Nearly one-third in Puerto Rico lack water at home Transcript 10/19/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Jack Reed, Ted Lieu, Natasha Bertrand

Date: October 19, 2017
Guest: Jack Reed, Ted Lieu, Natasha Bertrand

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Let`s see how the General`s words go over
overnight as everybody absorbs them. Certainly, he sounded better today
than the President has at any time. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for
being with us. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.



Obama and other Presidents, most of them didn`t make calls.

HAYES: The President hands off his political firestorm to the generals.

TRUMP: My generals are going to keep us so safe.

HAYES: Tonight, how the White House Chief of Staff tried to contain the
President`s controversy and what we`re learning about what happened in

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that you know enough about the deaths of
the four soldiers in Niger?


HAYES: Then –

TRUMP: A thing like that should have never been written.

HAYES: Why the President is blaming the FBI for the Steel Dossier. Plus -

TRUMP: I`d say it was a 10. I would give 10. I`d give ourselves a 10.

HAYES: The scene in the Oval Office when Puerto Rico`s governor wouldn`t
echo the President`s perfect self-assessment.

TRUMP: Did we do a great job?

HAYES: And what it looked like when President Obama returned to the
campaign trail today.

AMERICAN CROWD: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

HAYES: WHEN ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Two weeks after four
American soldiers died while serving in the West African Nation of Niger, a
lot of questions remain about the circumstances of their deaths. In fact,
it was a question to the President about why he had not yet talked to the
public about those deaths that prompted him earlier this week to
mischaracterize how his predecessors handled similar situations.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We haven`t heard anything from you so far about the
soldiers that were killed in Niger and what do you have to say about that?

TRUMP: I`ve written them first of all letters. They`ve been sent or
they`re going out tonight. But they were written during the weekend. I
will at some point during the period of time called the parents and the
families. The traditional way if you look at President Obama and other
Presidents, most of them didn`t make calls, a lot of them didn`t make


HAYES: Those comments by the President kicked off an entire news cycle
focused who how he treats the families of fallen service members known as
Gold Star Families, compounded by reports close relatives of one of the
soldiers killed in Niger, that would be Sergeant La David Johnson, seen
there, felt the President had disrespected their fallen loved one. In the
meantime, we`ve learned few details about the ambush that took place that
took four American lives, including how it was that Sergeant Johnson ended
up missing for almost two days before his body was recovered. Today the
Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain,
threatened to subpoena the Trump administration for answers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does the Committee need to know in terms of
details –


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you be more specific?

MCCAIN: Everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What steps are you taking Senator, to get to the bottom
of this? What steps will you take for the community –

MCCAIN: It may require a subpoena.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel the administration has been forthcoming up
to this point about what happened there?

MCCAIN: Of course not.


HAYES: Under fire for his conduct as Commander in Chief, today the
President sent out three generals to run interference. National Security
Adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army Lieutenant General, Defense Secretary James
Mattis, retired Marine General, and Chief of Staff John Kelly, also a
retired Marine General, all of whom now hold some of the highest positions
in this country`s civilian leadership. While McMaster told the National
Security Conference that the Pentagon probe will eventually provide
answers, Mattis seemed to downplay the significance of the investigation.


we have our troops killed, whether it be in training accidents or combat.
I don`t care if it`s in a car accident. In DOD, we investigate the
circumstances surrounding and see how we can address the very questions you
brought up about what can we do in the future. At the same time, war is


HAYES: Later in the White House Press Room, Chief Of Staff John Kelly,
whose own son was killed in Afghanistan, gave an emotionally raw and at
times aggressive defense of the President`s conduct this week, including
what the President said to the family of Sergeant La David Johnson.


KELLY: You know what the possibilities were because we`re at war. And
when he died, in the four cases we`re talking about, Niger, my son`s case
in Afghanistan, when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this
earth, his friends. That`s what the President tried to say to a – to four
families the other day.


HAYES: That actually, we should note, confirms an account of the
President`s call to Johnson family that was given by Congresswoman
Frederica Wilson, who was with the family listening on the speakerphone
when the President called. The President, by contrast, had called Wilson a
liar tweeting, “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to
the wife of a soldier who died in account, and I have proof, sad.” But
despite backing up the basics of her account, Kelly went on to attack the
Congresswoman, who first met Sergeant Johnson years ago when he took part
in a mentoring program that she had founded.


KELLY: It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on
that conversation, absolutely stuns me. Let`s not let this may be the last
thing that`s held sacred in our – in our society, a young man, young
woman, going out and giving his or her life for our country. Let`s try to
somehow keep that – keep that sacred. But it eroded a great deal
yesterday by the selfish behavior of a member of Congress.


