All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/10/17 Mess with Mitch

Ted Lieu, Jim Manley


Date: August 10, 2017

Guest: Ted Lieu, Jim Manley

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Thank you for being with us. And “ALL IN”
with Chris Hays starts right now.



a very, very strong signal, or whatever.

HAYES: The President meets the press responding to the Manafort raid.

TRUMP: To wake him up, perhaps his family was there, I think that is
pretty tough stuff.

HAYES: Weighing in Robert Mueller.

TRUMP: No, I`m not dismissing anybody.

HAYES: Addressing the Russian President.

TRUMP: I want to thank him because we`re trying to cut down on payroll.
We`ll save a lot of money.

HAYES: Attacking Mitch McConnell.

TRUMP: I`m very disappointed in Mitch.

HAYES: Touting his nuclear buildup.

TRUMP: I want this, our nuclear arsenal to be the biggest and the finest
in the world.

HAYES: While calling for nuclear disarmament.

TRUMP: I would like to de-nuke the world.

HAYE: And mulling the fate of an American territory.

TRUMP: Let`s see what he does with Guam.

HAYES: Tonight, making sense of the President`s escalating rhetoric on
North Korea, his full frontal attack on his party`s leadership, and new
brutal infighting inside his White House.

is over.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hays. It was another
remarkable day at a certain golf course in New Jersey where today the
President of the United States took a break from his vacation to face
sustained questions from reporters for the first time in months. It wasn`t
quite a full press conference but it`s the closest we`ve come in a long
time. And the President sounded off just about on - just all about of the
topics of the day including his new attacks on a senior member of his own
party Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


TRUMP: I`m very disappointed in Mitch, but if he gets these bills passed,
I`ll be very happy with him. I`ll be the first to admit it. But honestly,
repeal and replace of ObamaCare should have taken place and it should have
been on my desk virtually the first week or the first day I was there.
I`ve been hearing about it for seven years.


HAYES: For the first time the President responded to the order by Russian
President Vladimir Putin about a week and a half ago to drastically cut
U.S. Diplomatic Staff in that country in retaliation for new U.S.

TRUMP: I want to thank him because we`re trying to cut down on payroll.
And as far as I`m concerned, I`m very thankful that he let go of a large
number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There`s no real
reason for them to go back. So, I greatly appreciate the fact that they`ve
been able to cut our payroll for the United States. We`ll save a lot of

HAYES: The President also talks about the Russian investigation including
the newly disclosed FBI raid on his former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort
saying the news took him by surprise and that the pre-dawn raid was pretty
tough stuff. We`ll have much more on that coming up. He also tells
reporters he has no intention of firing the person leading that
investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you thought or thought about, considered
leading the dismissal of the Special Counsel. Is there anything that Bob
Mueller could do that would send you in that direction?

TRUMP: I haven`t given it any thought. I mean, I`ve been reading about it
from you people. You say I`m going to dismiss him. No, I`m not going to
dismiss anybody. I mean, I want them to get on with the task but I also
want the Senate and the House to come out with their findings.


HAYES: But of all the subjects the President touched down, none has higher
stakes than North Korea which has threatened to attack the U.S. territory
of Guam amid an escalating a war of words over the North Korean nuclear
program. The president responded to that threat today.


TRUMP: Let`s see what he does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it
will be an event to the likes of which nobody has seen before on what will
happen in North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when you say that, what do you mean?

TRUMP: You`ll see, you`ll see. And he`ll see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a dare?

TRUMP: He will see. It`s not a dare, it`s a statement. It has nothing to
do with a dare, that`s a statement. He is not going around threatening
Guam, and he`s not going to threaten the United States, and he`s not going
to threaten Japan, and he`s not going to threaten South Korea, no, that`s
not a dare. As you say, that is a statement of fact.


HAYES: Those remarks came after the President suggested earlier today that
his threat to meet North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never
seen” didn`t go far enough.


TRUMP: The people that were questioning that statement, was too tough?
Maybe it wasn`t tough enough. They`ve been doing this to our country for a
long time, for many years. And it`s about time that somebody stuck up for
the people of this country and the people of other countries. So if
anything, maybe that statement wasn`t tough enough. If North Korea does
anything in terms of even thinking about the attack, of anybody, that we
love or we represent, or our allies, or us they can be very, very nervous.
I`ll tell you what, and they should be very nervous because things will
happen to them like they never thought possible.


