New video of Papadopoulos at Rep Convention Transcript 11/3/17 All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: November 3, 2017
Guest: Michael Caputo, Margie Omero, Ted Lieu, Barbara McQuade, Tom Steyer, Michael Isikoff, Natasha Bertrand
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I can tell you is this,
there was no collusion. You want to look at Hillary Clinton.
HAYES: The President calls for the investigation of his political
TRUMP: I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department, and
I`m very frustrated by it.
HAYES: Tonight, the evidence that President Donald Trump is committing
obstruction of justice in plain sight, and Tom Steyer on his call for
impeachment. Then –
TRUMP: There`s no hesitation. One of the great memories of all time.
HAYES: One of the great memories suddenly forgets about Russia.
TRUMP: I don`t remember much about that meeting. It was a very
HAYES: The latest on the Mueller investigation as Manafort gets a trial
date. And Joy Reid on where President Trump stands after week one of the
TRUMP: I`m the only one that matters.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. If the country found
out the President of the United States had secretly called up his Attorney
General and ordered him to begin an investigation through the Justice
Department of Hillary Clinton, such a brazen abuse of power would
immediately provoke calls for impeachment. That is exactly what the
President has done over the past24 hours, only he`s been doing it out in
the open instead of on the phone. Days after his former Campaign Chairman,
another senior aide were indicted by the Special Counsel, a onetime
campaign adviser pled guilty to lying to the FBI, that`s been cooperating
to the investigators days after the unsealed court filings raised new
questions about what the President knew of his campaign`s Russia contacts.
The President now seems to be feeling the pressure intensely and he has
been calling on the United States Justice Department to prosecute his
political opponents over a couple Fox News scandals involving her uranium
deal and the financing of the DNC. This is real collusion and dishonesty,
major violation of campaign finance laws and money laundering. Where is
our Justice Department? It`s not, by the way. Everybody is asking why the
Justice Department and FBI isn`t looking into all the dishonesty going on
with crooked Hillary and the Dems, people are angry. At some point, the
Justice Department and the FBI must do what is right and proper. The
American public deserves it.
Using his preferred racist slur to refer to Elizabeth Warren, Senior
Senator from Massachusetts, the President wrote, “Pocahontas just stated
the Democrats, led by the legendary crooked Hillary, rigged the primaries.
Let`s go FBI and Justice Department.” Departing the White House this
morning on a 12-day trip to Asia, the President was asked if he might fire
his Attorney General.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you fire Jeff Sessions if the Justice Department
doesn`t take action?
TRUMP: I don`t know. I`m really not involved with the Justice Department.
I`d like to let it run itself. But honestly they should be looking at the
Democrats, they should be looking at Podesta and all of that dishonesty.
They should be looking at a lot of things. And a lot of people are
disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This wouldn`t be the first time the President has implied that
Sessions` position depends on his commitment to protecting the White House
and pursuing its political agenda. After Sessions recused himself from the
Russia probe, the President reportedly blast him for “disloyalty,” later
telling New York Times he never would have hired Sessions if he`d known the
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have
you recused himself before the job, I would have said thanks, Jeff, but I
can`t – you know, I`m not going to take you. It`s extremely unfair, and
that`s a mild word, to the President.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: The President`s public instructions to the Justice Department
arguably fit the textbook definition for obstruction of justice, which
includes, “any threatening letter or communication that influences,
obstructs, impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct or impede the due
administration of justice. And crucially he knows he is not supposed to do
what he`s doing, not supposed to get involved, admitting as much in a radio
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, the saddest thing is that because I`m the President of
the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice
Department. I`m not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I`m not
supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And
I`m very frustrated by it. I look at what`s happening with the Justice
Department. Why aren`t they going after Hillary Clinton with her e-mails
and with her – the dossier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If we haven`t yet heard widespread calls for impeachment, it`s
because this President`s disregard for the rule of law for democratic
norms, his authoritarian impulses, there are largely baked in in the
country`s perception, even among political insiders. It was just a couple
of days ago, for example, that he called the American Criminal Justice
System a joke and a laughing stock. And on top of that, all indications
are that the President is already under investigation for obstruction of
justice for his firing of former FBI Director James Comey in the midst of
the Russia investigation. And much of the evidence for that has long been
public. Not only did Comey testified under oath about what he described as
repeated attempts by the President to exert his influence, but the
President himself told NBC`s Lester Holt he was thinking about the Russia
probe when he fired Comey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey, knowing
there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it,
I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia
is a made-up story, it`s an excuse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Congressman Ted Lieu is a Democrat from California, member of the
House Judiciary Committee. And Congressman, the President has now been
publicly calling for the FBI and Justice Department to investigate his
political opponent. What is your reaction to that?
