All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 7/14/17 Trump meeting plot thickens
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: July 14, 2017
Guest: Desmond Butler, Natasha Bertrand, Leonard Lance, Adam Davidson
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: I`m more than happy to be
transparent about it and I`m more than happy to cooperate with everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, as far as you know, as far as this incident is
concerned, this is all of it?
D.J. TRUMP: This is everything. This is everything.
HAYES: It wasn`t everything. Shocking developments about who met with the
Trump campaign last year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today we learned a former Russian counterintelligence
agent was also present at the Trump meeting.
HAYES: Tonight, the latest revelations, as the story from Trump world
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s disgusting. It`s so phony.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Those conversations never
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zero happened here.
HAYES: Then just who the Russian connections are and how they got close to
the Trump family.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You`re a winner, you`re a
HAYES: Plus, the Senate Health Care Bill clinging on and the President
won`t let go. When ALL IN starts right now.
Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. A former Soviet
counterintelligence officer was also in that meeting in Trump Tower we now
know, and yet again, we`re learning that the story told by the President,
his son, and their allies, and defenders about the meeting last summer at
Trump Tower was not the whole truth. Not even close.
On Tuesday, after being forced to change his story about why the meeting
was held, and after releasing the whole e-mail exchange leading up to the
meeting, only upon learning the NEW YORK TIMES was about to publish it, the
President`s son said he just wanted to lay all his cards on the table.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
D.J. TRUMP: More than happy to cooperate with everyone. I just want the
truth to get out there. And that`s part of why I release all this stuff
today. I wanted to get it all out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this is –
D.J. TRUMP: They`re trying to drag out the story in all fairness. You
know, they have – they want to drip a little bit today, drip a little bit
then, so I was like, here it is. I`m more than happy to be transparent
about it, and I`m more than happy to cooperate with everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, as far as you know, as far as this incident is
concerned, this is all of it?
D.J. TRUMP: This is everything. This is everything.
HAYES: No, no, it wasn`t everything. This morning, NBC News broke the
story, there was another participant in that meeting who Trump Jr. had
failed to mention, someone besides the Russian lawyer. That person has
been identified as a Russian-born American lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin.
He`s the former Soviet counterintelligence officer who`s suspected by some
U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, and who was
accused of orchestrating an international hacking conspiracy, though,
crucially, those allegations were later withdrawn.
The lobbyist denies having any current connections to Russian spy agencies
but he told the Associated Press, and in April, he received a letter from
the Department of Justice telling him to register as a foreign agent.
Along with the Russian lawyer who attended the meeting, this lobbyist,
Akhmetshin has been part of an intense campaign against the Magnitsky Act,
that 2012 law imposing sanctions on Russian human rights abusers, repealing
those sanctions is a priority shared by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
So, we know there are at least five people present in that room in Trump
Tower, the three close Trump associates, Trump, Jr., Manafort, and Kushner,
the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and the Russian-American lobbyist
Now, the New York Times just identified the translator who is in the
meeting, someone who`s also done contract work for the State Department,
bring the total up to six known attendees. And it`s not clear if Rob
Goldstone, that would be the British-born former tabloid journalist turned
music promoter, who help set up the meeting was actually there, or if there
were other attendees we have yet to learn about.
While the lobbyist told the Associated Press, he recognized Kushner,
Manafort, he said there were others who didn`t know them, so possibly
still, some shoes yet to drop. Over the past few days, Donald Trump, Jr.
and his defenders have argued that the meeting was inconsequential because
nothing came of it. No dirt on Hillary Clinton or the Democrats, nothing.
That`s what the President himself claimed in remarks yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
D. TRUMP: In the case of Don, he listened. I guess they talked about –
as I see it, they talked about adoption and some things. Adoption wasn`t
even a part of the campaign. But nothing happened from the meeting, zero
happened from the meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But crucially, that`s not what the lobbyist at the center of all
this told the Associated Press. According to him, the Russian lawyer
brought with her a plastic folder with printed out documents that detailed
what she believed was the flow of illicit funds to the Democratic National
Committee. He said he thinks she left the materials with Trump associates.
I`m joined now by Desmond Butler, Investigative Reporter for the Associated
Press and the first journalist to interview this Russian-American lobbyist
today. Desmond, who is this guy?
DESMOND BUTLER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Rinat
Akhmetshin is a lobbyist who has lived in Washington since the mid-90s. A
lot of us in – who report on international affairs know him. He has
worked on a lot of issues as both a lobbyist and a P.R. guy, having to do
with the former Soviet space. And he is a pretty talented operator.
HAYES: Yes. He`s – my sense is he`s kind of a man about town in D.C.
People know him, he knows the right people, he is at different functions,
he`s not some obscure figure.
BUTLER: No, that`s certainly true.
HAYES: What did he say about how he ended up in this meeting?
