Pres Trump ousts NSA John Bolton. TRANSCRIPT: 9/10/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Daniel Benaim, Chris Murphy, Francis Robles, Walter Schaub


2018 was 61-37.  So we said McCready needs to be at or above his early vote

level in 2018.  He`s two points above in the early vote in the Robeson

County which is the first thing we have coming in.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  It looks to be a squeaker based on that.  And

I mean a squeaker.  Maybe I have to wait for Brian Williams tonight at

11:00 to get this one.  This could be really close.  Thank you, Steve. 

You`re the best.  Thank you, Heidi Przybyla, thank you so much – and

Eugene Robinson.


And that`s HARDBALL for now.  What an exciting night to find out which way

North Carolina – as goes to Tar Heel State.  Watch out.  “ALL IN” with

Chris Hayes starts right now.







think it`s getting less close.


HAYES:  What we already know from the early results in North Carolina nine.



this country.


HAYES:  Plus, the President bounces his National Security Adviser.


TRUMP:  You`re fired.


HAYES:  Or did he?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  John Bolton has just told me, he texted me.  He said, I



HAYES:  Tonight, what we know about the unceremonious exit of a Republican

perpetual war advocate.  And new reporting and new confusion tonight over

what`s stopping Bahamians fleeing disaster for reaching safety in America.


MARK MORGAN, ACTING COMMISSIONER, CBP:  We don`t want this max exodus from

the Bahamas.


HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.




HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  There`s good news and

there`s bad news.  The good news is John Bolton is no longer working for

the Trump Administration.  He is no longer the National Security Advisor,

fired by tweet, the most humiliating way to lose his job, and then having

to tweet out that no, no, he wasn`t fired because he had already offered to



But he`s out now.  John Bolton was one of the most aggressive advocates of

U.S. military intervention over the last 20 years in American public life. 

He notoriously could not get confirmed as U.N. Ambassador under President

George W. Bush.  Contemptuous of our allies, a vicious infighter who had

bureaucratic carcasses left in his wake from the people he shifts, pushed

out, ran over.  That is what he was known for.  And now today he finds

himself preyed to the same kinds of tactics.


So that really is the good news.  The bad news is the guy who hired him is

still there.  Donald Trump is now burned through three national security

advisors.  The first of whom Mike Flynn learned today he`ll be sentenced

later this year for lying to the FBI.  John Bolton hasn`t been indicted so

he has that going for him.


But even with all the National Security Advisor turnover from day one, the

President has had no coherent foreign policy vision aside from a very

palpable and I think genuine affection for brutal strongmen.  The rest of

the plan seems to just be do the opposite of whatever Obama did.


For anyone tempted to think that Bolton`s departure signals some kind of

dovish turn in President Trump, here the facts.  Under Donald Trump, the

pace of airstrikes has increased in almost every area in which the U.S.

military is engaged.


In fact, according to the LA Times, “The United Nations mission in

Afghanistan reported recently the U.S. airstrikes and Afghan security

forces killed more civilians in the first half of 2019 than the Taliban



The Trump administration has also escalated the U.S. war against Shabab

militants in Somalia watching 123 airstrikes since early 2017.  That`s four

times as many as Obama ministration conducted over years.  Presumably, that

means more civilian casualties.  But it`s hard to know for sure how many

civilians have been killed since the administration also stopped reporting

civilian casualties from drone strikes.


We`re still engaged in strikes in at least seven different countries. 

Unlike President Obama, President Trump has struck the Syrian government of

Assad twice.  Perhaps most notably before Trump hired John Bolton, he

pulled out of the Iran Deal pushing us closer to some kind of full-blown

conflict with that country.


Bolton`s firing comes just days after the president swooped in to

essentially snatch defeat from the jaws of possible victory vis-a-vis

months of painstaking negotiations to attempt a U.S. withdrawal from

Afghanistan negotiate with the Taliban all because the president insisted

on a big event that would give him credit for a deal that he had little to

do with.  And in so doing, to topple the whole thing over, we`re now

resuming more intense military action in Afghanistan.


Meanwhile, North Korea says it is willing to hold talks the U.S. but they

just launched two more missiles.  And Trump is downplaying the fact that

they are blowing stuff up.  We`ve learned a lesson before that personnel

can always be worse in Donald Trump`s Whitehouse, but the personnel is just

a symptom.  The cause of the problem remains Donald Trump.


Joining me now our resident expert in all things foreign policy Andrea

Mitchell NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Anchor of MSNBC`s

“ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS.”  The writing on the wall was there for a while

on this so not surprising but still sudden.



indeed.  To be fired on Twitter and experience that Rex Tillerson, and Dan

Coates, and you know, those now three prominent national security officials

have experienced is not only humiliating.


But in this case, there was pushback immediate pushback from John Bolton in

real-time tweeting – texting to our colleagues, to other news reporters

that he had resigned, had not been fired.  So there was a lot of contention



And then very shortly after, an hour or so later, the briefing that he was

supposed to attend in the briefing room where the Secretary of State was

clearly triumphant after months of tension over foreign policy key issues,

North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran with John Bolton, the obvious smiles and

with Pompeo saying that there were clearly disagreements.  There was no

attempt to cover up their friction.


HAYES:  Yes.  Pompeo was positively beaming,  It looked like he was – had

his birthday party.  You know, here`s what strikes me in what I think is so

notable about the President`s strange abrupt announcement of that ill-fated

Camp David summit with the Taliban and the Afghan President.