HAYES: Kelly made no mention of Sergeant Johnson`s wife or his mother, who
told the Washington Post “President Trump did disrespect my son and my
daughter and also me and my husband.” For the latest on what we know about
what happened in Niger, let`s go to NBC Pentagon Correspondent Hans
Nichols. And Hans, how much of a timeline of what exactly happened, where
they were, and how they were killed have we – have we been able to

piecing together bit by bit and we`re doing this at the same time as today
there`s a formal investigation that`s taking place. What we know is that
on the 4th around dusk you had about eight to 12 U.S. forces, they`re
Special Forces, Green Berets, but there also some drivers, some mechanics
that were in there. They left their vehicles to go into a village. About
eight of them went into this village is what is we basically think. And
that when they were coming out of that village, they may have been delayed
in that village, coming out of that village, they were ambushed by a much
larger force that was hiding in the brush there. RPGs they had, machine
guns, small arms fire as well. They returned fire.

Now here`s where things get a little fuzzy. About 30 minutes into it, we
know that French mirages were overhead, that`s a pretty fast time, that`s
30 minutes in and they provide what`s called close air support. They were
armed. They didn`t end up dropping their munitions. We don`t know if they
just flew over and scattered these Islamic extremists that were attacking
the Americans. And then somewhere in the chaos of battle, the term that
you keep hearing in the Pentagon is separated, that La David Johnson was
separated from the other troops, the other forces there. There`s an
evacuation at first, some French helicopters come in, they evacuate the
wounded. And then the dead – remember, there are two – there three
American dead. They are evacuated by an American contractor. We don`t
know the timing of either the medevac, which usually they try to do that in
the first hour or the evacuation of the deceased as well.

And then 48 hours later, the Nigerian forces – partner forces find La
David Johnson. Now, I should note that immediately they realize that he
was missing, a massive, massive military operation, special op operators
coming in from all across the globe were flying in there. It ended up
being the Nigerians that found La David Johnson and not say, a Special
Forces team from the states or Somalia or elsewhere. That`s where we`re at
now. We`re still trying to learn more but that`s as best – as far as I
know what I can report.

HAYES: All right, NBC`s Hans Nichols has been covering this for us, thanks
for that report.

Senator Jack Reed is a Democrat from Rhode Island and the Ranking Member of
the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator, do you feel like you in your
role as ranking member on that Committee have a good sense of what actually
happened in Niger?

don`t think there has been a good presentation by the Department of Defense
or others with respect to what happened. I think that`s a feeling that`s
shared by Chairman John McCain also. And we are pursuing the issue and we
will find what happened and what steps the department is taking to ensure
or minimize the possibility of it happening again.

HAYES: Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis today seemed to sort of express
some frustration that people weren`t being patient, kind of you know, we`re
going to look into it, we`re investigating, hold your horses. The rank –
the Chair of your Committee, John McCain, has expressed his frustration
that DOD has not been more forthcoming. Do you share that?

REED: I do share that. We understand that this is a very complicated
situation, all the facts, and all the details. But I think they should be
aware of much more than they`ve officially communicated to us. And we`re
going to ask for them very quickly and very soon to come here and tell us
what they think happened and more importantly what they`re doing to prevent
a further occurrence.

HAYES: There`s a broader question, there`s 1,500 American troops in the
Sahel in that Region of West Africa if I`m not mistaken. We have folks in
training missions around the world where they may be exposed to you know,
coming under fire. Do you feel like this administration has, A, a
comprehensive strategy it`s pursuing, and B, it`s been communicated to the
American people where American men and women are fighting and risking death
around the world?

REED: I don`t think so and I think part of that is a long-time interaction
between our Special Forces, particularly Green Berets, and other militaries
training them, et cetera. And what has happened is that now, because of
the expansion of ISIS, particularly in different countries, there are
threats that didn`t exist even months ago. And the administration has to
be aware of that and has to take steps, not only to protect our servicemen
and women, but also to inform the American public of where our forces are
in general and what we`re doing to protect them.

HAYES: I remember during some of the years of the insurgency in Iraq and
counterinsurgency doctrine, there was this fear of whack a mole that you
would – you would, you know, you would blow up one cell, you would – you
would raid one house, and then people would scatter and you`d constantly be
chasing them. And I wonder if you think that`s a threat right now, as
Raqqah is liberated, as ISIS is on the run from the sort of territorial
ground it had if we see a scattering that ends up being even more difficult
to combat.