BUTLER: He had been working for a Russian company run by an – owned by an
oligarch that was among other things, trying to water down the sanctions
that were targeting Russian oligarchs. And one the of the people that he
worked with was this Russian lawyer, and he said that he was in New York in
jeans and a T-shirt, and she called him up and said that she had a meeting
with Donald Trump, Jr. And he said, wow. And she asked him if he could –
if she could talk to him about it. They had lunch and then she invited him
in. It was a meeting he said he wasn`t prepared for but he was very
HAYES: He was a counterintelligence officer in a sort of previous
iteration of his career and says now that he does not have active links to
Russian intelligence. That`s his contention.
BUTLER: Yes. I mean, what he says is that he was – he had two years of
military service as a young man, starting when he was 18. And in that
service, he was in the – in the Baltics, and he worked for a kind of
military police unit that included counterintelligence work.
HAYES: Now, he also says – and this seems really interesting to me that
the idea was that this meeting was set up to exchange Clinton dirt as part
of the Russian government`s efforts to help Trump as relayed in that e-
mail. Then they got there and she just wanted to talk adoption, but he
said she actually gave them some documents.
BUTLER: Yes. He says that the documents in some way detailed this elicit
money transfers from Russia to the DNC, presumably.
HAYES: All right. Desmond Butler, thank you.
BUTLER: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now Natasha Bertrand, she`s Senior Reporter for Business
Insider. You`ve been following this in a sort of granular sense. What do
you make of today`s developments?
NATASHA BERTRAND, SENIOR REPORTER, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, this is just
another example of the Trump campaign seemingly not knowing how to manage a
crisis. I think Donald Trump, Jr.`s story has changed roughly four or five
times this week already. And it just raises a lot of questions about why
he wouldn`t just disclose everyone who was in that meeting, immediately. I
mean, Akhmetshin is not someone that you forget who was in this kind of
I mean, like your previous guest said, he was a very experienced political
operative in Washington, D.C. He`s known for being a very fast talker,
known for knowing exactly what he`s talking about, and he`s been working on
this anti-Magnitsky Act legislation lobbying efforts for the better part of
a year. So, this isn`t someone who would just blend into the background of
this meeting. This is definitely someone who would have made his presence
HAYES: There was another really interesting development on the story today
which again, you know, we`re trying piece together like what happened in
this meeting and why were they there, right? It`s represents – it is one
thing which is an opportunity to collude in the joint project of the
Russian government, the Trump campaign to defeat Hillary Clinton by the
sharing of dirt on her. The attendees of the meeting sort of say that`s
not quite what happened.
But one of the questions about – is about the Russian lawyer at the – at
the center of this and the degree to which she is connected or not
connected to Kremlin, she said she had no connection to the Kremlin, but
today she says that she was in contact with the top Russian prosecutor,
that would be Yury Chaika, and that individual is important because that is
precisely the person who is mentioned, if I`m not mistaken, in that e-mail
by Rob Goldstone saying, oh, this top prosecutor in Russia is part of the
project to help your dad.
BERTRAND: And that was initially interpreted by people as being an error.
People thought that what he was really talking about was Veselnitskaya and
that he just – you know, he referred to her as the top Russian prosecutor,
not really knowing what her role was. As it turned out, Goldstone knew
exactly who he was talking about and he seemed to understand that
Veselnitskaya had this connection to this Russian prosecutor, who according
to William Browder and what he`s told me, is that Veselnitskaya and this
top Russian prosecutor have been speaking daily about him, and have been
essentially working on behalf of the Russian government to try to undermine
him so that they can try to repeal the Magnitsky Act. Because once you
undermine Browder, you create a case to undermine the entire act.
HAYES: Just to keep everyone up to date with the dramatis personae that
have been introduced early and Browder is an American financier who
invested heavily in Russia. A fell – afoul of Vladimir Putin, whose
lawyer was – he says, I think there`s good evidence – murdered at the
hands of the Russian state and who named the Magnitsky Act and lobbied for
the Magnitsky Act in defense of him, right? That he is the sort of driving
American force behind these sanctions, which just to be clear, the Russian
government hates. They really freaked out when we passed them, Putin hates
them, his inner circle hates them. It is a prime objective to get rid of
BERTRAND: As soon as they were passed, U.S.-Russian elections hit the
lowest point since the Cold War, essentially. Putin called them
outrageous, and in retaliation, he actually banned Americans from adopting
Russian children. Which is why whenever you hear people talk about
Russia`s adoption policy, it`s usually just a way for them to refer to the
HAYES: It is also notable here that even if the meeting went down the way
that some of the participants have characterized, which again, we do not
know and there`s no reason to believe because we`ve gotten five different
stories, that the two things would be placed next to each other in the
meeting. We have dirt on Hillary Clinton. Also, we`d like you to think
about rescinding those sanctions, as kind of side by side agenda items in
the same meeting.
BERTRAND: Right, exactly. So, even if you don`t believe, for example,
that Veselnitskaya and this, you know, Akhmetshin were working on behalf of
the Russian government, their objectives and what they were there to do
were very much aligned with Russian government interests. So, you know,
they came to the meeting with documents regarding the DNC and presumably
the meeting went something like this – we want to share these documents
with you. And in return, we want to you consider lifting sanctions if and
when Donald Trump is elected President.
