All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/24/17 Dossier Drama in the Senate.

Richard Blumenthal, Renato Mariotti, Dan Donovan

Date: August 24, 2017
Guest: Richard Blumenthal, Renato Mariotti, Dan Donovan


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: New focus on the infamous Trump Russia dossier.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: The three core goals that are outlined
in that dossier, by that particular source do seem to be very well borne

HAYES: The man who orders the dossier testifies for over nine hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He answered dozens if not hundreds of questions.

HAYES: A senator from that Committee wants that transcript released and he
joins me tonight. Then –

building that wall and getting the funding for that wall.

HAYES: Will Trump shut down the government over the wall that Mexico won`t
pay for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you confident that you can influence the

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: It`s a day-by-day deal.

HAYES: Plus, weeks after Trump`s declaration on the opioid crisis.

TRUMP: We`re going to draw it up and we`re going to make it a national

HAYES: Why the White House hasn`t drawn up anything. And what to make
about growing questions from lawmakers about the President`s fitness for

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At some point, we`ve got to stop whispering about

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good morning from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight a top
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal who I`ll speak to live in just a
moment is calling for the release of the potential explosive transcript of
an interview before his Committee with one of the men responsible for the
dossier that kicked off the investigation into possible ties between the
Trump`s campaign and the Russian government.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee interviewed Glenn Simpson behind
closed doors for more than nine hours. Simpson is a former Wall Street
Journal Investigative Reporter and the co-founder of the firm Fusion GPS.
They do research and that produces the unverified intelligence dossier
containing a variety of explosive allegations, included among them that the
Trump campaign colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton. This is
dossier authored by former British Intelligence Officer Christopher Steele,
that John McCain himself brought to the attention of the former FBI
Director James Comey. And that intelligence official brought a summary of
direct link to President Trump. It contains some very salacious and
totally unconfirmed allegations as well as claims we know to be true. as
Representative Adam Schiff pointed out today.


SCHIFF: When you look at just what has become public, some of the public
information is very much in line with what is recorded in that dossier.
And I`ll give you an example that really strikes me, and that the dossier
talks about sources within the Kremlin reporting that they have three
goals. They want to find out what support friendly U.S. persons would
want. They want to gather relevant intelligence and then they want to
disseminate compromising information. All of that is implicated in the Don
Jr. e-mails that have already been released. I think people put too much
focus on the salacious allegations within the dossier about that video as
if that`s really what the is about. That`s the least significant part of
the dossier for my point of view.


HAYES: In February, CNN reported U.S. investigators had corroborated some
of the communications detailed in the dossier. And a month later, the BBC
reporting that U.S. officials had verified a key claim in the dossier that
a Russian diplomat in Washington was, in fact, a spy. President Trump for
his part dismisses the dossier altogether.


TRUMP: It`s all fake news, it`s phony stuff. It didn`t happen and it was
gotten by opponents of ours as you know because reported it and so did many
of the other people. It was a group of opponents who got together, sick
people and they put that crap together.


HAYES: And after Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS answered questions before the
Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, his attorney said, “Fusion GPS is
proud of the work it has conducted and stands by it. At a Town Hall in
Iowa yesterday, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, the Chair of the
Judiciary Committee was asked about releasing the transcript of the Simpson


vote of the Committee to do it, but presume that they will be released.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you personally vote for the release of the

GRASSLEY: I don`t know why I the wouldn`t.


HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of
Connecticut, a member of that Senate Judiciary Committee who wants the
Simpson transcript released. Senator, why do you think they should be

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: The public has a right to know
what Glenn Simpson said to our Committee. And in fact, in my view, he
should be coming before the Committee in public, under oath, so that all of
the public can appreciate the credibility as well as the accuracy of what
he has said. And this dossier has some allegations that could be very
relevant to the question of whether there has been obstruction of justice.
We are reviewing in the judiciary committee, investigating whether there
has been obstruction of justice particularly in the firing of Jim Comey.

There`s also the Special Counsel investigation separate and apart where
that dossier and the interviews with Glenn Simpson may be relevant as well.
And that investigation is being pursued vigorously. I think it has to be
protected against political interference from the President who has sought
to bully and intimidate and has threatened to draw lines around his
financial dealings and was calling it a witch hunt and a hoax. But we need
as much of what happens before the Judiciary Committee to be made public
because the public deserves it.

HAYES: My understanding is that this interview took place with staff
members of your Committee. Have you seen of the transcription? Are you
aware of what transpired in that interview?

