All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/29/17 Trump is stronger than the Storm
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: August 29, 2017
Guest: Neera Satija, Sheila Jackson Lee, Chris Christie
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: All right, and we are against to the end of
the show. Thanks for joining us. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We won`t say
congratulations. We don`t want to do that. We don`t want to congratulate.
We`ll congratulate each other when it is all finished.
HAYES: The President visits Texas in the middle of the most extreme rain
event in U.S. history.
TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. What a crowd. What a turnout.
HAYES: My guest tonight, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the storm
and the President.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I own the truth and we have a
friendship for 15 years.
HAYES: Then the latest news on the Russia investigation with the ranking
member of the House Intelligence Committee. And a new case for the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answer to the question, should there be an
impeachment inquiry was, duh!
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Hurricane Harvey is
now the most extreme rain event in U.S. history. With more than 51 inches
falling in some areas as catastrophic flooding has left hundreds of
thousands without power and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.
And the rain is not stopping. Now, in Houston, the nation`s fourth largest
city, reservoirs are overflowing, infrastructures degrading as flash flood
warnings remain in effect with officials now moving to open new mega
shelters to accommodate the storm`s victims. Victims who continue to flock
to the city`s now overflowing convention center where thousands have
already sought refuge. Officials and regular citizens have been working
tirelessly around the clock to rescue people and pets stranded by the
The Coast Guard saying it has already rescued more than 3,000 and the job
isn`t getting easier. Bands of heavy rain are expected to persist in parts
of Texas and Louisiana into labor day weekend. NBC News has confirmed five
deaths related to the hurricane. That number is expected to rise as the
waters recede. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo telling A.P., “I`m really
worried about how many bodies we`re going to find.” Among those killed,
Veteran Houston P.D. Officer Steve Perez who died on the job on his vehicle
on a high water.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ART ACEVEDO, HOUSTON POLICE CHIEF: His father-in-law, a Korean war veteran
from the army, combat veteran who told him not to go because the conditions
were so bad. And his response was, we`ve got work to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump today traveled to
Texas for an update on the storm, stopping first in Corpus Christi for a
meeting with local and state officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This was of epic proportion. Nobody has ever seen anything like
this. And I just want to say that working with the governor and his entire
team has been an honor for us. So Governor, again, thank you very much and
we won`t say congratulations. We don`t want to do that. We don`t want to
congratulate. We`ll congratulated each other when it is all finished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The President then appeared in front of cheering supporters at a
Corpus Christie firehouse where he waved a Texas flag making no mention of
the victims of the hurricane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are here to take care. It is going well. And I want to thank
you for coming in. We`re going to get you back and operating immediately.
Thank you, everybody. What a crowd, what a turnout.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The President then toured the Department of Public Safety and
Emergency Operations Center in Austin where he received an update on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Probably there`s never been anything so extensive in our country`s
history, there`s never been anything so historic in terms of damage and in
terms of ferocity as what we witnessed with Harvey. It sounds like such an
innocent name Ben, right, but it`s not innocent, it`s not innocent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Neena Satija who investigate Houston`s hurricane readiness from the
Texas Tribune joins me again via phone tonight. And Neena, I`m seeing
reports that the sun is out for the first time in Houston. Is that right?
NEENA SATIJA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE: It is. It is
very sunny. I`m very grateful for a brief respite in the rain.
HAYES: What – where do things stand right now? It seems like today the
capacity of shelters and things like that were getting to more of a
SATIJA: Yes. Absolutely. You know, we`ve been periodically visiting the
Red Cross shelter downtown and the convention center, the George R. Brown
Center. We had a few thousand people yesterday, it looks like bow, it`s
more than that and they`re now having to open the Toyota Center, which is
right next door to accommodate more evacuees. So certainly, that`s an
HAYES: What does the city need right now? I mean, you`ve got a little
brief respite from the rain. I think there`s going to be a bit more that
hits Houston. What do the next say, 24 hours look like?
SATIJA: You know, I think a lot of people are watching the Addicks and
Barker reservoirs on the west side of the Houston area. Even though it`s
shining – the sun is shining right now, hopefully, we`ll get a respite and
the rain will get as much. Those reservoir levels are continuing to rise.
And you know, areas around the reservoir are flooding. The Army Corps is
having to send water the least water from the reservoir in the
neighborhoods to prevent more flooding. So that`s one really, really big
issue the city is facing. And you know, on top of that, if it continues to
rain, that just makes the situation even worse. More need for high water
rescues. I think the city is trying to make sure that people don`t become
deceived by this sunshine and you know, try to go out and about and spend a
lot of time outside driving because it`s going to rain again.
HAYES: You`ve got about – as I understand, about 30 percent of the metro
area is currently under water. And to your point about those reservoirs, I
mean, you got these kind of brutal choices that the Army Corp and other are
going to have to make about essentially intentionally flooding parts of the
city where there are homes to save from more catastrophic damage. Is that
the sort of calculation?