HAYES: That – right. Exactly. And even if that`s not said, you put
those two on the agenda items, we want to help you, also, we`ve got this
beef. You don`t even necessarily going to say in the meeting, one equates
the other if those are the two things you`re talking about.
BERTRAND: Exactly. And this is, I think, why it`s so significant for a
lot of people, as that it signals kind of the beginning of a potential quid
pro quo. It signals that the intent was there to collude with the Russian
government because it was there in black and white, it was there in the e-
mail that this was an attorney working on behalf of the Russian government.
Even if that was misinterpreted, even if that`s not actually who she was,
that`s what Trump, Jr., and the rest of the campaign, or at least the high-
level officials in the campaign, Kushner and Manafort, thought that they
were going to be meeting with.
HAYES: All right. Natasha Bertrand, thanks so much.
I`m joined now by Republican Congressman Leonard Lance of New Jersey, whose
district is home to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster where the
President is currently spending the night. Are you going to get any face
time with the President?
REP. LEONARD LANCE (R), NEW JERSEY: I don`t believe so, Chris.
HAYES: That probably wouldn`t help you in your district.
LANCE: I`m –
LANCE: I believe that the President is enjoying his weekend, and I hope
that the golf tournament is a success.
HAYES: But it wouldn`t help you in your district.
LANCE: Secretary Clinton carried the district by 3,800 votes, and I was
honored to carry it by 38,000 votes.
HAYES: OK. I am so glad you`re here because I`ve been thinking, I`ve been
trying to create a mental model of a Republican Congressman during this
week if I were a Republican Congressman. And, you know, you`re going –
you do your thing. You guys passed a Defense Authorization Act that health
care pays. I would not – I don`t like being lied to as a person. And if
I were you, I would be angry about being lied to. Are you angry about
being lied to?
LANCE: I certainly think we should get to the bottom of it. And that`s
why I think it`s important –
HAYES: No, I`m asking you a personal question. Like, they have told a
story that`s demonstrably false and we know they know it was false, and
they`re telling everyone that, including you, Congressman, and all the
people in their party who are being asked to hold the – carry the water
for them, that would anger me to be lied to. How do you feel about being
LANCE: I never liked being lied to. I hope that we get to the bottom of
it, and that`s why I hope and expect that Donald Trump, Jr. and others will
testify before an open committee of Congress, perhaps Senator Grassley`s
committee and perhaps Congressman Goodlatte`s committee, the Judiciary
Committee on both sides of the Congress.
HAYES: I`ve watched Republicans somewhat to my shock say, oh, anyone would
take meeting. Would you take that meeting?
LANCE: No. I would not take that meeting.
HAYES: Why would you not take that meeting?
LANCE: Because I think that we should not be involved in that type of
situation and I probably would call the FBI.
HAYES: You think they should have called the FBI?
HAYES: Here`s the question I also have, I don`t – I think if I were a
Republican Congressman or a staffer at the White House right now, my
operating assumption would be that the President`s campaign did engage in
some sort of coordinated systematic effort of collusion with Russian
intelligence, and that would be my assumption that I would use to guide my
behavior, hoping that isn`t true. Is that the assumption that`s guiding
you at this point?
LANCE: I want to get to the bottom of the facts. I`m not there yet, but
certainly, I think it`s important for the Congress, as a co-equal branch of
government, to get to the bottom of it.
HAYES: Let me turn it around, can you definitively say – can you look
into my eyes, camera, your constituents and say, I`m 100 percent sure the
President and his campaign did not engage in a criminal conspiracy with a
foreign intelligence apparatus?
LANCE: No, I cannot. And that`s why I want to get to the bottom of it.
HAYES: Think about how remarkable that is. I`m asking you, you cannot 100
percent say that the President of the United States definitely did not
engage in a vast criminal conspiracy in coordination with a foreign
LANCE: The President has said that he did not know about the meeting. And
HAYES: But you can`t be sure that`s true.
LANCE: I`ve tried to take people at their word, but certainly, we should
get to the bottom of it.
HAYES: Do you take the President of the United States at his word when he
says that he would not – that he didn`t know about that meeting?
LANCE: I hope he`s being accurate and truthful. But certainly, Donald
Trump, Jr. will be asked about that when he comes before the Congress in an
open Committee hearing.
HAYES: Are you – are people on Capitol Hill, are you in the cloak room
talking on each other about this?
LANCE: We talk about a lot of matters and we certainly talk about the fact
that we want to be an independent, co-equal branch of government and we
want the Committees to get to the bottom of it. And also, I was the first
Republican on Capitol Hill to say that the Attorney General should recuse
himself in this matter and that is what brought about Mr. Mueller`s
appointment. And I think Mr. Mueller should get to the bottom of it as
HAYES: So, at the same time that`s happened, the House has passed a health
care bill that would dramatically change American health care, the one
sixth of the American economy, 24 million would lose coverage. You voted
against that, I should note. I`m correct in that, right? You voted
LANCE: You are correct.
