardboard box?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, in a cardboard box. And it pissed me off,
too, because it`s like, I want a nice box. I don`t want to build a bear
beginning set of a homeless guy`s apartment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get Lululemon head bands in better packaging
than that.


HAYES: It is such a hot mess. You just can`t look away. We`ll talk
about why the NRA needs to rebrand itself and whether that will help,



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you proudest of in terms of legislative
achievement for the people of the state of the state of Massachusetts?

SCOTT BROWN (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Sure. Just doing exactly what
I said I would do which is to be that independent voter and thinker. I`m
clearly the most bipartisan person in the entire delegation and the most,
if not the most totally in the entire United States Senate and I think
that`s very important because there are plenty of ideologues down there,
plenty of partisan folks, but very few problem solvers.


HAYES: In the terminal phase of Scott Brown`s short Senate career, he
was building himself as a bipartisan consensus maker in the land of
partisan division. His current iteration as a Senate candidate in the
neighboring blue state of New Hampshire, he has taken up that mantle once
again, which is why it looks really, really bad. He got caught red handed
blowing up an uncontroversial, sensible, bipartisan piece of legislation
for the petty political reason he did not want his political opponent to
get any credit that she could tout during the campaign.

New Hampshire`s Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen had a bill with
Republican Senator Rob Portman, that was widely supported in both the House
and Senate. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted it,
saying, quote, "It does enjoy bipartisan support."

Supporters said the legislation was expected to create more than
190,000 jobs and save consumers $16 billion a year on energy cost by 2030.
But it ended up being filibustered with help from Scott Brown.

"Huffington Post" reports that Brown, quote, "called Republican Senate
leadership to urge them to make sure that Shaheen-Portman, the Senate`s
energy efficiency bill didn`t pass so as not to give Shaheen something to
run on. Brown reached out as recently as last week.

If Scott Brown thought the Jeanne Shaheen ads touting her legislative
victor yon energy efficiency, were going to be bad, wait until he sees the
ads about him blowing the whole thing up, for the pettiest of political

Joining me is Senator Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont, and a
member of the Environment and Public Works and Energy and Natural Resources

And, Senator, can you tell me first a little bit about this
legislation that was destroyed, it struck me as not a huge deal but
sensible and good and would save energy and save money.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Chris, you`re absolutely right.
This was a very modest bill. This bill was supported by the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce, not noted to be radical environmentalists and other business

But it was an important bill because everybody understands that the
best way to save energy is through energy efficiency and weatherization.
As you indicated, what this bill would do is save people substantial sums
of money on their fuel bills, because when you weatherize a home you use
less energy. What it would also do is create a significant number of jobs,
almost 200,000 jobs, and further, it would cut greenhouse gas emissions.
It sounds to me like a win/win/win situation.

But the Republican Party has become such an obstructionist party, so
determined to not let anything significant happen, so determined not to
give Senator Shaheen a victory despite the jobs being created and the
energy being saved that they killed the bill.

HAYES: This is the statement that the New Hampshire GOP put out as
soon as the bill failed, right? So, Republicans -- Scott Brown calls
around, Republicans filibuster it and the New Hampshire GOP rushes in to
say, Senator Shaheen, it`s called Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill,
her defining legislation, but after its defeat, Senator Shaheen doesn`t
have a single legislative accomplishment to run on as she seeks re-

This was a political hit job, nothing more and nothing less.

SANDERS: Hey, Chris, welcome to my world. That is what goes on here
every single day.

HAYES: But this is precisely the thing, Senator Sanders, this is
precisely the thing that voters say they hate. It`s precisely the thing
that everyone says they hate. Why can`t you guys come to some consensus?

Here it is. This is why you can`t, because it is to the political
advantage of certain people to destroy rather than build.

