Former Vice President Al Gore on impeachment. TRANSCRIPT: 9/17/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests:
Gary Peter, Jake Sullivan, Sheila Jackson Lee, Nate Silver
Transcript:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Here`s to Cokie Roberts, a true believer in

God and country, thank you, who told us, by the way, what her life

beginning as a young girl had taught her about what good politics can be.

 

And that`s HARDBALL for now.  “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight on ALL IN.

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  No, Saudi Arabia pays cash.

 

HAYES:  As the president weighs starting a war on behalf of a Saudi prince. 

Bombshell new reporting from Politico on big Saudi spending at Trump

resorts.

 

TRUMP:  They spend $40 million, $50 million.  Am I supposed to dislike

them?  I like them very much.

 

HAYES:  Then –

 

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI):  This witness continues to obstruct the work

of this committee.  I ask that you would judge him in contempt in these

proceedings.

 

HAYES:  What we learned from Corey Lewandowski when he wasn`t performing

for the president.

 

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY):  Did you lied to Bob Mueller or are you lying

to us?

 

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN:  I didn`t lie.

 

HAYES:  Plus, Al Gore on why he supports impeachment.

 

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The only remedy for

these serious crimes that have been alleged is the impeachment process.

 

HAYES:  FiveThirtyEight`s Nate Silver on just what is happening with

Elizabeth Warren.

 

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA):  Hello New York.

 

HAYES:  ALL IN starts right now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Good evening from Nashville, Tennessee, I`m Chris Hayes.  The

President of the United States operates a byzantine set of nested

businesses whose finances are totally opaque.  Each of which presents a

conflict of interest at best and at worst presents standing opportunities

for bribes.

 

This is a problem that hangs over everything the president does up to and

including the single most important decision a president can make whether

to engage the country in war.  With the president vowing that he is locked

and loaded to go to war on behalf of the Saudi Kingdom, a bombshell report

today now represents the third time that we know of solely through

reporting that Saudis have dumped enormous amounts of money into Trump`s

properties.

 

Thanks to the Washington Post`s David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O`Connell,

we know the Saudis spent a significant sum of the Trump International Hotel

in Manhattan in March of 2018 even though the royal family didn`t actually

stay there.

 

“The Trump Hotel didn`t have suites big enough to accommodate them.  No,

they stayed on the other side of the Central Park at the Plaza Hotel.  But

that`s Saudi contribution, the number of rooms they booked for the duration

mattered so much that the hotel`s general manager told investors that after

two years of decline, revenue from room rentals increased 13 percent in the

first three months of 2018 thanks to “a last-minute visit to New York by

the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.”

 

Would you look at that?  Thanks to another scoop by Fahrenthold and

O`Connell, we also learned that a Saudi funded lobbyist paid for an

estimated 500 rooms at Trump`s D.C. hotel in the months following his

election.  They described an elaborate and bizarre effort to stop Congress

from passing a bill that would hold Saudi Arabia legally responsible for

9/11.

 

Now, the latest on Trump`s Turnberry Golf Resort in Scotland, Politico

first broke the story about taxpayer money flowing into that resort about

ten days ago.  Now, today, we get this.  ”Earlier this summer, according to

a staffer, a group of Saudi royals stayed at the resort for about a week at

the tail end of extended travel bringing a party of 25 people and more than

100 luggage.”

 

Did you hear that?  To repeat, a group of Saudi royals brought 25 people to

Trump`s Scottish Golf Resort for a week.  And that is just what we know

through reporting.  We also know that Turnberry was a place that previously

reported that the resort lost money in 2017 but revenue went up $3 million

last year according to Politico.  So how did that happen?

 

And that is only part of the corruption.  We already know enormous amounts

of money are put in the President`s pocket but going down to Mar-a-Lago

with his entire security revenue.  We also know that Mike Pence made this

improbable journey to Trump`s Doonbeg resort in Ireland which is three

hours from Dublin where he had his meetings.

 

And Politico`s Natasha Bertrand previously reported that an Air National

Guard crew stayed at Turnberry on both legs of a trip from the U.S. to

Kuwait at taxpayer expense.  Now, today`s Politico report says “a five-day

visit to Turnberry in the surrounding region reveal the regular visits from

Air Force crews on layovers from Prestwich Airport have become a major

facet of the life of the resort.”

 

It also revealed that rather than being restricted to single night

refueling stops, some visits last multiple nights expanding the known

dimensions of the relationship between the President`s luxury resort and

the U.S. military.

 

Every cent of public money the military spends at Trump`s properties is a

cent of public dollars that is being put into the president`s pocket.  We

still have almost no idea the extent to which money from American taxpayers

and money from foreign governments with agendas is going directly into the

President`s bank account.

 

Joining now one if the reporters who broke the Trump Turnberry story, the

aforementioned Natasha Bertrand, Politico National Security Correspondent

and an MSNBC Contributor.  Natasha, you`ve been on this from the beginning

of the first scoop on it.  Walk me through the trajectory.  What did we

first learn and what have we learned since?