HAYES: You were there for the markup. You were on board during the markup
but you voted against it. It`s now in the Senate, it`s on the precipice of
being passed. It seems to me that if it were to pass amidst what`s
happening with this investigation, and we later find out the worst, that
public would be facing a kind of legitimacy crisis, like a genuine one. If
it were to be the case, since you as a Congressman cannot tell me
definitively the President did not engage in vast criminal conspiracy with
a foreign intelligence apparatus, that were – he decides a piece of health
care legislation for us only to find out after would produce a legitimacy
crisis in the country.
LANCE: I don`t think that the health care bill in the Senate is likely to
pass the Senate in its current form. I think it`s in great difficulty.
HAYES: Not dead yet.
LANCE: That is accurate but certainly, I think that the bill mirrors much
of what is in the House bill and I would not support it. I do not believe.
I want to see what the final result is but I did not vote for the House
HAYES: But do you see my (INAUDIBLE) point here, that there`s – you know,
a majority of the country did not vote for Donald Trump, he obviously lost
the popular vote although he won the electoral college at the constitution
but there`s a huge chunk of voters who are sitting and watching all this
play out, right? And they`re watching us and saying, OK, well, there`s
Leonard Lance, he seems like a decent Republican member from New Jersey and
he tells me that he just isn`t quite – he`s not 100 percent sure that the
president and his campaign did not engage in conspiracy. While that`s
hanging over everyone`s head, we`re going to go ahead and pass this health
care bill. Do you understand why that might make people frustrated?
LANCE: I just think we have a responsibility to govern and the Congress
has a responsibility to govern and the President has a responsibility to
govern not only on health care issue but for example on the national
defense authorization act which I think is a critically important piece of
legislation. That`s the substance of what the House of Representative did
this week. I`m very proud of it. And it sends a message incidentally to
Russia. And as you know, the Senate passed significant new sanctions
against Russia and I hope that we in the House will do so as quickly as
HAYES: Apparently the White House and Paul Ryan though are not so keen on
that. Congressman Leonard Lance of New Jersey, it`s always pleasure for
you to come by. Thank you very much. Have a great weekend.
LANCE: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, just who are the people that coordinated the meeting
between top members of Trump campaign and the Kremlin connected lawyer? A
closer look at Donald Trump, his friend, the oligarch, and his son, the pop
star after this two-minute break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Emin. I can`t believe you`re turning 35. You`re getting older all
the time but you`re winner, you`re a champ, you`re great at real estate and
boy, can you entertain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re learning more about the relationship between President Trump
and the father and son pair who offered to provide the Trump campaign dirt
on Hillary Clinton straight from the Russian government. Emin Agalarov is
a Russian pop singer who says he first met Trump about four years ago when
he traveled to Las Vegas to discuss hosting the Miss Universe Pageant at
his family owned concert hall in Moscow. Traveling with him, his father
Aras, an oligarch and a real estate developer with close ties to Vladimir
Putin who`s built an estimated $2 billion fortune thanks in part to Russian
government funded construction projects. The Agalarovs certainly appear to
have grown close to Trump and his family. That`s them partying together at
Miss Universe in Moscow in 2013. Though Donald Trump Jr. sought this week
to downplay the relationship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
D.J. TRUMP: There are successful real estate developers over there so you
know, that`s the extent of – you know, my knowledge with them. I met them
once or twice and you know, maintained a casual relationship there, talked
about some potential deals and meant to that – the extent that didn`t go
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s not the story that Emin Agalarov is telling. He says he`s
very close to Trump family, even exchanged messages with Don Jr around the
time of the inauguration. The President himself appears particularly close
to the Agalarovs. He`s regularly heaped praise on Emin, even appearing in
one of his music videos. That`s Trump and Emin at Trump Tower shortly
before Trump announced his presidential candidacy. There Trump and Emin at
Trump`s golf resort after Emin performed on stage and there`s Emin with
Ivanka Trump in 2014 when she flew to Moscow to check out sites for Trump
Tower Moscow which was to be built with the Agalarovs. When Trump won the
general election, the Agalarovs sent along their congratulations.
The President Elect, Emin claims responded with a hand written note of
gratitude. Joining me now, Adam Davidson, Staff Writer at New Yorker. The
reason I want to talk to you is because the last time that you and I
talked, we`re just hanging out talking shop and you were telling me about
this – you were like, this is pop singer and his dad. And then
(INAUDIBLE) that`s kind of a weird sort of thing. Like what – who are
these people and why are they close to the Trumps?
ADAM DAVIDSON, NEW YORKER STAFF WRITER: So the Agalarovs are – they`re
fascinating because they unite two of the worlds of Russian oligarchy. So
Aras Agalarov is from Azerbaijan from Bako Azerbaijan and as one political
scientist told me, Azerbaijan is almost like a caricature of Russian
oligarchy – thoroughly corrupt, fully deeply profoundly openly nakedly
corrupt nation with I should say, close – some people there have close
ties to Donald Trump and his company. And Aras Agalarov left there in I
think 1998 to go to Moscow where he became really a top tier Russia level
So a multi-billionaire obviously with deep ties in Central Asia. He built
this mall, fairgrounds, real estate business, with very close ties to the
Putin administration. His son claims, it is amazing how many of these
folks say, I just happened to call Donald Trump. I just happened to meet
him. His son Emin as you know, because I told you socially, I went and
interviewed him a few weeks ago – a few weeks ago, he was in the U.S. on a
concert tour where he was basically hanging a large P.R. staff to promote
him as a major American – potential American singer.
