All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/28/17 Hurricane Harvey
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: August 28, 2017
Guest: Tom Perez, Paul Butler, Barbara McQuade
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: OK, Susan Del Percio, Michael Hopkins, Shelby
Holliday, thank for joining us. That is HARDBALL for now. “ALL IN” with
Chris Hayes starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever seen a flooding like this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I haven`t.
HAYES: A major American city is under water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People carrying babies on their soldiers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we`ve been rescued. So we`re very thankful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you just go through back there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hell.
HAYES: Tonight, the perfect storm in Houston and why no evacuation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should there have been a bigger effort to evacuate
HAYES: Plus as the President prepares to tour the damage.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They`re saying
the biggest, historic.
HAYES: Two new reports that give us the clearest picture yet on Trump
world coordination with the Russians. The New York Times and Washington
Post reporters who broke the stories join me live. And the President
explains his thinking and his timing on the pardon of Joe Arpaio.
TRUMP: In the middle of the hurricane, even though it was a Friday
evening, I the assume ratings would be far higher than they would be.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight the fourth
largest city in the nation remains under water as tropical storm Harvey
continues to dump rain on Eastern Texas causing what officials have called
the worst flooding in the state`s history. In Houston, thousands still
stranded waiting to be rescued as that water keeps rising and the rain
keeps falling with totals up to 50 inches expected in some areas by the end
of the week. That is a year`s worth of rain in a matter of days. At least
ten people have lost their lives and the result of the storm while 30,000
are expected to need emergency shelter according to the Federal Emergency
Management Agency. The President and the first lady are now headed to
Texas first thing tomorrow morning to survey the damage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I look very much forward to it. Things are being handled really
well. The spirit is incredible of the people. The coordination between
all of the different services as you know has been going very well. We`ll
be traveling going throughout certain parts and we may actually go back on
Saturday depending on where the storm goes. We may also go to Louisiana on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A storm comes amid an onslaught of new revelations about efforts by
the President and his company to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the
Presidential campaign. In a 2015 e-mail published today by the New York
Times, a business associate of the President`s drew a direct link between
that project and Trump`s White House bid. He wrote, “I will get Putin on
this program and we will get Donald elected,” meaning elected president.
Now, that e-mail sent by Felix Sater, he`s a Russian born real estate
developer with a criminal history and known mob ties. And he was the
driving force behind the President Trump`s Soho project in New York City.
The recipient of the e-mail, Michael Cohen, the President`s long time
lawyer and Executive of the Trump organization. In the wake of Russia`s
interference in the 2016 election, amid questions about collusion with the
Trump campaign, the President himself insisted he had no Russian ties to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals in Russia. I have
no deals that could happen in Russia because we`ve stayed way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: While that may have been strictly true when he said it this past
January, we now know it did not tell the whole story. As the Washington
Post broke this weekend, the Trump organization did seek a deal to build a
Trump Tower in Moscow while its Chief Executive was actively running for
President. That effort led by Sater and Cohen lasted until at least
January 2016 on the eve of the first primaries. By that point, Trump had
already been leading the Republican field for about six months. We know
that Sater and Cohen weren`t just going rogue because again, as we have
just now learned, the President himself signed a nonbinding letter of
intent sometime in 2015 to do the deal. Cohen explained in a statement to
NBC News “the Trump Moscow proposal was simply one of many development
opportunity the Trump organization considered and ultimately rejected.”
But not before reaching out to the Kremlin to try to get it back on track.
Listen to this, The Post broke the news today that Cohen e-mailed Vladimir
Putin`s personal Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov to ask him for help advancing
the stalled Trump Tower Moscow deal, writing, “as this project is too
important I am hereby requesting your assistance.” Now, according to
Maggie Haberman from the New York Times, Cohen e-mailed Peskov at a general
e-mail address equivalent she says, to firstname.lastname@example.org not Peskov`s
direct e-mail. The Post reports Cohen said he did not recall receiving a
response from Peskov. Regardless, the correspondence showed efforts by the
Trump team to cooperate with the Russian government. The Washington Post
obtained the statement Cohen submitted to Congressional investigators in
which he claimed “the Trump Tower Moscow proposal is not related in any way
to Mr. Trump`s Presidential campaign but crucially that is not how Felix
Sater, the other part of this deal, portrayed the deal in his e-mails to
Cohen published again today by the New York Times suggesting that the
deal`s success and Vladimir Putin`s involvement could be the factor that
put Donald Trump in the White House.