SANDERS: I mean, it goes on and on and on. A few months ago, I
presented a veterans` bill which had the support of every major veterans`
organization in the country, very major veterans organizations. The
Republican Party is supposed to love our veterans. I only got two votes
and they brought forth was an amendment for sanctions on Iran on the
veterans` bill.

The bottom line is, that these guys made a decision a number of years
ago when Obama came to office and they said, look, everybody knows this, we
are going to do everything we can to stop legislation and then we`re going
to say what have these people accomplished? Democrats control the Senate,
what have they done.

MADDOW: How do you go to the Capitol every day? How do you wake up
and commute from Vermont and go to that Capitol and talk to your colleagues
and introduce bills and work on amendments and do all of the work of
legislating when you know that`s where it`s headed, that`s the conditions?

SANDERS: Let me tell you very honestly, it is emotionally very, very
difficult and frustrating. We look out on the world. You were discussing
the need to raise the minimum wage. Everybody knows we have to do that.
We can`t do that.

Can`t extend long term unemployment, come up with a jobs program. The
Shaheen bill was a good start. We have to go a lot further than that. We
don`t even have a party here in the Republican Party that acknowledges the
science of climate change let alone developing a legislation to address it.

HAYES: What do you think about Scott Brown`s message to voters and
image of himself as a bipartisan compromiser in the wake of this?

SANDERS: Well, I think as you`ve indicated, it just undermines
everything, how he defines himself.

He`s the great moderate. He`s the great guy who brings people
together. Well, in this case, he did everything that he could to prevent
the Congress from passing -- the Senate from passing a modest bill.

By the way, this legislation, as I understand it, was passed with very
heavy votes in the House. So I think it undermines his entire credibility
as being a moderate who wants to bring people together.

HAYES: Do you think there will be any cost for this ultimately? In
this case there`s a microcosm of Scott Brown, will he pay a cost as this
gets out. And I think he will. But more broadly, will Mitch McConnell pay
a cost? Are there costs for this kind of thing?

SANDERS: Well, it really depends on how effective if the Democrats
are in going to grassroots America. This is my fear in terms of the coming
election. The pundits tell us that 60 percent of the American people are
not going to vote. What that means is 70 or 80 percent of low income and
working people who want to raise the minimum wage, who want the jobs --
they`re not going to vote.

What we have got to do is to figure out a way that we rally grassroots
America, educate them about what Republican obstructionism is about,
educate them about how Republicans work day and night for the big money
interests and if we can motivate people, I think we`ll do fine in the

HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders, always a pleasure. Thank you.

Coming up, a former member of Chris Christie`s staff says the governor
is lying about when he found about the George Washington lane closures.
That big story ahead.


HAYES: There are big decision 2014 races going on in the Mountain
West this year and tonight we want to catch you up on the race heating up
in the Land of Napoleon Dynamite. Welcome to the Idaho debates where
longtime Republican Governor Clement Leroy Butch Otter is trying to hold
off a primary challenge from the right flank. Senator Russ Fulcher is
trying to run the governor out of town on account of getting too cozy with

Governor Otter realizing the serious of the threat on his right,
agreed to just one debate before next Tuesday`s vote. It was held last
night. It was also engineered for that debate to feature some other, more
colorful candidates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Brown, you`ve posted bigoted jokes on your Web
site, skewering women and gays and Jews and Asians and Polish people like

HARLEY BROWN, CANDIDATE: And bikers and Irishmen, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Irishmen, too. How is that sort of
disrespect for people going to allow you to govern?

BROWN: A substantial portion of my political campaign is campaigning
against political correctness. It`s a bunch of -- a lot of -- oh, by the
way, when you did your introduction, I wanted the fact that I was the
president of the Bombers Motorcycle Club, and I was long haul truck driver,
OK? I wanted to get the low range stuff, not just the high stuff, engineer
but like a full speed transmission to get it low and go all the way up to


HAYES: Harley Brown bills himself as a former stand-up comic and stag
party master ceremonies and somehow he found his way onto the debate stage
with the governor and his dead serious challenger, Senator Fulcher. In the
clip, we just heard the moderator was asking Harley Brown him about his
list of Harleyisms on his Web site. Harleyism is what Brown describes as a
unique compilation of American blue collar attitudes, political philosophy
and non-politically correct humor to both edify and entertain you.