HAYES: I`m joined now Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California. He`s
a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman, your
reaction to the President`s words today in both cases on North Korea.

provocative comments about North Korea are reckless and irresponsible. I
served on active duty as an Air Force in Guam, we did a serious and
different military exercise and I can tell you, there are no good military
options against North Korea. Anything the U.S. does we cannot contain what
North Korea might do, which means they could launch devastating strikes on
South Korea where over 150,000 Americans live. They can strike Guam who
are over 160,000 Americans live. The President needs to do the one thing
he has yet to do, which is engage in diplomacy before risking a large loss
of American lives.

HAYES: What do you say to those who say, look, that is true, there may be
no military options, there truly isn`t. We have been at the stalemate
since the 1950s, but nonetheless that the logic of deterrence requires this
kind of threats to be made?

LIEU: The logic of deterrence does not require threats like this. What
you want is calm, steady, leadership. Mutual short destruction was lived
on for decades, requires the ability of the country to believe that a
second strike would annihilate that country if United States (INAUDIBLE).
What Donald Trump is talking about is a preemptive first strike on North
Korea. That leads to miscalculations. That`s exactly what we don`t need
at this moment.

HAYES: You know, you have a piece of legislation that`s quite interesting.
Restricting first use of nuclear weapons act of 2017 which would
essentially require Congressional approval for nuclear weapons which would
be a large departure from the status quo from Harry Truman to today. Why
are you advocate of that?

LIEU: Senator Markey and I introduced this legislation. The Constitution
gives Congress and only Congress the power to declare war. The current
large approval process with nuclear weapons is unconstitutional. There is
no way the framers would have given one person, the President the ability
to launch thousands of nuclear weapons that can kill hundreds of millions
of people in less than an hour because that is war. If you don`t call that
war, you read out the Constitution and make sure that the President does
not do a pre meditative first strike, we need a Congressional declaration
to approve that first.

HAYES: And you would - you would support that obviously for any president
of either party no matter their personality, disposition, or politics.

LIEU: That`s correct. We actually introduce this legislation last year
where everyone believes Hillary Clinton was going to be President. We need
a structural fix especially because future presidents may also have a
mental incapacity, maybe things could happen to just one person. We need
to have more people involved than just having one person to be able to
launch thousands of nuclear weapons.

HAYES: I want to get your reaction to the President`s comments about
Vladimir Putin`s decision to reduce U.S. diplomatic personnel by almost 800
people in Russia. He said - he thanks them for reducing the payroll. What
do you make of that?

LIEU: I have no idea of why the President of the United States continues
to have this bizarre relationship with Putin. Any other president would
have said that that was inappropriate, that we don`t want to have Russian
taking actions against our U.S. diplomats. Instead, the President seems to
make a joke of it. And to me, that is widely inappropriate.

HAYES: All right. Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you for your time tonight.

LIEU: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Joining me now is Republican Strategist, MSNBC Political Analyst
Steve Schmidt. Let me - I guess, I`ll continue on that. Did you find that
statement as strange as I did? The Russia one?

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, of course, it was. And it`s
just so denigrating to the service of foreign service officers who served
often in dangerous places and uncomfortable places (INAUDIBLE) American
diplomat. Moscow or anywhere Russia falls into that category.

HAYES: Yes, that`s a good point. I mean, there`s something somewhat
insulting from essentially the boss of these people saying we`re happy
they`re fired, we don`t need them anyway.

SCHMIDT: Yes, life of a foreign service officer is not an easy one. These
people served their country, their job demands much of them much sacrifice
for their families. We honor and (INAUDIBLE) our military families. The
work of foreign service officers is often as of equally dangerous measure
and imposes the same type of hardships with overseas postings that so many
of our military families endure.

HAYES: What do you generally make of the President today who clearly felt
- my read on it is that he`s bottled in and they haven`t let him go and
talk to the press and he really does like doing it and wants to do it, and
today he was able to break out.

SCHMIDT: Sure, it an extemporaneous performance theater for the President.
He`s not measuring his words, he`s not necessarily prepared to speak to
many of these issues in depth. And of course, bellicosity, as we`ve
arrived at the hour of the first real crisis, this North Korea situation,
is an extremely dangerous one. We arrived at the hour that the last three
administrations, two Democratic, one Republican deeply worried about so
many diplomatic efforts trying to prevent the arrival of this day where the
North Korea inside the capacity to miniaturize a nuclear warhead, to place
it on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile and target the United
States. It is an unspeakable threat to the security of this country.

