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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 9/8/2016

Guests: Tammy Duckworth, Betsy Woodruff, Jon Soltz, Christopher Hill, Phil Klay, Stuart Stevens, Nada Bakos

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 8, 2016 Guest: Tammy Duckworth, Betsy Woodruff, Jon Soltz, Christopher Hill, Phil Klay, Stuart Stevens, Nada Bakos

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over):  Tonight on ALL IN...


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Last night was yet another test, and Donald Trump failed, yet again.


HAYES (voice-over):  Clinton and Trump trade blows the day after.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The whole country saw how unfit she was at the town hall last night.


HAYES (voice-over):  Tonight, from the combo plan on ISIS...


TRUMP:  If I like, maybe a combination of my plan and the general`s plan, or the general`s plan --


HAYES (voice-over):  To lauding a Russian strongman...


TRUMP:  He does have an 82 percent approval rating.


HAYES (voice-over):  To top-secret body language.


TRUMP:  Well, I am pretty good with the body language.


HAYES (voice-over):  What did America learn about Donald Trump`s fitness for office?  Plus, why the Trump camp today is doubling down on its Putin praise.

MIKE PENCE, REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think it`s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country.

HAYES (voice-over):  The bombshell revelations in Colin Powell`s email to Hillary.  The Clinton response to being told to smile more by the head of the RNC.  And move over USA Freedom Kids. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you serious?


HAYES (voice-over):  There`s been another mass defection from Team Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I can`t handle this.


HAYES (voice-over):  When All In starts right now.

HAYES:  Good evening from New York.  I`m Chris Hayes.  And in the 24 hours since last night`s "COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF FORUM", a day dominated by fallout from the candidates` comments on national security and foreign policy.  Perhaps the most memorable moment of the day came from someone who wasn`t even on that stage, Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You`re kidding?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Allepo is in Syria.  It`s the epicenter of the refugee crisis --

JOHNSON:  OK, got it, got it.


JOHNSON:  Well, with regard to Syria, I do think that it`s a mess.


HAYES:  That is true.  Amid the resulting surprise and ridicule, Johnson explained to The Daily Beast, "I immediately was thinking about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict.  I blanked."  (INAUDIBLE) politicians is never, ever, under any circumstances admit what you do not know.  Just bluff and bluster your way on through.  And that`s a lesson Donald Trump seems to have grasped long ago and his mastery was on full display at last night`s forum, hosted by NBC News and The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization.  Moderator Matt Lauer asked the GOP nominee about his new proposal to give military (INAUDIBLE) 30 days after he takes office to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS.  A proposal that seems to contradict earlier statements from the candidate about already having a plan he just can`t reveal. 


MATT LAUER, MSNBC HOST:  Is the plan you`ve been hiding this whole time asking someone else for their plan?

TRUMP:  No. But when I do come up with a plan that I like and that perhaps agrees with my -- or maybe doesn`t -- I may love what the generals come back with.  I will convene --

LAUER:  But you have your own plan?

TRUMP:  I have a plan.  But I want to be -- I don`t want to -- look, I don`t want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is.

LAUER:  But you`re going to --

TRUMP:  And let me tell you, if I like maybe a combination of my plan and the general`s plan, or the general`s plan, if I like their plan, Matt, I`m not going to call you up and say, Matt, we have a great plan.  This is what Obama does, we`re going to leave Iraq on a certain date.

LAUER:  But you`re going to convene a panel of generals.  And you`ve already said you know more about ISIS than those generals.

TRUMP:  Well, they`ll probably be different generals, to be honest with you.  I mean, I`m looking at the generals --


HAYES:  Trump was asked about his controversial praise for Russian president Vladimir Putin.


TRUMP:  He does have an 82 percent approval rating, according to the different pollsters who, by the way, some of them are based right here.  Look --

LAUER:  He`s also a guy who annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine, supports Assad in Syria, supports Iran, he`s trying to undermine our influence in key regions of the world, and according to our intelligence community, probably is the main suspect for the hacking of the DNC computers.

TRUMP:  Well, nobody knows that for a fact.  But do you want me to start naming some of the things that President Obama does at the same time?

LAUER:  But you want to be complimented by that former KGB officer?

TRUMP:  Well, I think when he calls me brilliant I`ll take the compliment, OK.  The fact is, look, it`s not going to get him anywhere.  I`m a negotiator.  If he says great things about me, I`m going to say great things about him.  I`ve already said he is really very much of a leader.  I mean, you can say, oh, isn`t that a terrible thing, he called him -- I mean, the man has very strong control over a country.  Now it`s a very different system, and I don`t happen to like the system.  But certainly in that system he`s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.


HAYES:  And this was Trump`s response to an audience question from a veteran about securing the Middle East from terrorism, even after U.S. military involvement ends. 


TRUMP:  If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn`t have ISIS.  Because ISIS formed with the power and the wealth of that oil. 

LAUER:  How are we going to take the oil?  How are we going to do that?

