Carter Page on Papadopoulos guilty plea Transcript 10/30/17 All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: October 30, 2017
Guest: Nick Akerman, Carrie Cordero, Jim Himes, Natasha Bertrand
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So to be clear, Mr. Trump has no financial
relationships with any Russian oligarchs?
PAUL MANAFORT, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, TRUMP 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: That`s
what he said. That`s what I – that`s obviously what our position is.
HAYES: The man who ran Donald Trump`s Presidential Campaign is charged
with conspiracy against the United States.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the way, Paul Manafort
was replaced long before the election took place.
HAYES: Three arrest, a guilty plea, and a surprise proactive cooperator
who is actively trying to collude with the Russian government.
TRUMP: George Papadopoulos, he is an oil and energy consultant, excellent
HAYES: Tonight the massive fallout from Robert Mueller`s twin bombshells.
Plus, what did the President know and when did he know it? And how does
Carter Page fit into all of this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has the Special Counsel reached out to you?
HAYES: My exclusive interview, when ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight the former
Chairman of the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign, Paul Manafort has been
placed under house arrest, ordered to home confinement while out on $10-
million bail. Same goes for second Trump Adviser Richard Gates, indicted
along with Manafort and free on $5-million bail. But it was a guilty plea
by a third adviser that was truly an astonishing move today by Special
Counsel Robert Mueller. First came the indictments of the two senior
campaigns to the President on 12 charges, including conspiracy against the
According to the unsealed indictment, former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul
Manafort and long-time associate Rick Gates stand accused of working as
unregistered foreign agents for Russia`s former puppet regime in Ukraine
and illegally laundering part of a $75 million flow of pavements over a
period that lasted into the campaign. Both men pleaded not guilty. And
under any other circumstances, the indictment of the President`s former
campaign chairman on those charges would be an earth-shattering event in
Washington enough to provoke a major political crisis.
But now it`s not even the biggest story of the day because minutes after
the indictments were announced, we learned that a little-known campaign
aide named George Papadopoulos had already pleaded guilty to lying to the
FBI about efforts to collude with Russian representatives during the
campaign and that he`s been actively cooperating with the Mueller
investigation for at least the past three months. Papadopoulos is one of a
small group of foreign policy advisers appointed to the campaign in March
2016. Days later, after that appointment, according to court filings, he
was approached by an intermediary who put him in touch with individuals
claiming high-level connection with the Russian government.
And what followed was a series of routine repeated contacts between
Papadopoulos and those individuals in an effort to set up meeting between
Trump and senior Russian officials. Those efforts were regularly relayed
back to, even encouraged by top Trump campaign aides. They were also known
to the president himself. On March 31st, 2016, Donald Trump attended a
meeting in Washington with his national security team, headed up by current
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and right there in the middle of the table
facing Sessions is George Papadopoulos who when he introduced himself,
stated in sum and substance that he had connections that could help arrange
a meeting between then Candidate Trump and President Putin. But perhaps
most significantly, Papadopoulos was told the Russians had thousands of e-
mails damaging to Hillary Clinton.
And he was told this crucially months before the public found out about the
Democratic e-mail hacks. On March 19th, 2016, Clinton Campaign Chairman
John Podesta received that fishing e-mail, the one that gave Russian
hackers access to his entire inbox. Days later on the 22nd, a staffer at
the DNC received a similar e-mail which led to what was then a second round
of DNC hacks. Now, it wasn`t until June 14th that either of those attacks
became public. But here is the thing. On April 26th, just about a month
after the hacks, but six full weeks before anyone in public would know
about them, Papadopoulos, the man who plead guilty, met with his
intermediary, supposedly of the Russian government, who said of Hillary
Clinton, they, the Russians, have dirt on her. The Russians had e-mails of
Clinton. They have thousands of e-mails.
Today, the White House Press Secretary argued, pretty implausibly that
Papadopoulos was just an obscure volunteer whose case had nothing to do
with the campaign but the Special Counsel seems to think otherwise. We
have now learned that Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27th on arrival at
Dulles International Airport. Since then, according to court filings, he
has been working with investigators as what`s called a proactive
cooperator. Carrie Cordero is a former Attorney with the Justice
Department`s National Security Division, Nick Akerman was an Assistant
Special Watergate Prosecutor. An astounding day, I mean –
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Absolutely.
This is amazing.
HAYES: First of all, it feels to me that the track that American history
is on switched today.
AKERMAN: Totally. I mean completely took everything off of the oh, it`s a
witch-hunt routine so we`ve got something really serious that we`re dealing
HAYES: I want to – let`s start with this idea, Carrie, of proactive
cooperator. I want to talk what that could mean, what the significance of
the fact that he was secretly arrested and secretly been cooperating and
secretly plead as to what this investigation is. What do you think about
CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER ATTORNEY, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NATIONAL SECURITY
DIVISION: Well, so obviously there was a huge investigation going on.
They had information indicating probably already information they knew of
what Papadopoulos had been involved in. So because remember, this was a
long-standing investigation even before the Special Counsel office was
created. There was an FBI investigation and intelligence community looking
into Russian influence on the campaign. So there`s more that they knew all
along that time. But they obviously explained to him a little bit about in
terms of the jeopardy that he was in. He was interviewed, and he lied.