It seems very clear to me that Donald Trump wants some big diplomatic wins. 

He wants some iconic moment where he`s shaking hands and it`s on the front

page of the paper, and it`s Donald Trump dealmaker, Donald Trump

peacemaker.  And it seems to me that he is desperate to find that in

anywhere that he can at this moment.


MITCHELL:  Well, that is the concern of many foreign policy experts, Chris,

that here you have the show of the stepping across the DMZ into North

Korea.  You have in fact the first Singapore summit but followed up by the

Hanoi meeting which ended disastrously.  And then a third meeting when you

still have not had a single proffer of what the weapons inventory is from

North Korea.


That was what he promised in Singapore to explain what he`s got and then

start de-accessing his nuclear weapons.  Not only has that not happened,

but the president has been dismissing the seriousness of these short-range

missile launches as not important because they were not part of the

Singapore promise when in fact they have made significant advances in North

Korea on their weaponry.


Then again Iran saying now that he is willing to meet without

preconditions.  Well, this is certainly better than military conflict with

Iran if it results in something.  What we can expect now is that all the

signals are there could be a meeting with President Rouhani in New York.


And most importantly, this Camp David I think ill-conceived notion the week

before or the weekend before the week of 9/11, to have the Taliban coming

to Camp David of all places, have them coming to Washington which the

United States at all when the Afghan leadership was completely sidelined



But this is again something that had been blessed by Secretary Pompeo.  So

you have an, in this case, this and the North Korea negotiations were fully

embraced by the Secretary of State.  Again, diplomacy is better than war

but what if we got for all of this and where is the American leadership?


Clearly, the president now goes into the U.N. meetings with no one being

able to trust that they can talk to any his advisors, they have to talk to

him and he could change his mind by tomorrow.


HAYES:  I think that`s what he likes.  Andrea Mitchell, thank you so very



MITCHELL:  You bet.


HAYES:  Joining me now for the more for on the state of U.S. foreign policy

under Donald Trump Daniel Benaim former Middle East Policy Advisor and

Foreign Policy Speechwriter at the White House, the State Department, and

for the U.S. Senate and Ned Price former Spokesperson and Senior Director

at the National Security Council, now an MSNBC National Security Analyst.


Dan, I`ve seen Democrats with sort of two reactions like yes, it`s good

John Bolton is out but also we don`t love the chaos.  Your read, a good day

or a bad day for U.S. foreign policy?



I think this is a good day in a bad period.  Boulton to somebody who broke

the interagency process, who before getting the job declared in print that

we should bomb not just Iran but North Korea who took us to the brink of

war with Iran.


Now, the idea that the only thing standing between Donald – between John

Bolton and a war with Iran was the restraint and good judgment of Donald

Trump who has spent the last week raging at the weather is something that

should give us all pause.


HAYES:  Right.  You know, there`s also the – there`s also I think a

turning point in Bolton`s estimation in the President`s view, Ned, and that

was the Venezuela situation which Bolton was very clearly had kind of

wrangled control Venezuela and I think had sold the President that they

were going to essentially topple the Maduro government.


There`s the notorious moment where Bolton comes out with 5,000 troops to

Colombia like written on a notebook so everyone can see it.  And then that

whole thing didn`t really work out.  Like the entire enterprise was botched

in a sort of a classic like John Bolton sniffing around for a place for the

U.S. to flex its muscle way.



culminated in a very public and especially disastrous way.  And the U.S.

government essentially announced that there would be a coup underway in

Venezuela only to have it never materialized.


And Donald Trump is someone – he`s a showman, right?  He is someone who

wants the spectacle.  He wants the action.  He wants the drama.  And so

when the administration gave this dramatic preview of a forthcoming coup,

the removal of President Maduro in Venezuela, I think President Trump was

looking forward to that only to be sorely disappointed by not only John

Bolton, to be fair, but also to others with an administration who had

really oversold the process for regime change there, and more broadly

oversold I think the influence that the American government has in aid in a

transition like that.


HAYES:  You know, one of the lessons we`ve learned, right, about U.S.

military intervention is your intentions matter less than what actually

happens, right?  But it strikes me that it`s the same on diplomacy.  I

mean, it`s so clear the President is palpably desperate for a big deal now

but there`s none of the – none of the stuff under – during the process to

produce the actual diplomatic breakthroughs.


BENAIM:  No, that`s right.  I mean, I think he`s thirsty for a huge

agreement with Iran.


HAYES:  Very clearly.


BENAIM:  He`s you know, blowing up the cell phone of the Iranian president

trying to get a meeting.  But if you haven`t done your work, if you don`t

have the leverage, if you don`t have policy coherence, if you don`t have a

basic competence strategy, if you can`t get out of your own way to make a

deal like that as we saw this weekend with Afghanistan, then you`re really

sunk and you`re left with this kind of policy adrift of half-finished deals

and pandemonium and policy chaos.


HAYES:  Do you think, Ned, that we`re – for all the pandemonium and chaos

and this kind of like diplomatic thirstiness which the president is

evincing – which again better than him desperate to start a military

intervention, we should be very clear.  Does it – how much does it matter

whether the successor – who the successor is here?


