Trump rants in early morning phone interview. TRANSCRIPT: 04/26/2018. All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: April 26, 2018
Guest: Victoria Valentino, Kirsten Gillibrand
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a phony cloud over my
head that doesn`t exist.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: The President`s rambling tirade on Trump T.V.
TRUMP: It`s a fix, OK? It`s a witch hunt and they know that and I`ve been
able to message it.
HAYES: Unprompted musings.
TRUMP: I went to Russia for a day or so, a day or two.
HAYES: And explicitly threatening the Russia investigation.
TRUMP: Our Justice Department which I try and stay away from but at some
point I won`t.
TRUMP: He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal. He
HAYES: Trump coughs up new details about the Stormy Daniels hush payment.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER, STORMY DANIELS: This is a very damaging
admission for Mr. Trump.
TRUMP: Doc Ronny, you know, we call him Doc Ronny.
HAYES: Trump`s pick for the V.A. withdraws as his EPA Chief hangs by a
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: I think he has a pretty good cabinet
HAYES: And after decades of alleged abuse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man who had evaded this moment here today for far too
HAYES: Justice for Bill Cosby`s accusers.
LILI BERNARD, ACCUSER OF COSBY: Women are worthy of being believed and I
thank the jury.
HAYES When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It was yet another
extraordinary day of news which began with the President of the United
States calling into live national television and explicitly threatening to
obstruct justice by interfering with the investigation into his campaign,
his aides, family members and himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it`s a disgrace.
And our Justice Department which I try and stay away from but at some
point, I won`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: At some point, I won`t. And that was just one part of a genuinely
unnerving performance by the President first thing this morning, an
unhinged 30-minute rant that according to reports is not all that different
from how he spends much of his day on the phone with confidantes outside
the White House. According to The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Trump
aides fought for months to keep him from doing what he did this morning/the
thing that makes him happiest. Just calling Fox & Friends and talking as
if it was one of his private conversations. It`s not hard to see why his
staff did not want him to do this. While the President was raving like a
worked up talk radio caller, you could watch the hosts, his most friendly
interviewers squirm in their seats and try to steer him away from the brink
of self-immolation. One day after Trump lawyer Michael Cohen invoked the
Fifth Amendment in the Stormy Daniels civil case, the President publicly
weighed in on Cohen`s legal troubles. The prosecutors have already put his
comments to use today just a few hours later in federal court. We`ll have
more on that coming up. The President also brought up entirely unprompted
his overnight stay in Moscow in 2013 which would, of course, be the scene
of the most salacious allegations in the infamous Steele Dossier. But over
and over again, the President kept coming back to the Justice Department`s
investigation of him and the possibility of intervening to try and make it
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Because of the fact that they have this witch hunt going on with
people in the Justice Department that shouldn`t be there, they have a witch
hunt against the President of the United States going on, I`ve taken the
position and I don`t have to take this position and maybe I`ll change, that
I will not be involved with the Justice Department. I will wait until this
is over. It`s a total – it`s all lies and it`s a horrible thing that`s
going on a horrible thing.
So I`m very disappointed in my Justice Department. But because of the fact
that it`s going on and I think you`ll understand this, I have decided that
I won`t be involved. I may change my mind at some point because what`s
going on is a disgrace. It`s an absolute disgrace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last year you said in the first month, I`ll give myself
an A for effort and a C for messaging. How would you grade yourself now?
TRUMP: Look, I`m fighting a battle against a horrible group of deep seeded
people, drain the swamp, that are coming up with all sorts of phony charges
against me and they`re not bringing up real charges against the other side.
So we have a phony deal going on and it`s a cloud over my head and I`ve
been able to do, to really escape that cloud because the message now
everyone knows it`s a fix, OK? It`s a witch hunt and they know that and
I`ve been able to message it. I would give myself an A-plus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The whole thing went so off the rails the hosts, the hosts
eventually had to cut off the President of the United States to make him
wrap things up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it make you want to talk to Mueller and put an end
to it? Does it make you want to talk to him because that`s what Rudy
TRUMP: I can. The problem is that it`s such – it`s such – if you take a
look, they`re so conflicted. The people that are doing the investigation,
you have 13 people that are Democrats, you have Hillary Clinton people, you
have people that worked on Hillary Clinton`s Foundation. They`re all – I
don`t mean Democrats, I mean like the real deal. And then you look at the
phony Lisa Page and Strzok and the memos back and forth and the FBI and you
look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it`s a disgrace. And our
Justice Department which I try and stay away from but at some point, I
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
TRUMP: Our Justice Department should be looking at that kind of stuff, not
the nonsense of collusion with Russia. There is no collusion with me and
Russia and everyone knows it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talked to you all day but it looks like you have a
million things to do.
