All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/1/17 The Trump Offensive
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: August 1, 2017
Guest: Richard Painter, David Cay Johnston, Michelle Goldberg, Olivia
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: And that`s HARDBALL for now, thanks for being
with us. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He weighed in,
offered a suggestion like any father would do.
HAYES: The White House caught red handed.
SANDERS: The President weighs in the as any father would.
HAYES: President Trump helped his son mislead the country about attempted
campaign collusion with Russians.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It`s called
HAYES: Tonight, the fallout from today`s admission.
TRUMP: As I see it, they talked about adoption.
HAYES: And the incredible new charges in a federal lawsuit claiming the
White House, the President and the Fox News Channel coordinated a
conspiracy theory to distract from Russian election interference. Plus
about, those sanctions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has the President signed the Russia, North Korea, Iran
SANDERS: I`m sorry, has he signed it -
HAYES: And how a Trump White House that ran on e-mail security fell for a
two-bit e-mail prank.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I`m
feeling the hook here.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight the President
stands accused of two very serious charges. First, that he personally
dictated his son`s widely misleading initial statement about the now
infamous meeting with the Russian lawyer and second, that he according to a
federal lawsuit conspired with Fox News to push out a false and cruel
conspiracy theory about a murdered DNC staffer in order to shift blame away
from Russia and the Russia investigation. Much more on that latter claim
ahead but first, to the Trump Jr. stand.
We recall that it was first reported that he and other Trump staffers have
met secretly with the Russian lawyer during the campaign. Donald Trump Jr.
claimed that and I quote, we primary discuss a program about the adoption
of Russian children that was active and popular with American families
years ago and was since ended by the Russian government. It was later
revealed that adoption was not the purpose for that meeting at all.
Rather, Trump Junior had eagerly set up the meeting after being offered
dirt on Hillary Clinton straight from the Kremlin, a fact that appeared
nowhere of course in that initial statement. Now, once those facts became
public, President Trump`s lawyer Jay Sekulow claim the President had no
involvement in drafting the misleading statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S LAWYER: The President was not, did not
draft the response. The response was - came from Donald Trump Jr., I`m
sure, in consultation with his lawyer. The President didn`t sign off on
anything. He was coming back from the G-20. The statement that was
released on Saturday was released by Donald Trump Jr. I`m sure in
consultation with his lawyers. The President wasn`t involved in that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEKULOW: Last night as we went to air, the Washington Post citing multiple
sources that direct knowledge reported that contra Sekulow, the President
had in fact personally dictated his son`s misleading statement about the
meeting. And after we went off air, Sekulow responded that “apart from
being of no consequence, the characterization are misinformed, inaccurate
and not pertinent.” Another Trump lawyer John Dowd said the story was and
I quote, fake news, misinformed, incorrect and of no consequence. But then
today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted that
well, yes, indeed the President, in fact, help draft the statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: The President weighed in as any father would base on the limited
information that he had. He certainly didn`t dictate but you know, he -
like I said, he weighed in, offering a suggestion like any father would do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Like any father would do. Now, let`s consider the time line. The
statement was reportedly drafted as the President was flying home from the
G-20 summit last month where he met twice with Russian President Vladimir
Putin. First during an official meeting and second during an undisclosed
private conversation over dinner where the only other person present was a
Kremlin provided interpreter. Here`s how the President described that
second intimate one on one meeting in an interview with the New York Times.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: Actually, it was very interesting. We talked about adoption.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did?
TRUMP: Russian adoption. I always found that interesting because you
know, he ended that years ago. And I actually talked about Russian
adoption with him which is interesting because that was part of the
conversation that Don had with this meeting.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Right. So according to the President, he has a conversation with
Vladimir Putin about adoption and almost immediately afterward, according
to the White House, he helps craft a grossly misleading statement about
that Don Junior meeting claiming the meeting was primarily about adoption.
It does make one wonder exactly the President and Mr. Putin discussed and
whether Putin played a role in influencing the aggressively deceptive
version of events Trump`s team relayed to the Press.
Joining me now, former Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor and MSNBC
Legal Contributor Jill Wine-Banks and Richard Painter, Chief White House
Ethics Lawyer under George W. Bush. So it now seems confirmed, Jill,
counter - two of his lawyers which seem to happen to regular basis as
someone comes out and says something on behalf of the President and is
later undercut by the President or the White House, that he did in fact aid
in drafting this. What does that mean to you as an investigator, as a
lawyer in terms of what it means legally?
JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it means a couple things.
In terms of Donald Trump`s, the President`s participation, it means that he
may have committed an overt act in furtherance of a conspiracy to cover up
and that could be part of a criminal investigation so that Mr. Mueller
should be looking at it. It also means that the lawyers misled the public,
and probably violated their obligations as lawyers. They should have never
said anything, other than my client informs me. That`s a basic that any
trial lawyer learns is that unless you know for a fact something, you don`t
assert it. And in this case, I am hoping they were misled, that they
weren`t deliberately part of misleading the public but they should not have
said what they said.
