All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/30/17 The Trump Moscow push

Josh Dawsey, Naveed Jamali, Jill Wine-Banks, Maxine Waters, Dan Rather

Date: August 30, 2017

Guest: Josh Dawsey, Naveed Jamali, Jill Wine-Banks, Maxine Waters, Dan

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Noah, Kaitlin, Philip, thank you. “ALL IN”
with Chris Hayes starts right now.



be disappointed by Congress, do you understand me?

HAYES: President Trump on teleprompter and off his populist message.

TRUMP: We have no choice. We must lower our taxes.

HAYES: Tonight the ever shrinking power of this Presidency with Dan
Rather, Maxine Waters and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson.

Then, as the flood waters and death toll rises in Texas, Congress considers
cutting disaster funding. Plus new developments on the Russia
investigation and what Trump voters think about their pick for President?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why doesn`t he just quit that tweeting?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just needs to learn to mind his Ps and Qs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He couldn`t be any worse at achieving goals in

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We have some breaking
news literally just published a few minutes ago. We had a show that we`re
going to give you and now we`re giving you this because I think this is
extremely significant. It`s an article in the Politico that just published
that says that Robert Mueller whose of course is the Special Counsel who`s
investigating the Russia – leading up the Russia investigation is working
with Eric Schneiderman who is the Attorney General of the State of New
York. And the significance of that as he looks at Paul Manafort`s finances
is that New York State crimes would not be covered by a Presidential
Pardon. Think about that for a second. To explain more on the phone with
me now, the Reporter who broke the story for Politico, Josh Dawsey. Josh,
what have you learned?

Mueller and Eric Schneiderman have worked together in recent weeks, maybe a
couple months or so sharing evidence. Both looking at what their subpoenas
have on unearthed, both of their teams talking to each other at length and
both of them escalating the strategy on Paul Manafort, the former Campaign
Chairman of the Trump Campaign and you know, a very prominent and loyal
backer of the President. It`s unclear right now whether that means state
charges will be filed instead of federal charges but as you noted earlier
on air, the President can pardon for federal crimes, he cannot pardon for
state crimes. So if let`s say, Eric Schneiderman who (INAUDIBLE)
eventually brought charges against Paul Manafort, the President would be
more hand tied than he would be in a federal case.

HAYES: So, I want to just make this very clear for folks. What this –
the subtext here, what`s implicit in this and perhaps explicit in your
reporting is strategizing on the part of Mueller and Schneiderman about the
possibility down the road of Presidential Pardons and the fact, the
possibility of a future pardon will likely be affecting Manafort`s decision
about whether he cooperates with investigators or not.

DAWSEY: I want to be clear with your viewers, we don`t know for exact –
for sure that the two of them have talked about pardon and the strategy.
We do know earlier this summer that Bob Mueller approached Erics
Schneiderman. The two of them have been working in concert. We know that
people close to Manafort say that Mueller has been pressuring him to
cooperate. You know, (INAUDIBLE) son in law, they showed up for a raid at
his house, has taken pretty aggressive tactics to try to get him to

And we know that the President just used a Presidential Pardon on Joe
Arpaio and he stated on Twitter that you know, he would be – he would
consider asserting that Presidential Pardon and he said, no one can
question that. He said, he (INAUDIBLE) plans at a time but no one can
question that power. So a lot of it is more writing on the wall and key
leaks to you on why the cooperation is happening now and the strategy
between the two men who have totally different investigations but in some
way, they may dovetail here in the upcoming weeks and months.

HAYES: And in terms of Manafort and you mentioned this before, I mean, the
amount of pressure he`s under is enormous. FBI predawn raid on his house,
his former business associates including his former attorney we just
learned today being subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury. They are
putting the screws to him unquestionably, right?

DAWSEY: Certainly. 100 percent. That has accelerated in recent weeks.
When he starts talking to someone`s family members and some members of the
house at 6:00 a.m., that`s inevitably a sign that pressure is escalating.
It seems that both of the men, Eric Schneiderman and Bob Mueller have
obtained significant evidence on Paul Manafort. Again, I want to be clear,
we don`t know if it`s enough evidence to bring charges, you know, that`s
obviously not pre-ordained. But both them have significant reams of
evidence. Both of them have subpoenaed his business partners, have looked
into his tax records, have, you know, dug into his family history and
offshore accounts.

Both of them have reams of evidence on Paul Manafort and by cooperating and
joining forces, A, you know, they`re showing each other if the evidence we
have is the evidence you have. The prosecutors are talking about who to
approach, how to approach them, and it seems inevitable that if President
Trump for some reason pardon Paul Manafort proactively or Bob Mueller and
his team became convinced that you know, President Trump was going to
pardon them, that a case could you know, likely proceed in state court.

HAYES: One more thing on this because it seems like important context.
You referred to Eric Schneiderman, of course, he`s a Democrat, he`s the
Attorney General in the State of New York. He has brought cases if I`m not
mistaken against Donald Trump in the past. I think Trump University was in
his cross hairs.

DAWSEY: With a $25 million settlement.