TRUMP: You could –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I hope you can join us again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Looks like you have a million things to do. For more on the
President`s threats to interfere the Justice Department, I`m joined by
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal who sits on the Judiciary Committee
and MSNBC Legal Analyst Benjamin Wittes, Editor In Chief for the Lawfare
Blog. Senator, let me start with you. Your reaction to the President
saying I stay away from the Justice Department but not for long.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: An ominous
clear threat to people who are properly and legitimately investigating not
only his campaign`s collusion with Russia but also obstruction of justice
by him. And there is now a credible even compelling case of obstruction of
justice against the President of the United States and that kind of rant
and die tribe are exactly the reason why today, the Judiciary Committee,
the United States Senate, voted out favorably to the floor of the Senate a
measure to protect the special counsel. And that vote was 14-7. Four
Republicans sided with us in a measure that was thoughtful and reasonable
as a result of Chairman Grassley taking the lead on their side. There is
mounting alarm among my Republicans as well as Democratic colleagues that
this unhinged type of threat and an intimidation is actually a case of
obstruction of justice unfolding in real time.
HAYES: Ben, what did you make of that this morning?
BENJAMIN WITTES, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, so at one level, of course,
it`s totally unsurprising. We know he`s willing to intervene in the
Justice Department because he`s done it before, right? He did it privately
in a number of meetings with the FBI Director. He`s done it publicly in a
vociferously tremendously whining about the Attorney General`s recusals and
he has done it very publicly in demanding the prosecutions of individuals
particularly Hillary Clinton and also insisting that on the outcome of the
Russia investigation no collusion exclamation mark, exclamation mark. And
so in some ways, all he`s doing here is reading the stage directions,
right? He`s saying that I haven`t interfered in the Justice Department
which is, of course, false but I might, which is, of course, something he`s
HAYES: There`s opposition to the bill that was voted out of the committee
to protect Robert Mueller that it was expressed by Senator Corker and the
leadership. I want to play you what he said about why he`s opposing it and
get your response to that point. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: So that`s the first reason I will vote
against the legislation because it`s unconstitutional. Secondly, I believe
it`s unnecessary. The President is not going to fire Director Mueller, I
believe, because the repercussions of doing so would be disastrous for his
presidency and for the country. Third, this bill will not be taken up on
the Senate Floor. Fourth, the House will not pass it. Fifth, the
President will not sign it nor should he.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Your reaction.
BLUMENTHAL: Well, let`s take it one by one. The constitutional argument
is red herring and plainly we have overcome it. Number two, the idea that
this bill won`t be brought to the floor is based on wishful thinking and
denial with all due respect to the Majority Leader. I think he is hoping
that it will be unnecessary but the mounting evidence is a grand swell of
support within the United States Senate.
HAYES: Really, you really think that?
BLUMENTHAL: The vote today, I never would have predicted just two months
ago. 14-7? That`s two to one on the Judiciary Committee, four of our
Republican colleagues siding with us. The vote today, well, there probably
would be no vote today because of the Majority Leader`s view, but if there
were one, I think it would be very evenly split because my Republican
colleagues have this growing sense of alarm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ben, one of the points of contention and one of the most
interesting parts of the Comey memos is the President affirmatively talking
about the Moscow trip and appearing to affirmatively lie about it out of
nowhere. Today he returned to this topic again unprompted. He just
brought it up. It`s clearly on the front of his mind to talk about the
Moscow trip. I want to play that and get your response knowing James Comey
as well as you do. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He didn`t write those memos accurately. He put a lot of phony
stuff. For instance, I went to Russia for a day or so, a day or two
because I owned the Miss Universe Pageant. So I went there to watch it
because it was there in Moscow. He said I didn`t stay there overnight. Of
course, I stayed there. I stayed there a very short period of time but of
course, I stayed. Well, his memo said I left immediately but I never said
that. I never said I left immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do you think James Comey lied about that?
WITTES: I can`t imagine James Comey lied about that in a memo to himself,
much less can I imagine that he lied about it to the public. Look, in any
dispute between Jim Comey and Donald Trump, you have to keep in mind that
one of them is Donald Trump and the other is a person with whatever you
think of judgments that he made, whatever you think of you know, his
decision making in any of several issues, he is somebody with a reputation
for honesty and truth-telling. And so I just resolve any dispute factually
between the two of them as who are you going to believe.
HAYES: I would note, just in closing that the President does something
sort of subtle in that where he claims that Comey claimed he didn`t stay
there overnight and then says, of course, I stayed there overnight. But –
WITTES: But Comey in fact just reported that the President –
HAYES: The President – yes.
