Mueller reveals new Manafort link to crime Transcript 11/2/17 Hardball with Chris Matthews
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: November 2, 2017
Guest: Richard Blumenthal, Carrie Cordero, Renato Mariotti, Betsy Woodruff
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for being with us. “ALL IN” with Chris
Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you talked to President Trump since you`re
HAYES: As the man who ran the Trump campaign returns to court.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You worried at all about going to jail?
HAYES: The Attorney General suddenly remembers more conversations about
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no knowledge
of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump Campaign.
HAYES: Tonight, new trouble for Jeff Sessions, Robert Mueller`s new
questions for Jared Kushner over the Comey firing, and new reporting about
Paul Manafort`s ties to the Russian Mafia. Then a marine veteran calls out
Chief of Staff John Kelly.
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I`ll apologize if I need to but
for something like this, absolutely not.
HAYES: And never mind the Mueller probe –
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I really believe we`ll have
it done before Christmas.
HAYES: Why failure on tax cuts could be curtains for the Trump presidency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s here – it`s here.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. There has been a
cascade of development in the Russia investigation since Special Counsel
Robert Mueller unveil the first charges earlier this week including today,
some really, really brutal headlines for the Attorney General Jeff
Sessions. First, after being indicted Monday on 12 counts, including money
laundering and conspiracy against the U.S. – that`s the exact charge –
former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort was back in federal court
today in Washington for a hearing on the terms of his $10 million bond. A
federal judge ordered Manafort and his business associate, also indicted,
Rick Gates, to remain under house arrest at least until next week citing
their potential flight risk. Both men are currently under GPS monitoring.
Another hearing was set for Monday, while Manafort and Gates are expected
to go on trial sometime in April. Now this comes as the Daily Beast
reports that documented unseal the by the Special Counsel this week reveal
links between Manafort and Russian organized crime including a notorious
boss described as the most dangerous mobster in the world. I`ll talk to
the reporter who broke that story coming up.
According to another report today, as yet unconfirmed by NBC News, the
Special Counsel is now turning attention to Jared Kushner, the President`s
son-in-law and White House Adviser whose name has surfaced in multiple
different aspects of the Russia probe. Kushner`s legal team has reportedly
turned over documents to Mueller`s investigators who have begun asking in
witness interview about Kushner`s role in the firing of former FBI Director
James Comey. If true, it is yet another sign that Mueller is seriously
examining whether the President of the United States and those around him
committed obstruction of justice by trying to derail a criminal probe into
the campaign`s ties to Russia.
Meanwhile, fallout continues from the revelation that George Papadopoulos,
Foreign Policy Adviser to the Trump Campaign pleaded guilty to lying to the
FBI about his own efforts to connect the campaign with senior Russian
officials. Today the President`s nominee for Chief Scientist for
Department of Agriculture Sam Clovis withdrew his name from consideration
after those same court filings unsealed this week revealed that it was
Clovis who was Papadopoulos` supervisor who encouraged him to pursue
cooperation with those Russian agents who were contacting him.
His withdrawal came after the Washington Post reported that Clovis, who
again was nominated for a job called Chief Scientist, admitted he has no
actual scientific credentials. So that was sort of a tough one too.
Clovis isn`t the only Trump official for whom those unsealed filings are
causing lots of trouble. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle
are demanding an explanation from the Attorney General of the United States
Jeff Sessions. And they`re demanding it about the discrepancies between
his sworn Congressional testimony and the actual events recounted in those
filings. Sessions appeared before both the Senate Intelligence and
Judiciary Committees in recent months where he categorically denied any
knowledge of contacts between the campaign and Russian nationals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone
connected to the Trump Campaign.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: You don`t believe that surrogates from the
Trump Campaign had communications with the Russians? Is that what you`re
SESSIONS: I did not and I`m not aware of anyone else that did. I have not
seen anything that would indicate a collusion with Russians to impact the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But Sessions and the President both attended a meeting with
Papadopoulos – remember that, the same person that pleaded guilty to
lying, right – they attended the meeting in March 2016 where according to
newly revealed court documents, when Papadopoulos introduced himself to the
group, in that meeting – you see them all sitting at the table – he
stated in sum and substance he had connection that could help arrange a
meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin. Over the past
couple of days, numerous reports have appeared to try and clear Sessions of
wrongdoing, and also throw the President under the bus, recounting
according to anonymous campaign sources that while then-Candidate Trump
listened with interest to this proposal, Sessions spoke vehemently against
the idea, asking others not to discuss it again.
There is however just one problem with that account. It`s tough to square
the idea that Sessions dramatically shut down talk about connecting with
Russia, with his claim of having no memory whatsoever of any such talk by
anyone involved with the campaign. Now tonight there`s a new report. In
just the last few minutes that Campaign Adviser Carter Page, who was just
sitting at this table a night ago, who set off investigators` red flags
with a trip to Moscow in the summer of 2016, is telling ALL IN tonight that
he testified in Congress today that he told Sessions ahead of time he was
making that Moscow trip. Ken Dilanian is a National Security Correspondent
for NBC News who reported today that Sessions rejected the Russian proposal
by George Papadopoulos. What is the latest on that Ken?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, just that
you know, Senator Patrick Leahy, the Ranking Democrat on the Judiciary
Committee, and Senator Al Franken, who asked Sessions the original question
and got misleading information are demanding that Jeff Sessions come back
to Congress and clear this matter up because they feel like they were
misled. Now, Sessions, it`s interesting in the clips that you just played,
we saw how Sessions` testimony evolved from “I didn`t – we didn`t talk to
Russians” to “we didn`t talk to Russians about collusion.” And it`s not
alleged that the subject of collusion came up at this March 31st meeting,
but it is alleged in those court documents and Jeff Sessions is not
disputing this that Papadopoulos described how he had these contacts who
could put together a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. And
my sources are telling me that Jeff Sessions nixed that idea, though it
wasn`t a good idea.
