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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 5/15/2017

Guests: Eric Swalwell, Mark Lowenthal

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: May 15, 2017 Guest: Eric Swalwell, Mark Lowenthal

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: Well, that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: If there are tapes, as the President has suggested, he should turn them over immediately.

HAYES: A bipartisan demand for tapes.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You can`t be queued about tapes.

HAYES: As the White House stonewalls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why won`t you just explain whether or not there are recordings?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President has made it clear what his position is.

HAYES: And intelligence sounds the alarm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our institutions are under assault internally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Internally from the President?


HAYES: Tonight, as the Washington Post reports the President divulged highly classified information to the Russians in the White House. Harvard law professor, Laurence Tribe, on his case to start impeachment right now.

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: That had nothing to do with Russia. I have no investments in Russia.

HAYES: New questions and new reporting on Russia`s investment in Trump with Adam Davidson of the New Yorker. And from climate hoax cover stories to an op-ed column turned into the Trump tax plan.

TRUMP: I call it the fake news.

HAYES: Real stories of fake news becoming a White House policy when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from Detroit, I`m Chris Hayes. Another day, another nearly unbelievable report about President Donald Trump. Citing current and former U.S. Officials the Washington Post, New York Times, Reuters and BuzzFeed are all reporting tonight that the President revealed highly classified information to Russian officials during an oval office meeting last week, jeopardizing a critical source of intelligence on ISIS.

The Post, which broke the story, reporting that the information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence share arrangement who had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia and who may now refuse to share information about the Islamic State with the United States. And official telling the Post that Trump "revealed more information to the Russian Ambassador that we have shared with our own allies." NBC News has not confirmed the reports about the meeting. Roughly an hour ago, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster emerged from the White House to offer this denial.


H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: There`s nothing that the President takes more seriously than the security of the American people. This story that came out tonight as reported is false. The President and the Foreign Minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation.

At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the President did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials, who are present, including the Secretary of State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. They`re on the record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources. I was in the room, it didn`t happen.


HAYES: Joining me now, NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker. Kristin, what`s your reaction to that denial, the sort of official on the record denial from H.R. McMaster?

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is effectively parsing his words, Chris. You heard him say that at no time did the President compromise or share classified information about sources or methods, that`s not what`s in the Washington Post report. The Washington Post report deals with classified information that was given by an ally. I can tell you that I was just talking to a top press official here and tried to press this person for clarity, the response I got was that the White House has no further reaction to this report.

I can tell you though, top officials are huddled here behind the scenes in their offices trying to determine what the next steps are. This is, obviously, a bombshell for this administration and they`re trying to respond to it. The reaction is coming in from Capitol Hill from both democrats and republicans. Let me read you a part of Nancy PelosI`s statement, Chris. She said that, if these reports are true, President Trump compromised a key source of intelligence collection against ISIS and jeopardized the security of the American people.

And then this from Senator Bob Corker, who`s, of course, the Senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he says to compromise the source is something you just don`t do, and effectively argued that this administration is in a downward spiral. This is just the latest in a series of controversies and difficult questions surrounding Russia and worth reminding our viewers, Chris. That in that meeting that President Trump had with the Sergey Lavrov, and Kislyak, the American media was not allowed in.

That was controversial at the time and that aspect of this is getting, even more, scrutiny right now. So, again, administration officials here are saying that they have no further information this evening. But I can tell you we`re going to continue to try to get clarification. Because again, the National Security Adviser did not directly dispute what is the Washington Post report, Chris.

HAYES: All right. Kristen Welker, thanks for that update tonight. Joining me now, Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, Member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, your reaction to the news.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Good evening, Chris. You know, the cost of the President`s ties to Russia cannot be our National Security. And if this story is true, I`m afraid that`s a price we may pay. You know, if true, the President divulged to a foreign adversary, Russia not being our friend, potentially classified information that could put at risk American lives. I think the administration should come to congress this week, tell us exactly what was shared because only the Russian press was allowed in, not our own national press. And also tell us just what can we expect going forward as far as sharing information with Russia. This would really defy all customs and traditions of how we treat foreign adversaries.

HAYES: The argument that I`ve seen from a number of members; the Republican Party, Paul Ryan, I believe, Senator Rich, John McCain, a few others, is that there`s nothing illegal here because the President has invested in his executive authority, the unilateral ability to declassify anything he wants and say anything he wants, what`s your response to that?