WITTES: – said he didn`t stay there overnight and the President appears
to have as best as I can tell appears to have misstated the fact to Comey
and now is imputing the misstatement of fact to Jim. That`s s a nice trick
if you can get away with it but I don`t think anybody who reads the memo
will fall for it.
HAYES: All right, Senator Richard Blumenthal here in New York, good to
have you and Ben Wittes, thank you both for your time tonight. I really
appreciate it. for more on this morning`s extraordinary performance by the
President of the United States, Barbara Boxer, former U.S. Senator from
California, Founder of PAC for a Change and MSNBC Political Analyst Josh
Earnest, who`s the White House Press Secretary to President Barack Obama
and having served that role, if you put on your press secretary cap, what
do you think watching the President this morning?
JOSH EARNEST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, Chris, what`s
extraordinary about it is I was actually thinking in the car today about
the most – probably the most controversial interview that President Obama
did in his eight years in the White House, at least controversial with the
White House Press Corps is an interview he did with the woman named GloZell
Green. She was a Youtube star. She has millions of followers under her
HAYE: I remember.
EARNEST: Her distinguishing feature was that she wears green lipstick in
these videos. And the thing about it, Chris, is that we always made the
case even to White House journalists who were insulted that President Obama
would talk to GloZell Green instead of them, was that we never viewed an
interview with GloZell Green as a substitute for engaging on a factual
basis with professional journalists. We actually saw this an opportunity
for us to expand the audience and go to people who may not be getting
political news and what`s striking to me about this is that President Trump
always only goes to the same source and it explains why his base is loyal
but small and not growing. And you know, even in watching the interview
and some of the clips that you played today, the journalists who were
sitting on that couch, you know, the hosts sitting on that couch were not
pushing back. They weren`t suggesting that somehow President Trump was
saying things that weren`t true even though he was. It was almost as if
they were sitting there listening to somebody leave a rambling voice mail
message. It was almost like Mr. President, at the tone, please give us
your thoughts about Michael Cohen.
HAYES: Senator Boxer, do you think your former colleagues in the Senate
watch this sort of thing and what goes through their head?
BARBARA BOXER, FORMER CALIFORNIA SENATOR: Well, I watched it and I`ll tell
you what went through my head. I think Fox & Friends should give up doing
their version of the news and instead, they should become online
therapists. It`s perfect. They can have people call in who are
narcissistic, paranoid, upset, frustrated and angry and they`ll do better
at that. This was incredible. And in all seriousness, they looked so
uncomfortable. And I`ve never been on a news show when the person like you
would say, you must be so busy, bye, usually they say, we`re running out of
time. We`ve really enjoyed your – thank you very much. They said you
must be so busy. He could have stayed on there all day rambling,
undermining his own attorneys by saying that Cohen was hardly even his
attorney admitting that he knew about Stormy Daniels and on and on.
HAYES: You know, that`s a really great point, Senator. Josh, have you
been in the situation of course, what usually happens with the President of
the United States and I`ve been on the other side of this with principals
is the journalist wants as much time as possible. If you agree toe 20
minutes, they keep going, 22, 23, and you as a press secretary sit there
going no, no, no, got to get him out. And this was the reverse. The
President seemed game for however long and he got cut off by the
EARNEST: Yes, that`s exactly what happened, Chris. There is this dynamic
where usually there`s you know, Mr. President, I`ve just got two more
questions I want to try to get to. But you know, Chris, even the prep for
this interview must have been extraordinary, if there was any, you know,
typically in a conventional White House, you would have a team sitting down
with the President talking about even putting this interview on the
calendar and making sure there was a goal that was trying to be achieved, a
message he wanted to deliver to a particular audience. There would be a
memo that will be submitted to him, a day or two in advance with the topics
so he could expect to come up in the interview. And then you certainly
would have an in-person briefing immediately before the interview where the
President would gather senior members of his team, policy experts, he`s
going to talk about trend, have the national security adviser there to make
sure that he had the latest information that he could convey on national
division. And in this case, it`s pretty clear that the White House staff
was watching the interview on television just like everybody else as
President Trump paced the halls of the White House residence in his
HAYES: Why do you think, Senator, he doesn`t do any interviews with anyone
other than these small selected outlets?
