Mueller’s team interviewed Priebus Transcript 10/13/17 All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: October 13, 2017
Guest: Josh Dawsey, Natasha Bertrand, Nick Akerman, Joyce Vance, Tom Reed,
Hooman Majd, Jason Maddy
CHRIS HAYES: Good evening from Los Angeles, I`m Chris Hayes. We have two
big stories breaking tonight just in the last hour or so in the ongoing
investigation into the Trump campaign and the Russian interference in the
election. First, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the man
who is in the room for meetings with Russian officials and who is
reportedly part of discussions on firing the then FBI Director James Comey
was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller`s team today according to
his lawyer William Burck. Burck said Priebus was happy to answer all of
their questions and then we also had a second piece of big breaking news
That`s NBC News exclusively reporting that Donald Trump`s former Campaign
Manager Paul Manafort had a $60 million relationship with a Russian
oligarch. Much more on that story in a moment, we begin tonight with
Reince Priebus meeting with the Special Counsel`s team and the reporter who
broke that story for Politico, White House Reporter Josh Dawsey. Josh,
what can you tell us about how this meeting came together?
JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: We know that Reince Priebus
is of interest to the Special Council office because he was there for a
dozen of meetings, spent hundreds of hours with the President and was there
when he fired James Comey. When that decision was made, he was off to on
Air Force One. He was there in the campaign and that several weeks ago
Mueller`s team signaled to Reince Priebus`s lawyer, we want to talk to you.
They spoke today at the Special Counsel`s office for several hours we
And of interest to you know, Bob Mueller, is why Comey was fired, what
meetings President Trump had with Russian officials, and you know, a whole
other host of things including why a statement was written on Air Force One
that was misleading about Donald Trump Jr.`s meeting with Russian officials
at Trump Tower in 2016. So we know that Reince Priebus is a key figure
here and probably took you know, all sorts of questions, a smog as board of
questions about Donald Trump and the Oval Office and the campaign.
HAYES: Priebus was there – a few key moments just to go back through
that, right? So – he was on –was he on the plane when that statement was
crafted, that wildly misleading statement about Donald Jr.`s meeting?
DAWSEY: No, he was not on that plane but he was obviously there for you
know, some surrounding conversations and White House strategy around that.
But he was not on the plane. And to be clear, we do not think Priebus is a
target in this. We think he is a witness but he is a highest level witness
to be called yet. It doesn`t get much more powerful than Chief of Staff to
the President. So, when you`re Bob Mueller, you know, he`s a fount of
information and his lawyer said he was happy to answer all questions
honestly. So we`ll see.
HAYES: He also was there – he was in the room that the sort of fateful
meeting and correct me if I`m wrong on this, but my understanding is that
that meeting in which James Comey says that the President dismissed
everyone from out of the room, and then said to him, can you find your way
to letting him go, meaning stop investigating Flynn, that Priebus was one
of the people who was in the room before being dismissed.
DAWSEY: Right. He wasn`t in the room when that conversation allegedly
happened. He had left the Oval Office by then. But he was there during
the, you know, surrounding conversation before that. And probably you
know, had a number of conversations with the President about Comey at that
time and later on before he fired him. So that is a hot topic of
discussion for Bob Mueller`s team we know is why James Comey was fired. He
could have (INAUDIBLE) should have happened in the firing of him. And you
know, a lot of these key moments that involved Mr. Comey, the former FBI
Director, Reince Priebus was right in the middle of it.
HAYES: All right, Josh Dawsey, thanks for joining us.
DAWSEY: Thanks for having me, Chris.
HAYES: Now the news on Donald Trump`s campaign manager and his multi-
million dollar relationship with a Russian oligarch. NBC`s Chief Foreign
Correspondent Richard Engle has the story.
RICHARD ENGLE, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight with Paul
Manafort, a key focus of investigators looking into correction between
Russia and the Trump team. Our NBC News investigation reveals new evidence
of the money trail connecting Manafort, President Trump`s former Campaign
Chairman to Moscow $26 million more than has been reported before. Money
loaned to Manafort before 2012 by this man, Oleg Deripaska, a Russian
billionaire with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Which may explain why
according to recently linked e-mails, Manafort offered the Russian a
private briefing about the Trump campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were unsecured loans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. So we don`t know if they were paid?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can call it a loan. You can call it Mary Jane, if
it is not – if it`s not – if I there`s intent to repay it, then it`s not
really a loan, it`s just a payment. And money launders frequently will
disguise payments as loans.