I quote from that e-mail. “Buddy, our boy can become President of the USA
and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin`s team to buy on this. I
will manage this process.” I`m joined by two of the reporters who have
been breaking these huge stories. Rosalind Helderman of the Washington
Post and Matt Apuzzo from the New York Times and thank you both and great
work today. Rosalind, may – I will start with you. Some complicated
things in terms of the characters and what we`re learning. But I want to
start with this, just the time line of this deal. I mean, one of the big
revelations that starts in the reporting over the weekend and develops
today is we were told that basically there was no overlap between Donald
Trump running for President and Trump Org. pursuing a Moscow deal. That is
definitively not true, as we now know, right?
ROSALIND HELDERMAN, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL ENTERPRISE AND
INVESTIGATIONS REPORTER: Right. I mean, Donald Trump starts running for
President in June of 2015. We now know that in September of 2015 is when
these conversations about sort of this iteration, this attempt to build a
Trump Tower in Moscow begin. Donald Trump himself signs that letter of
intent with a Moscow-based development company on October 28, 2015. And
then we get this e-mail from Michael Cohen to Dmitry Peskov in mid-January.
And then they say a deal is abandoned at the end of January. So, what
you`ve got a very active negotiating process right during the heat of the
Republican primary campaign election.
HAYES: Now, not only that, Matt but to your reporting on that Sater e-mail
which is pretty remarkable document, because it explicitly connects the
two, right? I mean, it could be the case that there`s a parallel, that`s
the Trump Org. and they`re trying to do deals everywhere. They`re in
Turkey, they`re doing in the Philippines but the Sater e-mail says, no, no,
no, there is a direct line. If we build this and get pewter Putin on
board, that will get Donald Trump elected. What do you make of that?
MATT APUZZO, THE NEW YORK TIME WRITER: Well his logic – Felix Sater`s
logic here is the world needs to see that Donald Trump is this brilliant
businessman and great negotiator and if we can get him cutting a deal with
Russia and get him on the same stage as Vladimir Putin then the world will
see that he`s not just a great businessman, he is a great statesman. This
will elevate his portfolio. This will show he is the man to bridge the
gap, you know, in our relations with Russia. Again a lot of this, as
Russia said, a lot of this just shows a willingness by people around Trump
to kind of grab hold of Russia both as a business solution and as a
political solution. We saw it in the June Trump Tower meeting. A
willingness of the Trump campaign to say yes, I`ll take damaging
information on Hillary Clinton from the Russians. here – yes, absolutely,
that`s going the same stages as Vladimir Putin back and only help our
HAYES: Yes. And part of this Rosalind too, is that it`s not just – it`s
not complete idle speculation or vaporware that they`re coming up with,
right? I mean, what is your understanding of the degree which there are
other people on the other side of this potential deal that folks in Trump`s
orbit are in constant contact with?
HELDERMAN: Yes, I mean, this was real proposal. It obviously it did not
come to fruition. That`s been sort of a theme in the Trump business world
of deals that start to get off the ground and don`t ultimately result in a
project. But you know, we know from Cohen`s statement to Congress that
they apparently had a conversation with architects about building plans for
this. They had conversations about financing for this project. You did
get this initial letter that is signed by Donald Trump himself. So this
was a real negotiation. They were really trying to build the Trump Tower
while Donald Trump in Moscow, while Trump was running for president.
HAYES: What seems established here Matt and I would like you to weigh in
on this. In your reporting, in the Washington Post reporting, Rosalind`s
reporting, and reporting on the meeting, in all three cases, what`s seems
established is that if Russia or representatives of the Russian state
wanted to send information or set up a meeting or contact the Trump orbit
or vice versa, there were channels along which that could conceivably be
APUZZO: No question. When we have, we have an administration previously a
campaign that said over and over again, no contact with Russia, no contract
with Russia, no contract with Russia. And it`s been – it`s been, gosh,
it`s only the end of August. It`s been eight months of nonstop contact
with Russia. So of course, there were – there were channels by which
Russia could pass information or there were channels where information
could be exchanged. The thing is, is we don`t know, obviously if we have
seen some e-mails here, we haven`t seen any e-mails that show information
saying there are some hacked e-mails and they are going to come out and
this is how it will go. And that`s really the – that`s really the smoking
gun. But what we are seeing here is just another example of another
channel of people who have access to or claim to have access to high-level
Russian officials who can get things done and get information and get close
HAYES: And to that point, and here is the sort of one take away and one
question I think for future reporting. You know, we never know – we don`t
know, we`re seeing a very small sample of the e-mail. So we don`t know
what happened after the infamous Don Jr.-Trump Tower meeting, what was e-
mailed the day, the next day or the day after that. and it seems to me,
and I will ask you, Rosalind and Matt, to weigh in on this. we have a
small sample of the e-mails here. We don`t know necessarily what happens
afterward. Is that right, Rosalind?