SATIJA: It is the calculation, yes. And you know, when the Army Corp
built these reservoirs in the 1940s, nobody lived around them. There was
no development around them. Now there is a development around them, so the
Army Corp has to make a calculation about that area as well even though the
reservoirs were (INAUDIBLE) originally just to protect east of them, you
know, downtown Houston, central Houston, west Houston. So it`s a very,
very tough calculation and it`s a political nightmare for them.
HAYES: Right, because they`re going to be affirmatively flooding areas
where people have their lives and livelihoods and homes and possessions.
HAYES: All right, Neena Satija, thanks again for your insight. Stay safe.
SATIJA: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who`s district includes
a large swath over Downtown Houston joins me live from there tonight.
Congresswoman, how are you doing and how are things in Downtown Houston?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Well, Chris, thank you so very much.
Let me, first of all, offer my deepest sympathy to those who lost their
life, their family, whose vehicle, van went over because of the flooding
and lost numbers of members of their family. My deepest sympathy to them
and of course today we lost Sergeant Perez, a Houston Police Officer on his
way to work. And we`ve seen other deaths but we are resilient. And we
pray for those families, we pray for those who`ve been evacuated to our
centers, our shelters, and we`re just showing the toughness of Houston.
I think it is important Chris, to know, which is unusual, we don`t repeat
it often but we are 50 feet below sea level. And all of the patch work
that we`ve tried – and I don`t say patch work out of criticism at this
moment bust reservoirs and the Addicks and Barker dam structure is to be
safe as much as we can. People love living around water, that`s a big
question but we have lakes and we have bayous. And what happened is
something that in the history of Houston and Harris County we`ve never
seen. We`re about to get 50 inches of water. We will hit water between
tonight and tomorrow.
Even though I love the sun coming out for the moment that it did, Chris, I
just came back from areas where we are still trying to rescue people off of
Tidwell and Beltway Eight. I`m trying to get to make sure that our first
responders, meaning, our Coast Guard and Texas National Guard get out to
those areas, C.E. King Area. But the point is that we are standing strong.
We are opening these other shelters and we don`t want to open them unless
we have all of the resources that we need, food, cots, medical care, and
we`re going to do it. And if we get through Thursday, we can begin the
long journey of recovery and that`s where the President and the Congress
comes in. And that`s where we need not one divide, not one moment of
sunlight between our focus to get the dollars here so that people can go on
with their life.
HAYES: Do you have a sense at this point of what kind of scale or scope
you in the metro area are looking at in terms of the level of destruction?
LEE: Well, we know that a vast amount of people and property are
underwater. We know that some downtown structures have not yet opened.
And so, it might be a large assessment of what has happened to those
businesses, for example. That`s the property aspect of it. We know City
Hall is underwater and having to be repaired and we know the housing stock,
from low income to high-income housing have been impacted. So we`re in the
billions by ourselves. We are metropolis between four to six million
people. That`s a wide gap but we continue to grow. The city is 2.3
So Sandy was a request or damaged of $70 billion. That swath of damage
there and of course we pray for them. We think that from Victoria and
Corpus and Rockport that was destroyed. Beaumont hit last night and all of
us, that it will be in the billions and billions of dollars. And we need
those funds coming quickly, but we also need FEMA on the ground dealing
with people who want their homes restored and back in their homes. People
are resilient but Texans love their land, love where we are and certainly
want to stand up to the forces of nature as best we can, recognizing the
challenge that`s we have. We want to be good custodians of what we have.
We want to believe in the environment and then we want to be back on our
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you so much for
joining me. I appreciate it.
I`m joined by someone who has a lot of experience with hurricane damage or
recovery, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. What did you learn from
Sandy that you were thinking about or want to communicate as you watch this
CHRISTIE: Well, a few things that you`ve heard already tonight. There are
stages to this, Chris. And so, right now you`re still in kind of the
rescue stage and trying to make sure that you get the people to safety.
But what you have to be prepared for long before something like this
happens is, where do you put all these folks? And I saw the Congresswoman
mention, we need the utmost supplies. If they don`t have enough of them
already, they`re in trouble. Because trying on get those in now, under
these circumstances, are extraordinarily difficult. So the first part of
this is you got to be prepared for this and over-prepare. The next phase
now is going to be interaction with the federal government and that is not
easy. And it doesn`t matter what administration it is, whether it`s
Republican or Democratic administration, FEMA is FEMA and it`s a tough
agency to work with. They do their best but it`s hard. So the state –
HAYES: People – I mean, people going through – just going through a
flood insurance claims program. It can be a nightmare.