HAYES: It is also funny that happened before all this came out because he
would have had a very different press tour now.
DAVIDSON: It probably would work better.
HAYES: Right. Yes.
DAVIDSON: He`s not – he`s a solid singer. Like it`s – you know, Poppy.
HAYES: I watch some of the videos.
DAVID: Yes, all right. I mean, it`s fine. Anyway, so I went to interview
him and as you know, I pretended to be a pop music journalist. I mean, I
was asking sort of – I asked someone at the New Yorker who knows about pop
music to write some questions for me and then I asked him about the
relationship with the Trumps. And he said, he just love Donald Trump so
much when he was young and he read his book and he dreamed of being like
Donald Trump. This is Emin, the son. And so he reached out to Donald
Trump through the Miss Universe Organization. I`m skeptical simply because
the Agalarovs are close to so many other people. Like –
HAYES: Yes, so wait. I just want to be clear. The story here about the
origin of this relationship is that just like plucky Emin having read
Donald Trump`s book just reaches out of the blue.
DAVIDSON: Right. Exactly. Like I just love the guy, I reached up out of
the blue. It comes up again, again and again. And often the same group of
Russian names, Russian emigre names appear in the story. So there`s a guy
Tamir Sapir who is another wildly wealthy Russian who lived in Brooklyn and
in Manhattan who seems to be at the center of a lot of this has close ties
to Agalarov and close ties to Trump for many years as well as close ties to
probably to Russian mob officials. There`s also a guy names Lev Leviev,
another Russian ex-oligarch who made a fortune with diamonds in Israel. So
there`s a group of people who appear often over the last decade or two in
Trump`s orbit who are also in the Putin orbit.
HAYES: OK, so this is why it`s so significant to me because we`ve seen so
much reporting. Like, he has these Russia ties and he did Miss Universe in
Moscow. And I kept watching all these stories and reporting some of them
and thinking like, OK, yes. And then there`s another thing happening which
is the Russians – you know, hacked the DNC and John Podesta`s and they
wanted to get Trump elected. But you know, it`s possible those two things,
both are just true as independent parallel channels. That e-mail is the
first evidence of a nexus between the two.
HAYES: Which strikes me as a big deal.
DAVIDSON: Yes, it`s a very big deal. And as you know, I`ve been arguing
for months now that that will be the nexus. That somehow, if you think of
who Donald Trump was in 2012, 2013, he was somebody very desperate for
deals with people who were not going to ask too many questions about, will
you actually pull off this deal. And Donald Trump had proved himself very
eager to work people who have a lot of money, willing to spend the money,
who others might not be willing to work with. And I think that mess of
stuff is where he this nexus came.
HAYES: All right. Adam Davidson, thank you for your time tonight.
DAVIDSON: Thank you much Chris.
HAYES: All right, coming up, just one no vote away from another failure.
Did Ohio Governor John Kasich just seal the fate of repeal and replace?
That`s just ahead.
HAYES: Two weeks ago, we led our show with a Wall Street Journal report
about Peter Smith, GOP operative who reportedly sought e-mails he believed
have been stolen from Hillary Clinton`s e-mail server by Russian hackers.
The story was a big deal. And while Smith told the Journal – on the
record, he was working independently – he had also reportedly intimated to
others that he`d been working with Michael Flynn, President Trump`s
disgraced former National Security Adviser. And the Journal reported that
U.S. investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that
describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain e-mails from Miss
Clinton`s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary.
It wasn`t clear whether or not Smith was that intermediary but until this
week, and the disclosure of Trump Junior`s e-mails, that Journal report was
the very first concrete evidence of a Trump ally seeking to collude with
Now, the story has taken a strange (INAUDIBLE) twist. The Wall Street
Journal had reported that Smith died just shortly after he was interviewed.
But yesterday, Chicago Tribune revealed that his death was not from natural
causes. Smith reportedly killed himself in a Minnesota hotel room just
days after talking to the Journal, leaving a suicide note in which he said
that no foul play whatsoever was involved in his death. Police say there`s
evidence to corroborate that claim and you can read all the details in
Tribune but there`s a lot about this story of Peter Smith`s operation to
obtain those Clinton e-mails that remain very unresolved. What connections
he may or may not have had with the campaign and there`s a good chance
we`ll be hearing about that in the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE, (D) VIRGINIA: I thank Vice President Pence. He
showed true back bone himself in Indiana when he expanded Medicaid for his
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe taking a sort of dig at Mike
Pence at a National Governors Association when he was governor meeting when
he was governor of Indiana, Pence expanded Medicaid. Now, as vice
president, he`s pushing a Senate health care bill that includes hundreds of
billions of dollars of cuts to the program and a permanent alternation of
how it is funded.