Actually, Harleyisms are just a bunch of racist and sexist jokes. But
Harley says it`s all good.


BROWN: Those Harleyisms that I call, and a lot of warning on there.
You know, you might find this offensive. But I hit every -- I hit
everybody, Jews, Polish people, Irish, Italians, religious jokes.

And, by the way, my wife screened that. And we took the real hard-
core zingers out. So in case I catch any flak from people like you -- no,
you`re mild -- I can fire that back and attack my attackers.

I don`t like political correctness. Can I say this? It sucks. It`s
bondage. And not -- I`m about as political correct as your proverbial turd
in a punch bowl. And I`m proud of it and I`m going for it and I`m going
for the vote of the real people out there, not these bondage type people
who don`t have a clue about picking up strangers at night and hauling them
God knows where.


HAYES: But wait, there`s more.

Turns out Harley Brown wasn`t the only nontraditional candidate Butch
Otter managed to cram onto the base.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bayes, you have said you`re running because
you have a platform -- this gives you a platform to talk about your views
on abortion.

If lightning struck and you were elected governor, could you do the

me that we couldn`t homeschool, I prayed about it. I stood on my hind legs
like a man. I told them what I thought of them, and the television would
talk to me for 30 minutes or an hour and, well, what would you do if they
came out to take your kids?

Well, I would shoot them. What else would you do?


HAYES: Walt Bayes is running as a Republican on the anti-abortion
platform. And we know that the governor, Otter, engineered his appearance
on the debate stage thanks the reporting from "The Idaho Statesman."

Also, Bayes admitted as much during the debate.


BAYES: Butch, I would like to thank you for making it possible for me
to be here tonight.

GOV. BUTCH OTTER (R), IDAHO: You`re welcome, Walt.

BAYES: He kind of insisted that me and this other un-normal person
could be here tonight.


HAYES: Just an incredible feat of political skill by Idaho`s sitting

We ran the numbers down to the ALL IN stats office. It turns out that
during last night`s debate, the one and only Republican primary debate,
Russ Fulcher, Otter`s biggest threat, had by far the least talk time when
compared to Governor Otter and the combined frontier gibberish coming from
Harley Brown and Walt Bayes.

So, a bit of dirty pool on the part of the governor, which is why we
have decided not to air even one more second of that nonsense.

Oh, I`m sorry. I read that incorrectly.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Brown, your closing remarks?

BROWN: Well, this has been a great honor. Let me finish that story.

After God told me he was going to make me presidential, I went out and
got the presidential seal tattooed right here to my shoulder. And I was
living in Fat Jack`s cellar because my ex-wife had given me trumped-up --
some restraining order.

One day, this bishop from Africa comes over and he says I`m the
prophet of the most high God and in that office, I here authenticate that
God told you that. I says, yes? Would you mind putting that in writing?
He said sure. And you have your choice, folks, a cowboy, a curmudgeon, a
biker, or a normal guy. Take your pick. Thank you very much.

We`re leaving it up to you.


HAYES: And so last night, Idaho Governor Butch Otter did a dastardly
feat of political evil genius, an awful thing to do to Idaho primary voters
and an excellent thing to do for fans of ridiculous cable news segments.


HAYES: More trouble for Chris Christie. One of his former top aides
is now effectively calling the governor a liar.

Back in December, before the "Time for some traffic problems in Fort
Lee" e-mails came out, before Bridgegate erupted into a full-blown scandal,
there was just this weird mystery about why access lanes onto the George
Washington Bridge had been closed, causing a traffic disaster in Fort Lee.