PRICE:  Well, I think Donald Trump is going to have a very hard time

finding a successor or someone who will willingly raise her/his hand to

take a job that has seen the three incumbents disgraced.  One is in federal

court today awaiting sentencing, the second was ingloriously dismissed, and

of course, John Bolton depending on whom you believe was either fired or I

think more improbably resigned.


But even if he does find that person, the job that Donald Trump wants to

install this individual is not the role of National Security Adviser.  The

traditional role of National Security Adviser in many administrations has

been to play that of honest broker.  Not only – not to allied arguments

and disagreements but actually to surface them in a deliberative, inclusive

interagency process that has all of the views incorporated.


What Donald Trump wants on the other hand I think is someone like Mike

Pompeo.  Someone who at least pretends to see the world the way he does. 

Someone who can whisper into his ear and give private candid advice and

usually keep that advice private.  Donald Trump does not want to hear the

views of the interagency.


Donald Trump doesn`t want to hear the views and the National City Council

staff.  He wants this whisperer and I think he`s going to have a very hard

time finding someone who is both competent and willing to take this job.


HAYES:  Yes, that – I mean, there is no deliberation there`s no process

really happening on that White House as far as we can tell.


BENAIM:  No, that`s exactly right.  Trump famously said in 2016, I alone

can fix it and he seems determined to test that proposition.  We have no

Secretary of Defense for 204 days confirmed which is a record.  We have no

Secretary of Homeland Security or deputy confirmed.  We have no Director of

National Intelligence or deputy confirmed.  The White House Chief of Staff

is acting.


These are the people who are responsible as Ned well knows, you know,

having sat in these deliberations as well.  These are the people who are

responsible for coordinating the actions by the government to protect the

American people on the eve of 9/11.


You know, it`s true that we can all debate how much influence anyone policy

adviser has over Trump and whether it matters if it`s a hawkish or a dovish

national security adviser.  But the simple lack of capable people willing

to go in there and risk being fired by tweet and Trump`s unwillingness to

put people in these jobs and delegate meaningful authority creates real

chaos and real vulnerability for the United States.


HAYES:  Dan Benaim and Ned Price, thank you both.  This hour, we`re getting

the first returns in the highest stakes congressional election of the year

in North Carolina`s Ninth District.  An election where millions of dollars

were spent where the President and Vice President campaigned, a district

that the Republican candidate should win walking away.  It`s a district

that Donald Trump won by 12 points in 2016.


The Republican candidate last time around got caught engaging in election

fraud so massive the election was invalidated by the State Board of

Elections so this is the do-over tonight.  Joining me now is MSNBC National

Political Correspondent Steve Kornacki.  We`re just getting the first

numbers and Steve, what are you seeing?


KORNACKI:  Chris, yes, we`ve got well over the first numbers here.  Almost

half the vote will be in once we get the Mecklenburg early vote.  Basically

what you got here is all the early vote minus one county.  There`s eight

counties that are in this district, seven of the eight we have the early

vote for.


We say the early vote in North Carolina, the early vote is half or more of

all the vote that`s going to be cast.  So let me take you through what we

have so far.  You can – again, this tiny little sliver here is Mecklenburg

County.  That`s a third of the district.  That`s suburban Charlotte. 

That`s the only place we`re waiting on the early vote.


But what we can do is we can compare the early vote right now to what the

early vote was last November.  And remember, last November, Dan McCready,

the Democrat, was running and he basically battled the Republican to a tie.


You talk about all the election fraud that took place.  If he can basically

say that was a tie, so compare his early vote level now versus last

November.  Is he running at or above that level?  That would bode well for

him.  Is he running below it?  That would bode poorly for him.


Let`s start in Union County.  The Republican bastion here.  This is also a

third of the district.  Dan Bishop, the Republican, wins the early vote 56-

44.  However, what was it in 2018, McCready got 44 tonight, in 2018 he got

41.  So he has improved on his 2018 showing in the Republican bastion of

the district, again, a third of the population right there.


Next door, Anson County.  This is 68 percent for McCready, in 2018 66

percent.  He`s improved in the early vote.  We got a little bit of the same

day in here but I can tell you Richmond County, it was 51 percent in 18 for

Macready, 52 percent tonight, improves on the early vote.  61 percent in

Scotland in the early vote, 57 for Macready in 2018.


Notice a pattern here.  Robeson County McCready 63 in the early vote. 

You`re looking at 61 in 2018.  Bladen County the other Republican area here

51 percent for Bishop.  What did Bishop get?  He got – excuse me, what the

Republican got last time 57.  Again, less for the Republicans, more for the

Democrats.  In Cumberland County, just to finish it up, 56-44.  It was 56-

43 last November.


So again, we are waiting here on the population center Mecklenburg.  I can

tell you that in the early vote in 2018 McCready won the Mecklenburg

portion 58 to 41.  So what you basically see there`s a few precincts that

have reported but this is basically the early vote plus a little same-day.


You can expect a massive jump for McCready when the Mecklenburg early vote

comes in and it would mean – unless there`s a big surprise in that

Mecklenburg early vote, it would mean that Bishop needs huge Election Day

turnout and he needs to do much better on Election Day this time than the

Republican did last November.  Otherwise these early vote numbers, those

are very positive for McCready, so we`ll see.


But if you`re the Democratic campaign and you`re looking at these early

vote members, I think it`s safe to say you got everything you wanted out of



HAYES:  That is very, very interesting, Steve.  Bladen County which you

just mentioned there, of course, was the county where the alleged criminal

conspiracy to get people`s ballots happened last time around.  We should

note here, Steve, I mean, this is a pretty red district, right?  I mean, I

think it`s almost red than any district that was won in the in 2018.