REED: Well, I think you`re exactly right. I think what`s going to happen
is that Isis will modify its behavior and (INAUDIBLE) controlled territory,
they`ll go back to a more guerilla force. They will try to strike wherever
they have an opportunity to strike and they will concentrate on very
volatile situations where they get maximum publicity. And that`s now going
to be their mode of operation. And that opens up the possibility, as we`ve
seen in Niger, where what we consider to be a benign environment, training
local forces, turns into something where we`re the subject of a very well-
coordinated attack by ISIS.

HAYES: The President has three generals, retired generals, serving in
civilian – very high civilian positions. And we`ve seen them today sort
of speaking for the President on matters of military doctrine and protocol.
Do you worry at all that the principal civilian control is being eroded?

REED: What I would like to see is more individual civilians being
confirmed for the Department of Defense. That is taking place. We just
had a confirmation this week but we have to do more. That will help the
situation with respect to civilian control. My sense, though, is knowing
all of these individuals, General Mattis, General Kelly, General McMaster,
they`re military officers but they have a ground dedication to the
Constitution. They understand there are limits. They respect those
limits. But again, I think getting people in place would be very helpful.

HAYES: All right, Senator Jack Reed, thank you for joining me.

REED: Thank you.

HAYES: All right, Malcolm Nance is an MSNBC National Security Analyst,
former Senior Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy and Congressman Ted Lieu
is Democrat from California who now holds the rank of Colonel in the Air
Force Reserves. Congressman, let me begin with you. Do you have reaction
to the Chief of Staff for the President saying essentially that a
Democratic colleague of yours had violated the kind of sacredness of the
grief of Gold Star Families?

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Chris, for your question. Let
me first say that in addition to La David Johnson, three other service
members gave their lives, Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, Staff Sergeant
Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright. I don`t know what the
President said or didn`t say to their families, but I think one of the best
ways to honor their sacrifice is to have the Trump administration explain
what happened in Niger, how can we make sure this doesn`t happen again, and
why do we have 800 U.S. troops in that country? And that`s why I wrote a
letter today to the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee asking for
a hearing. And personally, I don`t have a problem if a Member of Congress
wants to be with a Gold Star Family when the President calls.

HAYES: Malcolm, to the Congressman`s question, I mean, this – you know,
John Kelly said today, we`re at war and Jim Mattis said, war is war. I
don`t think anyone knew we were at war in Niger. And the fact of the
matter is, ISIS has now splintered – or ISIS (INAUDIBLE) groups or AQIM
have splintered in so many groups in so many places. You can imagine a
scenario in which U.S. forces are actively fighting and being shot at in
60, 100 countries around the globe.

146 countries around the globe, we`re carrying out military training
missions or special operations assistance missions. What you`re looking at
in the – in the Sahel region, that`s sub-Saharan, just between the Saharan
Desert and the Trans-Sahara is a training operation that`s been going on
for years now called Flintlock. And the French have been carrying out
combat operations as part of Operation Burkani.

What we`ve done is put assistance forces, special forces, ODAS, we have a
drone base in Niger that`s been there for some time as a $100 million
expansion of a base in Agadez, and we have been assisting these nations to
stop the formulation of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and some of these
new fledgling groups that are splintering off from Boko Haram and ISIS
coming out of Libya. These missions have been going on for some time.
What you`ve usually seen was attacks on hotels and terrorist attacks with
U.S. forces generally responding with their sister forces in these local
areas. What you`ve seen now is someone has gotten intelligence, saw our
operations, ambushed us, and this is going to be the future. Everyone is
going to be emboldened to come find us now.

HAYES: Congressman, are you confident about this administration`s
stewardship of the – what is this now-sprawling global war on terror, it`s
not something they started, it`s something they`ve inherited, but they`ve
expanded in many cases. And they`re talking about the possibility of
military action in other theaters as well.

LIEU: Not at all, Chris. Look, this administration can`t even deliver
safe drinking water to Puerto Rico, a territory we control and no one`s
shooting at us. So no, I don`t have confidence. And keep in mind, Senator
John McCain said this administration is not being upfront about what
happened in Niger. It`s been over two weeks since those attacks. And I
find it disturbing that the Secretary of Defense still doesn`t have all the
information he needs to know what actually happened.

HAYES: Malcolm, what do you make of the President having the – what he
calls “my generals” out there today in the midst of what has – I have to
say been one of the most depressing and awful news cycles I can remember in
a long time?