CHRISTIE: It is a nightmare and it is one of the worst running programs in
America, the National Flood Insurance Program. And it committed fraud
against the people of New Jersey and had to repay them the second time. So
you got all kinds of issues there. And then the third part of this is to
remember that what your – what your people are expecting from you is, how
do you return me to some sense of normalcy, right? The way we look at it
in New Jersey Chris, was four things on get done really quickly. First get
power back on, second, get your roads cleared. Third, make sure gasoline
is available for cars and for generators and fourth, get kids back in
school. If you do those four things, you get to more of a sense of
HAYES: The scope here – I mean, the scope here is beyond historic. I
mean, this is record for the continental U.S. No amount – we`ve never
seen this much rainfall. So we`re dealing with a crazy scope. I want to
play for you something that Ted Cruz said because there`s this sort of back
and forth to the Texas delegation and other folks. The Texas delegation
was a kind of geographical locals of folks that voted against that second
Sandy, laid back. I think it was 20 members of that delegation. People
are now, of course, asking Ted Cruz about that naturally. Here what he had
to say. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The problem with that particular bill is it
became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated core. Two-thirds
of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy and what I said then and still
believe now, is that it`s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster
and people are hurting to pay for their own political wish list.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: What was wrong was for Ted Cruz to exploit the disaster for
political gain. And that`s what he was doing. The fact of the matter is,
that is an absolute falsehood that two-thirds of the $50 billion did not go
to Sandy aid. It`s an absolute false. It was untrue when he said that.
And listen, let`s remember what Senator Cruz was trying to do at the time.
He was trying to be the most conservative, the most fiscally conservative
person in the world. And what I said at the time as you might recall is,
someday it`s going to come to Texas. It just does. If you – if you have
a coastal area, or is in a gulf coast, Atlantic and Pacific Coast, a
disaster is going to come to you. And when it does, I`m going to promise
him that New Jersey Congress people will stand up and do the right thing.
HAYES: And Peter King is saying that he`s going to – you know, he`s going
to vote for it. But there`s a proper context here which is back in
Katrina, he got Mike Pence, for the first time it used no offsets for a
disaster funding. It`s an emergency, you got the disaster. It was – in
Katrina, what Mike Pence got on the floor for the House and the Congress
and he said, it breaks my heart but I don`t want to break my
grandchildren`s heart. We need offsets. That – based that precedent, do
you expect the Vice President to tow that line this fall?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I hope he doesn`t.
HAYES: It would be wrong for him –
CHRISTIE: It would be wrong to do that. Listen, the fact is that this is
what the federal government is there for.
CHRISTIE: It put everything else aside and we have all kinds of
philosophical arguments. But if you`re not there for this, then what the
hell are you doing?
HAYES: Let me ask you on the broader question, right? We got – there are
60 million people under water in Bangladesh and India right now. One of
the things we know about climate models, we don`t know about hurricanes. A
lot have debate about that but we know there`s more flooding. There just
this, sea level rise, huge water events. A week before this storm the
President revoked an Obama era directive that required federal agencies to
factor climate change into their flood preparation. Is that a mistake?
CHRISTIE: Listen, I think that what we`ve done in New Jersey in the
aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is to say, we got to react to new realities.
HAYES: That may be true in – that may be true in New Jersey but the
federal government and this president –
CHRISTIE: Well, what I`m saying is for whatever the cause is. And I think
what happens here is this gets really politicized Chris, and people want to
argue about the cause, about what`s causing this. What we know in New
Jersey now is that our homes, if you`re going to be along the coast, it has
to be higher. We have to raise our homes, we have to be account for zoning
HAYES: All that`s true – all that is true. I`m asking you, is that a
mistake? The President did that. It`s (INAUDIBLE) directive. It says,
look, you should look into this. You got the climate models, this isn`t
some sort of crazy voodoo we`re casting here.
CHRISTIE: I think what we`ve seen over the course of the last number of
years was Sandy and Katrina and now Harvey tells us it that it has to be
taken into account. We have to take to this stuff into account –
HAYES: So it was a mistake.
CHRISTIE: Well, sure. And – but you know, the fact is, why it gets –
why mistakes are made like this, is because they get overly politicized –
they get overly politicized by both sides. But it doesn`t mean that it`s
not a mistake but my point to you is we`ve all got to stop arguing about
cause and look at effect.
HAYES: Wait. OK. But that`s a perfect example of the psychology there,
right? Because you`re talking about it getting overly politicized. It`s
not like that directive didn`t go down to say like, you dumb conservatives.
It was a directive that came down because it thought, look, we`re going to
have more flooding, we should do this. The revocation of it strikes me as
the kind of thing that`s like, well, I`m going to stick it to the liberals
by revoking this at the cost of what?
CHRISTIE: And my point to you is that`s the climate that has been created
– political climate that`s been created by both sides over the course of -
HAYES: That`s a very passive construction though.
CHRISTIE: No, it`s not passive construction
HAYES: That been created.
CHRISTIE: Sure. It`s been created by both sides. So I can put it –
listen, I`m glad you`re the first person who ever accused me of being
passive. I should come on this show more.
HAYES: The construction – the construction – wait, I want to talk about
– there`s a lot more to talk about. Stick around, we`ll talk about that
right after this break. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: Still with me here at the table, Governor Chris Christie talking
Harvey and the Trump administration. I want to ask about something that
happened on Friday night as the storm was bearing down. You`re a former
CHRISTIE: Yes Sir.