The bill is holding on for now, but one single solitary Republican
defection and it`s dead. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won`t have enough
votes if he loses just one more. And among Senators who could scuttle the
bill are the relative, so-called, self-identified moderates like Nevada`s
Dean Heller and Ohio`s Rob Portman, both from states with Republican
governors who have been opposed to the absolutely drastic Medicaid cuts in
Now, Ohio Governor John Kasich today came out on the record blasting the
bill, calling it unacceptable, which would put significant pressure on
Portman not to support it. At that same governor`s meeting today, Vice
President Pence took his own shot at Kasich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obamacare has put far too
many able bodied adults on the Medicaid rolls, leaving many disabled and
vulnerable Americans at the back of the line. It is true. And it is
I know Governor Kasich isn`t with us, but I suspect he is very troubled to
know in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Jim Manely, the former chief spokesperson for
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
I should note the disability rights groups are dramatically and almost
unanimously opposed to this bill. And they`ve been protesting for anyone
who thinks this is going to help those folks.
All right, I saw someone today basically say it`s encouraging to McConnell
that he got two quick nos, but the damn as helled, but if it leaks it`s
going to break, basically. What do you think of that?
JIM MANLEY, FRM. CHIEF SPOKESMAN TO SEN. HARRY REID: I pretty much agree.
You know, quite frankly, I`m pretty sure I said a couple weeks ago that I
didn`t think Senator McConnell has the votes then and I`m not convinced he
has got the votes now.
Based on everything I`ve seen so far, we have got at least a handful of
members that are waiting for the CBO score to come out. As you are only
well aware of, Chris, and many of your viewers are, this bill has changed
very little, especially when it comes to the dramatic cuts in the Medicaid
program, number one. Number two, in the number of people that are going to
lose access to health care.
So, when that report is released next week, I expect Senator Heller, among
others, to quickly
get into the no column.
In the meantime, he has boxed himself in the corner in a bad, bad manner.
And he`s going to get beaten up all weekend.
HAYES: You`re talking about Heller or McConnell?
HAYES: Yeah, so here`s two ways – the people that I talked to who think
that the last – there are people I talk to who say the last 24 hours are a
positive development for McConnell and the people in the leadership are
spinning it that way, because they got those two quick noes.
MANLEY: Oldest trick in the books.
HAYES: What do you mean by that?
MANLEY: You need to show positive momentum going into the weekend. If
not, this thing is just going to die a quick painful death.
HAYES: And in fact what I was hearing was that McConnell was pleading with
people just don`t – just make it until Monday before you come out if
you`re going to come out against it, and giving people of the opportunity
of the plot point of the CBO score to say, look – that`s your read that
basically you think the folks who are going to defect on this are waiting
for that as their sort of – the thing they can point to.
MANLEY: Correct, yes.
I think by most estimates, it will show that somewhere between 15 and 22
million Americans are going to lose the health care. And I think for at
least one, if not more, that is going to be be the final
straw. And they`re going to bail quickly.
HAYES: Yeah, but I – and to play devil`s advocate, right, I mean, you
have got – McConnell is good at this.
MANLEY: Oh, very good at it.
HAYES: You sat across – you were chief of staff for Harry Reid. You sat
across from him in these sorts of chess matches, right. I mean, he`s held
them together. He`s got – and he can lean on these folks to basically –
if he isolates them, it strikes me, no one is going to want to be the one.
If for instance, Heller and Portman and Capito and Murkowski got together,
they could just come out as a block and absolutely destroy it. But if he
can keep them separated and deal with them individually and they don`t get
enough pressure on the other side from constituents, it does seem to me
there`s a narrow path.
MANLEY: Yes. I would put it slightly differently. I think also what he`s
telling them is that, hey, folks, I really, really need you on this
procedural vote, on the motion to proceed to the bill. Stick with me there,
give me your vote. And we`ll try mollify your concerns throughout the
And if they believe that, they should get a new line of work, because
they`ve just been conned bigly, because what McConnell is going to do at
the end, and we`ve talked about this before is, after all the amendment
process is over with, and after all these dozens of amendments have been
dealt with, he is going to swoop in in the end and offer one big amendment
that is going to subsume everything that–
HAYES: And jam them.
MANLEY: And why? Because he is going to make that bill more conservative
in the end so he can quickly get through the House.
HAYES: That`s exactly right. And that`s totally true. And he`s already
done that, because the moderates didn`t like the Medicaid cuts, and what he
did was the new version has a Cruz/Lee amendment in it and it has got
nothing for the moderates on the Medicaid, because he is just betting, I
can roll you because you`re basically a coward and don`t believe what you
say you believe.
MANLEY: Absolutely. And so that`s where – that`s where the pressure from
these governors coming from are going to be so important.
HAYES: Jim Manley and constituents, thanks for joining me.
Still ahead, keeping track of the constantly shifting explanations for the
failure to disclose a meeting with the Russian lawyers. Jared Kushner`s
lawyers give the least believable excuse yet.
