Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: June 28, 2016 Guest: Lynn Westmoreland, Eric Boehlert, Keith Ellison
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
Terror at the Istanbul airport.
Tonight, why Turkey is so crucial to the future of Europe, the Middle East, and counterterrorism. How the candidates are reacting here at home, and what the White House is saying today about progress against ISIS.
Plus, Congressman Keith Ellison on the latest explanation of Donald Trump`s Muslim ban.
And eight congressional committees later, Republicans finally face the facts on Benghazi.
UIDENTIFIED MALE: There are bumper stickers and t-shirts all over this country that say, Hillary Clinton lied, people died. Maybe Mr. Bampeo (ph) can answer this, too. Is that true?
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You don`t see that t-shirt on me, and you`ve never seen that bumper sticker on any of my vehicles.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Today, just three months after a deadly airport attack in Brussels, Belgium, the largest airport in Turkey, Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, was attacked by suicide bombers, killing up to 36 people, wounding more than a hundred, according to the latest estimates by Turkish officials and the Red Crescent. With a caution, these casualty numbers have been changing by the hour.
The CCTV video we`re about to show is jarring because it appears to capture one of the blasts. NBC News has not yet independently confirmed its authenticity. The attacks which took place late evening, involving multiple suicide bombers, according to Turkish officials, concentrated at the arrivals area of the main terminal. The Ataturk Airport is the third busiest airport in Europe. This CCTV video, again not yet independently authenticated by NBC News, reports to show someone being shot and later not shown in the video, an explosion taken place as he or she appears to trigger a blast.
The attacks, believed to be coordinated, fit the profile of ISIS, according to U.S. security officials. However, ISIS, nor any other group, has not taken responsibility as of yet. White House condemned the terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms and we`re getting reaction from both presidential candidates.
This response from Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We had another suicide bombing, Istanbul, Turkey, many, many people killed. Many, many people injured. Folks, there`s something going on that`s really, really bad. All right?
It`s bad. And we better get smart, and we better get tough, or we`re not going to have much of a country left, OK? It`s bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Hillary Clinton is expected to make remarks on a previously scheduled event soon, but has responded in a statement, which reads in part, "Terrorists have struck again in the heart of one of our NATO allies and all Americans stand united with the people of Turkey against this campaign of hatred and violence. Today`s attack in Istanbul only strengthens our resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism and radical jihadism around the world. And it reminds us that the United States cannot retreat."
Joining me now, NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel.
And, Richard, you`ve been reporting amidst the aftermath of this all night. What have you seen?
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRSPONDENT: We`ve been speaking to witnesses and two witnesses tell us that there were three different suicide bombings. That the first attack took place in the parking lot not very far from the arrivals hall, but not right at the arrivals hall. That the attacker first fired an automatic weapon, drawing security forces to him. It may have been a kind of come-on attack.
The second one, by a taxi stand right at the entrance to the arrivals hall itself. That is an area that`s quite crowded and congested because before you get into the arrivals hall, there`s a security checkpoint. So, people would have been waiting there to screen their bags, to go through metal detectors.
That second attacker, the force of his explosion, blew out some of the walls, some of the glass partition walls separating the outside from the inside of the terminal. So, a third attacker didn`t have to go through the security checkpoints that were there, could simply walk through the space where the wall had been and blue up the third device inside the arrivals hall where people generally wait for their loved ones and friends who arrived from outside the country.
HAYES: This was -- as you`re indicating here, right, this was a fairly secure airport with extra security measures, actually a fairly large security perimeter, from what I`m hearing from you, from what you`re hearing from eye witnesses, sounds like a quite coordinated assault.
ENGEL: It sounds like a very sophisticated attack. Not the work of amateurs. Istanbul does have a very tight security. To get into the airport, you have to go through the security check.
Once you get to customs, you have to go through a security check, and if you go to sensitive countries, like the United States, Canada, Israel, there`s another check and a questioning on top of the other two measures.
So, the security forces reacted quite well according to different witnesses we`ve been speaking to, with one police officer shooting one of the militants in a video that has been getting a lot of attention, and another police officer tackling and wrestling one of the bombers to the ground. That bomber, according to a reporter we spoke to, blew up his device and the reporter believes, killed that police officer.
So, a selfless act by police officers who were apparently braced and sensitized to this kind of violence. There had been warnings, however, that an attack like this could happen. Not an attack specific at the airport, but that ISIS -- and ISIS is the main suspect here -- would try and carry out a high profile attack during Ramadan. And it staged people in this country to do that.