BLUMENTHAL: I`m aware generally of what happened in the interview because
I`ve been briefed on it. I have not seen a transcript of it. But keep in
mind Chris, your focus is very well placed that there will be many other
witnesses to come before our Committee and many other interviews. And this
interviews should set precedent in terms of making it public available for
all the American people to see. And two of those witnesses, Donald Trump
Jr., and Paul Manafort, the President`s son and his former Campaign Manager
may actually be more significant in what they have to say about that June
9th meeting that was attended by Rinat Akhmetshin who was an associate of
Glenn Simpson. So there are ways all of these threads begin to tie

HAYES: Give me, can you give us the context for how this interview came
about and why your Committee felt it was crucial to talk to Glenn Simpson,
the person who oversees the firm that ends up commissioning this document?

BLUMENTHAL: Good question. He prepared this dossier which has information
that implicates Donald Trump, President Trump in Russia meddling in the
election and possible other wrong doing. And of course, he was an
associate of Rinat Akhmetshin. And so he was one of the witnesses who was
subpoenas to come before our Committee along with Paul Manafort and Donald
Trump Jr. was also requested as a first ground. There will be other –
many other I think witnesses to come before the Committee.

And I think that Senator Grassley is taking the right approach and he`s to
be commended for wanting to make this testimony public because it relates
to our oversight of the Department of Justice. That`s the function of the
Judiciary Committee. Special Counsel is pursuing potential criminal
charges and we want to make sure also that anything may be made public
including the tens of thousands of pages of documents that have been
submitted by various of these witnesses, does not in any way interfere with
the Special Counsel`s investigation.

HAYES: Finally, can you tell us if your staff were in the briefing about
what happened in this interview, have made a determination that has
affected your opinion of the credibility of the underlying dossier because
it is difficult document for folks on the outside to wrestle with in terms
of what`s true, what`s not, what`s verified, what`s not, what to make of
it? Has your judgment of its credibility or value been altered by what you
and your staff have learned in the last day or so?

BLUMENTHAL: I`ll be very blunt, I`m not at liberty to talk about the
substance of the testimony that we took from Glenn Simpson but every
witness is going to have relevant information of varying degrees of
credibility and importance. So I think that this kind of testimony from
all the witnesses adds to the total. Keep in mind, again, there will be
other witnesses. Glenn Simpson is only one of others. And I hope they
will soon. We`re in negotiations right now with Donald Trump Jr. I
anticipate he will be coming before the staff with Senators for interview
very soon. Paul Manafort has been more resistant and that is unacceptable
to me. I think that we will have to use subpoenas for a number of the
witnesses that we want to hear from.

HAYES: All right, Senator Richard Blumenthal, thanks for your time

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC Terrorism Analyst Malcolm Nance, author of
the Plot to Hack America and a Trump dossier expert and former Federal
Prosecutor Renato Mariotti who`s annotation (INAUDIBLE) investigation on
Twitter is a must read daily. Renato, let me start with you. Do you think
it`s a good idea that this transcript which nine hours of questions is a
lot? There`s a lot of information one imagines (INAUDIBLE). Do you think
from an investigative standpoint, it is good to make that public?

different things there. I think it`s a great question because it is
important for the public`s right to know what is going on in government. I
think that what the Senators are doing is different than what Mueller is
doing. You know, what Mueller is doing is he`s trying to build a case for
criminal charges. And Senator Blumenthal just said that they would talk to
Mueller and make sure that they weren`t impeding his investigation. But
involvement beyond that, you know, you`re talking about Twitter a minute
ago, the people who are you know, communicating with me on Twitter and
following me on Twitter are interested in this investigation and want to
know what`s going on because they`re American citizens and they have a
right to know what is happening behind the scenes and they`re concerned
about their government. And I think, from that perspective, it`s important
to make this public.

HAYES: Malcolm, Blumenthal said that you know, the emphasis on this
interview was well placed just a moment ago. Why is – I guess as someone
who is – who wrote about this before, it was even a story, has followed
this day by day, for a year – over a year, why is this document at the
heart of – at the heart of this story?

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, because the document itself,
when you read it, it provides the framework for everything there is to know
the motivations of the Russians and then the motivations of the Trump
campaign. When I wrote my book, it was an intelligence analysis based on
the open source information of what I thought the Russian are intelligence
operation had to be. The Steele Dossier has the details of how the Kremlin
and people associated with the Trump campaign put that into motion, and how
they actually weaponized all of this information. Things in that camp –
that dossier have been verified by, you know, and overtaken by acts.