And in December, two months after those lane closures, Chris Christie
went before the cameras and said essentially, look, I got nothing.


QUESTION: Governor, can you say with certainty that someone else
didn`t on your staff or in your administration act on your behalf for the
lane closures for political retribution?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Yes, I have absolutely,
absolutely no reason to believe that, Angie, and I have made it very clear
to everybody on my senior staff that if anyone had any knowledge about
this, that they needed to come forward to me and tell me about it. And
they have all assured me that they don`t.

QUESTION: Campaign chief? Campaign staffer?

CHRISTIE: Oh, yes, I have spoken to Mr. Stepien, who is the person in
charge of the campaign, and he`s assured me the same thing.


HAYES: OK, assured me the same thing, any knowledge about it, they
didn`t have any.

Now, that guy Chris Christie mentioned in those comments, Bill
Stepien, he used to be extremely close to the governor. Stepien ran
Christie`s gubernatorial campaign. He had been expected to run his
presidential campaign too, but then came Bridgegate e-mails, which prompted
to withdraw his endorsement of Stepien for New Jersey Republican Party
chairman and effectively disown him.


CHRISTIE: If I cannot trust someone`s judgment, I cannot ask others
to do so, and I would not place him at the head of my political operation
because of the lack of judgment that was shown in the e-mails that were
revealed yesterday.


HAYES: Stepien invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in response to the
investigation of the closures, and he seemed to be playing the role of good
soldier willing to fall on his sword, but now Bill Stepien, Bill Stepien is
suggesting Chris Christie was not telling the truth on December 13.

In a letter, Stepien`s lawyers said Stepien advised Governor Christie
on December 12, one day before that first press conference we showed you,
that Stepien did have prior knowledge of the lane realignment.

Stepien is seeking a retraction of claims in a report put out by Randy
Mastro, a Christie-aligned lawyer, which cast Stepien in a negative light
and alleges Stepien falsely assured Christie he had no prior knowledge of
the lane closures.

To quote the letter from Stepien`s lawyer: "To state, as the report
does at page 126, that Mr. Stepien lied to Mr. Christie, a man to whom he
was unshakably loyal and unfailingly honest throughout their relationship,
is reprehensible, regardless of your motive for doing so."

We reached out to Randy Mastro for a response. Mastro he said there`s
-- quote -- "no basis for any correction" and added that our report stands

Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Brian Murphy, assistant professor of
U.S. political history at Baruch College, former managing editor of

This strikes me as a big deal for two reasons. One, Stepien had been
a good soldier and is no longer inside the tent.


HAYES: And, two, he`s saying that Christie went out there and lied to

MURPHY: That`s right.

And he`s -- right, that Christie had a conversation with him where
they -- the two of them discussed this on the 12th and then Christie went
out on the 13th and said, yes, absolutely not, nobody on my staff was
involved with this, and specifically answered a question about Stepien.


HAYES: He says: "It`s very clear to everyone on my staff that if
anyone had any knowledge about this, they need to come forward, tell me
about it. They have all assured me they didn`t."

Does that include Stepien?

MURPHY: False.

HAYES: "Yes. He has assured me the same thing."

Stepien is now saying that was just a flat-out, straight-up lie.

MURPHY: Right.

And that timeline got a little more complicated this week because
Christie`s press secretary testified in front of the state legislative
committee investigating this that they had a conversation on the 5th of
December where the spokesman, Michael Drewniak, told Christie, told the
governor Bill Stepien and Bridget Kelly, they might have a role in this.

And Christie said, apparently, if we believe Drewniak -- and this came
out later in the day in the second or third time that he told the story --
Christie told Drewniak, I have been wondering if Stepien is involved in

HAYES: So, what you have is, the government had originally said --
remember, there`s that famous moment in his press conference he said I was
just reading my iPad and came out of the shower when I learned about the e-
mails and all of that -- that was the first time I ever heard of this.

MURPHY: Right.