HAYES: President Erdogan has issued a statement now, and I want to ask about the domestic reaction. You mentioned it`s Ramadan. It`s a very heavy travel time right now, this period of Ramadan. And also, there`s an official news black-out, as it extended for months inside Turkey, from state media of any coverage of this kind of thing.
How are folks learning about this in Turkey, how are they reacting?
ENGEL: The -- first of all, yes, there has been a statement by President Erdogan saying that an attack in Istanbul is no different from an attack in London or Brussels or Paris or any other city in the world, that is an attack against Turks, and that is an attack against humanity. And since it happened during Ramadan, according to the statement, it shows that the terrorists have no sense of religion, decency, humanity.
The reason I say this country had been bracing for it, several weeks ago, we reported that there was an intelligence report, that ISIS had pre- deployed more than 35 militants in this country to carry out attacks during Ramadan and a counterterrorism source told me tonight that in his estimation, it was very likely that today`s attacks were linked to that deployment, that advanced staging of militants here in Turkey.
How have people in this country been reacting? There was a lot of chaos at the airport, as you can imagine, but driving in the streets around the airport, there`s no one out. People are staying home. There`s a lot of concern. There have been numerous attacks in this country over the last several months by Kurdish militant groups, by attacks that are attributed to ISIS, and then this very high profile attack.
So, even if Turks had been bracing for it, they decided afterwards, a lot of them anyway, just to stay at home tonight.
HAYES: Richard Engel, always such an incredible opportunity to get to speak to you in the midst of something like this. Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, NBC News correspondent who covers aviation, Tom Costello.
And, Tom, you have one of the busiest airports in Europe and one of the fastest growing airlines in Turkish airlines. What is happening in the aftermath of this?
TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That airport is closed until 0500 local time tomorrow. But all flights departing the United States for Turkey, those flights are suspended tomorrow, unlikely to leave at all. They say until 2000 Eastern Time, 8:00 Eastern Time, I wouldn`t be surprised if they don`t leave and they may give them a day on the ground here.
Ten flights were in-bound into the United States from Turkey when this happened. They all landed and are landing at U.S. airports as we speak.
We should make a couple of notes. First of all, the State Department just yesterday issued a warning for U.S. citizens, essentially saying that increased threats from terrorists and groups throughout Turkey are advised to avoid southeastern Turkey because of the perception and the real threat that the State Department perceived on the ground already.
We would also make the point that the TSA and homeland security both say at the moment, they`re not changing the security posture at U.S. airports. They -- that`s really the same position they took after Brussels. You saw some airports increase their security posture, maybe adding police tactical units to deployment to kind of doing the high profile rounds throughout the airport, but no nationwide surge as it were, and that is again the case tonight.
We have heard from some in the port authorities, for example, the New York Port Authority Police Department covering JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark, they will be, they say, putting their tactical unit out a bit more in the next few hours, and the next few days presumably. But we don`t have anything beyond that. For example, Massachusetts, which covers the Massachusetts state police, covers Boston Logan Airport has no plans to increase their profile there.
One very important point, though, this is always the concern for Homeland Security and the TSA, the threat posed at overseas airports with direct flights into the United States. And before any airline can fly directly from a foreign airport into the U.S., that home airport must meet the security requirements of the United States. So, quite literally, the TSA sends inspectors there to do audits and to ensure that they meet the standards. If they don`t, they can`t fly to the U.S.
So, what does that mean? Obviously, you have good security, for example, overseas in London, in Paris, in Frankfurt, in Amsterdam, whatever, but Brussels had good airport security, yet we saw what happened there. And Istanbul should have had very good security.
HAYES: All right. Tom Costello, thanks so much for that. Appreciate it.
Joining me now, former U.S. intelligence officer, Malcolm Nance, who follows all of this very closely, particularly with respect to ISIS.
Malcolm, in the case of Turkey, you`ve got two possibilities immediately spring to time. There had been a series of attacks inside Turkey by Kurdish militant groups, particularly the Kurdish militant group TAK, which has claimed credit for a number of attacks that have killed civilians and a series of attacks that have never been claimed by ISIS, but everyone attributes to ISIS.
What is your thinking about this attack right now?