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA), HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Thank you, Chris, for
your question. Fundamental to American democracy is the rule of law. That
means people need to believe that when law enforcement opens an
investigation or prosecutes someone, that`s based on the evidence and not
on political ideology. And that`s what makes the President`s comments so
dangerous. He believes it`s OK to use the incredible coercive power of the
federal government to go after political enemies. That is wrong and it`s
also, by the way, obstruction of justice.
HAYES: OK. So the argument on the other side is that these are the
whalings of a fundamentally impotent individual. That where he actually
directly ordering the Department of Justice to do this, that would be one
thing, but he`s just kind of whining about it on Twitter the way that
anyone watching Fox News might. And so – and therefore, it`s less of a
threat and doesn`t cross the line. What do you make of that argument?
LIEU: I suppose if this was Donald Trump, the real estate developer, doing
things on Twitter, it would be different. But he`s the president of the
United States. And if he, in fact, is under investigation, we don`t know
if he is, but if he is, then he has now either endeavored to influence or
directly tried to influence the investigation because of all these comments
he`s making, trying to distract or threaten or make Attorney General
Sessions do something different or the Department of Justice do something
different. This is obstruction of justice right out plain for everyone
able to see.
HAYES: You know, there are two other recent instances of him essentially
you know, injecting himself into judicial proceedings. One is the tweet
that he had about the alleged murderer who pledged to ISIS here in New York
City, should get the death penalty. Lots of worry that that could corrupt
that case, make it more difficult for the prosecutors. And then just
today, Bowe Bergdahl, of course, who deserted his post was handed down a
sentence in which he will get no time and part of the citation, part of the
issue in the trial was that the President had exerted undue command
influence by pinning on the case.
LIEU: Chris, that`s an excellent point. I was a former Prosecutor in the
U.S. Air Force, I was a JAG and command influence is one of the greatest
problems the military has faced. When you have commanders – and Donald
Trump is the Commander in Chief – trying to influence proceedings, and it
makes it hard then for military juries, to judges to try to be objective
and do the right thing. Keep in mind, the President also has no idea what
the facts were in this case. He didn`t watch this court-martial, he did
not watch the trial or see the medicating circumstances. So, I don`t know
how you opine on it without even knowing the actual facts.
HAYES: I think – I mean, I want to go back to this idea of obstruction of
justice, because what he`s doing is obstruction of justice in plain sight.
You`re on the House Judiciary Committee, is that an impeachable offense?
LIEU: Yes, for two reasons. One is it`s a violation of federal statue,
but he also has a duty on the Constitution to faithfully execute the laws
and he`s not doing that when he says he wants the Department of Justice to
go after his political enemies. One of the things about America is we`ve
got the peaceful transfer of power. When someone wins the election, or
political party wins the election, the losers don`t fear they`re going to
be thrown in jail or prison. We can`t have that happen because democracy
depends on knowing that the rule of law is going to be administered fairly.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Ted Lieu, great to have you.
LIEU: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me now, Barbara McQuade, a former Federal Prosecutor. You
know, as someone who worked for the Department of Justice and is familiar
with the norms and regulations about the independence of that, what is your
reaction to watching the President explicitly call for the Department of
Justice to open up investigations of his political opponents?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF
MICHIGAN: If it were anyone else it would be shocking but it`s at least
disappointing to hear these words coming from the President of the United
States. I believe that the career prosecutors at the Justice Department
are professional enough to tune out the noise and continue to focus and do
their important work. But I think it undermines public confidence in the
legitimacy of the Justice Department and the independence of the Justice
Department when you have the President making these kinds of statements.
HAYES: Well, and we should also be clear, I mean, he has fired Comey. He
is essentially dangling Jeff Sessions` job over him. I mean the defense,
which you`re saying, which I think – and what the Congressman said, both
of which I take to heart, which is that it`s not having an effect, right,
on the other – on the other – on the other end, he`s not pushing and
they`re doing what – his bidding. But there`s no guarantee that holds up,
MCQUADE: No, and I don`t know that it matters. I still trust the
integrity of the career prosecutors to do the right thing regardless of
whatever it is the President is saying. But I do think that this becomes
additional evidence in any obstruction of justice investigation that Robert
Mueller is conducting. Anyone of these statements alone may not constitute
obstruction of justice, but it`s going to be the pattern of activity that
Robert Mueller looks at when he makes an ultimate decision about whether
HAYES: I want to read Bob Corker`s statement. He was the – if I`m not
mistaken, the lone Republican I think, out with a statement on this today,
certainly the lone Republican Senator. “Like me, most Americans hope our
justice system is independent and free of political interference.
President Trump`s pressuring of the Justice Department and FBI to pursue
cases against his adversaries a calling for punishment before trials take
place are totally inappropriate and not only undermine our justice system
but erode the American people`s confidence in our institutions.” Would you
hope there would have been more statements like that?
MCQUADE: I would. I would hope everyone in America who respects the rule
of law would be speaking out against this kind of statement.