 

NATASHA BERTRAND, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes.  Well, we first heard word that

the Air Force had lodged at least one crew in March of this year.  And we

thought, OK, that`s a little bit weird.  We went to the air force and we

continued to report out that story after we got confirmation that in fact

this Air Force crew en route to Kuwait had stayed at Turnberry on both legs

of their trip.

 

Now, since then, we have learned that this is obviously a recurring

experience for the Air Force they are continuing to spend money at Trump`s

resort when they do layovers at the small airport called Prestwick Airport

just outside of Turnberry while they`re doing refueling, etcetera.

 

So this has happened about 40 times now.  And what we learned from our

colleague Ben Schreckinger going over to Turnberry to report on the ground

on this is that 40 stay figure might be a little bit misleading because

they`re not just staying for one night at a time.

 

A lot of them are actually staying for multiple nights while their planes

get serviced which of course is even more difficult at Prestwick Airport

because it`s not a U.S. military base.  So you`re having to bring in

technicians to deal with these planes. 

Meanwhile, you have the Air Force crews lodging at Turnberry for multiple

nights and playing golf there, buying food there, you know, going to the

bar.  So all of that money, you know, particularly because the president

never fully divested from his businesses, and I think that that`s a really

important point we have to remember, could be flowing back into the

president`s pocket.

 

And it certainly helping keep the resort afloat because the U.S. Air Force

actually acknowledged to us that they wouldn`t be surprised at all and it

would make complete sense if they were Trump Turnberry`s largest customer

at this point.

 

HAYES:  They said that?

 

BERTRAND:  Yes.  On background, they acknowledged to us that it wouldn`t be

surprising to them that they don`t have the exact figures but that it would

not be – it would be logical for people to assume that they are the

largest single customer for the resort.

 

HAYES:  And this is a resort, we should be clear, that has had some

trouble.  I mean, it was – it was a money-losing property, and that money-

losing has turned around.

 

BERTRAND:  Correct.  And you know, we don`t know if that`s solely because

of the U.S. military spending money there because, of course, once the

president became the president, more people, of course, would flock to his

resorts especially foreign money as we saw with our reporting this morning.

 

Foreign money is flowing into his properties.  And Saudi lobbyists and the

Saudis themselves have spent thousands of dollars since he was elected.  So

we whether or not it`s actually just the U.S. military, we don`t know and

it`s probably pretty unlikely.  But the fact that they are perhaps the

single biggest customer as they told us recently is pretty jarring.

 

HAYES:  You also – your colleague also in going there reported about this

trip by Saudis which to me is quite significant because again, we have no

way of peering into this.  We have no way of looking at the records, we

don`t know which foreign governments are spending what amounts of money,

and what for Trump properties in general.

 

We just see little snippets from reporting.  We had two previous stories of

huge Saudi expenditures of Trump hotels, and now it appears we have a third

at Turnberry as well.

 

BERTRAND:  Right.  That`s exactly right.  These things just keep trickling

out and we had no idea, for example, that this massive group of Saudis had

stayed there.  I mean, we had no idea that the U.S. Air Force had been

doing this for the last three years, right.

 

So I mean, the more that people I think realized that this is not normal,

that we never had this issue before because the president didn`t divest

from his businesses and now owns the properties that so many of these

entities are patronizing is leading reporters to new leads and new tips

about these things.

 

And you know, if we`re thinking about the impact that the Saudis have had

perhaps on U.S. foreign policy as a result of their going to Trump`s

properties and hotels and resorts, etcetera, I mean, we just have to go

back to the very beginning when you know, Saudi Arabia was the first

country, foreign country that Trump visited what he became president.  And

of course, now we`re seeing with his defense of Saudi Arabia and the Iran

conflict.

 

HAYES:  Yes.  And I would just also note that if hypothetically you were

attempting to use your patronage of a business as a way of curing favor and

sending a kind of bribe, you would have to make it large enough that would

work its way up the chain of a hotel night here or there.

 

25 people for a week, that`s the kind of thing that might work its way up

the chain that people would hear about that.

 

BERTRAND:  And this is also – you know, Trump often tweets well, I don`t

need the money from a single stay at a hotel or you know, I`m way beyond

that.  Well, obviously, this is not that.  This is a recurring – this is a

recurring thing.  It`s a pattern.  And foreign entities have obviously

figured out that it`s a way forward to get themselves on the president`s

radar.

 

It`s not just the Saudis, it`s the Qataris, and of course, now we`re

learning that it could be a violation, it could be violating the domestic

emoluments clause with federal money that is not the President`s salary

flowing into his businesses.

 

HAYES:  All right, Natasha Bertrand, great reporting on this.  Keep at it. 

Thank you very much.

 

BERTRAND:  Thanks, Chris.

 

HAYES:  Joining me now Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan.  He`s

the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, also a member

of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Just yesterday, he introduced a

bill to stop the federal government for spending any taxpayer dollars at

properties owned by the president.