HAYES: Richard, you had this tweet which I thought was interesting. “You
said knowingly drafting a false statement for a person who is a witness in
a criminal investigation is itself a crime, obstruction of justice” strikes
me that knowingly is key there.
RICHARD PAINTER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH:
Well, yes. you know, I think, no father in his right mind would draft or
weigh in on a false statement to be made by his son, a false public
statement or any other statement about a matter in which there is an
ongoing criminal investigation because once the son - here Donald Trump Jr.
- says something in a public statement, he would be very likely to say the
same thing to the Special Prosecutor. And lying to the Special Prosecutor
is a crime. If he lies under oath, then it becomes perjury. And so this
is a common strategy for obstructing justice, to get a witness to make
public statements that present a story that is not true.
And I can`t imagine any father who would want to expose his own son to that
in order to cover up something except I guess a father who has the power to
pardon his son if his son is then convicted of perjury. But this is indeed
obstruction of justice and we`ve already had obstruction of justice in the
firing of James Comey. The reason for that was acknowledged in the Oval
Office to the Russian Ambassador. Last week we had the attempt to fire
Jeff Sessions in order to remove Bob Mueller. I would like to have one
week from this White House where they don`t engage in any work of
obstruction of justice but maybe that is just too much.
HAYES: Jill, to Richard`s point about the strategy behind the President
helping craft a statement. I mean, it strikes me and maybe I`m wrong as
fairly reckless. Given the fact that behind this sort of aggressively
deceptive statement was a chain of e-mail that showed it to be totally
wrong, that there was - there was in-writing in the inboxes of folks that I
think it had already been discovered at that point saying no, they were
offered dirt directly from, “the Russian government in their efforts to
help Donald Trump get elected.”
BANKS: Well, either he was acting in totally reckless disregard of the
truth or he deliberately lied by knowing the truth. Either one is not a
good option and I can remember as a child, my mother would never have even
written a note saying I was sick if I didn`t want to go to school unless I
was really sick. And I think this is the same thing. The president is
writing for his son, making an excuse that isn`t true and if my mother had
been his mother, that wouldn`t have happened.
HAYES: Part of this also, Richard it seems relates to the key question
about that meeting which is by far o think is the most incriminating event
that we`ve seen in all of this and that is what is President knew about it
at the time. Whether he knew about it or he was briefed about it
afterwards. What his level - the - we have been told by his lawyers who
just told us something false a day ago, is that the President had no idea.
Do you think given that we now know that the President wrote this, or
helped craft this statement, it is credible, the President didn`t know
about that meeting at the time?
PAINTER: Well, I don`t know. They just can`t tell the truth about
anything having to do with the Russians. And it`s been going on for six
months, going back to General Flynn lying about his contacts with the
Russians. It has been lie after lie after lie. How much the President
knew at the time during the campaign about the collaboration with the
Russians, how much he suspected and just let other people do the dirty
work. We don`t know. We`ll find that out. But just with - as with
President Nixon was forced to resign over obstruction of justice, it`s not
the question of whether the President actually ordered the break-in, or
here whether the President collaborated with the Russians. People close to
him clearly collaborated with the Russians.
I mean, that meeting in the Trump Tower was obviously collaboration with
the Russians. And the President is repeatedly engaging in obstruction of
justice and I have to say that in far more instances that I recall with
respect to Nixon, and this is very troubling. He just won`t let it go.
That`s what Nixon should have done with Watergate, just let it go, not talk
about it, not try to obstruct justice, let the investigation take its
course and that President Trump is making the exact same mistake although I
think in many more instances, it`s really quite getting
HAYES: Jill Wine-Banks and Richard Painter, thank you both for your time
tonight. I`m joined now by Author Michelle Goldberg and Columnist at Slate
and Author, David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize winning Investigative
Journalist found at the D.C. report who has spent a lot of time in his
career reporting on Donald Trump. And I`ll start with you David for that
reason. Here`s what I find striking about this. I think even in the minds
of people that are, view themselves politically opposed to the President,
critics to the President, (INAUDIBLE), they don`t imagine him as a
micromanager. They - I think they sort of - there`s this idea that he is
sort of the center of this maelstrom and kind of checks in and checks out.
This puts him I think for the first time very squarely in the center of
managing all of this which strikes me as significant. How in line is that
with what you know about him having reported on him for so many years.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AMERICAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, when Donald
feels threatened by anything, a news story that will make him look bad
which is a lot lower level of concern than this. Donald is an absolute
micromanager. He will yell at associates about what he wants to be done.