TRUMP:  You would leave a certain group behind and you would take various sections where they have the oil.  People don`t know this about Iraq, but they have among the largest oil reserves in the world, in the entire world.


HAYES:  Back on the campaign trail today, Trump repeated the much debunked claim that he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, even after Hillary Clinton directly went after it last night.


TRUMP:  I opposed going in, and I did oppose it.  Despite the media saying no, yes, no.  I opposed going in.  I made a detailed statement in an interview to Esquire Magazine, absolute quote, look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we`re in.  This was right after the war started.


HAYES:  That was actually in 2004.  And Esquire has a (INAUDIBLE) editor`s note to point out that Trump is wrong about the timing.  At a Tarmac press conference this morning, Hillary Clinton savaged her opponent`s appearance at the "COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF FORUM". 


CLINTON:  Last night was yet another test.  And Donald Trump failed, yet again.  He trash talked American generals saying they`ve been, quote, reduced to rubble.  He suggested he would fire them and replace them with his handpicked generals.  That`s how he talks about distinguished men and women who have spent their lives serving our country, sacrificing for us.  He praised Russia`s strongman, Vladimir Putin, even taking the astonishing step of suggesting that he prefers the Russian president to our American president.  Now that is not just unpatriotic and insulting to the people of our country as well as to our commander-in-chief, it is scary.  What would Ronald Reagan say about a Republican nominee who attacks America`s generals and heaps praise on Russia`s president? 


HAYES:  All the way on the other side of the world, the G20 summit in Laos, President Obama was asked about Trump`s performance last night.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I don`t think the guy`s qualified to be president of the United States.  And every time he speaks, that opinion is confirmed.  And I think the most important thing for the public and the press is to just listen to what he says and follow up and ask questions about what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright wacky ideas.


HAYES:  Joining me now, Christopher Hill, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, from 2009 to 2010, now Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at University of Denver.  Ambassador, I guess I -- first, just your sort of broad reaction to what you saw last night.

CHRISTOPHER HILL, DEAN, JOSEF KORBEL SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES:  You know, I watched it very carefully.  And just fundamentally this is not a serious person discussing serious issues.  He simply doesn`t understand what he`s talking about.  I mean, where to begin?  I mean, to talk about this idea that we should take the oil.  I mean, what on earth does he have in mind?  I mean, that we literally take it?  That we keep it by, you know, putting guards around it so the Iraqis or anyone else can`t use it?  Does he want us to get rid of it to prevent ISIS -- what is he talking about?  And I don`t know and he doesn`t know.  And then when he talks about this secret plan.  I mean, let`s say he has a plan, which I think is a dubious proposition.  But let`s say he has a plan, could he at least tell us, is there a diplomatic dimension to it, is there an intelligence dimension?  Are we going to try to interdict financial flows to ISIS?  What are the elements of this so-called secret plan?  So frankly speaking, there`s just nothing there.  And, you know, I understand we`re in an election, there needs to be a notion that both sides have different points of view, but this is just so unserious, it just boggles the mind.

HAYES:  Well, I think part of the issue here, right, is that we are dealing with a historically anomalous situation in that the nominee of one party has never held public office.  The nominee of the other party has held various positions in government and public life.  And so for instance on the issue of Iraq, I mean, obviously Hillary Clinton voted on Iraq, she was a supporter of that war, she has a public record on that, she has a fairly public record on Libya.  You know, Donald Trump has a Howard Stern interview, an iPhone video on Libya.  There`s a certain kind of asymmetry built into this in terms of how you even evaluate what Donald Trump`s positions are when he`s a real estate developer and TV reality show star in aughts. 

HILL:  Well, you know, he`s a real estate developer and a reality TV show host.  He is not a representative of corporate America.  Any large corporation, they have various assistants, they have vice presidents, they have all kinds of different people working on things.  So you could perhaps say there`s some analogy to how government would work.  You`d have staff meetings, you`d have papers being written.  But clearly that`s not what goes on in Trump world.  There`s himself, there`s some family, there`s some interest in making money on real estate deals.  But basically it has nothing to do with corporate America.  It has nothing to do with anything that the rest of us could, frankly, really relate to.  So we have a person who`s just so fundamentally unqualified, it`s just difficult to get across this sort of basic concept.  He should not be where he is, and yet he is.  And I think it speaks to problems within our society, problems of our ability to work within our institutions, the lack of respect for institutions, the great frustrations many Americans have in their daily lives.  So I think after Trump, we need to make sure that Trumpism does not succeed.

HAYES:  Yes, well, I wouldn`t get ahead of ourselves, Ambassador.  Thank you very much --

HILL:  Yes, yes.

HAYES:  -- for your time tonight.  I appreciate it.

HILL:  I`m joined now by Phil Klay.  He`s a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq`s Public Affairs Office, author of the award-winning book Redeployment, which I just want -- leave it on the screen for a second.

This is one of the most spectacular works of fiction that I`ve read in probably the last decade.  So everyone should please pick up this book.  Phil asked Donald Trump a question at the forum last night.  Phil, thanks for being here.