HAYES: That $25 million settlement came out of the case that Schneiderman
brought. And give us a context for the way that Donald Trump feels about
Eric Schneiderman because all I could think of when I wrote your article
ten minutes ago was when the President reads this, he`s going to flip his

DAWSEY: Sure, he`s attacked president – I mean, President Trump has
attacked Eric Schneiderman (INAUDIBLE), calling him a hack, a lightweight
on Twitter, on television. He has attacked him and a bunch more, almost at
anyone, (INAUDIBLE) the New York businessman. He was in Eric
Schneiderman`s dominion and Eric Schneiderman was a perennial thorn in his
side particularly on the Trump University case. The President had you
know, refused to settle, had been deposed, had all his associates and other
people in the company, executives had been subpoenaed and then he won the
Presidency. And then he – after he won`t the Presidency, I think nine
days actually, they settled for $25 million which goes against the core
rule of Donald Trump is don`t settle cases.

Once you settled, that everyone will get you going to settle in the future.
So they keep bringing cases against you. So it was really a pretty
monumental settlement for the President-elect ten days afterward to have to
give a $25million settlement for potential fraud charges at his university.
So the two men have a very checkered past, to say the least. They`ve
bickered publicly. Schneiderman has many disdain known for the President`s
policies, has sued the President over some of his immigration rules. You
know, it`s not two people who have any glove off for each other, to say the

HAYES: All right, Josh Dawsey, that is a really great reporting on your
part. It makes things much clearer than they have been which isn`t always
the case as this story goes forward. So thank you so much and thanks for
making time.


HAYES: That news that Josh has broke comes amid the other big news in the
ongoing Trump-Russia story this week which is a revelation that President
Trump`s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, sent an e-mail to Vladimir Putin`s
Kremlin seeking help on a project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow while
Trump was running for President. Today Kremlin has confirmed it received
that e-mail from Cohen although it says it did not respond. Now Cohen
says, he discussed the Trump Tower deal with Trump himself on three
separate occasions and that Trump signed a letter of intent for the
development with the Russian developer. And In 2015, as Trump was running
for President and too many people oddly praising Putin all the time, Trump
associate Felix Sater was corresponding with Cohen about that Trump Tower
in Moscow deal the two men working on.

Some of their e-mails have become public including the one that reads,
“Buddy, our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I
will get all of Putin`s team to buy in on this, I will manage this
process.” Washington Post reports that Sater also wrote to Cohen something
to the effect of, “Can you believe two guys from Brooklyn are going to
elect a President,” according to briefed on the e-mail exchange. Now,
remember, we only have a very, very small portion of the e-mails between
Sater and Cohen so there must be some missing context here, right? I mean,
why would two guys from Brooklyn think that landing a building deal in
Moscow for Trump would have anything to do with getting him elected for
President unless there was lot more going on. We already know of course
that Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign officials met with a Kremlin
lawyer who had promised Russian government dirt on Hillary Clinton.

And tonight, Financial Times is reporting in another development in this
case that the lobbyist who was at that meeting Rinat Akhmetshin is a former
Soviet Army officer, who was at the meeting with Don Junior and others has
now given evidence under oath before a Grand Jury in the investigation.
For a look at the significance of all these developments and a few more,
I`m joined by Naveed Jamali who works as a Double Agent from the FBI
against Russian military intelligence and Jill Wine-Banks who was one of
the Prosecutors during the Watergate scandal.

And before we get to those, I want to – I want to go back Josh`s story and
talk about that with you, Jill, for a moment. I – we do not know for
certain, I should be clear that what Schneiderman and Mueller are gaming
out is how to apply pressure to Manafort in a way that would be essentially
immune from the dangle of a presidential pardon. But watching this story,
that has to be figuring in the thinking of everyone right now and as a –
as a former Watergate Prosecutor, I imagine you thought of that as well.

JILL WINE-BANKS, WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I think it`s a brilliant idea. I
think it absolutely could work because I believe that the abuse of the
pardon power could actually amount to an obstruction of justice. And I
think the promise of a future pardon for anybody who has been involved in
any wrongdoing and then the pardon of Joe Arpaio which sends the message to
them, and don`t worry, even though you lose your fifth amendment privilege,
when I pardon you, you don`t have to cooperate. You can be in contempt of
court and I`ll pardon that too. So I think that the only way to avoid the
abuse of his pardon power is to bring state charges. So maybe he would
come down and he wouldn`t do it but I think that this is wonderful

HAYES: Naveed, going back to the sort of developing story on both the
meeting and on the Trump Tower, I want to start on the Trump tower facts
that we`ve learned. From your experience, is it at all plausible, likely
possible that interactions happening between Felix Sater or Michael Cohen
and whoever is on the other side in Russia on the development deal are not
being reported back to folks with connections to the Kremlin or the Russian

NAVEED JAMALI, FORMER FBI DOUBLE AGENT: No, the only way I can – I can
describe this is this was probably a swipe right for Russian intelligence.
This was a clear indicator to Russian intelligence – look, it`s the same
thing with the statement with – that Peskov made clear are the fact that
Peskov said he didn`t respond which factually maybe true. But I`m sure
that he walked it over to Moscow center and the Russia intelligence was all
over this. So clearly what this was signal to Russia is that the Trump
orbit is open for business and they`re interested in a dialogue. And that
is all you need to start with Russian intelligence, to start making these
entries into this – into that orbit.