HAYES: Wait, OK, but here`s what I – the source – my understanding of
what the source is telling you about Sessions in that meeting is that he
doesn`t remember it, but definitely nixed the idea.
DILANIAN: Yes, that is the bizarre –
HAYES: Am I right on that?
DILANIAN: You are absolutely right. And the source may be basing it on
the accounts of other people in the meeting as well. Essentially, the
source seems to be saying Sessions is not disputing it, but he has no
specification recollection of Papadopoulos because he was a 29-year-old
campaign aide that nobody remembers.
HAYES: This seems to be the sort of idea behind the lot of the sort of
spin from the White House or pushback about Papadopoulos and it`s obviously
the case that he was fairly junior, but he is sitting in that meeting, he
do have the e-mail chains, and there`s now what seems to me a pattern that
Sessions has a real problem with as he thinks about both Mueller and also
the committees that have oversight over him.
DILANIAN: Oh, I agree because you know, by the time he answered the second
round of questions after having to clear up his testimony and acknowledge
that he did meet the Russian ambassador, Jeff Sessions knew the overall
line of inquiry here was, hey, did you guys have relationships with
Russians? Were Russians talking to the campaign? And it`s clear that he
knew that that was the case, at least in the terms of this Papadopoulos
meeting talking about trying to broker an arrangement between Putin and
Trump. And so it`s – you know, the Members of Congress are saying, wait a
second here, you know, how can you claim ignorance of this did?
HAYES: Yes, it does seem that having had to recuse yourself for a
statement that was misleading at best, and outright false at worst in that
original hearing, when you come back to clean it up, going back through e-
mail traffic or notes to say, actually, you know, I was at this meeting –
I mean, the best thing right, would have been to say, I was at this meeting
where actually someone broached this and I said, that`s a bad idea. You
end up looking like the good guy and you come forward, but that`s not what
happened in that testimony, correct?
DILANIAN: That is correct. And the other big question here of course is,
did Papadopoulos pass on to anyone at the campaign the offer that he got
from his Russian friends of dirt on Hillary Clinton and thousands of e-
mails? It`s inconceivable to many people that he did not, that he just
kept that information to himself. And then the question becomes, well, who
did he pass it on to? To Sam Clovis, his immediate supervisor, Jeff
Sessions, who is supervising the Foreign Policy Advisory Committee, you
know, that you saw in that meeting? Sessions` people are saying he has no
recollection of hearing about that but you can be sure he`ll be asked about
that before a Congressional Committee.
HAYES: And one of the issues I think for the campaign at this point, and
you can see it from that meeting that we showed at that photo again, this
is a very flat campaign organization at this point, right? You know, you
got – I mean, one of the things about this operation, it was fairly fly by
night, it was very small particularly in the paid staff. I mean, you don`t
have sort of junior staffers sitting next to Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton
or your normal sort of sized campaign. So the idea that this guy is
getting offers of dirt and it doesn`t make it up the very small chain to
the people at the very top of that campaign, including the candidate, might
be – you know, it`s less plausible than it would be in a normal campaign.
DILANIAN: I agree. I mean, if you`re a 29-year-old campaign volunteer,
what else are you there for, besides passing on those kinds of offers?
DILANIAN: Although you could argue that maybe you know, in a normal
campaign they would have called the FBI but that`s not what happened here.
HAYES: Or – right – or it wouldn`t have been in the meeting to begin
with, which is – which is part of the problem they have now. Ken
Dilanian, thanks for great reporting.
DILANIAN: Good to be with you, Chris. Thanks.
HAYES: Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, Member of
that same Senate Judiciary Committee that of course has oversight over the
Department of Justice where Jeff Sessions is the Attorney General. Does
Jeff Sessions have a credibility problem?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: He has an
enormous credibility problem. And he has to come back to the our
committee, the Judiciary Committee. I`ve written him today asking him in
effect to come clean, to explain, clarify, justify, these apparent false
statements to our Committee that he had no knowledge of any contacts
between the Trump Campaign and Russian officials. And it is not only that
picture, a picture`s worth a thousand words, but it`s also the Papadopoulos
plea document which details multiple contacts between him as a campaign
surrogate and Russian officials, literally the Russian foreign ministry and
his e-mails to other in the campaign.
HAYES: I want to see if I`m tracking this. I want to stipulate what would
have to obtain in order for Sessions not to have intentionally misled you.
And it is that he did shut down that talk at the meeting, but doesn`t
remember the meeting whatsoever, that he was cut out of all subsequent
communications and e-mail about the possibility of getting dirt on Hillary
Clinton. And then when Carter Page told him he was going to Russia and it
was approved by the campaign, he forgot that. So all four of those things
would have to be true right?