HAYES:  Your question was the one that led to the sort of just take the oil --

KLAY:  Right.

HAYES:  -- discussion.  Which you basically said, look, you know, I`ve watched, you know, blood, sweat, tears, treasure be spent to try to secure areas in Iraq to see it be taken back, to fall into the hands of groups like ISIS.  What would you do -- were you satisfied there was a real plan, details?

KLAY:  No.  And, look, we already defeated ISIS back when they were called Al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2007, 2008.  And then because of a whole variety of factors in the region, they came back.  So, you know, it`s not enough to send troops for a short amount of time.  You need to have a more thoughtful plan for what you`re going to do in a region if you want to send people to fight and die for our country.  And, you know, there was no substance to what he said.  I think it was distressing.  You would hope -- because he has a chance of being responsible for young men and women who might be sent into harm`s way.  They`re real people.  I know it`s abstract to a lot of Americans.  But they`re real people whose lives, limbs might be on the line, depending on the choices that the next commander-in-chief makes.  And, I mean, probably the most charitable way of interpreting his, take the oil, comment is to assume that he doesn`t know what he`s talking about and that it`s not serious.  If we actually take it seriously and think about what that would look like, us sending troops to -- you know, you can`t take oil out as though it`s -- you know, you`re going to the bank.

HAYES:  Right.

KLAY:  Sending troops to secure an area in Iraq -- which would make everyone hate us, including moderates in the region.  It would shatter our alliances.  I`m guessing we would have those troops, you know, being (INAUDIBLE) and sniper --

HAYES:  Yes.

KLAY:  -- you know, to secure oil fields and, you know -- 

HAYES:   Could we show this map for a second?  This is a CIA map of Iraqi oil infrastructure. 

KLAY:  Right.

HAYES:  White and dark green blobs represent oil fields, just to give people a sense of the scope and scale -- I mean, in some ways we`re giving this more deference and --

KLAY:  Right.

HAYES:  -- seriousness than it deserves, but just so people understand. 

KLAY:  Yes.  If you were to think seriously about what that would entail and also the backlash that it would bring about and the idea that that would create less terrorism in the world, less extremist groups in the world is -- I mean, it`s just not worth taking seriously.

HAYES:  Let me ask you this, I mean, you`ve said, I think, in the introduction Hallie Jackson was introducing you, you were a Democrat --

KLAY:  Mm-hmm.

HAYES:  My sense is that your politics align with Hillary Clinton more than Donald Trump`s.  What do you think about this argument he`s made that she is too quick to use intervention, that she didn`t learn from Iraq, Libya, that she`s the one that would put American troops in danger? 

KLAY:  And, look, I have been -- you know, I`ve written critically about Barack Obama, I`ve been critical of George Bush.  You know, I think it`s your job as an American citizen to be critical not just of -- HAYES:  Yes.

KLAY:  -- you know, people of the other party but especially of your own.  And I think there are a lot of questions to be had about Hillary Clinton`s foreign policy.  And, you know, unfortunately, I think, you know, there`s a way in which a serious discussion about, you know, there are plans right now.   The military has a plan to defeat ISIS.  We could be talking about the specifics of what we have done --

HAYES:  And whether it`s working and whether --

KLAY:  -- and yet we`re talking about, you know, whether or not we should take the oil, whatever that means.  And so, yes, you know, there are plenty of questions to be had about Hillary Clinton.  In debate, she defended, you know, the intervention --

HAYES:  Right.

KLAY:  -- in Libya, which I thought was very interesting.

HAYES:  Yes.

KLAY:  She doubled down.  She said that if we hadn`t done that, it could have turned into Syria and could have been worse --

HAYES:  Yes.

KLAY:  -- than it is now.  There`s a lot of substance.  But you can talk about that as actual policies that are conceivable that a president might have.

HAYES:  Yes.  Yes.  That`s well said. Phil Klay, again, the book`s called Redeployment.  You should definitely get that.  Thank you very much.

KLAY:  Thank you.

HAYES:  I`m joined now by Stuart Stevens, chief strategist to the Romney campaign in 2012.  And, Stuart, let me just start with this, I thought it was interesting today to see -- I mean, obviously we know that Donald Trump has expressed sort of admiration for Vladimir Putin numerous times.  He seems to like leaders that he perceives as strong.  He`s talked about the - - sort of admiringly of the Tiananmen Square, putting down the dissonance there.  But I thought it was interesting to see Mike Pence sort of back him up today.  Here`s Mike Pence talking about Barack Obama versus Vladimir Putin vis-a-vis strength.


PENCE:  I think it`s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country.  And that`s going to change the day that Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America.



DONALD TRUMP, JR., EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION:  The one thing I know about Vladimir Putin, he`s doing what`s right for Russia.  There`s no question about that.  When I listen to the Obama administration, I`m not sure if they`re doing what`s right for this country or if they`re doing what`s right for our enemies.  There are times I don`t even know. 