 

Tell me about that piece of legislation.

 

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI):  Well, Chris, it`s the hotel act which really

would bar federal money from going to hotels that are owned by high-ranking

government officials including the president, the vice president, or

cabinet secretaries.

 

Certainly, my job as the ranking member of Homeland Security and Government

Affairs, we`re the top oversight committee for the United States Senate. 

My job is to make sure taxpayer money is being spent the way it`s intended

and not currying favor or used basically to align the pockets of a

president or another high-ranking official.

 

35 of my colleagues have joined with me on this legislation.  We`re hoping

to move.  We`re hoping to talk with some of my colleagues on the House as

well.  But clearly, the conflicts of interest, the misuse of taxpayer

money, all of those issues are very serious issues and ones that we need to

deal with.

 

HAYES:  When you say 35 colleagues, I`m imagining that`s 35 Democrats.

 

PETERS:  That`s correct.

 

HAYES:  It seems to be prima facie obvious that it just should not be the

case that any public money is being spent in the private businesses of the

President of the United States over and above whatever the security retinue

brings down to Mar-a-Lago which itself is problematic.  Like do you think

this is the kind of legislation the House would take up and pass?

 

PETERS:  I certainly hope so.  This is a very straightforward.  As you

mentioned, this should not be going on.  The legislation does create some

exceptions as you mentioned for security staff of the president at of Mar-

a-Lago and he has Secret Service.  They certainly need to be close to him

so we`ll deal of that.

 

But you certainly don`t need to have what we are apparently seeing in

Scotland where you have Air Force crews staying at the hotel, not likely

the lowest-cost hotel in the area and staying there for multiple days. 

That`s why I`ve requested the I.G. from the Department of Defense to do a

detailed study of what exactly is happening so we can get a bit of handle

at this.  We need to get the facts.

 

HAYES:  Have you gotten a response from the DOD I.G. on that?

 

PETERS:  I haven`t talked to him directly.  I did talk to the Air Force

I.G. who has also started an investigation.  I had a long talk with him

last week.  He seems to have a pretty comprehensive study in the works. 

But I`m going to be working closely with him and hopefully, we`ll have

those results fairly quickly.

 

HAYES:  You`re on the Senate Oversight Committee for – you`re on Senate

Armed Services.  Did you know this was happening?  Was it – do people on

Capitol Hill know that it just was the case that the Air Force was you

know, when they were stopping at Prestwick which you should note predates

this president, that was a deal that was signed to use that at airport,

they were sending Air Force crews to the president`s own hotel property?

 

PETERS:  No, I don`t.  I certainly had no knowledge.  I don`t know of any

of my colleagues that knew that.  You know, the hotel is further away from

the airport as well.  It`s a – it`s a very fancy Golf Resort.  You know, I

served in the Navy Reserve.  I spent time part of my training in places

overseas.  The military put me up in hotels.  But I guarantee you, they

were not golf resorts that I stayed in.

 

HAYES:  Do you think that we should have some comprehensive accounting of

it all at some point?  I mean, I suppose the President`s tax returns.  But

it just seems to me not a crazy ask as a matter of congressional oversight

transparency and democracy just to have an actual sum total of how much

this is happening, which foreign governments are spending money in the

president`s hotels, and how many public federal employees are.

 

PETERS:  Think so.  And that`s – we`ll see what happens with the I.G.

report related to what`s happening at Prestwick and at Turnberry, but

certainly, we need to be looking at other areas where federal agencies or

folks in the federal government may feel they need to do this in order to

curry favor of the president.

 

It clearly is the appearance of conflict of interest, if not an outright

conflict of interest.  And I know the taxpayers in Michigan want to make

sure that that money is being spent in ways that further proper purposes

and lighting the pockets of the president is not a government purpose that

taxpayers want to fund.

 

HAYES:  Final question.  As the President has talked about being locked and

loaded in waiting for essentially instructions from the Crown Prince about

whether or not to strike in the wake of those strikes and the Saudi oil

facilities, I believe two of your colleagues have already made the case

Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, if I`m not mistaken, that the president

already has the authorization he needs to strike Iran.  Do you agree with

that?

 

PETERS:  No, I don`t – I don`t agree with that at all.  I don`t know where

they`re getting that.  I`d certainly like to see that argument because we

don`t believe that the president has authority to protect Saudi oil which

is what he`s saying, depending what the Saudi government would like him to

do.

 

Apparently, he said he they protect Saudi oil.  I don`t believe he has that

authorization.  And if he does, we`re going to fight back very aggressively

to make sure that that doesn`t happen.

 

HAYES:  All right, Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, thank you so much.

 

PETERS:  Thank you.

 

HAYES:  Next, the campaign within the White House to launch a military

strike against Iran.  Why the Secretary of State is going to Saudi Arabia

to talk strategy in two minutes.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Even in the wake of John Bolton`s humiliating and ignominious

departure, there are clearly forces inside the White House perhaps even the

President himself that are champing in the bid for a military strike

against Iran.