There are no good options. But history teaches us that often events
overtake us. That miscalculation happen, that we don`t understand fully
the intentions of our adversary on the other side. And when you`re talking
about nuclear brinkmanship, a miscalculation can be profoundly dangerous.
We don`t know much about North Korea. It`s an extremely closed society.
Our intelligence assets in North Korea are very different than what they
were in the Soviet Union for example during the Cold War. Much of the
country, its decision making, how it runs, how it functions is a mystery to
us. So the chance of miscalculation, of course, grows up.

And should there be a hot war on the Korean Peninsula, it will be an event
the likes of which we`ve not seen since the-since the end of World War II.
The Korean war was, of course, a great tragedy, the Vietnam war was one
where almost 60,000 Americans sacrificed in a (INAUDIBLE) and of course,
blood and treasure of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But we`re talking
about on China`s doorstep, an engagement on a peninsula where tens and tens
of thousands of Americans are likely to be killed, not to mention upwards
of over a million Koreans with enormous global impact. We`ve not had a war
like that in this inter-connective global society that we live in. It`s a
terrifying prospect and Donald Trump has shown none of the discernment, the
judgment, the decision making, the severity that we expect of American
President operating in hours of crisis.

HAYES: What do you make of the improvising on the language? It was clear
the other day he said, fire and fury, the reporting later said that he was
- he was improvising. Today both times, I have to - I have to admit that
my stomach was nuts. I mean, with every sentence, with every pause, I find
myself really worried about where the sentence is going to go. What do you
make of the improvising?

SCHMIDT: Well, it`s new in the modern history of the - of the Presidency.
We`ve grown up in a world Chris where Presidents of both parties, whether
we agree with the policy or disagreed with them, we all agreed that the
words of the President of the United States had meaning. The words of this
President have little meaning for a lot of reasons and that, too, can be
profoundly dangerous.

We`ve seen now at the 200 day mark routinely the Vice President of the
United States, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, other
senior administration officials routinely going out saying, well, the
President didn`t mean that, trying to walk it back, trying to clarify it as
if the President is someone incapacitated that needs to be cared for by
these other senior wise men around him. But in this country,
constitutionally, the vestiture of power is with the Commander in Chief,
the President of the United States. And he is clearly, clearly not a
believer in the power of words in the way that many of his predecessors
have been.

HAYES: Do you have - final question about McConnell. Do you understand
why the President is going after the Majority Leader?

SCHMIDT: Of course, it`s a preposterous situation. I mean, look, if you
were an aluminum siding sales man, and you were going door to door you
know, to senior citizen developments of Florida with the same type of stick
that Republicans objected Republican voters in the country too over the
last seven years. There`s a word for that, it`s called fraud. You go to
jail. And so, for the last seven years, Republicans have told the country,
told the Republican voters that they`re going repeal ObamaCare. They win
the majority, they have a Republican waiting to sign the legislation.

And guess what? There`s no plan. The legislative process was something
that approximated a banana republic. And now we move on to tax reform or
the infrastructure which is more complicated. I think it was incredibly
truthful statement by Donald Trump. What`s interesting, it`s usually the
case that members of Congress attack an unpopular President of their party
and as unpopular as Donald Trump may be, he`s double the rating of the
popularity of the Congress.

HAYES: That`s true.

SCHMIDT: So very easy punching bag for Donald Trump. And by comparison,
they`re one of the few institutions of group of people that make him look
all right on any given day.

HAYES: All right, Steve Schmidt, thanks for your time.

Up next, much more on the Presidential taunting of Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell, why he`s picking a fight with the most powerful Republican in
Congress and why it could be dangerous for the President`s agenda after the
two-minute break.



TRUMP: I said Mitch, get to work and let`s get it done. They should have
had this last one done, they lost by one vote. The thing like that to
happen is a disgrace.


HAYES: The President is ostensively feuding the Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell over the failure of the Health Care bill but the criticism
only started in earnest after McConnell commented about the President`s
expectations earlier this week. Comments that have been repeatedly played
on the cable news shows that the President likes to watch.


been in this line of work before, and I think had excessive expectations
about how quickly things happen in the democratic process.


HAYES: As was so many Donald Trump feuds, the fight with McConnell first
escalated on Twitter. Yesterday, the President wrote, “Senator Mitch
McConnell said I have excessive expectations, I don`t think so. After
seven years of hearing repeal and replace, why not done? This morning, he
wrote “Can you believe that Mitch McConnell who screams repeal and replace
for seven years couldn`t get it done. Must repeal and replace ObamaCare.”
A few hours later, from the golf club that he owned where he`s currently
vacationing, he added, “Mitch, get back to work and put repeal and replace,
tax reform and cuts, and a great infrastructure bill on my desk for
signing, you can do it.”

