WH: “Highly Inappropriate” to question a general Transcript 10/20/17 All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: October 20, 2017
Guest: Pam Keith, Evan McMullin, Phillip Rucker, Jason Johnson, Richard
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: “ALL IN” with Chris Hays starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
JOHN KELLY, CHIEF OF STAFF, WHITE HOUSE: She sat down and we were stunned.
REID: Debunking the Kelly attack.
KELLY: Even for someone that – is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.
REID: The White House Chief of Staff is caught in a lie and there`s video
to prove it.
CONGRESSWOMAN FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: He didn`t tell the truth and
he needs to stop telling lies on me.
REID: Tonight, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson`s speech in its entirety as
President Trump`s Gold Star Family firestorm erupts again. Plus –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen the speech?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: I have.
REID: The jaw-dropping White House response when confronted with another
SANDERS: If you want to get into a debate with a Four Star Marine General,
I think that that`s something highly inappropriate.
REID: And what the Kelly incident means for the adult day care theory of
managing the President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is now a grown-up in the room.
REID: When ALL IN starts now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Good evening from New York, I`m Joy Reid in for Chris Hays. Today,
the White House is defending Chief of Staff John Kelly`s smear made
yesterday from the White House Podium against the Democratic Congresswoman
from Florida, Frederica Wilson. Wilson who accused the President of being
disrespectful to the family of fallen Army Sergeant La David Johnson is a
longtime friend of the family. She knew La David since he was child. She
knows Johnson`s brothers and his uncle who went to the school when she was
the principal. And she was in the limousine this week when the – with the
family as they drove to the airport to claim the body of Sergeant Johnson,
one of the four U.S. soldiers who were killed in an ambush in Niger two
And that is why she was with Johnson`s family when they took the call from
President Donald Trump on a speakerphone. Wilson`s answer to a local news
reporter who asked her how the call went led to two days of Trump attacks
on Twitter and on camera. But yesterday`s appearance by Trump`s Chief of
Staff took it to a new level. Kelly himself a Gold Star Father went before
the White House Press Corps to defend the President`s handling of the phone
call. And then he added this completely unrelated story about a prior
encounter with the Congresswoman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: On October – April, rather, of 2015, I`m still on active duty, I
went to the dedication of the new FBI field office in Miami. And it was
dedicated to two men who were killed in a firefight in Miami with –
against drug traffickers in 1986, a guy by the name of Grogan, and Duke.
Grogan almost retired, 53 years old, Duke I think less than a year on the
job. Anyways, they got into a gunfight and they were killed. Three
others, FBI agents were there were wounded, not retired. So we go down,
Jim Comey, get an absolutely brilliant memorial speech to those fallen men
and to all of the men and women of the FBI. We serve our country so well,
in law enforcement so well. There were family members there. Some of the
children that were there were only three or four years old when their dads
were killed on that street in Miami-Dade. Three of the men that survived
the fight were there and gave rendition of how brave those men were and how
they gave their lives.
And a congresswoman stood up and in a long tradition of empty barrels
making the most noise, stood up and all of that, and talked about how she
was instrumental in getting the funding for that building and she took care
of her constituents because she got the money and she just called out
President Obama and on that phone call, he gave the $20 million to build a
building and she sat down and we were stunned, stunned that she`d done it.
Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned. But none of
us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and were
appalled. We just said, OK, fine. So I still hope as you write your
stories, and I appeal to America, that let`s not let this maybe 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 sacred, but in a road of a great deal yesterday by the selfish
behavior and the member of a member of Congress.
REID: Frederica Wilson have completely denied Kelly`s allegations that the
Congressman in neglected to mention the fallen FBI agents who are being
honored, that she talked only about her own role in getting $20 million
from President Obama for the bureau`s new building and that she then sat
down and they were stunned. Well, tonight, you could decide for yourself
who`s telling the truth because the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has
unearthed a video of that 2015 speech and we`re now going to play it for
you in its entirety. Take a look.