 

Almost immediately after attacks on two major Saudi Arabian oil facilities

on Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for what he called

“an unprecedented attack on the world`s energy supply.”  And last night,

The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Intelligence claims the attacks

were launched from inside Iran.

 

But here`s the thing, even the Saudis aren`t saying that right now.  In

fact, they have “lagged American officials in their willingness to openly

blame Iran for carrying out the attack.”  Meanwhile, the Houthi rebels in

Yemen who were found fighting the Saudis in Yemen in a brutal war have

claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

And if you want a real sense the White House perspective right now, look no

further than Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran.  Hook

was on a phone call with Congressional staffers yesterday talking about the

attack on South Saudi oil fields.

 

When asked about the impact of the strikes on the kingdom, Hook responded

that the Saudis consider it to be their 9/11 according to two people

familiar with the call.  For the record, no one died in the attacks on the

oil facilities, nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11.  Also, 15 of the 19

hijackers themselves were from Saudi Arabia.

 

To talk more about what exactly is happening here, I`m joined by Jake

Sullivan former National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, also

worked in the negotiations with Iran on the Iran deal.

 

Jake, here`s my first question.  What do you make of what is a fascinating

distance to me between the way the Trump administration and forces inside

the administration who we`re leaking at reporters are saying with certainty

it came from Iran and the Saudis themselves not being willing to go that

far?

 

JAKE SULLIVAN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO VICE PRESIDENT JOE

BIDEN:  Well, there`s a real irony here.  The Saudi government which is led

by the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has engaged in all kinds of

dangerous and risk-taking behavior across the region, and yet they are

pressing the pause button here.

 

They want to be sure about what exactly happened while certain voices

inside the Trump administration are trying to drive this whole conversation

towards the potential for American military action.

 

So we`re in this funny circumstance where actually Saudi Arabia is the

voice of caution while voices inside the Trump administration are whipping

up the case for potential war.  And I think this is going to create a real

challenge in the days ahead as the United States and its putative ally in

the region try to get on the same page.

 

HAYES:  I mean, I have to say, if you`re a foreign government, a foreign

diplomat, a foreign state making calculations right now, like you watch

Donald Trump lie all the time.  It`s just a fact he lies all the time.  Why

would anyone believe any presentation of American intelligence on something

as high-stakes as this by this president?

 

SULLIVAN:  I mean, this is what the cumulative effect of not just the

President`s lies but the effort by significant members of the national

security establishment in the Trump administration including Secretary of

State Pompeo have done in hyping intelligence as it relates to Iran in

trying to sell a narrative with respect to Iran that just hasn`t been borne

out by the facts.

 

And so when they go around the world now and try and look people in the eye

and say we know what happened, they`re going to be met with skepticism. 

They`re going to be met with resistance.  And when American credibility

can`t be counted on, can`t be trusted in a circumstance like this, then

we`re more likely to be isolated and less likely to be able to rally a

unified international response.

 

HAYES:  The Saudis obviously have been buying American weaponry for years. 

There were sales when you were working for Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton to the Saudis of American arms and they were – they were a big

deal.

 

The President sort of said the quiet part loud in talking about the Saudis

the other day.  It`s a really amazing quote.  I just want to play it again

and get your reaction to it when he describes them as paying cash.  Take a

listen.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  Saudi Arabia pays cash.  They`ve helped us out from the standpoint

of jobs and all of the other things, and they`ve actually helped us.  I

would call and I would say, listen, to our oil prices, our gasoline is too

high, you got to let more go.  You know that.

 

I would call the Crown Prince and I`d say you got to help us out.  You got

to get some more and all of a sudden the oil starts flowing and the

gasoline prices are down. No other president can do that.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  What do you make of that?

 

SULLIVAN:  Well, this is classic Trump.  He basically views our

relationships with countries around the world is a mafia-style pay-for-play

protection racket.  If you pay up and especially if you pay in cash

apparently –

 

HAYES:  He has no credit.

 

SULLIVAN:  – then the United States is prepared to defer to you in terms

of whether or not they want us to use military force.  From my perspective,

the President should be looking to the Congress of the United States not

the crown prince of Saudi Arabia for guidance and authorization as to

whether to use military force here.

 

But it`s clear that he`s decided at least to a certain extent to outsource

his decisions on matter of war and peace to Riyadh and not to a co-equal

branch of U.S. government.

 

HAYES:  I asked this question to Senator Gary Peters about a Congressional

authorization.  Obviously, that`s something that you thought about it

worked on where you were in the administration also working for Secretary

of State Clinton.

 

What is your view about whether there – it would be legal for the

President to order a strike over Iran?

 

SULLIVAN:  It is very clear the president does not have the authority to

take military action against Iran without getting the support of the United

States Congress.  And this important not just as a technical legal matter,

it`s important because of how we got here in the first place.