HAYES: You know, there`s that – there`s that – what we have established
so far based on the facts we know is this sort of dancing around each
other, right? So we`ve got – we`ve got the Trump folks reaching out to
Russia in different avenues. First, we have them on the – on the Trump
Tower deal which has persisted longer than we previously knew. We`ve got
Felix Sater speculating that this will get our guy elected President. I
want to talk about that in a second. Rinat Akhmetshin testified before the
Grand Jury. I guess the question is, is it possible that all the circling
never went anywhere other than the circling?

JAMALI: You know, no. I think that – I think it did go somewhere. I
just think that what – where it went was on the Russian intelligence side
and not – you know, not this traditional you know, MFA, the sort of the
equivalent of the State Department. I think that you know in the case of
the testimony, the slam dunk in front of the Grand Jury would have been if
anyone who was in the meeting with Don Junior`s would come out and say not
so much what they said to Don Junior but in fact admit that they were
tasked directly by the Kremlin.

See, these are – just because they`re Russian nationals doesn`t mean that
they`re actual Russian government officials. It could have been a slam
dunk in tying this to a Kremlin operation. I do think that there is a link
there. Look, Chris, at the end of the day, one of the last things
President Obama did before he left office was to throw out 35 Russian spies
and seize two intelligence compounds in the United States. I don`t think
that that was coincidence. I am sure there`s a connection here, we just
don`t know about it publicly yet.

HAYES: All right, Jill, I want to ask you about another development that`s
happened. We now have reporting about subpoenas that have been issued for
former Manafort associates. And one of whom is someone he worked with and
one of whom is his former attorney, which I`m not a lawyer but I was
surprised to see that. My sense is that that is rare. What do you make of
a subpoena for his former attorney?

BANKS: Before I answer that, can I just add to what Naveed said –

HAYES: Please.

BANKS: - which is when you combine with all the lies and all of the
misleading statements and all of the nondisclosure of meetings with the
Russians, when you take Donald Trump`s statements, I have no interests in
Russia, I have no dealings there, I have no business there, nothing
pending, it makes a difference in how you interpret what`s going on now.
It makes it look guilty. But to your question about Manafort`s lawyer, it
is highly unusual. Attorney-client privilege is sacrosanct privilege.
However, there are at least a few exceptions that could explain it. One,
the lawyer could have been acting not as a lawyer but as a business
adviser, much as Michael Cohen frequently did.

And as a business adviser, you don`t have attorney-client privilege. It
could be that they were plotting a crime and they`re both guilty and that
wouldn`t be covered. It could also be that a third person was in the room
who doesn`t share the privilege and that voids the privilege. So there are
some exceptions to the privilege that could explain why they`re going after
the lawyer.

HAYES: All right, Naveed Jamali and Jill Wine-Banks, thank you both for
being with me tonight. And joining me now, I have Democratic Congresswoman
Maxine Waters who has been quite outspoken about the Russia investigation.
What do you make of the latest developments?

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I am not at all surprised. I
have always anticipated that the dots would be connected, that certainly
there was collusion and certainly that all of those allies around this
President which I dubbed the Kremlin clan have been in some way connected
with Putin and or the Kremlin and it`s all about money. And I said a long
time ago, follow the money, follow Manafort. And I hope that our Special
Counsel, Mr. Mueller will get what was happening with Manafort and the
Cyprus Bank. I think there`s big money laundering that is going on. I
think it passed through that bank, and I do believe that Mueller`s on the
right track.

And I like the idea that he is talking with Schneiderman and that they`re
figuring out some things I don`t know what they are. But this President
who in your face said, “You mess with me, anybody that you try to indict or
you try to criminalize, I`m going to pardon them and I`ll show you just as
I`ve done with Joe Arpaio”. So I like the idea that Mueller is not
frightened, he`s not backing up, he is going to do his job, I`m excited.

HAYES: You think – you think – I just want to be clear when you say that
he said in your face, you mean, your point is that you felt that what he
was communicating with the Arpaio pardon was that, that essentially he
would be there to pardon people that might find themselves in the teeth of
a criminal investigation?

WATERS: Yes, that is – that is correctly stated that I do believe it was
a signal. I don`t know what he said, how he said it or what he said, but I
do believe he was sending a signal.

HAYES: Do you anticipate there`s one Republican Member of Congress who`s
introduced – or going to introduce legislation to restrict the Mueller
investigation, the funding for it to six months, do you think we will see
increased pressure from your colleagues across the aisle Republicans in
Congress, as there appear to be more developments in the Mueller
investigation to shut it down?

WATERS: Well, I don`t know but I think that`s outrageous and ridiculous
and he will not get away with it. As a matter of fact, I think that
Mueller has moved far enough now where they should be shaking in their
boots. And to come through with legislation that would limit Mueller`s
ability to do his job is not going to be taken lightly. And I think that
not only are Democrats going to rise up against that, but I think some
Republicans will finally, finally get the guts and the nerves to resist

HAYES: Alright, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, thank you as

WATERS: You`re welcome.