HAYES: You worked for the Justice Department. The President pardoned Joe
Arpaio, Sheriff of the Maricopa County. A lot of people were very critical
of that, particularly people who worked for law enforcement or worked in
the rule of law, who know how hard it is to get a criminal conviction for
contempt. Did the president make the right call?
CHRISTIE: You know, I talked to the President about this. And I said to
him, you know, if feel really strongly about it personally, it`s your call.
I mean, I –
HAYE: Well, that`s on the constitutional matter.
CHRISTIE: Right. You know, the conversation was extensive. But what I –
but in the end, listen. I think that the pardon power should be used very,
very sparingly. I think it`s an awesome power. I`ve used it as governor
to pardon people who are involved in previous drug addiction offenses and
people have changed their lives. I think a key part of this is, has the
person changed their life and have they changed what caused them to do it?
HAYES: The answer there is no.
CHRISTIE: Certainly it does appear to me. But in the end, you know, he`s
got to make those calls and you got to be held responsible for him as the
executive for making those calls. And what the person will do after you
HAYES: Well, normally he`s 85 years old and he got voted out and loss by
13 points. But the message your sending. So there`s two message, right?
There`s the sort of rule of law question for someone who has criminal
contempt for unconstitutional policing but also to the Latino that live
there where you know, Sheriff Joe was growling around demanding papers of
people in violation of the constitution as found by two different judges.
For the President to come out and say he was protecting the people and to
pardon him, like what message does that send to people?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, it`s a message that –
HAYES: Two weeks after Charlottesville.
CHRISTIE: It`s the message that the President has sent through his whole
campaign. Now, you know when I ran for president, I disagreed with the
building of the wall, I disagreed with the Muslim ban. I think these
things are very, very harmful to the spirit of the country. And so, you
know, listen, but that`s – you know, that`s one of the reasons I ran
HAYES: Right. But then then, what`s on the other side of the ledger?
CHRISTIE: Well, I mean, what`s the question?
HAYES: Meaning like, well, these things are destructive to the spirit of
America, harmful to the spirit of America.
CHRISTIE: That`s my view.
HAYES: But on the other – but on the plus side, he X, Y, and Z.
CHRISTIE: No, listen. From Trump`s perspective, from Trump`s perspective,
he believes that that type of enforcement – he disagrees with the courts
and the judges, he believes that types of enforcement is effective. What
I`ve said all along is, you can be an effective enforcer of immigration
laws acting within the constitution. And that`s what we should be doing.
HAYES: But – I guess my question is, you`re talking about these things on
Muslim ban, you`ve – lining up these things, like the Muslim ban, the
pardon of Joe Arpaio, the building of the wall, Mexicans are rapists. You
ran against them when he was saying that, right? You`ve got a comments
about Charlottesville, right? Violence on both sides, also I think you
disagree with. At a certain point, it adds up to someone whose world view
really does seem to be precisely shot through with bigotry, right?
CHRISTIE: Yes – now, I just don`t agree with that because I`ve known him
for 15 years, and I know it isn`t. I mean, you could disagree with him
philosophically. He doesn`t believe –
HAYES: But you understand why that testimony doesn`t stand? You just say,
well, I know him but it`s like, well, I`m a U.S. citizen. I just – I just
see what the President says. And what he says is after a bunch of neo-
Nazis chanted blood and soil, there were some decent people there.
CHRISTIE: Listen. And I think he made a big mistake saying that. I said
that. But it`s different – listen, the charge of bigotry Chris, is one of
the most base, awful charges you can make about a person. And I`m just
telling you that I don`t think you have nearly enough information to make
that charge. I just don`t think you do. I think I do for knowing him 15
years and I don`t think there`s a bigoted bone in Donald Trump`s body. You
guys disagree philosophically on how the laws are being enforced.
HAYES: The guy just went out and said, a person who was unconstitutionally
demanding the papers of Latinos after he started his campaign and saying
Mexico is sending rapists which is not true in a real sense, right? This
person who in the middle of that said that neo-Nazi marching were fine
people like at a certain the point I don`t care what`s in his body or what
his bones are, it`s a question of what the public record is, right? Like,
is there some way you can make that determination without knowing someone
for 15 years?
CHRISTIE: But the fact of the matter is, that he disagrees with the
premise of your question. He does not believe that Arpaio`s actions were
unconstitutional. He disagrees what the court is finding. And so you
can`t subsume that answers the question Chris and then say, well, therefore
that makes it bigotry. He doesn`t believe it is unconstitutional.
HAYES: You`re saying – you`re making un-rebuttable contention which
you`re saying, I know the guy for 15 years. I`m saying that – you do know
him better than I do. I believe that you when you say I don`t think he`s
bigoted. What I`m saying is, there`s this whole big country out here of
people that do not know the President of the United States. What they see
is how the President says things and they see the actions that he takes.