 

This didn`t drop out of the sky literally as an issue that the Iranians

created out of nowhere.  This is the result of the self-inflicted wound of

Trump administration policy.  The Iranians were abiding by the nuclear deal

and were not attacking Saudi Arabia when the nuclear deal was enforced.  It

was only after the United States in the Trump administration decided to

pull out that we ended up in the circumstance were in.

 

So that doubly requires this president to go to the Congress to get any

kind of authorization if he wants to use military force which I think would

be a misguided decision at this point.

 

HAYES:  Final question.  The Ayatollah, the Supreme Leader – religious

leader in Iran said the Iran will never talk to America ahead of those U.N.

General Assembly meetings.  There had been some back-and-forth about some

sort of diplomatic meeting.  Do you think that`s posturing or do you think

it`s possible to get back to the table?

 

SULLIVAN:  I think it is possible to get back to the table.  The supreme

leader in my experience has repeatedly made rhetorical comments only to

then turn around and authorize his negotiators to go to the table.  But

that requires the United States to actually get serious about nuclear

diplomacy.

 

And instead of that, what we have is an administration that decided to take

a deal that was working, tear it up, walk away, abandon our allies.  And

until the United States recommits in a serious way to a diplomatic effort

to resolve this nuclear issue, I don`t think there will be diplomacy.

 

I think this lies much more at this moment at the feet of policy in

Washington than it does at any decisions that are being taken in the

region.

 

HAYES:  All right Jake Sullivan, as always, great to have you.  Thanks for

making time.

 

SULLIVAN:  Thanks for having me.

 

HAYES:  Next, did we learn anything new from Corey Lewandowski`s

performance from the House Judiciary?  Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee is

here fresh from the hearing, joins me next.  Don`t go anywhere.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Today the House Judiciary Committee has held its first big

impeachment/non-impeachment hearing and two things happened.  One is that a

fairly ludicrous and deeply untrustworthy figure former Trump Campaign

Manager Corey Lewandowski appeared to perform a kind of MAGA karaoke for an

audience of one.

 

Lewandowski`s testimony today included him insulting people and not

answering questions.  There were multiple calls to find him in contempt. 

But also beneath all the performance, Lewandowski essentially confirmed the

facts of the Mueller report.  Basically, any time his appearance and the

Mueller report was read or recited to him, this is what he said.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

LEWANDOWSKI:  I believe the Mueller report accurately depicts that.  I

believe that`s an accurate representation.  I believe that`s an accurate

representation.  I believe it`s accurate.  If it`s in the reporter, I

believe it to be accurate.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  The thrust of the Mueller report with regard to Lewandowski is

summarized in this heading from the report.  The President asked Corey

Lewandowski to deliver a message to Sessions to curtail the Special Counsel

investigation.  And that was a big portion of today`s hearing.

 

Reading from the Mueller report, “Lewandowski recalled the President told

him that if Sessions did not meet with him, Lewandowski should tell

Sessions he was fired.”  When asked about this, he did not contradict it. 

Lewandowski said he thought it was a joke.

 

The second thing and really the bigger problem for Democrats is that

Lewandowski is pretty far down the list of the most important witnesses in

this matter.  And just today, there were two witnesses that House Judiciary

Committee called who were not there because the White House is currently

asserting that they can basically stop anyone they want to from delivering

testimony to a congressional oversight body.

 

Joining me now, fresh from today`s hearing, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson

Lee, Democrat of Texas, a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

 

Congresswoman, what was the goal of today`s hearing?  And did you feel you

accomplished it?

 

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, (D) TEXAS:  We absolutely did.  And the goal, of

course, was to take the American people and to take the record down the

journey of obstruction.  As you well know, Chris, the Third Article of

Impeachment for Richard Nixon was obstructing congress. 

 

Now, that was not necessarily our start.  We thought that Mr. Lewandowski

would come and tell the truth.  He was, in fact, in living color the story

that was told in the Mueller report.  The American people haven`t read the

Mueller report.  They got to see a living character who was actively

engaged – although he was not an employee of the United States government,

he was not an employee of the White House, but he was used by the president

to sidestep the laws of the land.

 

And that, I believe, throughout the entire day was very clear.  It was very

clear in his use of the

letter that was given to us on the 16, that clearly was inappropriate

because the confidentiality provisions that they referred to has to do with

counsel to the president on making decisions of policy.  To go and tell

someone to change the Mueller investigation to elections in the future are

not policy, it is obstruction. 

 

And we clearly watched Mr. Lewandowski as well create a pathway for the

story of whether

or not the president of the United States was trying to obstruct justice,

which was all about what Director Mueller had in volume two.

 

Remember now, he said I cannot exonerate him.  And it was all about the

issues and the facts of  obstruction.

 

HAYES:  There was a moment where he expressly invoked privilege to not

answer a question about whether he discussed a pardon.  I thought it was

kind of an interesting tell.  I want to play that moment and get your

reaction.  Take a listen.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. MARY  SCANLON, (D) PENNSYLVANIA:  Has the president ever offered you a

pardon?

