ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
November 11, 2014
Guest: Jeff Smith, Francisco Goldman, Bernie Sanders, Beverly Gage,
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN.
GOV. JAY NIXON (D), MISSOURI: Violence will not be tolerated.
HAYES: The governor of Missouri announces the National Guard is on
standby as Ferguson braces for a grand jury decision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the announcement is made, there`s no amount
of force is going to keep people from initially taking to the streets.
HAYES: MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee on today`s escalation in Ferguson.
Then, President Bernie Sanders? The independent from Vermont makes a
big campaign move and he`s here to explain.
Plus, the Acapulco airport overrun by protesters.
How do drug cartels gain such a stronghold on a Mexican government?
And America is now officially Ebola-free.
Good thing we didn`t freak out about all of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ebola or ISIS or Ebola on the backs of ISIS could
come through our border.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
The Missouri National Guard is now officially on standby in
anticipation of the grand jury`s decision of whether or not to indict
Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-
old Michael Brown over the summer. That announcement about the National
Guard came earlier today at a rather stunning press conference called by
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIXON: The National Guard has been and will continue to be part of
our contingency planning. The guard will be available when we determined
it is necessary to support local law enforcement -- quite simply, we must
and will be fully prepared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Nixon, flanked by top regional police officers warned that
violence would not be tolerated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIXON: In the days immediately following Michael Brown`s death,
peaceful protests were marred by senseless acts of violence and
destruction. Vandals smashed the windows of small businesses. Criminals
looted and set fire to stores. Gunshots and Molotov cocktails endangered
citizens, exercising their First amendment rights, and law enforcement
attempting to maintain peace.
That ugliness was not representative of Missouri and it cannot be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The timing of the press conference does not seem to be
accidental. Over the past several weeks, speculation has been rampant that
a grand jury decision is coming any day. That anticipation has been fueled
in part by a series of supposed now disputed leaks from grand jury itself.
A speculation has grown so intense that local St. Louis County prosecutor
Bob McCulloch wrote a letter yesterday saying, quote, "Any and all claims
of an announcement, especially social media are ranked speculation and
should be ignored."
But according to that same letter, the timeline for announcement is
mid to late November, just around the corner. And people across the state
and world are preparing, within hours of an FBI report that 461 felony
suspects had been killed by police last year alone, the highest number in
two decades, Michael Brown`s own parents testified in Geneva, at a U.N.
panel on torture, saying their son was treated as, quote, "less than
human." Brown`s parents pled for peace but said the protests will
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BROWN, SR., FATHER: We understand that our son is gone, but
the movement will be that we`re trying to make sure that this doesn`t
happen to anyone else. That no one else has to feel how we feel. So, yes,
the protest will carry on.
(END VIDE CLIP)
HAYES: Ty Pruitt, a cousin and spokesman for the Brown family, told
MSNBC, quote, "The police are getting ready for war when they should be
getting ready for a trial. That, to me, says they already made their
Residents, business owners, police and activists are bracing for that
decision. "The Guardian" reported last month, the St. Louis County police
have spent over $170,000 replenishing their stockpiles of riot gear and
tear gas, among other things.
Activists have asked officials to agree to rules of engagement,
including 48 hours notice of the grand jury decision and safe zones.
And in Ferguson, businesses have been getting ready and many residents
are preparing for the worst.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE PERKINS, RESIDENT: If history is any indication of what`s
going to happen when this verdict or, you know, this announcement comes
down, it`s going to be pandemonium. We are preparing for the worst.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But for a local gun supply shop, preparing for the worst means
business is good. Gun sales tripled over the last weekend alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: August, there was fire in the streets, there was
protesting, there was looting, there was rioting, there was damage to
property. People saw an isolated neighborhood being attacked. So, those
folks in that neighborhood bought firearms to protect themselves, right?
Now, we don`t know where the attack is going to come from. We don`t know
where the protests are going to be. We don`t know what violence is going
to be. So the fear of the unknown has got the entire metropolitan St.
Louis area afraid. They`re literally afraid because they don`t know if
it`s their neighborhood that`s going to get targeted, or their next door
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, national reporter for MSNBC, Trymaine Lee.
Trymaine, great to have you here.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: That interview, you could do a whole block on that interview.
On one level, you`ve got folks in the metro area who are scared about
rioting. Let`s keep in mind. There wasn`t a ton of that. I mean, there
was some, but there was -- in the grand scheme of things, that was fairly
You have folks in Ferguson, the other community, fearful of what the
decision will be. And all of that just sits over the whole metro area.
LEE: Now, for the better part of a decade, that will cover the manner
of unrest. And I don`t think I`ve ever seen anything quite like this.