And those things add up to a very reasonable conclusion about what his
CHRISTIE: Well, two things. First, that`s why I said the comments after
Charlottesville were a mistake, that`s why I said that the rhetoric around
the wall, that things were a mistake. I think they`re a mistake not only
because I think they`re divisive which I said before but also because I
don`t think he`s giving an accurate portrayal of who I know him to be. So
I think that`s a mistake. Now, second part is, the country is going to
have to meet these judgments. He`s now placed himself in a position as
President of the United States where whether you know him well or not,
everyone is going to have an opinion about you.
HAYES: Yes. He`s the President. That`s right.
CHRISTIE: OK. What I`m saying is he`s placed himself in that position, so
he`s not going to have to live with the ramification to that.
HAYES: All right. I want to ask you another thing. The President says a
lot of untrue things all the time. That just a document effect and I`m not
going to say I know what`s in his mind and say he`s lying but you have to
know his state of mind but yesterday he said like, Finland is buying a
bunch of F-18s. They`re not buying any F-18. That`s like a perfect little
micro example of these untruth that come out all of the time. It`s tiring,
it`s fatiguing. It`s bizarre to have a President who utters untrue things
this much. Don`t you agree?
CHRISTIE: Well, I don`t want you to be tired or fatigued Chris because –
HAYES: I don`t want anyone –
CHRISTIE: You can keep your energy high –
HAYES: No, but that`s the truth is, right? Like how do you deal with
CHRISTIE: Listen, people – listen people in public life often say things
that turn out not to be true. Listen, I remember President Obama saying,
if you like your doctor, you can keep them if you like your policy then
CHRISTIE: Wait a second, that turned out to be – it doesn`t make it any
less untrue. It turned out to be demonstrably untrue.
HAYES: Barack Obama did not routinely state mistruth about easily
verifiable, checkable things as a matter of course, for instance, the 3
million people who illegally voted. It is simply not the case, he did.
I`m not saying he was always truthful, of course, he was not. He said
untrue things. Absolutely. It is different. It really is. I mean –
CHRISTIE: I know you feel like it`s different.
HAYES: You really think it isn`t? You actually don`t –
CHRISTIE: This is– this is what I feel. I feel like the intensity of the
coverage of this President, for now, seven months or so, a little over
seven months, has been exhausting. Like I watch, you guys I watch, some of
the other networks, it feels like this president has been going off for
four years already not seven months.
HAYES: Yes. But he likes that, he likes that.
CHRISTIE: Well, I`m not saying that he doesn`t like all the attention.
HAYES: He does a lot of it.
CHRISTIE: He likes the attention.
HAYES: He`s driving a lot of them.
CHRISTIE: Of course. But part of it is the exhaustion that some people
feel and I understand that exhaustion is not just because of him. I think
it`s also because of the intensity of the coverage of every little thing
that goes on which I haven`t seen with previous presidents. Now I`m not
saying that even – I`m not even saying that`s even a bias. I think – I
think it was the same thing with George W. Bush and often times with Barack
Obama. This is even more intense than either one of those.
HAYES: I just feel like there`s this fundamental level. Let me sort of
ask you this because it`s concrete, right? So you`re the Chair of the
CHRISTIE: Yes sir.
HAYES: OK. 60,000 American died. Let`s stipulate that if ISIS killed
60,000 Americans, we would have constitutional governance suspended and we
will be under martial law forever –
CHRISTIE: As I said in the report, it`s a 9/11 every three years.
HAYES: OK, your number one top line recommendation is to declare a state
of emergency which is an actual statutory declaration that has actual legal
consequences. What can you mobilize? Now, the President says he`s not
going to do it at first.
CHRISTIE: Well, he never said it, Secretary Price did.
HAYES: Price did. Now, they had this meeting bizarrely when you`re not
there. You`re in Italy on vacation. They had this meeting down at
HAYES: OK, fine. But it`s weird you`re not there. Like you did the
CHRISTIE: Yes. It`s true, weird. I mean, I was on vacation.
HAYES: I know, but still weird, still weird. Then he gets asked about the
emergency declaration. And he gets up and says, yes, we`re drawing –
we`re drawing papers up. And there`s no papers still.
CHRISTIE: It should be done.
HAYES: But it`s like that`s what I`m talking about. That is precisely
what I`m talking about. Why don`t –why does he do that? Why does he say
he`s going to do it if he doesn`t do it?
CHRISTIE: No, it is being done. That I know. There`s a lot of debate
inside the administration about which way to do it. We presented him with
two different options. Now, I`ve been an executive now for nearly eight
years and there are times when the people who have work for me frustrate
me. I think it`s time for the White House – seriously, I think it`s –
the President is not a lawyer and he`s not (INAUDIBLE) stuff up himself,
but I think it`s time for the President and the White House staff to get on
this. And for the President to demand that they get papers in front him so
he can sign it. I absolutely agree with that.
HAYES: It`s an emergency, it`s an emergency.