MCQUADE: And you know, early on you could say maybe President Trump didn`t
get it. He`s used to being a real estate executive who says what`s on his
mind, but again and again, he has heard that this is not appropriate for a
sitting President and it is also compromising real cases. I mean, we`ve
already seen that it influenced the judge`s decision in the Bowe Bergdahl
case. I worry that it could have an adverse impact on the new terror case
that was just filed in New York.
HAYES: There`s a question here also about the obstruction investigation,
and I want to go back to something you just said a moment ago, about this
could be evidence in that. There`s really a question about how broadly
evidence for obstruction could be construed. In some ways, it`s
unchartered territory because only the President can obstruct justice in a
particular way that the President can do it, right, in a way that civilians
or other folks can`t. But you think this kind of actions and statements
could all be part of that case were it to be made by the Special Counsel?
MCQUADE: I do. You know, I don`t know that any one of these statements
standing alone would be sufficient to bring a case of obstruction of
justice but it`s enough to attempt to influence the outcome of an
investigation. And if that`s what he`s doing with these series of tweets
and public statements, then I think that could be part of the totality of
circumstances that Robert Mueller looks at, along with firing of Jim Comey
and some of these other things, asking him to let it go. So when you look
at all of those things together, is that enough for obstruction of justice?
And I think, every day he speaks and tweets, he makes the case stronger.
HAYES: All right, Barbara McQuade, thank you.
MCQUADE: Thanks very much, Chris.
HAYES: California Businessman Tom Steyer is putting some of his billions
into an ad campaign calling for the President to be impeached along with
the petition for impeachment. He now has almost a million and a half
signatures. Tom, I guess I knew your position before what the President
has done over the last 24, 36 hours. What is your response to the calls to
go after Hillary Clinton in the context of your calls for impeachment?
TOM STEYER, AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN: Well, Chris, I think this is an example
of the disrespect for the rule of law that has characterized both the
campaign and this Presidency, and it is an example of the lawlessness that
we have seen and which is the reason that we feel that it is appropriate
now to call for the impeachment of this President. We think this is not –
I was listening to the previous segment, and I think that to be surprised
or shocked or disappointed by this behavior means that you haven`t been
paying attention for the last year and a half. The fact of the matter is
this behavior is absolutely unacceptable, but it is absolutely consistent
with what we`ve seen from this President, as President, and as a
HAYES: How do you – it`s funny you said that because I`ve been trying to
think about transporting myself out of the current day and think about
another President doing this. And of course, it`s almost inconceivable. I
mean, if another president in my lifetime had done this, it would be an
earth-shaking political cataclysm that would precipitate a crisis that
would fall like dominoes and there`d be– it would be the only thing anyone
talked about. And here it`s kind of like, well, he`s tweeting again. I
mean, how do you overcome that in the public perception?
STEYER: Well, Chris, what we`ve done is we`ve asked – we`ve tried to
provide a venue for the American people to directly raise their voice.
That`s why we`ve called for impeachment, that`s why we`ve given people a
chance to sign up on our Web site, to add their name and their voice. And
in fact we`re over a million and a half, we`re at a million six now, which
is way more than we expected. So we know the American people agree with us
that this pattern of lawlessness has got to stop.
HAYES: You know, you were running these ads on Fox News. I think that`s
probably where the President saw them, at one tweeting wacky and totally
unhinged Tom Steyer who has been fighting me and my make America great
again agenda from beginning, never wins elections. Have you ever stood for
STEYER: Not since school, Chris.
STEYER: But let me say this. Fox News subsequent to that refused to
fulfill their contract with us, which was to continue to run our ad.
HAYES: They canceled the contract midway through after the tweet.
STEYER: Yes. So we don`t know why, we don`t know whether it was a request
from the White House, but what we did –do know is that they are censuring
the voice of a 1.6 million Americans who have an opinion that they either
scared of or scared to air.
HAYES: So they pulled the ad. After the tweet, they pulled the ad,
they`re no longer running it on their air?
STEYER: Correct. In violation of the contract that we have with them.
HAYES: I want to ask you about – you`re beginning to see signs over the
legislative branch to go after Tom – to go after Robert Mueller. Politico
has this headline about conservatives introduce a measure demanding
Mueller`s resignation. So, while you`re out there with ad about
impeachment, while Ted Lieu is saying this is obstruction of justice in
plain sight, while the President is pressuring both the courts and the
Justice Department, you have member – Republican members of the House
trying to go after Mueller. What do you make of that?
STEYER: Well, I think that what`s going on here is not – is politics.
And let me say this. It`s not me calling for the impeachment of this
President, it`s over a million and a half American citizens calling for the
impeachment of this President. What the Republicans are obviously doing
with Mueller is to prepare the way for more obstruction of justice because
they know that this administration cannot withstand an airing of their
behavior. But let me say, that behavior has been taking place in plain
sight and Americans can see it. What we`re doing is lowering the standards
for behavior and saying what was previously as you said completely
unacceptable and lawless is now something that`s excused as mildly vulgar
and impolite. It`s not vulgar and impolite, it`s lawless.