And lying is just one theme that I think is revealed throughout both the
Papadopoulos situation where he lied during an FBI interview when they
warned him that lying is a federal offense, as well as throughout the
Manafort indictment that indicates lying in a whole host of other contexts.
HAYES; Nick, what leaped out to you about the – we can talk about
Manafort and Gates but I want to talk about Papadopoulos, what leaped out
to you about that?
AKERMAN: What leaped out to me was he started cooperating in July. This
was kept quiet until today. To me, that says that they had him out there
playing dial a crook, calling people with a wiretapped phone, meeting with
people, wearing a wire. There are all kinds of people. Look how many
different campaign officials were mentioned in that information. Not by
name, but simply by position. And if I were the prosecutor, I certainly
would have sent him out with all kinds of stories about being pressured by
the FBI, being subpoenaed, what do I tell them, what do I do? And I`ll bet
anything that they`ve got a whole array of tapes that have already been
made, and there are a lot of other people in Muller`s sights.
HAYES: To Nick`s point, there`s three individuals that are mentioned in
the Papadopoulos document, campaign supervisor, senior policy adviser,
high-ranking campaign official. We don`t – we don`t have definitive – we
have some source saying that one of those campaign supervisor might be Paul
Manafort. We don`t definitively know who the others are.
AKERMAN: And some are done in the plural too so there is a number of
HAYES: There`s also, Carrie, I want to come back to this timeline issue
because this really strikes me as significant. The world does not know
until June that there are these e-mails that have been hacked, that the DNC
has been hacked. And yet you got someone who is in meetings with the
candidate. Let`s be clear, I don`t know if we had that photo but just to -
- he`s in meetings with the candidate, with Donald Trump, right? There he
is. You`ve got that guy on e-mail chains with senior people on the
campaign about setting up a meeting who is also being told by intermediary
we have e-mails from Clinton. That seems like pretty close to the heart of
the matter of what we`re talking about here.
CORDERO: It really does. And this really is probably one of the – if not
the most significant perhaps you know, one of the most significant things
that has been learned today, which is that not only did Papadopoulos become
informed by an individual who portrayed themselves as affiliated with the
Russian government, that the Russians had her e-mails, Hillary Clinton`s e-
mails. He repeatedly communicated to other more senior campaign officials
that he was in contact with Russian government-affiliated people on – in
relation to this topic. And what did they do? They didn`t say what are
you talking about?
CORDERO: Or they didn`t say you can`t be part of this campaign anymore.
This is stuff that we don`t want to get involved in. They had so many –
based on just on his information, on his plea agreement, which is limited
information, there is a lot more that the Special Counsel`s Office probably
has that`s not in that document. But just based on what`s in that
document, they had – the campaign had repeated opportunities to turn away
an individual who said that they were trying to set up meetings that they
were trying to coordinate efforts, that they were trying to be on the
receiving end of information from the Russian government and they did not
cut him off.
HAYES: That`s a great point. It`s now two – we have two documented
examples, right? There`s the infamous Trump Tower meeting, we`ve got this
HAYES: So, we`ve now learned over the course of the last several months,
there`s two points at which essentially Russian cutouts, right, say like,
would you like some dirt on Hillary Clinton? And in both cases, the
campaign is saying yes. You got to wonder, did it stop at two? Did get it
to three, four, and five? And did they do anything reciprocally?
AKERMAN: Right. And did they get stuff? I mean, it`s hard to believe
that they didn`t.
HAYES: Carrie Cordero and Nick Akerman, thank you both. Matt Miller is an
MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst who served as Chief Spokesman for the
Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder. Matt, your reaction
to today`s big news?
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: I want to pick up on
something you were just talking about, this meeting that George
Papadopoulos had where he was promised – where he was told that the
Russians had dirt on Clinton and e-mails. I think there was a very
significant tell on the way Bob Mueller`s team wrote that indictment. If
you go through the rest of the indictment, the – not the indictment – the
rest of the plea-agreement after that paragraph, it talks in great detail
about his attempt to arrange meetings with Russian officials. You get
chapter and verse about that. You get nothing else about what George
Papadopoulos did with that information about the stolen Clinton e-mails.
You don`t know if he went to his supervisor as he did about these meetings.
We don`t know if he talked with other officials on the campaign. You know
who does know that, however? Bob Mueller – Bob Mueller knows because
Papadopoulos is cooperating. I think putting that information out there
was a significant way for Mueller to tell the rest of the world I know what
happened. I know what happened, I know what Papadopoulos did, I know who
he talked to. You need to talk to me when I come knock on your door. If
you don`t, I`m going to charge you with the most serious crime I can prove.
HAYES: There`s also something here. I want to – I want to play a little
bit of sound because I think it`s important to sort of zoom back out to
30,000 feet. There are now two undisputed sets of facts around people
representing themselves as intermediates of the Russian government,
promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. In one case e-mails that they have
stolen, all before, right, the whole thing blows up. And yet this is
Donald Trump during the debate, OK, when his own campaign has been privy to
this knowledge. This is what he has to say about whether it was Russia
that hacked e-mails. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don`t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC.