BLUMENTHAL: And in addition, that he did not receive any of the e-mails
sent by George Papadopoulos, that he was unaware that Papadopoulos was
telling his campaign supervisor, campaign high-ranking official, and other
members of the foreign policy team which he, Jeff Sessions, headed, about
these continuing conversations and communications with the Russian foreign
ministry and Russian agents. So there is a lot of explaining here to do.
HAYES: One thing that I think sheds some light, J.D. Gordon, if we can
show the photo again, J.D. Gordon is in that meeting and he`s the one
sitting there with the blue tie, he`s looking towards Jeff Sessions, he`s
to the left of Jeff Sessions. This is J.D. Gordon in the New York Times
tonight. Recalling this moment which was apparently memorable enough that
J.D. Gordon remembers it, he went to the (INAUDIBLE) right away, said J.D.
Gordon, Campaign Adviser who attend the meeting, he said he had a friend in
London, the Russian ambassador, who could help set up a meeting with Putin.
Mr. Trump listened with interest, Mr. Sessions vehemently opposed the idea,
Mr. Gordon recalled, he said no one should talk about it because it might
leak. What do you make of that?
BLUMENTHAL: We`re at a what did he know and when did he know it moment
here, similar to what happened with Watergate and happens in a lot of
investigations. And as a former prosecutor, I`ve seen this kind of story
unfold. The Special Prosecutor, Special Counsel, is climbing the ladder of
HAYES: Do you think that chief law enforcement official in the United
States of America is under legal peril right now if.
BLUMENTHAL: He certainly has explaining to do. Whether he`s under legal
peril, he knows best, but lack of recollection and the possibility that
documents showed that he was on that e-mail chain create some peril for
HAYES: Let`s go to the person sitting in that meeting who is the candidate
at the time, Donald Trump, who also I think has some credibility issues.
Here he is in the February 16th news conference when asked any contacts
with any Russians? Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who
advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the
TRUMP: Well, I told you, General Flynn obviously was dealing. So that`s
one person, but he was dealing as he should have been –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the election?
TRUMP: No, no, nobody that I know of. Nobody –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you`re not aware of any contacts during the course
of the election?
TRUMP: Look, how many times do I have to answer this question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you just say yes or no on it?
TRUMP: Russia is a ruse – I know you have to get up and ask a question,
it`s so important. Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The President by his own – by his own claims is one of the all-
time great memories appears to have forgotten this particular moment in
BLUMENTHAL: He appears to have forgotten that moment and he appears to
have forgotten his attempts to do business in Russia previously. And if he
ever knew about the June 9th meeting involving his son-in-law and his son
and his Campaign Adviser with Russian agents, he has forgotten that as
HAYES: Do you think it`s credible at all that he didn`t know about that
meeting, this Trump Tower one?
BLUMENTHAL: I find it incredible. And in fact, given that he authored a
statement for his son to provide to reporters who were inquiring about that
meeting, and it was a statement that seems deliberately to have obfuscated
what happened, I think it is incredible.
HAYES: As a former colleague of yours, I mean, it`s been really remarkable
to watch Jeff Sessions come and testify in front of your Committee. He was
full of fire and brimstone and indignation in the last time that anyone
would question his integrity, that anyone would question his truthfulness,
that it was an assault on his reputation and his character, that he felt
dishonored by the treatment before the Committee. What do you make of that
self-righteousness in light of subsequent revelations?
BLUMENTHAL: I hope that he would be as indignant as I am right now as a
member of that committee, having watched that testimony, and feeling that
he has to explain to me as a member of that committee the discrepancy, most
charitably, a discrepancy.
HAYES: He served on that committee, so he should understand the shoes that
you are in. Senator Richard Blumenthal, it`s a great pleasure to have you
here in person to come by. Thank you.
BLUMENTHAL: Anytime. Thanks.
HAYES: Carrie Cordero is a former Attorney with the Justice Department`s
National Security Division, Renato Mariotti is a former Federal Prosecutor.
Carrie, let me start with you, this question on the Attorney General. You
know, look – this doesn`t add up to any conclusive evidence of anything,
but what do you make of this pattern of sort of forgetting misleading,
deception in the worst case scenario, what do you make of it?
CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER ATTORNEY, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NATIONAL SECURITY
DIVISION: Well, and he was very strongly worded in his congressional
testimony and very indignant about being accused of not being truthful or
trying to hide something. So the Attorney General is in sort of a bad
place right now, particularly with respect to his testimony before
Congress. I think the best possible outcome from him is that he`s able to
correct or update or amend his testimony in writing if the committee were
to allow him to do that, then he would sort of perhaps be able to explain
and massage away the discrepancies between what has been revealed and what
he actually testified.
I think it will be far less good for him if he is actually called back up
to testify in person and have to explain in open session the difference
between him hearing informational at a meeting as it`s been revealed,
versus what he said to the committee. But it reveals sort of a bigger
issue, which is that the Trump Campaign and the Trump administration and
those who are out sort of trying to explain away these series of events
continue to talk about each one, whether it was the June meeting or whether
it was this March meeting, as if they are isolated events.
CORDERO: And so the reason why that becomes a problem is because when you
start to look at them and you sort of move the lens back, they`re not
isolated. There were obviously many different e-mails and many different
communications and many different conversations. And so that cuts against
their credibility as it being one conversation here or one particular
HAYES: It`s a great point, because if you ever – you know, you`ve ever
caught someone in a lie or a pattern of behavior in which they`re trying to
get out of, there`s a sort of tendency to focus on each instance. It was
like, well, that time – you know, that time, I just forgot and that other
time, well, that was crazy, I was running late, that`s why – when you put
them all together, Renato, it looks a lot more damning. And I wonder from
a sort of prosecutorial and legal standpoint, at what point does lack of
memory tip over into implausibility?