WILSON: I want them to stand, as I call their name. Ladies first.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz who is a fighter and champion of the
people, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart who is always advocating for the –
for the issues that impact our community, Congressman Carlos Curbelo who is
new to the Congress but blazing his all great trail and they all helped
move this bill. I also want to take a moment again to recognize the family
of Special Agent Grogan who are here with us and the family of Special
Agent Dove wherever they might be. We have the honor of having FBI
Director James Comey with us. He has the enormous task of keeping all
Americans safe and I have seen him so many times but he looks taller today
to me. We`re also happy to have GSA Administrator Denise Roth here today.
We`re fortunate to have a great local leader as the Head of the Miami Field
Office Special Agent in Charge, George Pirro, and I also want to
acknowledge our mayor.
Consider this scenario. The brand-new federal building that will house the
FBI has been built and the FBI approaches my office. Congresswoman Wilson,
the ribbon cutting has been scheduled in four short weeks. The dedication
is on the government`s calendar and cannot be changed. One problem, the
FBI wants to name this gorgeous edifice at the same time in four weeks.
Everyone said that`s impossible. It takes at least eight months to a year
to complete the process through the House, the Senate, and to the
President`s office. I said, I`m a school principal. And I said, excuse my
French, oh, hell no. We`re going to get this done. Immediately, I went to
attack mode. I went to the Speaker, Speaker Boehner and I said, Mr.
Speaker, I need your help. The FBI needs your help and our country needs
your help and we have no time to waste.
He went into attack mode and then two days, pulled it out of committee,
brought it to the board for a vote. Representative Curbelo and I presented
it. We all voted and I dashed it over to the Senate and put our Senators
on notice. Put it on your radar, Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio, who I
believe have representatives here today. They hotlined into the Senate
floor in just two days and guess what? The President signed the bill into
law this past Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 with a bang, bang, bang, bang.
You know what? I will be presenting a bill, a copy of the bill that was
signed into law to the FBI and also, pens that the President used to sign
that hallowed document. It is a miracle, to say the least, but it speaks
to the respect that our Congress has for the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the men and women who put their lives on the line every
single day. And today, we`re providing a boost to our nation by naming
this fantastic building in honor of Special Agents Benjamin B. Grogan and
Jerry L. Dove who died valiantly on Friday, April 11th day and what is
still considered the bloodiest gun battle in the storied history of the
FBI. Most men and women in law enforcement leave their homes for work
knowing that there is a possibility they may not return. I may for all men
and women and first responders who work in law enforcement, stand up, stand
up now so that we can applaud you and what you do. Stand up, we are proud
of you. We`re proud of your courage. Thank you.
I don`t know if that was on the minds of the Agents Grogan and Dove as they
left their homes in April 1986 but I do know it was an unusually breezy
spring morning in South Florida. So eerily – so eerily similar to today
and the actual anniversary is tomorrow. I do not know that Miami in the
1980s was plagued by crime and graphic violence. We all know that. This
period has been chronicled in media reports and portrayed on the T.V. show
Miami Vice and movies like Scarface. I know Agent Grogan was a company man
and was one year from retirement. His wife also was an employee of the
FBI. I know that Agent Dove joined the bureau after completing law school,
and was living his boyhood dream, according to his family.
I know that their bravery was the motivation for joining a team on that
morning, a team that was telling a vehicle with two suspects who, connected
to a string of murders and violence, bank robberies. The agents attempted
to get the driver to pull over, they were cornered, a gun battle
immediately ensued. There was a barrage of bullets. I can only imagine
the frustrations of those agents, yet, they battled on. In a desperate
attempt to flee, the suspects tried to commandeer Grogan and Dove`s
vehicle. It is reported that the suspect shot both agents with a high
powered rifle at close range. Shortly after the suspects or themselves
fatally shot by Agent Morales, Agent Morales made a memorable statement
about his role and that historic event.