He will plant false stories, he will accuse people of misconduct when they
behave perfectly properly. And so, his helping to draft this statement
clearly is too polished for Donald to have done entirely on his own. It is
not the least bit surprising and it`s part of his also control over his
HAYES: You know, there`s also the degree of just - I mean, where there is
one lie, there are many lies, I think is a good way to think about this
White House, right? So, you know, here, we`re starting to pull the thread
and we`ve seen this before. There`s no reason after we`ve had people look
us in the eyes on their - you know, in front of the camera and lie about
things to think that we know the full story now.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SLATE COLUMNIST: Right, but it still I think
discombobulating for people and they`re still getting used to Donald
Trump`s very bizarre mixture of extreme candor in some circumstances and
total mendacity in others, right? I mean, he actually - because he will
admit to things and kind of brazen it out and say, you know - who wouldn`t
have taken meeting? Or yes, I was thinking about James - I was thinking
about the Russia investigation when I fired James Comey. And so, he`ll do
these things and it almost makes him seem as if we can expect a level of
frankness from him.
HAYES: Great point.
GOLDBERG: And then I think it takes people off guard when they realize
with - that he will lie completely lie with kind of similar panache and
similar kind of seamlessness as will his attorneys. That`s something
we`re not really used to in American life, right? We`re not used to kind
of assuming that as the attorney said it, it must at least be technically
HAYES: Right. The hedge, that attorney`s hedge in a very sort of narrow
HAYES: And they`ll say sort of like weasel words as opposed to just -
GOLDBERG: Right. So when they make a kind of categorical statement, which
should perhaps taken seriously -
HAYES: And reporters that you`re trained to do that, right?
GOLDBERG: That`s right. And so I think that people are still getting used
to just the kind of fun house mirror way that these people present the
HAYES: I think that Jill Wine-Banks for instance and David, I want to talk
to you and Michelle about this, it also, I think puts the General Flynn
moment in a new light. That was of course - that was the first domino to
fall. That is the beginning of the causal chain that has brought us to all
of this and Mueller. And it`s Flynn talking to Kislyak on sanctions day
and then not telling the truth about it, right? It was that initial lie,
the shifting stories in the White House and the idea always was that Flynn
was freelancing and that the lies were being free-lanced by Flynn. But
now, it seems a worthwhile question to ask whether the President was
involved in that, given that he was involved in the Don Junior statement.
JOHNSTON: And I would say, of course, he was involved in that. Donald
will jettison anybody when it`s in his interest to do so and that`s going
turn out to be in his own children. You know, he`s put his sons here in
jeopardy with these actions. I can`t imagine that there was a lawyer in
the room who didn`t stay, assuming there was a lawyer, stay away from this
Mr. President. You don`t want to be within a mile with this issue, keep
your hands off. And Donald you know, buys people, he controls them, he
uses his money and power to get them to do what he wants to do and the
moment you`re inconvenient to him, and he`s better off without you, he`ll
dump you. and that`s what we saw with Flynn
HAYES: Well, so here`s the next question is, the shape of the sort of
defense is taking place which I thought that Jared Kushner talking to the
Congressional interns which they were all warned, the entire class of
Congressional interns was warned don`t leak this and of course it leaked.
They thought we colluded but we couldn`t even collude with our local
offices. The Kushner`s account and I think the one that we will see is
that we were essentially in over our heads and too incompetent to
GOLDBERG: Right, too incompetent -
JOHNSTON: Right. We are so bad at this, we have no business being in the
White House. It is - it`s an astonishing defense but it has a purpose. It
is to suggest that this was really innocent. There was - no matter what
you find, this was really innocent and that will fly with a segment of the
GOLDBERG: I think, I mean, it`s so - the thing is, you don`t - we`re not
talking about high level plotting dead drops than kind of a -
HAYES: No, that`s what so remarkable, that e-mail chain. And so shocking
to me about it.
GOLDBERG: Right. I mean, you`re just talking about a bunch of goons kind
of offering to trade favors. It just happens to be that one of the favors
is swing the election of the United States of America. And so, it`s not -
you know, this didn`t take, at least on Trump`s part, as opposed to on the
Russians` part, a huge level of kind of sophisticated - you know -
GOLDBERG: Right, exactly. It was just him accepting -
HAYES: That`s a good point.
GOLDBERG: - accepting the offer of help in exchange for certain kind of
political guarantees which he is now doing everything he can to fulfill.
HAYES: Michelle -
JOHNSTON: And Chris, how comfortable the Russian government was.
Remember, they said, this was from the Russian government. Can you imagine
the Russian government having gone to John McCain saying, we want a supply
of information? They were confident, they had somebody here who wanted to
hear their message.
HAYES: Yes. That`s a good point. Michelle Goldberg and David Cay
Johnston, thanks for being with me tonight. Next, a new federal lawsuit
alleging the Trump administration worked with Fox News to spread a
conspiracy theory about a murdered DNC staffer and that the President
himself may have had a hand in it. The details of that explosive story
after this two-minute break.
HAYES: The President of the United States stands accused in a federal
lawsuit of conspiring with Fox News to promote a fringe conspiracy theory
about a murdered DNC staffer in order to invalidate the Russia scandal.