HAYES:  That was Don Jr. there.  What`s your response to that, Stuart?

STUART STEVENS, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN 2012:  Look, four years ago we had a nominee who rightly called out the threat that Russia and Putin pose to American values.  Frankly, it`s heartbreaking to see that the position of the leaders of the Republican Party are going to be pro- Putin.  The very idea that you could say that a Russian president, who wasn`t really elected, is a better leader than the American president who was elected by the American people is mind-boggling.  Because of strength.  I mean, imagine in 1932 if FDR was running and he said, well, I really admire Hitler because he`s strong, he has control of his people, he`s doing -- it would just be incredibly un-American.  And I just don`t understand it. 

HAYES:  I just want to say for myself in sort of -- my own view on this, that I`m somewhere in between the space of I do not believe Russia is America`s greatest geo-political foe, which I think is the phrase that Mitt Romney used in 2012, nor do I think that Vladimir Putin is a better president than President Obama.  Do you feel that this is -- here`s what I want to know.  Is Donald Trump executing some sort of transformation of the Republican Party right now as you watch the way that he talks about foreign policy, which is quite different than the way Republicans before him have talked about foreign policy?  It`s quite muddled and self-contradictory in other ways, but seems to have a number of impulses that have not been impulses celebrated or shared by the Republican establishment.

STEVENS:  Look, I think there`s a Donald Trump Party and there`s a Republican Party, and I have difficulty seeing where the two overlap.  Donald Trump is a pro-Putin candidate.  He`s for a 45 percent tariff.  That`s to the left of Bernie Sanders.  He wants to dismantle NATO or destabilize NATO.  He`s the anti-Ronald Reagan.  Everything that Ronald Reagan stood for -- Ronald Reagan stood for freedom.  I mean, he stood in front of the Berlin Wall and said, tear down this wall.  Now we have a nominee who is praising a thug who killed Americans.  I don`t see how that exists within the values that the Republican Party has said it stood for in our modern era.

HAYES:  Just to be clear, when you say killed Americans, you`re referring to the Malaysian Airlines flight that was shot down that had American citizens?

STEVENS:  Yes.  Yes.  I mean, he`s someone who`s lost a ground war against his neighbors, kills journalists.  These are just fundamentally -- if these values are not anti-America, what does America stand for?  And to have leaders of a party praising this person as a strong leader because he`s basically a quasi-elected dictator, it`s just astonishing.  I mean, if Barack Obama had said this in `08 -- Senator Obama -- in a debate with John McCain, that he preferred the Russian president over the American president, Republicans would have called for him to withdraw from the race.

HAYES:  Yes.  All right, Stuart Stevens, I think you are right on that counterfactual.  I appreciate your time tonight.  Thank you very much.  Still to come, Donald Trump stands by his deeply troubling comments on sexual assault in the military.  Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth joins me to talk about that ahead.  Plus, Trump makes some surprising claims about his classified intelligence briefings, renewing concern over him receiving classified intelligence briefings.  What he said, after this two-minute break.


HAYES:  As the presidential nominee of a major political party, Donald Trump, like Hillary Clinton, is being given classified intelligent briefings to prepare him for the presidency, a fact that does not sit well with those concerned about Trump`s propensity to, shall we say, talk out of turn.  Harry Reid even suggested giving Trump fake intel briefings where you, quote, don`t tell him anything, just fake it, because this man is dangerous.  Trump has now received two such briefings and last night at NBC`s "COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF FORUM", he proved his critics right.


TRUMP:  -- in that part of the world.

LAUER:  You recently received two intelligence briefings.

TRUMP:  Yes, I did. 

LAUER:  Did anything in that briefing, without going into specifics, shock or alarm you?

TRUMP:  Yes.  Very much so.

LAUER:  Did you learn new things in that briefing?

TRUMP:  First of all, I have great respect for the people that gave us the briefings.  They were terrific people.  They were experts on Iraq and Iran and different parts of the -- and Russia.  But yes, there was one thing that shocked me.  And it just seems to me that what they said President Obama and Hillary Clinton -- and John Kerry, who is another total disaster -- did exactly the opposite.  What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly -- when they call it intelligence, it`s there for a reason -- what our experts said to do.

LAUER:  How?

TRUMP:  And I was very, very surprised in almost every instance.  And I could tell -- I am pretty good with the body language, I could tell they were not happy.  Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.


HAYES:  As a U.S. official pointed out to NBC News, intelligence officers don`t give policy advice.  In addition, as a second official noted, analysts are trained not to allow their body language to betray their thinking.  And so one of the most remarkable moments of last night, Donald Trump after his first classified briefing sessions essentially threw his briefers under the bus.  Both Mike Hayden, the former CIA and NSA director, and Mike Morell, the former acting CIA director, lambasted Trump, with Morell saying Trump`s comments were, quote, highly inappropriate and crossed a longstanding red line respected by both parties.  Speaking of reporters today, Hillary Clinton also sounded the alarm.