CHRISTIE: Listen, when a 9/11 is happening every three weeks, in our
country, it is an emergency. We need to open up these beds in Medicaid bed
immediately. We need to be getting people in treatment. We need to make
sure that –
HAYES; Massively expand the capacity of treatment as you mention –
CHRISTIE: Absolutely. And we need on get more medication assisted
treatment. We need to make sure that no lock zone is in every law
enforcement officer`s hands, state, local, federal, county and federal in
this country so no one dies unnecessarily.
HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) of the administered to stop –
CHRISTIE: It is the antidote for heroin. They preferred opioid overdose.
We need to do this things, Chris. And I feel very strong about it. You
saw how I were with that report is. And I made it very clear to my friend
the President, we need to get moving on this.
HAYES: He`s probably watching so – thank you, Governor.
CHRISTIE: Thank you, Chris. I`m happy to be here.
HAYES: All right, a lot more ahead. Stick around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bankruptcy was a broken promise. Why should the
voters believe the promises that you`re telling them right now?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, like many other very big businessmen I could
name them here, but I`m not going to do that for a lot of obvious reasons.
But the biggest, and almost all of them, they`ve all used the chapter
laws, the bankruptcy laws, to their own benefit. Before this, I was a very
successful person as a developer and as a businessman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: By the third Republican primary debate, then candidate Trump was
already the frontrunner. But he wasn`t quite ready to leave his business
career behind. On that exact same day, that one you saw right there, the
president signed a letter of intent with a Russian developer to license his
name for a new Trump Tower in Moscow, that`s according to Michael Cohen, an
executive of the president`s company and his long-time personal attorney.
And it is the latest shocking revelation following the news first reported
by The Washington Post the Trump organization was seeking a deal
actively in the Russian capital while the chief executive was running for
president of the United States and leading the field.
Cohen told The Wall Street Journal he discussed the deal with Trump himself
on three separate
occasions. He said he identified their partner on the project as Moscow-
based IC Expert Investment Co, which is financed, according to Mother
Jones, by a Russian bank subject to U.S. sanctions.
Now, six days after candidate Trump signed that letter of intent, another
business associate, a Russian-born ex-con, emailed Cohen about the deal`s
potential impact on the campaign as The Times reported yesterday, writing,
“I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.”
Though the project ultimately stalled, it represents yet another effort by
the president`s allies to cooperate with the Russian government or its
agents during the campaign.
We now know of three such efforts including Donald Trump Jr.`s meeting with
a Russian lawyer who was presented as having government supplied dirt on
Hillary Clinton. The president`s son has now agreed on a date to be
interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, though that has yet to be
Then the reported attempts by Peter W. Smith, a Republican activist and
donor who claimed ties to the campaign to obtain Clinton`s deleted emails
from Russian hackers. Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the
House Intelligence Committee, on what all of this means to the Russia
investigation, right after this break.
(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 away.
I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person
that I deal with does.
I am not involved in Russia. No loans, no nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Congressman Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House intelligence
committee. Let me start with this, given what we`ve learned and what you
have access to, is the president telling the truth when he says that?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, Chris, I can only comment on what
is revealed publicly, but clearly and publicly the president was not being
truthful about that.
I think the significance - there are several layers of significance to
these latest developments, the first is that the president had a financial
interest, a potential financial interest in doing business with Russia
during the course of the presidential campaign. And that financial
interest may have caused the president to have a pro-Russian foreign policy
during the campaign.
But the second point is the one that you mention, you bring up, which is
the president was being less than truthful about pursuing business with
Russia during the campaign. This is part of a pattern we have seen not
only with the president, but with his son and with others, being less than
truthful when it comes to Russian ties.
Of course, probably most significant is both the president and his son,
dissembling about the purpose of that meeting that the son and others and
the campaign had with Russian representatives, which they claimed was about
adoptions when wasn`t.
And finally, Chris, I would say that it is also significant that Michael
Cohen should issue a statement about this today during the storm. This is
an effort, I think, once again to get this information out in a way that
they can try to frame what it means or hide what it means during the storm.
We early on in this part of the public record had requested information
from Mr. Cohen. When that wasn`t sufficiently forthcoming we had to
subpoena the information. And Mr. Cohen is now choosing this time to make
a public statement about how he would like that information to be seen.
HAYES: Are you convinced that the subject of the back and forth from Felix
Sater, who is an associate of the president, and has done some deals with
him, who is a Russian-born ex-con, and Michael Cohen, the president`s
personal attorney, that what they were really wanting to do was build a
tower in Moscow, that was actually the object that they were engaged in.
SCHIFF: Well, you know just looking at the public record, if these reports
are accurate, and I can`t comment on any materials we may or may not have.
But if the public reports are accurate and they sought to build a tower in
Russia, obviously that`s a major financial undertaking that would - in
which the Trump organization would derive a considerable mount of economic
wealth or it would have a sufficient economic interest to make it
That was ample reason for the president to adopt a very pro Russian policy.
Particularly at that stage of the campaign when the president doesn`t know
whether he`ll win or lose, when he may derive benefit from whatever it does
to his brand by running for president.
But also, if he were to lose the election, at least he`d have the benefit
of saying nice things about
Russia and having a pro Russia policy that might help him do business with
them in the future.