HAYES: But not all of it. I mean, I just want to be clear about this,
right? Because –

NANCE: No, no. There`s 36 pages.

HAYES: Right. 36 pages, there`s lot of claims and that some of which I
think – some of which I think have been ruled out, right? Some of which I
think we know are not true. Some of which are hotly contested, some of
which are unknown and some of which are verified. And I guess my question
to you is, the biggest most sort of remarkable claim is that Trump was
being cultivated for years as a long term project. That to me is the thing
that kind of makes my eyes wide the most when I read it, how about you?

NANCE: And it`s the exact same thing that I wrote about in my book. And
there are indications of that in the CIA assessment also. This operation
had to have started somewhere – you know, with great commitment by the
Kremlin, somewhere in the 2012, 2013 period. I estimated that it was 2013
because the Miss Universe Pageant gave Donald Trump a platform inside of
Russia to where he was completely exposed to all the wonders of the Russian
oligarchy. And that`s an incredible dangle out in front of a person. But
did the Kremlin want to cultivate him as a Presidential candidate? Even I
didn`t believe that at the time. What I believe is that he was a
personality that they could use. And as we know, the FSB Russian
intelligence, they collect people who are sympathetic to them. So by them
bringing him on board and then seeing his presidential aspirations by 2015,
they kick this operation to full gear to help him get elected.

HAYE: One of the things that we`ve learned in the last few days at the
level of the White House response to the investigation is it is how much
the President hates it and how much he likes the call-up Senators to berate
them about it. And there`s lots of ways that you could describe as
motivations. He thinks you know, he`s innocent and it`s unfair. He`s
being betrayed by his party or he`s guilty and he`s trying on cover it up,
or something between. Renato, what do you make of the accounts of the
President calling up Thom Tillis from North Carolina, calling up Bob
Corker, to berate them about the fact that they`re not protecting him from
this investigation?

MARIOTTI: I think that that is evidence that Mueller is going to use in
order to you know, potentially prove an obstruction of justice charge
against the president. So, to prove that the Special Counsel is going to
have to prove that the President acted with corrupt intent. In other
words, that he acted with improper purpose in trying to fire Comey and just
shut down the investigation and all of that shows a really intense interest
by the President in the Russia investigation and in ending it and having an
ability to fire Mueller. And that`s just you know, basically, he`s his own
worst enemy again. I think that the President is just creating more fodder
for Bob Mueller.

HAYES: The person I always wanted to hear from the most, of course, is
Steele himself, Malcolm. I mean, you know, here`s this guy who deemed
credible in the intelligence world, that he was someone who worked at MI6,
he worked a Russia briefer while this is not some you know, random internet
person putting things together. This is someone with actual source. Do
you think – I mean, as someone who worked in the intelligence, what do you
think his interaction with the FBI have been like?

NANCE: Well, I think they`re going to be work a day and professional. I
think they`re going to be interviewing him. They`re not going to be
interrogating him. They`re – he`s going to be giving them tips and hints
and clues. He used an extraordinary amount of sources. And I know, some
have said, well, he misspelled this word, he misspelled that word. That`s
a relatively solid intelligence analysis document but again, it`s rumor
intelligence. And that – those rumors, which we also use in the U.S.
intelligence community, have to be worked up into verifiable and trustable
intelligence. I think as a – as a pro like him having worked the Russia
desk, having been an MI6 operative, he`s going to give the intelligence
professionals them the exact pathway that they need to go to verify or
refute this information using our own intelligence collection processes.

HAYES: All right, Malcolm Nance and Renato Mariotti, thank you both for
being here tonight.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

NANCE: My pleasure.

HAYES: Ahead, serious people with serious questions about whether or not
the President is fit for the office he calls. Tonight the White House
responds for Republican Senators` concern about the President`s stability.
And next, as he continues to taunt Republican leadership, did President
Trump just fence himself in with his border wall threat? New signs the
White House may already be blinking in just two minutes.



TRUMP: We have to close down our government, we`re building that wall.

The American people voted for immigration control. That`s one of the
reasons I`m here. One way or the other, we`re going to get that wall.


HAYES: Donald Trump seems determined to do something that has not been
done in almost 40 years, and that`s shut down the government when only one
party controls all of it all because he wants Congress (INAUDIBLE) $1.6
billion this year towards building the wall along nearly 2,000 the Mexican
border. Now, the last government shutdown was in 2013 which Republicans
widely took blame for. And right now, GOP leaders seem intent on
preventing that from happening again. House Speaker Paul Ryan said
yesterday, “I don`t think anyone is interested in having a shutdown.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who`s relationship with President
according to New York Times was recently falling apart issued a statement
saying that “The President and I and our teams have been and continue to be
in regular contact about our shared goals.”