NANCE: Well, it`s awful principally because we`re at the two-week point
since this ambush happened. There was – as Washington Post was reporting,
there was a letter of sympathy that was drafted up by the executive office
within 24 hours that the White House would not put out. For someone who`s
– I`ve been on the battlefield, as American Senior NCO right? I`ve been
out in that area where you`ve had to respond and get out and get your
casualty assistance officers out in the field and back to the United States
and repatriate remains. What I don`t understand is why did they feel this
incident, which they would have known about within five minutes of the
information reaching central forces – I`m sorry, Africa Command or the
local command out there through the critical communications structure that
goes right to the President, why did they feel that this was just nothing

HAYES: Malcolm Nance and Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you both for joining
me tonight.

Next, Democrats begin ringing the alarm after Politico breaks the news that
President Trump is apparently taking the highly unusual step of personally
interviewing U.S. Attorney candidates that would have jurisdiction over
Trump Tower. That story in two minutes.


HAYES: Breaking news tonight. In a radical departure from precedent, the
President of the United States is personally interviewing two people for
U.S. Attorney jobs here in New York, including one who as Politico points
out, would have jurisdiction over Trump Tower and be in a position to
investigate the Trump administration. That would be the same job once held
by now-former Prosecutor Preet Bharara who said he was fired by the
President back in March after refusing to quit when Donald Trump ordered 46
U.S. prosecutors, holdovers from the Obama administration, to immediately
resign. Now, at the time of his firing, Bharara was reportedly
investigating Donald Trump`s pick for the Department of Health and Human
Services, Tom Price. Bharara also said that the President kept trying to
cultivate a relationship with him.


called me in December, ostensibly just to shoot the breeze and asked me how
I was doing and wanted to make sure I was OK. I didn`t say anything at the
time to him, it was a little bit uncomfortable. But he was not the
President, he was only the President-Elect. He called me again two days
before the inauguration, again, seemingly to check in and shoot the breeze.
And then he called me a third time when he became – after he became
President and I refused to return the call.


HAYES: Natasha Bertrand who`s written extensively on the Trump
administration, Matt Miller, former Justice Department Spokesperson and
MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst joining me now. Matt, I want to start
with you. Did Barack Obama personally interview candidates to be U.S.

in the time I was at the Justice Department and I checked before coming on
tonight with my – with my former colleagues who handled those appointments
after I left and they confirm that he never did. Look, the President has a
lot of things to do. He doesn`t have time to interview 93 U.S. Attorneys
or at least most Presidents don`t. And I think that`s why it`s notable
that Donald Trump has chosen to interview these two U.S. Attorneys in New
York, and as reported over the summer interviewed the U.S. Attorney
Candidate for District of Columbia.

Those as you pointed out are the two U.S. Attorneys in New York who would
have jurisdiction over any wrongdoing that might have occurred at Trump
Tower or among his businesses there. And the U.S. attorney for the
District of Columbia would have jurisdiction over anything that happens at
the White House. And why is it significant? So obviously Bob Mueller has
the entire Russia probe. Anything that is Russia related these U.S.
Attorneys wouldn`t handle. But anything else that many companies up, any
other crimes that Donald Trump might have committed in the past or that he
might commit in office, these U.S. attorneys would have jurisdiction. And
the fact that he`s you know, taking a personal interest in who gets those
jobs tells you he might be a little worried about that, which is unusual
and somewhat surprising.

HAYES: Well, and there`s also this history of Preet Bharara here, right?

MILLER: Right.

HAYES: I mean, where Natasha, he said he was going to keep him on. You
know, the President can do whatever he wants with U.S. attorneys, he can
fire them or keep them on. He said he was going to keep them on, and then
he didn`t.

abrupt. So Chuck Schumer actually made a request to President Donald
Trump, apparently, asking him if Preet Bharara could stay on and then
apparently Donald Trump said yes.

HAYES: They met during the transition –

BERTRAND: And they met –

HAYES: And said – and he came out of Trump Tower and said, OK, I`m
staying on, it`s all good.

BERTRAND: Right. And then the day before he was fired, he received a
phone call from Donald Trump. He did not answer it because he said that it
would have been inappropriate. And then the next day he was abruptly fired
by Jeff Sessions.

HAYES: Along with everyone. And so there`s always been a lingering
question Matt, whether the firing of all of the U.S. attorneys was
essentially cover for wanting to get rid of Preet Bharara, who the
President had agreed he was going to stay on.

MILLER: Yes, we`ve never gotten an answer to that. In fact, Jeff Sessions
kind of odd in his hearing today, couldn`t even remember if he was
personally involved, which was very strange for something as high profile
as this. Look, there`s this disturbing pattern from the President. There
are the contacts with Preet Bharara that he outlined in that interview you
played. There these interviews with U.S. Attorney candidates.