 

LEWANDOWSKI:  Again, the White House has directed not to disclose the

substance of any discussions with the president or his advisers to protect

the executive branch confidentiality…

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  What do you make of that?

 

LEE:  well,  I make he was well briefed by the White House and issues that

he could answer, that had nothing to do with advising the president on the

question of governance, it had to do whether you asked – you asked for or

you were given the idea that you could get a pardon.  That`s why we believe

that there`s several instances in which Mr. Lewandowski can be held in

contempt  He used this privilege given to him by a White House counsel in a

letter that was inappropriate.  And I think – I really do think he was a

living color witness to see the constant obstruction of justice, not by

him, but by the White House.

 

HAYES:  OK, but here`s the problem, right, I mean, there were two witnesses

called.  The White House has asserted extremely broad power to stop

witnesses, even people that are not currently working for the

administration, to testify at all.  The privilege that they are invoking

here is extremely controversial in legal circles, in some cases they`re

talking about blanket immunity, you can`t talk to anyone we don`t want you

to talk to.  That`s the fundamental issue.  Like you can`t do this unless

you break that and the question is how do you break that?

 

LEE:  Well, you know, Chris, you`re absolutely right.  We are reminded of

Speaker Pelosi`s words, investigation, litigation and legislation.  We

legislated last week with the impeachment investigation, we`re in the

courts.

 

We insist that we have the right to question Mr. Porter, Mr. Dearborn, Mr.

McGahn.  And we believe with the impeachment investigation we`re hoping

positively that we`ll prevail in court not later but sooner than later,

that the courts will see that we have nothing but obstruction not from the

particular witnesses, but from the president of the United States

 

I think that was more than clear.  And you well know, because not only was

he obstructing as

instructed by the White House, but he launched his senate campaign in New

Hampshire.  He launched a hashtag 2020 – I mean absolutely absurd.  We

cannot have witnesses disrespecting article 1 body, which is the United

States Congress

 

HAYES:  There were several calls for him to be found in contempt.  I read

former a congressman, Brad Miller, saying if you acted like this in court

you`d be in jail cooling your heels.  Are you going to find him in

contempt?  It adjourned.  I guess that`s the chair`s call, but it adjourned

without that.

 

But, again, you keep saying you can`t have this, but yet that`s what you

did have.

 

LEE:  I believe we will be reviewing the record.  And I frankly believe

that Mr.  Lewandowski has been in contempt of congress.  There were

questions that he could answer  There were questions that were not

applicable to the confidentiality protection, and there were questions that

he knew full well with the truth.  And the reason is, he had it in his

book, “Let Trump be Trump.”  He said it over and over again in television

interviews.

 

One interview he said he had nothing to do, no one ever told him to contact

Attorney General

Sessions.  And then here he is sort of alluding that he cannot answer that

question because of privilege.  Well, why didn`t he say the same thing that

he said in his interviews.

 

I think it was more today than people might imagine.  Again, President

Nixon`s third article of impeachment was obstructing congress.  Now we have

a very colorful fellow, giving a colorful journey today, of just how deep

that obstruction is.  I don`t think the American people – I know they`re 

busy, they`re working, but I think if they get bits and pieces of this,

they can say this is not the way you run a government or a country.  The

president should have those individuals no longer in the White House having

the ability to come before the Article 1 body, who has a right to proceed

under the impeachment investigation for high crimes and misdemeanors, or

abuse of power, and  answer the questions and use the privilege only

appropriately when you are counseling the president for something good

dealing with the governance of the United States.

 

We cannot be undermined in the investigatory process.

 

HAYES:  All right, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you very much

 

LEE:  Thanks for having me, Chris.

 

HAYES:  Still ahead, with Senator Warren`s massive crowd signal in the

Democratic primary and how it`s translating to her polling ahead.

 

Plus, Tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: Thing One tonight, a few weeks ago there was a report the president

was upset because the pro-Trump pundit Steve Cortez wasn`t getting enough

airtime on CNN.  He`d apparently been benched by the network where he was a

paid contributor, perhaps because he is still part of the Trump team as

part of his Hispanic advisory counsel.

 

But yesterday, Trump made sure Cortez got some time in front of the

cameras.  He was one of the opening acts at Trump`s New Mexico rally and

then the subjects of a just completely racist shout out by the president

himself.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  He happens to be Hispanic but I`ve never quite figured it out,

because he looks more like a WASP than I do.  So I haven`t figured that one

out.  But I`ll tell you what, there`s nobody that loves this country more,

or Hispanic more, than Steve Cortez – Steve.

 

Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?  He says the country. 

I don`t know, I may have to go for the Hispanics to be honest with you. 