Now, shutting down the government to fund a border wall wasn`t one of them.
Meanwhile, in her first press conference in three weeks, White House Press
Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders couldn`t give a straight answer when asked
about the President`s game of chicken with the border wall.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President was asked over and over again during the
campaign, he said that Mexico would pay for the wall. So why is he now
threatening a government shutdown if Congress won`t pay for it?

is committed to making sure this gets done. We know that the wall and
other security measures at the border work. We`ve seen that take place
over the last decade and we`re committed to making sure the American people
are protected and we`re going to continue to push forward and make sure the
wall gets built.


HAYES: And here to talk about whether Republican Leaders want a government
shutdown, Congressman Dan Donovan who`s Republican here from New York City.
Good to have you here.

REP. DAN DONOVAN (R), NEW YORK: Good to be with you.

HAYES: Do you want a shutdown?

DONOVAN: No, not at all. No one sends their representatives to Washington
to shut down their government down. they sent them down there to make it
work better for them, improve what the improvement that they feel they need
to live their own lives. I mean, you know, we have to secure our borders.
We have to lower people`s taxes, we have to get a health care policy. We
have to get an infrastructure bill. All at the same time, we have to raise
the debt ceiling, we have to do flood insurance. We`re going to have a
busy fall, Chris.

HAYES: Do you think – I mean, there`s a new – there`s a new sort of play
in this drama, right? So you got the House Freedom Caucus who are always a
problem in terms of shutdown, debt ceiling raises. You would – you would
agree with that, right?

DONOVAN: Yes. Many of my colleagues don`t want to see a dollar increase
in the debt, and they wanst to see a balanced budget regardless of the
cost. So now you got the President also threatening also a shutdown. And
the President has basically declared that if it takes a shutdown to pay for
the wall, there will be a shutdown. What do you think of that?

DONOVAN: I think there`s a lot of politics involved in here. I think the
President is frustrated. He came to Washington with very ambitious agenda.
He wants to do health care, income tax reform, infrastructure bill, and he
had to do that all in his first year because everybody knows in a two-year
election cycle, you get more work done in the first year than you do in the
second year. He went to put a travel pause in place from six countries
that we don`t have an adequate vetting process through. Already, the
courts have told him no on the vetting process, Congress didn`t do anything
on the health care, that failed. I think the President is getting
frustrated. I think he`s been there for eight months, he`s used to doing
things quickly and he knows even in his four-year term that he`s almost a
quarter away through his term.

HAYES: Whose fault is that?

DONOVAN: I`m not sure it`s anyone`s fault. I think Congress runs slower
than President anticipated. I`ve only been there two and a half years, it
runs slower than I had hoped. I would hope that we get a lot of these
things done.

HAYES: Does the President – I mean, the President doesn`t tend to sell
these policies in any detail. I mean, when you saw the health care bill,
right? We saw the fight happening. It struck me, and I`m curios
(INAUDIBLE) the President couldn`t really go more than a few sentences on
what the health care bill was going to do.

DONOVAN: I think the President, when he walked in the door, they told him,
here the sequence in which you have to do these things. You must do health
care first because it has tax implications. After that, you must do tax
reform because in order to pay for the infrastructure bill, you need to get
money out of the tax bill. So I think he walked in there. I think the
President`s son believes that the health care policies of the country are
important but he wanted to get it done so he could get to the other two
things that were really interesting to him.

HAYES: But there are lots of things we want to do in our lives, but then,
to get them done, you have to put in some effort and kind of know what
you`re doing. I mean, does President have sufficient command to be helpful
in “getting things done?”

DONOVAN: Well, I think so. He`s a very influential man. He was a very
successful businessman. He influenced enough Americans to vote for him to
become leader of the free world. And you know, during this whole
negotiations –

HAYES: Well, those are different things though.

DONOVAN: Yes, but a very much – and during the health care debate, Chris,
he was very much involved. People going in and out of the White House, he
was sending people to Capitol Hill. Vice President Pence spoke to many of
our groups, his Secretary to Health used to serve the best in Congress, Tom
Price, he advocated. So they were very much involved in the negotiations.

HAYES: If there`s – the President said, if it takes shutting down the
government to pay for the wall, were going to shut down the government. He
said that the other night. What are you going to tell your constituents in
Staten Island if the government shuts down because they won`t – the
Congress won`t pass appropriations for a wall that President said Mexico
would pay for it explicitly?