HAYES: All right, Tom Steyer, thanks for your time tonight.
STEYER: Thank you.
HAYES: Up next, more on the calls for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to
step down. Paul Manafort`s trial date is set and what the President says
he remembers about the meeting he attended with George Papadopoulos in two
HAYES: When it comes to moments that might be key in the Russia
investigation, President Trump may or may not remember.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you remember George Papadopoulos
during that March meeting?
TRUMP: I don`t remember much about that meeting. It was a very
unimportant meeting, took place a long time – don`t remember much about
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: See what he did there? He doesn`t remember much, but he does
remember just enough to declare it was a very unimportant meeting. That
March 2016 meeting was the one in which Trump Foreign Policy Advisor George
Papadopoulos proposed a possibility of arranging a meeting between then-
candidate Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. And for someone who
the Trump administration wants us to believe was a forgettable low-level
advisor, he kept turning up. In a September 2016 interview Interfax on the
subject of Russian relations, Papadopoulos said Trump if elected President
will restore the trust. The AJC, the American Jewish Committee used Trump
Foreign Policy Advisor George Papadopoulos as a panelist in its Republican
National Convention Program sitting alongside – get this – Senator Bob
Corker, delivering remarks. There`s Papadopoulos on the far left with
Republican Congressman from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who were
also on the panel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS, FORMER TRUMP FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN:
Apart from personal experience, especially on Iran, before I started
working for the Trump campaign, I was based exclusively in London for the
last seven or eight months. And during my time in London, I had an
opportunity to meet with European energy companies and other commercial
enterprises there in France, Italy, and the U.K.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You can almost see the thought bubbles of who is this dude among
the assembled political leaders there. Just days before the election, a
British publication wrote “George Papadopoulos, one of the business
tycoon`s foreign advisers said he had very productive talks with
representatives of the foreign office in Britain.” Two days after the
inauguration of Donald Trump, the Jerusalem Post described a meeting
between Papadopoulos and regional leaders that it occurred in Washington,
look at that, clearly referring to Papadopoulos as a Trump advisor. This
is after inauguration.
Meanwhile today, in the case of Trump`s Former Campaign Chair, Paul
Manafort, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson proposed a May 7th trial
date. The 12-count indictment against Manafort includes conspiracy against
the United States. Michael Isikoff is the Chief Investigative
Correspondent for Yahoo! News, Natasha Bertrand is a Political
Correspondent for Business Insider and they join me now. And Natasha, you
know, it seems plausible that Papadopoulos was not particularly high
ranking but also the revelation today that you know, when the American
Jewish Committee is contacted, why do you have that guy there? They say
because the Trump Campaign sent him, seems to mean something, right?
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Right. I`ll
just start by saying I asked a former Trump campaign official about this.
He`s just a low-level volunteer talking point. And he said, well,
reporters should really feel free to push back on that narrative because
pretty much everyone on the campaign was a volunteer because Trump didn`t
want to pay anyone. So this whole idea that he was just a volunteer, hey,
Manafort was a volunteer too so he could have had very, very large
responsibilities, he could have had a very prominent role in the campaign
and not been paid for it.
HAYES: Right. Michael, what do you make of his role and what we`re
learning about him?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Well,
look, he clearly got around but – and I was a little surprised at how long
he stayed –
HAYES: Me too.
ISIKOFF: – on the campaign. We know that in March, you know, Trump first
mentions his name to the Washington Post because he was under pressure to
get – to come up with some foreign policy advisers because he didn`t have
a foreign policy team so he hastily – they hastily put together these
names. And Papadopoulos is one, Carter Page is another. Not especially
distinguished foreign policy-wise men or women. But look, the key here
that`s significant is let`s go back to that March meeting where he proposes
this to set up something between Trump and Putin and he says this in
Trump`s presence. Papadopoulos has cut a deal with Mueller. He, no doubt,
has been questioned very closely on how the President responded to that
proposal. We`ve had accounts that Sessions shot it down, others were
What did President Trump say when Papadopoulos in his presence says, I`ve
been meeting with Russians who can set up a meeting between you and
President Putin. And I think that is really the biggest question that
hangs over the Papadopoulos case right now. We know – we know Mueller`s
people have been questioning the people in that room. Sam Clovis, who was
Papadopoulos` campaign supervisor, was before the Grand Jury a week ago and
had to resign – pull back from his nomination to be at USDA this week as a
result of these disclosures. But Mueller has some answers about what
Trump`s response is, and I think that`s very critical.
BERTRAND: I would just say I think that the March 31st meeting is
extremely important, but I think the key to all of this is looking at it
from what happened after Papadopoulos was informed by this Russia-linked
professor that Russian – that the Russians had these thousands and
thousands of e-mails that they said came from Hillary Clinton`s campaign.