Now, you can expect the rumor mill to turn. But when you look at law
enforcement, the kind of building over there, the arsenal weaponry, you
look over the past weekend, the gun sales tripling. You hear that gun
owner saying we don`t know where the protesters are going to be. They
could be your neighbor.
This kind of environment of fear and speculation is really troubling.
And again, even in the very beginning, at the worse of it, we didn`t see
wholesale, you know, 500, 600 people turning on police, turning and
burning, you didn`t see.
HAYES: We`re going to play footage later in the show of protesters in
Mexico stripping bare a riot police officer and beating him. I mean, it`s
just on another planet compared to the kind of thing we saw in Ferguson.
So, everyone is keeping in mind what we saw the first time around.
HAYES: Even the press conference today to me was a symbol of how
strange this six weeks have been or two months, in that everyone knows this
process is happening. No one thinks there`s going to be an indictment. No
one. You can`t find anyone.
And the governor, for the governor to come out and make this
announcement, in preparation for the announcement, it was just so bizarre,
but also a kind of acknowledgment that, yes, we sort of feel like we know
where this is going.
LEE: And also, that kind of hard-lying tonal that we saw come from
the governor, that we`re saying we`re going to protect property and protect
lives. But in that, there seems to be again, we always talk about this,
hard driven, dividing line between those out there protesting and those who
are out there fighting for their First Amendment rights and expressing
themselves, and the good kind people of Ferguson, good kind people of that
region, which, again, is very troubling. Those same people on the one side
of the line are going to that gun shop and buying up all the guns.
So, what happens when 500 people do take to the streets if there is
not an indictment and are voicing their opinions? Will they be met with
rubber bullets? Will they be met with real bullets? Will this fear
overtake this entire community?
That, and I think if we played back what happened to Ferguson the
first time around, often, the more forceful and provocative police action
were -- that sort of set the tone for the tenor of how protesters would
act. It always seemed to be kind of initiated by police shows of force.
And what you have here is you`ve got spending records that show and
announcement today that makes you think they`re going to come out heavy.
LEE: Right. And you thought maybe this would be a moment that the
government would come out and say, listen, we`re going to do everything
possible to make sure everyone has the opportunity to peacefully exert
their First Amendment rights. That`s not what the tone was.
The tone was you act up, we`re cracking heads. That`s the kind of big
HAYES: And the other thing about this, you and I were talking about
this. We`re reporters, right? I don`t want to get out ahead of the facts.
You and I are talking accepting that non-indictment is a fait
accompli, only I think because of the sources that you and I both have in
metro St. Louis all think that.
HAYES: But, am I wrong? Have you talked to anyone who thinks there`s
going to be an indictment here?
LEE: I haven`t. But are we caught up in this vacuum?
HAYES: Right, a self-fulfilling prophesy.
LEE: Right. Apparently, the grand jury, they may still be hearing
witnesses. Forensic, Dr. Baden apparently maybe --
HAYES: He was the one who did the autopsy at Michael Brown`s family`s
LEE: Exactly. Exactly. Maybe testifying Wednesday or Thursday,
And so, there`s still -- they haven`t come to their decision unless
the governor knows something we don`t, a decision has not been made yet.
HAYES: Well, that`s the question, I think, right? The question of do
they know something we don`t. When I talked to folks in the community and
the activists and just community members, the sense the fix is in, which
I`m not saying that`s true, I`m saying the perception of the process has
been very much that.
This pours fuel on that fire, right? Because it looks to people, it
reads to people, oh, clearly, they all know and they`re all meeting about
it. And they`re just going to make their preparations and announcement and
we`ll be the last to know.
LEE: We talk about things being bizarre in this case. It almost
seemed like every step along the way, people in the community and resident
and protests will say this, we don`t trust them. Or they`ve been ill-
treating black folks and heavy-handed for a long time and then they come
out with tanks and assault rifles. We can`t trust the prosecutor and then
there`s all of these leaks from the grand jury. It`s almost like the folks
in charge are giving every opportunity for those who doubt the system to
maintain those believes.
HAYES: That`s a great point. Every time things are met with distrust
towards the authorities, the institutions that are charged with sort of
seeing out the law there, they respond in kind by giving fodder to that
distrust and that has been the cycle that we`ve seen there.
HAYES: Trymaine Lee, thank you so much.
LEE: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Jeff Smith, assistant professor of
politics and advocacy of the New School, author of "Ferguson in Black and
White", someone who used to represent a district right -- adjacent to
Ferguson if I`m not mistaken, right?
JEFF SMITH, THE NEW SCHOOL: Just the east of there.