DONOVAN: The representative from Staten Island and Brooklyn will never
vote to shutdown the government. That`s the one thing my constituents –

HAYES: Right. But it`s going to be your party and it`s going to be –
you`re going to be facing a Democratic challenger, whoever it is next year,

DONOVAN: Absolutely.

HAYES: And you`ve got to see that people are going to be eyeing for a
pickup. And the argument from a Democratic challenger is, this is what a
Republican Congress gives you. They will shut down your government so that
the President can get money to pay for a wall that he promised everyone
Mexico would pay for.

DONOVAN: And the people of Brooklyn and Staten Island know their
Representative voted against that. I don`t think it`s ever going to come
to that, Chris. I think this is again, trying to put some pressure on some
people, maybe the leadership in the Senate and the House, particularly in
the Senate. I mean, in the House, people don`t know this. We passed about
279 bills in this Congress. About 256 that are sent in the Senate with no
action but – so we`ve done a lot of work that people don`t know about. It
is our job to tell them, it`s not their job to find out. But I don`t think
it`s going to come to that. I think this putting pressure on leadership
that, let`s get something done. We promised the American people all this
things and one of the things the President promised was to build the wall.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Dan Donovan, thanks for your time.

DONOVAN: Good to be with you, Chris.

HAYES: Ahead, The President declared national emergency and nothing
happened. The growing frustration over no progress following the
President`s supposed emergency declaration of opioids. That`s coming up.



TRUMP: This week it`s Robert E. Lee. I noticed Stonewall Jackson is
coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it, Thomas
Jefferson, the week after? You`re changing history, you`re changing
culture. It`s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge
the media for their role in fomenting divisions. And yes, by the way, –
and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our
heritage. You see them.


HAYES: The President and like-minded people would like to argue that
Confederate monuments are just about history and heritage rather than
symbols of white supremacy. But you don`t have to scratch too far below
the surface to see which of those interpretation is the correct one. Case
in point what`s happening in York County, South Carolina back in January,
the County Clerk of the newly renovated Courthouse announced he was
removing a Confederate flag and two pictures of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall
Jackson from the courtroom prompting a lawsuit claiming the removal
violated the state`s heritage act. This morning, a judge quickly dismissed
the suit pointing out the plaintiff, one Russell Walker doesn`t even live
in York County or even in South Carolina. So what was Walker`s rational
for filing a suit? Well, here`s what he told reporters earlier today.


RUSSELL WALKER, PLAINTIFF: I don`t believe it`s a symbol of racism. I
don`t believe it`s a symbol of slavery. That`s my personal view. How they
feel is their business but it would be ludicrous for me to tell you how
they feel.


HAYES: He doesn`t believe it`s a symbol of racism or slavery but then he
slips – let slip what he really thinks.


RUSSELL: I don`t believe it`s a symbol of racism. I don`t believe it`s a
symbol of slavery. That`s my personal view. How they feel is their
business but it would be ludicrous for me to tell you how they feel. Hey,
I go down the street, I see Martin Luther Coon – I mean, I shouldn`t said
that – Martin Luther King. I mean, should I rip – should I rip the signs
down or it says the thing they take Martin Luther King street down and the
rest of that stuff?

HAYES: Should I rip down the sign of Martin Luther King who he called
Martin Luther Coon. You know, when it comes to defending Confederate
monuments, the most honest voices are the white nationalists and the Nazis
who were chanting “blood and soil” and “you will not replace us” in a torch
with march around the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville nearly two
weeks ago. Those folks and those pictures, they are 100 percent right
about what that statue stands for.


TRUMP: I`ve outlined today a detailed plan to stop the opioid crisis. My
plan begins with a strong border. It includes the prosecution of drug
dealers and dramatically expands access to lifesaving
treatment that`s will help people unchain themselves from this terrible,
terrible and very hard to get rid of addiction.


HAYES: Like many candidates, Donald Trump spoke regularly about the opioid
crisis on the campaign trail. His promises to help families hard-hit by
addiction probably helped win him some votes in crucial Midwest states.

And Trump himself attributed some of his victory to the crisis, telling the
president of Mexico in January, and I`m quoting him here, “I won New
Hampshire, because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den.”

He won it in the primary, we should note, but lost it in the general.

In March, the president created a commission to study the opioid crisis,
and the group released draft recommendations a few months later writing,
quote, “the first and most urgent recommendation of this commission is
direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency.”