He said, I just knew I was going to die but I was going to do my very best
to make sure that those suspects did not get away. When the smoke cleared,
two agents lay dead and five were seriously injured. So today, it is our
patriotic duty to lift up Special Agent Benjamin Grogan and Special Agent
Jerry Dove from the street in South Florida and placed their names and
pictures high where the world will know that we are proud of their
sacrifice, the sacrifice for our nation. It is only fitting that their
name should be placed on the same mantle with the letter FBI because
Special Agents Grogan and Dove embody the sacred motto for which the agency
has become known. Please repeat it after me. Fidelity.
WILSON: And Integrity.
AUDIENCE: And Integrity.
WILSON: God bless you, God bless the FBI and God bless America. Thank
REID: So, that was the actual speech given by the Congresswoman, the woman
John Kelly called an empty barrel. What John Kelly accused her of as
you`ve just saw in that video never happened. At no time did she mention
securing funding for the new FBI building because she wasn`t in Congress at
the time, she was a state senator. No mention of $20 million, of course.
She did talk about her work to pass a bill naming the new building when she
was in Congress crediting Republicans like Congressman Carlos Curbelo, then
House Speaker John Boehner and Senator Marco Rubio with helping to push it
through. Not only did she not immediately sit down as Kelly had claimed,
Wilson got the law enforcement officers in the room to stand up so that
they could be recognized and applauded and she gave a moving tribute to the
two slain FBI agents for whom the building was being named.
Unlike Kelly, she got both their names right. As for the former FBI
Director James Comey whose speech Kelly called brilliant, according to the
Miami Herald, Comey spent part of that speech praising Congresswoman
Wilson`s efforts. “Representative Wilson truly did the impossible and
we`re eternally grateful, he said.” And so it was not Frederica Wilson,
but John Kelly, Four Star General John Kelly, Chief of Staff to the
President of the United States who used the deaths of FBI agents Ben Grogan
and Jerry Dove to launch a vicious and completely dishonest attack against
a Black Congresswoman. And today, despite the glaring video evidence, the
White House stood by Kelly`s performance by trying to pretend he said
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does General Kelly still stand by the statement that he
made yesterday that he felt she was grandstanding and then taking – she
was taking credit?
SANDERS: Absolutely. General Kelly said he was stunned that
Representative Wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain
FBI agents about her own actions in Congress including lobbying former
President Obama on legislation. As General Kelly pointed out, if you`re
able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes about yourself,
you`re an empty barrel. If you don`t understand that reference, I`ll put a
little more simply as we say in the south, all hat, no cattle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Have you seen the speech?
SANDERS: I have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that you know that most of it was her effusively
praising the FBI agents and when she was talking about what she did in
Congress, she was not talking about getting securing $20 million, she was
talking about naming the building over these FBI agents.
SANDERS: She was also talking about the –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She then went on to effusively praised.
SANDERS: She was also –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that was the (INAUDIBLE) of the speech.
SANDERS: She also mentioned that and she also has quite a few comments
that day that weren`t part of the speech and weren`t part of that video
that were also witnessed by many people that were there. What General
Kelly referenced yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us specifically.
SANDERS: Exactly what he said, there was a lot of grandstanding. He was
stunned that she had taken that opportunity to make it about herself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can he talk here and tell us about this?
SANDERS: I think he`s addressed that pretty thoroughly yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was wrong yesterday. I`m talking about getting the
SANDERS: If you want to go after General Kelly, that`s up to you but I
think that if you want to get into a debate with a Four Star Marine
General, I think that that`s something highly inappropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So we asked Congresswoman Wilson to join us tonight but she had a
previous engagement. She happens to at this hour be attending the wake for
Sergeant La David Johnson. But we`re not done with this story. Don`t go
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred
in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That`s
obviously not the case anymore as we`ve seen from recent cases. Life, the
dignity of life was sacred. That`s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone
as well. Gold Star Families, I think that left in the convention over the
summer. I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to
die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: You know, White House Chief of Staff Jon Kelly is right. It appears
that nothing is sacred anymore, at least not in the Trump administration.