SWALWELL: Well, again, Chris, if the cost, though, is that American troops or American lives are put at risk, you know, that bad judgment affects all of us, whether we`re talking about, you know, committing a crime or not. And so - also, Chris, this is a moment now for congress to really exercise the check that we have on the presidency. So this week, we`ll be calling for a vote to have an independent commission. And the Judiciary Committee where I serve, we`ll be pressing forward to have special counsel appointed to investigate Trump`s ties to Russia. And my colleague, Elliot Ingle and I have introduced regulation; we`ll work for no Russia rewards. Essentially, a freeze on anything that would help Russia until the FBI`s investigation is complete. We`re helpless in Congress and we shouldn`t act as if we are.

HAYES: There`s been a lot of commentary on your colleagues across the aisle, folks from the Republican Party, who don`t seem moved by the revelations over the last week, from the Yates testimony just a week ago, to the Comey firing, to the President undercutting the accounts of his own spokespeople, why he did it, admitting that it was tied to the Russian investigation. Do you get a sense privately from then, if you have conversations they`re concerned about this then they`re letting on? Or do they feel like this is the President and he`s Republican and we`re going to ride with them?

SWALWELL: Now is the time to be moved, Chris. I`ve had a number of conversations in the past week since the firing of James Comey about the need to join forces with democrats to have an independent commission. We`ve got one additional Republican, Justin Amash, have shown courage last week and came forward. And I hope that others Republicans have the urgency to move. Because our democracy, the integrity of free and fair elections, and making sure that we understand the President`s ties to Russia is counting on it.

HAYES: What is your reaction to the fact that we`re now looking at the possible mishandling of classified information - carelessness with classified information when that particular critique was, essentially, the core substance of the case against Hillary Clinton as prosecuted by the current President of the United States?

SWALWELL: That`s right. And there seems to be a tweet from Donald Trump in the past that is contradicted by the current Donald Trump every time he opens his mouth or every time he acts, these days. And you know, as you pointed out, Chris, he is the declassifier in chief, if he says something, it is thereby declassified. But that doesn`t mean it`s not extraordinarily bad judgment, that doesn`t mean that congress we are powerless to hold him accountable. So, now is the time for Republicans and Democrats to really assert our first - you know, our article I, I think, jurisdiction and make sure this President doesn`t put any American life at risk.

HAYES: All right. Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you. Joining me now; MSNBC Contributor, Naveed Jamali, former FBI Double Agent; and Mark Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of the CIA, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. Naveed, let me start with you. This is pretty remarkable if this story bears out and a lot of you have reported, and someone who`ve worked in counterintelligence, what`s your reaction?

NAVEED JAMALI, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I`m trying to be dispassionate and objective about this, but I simply can`t. I mean, there are two rules that I followed and there`s trust I had in my case officers, that was my identity and they would do everything to protect me. I mean - look, I know that they`re saying source and methods haven`t been released but if you were that terrorist organization and you put two and two together you`re going to roll up the people that access to that operation and put a bullet in the back of their head. So, in short, you know, I don`t know what we gained by giving this information to the Russia. And if we can`t say that there was anything received in exchange for this information, the only conclusion I can draw is that the President gave away this information for nothing short of his vanity and his ego. It is a total betrayal of trust.

HAYES: Mark, as a career, having had a career in intelligence at high level classification, based on the reporting the Washington, which did not divulge the details that the President, himself, divulged purportedly to Lavrov and Kislyak, how serious is this and how anomalous is the behavior from the President compared to other Presidents?

MARK LOWENTHAL, FORMER CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, several people have already pointed out, and you mentioned, the President, by definition can`t leak if he says it, it`s unclassified, so there`s that issue. There`ve been other leaks by Presidents. I can`t recall any with this level of seriousness and detail and it comes to mind they`re not quite as grayed - I`m assuming it happened the way it did. And the risk is - there are several risks: one is, the risk to the liaison relationship with whichever nation provide us with the intelligence, and then there`s the risk to other liaison relationships who may decide, we can`t share this with the Americans.