Trump initially ignored that recommendation even at his major briefing
about the crisis at his golf course during vacation on August 8, but two
days after that, he abruptly reversed course.


TRUMP: The opioid crisis is an emergency and I`m saying officially right
now, it is an emergency. It`s a national emergency. We`re going to spend
a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you need emergency powers to address it?

TRUMP: We`re going to draw it up and we`re going to make it a national


HAYES: We`re going to draw it up.

OK, that was two weeks ago. Since then, Donald Trump has signed no
emergency declaration, has sent over no paperwork to congress, nothing has
been drawn up. In fact, there`s no official emergency. No emergency
funds, no emergency programs. There is just nothing, because they have
done nothing.

Joining me now, Dr. Anna Lembke who wrote about the opioid crisis in her
must-read book drug dealer M.D., which is a phenomenal read, really
important to understanding the roots of this crisis.

Do you think it is a national emergency?

DR. ANNA LEMBKE, AUTHOR: I absolutely think it`s a national emergency,
Chris. And I think we need to take steps immediately to address what is
one of the modern plagues that we will be visited upon in this century.
It`s absolutely a crisis.

HAYES: The numbers here are astounding. And this is part of what I think
is pretty remarkable about the disconnect between this commission and
essentially an action. Folks just look at the per
100,000 deaths that have happened. And we`ve seen this unbelievable spike.
Are there things the U.S. government, this White House could be doing
today, tomorrow, to help?

LEMBKE: So, I think it is important to look at, since President Trump has
been in office, he has introduced no formal legislation to combat the
opioid epidemic. He recently declared it to be a
national emergency, yet he`s not taken any of the legal steps to enact that

If he would take those legal steps, it would create access to funds, to
waive restrictions on Medicaid reimbursement, for example. That would make
it possible to target the opioid epidemic. It would make it possible to
dispense and distribute Naloxone, which is an emergency opioid overdose
reversal agent. It would make it possible for us to prescribe more
Methodone maintenance and Buprenorphine, which are proven treatments for
opioid addiction.

So, if he would just follow through on the declaration that he made a
couple weeks ago, that would make a difference at least in the short term.

I also think, though, it is important to note that most of President
Trump`s efforts have gone toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act. And
the Affordable Care Act is the single piece of legislation that has gone
furthest toward combating this opioid epidemic by expanding Medicaid, to
allow people who have opioid addiction to be treated within the house of

The Affordable Care Act has also made opioid addiction and its treatment an
essential benefit. And this is so key to targeting this epidemic. But if
we give people health insurance to pay for addiction treatment, if we
create an infrastructure in the House of Medicine to care for people with
addition, this is a sustainable intervention, which we will absolutely need
because this crisis is not going to be turned around in a year or two or
probably even five or 10.

HAYES: There`s a focus, a point of focus when the president speaks about
the epidemic, which is the border and illegal drugs, particularly. And I
wonder what you make of that given the fact that your book chronicles the
degree to which this is borne of legal drugs, prescription drugs, and big
pharma as one of the kind of root causes behind all of this.

LEMBKE: So I believe that we all have an important role to play in
combating the opioid epidemic. We have to get doctors to prescribe fewer
opioids. But I also believe that law enforcement can play a role here.

The important piece to understand is that although we cannot arrest our way
out of this epidemic, we also can`t prescribe our way out of this epidemic.
And importantly, although law enforcement can play a role, the role that
they need to play is getting people to treatment, or implementing modest,
swift sanctions that encourage behavior change.

What the war on drugs did was it imposed extreme sanctions, putting people
in jail for
a decade for carrying an ounce of marijuana. That we know is not effective
to change behavior around – addictive behavior substance abuse.

But law enforcement can play a role, shoring up our borders to limit the
influx of illicit fentanyl is important. We need on acknowledge that those
are ways we can intervene. But it`s not going to be the whole solution.

I think the bigger and more important intervention is going to be expanding
treatment to addiction and looking at our impoverished communities and what
other alternatives we can give them rather than becoming patients, getting
on disability and living these very sad lives of addiction.

HAYES: Alright. Dr. Anna Lembke, thanks so much for joining me.

LEMBKE: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: Ahead, what to make of the bipartisan push to diagnose the
president`s mental state and how the White House and the president are
responding to questions about the Trump`s stability.