BOXER: Well, I think one reason is he doesn`t remember what he said from
one day to the next. As we know, the New York Times has documented more
than 2,000 lies. And one thing I learned early on, as a member of the
Senate and before that the House and before that local government is this,
don`t say one thing to one person and one thing to another. That`s what
this guy does, and he can`t keep track of it. So I think he`s too afraid
to go on a program where people will actually hold him accountable. We saw
what he said in the past about people who take the Fifth Amendment. He
said that they were part of the mob. Now, his sometime attorney, Michael
Cohen, takes the Fifth. I mean, how is he going to respond if you were to
ask him that question? The last thing I`d say is, I want to say what Josh
says is so right and I never prepped a president but I was prepped even as
a United States Senator. Now I`m not prepped at all so this is just me.
But when you call –
HAYES: It doesn`t show but continue.
BOXER: – when you called me when I was a senator, I sat around with the
staff and I said, what if he asks this or that or the other because I
wanted to be prepared and I wanted to be informed and I wanted to look good
for the people of California.
HAYES: Yes, and you wanted to take cared and you cared and you exerted
care. That`s the thing that members of the Congress and Senate,
Republicans and Democrats will do, putting some effort on that front.
Barbara Boxer and Josh Earnest, it`s great to have you both.
EARNEST: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, the President makes an admission on Fox News about
Stormy Daniels that is cited in court hours later. We`ll talk about just
how damaging that rambling interview was for him legally in two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, how much of your legal work was handled
by Michael Cohen?
TRUMP: Well, as a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little
fraction. But my goal would represent me and represent me on some things.
He represents me liking with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented
me. And you know, from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong. There
were no campaign funds going into this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why is he pleading the Fifth?
TRUMP: Because he`s got other things. He`s got businesses. And from what
I understand, they`re looking at his businesses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Credit where due. Why is he pleading the Fifth? Good follow-up
question. Within minutes of calling into Fox News this morning, the
President for the first time, for the first time, admitted what has been
obvious, Michael Cohen represented him in the Stormy Daniels case. Earlier
this month aboard Air Force One he claimed to have no knowledge of the hush
money paid to Daniels or where Cohen got the $130,000. So legally
speaking, the President this morning possibly implicated himself in any
wrongdoing associated with the Daniels` case. With Me Elie Mystal,
Executive Editor of Above the Law who wrote today the President went on
television and destroyed two legal cases, more on that on a moment. Also
with me is Attorney Lisa Green. Lisa, I`ll start with you. Good idea, bad
idea, legally to do that interview?
LISA GREEN, ATTORNEY: It was a pretty terrible idea. He sounded like a
cross between my uncle may he rest in peace, he used to watch Fox News
nonstop and a caller to his sports radio. It`s like, Donald from Jamaica,
what`s on your mind, right? So the level of anger and then, of course,
there`s never a time I think when the President uses a diminutive to talk
about someone else in a flattering way. So if your goal, your squad goal
was to get Michael Cohen to stay in your camp and you start using words
like teeny weeny or teeny tiny, not a flattering look.
HAYES: Well, that`s interesting. So you think it actually – it`s bad in
terms of him being like – you thought what he was doing was minimizing his
relationship to Michael Cohen.
GREEN: Right and I get why with Cohen under investigation, his papers have
been seized. He`s under a lot of pressure. But you know, some of the
conventional wisdom is that Trump might want Cohen to feel an alignment
toward him, some friendliness. That was not accomplished during this
HAYES: You said he destroyed two cases today in that interview. What do
ELIE MYSTAL, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ABOVE THE LAW: Two, so first of all, he
admits that he – that Michael Cohen is representing him in Stormy Daniels.
We all kind of knew that. That`s true, I think. The biggest mistake that
Trump made today was that he actually told the truth a couple of times.
But now that he`s admitted it, now that puts him right into Michael
Avenatti`s world which I think everybody knows at this point is not a world
anybody wants to be in, right? So now he is almost certainly going to have
to testify in the Stormy Daniels thing now that he has actually admitted
that Michael Cohen is representing him.
HAYES: You think – so you think that this was sort of the final nail in
MYSTAL: Yes, I think now, there is no chance for him to get out of Michael
Avenatti`s world. And that`s bad for Trump. The second case he destroyed
was with the minimization of Michael Cohen. He`s been saying – what`s
went on to say is that it`s all about business. Michael Cohen does a lot
of business. It`s just a teeny tiny bit of legal work he does. Well,
guess who`s arguing that? The Southern District of New York is arguing
that against Michael Cohen so the SDNY on the ball literally amended their
brief today to add in what Trump said today.
HAYES: Yes, let me read from this. So they come in and they said, they`re
arguing, look, there`s not really attorney/client relationship here that we
have to be too worried about which is why it`s fine for us to go through
these papers because this is not like he represent – the President goes on
air and says that`s exactly right. It`s not much of a relationship. And
then they say President Trump reportedly said on cable television this
morning Cohen performs a tiny, tiny little fraction of his overall legal
work. The statement suggest that ceased materials are unlikely to contain
voluminous privileged documents.