We can`t - you can`t - you know, they`re not going to give intelligence to the CIA and say, by the way, please don`t tell the President. The CIA is not going to accept intelligence that way. So, there`s a wider risk to - and we have dozens and dozens of liaison relationships. And all of them become difficult at this point, because the providing country may say, I don`t think I can risk this anymore.

HAYES: This also struck me, Mark, just to follow up on this. This struck me as the meta-story here of how this came to the public. A kind of bright bold SOS from the Intelligence Community. I mean, the fact - it`s an extraordinary act to, essentially, leak this to the press that this happened and it both is a tremendous escalation in terms of this kind of war brewing between the President and his own I.C. But also a kind of just - signal of distress, it would seem to me, is that your interpretation?

LOWENTHAL: I think that is correct. I think the unfortunate part of this story is that if I`m reading between the lines correctly, the leak itself probably came from the Intelligence Community with what Greg Miller reported was that after the President`s conversation with Lavrov and Kislyak, some people were so concerned about what he said to them that they immediately informed NSA and CIA, probably to go back to the liaison partners and say we`ve had a problem here in the oval office. The likelihood is the leak did come from U.S. Intelligence, that`s bad. I don`t advocate people leaking, and it does further undermine what has already been a very rocky relationship between the President and the Intelligence Agencies.

HAYES: It sounds like, according to the reporting in the Washington Post, Naveed, that one of the assistants to the President for National Security had to call CIA, NSA, and say, look, this has been possibly compromised, we may be facing questions about this. Naveed put these points together. I mean, this is all happening - the remarkable span of 24 hours: President fires James Comey, he has a meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov in the oval office in which Kislyak is not in the read out and does not allow American photographers in but the Russian official photographer who is sort of, also Russian media is in, which is how he learned of Kislyak. And they`re talking apparently divulging classified information, all this in 24 hours.

JAMALI: Chris, I mean, from that readout and if everything has been reported, I don`t know what the Russians gave us. I don`t know if anything was obtained. I don`t know of any objective, whether it be with Syria was closeout - the loop was closed out, but what we do know now is that potentially classified information that could have compromised. And when we say source and methods, let`s be clear about this. These are human collectors, these are people that are designed to infiltrate a terrorist organization and spy on that. A great risk to themselves, or family, so we`ve compromised them for what exactly? I have not heard of anything that came out of that meeting that was substantive other than grip a grim. The Russians walked away with something pretty big here.

HAYES: All right. Naveed Jamali and Mark Lowenthal, thank you, both for your time.

LOWENTHAL: Thank you.

JAMALI: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, more on tonight`s breaking news and the lingering questions surrounding President`s firing of FBI Director James Comey, now calls for impeachment for the sitting congressman. He joins me after this two-minute break.


HAYES: On a day dominated by news that President Trump reportedly gave classified information to the Russian officials during a meeting in the Oval Office last week, there are new members of congress, a wide swath of the American people, and even the former most senior intelligence officer in the country to do something to investigate reign in this president. The president for his part is trying to turn the page, telling reporters today, he`s "moving rapidly to replace fired FBI Director James Comey.

The lingering questions around that firing are not going away. Including whether Trump, as he suggested on Twitter, made secret recordings of his conversations with Comey, and whether he will turn them over to congress if they exist.


SPICER: I think I made it clear last week that the president has nothing further on that. (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait, Sean, does that mean that the president will deny -

SPICER: I think I said - I was very clear, that we -- the president will have nothing further on that last week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This prior situation which -

SPICER: I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- it will defy the legislative branch`s request.

SPICER: I understand. Alexis, I made it clear what the president`s position is on that issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why won`t you just explain whether or not there are recordings of -

SPICER: I think the president has made it clear what his position is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s not my question so why wouldn`t you explain -

SPICER: I understand that because that`s what the president`s position is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, given that you refused to confirm or deny any of this. How is any senior official supposed to feel comfortable having a conversation -

SPICER: As I`ve said (INAUDIBLE) the president has made it clear what his position is.


HAYES: American people are not happy with the president`s decision to fire the man investigating his campaign ties to Russia. Just 29 percent of Americans approve the President firing Comey in a new poll, while 38 percent disapproved of the firing. They don`t trust Congress to investigate the possible Trump-Russia connection. Asked if they would rather have A, congress, or B, an independent commission or special prosecutor to the investigation, just 15 percent say Congress, while 78 percent support independent commission or special prosecutor, something the White House insist is not necessary. President has repeatedly pointed to testimony from former director of national intelligence James Clapper to argue there is no evidence of collusion with Russia, but Clapper this weekend said, his testimony shows no such thing. And added a scathing indictment of the man in the Oval Office.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I think in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally and that`s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system. And I think, as well, our institutions are under assault internally.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: Internally from the president?