KORNACKI:  Yes.  And, Chris, here it is.  Mecklenburg, I said we`re waiting

on it, and you can see now.  What this means is all of the early vote has

just come in Mecklenburg County.  Again, Charlotte suburbs, we said

McCready got 58 last November.  I can`t tell – this 28 percent means also

twenty-eight percent of Election Day precincts are in.


So it looks like I would – my guess here would be he performed better than

he did in 2018.  That would complete the cycle but he`s running at 60

percent.  Again, what did McCready get overall?  When all the voting was

counted in McCready last – excuse me in Mecklenburg last November,

McCready got 54.


So again, you expect Bishop to do better as their start to count the

Election Day vote here.  But about a third of that – a quarter with third

of that`s already counted.  You factor that in and look what that has done

to the district-wide margin here.  Dan McCready the Democrat now with all

the early vote in and some of the same day counted, he`s at a nine-point



I can tell you when you counted all the early day vote last November, the

lead for Dan McReady was five points.  So he is running better than that

right now.  Again, with the same day vote coming in, Bishop is going to

need some big same-day numbers here, Chris.


HAYES:  Yes, big question now is whether any that early vote was

essentially cannibalizing same-day votes through enthusiasm, but right now

ahead of all the benchmarks for McCready against Bishop there and we`re

going to keep checking in with you.  This is – this is a fascinating race.


I mean, this is – this is sort of a marquee back battleground, Steve.  And

you know, we had a bunch of times in 2017 we could dip in with specials. 

In 2018, we had the midterms.  This is our first real kind of on-the-ground

look at the political terrain in this off-year and it`s fascinating what

we`re seeing so far.  Steve Kornacki, we will see you again through the

hour with further updates.  I want to keep monitoring that.


Next, new reporting on why a key CIA informant was pulled from Russia

shortly after the2016 election after having over – helping Intel for

decades.  Senator Chris Murphy on that story and the firing of John Bolton.




HAYES:  Tonight, there are now multiple credible reports that in 2017 the

United States extracted a priced high-level spy from Russia amid fears for

this person`s safety, fears that their identity could be compromised.  That

informant is believed to have interacted regularly with Vladimir Putin and

fed the CIA information about Putin`s role in ordering the 2016 operation

to sabotage our presidential election.


CNN was the first to break the story about the decision to remove the

former senior Russian official, a reporting that came after that infamous

May 2017 Oval Office meeting in which President Trump discussed highly

classified information with the Russian Foreign Minister then-Russian



The decision came amid “concerns that Trump and his administration

repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to

exposing the covert source as a spy.  CNN`s reporting was then followed by

pieces from our own NBC News, the New York Times, The Washington Post, all

which advanced the story in varying ways.


The Post reporting that while Trump`s disclosure of classified information

alarm national security officials, it ultimately quote was not the reason

for the decision to remove the CIA asset.  But the Post and Times reporting

that CIA officials grew increasingly worried for their asset safety after

according to Times, intelligence officials revealed the severity of

Russia`s election interference with unusual detail, in part because this

asset was the American government`s best insight into the thinking of and

orders from Mr. Putin.


I`m joined now by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a member

of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  What do you make of all this,



SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT):  Well, I think you are exposing a conflict that

is inherent in intelligence gathering.  The most important intelligence

often ultimately does need to be made public in a way that allows for

public policymakers to be able to make decisions.


And so, in this case, it may be that this intelligence about the ways in

which Russia affected the 2016 election was so important that it ultimately

did have to be disclosed in order to move the public and to move

policymakers to action.  That is something that happens often and often

leads to intelligence sources having to be withdrawn or channels shut down.


But I also think it stands to reason that the President`s loose lips about

intelligence likely chills our ability to gather this intel abroad as well. 

And what the president has a problem with is not human intelligence, it`s

just any intelligence that contradicts what he wants to believe.


And so it especially puts in jeopardy those that are collecting

intelligence abroad that ultimately is going to be at odds with Trump`s

worldview whether it be in Russia or North Korea.  So I think it`s likely

that both of these scenarios that have been played out as to why the asset

was withdrawn could be true.


HAYES:  I don`t normally think of the president as a kind of virtue

ethicist who has like kind of bright lines and moral do`s and dont`s, but

this reporting that he has privately said that foreign spies can damage

relations with their host countries and undermined his personal

relationships with their leaders, the president believes we shouldn`t be

doing that to each other.  We shouldn`t be spying on each other which I

just – he seems like a person who`s not you know, too fastidious about

moral transgression.  I was surprised by that view.


MURPHY:  Well, I think that`s simply because some of the most important

human intelligence that has been handed to him contradicts the way in which

he wants to see the world, right?  He was being given intelligence reports,

we now know, giving him definitive proof that Putin may have been directly

overseeing the interference in the 2016 election which led to Donald

Trump`s election.


He was given plenty of intelligence to tell him the Kim Jong-un was indeed

a really horrible person not worthy of a face to face tete-a-tete with the

president but that`s not what he wanted to hear.  And so I think it stands

the reason that he ultimately doubts human intelligence because a lot of

human intelligence he`s been getting tell some things that aren`t

interesting to him.