CLINTON:  I think what he said was totally inappropriate and undisciplined.  I would never comment on any aspect of an intelligence briefing that I received. 


HAYES:  Joining me now, former CIA analyst Nada Bakos.  And, Nada, I know that you have done briefing not for presidents before, but you`ve been involved in the briefing process.  As someone who`s done that, what was your reaction to watching that little discussion from Donald Trump last night? 

NADA BAKOS, FORMER ANALYST, CIA:  Well, he`s shown amazing inconsistency when it comes to relying on the information that the intel community is going to give him.  I agree with General Hayden where I think this is politicizing the briefing that was given to him saying that there was body language given that they disapproved of Obama`s strategies, which as you mentioned is completely irrelevant and irrational.  The CIA does not prescribe policy.  Analysts are there specifically to inform the policymaker. 

HAYES:  Yes.  I mean, I also just thought about -- I was trying to think through, like, for those people that were in that room what the fallout from that moment must have been like.  I imagine that there were a lot of emails and phone calls and meetings that happened today in the aftermath of that.  And people must`ve been white knuckling a little bit as they were watching him discuss this briefing. 

BAKOS:  Yes.  My experience, there certainly would have been follow-up.  Supervisors would have contacted the briefers, asked them how it went, and in addition they probably had a collective meeting trying to decipher exactly what maybe would have been portrayed that he would have picked up on.  But again, I don`t see where, you know, Trump is actually an expert in body language.  I wasn`t aware of that credential.  In addition to the fact that analysts are thoroughly trained to brief policymakers in an objective way. 

HAYES:  Yes.  There`s some more reporting happening about General Flynn, and Chris Christie was also in the briefing room.  Four people acknowledged the matter, told NBC News one of the advisors Trump brought to the briefing, Retired General Mike Flynn, repeatedly interrupted the briefing with pointed questions.  Two sources say Christie, New Jersey governor and Trump advisor, verbally restrained Flynn.  One`s saying Christie said, "Shut up," the other reporting he said, "Calm down."  Two other sources say Christie touched Flynn`s arm in an effort to get him to calm down and let the officials continue.  Would that be anomalous or unusual to have a very contentious sort of interjection from the person being briefed, or one of the people being briefed?

BAKOS:  Well, it wasn`t unprecedented when I was working there.  I mean, I had a couple of those instances with the Bush administration when it came to an invasion of Iraq.  But yes, that`s incredibly unprecedented and unprofessional.  And really what that signifies is that Flynn is just not agreeing with the information that`s being relayed to him.  And, you know, keep in mind, these analysts are not giving their opinion.  This is based on intel analysis that`s gone through a rigorous process.

HAYES:  Yes, I should note that general Michael Flynn has disputed this account that we just gave, just to be on the record with that.  Nada Bakos, thanks for being with me.  Appreciate it.

BAKOS:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Still to come, Donald Trump blames sexual assault in the military on having women serving alongside men.  Army veteran, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth joins me to respond ahead.



CLINTON:  I`m always being told that when I talk to you, I should talk in a very calm and measured voice.  And I should not get carried away with my intense feelings about what is going on in the country.  So I do try to remind myself of that. 


HAYES:  Throughout her political life and over the course of this campaign, Hillary Clinton has been judged on everything from her appearance, the tone of her voice, so it should be of little surprise that following last night`s "COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF FORUM" another well-worn criticism of Clinton was trotted out.  This time by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus who noted on Twitter that Clinton, while answering questions about national security, was not smiling enough.  "Hillary Clinton was angry and defensive the entire time, no smile and uncomfortable, upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets."  The impulse of some men to tell women to smile is so universally loathed there are feminist art projects, even Buzzfeed listicles dedicated to the subject.  It turns out that Priebus`s analysis was not only derisive, it was inaccurate.  A Huffington Post investigation into the amount of smiling happening last night showed that Clinton smiled more than Trump.  Today Hillary Clinton had a response to the RNC Chair, and that is ahead.


HAYES:  One of the more revealing moments from last night`s commander-in- chief forum came when Donald Trump was asked what he would do to support victims of sexual assault in the military.  And in his answer seemed to suggest there was no justice system within the military.


TRUMP:  It`s a massive problem.  The numbers are staggering, hard to believe even.  But we`re going to have to run it tight.  I at the same time want to keep the court system within the military.  I don`t think it should be outside of the military, but we have to come down very, very hard on that.  It is a massive problem, but have to do something about that problem.  And the best thing we can do is set up a court system within the military.

Right now, the court system practically doesn`t exist.


HAYES:  We should note, the military already has a fairly sophisticated, developed court system.

Now, after he answered that question about sexual assault in the military, Matt Lauer followed up by asking Trump to comment on a tweet he sent in 2013, which states, "26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military, only 238 convictions.  What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?"

In response, Trump appeared to defend his tweet.


TRUMP:  It is a correct tweet.  There are many people that think that that`s absolutely correct.  And we need to have a strength and we need to have...

LAUER:  So this should have been expected and does that mean the only way to fix it is to take  women out of the military?