CLAPPER: Exactly.


HAYES: Joining me now, Congressman Al Green of Texas who has called for the impeachment of the president. Congressman, what is your case for impeachment?

REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS: Chris, if I may, thank you for allowing me on. And I`d just like to make one point quickly. I heard your prior story, and for someone to make the argument that it wasn`t illegal, causes me a good deal of concern. It was wrong, and at some point, we have to focus on the fact that a lot of wrong things are taking place. Yes, the president is above the law as it relates to super-secret information being revealed, but it was just wrong.

Now, my case from impeachment is this. First, American people have to understand what impeachment is. Impeachment does not mean that the president will be removed from office. It is merely the charging of the president and the House of Representatives. It`s similar to an indictment, not the same but similar to. And once these charges are filed against the president, if the president is, in fact, impeached, then it goes to the senate, and the senate will have a trial and then the president may be convicted and may be removed from office. But impeachment is all about having the president charged in the house. It is my belief, and I believe this sincerely, that the president has obstructed justice. The president fired the person who was investigating him and after he fired the person who was investigating him, he revealed that he was considering the reason that he was being investigated when he fired the person.

And then he goes on to tweet, what might be intimidating words or threatening language, such that all of this combined causes me to conclude that the president should be impeached, the constitution allows it. We ought to engage in the process.

HAYES: There are a lot of questions about the question of tapes, which we come quite germane, particularly in the context of everything that`s been happening. Whether it`s the discussion with Comey at dinner, whether it`s - what was reportedly said in this meeting with the Russian official. And the - and the White House has been bizarrely coy on this issues, and of course, because the Nixon legacy, there`s a certain attentiveness to this. Democratic colleagues yourself want to see tapes. Do you think congress will be able to get its hands on those tapes if they exist?

GREEN: Well, if he`s impeached, we will. And impeachment, really, is going to depend upon the American people. This is a participatory democracy. You cannot participate only at Election Day. This is a time for the American people to weigh in. And if the American people will simply say to the representatives in congress that they want impeachment, it can happen. It`s not impossible. And, yes, the tapes should be brought forth. I believe that there are other means by which we can acquire them, a proper - - pardon me, committee that is investigating can subpoena those tapes, that`s the kind of evidence that can be subpoenaed. I think the president might try to exert executive privilege. But I believe that there are constitutional scholars on both sides of this and I come down with those who say that that sort of evidence should be made available if a proper investigation is taking place. If there is impeachment taking place, I am absolutely confident that we`ll get those tapes. And we need those tapes. We need to know what was said so that we can understand better the level of intimidation that may have been taken place.

HAYES: Oh, I should know. We don`t know if the tapes exist as of yet. But we do know the White House has refused to deny taping the --

GREEN: Well, I think we should have - well, I think, Chris, I think we should assume that they exist because the president has given us that reason to believe so, and until he denies the existence, we should assume that they do.

HAYES: Yes. That`s a fair characterization. Congressman Al Green, thank you for your time. Speaking of constitutional scholars, joining me now, Laurence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School whose opinion piece in the Washington Post that`s titled "Trump Must Be Impeached, Here`s Why." And professor, there are two things that have happened now in the past week, the firing of James Comey and The Washington Post story tonight about the president sharing highly sensitive, classified information. In defense of the president in both cases are that what he did was squarely within his powers, within his article power, two powers of the president, he can declassify anything he want, and he can fire the FBI director for cause or no cause. What say you to those who say this is within his authority, you may not like it, but he is acting lawfully?

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: The main thing I say is that with great power, comes great responsibility. I think that was a line from Superman or Batman, or something. We have a president who exercises his power, not with responsibility, but to cover himself and to make himself more wealthy. Take for example of the firing of Comey, of course, he has the fire to power, I have the power to give $100 to a detective who`s investigating me for the police department. But if I say I`ll give you that $100 if you stop investigating me or if I even hint that, then I`m committing some kind of bribery, basically. And that`s what the president did. Even by his own account of what happened at that dinner, whether there are tapes or not, let`s face it, the reality is that from the first day that Donald Trump was President, he was already violating the constitution because he was violating the provisions that say that you cannot have sources of wealth and influence coming from foreign governments.