GREEN: Yes, I`m glad the SDNY has television sets in their offices and –
HAYES: I like the reportedly –
GREEN: Allegedly. So you know, remember when this started, Cohen`s
lawyers claimed to the judge that they had thousands if not millions of
privileged documents that was seized by the FBI. At this point, we`re
going to have three crumpled up pieces of paper and some cigar rings. You
know, and none of that plays well for the Trump lawyers, the Trump
Organization lawyers and Cohen`s lawyer who`s want to protect as much of
this as possible from the eyes of investigators. P.S., a win for them
MYSTAL: As usual, Trump becomes the worst client possible. Like what the
lawyers will need to do – Trump doesn`t need to take the Fifth. They need
to like grab him and put him in the Hannibal Lecter mask and not let him
out anymore. Like –
HAYES: Well, they tried to do that. I mean, you saw the reporting saying
they didn`t – they didn`t want him to do this interview. They have kept
him under wraps. The last sort of big network mainstream interview he did
was Lester Holt almost a year ago.
MYSTAL: I think he got back from his play date with Emmanuel Macron and
was like hey, I`m Trump again and felt really good about himself. Look,
Lisa and I were talking in the back, so much of this is really about how
Michael Cohen perceives what`s happening to him. If he feels the deep
sting of the bus, that`s going to make him more likely to turn on Trump.
But the other as we were talking about, the other thick here is that maybe
the FBI, maybe SDNY doesn`t even need Michael Cohen to flip if they`ve got
all of his documents and –
HAYES: The thing I keep coming back to is they`ve got months of e-mail.
GREEN: Months of e-mail and you know, who knows how truthful ultimately
he`ll be as a witness. What you have –
HAYES: Right, or reliable even.
GREEN: He`s a conflicted – clearly a conflicted person in terms of his
MYSTAL: Sad person. I mean, that Wall Street Journal article today was
GREEN: That was tough, cold, you know, like the Bar Mitzvah story, you
know, Trump shows up and then tells a story about how Cohen begged him to
show up for his son`s major religious event. That was really cold. So you
know, you`ve got a guy who maybe can`t be relied upon to tell a
dispassionate story. But the paperwork, the phone records, the e-mails
maybe do a better job.
HAYES: There`s also a place where the law and politics intersect which is
that for the reasons that Josh Earnest have said and that you`ve said, he -
- the President of the United States fundamentally can`t be let loose into
interviews in the wild. Seriously, because of the amount of legal problems
he has, right? So you`ve got the situation where the President is someone
that generally does a lot of interviews and getting sort of this out there
and he can`t do that under legal advice.
MYSTAL: As people have said before, he`s got – he`s got this really
difficult existential problem. If he talks and tells the truth, he gets
himself in trouble. If he talks and lies, he gets himself in trouble. He
– there`s nothing he can say at this point anymore to get himself out of
GREEN: Yes, but here`s what`s coming. Today at the hearing, Judge Wood
said I`m going to appoint a special master, former federal judge –
HAYES: Independent person is going to go through these files.
GREEN: And what she also said is I don`t want to waste a lot of time here.
I`m looking at a four-week plan. Time is not friendly to Cohen, Trump or
the Trump Organization, but very friendly to prosecutors.
HAYES: Elie Mystal and Lisa Green, great to have you both.
MYSTAL: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come under intense questioning by lawmakers about his
mounting scandals, Scott Pruitt admits he flat out lied about one of them.
That story after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re committed to the Trump agenda, why did you go
around the president and the White House and give pay raises to two
SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR; I did not, my staff did. And I found out
about that yesterday, and I changed it. I found out about this yesterday
and I corrected the action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Embattled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt today admitted he lied
when he claimed earlier this month he had just found out about improper
raises to two of his favorite aides. Facing a grilling on Capitol Hill,
Pruitt, testifying under oath, admitted he had known about one of the
raises in advance. But he was defiant when pressed on his myriad of
scandals, blaming his aides and insisting that reports of his misconduct,
which have led to at least ten, count them ten, federal investigations were
drummed up by his political enemies.
Joining me now, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a member
of the Senate committee on environment and public works. And Senator, I
guess I should start with this, were you at all assuaged, or convinced of
the forthrightness of Scott Pruitt during his performance today in the
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D) NEW YORK: I didn`t see his performance, but I
have deep concerns about Scott Pruitt and I think he should resign given
all the allegations against him for taking a rental apartment from someone
lobbying him, from the issue of raises, to all the other scandals that he`s
Also just his record. I mean, when he was attorney general of Oklahoma, he
sued the EPA on behalf of polluters as opposed to helping his state and
protecting the health and well-being of families.