TRUMP:  It`s happening -- and by the way, since then it`s gotten worse.  No, not to take them out, but something has to be happen.  Right now, part of the problem is nobody gets prosecuted.  Right now, nobody`s doing anything.  Look at the small number of results.  I mean, that`s part of the problem.


HAYES:  As the Pentagon pointed out last year, sexual assault in the military is not a result of men and women serving together.  About 10,800 men are sexually assaulted every year in the military compared to roughly 8,000 women who are assault.  Trump had voiced his discomfort with women serving in active combat roles in the military before.

Earlier in 2013 he tweeted, "maybe I`m old fashioned, but I don`t like seeing women in combat."

Joining me now is Iraq War veteran, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.  She is a Democrat from Illinois who is currently running for U.S. senate.

Congresswoman, first of all, just ask your reaction to Donald Trump`s answer last night on the question of military sexual assault.

REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, (D) ILLINOIS:  Well, it`s absolutely absurd and unacceptable for someone, especially someone who is trying to become the commander-in-chief of the military, Chris.

Bottom line is that military sexual trauma is a real issue and it actually -- more men are victims of military sexual trauma than women are, just because of the sheer numbers of who serves.

And for him to say that this is what happens when you let men and women serve together, really shows a lack of understanding, and a real ignorance on behalf of Mr. Trump.

HAYES:  Yeah, I also wondered, if you felt as you watched him, that this was an issue that he had given thought to, wrestled with, been briefed on, had command of.

DUCKWORTH:  Chris, I mean, it was clear that he had no command of the issue  That he had not thought about it.  And frankly, the comments that he made were absolutely tone deaf.  You know, our military could not go to war without both men and women serving together.  If you took out the women, if you separated the two genders, it could not do its job.  It could not complete its mission of defending the United States.

And for him to have said what he said was really, I thought, it showed a real lack of understanding of the military.

HAYES:  You know, there is also a tweet that he had talked about, call me old-fashioned, but I don`t like women in combat.  It seems that there`s a broader disposition.  It`s something that has been --  some of the subtext of this campaign, there was a discussion of the draft.  What do you think of that tweet?

DUCKWORTH:  Well, I mean, Chris, it`s ridiculous.

The bottom line is, women already served in combat.  You`ve heard me say this before.  I didn`t lose my legs in a bar fight.  I was in combat.  It`s too late to have this discussion, women already serve in combat and our military needs our women to serve in combat, because we are force multipliers.  We make our military successful, just as the men that we serve next to make our military successful.

This is a moot discussion and it`s appalling for someone who wants to be commander-in-chief of the United States to not know that.

HAYES:  Let me ask you this question about commenting today about the generals.  It was a little unclear what he was saying specifically, the generals had been reduced to rubble, he said at one point, a lot of them will be gone, I believe are the words he used.

What is your interpretation just from the sort of way in which obviously the civilian command of the military interacts with the standing command structure of the forces from those comments?

DUCKWORTH:  Well, it would make one extremely concerned to have the commander-in-chief, the future commander-in-chief express such a deep misunderstanding of the military.

By the way, the president of the United States does not have the authority to fire generals.  And frankly, for him to say that the generals who lead our troops, who continue -- many of whom who continue to lead our troops in hostile situations are not capable really undermines the morale and the confidence that our troops have.

And you don`t want that coming from the commander-in-chief.  And his comments just made no sense.  On the one hand, he said they would be reduced to rubble, on the other hand, he seemed  to imply that he could fire them.  When what he should be doing is supporting our military commanders as they seek to defend our nation and lead our troops in some pretty hairy places around the world.

HAYES:  Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, thanks for joining us.  Appreciate it.

DUCKWORTH:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Still to come, as Hillary Clinton continues to face questioning over her private server, new documents showed she got some advice on how to do it.  You`ll never guess who from.

But first, tonight`s Thing one, Thing two is right after this break.  Do not go anywhere.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, they were an instant viral sensation, the USA Freedom kids who sang a very special and somewhat confusing song at a Donald Trump rally in Pensacola, Florid on January 13.  We`ve had it in our heads ever since.

But those freedom kids have now filed a lawsuit saying the Trump campaign stiffed them.  The Freedom kids manager says the Trump campaign broke verbal agreements for performances at two events and refuse said to pay even a $2,500 stipend for the group`s travel expenses, according to the Daily Beast.

They`re in good company.  Another part of the Trump campaign is saying it got stiffed too.  And that is thing two  in 60 seconds.


HAYESW:  So as I was saying, the USA Freedom Kids have sued the Trump campaign, claiming the campaign broke a verbal agreement.  The group`s manager saying, quote, "this the way they played us.  They can only ignore us for so long."

Now, it turns out those verbal agreements can be problematic, particularly when it comes tot he Trump campaign.  Today`s headline in The Washington Post, "Inside the collapse of Trump`s D.C. policy shop."