She is saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don`t – maybe it was. I mean,
it could be Russia but it could also be China, it could also be lots of
other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs
400 pounds, OK. You don`t know who broke into DNC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I mean, that`s six months after we now know from a federal charging
document that someone in – who is in national security meetings with
Donald Trump is being promised e-mails from Hillary Clinton by someone
representing themselves as an agent of Russia.
MILLER: Yes, I think that`s exactly right. And one of the questions Bob
Mueller obviously will have had for Papadopoulos is who did you tell? And
he`s going to go up the chain of command. And if Papadopoulos has told
someone else, Mueller is going to ask that person who he told and he`s
going to want to get to find out what the then candidate, now President of
the United States told. That clip you just played is going to look a lot
different in retrospect than it did at the time because you go back to it`s
the same issue as the statement he helped write on Air Force One that we
now know is misleading that his son put out. It goes to something called
concealment. If prosecutors can show you were lying to the public, that in
of itself isn`t a crime but it shows that you were trying to cover up
something that you did and it shows consciousness of guilt potentially.
HAYES: All right, Matt Miller, always a pleasure. Thanks for making time.
MILLER: Thank you.
HAYES: Congressman Jim Himes, is a Democrat from Connecticut, a Member of
the House Intelligence Committee. And Congressman, let me start by showing
you what Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to say about George Papadopoulos and
the role he played. I mean, the line from the White House is Manafort and
Davis were from before the campaign and Papadopoulos, we barely know the
guy. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you just explain what George Papadopoulos role
with the campaign was?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: It was extremely
limited. It was a volunteer position. And again, no activity was ever
done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard.
He reached out and nothing happened beyond that which I think shows, one,
his level of importance in the campaign and two shows what little role he
had within coordinating anything officially for the campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Does that– does that square to you?
REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, it only squares
in as much as it sort of illustrates that you know, the strategy that we`ve
seen from moment one in this investigation, which has been to deny and then
when you`re proven to be incorrect in denying, minimize. You know, this is
what we saw, you know, Don Jr. Don Jr., his meeting, which you correctly
sort of related to what we`re learning today, you know, started out as a
Magnitsky Act meeting. It had nothing do with Russia. So you know, until
these people are presented with indictments and facts on pieces of paper
that come from the DOJ, they deny, they obfuscate. So look, at the end of
the day, Chris, it doesn`t really matter whether this was a major operative
or a minor operative.
He was – he was a member of the campaign, acting for the campaign and as
we now know, rather than doing and I think Carrie got it exactly right,
rather than saying my God, this is an enemy of the United States with
nothing but ill wishes for the United States, we shouldn`t touch this with
a ten-foot pole. His reaction was exactly Don Jr.`s reaction which was
let`s do it. Let`s keep this conversation going and let`s see what we can
get on Hillary Clinton. And that obviously, I don`t know if that`s
collusion. Everybody has a different definition of collusion. It is
certainly cooperation. It is certainly working with an enemy of the United
States to help compromise an election for the President of the United
HAYES: Congressman, you work on the intelligence committee, which is –
which is one of the investigatory bodies here. And one thing that struck
me today, particularly the Papadopoulos announcement is that there is a set
of facts that we are completely not privy to that did not leak. Let me ask
you this. Do you know things about the facts that are not public yet?
HIMES: Well, I do. As you might imagine, this investigation has been
going on for a long time. And of course, members of the two committees,
the Senate and the House know things that aren`t out there in the public
realm. But I will observe a couple things. Number one, at least my
Committee did not see this coming. We were not briefed on what Mueller
had, what the FBI was about to do and I think that`s appropriate,
obviously, given the nature of what he is doing. And I would also observe
that – so this is the big story today. Clear attempts to cooperate with
the – with the Russians and we`ll see what comes out of that.
You know, the same thing with the Don Jr. meeting with an agent of the
Russian government which is we didn`t – we didn`t find that either. The
media found that. And that`s important, Chris, because interestingly
enough, as early as sort of 24 hours ago, my Republican colleagues were
saying we should just shut this down, there`s nothing to see here, folks.
Let`s just go away and let`s talk about Clinton and Uranium One, and boom,
Mueller comes out. And now the lesson is my God, we better keep looking
because every time we look or somebody looks, there is more there, there.
HAYES: All right, do you believe that sort of following up on that that
Mueller knows more than the committees do?
HIMES: I absolutely believe he knows more than the committees do. And
that`s not because I know what he knows. But it`s just, again, I as I
guess the second most senior Democrat on that committee was certainly not
in any way briefed about the activities that came to light today. And
look, it stands to reason, right? Bob Mueller has resources that the
Congressional Committees can only dream of. He can put people – you know,
he can put people with wires on the phone. He has you know, massive
investigatory resources. So it doesn`t surprise me that he`s got much
deeper probes into this than we could ever have.
HAYES: Final question. Is this moving faster than you anticipated?
HIMES: Well, you know, there is a lot of talk, Chris, it is fast or is it
slow? This is as serious as it gets. This is something that reaches into
the Oval Office that pertains to how we as a people handle an attack on the
core of our Democratic system. Sadly, it`s become very partisan. But
look, it was an attack on the core of our democratic system, so none of us
should be looking for fast or slow. We should be looking at comprehensive.