HAYES:  Right.  You tweeted this morning in the wake of the Bolton`s

ignominious and very publicly humiliating departure.  “I`m legitimately

shaken by the grave instability of American foreign policy today.  I`m no

Bolton fan but the world is coming apart and the revolving door of U.S.

leadership is disappearing America from the world just the moment where a

stable American hand is most needed.”  Counterpoint, also John Bolton is



MURPHY:  Right.  And so you know, I think you know, my statement maybe lack

some subtlety that is necessary in these moments.  So obviously, John

Bolton`s departure and how we evaluate it is dependent on who replaces him. 

So we can assume that there`s no one worse than John Bolton but in fact,

there may be –


HAYES:  No that`s – I agree.  That`s a dangerous assumption.


MURPHY:  It`s a dangerous assumption to make.  Second, it can also be true

that Trump is picking really bad people for these jobs but it is also

dangerous to cycle through bad people so quickly that it makes it really

hard for us to be credible in the world on the things that are not that

controversial.  And there are plenty of things that we actually don`t fight

about that the National Security Advisor in the Secretary of State and the

Department of Defense represent the world, represent America abroad on.


You can`t be credible on any of those issues if you`re just pushing people

through these posts so quickly.  And so I`m simply raising the point that

we should be upset that John Bolton was ever in that position, but we

should also be upset that the president is moving people through these jobs

so quickly because that damages our credibility on all sorts of stuff that

the Democrats and Republicans actually agree on.


HAYES:  Senator Chris Murphy, thank you as always for being with me



MURPHY:  Thanks.


HAYES:  The former Director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub

on the Trump swap and why he says the president is putting his own

interests ahead of the nation`s.  Walter Shaub joins me next.




HAYES:  It is election night in North Carolina with a marquee race in the

Ninth District.  And for the latest on the results, we go back to the big

board with Steve Kornacki.  Steve, what have you got?


KORNACKI:  All right, Chris, so we told you again they do this basically in

two parts here.  It says 26 percent of the vote is in.  Don`t be fooled,

actually a lot more of the vote is in.  What this means is all of the early

vote, and the early vote give or take, is going to be half of all the vote

that`s cast, that is in; and then on top of that basically one quarter of

the election day vote, that`s folks who went out to the polls today and



So, basically that means we expect more than 60 percent of the vote is in

right now in this

district.  So, we told you the early vote always favors the Democrats. 

McCready, we can tell you, he

performed 2.7 points higher, better than in the early vote now  than he did

last fall.  so, that was the early up shot for Dan McCready, he improved

off of his baseline last November.  That was very good news for him.


The question now for McCready, the question now for Bishop, the question

now for anybody interested in this is, is there going to be a same-day vote

surge for Dan Bishop?  You can see, if you remember earlier, McCready`s

lead was nine points.  It`s now down to six.  I would expect that to

continue to shrink.


We can show you basically what we`re looking at now.  County by county it

looks like this, the action  starts in Mecklenburg.  This is the  south

Charlotte suburbs.  Basically, you`ve got more than a quarter of the same-

day vote in here.  When all the votes were counted in Mecklenburg in 2018,

Dan McCready had 54 percent of the vote in Mecklenburg.  So, expect this

number to come down.  same-day votes probably a little more Bishop



But if this number ends up, when you get up to 100 percent here, if

McCready is at or above 54 percent, he`s hit his benchmark in Mecklenburg

County.  Keep that one in mind.


This is the other giant in the district, Union County,  sort of exurb and

other side of interstate 45, about a third of the election day vote is in

right now, this is the big Republican bastion in this district.


You see Dan Bishop running at 57 percent right now.  The benchmark for him

right here in Union County, he`s probably got to get to 60 or above.  So

he`s at 57 now.  You can expect in this big Republican county it`s going to

get better for him as those final votes are counted.  But is it better

enough that he gets to 60 percent?


You keep going, Anson County, McCready running at 63 right now.  He ended

up at 58 here in 2018.  So, again, he wants to be at or above where he was

last November.


You take a look at Richmond County, that is a nail-biter right now.  Where

did McCready end up here in 2018?  50 percent.  So he`s just hovering at

that line right now.


This is the only county we have 100 percent of the vote in, this is not a

big one, Scotland County, McCready at 56 percent.  You take a look, Robison

County here, same-day coming in, McCready at 64 percent here.  Again, 56

percent was his number when all was said and done.


So, again, he just wants to stay above that – excuse me, 48 for McCready

in Bladen, the other Republican part of this district, 41 is the number he

wants to stay above.


And we can finish up in Cumberland, that`s the president last night,

Fayetteville, this is the area he was in.  McCready 56 percent.  And again, 

this was 51 percent was the number he wants to stay above here.  So, you

see, none of the same-day vote was counted here.


 So, we will see, but again, I`m just going to click on this and see if

we`ve got more vote in.  It looks like it`s still stable from where we

began.  It`s basically a game now to see what was the turnout today, the

election day turnout.  It`s got to be  big for Bishop, it`s got to break to

him at least as decisively at it typically does for Republicans, because

he`s got to make up some ground now, because  McCready over-performed in

the early vote, Chris.


HAYES:  It`s striking to me that the one count, if I understand you

correctly – we basically we`ve got all the vote that McCready is running

at 56 percent, which is exactly what he did the last time, which was

essentially a tie.  We can`t say for sure, because of the election fraud

what the actual number should have been, but essentially a tie.