According to Josh Rogan, the Trump campaign used to have a special coterie of advisers in Washington, many of whom had been promised pay.  But in August, shortly after the convention, most of the policy shop`s most active staffers quit.  It`s a complete disaster, one disgruntled former adviser told Rogan.  They use and abuse people.  The policy office fell apart in August when the promised checks weren`t delivered.

Campaign spokesman Jason Miller acknowledged the Washington policy office grew smaller in August, but he called the effort a success.

Given the breadth and depth of Donald Trump`s policy positions on display, for instance, last night, yes, definitely, mission accomplished.


HAYES:  Last night, Hillary Clinton faced tough questions about her now infamous use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.

And one of Clinton`s defenses all along has been to point to the precedent of Colin Powell in his time as secretary of state and that she consulted Powell about the issue.  That led to a bit of he said/she said in the press, particularly when Powell said, her people had been trying to pin it on me.  The truth is she was using the private email server for a year before I sent a memo telling here what I did.

But last night, just prior to the commander-in-chief forum, Congressman Elijah Cummings released those emails between Clinton and Powell, written in January 2009, just as she was about to begin her tenure as secretary of state.

Clinton`s email to Powell reads in part, what were the restrictions on the use of your Blackberry?

Powell`s answer reads in part, "I didn`t have a Blackberry.  What I did have was a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient).  I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts."

But Powell didn`t leave it at that, he noted the State Department had issues with PDAs, which is what they called Blackberry type devices back then.

He writes: "they gave me all kinds of nonsense about how they, the PDAs, gave out signals and could be read by spies, et cetera.  So we just went about our business and stopped asking.  I had an ancient version of a PDA and used it.

That`s not all.  Powell did warn of the risks, "however, there`s a real danger, it may become an official record and subject to the law.  Be very careful.  I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data."

Today, Colin Powell`s office released a statement that reads in part, "I was not trying to influence her but just to explain what I had done eight years earlier to bring the transformation of the Sstate Department`s information system."

Now, maybe Powell really was a trailblazer on that score.  After all, we all remember what a gigantic story Colin Powell`s use of private email was.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Secretary Clinton, you`ve been criticized by the RNC for your demeanor last night, that you were too serious, that you didn`t smile enough.  Can you react to that?

And also, you suggested there is a double standard.  Do you think you`re treated differently in this race because you`re a woman?

CLINTON:  Well, I`m going to let all of you ponder the last question.  I think there will be a lot of Ph.D theses and popular journalism writing on that subject for years to come. 

I don`t take my advice and I don`t take anything seriously that comes from the RNC.

We were talking about serious issues last night.  And I had a very short window of time in that event last night to convey the seriousness with which I would approach the issues that concern our country. 

Donald Trump chose to talk about his deep admiration and support for Vladimir Putin.  Maybe he did it with a smile, and I guess the RNC would have liked that.


HAYES:  Hillary Clinton addressing criticism lobbed at her by the RNC Chairman Reince Priebus for not smiling more while answering questions on national security last night.

Her news conference earlier today is what appears to be a strategic turn in the Clinton campaign when it comes to the Democratic nominees relationship with the press.

joining me now, Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter of The Daily Beast; John Soltz, co-founder and chairman of

HAYES:  Betsy, let me start with you. I this is -- now three of these -- there were two press gaggles today.  It was a podium press conference, which we all know the most important thing about a press conference is the furniture present.  So, that was checked off today.

It does seem like the criticisms got to them.  She is engaged in the press more.  And it also seems to me that this is not a bad thing for their campaign.

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST:  Not at all.  I think it`s very easy for politicians to get rusty when it comes to engaging with the media and having conversations in situations that could be awkward or uncomfortable.  And the fact that Clinton waited so long to sort of get back in her groove when it comes to media interactions is probably I would guess very much to her detriment.  The reality is whoever gets elected president has an obligation to talk to the media, as a way of talking to the American people, and explain why he or she does what she does.  And the best way to practice for that is on the campaign trail.

And, look, it`s a chance to defend herself against these accusations from the RNC, that any woman would find incredibly head scratching at best.

So, all in all, I think the RNC and Republicans sort of pushing her into to having press conferences is going to be good for her campaign.

HAYES:  Yeah.  Last night was another one, John, of these opportunities to talk to people.  She does a lot of these town halls.  So, she`s been doing -- even though she hasn`t done press conferences, she has done a lot where she takes questions from folks.

Polling showing she is behind, she`s losing to Donald Trump among veterans and military voters.  How do you sort of understand what she needs to do with that specific voting group?

JON SOLTZ, IRAQ WAR VETERAN:  I`m actually really happy with her numbers with veterans and military families.  We have 500,000 of them in our organization.  Donald Trump, obviously there`s been some polls that have him up 20 ponits, up 10 points over her with veterans.  Mitt Romney and John McCain beat Barack Obama by 25 points.  So, you know, there`s really been a deficit there.