Not when Kelly can personally attack a sitting Member of Congress from the
White House Press Room with a story based on lies and distortions and not
when White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders went to the same
podium today and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I specifically said, and I`ll repeat it again, General Kelly said
he was stunned that she made the comments about herself and that was the
point of what he said, that was what took place here yesterday and we still
stand by those comments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And standing by comments that are provably and demonstrably not true
is perhaps what this administration does best. I`m joined now by Pam
Keith, Democratic Candidate for Florida`s 18th Congressional District and a
former U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General and Evan McMullin a former
Independent Presidential Candidate and CIA operative and both join me now.
And Evan, is there a charitable explanation for why General Kelly would go
out to that podium and say something that could so easily be disproven by
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it`s
hard to find one because he came out and he made such a specific accusation
with so many words. I mean, he really laid out the scenario, described it
with such specificity that it`s hard to imagine that he`s wasn`t
remembering correctly. And I would be inclined to give him that benefit of
the doubt, frankly, because I want to believe that we have somebody in his
position who still maintains a high level of integrity but after listening
to Congresswoman Wilson`s speech which I found incredibly eloquent,
actually, she honored the FBI, fallen FBI Special Agents, currently serving
FBI Special Agents, she went so far as to honor people of the other party,
Republicans in both the Senate and the House at various points in the
speech, Comey, she honored as well. It was – it was a tremendous speech.
It was something that you`d expect and hope for from our members of
Congress and it hit all the right notes. And Kelly totally misportrayed
REID: Yes, I mean, she even repurposed the initials FBI to Fidelity,
Bravery, and Integrity at the flourish at the end. And you know, Pam, part
of what the White House has done is to sort of wrap Donald Trump really in
a valor of General Kelly and say, you can`t even question what General –
what the Chief of Staff says because he`s a General. As yourself you know,
a military veteran, as former Navy JAG, what do you make of that as a
defense that we are not allowed to question what John Kelly said because
he`s a general.
PAM KEITH, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FLORIDA`S 18TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:
Well, first, thank you so much for having me tonight and I have to extend a
hello to Evan McMullin. I`m a big fan of his even though we come from very
different political backgrounds.
MCMULLIN: Thank you.
KEITH: And I will say this. The Navy has a motto and the Marine Corp is
part of the Department of the Navy. Our motto is Honor, Courage, and
Commitment. And the first word is honor. And that means that above all
things, your word is your bond. And as a former Navy JAG, I investigated a
lot of crimes and incidences and those persons who made false official
statements were held as accountable as the people who engaged in this
conduct. So the assumption is that a person in the military is going, to
tell the truth. And certainly, somebody with a background like General
Kelly, we would expect him to tell the truth. But we`ve learned over time
that that`s not always the case. I mean, General Flynn, most certainly,
did not tell the truth. So stars do not guarantee honesty. I think of all
the things that were stunning that happened yesterday and the day before
watching a decorated marine officer get on T.V. and tell such a convoluted
story was I think the most stunning thing that happened.
REID: Well, especially – indeed. Especially, I mean, since it was
irrelevant to the question at hand which was whether or not Donald Trump`s
words to the Gold Star Family who were in the car with you know,
Congresswoman Wilson was in the car with them, whether or not he offended
them with the things that he said to the family, whether or not he took too
long to call them. This is a complete non-sequitur that has nothing to do
with it. And yet here`s Donald Trump, this is Donald Trump today again,
not talking about the issue at hand which is whether or not his words –
maybe (INAUDIBLE) received wrong if you want to be charitable. But again,
going back to attacking Congresswoman Wilson, this is Donald Trump on Fox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He was so offended because he was in the room when I made the call
and so were other people and the call was a very nice call. He was so
offended that a woman would be – that somebody would be listening to that
call. He was – he actually couldn`t believe it. Actually, he said to me,
Sir, this is not acceptable. This is really not. And he knew – I was so
nice. I was – look, I`ve called many people and I would think that every
one of them appreciated it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: He was on the call. I mean, General – you know, John Kelly was on
the call listening. So the idea that he was so offended that somebody was
on the call listening when he himself was on the call listening, Donald
Trump doesn`t seem to understand that the people in the car, including the
Gold Star Family, say they were offended. So he`s calling them liars too.