The fight has divided Republicans, right-wing media siding with Donald
Trump. Laura Ingraham, for example, tweeted “Hey, Kentucky, time to sell
Senate Majority Leader McConnell to stop rolling over for the Dems.
Advance the Trump agenda or step aside” while Senators have been siding
with their leader. Utah`s Orrin Hatch, for example, tweeting out, Senate
Majority Leader has been the best leader we`ve had in my time in the Senate
though very tough challenges. I fully support him. Joining me now is Jim
Manley, former Chief Spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who
spent a lot of time squaring off against Mitch McConnell. He`s a very
expert Mitch McConnell-logist. What do you make of this?

another night with you trying to figure out what exactly this President is
up to. Again, once again, it defies every rule. The whole nexus of his
legislative agenda revolves around not the House but the Senate. So to
assault and or trash the Majority Leader like this is just unprecedented.
What is he up to? I can only assume he`s kind of figure out a way to try
and provide just a little bit of distance between himself and House and
Senate Republicans because nothing is going to happen for the rest of the
year as you and I talked about before. They`re not going to get tax reform
done, they`re not going get an infrastructure bill done, and they probably
get -

HAYES: Do you think - you think that`s true and you think he knows it and
he is trying essentially to put the blame on McConnell ahead of time?

MANLEY: Yes, exactly. Again, once again, in a very handed and or heavy
fisted manner, and is bound to blow up but yes I think that`s part of what
is going on here. But it also was going to allow McConnell - as you
suggest that I know Senator McConnell well enough to know that he could
actually care less about what this President has to say. He`s
overwhelmingly popular in his home state, he`s got the strong support of
his caucus and from here on out, it`s going to be where the - you know,
whether positions come together again such as tax cut for the wealthy and
or big corporations they`ll work together but I can`t imagine this guy is
going to go to the mat for this President especially when he`s polling at
36 percent approval rating.

HAYES: Yes, I wonder in terms of - McConnell`s personality can be very
hard to read. I don`t know the man very well at all but you know, the John
McCain moment when he puts the thumbs down and kills the repeal - the
repeal bill, you know, I thought back to the fact that McCain famously is
able to hold a grudge. The President famously said I like people that
weren`t captured about his times at POW. What`s McConnell like? How does
this - will this make him less inclined to help the President? Does he
bear grudges? Will he look for revenge?

MANLEY: Well, the revenge is you know, probably - it may or may not take a
while. Again, the emphasize - he`s not going to pay any attention to this.
You know, a guy like Speaker Ryan quite frankly would get very mad with
this assault but McConnell can care less. Again, he`s keeping the focus on
his prize, and that`s trying to get tax cuts done and trying to get
infrastructure done and third thing is to protect his caucus. So he is
more so than just about any other Senator I have ever seen immune to these
kind of criticisms. That`s why I never understand you know, the thing
about Bernie Sanders and others saying, we`ve got to take it to Mitch
McConnell. Mitch - Senator McConnell could care less about what the
average folks think.

HAYES: That is a really interesting window into how McConnell operates.
You then do think that they`re not going to take another run at repeal and
replace because part of what`s interesting here is both the President
attempting to cast blame on McConnell but he seems prodding him to take
another run at it even though you`re hearing most folks on the Republican
side of the Senate saying no thank you.

MANLEY: No, I mean, his caucus has made it very clear they want to get
this behind them as quickly as they want to put it behind them once and for
all. Maybe they will try and work on some fixes to try and provide a
little of stability to the system, but no, his caucus has had it. Again,
their whole goal is work on tax cuts, but before they get to that, as you
know, previous on your network has said, I mean, there is a looming shut -
possibility of a shutdown coming forward in September when they have to
deal with government spending and or the debt limit. And as I told you
before, I mean, there is part of me that thinks McConnell and Ryan actually
need this kind of shenanigans to throw red meat to the base to get Trump
off his back. Trump of course - the President could care less whether you
know, they default or not. He just (INAUDIBLE) for a fight.

HAYES: All right, Jim Manley, thanks for joining me.

MANLEY: Thank you.

HAYES: Ahead, the President`s first comments on the FBI raid of his former
Campaign Chair`s home. We`ll play his very calculated response next. And
later, the insane controversy between the Trump White House and the
Secretary of State and this guy.

GORKA: I never said that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve never said -

GORKA: I`ve never said the secretary of state was - that is fake news 101.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, there`s audio of you saying the word

GORKA: I have the audio. I have the audio as well, thank you.