HELDERMAN: Yes. I think that`s a really fair point. I think had reported
previously that there had been 20,000 e-mails that had gone to Congress and
that apparently did not include these new e-mails because our understanding
is they went to Congress just today. So what we know about so far is in a
very, very small percentage of those – of those notes. And you know, I
think it is fair to say there`s probably likely to be more to come out as
we learn more about what is in all of those e-mails.
HAYES: Here`s the e-mails I want to see. What e-mail traffic was going
around the Trump orbit when they find out about the DNC hack getting
published and people start accusing Russia? What light bulbs do you think
went on in people`s heads when they saw that after all these back and fort.
Rosalind Helderman and Matt Apuzzo, thank you, both.
HELDERMAN: Thank you.
APUZZO: Great to be here.
HAYES: All right. Senator Chris Murphy is a Connecticut Democrat and a
member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He`s been particularly
outspoken on this issue. How many more dots do you feel like you need to
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, I think you
need to start here with what we absolutely know. What we absolutely know
for sure is that Russia expanded an unbelievable amount of money and effort
to try to influence this election in Donald Trump`s favor. Hundreds of
Russian operatives potentially, hundreds of millions of dollars. And the
question really is, why? Why were they so sure that Donald Trump is a safe
bet? And what you are understanding now is that they had lots of windows
into how directly connected Donald Trump was to potential very lucrative
opportunities to line his pockets in Russia.
Whether it be the investments that Russian entities made in the Trump
operation, that he`s likely trying to hide by not releasing tax returns or
now this potential deal to put a Trump Tower inside Russia. They were
pretty sure when they made the big investment, that Donald Trump had and
could have a future big financial stake in Russia. And they know what
motivates him first and foremost is the security of his wallet, of his
financial empire. So I think you`re seeing why the Russians may have
believed that they were making a pretty safe bet.
HAYES: So, this strikes me as an interesting theory of the case. Now, we
are saying basically is let`s table for a moment whether there`s collusion,
they actively sort of conspiring on the hacks. What you`re saying is
Russia basically probing and satisfying themselves. These are people we
can work with, these are people we can influence, these are people we can
get to before the big thing happens which is that they decide to publish
those hacked e-mails in the DNC because all this stuff we are learning is
MURPHY: That`s right. And when – at the end, if we believe everything in
this post report, these are pretty high-level communications. These are
people close to Putin who were talking to people close to Donald Trump.
And so it would, you know, lead to you believe there is a level of
satisfaction inside the Russian government that they knew who these people
were that they were dealing with.
HAYES: I want to ask you, you`re on the Foreign Relations Committee and
very outspoken about America`s role in the world, American`s foreign policy
both under Obama and Trump. I want to ask you to respond to something Rex
Tillerson said this weekend. It`s pretty remarkable about who the
President speaks for when he speaks. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I don`t believe anyone
doubts the American people`s values or the commitment of the American
government or the government`s agencies to advancing those values and
defending those values.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the President`s values?
TILLERSON: And the President speaks for himself, Chris.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you separating yourself from that, Sir?
TILLERSON: I`ve spoken my own comments as to our values as well in a
speech I gave to the State Department this past week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What do – what do you make of that?
MURPHY: That is a blow your socks off moment. That is Rex Tillerson very
confidently separating himself from the President of the United States with
respect to the President`s statements about Charlottesville. I think there
are some members of his cabinet who are frankly thinking about their
legacy. But at the same time, let`s remember, Tillerson is throwing some
stones from a glass house when he is talking about American values. It`s
worth remembering at the same time he`s trying to scrub democracy promotion
and human rights advancement from the mission of the Department of States.
So when you think about American values, trying to get more people access
to democracy, trying to save people from terror and torture overseas has
always been a pretty fundamental American value. And Rex Tillerson as much
as Donald Trump has something to do with that being erased from our
country`s mission statement.
HAYES: And finally, there`s some breaking news tonight which is that North
Korea appears to have launched yet another ballistic missile. This one
crossing over Japanese airspace precipitating a text alert to Japanese
citizens, scary moment. They fired over Japan before but not ballistic
ones. It`s the first time it appears. What`s your reaction?
MURPHY: Well, listen, this is probably a most provocative action that they
have taken so far it suggests that they believe that they are acting with
some degree of impunity. Now Trump has made this over the top statements
about the military repercussions of attacking the United States. He`s been
hand-handed about it but it`s not wrong to tell the North Koreans that
there is a disproportionate response coming if they ever come after us or
land on one of these missiles on our – substantially close to one of our
allies. But they clearly don`t believe that there`s any other path that
will ultimately hurt them.