KORNACKI:  This was – so, yeah, last November Mark Harris was the name of

the Republican, 56-42.  This is probably – this is the best individual bit

of data we have up here on this

board right now for Republicans.  Again, Scotland County.  This is about 3

percent of the district.  This is tiny, but that to be basically a point

above Harris` 2018 level, that`s the best piece of news he`s got here.


HAYES:  All right, Steve Korancki, we will check back in.  This is



Meanwhile, growing pressure tonight on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

following a new letter from Chairman Elijah Cummings about the oversight

committee`s investigation into the reported conflicts of interest for the

self-proclaimed billionaire, insisting Ross comply with the committee`s

request for documents.


Ross is also dealing with the inspector general at the Commerce Department

who`s open to probe in an unsigned statement from NOAA and Ross`s role in

Sharpie-gate.  That story broke open yesterday when the New York Times

reported that Ross threatened to fire top employees at NOAA, after the

agency`s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump`s claim that

Hurricane Dorian

might hit Alabama.


NOAA reportedly bowed to the pressure releasing an unsigned statement on

Friday back up the

president.  I should tell you Ross denies the The Times story.


Today, the acting NOAA administrator happened to be in Alabama where he

defended that statement in which his organization sided with the president

over its own scientists, but he also expressed support for the, quote, good

intent of the forecasters in the Birmingham office.


And so with this president at the helm, the future of NOAA and Secretary

Ross remain very much in doubt.


Joining me now to talk about that is Walt Schaub, he`s the former director

of the U.S. Office

of Government Ethics, now a senior adviser at the Citizens for

Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.


So, there`s sort of three issues with Ross at least, Walt, as far as I can

tell.  There`s the fact that he appears to have lied before congress on the

census question.  There`s what has happened with

NOAA.  And then the conflict of interest issues that Elijah Cummings is



Maybe we should start with those.  How serious do you view those conflicts?



know, I think this is really serious because even though we`re just talking

about one press release and an embarrassing episode involving the president

making a mistake and refusing to admit it, what

we`re really talking about is NOAA changing data in order to please the

president, and that undermines the credibility of the data NOAA puts out.


Now, N OAA is in the Department of Commerce for a reason, it produces data

that businesses and investors rely on, not just at NOAA but at other

agencies.  And, you know, with this evidence that Wilbur Ross may have

threatened these people with firing for having told the truth, and having


to the congress about who initiated the question on the demographics, you

know, of citizenship for the census, that really calls into question what

else he may be tampering with that we don`t even know about.


HAYES:  The recourse here is there`s not many recourses.  I mean, obviously

they can try to bring them before the committee.  You can impeach a cabinet

secretary if you so choose.  The IG has a report.  How do you see the sort

of binding restraints on Ross here?


SCHAUB:  You know, unfortunately what we`ve learned over the past is the

systems we had in place to protect against abuses are a lot more fragile

than we ever thought.  I don`t have a lot of hope that there is much that

can be done except hopefully shine some light on what`s really going on

here.  And we`ve seen in the past that can create enough pressure that

somebody`s out, but it can also serve to deter this kind of misconduct.


People do seem to be responsive to public pressure in the administration on

some issues, and so it`s always worth pushing on this.


HAYES:  I want to play for you, as someone who has been thinking about both

in and out of

government the conflicts of interests and the threats they pose, a defense

that Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who`s of course the Republican leader in

the House gave, of public dollars being spent on the president`s hotels,

something that we now know has been document – obviously Vice President

Mike Pence in Doonbeg, Air Force crewmen staying at his property in

Scotland.  And this was the congressman`s defense of it.  Take a listen.




REP.  KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) CALIFORNIA:  The president`s resorts or hotels

that he owns, people are traveling, it`s just like any other hotel.  I know

people who look at it.  I don`t know if that that`s different than anything

else.  Is it different that if I go and stay or eat at a Marriott here or

eat at the Trump? 


The president isn`t asking me to.  It`s – he`s competing in a private

enterprise.  It`s nothing, something that controls in that process.  So, if

it`s in the process, they can stay there.




HAYES:  What do you think of that?


SCHAUB:  You know, he`s a smart guy.  This is just as disingenuous as you

could hope to see a member of congress being – members of his own caucus

are throwing events, fund raising events, and other events, at Trump

properties.  And they`re showing up there at other peoples events.


This is not just a coincidence that somebody winds up at the Trump resort. 

For one thing he gave the example of the Marriott versus the Trump resort

well, there`s a huge cost difference there.  And if you`re winding up at

the Trump resort, it`s for a reason, and that reason in many cases seems to

be that the president is behinds it.


And we have a president who hasn`t done anything to deter people from doing

that.  In fact, quite the opposite, he`s encouraged it.  When this news

about air force personnel staying at his resort

in Turnberry came out, he tweeted that they showed good taste in doing it. 

Well, I don`t know about their taste, but what they showed is poor

judgment, because the American people don`t have any basis to have

confidence that it wasn`t chosen to enrich the president.


HAYES:  All right, Walter Schaub, great to have you back.  Thank you for

joining us.


Next, more confusion tonight on how hurricane survivors are meant to reach

safety in

America.  The latest reporting in the Bahamas after this.




HAYES:  The official death toll in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian is

now up to 50 people, but that number is expected to jump quite a bit.  One

reporter tweeted out a quote from from an Abacos

resident saying, quote, “I saw 80 bodies.  There are at least 1,000 people

dead on my island.”