Part of that is some issues like VA privatization.  Even if you are a Republican you oppose VA privatization by 65 percent, 70 percent.  So there is a core issue.  And then I think the disrespect of Donald Trump that he has made towards the Khan family, disrespect towards John McCain.  I think these are issues that people are saying, I absolutely can`t vote for Donald Trump.  And for the first time, some of the older veterans that have traditionally been Republicans their whole lives are starting to look for an alternative.

HAYES:  There`s -- I think it`s interesting the way that we`ve ended up in this weird foreign policy space.  And I talked about this a little bit earlier in the show about, you know, Donald Trump trying to sort of run as both the pro and anti-war candidate in some ways, you know, hammering her hard on the Iraq vote, hard on Libya.  We should note very clearly, he did not oppose Iraq at the time, he supported it, although on a Howard Stern interview.  He supported the Libya intervention.

What do you make of that challenge for Hillary Clinton to spell out her conception of the use force?

SOLTZ:  Well, I think first I believe Donald Trump did support the Iraq War and did support Libya.  And I think that Donald Trump, looking backwards, he likes to Monday morning quarterback it and all of a sudden say I`m against these things because they`re now not popular.

Hillary Clinton doesn`t have that ability.

I think that going forward, Donald Trump says things that are very scary.  Who trusts this man with a nuclear weapon?  I think a lot of veterans are like, wow, how does he deal with application of force?  Right now, he believes application of force should carpet bomb cities and steal Iraqi oil.

So, going forward he looks a little bit like a wacko interventionist.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is trying to downplay that she supported the Libya intervention, downplay she voted for the Iraq war by saying last night by saying no boots on the ground, even though there are already boots on the ground.

HAYES:  Yeah, we should be clear.

SOLTZ:  So she`s is caught between a rock and a hard place with the Bernie Sanders core progressives that are nervous about it.  But she`s been able to woo over the Republican foreign policy establishment that gives her a lot of credibility like David Petraeus who did an event with her today.

HAYES:  Betsy, I kept watching last night thinking about the debates.  I think that was sort of the subtext for a lot of us when you`re talking about practice and getting rusty.

I`m curious just what you saw in both these candidates in terms of what kind of debate performance or debate approach we`ll see from them.

WOODRUFF:  One thing that struck me about the way Trump interacted with Matt Lauer and the crowd was how short his answers were.  It was like he wanted to get lots of questions and like he gets energy from having sort of combative, dramatic back and forths.  It was like he wanted to answer those questions fast so he could go on to the next one while Hillary Clinton gave very -- in some cases quite technical, extended, detail-oriented answers referring to suicide prevention awareness month, just you know, covering lots of bases, answering more slowly and thoughtfully.

And it seemed like the format last night made Trump feel more comfortable like it`s just something that gives him energy.  Whereas for Hillary Clinton, it`s not a setting that she seems to take a lot of joy in necessarily.  So, I think going into the debates, probably Trump might have, just in terms of personality and disposition, a little bit of an edge.  I don`t know if that makes a difference.  But I think as far as the basic personality question last night made it look like the debates are going to be perhaps promising for him.

HAYES:  That point about wanting -- short versus longer answers I think is an interesting one.  Partly, I think that that has the do with just the level of policy detail and the command that each of these candidate have, which I think there is a pretty -- it is a fairly universal I think people would say -- pretty big difference between them.

SOLTZ:  I would love to see long answers, especially on military and veterans issues.  And we haven`t really seen that in this conversation.  But don`t forget that when we run 30-second commercials with a gold star mother, which we have in ten states, it`s a really simple message.  And I think one of the unfortunate advantages Donald Trump has is, there is a lot of people that called me up and said, hey, people I know in the military, I saw your ad in Pennsylvania with a gold star mother hating Trump.  Did he actually say that?

I mean, there are people that aren`t paying attention, right.  And a large -- I mean, not everyone is like us in this circle. 

And, there are people that are just now figuring out what`s going on.  So, when he talks in these simple sound bites and he sounds tough, sure, I, Jon Soltz, who served two tours in Iraq want to hear a real conversation about how would you apply force going forward, but most mainstream voters want to know that you are going to just keep this country safe.  And that`s a really simple answer.

HAYES:  That point about the gold star mom and I hadn`t heard of that, that -- Betsy, my thought last night was Hillary Clinton also has an opportunity to force him to relitigate everything.  One of the things we saw I think last night with Putin, with the tweet, is that he`s never going to apologize for anything.  If you bring it back to him, he will double down.

WOODRUFF:  Yeah, exactly.

In contrast to Hillary Clinton.  Emmanuel Cleaver, one of her surrogates, I think earlier today said she made a mistake when she indicated or implied that we don`t currently have troops in Iraq.  That`s a marked difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Trump loves doubling down.  And when it comes to these 30-second sound bites and when it comes to communicating with voters who might spend an hour or two or three hours watching media, reading articles to decide who to vote for, rather than folks like us who live and breathe and literally have dreams about this stuff, that can make a difference.  Just that`s the reality.

HAYES:  All right, Betsy Woodruff and Jon Soltz, thank you both.

That is All In for this evening.  The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.