MALCOLM NANCE, FORMER U.S. INTELLIGENCE OFFICER (via telephone): Well, in particular, the Turkish indigenous groups like TAK and the PKK, one of the things we know within the intelligence community is their attacks tend to be extremely small, tend to be very low casualties counts. I think the most recent one was one with some dozen injured.
The ISIS attacks which haven`t been attributed over the last year have been mass casualty attacks. We had the attack on the U.S. consulate last year, which killed 32. Last October, we had an attack on a peace rally which killed over a hundred Turkish citizens.
The reason that we believe that they don`t attribute these attacks to the Islamic State is because they are trying to infiltrate a deep-seated series of cell members into that country and they do not want to violate their operational security. They believe that they can operate with more impunity by not claiming these attacks.
No one is fooled. They all know where the mass casualty attacks are coming from. They`re almost all universally similar in terms of tactics and techniques.
HAYES: You talked about a few of the previous attacks. You have a situation, of course, also in which Turkey borders Syria and the fact that ISIS was on Turkey`s doorstep when it was controlling the town of Kobani, which was on the border and fleshed out by the PKK, and there have been long standing complaints about the security on that border and the ease with which both jihadi fighters pass through Turkey into Syria and the ease with which ISIS fighters have been able to get into Turkey.
What do we know about this situation of border situation between those two nations right now?
NANCE: Well, certainly, we know border security has been tightened up by the Turks with regards to ISIS over the last year. However, you have to look at this in reverse. ISIS has managed to bring in between 30,000 and 50,000 people to join their caliphate over the last few years. Most notably the last two years, which is we`re almost at the anniversary, the two-year of ISIS declaring its caliphate. The overwhelming majority of those people came in through Turkey. Their logistics pace for quite a bit of time until the United States start carrying out operations was in Turkey.
They still have networks which are covert, which are underground, and even if the Turks place strict security controls, they have the ability to get back and forth with manpower, money, and equipment. You have to remember, there`s a Turkish ISIS organization. They have Turkish language, issues of "Dabiq" magazine, which is called (INAUDIBLE), which is published there, to get Muslims in Turkey to join the ISIS organization.
So, even if you have extremely strict border controls, the ideology itself bleeds across the border and ISIS has been operating within Turkey with some impunity for some years, so it`s very easy to create a three-man or 20-man terrorist cell.
HAYES: Yes, we should note once again, as we watch these photo, this is -- if in fact it is ISIS, and we don`t know that, although so far, we -- there`s good reason to think so, were it to prove to be is, it`s once against ISIS slaughtering fellow Muslims and at this point during the holiest part of the year for Muslims.
Malcolm Nance, thank you very much.
NANCE: It`s my pleasure.
HAYES: Much more coverage ahead on the attacks in Turkey still to come.
Up next, Trump`s response to Turkey includes renewed calls for torture, to boisterous cheers from a crowd in Ohio. He also talked about the, quote, "continuing rape" of America on trade. That is a direct quote. Congressman Keith Ellison will respond to both those remarks, next.
And the big headlines from the Benghazi report, no new evidence of wrongdoing. We`ll bring you her response later in the show.
HAYES: Ahead what Donald Trump said tonight about the attack on Istanbul`s airport. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, will be here to respond to Trump`s call for the U.S. to, quote, "get tough".
Stay with us.
HAYES: All right. Hillary Clinton is speaking at a campaign event in Los Angeles right now, which we are monitoring to see if she addresses the events that just transpired in Istanbul. Her campaign released a statement earlier, reading in part, "Today`s attack in Istanbul only strengthens our resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism and radical jihadism around the world. And it reminds us that the United States cannot retreat. We must deepen our cooperation with our allies and partners in the Middle East and Europe to take on this threat."
Tonight, Donald Trump`s campaign released a remarkably traditional political statement read in part, "Our prayers are with the families of those killed and injured in Istanbul. We must take steps now to protect America from terrorists, and do everything in our power to improve our security to keep America safe."
Moments ago, at a rally in St. Clairsville, Ohio, Trump spoke about combating terror groups like ISIS and America`s reluctance to use torture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So we can`t do waterboarding, which is -- it`s not the nicest things, but it`s peanuts compared to many alternatives, right? So we can`t do waterboarding, but they can do chopping off heads, drowning people in steel cages. They can do whatever they want to do, and, you know, they eat dinner like us.
Can you imagine them sitting around the table or wherever they`re eating their dinner, talking about the Americans don`t do waterboarding and yet we chop off heads? They probably think we`re weak, we`re stupid, we don`t know what we`re doing, we have no leadership.