MCMULLIN: Absolutely. And John Kelly and others haven`t refuted what
President Trump is alleged to have said. President Trump has refuted it
but others haven`t. So I think –
REID: Kelly confirmed it, by the way.
MCMULLIN: Kelly – yes, Kelly confirmed it essentially by saying I
recommend that he say, X, Y, and Z. And that lines up with what he`s
reported to have said. Look, the point is this, it is very possible that
the President wanted to deliver a message that went something like this.
Your husband did make an incredible sacrifice. He knew going into this
when he signed up for the military, that he may make that sacrifice and he
did it anyway and that`s why your husband is a hero. He could have done
that and I actually think that`s the message from Kelly that he wanted to
deliver but it just wasn`t done quite right.
Now, if President Trump had simply said this, look, I garbled the message
but my heart goes out. I tried to do the right thing. We wouldn`t be
talking about this right now. But the important – the thing I just want
to say I`m sorry is that you know, if President Trump hadn`t attacked John
McCain, if he hadn`t attacked the Khan family, if he`d shown more respect
for our military in time, he would have the benefit of the doubt to the
REID: Yes, he`d have the goodwill.
MCMULLIN: And we wouldn`t be talking about this.
REID: Yes, absolutely. And if he wouldn`t consistently attack
particularly women of color, because it is not lost on anyone that the
person that he and John Kelly have chosen to viciously attack and lie about
happens to be a black woman. Maybe it`s a coincidence. Pam Keith and Evan
McMullin, thank you, both for joining us. I appreciate your time.
MCMULLIN: Thank you.
KEITH: Thank you for having me.
REID: Up next, why the CIA is correcting its own Director after he made a
false claim on the Kremlin`s election meddling. And is America in need of
an unprecedented Constitutional Intervention? I`ll talk to one Republican
who said it`s time to start considering the 25th amendment. That`s ahead.
REID: The Head of CIA, Mike Pompeo, made an astounding claim yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say with absolute certainty that the election
results were not skewed as a result of Russian interference, especially
given what we`ve learned just in the last few weeks?
MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: We conducted an election that had integrity.
Yes, the intelligence community`s assessment is that the Russian meddling
that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The CIA almost immediately walked back those remarks saying, quote,
“the intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has
not changed. And the director did not intend to suggest that it had.”
In fact, an intelligence assessment released in January went out of its way
to not make any conclusion either way. Quote, “we did not make an
assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the
2016 election. The U.S. intelligence community is charged with monitoring
and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors.
It does not analyze U.S. political processes or U.S. public opinion.”
And yet the director of the CIA appointed by Donald Trump defied his own
agency`s position to
downplay Russia potential impact on the election. And his boss has gone
even further in his attempts to distract from the ongoing investigations
into Russia and the election.
And what he`s done is one of the many reasons the chief White House ethics
lawyer for President George W. Bush said it`s time to ask if Trump is
simply unfit to serve and whether the people around him need to act and he
joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, UN AMBASSADOR FO THE UN: The Russians, god bless them,
they`re saying why are Americans anti-Russian? And why have we done the
sanctions? Well, don`t interfere in our elections and we won`t be anti-
I will tell you that when a country can come interfere in another country`s
elections, that is warfare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Nine months into his term, Donald Trump still refuses to acknowledge
Russia`s interference in the election that made him president. In fact,
he`d still rather tweet conspiracy theories suggesting that if Russia did
intervene, the somehow were in league with the party that lost.
Yesterday, he tweeted, quote, “workers of firm involved in the discredited
and fake dossier take the fifth. Who paid for it? Russia, the FBI, or
Dems, or all?”
Clearly, this is a president who sees no shortage of enemies at every turn.
Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer sees no short of
enemies. The ethics lawyer under George W. Bush tweeted, quote,
“conspiracy between Russia, the FBI and the Democrats? The response to
this is clear: amendment 25.”
The 25th amendment sets out how a president, who has been incapacitated,
physically or otherwise, can be removed. In a piece for NBC, Painter notes
that certain behaviors could actually, quote, undermine a president`s
ability to lead. He adds, “though remote, we cannot rule out the
possibility that a president in a downward mental health spiral could
destroy important global partnerships, alter centuries old alliances, and
leave the United States vulnerable to terror attacks or war.”