HAYES: I want to ask you about the timing and what you make of it. The
three bits of information which we`ve got, which are these e-mails about
the letter of intent and the deal and the pursuit of the deal which is
happening during that primary period. And then of course that meeting in
Trump Tower with Donald Jr. and Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner with
someone who says they`re a Russian government agent with dirt on Hillary
All of that happens before the DNC hacks are made public. What do you make
of that timing?
SCHIFF: I think it is significant that what the Russians did, particularly
in that meeting with Don Jr. and Paul Manafort and others was very much
consistent with Russian trade craft and Jared Kushner. Very much consistent
in a sense that the Russians use oligarchs and cutouts to give themselves
some level of deniability.
They want to test, do we have a willing recipient of information of our
help? And, if so, would it make sense for to us deliver negative
information about Hillary Clinton?
And if so, how should we do it? How much deniability do we need? What`s the
And of course they got a lot of that information at that meeting. Yes, the
Trump campaign would love it. Late summer is the best timing. That`s when
the e-mails begin to be dumped.
So it is very consistent with trade craft. But even the business deal, the
potential dangling of a
business deal over this Trump Tower is also consistent with what the
Russians do both in terms of legitimate transactions and illegitimate
transactions as a way of exerting influence over people they think might
influence U.S. policy. And, who could do that more then a candidate for
HAYES: I want to ask you something that seems first, perhaps half
unrelated, which is the president`s first pardon of Joe Arpaio, who is a
political alley. A person the president apparently reportedly asked Jeff
Sessions if the government could drop it`s case against.
You had some reaction to that. How do you think that pardon will resonate
with people that are currently under criminal investigation in the Russian
SCHIFF: Well you know a couple of things, first, if the president was
soliciting input from the DOJ about whether they could drop the case about
Arpaio is consistent with Jame`s Comey`s testimony
about what he tried to do with Michael Flynn.
But beyond that, this pardon in the midst of the case, because of course
the case against Arpaio wasn`t over yet, he hadn`t even been sentenced
yet, sends a message I think which very likely delivered to other people,
if you have my back, if you stick with me, I will protect you. In fact, I
won`t even wait until criminal proceedings are over to use the pardon
That`s very threatening, and not just to our investigation, but to the
whole system of checks and
balances. If the President of the United States can say basically, you can
ignore the constitution if you`re on my side. And if you`re doing things,
even if you`re racially profiling, that I approve of, I will pardon you,
that tears apart our system of checks and balances.
And for one thing, I know a lot of people and the governor were suggesting
that this power
is more or less absolute. It`s not absolute.
You cannot read this power in a way that would allow a construction as
negating other parts of
the constitution, which it would if you read it as giving the president the
ability to say, hey, law enforcement, you can ignore the constitution and
if you do, I`ll pardon you.
HAYES: That`s a very interesting point from Congressmen Adam Schiff.
Thanks for being here tonight.
SCHIFF: Thanks Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, making the case for congress to open a formal
inquiry into the possible impeachment of President Trump. My interview with
Lawfare editor and chief Ben Wittes on why he says now is the time, ahead.
And signs you may have a crowd complex in Thing One, Thing Two, Next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, what a crowd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank you for
coming out. We`re going to get you back and operating immediately.
Thank you everybody. What a crowd. What a turn out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This president`s obsession with crowd size no secret.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, nobody has crowds like we do. Nobody.
I set a record. I had crowds like, well, massive crowds.
Did you see that crowd?
The line was like 30 blocks long.
The crowds are amazing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As we`ve learned with this president and this administration, you
cannot take them at their word. Certainly not about crowd sizes.
Take Trump`s remarks at CPAC this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You folks are in here, the place is packed. There are lines that go
back six blocks.
And I tell you that because you won`t read about it, okay.
There are lines that go back six blocks.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Those lines did not exist, as journalists tweeted at the time. And
as for the packed arena, also debatable.
And we`re now learning that the president is so focused on his crowd sizes
that photos like this from his rally in Phoenix last week really bothered
him, and one of his longest serving staffers paid a price for it.
That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Wow, what a crowd! What a crowd!
And just so you know, from the Secret Service, there aren`t too many people
That I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Trump`s first order of business at his Phoenix rally to
say there were lots of
supporters and not many protesters. It wasn`t true, of course. There were
thousands of people protesting outside.
We`re also learning Trump wasn`t satisfied with those inside either.
According to Bloomberg, Trump was in a bad mood backstage after seeing
reporter photos like this from the back of the arena, and while more people
filled in by the time he spoke, Trump was displeased, one person familiar
with the incident said. TV optics and crowd sizes are extremely important
to the president.
According to Bloomberg, Trump directed his anger towards event organizer,
George Gigicos, one of the four longest serving aides to Trump. He didn`t
carry out the punishment himself. Trump later had a top security aide,
Keith Schiller, inform Gigicos that he`d never manage a Trump rally again.