They don`t think that we have a handle on a diplomatic or economic path
that would do substantial damage to their country. And so, from the
beginning, many of us said that there`s a big piece of this North Korea
strategy that`s missing and that is way to get China and other nations
around Asia to change North Korea`s behavior. They don`t seem to fear that
path which may explain why they continue to act in this manner.
HAYES: All right. Senator Chris Murphy, thanks for taking some time
tonight. I appreciate it.
HAYES: After the break, as the floodwaters continue to rise, would an
evacuation order have helped in Houston or just compounded and exacerbated
the devastation? I`ll talk to a man who played the role in the last
decision to evacuate that city in two minutes.
HAYES: Big parts of Houston are under water tonight and it looks like it
is still going to get worse. Hurricane Harvey made land fall Friday, a
night dumping a record obliterating amounts of rain and is currently
forecasted to continue for several more days. Authorities and volunteers
are rescuing people from water that`s now reached up to several feet high.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was over five feet in our house. We barely made
it out. I`m just so grateful that they came.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they was telling to shelter in place, I don`t
think people need to shelter in place. I think they need to leave as soon
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That gentleman isn`t the only one suggesting people should leave
their homes but Houston authorities did indeed tell people to shelter and
stay in place and with good reason according to the Mayor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON, TEXAS: The major thing was to stay off
the street. No evacuation honor was given for Houston, Harris County. We
were not in the direct line of the Hurricane. So for the areas down in
Rockport, Victoria, Corpus Christi, further south along the coast, they
were in the direct path. The City of Houston, Harris County, we were not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Reporters from the Texas Tribune compared Houston this time around
with Hurricane Rita in 2005 when about 3 million Texans were evacuated many
at the same time. According to the Tribune, “Of the 139 deaths the state
links to Hurricane Rita, 73 occurred before the storm even hit Texas. 20
people died in a bus fire. 10 others died from hyperthermia due to heat
exposure in their cars. Roadways were so crowded that time around last
time they tried to evacuate that many people ran out of gas over traffic
jams that lasted two straight days. In contrast, here`s what some Houston
area highways and (INAUDIBLE) look like this weekend instead. The former
Mayor of Houston who ran the city during Hurricanes Rita and Katrina joins
me by phone. He`s Bill White and thanks for your time tonight Mr. White.
And first, how are things right now in Houston?
BILL WHITE, FORMER HOUSTON MAYOR (via telephone): The water is still
coming and I`ll tell you what, computer models 20, 25 inches of rain, and
some parts of the nation`s fourth largest city, one of its largest
metropolitan areas, are getting at 40 to 50 inches of rain the forecast now
say. Which is to put it in perspective, about the same amount of rain as
you would normally get in a year in this area.
HAYES: You were – you were there during Rita and Katrina and I think a
lot of people understood why the evacuation happened with Rita because you
had just watched what happened in Katrina. But people felt like they
learned lessons from Rita in terms of how hard it is to actually evacuate a
city the size of Houston. Do you think this Mayor made the right call in
having people shelter in place?
WHITE: Yes. Certainly, people who are not in the direct you know,
hundred-year, 500-year flood plain and moreover, I`m pointing out on Rita,
that we only had a mandatory evacuation area for the storm surge area.
What happened and you know, surveys who showed this for the benefit of
hindsight is that ten times as many people have evacuated at the same time
because they witnessed what happened in Katrina. So the idea of avoiding
panic is, you know, a legitimate point.
HAYES: The infrastructure of the city seems at one level overwhelmed as it
would be would given the sheer amount of water. What is your sense of how
bad this is going to be for the City of Houston in a long-term?
WHITE: First in American perspectives, it could be the largest natural
disaster in terms of property damage the United States has ever seen.
Bigger than some of the likes I guess of Sandy, right now, Katrina. I
think the storm, a big hurricane that hit Florida were, you know, share
that dubious and along with Rita. Because we`re such a, you know, large
metropolitan area and there`s going to be a significant percentage of homes
including mine, I might add, that are under water. So this will be a very
The key issue for people to watch though is then what is going to be the
response of the federal state and to some extent local governments in
making sure that people who are now rendered homeless, that they can`t go
back to their home, could be the same magnitude as, or significant fraction
of the people that were evacuated after Katrina. How will they learn the
lessons that we learned in Katrina, including the successes to make sure
that people are in apartments and can move on with their lives.
HAYES: Mayor Bill White, former Mayor of Houston, I just want to say
obviously everyone in America is pulling for you and the city. We`re all
watching with our finger crossed and our prayers. Thanks so much for
making time tonight.
WHITE: You take care.