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, that`s a great question,
Chris. And I will tell you as I sat and watched the very lengthy testimony
of Mr. Sessions recently, I was as a former prosecutor sitting on the edge
of my seat and saying things like, you know, follow up, ask this question
or you know, come on, you know, you should try to pin him down on this and
that. I mean, he was, in my opinion, very evasive. He was somebody who,
you know, like you said, very selective memory. And I thought at times he
got away with not answering the Senators` questions. So for example, you
had played a clip earlier at the top of the show where I believe it was
Senator Franken was asking about, you know, did you have conversations with
people about Russia and the campaign? And he`s like, well, we didn`t have
conversations and then he kind of melded it into, conversations about
collusion that affected the election.
MARIOTTI: And I felt like he had a lot of qualifiers all the time. It was
a deliberate strategy on his part.
HAYES: Yes, and I want to talk about this. You know, we were talking
about obstruction. And again, there`s evidence today, more evidence, that
that`s something Mueller`s looking into. There`s a lot of reasons to think
that`s something he`s very serious about, the document requests from
Kushner. But Carrie, one of the things we talked about obstruction was
idea of corrupt intent, right? So the idea that you show that you are with
corrupt intent trying to obstruct an investigation. And there`s not a real
particular precise technical legal analog here but I thought this quote
from J.D. Gordon about Sessions was interesting, where he says, “He said no
one should talk about it because it might leak,” which suggests to me that
Sessions in that moment recognized there`s something problematic and
something sketchy about what is being proposed here.
CORDERO: Well, Sessions, I mean, he was the Head of National Security
Committee, and he as a Senator, I mean, he did have understanding I think
probably more than anybody else that was advising the President during the
campaign that Russia is known to members of Congress as being an adversary,
and that it sounded like a very bad idea to be trying to set up a meeting
between the candidate and Vladimir Putin or trying to have any kind of
outreach. So in some ways, it`s a little bit reassuring if it`s true that
Attorney General Sessions at the time said it was a very bad idea. But
what then cuts against that is the fact that if this individual raised what
he thought was a really bad idea, why was that person continually on the
advisory committee? Why didn`t he pull someone aside and say, get rid of
this guy –
CORDERO: Or you know, why was that individual allowed to continue to have
access to more senior-level campaign officials? So it just doesn`t paint a
very good story for them if they`re trying to explain it away as not a big
HAYES: Well, and Renato, it also made me think there`s sometimes in
institutions and environments, there are things people don`t know because
they don`t want to know them. And one wonders the degree which after Jeff
Sessions shut that down, if in fact, that`s accurate, that it lingered in
the back of his head that there was probably some things happening,
particularly when Manafort come on board that maybe he didn`t want to know
MARIOTTI: Well, you know, that is actually a concept that is in the law.
And in fact, at times in criminal case wet give something called the
ostrich instruction, which is essentially for somebody who willfully you
know, does not want to know what the truth is. You know, it`s like, don`t
tell me what`s inside the suitcase sort of thing.
MARIOTTI: So you know, certainly, there could be an effort to which that`s
the case. And I thought one piece of the Papadopoulos charge thath which is
very interesting as when there – when there is a suggestion that we send
somebody low level to Russia. Why does it need to be someone low level?
Obviously like you said, there`s something problematic, sketchy, call it
what you want, they knew that there was something you know, untoward about
this going on.
HAYES: That`s the other data point that suggests they`re not just total
naives that were bumbling around like, oh, what`s wrong with this? Oh, I
guess we`re not sophisticated enough. Both of those data points suggest
they kind of knew that – what they were doing, if in fact, they were doing
what they are accused of doing. Carrie Cordero and Renato Mariotti, thank
CORDERO: Thank Chris.
MARIOTTI: Thank you.
HAYES: Up next, new revelations from Robert Mueller`s unsealed documents
including former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort`s links to Russian
organized crime. That remarkable story and the reporter who broke it after
these two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best my knowledge, no
person that I deal with does. Now, Manafort has totally denied it. He
denied it. Now, people knew that he was a consultant over in that part of
the world for a while but not for Russia. I think he represented Ukraine
or people having to do with Ukraine or people that – whoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You know, something like that. From the beginning, Donald Trump
has called the Russia investigation fake news, witch hunt, ridiculed the
notion his campaign had any ties to Russia. But as the investigation
proceeds, more and more ties surface, including connections between sketchy
Russian figures and people who were in the Trump campaign. Just today we
learned, thanks to some ace reporting at the Daily Beast, that Paul
Manafort, who ran Trump`s campaign and lived in Trump`s building and who
was just indicated for conspiracy against the United States, that guy, not
only had contacts with Russia, Russian agents, but was one step away from
one of Russia`s most notorious mobsters, Semion Mogilevich, a man who is
according to the FBI, responsible for weapons trafficking, contract
killings, and international prostitution. In 2009 he made the bureau`s ten
most wanted fugitives list. The author of that report, Daily Beast
Reporter Betsy Woodruff joins me now. Betsy, what is the connection here?
BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICAL REPORTER, DAILY BEAST: It`s an interesting one
and what`s sort of hidden in plain sight. What we learned from the
indictment is that Paul Manafort, through a company called Lucicle
Consulting, spent upwards of $5 million on Mercedes-Benzs and real estate
and clothing from a Beverly Hill clothing store, starting in about March
2012. That`s the new information we got from the indictment. The reason
that information is important is because the New York Times reported this
past summer that Lucicle Consulting received millions of dollars from
Ukrainian political figure named Ivan Fursin in February of 2012, a month
before Lucicle starting spending so much money at Manafort`s behest. Which
of course raises important questions like, who is this Ivan Fursin guy?
According to an Austrian Police report, and the Austrian Police piece of
this is really important, The FBI believe that Ivan Fursin was a senior
figure in Semion Mogilevich`s organized crime group. Now, Austria is key
here. The country the Austria is sort of at the crux of Eastern and
Western Europe, particularly in Vienna, there`s significant influence from
Russia. Austrian Police are very much invested in understanding the way
that Russian organized crime operates because it comes right up to their
doorstep. So that means that this assessment, this understanding from the
Austrian Police, is something that we should take with the greatest degree
of seriousness. That`s why it`s so important that a man who gave millions
of dollars to a Manafort-linked company, a company that Manafort controlled
according to the indictment, is someone who was a figure of such acute
concern to the police in Austria.
HAYES: All right. So I want to walk through this again because it`s a
little complicated, but it is really, really, like it`s not a lot of chess
moves to get you from one to the other, right?
HAYES: There`s a guy – there`s a guy named Ivan Fursin, who is a
Ukrainian parliamentarian and we have reporting that in 2012, he`s putting
millions of dollars into this entity, which is called Lucicle Consulting,
the holding company right, and putting millions of dollars into that. And
then a little bit after he puts it in, millions of dollars flow out as
spent by Paul Manafort, who has control. So the money is flowing in a
fairly clear way. It`s flowing from Fursin into the thing, into the
company that Manafort controls, into the big expenditures that are recorded
in the charging document. The guy at the other end of that, Fursin, is,
according to as Austrian Police, a sergeant in the mob army of one of the
most notorious Russian gangsters in the world. Is that correct?
WOODRUFF: He`s a person of serious concern to the Austrian Police because
of his connection to the Semion Mogilevich organized crime project. And an
important thing to remember about Russian organized crime, I`m not a
Russian organized crime expert but I spent a lot of time talking to experts
in this space over the last two days. And an important thing to understand
about the way organized crime functions in Russia is that how it`s been
explained to me is that it`s more of a process, a medium, a mode, rather
than in the United States where we think of organized crime as discrete
So for instance, when we`re talking about what Semion Mogilevich`s
organized crim3 project did, it`s something that brings in businessmen,
politicians, folks like Ivan Fursin, according to the Austrian Police,
who`s a member of the Ukrainian parliament. Organized crime is so
influential and powerful in Eastern Europe, that it`s not – it`s not a
discrete project the way it is the United States. And that`s why Fursin
simultaneously raised major concerns to the Austrian Police, while also
wielding significant political power in Ukraine and having this lucrative
connection to Paul Manafort.
HAYES: You know, the possibility that Paul Manafort joined that campaign
while in business with or in debt to some extremely dangerous people seems
nontrivial at this point. Betsy Woodruff, thank you very much.
WOODRUFF: Sure thing.
HAYES: Coming up, President Trump`s Chief of Staff under fire. I`ll be
joined by marine vet currently serving in Congress who blasted the former
general as a liar lacking integrity. The latest in the John Kelly saga
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Now the president is now demanding tougher
laws, more extreme vetting, and is considering sending this, quote, “animal
terrorist” to Guantanamo
Bay. The president is responding to this terror attack and he`s calling
for tougher measures to keep the American people safe. Isn`t that what`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Over on Trump TV, there was elation last night with the president`s
tough talk, that was a graphic. They were praising his tough talk in
response to the New York terror attack, particularly the loose conjecture
about sending the attacker to Guantanamo Bay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you want the assailant from New York
sent to GITMO? Mr. president?
TRUMP: I would certainly consider that, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you considering that now?
TRUMP: I would certainly consider that.
Send him to GITMO, I would consider that, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Of course, this is part of Donald Trump`s pattern, escalating his
own attacks and his own rhetoric past any plausible vision of governing,
desperately exaggerating his own response in an attempt to appear tough and
get a graphic like that on Sean Hannity`s program.
Today, the president found himself walking back those same remarks about
Guantanamo, tweeting, quote, “would love to send the NYC terrorist to
Guantanamo, but statistically that process takes much longer than going
through the federal system.”
Maybe he watched our show last night.
Before then adding, quote, “there is also something appropriate about
keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed, should move
fast, DEATH PENALTY.”
Of course, pronouncements like this for a pending case in the courts have
legal consequences and in just one tweet the president managed to give a
huge boost to Saipov`s defense attorneys and also make the work of
frontline prosecutors charged with obtaining justice against this alleged
mass murder that much harder.
So the trash talk and the tough talk may sound tough to his base, but it`s
awfully foolish in practice, which is a pretty good summary of this entire
presidency thus far.