And I give Mueller a lot of credit because just at very moment that an
awful lot of people were saying he should resign – by the way, including
people that you think of as having some creditability like you know, the
Wall Street Journal, although maybe that`s not changed in the future. The
HAYES: Well, the editorial page. Yes. Eye of the beholder.
HIMES: You know, in the very moment in which people, you know, colleagues
of mine on the Republican side, the editorial page of the Wall Street
Journal are calling for Mueller to resign, at the very moment they`re
trying to distract with uranium deals, boom, this hits and it reminds us
that there is serious stuff here and we shouldn`t be hurrying this along.
HAYES: Congressman Jim Himes, thanks for taking the time tonight.
HIMES: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, former Trump Campaign Foreign Adviser Carter Page on
what he makes of today`s big indictments. My exclusive interview is ahead.
And next, a look at all the major warning signs on Paul Manafort the Trump
Campaign simply ignored in two minutes.
HAYES: Paul Manafort`s resignation from the Trump Campaign last year
should have surprised no one. There were red flags over Manafort going
back years. And that despite Manafort somewhat hilariously originally
pitching himself to the Trump Campaign with a promise that, and I quote
here, “I will not bring Washington baggage.” The opposite was actually
common knowledge in political circles and in many published reports. Soon
after Manafort joined the Trump Campaign, Eli Lake of Bloomberg wrote that
Donald Trump just hired his next scandal. Describing Manafort as “A former
lobbyist who`s been linked to one corruption scheme after another.”
In fact, by the time that that piece came out, which is less than a month
after getting the gig, Manafort had already e-mailed a Ukrainian contract
about leveraging his new role in the Trump Campaign writing, how do we use
to get whole? Has OVD operation seen? An apparent reference to Kremlin
tied Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska with whom Manafort had millions of
dollars of business. And Manafort`s protege Richard Gates even stayed on
with the Trump Campaign despite years of working with Manafort on the very
same projects. In fact, Gate`s continuous relationship with the White
House well into this year. The Daily Beast reporting in June that Trump
friend Thomas Barrack “was again at the White House with Gates in tow, two
White House officials confirmed.
Political Correspondent Natasha Bertrand of the Business Insider wrote
today, the Special Counsel just complicated the President`s attempts to
distance himself from Paul Manafort. And MSNBC Political Analyst, Times
Reporter Nick Confessore was shining the light on Richard Gates months ago
with that profile. Good to have you both here. Natasha, on the – so the
indictment. It`s funny because in some ways it almost feels like an open
source document because so much of it has been publicly reported, it`s sort
of all drawn together and put in one place.
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Right. It`s
kind of like we`ve connected all of the dots now and they`ve put all
together in one place for everyone – for the world to see. You know, on
Friday, when the news of the indictments broke, everyone kind of figured,
well, it`s either Paul Manafort or it`s Michael Flynn. But it was really
unlikely everyone thought that Mueller would be going for such big fish so
early on in the investigation. I mean, he`s only been leading it for about
five months. But on the other hand, you know, everyone was like, well,
Manafort is the obvious choice because everything – he`s just so
I mean, everything that`s already been reported about his past financial
ties, about his FARA violations, about his, you know, alleged money
laundering. There was a Wall Street Journal report just last week that
said that he`s the target of yet another money laundering investigation in
New York. This was just all building for so long that there was really no
way it couldn`t be Manafort.
HAYES: And Nick Akerman who we just had here made a really good point to
me which he said – he said it`s a very ingenious charging documents
because the charges all revolve around documentation, like failures to file
things which are tough to defend against because it`s not a question about
witness credibility. They can – they can make a lot of the cases that are
in the charging document just on paper alone and it puts Manafort in a
tough spot in his calculation, I would imagine about whether he`s going to
talk or not.
NICK CONFESSORE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Exactly. Look, just take one
thing. The FARA violation, the foreign agents – excuse me, the Foreign
Agent`s Act. It`s been said that he worked for Ukrainian interests and
didn`t disclose it and didn`t file properly and they have him chapter and
verse on that it appears. And they`re shining a light by the way on entire
business model in Washington of lobbying for foreign governments and
pretending not to by laundering the lobbying through nonprofit groups
overseas. So right there they had him on something that is technically
very, very serious, but are not prosecuted very often.
HAYES; And you`ve also – so then the question becomes, at the core of
this, I want to get to Gates in a second, but the core of this is it really
looks like Paul Manafort was way in debt when he got this job.
HAYES: And not only was he in debt, he was up to a lot of stuff that
whether it was on this side of the law or not, wasn`t the kind of stuff you
really want people looking at and yet he gets himself into the center of
the campaign. The big question is why.