There`s obviously the behavior with Jim Comey where he was trying to
cultivate him asking him for a loyalty pledge. He has privately asked the
Attorney General to drop a case and to Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He`s publicly
called for the Attorney General to investigate some things, not investigate
others. There`s supposed to be a wall between the Justice Department and
the White House, especially with respect to investigations that involve the
White House. And the President has shown repeatedly he wants to breach
that wall. He wants the Justice Department to be subordinate to him, not

HAYES: Now, meanwhile, as the investigation continues, you have this sort
of interesting effort that runs from Fox News to members – Republican
Members of Congress, to the President, who DVRs Fox And Friends then tweets
it, apparently, where they`re attempting to sort of say, hey, stop talking
about all this Russia stuff and the President, look over there at uranium
purchase of the Clinton Foundation, which was actually broken by the New
York Times in 2015. Look over there to who funded the alleged dossier.
The President this morning even tweeting that maybe the FBI was behind
paying for – here it is – workers of firm involved with the discredited
and fake dossier take the fifth, who paid for it, Russia, the FBI, the Dems
or all? What is he talking about?

BERTRAND: It`s actually a very Russian tactic, to just kind of throw
anything at the wall and see what sticks. So in – with regard to the
dossier, he is kind of just you know, saying, was it the Dems, was it the
FBI, kind of just casting doubt on the entire legitimacy of the whole –
you know, of the firm that produces the dossier, of Christopher Steel who
wrote it. What he may be referring to is this report in the Washington
Post that the FBI did apparently offer to pay Christopher Steele to
continue his work. Because the FBI was so alarmed by the things that
Christopher Steele was finding. They wanted him to continue it to see what
else he could dig up and they essentially just wanted to make sure that
nothing incredibly serious was happening.

HAYES: And now there`s this sort of a version that`s happening. Thanks to
Devin Nunes, who is supposed to be recused from the House Intelligence
Committee, and also Chuck Grassley in the Senate, Matt, in which there –
essentially sort of trying to pursue a kind of counter conspiracy theory
that this was all a set up by this GPS firm.

MILLER: Yes, that`s right. Look, it`s unfortunate that the President you
know, watches Fox. They were kind of main lines Fox And Friends every
morning and their wackadoodle conspiracy theories go into his ears and out
on his Twitter feeds but we`ve gotten used to it then. You expect a little
more from Chuck Grassley who`s usually in his past – in his past life has
been an aggressive overseer of both Democratic and Republican
administrations. And both he and Devin Nunes have been aggressively trying
to undermine the FBI investigation, undermine the dossier. Instead of
asking the fundamental question which is, are the allegations in this
dossier true? They`ve repeatedly tried to go after the FBI and try to
undermine their work – the work they`re doing. And it`s you know, not
really an appropriate exercise of Congressional oversight.

HAYES: And there`s a sort of counter – you know, it extends, if people
are not watching a lot of conservative media, there really is. I mean,
there are programs that are leading with stories about whether it`s fusion
or the Clintons in Russia. There`s this very invested effort to sort of
build a kind of counter story.

BERTRAND: Oh, it`s very concerted. And I would also just point out that
this started really with Devin Nunes back in March when he kind of went to
the White House and was apparently briefed on this classified information
that he wouldn`t tell anyone else about. None of his colleagues on the
House Intel Committee knew what he was talking about. And it had to do
with this unmasking narrative.

HAYES: Right, which by the way, the unmasking scandal, that was the old
counter scandal, right?


HAYES: Like one of the first things they tried was, oh, there`s an
unmasking scandal which you never hear about, because there wasn`t. But
that was – that was the initial intent was Devin Nunes creating an
unmasking scandal.

BERTRAND: Right. And then of course, once these documents were actually
reviewed by his colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee, they
determined that nothing improper was done. So –

HAYES: Right. So now here we are with playing the hits from 2015 in
Uranium (INAUDIBLE). Natasha Bertrand and Matt Miller, thank you to you

BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Next, when it comes to the handling of the crisis in Puerto Rico,
the President today gave himself a perfect score 10 of 10. We`ll show you
what he said and how the Governor seemed to not quite agree, after this
quick break.



TRUMP: At some point, FEMA has to leave, first responders has to leave,
and people have to take over. Puerto Rico has a more difficult
circumstance as you can understand, John. But at a certain point, we have
to leave the various locations that we`re in.