And all he`s done since he`s been EPA administrator is roll back
protections for clean air and clean water. So given where he is right now,
I wish he would step down.
HAYES: Ronnie Jackson is another cabinet nominee. Obviously you`re not on
that committee, I don`t think, but you have to vote on him were he to come
to the floor. That has been withdrawn. What do you think of that?
GILLIBRAND: Well, given the allegations against him, I have grave concerns
that he should be the doctor for the president at this point. Certainly he
had no qualifications to lead the VA, an agency with hundreds of thousands
of employees and huge issues that need to be done to help and be our
So, I don`t think he was qualified for that job. And now given these
allegations of drunken behavior, given not being prepared to help the
president whether he he was needed, are serious allegations and it puts
into question whether he should keep his current job.
HAYES: Do you have a unified theory about why this keeps happening, about
the sort of quality of the people around this administration, about the
accusations against them, about all withdrawn nominees? What is your
operating theory what`s going on?
GILLIBRAND: Well, unfortunately, President Trump said he would drain the
swamp. He has filled it up. And he`s putting in place people in his
cabinet that are directly opposed to the agencies they`re supposed to be
Look at Mick Mulvaney, for example. You know, head of the CFPB. He`s
supposed to be protecting consumers. And we hear that he`s bragging to
bankers and bank lobbyists that the way
to get access is to give money, and that`s how he conducted himself as a
member of congress, which is one of the reasons why I dropped a bill today
to have postal banking, to try to unwind and get rid of some of the most
predatory practices that payday lenders have right now. And he was
somebody vastly supported by payday lenders.
So, it`s a question of judgment. He`s got people around him that aren`t
doing the mission of the
agencies they`re supposed to be running.
Mick Mulvaney gave that speech to bankers. Afterwards your colleague
Sherrod Brown called for him to resign. Do you agree with him on that.
GILLIBRAND: I do. I mean, what he said is outrageous. And I just have
concerns that the president is constantly surrounding himself with people
who are not putting the people`s interests first. They`re not serving
others. They`re serving special interests. And they`re serving the ultra
well connected, the ultra wealthy. Look at his tax bill alone.
HAYES: There`s – you mentioned the swamp and obviously the allegations
against Ronnie Jackson and Scott Pruitt. I want to ask you about a
Democratic Colleague of yours, Senator Menendez of New Jersey. There`s a
Senate ethics committee report today, a letter, a formal letter of
admonition which severely admonished him for accepting gifts.
You were critical of your colleague Al Franken for the misconduct alleged
by various women, said it was time for him to resign. Do you think Senator
Menendez should resign?
GILLIBRAND: I haven`t seen the ethics investigation results, but he should
follow the recommendations of the committee, and he should do what he`s
been told to do.
HAYES: And you think that`s sufficient?
GILLIBRAND: I do.
HAYES: The president this morning did an interview on Fox & Friends this
morning and he called in he had a lot to say about the Department of
Justice, about the cases against him. I guess I wonder how confident are
you in the president`s current mental state, fitness, where he`s at?
GILLIBRAND: Well, I don`t know about that, but I do think it`s really
important to protect Mueller`s investigation. I think it is essential. I
was grateful that from the committee today, there`s bipartisan legislation
to protect that investigation. And if he is fired by the president, that
there be a stay and all evidence will be preserved, why a judge can review
whether or not he was fired for cause.
I think this investigation has to be continued. I think we`ve seen a lot
of evidence already about different concerns that we have, whether it`s
money laundering, whether it`s interference of our election by Russia,
whether there`s collusion, whether there`s obstruction of justice, there`s
still investigations that need to be completed.
And so I want to see this investigation to its fruition.
HAYES: Do you think Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should bring that bill
to the floor?
GILLIBRAND: He certainly should. It`s a bipartisan bill and it just
passed out of committee. It`s exactly the type of legislation we should be
HAYES: I`m going to ask you a question on a slightly obscure issue, but it
may be something in
your bailiwick and it`s about the southern district of New York, which is
obviously in your state. It`s often referred to as the most important
district in the entire nation, the sovereign district of New York.
The U.S. attorney there is a guy by the name of Jeffrey Berman, who was
appointed on a interim basis by Jeff Sessions, never formally nominated.
He`s now been appointed by the court itself.
It seems to me like the person who is running the most important law
enforcement office arguably in the country, that oversees the Michael Cohen
case, hasn`t gone through a advise and consent in the Senate. And I wonder
as the home state senator, what do you think of that?