BERTRAND: He was in debt and he pitched himself to lead the campaign. He
really, really wanted to lead the campaign. He wanted this high-level
position. And as we saw, as soon as he got on to the campaign, he tried to
leverage that. He e-mailed his longtime business associate Konstantin
Kilimnik who`s a Russian-Ukrainian you know, a friend of his and he said,
how do we use this to get whole. He was essentially trying to collect past
debt which he did have to Oleg Deripaska. They had a falling out and
Deripaska accused him of essentially stealing $17 million. Now –
HAYES: I want to clear because there`s a lot of facts and names here,
right? But like, Manafort says – Manafort is engaged in this sort of –
according to Robert Mueller, right, this money laundering scheme, right,
this flow of income. He then pitches himself to the campaign, right? He
gets them to take him on as campaign chair and then turns around
immediately and goes to his associate in the Ukraine and says, has Oleg`s
people seen this? How do we use it to get whole? It`s not a crazy
conclusion that was part of the reason he wanted to be in the center, to
BERTRAND: It seems incredibly deliberate. And you know, the next month he
actually wrote to his associate Rick Gates who was also named in the
indictment this morning that he wanted to discuss these overtures that the
Russians were making to George Papadopoulos, let`s discuss further. We
need to make sure that there is no signal that is being sent. Well, need
low-level campaign people to be traveling to Russia, not Donald Trump
HAYE: Which also – that`s a great point that is in that document. That`s
also someone who kind of knows where the line is and how to avoid it,
right? I mean, he`s thinking about this signal. Who is Gates as someone
who wrote a profile on him, were you really surprised this morning to wake
up and find him indicted?
CONFESSORE: No, I wasn`t totally surprised. Rick Gates was the protege
for Paul Manafort. And for many years, if Paul Manafort was doing business
somewhere, Gates was the guy helping him do it, working out contracts,
hiring people, arranging flights, setting up shell companies, including the
shell companies in Cypress where a lot of the money from Eastern Europe and
Russia flowed and from which it came back to the U.S. He was everywhere
that Paul Manafort does or was. Now, when I spoke to him in June, he would
not talk that much about the purpose of these things. He always said I
didn`t know much about the money side of it but we see in this indictment
and this charging document that the prosecutors – the Special Counsel
office believe head was deep in every detail of these arrangements.
HAYES: All right, Natasha Bertrand and Nick Confessore, thanks for joining
HAYES: Ahead, the White House furiously attempting to distance themselves
from the campaign members indicted today. A tactic my next guest is very
familiar with. Former Trump Adviser Carter Page on the Manafort indictment
and Papadopoulos`s guilty plea, coming up.
HAYES: On March 21st, 2016, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump met with
the Washington Post Editorial Board and named some members of his foreign
policy advisory team. Now, these were the five individuals who Donald
Trump announced would be the Foreign Policy Department of the Trump
Campaign. It made news. I mean, people noticed. The candidate certainly
at that point needed some sort of foreign policy cred but it also caused
some head scratching because of the names candidate Trump offered.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: Walid Phares, who you probably know, Ph.D., adviser to the House of
Representatives caucus and is a counterterrorism expert; Carter Page, Ph.D.
George Papadopoulos, he`s an oil and energy consultant, excellent guy; the
Honorable Joe Schmitz, Inspector General at the Department of Defense; Lt.
Gen. Keith Kellogg; and I have quite a few more. But that`s a group of some
of the people that we are dealing with.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: The names on that list were not generally well-known, or a lot of
them are. But one of them we found out today, George Padopoulos, was
arrested at Dulles airport on July 27 has since been cooperating with the
Mueller investigation and plead guilty to lying to federal officials.
Another name on that list Carter Page. He joins me next.
HAYES: Today, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was indicted.
And we learn that former Trump campaign adviser George Padopoulos, who
plead guilty to lying to the FBI, has been cooperating with the Mueller
And just last Friday, according to NBC News, former Trump campaign adviser
Carter Page met
behind closed doors with Senate intelligence committee staff for more than
five hours. And former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump`s
presidential campaign Carter Page joins me now.
How you, carter?
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: Great to see
you. I`m doing great.
HAYES: Congratulations on not being indicted.
PAGE: Of course not.
HAYES: You`re a free man.
Let me start with this.
So, George Padopoulos. Did you know him?
PAGE: We met briefly a couple of times early in the campaign, yeah.
HAYES: Do you recall – I mean, first of all, you were part of that group
of people, right? So, the key moment in the Trump campaign, it`s March.
And it`s like where is your foreign policy credit? So, he gives this
interview to The Washington Post editorial. He says your name,
Padopoulos`s name, a few other people.
They`re saying now like these people were basically like people that came
in off the street.
they`re no different than volunteers who sort of answered phones. Like, is
that an accurate characterization?
PAGE: It`s funny. I heard the end of that clip, which I haven`t heard in
quite some time. And he said there are a lot of people coming on. And I
think that is absolutely the case. So there were many people as time went
on that we kept…
HAYES: Right. But you were doing something with the campaign. Like the
candidate – the candidate doesn`t say the name of a person randomly,
PAGE: Chris, in the grand scheme of things, the biggest thing I ended up
doing is responding to all these fake reports that kept coming out against
But at this point there are no fake reports.
PAGE: Well, they`re starting pretty early.
HAYES: Well, no, but it`s March, right. So, the reason, there is five
people named there. One of them just got pinched, right? You`re another
one of them. Were you – what was the role of those five people who were
named there? Were you guys on email chains together, you and Padopoulos?
PAGE: Look, there is a lot of emails all over the place when you`re in a
HAYES: Right. But yes or no. Like were you on email chains with
PAGE: Probably a few, yeah.
HAYES: Were you on email chains with him about Russia?