HAYES: It has been a month since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico
and the situation remains dire. Nearly 30 percent of the island`s
residents, almost 1 million American citizens, still lack access to
reliable, safe drinking water. 4 in 5 homes have no access to power,
leaving around 2.7 million Americans in the dark every night when the sun
goes down. Many forced to sleep in homes still decimated by the storm,
some lacking roofs or even shield from the frequent rain. It is against
that backdrop that President Trump appeared today with Puerto Rico`s
Governor, Ricardo Rossello, in the Oval Office for what proved to be an
excruciating 35 minutes in which the President was laser focused once again
on perceptions of his own job.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between one and 10 how would you grade the White House
response so far to the hurricane?

TRUMP: I`d say it was a 10. I give ourselves a 10. We have provided so
much, so fast. We were actually there before the storm hit. I would give
a 10.

I think we did a fantastic job, and we`re being given credit.

We have done a really great job. I think our response was better than
anyone has ever seen.


HAYES: Asked if he also gave the response a 10, the Governor Rossello
pointedly did not answer directly.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, between 1 and 10, how do you grade the white
house response?

ROSSELLO: As I said, the president has answered all of our petitions, and
this is still ongoing, so we expect that that will continue.


HAYES: Later the president took it on himself to play journalist and once
again Rossello declined to directly offer a positive assessment.


TRUMP: Did the United States, did our government, when we came in, did we
do a great job? Military, first responders, FEMA? Did we do a great job?

ROSSELLO: You responded immediately, sir. And you did so, you know, Tom
and Brock, they have been on the phone with me essentially every day since
the disaster.

The response is there. Do we need to do a lot more? Of course we do.


HAYES: When we come back, Congressman Luis Gutierrez is in San Juan and
will be with us next. That`s next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About four weeks after Hurricane Maria, it is still a
desperate situation for many people here in Puerto Rico. The vast majority
of the island, more than 80 percent, is still without power.

ROSSELLO: We are not considered in equal terms to Florida, Texas, Virgin
Islands and so forth, then you start to – you stand to be looking at a
potential humanitarian crisis.

TRUMP: I think we did a fantastic job and we are being given credit.

I think our response was better than anyone has ever seen.


HAYES: Joining me, Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois
whose family hails from Puerto Rico and who joins me from San Juan.

First, Congressman, what is the situation like there right now?

all day today. I would say there is a general sense of almost mourning when
it comes to the sadness that is felt. The kind of mourning, you know, that
you have lost your home. You have lost your way of life and you don`t see
it coming back into the picture anytime soon.

The kind of mourning that comes, like, you can`t feed your children. Yeah
there is water, but you got to go in a hose outside to bath and there is no
electricity and the food is just really not there. People are thirsty and
want more water.

I want to thank the people of Chicago. We went to Sams Club, we bought all
the great stuff we could buy. We bought all the juices, and just everything
we could buy, and we took it to Louisa, one town, tens of thousands of food
straight from the counter to the people there. And now they have juices
and fruit and hopefully it will bring them a little bit of hope as we

But I`ve just got to say to you, think about it. I didn`t walk into a home
– and I walked into dozens of homes, there are no mattresses. I saw a
quadriplegic young man on a wet mattress. That is unacceptable. You would
not find that in Houston. You would not find that in Chicago. You would
not find that in Jacksonville one month after, but that is the situation
people live in here.

I saw people with – why aren`t the tarps out there so that at least people
could protect themselves a little bit better? I mean, look, I went to
Louisa, just so that you understand, 498 homes were flattened. I saw many
of them. 3,000 homes are uninhabitable. Where are those people going?
Where are they? They`re with a neighbor, they`re with a friend, they`re in
a shelter. That`s unacceptable after four weeks.

It`s really, really, really sad. I saw a lot of sadness and despair.

HAYES: Do you feel like you have an understanding – it seems the two
biggest obstacles to
anything like normalcy is power restoration and clean water. And those
really, if you look at the numbers that have been provided by the federal
government or the Puerto Rican government, it`s kind of flat lined the last
two weeks. It`s not getting better.

Do you feel like you have an understanding of what the obstacles are to
getting power back, to getting everyone clean water, and how that can be

GUTIERREZ: Yeah. Taking the greatest, most powerful, richest nation in the
world and acting like it. And bringing the resources to bear on this

Look, we can do this. You`re telling me we can`t set up the tents, we can`t
set up the mobile homes? Even just a cot. Why do people have to sleep on
the floor, cement floors? In all of these homes that I visited today? There
are no mattresses. All you have to do is take a ride in your car. Don`t
even enter the home, just look at the debris that is outside. And that`s
where you see the sofas, that`s where you see the couches, that`s where you
see all of the other things that make up a home.