Coming up next, the chief of staff John Kelly yet again refuses to
apologize for smearing a congresswoman. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. FREDERICA WILSON, (D) FLORIDA: Well, all men and women and first
responders who work in law enforcement, stand up. Stand and up now so that
we can applaud you and what you do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If you recall, that was congresswoman Frederica Wilson in 2015 at
the dedication of a new FBI building named for two slain agents. And that
was a speech about which White House chief of staff John Kelly two weeks
ago said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: And congresswoman stood up. And in
the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there
and all of that, and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the
funding for that building. She sat down. And we were stunned, stunned
that she`d done it, even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: John Kelly was wrong. And even when the video, the same video we
just played, proved him wrong, he refused to apologize to the member of
congress he just smeared. And he still refuses to do so.
In an interview Monday night, John Kelly made headlines for saying a lack
of compromise led
to the civil war, but he also renewed his attack yet again on Congresswoman
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you feel like you have something to apologize?
KELLY: Do I?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
KELLY: No, no. Never. I`ll apologize if I need to, but for something
like this, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Congressman Ruben Gallego, former Marine, Iraq war veteran, who has
called John Kelly a liar who is, quote, “is going to be used as a weapon so
don`t be distracted by what he used to have on his lapel.”
Those are strong words. Why did you say them?
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO, (D) ARIZONA: Because they`re truthful. Look, we have
a fact. He lied. We have video proof that he lied. And now this chief of
staff, he`s not a general, is using his former title basically to cow
public opinion against everybody and against this member of congress, a
respectable member of congress, a member of the branch of government that
also is very involved in decision-making process.
And he absolutely lied. And the fact that he uses both his title, which is
the general,former general of the United States Marine Corps, and the –
all the good thing that come from that, but then doesn`t actually live by
the values, is just disgusting.
If I had done this in the Marine Corps, if I had lied about another marine
or somebody else in the course and conduct of my duty, and then got caught
and did not own up to it, did not apologize, I would have been busted down
a rank. So, he doesn`t get to live in both worlds.
If you want to live – if you want to use your title to somehow gain some
type of leverage on, especially on the media, then you should live by those
values. But he`s not. So he`s no longer a general. We should not treat
him as a general. He`s a chief of staff and we should recognize that he`s
being used by the Trump administration and he willingly is being used by
the Trump administration.
HAYES: Do you think he`s an honorable man?
GALLEGO: At this point the way he`s acting he`s not honorable. You lied
about another fellow
human being, you were caught in the lie, and then you have not actually
owned up to your actions. Not only are you not honorable, you`re not an
adult. You are in charge of essentially the executive branch right now,
and you have been caught in a lie, and you cannot even admit it because for
some reason you, I don`t know, you just can`t accept the fact that you were
wrong. And anybody that does that, whether they are a former general or
they`re a former lance corporal like I was in the Marine Corps, you have to
accept the fact that there`s something wrong with them.
At this point, he`s not acting honorable.
HAYES: Do you think that what that – when he came to the podium that day
a few weeks ago, when he said that about Frederica Wilson, called her an
empty barrel, recounted a characterization of the speech that`s belied by
the actual video, did that alter the perception that you personally and
your colleagues on Capitol Hill in the Democratic Party at least have of
GALLEGO: Well, certainly. And certainly the fact that after it was proven
false, that was even – that certainly changed our minds about him. For
me, actually, the biggest problem was when he was standing in front of the
media and would only call on people that know somebody that was from a gold
star family. That is not the way that we should be conducting our
government. That is an overreach. That is a level of militarism that this
country should not be moving in.
Just because you are a general does not mean – a former general, somehow
you get to declare
that one citizen has a better opinion than the other, especially when it
comes to issues of war. We`re a citizen-led, and will be forever as long
as I can be here on this Earth, military. And certainly generals and
former generals do not get to somehow impede on the fourth estate about
where they get to ask questions about what happened, who died, and why they
died. It`s absolutely ridiculous that he even did that.
That was actually the breaking point for me. And the fact that then he
lied about Frederica and what she said, and then didn`t have the integrity
to actually own it, really disappointed me. But, you know, at the end of
the day he has gone with Trump. He has become Trump. And I think we and
everyone else that is here to keep the executive power in check need to
HAYES: Congressman Ruben Gallego, thank you for joining me.
GALLEGO: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, after staking everything on the president in the
name of tax reform, there are early indications passage is far from a lock.
The dire consequences if Trump and the Republicans fail again ahead.
And tonight`s, Thing One, Thing Two starts right after this.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, we told you last night about the struggle over
naming the Republican tax reform bill after Paul Ryan reportedly asked the
president to help brand it, Trump was insistent the deal be called the Cut
Cut Cut Act. Well, today the Republicans released the bill – and sadly,
really, reject the president`s idea. They decided to go with the Tax Cuts
and Jobs Act.
The president may not know what`s in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but he did
comment on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It`s tax cuts, it`s tax reform, and we added the word jobs, because
it`s all about jobs. We`re going to have tremendous numbers of jobs
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You see how that works? It`s the tax cuts, and it`s also the jobs.
You got both those there.
But while Congressional Republicans did not use Trump`s cut cut cut idea,
they did appear to throw him a bone, specifically naming one person he`s
been feuding with in a document outlining the
tax plan, and that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: When House Republicans released their 429-page tax bill today, they
included this handy explainer along with it deciding to call out one person
in particular. I`m quoting here, “our legislation will ensure this much-
needed tax relief goes to the local job creators it`s designed to help by
distinguishing between the individual wage income of NBA all-star Stephen
Curry and the pass through business income of Steve`s Bike Shop.