The basic reason the framers put that in there is because we, as a nation, don`t know what the motive of the president is when he does something nice for a foreign government. Is he doing it just as your prior speaker said to get something good for the American people in return, or is he doing it to, basically, on a CYA basis, to protect himself and to make himself more wealthy, the more we learn about the Russian connection, the more we need to look into that. Now, I agree with Congressman Green that we need to start investigating, and that is what it means to open an impeachment inquiry in the house.

HAYES: But it strikes me the sort of deep question here, is whether and how the law applies to the president. It seems to be one of the things that I`m sort of slowly learning, is that impeachment is the remedy. I mean, the president can`t --

TRIBE: It`s the only remedy.

HAYES: Yes, the president can`t be tried by the U.S. attorney from the southern district for violating some part of the federal criminal code in the - in the famous thought experiment of shooting a gun on 5th Avenue. I mean, impeachment is the remedy and fundamentally the remedy is a political remedy more than a judicial one and that seems to be the kind of bedrock issue here, right?

TRIBE: Exactly. I mean, the whole point is that if the president is as casual about the law as he appears to be, if he`s as reckless about our national secrets, if he is so reckless about, basically, offering to keep a guy on a job if only he will layoff and not look at the truth, then we can`t indict the president criminally for bribery or for witness intimidation, those remedies are unavailable. The only remedy is the political one and the way you get that political one started is for the House of Representatives to begin issuing subpoenas and conducting an impeachment investigation. When a lot of my e-mails said, isn`t it too soon, my immediate reaction is, what are you waiting for? With every passing day, this guy is a loose cannon threatens the national security. The national security of the United States, we cannot afford to let this go on, without at least starting the process of digging into the nature of the abusive power here, and what the president is gaining. I mean, this amazing love affair with our adversary, the Russians is explainable only in terms of what one of the president`s sons said not long ago. And that`s -- we don`t need money from American banks; we get all our money from the Russians.

HAYES: Well, I`m glad you keep that up.

TRIBE: You know, we`ve got to get to the end of that.

HAYES: We`re going to be talking about that just a little bit in the show. Laurence Tribe, thank you for your time tonight. Coming up, could President Trump`s resistance to investigation have less to do with collusion and more to do with what might be uncovered about his businesses along the way. A new reporting on that ahead.


HAYES: Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee is reacting to the Washington Post bombshell tonight that the president revealed highly- classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador, saying the White House needs to get itself under control, quoting here. "Obviously, they`re in a downward spiral right now, and they`ve got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that`s happening." If you believe my next guest and his reporting, the troubles the president could get much worse and quickly as investigators begin to follow Trump`s money back to Russia. That`s next, don`t go anywhere.


TRUMP: But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And, in fact, when I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it`s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.


HAYES: When Donald Trump admitted that this Tussia thing is what he was thinking about when he decided to fired FBI Director James Comey, it fueled speculation about exactly why he keeps acting like he`s covering something up. What exactly that something can be.

Well, tonight, thanks to some excellent reporting by The New Yorker`s Adam Davidson, there`s a new contender in the clubhouse.

Adam Davidson joins me now. And Adam I liked what you wrote a lot, because the question you get from so many people is, if there`s nothing there to the possibility of collusion with Russia, then what could possibly explain the behavior that seems to be taking every possible action to cover it up? And you present some -- a compelling theory. What is it?

ADAM DAVIDSON, NEW YORKER: My theory is -- well, the evidence is that -- sometimes from Trump`s own words is that for a very long time, for decades, but possibly heating up in the last 10, 15 years the Trump organization did some fairly shady business with some fairly shady characters around the world. We certainly know from my own reporting and other people`s reportings, that he has done business deals with some of the most corrupt oligarchs, folks in some of the most corrupt parts of the world.

Donald Trump himself on CNBC in 2012 said that the only way to do business around the world is to pay bribes, so that would open up the Trump organization, his children, other former staff members to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. We know the Trump organization was incredibly weak on its money laundering trying to avoid money laundering through its casinos as well as some of its real estate projects. Casinos and real estate being two of the main ways money is laundered around the world.