I saw – look, we can do this. We just don`t want to do it, for some
reason. We just haven`t found ourselves capable of bringing to bear all of
the riches that we have as a nation. It`s just something that
shouldn`t be happening.

Let`s not treat Puerto Rico the way that we`re treating it. Let`s not treat
the people of Puerto Rico, especially when we have so much. So everybody
tonight that`s got electricity, everybody that`s
got running water, and you know your kids are going to school tomorrow and
your car`s going to
start and there`s gasoline and there`s normalcy to your life, remember,
there are literally hundreds of thousands of people that don`t have that
stuff here in Puerto Rico.

And I would say, lastly, I want to say, why aren`t we taking people out of
harm`s way? Look, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have been flown off
this island to go to Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, World War I, Korea, tens
of thousands. Why can`t we fly tens of thousands of them to safe places
until we can put them back on this island? Until there`s electricity. I
don`t know why we`re doing

HAYES: That is a very good question that remains unanswered at this hour.

Congressman Gutierrez, thank you for being with me tonight.

Russian Twitter bots so believable they were retweeted by members of the
Trump campaign
and an unnamed cable news host, that story coming up.

And next, President Obama returns to the campaign stage in tonight`s Thing
One, Thing Two.

And have you liked our page on Facebook yet? Do it now, because we are live
behind the scenes at this very moment.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, President Trump`s sole mission it often seems is
to do anything that will undo the work of President Obama. There`s a long
list of things President Trump has blamed on the former president, and
Donald Trump isn`t happy with what he inherited.


mess. It`s a mess. At home and abroad. A mess. I just want to let you
know. I inherited a mess.

This is the situation that I inherited. I inherited a mess, believe me.

And I have to just say that the world is a mess. I inherited a mess. I
inherited a mess.


HAYES: Well, it just so happens that today the former president made his
first campaign appearances since leaving office, and how the audience
assessed the eight years of the Obama
presidency? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: Former President Barack Obama making his first campaign appearances
since leaving
office, and while stumping for New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Phil
Murphy in Newark, the crowd had a clear message about how they viewed the
eight years of the Obama presidency.


CROWD: Four more years! Four more years!


CROWD: Four more years! Four more years!

OBAMA: Come on! I will refer you both to the Constitution as well as to
Michelle Obama to explain why that will not happen.


HAYES: Less than an hour ago, while praising Virginia gubernatorial
candidate Ralph Northham in Richmond, the president gave his thoughts on
the current state of American leadership.


OBAMA: You notice I haven`t been commenting a lot on politics lately, but
here`s one thing I know. If you have to win a campaign by dividing people,
you`re not going to be able to govern them.
You won`t be able to unite them later if that`s how you start.


HAYES: Yesterday I learned about one more American who helped sell Russian
propaganda on
social media, me.

In April I retweeted an account called TenGOP, which described itself as
the unofficial Twitter of Tennessee Republicans. I doubt I visited the
account`s profile page at the time, which probably my
bad. I might have wondered why they chose such a dreary-looking photo for
their header image. Is that Tennessee?

But it had a seal of the state as its profile picture and over 100,000
followers. I vaguely recall this Twitter handle as one of the wackier state
GOP accounts. Not unlike, for example, the Virginia Republican party, a
real account, which once wrote and then deleted “Ralph Northham has turned
his back on his own family`s heritage in demanding monument removal.”

It was not at all surprising, perhaps more than a little bit perfect, to
see the supposed Twitter account of the Tennessee Republicans tweeting
something like this on Earth Day.

A photo of overflowing garbage cans with “Nothing says more about
environmental activist that march for science than piles of trash they left
behind.” I retweeted and added, “This is the best hash tag Earth Day tweet
so far.”

Now in the genre of state Republican parties trolling tree hugging
liberals, this was about as well executed a tweet as you can expect, which
is impressive considering it wasn`t actually Tennessee
Republicans, it was Russian trolls. They were building up a huge following
to be retweeted by people like me, but also former National Security
Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway and Donald
Trump Jr.

The amazing full story is after this short break.


HAYES: The TenGOP Twitter account bills itself as the unofficial Twitter
account for the Republican party. The account, which accumulated over
100,000 followers was a fake. According to Buzzfeed, the real Tennessee
party flagged Twitter about the fake account three times starting in
September 2016. But it wasn`t until August of this year until Twitter
finally suspended the account.