When he essentially learned that the Russians had dirt and that they wanted
to give it to the Trump campaign, after that you saw a consistent effort by
Papadopoulos to reach out to high-level members of the Trump campaign.
Apparently not J.D. Gordon and Jeff Sessions because they had already shot
him down but to people like Paul Manafort, Corey Lewandowski, to
essentially pitch this Trump/Russia meeting. Why did he want – why did he
want the President or the President`s close advisers to meet with Putin`s
people so badly? It`s because perhaps he knew that there was something
that they wanted to get.
HAYES: I want to play an interview the President gave I think just
yesterday. And to look at his denial now of collusion with Russia which
struck me as slightly different than what he said before. Take a listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think you would ever consider trying to have
Mueller removed or have you pledged to just stay out of that?
TRUMP: Well, I hope he`s treating everything fairly, and if he is, I`m
going to be very happy because when you talk about innocent, I am truly not
involved at any form of collusion with Russia, believe me. That`s the last
thing I can think of to be involved in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Michael, I am truly not involved in any form of collusion with
Russia. It`s a little different than of course my campaign did not collude
with Russia. I am truly not involved. And I think that distinction
matters because it doesn`t appear to me – I think of Iran contra and the
way that defense ended up moving which was from the facts being established
about the conspiracy to whether the President knew about it, you can
imagine a similar kind of development along those lines here.
ISIKOFF: Yes, look, I mean, Mueller`s case this week against Papadopoulos
on its face is about one member of his campaign who was colluding with the
Russians, who was in contact with them, who was trying to set up meetings
with them. So I think the President may have been counseled just to bow to
reality here and put it on himself rather than his campaign. But, you
know, look, at the end of the day, we don`t know. I mean, you know, we
just have to deal with the evidence that we`ve got –
HAYES: Yes – no, agreed.
ISIKOFF: – in front of us. And you know, right now I come back to that
meeting. Yes, he proposed this to the then-candidate Donald Trump himself
and while others shot it down, he continued, so what did Donald Trump say
to him after that proposal?
HAYES: That`s the big question. What did Donald Trump say there and was
he ever informed about the Trump Tower meeting? Like the real questions,
the outstanding ones which Mueller will have access to because he will talk
to people involved is, did Trump ever know about this – did the President
ever know about this and what did he do? Did he say yes, let`s go, let`s
BERTRAND: Right. And you know, there`s still skepticism surrounding where
he was during that Trump Tower meeting. People really don`t know, they
haven`t pinned that down, and during that meeting, that March 31st meeting,
the foreign policy – you know, rendezvous, he apparently was intrigued by
Papadopoulos` offer to set up this meeting. So he really didn`t shoot it
down. He seemed like his interest had been piqued and you know, from there
that`s really going to be Mueller`s probe is.
HAYES: The last thing I`ll say here is that this was a very flat campaign
organization which I keep coming back. There was not a lot of layers
between a guy like George Papadopoulos and the candidate and that may come
back to bite him in the end. Michael Isikoff and Natasha Bertrand, thank
BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.
ISIKOFF: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, what other revelations are yet to come and what else has
the Trump administration forgotten? A former Trump campaign advisor joins
me to talk about that ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A yes or no answer on one of these questions
involving Russia. 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, nobody that I know of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you`re not aware of any contacts during the course
of the election?
TRUMP: Look, 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
that`s so important. Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Since that February declaration by the President, we have since
learned significantly more about his campaign`s entanglements with Russia.
For example, we learned that his son, Donald Trump Jr. set up a June 2016
meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer promising government
provided dirt on Hillary Clinton, a meeting whose attendees included
Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.
And of course, we learned on Monday, thanks to the Mueller investigation,
that former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has now pleaded guilty to
lying to federal agents about contacts with Russians, and that Donald
Trump`s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, had a widespread web of
alleged financial entanglements with Russian-aligned interests and is now
facing charges of money laundering, conspiracy against the United States
But there`s still a lot we don`t know. And one man who might be able to
shed more light, former Donald Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo. He
joins me next.
HAYES: Last year as the election was heating up, the Trump campaign found
itself under pressure to upgrade its threadbare operation and take on a
more serious tone. The meeting on March 31, including Donald Trump, then
Senator Jeff Sessions and little known campaign adviser George
Padopoulos as part of that effort. It`s a crucial juncture for the
campaign moving out of the primaries and in towards the Republican National
Convention and the general election.
One man who was part of the campaign at the same time, Michael Caputo,
former adviser to the campaign, and he`s with me now.
Michael, I wanted to follow up on Papadopoulos because you said, I thought
humorously, you said he was a coffee boy earlier today. And since again
they have got more reporting suggesting that
he did stick around after that March meeting.
I want to play you a little tape of him at this event at the RNC with Bob
Corker and Ted Yoho and Tom Marino. Take a listen.