HAYES: Let`s talk about -- I want to talk about this tweet from our
own Alex Seitz-Wald today, which was the Ferguson Mayor James Knowles. And
he made a great catch which is an NRA hat that he`s wearing there. Member
of the NRA, I`m not going to tell him what he should wear.
But there just seems to be so much bound up. When you look at the gun
sales tripling and your deep knowledge of the politics of that area, what
are you thinking?
SMITH: Well, not a lot of people know this. I think we talked about
this a couple months ago. But James Knowles was the head of the Young
Republicans in St. Louis. So, it seems a little incongruous to most of us
who follow around the country that an area, a suburb with a population
that`s nearly 70 percent black, would elect a conservative, Republican
mayor who brags about his allegiance to the NRA.
But that`s where we are right now. And it`s a function of a lot of
different things, but most notably, the timing of the elections in
Ferguson, and the pace of the demographic change has rendered in a town
where the actual people who live there are not represented very well in the
corridors of power.
HAYES: And in terms of Governor Nixon`s move -- you and I have been
talking all throughout this. And you`ve been valuable in sort of your
political read on the situation. What was that event about? Like from a
political standpoint, what was he doing there? What was he trying to
accomplish? Who was he talking to?
SMITH: I think he`s talking to the media and voter of Missouri. And
I think when you try to understand Governor Nixon, you have to understand
where he came from and how he spent his political career. He was a
conservative Democratic state senator, strongly pro-life, pro-gun from
Jefferson County, an exurban county outside St. Louis, a county in which I
would guess right now, 90 percent of the people living there probably
sympathize with Darren Wilson.
SMITH: So, those are his political roots. He was then attorney
HAYES: He was a law and order guy for 16 years.
SMITH: Yes. They called him the eternal general instead of the
attorney general because he served four terms. And, you know, during that
time, Missouri became known as a very hard-line state. He`s very
supportive of capital punishment. Usually, Texas, Virginia and Missouri
would be the three states that executed more people than any other states
in the country.
So, you know, what you saw today was a continuation of his long,
political career. He`s always been a law and order kind of guy. And you
didn`t see a lot of self reflection or introspection today about some of
the mistakes that were made a few months ago. You just saw a continuation
of the hard line.
HAYES: What are you -- you`re very plugged in to the political class
of metro St. Louis. What are those discussions like? What do you think is
going through the heads of people there? Because what`s so strange about
this, clearly, everyone is in preparation and had been in preparation for
SMITH: I don`t think what we saw today at the press conference is
indicative of a lot of conversations going on in the corridors of power in
St. Louis. People in the mayor`s office are very acutely aware of the
deeper issues at stake here. They`re working very hard not just on
employment issues among young males in north St. Louis County and City.
They`re working on educational disparities. They`re working very hard to
try to get a police community.
So, there are substantive conversations taking place around the city
to get at the root cause of some of this anger.
HAYES: There`s also, it seems to me, this kind of harkening back to
kind of 1960s politics, a silent majority of law and order that`s very
familiar, particularly with the name Nixon floating around, that we`re
seeing here when you talk about the median voter, I think it`s important
for folks to understand that the preponderance of folks probably in metro
St. Louis are worried about rioting and probably Darren Wilson, whatever
the grand jury decides, is probably the right thing.
SMITH: Yes, I mean, that`s not just speculation.
SMITH: There have bandage seen surveys of St. Louis County. About
two-thirds of people in survey that I`ve seen, don`t see this -- you know,
what happened to Mike Brown as being indicative of a systemic problem.
So, yes, there`s a real disconnect. You`ve been there. You`ve been
own the ground. You saw what we called the Delmar divide.
SMITH: The one street that bisects St. Louis, north of which almost
everyone is black and some of which most people are white. And that`s
really again emblematic of deep racial divides in the community.
HAYES: Jeff Smith, thank you. Always a pleasure.
HAYES: Protesters shut down an airport in Mexico and the company
struggles a crisis of what some say quiet simply is a narco government.
HAYES: Big question for Democrats as they head to 2016 is, will there
be a real actual contested primary? And we`ve got some news of one
potential candidate who`s hired a very high profile veteran strategist.
That potential candidate will also be here to discuss the big hire and his
plans. And that`s ahead.
HAYES: A full scale crisis continues in Mexico tonight with another
day of street battles between protesters and riot police over the
disappearance and alleged savage murder of 43 Mexican college students who
reportedly handed over to a drug gang by corrupt local police on the orders
of a local mayor. Yesterday, protesters shut down Acapulco International
Airport for three hours, clashes with police reportedly left more than a
dozens of officers injured. At one point, protesters stripped a riot
officer of his protective gear and beat him bloody and unconscious.