You know, you have to fight fire with fire. We have people out there --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic congressman from Minnesota, Keith Ellison.
Congressman, I mean, I -- he never quite explicitly said this, but aside from the fact that he`s repeatedly called to reinstitute torture and urge war crimes, it sounds there, he was basically saying, unless we do what ISIS does, cut people`s heads off, burn people in cages, then we will be seen as weak?
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: Yes, he`s saying that we have to basically mirror ISIS. Now, how can we be better than ISIS if we do what ISIS does? It doesn`t make any sense.
If you talk to people like John McCain and other people who have experienced torture, they`re dead set against it. The U.S. military says it`s the wrong policy. It`s just -- nobody who understands anything about war fighting will say that torture should be the policy of the United States.
Because, first of all, it doesn`t work, and second of all, it`s barbaric. So, we cannot do what our enemies do and call ourselves better than them, and it`s not effective. So he`s demonstrating all that he doesn`t know and how unqualified he is. HAYES: You know, Trump also today spoke about trade. He spoke about trade policy, he gave a speech today in Pennsylvania that was really remarkable in so far as it was a complete departure from Republican orthodoxy on trade, attacking NAFTA, attacking trade deals, talking about global elites being the winners from trade, and then TPP, which, of course, Trans Pacific Partnership, which has been negotiated by this president, set to be voted on by Congress.
This is what he had to say about TPP tonight. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Trans Pacific Partnership is not disaster, done and pushed by special interests, who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country, that`s what it is too. It`s a harsh word. It`s a rape of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Your response to that?
ELLISON: Well, you know, it`s disgusting that he would use the term "rape" that way, given the horror that so many people, mostly women, face every day. I don`t favor the TPP policy either. I`m dead set against it.
But I don`t trust him, and you should know that Hillary Clinton is opposed to TPP, as is Bernie Sanders.
You know, the fact is, was he wearing a Trump tie made in China when he made this denouncement of trade? Was he wearing one of those Bangladesh Trump t-shirts that he imports into our country and has made in Bangladesh where there`s been very serious labor policies?
Do you know, he actually was quoted saying he loves to take advantage of, "cheap labor", quote-unquote. And in 2005, he wrote a blog saying, how much he`s in favor of globalization and how much he wants to take advantage of it.
So, he`s just a complete fraud. Nothing he says is true. Everything is designed to get a certain kind of response.
You know, he`s even backtracking on his Muslim ban, which he seemed to be so dead set on. Nothing the man says is honest and truthful. He`s not even sincere about the bigotry he espouses.
HAYES: You know, you just mentioned the Muslim ban and there`s been -- this is one of his signature campaign policy issues, to the extent if you could call it a policy. It`s not clear that it really is. It`s sort of an instinct. But --
ELLISON: Now it`s a suggestion.
HAYES: A suggestion, right, until we can figure out what`s going on.
Now, there`s been reporting that that`s going to be walked back, or localized to specific countries. But it strikes me as we sort of learn about the horrors that happened in Turkey that, you know, what it would amount to would be saying, Turks, for instance, couldn`t come to the U.S. and essentially punishing the victims of ISIS, right? I mean, if ISIS is targeting Turkey, that`s a great way to make it so that Turks can`t come to the U.S.
ELLISON: Well, you know, Daesh, which is what I call them, because they`re an Islamic or a state, in my opinion, you know, they basically want people like Donald Trump to say hateful, ugly things about Muslims because they`re trying to argue to the Muslim world that, hey, America`s at war with Islam, so join us. He`s helping them recruit.
More than that, though, the truth is that the number one group of people being killed by Daesh is Muslims. We are in the month of Ramadan. I`m fasting right this second, Chris. I`ve yet to breakfast today, since 3:30 this morning. And yet in this holy month that every Muslim holds dear, these people murder Muslims, and yet we have political leaders in our country who don`t even understand how anti-Muslim Daesh really is. They definitely got a lot of blood on their hands.
HAYES: As someone who practices the faith, I mean, how profane is it? What an absolute profanity is it to watch this being carried out at the holiest time of year?
ELLISON: It is beyond description. It`s the purest evidence that anyone would ever need that nothing Daesh stands for is recognizable by Muslims as Islam. They are power mad, homicidal maniacs who kill at will, it doesn`t matter, women, children, in Ramadan, they don`t care.