We don`t have that.
So my question to you is if he is in fact hanging around longer than –
he`s not exactly a
coffee boy, right?
MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, no, he might have
gotten some tea as well.
But you know, honestly and frankly, this guy seems like he was like gum on
the bottom of the shoe with this campaign, because his name keeps popping
up and his face keeps popping up in these
unusual places, kind of like the Zelig of 2016, this guy.
You know, he never should have been on that foreign policy advisory board.
He had no credentials to do it. And if he was so important, why didn`t he
get an appointment to the transition team? Why isn`t he serving in the
State Department right now? We`re assigning way too much importance to
HAYES: Right, but there`s lots of people that played important roles
during the campaign who didn`t end up in the administration. I mean, Paul
Manafort is a great example, Corey Lewandowski, who I know you famously
feuded with, right. There are people playing key roles in the campaign who
don`t end up in the administration. That can`t be the thing that
determines whether they played important roles in the campaign or not.
CAPUTO: Right, but you can`t have it both ways. We`re also hearing a lot
of complaints that Donald Trump is not getting the best and brightest,
especially into his State Department and national
security apparatus. If you had a pulse and some foreign policy acumen, I
think you`d be in the administration`s appointment – among the
administration`s appointments right now.
The fact of the matter is this guy was at Ben Carson`s campaign for like
five or six weeks. The way he got into that campaign was very similar,
with an inflated resume and a LinkedIn message.
But here`s the thing. OK, I am willing to believe charitably this guy was
low on the totem poll, but he was also emailing Sam Clovis, who was just up
for an administration position until it was yanked in response to what
happened. He was emailing Sam Clovis saying I`ve got a person who says
essentially there`s are Russian agent who can give me dirt on Hillary
Clinton through Vladimir Putin`s niece and Sam Clovis, who I think you
would agree ranks higher, is like awesome, let`s do it. That suggests the
campaign was into this idea.
HAYES: Well, Sam Clovis actually brought Padopoulos and Carter Page into
that advisory board to begin with, and so I would imagine that they would
have been emailing back and forth. And you know, Clovis has said that he
was trying to just be nice in his response. I know that he`s since left
his role – I mean, pulled himself out of consideration for an agriculture
Actually, I think that the fact that he was brought in at all by Clovis or
anyone was a mistake. And certainly responding in any way to this kid
suggesting meetings with Russians –
HAYES: He`s 29 years old.
CAPUTO: Right. It`s just wrong, right.
HAYES: So I guess here`s the thing, right. So in isolation, it`s like
Carter Page, he was a weird guy and he went to Moscow and he didn`t approve
it. And George Papadopoulos is a low level guy and he didn`t make it in
the administration. And Sam Clovis probably shouldn`t have gotten in and
he was just – he was just flattering him. And that Paul Manafort was only
in the campaign a little bit, even if he was alive financially with a lot
of Kremlin-backed interests.
And the meeting in Trump tower between John Jr. and Paul Manafort and Jared
Kushner when they were promised dirt from a Russian lawyer on behalf of the
government was a kind of one-time fluke event. And the meetings with
Kislyak were fluke events. And the mis-rembering of them. And
then Flynn talking to the Russians and also lying about that, all of that
stuff was a set of individual flukey circumstances.
You understand when those are concatenated together, it does start to look
a little bad?
CAPUTO: It certainly does, especially when you`re wearing a tin foil hat.
I get that. You know, this whole thing about the Trump/Russia collusion,
you know, began during the campaign when they first –
HAYES: But what is factually inaccurate there? Is it not the case that
there was an email to Don Jr. saying the Russian government is backing your
father and we would like to provide you with dirt on Hillary Clinton and he
said I would love that.
CAPUTO: Right. I understand. That was a mistake to have that meeting.
HAYES: That happened, right?
CAPUTO: Listen, actually I understand, Chris, that the string of those
HAYES: You just said I have a tin foil hat. What I`m asking you is, is
that a representation of a
factual thing –
CAPUTO: No, no. I`m not saying you have a tin foil hat. Please don`t
take it that way. That`s not what I meant. I`m saying that there`s a
large group of people out there who are wearing tin foil hats who think
Donald Trump himself actually speaks Russian after the sun goes down. And
I think those –
HAYES: Let`s say the facts that are entered in evidence as of now, which
do not prove that Donald Trump had some secret handshake deal with Vladimir
Putin to hackinto Hillary Clinton`s servers, but when put together, do you
understand why people view that as somewhat incriminating?
CAPUTO: I definitely do, Chris. And I said especially if you`re inclined
to think that way.
But also we have – what we here is also evidence if we all step back and
take a look at it that clearly the Russians were trying to get into this
HAYES: 100 percent, yes.
CAPUTO: And I said that as far back as July of 2016. Russia was targeting
both campaigns. And it`s something we needed to deal in 2016 and we need
to deal with it now.