ENGLE: Using official company records from several countries, we are able
to trace two loans. One for $26 million, and another for about $7 million
made by a company-owned by Deripaska (AUDIO GAP) linked to Manafort in
Cypress. And they, in turn, lent at least $27 million to a Delaware
company, named after Manafort`s two daughters. In total, at least $60
million in loans from the Deripaska landed in accounts connected to
Manafort. Now those transactions are part of the investigation that led
Special Counsel Robert Mueller to send agents to Manafort`s home, a raid
the President said he found surprising.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve always found Paul
Manafort to be a very decent man and he`s like a lot of other people
probably makes consultant fees from all over the place.
ENGLE: But most consultants don`t receive tens of million dollars of
dollars in loans from their clients. We asked Manafort`s spokesman to
explained the loans, he didn`t answer our questions but said, Mr. Manafort
“did not collude with the Russian government.”
HAYES: That was Richard Engle reporting. Richard will be joining Rachel
Maddow at the top of the hour with more reporting, you definitely want to
stay tuned for that. For more on Paul Manafort and his connections, I want
to bring in Natasha Bertrand who`s Political Correspondent from Business
Insider who`s been carefully following this story and particularly
Manafort. And you pointed out, you highlighted the thing that blew me away
the most in this story in the reporting. And that is the statement from
the spokesperson for Paul Manafort. He first issues a statement to NBC
News which says, Mr. Manafort is not indebted to former clients today and
nor was he at the time he was working for the Trump campaign. They then
withdrew that statement and gave a new statement that deleted that
sentence, the contention that he`s neither indebted to Deripaska today nor
at the time. That seems like a pretty big deal.
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: It is and it
says a lot. There has been this consistent effort since it was reported
that Paul Manafort was the subject of a FISA warrant not once but twice,
the most recent one being at the end of last year to – you know, for FBI
agents to essentially collect all of his stored communications. And ever
since then, the line coming out from Paul Manafort`s spokesman has been,
well, why was – why was (INAUDIBLE) bailed? We really need more
information on the – from the Justice Department on this. And they`ve
kind of tried to shift the focus from perhaps the reasons why this FISA
warrant was obtained in the first place to well, maybe there was some kind
of overreach by the Justice Department that was unwarranted here.
HAYES: So you`ve got this story that has been told and we found out those
e-mails, that Paul Manafort sends almost immediately upon taking office.
In the campaign where he goes to a protege of his as working in Ukraine and
says how do we use this to get hull. And the story that Manafort`s people
told was that they were owed money, that the people owed them money that
they were trying to collect on even though it seemed like it was almost
certainly the other way around and he offered Deripaska a private briefing.
This adds a new wrinkle if he owes Deripaska $30 million.
BERTRAND: That`s why the original statement from Paul Manafort spokesman
struck me as so odd because it`s been well-known that Manafort did this
business with Oleg Deripaska in the mid-2000s that ultimately fell through.
It was a project that Deripaska had loaned him a lot of money for,
something like $17 million and Paul Manafort essentially – Deripaska
claims disappeared with that cash. And so Paul Manafort has always kind of
been in this spot where he`s been trying to repay Deripaska for that. And
that`s been well reported by the Associated Press and others. So for them
to come out and say that Paul Manafort he was indebted to people like
Deripaska or that Paul Manafort was trying to collect debt from people like
Deripaska just seemed very backwards from the beginning.
HAYES: And I just want to be clear, that $17 million that ended up with
the lawsuit in the Cayman Islands and that nothing ultimately came of it,
the reporting tonight is new and out passed that to bring the total of $60
million. I mean, we have no idea as of now why Deripaska is channeling $30
million through a series of fairly intricate transactions to get them into
the pockets of shielded corporations that are tied to Paul Manafort, right?
BERTRAND: No. We don`t. And that`s exactly what Bob Mueller wants to
know now. He wants to know why was this money transferred, why was Paul
Manafort trying so hard to use his position on the campaign as leverage in
order to get you know, this money back to Deripaska. Somehow it worked
some kind of deal out where they could you know, negotiate maybe debt
cancellation or debt forgiveness. And you know, former counterintelligence
people that I`ve spoken to have said that that is a huge red flag because
debt cancellation is a lot harder to track than for example payments
themselves. So this is going to add a whole new layer to the
HAYES: All right, Natasha Bertrand, thank you.
BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: To help put all these two breaking news stories in the big picture
on the ongoing investigation, former Watergate Prosecutor Nick Akerman and
former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. Let me start with you Nick on the
significance of Reince Priebus talking to Mueller`s team given that he is
the highest ranking person who`s had to talk to him so far.
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR, WATERGATE: Well, he`s obviously the most
logical person to go to. I mean, he was in the right place at the right
time from the standpoint of the prosecutors. He was there when Donald
Trump was dealing with Comey. He was there when Donald Trump was talking
about what he was going to do to Comey. He was also involved with the
Flynn situation. He made statements about the June 9th meeting at Trump
Tower with the Russians showed up. I think he said that it was a nothing-
burger. How does he know that, who did he talk to?
There are a whole series of things that he could be extremely helpful on
and could provide lots of leads in terms of this investigation. I mean, he
was with Donald Trump right from the time that Trump took office, he was in
a position as his Chief of Staff where he was in the Oval Office all of the
time, he was outside of the Oval Office. He knows who Trump spoke to. And
I think even more importantly, he also knows what the posture was with the
Trump White House with respect to cooperating or not cooperating with the
Mueller investigation. I think he could give a lot of insight into exactly
where this White House is coming from, in terms of this investigation and
how it views it.
HAYES: Joyce, when you are speaking to the investigators to the special
prosecutor and you worked in the White House, you have to be truthful under
penalty of felony, is my understanding. You cannot invoke executive
privilege in those – in that context or can you?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA: Well, you
know, you really can`t invoke the privilege, it`s really the President to
invoke, to keep conversations about internal deliberations from coming
forward. So it seems unlikely that Priebus would have asserted it and from
all appearances today, he was a smiling and happy participant in these
HAYES: You know there is a statement – I want to pivot to Manafort
because there is statement from his spokesperson that I think is really
interesting and it`s something that keep saying, which is that Mr. Manafort
did not collude with the Russian government. And they`re always very clear
about that word government and you are smiling Joyce, what do you Make of
VANCE: It sounds like something that I`ve heard in virtually every case I
ever worked on in 25 years as a prosecutor, right? They find some small
way to slice the difference so they are not guilty of what you are talking
with them about. This is familiar to prosecutors and so he might be
saying, well I didn`t collude with the Russian government, of course, that
was in bed with a Russian oligarch. And so this, I don`t think this is
particularly helpful or as prosecutors would say exculpatory to Mr.
Manafort. At best it indicates that he and his spokespeople are struggling
to stay alive here, deleting information from statements that they make and
trying as far as possible to give the appearance of not having colluded
with the Russians when that $60 million figure is now on the table for
everyone to see.
HAYES: Nick, you know, the famous line, right, from all of the President`s
men is follow the money. And you were on the that Watergate team. I am
just astounded that we`ve just learned of $30 million in loans through very
complicated sort of secret back channels from a Russian oligarch into the
person running the president`s campaign that we are just finding out about
AKERMAN: And there`s probably a lot more that we don`t know about. I
mean, all we know about is a bank account in Cyprus and we know about money
going into there and into another account controlled by Manafort in the
U.S. But we don`t know how much other money went in. We don`t know all of
the circumstances surrounding this. I mean this is an enormous amount of
money. I don`t think there was anything like this in Watergate. I think
here in this investigation, we`re looking at following the rubbles, is what
we are looking at and what did the administration and what did the Russians
get in return for those rubles.
HAYES: Joyce, final question on Reince Priebus, he apparently dined with
the President, I believe on October 5th, a little more than a week ago.
Does that raise any red flags to you?
VANCE: So we know that the President has repeatedly made efforts, has
reached out to witnesses despite the advice of counsel that he not do so.
I`m sure that this would not have been with the blessing of his lawyers and
equally certain that Mueller would have wanted to hear from Priebus about
what went on during that meal.
HAYES: All right, Nick Akerman and Joyce Vance, thank you both.
AKERMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Tonight the Trump attack on the Obama legacy continues. How the
President declared war on his own country`s health care system and what it
means for you after this two-minute break.
HAYES: There are days when many Americans find themselves worrying about
what the President could do and his potential long-term impact on American
institutions. And then there are days like today, when he takes real
concrete steps with immediate destructive consequences. Today, faced with
a stalled legislative agenda and a fraying GOP coalition, the President
used executive powers to make good on two of his preferred political
threats. One disavowing the international deal with Iran, a move opposed
by most of the world including our European allies and the President`s own
national security team and two, ending payments to insurance company that`s
help subsidize out of pocket costs for the lowest income Americans, a part
of ObamaCare known as Cost Sharing Reductions or CSR.