HAYES: You know, (INAUDIBLE) the Texas Tribune and ProPublica have
partnered to publish a bigger part last year and pointed out why Texas was
not ready for another big hurricane. One of those reporters Neena Satija
joins me now by phone. And Neena, that piece was about the particularities
of Houston that made it particularly susceptible to flooding in the case of
a big storm. What is it about Houston that makes it so challenging?
NEENA SATIJA, TEXAS TRIBUNE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: There are two things I
would say about Houston that make this such a challenging issue. I mean,
number one, as the mayor said earlier, this is a huge sprawling metropolis
and of course, we have seen incredibly widespread flooding. We have seen
flooding across all of Harris county, which is home to Houston across a
number of the neighboring counties. So that`s going to be a huge impact
there. There`s just a lot of places and a lot of people that can get
flooded out. And second of all, you know, scientists and experts have
said, again and again, Houston has allowed unchecked development that made
this flooding worse. Now, let`s be clear, this flooding would have
occurred you know, no matter what, I think, the amount of rain fall that
has fallen is just so huge. However, scientists and experts say some of
the damage could have been prevented had Houston developed better.
HAYES: So you`ve got a city that`s been building very rapidly. It also is
shot through with waterways and bayous that make it prone to flooding.
What was the reaction – you wrote this piece that basically said look, our
policies here in the City of Houston is growth plus climate change equals a
disaster is coming our way. What was the reaction when you guys published
that piece last year?
SATIJA: I think it was a pretty strong reaction. A lot of residents of
Houston were encouraged to see the piece because they felt like their
voices weren`t being heard. They felt like there wasn`t enough attention
being paid to the issue of flooding in the city. So we got a very good
response. And a lot of people were, frankly, shocked to hear what local
officials told us when we interviewed them. The local officials in Houston
did not think that development was contributing to flooding which is not
what scientists told us. Local officials in Houston didn`t have plans to
study the effects of climate change in the city or think about whether the
city needs to plan for more frequent and more intense rainstorms which
scientists say are a sure thing for Houston. So there was a lot of shock
around that as well.
HAYES: From a removed perspective of watching this happen from afar, it
seems like two things. One, the sheer amount of rain is just
incomprehensible and would overwhelm any city anywhere in America. Number
two, the response of citizens and folks just going out and helping each
other is incredible and heartening. What do you make of the municipal
response state and local response in terms of getting people out and
SATIJA: I think they are doing the best that they can. I think it was
hard to anticipate this amount of rain. I think it was hard it anticipates
how widespread it would be. We were here and we`ve been here since Friday,
even on Saturday night, and were still weren`t sure if things are going to
be bad for Houston as they ultimately did. Certainly, you know, city,
state and federal government don`t have enough resources to deal with this
storm that why they are calling on private citizens. We spoke with many
people who`ve been evacuated from their homes who couldn`t get through to
911, couldn`t get through to 311 were helped from private – by private
citizens from the roofs of their homes to whatever evacuation center they
ended up at. So the resources are stretched thin for sure.
HAYES: Yes, we should note at this point that there`s maybe 15 to 20
inches more forecast. I`ve seen reports, a bunch of evacuation centers are
already starting to overfill. So that`s something to keep your eye on as
we move through the rest of the weeks. Neena Satija, thanks so much. It`s
great report and stays safe.
SATIJA: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Up next, President Trump speaks for the first time on his
controversial pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. How cable news ratings
during a hurricane factored in his decision making after this quick break.
HAYES: President Trump today defended his decision to pardon controversial
former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. A pardon the President
issued late Friday night as Hurricane Harvey approaches the gulf coast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff
Joe protected our borders. And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by
the Obama administration, especially right before an election – an
election that he would have won. So – and he was elected many times. So
I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe, and I think the people of Arizona, who
really know him best, would agree with me. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Put in facts Arpaio lost that last election by double digits and he
was convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a judge`s order to
stop his unconstitutional targeting and detaining of people he and his
officers suspected to be undocumented immigrants with no evidence to
support it. The Washington Post reported that as Joe Arpaio`s federal case
headed to trial this spring, the President asked Attorney General Jeff
Sessions whether it would be possible for the government to drop the
criminal case against Arpaio but was advised that would be inappropriate.
So the president appears to just have pardoned Arpaio instead, arguing
today that previous presidents have pardoned far worse people.
Now, when we come back I`ll be speaking to someone who knows Arpaio`s
record better than almost anyone, the man who successfully brought the
Justice Department case against Arpaio joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOU DOBBS, FOX NEWS: The idea that you`re criticized in some quarters for
enforcing the law, I mean what – how do you react to that?