PAGE: It may have come up time and time. Again there is nothing major,
HAYES: Well, I mean, nothing major. It was enough for him to lie to
federal investigators about and then plead guilty to that he was having an
intermediary come to him and sayking you should come to London and talk to
someone who has got Hillary Clinton`s emails.
PAGE: Listen, I`ve been focused on other things today.
But someone – I`ve been getting calls all day asking this from various
reporters. And I finally hit back and I said well, where is the main
thing? What is your real question in terms of me. And they said there is
something in there about some meeting in August.
PAGE: And what`s interesting about August is by then, you know, they`re
saying well, they refer to some random or anonymous people. Were you one
of those people dealing with him in August?
Remember, in July is when they started this dodgy dossier with all these
kind of false stories. I have been totally…
HAYES: I know. I just – let`s stipulate for the record.
PAGE: But I had nothing to do with any of that. I`m on none of those.
HAYES: I`m going stipulate for the record you feel you`ve been unfairly
smeared, that the dodgy dossier is untrue, that your name has been dragged
through the mud. I get that.
HAYES: But I just want to zero in on what we know. So what people are
talking about is that there is a footnote in this document, right, in which
there is a back and forth about, well, should we set up a meeting? Should
we have the candidate go himself? And someone says, well, you can`t send
the candidate. It should it be a low level person. This is – let`s
discuss. We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips.
It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any
Now you traveled over the summer to Moscow.
HAYES: Are you the person they`re talking about?
PAGE: I don`t think so.
I think that`s a separate reference. And actually…
HAYES: But you`re not sure. You say I don`t think so. It`s possible?
PAGE: I definitely was not. I`m sure on that one that I wasn`t, because
it was very clear. And if you listen to the audio of all or the
transcripts of everything I said, I was always there just as a private
citizen. And I`ve spoken at universities in Moscow, in Russia, in Asia, in
Europe many times. So I was totally separate.
HAYES: But it`s already been established, you did get the green light from
the campaign to go on that trip?
PAGE: They said if you want to go on your own, we`re fine with that.
HAYES: Did you brief anyone when you got back?
PAGE: I may have mentioned just a few sort of you know things I heard, but
nothing serious at all.
HAYES: Well, people keep using these terms like serious or official. But
you told them what you did and who you talked to?
PAGE: What I said is taht there is a lot of positive feedback, in general,
on the street. The average person is really excited about…
HAYES: About Donald Trump.
PAGE: I think just in general about future possibilities.
So, again, I had no meetings, no serious discussions with anyone high up or
at any official capacity. It`s just kind of man on the street, you know.
HAYES: Let me ask you this. Do you remember Padopoulos telling people
back then in the spring, Putin wants to set up a meeting. I can set it
up. They`re coming to me about Clinton`s emails. Do you remember that?
PAGE: I know nothing about emails. Definitely nothing. I heard nothing
HAYES: No, no, but there`s a direct question on this particular thing.
Do you remember Papadopoulos emailing about this stuff?
PAGE: There were tons of emails happening on a lot of different things.
HAYES: So you could have been on them?
PAGE: I might have been.
HAYES: You might have been on them.
PAGE: There`s thousands of emails. But I definitely didn`t hear anything
HAYES: On them hacking emails.
PAGE: The only hacking I heard about emails is from The Washington Post
and The New York Times about my emails getting hacked with this fake FISA
warrant that was based on the dodgy dossier.
HAYES: So here is the thing that I find remarkable.
People around the Trump campaign, right, have this idea that like all this
Russia stuff is a witch hunt, right. And yet there`s two examples where
Papadopoulos has someone coming to them representing themselves as Russian
agents saying we have Clinton`s emails. And then months later, someone
saying they`re a government lawyer sets up a meeting at Trump Tower to say
like we want to
help Donald Trump become president, right?
How does – how do people in the campaign not put two and two together when
the hacks start happening about what is happening?
PAGE: That – to me they`re totally separate. And I don`t know anything
about any of the…
HAYES: Which are totally separate?
PAGE: I don`t know anything about those other meetings. I wasn`t part of
it. And it`s nothing.
HAYES: Carter, the biggest hack…
PAGE: The only hack I know about is the FISA warrant hack and the FISA
HAYES: Do you have legal representation?
PAGE: I have some people that are helping me. My main lawsuit that I`m
HAYES: But you have an attorney?
PAGE: I have some informal advisers and a formal adviser.
HAYES: Did you bring an attorney to you when you spent five hours before
PAGE: Nope. No. I`m very, very open and happy to give all the
information I can. In the interest of really getting the truth out there,
because I think when the truth comes out, when Speaker Paul Ryan says the
FISA warrant or the details about the dodgy dossier and what happened and
all this documents around that is going to be released, that`s what I`m
really excited about. And I think the truth will set a lot of people free.
HAYES: Have you talked to federal investigators associated with Robert
PAGE: There are – look, there has been leaks, there has been leaks going
back to The Washington Post earlier in June.
HAYES: No, but I`m asking you right now.
PAGE: And I think someone mentioned it previously. People are respectful
of – he has been respectful of confidentiality. There has been leaks that
I spent 10 hours without a lawyer with – in The Washington Post mentioning
that with the FBI. You know, someone was saying about Padopoulos has been
cooperating since July. I`ve been cooperating since March.