HAYES: Ok, this is not the time to go away, the Great Dan Rather has been
sitting here with me throughout this breaking news, will join us next,
along with Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson on the diminishing Trump, President -
- Presidential power after this two-minute break.


HAYES: As the August Recess draws to a close and Congress prepares to come
back to Washington next week, the President of the United States is as
ubiquitous as ever, but he also has less Political Capital than ever to
spend down on what`s left of his agenda. Today he traveled to Springfield,
Missouri to talk about taxes. But this was the split screen on TV,
juxtaposing the President`s remarks with the images of Harvey`s continued
devastating impact from the Golf Coast.

Today the storm maybe third landfall in Louisiana just over the Texas
border as more cities and towns in Southeast Texas faced catastrophic
flooding from what is already the biggest rain storm in the history of the
Continental U.S. After visiting Texas yesterday where he was briefed on
relief efforts but did not meet with victims of the storm, today the
President acknowledged the personal toll Harvey has taken. But the focus
of his speech which he read due to (INAUDIBLE) from a teleprompter was he
so-called Tax Reform, a big push to reset a White House agenda following
the collapse of Health Care and the failure, the wrack-up of any Major
Legislative Achievements. Now, unlike the Health Care fight this time, the
President would be at the center of the battle hitting the road to sell the
GOP Tax Plan to the American people.

But there`s just one problem, they don`t have a tax plan. For weeks, a
group of Congressional Leaders and Administration Officials have been
meeting to try and come up with a blueprint that as one Tax Analyst told
Bloomberg this week, “They`re nowhere. They`re just nowhere.” Without an
actual plan to sell, the President was reduced to reading off a series of
platitudes re-hashing basically the last 30 years of Republican supplies
side economics.


TRUMP: We would like to bring our Business Tax Rate down to 15% which
would make our Tax Rate lower than most countries. We believe that
ordinary Americans know better than Washington, how to spend their own
money, and we want to help them take home as much of their money as

When businesses compete for labor, your wages will go up. Lower taxes on
American business means higher wages for American workers.


HAYES: The White House had sought to frame the speech as seizing the
populist mantle but at least one Trump super fan wasn`t buying it. Ann
Coulter tweeted, “WTF. Why is Donald Trump back to tax cuts? His election
was not about tax cuts. Has he been talking to Speaker Ryan again?” And
then, “Oh stop pretending this is about letting families keep more of their
money, this is for Wall Street.”

Now, the President`s push for a tax overhaul such as this comes at a time
when his influence on Capitol Hill and over his own branch of the
government is at a low point. Thanks in large part to the Health Care
debacle and the fallout from Charlottesville, the President remains his
Omni-presidents ever sucking abuse cover and attention but his actual
ability to impose his will seems notably diminish. And as not just the
business leaders have abandoned him or that Republican lawmakers have begun
to question his fitness for office, increasingly Senior Members of his own
administration are contradicting, even overruling the President of the
United States.

First, it was Economic Adviser Gary Cohn who said last week the
administration has to do a better job condemning White Nationalists and
implicit criticism of the President`s Charlottesville response. Then it
was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with a stunning assessment of the
President`s moral leadership.


REX TILLERSON, U.S, 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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the President`s values?

TILLERSON: Well the President speaks for himself, Chris.


HAYES: Today it was Defense Secretary James Mattis` turn after the latest
missile test by North Korea which crossed through Japanese air space, the
President tweeted this morning, “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea
and paying them extortion money for 25 years. Talking is not the answer.”
Asked about that comment today on a visit to South Korea, Mattis shot it


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President this morning tweeted that talking isn`t
the answer. Are we out of diplomatic solutions for North Korea?

JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: No, we`re never out of diplomatic
solutions, we continue to work together and the Minister and I share a
responsibility to provide for the protection of our nation, our population
and our interests which is what we are here to discuss today.


HAYES: Former CBS Evening News Anchor Dan Rather joins me now. He`s a
host of AXS TV`s The Big Interview and a Houston native. We should note,
he knows a thing or two about covering hurricanes. He was there for
Hurricane Carla in 1961 from Texas. Always an honor to have you here,
thank you for coming.

DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Thank you Chris, and we`re going to
talk about a lot of things but I`m making clear, very much on my mind and
in my heart is what`s happening in Houston and Southeast Texas and parts of

HAYES: It has been, I have to say, one of the things that`s been most
remarkable is the just the sort of (INAUDIBLE) flotilla of people that have
used every implement of their disposal from jet skis, to small boats to big
boats to kayaks to human chains to go out and it really does look like
they`ve been doing most of the rescuing. It has essentially been the
people of Houston.

RATHER: Well, this is very much a Texas thing, not that it hasn`t been
done elsewhere in the country. The thing that you`ve seen on the
television screen hour after hour are examples of you know, duty, honor,
bravery, police officer perish trying to get to work but drown. And this
has been, I think, the optics out of Houston with the Mayor, Mayor Turner,
and the Police Chief Art Acevedo, has been about that duty, honor, bravery.