JOE ARPAIO, FRM. MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF: Well, you know, they call you
KKK. They did me. I think it`s an honor, right? It means you`re doing
DOBBS: Just saw the right people…
ARPAIO: It means we`re doing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s worth taking a moment to consider who exactly President Trump
pardoned on Friday night and his record. Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff
Joe Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for ignoring a court order to
stop illegally targeting and detaining Latinos. Arpaio is an unrepentant
birther conspiracy theorist who once staged an assassination attempt
against himself to boost his profile.
As sheriff, he erected an open-air tent city jail, which he blithely
referred to, his words, as a concentration camp where prisoners ate worse
than prison dogs, suffered in temperatures that hit more than 115 degrees,
sometimes melting the bottoms of their sneakers. They worked on chain
gangs in old fashioned stripe uniforms, faced abuse, and died in custody at
abnormally high rates.
Arpaio had journalists who covered him critically arrested in the middle of
the night. And that move resulted in a $3.75 million settlement against
County taxpayers have also paid $70 million to defend his racial profiling.
And from 1998 to 2010, the county paid $13 million to inmates and their
relatives for injury and death claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Sheriff Joe, what a great guy. Sheriff Joe! I love you, Sheriff
Joe. What a great guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, the man who as assistant attorney general brought
the successful lawsuit against Arpaio for targeting Latinos, Democratic
National Committee Chair Tom Perez.
First, explain why the government brought the case it did against Arpaio.
TOM PEREZ, DNC CHAIRMAN: He repeatedly abused his authority. He was
racially profiling Latinos. He was arresting people and detaining people
without probable cause. He was retaliating against people who complained
against his practices. He engaged in unlawful practices in the jail
And one of the other things we found, Chris, that is often underreported is
that we found roughly 400 cases that involved allegations of rape, other
serious crimes that went uninvestigated, because he had this focus on
making sure abuelita had her papers.
And so, we found in our investigation – and I`ll note that the initial
inquiry was opened in June of 2008. George W. Bush was the president when
the initial inquiry was open.
HAYES: I didn`t know that.
PEREZ: And under my watch is when we issued the letter of finding that
resulted in a lengthy proceeding. And there was a parallel proceeding
filed by private plaintiffs and the same findings were adjudicated by a
court, which is that he repeatedly abused his authority, engaged in
policing. He is a disgrace to law enforcement.
HAYES: This is what the president said today, and I want you to respond to
this – you sort of did here, but take a listen to what the president said
about Obama people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down
with their about big decision to go get him right before the election
voting started, as you know, and he lost in fairly close election. He
would have won the election, but they just hammered him just before the
election. I thought that was a very, very unfair thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Was is it politically motivated.
PEREZ: Of course not.
Why don`t we talk about the facts, Chris. The initial inquiry was opened
in June of 2008 under the watch of George W. Bush. When we investigated,
one of the reasons we didn`t release our letter of findings until December
of 2011 was because they fought us tooth and nail. They wouldn`t give us
access to information. We actually had to go to court and file a lawsuit
to get access to information. And so, 2011 was when we issued our letter
And so this case had an eight or nine-year shelf life to it because they
continued to fight and fight and fight. And this pardon is really
unconscionable, because, you know, frankly prejudice doesn`t deserve a
pardon. And this is really an affront to all law enforcement who are
trying to do our job.
What I think I remember the most about this case, Chris, was a deputy
sheriff who said to our
investigative team and this isn`t Tom Perez speaking, this was the deputy
sheriff speaking, Joe Arpaio constructed a wall of distrust between the
sheriff`s office and the community.
That was the wall that he built, and it was a wall that was a terrible
wall. It wasn`t safe for policing and it was terrible for the community.
HAYES: Final question about The Washington Post reporting this weekend
which I thought was remarkable, that the president asked Jeff Sessions can
we just drop the case.
Eric Holder tweeting a number of times over the six years President Obama
called me to ask
me about dropping the case. Zero.
What does that say to you?
PEREZ: Again, this president has no idea about the notion of the
independence of the Department of Justice.
Remember, what he said to Comey when he was FBI director. Hey, can you go
light on my
Then you have this situation, hey, Mr. Attorney General, you ought to drop
this case. That is an abuse of power. That is unconscionable. As Eric
Holder said earlier today, that never happened under Mr. Barack Obama.
I entered the Justice Department when George Herbert Walker Bush was
president. I`m confident that George Herbert Walker Bush never asked that
of Dick Thornberg.
HAYES: Alright. DNC chair, former DOJ lawyer Tom Perez, thanks for being
PEREZ: Thank you.