And so there is a kind of grand theory that there was some deep collusion between Trump and Putin, or Trump associates and Putin, and who knows. But what we know for sure this is a company that really tried to hue as close to the line between legality and illegality for a long time.

HAYES: Yeah. And you did amazing reporting about a hotel project where they seemed to be just based on your reporting in flagrant violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and possibly comlicit in a money laundering scheme for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard of all people.

But you also note that the Treasury Department is going to hand over documents about some of the Trump enterprises to the Senate committee and what possible threat that could spell for the Trump org.

DAVIDSON: Yeah, this, to me, was this to me was possibly the most important last news last week, even more than the Comey firing. The Treasury has this thing called the financial crime enforcement network. It`s kind of like the FBI of the Treasury Department. And every single day they collect something called suspicious activity reports from banks, casinos, all sorts of financial institutions all around the country and around the world. And this is part of a global consortium of hundreds of government agencies like this.

And these are just -- they just form a repository, someone called it the Google of financial crime, until someone starts investigating.

Now, five years ago, eight years ago, the Trump organization was a relatively small player in New York Real Estate, global real estate. There`s no reason to think anyone would have gone looking. But once they start searrching these suspicious activity reports, they have the potential of really building a global historical map of the Trump Organization, where money came from, was it money laundering, was it other shady practices.

And then you could easily imagine Trump staffers, Trump family members, being explored for criminal behavior. They have none of the immunities that the president himself has.

HAYES: Right. So, you can imagine that the people around president, the president himself thinking, even again, bracketing for a second the facts of what happened with you Russia, which we still don`t know and maybe ultimately get to the bottom to, but even if there`s nothing there, just the thought of someone who is truly independent investigating the many operation of the Trump Org is going to expose us to some serious possible potential liability that I do not want to happen.

DAVIDSON: When I walked through what we know now, what is publicly known, what Trump himself has admitted to with lawyers, they said, this is enormously risky from a legal standpoint. This is the kind of stuff that businesses just don`t do in America. They`re a real outlier.

So, yes, I mean, I don`t know for a fact that anyone in the Trump organization ever committed a crime, but they certainly did a lot of things that people who do commit crimes do. And I think it will keep people busy - investigators.

Another key point is a lot of this is in jurisdictions outside of the Department of Justice - New York, Miami, other countries in the world. So we could easily imagine investigators from other jurisdictions investigating.

HAYES: All right, Adam Davidson, thank you. Thanks for great reporting, Really appreciate it.

DAVIDSON: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, an unsettling report on how this president gets his news, including that time a White House aide printed out an internet hoax and gave it to the president. More on that coming up.

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, a pesticide that was expected to be banned by now, poisoned a dozen farm workers from California this month.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Top story here at 5:00, more than 50 farm workers exposed to a pesticide drip this morning southwest of Bakersfield. The incident shutdown harvesting operations after some of those workers complained of sudden illness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t wait, particularly if you`re suffering from any symptoms, whether it`s nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately.

UNIDNEITIFED FEMALE: The active ingredient in the insecticide is chlorpyrifos. It is reported to cause severe neuro toxic symptoms in humans if touched, inhaled or eaten.


HAYES: The chemical on that pesticide chlorpyrifos was banned from household use over a decade ago. And under the direction of President Obama, the EPA was on track to ban agricultural use of it earlier this year. But the EPA under President Trump reversed course. And that chemical is still being used. And we know of one person with a special pen who is pretty happy about that.


TRUMP: Should I give this pen to Andrew? Dow Chemical.

UNIDENITFIED MALE: I think, maybe, right.



HAYES: Dow Chemical, the Trump administration and a dangerous chemical that is unexpectedly still in use, that`s Thing Two, in 60 seconds.


HAYES: The EPA made headlines last in March when its new chief Scott Pruitt rejected the agency`s own scientific findings and decided not to ban an insecticide that uses a poisonous chemical, despite mounting evidence of what the chemical caused - learning and memory declines, particularly among farm workers and young children.

A month later, as Mother Jones reports, the chemical poisoned a bunch of farm workers who reported vomiting and nausea. But there was one big winner from Scott Pruitt`s decision, Dow Chemical, which sells about 5 million pounds of the substance each year.