And when President Trump came, the question is whether he could pick up on
that, communicate that in some way. Now, I`m not here to judge whether he
did or didn`t. Each person will have to judge for themselves. But I think
there`s a very serious case to be made that although the President went,
give him credit for that, didn`t make any big mistakes, but he sort of came
and went and ran the risk is seeming irrelevant.

And this is part of the problem he`s having with his Presidency. It`s
whether he is all show and no go or as they would say in Texas, all hat and
no cattle because he can`t deliver. And to the most important powers of
the Presidency are the power to persuade and the power to invoke fear. And
that`s been shrinking with the early stages of the Trump Presidency.

HAYES: You know, that is exactly I think what we saw on display in two
ways today both on the tax speech and what we saw with Mattis. On that
Mattis moment, I mean, here you have, you know, the chain of command is
clear. The Commander-in-Chief who is the democratically elected civilian
control of the U.S. Armed Forces and the person he appoints as his civilian
head who is a former General. And if there`s a question of who controls,
whose policy controls? It`s the President of the United States. And here
you have a situation where the President says one thing and the Secretary
of Defense says, no, he won`t. Just out we open to everyone.

RATHER: And as he showed, his Secretary of State on Sunday said I`m not
associating myself, in effect he said, I`m not associating myself with what
he said in Charlottesville.

HAYES: Have you ever seen that?

RATHER: No, I have not seen it and neither has anybody else. This is
unique in so much with the Trump Presidency. First of all, we have never
had an incoming President, first-term President get off to such a chaotic,
unsteady start as this. You know, the general pattern is the President is
most popular when he first comes into office, and then in the nature of
things, his popularity declines.

But what you`re seeing with President Trump and I think it`s very clear
Chris, it`s not a Democrat or Republican assessment, it`s not a biased
assessment, it`s just looking at what`s happening here. Donald Trump is
afraid, he`s trying to exude power and strength (INAUDIBLE). He`s afraid
of something that Mueller and the prosecutors are going to find out.

And what you`re seeing time after time is a President who is within himself
seized with fear. And that`s going to be you know, a political hurricane
is out there at sea for him, we`ll call it Hurricane Vladimir if you will.
The whole Russian thing, it`s still pretty far out at sea, but each day –
and tonight we saw it again with the two things you were reporting from
Politico and the Financial Times.

This hurricane, this political hurricane, it`s still far out at sea is
building in intensity. When we say we`ll it was category – to start, it`s
a category one, it`s gone to category two. It`s approaching category four,
but I want to stretch my metaphor too far. But that`s what`s on Donald
Trump`s mind, and he can be talking tax reform in a broad general way,
(INAUDIBLE). But I do think it`s beginning to soak in on the public at
large, including many people who supported Donald Trump that what he`s
basically talking about, what he – President trump is talking about, is a
tax cut for people who make more than $250,000 a year, a substantial tax
cut for them. For everybody else, not so much, that`s going to be a very
tough sell, it may even be dead on arrival.

HAYES: Well, and to the question of whether it is dead on arrival, a big
part of that is, can – you know, to go back to what you said before about
sort of moral legislation, right, and the degree that which you can sort of
sell things persuading people or make people fear you. That`s also what
you have on Capitol Hill, right?

RATHER: Right.

HAYES: You can, I mean, a lot of presidents I just – are very persuasive
people. You know, I`ve been in the room with Barack Obama on issues where
I disagreed and thought he was wrong and you know, he gets in front of you
and makes his case and you come away like (INAUDIBLE), he`s pretty
persuasive. The question is can this President do that?

RATHER: Well, that is the question. You put your finger on something.
Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, they could talk of dog off a meat wagon if
they get one-on-one in a room with you.

HAYES: Right.

RATHER: And they demonstrated that. Ronald Reagan did a lot of business
with the Democratic Congress. Tip O`Neal being Speaker of the House did a
lot of business.

HAYES: The last big tax reform, `86.

RATHER: Bill Clinton triangulated, if you will, on welfare reform. Time
after time real leaders in the presidency finds a way to either persuade or
put the fear in you. Lyndon Johnson was excellent of working you both
ways, complimenting you, persuading you, “come on, you guys can do this
Senator for me.” And then saying, “by the way, if you don`t, there`ll be
hell to pay.” Well, Donald Trump has tried that any number of times but it
rings hollow with him. I will say that the predicting road is littered
with carcasses of people who underestimated Donald Trump. And what he`s
trying to do now, what he`s trying to do today in Missouri, he`s trying to
frame the narrative for the fall for post-Labor Day. Given what`s happened
in Houston, Southeast Texas and Missouri – and Louisiana and Mississippi,
he`s going to have a very difficult time to do that.

HAYES: That is a great point because one of the things that was so stark
today, that was on the split screen, the President is talking about tax
reform and here`s what`s happening and they`re going to have a huge
legislative list to get – to get relief to those folks as soon as they get
back there.

RATHER: This is the very important point, Congress comes back and the
number one thing in Congress is not going to be tax reform. They`ll see it
as important. But the number one thing is going to be $100 billion –

HAYES: Yes, pass this thing and they certainly can`t say, we`ll get to

RATHER: Well, and what is it going to look like for a congressman who has
to run in his district next year or a senator who has to run two years past
that to say on the one hand we have to come up with $100 billion to pay for
helping Houston. And by the way, we want to give a tax cut to anybody who
makes more than $250,000 a year. Really tough sell.