HAYES: For the first time since we learned of a pre-dawn FBI raid at the
Northern Virginia Home of President Trump`s former Campaign Manager Paul
Manafort, the President himself has responded.


TRUMP: I thought it was a very, very strong signal or whatever. I know
Mr. Manafort, I haven`t spoken to him in a long time, but I know him. He
was with the campaign as you know for a very short period of time,
relatively short period of time but I`ve always known him. He`s a good,
good man. I thought it was a very, you know, they do that very seldom, so
I was surprised to see it. I was very, very surprised to see it. We
haven`t really been involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you spoken to the FBI Director about it?

TRUMP: Excuse me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you spoken to the FBI Director about it?

TRUMP: No, I have not. I have not. But to do that early in the morning
whether or not it was appropriate, you`d have to ask them. I have always
found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man. And he`s like a lot of other
people probably makes consultant fees from all over the place. Who knows.
To wake him up, perhaps his family was there. I think that`s tough stuff.


TRUMP: To wake him up, perhaps his family was there. I think that is
pretty tough stuff.


HAYES: The President had, even more, to say today about the Russia
investigation including whether he is considering Firing Special Counsel
Robert Mueller, that`s next.



TRUMP: We have a situation which is very unusual. Everybody said there`s
no collusion.

So we have an investigation of something that never took place. And all I
say is work with them because this is an event that never took place.


HAYES: President Trump from his club in Bedminster, New Jersey today
insisted nothing to the Russian investigation speaking publicly for the
first time since his reveal that the home of his former campaign manager
was raided.

Now the president was also asked about whether he was considering firing
the special council Robert Mueller.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything Bob Mueller could do to send you in

TRUMP: I haven`t given it any thought. I mean I`ve been reading about it
from you people. You say, oh, I`m going to dismiss him. No, I`m not
dismissing anybody. I want them to get on with the task.

But I also want the Senate and the House to come out with their findings.
There is no collusion and you know why? Because I don`t speak to Russians.


HAYES: The president`s lawyer took a much harsher tone on the special
council on an email he sent to the Wall Street Journal. Attorney John Dowd
described the FBI raid of Manafort`s home as “a gross abuse of the judicial
process.” To quote him further, “These methods are normally found and
employed in Russia not America. This extraordinary invasive tool was
employed for its shock value.”
And then today, Manafort`s spokesperson announced that Manafort was
changing his legal

Joining me now, Betsy Woodruff, political reporter at The Daily Beast and
Ken Vogel of The New York Times. You guys have both been reporting on this

Betsy, let me start with you. Why is he changing his legal representation?

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: The official story from team Manafort is
that the nature Mueller investigation has changed so much that he needed to
bring on someone who had tax
specialization, and that is absolutely the case with Kevin Downing who`s
going to be his new lawyer.

Downing in fact has a history with Rod Rosenstein, the number two guy over
at the justice department. Rod was Kevin`s boss when they were both in the
tax division focused on very high level, complicated white collar crime

Kevin understands better than anyone in DC how these international criminal
tax situations tend to play out, it`s kind of his thing.

That said, there is also speculation there could have been some tension
between Manafort
and his attorney. It is possible there is more to the story than the
official version that what we`re
getting from team Manafort. The situation is rocky.

HAYES: I want to come back to that because there is some interesting back
story there.

Ken I want to ask you this, you have been reporting on the White House
side, the president seemed like you could watch him walk a tight rope as he
talked about Manafort. What is their feeling about Manafort right now.

KEN VOGEL, THE NEW YORK TIMES: You`re absolutely right in that
characterization, Chris, of a tight rope.

On the one hand, he is given the party line that he and the White House
have put forth on Manafort for several months now. He played a limited role
for a limited period of time during the campaign. I think that it`s a
little disingenuous. He really helped bring on the Republican
establishment, helped him clinch the nomination.

That said, they are trying to keep their distance a little bit. But, at the
same time, they are trying to make sure that he stays on board. They say
nice things about him. They poo poo the investigation,
they cast it as an witch hunt even when it pertains to Manafort, who, let`s
face it, the Feds are going to be under pressure to bring an indictment
against someone, and other than Mike Flynn, Manafort is the guy who is
really the most likely suspect there.

So, they want to make sure that he stays on their good side because there
is concern among folks that I talk to in Trump world that he could
potentially flip on them and if he did he might have the most to be able to
say that would have negative consequences for Trump and his team.