Dow Chemical had donated $1 million to Trump`s inauguration funds and most recently sent letters to three federal agencies asking them to ignore pesticide studies that say their products threaten endangered species.

We don`t know how the Trump administration will respond to those letters form Dow Chemical, but their CEO Andrew Liveris knows just the man to write to if they run into problems.


TRUMP: Should I give this pen to Andrew? Dow Chemical.



HAYES: The president`s doctor once predicted his patient would be, quote, "the healthiest individual elected to presidency." There are several reasons to be believe that may not be accurate. Not only is the president the oldest one ever, but we know he has a thing for fast food. Here he was eating KFC in a picture he tweeted during the campaign. And we just learned courtesy of TIME magazine, the president gets two scoops of vanilla ice cream with his chocolate cream pie instead of the single scoop for everyone else.

And though he plays an awful lot of golf making 21 golf course visits so far during his brief time in office, the president is apparently not a big fan of exercise as The Washington Post reported this weekend. According to recent New Yorker cited by the Post, other than golf he considers exercise misguided arguing a that person like a battery is born with a finite amount of energy.

That echoes the Post`s own 2016 biography Trump revealed, quote, Trump believed the human body was like a battery with a finite amount of energy, which exercise only depleted, so he didn`t work out.

The president told New York Times Magazine in 2015, all my friends who work out all the time, they`re going in for knee replacements, hip replacements. They`re a disaster, he said.

He exerts himself fully by standing in front of an audience for an hour as he just did. That`s exercise.

Now everyone has got their own idiosyncratic beliefs, your host included, but not everyone is the president of the United States. A new report out today sheds light on just where the president is getting his information. And that`s coming up next.


HAYES: The president of the United States is getting fake news from his own senior White House staff, according to a new report out today.

Politico reports that Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland, former Fox News talking head recently gave the president a printout of two- TIME magazine covers, one supposedly from the 1970s warned of a coming ice age, the other from 2008 about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter. The president quickly got lathered up about the media`s hypocrisy. According to Politico, there was one fairly glaring problem, one of those TIME covers was a fake.

This image appears to be what McFarland shared with the president. It`s an online hoax that`s been circulating for years, debunked by the magazine in 2013.

The cover on the left purporting to be from 1977 was photoshopped. This was the real cover from 2007. A survival guide for global warming, not a coming ice age.

Fortunately, according to Politico, other staff were able to chase down the truth and intervene before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it.

I`m joined now by Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter for The Daily Beast, Michael Steele, a former RNC Chairman, MSNBC political analyst, Republican strategist and media consultatnt Rick Wilson.

And Michael, you know, there`s a nexus between the story tonight in The Washington Post about the president talking to Russian officials about classified information and this, which is a total lack of informational discipline in that White House. What comes in and what goes out, neither is being controlled, it seems to me at the moment. How important is that for a president?

MICHAEL STEELE, FRM. RNC CHIEF: Oh, my gosh, it`s so important. And it really does start at the chief of staff`s office who is the gatekeeper. He is the one who is the force that will allow something to get to the president`s desk or block it.

In that Politico story they talked about Reince telling everybody in the senior staff stop going around me and just giving the president stuff that you want him to have.

That is vitally important because when you have a president who takes that kind of information and just absorbs it immediately whether it`s fake or real or true or not, and then goes out and retweets it, it becomes a problem.

HAYES: And Rick, it strikes me that that`s why the story in The Washington Post tonight is so plausible, because the lack of discipline has been demonstrated publicly time and time again whether it`s about things he retweets or things he tweets or things he says on the trail that aren`t true. Like, it is very plausible story that he`s in a conversation, he talks about things that are classified because we know that this is not a particularly disciplined operation.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: And my friend Michael is exactly correct. The chief of staff would be the one person you would rely on in a normal White House to control the flow of information to the president and to make sure the president knew where the lanes were when he`s dealing with other people, whether it`s a domestic matter or an intelligence related matter of a diplomatic matter that he knows where the basic lanes and parameters are.

And because there`s no one in control of the White House except Donald Trump`s ego and no one in control of this White House except Donald Trump impulses of the moment, the fire hose of bizarre outlandish stories that Donald Trump is handed by his pack of lunatic aides and misfit toys, these guys are putting stuff in front of him. Reince has no control over it.