Now, for months, the President has been threaten to hold those payment
hostages in order to force Democrats to negotiate on repealing ObamaCare.
Late last night, the White House announced he is now followed through. And
this morning, the President tweeted out a ransom note. “The Democrat`s
ObamaCare is imploding, massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance
companies have stopped. Dems should call me to fix.” Talking to reporters
outside the White House today, the President made clear he either doesn`t
understand what those CRS actually go towards or he`s just lying about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: That money is a subsidy for insurance companies. Take a look at
their stocks. Look where they are, they are going through the roof. Now
if the Democrats were smart, what they do is come and negotiate something
where people could really get the kind of health care that they deserve.
But the subsidy is really a subsidy for the insurance company, that is not
going to people. That`s making insurance companies rich.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Subsidies are “not going to people” according to the President but
that`s exactly where they do end up, helping the poorest Americans pay
their out of pocket costs for things like deductible and co-pays. Many of
those people live in states that helped put Trump in the White House. As
this map demonstrates, states like South Carolina, and Alabama and
Mississippi which have the highest share of ObamaCare enrollees benefiting
from the CSRs. The President`s move is already meeting strong opposition
from some Republican officials including Brian Sandoval, the popular
Governor of Nevada who said today it`s going to hurt kids, it`s going to
hurt families, it`s going to hurt individuals, it`s going to hurt people
with mental health issues, it is going to hurt veterans, it is going to
hurt everybody. In an interview with NBC News, Republican Senator Susan
Collins of Maine rejected the President`s rational.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This subsidy is not a bailout for the
insurance industry. If you don`t have the CSR subsidy, low-income people
are going to have a very difficult time that for some it may be impossible
affording their deductible and their co-pay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The only substantive argument the President has ever made for
repealing ObamaCare is that ObamaCare the law is imploding. It`s a claim
that`s been shut down by experts, insurance companies, and the
Congressional Budget Office. But his administration has been trying to
make that claim come true. Cutting the open enrollment period, slashing
funding to help people sign up, taking other steps to destabilize the
exchange. But ending CRS payments is the most overt, explicit, destructive
bit of sabotage to date. Remove that according to CBO will drive up
premiums by double-digits, cause more insurers to withdraw from the
exchanges and leave 1 million people without insurance in the next year.
As the CEO of One Insurance Company put it on a conference call today, “If
you want to have a great health plan for the American people, you wouldn`t
be doing this.”
In a joint statement, Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi
call the President`s move a spiteful act of vast pointless sabotage leveled
at working families and the middle class in every corner of America. The
question now is what exactly the President is demanding for ransom.
According to his Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, a bipartisan ObamaCare fix
won`t do the trick. Mulvaney told Politico, the CSR payments could be a
bargaining chip in a broader negotiation either to repeal the Affordable
Care Act or to fund the President`s long-stalled border wall with Mexico.
Congressman Tom Reed is a Republican from New York States who voted for the
House Bill to replace ObamaCare. Congressman, how does stopping these
payments make anyone`s lives better when we know that it will make a lot of
people`s lives worse?
REP. TOM REED (R), NEW YORK: Well, first of all, these are legal payments.
They said it`s been ruled by the courts. These are legal payments, they`re
not in the law, they`re unauthorized on the executive branch, and what the
President has done is put the pressure on Congress to deal with this
problem and I`m part of 46 members on both sides of the aisle that put
together a proposal that will address this issue of the destabilizing the
HAYES: OK, so just to go back for a second. Federal Judge had ruled that
the payments were not appropriated by Congress but he stayed that pending
appeal, right? So just to acknowledge, this is an affirmative decision by
the President. He`s under no obligation to do this, he`s choosing to do
this and he`s very explicit that he is taking people`s health care a
REED: It`s clear to me that under the Affordable Care Act, these payments
are not authorized, they`re not appropriated and we have to go through
congressional process to get it paid. The bottom line is, what the
President is doing is following the law, and by following the law, we`re
putting pressure on Congress –
HAYES: But why –
REED: Where the responsibility does rest Chris, in order to fix this
HAYES: But why do you need pressure? This is the thing that drives people
crazy. It`s been 266 days – there`s nothing that is passed –
REED: Chris, because we have been playing – we have been playing shirts
and skins, us versus them. It`s enough of Democrats against Republicans.