And a record breaking Thing One, Thing Two starts after this.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, we`ve been documenting President Trump`s odd
style of shaking hands, the so-called yank and pull that he`s deployed on
members of his team, world leaders, and others. That`s not the only
technique the president often uses. There`s also the power clasp, seen
here most notably with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, holding
him tight to the vest, an embrace that went on and on and on.
There`s the hand pat, which was on display during last weekend`s awkward
greeting with the president of South Korea at the G20, a hand hold followed
by a few taps.
But what if I told you there`s new video of a supremely transcendently
awkward handshake that incorporates all of those techniques and is so long
you almost need to speed it up with music. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: President Trump attended the Bastille Day celebration with
President Macron in Paris, but during the parade there was this very
strange handshake that amid hand pats, some yank and pulls, awkwardly
continued, even as it looked like President Macron was trying to wrap it
up. You`re watching this in real time. The shake kept going and going,
morphing into a power claps and roping
in the first lady of France in a greeting that turned into a group hand
holding session. See that there. It lasted nearly 30 seconds.
We didn`t – this is not edited at all. It just keeps going. And then oh,
uh, but it seemed – whew, done – like it could use some editing. So,
we`ll play it again just a little faster.
HAYES: New revelations have come so quickly on Russian involvement with
the election and confirmed attempts at collusion. It`s worth stepping back
and noting just how the story has come, beginning with the person at the
center of it all: Donald Trump Jr.
On July 24, 2016, about a year ago, Donald Trump Jr. was asked specifically
about a claim by Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook that Russians were
behind the hacking of the DNC as part of a plot to help Donald Trump get
elected. We now know that question was asked just weeks after Don Jr`s
meeting following an email promising information that, and I quote here,
would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would very
useful to your father, part of Russia and its government`s support for Mr.
But a few weeks after that June 2016 meeting, Trump Jr`s fanned outrage at
the notion of Russian involvement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP JR.: Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I
mean, they`ll say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time
and time again lie after lie.
I mean, I can`t think of bigger lies. But that exactly goes to show what
you the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Big, big lies. Before and after Trump`s election as president,
there were further questions about any meeting or contact with Russian
officials and the denials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STPEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Are there any ties between Mr. Trump,
you or your campaign and Putin and his regime?
PAUL MANAFORT, FRM. TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: No, there are not. It is
absurd. There`s no basis to it.
JOHN DICKERSON, ABC NEWS: Did anyone involved in the Trump campaign have
any contact with Russians trying to meddle with the election?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE TRUMP ADVISER: Absolutely not. And I
discussed that with the president-elect just last night. Those
conversations never happened.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: I`m asking you a direct question, was there any
contact in any way between Trump or his associates and the Kremlin or cut-
outs they had.
PENCE: I joined this campaign in the summer, and I can tell you that all
the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was was with the American
WALLACE: I`m just trying to get an answer.
PENCE: Of course not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Senator Jeff Sessions in his confirmation hearing to be attorney
general, failed to
disclose his meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak which
ultimately led him to recuse himself from the Russian investigation.
And now, to bring it back to Donald Trump Jr., there are his untruths and
rapidly evolving characterizations about that June 2016 meeting. From an
initial claim of no meetings, that`s what told The Times back in March,
which he represented the campaign in any way, to a meeting about Russian
adoption, to meeting in which opposition research about Hillary Clinton was
promised but not delivered, to a meeting with eight people instead of just
Also, the president`s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, attend that had June 2016
meeting. The very special problem of Jared Kushner ahead.
HAYES: Under the possible penalty of perjury, Jared Kushner, the
president`s son-in-law and senior adviser did not disclose on his initial
security clearance form, any of his foreign contacts including his meetings
with Russian officials.
And this account by Yahoo News` Michael Isikoff is eye opening. Listen to
this, he initially filed his SF-86, that`s security clearance form, on
January 18, leaving out any mention of meetings with foreign government
officials during the transition of the campaign. His lawyers has said this
was inadvertent and that a member of his staff prematurely hit the send
button for the form before it was completed.
Within 12 hours, they have said, Kushner notified the FBI he would would
make amendments and disclose his meetings with foreign officials. This
follow by a revised security clearance submission on May 11. OK, first
off, submitting the form is not as simple as a single accidental mouse
click, as managing editor of Lawfare Susan Hennessey notes you have to
click, enter password 28 times in order to e-file.
Secondly, it took four months from the allegedly inadvertent filing to
submit a revised form listing foreign contact?
And thirdly, that revision, the one that four months later didn`t include
the meeting Kushner attended at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 with Trump Jr.,
Paul Manafort and the Russian nationals, the
meeting, you know, where they said the Russian government wants to help you
out with Hillary Clinton dirt that at the center of the news for the past
That revision, his second to the so-called SF-86, that was done on June
Joining me now, Sabrina Siddiqui, political reporter for The Guardian,
MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele, former RNC chairman.
Let me start with you, Michael. I found the existing publication of that
email has altered the
way that I think about this whole thing. And I had Congressman Leonard
Lance, and I asked him about this, I`ve got to think the senators and
Republican congressmen on Capitol Hill are know that – are watching
themselves being lied to. I know that.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: They do. They`re nervous about it.