All of which leads Painter to ask an inevitable question: is America today
in need of such an unprecedented intervention?
Richard Painter joins me now. And Richard, it`s always a pleasure to talk
to you. Make your case that it is appropriate to consider the 25th
Amendment when Donald Trump is clearly not physically incapacitate,that
there is no way to diagnose whether he is mentally incapacitate, because no
psychiatrist has treated him.
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER BUSH ETHICS LAWYER: Well, I have been concerned
about President Trump`s psychological health for months now. And that`s
why I collaborated in this article with Dr. Leanne Watt, a trained clinical
psychologist, very experienced clinical psychologist, and we looked at this
quite closely and she`s had a lot of experience dealing with a range of
different disorders in her practice and there`s two specifically that we`re
very concerned about.
One is extreme narcissism or self-centeredness. And we certainly see that
with this president. The only properties he visits are Trump properties
with his name on them, spending many of his working days at Trump
properties. He`s very focused on himself and the election. He won again
Hillary Clinton and his own ego, the appointment of family members to the
staff. The self-centeredness goes on and on with this president.
The other disorder that we`re very worried about is an extreme anti-social
tendency, an inability to understand how other people feel. We saw that
last week in his dealings with the families of fallen soldiers. We saw
that over the summer after Charlottesville.
When you have racists running up and down the streets chanting death to the
Jews and carrying
swastikas and confederate flags, that is a time for the president to
understand how people feel about that. And instead, he comes out and says,
well, they`re good people on both sides. That`s not a human response.
It`s not a rational response. It`s not a response to that from someone who
is psychologically balanced.
And now we`ve just seen that the Twitter machine is out of control. And
just this week, the
FBI is collaborating with the Russians and the Democrats, it`s just
patently absurd. And to think that someone who tweets that way, who thinks
that way, talks that way, is in control of nuclear weapons, they could wipe
out human civilization. This is very, very worrisome. And that`s why we
have the 25th amendment.
But what do you say, Richard Painter, to those who say, you know, Richard
Painter, you`re known to be an opponent of Donald Trump. You`re a never
Trumper, if you will. And that the things you just describe are really
just things you don`t like about Donald Trump`s style, but that you`re not
a doctor and you can`t apply the 25th amendment when you are not a
clinician. You just don`t like him and you don`t like his style. That`s
PAINTER: I`ve been a Republican for 30 years. I wanted to support a
Republican in 2016. And yes, going into this election, I felt that he was
psychologically unbalanced. Anyone would say a judge should be thrown off
a case because he`s a Mexican-American or say that Muslims should be banned
from the United States. I mean, the statements he made there in the
campaign were psychologically imbalanced.
And if we have to wait around for a doctor to implement the 25th amendment
of the constitution, it could be too late. And that`s why we have the 25th
amendment. It was adopted in the 1960s in the nuclear age when we
understood the dangers, and indeed to human civilization.
If we had a president who is off his rocker – and this is a very dangerous
situation we confront right now. And I`m fine with him on Twitter, but
we`ve got to take away the football.
REID: Richard Painter making your case. Thank you very much. Really
appreciate your time.
PAINTER: Thank you.
REID: Thank you.
An still to come, John Kelly`s performance this week serves as a big
reality check on that theory that despite Trump`s erratic behavior,
there`s guardrails in the White House keeping him in check.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two where everything is made up, because
#nothingmatters. That`s next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight. Donald Trump has a penchant for the fake. He
has a fake Time magazine cover of his golf clubs. He has a fake Civil War
memorial at his Northern Virginia golf course, and he even recently claimed
he invented the word fake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The media is really the word, I think one of the greatest of all
terms I`ve come up with is fake. I guess other people used it perhaps over
the years but I`ve never noticed it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: He literally claims, falsely, to have come up with the term fake.