It`s time for our nation to come together. That`s why I`m part of the
Problem Solvers Caucus working together to bring this a solution.
HAYES: But wait a second Congressman, Congressman, I know you`re from the
Problem Solvers Caucus but there are people in Oregon who just got an e-
mail today saying their premium is going up right now at least eight
percent. There`s so many people across the country. Why is necessary
REED: And I`ve been seeing those premium notices for years Chris, and I`ve
been seeing the lack of choice in many counties across the country –
HAYES: I understand that but you would acknowledge –
REED: – but this is a problem.
HAYES: Yes – no – I know that. But this has gone up more over and
above, it is not just the same thing, right? There was yesterday, the
premiums were one thing, today they are 15 or 20 percent higher, right? So
you have to complain to those people who are getting those bills from the
mail why you guys in Congress, why the Republican Party which controls all
three branches of government can`t solve the problem without making them
pay more money out of pocket.
REED: This is about not republicans, this is about Congress. Democrats
and Republicans solving this problem for the people we represent.–
HAYES: Congressman, you control –
REED: I appreciate the people in the Problem Solvers Caucus, they are
leading on this issue.
HAYES: But you are not leading. I hate to tell you this.
REED: Yes, we are.
HAYES: But it`s 206 –
REED: We have a whole proposal together that deals with the 80 percent
victory on both sides of the – of the aisle that we could move the ball
forward to solve the health care problem in America.
HAYES: That would be great. But if you were leading and if the solving –
the solving of the problems was happening, then we wouldn`t be in a
position where people are getting notices from their insurance companies
saying your premiums are going up.
REED: And that is why the extremes on both sides and right and the left
who are putting us in this gridlock positions have to be broken. And
that`s why we`re part of the effort to do this.
HAYES: Congressman, the President of the United States took this action
today. I feel like we`re not acknowledged that. The President took an
action today. It was an action he undertaken before. It was an action
that he didn`t have to take as evidenced by the fact that it took him 266
days to take it. So why is it the case that people should have worse
health care or pay more money for it because Congress and the Republican
Party in particular, which controlled Congress, cannot fix their health
REED: I think you nailed it right there. Congress needs to act to fix
this problem. And that is where it rests and I fully take that path in
order to solve this.
HAYES: So here`s a proposal –
REED: It will take legislation working together to get things done.
HAYES: OK. So here`s a proposal. I know that lot of people in your party
do not like long legislation, it was one of the knocks on the ACA. You
could probably write a three or four lines appropriation bill to
appropriate the CSR, bring that to the floor tomorrow. Can do you that?
REED: But that`s not going to fix the entire problem. What we can do is
start with the marketplace, talk about stability funds –
HAYES: Right, but it is a problem.
REED: – waiver authority, repeal the employer mandate up to 500 employees
like we did, pay for it in reimbursement policy that are going to drive
health care costs down. Now, you got a solution that you can build off of
and a foundation to grow.
HAYES: Let me tell you this, I hope that you are successful in Congress
for stalling the disaster and we can have you back on the program. But
given what we see so far–
REED: I`m working for it, Chris.
HAYES: – you`ll forgive me for sharing the skepticism of a lot of
Americans. So Godspeed. Godspeed Congressman.
REED: I appreciate that. There are many of us that wanted to get this
done for the American people.
HAYES: We`ll see. I appreciate you being here tonight.
REED: Always a pleasure.
HAYES: Coming up, the President who sold himself as the world`s greatest
builder is stuck in demolition mode. Steve Schmidt on the Trump attack on
the Obama legacy next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The last 10 months we have followed through on one promise after
another. I didn`t have a schedule, but if I did have a schedule, I would
say we are substantially ahead of schedule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That last line, that is not true. Donald Trump did have a
schedule, made it public. And he is substantially behind it. As a
candidate he laid out 10 pieces of legislation, including tax reform,
repealing ObamaCare and ending, “illegal immigration” that he wanted to
pass in the first 100 days. Well we are 166 days past that deadline and
none of that legislation has passed, none of it. Instead, the President
with blunt object in hand is just swinging blindly at Barack Obama`s
legacy. I want to bring in MSNBC Contributor, Republican Strategist Steve
Schmidt. Where – how do you understand where the President`s agenda is
and the actions – dramatic actions he`s taken particularly today just on
Iran and the CSRs in sort of unilaterally trying to tear down some of the
stuff that was built before him.