This maybe the most serious crisis to date facing Mexico`s President
Enrique Pena Nieto who left for China over the weekend to join President
Obama and other world leaders for a trade mission. Even as protesters set
fire to the door of his ceremonial palace in Mexico City.
My colleague Joe Diaz-Balart is in Mexico this week and he filed this
report from Acapulco.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE DIAZ-BALART, MSNBC: By mid afternoon, protesters led by the
parents of the 43 students that disappeared on the 26th of September have
taken control of the airport.
Mario Gonzalez`s son Cesar is one of the students. Mario tells me he
is living in the Mexico that until just 43 days ago he didn`t want to
believe he existed.
"A corrupt Mexico, a Mexico of impunity, of poverty."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Since the federal government apprehended the mayor of Iguala,
where the students went missing, along with several police officers, the
federal government is receiving threats from at least one cartel. As
journalist Francisco Goldman reporters in "The New Yorker", "Guerreros
Unidos, United Warriors, has been hanging narco banners in Iguala that bear
a chilling threat, if the 22 detained police are not freed, the narcos will
murder innocents and release the names of the politicians who have
supported their violent criminal acts."
And joining me now is Francisco Goldman, author of "Interior Circuit:
A Mexico City Chronicle", and contributing writer to "The New Yorker".
Francisco, your reporting has been excellent on this.
I think the thing that is so striking for people in the U.S. watching
this is the degree to which it appears Guerreros Unidos, the united
Warriors, and the local government are essentially two sides of the same
FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, THE NEW YORKER: In Iguala, in that particular
town, as in so many other towns throughout Mexico, essentially, you can`t
really distinguish local government from organized crime. There`s been a -
- there`s not even quite a takeover, a kind of fusion of the two, and in
Iguala and in so many other parts of Mexico.
HAYES: So why --
GOLDMAN: That`s true.
HAYES: Why is this -- how did this come to be? Obviously, drugs are
a huge industry in Mexico. I`ve read somewhere the Sinaloa Cartel, which
is the largest is bringing in revenues, somewhere on the par of Facebook,
is it just the sheer amount of money? How long has it been the case that
this kind of inextricable link between the cartels and the government has
GOLDMAN: Well, this is just such a problem that`s been allowed to
develop over so many years in Mexico, Chris.
It`s -- it`s -- you have -- you know, chains of complicity. What we
saw in the Iguala case, it`s what really made this case the drop that makes
the class e glass spill over. In this particular case, it was so clear to
everybody who was looking at it once it evolved, you could see how the
chains of complicity were on the line from a small, local police force that
had probably been intimidated and taken over by local government in hand
with the local cartel.
You realize though, that in this state, this mayor who is part of a
whole naught of complicity and associations that lead all the way up to
some of the most elite politicians in the country, from the governor of
Guerrero who used to be with the governing party was a close associate of
President Enrique Pena Nieto, the actual mayor who was very complicit with
this narco cartel was himself very close to the leading politicians the
PRD, the rival party.
And so, you realize that the kidnapping of the 43 students, it became
clear to everybody, was a crime that never should have happened. If people
from the very top paid attention to the news reports that they received
from the beginning, the attorney general`s office was informed over a year
ago about the Iguala mayor`s connections to organized crime. They decided
not to do anything.
And that`s because there`s long been simply a pact of complicity and
impunity throughout Mexico`s institutions, throughout its government, to
simply let these things fester. Rule of law, to government institutions
and people in government institutions. That`s what Mexican impunity is.
HAYES: So part of the problem, it seems, is a problem similar to the
problem that Italy faced in particularly `70s, `80s and `90s when they were
trying to break the back of the mafia stranglehold, which is how do you
find some uncorrupt part of the state that can crack down. When everything
seems so -- I mean, you just talked about the governor of Acapulco who had
to resign over this who is an associate of Pena Nieto who is president of
Mexico himself implicated.
Where can you find some kind of leverage point or institution that can
actually break this apart?
GOLDMAN: That`s really the problem. It`s really, like they`ll say in
You`re not going to get the governing party to investigate. Somebody
has to take charge. Somebody has to say Mexico really needs to begin to
police itself. Right now, if you`re going to begin to institute a kind of
rule of law in Mexico that can be aimed to protect the people from this
kind of depredation, somebody has to take charge and begin at the top and
begin a kind of legal purge of the corrupt Mexican state.
But that`s not going to come from the state. What I think what we`re
seeing, though, and the reason that this very frightening situation, this
situation which, at the moment, would feel all the political parties that
have been discredited, Mexico, for the first time, all the people in Mexico
really seems exposed for what it is right now.