HAYES: And after he came out, gave that three-hour thing, it was a
sort of tour de force, and he was out there for a long time. This is what
Rudy Giuliani said about it. Take a listen.



RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: If for some reason it`s
not true, the man has put his political career completely at risk. If it
turns out that there`s some evidence that he knew about it, he`s taken the
complete risk that his political career is over.


HAYES: So, what we don`t have is a smoking gun that he knew about it,
that he lied in that January press conference.

What we do have is increasing circumstantial evidence person after
person after person saying he has not been straight with the public and the
press about when he learned.

MURPHY: That`s right. And that date keeps moving further and further
back on the calendar.

HAYES: Yes, exactly.

MURPHY: And now like he`s saying things in December like, everybody
is going to owe Wildstein and Baroni. People going to -- you in the press,
you`re going to owe people apologies for writing the stories that you are
currently writing, while he knows, knows that there is something afoot
here, knows the true reason that these folks were asked to resign by him.

They didn`t resign because there was some long plan. They were forced

HAYES: While he`s going out and he`s mocking people, while he`s
saying I was moving the cones, while he`s saying you`re going to owe these
people apologies, he has been getting word internally, we are learning,
from people being like this is -- something is messed up here.


MURPHY: I always thought it was weird that he talked about the cones
and said he had no knowledge of this, because that sort of suggests a
certain operational knowledge of how this works. Right?


HAYES: A weird kind of Freudian giveaway.

MURPHY: Yes. Yes. And like that`s the problem with the long press
conference. Right? At some point, you have to be very careful about
keeping that story straight. And just over three hours, it starts to fall

HAYES: This is Chris Christie recently, I think just this week,
saying my political future has nothing to do with Bridgegate. Take a


CHRISTIE: As far as the impact on my political future, I think it
will have none, because I didn`t do anything.

You have had all kinds of people looking at this for nearly four-and-
a-half months now, and there hasn`t been one suggestion that I knew
anything about it.

I am not the first chief executive. I see Governor Engler down here.
I saw President Clinton backstage before. I`m not the first chief
executive who had someone on their staff do something they didn`t know
something about that they disapproved of and later had to fire them. I
don`t think that that hurt anybody`s career, and it`s not going to hurt


HAYES: I love that him throwing Engler and Clinton...


HAYES: Like, really, that`s -- wait a second. Is that the person
that you want to associate...


MURPHY: That`s a great example. Yes, right.



HAYES: Do you think it`s true?


Politicians have to be brokers in hope, so that`s fine. But it seems
-- I`m a historian. Four-and-a-half months just doesn`t seem that long to
look into something, especially when you`re not -- you don`t necessarily
have the most cooperative witnesses.

The people who have the real good stuff haven`t talked, because they
have real good stuff.

HAYES: Right.

And that`s why the Stepien development is notable, because if he
starts talking, if Bridget Kelly starts talking, we don`t know...

MURPHY: You have got a bunch of people who are increasingly hostile.



HAYES: MSNBC contributor Brian Murphy, always a pleasure.

MURPHY: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up: The NRA wants you to meet this guy.


COLION NOIR, NRA COMMENTATOR: We talk about guns the way we want, the
stuff we dream about and kick around when we`re at the range or just
hanging out.


HAYES: The man is Colion Noir, urban gun enthusiast, the latest
attempt by the NRA to make themselves more appealing to more people. We
will talk about that next.


HAYES: The NRA would like you to know that they are not a bunch of
militia-obsessed, Cliven Bundy-loving, bunkered-down weirdos obsessing over
black helicopters, while stockpiling hundreds of guns, spinning
conspiracies about the ATF, while listening to their Alex Jones "Infowars"

They are, to borrow a phrase from Christine O`Donnell, just like you.


NOIR: The gun world didn`t come from nowhere. There`s a heritage, a
heritage that had a swag would put most rappers to shame. There`s no way
you look at a photo of Hemingway hunting in Africa without thinking there`s
a reason the most interesting man in the world is pro-gun.