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Chris, that`s an extraordinary
interview you just did with the Congressman. I was – I applause your you
know, restraint from having an aneurysm during it. It`s a – look, it`s –
you`ve never seen an action by a President purposefully that is going to
harm Americans. It`s going to do real damage to real people. The
Republican Governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval is exactly correct. There are
substantial issues with ObamaCare that you would like to see be made
better. But when you are in a hole, stop digging. And so he made the
problem materially worse.
And so you know, we`re looking out at a range of issues. We have a – we
have a President of the United States who`s talking very loosely about a
war where it could be estimated as high as a million casualties in the
first day of the war in the Korean Peninsula. The remarkable achievement
of giving to Iran the moral high ground in a – in an agreement with the
United States, that we acknowledge that they are in compliance with, though
they do many other bad things, the complete and total incompetence and
malfeasance of this administration where we – where we likely have
significant numbers of deaths on Puerto Rico that have been caused by it.
And we look across the board, we see damage to our institutions, damage to
our culture, damage by policy, it`s extraordinary to behold at this moment
HAYES: You know, one of the things, I remember I covered the Obama
administration, in those earliest days, and it was in the midst of that
financial crisis. And they came in and there was a lot very hard calls
they had to make, some I think they did the right things, some I think they
did the wrong thing. But there was potable sense that they were working –
they were trying to figure out what you could and couldn`t do, to reduce
harm. And it seems to me that we`ve got this sort of backwards thing
happening now where after this period of time the President is really
acting out of peak and frustration in the actions he`s choosing to take.
SCHMIDT: I think there is no question that that is true. When you look at
the comments he`s made for instance with regard to Puerto Rico in the
hurricane, it is clear from his comments that he views himself as the
penultimate victim of the hurricane, because he was criticized by the mayor
of San Juan.
And so, when he`s criticized or provoked he lashes out. And he`s lashing
with his usual level of incompetence, and now the cost to people`s lives is
going up. And could get much greater as, for example, when we look at the
Iran deal, there are serious implications from the North Korean perspective
about how they evaluate this as – and you start now to hear the drum beat
and the drums of war starting to sound around this administration and it is
HAYES: What about the argument that in doing both the Iran deal and the
CSR`s that he is putting pressure on a Congress that has failed to act.
That he is putting the ball in their court, that he is trying to get them
to do things they haven`t.
SCHMIDT: Well, look, I think the thing that unites more Americans maybe
than any other issue is their contempt for the United States Congress,
which has an approval rating on a good day, that gets to 13%. But
unilaterally aggregating an agreement, dividing us from our western allies,
the high ground in a deal that they are in compliance with, according to
the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State, and according to the
Secretary of Defense that is in the material national interest
of the United States, has the affect of making the world more dangerous.
And so if the calculation is Congress is bad, which they are, but the way
to remedy that is to aggregate agreements that make the world more
dangerous and have the exact opposite effect than the one we are trying to
achieve in North Korea than it doesn`t make a lot of sense.
HAYES: It doesn`t make a lot of sense. Steve Schmidt, thank you very much.
SCHMIDT: Good to be with you, Chris.
HAYES: And still to come, the reports that the president threw a fit when
he was told to stick with the Iran deal. The global implications of his
decision to decertify, some of which Steve was just talking about next.
HAYES: Disregarding his top national security advisers and many of
America`s closest allies, the president did not certify the Iran nuclear
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran is not living up to the
spirit of the deal. So today, in recognition of the increasing menace posed
by Iran, and after extensive
consultations with our allies, I am announcing a new strategy to address
the full range of Iran`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That phrasing there is significant. The spirit of the deal. And
that is because Iran has in fact lived up to the letter of the deal itself.
They are in compliance.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis even testified it is in our national interest
to keep the deal. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others reportedly
urged the president to certify it.
But according to The Washington Post, the president through a fit over that
idea, so his advisers came up with the current plan which puts the burden
on imposing sanctions on Congress.
The leaders of France, Germany and the U.K., along with the International
Atomic Energy Agency, took a very different stance today, releasing
statements in support of the deal, and Reuters reported that the Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will remain committed to the
multinational deal as long it serves the country`s national interest.
Much like the president`s efforts to derail the ACA, Donald Trump`s actions
keep in the deal in
place, at least for now, while undermining yet another of President Barack
Obama`s signature achievements.