GILLIBRAND: I have huge concerns. In fact, I wasn`t going to return the
blue slip for him because he met with the president. And to be someone who
is going to have that position, authority over an investigation that could
involve the president, to meet with the president and get his OK, just
raises concerns, issues of whether there`s impropriety or not.
And so without any analysis of his qualifications I thought the meeting
alone disqualified him.
So, it is troubling that he is running an office that is perhaps one of the
most important in the country, and doesn`t have the benefit of advice and
consent of the senate.
HAYES: So, I just want to make sure, you are – because of that meeting,
you were going
to not return a blue slip, which is – .
HAYES: – a Senate process in which the home state senator essentially
kind of exercises veto over the nomination?
HAYES: Is that the reason they`ve done this weird end around the
nomination? Because I`m trying to figure this out, like why haven`t they
formally nominated him? Do you think that`s why they did that?
GILLIBRAND: I don`t know, but I wouldn`t be surprised.
HAYES: All right, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, thanks for
making some time with me tonight.
GILLIBRAND: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, justice for Bill Cosby. Accusers today, what his
guilty verdict means for the #metoo movement right now, and a White House
birthday in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, happy birthday to the first lady of the United
States. Melania Trump turns 49 years old today. And it`s been a big week
for Mrs. Trump. She pulled off the first major White House event of her
husband`s presidency, a state dinner honoring French President Emmanuel
Macron and his wife, Brigitte. It`s one of the most high profile tasks
that she`s taken on as first lady, and she received rave reviews on
everything from the menu, showcasing the best of America`s cuisines and
traditions with nuances of French influences, to the decor featuring more
than 1200 cherry blossom branches, which the pool reported smelled divine.
The whole visit was deemed a great success by President Trump, and so
naturally he would want to show his gratitude to his wife of 13 years by
getting her a very special birthday present. Well, would you believe he
got her an interview on Fox News? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: There`s a bit of a tradition of presidents making a show of their
wives` birthdays. President Obama posted a romantic photo with his wife
Michelle on Instagram for her birthday this year, calling her his best
friend as well as surprising her with flowers and a handwritten note.
When President George W. Bush was in the White House, he got First Lady
Laura a puppy for her 58th birthday.
As for our current president, well, here is what he said he got Melania for
her birthday today when he joined Fox & Friends this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, good morning. And I picked a very, very special day because
it`s Melania`s birthday. So, I said let`s do it on Melania`s birthday. So
happy birthday to Melania.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Hopefully there will be visits in between.
But have you decided on, or do you want to tell us what you got her?
TRUMP: Well, I better not get into that because I may get in trouble.
Maybe I didn`t get her so much. I tell you what, she has done – I got her
a beautiful card.
You know, I`m very busy running out looking for presents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A historic meeting is underway right now. Kim Jong-un has crossed
the DMZ for a meeting with South Korea`s President Moon. And the two met
at that military demarcation line there represented by a concrete curb.
They shook hands. They then each stepped over the line, each going into
each other`s country. It was broadcast live across the world.
Leaders then walked into the newly renovated peace house building. And
there they will meet at a table designed to look like two bridges merged
They`ll be sitting exactly 218 millimeters apart to highlight this historic
inter-Korean summit in 2018.
This meeting is an enormous deal. This is a peninsula that`s still at war.
It`s been at war since 1952. It also represents a huge moment for
President Moon who ran on an explicit agenda and platform of rapprochement
with North Korea, of tabling the nuclear issue so that they could have the
beginnings of talks. This as a huge fruition of his campaign promises.
He has been much of the driver behind what the White House has done. Of
course, it was the South Koreans sent a delegation to the U.S. that relayed
the invitation for Kim Jong-un for the summit that President Trump has
So, President Moon is in the driver`s seat right now in many ways. This is
his vision coming into fruition here. Kim Jong-un, of course the first
North Korea leader to cross the DMZ sine the Korean War armistice in 1953.
We do not know what the outcome of today`s meeting will be. We do not know
what the outcome of the summit will be, or what the contours of it will be,
how it will approach the many thorny issues between the new nations, but
this is a remarkable moment on a peninsula that has been at war for 60-plus
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LILI BERNARD, BILL COSBY ACCUSER: It is not just a victory for the 62 of
us publicly known Cosby survivors whom Gloria Allred has helped give a
voice, it is also a victory for womanhood, and it is a victory for all
sexual assault survivors, female and male.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For the first time today, after years of accusations from dozens of
women, Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault. After 12 days of
testimony and two days of deliberations the jury in Norristown,
Pennsylvania found Bill Cosby guilty of all three counts of aggravated
indecent assault for drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.