HAYES: I want to play for you the president`s explanation tonight, earlier
today, of why he thought that attention would be garnered by his timing of
Joe Arpaio and the role that ratings played.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of people think it was
the right thing to do, John, and in the middle of a hurricane, even though
it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than
they would be normally. The hurricane was just starting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Always with his eye on the ball.
Still to come, the growing constellation of legal issues facing key players
in Trump world. What today`s latest revelations mean ahead.
And, the last word on how the Gorka era ended, tonight`s Thing One, Thing
Two, which you do not want to miss, next.
Thing One tonight, short-lived era of the alpha male.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN GORKA, FMR DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT: The message I have is
a very simple one. It`s a bumper sticker, Sean. The era of the pajama boy
is over January 20th and the alpha males are back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sebastian Gorka, a controversial deputy assistant to the president,
who had a host of batty theories and extremely questionable credentials,
was not at the White House today.
Late Friday, the Federalist reported that it got a scope that deputy
assistant to the president, Sebastian Gorka had resigned, publishing
portions of his alleged resignation letter.
But within an hour a White House official gave the press the following
statement, “Sebastian Gorka did not resign but I can confirm he no long
works at the White House.”
So, did he resign or was he fired? Gorka is standing by his story, even
trying to discredit the White House statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORKA: To have a lowly official in the comms shop basically lie about how
I left the White
House, that`s disappointing. It`s disturbing. The fact of the matter, as
was reported in the Federalist and
elsewhere after the Afghan speech, I decided it`s time to resign and
support the president from the outside more effectively. I told General
Kelly, I requested a meeting with him and I informed him both over the
phone and via email on Friday that as of that day I am resigning. Those are
the facts of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Are those the facts of the matter? We have some documentary
evidence from the White House, an email entitled “Staff, do not admit
That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Much like Steve Bannon before him, Sebastian Gorka continues to
voluntarily left the White House, despite White House officials saying he
did not resign.
We have some new information about what happened Friday night. Over an hour
before the Federalist broke the news reporting Gorka resigned, there was
already an order from the White House
security system not to let Gorka into the building.
All In has obtained an email that circulated among the Secret Service at
6:45 p.m. stating, “JOC, Secret Service Joint Operations Center. Please
notify officers of the following staff DNA, do not admit
Sebastian Gorka, Executive Office of the president, blue pass holder. He
has been made a do not admit in WAVES,” that`s the White House entry
system, “and his pass has been deactivated.”
And a follow-up email was sent at 7:14 p.m. entitled, Additional
Information: “Staff Do Not Admit Gorka.” Adding, “Mr. Gorka is more than
likely still in position of his PIV and the White
House pass as his DNA status was performed without him being on complex.”
We spoke with two former White House staff members who said an email like
this is not remotely normal, saying they had never seen a directive like
this for an employee voluntarily departing.
This does not prove that Gorka was fired, but he is definitely not allowed
It seems the era of sub Gorka at the White House is over.
HAYES: Police have now charged three more people after the violent attacks
against counter protesters in Charlottesville a little over two weeks ago.
Daniel Patrick Borden and Alex Micheal Ramos have both been charged with
malicious wounding after the brutal beating of Deandre Harris in a parking
garage next to the Charlottesville police department.
Borden and Ramos were both identified after footage of the attack spread on
Another incident also caught on tape went unnoticed until the ACLU found
the footage and gave it to the FBI. It shows a white supremacist of the
Charlottesville rally yelling the N word, pulling out a handgun and firing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a gunshot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Walking away post the line of police there. Police identified the
shooter as a Baltimore resident, Richard Wilson Preston. The Associated
Press say he was arrested Saturday in
Maryland charged with discharging a firearm within a thousand feet of a
He was identified in news reports as imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan
chapter in Maryland.
The city of Charlottesville has now instigated an independent review of
what happened during the white supremacist rally and how they responded.
Answers for which cannot come soon enough.
HAYES: New developments tonight in the special council`s investigation of
the Trump campaign and Russia.
Robert Mueller`s team is looking into President Donald Trump`s role in
crafting a response to published article about a meeting with the Russians
and his son Donald Jr., three sources familiar with the matter told NBC
A person familiar with Mueller`s strategy said that whether or not Trump
made a knowingly
false statement is now of interest to prosecutors.
This news coming from amid the reports The Washington Post and New York
Times detailing efforts for the Trump team to cooperate with the Russian
As the possible legal ramifications for all this, Barbara McQuade, former
US attorney, and Paul Butler, former prosecutor who specialized in cases of
public corruption. Both join me now.
Paul, let me start with you. There are so many signals to me it appears
about how seriously they`re taking the obstruction part of this. There`s
the, what happened with the Russians and then did he obstruct justice.