HAYES: Well, I`m glad you said that because the desire to infiltrate seems
clear. The question is was that possible. And the final thing I`ll say
here is that the argument that there was a bunch of amateurs running around
and it wasn`t that well run an operation doesn`t necessarily mitigate
against the idea that they would be successful in penetrating it, right?
CAPUTO: Right, it doesn`t.
HAYES: The Russians wanted to get in and there`s all these weirdos hanging
around. Who knows if they were successful?
Michael Caputo, I appreciate your time.
CAPUTO: Thank you very much.
HAYES: All right. Still to come, Joy Reid on how the president is faring
after his first week in the indictment era. And New York`s not new season,
Hotam. That`s Thing One, Thing Two, next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, it is no secret the Trump administration has
installed the upper echelons of government people who deny the role humans
play in climate change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: I think that measuring with precision
human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and
there`s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact.
TRUMP: Nobody really knows. I`ve – look, I`m somebody that gets it. And
nobody really knows.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you yourself believe in climate change?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe there is scientists on both sides that are
RICK PERRY, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: You know, what`s wrong with being a
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For some reason or
another this issue of climate change has emerged as a paramount issue for
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether or not the president believes
that human activity is contributing to the warm of the climate?
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I honestly haven`t asked
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But in addition to political appointees, there are still career
scientists who work in the federal government. And they have spent the
last four years writing a report on this very subject. And you`ll never
guess what they have to say about this very topic. That`s Thing Two in 60
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Two days ago, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said this about the
impact humans have on climate change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: We spend so much time on this issue of about, you know, who`s fault
is it exactly, how much, and, you know, I still think the science is out on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: According to the National Climate Report released by the federal
government that Rick Perry is part of today, that science is not still out
on that. Hundreds of scientific experts from 13 federal agencies and
academia conclude, I`m quoting them here, there is no convincing
explanation other than humans and greenhouse gas emissions being the
dominant cause for climate
change. As to why this administration, which has publicly denied that
conclusion agreed to sign off on those findings, the New York Times reports
there was little appetite for a knockdown fight over climate
change on this, among Mr. Trump`s top advisers, who are intensity focused
on passing a tax reform bill, an effort they think could determine the fate
of his presidency.
And how did the head of the Environmental Protection Agency respond?
According to Politico`s Emily Holden, “I asked EPA what Scott Pruitt thinks
of the final government report showing man-made climate change is real.
They declined to comment.
HAYES: If you somehow time traveled from another era in American political
life to witness this week in the Trump administration, you would be a fool
not to think that the events that unfolded since Monday were enough to end
Donald Trump`s presidency – indictments of his former campaign chair Paul
Manafort for, quote, conspiracy against the United States. Campaign
staffer and Manafort associate Rick Gates, news that ex-foreign policy
adviser George Papadopoulos already pleaded guilty in special counsel
Robert Mueller`s Russia investigation.
But we who are in this timeline, and who follow Donald Trump for a living,
know better than to
write a political obituary for the man because there have been really it
seems like countless times when Donald Trump looked completely done, unfit,
ineffective, when the lying was too reckless to ignore, when headlines
across the country announced it was Trump`s worst week.
And still as Donald Trump begins his 11th month in office, it seems like
nothing can dissolve us, or him, of his presidency.
So, how should we view this week in particular? Joy Reid joins me next to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Today`s announcement has nothing to do with the president, has
nothing to do
with the president`s campaign, or campaign activity. The real collusion
scandal, as we`ve said several times before, has everything to do with the
Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS, and Russia. There`s clear evidence of the
Clinton campaign colluding with Russians intelligence the spread
disinformation and smear the president to influence the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: When in doubt, turn the attention to Hillary Clinton, something the
White House and their allies have done time and time again because it`s
effective, I mean at least among their base.
A month ago, get this, 41 percent of Trump voters thought Russia wanted
Clinton to win the
election, which would be weird to think that given how it all played out.
And now that same survey
conducted after the news that Mueller indictments coming out, finds that 56
percent of Trump voters think Russia Clinton to win.
Margie Omero (ph), a Democratic pollster, and Joy Reid, MSNBC`s host of AM
Joy talked to me know about whether Trump supporters care about what
happened this week.
And before – well, there`s the sort of connection, right. So there`s two
questions, one is what`s happening among the Trump base. And it`s been
fascinating to watch the Trump TV network sort of
turn this around, as the pressure has ratcheted up.
You can see them spinning this countertale, which looks like it`s fairly
effective for the people who are in that bubble.
JOY REID, MSNBC: I call it Earth two, right. So on Earth one, Donald
Trump is in trouble because of Russia ties during his campaign. On Earth
two, none of that is true, that`s all just a hoax, and Hillary Clinton is
the one with ties to Russia and everything true about Trump is really true
They`re so thorough in this narrative and so disciplined about it and it`s
so consistent across conservative media, which studies have shown people
with a conservative bend are more likely to only consume a small number of
conservative media. So in their bubble, in their universe, Earth two is
the real Earth.