And the fact is, is that we`ve got to oppose them, but we`ve got to be smart about it, and we`ve got to understand that as wicked as they are, they are pursuing a strategy and they are sophisticated in the way they present themselves in the media and we can`t fall victims and fall into their hands like Donald Trump seems to be doing.
HAYES: All right. Congressman Keith Ellison, Ramadan Mubarak -- thank you very much.
ELLISON: Ramadan Kareem -- thank you.
HAYES: All right. We`re still monitoring the breaking situation in Turkey and keeping you updated on the situation throughout the show.
Up next, Republicans release their Benghazi findings and clear Hillary Clinton of any new wrongdoing. I`ll talk to one of the Republicans on the committee about why it is that GOP voters seem so susceptible to Benghazi misinformation.
HAYES: After three-and-a-half years, eight congressional committees, one non-partisan agency review, hundreds of in-person interviews, thousands of pages of subpoenaed comments and at least $7 million in taxpayer money, Republicans are still at the end of all that, totally unable to justify their warped fixation with the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, or substantiate any of the wild conspiracy theories tying, then, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to what happened there, a phenomenon we have referred to on this show as hashtag #Benghazi.
Today, more than two years after starting its work, the House Select Committee on Benghazi finally released its 800-page report on the attack, which took the lives of four Americans. And like the seven other congressional investigations that came before it, the select committee found that numerous government agencies had failed to recognize a meet looming security risks in Benghazi.
And while the report fills in some new details about what happened on the night of September 11, 2012, it presents no additional evidence of wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton. There`s no smoking gun, because -- and this is key -- there was never one to be found.
On a campaign stop in Colorado today, Clinton weighed in on the committee`s work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, 2016 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It had to today reported it had found nothing, nothing to contradict the conclusions of the independent accountability board, or the conclusions of the prior multiple earlier investigations carried out on a bipartisan basis in the congress.
So I`ll leave it to others to characterize this report, but I think it`s pretty clear it`s time to move on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: At a press conference committee chairman Trey Gowdy took pains to explain the added value of his findings and insisted the investigation, which took longer than the Watergate investigation, was never about Clinton.
But there were indications throughout the process that the committee`s work was political in nature, including House majority leader Kevin McCarthy`s boast last fall about its impact on Clinton`s poll numbers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) CALIFORNIA: Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she`s untrustable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After that, a former committee staffer from the committee itself went public with his plan to file a complaint in a federal court, alleging he was fired unlawfully in part because his superiors opposed his efforts to conduct a comprehensive investigate of the attack and instead were focused primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
And there was a committee`s decision to grill Clinton in a marathon, 11- hour public hearing last October, a maneuver that was widely seen to have backfired thanks to Clinton`s cool handling of the ordeal.
Now, despite a total lack of evidence implicating Clinton in the Benghazi attack, it lives on as a talking point for her political opponent. Today, two Republicans on the committee released an addendum to the report accusing Clinton and the Obama administration of lying about what happened to protect themselves politically ahead of the 2012 election.
And just last week in a speech attacking Clinton, Trump floated a demonstrably false claim about her handling of the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Among the victims of our late Ambassador Chris Stevens, I mean, she -- what she did with him was absolutely horrible. He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed. That`s right, when the phone rang, as per the commercial, at 3:00 in the morning, Hillary Clinton was sleeping.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Not true.
I spoke earlier with Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, a Republican from Georgia and a member of the select committee, and I asked him about some polling on Republican misconceptions about Benghazi.
HAYES: And 44 percent of Republicans, fully 50 percent of Donald Trump voters believe the following, that it is definitely true that Hillary Clinton knew the consulate in Benghazi was going to be attacked and did nothing to protect it. That`s a belief of half of the voters that are supporting Donald Trump, 44 percent of the voters in your party. They are wrong about that, right?
REP. LYNN WESTMORELAND, (R) GEORGIA: Well, I don`t -- did she know of a specific attack? No, sir. But I think if you look at all the major events that had happened in the last 90 days before the attack in Benghazi, you could have well expected an attack. In fact, one of the DS agents that came back from Benghazi told his co-workers in D.C. that it was a suicide mission.
So I think just from the requests that she had from Ambassador Stevens, all the DS agents who requested additional security upgrades, I think she could have assumed that there would be an attack. and to make it even more definite to me, is after the demonstration that happened in Cairo, there was still no adjustment to the security situation in Benghazi or Libya -- in Tripoli.