HAYES: OK, maybe the NRA would like you to know they`re more like
Hemingway, who, by the way, killed himself with a gun.

Nonetheless, the NRA wants you to know they have a cool new show on
what we like to refer as their propaganda channel, NRA Freestyle TV, in
which the gun advocacy group tries to reach out to gun owners who aren`t
necessarily in the fold and put a face on itself that would be more
appealing to the kind of people who aren`t wearing tactical vests to their
days jobs as insurance agents.

So, this is what you get when -- quote -- "urban gun enthusiast" sits
down with a wannabe FOX News columnist, the greatest piece of unintentional
comedy since that Idaho debate we played you earlier tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I handed him a gun and he limp-wristed it
like he was picking up a tarantula, not cool.

NOIR: "Noir" is what you get when you take guns, a little bit of

Is it me, or is Mayor Bloomberg the lamest billionaire on the planet

Pop culture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perez Hilton and "Us Weekly" are talking about
"Golf Digest." I don`t remember the last time that happened.

NOIR: And of course me.

Not every gun owner wants to play commando or argue about bullet
calibers on message boards. There are millions of gun-owners out there
just like my co-host, Amy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to be making it my mission on "Noir"
to highlight women shooters and our influence in the gun world.

NOIR: This is a gun show for my generation. We will talk about
everything and politicize nothing.

You start stepping outside of that circle and start trying to tell me
how to run my life on a day-to-day basis, that`s when we start having

NOIR: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to "Noir."


HAYES: The NRA, however, is right to be concerned about its image.
Here are the two key trends about gun ownership in America, the two you
have to understand to understand everything.

One of them is good news for the NRA. And that`s the number of guns
sold in America keeps going up with around 300 million in circulation. The
bad news for the NRA is the number of households with guns keeps going
down, which in 2012 was around a third of American households, meaning that
gun culture in America is driven by fewer and fewer people buying more and
more guns.

So, for all their efforts rebranding and reaching out to new
audiences, the heart of American gun culture is very concentrated and can
be dominated by a very ugly faction.

A special report from "Mother Jones" on just what that looks like and
someone who came face to face with that ugliness next.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a bad grouping. Happy Mother`s Day.


HAYES: A firearms instructor in Florida decided to shoot a few holes
in a banner for the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, just
a glimpse of some of the ugly methods being used by gun rights advocates to
harass and intimidate people, mostly women, calling for better regulations
and security measures for gun owners, all of this exposed in a blockbuster
piece out today in "Mother Jones."

Joining me now, rMD-BO_Mark Follman, senior editor of "Mother Jones,"
who wrote that story, and Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for
Gun Sense in America, who herself has been the target of gun rights

And maybe, Shannon, I will begin with you.

Since you have gotten into this arena in public, what has your
experience been? We did a report about a real Second Amendment guy, Andy,
gun store owner, who got death threats and got people calling his phone and
saying really ugly things to him when he said he was going to sell this one
smart gun. I can only imagine what someone like you gets.

It`s daily, whether it`s threats of violence, sexual violence, threats of
death, not only to me, but to my family.

But it`s not just me. This is the story of many of our moms around
the country. And, in my opinion, threatening the opposition is cowardly
and un-American. It`s a way to circumvent democracy.

They want to silence our votes and our voices. And that`s why it`s so
important for responsible gun owners and other mothers to stand up and say,
we will not allow this fringe to become mainstream and make our policies.

HAYES: Mark, we were just playing some video, if we can run that
again, and you can explain what we`re seeing there, because that was one of
the most shocking parts of the story.

Who is shooting and what are they shooting at in this video?


That was a firearms instructor in Florida, a former police officer as
well, who made this video targeting moms. I think you`re also showing the
video of the "Mad Minute," which was a group in Texas that was shooting a
female mannequin.