HAYES: Betsy, you have to imagine their worried about that. I thought this
report from Blooomberg was interesting, that he had, Manafort himself
alerted authorities to that meeting on
June 9th, 2016, the now famous eight-person meeting that included Jared
Kushner and Donald Trump Jr., which followed the e-mail about the Russian
government offering its dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Him offering that authorities could be seen by some and think is him sort
of saying, hey, I`m looking to cooperate.

WOODRUFF: That`s not my understanding of the way that this works from
Manafort`s perspective. The New York Times noted that the authorities first
learned about that June conversation
from revelations that Manafort made to congressional investigators, not to
members of law enforcement.

That said though, of course the way that Manafort fits into the
triangulation that Mueller probe is doing is really important.

An important piece of context here is that, to Ken`s point, Manafort is the
largest and most slow moving target for Mueller. Part of the reason for
that is because there are so many indicators that he had foreign bank
accounts that he may not have disclosed on his tax forms.

One of the easiest ways that tax prosecutors can lock somebody up is if
they do whats called a check the box prosecution. If Manafort ever filed a
tax return and did not reveal, did not disclose he had money overseas, that
he had foreign bank accounts, that itself could be game over for him. And
all of the sudden could make him very easy for Mueller to potentially work

VOGEL: We don`t even have to look. That is certainly what they`re focusing
on, and the chain of legal council is clearly driven by this. However,
Manafort has already admitted that he violated a law here, the Foreign
Agents Registration Act that he did not file in a timely fashion reporting
his work in Ukraine for the Party of Regions. And he retro actively did so.

That is an admission that he broke a federal law. Not one that`s typically
enforced, certainly not enforced with a lot of teeth, but that said, there
is already that opening for Mueller and for
congressional investigators to go after and build a case against Paul

HAYES: Now, Betsy, we have seen Manafort switch his representation. The
president keeps bringing new people on, and other people layered, what`s
the status of the president`s legal team right

They`re playing catch up. They`re trying to figure out what is going on so
they can react to
things quickly, and part of the reason his own legal representation process
has been such a mess, in my understanding from speaking to former federal
prosecutors, and folks at DOJ now is that the
president just doesn`t seem to understand the way that lawyer`s work.

There is a broad sense in the DC legal community that the president views
lawyers as blunt
objects. As means to an end. As tools that he uses, as pieces of his on his
chessboard that are interchangeable, that are replaceable, that he doesn`t
have to listen to if he doesn`t like the advice that they are giving.

And the result is that the legal team he has is just constantly in flux,
and it`s always struggling to persuade the president to do what they need
him to do. And the result has been that the most powerful man has been in
some of the most unorthodox legal situations.

HAYES: That`s a great point.

Ken, were you surprised at the tone that Dowd took on the raid? That was
very much a departure from how they have been talking about special council
Mueller up to this point.

VOGEL: Yeah, and it was a more forceful defense of Manafort, or at least
attack on those
who are prosecuting Manafort, so it stood out in both of those ways. I
think there is some interesting
back story on how it came out.

This was an e-mail that was sent to The Wall Street Journal that was
reported by a different media outlet. Clearly it was something that the
Trump team or at least this particular lawyer wanted to get out there. I
think probably it fits into the paradigm where they`re trying to say nice
things about
Manafort that makes him feel good to some extent.

HAYES: Alright, thank you Woodruff and Ken Vogel.

Coming up, the nonstop infighting in the Trump administration. Why the
president seems to be fueled by chaos ahead.

And a new milestone in Thing one, Thing two, next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, a major milestone for President Trump and it has
to do with this.


TRUMP: I love golf, but if were in the White House, I don`t think i would
ever see –

There won`t be time to go golfing all of the time.

I don`t think I`d ever see him again.

I`m not going to play much golf because there is a lot of work to be done.

I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off.

Obama plays more than professional players on the PGA tour.

You`re in the White House, who the hell wants to play golf.

Golf golf golf, more, more.

I`m not going to time to go play golf, believe me. Believe me, folks.


HAYES: Somehow, the president has found the time to play golf, and today
he set a golfing record. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: President Trump hit the 200th day of his presidency this week, that
was on Monday, but today, a far more elusive achievement. This is the 50th
day President Trump has spent at a golf property that he owns since taking

This is, we believe, a new world record for an American president mostly
because I don`t think we`ve ever had one that owned his own golf course

Now it`s hard to calculate how many of those days he`s actually played golf
since Trump aides refuse to tell us if he is hitting the links. Prompting
press pool reports that read like this,
“Trump left his golf club after four-and-a-half hours. About the amount of
time it takes to play a round of golf,
pool was told meetings.”