Well, that`s weird. Why would they randomly use one specific NBA all-star
as the face of America`s tax problems? It might be to please one person.
Two months ago, President Trump just happened to get in a public feud with
Steph Curry, tweeting, “going to the White House is considered a great
honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore
invitation is withdrawn.”
The president may still be sore about that incident, because while Trump
withdrew Curry`s invitation with an exclamation point, that was a day
after Curry made it clear, he`s just not that into you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPH CURRY, GOLDEN STATE GUARD: We don`t stand for basically what our
president has – the things that he`s said and the things that he hasn`t
said and the right times that we won`t stand for it. And by acting and not
going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we
tolerate in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re working to give the American people a giant tax cut for
Christmas. We are giving them a big, beautiful Christmas present in the
form of a tremendous tax cut. It will be the biggest cut in the history of
our country. It will also be tax reform and it will create jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For a president who has yet to celebrate any marquee legislative
achievements, and for a Republican Party that has been promising tax cuts
for decades, the stakes couldn`t be higher. After finally rolling out
their first attempt at an actual tax reform bill today, there is no
guarantee this thing is going to pass.
Within hours of its release, at least four Republican House members said
they could not support the bill in its current form. At least two
Republican senators expressed doubts. In a statement today, Senator Bob
Corker suggested he had a problem with the bill`s cost and that he looks
forward to the debate ahead.
Senator Jeff Flake, meanwhile, voiced his concerns on the Senate floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R) ARIZONA: We cannot simply assume that we can cut all
taxes and realize additional revenue. It`s important that tax reform comes
as well. We`ve been hearing a lot about cuts, cuts, cuts. If we are
going to do cuts, cuts, cuts, we have got to do wholesale reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Then there are the warning from groups like the National
Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders, who said
the tax cut proposal could cause a housing slump, although take that with a
grain of salt, obviously. And the National Federation of Independent
Business who said it leaves too many small businesses behind.
After failing to fulfill the promise of repealing the Affordable Care Act,
this is the last big push for the president and his party to actually
deliver this year. If they fail, it could spell absolute political
One of the people the president is counting on to pass this tax cut
legislation, Congressman Matt Gaetz, Republican from Florida. He said that
congress must pass tax reform this year. And he joins me now.
Congressman, you were a no on the budget resolution, which was really
interesting to me because I think it was a day or two after my show. You
said it was basically liberal. And that it didn`t cut spending enough. So
here`s my question to you, last time you were on, you said the reason this
is going to be deficit neutral is because we`ve got all these cults on the
spending side. You then voted against the budget resolution because the
cuts didn`t materialize. So how could you vote for the fax cuts in good
REP. MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA: Well, hope springs eternal, Chris. My hope
is that we`ll be able to repeal the individual mandate, that will cut
spending. And I`m also hopeful that some of our
friends in the senate, like Senator Corker and Senator Flake, will join us
to actually cut the spending that is hollowing this country out.
The bottom line is, Chris, we`ve got to get these tax cuts passed to rescue
the American people.
HAYES: Right, but those two things are intention, right. So, if you got
to get them passed no
matter what, that means you`re a vote yet no matter what, even if the
spending cuts don`t materialize
whereas the first part you say here is other places we can get pay fors,
repeal the individual mandate, cut spending on other stuff. My question to
you is, is there a threshold for you`re yes vote where this
thing cannot be increasing the deficit by, say, $1.5 trillion like it now
is projected to.
GAETZ: Well, Speaker Ryan has given me a commitment that we`ll be doing
spending reform in the next budget resolution. The Senate kind of likes to
operate in a linear fashion rather than a sequential fashion. And so,
HAYES: Wait a second.
GAETZ: Hey, Chris, if we go have a bill to cult spending, are you going to
endorse it on the show? Are you going to be supportive of cutting spending
so that we can actually deal with these deficit problems? Of course, no
liberals will. You know what, if we had bipartisan cooperation on spending
reform, we could actually deal with these deficit problems.
HAYES: Let`s be clear here, I don`t think the deficit is a problem. I
didn`t think it was a problem during Barack Obama`s tenure. I don`t think
it`s a problem now.
If you guys want to increase the deficit, that`s fine by me. I`m asking
you because you think
the deficit is a problem, because…
GAETZ: I do. I want to cut spending and I want to cut taxes.
There`s no amount of spending cuts or tax cuts alone that are going to deal
with the deficit. We have to do both. The question is whether or not it`s
sequential or whether or not it`s linear.
HAYES: But congressman, you realize, you`re smart enough to know this.
You know you`re going to get rolled on this. If you say yes I`m a yes on
the tax cuts votes, we`re going to get the spending cuts later, how long
you have and I been paying attention to American politics where it`s always
tax cuts now, spending cuts later and the spending cuts never come? You
GAETZ: Chris, I think the last time we had real tax reform, you and I were
in kindergarten. And so I think it`s important to recognize how
challenging that`s going to be.
And so it`s appropriate to focus on tax reform, get the economy moving
again, rescue the American people from the Obama economy where we had
stagnant wages, limited investment, and we really didn`t have the
opportunity for people to prosper.
Let`s unlock the American economy first and then I`m going to be one of the
loudest voices in Congress to cut spending and I hope Democrats will join
HAYES: So, what I hear from you is yes, so let`s talk about the stagnant
wages, which I absolutely agree with you was the biggest problem of the
Obama economy and the biggest problem now.