We`ve got a lot of Hispanics.  We love our Hispanics.  Get out and vote

 

And Steve, I want to thank you very much, by the way – and you were

incredible on CNN and now you`ll get a real job, OK?  Steve, that audience

wasn`t big enough for you.  They`re ratings aren`t good.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Perhaps Steve Cortez can get a real job at Trump TV, but he`s going

to up his propaganda game.  And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  So, there are actually two cable networks devoted to spreading

propaganda for President Trump: there`s Trump TV, as we mention a lot, and

then of course there`s the Trump TV Business channel where a man named Lou

Dobbs does his business every night

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS:  I spent some time in the White House yesterday,

and I want to give you an unauthorized quick update on the atmosphere that

I witnessed in the White House, the demeanor of the folks working for this

president, for the people.  It couldn`t be more positive.  The mood in that

White House couldn`t be more high energy.  I`ve seen a number of White

Houses.  I happened to have seen this one in its early days and I have seen

it now, and I want you to know the joint is hopping.

 

At every level on every floor this White House is energized.  There`s

sunshine beaming throughout the place and almost on every face.  It`s

winner and winning-centered  And our White House, our president, is at the

top of his game.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  What the heck, dude?

 

If that sounded to you like something you`d see on North Korea state TV,

you`re not alone  The Daily Show showed us what that would look like.  But

honestly, the real thing is embarrassing enough on its own.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DOBBS:  Have a great weekend.  The president makes such a thing possible

for us all.  Good night from New York.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  So we`re coming to you tonight from Nashville, Tennessee.  And the

reason we are here is because this is the home of the former Vice President

of the United States Al Gore.  I came to sit down with an interview with

Vice President Gore as part of our climate special coming up later this

week.  But I also had a chance to ask him about his thoughts on the current

state of affairs with our current president and the possibility of

impeachment.

 

(BIGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  There`s a big debate in the Democratic Party right now about the

best way to deal with this president, right particularly impeachment.  As

someone who is bystander for one of only a handful of them in the history

of the American republic, and I`m curious what you think.  Do you think

impeachment is warranted?  Do you worry about the consequences having lived

through that period?

 

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Well, I deeply

respect

Speaker Pelosi and her calculation of the risks and benefits and the way

she`s been handling it.  And I think Chairman Nadler is doing a superb job

 

Where I come down on this is I get the political calculus, but it can`t end

there, because of the risks that we end up normalizing the most obscene

behavior I`ve ever seen from a president of the United States.  And if we

did not challenge this behavior, then I think we`d be making a mistake. 

Certainly true the Senate is unlikely in its present formulation to

convict, you know, obviously. 

 

But I think we have an obligation beyond all of that to the constitution,

and the only remedy for these serious crimes that have been alleged is the

impeachment process.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  You can hear my full interview with former Vice President Al Gore

this Thursday for the first night of our two special Climate in Crisis,

which will feature reports on effects of climate change all over the world

plus highlights from our presidential candidate climate forum moderated by

my colleague Ali Velshi and me at Georgetown University.

 

It will be a jam-packed two nights you do not want to miss.  We`ll be right

back.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Twelve years ago at this point in the presidential race, Hillary

Clinton was the clear

favorite in the Democratic primary field.  But even though Barack Obama

hadn`t broken through in the

polling, he was drawing these enormous crowds, including this one in

Washington Square Park in New York City.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This is a magnificent

crowd, and we have been seeing – we`ve been seeing crowds like this as we

travel all across the country over the last seven months since I announced

that I was running for the presidency of the United States of America.

 

(CHEERING)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  That was Barack Obama back in September of 2000 behind the polls

and bragging about his crowd size  That`s not to say that history will

necessarily repeat itself, but it proved to

be that that time around that enthusiasm really did mean something.

 

This time around, the front-runner in the Democratic primary is very

clearly Joe Biden.  It has been him since the day he announced.  He has not

significantly declined, in fact he continues to lead, and according to the

latest NBC poll out today, he has even gained.

 

NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Biden with 31 percent support,

followed by Elizabeth Warren with 25 percent, and Bernie Sanders with 14.

 

But it is also very noteworthy that Biden does not draw enormous crowds,

whereas the two people who round out the top three in the field do.  Tens

of thousands came out to see Sanders at his campaign launch in Brooklyn,

and at rallies like this one last month in Long Beach, California. 

 

And last night in Washington Square, Warren got her biggest crowd yet, her

campaign estimating that 20,000 people showed up for the rally.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

WARREN:  I know, people are scared, but we can`t choose a candidate we

don`t believe in just because we`re too scared to do anything else.  And

Democrats can`t win if we`re scared and looking backward.  We win when we

meet the moment, we win when we stand up for what is right, we win when we

get out there and fight.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  After the rally, Warren stuck around, as is her wont, to take

pictures with supporters for nearly four hours, ending with this…

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)

 

CROWD:  Fight hard.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)

 

CROWD:  Fight hard.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)

 

CROWD:  Fight hard.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)

 

CROWD:  Fight hard.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  So, we`ve still got months to go before the first votes are cast,

but the big question to me about the shape of this race right now is how

much does enthusiasm matter?  At one level, an enthusiastic voter gets to

cast as many votes as an unenthusiastic voter, but if you`ve been on the

trail, if you`ve covered political races, you often get a kind of Spidey

sense when you`re at an event with a ton of people that something is

happening.