By then, however, the account had sent out more then 10,000 tweets,
messages slamming the media, Democrats, immigrants and even some

This week, we learned just where the account actually came from. It was
created by a Russian
troll farm in St. Petersberg. It was hardly alone as the New York Times
reported earlier this year, there`s evidence Twitter may have been used
even more extensively than Facebook in the Russian influence campaign last

Julia Ioffe, a staffer at The Atlantic, has closely tracked Russian
political interference in the U.S. Ben Collins, Senior News Editor at the
Daily Beast which has broken a number of stories about the Russian social
media campaign.

So what do we know about where this came from?

BEN COLLINS, THE DAILY BEAST: It came from the Internet Research Agency,
which is that troll farm in that very dark, scary looking building in St.
Petersberg. Yeah, a bunch of low level
people probably, within that place, left a bunch of fingerprints to make it
clear that they were in Russian at the end of the day. But you said you got
duped by it. I`m sure I did. I have no idea. I`m sure it

HAYES: It was a pretty well executed troll. This part of the story I find
to be the weirdest part of the story. Whoever was calculated the effort
reward ratio on this, like, well, yes, we`ll have someone make troll
accounts on Twitter.

But that`s what they did. They did this, they had people showing up at
rallies, not a lot, but like, events. What was the thinking here? I can`t
quite get it.

JULIA IOFFE, THE ATLANTIC: This was actually, The Daily Beast, you guys
did a great job on this. I think the media is finally pulling back the
focus a little bit off of Trump and trying to blow the top off of the White
House, and look at the Russian operation and see how they did it. There
aided in part by – there was a great investigative report that came out in
a Russian business daily, RBC, that dove tails perfectly with this Daily
Beast story, and it also dove tails perfectly what the Obama officials have
been telling us, what intelligence community officials have been telling
us. These guys are flooding the zone, and you use quantity to get to
quality. You try 1,000 things, and if three get through, good enough.

The thing about Twitter, what is fascinating, from The Daily Beast story,
the RBC story, the T.V. interview with the whistle blowing troll, what`s
fascinating is, so think about this, the troll factory is
staffed by college students at the number two university in Russia. They
are students in the number
two city in Russia, so they`re urban, college students. They are students
in journalism, in linguistics, in foreign policy.

These are the elite, well educated, global Russians, the students that we
in the west fantasize as this anti Putin contingent that could overthrow
him. And here they`re doing taking VPNs, it`s a mask your geo location, and
it`s the same VPN that they`re using to watch House of Cards and other
shows that Russians are obsessed with. All my Russian friends have watched
all the House of Cards episodes before you and I have even opened Netflix.

This is how they are aquanting themselves with American culture and then
weaponizing it. The VPNs, the Netflix shows, the Twitter, the Facebook that
they`re using, their window into western
American culture, they`re now weaponizing against us.

This to me makes the most sense of anything we have seen so far.

HAYES: So it also seems like this is still going on, so one example of
this is after Roy Moore
became the nominee, like he had 1,000 fake Twitter accounts that originated
from Russia started following him.

It seems like this is an ongoing operation this kind of like get in there
to U.S. social media.

IOFFE: If it ain`t broke don`t fix it. It works.

And here`s the other thing, this stuff that we`re uncovering here, as it
pertains to what happens, what the Russians did to the U.S. electoral
process, or the election campaign, these are just can domestic Russian
efforts that have been honed for years, at home and Russia, just being
exported and projected onto a world stage.

Russian trolls on Twitter, on Facebook, on Live Journal have been doing
this for years to the Russian opposition at home. We`re just finally
getting a taste of it.

COLLINS: Yeah and like, Julia, it doesn`t cost a lot of money, this is why
it`s working, this is in the low millions of dollars to destabilize the

HAYES: That`s my question, on one level, there just seems like such a big
difference between a
Tennessee GOP account and, oh, we hacked every email of the campaign

IOFFE: But Chris, this was a campaign that was basically happening on
Twitter. You had Donald Trump tweeting crazy things and every time he
tweeted, all of the entire media, the main stream media, for lack of a
better term, would just be like,let all talk about what he tweeted.

Everything was happening on Twitter, and the other thing that you said
about the cost, this is
super low cost in our terms and for Russians, but that`s because Russians
are cheaper. These kids, these college students, what they were making at
the troll factory is 2 1/2 times than the average Russian salary. So they
were making bank and it`s still super cheap for the Russians.

HAYES: And you get to own the libs, which is also super fun.

Julia Ioffe and Ben Collins, thanks for being here.

That`s All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow starts right now.


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