Plus some presidential social media training in tonight`s Thing One, Thing
Two, next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, if you follow me on Twitter you know I tweet a
lot. So does this show, by the way, which you should be following,

One thing I know about Twitter is you have to be careful who you`re
retweeting. The President of the United States has 36 million followers,
for some reason has a retweeting problem. A pattern that goes back to his

Candidate Donald Trump retweeted a person who`s Twitter bio says
#WhiteGenocide is real.
He previously retweeted another user with white genocide in their handle
and neo-Nazi links in their bio.

Donald Trump tweeted a meme of Hilary Clinton with a Star of David over
cash before changing the Star of David to a circle.

Well, today, President Trump retweeted another meme of his own likeness,
the likeness of President Obama. It`s kind of a lame meme, particularly
since, as has been pointed out by many, the analogy works against President

The thing about a solar eclipse is that although the moon wins for a
fraction of time, the sun
is always billions of times more powerful. Obama would be the sun, the
giver of life, and a cold barren rock briefly moves in front of it.

All that being said, at least there`s nothing anti-Semitic about that

Well, actually, that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: So, the President of the United States retweeted a meme of himself
President Obama to which many Twitter users basically responded please
leave and return us to the

But there was another issue with the president`s retweet. The person who
the president
retweeted, Jerry Trevone, has also tweeted this, “We have enough of these
Jews where I live lol.
Someone else take them. They just can`t drive.” Trevone tried on explain
that one, writing to NBC News he was not anti-Semitic and quote, “It was
just an emotional expression. I was referring to Lakewood, New Jersey and
the horrible drivers of that town that happens to be mostly Jewish people
that live there.”

He added this, “I thought I was dreaming lol, and the president took time
out of his extremely busy day to retweet my picture and it`s such an

And that is exactly right. The President of the United States dedicated
time out today to that guy`s meme.


HAYES: More and more often the language the people use to describe the
President of the United States is the kind of language you`d use to talk
not about someone`s politics, but about their mental state.

And it`s not just the Twitter trolls.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really question his ability to, his fitness to be in
this office.

SEN. JACK REED, (D) RHODE ISLAND: I think he`s crazy.


REED: I don`t say that lightly and as a kind of, you know, a goofy guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a growing mountain of evidence that the
has been very erratic, as shown a mental instability.

SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: The president has not yet been able to
demonstrate the
stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate to be


HAYES: This morning, the president hit back at former Intelligence
Director James
Clapper for his comments, deriving Clapper`s quote an authority on Donald

At the press briefing today the White House Press Secretary was asked about
those last remarks we played you from Senator Bob Corker, the Republican
Chair to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any response to that?

ridiculous and outrageous claim and doesn`t dignify a response from this


HAYES: It also seems notable given the context that the press secretary
was asked today in the president plans to have an annual physical at Walter
Reed Army Medical Center like many of his predecessors.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us whether the president intends to
utilize the
federal facilities of Walter Reed this year to get a physical and release
that information to the public?

SANDERS: I`ll let you know.


HAYES: Once taboo, discussions of the president`s mental health are
becoming increasingly main stream.

A Harvard law professor arguing to The New Yorker that the psychiatrist
should be able to break with professional standards to evaluate the
president`s state of mind in public.

And a U.S. congresswoman introducing legislation urging the president to
take a medical exam to determine his fitness for office.

Both of them join me right after this break.


HAYES: Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is calling on the president to take a
medical exam to determine if he`s fit for office and Harvard law professor
Jeannie Suk Gersen argues that psychiatrists should be able to share their
professional opinions about the president`s state of mind. I welcome them

Jeannie let me start with you because I read your piece and it crystallized
something that`s
really been bothering me, which is I`m seeing a lot of armchair diagnoses
of the president and it strikes me as bad.

There`s a reason for the prohibition, a reason for the mental health
professionals not to do this, it`s called the Goldwater Rule, and you argue
that this is an exception to that and they should be able to speculate on
the president`s mental health, why?

JEANNIE SUK GERSEN, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: It`s not so much that I think this
is an exception. It`s just that the rule itself seems overly broad at this
point in time.

There`s a rule, the Goldwater Rule that says psychiatrists cannot speak
about a public figure`s mental health, they cannot offer an opinion about

But, it seems that early this year in March the
American Psychiatric Association broadened no the rule even father saying
they can`t even offer their
opinions about the person`s affect or their personality if it draws on
knowledge or training that they might have as a psychiatrist.

That seems very very broad to me and I think that that rule right now is
basically depriving the
public of the knowledge and training of psychiatrists who might be better
informed about somebody`s mental health and whether they`re able to perform
certain duties than the rest of the public actually is.

And it`s not so much that we can`t see for ourselves what the president`s
behavior is like. It`s just that we are right now experiencing a void in
professional opinion because of this Goldwater Rule.