Journalist and author Hooman Majd has written several books on Iran,
including The Ayatollah of Democracy, an the Iranian Challenge.
Hooman, what did today mean for the deal?
HOOMAN MAJD, THE AYATOLLAH OF DEMOCRACY: Well, I think something that has
been under reported is the fact that he is, yes, he is kicking it to
Congress and they`ll have 60 days to
decide whether to snap back the sanctions or not.
But he said that if they don`t come up a plan and they would have to come
up with a legislation
that would pass the Senate with 60 votes, then he would terminate the deal.
He said that. He said I will terminate the deal if we can`t come to an
agreement in 60 days.
So, he`s basically saying I`m going to get out of this deal in 60 days,
because there is very – I can`t see any chance of new legislation that
would make – that would make the deal satisfactory to President Obama –
which means a permanent deal and that there is never any end point to the
So I don`t see – I can`t be very optimistic unless he comes back in 60
days and said well
that wasn`t enough time and we`re at Christmas now so let`s give them
another 60 days and keep
doing that, but that alone will keep the uncertainty around the nuclear
deal and Iran at some point will
go to the JCPOA, the nuclear deal commission and say, the U.S. is in
violation because they are in violation of the spirit of the deal as well
as materially in violation because they are not encouraging or not not
discouraging European businesses from doing business with Iran.
HAYES: And so one of the things at the core of the president`s speech, the
whole idea behind
the deal itself between these two countries that haven`t had diplomatic
relations for 30 years was to hive off the nuclear issue from everything
else. So, deal with the nuclear issue in parallel and everything else
that Iran is doing from the U.S. perspective that we don`t like and think
is bad and dangerous, that is just a separate channel.
MAJD: A separate channel and a separate issue.
HAYES: And so the appearance here is just sort of smash them back together
basically. Is there any way that works?
MAJD: No. I mean, Obama made it very clear. It took two years of intense
negotiations and every month we were in some European country for days,
weeks on end negotiating just the nuclear deal.
If they wanted to do all of the other issues, it would have been
impossible. It would have taken ten years. But the point was to halt Iran`s
nuclear program, which they did. Which happened. And now, the Supreme
Leader of Iran said at the time was, we`ll see what happens. If the
Americans can be trusted on this, and he said I doubt that they can be, and
unfortunately Trump is making him right.
Which is not a position you would ordinarily want our president to be in.
But he said if they can be trusted and if the deal works, then we can talk
about other stuff. Other stuff that we have problems with the United States
and the west with.
But now, since he`s trying to mash those two together, I think Iran is
basically never going to
talk to the United States about any issue at this point. At least not while
this is going on.
HAYES: Alright. Hooman Majd, thank you for your time.
MAJD: My pleasure.
HAYES: Tonight the amazing story of a group of veterans who are taking the
Puerto Rican relief into their own hands, ahead.
And why the president was talking about sacrifices made for children`s
furniture. Thing One, Thing Two, next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, the President of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I left Texas and I left Florida and I left Louisiana and I went to
Puerto Rico and I met
with the President of the Virgin Islands –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What he met to say was the governor of the Virgin Islands,
corrected in the official transcript there in brackets, because of course
the President of the U.S. Virgin Islands is the President of the United
States, Donald Trump himself.
But that was not the only teleprompter moment the president had today,
there was also the sacrifice for the furniture of our children.
That is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: As we pointed out before, President Trump has a way of riffing when
teleprompter mistakes which we all make, trying to make it seem as if he
meant to say the incorrect thing as well as the correct thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And authoritarian powers.
Through their lives and though their lives were cut short –
In stem fields where women have been truly under representative. Really, I
guess you could say under represented.
And very importantly air traffic controllers will highly, and this will be
highly valued, these are
highly valued people, these are amazing people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Which brings us to today`s installment from the Value Voters
Summit, the furniture of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They work two jobs and sometimes three jobs, they sacrifice every
day for the
furniture – the future of their children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And finally from today`s Iran speech, a cornucopia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It is appropriate and proportionate to measure and other measures
taken by Iran – the Iranian people who long to, and they are just longing
to reclaim their country`s proud history.
Prevent Iran from developing an internet – this is so totally important,
an intercontinental ballistic missile.
HAYES: It has been more than three weeks since Hurricane Maria slammed
into Puerto Rico and the situation remains extremely dire, particularly in
49 people are reported dead with reports that some 90% of the island is
without power, and a
third of residents still lacking clean drinking water. Cell phone and
internet service remains extremely spotty, making it difficult to get an
accurate picture of the situation on the ground.