HAYES: That`s a really good point. Dan Rather, as always, thanks for your

RATHER: Thank you, Chris. Good to be with you.

HAYES: Let`s go now to Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for
Secretary of State Colin Powell and retired U.S. army colonel.

That moment with James Mattis, I mean, the president says talking is not
the solution, which again implicitly says that military force is with a,
you know, a nuclear power. And Mattis just says what I think is correct,
and I think most people would view is correct, no, that`s not true.

But that is a remarkable rebuke to the commander-in-chief.

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): It is. Let me say first,
Chris, that I
want to identify with Dan`s comments about Houston, the sad situation
there, and yet the heroic situation there. I went to high school and
junior high in Houston so - and I remember Dan`s reporting and I remember
that hurricane that he referred to. So my heart goes out to Houstonians
and to Texans.

You`ve just put your finger on what is happening across the cabinet most
dramatically with Tillerson and Mattis, of course, and that is that
they`re not going to follow the guidance that comes from this president
which is not in accordance with good ethics, good morality or legal; or in
some cases, and maybe even this is more important, stupid.

So, we`re going to see – we`re either seeing a strategy of mutt and Jeff
(ph), which I very much
doubt, or we`re seeing develop some real opposition from some of the
principal members of his cabinet, and that`s going to make this president
even more ineffective.

Let me say something else, too. The most important element of presidential
power is the bully pulpit. And what Donald Trump has done is murder that
power. He has no capacity whatsoever to use the bully pulpit. We`ve seen
that repeatedly. And he has eliminated at least 50 percent or more of his
presidential power by being so inept at using that bully pulpit.

HAYES: Do you find it as someone who served in an administration, I think
in several actually, do you find it unnerving this idea that the president
says things and then the head of the Pentagon, or the head of the state
essentially ignores them.

WILKERSON: It is unnerving. It`s unnerving particularly with regard to
foreign policy because it means our friends, allies and even our enemies in
the world are just utterly puzzled at what`s going on in the United States.

But in the sense of my citizenship in this republic, I`m encouraged by the
fact that we do have some talent and some brains and some strategic
thinking and key cabinet posts, and they`re not going to sit down and take
this president`s ballyhoo and tweeting as orders and so forth, they`re
going to do what`s best for the country.

Now, we might wind up having a constitutional crises because of that, but
I`ll buy that before I`ll
buy everybody just toadying (ph) up to a president who doesn`t know what
he`s doing and carrying out
his orders irrespective of the rectitude of those orders.

HAYES: What do you mean by that, the constitutional crises?

WILKERSON: Well, we`re looking at a possibility here where you might have
key members of
this cabinet actually going over to the congress and saying things sort of
soto voci (ph) if you will, under the table as it were, and manufacturing a
crisis that presents the president and the congress in
opposition to one another.

And unless we have sufficient reason to develop articles of impeachment in
the House of
Representatives, the only real avenue the constitution gives us, that can
get dangerous.

HAYES: All right, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, it`s always a great pleasure
to have you on. Thank you very much.

WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Chris.

HAYES: Ahead, disappointed and let down, what some reluctant Trump voters
are saying about the president seven months in. Stay with us.


HAYES: Harvey has made landfall a third time, flooding a shelter in Port
Arthur, Texas as people retreat to bleachers to try to stay dry. In nearby
Beaumont, Texas, which saw over five inches of rain today on top of 26
inches yesterday, helicopters are out rescuing entire families.

At the same time, heavily flooded chemical plant in Crosby, Texas could
catch fire or even explode in the next few days, worth keeping our eyes on
here. The CEO telling reporters the company has, quote, no way to prevent

All this as battle lines are being drawn over how to pay for recovery.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott today said the tab will likely surpass that of
Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT, (R) TEXAS: My recollection is that the Katrina funding
was well
over $100 billion. I want to say it was over $125 billion. And so if we
go on a parallel standard, it should be far in excess of that amount.


HAYES: But while President Donald Trump is promising to help Texas
rebuild, the AP reports the federal flood insurance program covers even
fewer homes in the area than it did five years ago. The AP also reports
that House Republicans are looking to slash nearly $1 billion from FEMA`s
general disaster relief account in order to finance the wall with Mexico.

Politico`s Michael Grunwald literally wrote the book on the perils of
flooding in coastal communities. And he joins me now to examine what
happens next.

Let`s start on that first thing, the president`s budget I believe it called
for these cuts to FEMA and the disaster fund. The idea now is that it was
going to pay for the wall. Can they really come back to congress and do

MICHAEL GRUNWALD, AUTHOR: Probably not. I mean, not to defend them too
hard, it`s a question of values. But their budget cut just about
everything except for defense and border security. So, you know, if there
was another Ebola crisis, people would be talking about their cuts to
public health. If that chemical plant you mentioned explodes, people will
talk about their cuts to the EPA or the Labor Department.

Right now it`s only natural that they`re talking about cuts to FEMA and the
Coast Guard because
they really did try to cut just about everything.