For months, the conspiracy theorists on the right have been pushing an
alternate explanation for the DNC hack during the 2016 election. That it
wasn`t Russia who broke in and stole the e-mails and pass it to WikiLeaks
instead, it was really Seth Rich, a young DNC operative who was killed last
summer. That murder was what D.C. Police say was a likely a botched
robbery, but according to this conspiracy theory that has been percolating
in the internet, it was a retaliatory hit job who wanted to shut Seth Rich
Now, in May, that story was written up, that story at foxnews.com and it
got air time for days on the network over the strong objections of the
grieving Rich family. And Fox News was eventually forced to retract that
very same report which is something they do not very often do. Now,
according to this new lawsuit filed by Private Investigator Rod Wheeler,
who is a Fox News Contributor and source for the article, the Seth Rich
conspiracy theory didn`t come out of nowhere. It was promoted allegedly by
a wealthy Trump supporter named Ed Butowsky. He`s an investor for Texas
who appears on Fox News and Fox Business Channel and who hired Wheeler to
investigate Rich`s murder.
Now, Butowsky isn`t just connected to Fox, he has ties to the White House
where he visits back in the April with Wheeler in tow to share their
findings with then Press Secretary Sean Spicer. According to the lawsuit,
Butowsky claimed the President himself was directly involved, sending a
text to Wheeler days before the false and later retracted Fox News report
was published saying this, “Not to add any more pressure but the President
just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It`s now all
up to you but don`t feel the pressure. Tonight, Wheeler described his
reaction to that text in an exclusive interview with my colleague Ari
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED WHEELER, PLAINTIFF ON FOX LAWSUIT: Well, first of all, I`m thinking why
would the President have to review a story pertaining to a death-to the
murder of a guy in D.C.? Why would they President even be involved in
this? But at that point Ari, it was rather obvious to me that they
actually lured me into this investigation. They meaning this Fox News
reporter and Ed Butowsky to substantiate this Russian narrative thing or to
debunk that when in fact they told me that I was really getting involved
just to solve a murder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now by Oliveia Nuzzi who`s a Washington Correspondent
for New York Magazine and Gabe Sherman who`s a Special Correspondent for
Vanity Fair and an MSNBC Contributor. Gabe, let me start with you. I want
to be just cautious here because anyone can file a lawsuit.
GABRIEL SHERMAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Of course.
HAYES: It does not mean that the claims made in the lawsuit are true. And
there are some reasons to be skeptical about some of the credibility of all
the figures involved in this. That said, this is a shockingly explosive
set of allegations.
SHERMAN: On multiple levels. I mean, this lawsuit is both shocking and
fascinating and obviously, we`ll see how it plays out. What I find
interesting is it - on one level it`s an autopsy of how a fake news story
potentially gets created and how the Trump White House potentially worked
in concert with its media arm Fox News to try to push a counter narrative
that comes up with any other explanation then that the Trump campaign had
ties to the Russian hacking operation that led to the Clinton e-mails.
HAYES: Now, there`s - for all that we can`t verify there`s few things that
we can Olivia and here`s one thing I think that`s key to zoom in on. Now,
I want to play - this is Spicer on May 16th being asked about the - about
the Seth Rich story. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don`t – I`m not aware
of - I generally - I don`t get updates on DNC, former DNC staffers. I`m
not aware of that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. So now, it turns out that that statement was made after he had
this meeting in the White House with Butowski and Wheeler about precisely
this story. Spicer confirming that to NPR yesterday. Ed has been a
longtime supporter of the President and asked to meet to catch up. It was
nothing to do with advancing the President`s domestic agenda. They was no
agenda, they were just informing me this Fox story. This vaguely similar
Olivia to the Don Junior. I`m just taking a meeting with anyone, we don`t
have an agenda. You`ll just see what happens.
OLIVIA NUZZI, NEW YORK MAGAZINE WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean,
that`s precisely what Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued today during the White
House briefing. She said well, you know, it`s not unusual for anyone in
the press office to take a meeting with a media figure. But I want to be
very clear, I interviewed Ed Butowsky twice today and in the afternoon, he
got very angry with me and started yelling at me and sort of vaguely
threatening me because I characterized the meeting as an interview. He was
very clear that it was not an interview. He was not there in his capacity
as an immediate figure as someone who appears on Fox News.
He was there to inform Sean Spicer and to inform the White House more
broadly that what he felt was compelling information about something that
could help them. So for them on argue that you know, this is typical, that
the press office always meets with media figures to learn about what
they`re working on. That`s not quite the case here. I think, you know,
you said it yourself that everyone here is sort of unreliable. There`s a
reason to be skeptical of everyone involved in this story. But regardless,
it just - no one is really, the White House is not really saying the same
exact thing that Butowsky is saying or even what Wheeler is saying.