So many have been getting updates from these guys, a group of U.S. army
volunteers who have been handing out food, water and medical supplies in
remote areas that have gotten little to no aid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this area we`re really the only ones here. We are 12
veterans and people are hurting really bad right now. These are your fellow
Americans and they are suffering and hurting and not getting the support
they need to survive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The vets have been uploading videos of residents to Facebook, many
of whom have no other way to tell their families and friends they are safe.
NBC News traveled with the men into the mountains of a remote area of
western Puerto Rico and we`re going to bring you the remarkable sight and
sounds from that trip and speak to one of the vets live from Puerto Rico
right after this.
HAYES: In a remote section of western Puerto Rico, a group of veterans
turned volunteers have become lifeline for residents who have seen little
in the way of official aid in the wake of
NBC News correspondent Gabe Gutierrez went out with them on one of their
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These men came out of nowhere, pay all their stuff,
and they know exactly where they got to go with a map. They have been up to
midnight going into the mountains feeding people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody load up their vehicles, five minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you see like big, huge mudslides coming down the
side – some of them the houses are hanging on by a string.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is wrecked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, this one is rough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need food?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You haven`t seen anyone?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy to see you.
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS: Grew up in West Virginia?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, West Virginia. So, this is kind of like my home.
I would love to see this place without the devastation, because this place
would be gorgeous.
GUTIERREZ: What is the town calling you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)
Do you like that name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it fits. A bunch of veterans, military guys,
show up in the town and start handing out food and water. I think it fits
GUTIERREZ: Why do you guys do this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, these people need help. They need help. If I
was stuck stranded in the mountains, I`d want somebody to come and help me.
You know, and I wouldn`t want
anybody to forget about me.
GUTIERREZ: Why is it so important for you guys as private citizens to step
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they are Americans, just like everybody here.
were in trouble, we would want help too. These Americans are in trouble,
they need help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The expendables, they are not getting paid for a
movie, these are the guys who are the real McCoy. Jump in. The real Rambo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And I`m joined from Puerto Rico by one of those expendables, former
Army Staff Sergeant Jason Maddy. Jason, first, how are you getting to where
you`re going and getting supplies to the people you`re getting them to?
JASON MADDY, FMR ARMY STAFF SERGEANT: Basically we`re plotting out areas
that are remote that we know are very far back into the mountains. We`re
plotting out on maps. We are getting guided by the local population and
they are taking us to the areas where people are trapped, isolated, they
have no food, no water. And they are helping us out, guiding us in pretty
HAYES: You posted a video about people getting one meal ration with some
snacks basically and six bottles of water for a whole family.
How dire is it in the places you`ve been?
MADDY: It`s extremely dire. The families there, they have – some of these
families have five
and six children and you`re only giving them six bottles of water and one
snack pack meal per day.
And the problem is that that`s when we can get to them.
Most of the time we can`t get to them because it rains every day in Puerto
Rico, it`s kind of
monsoon season. When it rains the roads wash out and there`s mudslides and
it becomes very dangerous.
There`s been times that we`ve been four or five days where we can`t get
back to those families
and those families, that`s what they are living off of.
HAYES: As someone who is in the U.S. Army, do you think that with
sufficient capacity, will, money and resources, that the U.S. military
could, in a more targeted, organized way, get to these people and be
sustaining them until the infrastructure is repaired?
MADDY: I think the U.S. military – being actually – being from the U.S.
military, spending 14 years in it, I think we do have – the military does
have the resources to do it. I think it`s just a matter of getting the
resources to – the adequate amount of resources to Puerto Rico to properly
these operations to get out into the isolated areas to get to people.
HAYES: What do you want people to know about Puerto Rico that are watching
MADDY: I want them to know that they are the most resilient people that
I`ve ever met. They are wonderful. Even in tragedy, even in tragedy, they
come together and they help each other.
And you know, they come up to us with no – we`re trying to give them
water, what little we have, and they`ll come up and offer us water. And you
know, it kind of breaks our hearts to see it, to see it like that. But they
are great people.
HAYES: All right, I just want to quickly note that you can see all of
Jason`s videos which are
incredible on his Facebook page and keep up with his team`s efforts there.
Jason Maddy, thank you so much for doing what you`re doing and being with
MADDY: Thank you, sir. Good night.
HAYES: That is all in for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the