There are reports that there are still hundreds perhaps even thousands of

people that are still missing.  According to the United Nations, 70,000

people, 70,000, are homeless in the Bahamas.


These are our neighbors and our allies as Americans, and they are going

through an unfolding humanitarian crisis.  And just this week, we all saw

what happened when desperate people fleeing the destruction and devastation

in the Bahamas were ordered off a ferry going from Freeport to Fort

Lauderdale in Florida.


There`s a lot of confusion.  The ferry company blamed Customs and Border

Protection who then blamed the ferry company.  And then Donald trump

weighed in casting aspersions basely on the survivors of this natural

disaster saying, quote, “some very  bad people and very bad gang members

and some very, very bad drug dealers had gone to the Bahamas and that now

the U.S. need to keep those people out who are trying to come in.”  Now it

appears that Customs and Border Protection is, in fact, closing the door on

these folks, stipulating restrictions and doubling down on requirements.


Here with me now, New York Times correspondent Francis Robles who has been

reporting on the crisis in the Bahamas.


There was a lot of confusion about what you need as someone on the Bahamas

to get to the

U.S. now.  Has that confusion been cleared up?


FRANCIS ROBLES, NEW YORK TIMES:  It has been cleared up.  I mean, even

Customs and Border Protection didn`t seem to know yesterday what the

requirements were.  It depended what time of day you asked them and who you

asked.  And so the final answer is the policy is that you cannot get on a

ferry with only a passport and a good conduct certificate, you need a visa.


And so there was a feeling on Sunday night, you know, well, there was a

category 5 hurricane, look at all these homeless people, let`s let them go. 

And then that`s the rule that they decided not to be flexible on.


HAYES:  So, just to knee clear that means people that are not in – as I

understand it, are in the capital to get that visa have to travel in a U.S.

embassy – like in the midst of this wreckage and perhaps homeless without

their papers, have to go about finding some way to get a visa, is that



ROBLES:  Not just a visa, actually there`s an easier step.  They can get a

good conduct

certificate.  You can travel that way, but you would have to be traveling

from Nassau or on a

plane.  And so if you were trying to get on a boat without a travel visa

that`s a problem.


So what we know is that 1,500 Bahamians requested the good conduct

certificate from the police department yesterday, Chris, in one single day. 

And we also know that about 4,000 people who came to the United States from

the Bahamas in the last week.  So, we`re definitely going to be expecting

far more people in the days to come.


HAYES:  You have also been covering for a while the aftermath of the

Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the aftermath of what happened there.  And

there was some really startling news today, and I was sort of surprised it

did not blow up more, that a former FEMA official is accused of taking

bribes in the recovery of Hurricane Maria and was indicted today.  Can you

tell us more what happened there?


ROBLES:  That`s absolutely right.  The senior official in charge of the

electrical restoration in Puerto Rico it seems that she was in a romantic

relationship with a the top contractor, a contractor that  got about $2

billion, billion with a “b,” dollars in contracts to restore the energy in

Puerto Rico.  And so I do think that there`s going to be a little bit of a

fuzzy line between accepting a bribe and having a romance with, you know, a

top contractor.


She`s not being accused of taking money in paper bags, but, you know, hotel

trips, airline flights, helicopter rides, and then turning around and going

into meetings in FEMA and looking like she was an advocate for this

company.  I mean, there is e-mails and text messages where she looks like

she`s their representative in these meetings, and that is going to be a big

problem for her.


HAYES:  OK, I just want to make sure I`m tracking this story.  This is FEMA

official who worked for the United States federal government, who is tasked

with overseeing the restoration of the grid which of course is the single

biggest issue on Puerto Rico and notoriously unreliable, problems with

PREPA who runs it, and she was romantically involve with the person that

ran the company that

got a $2 billion contract from the federal government to restore the grid?


ROBLES:  I don`t think they were in a romantic relationship when they got

the contract, I think the relationship developed in that year that

everybody spent on the grounds trying to get the power back up.  And so

they`re very adamant about that.  It`s like wait a second, he hadn`t even

met her when this thing started.


But then you see evidence of her in meetings saying, well, you know, I

think these guys should  be the ones to take care of that explosion and

that damaged equipment.  Oh, I think these guys should  get this much for

this project.


HAYES:  Unreal.


ROBLES:  And, so it`s a big problem.  She`s facing 10 federal charges.


HAYES:  All right, Francis Robles, thank you so much for your reporting on

both of these issues.


When we return, Steve Kornacki is back with the latest on that North

Carolina special election, a nail-biter.  Don`t go anywhere.




HAYES:  We`re watching that congressional election in North Carolina as

results come in

tonight.  North Carolina is, in many ways, the most egregious example of

the Republican Party`s escalating attempts to lock in their political power

even if they do not win a majority of votes.


Republicans in North Carolina gerrymandered the state so ruthlessly after

2010, the state`s congressional seats went from, quote, a 7-6 democratic

edge into a 10-3 Republican fortress.


North Carolina has had their gerrymandered maps thrown out by numerous

courts both on racial  and partisan grounds.  They also introduced one of

the strictest voter ID laws in the nation. 


And the argument of Democrats and progressives and voting rights activists

has always been that all this was a purely cynical and mercenary attempt to

use the levers of power of government to

disenfranchise young voters, people of color and other Democratic



But now we have the smoking gun showing that that is true.  And it comes

from the mastermind

behind this whole thing, Thomas Hofeller, a Republican political consultant

who passed away last

year.  Following his death, his daughter turned over his hard drives that

contained, quote, “at least

70,000 files and several years of emails showing exactly what Mr. Hofeller

was up to.”