HAYES: Yes, let me follow up with that because the most explosive part of
the complaint and is very smartly done with the lawyers is just the first
play - the first page of the plaintiff`s complaint contain a text in which
Ed Butowsky tells Wheeler that the President has read it and wants you to
go ahead. Butowsky confirms the text was sent, correct? What is his line
NUZZI: Well, Butowsky`s line about that now is that he was sort of said in
jest. He said, well, I`m sure that you have text messages like this, that
you wouldn`t want to be public. And it`s like, I really don`t. I don`t
think many of us have text messages where we`re joking to friends that the
President is aware of what we`re up to. He claims he said it in jest
because Wheeler wanted a job in the Trump administration so badly, that he
just sort of was mocking him for wanting that. It doesn`t really make any
sense. He also claimed that he brought Wheeler to the meeting with Sean
Spicer so that he could make the case for getting a job in the White House
himself but he told me that Wheeler never talk to Spicer about his job
because - I`m paraphrasing - that`s not something you do the first time
that you meet somebody.
HAYES: There are some people I think who would do that the first time you
meet them. There`s also the angle to this about Fox`s complexity on this.
And just to give people a sense, I mean, this conspiracy theory is
massively hurtful to the Rich family. They have a family member who`s
murdered. It`s still unsolved. The police say it does look like a botched
robbery. There`s no - the idea that people have in this sort of vulture-
like way preyed upon the memory and reputation, this person that he was
essentially have (INAUDIBLE) against DNC because it suits their purposes to
exculpate Russia. And for that we promote night after night, the people
like Sean Hannity, I mean, it was hell for that family and attracted quite
a bit of attention when Fox was pushing this story.
SHERMAN: Yes, and both - inside Fox, there were certain pockets of deep
consternation that this story was being, that the Rich tragedy was being
political football to help Trump and to what length? It`s going to be this
kind of sick but to what length would Fox News go to prop up the Trump
White House that they would use the death of Seth Rich in that effort.
Now, you know, Sean Hannity said that he was not facing pressure to lay off
the Rich story but he has not covered it since all of this back lash. And
we should point out Fox News retracted the report that this whole
conspiracy is based on. So the network is saying we put this out there and
yet we can`t stand behind it.
HAYES: Olivia, do you think, I mean, what I just said before is whether
there`s one lie, we suspect there may be many lies. If we heard sort of
the last of the fact pattern here in terms of what the White House knew
about this story.
NUZZI: Certainly, I mean, everything that has happened in this
administration since day one, since during campaign, in fact, has suggested
that this is not the last that we`ll hear about it. And they would likely
be changing their story on it (INAUDIBLE). I mean, it`s anyone`s guess
right now, if you know what`s in the lawsuit is, it`s completely accurate
but they`re not really getting their story straight right now and it is
very early. So we can expect, I`m sure that they`re going to be changing
things as they go along, as they get new information.
HAYES: All right, Olivia Nuzzi and Gabe Sherman, thank you both.
SHERMAN: Thank you.
NUZZI: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, how the administration that ran on cyber security got
conned by caught a dude with an iPhone. The amazing e-mails between
Anthony Scaramucci and who he thought was Reince Priebus after this quick
HAYES: A day after Reince Priebus resigned as White House Chief of Staff,
a Twitter prankster pretending to be Priebus e-mailed Anthony Scaramucci.
Scaramucci who at the time was still the White House Communications
Director had vowed to get Priebus fired. And so, you can imagine his
surprise when the fake Priebus e-mailed him the following. “I promised
myself I would leave my hands mud-free. But the way in which that
transition has come about has been diabolical and hurtful. I don`t expect
a reply.” The very real Scaramucci responded sincerely to the fake
Priebus, “You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured
we were prepared. A man would apologize.”
The exchange continued with the fake Priebus writing, “I can`t believe
you`re asking - you were questioning my ethics. The so-called Mooch who
can`t even manage his first week in the White House without leaving upset
in his wake. I have nothing to apologize for.” Again, the very real
Scaramucci fire back at fake Priebus, “Read Shakespeare. Particularly
Othello. You are right there. I know what you did. No more replies from
me.” Not only did this self-scribed prankster expose some very real flaws
in the Trump administration cyber security but he posted his handy work to
Twitter for all to see. White House officials acknowledged the breach and
said they`re looking into what happened. And it probably should because
Anthony Scaramucci wasn`t the only White House official doped into
believing. He was talking to other White House officials. We`ll tell you
who else got played next.
HAYES: The email prankster who was able to convince Anthony Scaramucci
that he was emailing with Reince Priebus, was also able to convince him
that he was John Huntsman, the newly named ambassador to Russia. Now, think
Huntsman asked in apparent reference to both Reince Priebus and Steve
Bannon, “Whose head should roll first? Maybe I can help things along
somewhat.” The real Scaramucci wrote back, “Both of them.”
Now, while toying with the Mooch may have been mostly harmless, the
prankster was also able to convince Homeland Security Advisory, Tom
Bossert, who was in charge of overseeing cyber security, to voluntarily
offer up his own personal email address to a person he thought was a
President`s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, inviting him to a fancy dinner. Fake
Kushner writing, “Tom, we are arranging a bit of a soiree toward the end of
August, I promise food of at least of comparable quality to that which we
had in Iraq. Should be a great evening.”