Or, “After four hours at Trump International Golf Course in West Palm, Pres
Trump back at Mar-a-Lago, White House offers no info on what are his
activities there.”

“After four-and-a-half hours spent at golf course today, pool reporters saw
golf clubs taken from motorcade.”

But let`s not get bogged down on the details on a milestone day. President
Trump is now halfway to 100 days at his golf courses.


TRUMP: You know, it`s funny, if I get elected president, I`m going to be
in the White House a lot. I`m not leaving. We have deals to make. Who wants
to leave, right?




Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical. It is
the job of Secretary Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, to talk about the
military options. Secretary Tillerson is the Chief Diplomat of the United
States, and it is his portfolio to handle with those issues.


HAYES: That was Sebastian Gorka, who has the relatively lowly title of
Deputy Assistant to the president, telling BBC that no one should listen to
the Secretary of State on military matters.

His comments came after Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, sought to
calm nerves
yesterday after President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un
exchanged aggressive threats over the use of nuclear weapons.


REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I do not believe that there is an
eminent threat in my own view. I think Americans should sleep well at
night, I have no concern over this particular rhetoric in the last few


HAYES: Gorka is a lightly credentialed ally of Steve Bannon, with ties to
the far right and anti Semitic figures in Hungary. His presence in the
White House is described by one national defense university professor as
quote, “surreal and horrifying”.

Asked about his comments about Tillerson today, Gorka insisted he hadn`t
been attacking
the Secretary of State.


GORKA: I never said the Secretary – That is fake news 101.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is audio of you saying nonsensical.

GORKA: I have the audio as well, thank you. I said for reporters to force
our chief diplomat,
the amazing Rex Tillerson to give details of military options is

I was admonishing the journalists and the fake news industrial complex –
if a journalist doesn`t know the difference between the Secretary of State
and the Department of Defense, they should hand in
their credentials.


HAYES: So let`s listen again to the audio and you can decide what he said.


GORKA: The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military
matters is simply
nonsensical. It is the job of Secretary Mattis, the Secretary of Defense,
to talk about options. Secretary
Tillerson is the chief diplomat of the United States and it is his
portfolio to handle those issues.


HAYES: This afternoon the State Department was asked about the comments.
Spokesperson Heather Nauert did not call it fake news 101.


spoken about U.S. military capabilities. You all hear me very often from
this room when you ask me about U.S. military assets or plans, I refer you
to DOD.

I think everyone clearly heard what Secretary Tillerson`s forceful comments
have been and
continue to be on the issue of DPRK and other issues as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you think he should be paid attention to correct?

NAUERT: Yes. He is cabinet secretary, he is fourth in line to the
presidency, he carries a big stick.


HAYES: Well, public nasty infighting is nothing new in this
administration. According to the president, they`re all just fighting for
his love. Yes he said that, and yes that`s next.



TRUMP: And then you have the leaks where people want to love me and
they`re all fighting for love. Those are not very important but certainly
we don`t like them. Those are inner White House
leaks. They`re not very important. But actually I`m somewhat honored by


HAYES: An amazing moment of unguarded honesty from the President of the
United States
today saying he`s honored of reports of conflict among his top staffers who
he says just want his love.
This is a White House virtually defined by conflict. Think about it, in the
past two weeks we`ve seen the following, Anthony Scaramucci versus Reince
Priebus, which turned out to be lose, lose. Steve Bannon`s alt-right army
versus H.R. McMaster. Sebastian Gorka versus Rex Tillerson. And President
Trump himself versus his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

The president is also now feuding with Senator Mitch McConnell who he
blames for the GOP failure to roll back Obamacare. The question is why. Why
are they all fighting all of the time and what effect is it having?

Joining me now, Bethany Mandel, she`s Senior Contributor at The Federalist
and Olivia Nuzzi, who`s a Washington corespondent for New York Magazine.

And Olivia, as someone who covers the intrigue in the White House, did you
find the president`s honesty intriguing when he talked about why he likes
those leaks?

OLIVIA NUZZI, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: I did certainly. I think it was honest in
a way.
I think that a lot of the time he probably is flattered by it. And when he
reads about it in the press – we know he reads his own press, I`m sure he
feels particularly important even though it might seem petty to us. He`s
President of the United States, to be focusing on things like that. It is
important to him.

Remember this is somebody who got his start in the New York tabloids in the
media, in
wrestling and then in reality television, and so I think this is sort of
just what`s natural for him, to
kind of preside over chaos.