HAYES: For more than two decades, Benjamin Wittes has written about
He was an editorial writer at the Washington Post and is a fellow at the
Brooking Institution, and a co-founder of the Lawfare blog, which has
become a must read during the Trump era.
During George W. Bush`s presidency, Wittes made a name for himself
defending the War on Terror and its policies against its many critics,
particularly civil libertarians.
But this May, Benjamin Wittes went from covering the story to being the
story. After Donald Trump fired James Comey in May, Wittes revealed that
Comey, a personal friend of his, had been
trying to to maintain distance and independence from the president amid the
inquiry into Russia`s interference in the 2016 election, writing that Comey
told him of at least two incidents which he, Comey regarded as efforts on
the part of the president personally to compromise him or implicate him.
And that`s not the only story Wittes is famous for. He`ll often tweet out
tick tick tick in events of the break of a Russia investigation related
And his website Lawfare Blog is read by everyone these days for its
analysis of the current administration.
Now he`s gone further than ever before calling on congress to seriously
In an article co-written with Jane Chong on the Lawfare Blog, Wittes says
it`s time for congress
to start seriously talking about an impeachment inquiry, and he told me the
impetus of the article
has been building for months.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN WITTES, LAWFARE BLOG: It really was a reflection of a larger
sense of serious
questions about the president`s fitness for office, and the urgency of the
question presented itself somewhat in light of Charlottesville.
But I really think you could have written the same piece a week ago, a
month ago, three months ago. You know, this is the consistent pattern of
President Trump`s behavior really since January
20th, has involved conduct that is simply inconsistent with the office of
And that`s across quite a range of activities. And so I don`t think there
was any right moment in time to say, okay, now we`ve crossed the rubicon,
any moment was going to be arbitrary.
HAYES: You use a fitness, and I`ve heard a lot of people talking about
fitness and he is unfit.
That judgment. And I`ve heard it from Republicans, heard it from Democrats,
heard it from people
across the ideological spectrum.
The question becomes is impeachment the appropriate remedy for that state
WITTES: Well, it`s the only remedy. I mean, yes, there is the 25th
amendment. But the 25th amendment is about disability, and the fundamental
question is whether this man is capable of performing the office of
president in a fashion that doesn`t threaten our democratic culture.
And you know, there`s only two mechanisms that we have to evaluate that
question. By far the preferred mechanism is the electoral process. And we
should always be extremely careful about
presuming, as a legislative or non-electoral matter to overturn the results
of a legitimate democratic election.
That said, the impeachment process is there for a reason. And it`s there to
consider acts by somebody in office that are, you know, frankly
inconsistent with the behavior that we rightly expect from people holding
And so I want to turn the question around and ask you, do you think the
president`s behavior sense taking office is consistent with our reasonable
expectations for the office, and do you think if not that the deviations
from those expectations are genuinely threatening to democratic governance
in the United States.
And if the answer to that question is that you don`t think the president`s
conduct is consistent with our reasonable expectations of the presidential
office and that it does threaten democratic governance, what other remedies
do you have other than impeachment?
And so my, I think, modest proposition with Jane in this piece, was that a
reasonable member of congress simply has to be thinking about the
presidential behavior in light of the impeachment clauses of the
That`s not to say that you must impeach and remove him. But if you`re not
thinking about his conduct with reference to the impeachment power, you`re
not doing your job.
HAYES: Are you setting a precedent here, if you go down the path of
impeachment as the remedy, that creates some further unwinding of what is
already a set of very fragile democratic institutions, or seemingly fragile
democratic institutions in the country?
WITTES: So, of course you are. Anytime you invoke a process as rarely
you`re setting potential precedence and the question is are you comfortable
with the precedence that you`re setting.
Let me lay my cards on the table. I am very comfortable with the
proposition that any future
president who engages with his law enforcement apparatus the way this
president has engaged
with his should do so knowing that he may be subject to impeachment as a
I`m extremely comfortable with the proposition that any president who
engages in the
grotesque moral misbehavior that this president has engaged in with respect
to lying about people, making up crimes by his predecessor, slandering the
intelligence community that works for him would do so with some sense that
congress might think about that conduct in light of the impeachment power.
I`m really comfortable with that. I`m really comfortable with the idea that
a future president who
not only fails to do the basic components of his job, like filling the
government with people, you know, in executive branch positions but behaves
in a way that, you know, dozens and dozens and dozens of times his senior
staff and cabinet officers talk about him to the press as though he were a
toddler, might raise a question in the minds of a reasonable member of
congress about whether he should
appropriately be in the office that he was elected to.
So yes, it sends a precedent – sets a precedent potentially.
I`m not uncomfortable with the potential precedence that it might set. This
situation is generally
extraordinary and I hope it would set a precedent that says we will not
tolerate this situation.
HAYES: Final question, does your friend James Comey agree with you?
WITTES: If I knew the answer to that question I wouldn`t answer it.
HAYES: All right. Benjamin Wittes, thanks for making time.
WITTES: My pleasure.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening.
The Rachel Maddow show starts .right now.
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