The real — wrote back, thanks, Jared. With a promise like that, I can`t
refuse. Also, if you ever need it, my personal email is – redacted.”
The prankster, known as @SINON_REBORN, after posting many posting many
emails on Twitter, posted this message, “White House FYI, I won`t be
pranking you any
longer. Point made. I am just a dude with an IPhone. You need the tighten
policy. Love x.x”
Joining me now, Christina Greer, Political Scientist, Associate Professor
at Fordham University.
Well, here`s the thing that I find amazing about this. Just remember that
they, the Trump campaign managed to make a central issue before the
republic in the last campaign, email security.
CHRISTINA GREER, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: 33,000 emails. If she can`t protect
her email server, how can she protect her country? And now that we know the
still uses his regular phone and you can reach him on his number.
It is and not just one person who is pranked. We have high level people
security clearance who are emailing and talking about, right now in this
case, wasn`t incredibly sensitive. We`re talking about soirees, and inside
baseball, if you will. But this is a fundamental crisis.
And it shows that not only is this President unqualified and unprepared and
unorganized, and disorganized as well, as are the people around him.
And so, if we`re not worried about this, they`re trying to make Russia kind
They`re trying to say, this isn`t the same as Hillary bleaching her server.
Yeah, because we have elections next year, and more elections, god willing,
HAYES: There`s two things. This is a prankster, right?
But, the other thing is, what if they were batting around policy. If you
email someone and the President says it is a go on North Korea. You want to
make sure of who you`re talking to.
GREER: Well, with this President who is so erratic and who does not read,
right? We know if someone says, oh yeah, he`s all in.
HAYES: On X policy.
GREER: Okay. Because, we know that he doesn`t follow any play book. He
goes by whatever the shiniest toy is in front of his face or the last story
And so, I think that`s what is really dangerous. Because we`re not just
talking about domestic policy, which he is all over the place, and not
successful in certain ways.
But International policy. Our enemies are watching all of this. And they`re
seeing that when the leader of a free nation does not have control of his
own camp, or his own self- that is a time where we as citizens are
incredibly weak in the eyes of others.
HAYES: This was the thing I thought of when I read that was like, wow, if
you just jammed a crowbar on some major issue on some major issue of
The other thing I keep thinking about, I obsess over this, there is always
something like prurient and fun about reading someone else`s email. You get
a kick out of it. And that powered the campaign. We were constantly
reading emails leaked by Weekileaks that were criminally obtained by a
The question I have is we`ve only seen one Trump email and it was comically
watching what they`re willing to put in an email here, like who knows
what`s an email? Who knows what they`ve put in email?
GREER: Who knows because they are clearly not – they don`t understand.
HAYES: They`re not careful.
GREER: They don`t understand the job. And this has always been my concern
when you not just the president, but the people that he`s surrounded
himself with, so many of them fundamentally do not understand American
government. They don`t understand separation of powers. They don`t
understand checks and balances.
HAYES: Haven`t been in it, haven`t been around it.
GREER: And they`ve never been public servants, either, so there`s also
lack of respect for it.
And so when we are seeing these titillating emails, it`s like this is why
he`s concerned about Mueller. This is why he fired Comey, because we don`t
know what he`s been sort of loose lips sink
ships, and we know that this particular president has zero discipline when
it comes to speaking. So we can only imagine that he and his ilk have a
pretty low levels of discipline when it comes to writing things down as
HAYES: I`ve encountered people in my professional life who basically are
like never put anything in an email. Like, you`ll email them they`ll pick
up the phone and call ou.
GREER: Right here.
And you`re like, OK, I see you. I see you. You`re being very careful
GREER: If we ever need to discuss something, I will tell you let`s get on
HAYES: That does not seem to be the MO of these folks, which really makes
you wonder what it`s there.
Christina Greer, it`s great to see you. Thank you.
GREER: It`s great to see you too.
HAYES: Still ahead, congress voted overwhelming to pass a bill on Russian
sanctions, so why has the president not yet signed it? The changing
stories ahead in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, The White House continues to claim the president
when he encouraged and condoned police brutality on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy
wagon, you see them thrown in rough. I said please don`t be too nice, like
when you guys put somebody on the car and you`re protecting their head, you
know, the way you put the hand, like, don`t hit their hand and they have
just killed somebody, don`t hit their head. I said you can take hand away,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Police chiefs across the country condemned those remarks. And
today, we learned the acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg, didn`t think it was
so funny. Writing in a letter to his own workforce, quote, the president
condoned police misconduct regarding the treatment of individuals placed
under arrest by law enforcement. I write because we have an obligation to
speak out when something is wrong.
Even in light of that, the White House once again downplayed the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: Was he making a joke about police brutality?