We`ve talked about previously how he`s easily bored and that has a lot to
do with what we see
in the White House, with him poking at people and contributing to the sense
of everyone fighting with each other.

HAYES: Among liberals on the left there`s constant infighting that is
largely continued from the
primary and they`re both ideological and personality wise, and there are
similarities I think on the conservative side.

How much do these fights end up keep drawing in ideological allies or

BETHANY MANDEL, THE FEDERALIST: I think people have drawn their lines of
what they
think – everyone has sort of decided what they think this administration
is going to look like and people have said, okay, I`m anti-Trump and that`s
it. There`s not been a lot of intellectual honesty about this was not the
worst thing in the world. This was potentially starting World War III,
which is somewhat problematic what`s going on right you with North Korea.

HAYES: I`m curious, when you`re watching this H.R. McMaster versus the
alt-right go on which is an insanely bloody feud. You have Breitbart going
after the national security adviser.

MANDEL: You have a hashtag.

HAYES: A hashtag in the most gross ways that a puppeteer, that he`s a
marionette. What does that do to folks who are watching this on the right?

MANDEL: I mean I can speak for myself first.

HAYES: Yeah.

MANDEL: It`s exacerbating, to the point where I`m almost not even paying
attention anymore, because this is how they`re conducting themselves in the
White House. It`s all a game and a reality television show.

For me as a conservative, not necessarily a Republican, it`s heartbreaking
because we have
control of every single part of government and it`s turned into a reality
show that might end in a world war.

HAYES: God, I hope not. Bethany makes an interesting point, Olivia. Since
Republicans do control all of government, some of the in-fighting that
strikes me is because the Democrats – you
can`t blame the Democrats for opposition.

If things aren`t getting done it`s got to be someone`s fault and it`s hard
to sell the idea that it`s Democrats` fault and thus it gets internalized.
What do you think of that?

NUZZI: I totally agree. Trump has tried to blame the Democrats on things
like health care but it doesn`t stick because it`s not tethered to reality.
So now he`s fighting with Jeff Sessions obviously, now he`s fighting with
Mitch McConnell. I don`t think it`s particularly surprising.

This is somebody who loves to have an enemy, no matter who the enemy is.
He`s still talking about Hillary Clinton and the election was nearly a year
ago and he`s still fighting with the media and
continuing that war. And so, you know, it matters in the grand scheme of
things and it has anything to do with the lack of his ability to push
through an agenda.

He`s frustrated by his low approval numbers, frustrated by not getting
anything done and the way that that manifest is he just lashes out.

HAYES: Do you see it as – so there`s two ways to think about it,
strategic or impulse. When he was going after Jeff Sessions, that was just
a week and a half ago. He`s like humiliating his attorney general in terms
that would be an unthinkable scandal and bizarre scandal in any other

Do you see that as him trying to pressure Sessions in a strategic sense or
do you see it as impulse?

MANDEL: I think it`s a little bit of both. It`s not smart
strategically, so my thinking on it that it has to be impulse. For better
or for worse, he seems to be politically gifted in some way. That`s how he
got to where he is. We have to give him that credit.

And everything that he has done, I`m less inclined to think that it`s
impulse and more that it`s

HAYES: Do you think that, Olivia, on the Sessions and on McConnell, which
both seem self harming in certain ways, whether that is a strategic
decision or an impulse?

NUZZI: I think it`s a combination of both. I agree.

Donald Trump, even though he obviously is, as you said, a little bit
politically talented considering he`s president, he still doesn`t really
understand how things work in Washington.
He doesn`t understand how the Justice Department works, he doesn`t
understand how Congress
works and why they can`t push through what he wants to do and why he`s not
just succeeding
because he`s president.

A lot of it has to do with just thinking, well, maybe what people need is
they need to hear
from me that I`m not going to take this anymore.

So I guess it`s strategic in that sense. But i think, you know, as you
said, it`s not the smartest
strategy in the world. It`s strange to describe it that way, I guess.

HAYES: One of the things he said today, he was talking about budgets. We
were going to cut and now we`re going to build up, I decided. Literally as
if he were a king. There`s a big budgetary process, a big fight in Congress
about that, and he really, I think he doesn`t understand the restraints on
him and that`s part of what the frustration is.

MANDEL: You look at sort of who he`s attacking, he`s attacking the people
who the Americans like the least, the media and Congress.

HAYES: And that`s where the political instincts come in.

Bethany Mandel and Olivia Nuzzi, thank you both.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now.


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