You`ve got a tax plan where all of the tax cuts for capitol, right, the
corporate tax cuts are
permanent. The wage stuff is all temporary. Why is that okay? If your
priority are American families, families that have kids, all the stuff
you`re doing for them, but those are temporary, those might go away, but
corporations get the permanent ones, doesn`t that say what your priorities
GAETZ: Absolutely not, Chris. We`ve got one of the highest corporate tax
rates in the world, that`s a wet blanket over the American economy. And our
current cooperate tax rate is one of the reasons why we don`t have wage
HAYES: What`s the evidence for that?
GAETZ: Well, the fact that when we`ve had the highest corporate tax rate
in the world, we haven`t had the wage growth that we wanted. You just said
the problem in the Obama economy was that people didn`t make more money.
Let`s try something different. That`s why the American people
voted for Republicans and voted for President Trump.
We can have higher wages if we bring more capital that`s currently overseas
back into this country and inject it into the American economy.
HAYES: This economy is awash in capital. There are people who run around
Silicon Valley getting hundreds of millions of investments for juicing
companies that go bust. There is capital coming out of the ears of
everyone. There is capital sloshing around global financial markets. What
people don`t have is money in their pocket to take home from wages and what
your tax plan is doing is cutting money on capital, hoping it trickles down
to those people. Can you understand why they`re skeptical?
GAETZ: I understand that your constituency is largely in Silicon Valley,
but in Main Street America we don`t see that we`re aflush in capital and
one of the reasons is that the Obama economy had so many regulations, it
had Dodd-Frank, the challenges of Obamacare, and those are major
contributors to the economic stagnation that we`re trying to rescue the
American people from with this fantastic tax cut.
HAYES: Congressman, I am going to make you this pledge, if this thing
passes and we see real wage growth a year from now, I will have you on this
show to take an enormous victory lap, all right?
GAETZ: I look forward to it.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Matt Gaetz, thank you for your time.
With me now, Jason Johnson, NBC Political Analyst, Professor at Morgan
State University. There`s nothing – in some ways there`s nothing new here,
and the arguments are the same. It`s interesting to watch because the
arguments aren`t different from 1980.
JASON JOHNSON, NBC: It`s the same arguments that Obama and Romney were
having, the same arguments from the 1980s. This is the core issue that I
see with the tax plan. What they`re doing is right up front they`re saying,
hey, we`re going to offer you these great tax cuts but everything else
associated with middle class life, your health care, education, moving, all
of those things become more expensive. It`s like getting a really cheap
plane ticket but they`re charging you $25 for the peanuts –
HAYES: And the bags. Right, because you have the student loan interest
probably go away, capping the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000.
Which is a lot of money, but in places that are high cost areas really can
get you. So, there`s a bunch of places where you can find that hitting you.
JOHNSON: And since most of those things wear out after five years, middle
class life doesn`t get better with this bill.
Look, I agree with you and I agree with the congressman. Everybody wants
wages to go up. But wages aren`t magically going to go up just because
businesses pay fewer taxes. It doesn`t mean that that money goes to the
workers, it might go into the CEOs` pockets.
HAYES: I mean, this is the central thing. We`ve seen corporate profits go
up and up and up. The Stock Market go up and up and up. It doesn`t do
anything even to wages.
The story that they have to sell people on is that capital is somehow still
restrained. The bosses still don`t have enough money, the owners don`t have
enough money, the people you report to at work every day, the people that
own your company, they don`t have enough money but if you give them enough
of it, you`ll see a little bit it have.
JOHNSON: They`ll magically want to give it to you instead of themselves,
instead of new cars, instead of investing in more equipment one way or
another. That lie has never manifested itself. It`s a lesson we should have
have learned 35 years ago.
HAYES: The stakes here are extremely high. You can see he`s on board. I
think it`s going to pass the House. But they don`t have 50 votes in the
Senate right now. And if this thing blew up and
died the way ACA did at the end of this year going into the Christmas
break, it would be – I think it`s total political cataclysm for the party.
JOHNSON: I don`t think it`s going to pass. I think you have too many
people who are concerned about it. I think that –
HAYES: You don`t think it`s going to pass?
JOHNSON: Yeah. I don`t think it will pass the Senate.
HAYES: It will get out of the House, though.
JOHNSON: Oh, yeah. There`s plenty of House people, Ryan will get them
enthusiastic. You got people there who will be happy about it. The senators
will say, look, this is going to kill me long term, because I`ve got to be
in office for six years, I`m not going to be able to talk and dance my way
out of this.
The other issue is this, you can`t run this kind of plan in conjunction to
also failing to take care of the ACA, right? They didn`t manage to improve
it and these two things are connected.
HAYES: And they`re recreating the process. It`s keep it secret, bust it
out, try to pass it, and like the ACA, they`ve got an interest group
process. It doesn`t mean the home builders are right. But, they have a real
interest group problem.
JOHNSON: I know more people who are in the National Association of
Realtors than I know people in the Chamber of Commerce and most Americans
do. People have real estate husbands and wives working out there and these
things are things people can understand and that`s what you get hit with in
HAYES: Yeah. I think we`re watching them recreate the ACA process and the
stakes are only higher than Obamacare.
Jason Johnson, thanks for joining me.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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