HAYES: On the very day that you`ve released this report, it`s taken two years, around $7 million, a tremendous amount of labor and effort put in by you and your colleagues, an associate of Donald Trump`s, his organization`s lawyer tweets a picture, saying that Hillary Clinton murdered an ambassador.
What`s your reaction to that kind of accusation?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTMORELAND: Well, we never included Donald Trump in our report, the Democrats did. Donald Trump is going to say what Donald Trump wants to say. But who can clarify what Donald Trump means?
HAYES: Well, I guess here`s my question, after all is said and done, right, we have this horrible tragedy of four Americans who lost their lives. You have a series of pretty clear policy failures, whether they`re the actual full structure of the Libyan intervention and its aftermath, or whether the actual diplomatic security, I think all of that has been established.
Why, to you, does it continue to be the case that such a large portion of the electorate continues to believe things about Benghazi that are not true -- that Hillary Clinton intentionally left it to its own, that she knew it was going to be attacked, that people intentionally lied about it? What has driven that air that has led so many people to come to that conclusion?
WESTMORELAND: Well, Chris, I think you make a really good point in the fact that there`s been a movie out that I`ve not seen. There`s been two books out. And unfortunately, sometimes people would rather believe Hollywood than they had the truth.
And so that`s the reason this report was so important to me. And even though it took two and a half years, and they say $7 million, which the Democrats spent some of that too, but it was important for us to try to answer all the questions that was out there, not just from the American citizens, but from these four families that wanted answers.
Because they had been given an answer that didn`t shake out to be true from the secretary, at least some of the family members had, at the day they brought the bodies home.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, thank you very much.
WESTMORELAND: No, thank you, sir.
HAYES: Coming up, it wasn`t just the movie that launched the hashtag #Benghazi phenomenon at all. Up next, Eric Boehlert on the right-wing media culture that launched the never-ending trove of conspiracy theories.
HAYES: So after more than two years, $7 million in taxpayer funds, the select committee on Benghazi has failed in its apparent quest for a smoking gun implicating Hillary Clinton.
Joining me now to talk about it, Eric Boehlert, senior fellow for Media Matters who has been covering relentlessly this for two years.
I today interpreted it as essentially waving of the white flag. We didn`t really get anything. It was defensive. We found this new information, but fundamentally, it was you read the report and come to your own conclusion.
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS: If Trey Gowdy`s talking point is, well, you decide what`s in the report means there`s nothing in the report. I mean, if he had it, he would have leaked it weeks ago or days ago, and he would have sprayed out the talking points. There`s no there there.
Look, you know, two-and-a-half years ago, almost three years ago, Media Matters published a book called the Benghazi Hoax. You know, it was that obvious three years ago. And we`re still doing this. I mean, it`s just amazing.
HAYES: And that`s partly -- I mean, look, we knew a bunch of stuff about the policy failures, about the lack of security, about the warnings about a lack of security. So you have to always divide in Benghazi, like the real stuff from, the president gave a stand-down order. Hillary Clinton knew. They lied intentionally, all of this -- but that stuff is believed by so many people. They have cultivated it for five years.
BOEHLERT: The important stuff we knew by the summer of 2013. We knew about the failures. We knew about who should be held accountable, and things like that. Everything after that has just been sort of this mindless pile-on, right, 33 hearings. That hearing was at least tens of millions of dollars, because the Pentagon and State Department have been very vocal saying, you are wasting our time. We don`t have the man power.
I mean, you know, you look what happens in Turkey -- it`s happening in Turkey. What happened in Orlando, this country is facing very serious issues and branches of the government are begging Republicans to stop this nonsense, but they`ve been Foxified, right. They`re getting their talking orders from Rush Limbaugh.
This is what happens when the Republican Party hands over the reins of power to right-wing media in America.
HAYES: They have also created this conception of her that has -- that among a certain percentage of the population -- I mean, think about this for a second, 50 -- the idea that she knew about the attack. I mean, this is like Bush knew and let them do it anyway, right. This is in the territory of like genuine conspiracy theory, that`s half of Trump`s voters.
BOEHLERT: Yeah. And we forget this is not just Jillary, this started out as an anti-Obama crusade, right, this was going to be this wrecking ball. It was going to demolish Obama`s second term and it was going to demolish Hillary Clinton`s run for the White House. It was going to take them both out because there was all these wild conspiracies. You know, they both knew it was coming. You know, Obama watched the video in real-time and heard the screams and did nothing.