Bill Cosby now faces up to 30 years in prison. His attorneys say they will
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM MESEREAU, COSBY ATTORNEY: We are very disappointed by the verdict. We
don`t think Mr. Cosby`s guilty of anything. And the fight is not over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to appeal, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Very strongly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Here with me now Victoria Valentino, one of Cosby`s accusers. She
was at the trial, but did not testify.
Ms. Valentino, first, what did you feel when you heard that verdict
VICTORIA VALENTINO, COSBY ACCUSER: Well, I was elated. I really couldn`t
believe it. I was preparing myself for another mistrial and trying to
process how I was going to deal with that outcome. And so when I found out
that it was going to be a guilty verdict, that it was a guilty verdict on
all three counts, I just – I had such a mix of emotions. I was like
wanting to cry, I wanted to laugh, I wanted to jump up and down. You just
don`t know how to process it.
HAYES: How did you feel –
VALENTINO: But I`m thrilled to death.
HAYES: How did you feel the last time around when it did end in amistrial?
VALENTINO: Well, it was pretty depressing. But we felt very staunch about
our position and we felt that the work had to go on no matter what.
HAYES: What would you like to say to Bill Cosby if you got an opportunity
VALENTINO: You have to pay the piper. You cannot destroy lives just
rampantly for five decades without consequences. And it`s time. It`s time
for you to step up and be that man and pull your damn pants up.
HAYES: I`d like to hear a little bit about your own trajectory about how
you came to the conclusion to come forward and be public, and the
conversations you`ve had with other women who have experienced similar
VALENTINO: Well, first of all, I had harbored this pain for 48 years. And
I never really wanted to talk about it. I would make sarcastic comments
when his face would pass on the
TV screen. My children were not allowed to watch his show. And I just
never talked about the real nasty dirty details, and as all rape survivors
do, you know, there`s self-blame, there`s shame, there`s
humiliation. There`s the fear of not being believed if you really tell the
truth about the situation.
So every time he got another honorary Ph.D. and grew in the eyes of
everybody in the public, we were being diminished more and more each time
because we knew the shadow self of this man who was not the great Dr.
Huxtable or America`s dad, that was the character he played, but that was
not the real man.
And so consequently this journey has just really been very difficult for
me. I wasn`t going to talk about it in 2005 when I heard that Andrea
Constand had come out talking about drugging and – being drugged and
fondled by him. I looked at my daughter, and she looked at me. And we
went oh, my god, that`s what he did. And then I just had to push it away.
And so then again in 2014 I saw Barbara Bowman on Yahoo. And again I just
– I couldn`t
deal with it, because I couldn`t bring up those images and that experience
again. But then I saw Hannibal Burress, a man, making a joke about it in a
stand-up comedy routine. Suddenly he was believed, a man making a joke
about a rapist and he was believed when all of these countless women who
were disbelieved over decades. And that just pissed me off. I can`t even
begin to tell you how pissed off I was.
And I had to find out who to talk to. And I figured out who Barbara Bowman
spoke to, Washington Post. I contacted them, thinking again nobody would
contact me, nobody would get
back to me. Within the hour Adam Kushner called me, and it`s just been a
snowball downhill ever since. And I am so grateful.
HAYES: You know, this is obviously coming in the context of this society-
wide reevaluation of the behavior of men, not just powerful men, powerful
men in particular, men in the workplace. What do you think the
significance of today`s verdict is in that context, in the context of the
#metoo movement, of other women considering whether they want to come
forward and tell what happened to them?
VALENTINO: Well, I think it`s a real tsunami. I mean, once we opened our
mouths and broke our silence and nothing bad happened to us and the world
saw that, the world of women saw that we weren`t assassinated, we weren`t
imprisoned, we weren`t crucified, and instead we were empowered and more
people were coming out and more people were coming out, and I think it
liberated women and gave them encouragement and inspiration and they felt,
yeah, me too. And they were ready to speak. After stuffing all of their
stuff for years and years and years, maybe centuries if you take it into an
And so consequently I think women were really ready to speak. I mean, for
our social structure in the United States we`re supposed to be so
progressive, but we`re not. And now what`s going on in the White House,
we`re going backwards. You know, we thought we were on a roll with Obama,
progressive laws being made and women being heard and laws changed, and we
were moving forward and we thought we could only go up from there.
Instead, we`re going back to the dark ages.
So, this is not just a victory for us Cosby survivors or me personally,
this is a victory for all women who have not been able to open their mouths
and share their stories and find their voice.
So, this is a wave, a big wave.
HAYES: Victoria Valentino, thank you so much. I can`t thank you enough
for sharing your story and for your courage as well.
That is ALL IN for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
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