I mean, I want to get the truth out there and just – you know, it`s very
clear that this is the main offenses were the ones that were – that
happened with the civil rights violations and the wiretapping and the hack
HAYES: And you`re pursuing a pro se lawsuit about that?
You know, the sad part about it is there are two aspects of the January 6
intelligence report. One is the hack. Yeah, I was hacked. And we`ll find
out more than when the disclosures come.
The other one is propaganda, right? And the propaganda, if you look at
Radio Free Europe in late September, this – part of the grand premiere,
the world premiere of the dodgy dossier are the false accusations courtesy
of Radio Free Europe with the financial backing of the cutout broadcasting
board of governors.
So, it will be interesting to see how that plays out. This is –
everything that they`re talking about in the January 6 intel report is
accurate. Just I`m speaking about it firsthand in terms of accurate as to
U.S. government influence on…
HAYES: Let me just establish. So you and Padopoulos, you probably were on
PAGE: Perhaps, yeah.
HAYES: OK. Those probably included discussions of Russia?
PAGE: It may have come up, yeah.
HAYES: You went to Russia, but you are confident that the footnote about
sending a low level staffer is not in reference to you?
PAGE: I definitely did not represent anyone from the Trump campaign during
HAYES: But that`s different than…
PAGE: Again, I was busy working on more important things today. I haven`t
read the sort of fine print. But what was read to me, it doesn`t sound
like it has anything to do with me.
Because again, I never was representing myself, and I never…
HAYES: As part of the campaign. I know.
You have cooperated with the FBI. And you gave five hours of testimony to
the senate intelligence committee.
PAGE: Yeah. And I`m really looking forward to a more open hearing with
Congressman Himes and the rest of the House intelligence committee.
HAYES: I genuinely hope, Carter, that you are innocent of everything,
because you`re doing a lot of talking. It`s either admirably bold or
reckless. I guess we`ll find out. Thanks for coming by.
PAGE: Great to see you, Chris.
HAYES: All right. Carter Page.
Coming up, as Robert Mueller makes his first big play, renewed concerns
over whether he, the president, can fire him. I`ll ask someone who helped
draft the special counsel regulations just how safe
Mueller`s job is, ahead.
And next, beers and burgers in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight. Today was a pretty big news day. And in cable
news, sometimes you have a rundown you just need to tear up when breaking
news intervenes, which happened of course this morning when news broke of
Robert Mueller`s first indictments just before 8:00 a.m. And some networks
went into rolling breaking news coverage for the hour.
But you have to admire the stubborn determination of producers over at Fox
& Friends who reported that news along with segments on why a magazine
questioned American patriotism, whether
Newsweek is racist against Irish-Americans, and this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve been talking about it all morning. Can you see
what`s wrong with this picture? The cheese is underneath the hamburger.
Who does that?
Rhonda writes, “I worked at a restaurant in my younger days, and we were
taught to put the lettuce under the burger to keep the bun from getting
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Way to get to the bottom of that Jillian. Good work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Indeed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I Googled it, and it showed the cheese should the be on
top of the burger.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don`t we have cheeseburgers to try it out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But that wasn`t even the worst attempt at distraction. The White
House press secretary
read a decades old chain email from the podium. That`s Thing Two in 60
HAYES: It`s hard to imagine a White House press briefing with more
significance than the one coming just hours after the president`s former
campaign chairman is indicted for conspiracy against America. And so
press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders chose to begin today`s briefing by
reciting a right wing chain email forward about taxes dating back to 2001,
a three-and-a-half minute reading that took up nearly one-sixth of the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These 10 reporters
paid their tab every night the way we pay our taxes. It would go something
like this. The first fourth, the poorest, would pay nothing. The 5th
would pay $1. The 6th would pay $3. The seventh would pay $7. I`m going
to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. The seventh now paid $5
of 28, a 28 percent savings. The eighth now to – each of the six was
better off than before, and the first four continued to drink for free.
I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving, declared the sixth reporter.
Why should he get $10 back, when I only got $2? The wealthy get all the
breaks. They no longer had enough money between them all to even cover
half of the bill. And that, ladies and gentlemen is how our tax system
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The blaring headline for The Washington Post reads about like you
might expect it to.
“Upstairs at home with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments.”
According to a senior Republican with contact with top White House
staffers, quote, the walls
are closing in. Everyone is freaking out.
This weekend the president rage tweeted “collusion doesn`t exist,” he
wrote, “there is so much guilt by Democrats, Clinton, and now the facts are
pouring out. Do something,” all caps.
Unclear who that`s directed to.
And then there are those in Trump world who seem to actually believe that
Hillary Clinton is currently president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: The speculation is so insane
right now, what we should be focusing on are the continued lies of the
Clinton administration, the
continued fallacies that they perpetuate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The lies of the Clinton administration.
But I have to say the most dangerous reaction from conservative media has
the growing and unmistakable targeting of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time, folks. It`s time to shut it down, turn
the tables, and lock her up. That`s what I said. I actually said it.
Lock her up.