Trump saying Hillary slept through this. But again this has been -- again, Media Matters has done hundreds and hundreds of fact checks for the last four years, because it is relentless. It is relentless in the right-wing media and that`s why there`s this perception.
It is the holy grail and it is completely divorced from any scrap of reality.
HAYES: Although, it seemed to me -- I mean, you have -- so here`s the day the committee comes out. Donald Trump doesn`t really run with it. No one -- I mean, it was such a tell to me, that here it is, here`s finally the thing, two years, longer than the 9/11 commission,right, longer than Watergate, longer than all these -- Warren committee that investigated really, really complicated set of facts that are sort of iconic and history. And what happens today, they just basically dropped it on the doorstep and left.
BOEHLERT: And as you say, where was the Republican Party? Where was this mega phone? Why aren`t they talking about this? Because look, you know, John Boehner held this off for as long as he could.
HAYES: He did not want this, right. That select committee. He did not want it.
BOEHLERT: Absolutely, he did not see a need for a select committee. There already at that point five or six or seven. And then he finally relented, he finally gave in.
If you asked him candidly, he would tell you this is exactly what he knew would happen. But the important point is -- and so, you know, there was kind of a meltdown on Fox News today. They are saying, you know, all these shocking revelations. But they really seem to be more sputtering and angry because they realize sort of the dream is over. This isn`t going to be Watergate on steroids, and it never was.
HAYES: Well, but it is and it isn`t in the sense that in some ways, right, it does its job. Because there`s -- because among a certain -- I mean, this idea of Hillary Clinton as just an unbelievably nefarious villain, which has sort of been pounded into the minds of a lot of consumers of conservative media, that sticks, that`s there, right?
BOEHLERT: But that was going to stick no matter what. So these people hated Barack Obama, they`re always going to hate him. He`s going to leave office with some of his highest approval ratings. It`s a small subset I think of the American public.
They were going to hate Hillary Clinton no matter what. And this is just sort of -- you know, this is the propaganda and the rhetoric.
HAYES: Does it -- I asked -- we edited that interview down with the congressman for time, but the first question I asked him, why stop now? If you got stonewall, do you think you should do another one? And he said, no, I don`t think that`s appropriate. Basically, like, OK, this is it, this is enough. No more. Do you think that`s true?
BOEHLERT: It`s over. It really is, because there`s no one in the right- wing media in the echo chamber demanding another one.
There`s no one -- Trey Gowdy has done extraordinary damage to his reputation.
HAYES: Yep. He was a rising star and this is...
BOEHLERT: This is a rising star.
HAYES: ...and this is what he has delivered.
Eric Boehlert, thank you very much.
Still to come, we`ll have the latest on the bombings in Istanbul. We`ve got some updates, so do not go anywhere.
HAYES: Over the last several years, Turkey has been the fulcrum and focal point, in many respects, for the fight against ISIS. What today`s attack there means for that effort ahead.
HAYES: All right, at this hour, we are still monitoring what is unfolding in Turkey where the death toll continues to climb after three suicide bombers attacked the main airport in Istanbul.
At least 36 people were killed and more than 100 people wounded in the attack at Ataturk Airport. The bombers targeted international rivals. Richard Engel reporting earlier tonight the attack was highly coordinated. The first bomber, a possible distraction while the second bomber blew himself up near a wall, and a third bomber stepped through the hole in that wall to bypass the security perimeter.
One video, which NBC News cannot verify, but is consistent with other video of the attack, purports to show one of those detonations inside allegedly from inside the airport. People started running and then there`s an explosion.
Another video posted on social media reportedly shows the moment the first explosion went off. You can see people milling about and then that flame and everyone runs.
More footage allegedly from inside the airport shows police taking down a man with the gun. While he`s on the ground, the gunman then detonates it appears some kind of suicide bomb device. We are continuing to monitor this developing story. We`ll keep bringing you updates throughout the night on MSNBC.
HAYES: Tonight`s apparent terrorist attack possibly by ISIS is by no means the first on Turkish soil. In just the last year, there had been six attacks. June 6, car bomb killing 11 in Istanbul. March 19, suicide bomber kills four in Istanbul. Turkish officials said ISIS was responsible. A March 13 car bomb kills 30 in Ankara, though the credit there was claimed by a Kurdish militant group. A bomb killing 28 in Ankara a month just before that. And then back in October, a suicide bomber killing more than a hundred in an Ankara peace and solidarity march.