Here`s just one example, the biggest historically black college in the

country, North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina,

in the maps that he helped draw, according to The New Yorker, that college

is conveniently sliced right in half, which means half of those black

voters to go one congressional district, represented by Republican and half

of those voters go to

another congressional district, represented by Republican.


How did that line get there?  Well, here it is, a file called “Greensboro

master race,” a color-coded map showing the black voting population by

district.  He even had it down to dorm-by-dorm addresses on campus so they

could draw the line through the campus, which to be clear is meant to

dilute the black vote by spreading it between those two Republican

congressional districts.


Hofeller was also instrumental in voter ID laws.  And he was one of the

people behind the idea of using a citizenship question on the census. 


If you want to look the architect of a vision of a Republican Party that

has lost majority support, but continues to rule from the minority, it is

this guy.  And it is all there in black and white.


As for the North Carolina district that was, well, almost fraudulently

taken by Republicans last time around, those are also getting a lot more

interesting as the night goes on, back with us MSNBC national political

correspondent Steve Korancki for the latest out of North Carolina Nine.


KORNACKI:  Chris, this one has gotten considerably tighter.  Remember, we

talked about Dan

McCready overperforming in the early vote.  We said the question then

became can Dan Bishop, the Republican, do the same in the same-day vote –

that is not what I was supposed to press there – we are getting an answer

to that question in the most Republican part of this district, this is one-

third of the

district in terms of the population.  The answer is an emphatic yes.


Right now, half of the same-day vote is in in Union County.  This is sort

of Charlotte exurbs

here.  Again, we said about 59-60 was the benchmark for Bishop to hit here. 

He`s absolutely cleaning up on election day with more vote to come.


So you can expect two things to happen as the final vote comes in in Union

County.  Number one, I think this number is probably going to go up, so

he`ll probably exceed the 2018 level for Republicans in this district. 

Also, just given the size of this place, he`s going to build more of a

plurality in Union County.


What that means, is that this margin right here district-wide that McCready

enjoys right now, 2,708 votes, that`s the McCready margin.  When you add in

Union County and where that`s going, that`s probably going to erase it. 

That probably will be enough to put Bishop into the lead.


So what will be left after that?  You go to the eastern part of this

district.  There`s still vote coming in in most of these counties – pardon

me.  Basically what you can expect here if you use 2018 as a benchmark for

this thing, how the election day vote broke in 2018 in the eastern part of

it, I don`t see a clear advantage that`s likely to emerge from either



And remember the eastern part of this district less populated than those

two counties you have right there right outside of Charlotte.


So what that really means, then, if you get out of Union County, if this is

a wash here, that

leaves one piece of real estate left on the map, it`s the small smallest

but also the largest in terms of population.  And there it is, Mecklenburg

County, and now, this is new, since I clicked it on the last time, we`ve

got more than a quarter of the election-day vote in in Mecklenburg County. 

South Charlotte suburbs, a third of the district`s population here.


Again, McCready over-performed in the early vote.  The question is, can he

keep that up in the same-day vote?  Given what`s happening in Union County,

he has to.  In the same-day vote in 2018, McCready lost by .3 of a point. 

I think he needs to win it tonight.  Right now with a quarter of the

vote, a little bit more than a quarter of the same-day vote counted in

Mecklenburg, he`s still at 60 percent.


He was at 60 percent when they went to count it.  What`s the number

basically to look at here?  As this vote comes in, as this 28 gets bigger,

how far does that 60 percent tick down?  He got 54 percent here on election

day 2018.  If he is above 54 percent when we count all the vote here, that

might be enough to wipe out the gains that Bishop is getting out of Union

County.  If he`s not, Bishop might get this thing.


HAYES:  OK.  So, what I am hearing from you if I can synthesize this is

that this looks like shockingly similar to everyone hitting the benchmarks

that were hit in 2018 that made this thing basically a dead heat.


KORNACKI:  Yes, but the question now I think becomes, can McCready over-

perform the benchmark on the same-day in Mecklenburg?


It`s the national story we`re talking about, Chris, because what is

Mecklenburg?  As we say, it`s the suburbs, highly educated, higher income. 

This is a place, this slice of the district, Trump won in 2016.  He won the

Mecklenburg portion of the district by three points.  McCready won it by 10

points, so it`s that story we talked about…


HAYES:  Wow.


KORNACKI:  …nationally.  That`s higher educated suburban areas that went

from Trump to the

Democratic side.  And, again, the national question here besides who wins

this is that trend, is it alive

and well in September 2019?  Is it getting stronger in 2019 than we saw in

2018?  McCready needs it to be at least as strong, and probably a bit

stronger, but with 28 percent in, he`s holding at 60 percent.


HAYES:  That`s fascinating.


KORNACKI:  He finished at 54 percent.  He`s holding at 60 percent right



HAYES:  It`s amazing how much the sort of topography here has changed when

you think that

Trump was carrying that just three years ago.  And you see this all

throughout the country in all kinds of suburban counties and districts.


Steve Kornacki, thank you so much for your time.  We`re going to keep

monitoring throughout the night. 


That is ALL IN for this evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right

now.  Good evening, Rachel.







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