HAYES: Congresswoman, what is the motivation behind the legislation that
you`ve introduced?

REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D) CALIFORNIA: Actually the legislation urges the vice
president, along with the cabinet, to secure the assistance of medical

As has been noted by your prelim into this, a lot of people are concerned
about the president`s
behavior. He seems to lack impulse control. He swings from topic to topic.

Any of us who have had an older person that we know suffering from a mental
decline can see certain signs that worry us, repetition, someone who seems
lost where they are.

You know, when he was in Israel saying we just got back from the Middle
East. Did he not know that Frederic Douglas had died or was he confused.

I think that if this were an obvious physical disability, let`s say a
massive heart attack, the vice president and the cabinet would be getting
the advice of medical professionals. Similarly with these questions they
should get advice from medical professionals on whether this is the
president just being
an odd person or whether there`s a problem here.

HAYES: Okay, but here`s the thing. It seems to me this is an impulse to
medicalize the
feelings that the people have about the president`s personality.

It could just be – I mean, isn`t it just the case that you do not like the
way the president acts and so you believe that it must be some – or it`s
possible there`s some illness behind it?

LOFGREN: No, that`s really not – it`s true. I don`t agree with the
president. There`s no question about that. But this is an entirety
different matter. This is for the vice president, under the 25th amendment,
and a vice president is certainly no enemy of the president, and the
cabinet, all of whom have been selected by the president, to discharge
their obligations onto the Constitution to make sure that there isn`t a
problem with the president`s capacity to serve.

If they find with the help that they get that he is, then they`ve satisfied
that question.

I`ll still disagree with the president, but this is a fitness question.

HAYES: Jeannie, part of the reason for the Goldwater Rule is precisely
because there`s often a kind of blurring of the lines. People will casually
say that person is nuts or that person is crazy, and in some ways that`s a
way – it has a perverse effect of stigmatizing mental illness because it
conflates behavior I don`t like with mental illness.

And i wonder if you think that that`s – you want to see medical
professionals intervene because that`s what`s happening now?

GERSEN: Yes, that`s what`s happen right now. People are making very very
casual remarks about his mental health and I actually think that we could
have the benefit of actual professionals.

It may be that they may tell us that there is nothing wrong with the
president. They may tell us there are problems with the president`s mental
health but they don`t rise to the level of disabling him from performing
the duties of office.

We have to be open to all of those professional opinions, not just the ones
that say he`s unable to perform the duties of his office.

And I think that range of opinions is something we would expect to` if
psychiatrists were
allowed to speak or permitted by their professional ethics rules but we
don`t see a lot of the
conversation happening.

We don`t see that participation of professionals in this debate.

HAYES: Congresswoman, you wanted in on this as well.

LOFGREN: Yeah, it seems to me that an examination would be preferable. The
president has gotten lost on TV, we`ve seen that happen, where he`s walked
off or wandered off. He doesn`t seem to know where he is.

Is that because he`s overtired or is that something more serious? I think
we`ll only find that out if he`s examined by medical professionals.

HAYES: There`s something remarkable about having this conversation, and in
is a conversation that is being had in all kinds of corners, people have
sort of danced around how they talk about it. Your colleague Jackie Spears
saying we have to stop whispering.

I guess the question is is this something Republicans talk about as well to
the extent that you
talk to them on the Hill about this?

LOFGREN: I don`t want to mention names, but I`ve never been in a personal
meeting with the
president and don`t expect to ever. But people who have describe someone
who`s unable to keep track of the conversation.

Is it because he doesn`t want to or that he can`t. That`s an important
question that we need an answer to.

HAYES: The core reason, right, behind the Goldwater Rule, at least in the
narrow sense is
precisely because, you know you can`t evaluate someone, can`t render
judgments on them until
you`ve talked to them first hand, attended to them.

Isn`t the rule in place to sort of prevent the slippery slope and won`t we
get just essentially armchair diagnoses?

GERSEN: I think it`s a wise rule to say that a psychiatrist should not
render a diagnosis without a clinical examination. But I think that where
it goes too far is when we think that psychiatrists cannot speak at all
about the qualities of a person that may include qualities that they may
know about from their psychiatric training and knowledge.

So I think that there`s a way in which this rule has just gone too far and
expanded too far so that
psychiatrists are essentially silenced from offering opinions based on
psychology and psychiatry.

HAYES: All right. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Jeannie Suk Gersen, thank
you both.

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

Good evening Rachel.


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