Special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller must be fired
immediately. His role as head of the FBI during the uranium deal and the
Russian extortion case, his friendship with Jim Comey
demands his firing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Fox News ran a graphic today questioning Mueller`s credibility with
this picture of
a giant Russian flag. And last week, The Wall Street Journal`s editorial
board wrote that Mueller could best serve the country by resigning.
And the White House has intimated this won`t happen. His lawyers say there
is no plans to do it. But inevitably, the president does what he wants.
And if he wants to fire Mueller, he`ll have to navigate the special counsel
regulations under which Mueller was appointed.
Neal … former acting solicitor general of the United States and the man
who literally wrote the rules under which Robert Mueller was appointed
joins me now.
So, let`s start, Neal, with this, when people say will the president fire
Robert Mueller, the president personally cannot fire Robert Mueller. How
would he go about – what would he have to do to remove him?
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: Well, he might try and fire
him directly. And he might constitutionally be able to do that, or he
could order the acting attorney general under the
regulations, Rod Rosenstein who is ordinarily the number two, but Jeff
Sessions is recused because he himself has some collusion with Russia –
allegations or something like that. So, he could order Rosenstein to fire
him, and if Rosenstein doesn`t fire Mueller, then he could order Rosenstein
fired and then go to the next person down, Rachel Brand in the department,
and go down until he finds someone willing to fire him.
And really this is a consequence of our constitution. Our founders gave
the president article 2 powers to over prosecutors. And so he does
ultimately have the ability to fire Mueller. And what we did in the 1990s
was strike the special counsel regulations so that if there is any high
level interference with a special counsel it has to be reported to congress
and sunlight has to be shown on it.
HAYES: But those regulations, I mean I want to go back to that first thing
you said under the constitution. Like, could he just say, I hereby – I,
as president of the United States, hereby relieve Robert Mueller of duty,
and that be effectuated tomorrow?
KATYAL: Well, he could either do that or he could say, I remove the
special counsel regulations, which are an executive branch creation so
they`re gone. And now Mueller, you don`t have any ability to exist any
So, one way or the other, I wouldn`t get hung up with the legal
formalities. I think the ultimate question that we were struggling with in
the regulations, indeed that the republic have been struggling
with even before that, you know, Plato, who will guard the guardians or Dr.
Seuss, the bee watchers and how lucky you are. The ultimate question is
kind of how do we set up a system to avoid a government cover up?
And, you know, when you have an allegation that now has become more than an
allegation, you know, in which people are literally pleading guilty to
attempted collusion with Russia and the facts of
their plea agreements, boy, this is starting to look really mighty serious.
HAYES: What would it mean constitutionally for the president to do
something like that, to either fire Mueller or withdraw the regulations
that you were involved in drafting, or to do a kind of Archibald Cox,
Richard Nixon Saturday night massacre and start going down the line, firing
Department officials until they find someone who will get rid of Mueller?
KATYAL: It will be a deep constitutional crisis the likes of which most of
us have not seen in our lifetimes. That is to say, if you go back and we
study this in the 1990s and the Justice Department, you go back and over
these scandals, Iran Contra, Whitewater, Lewinsky, you know, the ones that
are the worst are the ones in which trust is implicated, in which the
president looks like he`s in it for himself to grab power, that`s what
Watergate was. And what, you know, and arguably according to what we`re
seeing today, what might have happened here.
And so, if you have a president who is shutting down in the investigation
or shutting down the prosecutor, boy, that`s going to look awful.
And indeed it wouldn`t be the first time. After all, you know, before –
the whole reason we have a guy named Mueller is because before that we had
a guy named Comey, and Comey was investigating nothing else but – he was
investigating one of the things he was investigating was of
course the Trump campaign`s collusion with Russia. And Trump fired him.
And to do it again, boy, you know, fool me once. But I can`t imagine
people standing for that.
HAYES: There is something that seems analogous to me. So, the president,
you know, is arguably under Article 2 of the constitution has the power to
get rid of people that are in the executive, like Robert Mueller, right,
but there would be a constitutional crisis precipitated. Same thing with
the pardon power, which also adheres to the president. It`s quite broad in
its sort of as a sort of constitutional theoretical matter. But what would
it mean if he just said blanket pardons to these named individuals?
KATYAL: Right, exactly. You know, so, he might have the constitutional
power to do something like remove an executive branch official or grant
pardons to certain people, you know, under some circumstances. But having
constitutional power and having good judgment are two totally different
things. The president has all sorts of constitutional powers, just as you
and I have the right to say offensive speech in public or something like
that. But that doesn`t make it smart or good judgment.
And here I think the most damning thing in what we learn today,
particularly in the Padopoulos plea agreement, is that the Russians were
attempting to infiltrate the Trump campaign. And when the Trump campaign
found out about that, what did they do? A whopping nothing, you know.
If one of us were, you know, in the campaign and got a call from the
Russians saying, hey, we have dirt on your opponent, I think our first
reaction would be, oh, I got a call on the other line. We`d hit hold, and
call the FBI. I mean, after all, that`s what happened with Al Gore in 2000
when he got
And so, you know, the lack of judgment here is astounding. And I think
apart from all these legal technicalities, that`s what I think will
ultimately resonate with the American people.
HAYES: That`s a great point. Neal Katyal, thanks for joining us.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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