SANDERS: Not at all. I think you guys are jumping and trying to make
something out of nothing. He was simply making a comment, making a joke,
and it was nothing more than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This is not the first time Team Trump has tried to pass off
disturbing or offensive comments as, quote, a joke. The history of Trumps
knee slappers is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The head of the DEA wrote immediately after the
president made those remarks to officers in the DEA telling them to
disregard them and saying he had an obligation to
speak up when something wrong happens.
SANDERS: It wasn`t a directive. It was a joke. There`s a very big
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The White House still claiming the president`s comments condoning
police brutality were a joke, which we`ve come to learn is a great tactic
when would you rather not just apologize.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks.
Although the second amendment people, maybe there is. I don`t know.
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: I heard about this second amendment quote.
It sounds like a joke gone bad.
TRUMP: His wife, if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had
nothing to say. She probably – maybe she wasn`t allowed to have anything
to say? You tell me. But plenty of people have written that.
WILBUR ROSS: I thought he was joking about it. I don`t think that he was
really trying to insult anyone.
TRUMP: Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000
When I`m being sarcastic with something…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you being sarcastic?
TRUMP: Of course I`m being sarcastic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say affirmatively that whenever the president
says something, we can trust it to be real.
SEAN SPICER, FRM. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If he`s not joking, of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Putin says very nice things about me. I think that`s very nice.
It has no effect on me other than I think it is very nice.
If we get along with Russia, that`s very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Better relations with Russia was a consistent theme of Donald
Trump`s presidential campaign, helped along by flattery from Russian
President Vladimir Putin.
But now President Trump has found his efforts to smooth over relations with
Russia constrained by several factors, most notably in the investigations
by special counsel Robert Mueller and several congressional committees into
Russian interference in the election, and the possibility of Trump campaign
collusion with those efforts.
Last week, congress overwhelmingly voted to sanction Russia for that
election interference. A sanctions bill passing the House by 419-3, and
the Senate by 98-2. In response, Putin ordered the
United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 employees.
President Trump hasn`t made a peep about Putin`s retaliation, and here`s
the thing he has not yet
signed the sanctions bill. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Press Secretary
Sarah Sanders said the bill, quote, had not been received, even though
Congress.gov noted the bill went to the president`s desk last Friday.
Today, Sanders did acknowledge they have the bill, but the president still
hasn`t committed to a signing date. Reporters in today`s White House
briefing tried to find out why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: What`s the delay here? You guy have had this since
Friday. What`s holding him back?
SANDERS: It`s always – there`s nothing holding him back. There`s a
review process, a legal process. They`re going through that. And he`ll
sign the bill and we`ll let you guys know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Why the White House is dragging its feet on Russia next.
HAYES: Speaking in Georgia earlier today, Vice President Pence said Donald
Trump would sign a Russians sanctions bill quote very soon. But like
others in the administration, Mike Pence didn`t get any more specific than
that even though the president has had the bill in hand since Friday.
Joining me now, Julia Ioffe, staff writer at The Atlantic whose most recent
piece is titled “Vladimir Putin to America: You`ve Let Me Down;” and Evan
McMullin, former 2016 independent presidential candidate and former CIA
Julia, let me start with you. There`s a fascinating dynamic happening
here, and it`s a sort of complicated terrain. But you`ve got two things,
right. You`ve got the fact that it really looks like Russia took these
very brazen measures to criminally interfere in the American election to
get Donald Trump
elected, and then you`ve got the question of what U.S.-Russia relations
should be like and those overlap, but they can also be distinct. And
you`ve got the politics that rippled out from that first thing now boxing
the president into calls for escalation with Russia because of what they
did to get him elected in the first place.
Is that basically the dynamic?
JULIA IOFFE, THE ATLANTIC: Basically.
And you have the Russians playing this interesting game. They basically
retaliated 20 times harder than what the Obama administration did because
this isn`t just retaliation for these sanctions that haven`t yet been
signed, that aren`t that bad, and then it`s also retaliation for what the
Obama administration did as they were leaving the White House. They kicked
out 35 diplomatic Russian
staff who were allegedly intelligence and blocked access to two compounds
also allegedly used mostly for intelligence gathering.
And Vladimir Putin kicks out 20 times that many people, diplomatic staff
out of Russia. But he gives the Americans a month to implement this and
the bill hasn`t yet been signed by the president. So is this – you know,
the question is, is this a signal to President Trump saying, you know, this
is what would happen.
On the other hand, when official Russians, you know, Putin`s spokesman has
been saying, look, we understand how this works in the U.S. It`s a veto
proof majority. Even if the president doesn`t sign it, it`s going to
become law and we have to put our foot down.
Putin said in an interview on Sunday night, he said, you can`t just keep
using your power all
over the world. You have to stop disrespecting us. We`re putting our foot
HAYES: So, Evan, it`s been interesting to me to note, the fact that the
president – there`s two things happening, right, the president – they`ve
just been strange about the whole sanctions bill from the beginning. They
were noncommital about whether they were going to sign it. They`ve now –
they said they haven`t had it, but they had the bill. Now they won`t say
when they`re going to sign it. So, there`s just been weirdness about it.