HAYES: One of the things that I think has played a role here and that is
going to be a huge fight that people maybe don`t quite see coming is the
national flood insurance program, and that might sound obscure and it might
sound wonky, but it is really important and in some ways has already in a
quite literal way paved the way for what we saw in Houston. You wrote a
great piece about this.

How has that program brought us to the point where we are seeing the worst
floods ever, seven of the eight I think worst floods ever just in the last
20 years?

GRUNWALD: Yeah, and look, storms are natural events, but floods are almost
always man made disasters, because when the waters rise it doesn`t matter
if there aren`t people and stuff in the way. And what the flood insurance
program has done is essentially made it really cheap to build in harm`s

You know, there are supposed to be standards to prevent new construction in
the 100-year flood zone, to require you to elevate or relocate if you get
really substantial from a flood. But back in 1998, they released a report
called higher ground where they talked about repetitive flood losses. And
there was one home that had flooded 16 times in 18 years under the program.
And of course, that home was in Houston which was the national capital of
repetitive losses.

And we`ve seen it again with a tropical storm in 2001 that caused $5
billion of damage in Houston, again in 2015, 2016 and now 2017. They call
them flood plains because it`s plain that they
flood. And if you make it cheap to build there, people are going to build.

HAYES: I just want to be clear, what we are doing right now as national
policy is have the
federal government subsidizes and incentivizes people to build in areas
that are likely to flood. It then is a terrible pain, and I`ve interviewed
people after Sandy and other places, to try to actually get the
reimbursement, because dealing with flood insurance is terrible.

But we`re basically incentivizing people to build in floods and now they`re
going to go back to congress and try to reform this program as people are
looking around in Houston only 15 percent of people have flood insurance
saying I`m screwed.

GRUNWALD: Right. Well, partly because they`re supposed to have these 100-
year flood maps where anybody who lives in a place that`s likely to get
flooded once every 100 years or has a 1 percent chance of getting flooded
in any particular year is supposed to have flood insurance in order to get
a mortgage. But Houston has had three 500-year floods in the last three
years, which of course would be a 1 in 2 million chance if it was a

But it`s not a coincidence. You build in the flood plain, you`re paving
over wetlands and prairies that used to soak up the water, and instead
you`re creating highways and driveways that toss more water into the

You`re increasing the floods and you have more people and businesses in
harm`s way. You`re
increasing the cost, and that`s how you`ve had pretty much all of the
really costly floods in U.S. history have been in the last couple of

HAYES: I want to highlight one thing you just said. Three 500-year floods
in Houston in the last three years.

Micheal Grunwald, thanks for your time.

GRUNWALD: Any time, Chris.

HAYES: The president`s most fervent supporters still cheer him on at
rallies. We`ll show you how Trump`s first seven months have attracted
voters he can`t afford to lose, ahead.

Plus, a very special Thing One, Thing Two next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, ready for the big leagues? As viewers of this
program know, I am a die hard Cubs fan. I got to throw the first pitch at
Wrigley Field last year, which we`ve shown on this program just a couple of

But the other other night while editing show scripts and watching the Cubs
game out of the corner of my eye, I got to thinking something I think about
a lot frankly. If I took a season`s worth of
plate appearances in the major leagues would I get a single hit? I think
the answer is no.

And a few minutes later I got an encouraging response from retired major
league pitcher Dan
Herron who finished his career with the Cubs, and he responded to me, yes,
you would.

Hey, coming from a big league starting pitcher, I`ll take it.

That doesn`t really settle the question because literally the most insanely
nerdy baseball stats website, which I love, Fangraphs, which has articles
looking like this, decided to go hard at this
bringing a massive amount of cognitive resources to bear. And the
definitive answer whether in
an entire baseball season I can get a single hit is Thing Two in 60


HAYES: Last week I tweeted a question I often think about, if I took a
season`s worth of plate
appearances in the majors would I get a single hit.

Today a response. Actually, a meticulously researched response from the
uber nerdy baseball stat website Fangraph, which analyzed averaged bat
speed and swing angle of non pros, league bating averages over time, even
crunching the minor league numbers of potentially comparable players,
the favors that group is called. Certain number of favor draft picks take
place each year, the pitching coordinator`s nephew, and agent`s son, a
friend of the owner`s family, guys who don`t belong on a pro
ball field as Hayes didn`t.

So what did they find for someone like me seeing roughly 600 at bats over
one season? With a 97% strikeout rate and 100 batting average on balls and
play, well worse than baseball`s ever seen, Hayes would get 1.8 hits.
Almost two hits.

The co-founder of the firm they consulted with added, “It`s likely wiser
and more realistic to expect a few more. Doesn`t hurt that as a lefty he`s
closer to first base.”


HAYES: By now you`ve probably become familiar with a certain genre of news
story, the one
that says despite everything Trump supporters still support Donald Trump
and basically always will no matter what. To a large extent that`s true.

There are huge numbers of hardcore Trump backers, the kinds of people who
show up at his
political rallies long past election day to keep cheering him on. And there
really is no amount of Russia
scandal or anything else that`s going to cause them to stop supporting the

But the hardest of the hardcore Trump supporters are not the reason Donald
Trump is President of the United States.