What do you make of the news reporting from NBC News that they`re
interested in this statement?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTER: Why does Donald Trump keep denying
he had all of these dealings with the Russians. He denied it with regard to
business and he denied it with regard to politics.
There`s nothing illegal if you`re a real estate developer trying to start a
business some place. It sounds like consciousness of guilt to a prosecutor.
Sounds like he`s trying to cover up.
Mueller may be like, I don`t know what you`re trying to cover up, but it
sure sounds like something.
HAYES: Barbara, that statement again, the reporting indicated that
essentially on the flight back from his big trip to Europe the president
personally wrote the statement that Don Jr. gave, which again, to remind
everyone, was basically entirely false, even if not in a technical sense,
in what it
communicated about the meeting. We talked about adoption. It wasn`t a
campaign issue. It left all of that stuff out.
What would be the legal of the president personally intervening to create
guess that false
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it`s not a crime to make a
false statement to the public or
the media of course.
HAYES: No. I`ve learned that the hard way, Barbara.
MCQUADE: What it shows is there is a willful intent by the president to
mislead investigators and others about what`s going on in the Russia
investigation. And that`s a really critical element of the offense, because
not what he did but what was on his mind is an important part of Robert
HAYES: Here`s my take away from the reporting we have. There`s two
channels here. Theres like what is legally chargeable or what is a
violation of a crime and what is weird and aberrant behavior.
Here`s my takeaway. You got Satter going back and forth to the Russians.
Micheal Cohen going back and forth to the Russians. In June you`ve got a
meeting at Trump Tower, we`re going to give you dirt.
Given all of that, when the DNC e-mails come out and people start saying
Russia did this, it just seems like there`s no way they did not know
exactly what was going on.
BUTLER: Because we have this constant eagerness by Trump operatives to be
hooked up with the Russians. What can you do for me with regard to building
my tower, and with that meeting with Trump Jr. and Kushner, what can you
do, how can you hook us up in regard to the campaign.
It`s not smoking gun evidence of collusion yet, which would be something
like conspiring to hack e-mails.
HAYES: Or to release them at a certain time or something like that.
BUTLER: But what we do have is motive, wanting to win the election and we
have means, all
of these shadowy channels of communications.
HAYES: Channels that are already established that could be used for that
end should that be what they want to pursue.
BUTLER: And the investigation is just getting started.
HAYES: So Barbara, I want to ask you about the legal status of a
Donald Trump, the day after the RNC, and this is when the DNC e-mails have
just leaked, he looks in the camera and says Russia if you`re listening, I
hope you can find Hillary Clinton`s deleted 33,000 e-mails.
Now, later he would say that was joking. But in some ways it almost seems
possible that he meant that very seriously. Like, I literally know that
you`re looking to help me and I`m telling you right now what would help me
MCQUADE: It seems almost too obvious because he said it to the whole
world, but when you put it in context it seems that the timing is such that
he did know what was going on with Russia and e-mails at that time.
One of the things that the prosecutor will do and I`m sure Robert Mueller`s
team is doing is building a time line of all of these events as they`re
learning more and more facts, they`re putting
additional pieces on the time line so that at some point they can see what
the narrative actually is and what it all means.
Even though he said that blatantly, I`ve used evidence of people making
public statements or statements they`ve used in political debates as
evidence of a crime. Just because he said it publicly doesn`t mean it`s
HAYES: That is interesting because in some ways the publicness of it seems
exculpatory, like if he was actually trying to collude with Russia he
wouldn`t say it in front of everyone. But, he might just say it in front
BUTLER: When you do these public corruption cases as I`ve prosecuted with
the Department of Justice, you can never be surprised with really how dumb
folks can be.
You would think when they have these high level positions they wouldn`t
make gray level mistakes but they do all of the time.
Here`s why Donald Trump is in an unenviable position. If he`s a subject of
this grand jury investigation, that is if he`s a target, that means at some
point he`ll be subject to being impeached.
But if he`s not, if he`s just a subject, then he will be asked to come in
and testify at some point by Robert Mueller, and then he`s going to have to
come clean, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing by the truth. He
has a hard time doing that.
HAYES: Barbara, that`s going to be an amazing moment and a legal battle if
you try to get the President of the United States to come to your grand
MCQUADE: Well, it could happen. Bill Clinton had to testify before a grand
jury and I think
it`s a great point that Paul makes. President Trump as we have seen enjoys
puffing and doesn`t always tell the exact truth. But when you`re under oath
in front of the grand jury telling is truth is critically important. If you
don`t tell the truth, that in itself is a crime.
HAYES: He`s got a lot of experience in depositions I should say.
Barbara McQuade, Paul Butler, thanks for joining us.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening Rachel.
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