In a certain way, this is creating for -- as terrifying as this moment
is, it`s creating a moment of opportunity. Why? Because finally, I think,
the country is coming awake. The civic movements are coming awake. We see
the truth has been as well as violent ones.
GOLDMAN: And it`s, you know, Mexico, for all of its problems, it does
have elections. There`s going to be midterm elections next year. It`s a
chance, a slim chance, but a chance for Mexico to turn its back, I think,
probably, on the established parties and try to reinvent itself right now.
Look for new leaders, new movements, new parties. That`s what people
are really -- that`s what people really want to see come out of this right
HAYES: Francisco Goldman, thank you very much.
All right. It`s official. America is Ebola-free. What were
America`s Ebola czar take on now? That`s ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YOR K CITY: New York City`s first and
only Ebola case successfully treated. Dr. Spencer is Ebola-free and New
York City is Ebola-free.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s official. Today is VE day, that`s victory over Ebola
day, at least here in the U.S. Dr. Craig Spencer, the New York physician
who contracted the virus while treating patients in the heart of the
ongoing dire epidemic in West Africa, has been released from the hospital.
And Kaci Hickox, the nurse who doesn`t have Ebola and never did, who
was detained against her will in New Jersey, who later defied authorities
and Maine by going on that bike ride, well, she has ended her 21-day period
of self monitoring.
So, America is now, officially, Ebola-free. That makes Ron Klain,
America`s Ebola czar, the world`s most effective czar since Peter the
Public health experts said all along Ebola would very likely be
contained in the U.S. And you know, I think that`s why all the
commentators and pundits were so calm and rational about Ebola instead
panicking or trying to score political points.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s get right to that Fox news alert, Ebola is
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking tonight with Ebola scares popping up
across the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ebola, what a mess.
BILL O`REILLY, O`REILLY FACTOR: All flights from West Africa should
immediately be discontinued to the USA.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not? Just as a precaution until we get
things under control, seal off the border.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ISIS terrorists now reportedly urging supporters
use a new weapon to kill us westerners: Ebola.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meanwhile, we have a border that is so porous,
Ebola or ISIS or Ebola on the backs of ISIS can come through our border.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Should pets who have exposed to the Ebola
virus be euthanized...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
GEORGE WILL, COLUIMNIST: There are now doctors who are saying we`re
not so sure that it can`t be, in some sense, transmitted by airborne.
UNIDENTIFIIED MALE: I`m not sure that`s correct.
UNIDENTIFIED ALE: Clearly, this doctor wasn`t taking this seriously
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s still out there bowling and taking taxis
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rick, I`m going to start with you because you
said this is President Obama`s Katrina moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the Ebola crisis President Obama`s Katrina?
O`REILLY: That`s where we are. Many people frightened and angry that
Ebola may spread throughout the USA.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s that? You`re saying that because you
don`t want people to panic? You don`t want us to panic? How about I don`t
want us to die.
HAYES: Well done, everyone. Take a bow. I am so glad all of us,
collectively, kept our cool.
HAYES: 50 years ago this week in November 1964, FBI director J. Edgar
Hoover told a group of reporters on the record that Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr., was, quote, "the most notorious liar in the country and a danger to
the American way of
Two days later, King was asked about being called a notorious liar by
the head of the FBI.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. King, what is your reaction to the charges
made by J. Edgar Hoover?
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Well, I was quite
shocked and surprised to learn of this statement from Mr. Hoover
questioning my integrity. And very frankly, I don`t understand what
motivated this statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, we now know a lot more about the origins of Hoover`s
obsession with destroying King. One year earlier, Dr. King had delivered
his "I Have a Dream
Speech," an FBI memo has labeled King as, quote, the most dangerous Negro
of future in this nation from the standpoint of Communism.
Hoover later testified before congress that Communist influence does
in the Negro movement and can influence large masses of people.
It seems that Hoover and the FBI were convinced that Martin Luther
King, or forces controlling him, were trying to bring about a Communist
the United States.
And their attempts to discredit King went far beyond just calling him
a liar. The FBI placed bugs in King`s hotel room, tapped his phones,
bugged his apartment in Atlanta. And while Hoover found out very little
about any Communist subterfuge, because there was none, he did begin to
learn about King`s extramarital affairs.
And that brings us to one of the most shameful U.S. government actions
of this entire 20th Century, one that we are just now finally getting the
full picture of.
Today, the New York Times magazine published for the very first time,
a full, unredacted letter sent to King in 1964, which until now has only
been available to the public with significant redaction.
It`s an utterly shocking document. The letter accuses King of being,
"a filthy, abnormal animal who`s engaged in sexual orgies at odds with his
claims to morality with dirty, evil companions, male and female, giving
expression with you to your hideous abnormalities."