Joining me now, Ayman Mohyelon, MSNBC foreign correspondent. Ayman, Turkey has been at the absolute nexus of so much of the story of the last four years between the Syrian war, between the refugee crisis and the battle on ISIS. So much comes down to what Turkey does.
AYMAN MOHYELON, MSNBC FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, it`s not just the geopolitical epicenter of everything that`s happening between Europe and the Middle East. In and of itself, it is a country that is dealing with so many security challenges because it is dealing with this Kurdish problem now for decades.
The Kurdish situation has become more militant recently in the last year or so, even though there was some talks of possible reconciliation with the current Turkish government.
But without a doubt, over the past five years, since the rise of the civil war in Syria, Turkey really has been sitting at this epicenter of not only the crisis in Syria and Iraq, but a lot of the foreign fighters that came to go to Syria in the first place, came via Turkey.
So, it put Turkey in this difficult position. There were some that were initially accusing Turkey of turning a blind eye to militants, to foreign fighters as they were making their way into Syria, because Turkey was really focused on the Assad regime and trying to topple that.
More recently, it has also been allowing the U.S. in its campaign to bomb ISIS, as it beefed up its own security and beefed up its own operations against the Kurds and ISIS supporters.
HAYES: So you have a situation in which there`s tremendous frustration being expressed by American officials and others in the beginning that Erdogan, who has been the head of state of Turkey for years now, is basically allowing a sort of lawless area on the border with Syria, partly because he wants fighters to go to fight because he is a declared enemy, essentially, of Assad.
Eventually that situation has been altered a bit, right? How much has this blowback of ISIS is now, okay, fine, you`re now on our enemies list?
MOHYELON: Yeah, there`s no doubt. So, essentially as you perfectly outlined over the course of the evolution of Turkey`s foreign policy position towards Syria, in the sense that in the initial stages it was allowing these foreign fighters to come to topple the Assad regime. But as the rise of ISIS became more of a threat not only to Turkey, but to countries in the region, they started lashing out against Europe. The refugee crisis became a serious issue, a drain on Turkey, if you will.
All of these problems shifted the Turkish position to say, OK, they will now start combating ISIS while at the same time supporting those groups, the rebel groups or the moderates who still want to fight the Assad regime.
So in some ways, weapons have been flowing in through Turkey through the support of Arab Gulf countries, money and as well as foreign fighters. It is just a hotbed of -- it`s a confluence of interests and at the same time, a dangerous security mix.
HAYES: And then to just add complexity, right, you have the situation in which the U.S.`s best partner on the ground in rolling back ISIS so far, have been Kurdish forces. They have been the Kurdish forces. In fact, we saw special operators with Kurdish YPG fighting badges on their arms. Those are the declared enemies of Erdogan and the Turks.
When they see U.S. fighters fighting there, they got to think, are we on the wrong side of this war essentially?
MOHYELON: And in addition to that, the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization, the Kurdish Worker`s Party, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union, and the United States, shows how much more complex that situation is, because all three of those entities, those three that we just outlined, they consider the Kurdish fighters in Turkey, the Kurdish workers fighters in Turkey, to be a terrorist organization.
But at the same time, their off-shoots, their affiliates just across the border inside Syria and Iraq, they`re considered U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS...
HAYES: And not just allies, indispensable. By far, the most reliable...
MOHYELON: In Iraq, the Peshmerga has been the most lethal fighting force on the ground. We`ve heard U.S. officials say we need to do more to support them.
The concern for the Turkish officials is that that support that is going to Kurdish officials is indirectly also fueling Kurdish separatist movements inside Turkey and in itself is creating more instability on the doorsteps of Europe.
HAYES: We should also note that Erdogan has used this instability to crack down on domestic dissent. He has tighten his reins on the control of the press, a blackout. He has purged leftist groups and gone after them and jailed dissidents. It has been a rough times in many ways for Turkish democracy amidst all this.
Ayman Mohyelon, thank you for joining us and helping with the context. Really appreciate that.
All right, one quick programming note. We had promised to bring you tonight the second part of our series on climate change in America, the awful events in Turkey obviously superseded that story. But we hope to bring you our report from Barrow, Alaska tomorrow night instead.
And that will do it for us, for All In this evening. The Rachel Maddow shows starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END