There`s also the fact the president hasn`t responded in any public way to
Putin`s call to kick out these 755 personnel. And it`s not like this is an
individual who just ignores perceived threats or insults. What do you make
of the silence there?
EVAN MCMULLIN, FRM. CIA OPERATIVE: well, he`s between a rock and a hard
place, the president on the sanctions bill. On one hand if he signs it,
he`s sort of acknowledging that Russia did
meddle in our election on his behalf, something that he`s tried to
obfuscate and misdirect in the minds of the American people since it
happened. So if he signs it, he`s acknowledging that it happened. That
puts him in a difficult place.
If he doesn`t sign it, then it`s sort of solidifies as if we need any more
of that. The reality that Donald Trump has an unhealthy relationship or
posture vis-a-vis Moscow.
So, he`s in a really tough place.
I think he`ll probably go ahead and sign it. One way or another, this will
become law, I believe. I think there was some Republican leadership
resistance in the house, not among the rank and file members, but among the
leaders, Republican leaders to try to weaken the bill. I think we`re past
So this will become law, I`m optimistic. The question then will be how
it`s implemented. How does the Trump administration implement the
sanctions, which I do think are significant and we`re going to have to
watch and then to also see how the Republicans hold him to account on that.
HAYES: Also, I want to follow up on that, because part of the dynamic I`m
seeing here is the president is in denial about what happened. He is being
investigated, his campaign is being investigated into possibly colluding
with what happened. There`s an email in which his campaign top people met
with Russians who said the government wants to help you and give you dirt.
And all of that means there`s this kind of pall that`s cast over
At the same time, it seems various parts of the Republican Party and the
government are trying to box the president in. So you have Mike Pence
saying this today in Georgia, that Georgia should join NATO. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Along with all of our
allies, the United States is contributing to the substantial package for
Georgia, to strengthen Georgia`s resilience and to bring Georgia ever
closer to your goal of membership in NATO.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And Evan, I worry that we`re going to get the worst of both worlds,
denial from the White House, attempts to sabotage the investigation, and
then a kind of compensatory move by kind of Russia hawks to be as
aggressive and forward-leaning as possible, locking the two countries into
this sort of cycle of recrimination back and forth.
MCMULLIN: Well, that`s certainly possible.
I mean, look, I think Vice President Pence has been brought on since the
beginning to be the normalizer-in-chief, and that`s what he`s doing now in
Georgia. He`s saying the right things, but he`s been trying to say the
right things since he joined the team, the Trump team.
So, I don`t know that there`s a lot we can take at face value from his
comments other than that he`s trying to provide some normalcy to a very
HAYES: Julia, do you feel that the reverberations, that and Russian
officials understand the
way in which what happened during the election is reverberating and
structuring everything about their relationship? You see people sometimes
say – people are interested in, quote, avoiding a new Cold War, which I
think is a good idea. You know that you kind of have to put that behind
us, or put it aside. Rex Tillerson saying, well, we didn`t talk about
But it does seem to me that that`s just a nonstarter. Everything has to
run through that at a certain level because there has to be some
IOFFE: I think Russia is in deep denial. They have not acknowledged on an
official level that they`ve done this and they kind of tend to drink their
own Kool-Aid, so the further this goes the more they`re going to be in
denial about what they`ve done, and therefore they`re going to be in denial
and they`re going to be insulted by any countermeasures.
The other thing I want to say is it`s not necessarily weird for a White
House to be against sanctions imposed by congress. The Obama
administration tried to block, for example, the Magnitsky Act which
Americans have become familiar with because of the Donald Trump Jr. emails.
But they didn`t want congress getting in the way of them trying to work out
a relationship with Moscow, of them working out a foreign policy.
It`s this awkward dance between congress and the executive branch who makes
foreign policy. It`s not exactly weird and unusual for this White House.
There are many other things that are weird and unusual but this may not be
And also I don`t think Georgia – Georgia is never, is not going to join
NATO. They have a territorial dispute on their border, inside their
borders created by Russia in order to not allow them to join NATO. So,
this is just – it`s just talk that then Donald Trump can pull the rug out
MCMULLIN: If I could just say, of course the executive branch and the
legislative branch, they have tensions between them whenever new sanctions
are on the table of obviously any president, executive branch wants the
legislative branch to interfere as little as possible. This is not a
normal situation. This is a president who obviously has an unhealthy
relationship with Russia. That`s the real motivation for his resistance
and attempt to weaken and stop these sanctions.
HAYES: Julia Ioffe…
IOFFE: Sure, but this is it`s – it isn`t the only time the White House –
a White House has tried to interfere with congress…
MCMULLIN: No, but this is not like those situations.
IOFFE: Agreed. Agreed.
HAYES: Julia Ioffe and Evan McMullin, thanks for joining me.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now
with Joy Reid in for Rachel.
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