The unsigned letter was written as though it had come from a
crestfallen former admirer and fellow African-American, calling King a,
quote, "a complete fraud and a great liability to all of us Negroes."
The truth is it was really written by one of J. Edgar Hoover`s own top
William Sullivan, the head of the FBI`s intelligence operations who
according to Tim Minor`s history of the FBI had a package of King`s sex
tapes prepared by the FBI`s lab technicians, wrote the accompanying poison
pen letter and sent both to King`s home.
Sullivan`s letter ends with what seems like a call for King to kill
"King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it
is," says the letter ominously, there is but one way out for you, you
better take it before your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self is bared to
The FBI sent that letter to a man who is now widely, and rightly seen
as a kind of American secular saint, a moral beacon for the 20th Century.
It was such a shameful moment for the bureau.
The FBI`s current director James Comey actually keeps a copy of the
request to bug King on his desk as a reminder of the wrong the FBI can do.
And joining me now, Beverely Gage, professor of 20th Century history
at Yale University, author of that New York Times magazine essay, what an
uncensored letter to MLK reveals and the woman who uncovered that amazing
And first of all, how did you find this thing?
BEVERLY GAGE, YALE UNIVERSITY: I really just happened upon it.
So the letter itself has been known for about 40 years at this point.
But we`ve only seen it in the sort of redacted versions. And I was going
through a new
set of Hoover`s official and confidential files which were really the
secret files that he kept in his office. They had been reprocessed, they
had finally been turned over to the national archives and I was amazed to
see this letter there
finally with all of the redactions removed.
HAYES: I`ve got to say, when you know about Hoover`s obsession with
King, it almost feels like Hoover wrote this. I mean, it`s so vitriolic,
it`s so obsessive in the way that we now know Hoover was obsessed.
Now my understanding is what we don`t have evidence that Hoover wrote
this. It appears to be Sullivan.
What do we know, if anything, about whether Hoover read it or approved
it wrote it or read it or approved it or if it was done at his direction?
GAGE: We don`t know a lot technically about whether or not Hoover
knew that the letter was being sent. I think it`s pretty clear that
Sullivan wrote it and kind of took charge of the operation.
But the institutional culture at the FBI was at the time was such that
Sullivan would have assumed, certainly, that Hoover would have approved
something like this. Hoover`s animosity toward King was no real secret.
And even the language that`s in the letter, as you point out, sounds very
much like these kinds of things that Hoover would scribble in the margins
of memos about King. They -- a lot of it had to do with King`s sex life
and Hoover`s real interest in that.
HAYES: Well, and this, of course, is the grandest historical irony of
them all, because if there is a single figure in American life in mid-
century in the 60s who led the ultimate double life, it is of course J.
Edgar Hoover as we now have learned.
And there`s this bizarre kind of irony the fact that this guy who was
covering, we now think, a relationship with a man, who liked to cross
dress, all of these things that have come out about him, this was the guy
who was so focused on the kind of bedroom life of a public figure. It
almost feels like an epic amount of projection on his part.
GAGE: Well, we don`t actually know that Hoover cross-dressed. So
there is some evidence, there`s some rumors. I`m still waiting to find
that perfect document in the archives that will suggest that exactly.
But Hoover was certainly someone with a lot of secrets of his own
about his relationships. And I think Washington in the `50s and `60s was
really a place where a lot of people had sexual secrets. We`ve become
very, very accustomed now to seeing the secret lives of our politicians and
our celebrities sort of all over the front page, but it was a much more
kind of secretive world and secretive time. And Hoover knew how to keep
those secrets and he knew how to try to expose them when they were useful
HAYES: A remarkable detail in your essay is that the FBI in their
campaign of constant character assassination against King tried to leak
some of this stuff to friendly media outlets and no one bit. I was sort of
amazed at that.
GAGE: Yeah, it`s a pretty remarkable part of the story. And I think
in some ways it`s the most surprising part of the story now because we tend
to think of Hoover as someone who would do this sort of thing even if this
particular thing seems really outrageous.
But what`s really surprising is that when they went around sort of
saying, hey, we`ve got this information about Martin Luther King, you might
be interested in, the press really didn`t want to print it, in part,
because that was the sort of press culture of Washington at the time, and
in part, because I think they really recognized it as an effort to take
down King, in particular, and they recognized the kind of racially charged
nature of what was being pedaled.
HAYES: Beverly Gage, thank you so much.
GAGE: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right. The potential president candidate lots of people
talking about lately, he`s going to join me ahead.