Trump then goes out and says whatever is put in front of him. You know, it`s like Ron Burgundy. He`ll read whatever`s on the prompter.

HAYES: And Betsy, this is - I mena, to Rick and Michael`s point, I mean, you could put this at the feet of Reince who is the chief of staff, but the president himself has clearly created a kind of organizational structure where all of the normal channels that are put in place for specific reasons about restricting access to the president, what he sees, who gets to go in the room, how he`s scheduled, all that`s been thrown out the window by the president.

The office doors are open. Anyone can come in and stick an article and a memo they`re giving him. And that seems to come from the top down, whether Reince likes it or not, which he clearly doesn`t.

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: And I think that`s probably perhaps the biggest underlying story here is the extent to which the president has totally upended the normal channels for him to receive information.

And remember, the parallel to Trump receiving a fake internet hoax, TIME magazine cover is the fact that he seems to be paying comparatively little attention to the intelligence information that he`s receiving.

I spoke to a current intelligence officer this evening who said the news from tonight and over previous weeks has been incredibly disheartening to members of the intelligence community in large part becausethey feel like he doesn`t take their work seriously. Like he has this open door Oval Office policy, but at the same time he`s willing to get into issues, get into trouble with Russian officials in a way that will likely make it harder for American intelligence officials to work with our partners to gather the vital intelligence that`s essential for our national security apparatus to function properly.

So, it`s two sides of the same story here, and that`s something that`s really concerning to folks in the intel community.

HAYES: Michael, here`s Bob Corker talking about the downward spiral, which is such a striking quote - and to hear that from a Republican who generally had been, you know, fairly calm about all of this. Take a listen.


SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: Obviously, they`re a in a downward spiral right now and they have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that`s happening.

The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that, I think, makes -- it creates a worrisome environment.


HAYES: And Michael, you can`t help but note that carelessness and recklessness were the core of the case about Hillary Clinton, particularly as it relates to the emails, right. That there was a lack of care that was exercised, that she should have known better, that things before flying around and they didn`t know who was going on. And then you look what`s happening in this White House.

STEELE: Yeah, but actually, you know there were telltale signs of this on the Republican side, and folks just chose to ignore it. So, all of this, you know, kind of oh my god how did we get here from Republicans about Donald Trump`s behavior, particularly in this area, it`s just - it`s phony at this point. Because you saw the signs there, they were there. He told you who he was. And to expect a 70 year old man who has built an enterprise around media, a cult of personality, is - it`s going to change that, it`s just not going to happen. And here we are

WILSON: You know.

HAYES: And Rick, that was the case, right? That was case of the folks that were in this sort of Never Trump camp.

And the question here to me, I ask this question of someone last week, and I want to hear it from you, which is I watch all this happen and I think of the Access Hollywood 48 hours and I remember everyone saying, oh my gosh, he`s toast and he`s immoluating and obviously he`s going to lose by 20 points.

And there were Republicans who jumped off the train. And, frankly, paid the price for it. And I just wonder how much that is at the fore of the calculations that are being made by congressional Republicans while these stories are coming out.

WILSON: Well, look, Bob Corker`s been a pretty steady supporter of the president. I want you to think of this as an iceberg. You`re seeing the tip where he`s sort of nervous about this. Under the waterline, these guys are in a raging panic right now. They recognize that at any moment Donald trump can finally snap and run down Pennsylvania Avenue in a gold speedo and these guys are going to be held responsible for his crazy actions.

This is not something that they`re comfortabel with. They are very nervous right now. They fear the criminal liability is rising. They feel he puts his head in the noose every single day on a new issue or a new problem. It is not a place for people who are very sanguine right now about Donald Trump.

HAYES: Is that our sense, Betsy, from your reporting that the temperature on Capitol Hill?

WILSON: Yeah, certainly. Capitol Hill and throughout the federal agencies within the intel community, within the Justice Department, within - you name it, right?

I`ve been getting texts from sources this evening that have a lot of bad words in them. The anxiety level is pretty high.

The reality is that the president is showing that he`s willing to surprise people. Whatever the most surprising thing was from the week before, it`s going to get topped. And if you work in the federal government that is a time when you`re sort of on red alert constantly.

HAYES: All right, Betsy Woodruff, Michael Steele, and Rick Wilson, thanks to you all.

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