Remember, Trump got less than 45% of the vote in the GOP primaries. He was
not the first choice of a majority of Republicans. But in November, faced
with the prospect of Hillary Clinton, the so-called reluctant Trump voter
was born. Basically Republicans who didn`t really want to vote for Trump
but voted for Trump. And there are now signs that some of them had enough.

As FiveThirtyEight points out, Trump`s approval ratings has been trending
downwards all year.
And listen to what members of a Pittsburgh focus group had to say when
asked for a word or feeling to describe the president. Five of these people
voted for Trump.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abject disappointment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not ready to be president.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Completely unfit to be president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Contemptible. everyone in the focus group


HAYES: Almost everyone in the focus group was disappointed and impatient
with the president, but a lot of that exasperation with the president came
from the people who voted for him in November.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What most disappoints me is he`s such an incredibly
flawed individual, that has articulated many of the values that I hold
dear, and the messenger is overwhelming the message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know he`s a nut. Everybody knew he was a nut. But
there comes a point in time where you need to become professional. He`s not
even professional, let alone presidential.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you vote for him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unfortunately, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing that drives me crazy is all the tweeting he
does. Why doesn`t he just quit that, tweeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought okay, this guy, he`s not a politician, but in
some aspects he`s almost turning into a politician. Just in a different
way. He`s saying what he thinks his base wants to hear, whatever, but he`s
just – he`s let me down.


HAYES: Yet, crucially, despite the disappointment, none of them would have
actually withdrawn – have actually withdrawn their support for the


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s trending really the wrong way for quite a long
period of time, but possibly he could have an epiphany and change. I hope
he does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn`t change my vote, but I hope he makes changes
in himself to right the ship.


HAYES: I know what you`re thinking, why did so many of those Trump voters
say they voted for him in the first place. That`s next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am surely not his base, even though I was more
influenced, just to be honest, it was anti-Hillary vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I liked his platform, “Make America Great Again”,
keeping jobs in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My vote was more, I didn`t want more of what we already


HAYES: Pollsters conducting that focus group with the Pittsburgh area
voters in conjunction with Emory University, Peter Hart joins me now.

Peter, really fascinating and I thought an interesting look at a really
crucial category of voters, who are not the hardcore supporters that we
don`t often see.

What surprised you most?

PETER HART, POLLSTER: What surprised me most is how embarrassed the
American public
is with Donald Trump as their president.

I really did not expect that from his group of voters. As you say, those
are the soft
supporters, but they represent about 15% of all voters and that`s a group
that he has to have behind him.

And what`s so important here is, I`ve been doing this since Richard Nixon
was president, and a focus group every single president, no president has
ever embarrassed the American public. What`s happened is they`ve disagreed
with them on issues, they`ve disagreed with them on moral stance, and
everything else, but this person, Donald Trump, embarrasses them.

HAYES: Embarrasses them in the sense that the supporters I saw saying like
the woman said, he`s a nut, we all knew he was a nut, or over on the
messenger, or one thing that - one really consistent theme that I thought
was interesting was that they just feel like it`s all about him. Which I
think a lot of people feel that way. I was interested to see that Trump
voters were getting that sense, too.

HART: Without a doubt. They kept saying, and coming back to the plan that
it is about him, and he`s – he only thinks about himself.

As one person put it, he doesn`t have the ability to relate to or care
about other people. It always comes back to dividing people rather than
finding a way to unite them.

HAYES: And yet, and yet, they have not abandoned their support. They do
not revert their vote.

I saw some polling today that said 96% of Trump voters don`t want their
vote back. So they seem frustrated, his personality really irks them, but
that`s not the same as, I`m not going to vote for him again.

HART: Well, I think it`s a long road for him because what it comes down to
is, he has to change who he is. It is not a problem of a particular
position whether it be health care or something else. This is about the
core of the human being, and more importantly, it`s the embarrassment

If you go anyplace around the world, there is a sense that people say, what
are you doing in America? And that`s what`s being fed back to people, and
that`s how they`re feeling day to day.

HAYES: I want to play you this clip, which you ask folks about the Mueller
investigation. I thought this was so fascinating.

I`ll play the clip and you can respond. Take a listen.


HART: I`ll go around very quickly. I`ll start with Mary and go the other
way around.

Put it in your head, Robert Mueller. If you don`t know, just say don`t
know. Robert Mueller.








UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hate to have his job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully effective.





HAYES: Now, what`s fascinating there you see I think Clinton voters who
are saying like hurry up, they know Mueller, they`re supportive of him. You
saw them saying contemptible in these very strong feelings about Trump.

But the four don`t knows, those were all Trump voters, right?

HART: Yes, and essentially, we always think that everybody`s listening to
every single show and they know every single person. And the fact is is
that Robert Mueller is just being introduced to an awful lot of people, and
so he is not somebody that has established his credentials for a lot of
people, but certainly with the media leak he has done so.

HAYES: That`s really interesting. It`s a reminder of where people are
getting news from, what they are getting. How closely they`re following

Peter Hart, thanks for joining us. Learned a lot.

That is All In for this evening.

The Rachel Maddow show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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