They`re angry about it. But they realize that there`s very little they can
do about it. Why? Because the cement that has blocked in them in around
their feet are the very voters who are running 80 percent, 90 percent still
in support of President Trump. So they can`t do any chipping away at this
HAYES: I mean, they could. It would just cost them politically. Let`s be
clear, we are free agents as human beings.
STEELE: My attitude is are you willing to take the risk? I mean what
matters most. You`ve now got on the table the country, the party and a
whole lot of other stuff that could be a real mess if this is allowed to
play itself with Mueller coming down the pike a year from now saying, oh,
by the way, this is a litany of things that are problematic. What do you
do? Where do you go?
And so that`s their reality right now.
So, you want to get to the legislative agenda, which is as about as messed
up as it possibly could be.
HAYES: Although, they`re plunging ahead. I mean, it`s sort of remarkable
to watch this all happen, right. You know, it`s just like, well, we`re
going to have a vote on health care next week.
STEELE: Whether we win it or not, we`re going to do something that`s not
talking about this. And that where McConnell wants to be, that`s where a
lot of the senators want to be. They don`t want have to carry this baggage
of health care into 2018. They don`t. But, OK. We`re stuck at that door,
because they don`t know what all this other baggage is going to contain.
HAYES: But that`s the thing. I mean, Sabrina, I have – you know, it`s a
satisfying thing as a reporter when you catch someone in a lie and it
happens – you know, it definitely happens a lot. It`s a great feeling
when you email or call back saying actually, I have that record of the
meeting you said you weren`t in.
But I have – I don`t think I can remember the last time that I saw
something lied about this brazenly and unravel so quickly. I mean, usually
like one or the other happens, but it`s just – it`s been head snapping.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER: Well, yes, this is a White House
has a credibility problem and it starts from the very top. And even if you
take the administration out
of the equation for just a second and you look at Donald Trump Jr.`s
version of events, day by day he`s been caught in one lie after another.
And what`s important about that, Chris, is that the assertion via the White
House as well as Donald Trump Jr. is that, yes, this meeting did take
place, and fine, here are the actual circumstances around which this
meeting was set up, but nothing actually came of the meeting.
And when you look at the fact that there is a version of events unraveled
each day, you have no reason to take Donald Trump Jr.`s word at face value.
There`s in way to actually prove that nothing came from that meeting. And
again, it`s the totality of the meetings as you mentioned earlier on in
your show. This is not one isolated meeting. We know that there have been
multiple occasions where there were communications between Trump associates
and members of the campaign and the Russians.
HAYES: Yeah. I want to read just to remind everyone what the story was.
This is the official statement by Don Jr. when The Times breaks the news
about the meeting that is signed off on by the president on Air Force One.
“It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by,”
that`s not true, they were copied on the email. It was more than stopping
– “we primarily discussed the program about the adoption of Russian
children that was active and popular with American families years ago. It
was since ended by the Russian government. It was not a campaign issue at
the time. There was no follow up.”
Well, that`s not really true, that was not the reason was.
“I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance,” it doesn`t say who,
though we now know who it was, “but was not told the name of the person I
would be meeting.” Well, maybe not the the name but Russian government
lawyer representing the Russian state in the efforts for your father to
I mean, that was five days ago. And so, now when they say oh, nothing came
of the meeting or when Jared Kushner`s people try to tell us they
accidentally hit send.
STEELE: But you know what this plays to–
HAYES: Come on.
STEELE: This doesn`t play to the narrative that they want you to embrace.
HAYES: Oh, of course not. I know that.
STEELE: This plays to the narrative that that 85 percent of GOPpers and 40
percent of all Americans who stand behind Trump as one Trump supporter put
it to me just yesterday, why don`t you just let him do his job?
And as long as the president knows that that perspective about him is out
HAYES: And not only that, he is – what`s very clear I have watched them
over the last – Sabrina, I have watched them in the last, I would say
three to four weeks get their sea legs in making sure they could hold that
It is very clear to me now their entire strategy, the ministers praying
over him, the interview
with Pat Robertson, the Fox News, the Don Jr. sort of fighting on Twitter,
they understand they`ve got to keep that 40 percent and everything is now
targeted to that.
SIDDIQUI: Yes. There`s actually a recent poll that`s very telling of the
Republican electorate and it found that one in four Republican voters do
not actually view Russia as a serious threat. So there is this reorienting
of the Republican Party that we already know has happened under Trump`s
And the real question is are the Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have been
for years bemoaning the Obama administration`s response to Russia and are
now sort of turning the other way when Donald Trump is showing such a great
affinity toward Vladimir Putin and, you know, when they`re being presented
with evidence of at least a willingness by the Trump campaign to collude
with the Russians, are they going to at some point say enough is enough.
Yes, they want health care. Yes, they want tax reform, but are they
willing to go against what they claim, you know, is the backbone of U.S.
democracy and all of these institutions that they claim that they revere.
HAYES: Spoiler alert: no. Sabrina Siddiqui and Michael Steele, thank you.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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