So I guess you all know the answer to this. There is a painting Donald
Trump owns which he says is an original Renoir. You could see it right
there behind Mike Pence`s head, and it pops up again
during his interview with Harvey Levin at his Trump Tower penthouse. There
it is. You want to take a guess whether or not that original Renoir is a
fake? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So Trump biographer Tim O`Brien tells this story about traveling
aboard Donald Trump`s private plane years ago, and noticing an obviously
fake version of a famous painting by Renoir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM O`BRIEN, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: And I asked him about the painting, and
Donald said, that`s an original Renoir. And I said, no it`s not, Donald.
I said, Donald, it`s not. I grew up in Chicago. That Renoir is called Two
Sisters on a Terrace and it`s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of
We get on a plane the next day and he points to the painting again and he
says, you know, that`s an original Renoir.
(EN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. So, years later, O`Brien says that he was watching a 60
Minutes interview with Donald Trump and Mike Pence and there it was again,
the fake Renoir, evidently moved to Trump`s penthouse after he had sold his
private plane. It even shows up when Harvey Levin went to interview Donald
Trump at his home just over a year ago for a show all about Trump`s
So, where`s the real Renoir? Exactly where O`Brien said it was, at the Art
Institute of Chicago where it`s been since 1963.
A spokeswoman saying the institute is, quote, satisfied that our version is
But Trump being Trump, no matter what evidence is presented to him, he kept
insisting his fake Renoir was real, which came as no surprise to his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`BRIEN: And one of the reasons that story to me is so emblematic of him
is he believes his own lies in a way that lasts for decades. And he`ll
tell the same stories time and time again regardless
of whether or not the facts are right in front of his face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is someone that they`re bringing in that the
president sees as closer to appear who will be an adult in the room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If General Kelly has the respect of Donald Trump and
can play the adult in the room, you might see this administration become a
little more effective.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There needs to be an adult in the room, and maybe Kelly
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely you have got an adult in the room in General
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The premise has largely been accepted by certain
members of the media, and even by many Republicans, that our impulsive,
irresponsible president – the childlike taunting tweeter – must be
managed by the people around him, which is why it`s so crucial that we have
the, quote, adults in the room to protect us from the president`s more
The adult supervisor in chief was supposed to be chief of staff John Kelly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS: General John Kelly, a four star Marine Corps
general, this is real stuff. This is an adult. This is discipline. This
is a totally different culture coming in there. This is now a grownup in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: But General Kelly`s shameful performance in the White House briefing
room yesterday, his willingness to lie about and smear a Democratic member
of congress, and his use of two dead FBI agents to score cheap political
points has made one thing abundantly clear: John Kelly is no better than
the president he serves. And there is no grownup in the West Wing to
The death of the adult in the room myth right after this.
REID: We are back. And I`m joined by Phillip Rucker, White House bureau
chief at The Washington; and MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson, politics
editor at The Root.
And Phillip, I`ll start with you. This idea that John Kelly was sort of
the adult in the room, I`m wondering if folks in and around the West Wing
feel that his reputation on that score may have taken a blow this week
given what he did to Congresswoman Wilson?
PHILLIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Joy, he certainly leveraged his
reputation and the credibility he had as someone who led troops into battle
and who lost his own son at war in able to help his boss contain a PR
crisis. And didn`t do it so effectively, in part, because he couldn`t get
his facts straight. And so we now have this story for a fifth day
REID: Well, I mean, you know, Jason, there is a such thing as staff,
right? I mean, normally no White House official just walks out to a podium
without some decent briefing by staff. How could he possibly get so many
fundamental details wrong, including claiming that she bragged about
funding, that she couldn`t have gotten because she wasn`t in congress yet.
JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT: Well, Joy, because he`s a liar. He`s a liar just
like his boss. And, look, I never believed in the myth of John Kelly, the
organizer. It`s always a dangerous sign in a democracy when we`re saying
the generals will save us.
These men are soldiers. They`re just soldiers with more epaulets on their
shoulders, so he was going to do what Donald Trump wanted.
Remember, this is the same John Kelly that supported the Muslim ban. This
is the same John Kelly that`s perfectly fine with people like Stephen
Miller and white nationalists in the White House. I mean, he didn`t like
Bannon because Bannon was as power hungry as he is.