HAYES: Tantalizing development today on the Democratic side of the
2016 presidential field. It`s already conventional wisdom that Hillary
Clinton is running and could have an easy path to victory in the primaries,
but today it looks like she may have a challenger -- Senator Bernie
Sanders, independent from Vermont, self-avowed Democratic Socialist has
hired veteran Democratic Strategist Tad Devine
to guide his potential White House bid.
It doesn`t get much more establishment than Devine whose work as a
Democratic operative goes all the way back to the Carter administration.
He was a Senior Adviser to Al Gore`s presidential campaign in 2000 and
John Kerry`s in 2004 and his hiring is seen as evidence that Senator
Sanders has gotten serious about running for president.
And joining me now, Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate
committee on Veteran`s Affairs.
Senator, are you running for president?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Well, let me make a quick
correction. I have not hired Tad or anybody else. Tad is part of -- he`s
an old friend, part of an inner circle, and is somebody I have talked to
and will continue to talk to
But I have not yet made a decision about whether I`ll be running.
HAYES: But you are talking him -- I mean, but you are talking about
this with him.
SANDERS: Yes, I am. I`m talking about this to people all over this
Look, Chris, there is massive disaffection and dissatisfaction in this
country with what`s going on. You know, the middle class is disappearing.
We have more people living in poverty than almost any time in the history
of America. And the gap between the very, very rich and everybody else is
growing wider and wider.
And people are asking, what`s happening to America? How come the
average person works longer hours for lower ages and yet 95 percent of all
new income in the last few years goes to the people on top? How come we
have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major
country on Earth?
So the people, I think, want to hear an analysis, an understanding, of
why the middle class in this country is disappearing and they want people
to begin to
stand up to the billionaire class and develop strategies which protect
HAYES: So let me ask you this, you`re not -- you`re an independent in
the senate. You caucus with the Democrats. Would you -- if you were to
run, would you
run in the Democratic primary?
SANDERS: That`s a question I`m just getting -- first of all, I have
to decide whether or not I will run. And the answer to that has to do with
the kind of grassroots support that may or may not be there. Are people
prepared to get engaged in a grassroots, unprecedented type campaign in
which we are taking on the incredibly powerful billionaire class. That`s
the Koch brothers, that`s Wall Street, that`s the private insurance
companies, that`s the drug companies, that`s the people who own America.
Is there the energy for people to begin to be engaged in that type of
campaign, or are people sufficiently demoralized?
How do you raise the hundreds of millions of dollars that you need --
I don`t get campaign contributions from the billionaire class. Can you do
So, I`ve got to answer those questions, Chris, before I make the
HAYES: So, you -- one of your biggest issues on Capitol Hill is
Veteran`s Affairs, you are chair of that committee, or you will be for the
next few months. And one of the reasons I wanted to have you on, aside to
talking about a potential run was obviously, today is Veteran`s Day. And,
you know, we had this huge scandal blow up in May about long wait times,
about the cooking of the books at various
VA facilities and the inadequate care.
And then you and Senator McCain came together, a bill was passed in
August, it was signed by the president, and then I feel like we kind of all
lost the thread on where -- did things improve? Did it work?
So give me a status report.
SANDERS: Hey, Chris, thanks for asking, because I think most of the
media has forgot to ask that question.
Let me just back up and say a few things. What happened in Phoenix
elsewhere where people are lying about the waiting periods, totally
unacceptable. It`s an outrage, dishonorable activity, and those people
must be punished.
But, on the other hand, let me tell you something that veterans
throughout the state of Vermont and veteran`s organizations all over
America say and that is that when people get in to the VA, the quality of
care is quite good and that the VA is on the cutting edge of a number of
medical areas in terms of telehealth, in terms of complimentary and
alternative medicine, in terms of this exoskeleton development which will
allow people with spinal cord injuries to actually get on
So to answer your question, I worked with Senator McCain, we passed a
$16.5 billion piece of legislation which will provide significant new money
VA to get the doctors and nurses and medical they need. It will also
enable in those areas where waiting lines remain too long, the VA health
care for veterans to go into private health care or to go into community
HAYES: So there`s also, though, a question of -- there`s kind of an -
- aside from funding, right, there is also seems to me a question of
accountability for -- are the people who were engaging in this, you know,
messing with the records, have they been punished? Has there been
accountability? And has there been the kind of
reorganization that might have been needed as shown by the reporting we
learned of, to make the VA run better
SANDERS: Secretary McDonald is, I think, a very serious guy. And I
think he is tackling these issues.
I know there`s some Republicans want him to fire half of the VA
tomorrow. It can`t happen, because what you want to do is when you fire
somebody, you want to make sure that if they appeal, you have the evidence
to make that firing stick.