This is one of the groups that is pushing for open carrying in the
state of Texas. And they have been conducting these provocative
demonstrations where they parade around in public with assault rifles.

A number of those people were at a Dallas restaurant last fall, a
story that made national news, where some members of Shannon`s organization
were meeting. And this is what they do on their spare time, apparently, is
go out and shoot up naked female mannequins.

HAYES: So, any group large enough -- there`s millions of gun owners
in America, there`s millions of members of the NRA. There`s going to be
people who do ugly stuff.

I remember during Occupy, FOX News would find an allegation of sexual
assault in Occupy and say, these people are all rapists. Right?

Are you doing the same thing with gun rights activists? Convince me
this isn`t just some small handful of people acting terribly.

FOLLMAN: I think it`s not the same at all, Chris. This is happening
all over the country in various places.

The story I put out today on "Mother Jones" covers a number of
scenarios, but it`s really just the tip of the iceberg. I have heard many
other stories about this happening in Colorado, North Carolina. And I
think it reflects something about the tactics of the gun lobby.

I think it shows that there`s a disturbing cost to the rhetoric and
the language and the messaging of the NRA`s leadership and Gun Owners of
America and other groups, of constantly appealing to fear and paranoia and
stirring up anger. And there`s a susceptible minority of gun owners who
are listening, and I think this is partly the result of that.

HAYES: Shannon, when you talk about being targeted, I mean, your
actual personal phone has been called, right, with threats?

WATTS: Oh, absolutely, you name it, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, phone,
letters to my home, people driving by.

But the point I want to make...

HAYES: Wait. Stop there for a second. People driving by?

WATTS: Oh, yes, absolutely.

HAYES: Doing what?

WATTS: Just looking at my house and what my address is and in general
being intimidating.

But Mark was talking about the susceptible minority. What I want
people to understand is, that susceptible minority is being invited by, for
example, Senate Senator Craig Estes in Texas to testify in favor of open
carry. A state representative here in Indiana who was outraged that I
testified against guns in schools has taken to Facebook to bully me on our
Facebook page and on his own personal representative page.

So, that`s why we need people to stand up and say, this is not
acceptable. This is not an OK way to act. We have a democracy in place.
We have to follow it. You can`t use the Second Amendment to threaten

HAYES: Mark, you have a story in there that was really upsetting
about a woman confined to a wheelchair who herself is a gun owner who was
essentially spit on, if I`m recalling this story correctly, by someone who
was mad at her for her advocacy on gun regulation?

FOLLMAN: That`s right.

She was in Indianapolis participating in a press conference with
Everytown talking about why we need to reform gun laws, in the view of that
group. And on her way home in the airport, there was footage of that press
conference playing on a TV in the concourse, and a man who saw it
recognized her, came up and sat in her face.

It really kind of boggles the mind who would do things like that.
But, again, I think, as we have been saying, this is a minority group of
gun owners. And it raises another interesting question, too, Chris, which
is, where are the majority of gun owners in this country in this debate?

Why aren`t they speaking out? Most people who are gun owners are
responsible, civil people. And you don`t see a whole lot of them talking
about this stuff. I think they`re starting to pay attention. There`s been
a little bit of backlash starting to bubble up on some conservative blogs
and saying, this is just wrong and people can`t be doing this.

HAYES: The kinds of people, I think, who are devoting their lives and
energy to things like open carry is going to be a pretty self-selecting
group of people.

And so what you`re getting is a gun movement that`s dominated by a
very small, very hard-core group of people with very fringe views who can
be very aggressive. And we have seen this play out time and time again in
gun clash after another, in which you`re not just getting arguments about
policy. You`re getting rank, pure intimidation.

Mark Follman from "Mother Jones," Shannon Watts from Moms Demand
Action for Gun Sense in America, thank you both.

That`s ALL IN for this evening.


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2014 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>

Sponsored links

Resource guide