So, I don`t see any of this as an example of bad staffing. I see it as
being a clear revelation that he was always the kind of man who was going
to support Trump and his bad behavior.
REID: And, Phil, it does seem, you know, if you look at General Kelly`s
history, that he is much more like Trump ideologically than a lot of people
who are looking to him as their savior would believe. I mean, it seems to
me he is for – he was for keeping GIMO open. He was for the Muslim ban,
as Jason mentioned. He is not some non-Trumpian figure, right?
RUCKER: No, he`s very different personally. I mean, he has a different
style and a different way of doing business. But I don`t think anybody can
be the adult in the room with Donald Trump. We`ve been watching him for
two years now.
And remember Paul Manafort was going to be the adult in the room and then
Steve Bannon was going to make him a disciplined candidate. And then
Reince Priebus, the establishment figure, was going to create more
discipline around him as president, and now John Kelly can`t even do it.
Trump is going to be Trump and that`s what we`re all coming to understand.
REID: And, you know, Jason, it hasn`t just been about John Kelly. People
have also looked at H.R. McMaster and General Mattis and saying, well, if
worse comes to worst, if Donald Trump tries to go for the nuclear football
they`ll tackle him and it will all be fine. Are people being delusional in
trying to look to those other two generals, let alone Kelly?
JOHNSON: Well, first off, I don`t know if I ever want to put my confidence
in a guy whose
nickname is “Mad Dog.” I mean, it just doesn`t seem like a good idea to
But at the end of the day, Joy, think about this, if the safety of the
world and our democracy depends on we trust guys to tackle the president if
he tries to start a nuclear war, that`s a really low threshold. So, do I
believe they`ll keep us all from being annihilated? I guess so, but will
they keep him from engaging in policies that could exacerbate tensions in
this country, knock people of of health care, and basically erode our
relationships with everyone else in the world, I don`t think they care
about that, because they haven`t done a good job of stopping him already.
REID: Yeah, and I think, you know, part of Donald Trump is doing is
relying on people`s, you know, faith in the military, right. You know, the
military still polls as the most popular, trusted institution of American
institutions, far above things like the presidency and even the media and
even – bigger than church and religion.
Is that something that White House staff are they deliberately doing?
They`re deliberately saying when we get in trouble, we`re going to push a
general forward because we know even if it isn`t true, somehow that is
soothing to Americans?
RUCKER: Yeah, we`ve seen that actually that move played twice now in last
two weeks. Last week, Kelly came out to that briefing room and had that
whole presentation with reporters as a way to turn the page on what had
been a very damaging narrative building about Trump as this furious
president who can`t get things done and is lashing out a people. Then we
saw it again this week. And part of it is the president`s own fixation and
fascination with military figures as someone who went to
military school, but didn`t actually serve in the military.
REID: Yeah, good point. He did not serve. Five deferments.
Jason, at the same time, General Kelly does seem to share something else
with Donald Trump, and is he has a penchant to go after and attack a woman.
He said is nothing sacred, women used to be sacred. He sure did go after a
woman and a woman of color. Maybe he just wasn`t listening to her when she
was talking and giving her speech.
JOHNSON: No. Joy, I`ve said this all along, black woman are the
Kryptonite to this administration.
I swear, if you are a black woman has anything to say, they are immediately
can`t deal with it, whether it`s April Ryan, whether it`s Susan Wright,
whether it`s Jamel Hill, and now it`s Congresswoman Wilson.
And at the end of the day, what this really speaks to an administration
that at their core is afraid. They`re afraid of being exposed by people
who aren`t afraid of them. And they`ve never been controlled by the
military. Remember, Trump didn`t do that good in military school either.
REID: Yeah, indeed.
Phillip Rucker, Jason Johnson, thank you both. Appreciate it.
All right, guys, that`s All In for this evening. You can catch me back
here tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern for more A.M. Joy, and the same time
Sunday when I`ll talk to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi.
Rachel Maddow starts right now.
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