HAYES: The way I describe it when I watch what`s happening on the Trump TV
network is that it`s like it is to reality what a really good Broadway set
or theater set is to like an actual house. It`s got this air of uncanny.
You`re like that looks just like an actual news program. There`s something
slightly off – exactly. There`s like little windows, right. It`s like
there`s something is slightly off about
But it seems convincing.
Margie, what is – you know, I looked at some of the polling about this
more broadly, right. So, there`s the sort of Trump voters. But then
there`s a polling, there`s this question about does this penetrate outside
the bubble? Does anyone know who Robert Mueller is? Does anyone know who
Paul Manafort is?
You had a huge news event on Monday, which is indictment of a former
campaign manager. What is your sense what the polling says and public
opinion about how much that`s gotten out?
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: So, there are a lot of different pieces
to this obviously. So, there`s the first piece, which is level of
awareness and how important it is relative to
other things that people are focusing on. There is for sure a level of
awareness of what`s going on
here, it`s just not going to be the same moment by moment drama that folks
who follow this for a
living are going to capture.
And that we should all expect that and know that and acknowledge that.
That said, if we want to look at the data and find where there is some
bipartisan agreement, it is
not looking on the outcome, not thinking about whether or not Russia
interference affected the outcome, because that`s where people get very
partisan, but instead looking at the investigation. Should we have an
investigation? Is it important to have an investigation? Is Mueller doing
a good job?
On those metrics, there`s actually – according to the Post/ABC poll that
came out a couple days ago, there`s actually a little bit more partisan
agreement in some of those other questions.
And then the other thing I would just note is that in this current day, we
have Republicans and we have Trump voters. So among Republicans overall,
there are quite a few Republicans, about a third of Republicans feel that
Mueller is doing a good job. There are Republicans that feel the
investigation should continue. There are quite a few Republicans who feel
that it`s quite likely that Paul Manafort
and George Papadopoulos did something wrong. And that`s among Republicans.
Now, hard core Trump voters may feel a little differently. And again it
also depends on what kind of question you`re asking.
HAYES: You know, one of the the polling would seem to indicate that more
Americans think the president committed a crime than approve of the job
he`s doing in office, which is a sort – which is a pretty remarkable place
to find ourselves in.
REID: No, absolutely, and a not, you know, insignificant percentage think
he should be impeached. And, you know, Margie talked about outcome, but
the outcome actually matters. I think that what a lot of Democrat`s
temptation is, because Democrats are, generally conciliatory by nature,
want to say OK, let`s divorce it from the outcome, let`s just talk about
how bad it is that Russia interfered period, have an independent
investigation and just talk about the broad issue of interference.
But here`s the problem, what if Russia actually did impact the outcome?
That means the fundamental legitimacy of the president of the United States
is questionable. Every decision he makes, every judge he appoints could
inherently be illegitimate. And I think that`s the actually a fundamental
question Americans shouldn`t be afraid of.
And, look, psychologically it`s very difficult to be told that perhaps your
vote was somehow influenced by outsiders, that there was something wrong
with the candidate that you voted for.
HAYES: Yes. You`re stressing me out even talking about it right now.
REID: But I think that`s part of the immaturity of sort of the political
system in the United States that we`re all trying not to deal with the
facts of the outcome perhaps actually being influenced by Russia.
HAYES: OK, but I think. Let me argue from the other side of that, which
is that if you talk about – Margie – if you talk about legitimacy, first
of all there`s that idea that you get people`s partisan backs up, but also
that you`re starting to pull on a string of like, people are so distrustful
anyway. Legitimacy is so sort of tenuous at this moment, that you feel
like you`re going to pull apart something more profound in terms of any
faith in the political system writ-large.
OMERO: Right, right.
I mean, this is really about, like, hey, this is serious. We don`t –
let`s do an investigation. Let`s see what happens. Imagine if you had a
Trump administration really saying, you know, we are as worried about this
as everybody else, and that would really change the tone of how this works.
I think one of the things we`re seeing with all this is the role of
leadership, how powerful when Trump says
this is something to worry about or not worry about, there`s a sizable
group of people who go with him.
HAYES: To your point, the reason they`re not saying –
REID: It`s incriminating.
HAYES: Right. It`s incriminating, but also to your point, the reason
they`re not saying we`re worried about it is because they fear their own
legitimacy, like the person that – the Joy Reid point is felt most
profoundly by the person in the White House.
REID: That`s correct.
HAYES: – than anyone else about the legitimacy. Absolutely.
Thanks to Margie Omero and Joy Reid.
Joy Reid, of course, you can find here at 10:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow and
Sunday for some A.M. Joy. That is All In for this evening. The Rachel
Maddow Show starts right now.
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