 

Joining me now to talk about the relative importance of enthusiasm, Nate

Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight.

 

Nate, I wonder how you think this when you`re looking at the polling,

you`re looking at state polling, national polling, and then these more sort

of qualitative pieces of data, like big crowds at events.

 

NATE SILVER, FOUNDER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT:  Yeah, I think crowd sizes are one

of the last things I would look at, the reason being if you look at the

broader scope of history, you know, candidates like Walter Mondale, for

example, in 1984 drew very big crowds, told pollsters they were really

wrong about the election versus Reagan and then won one state.

 

You had the Spidey sense for Mitt Romney in 2012.  You had Bernie drawing

larger crowds in 2016 than Hillary Clinton, but not winning the nomination,

although he did very well, obviously.

 

So to me it`s like, yeah, you can point out examples like Obama, but you

can point out at least as many counter examples where crowd size was not as

reliable as the polling was.

 

And by the way, Warren is doing pretty well in the polls, including polls

that ask voters, hey, how enthusiastic are you?  How solid is your vote? 

How much attention are you paying to the  campaign.  So both she and Biden

should feel pretty good about their position.  Bernie should feel decently

well.  It would be like Kamala Harris, frankly, or someone who would

probably need to look toward more exotic indicators for signs of support.

 

HAYES:  Yeah, what I thought was interesting in the NBC poll today was

there`s a question about enthusiastic or comfortable, right.  Like you`re

enthusiastic about this person, but if your person

weren`t to win would you be comfortable with this person?  And right now

Warren is at the top with those two numbers, right, so 35 percent

enthusiastic, and 35 percent comfortable.  Bernie Sanders 25 percent

enthusiastic, 27 percent comfortable, and Joe Biden 23 percent enthusiastic

and 41 percent comfortable.

 

And I think that is also, as just a polling indicator, says that there`s

room there for her.

 

SILVER:  Yeah, she has that combo of both the enthusiasm and the

comfortability, which maybe Bernie has less of, for example.  We`ve also

seen like it`s pretty rare to see a candidate gain as steadily as she has. 

It like literally is that every – you look at the RealClearPolitics

average, or the Economist` average, right, every other week she gains a

point.  And you project that out, she goes from 17 to 18 to 19 to 25 or 26

by the time you get to Iowa and New Hampshire, which is a pretty good

position, especially her polls in Iowa and New Hampshire have been a bit

stronger than they have been nationally.

 

I should say there`s no guarantee that momentum continues.  Bernie, for

example, gained ground throughout most of the run-up to 2016, and then

finally when he hit Iowa and New Hampshire he came close, won those states,

but could not quite get over the hump.  But still, there is maybe a

narrative, which I would at least put some stock in that like as people get

to know Warren better, they like the message, they`re more comfortable.

 

Remember, she started out with all these doubts about Pocahontas and very

negative coverage.  So the second impression I think has been a lot better

for voters than their first impression six months ago.

 

HAYES:  You have said this the other day or two ago, and I thought it was

interesting that you thought that in the beginning I think people were

trying to put an ideological frame onto the race that maybe didn`t quite

match what was happening.  You saw a lot of voters who were sort of

Biden/Bernie voters, or choosing between them, comfortable with both, but

as the race has gone on, that the ideological lanes have gotten a bit

clearer.  And again that`s sort of borne out I think interestingly in the

NBC poll today that Joe Biden is winning 19 percent of liberal voters, but

42 percent of those who consider themselves moderate or conservative and

Warren is getting sort of the inverse, 36 percent of liberals, 15 percent

moderate or conservative.  It`s – and Sanders there more liberals than

moderate/conservatives. 

 

Those ideological identifications do start to become more salient as more

and more time is being spent with the candidate.

 

SILVER:  Yeah, as voters become more interested in the campaign and things

do become a bit more like rational in terms of left versus right.  Although

I think Harris has also – although Warren has gained at the expense of

Harris as well.  Because Harris is trying to split the difference and now

voters are saying, you know what I like Warren a little better.  She`s

doing better than Harris.  She`s a little bit  bolder.  I don`t see any –

I mean, she actually does better on electability questions than Harris does

according to Democratic voters, and so I think that`s been a big source of

votes for her as well.

 

She got the kind of – the left-wing vote early on, the kind of college

educated white left-wing vote, I should say, which is not the entire left-

wing by any means at all.  But now she`s picking up not

the centrist vote, but the center of the party, Kamala Harris kind of, Beto

O`Rourke voters, because those candidates are not doing very well in the

polls lately.

 

HAYES:  Yeah, she has a lot of work to go on African-American voters where

Joe Biden still holds a commanding lead.

 

Nate Silver, thank you for being with me. 

 

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

now, where I should mention Senator Warren herself will be sitting down

with the one and only Rachel Maddow this evening. 

 

Good evening, Rachel.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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