But I do know he is working very, very hard. And will get rid of
those people who have been dishonorable and those people who have been
lying and those people who have been cooking the books.
The other thing that he has done is worked aggressively to reduce the
waiting times. Essentially, what the scandal was about is that you had in
Phoenix and elsewhere, people waiting much, much too long to get into the
VA. And that has to do with the lack of doctors and nurses. But he is
working very hard and, in fact, successfully to lower waiting times for
HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders, it`s always a pleasure. Will stay up
to date with your possible campaign. Thank you.
All right, what`s missing for veterans when they return to the U.S.
after their service? Our next guest has a really illuminating answer and
HAYES: So, about a year ago, I took my daughter to the playground and
we are hanging out at the sand box and I got to talking with a neighbor of
ours who was there with his son, and he`s telling me about his eight years
in the military and his service as a helicopter pilot, his tours all around
And eventually we got to talking about some of the challenges that
friends and associates of his had when they faced when they got back home.
He said something that stuck with me ever since.
He was describing how tough it can be to go from a completely mission
oriented existence where everything you do serves some larger purpose for
the organization that you`re part of to coming back and just having a
regular job, collecting a paycheck, going and shopping for groceries.
And he described this kind of vertigo and disorientation that comes
with that kind of transition. And then he told me about the organization
he worked for that
strives to keep that sense of purpose and service going for veterans when
they get home through service to their communities. It`s called The
Mission Continues and it serves hundreds of veterans in 25 cities around
And joining me now, the president of Mission continues, Spencer
Kympton -- and my neighbor. Good to see you, Spencer. How are you?
SPENCY KYMPTON, PRESIDENT, MISSION CONTINUES: Good to see you. Very
well, thank you.
HAYES: So, tell me about the kind of stuff -- you were doing this
project today in the Bronx that I was very interested in. What were you
guys doing today?
KYMPTON: Well, today`s project in the Bronx was consistent with what
at the Mission Continues all across the country, we empower today`s
serve their country in new ways. So today in the Bronx, they picked up a
variety of different tools and embarked on neighborhood revitalization.
So, they were in community-board five, which is one of the most
disadvantaged districts in our
country. And they were taking part in a year-long commitment to restore a
sense of bride to that historic neighborhood.
And again that`s consistent with what teams of veterans are doing all
across the country, whether it`s restoring a wildlife habitat in Seattle or
renovating a homeless shelter in southeast D.C. or building a home for
disadvantaged kids in
Dallas. Veterans across the country are saying what we want to do when we
come home is continue serving.
HAYES: And one of the things that struck me as so fascinating about
the way the organization functions is that you kind of built this
architecture so that people right-hand turn just doing this as one off,
right? They`re part of some kind of larger, coherent structure that, in
some ways, sort of mirrors what they had when they were in the service.
So today`s -- this generation of veterans served for a very long time.
They served in tough conditions, in tough areas and they had a long term,
commitment to the military. And that`s what they`re looking to do here at
You know, there`s military -- there`s a military phrase called Charlie
Mike. And that is military lingo for continue mission. And men and women
all across this country, veterans, are saying that they want to continue
their mission in their community.
HAYES: We have gone through a very strange period in this country`s
history when it comes to folks who have been fighting our wars, it`s the
longest period of war in the nation`s history, it`s a period where there
hasn`t been a draft, and it`s a period in which the amount of fighting has
been intensely concentrated among
a relatively small number of people when you look at the total population.
Do you think our culture is properly equipped or prepared for the
period that now comes after that if we ever come to the end of this period
KYMPTON: You know, there are two halves to a veteran`s life. The
first half is in their military service, the second half is in their
service as a veteran.
And today`s generation is poised and ready to follow in the footsteps
of other generations of veterans, to serve their country on the way home.
And many of them are dealing with challenges. We`re not discounting the
fact that they`re coming home with visible and invisible scars of service.
But we believe that there`s a positive story that today where them coming
home. And they`re equipped to deal with those challenges just as they`re
equipped to tackle the tough challenges that our communities are facing.
HAYES: Do you think there`s something that you get from service,
obviously in this very different context, that gives you something to hold
onto when you make this transition back to what must be an incredibly
different experience if you were just in the desert or in the wilds of
KYMPTON: Yeah, we`re fortunate to partner with academic institutions
like Washington University and Harvard University. And in those
partnerships we found research that has shown that continued service
actually does things like increase professional networks, it strengthens
the bonds in families and in communities, it improves health and wellness.
And all of those things matter, because they will help today`s veterans to
serve us again here at home.
HAYES: Spencer Kympton, my neighbor, great to have you here.
KYMPTON: Good to see you, Chris.
HAYES: All right that is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow
show starts right now.
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ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES