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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 6/8/2017

Guests: Chris Murphy, Dan Rather, Nick Ackerman, Matt Miller

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: June 8, 2017 Guest: Chris Murphy, Dan Rather, Nick Ackerman, Matt Miller



JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: It`s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.

HAYES: James Comey unloads.

COMEY: The endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a -- that is a very big deal.

HAYES: The fired FBI Director on the President`s lies.

COMEY: I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting.

HAYES: On the loyalty pledge.

COOMEY: He`s looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job.

HAYES: On the prospect of tapes.

COMEY: Lordy, I hope there are tapes.

HAYES: On Mike Flynn.

COMEY: It rings in my ear as kind of will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?

HAYES: On the President`s motives.

COMEY: My impression was something big is about to happen. I need to remember every single word that is spoken.

HAYES: And what he couldn`t say today?

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC), CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Was the FBI able to confirm any criminal allegations contained in the Steele document?

COMEY: Mr. Chairman, I don`t think that`s a question I can answer in an open setting.

HAYES: Tonight, James Comey day for the hour and the White House responds.


HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. In some of the most extraordinary testimony ever delivered on Capitol Hill, former FBI Director James Comey finally got the chance to tell his version of the events that ended in his abrupt firing almost exactly a month ago. This morning, Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee under oath about a series of interactions with the President over the past six months, laying out a devastating assessment of the President`s conduct and character and accusing the President and his White House of lying to the American people about why he was fired.


COMEY: The administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies plain and simple.


HAYES: Asked why he took the unprecedented step after their first meeting to write memos documenting his run-ins with the President of the United States, Comey cited, quote, "the nature of the person he was speaking with."


COMEY: I was alone with the President of the United States, or the President-elect, soon to be President. The subject matter I was talking about matters that touch on the FBI`s core responsibility and that relate to the President-elect personally, and then the nature of the person. I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.


HAYES: After Comey called the President a liar, the President`s attorney today made essentially the same case about Comey.


MARC KASOWITZ, TRUMP`S PERSONAL LAWYER: The President never in form or substance directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including the President never suggested that Mr. Comey, quote, "let Flynn go," closed quote.


HAYES: Comey had already laid out the details of his encounters with the President in written testimony released yesterday, there was still perhaps surprisingly, plenty of news from today`s hearing. We learned, for example, that Comey himself was responsible for leaking one of his memos to the New York Times, which resulted in this story days after Comey`s firing about the President`s request to end the investigation of Michael Flynn. We learned that while Comey was still at the FBI, Flynn was under criminal investigation involving his contacts with Russian officials and his conversation with FBI investigators. We learned that the President himself was not a subject of the FBI`s counterintelligence probe while Comey was in charge though he may now be under investigation by the Special Counsel. At the same time, what Comey felt he couldn`t say about Russian collusion, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the infamous Steele dossier in an open session was just as revealing. Much more on that coming up. The former FBI Director did answer detailed questions about his one-on-one interactions with the President, and though he took pains not to draw any legal conclusions, his testimony ultimately laid out a case that the President of the United States committed obstruction of justice. Regarding the loyalty pledge, Comey says the President demanded of him shortly after taking office, Comey interpreted it to be intended as a kind of quid pro quo.


COMEY: The dinner was an effort to build a relationship. In fact, he asked specifically of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. My common sense told me what`s going on here is that he`s looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job.


HAYES: Asked about the President`s statement, I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go, Comey testified that he understood it as a direct instruction.


COMEY: I took it as a direction.


COMEY: This is the President of the United States with me alone, saying I hope this. I took it as this is what he wants me to do. I didn`t obey that, but that`s the way I took it.


HAYES: And perhaps most damningly, Comey said his own dismissal last month was an attempt by the President to influence of Russia investigation.


COMEY: It`s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change -- or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a -- that is a very big deal.


HAYES: On the question of obstruction, Comey said he`d leave that to Robert Mueller.


COMEY: I don`t think it`s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the President was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that`s a conclusion I`m sure the Special Counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that`s an offense.


HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. Senator, what did you learn today?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, this was explosive. It was stunning, and though the FBI Director, former Director wouldn`t say it himself, he laid out a case that describes the President of the United States trying to obstruct justice, clear as day. And his belief that he was fired because he was pursuing the truth with respect to the connection that the Trump campaign and possibly the President himself had with Russia is the most important piece of this story. And so, the question now is what comes next for us? Clearly there`s still some unanswered questions. You might not have mentioned the fact that he did bring out the question of perhaps a third contact that the Attorney General had with the Russians, another reason for recusal. We`ve got to get to the bottom of that. And then, listen, I think there are going to be some real soul searching about the conditions for impeachment. This alone may not bring that conversation to a head, but I think we have enough now to know that the President was absolutely trying to stop the FBI from getting to the truth on the Russia story.

HAYES: You think, from what you see today, that there`s enough on the table that has been entered into evidence as it were to make a plausible case for obstruction, which you would consider high crime or misdemeanor is my sense.

MURPHY: So my instinct today is that there have to be two pieces to get to a question of high crimes and misdemeanors. One, this question of obstruction of justice but I think we have to have a better understanding of the truth that the President was trying to hide. What was he trying to obstruct the FBI from getting to? Now, I think we`ve got lots of pieces of that.

HAYES: Right.

MURPHY: But I do think we have to let the Mueller investigation move a little bit further to understand the second piece of this. But the obstruction case seems to be as clear cut as you can imagine given Comey`s testimony today.

HAYES: So, I want to ask you about your judgment of the credibility of the witness today under sworn testimony, James Comey. The President`s lawyer, despite yesterday saying the written statement totally vindicated the President and not contesting any of its substantive claims, today claimed that Comey was not telling the truth under oath. And Comey also at one point implicated Loretta Lynch, the former Attorney General, that saying basically her handling of supervision of the Clinton matter, that she instructed him to use that word, made him uneasy. There`s a statement from someone close to Loretta Lynch today sort of saying the basic set of facts but with a different interpretation. I ask all this to say do you trust James Comey ultimately?

MURPHY: Well, listen, there`s no question that many of us, myself included, have questioned James Comey`s judgment. But I have not questioned James Comey`s penchant to tell the truth. I don`t think there`s any history of James Comey not being able to tell the truth, not having a commitment to telling the truth. President Trump lies on almost a daily basis. He has a reputation for it, and it is growing. And so I think the American public, and I imagine most of the Senate in weighing the testimony of James Comey against the allegations that the President has lodged through his attorney that the former Director isn`t telling the truth will side with James Comey.

HAYES: Do you think it`s important -- we have not heard directly from the President really on this matter in any extended way for quite some period of time -- do you think it`s important that at some point, perhaps soon, that the President speak directly to all of this?

MURPHY: I think it`s important for the President to speak to all of us. I think at some point, it`s probably important to get the President under oath. James Comey testified under oath today. I think may be important whether it be through the FBI investigation or through some intermediary to Congress that the President testify to what happened and do so under oath.

HAYES: All right. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, thank you for making time tonight.

MURPHY: Thank you.

HAYES: I`m joined now by Joy Reid, host of "A.M. JOY" right here on MSNBC, and Dan Rather, host of AXS TV`s The Big Interview. Mr. Rather, let me start with you for sort of some perspective here. What`s struck me today and we just heard Chris Murphy just casually refer to the President as a liar. And it just struck me today that it`s just not that often that that word is used so sharply, so confidently in this setting. And you have a better context for that. Is that an accurate assessment on my part?

DAN RATHER, AXS TV HOST: It is an accurate assessment on your part. I`d go so far to say this was the historic day because never in our history have we had a sitting President directly accused by a Head -- a former Head of the FBI of being a liar. It`s a very harsh word. I don`t think it`s ever been applied, even during the worst of the Nixon years. You remember President Nixon reached the point at one juncture where he said, I am not a crook. Now, Trump is at the point where he has to say, I am not a liar. The other guy`s a liar. This is unprecedented from a historic standpoint. You know, this scene is going to be written about 50, 100, 200 years from now. There`s something Shakespearean about it, in more current terms, more of a House Of Cards, and what Comey was testifying to was more something out of the movie the Godfather, it`s almost unbelievable. But not only did he accuse the President of being a liar, he did it five times, three times directly -- two times directly and another three times at least by inference. Five times he suggested -- not suggested, he said the President was lying, or at the very least not telling the truth, exclamation point.

HAYES: It was fairly remarkable. I want to play sort of that sound. I mean, I want to play the sort of contentions matched up with what the President said, what Comey says he said, and get your reaction, Joy. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I had a dinner with him. He wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. We had a very nice dinner at the White House --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He asked for the dinner?

TRUMP: That dinner was arranged. I think he asked for the dinner.

SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: The President said I had dinner with him. He wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. Is this an accurate statement?

COMEY: No, sir.

KING: Did you in any way initiate that dinner?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you call him?

TRUMP: In one case I called him. In one case he called me.

KING: Is that an accurate statement?


KING: Did you ever call the President?

COMEY: No. I never initiated a communication with the President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you at any time urge former FBI Director James Comey in any way, shape, or form to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn and also as you look back --

TRUMP: No. No. Next question.

KING: Is that an accurate statement?

COMEY: I don`t believe it is.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Wow. So I mean this is one of those situations where even Donald Trump`s own lawyer is essentially asking you to evaluate the credibility of these two men and to put them in competition and say who do you believe?

HAYES: That`s correct.

REID: This sort of adult boy scout, right? I mean James Comey was nothing if not self-effacing. Even his admissions of his own failures made him seem more credible. And you mentioned Loretta Lynch earlier, one thing about Jim Comey that he`s quite consistent in his comportment toward a supervisor or someone in a supervisory capacity that he doesn`t 100 percent trust that they are objective. He sort of behaves the same way and he behaved the same way with Loretta Lynch --

HAYES: A kind of --

REID: --he goes around her.

HAYES: That`s right and in fact, the substance of the Rod Rosenstein memo as we recall, is that memo that was sort of the predicate for him being fired, is that he went rogue basically.

REID: He also went around. He also went around Jeff Sessions when he didn`t -- he felt confident he was going to have to recuse. He knew some more things that I think came out in the classified hearing about Jeff Sessions and his contact with Russians. So he`s goes around -- he`s consistent.

HAYES: Right.

REID: Donald Trump has said that Ted Cruz`s dad killed JFK. He`s been a birther.

HAYES: He`s intimated that.

REID. He`s intimated that. He`s used to that. And so the reality, the bottom line, is that this is somebody who on his first face to face interaction with Donald Trump on the 6th of January, the first time he was in his presence, got the measure of his character and decided he needed to document every word because he thought he was a liar.

HAYES: That moment to me was sort of the most remarkable from the character witness was the Director of the FBI saying, I found his -- my instincts around his character were that he was of such low character that I thought in the moment, this is a person who will lie about me.

RATHER: Well, and this was one of the hallmarks of what happened today. Comey -- he is trained to convince juries. Anybody who appears before a jury knows you have to tell the jury a story. And whether you like what Comey did today or not, you have to perhaps grudgingly admire he was a great storyteller. At the beginning, middle and an end with just kind of detail which you just said kind of explanation, and he took charge of the narrative today. Now, late in the day, if President Trump and his sources sought to take the narrative back, they`re going to have a tough time because if you see Comey as a prosecutor appearing before a jury, telling the jury a story, his jury now is the American public opinion and are they going to believe a wheeler dealer businessman who has become President or are they going to believe a former FBI Director and prosecutor?

HAYES: Which gets to Joy`s point, which is what was remarkable about the President`s lawyer`s response was to -- it seemed that the first -- the initial reaction based on him saying yesterday the President`s clearly vindicated, was to eventually stipulate as to the facts entered, right? Basically not contest it, not getting to "he said, he said".

REID: Right.

HAYES: Today they sort of threw the car in reverse, and now they have a direct -- they have set up a direct credibility showdown.

REID: And they`ve done that having said that these two things are both true. James Comey is both our key character witness because he exonerated Donald Trump, and he`s also the villain who is a liar.

HAYES: And untrustworthy.

REID: And untrustworthy. He can`t be both things, but they want you to believe he`s both.

RATHER: That`s a tough -- sorry.

REID: No, no. Go ahead.

HAYES: Please.

RATHER: That`s a very tough act to pull off.

REID: Absolutely.

RATHER: I was going to say one of the things not to be overlooked, you may deal with it later in the broadcast for all I know is that Attorney General Sessions is now a marked man. Comey today kind of got overlooked in everything that came out.

HAYES: 100 percent.

RATHER: He put -- if you will, he put a dagger pretty near the heart of Sessions.

HAYES: That is a -- there is a target painted on him, and I think Kamala Harris` line of questioning that --

REID: Absolutely.

HAYES: -- couldn`t be answered, the reporting we have now that the possibility of a third meeting that was yet undisclosed with Kislyak, which is I should be clear, denied by Sessions and DOJ.

REID: Yes. And Jeff Sessions has always seemed to know more and be more involved than he seemed and that`s the problem is that this will creep. And that`s how -- that`s what happens with investigations. And people keep forgetting Jim Comey is not in a position where he has to prove that Donald Trump did anything. He`s the cop. Mueller is the prosecutor. He -- but I think the clear inference of what you heard today is he certainly seems to believe that obstruction took place and believe that Jeff Sessions did something untoward. It`s Mueller who`s going to bring that out.

HAYES: Comey said you lift up a rock in an investigation, you don`t know what you find underneath. Joy Reid and Dan Rather, thank you both.

RATHER: Thank you Chris.

HAYES: Next, was James Comey making the case for obstruction for Special Counsel Robert Mueller today? Former Watergate Prosecutor Nick Ackerman and Matt Miller join me after this two-minute break.



SEN. JAMES RISCH (R), IDAHO: I hope -- this is the President speaking -- I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go. He did not direct you to let it go.

COMEY: Not in his words, no.

RISCH: Do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice or, for that matter, any other criminal offense, where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome?

COMEY: I don`t know well enough to answer, and the reason I keep saying his words is I took it as a direction.

RISCH: Right.

COMEY: I mean this is the President of the United States with me alone, saying I hope this. I took it as this is what he wants me to do.


HAYES: Former FBI Director James Comey making it clear, though he was careful not to make it explicit, that he thinks there`s evidence the President committed obstruction of justice. For example, when he cornered Comey in February and asked him, according to Comey, to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn.


COMEY: A really significant fact to me is so why did he kick everybody out of the Oval Office? Why would you kick the Attorney General, the President, the Chief of Staff out to talk to me if it was about something else?

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Have you ever seen anything like that before?

COMEY: No. My impression was something big is about to happen. I need to remember every single word that is spoken. My sense was the Attorney General knew he shouldn`t be leaving, which is why he was lingering. And I don`t know Mr. Kushner well, but I think he picked up on the same thing. And so I knew something was about to happen that I needed to pay very close attention to. I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a Special Counsel.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Do you believe this will arise to obstruction of justice?

COMEY: I don`t know. That`s Bob Mueller`s job to sort that out.


HAYES: I`m joined now by Matt Miller, former Chief Spokesman for the Department of Justice and Nick Ackerman, Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor, who wrote an op-ed this morning titled pile of evidence proves Trump committed federal crime in attempt to obstruct FBI investigation. So I know where you`re at on this matter.


HAYES: OK. So I want to -- I want to lay out the arguments on the other side because people are, right, this is a contested matter.


HAYE: The first sort of argument here is basically that he never explicitly directed the end of investigation. He never said to anyone, you better stop it. This was a line of questioning. I want to play Senator Burr basically having this exchange with James Comey. Take a listen.


BURR: Director Comey, did the President at any time ask you to stop the FBI investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections?

COMEY: Not to my understanding, no.

BURR: Did any individual working for this administration, including the Justice Department, ask you to stop the Russian investigation?



ACKERMAN: If you look at all of the evidence here, first of all, he asked Comey. Comey understood it to be stopping the investigation. Most obstruction of justice cases, the person doesn`t come out and say, oh, I`m going to obstruct the investigation. They do, it`s a wink, it`s a not, it`s a hint but you`ve got three other key pieces of evidence here. You`ve got Coats, and you`ve got Rogers, both of whom Trump called individually and asked them to put the squelch on the investigation.

HAYES: The Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Mike Rogers is the NSA --

ACKERMAN: Exactly.

HAYES: Reporting indicates that both of them were contacted by the President.

ACKERMAN: And you`ve -- and you`ve got the firing of Comey. And on top of that, you`ve got the President of the United States admitting that when he fired Comey, he was thinking about the Russian investigation. If you`re talking about somebody`s intent and their state of mind, what better evidence could a prosecutor have than the person actually saying, that`s why I did it? And then on top of it, he tells the Russian ambassador that this guy Comey, who is a nut case, I got the whole burden of the Russian investigation off me when I fired him.



HAYES: OK. Here`s the other -- here`s the other argument, and I`m going to -- I`m going to play Paul Ryan`s case because it`s slightly different than this. So there`s one case that says he never directly ordered it. This is the Paul Ryan line, and you`re seeing this increasingly, which I would summarize as the President is so naive and ignorant that he is incapable of forming the necessary sufficient -- and the necessary intent to commit this crime. Take a listen.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The President is new with this. He`s new to government and so he probably wasn`t steep in the long running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses. He`s just new to this.


HAYES: You worked at Department of Justice. Is that -- how does that scan to you?

MILEER: So let`s take something odd from that statement first of all, which it takes for granted the fact that the President is lying. He just takes off the table right away that the President denies that he asked Mike Flynn to do this. Paul Ryan just said, yes, the President lied about that.

HAYES: It is the bizarre part of this that everyone seemed to agree on that, including the President`s lawyer, until the President`s lawyer made his appearance today.

MILLER: Yes, that`s right. So, even setting that to the side --

HAYES: That`s a good point.

MILLER: -- it doesn`t matter whether the President`s knows what the context policy is between the Department of Justice and the -- and the White House. That doesn`t make any difference. What matters is if he President knew that he was trying to end an investigation, if he was doing it with a corrupt purpose. It`s hard to think of what other purpose he had in mind that trying to help out his friend.

HAYES: Well, they say mercy. They say -- that`s the other argument -- this was an act of mercy. It`s not a corrupt purpose to say "hey this guy serves his country, he`s a good guy, he`s got an embroiled and stuff --

ACKERMAN: But that`s not what a corrupt purpose is. A corrupt person -- purpose is the bridge between your knowledge and the investigation. The intent, the specific intent to put the kibosh on the investigation. You`ve got two other aspects of this which show the motive for doing this. One is the fact he admits to Comey that in fact he wanted to get this cloud off his back. Motive number one, the political motive. Motive number two is the fact that you`ve got Flynn, who is meeting with the Russian Ambassador to talk about taking --

HAYES: Sanctions off.

ACKERMAN: -- the sanctions off.

HAYES: We think, we think. We don`t know.

ACKERMAN: Yes. But that`s what it looks like.

HAYES: Right.

ACKERMAN: And so, do you think that Flynn, who is an Army General, grew up during the cold war, Russia was our arch number one enemy, that he`s going to go do this by himself? What Trump is really frightened of is that Flynn is going to turn into the James McCord of this investigation. James McCord was the Watergate burglar who got 25 years from Judge Sirica and wound up singing a very heavy tune about --

HAYES: So that is your theory of the case?

ACKERMAN: That`s my -- I`ll tell you, I would investigate that a little bit more, but I`d feel comfortable going to a jury with that case and proving it beyond a reasonable doubt.

MILLER: Yes, that`s a very strong case. Look, you`ve heard lawyers all over the place say maybe it`s obstruction, maybe it`s not. I just think you laid out a very good case for why it is. At the minimum, it is a predicate for Bob Mueller to investigate obstruction and put everyone in the White House in the grand jury and ask them, what did the President say to you about why he was firing James Comey?

HAYES: That -- see, that`s the distinctive, right? Because I mean, what we`re talking about is the sort of, what`s the threshold? What I`m hearing is whether it`s definitive or not, there`s enough evidence here to escalate this.

ACKERMAN: To take it to the next step. Look at the pretext, the reason that they gave to fire Comey in the first place. This was because of the Rosenstein memo. Well, Trump later admits that was a pretext. But to investigate all of that and find out what people knew, what they said, who knew what and when, you`d have corrupt intent up the wazoo here.

HAYES: Matt Miller and Nick Ackerman, thank you both. Appreciate it.

Ahead, Mike Flynn, Jeff Sessions, and what we learned about the actual Russia investigation, that sort of first order investigation today. Congressman Joaquin Castro, Michael Isikoff and Malcolm Nance are all coming up.



SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: In your statement, you said that you and the FBI leadership team decided not to discuss the President`s actions with Attorney General Sessions even though he had not recused himself. What was it about the Attorney General`s own interactions with the Russians or his behavior with regard to the investigation that would have led the entire leadership of the FBI to make this decision?

COMEY: Our judgment, as I recall, was that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons. We also were aware of facts that I can`t discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic.


HAYES: That was a real eyebrow-raising moment in today`s hearing. And joining me now to discuss today`s revelations is Congressman Joaquin Castro, Democrat, of Texas and a Member of the House Intelligence Committee (AUDIO GAP) own investigation. And Congressman, on that topic and to your Committee`s work, do you have -- do you learn new things about Jeff Sessions` possible implication in all this? Do you have a desire to hear more from Jeff Sessions after what you heard today?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX), MEMBER OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I certainly have a big desire to hear more from Jeff Sessions. Of course some of this stuff, just as James Comey mentioned, is classified, and I can`t discuss. But in terms of my impression, I don`t believe that Jeff Sessions should have had any role either in the Russia investigation or in deciding to fire the former FBI Director.

HAYES: Was there -- were there other moments today, were there things that you, watching this from your perch, learned or new avenues of inquiry that opened up for you today?

CASTRO: Well, I think what was most revealing was to have James Comey himself come in and describe his interactions with the president and say very clearly that he felt the president gave him a directive about how to handle the Michael Flynn investigation and basically to make it go away.

And also for a former FBI director to say that he wrote the memos because he was concerned that the sitting president of the United States might lie and tell a false version was really astonishing.

HAYES: Do you think it`s important -- I want to follow up on something that my guest just said, and Chris Murphy, said. Do you think it`s important that at a certain point, that people closer to this essentially do what James Comey did today, which is testify under oath?

CASTRO: I think that`s right. I think that the president needs to come forward and speak directly to the American people about his interactions with James Comey, not through a spokesperson at the White House or through his personal attorney. The American people want to and deserve to hear directly from the president of the United States.

HAYES: There are three facts in evidence to me that I keep coming back to, and I`d like to get your response to them. There are three individuals who are close associates of the president, who have in conditions of under penalty of perjury, apparently deceived, mislead, omitted or lied about their contact with the Russians - Michael Flynn and his phone calls to Kislyak appears to have lied to FBI investigators or mislead them; Jeff Sessions, under oath, before his colleagues in the Senate, appears to have forgotten or lied about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak; the ambassador, and Jared Kushner appears to have omitted, on a form under personalty of perjury, his meeting with Sergey Kislyak that was secret.

What do you make of the fact that people around the president appear to keep doing this?

CASTRO: Well, again, I have to qualify my answer by saying that if the media reports are true and those things, in fact, did happen, then it`s obviously very disturbing that the people around the president would have such deep and sometimes longstanding connections to Russians and Russian oligarchs and that if the reports are true, that they would lie about these connections and meetings and so forth. It`s obviously very unsettling and furthers the narrative that there is perhaps some kind of cover-up going on here.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Joaquin Castro, thanks for making time.

CASTRO: Thank you.

HAYES: Just ahead, the question about Russian collusion that James Comey would not answer in open testimony. Malcolm Nance and Michael Isikoff are next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe Donald Trump colluded with Russia?

COMEY: It`s a question I don`t think I should answer in an open setting. As I said, when I left, we did not have an investigation focused on President Trump, but that`s a question that will be answered by the investigation, I think.

I`m always trying to be fair. I don`t want to be unfair to President Trump. I`m not trying to suggest by my answer something nefarious, but I don`t want to get into the business of saying not as to this person, not as to that person.


HAYES: Another pretty amazing moment today.

Joining me now, Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, and MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance.

And Michael, I want to start with you on the question of Mike Flynn, because to me, one of the most concrete pieces of news today confirmed in open hearing by the former director is that there was a criminal case opened against Mike Flynn, that that - that guy`s in trouble. I want to play that and get your response. Take a listen.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In your estimation, was General Flynn at that time in serious legal jeopardy? And in addition to that, do you sense that the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek for a way for Mike Flynn to save face given he had already been fired?

COMEY: General Flynn at that point in time was in legal jeopardy. There was an open FBI criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the Russian contacts and the contacts themselves.


HAYES: I mean I guess that`s not surprising, but still it was something to hear that confirmed.


Yeah, especially because if you remember, you go back to Comey`s march testimony, he said there was a counterintelligence investigation that had begun in july. so this is the first time that he or anybody from the government has explicitly said aspects of this turned into a criminal investigation. so that was a significant answer.

HAYES: Yeah, and I want to now get your feedback on the exchange over the dossier because one of the things that`s sort of hardest to deal with it this dossier. The Steele dossier. It is infamous. It is unconfirmed. It contains salacious parts, it contains parts that appear to be flatly false.

Here was the response of Comey on the infamous dossier. Take a listen.


BURR: At the time of your departure from the FBI, was the FBI able to confirm any criminal allegations contained in the Steele document?

COMEY: Mr. Chairman, I don`t think that`s a question I can answer in an open setting because it goes into the details of the investigation.


HAYES: What did you make of that?

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: You know, we call that a black hole. A black hole is information that you can`t get, which indicates that there is a lot of information you can`t get. Something is there, sucking in all of the moon and stars around it. And in this case he essentially said the Steele memo, in whatever capacity, as far as this FBI investigation is concerned, is a component that is classified as far as they`re concerned.

HAYES: Right. It`s part of the investigation.

NANCE: Right. So they`re going through it. Now, we all know that the CIA claims that they validated at least two pages of bullet points out of the 36 pages in that dossier that were briefed to President Obama and President Trump. That was validated by their own intelligence.

HAYES: Exactly. We have reporting indicating that already parts of that they had validated.

And Michael, I kept - it is strange the role that the dossier appears to play in the imagination of Trump and his allies. I mean, there was a moment today where Comey basically says one of the times that I talked to the president was after I had briefed him on the dossier as a kind of heads-up. He calls me out of nowhere to just be like I was thinking about it some more and that dossier is definitely not true.

ISIKOFF: And said, I had nothing to do with hookers in Russia. That`s Comey quoting the president of the United States.

Look, if you go back to the timing, the dossier is first delivered or briefed to agents of the FBI in July of last year, and it is in late July that the FBI, according to Comey`s previous testimony, begins this counterintelligence investigation.

So, it is somewhat - not unreasonable to assume that the dossier played a role in triggering this investigation in the first place.

So, you know, in that sense Trump might have reason - given that he knows that the dossier was commissioned by his political opponents who were working working in some ways for the Clinton campaign, that, you know, it`s not -- one can understand why he gets very agitated over this. This doesn`t speak to whether or not there are aspects of it that are true, but one can certainly understand Trump`s perspective.

HAYES: I`m not implying that because he`s worried about it, it`s true. All I`m saying is that it plays a large role, it clearly in the way the president thinks about this.

NANCE: Yeah, there`s one interesting point about what Trump said, you know, calling him up and saying it`s not me and hookers. But he never - I mean, this thing alleged that there was a $19 billion payoff if Russian sanctions are lifted in there. It alleges that Trump administration people said that they would conduct surveillance against Russian oligarchs in the United States for the Russian government. There are many things in that dossier that if I took one look at it, I would be just swearing to god I didn`t do any of that and copping to the hookers.

HAYES: Thank you, Malcolm.

NANCE: You`re welcome.

HAYES: Michael Isikoff and Malcolm Nance, thanks to you both.

Coming up, how the president`s own party is defending his actions by claiming he just didn`t know what he was doing. Plus the 140 characters President Trump might wish he could take back in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, tweets have consequences. President Trump spoke with the Emir of Qatar yesterday, one year after celebrating the decision by several Middle Eastern nations to cut ties with the U.S. tweeting Tuesday, "during my recent trip to the Middle East, I stated there can no longer be funding of radical ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar. Look." Adding, "perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism."

But the president`s stance was quite difference yesterday, according a readout of his call with Qatar. Trump emphasized the importance of all countries in the region working together and offered to help the parties resolve their differences including a meeting at at White House. This was far from the president`s first self-inflicted wound on

On Monday, after the president undermined his own lawyer`s arguments by declaring his executive order a travel ban, the ACLU responded, yes, we may incorporate Trump`s tweets about the ban into our Supreme Court argument.

But what may prove the president`s most regrettable tweet might be the one he sent about the, quote, tapes. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: If you`re wondering, as I often do, if tweets matter, today fired FBI Director James Comey spoke specifically about one from the president sent on May 12. James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.

Comey says it was that tweet that prompted him to take action.


COMEY: The president tweeted on Friday, after I got fired, that I better hope there`s not tapes. I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night, because it didn`t dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation, there might be a tape. And my judgment was, I needed to get that out into the public square. And so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I didn`t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.


HAYES: One day after The New York Times article appeared quoting from Comey`s memo, indeed a special counsel was appointed, Robert Mueller. And as for the, quote, tapes, Comey addressed that too.


COMEY: I`ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes. All I can do is hope. The president surely knows whether he taped me, and if he did, my feelings aren`t hurt, release the entire - release all the tapes. I`m good with it.



MARC KASOWITZ, OUTSIDE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: It is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.


HAYES: The response to James Comey`s testimony today, the president`s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz attacked fired FBI director`s credibility, accusing Comey of lying under oath. And he suggested the former FBI director should be criminally investigating for sharing memos about his private conversations with the president to The New York Times.

Now, Kasowitz claims these conversations were privileged, though they were literally the subject of the president`s own statements written and spoken. So no one was keeping them a secret.

He was also apparently wrong about the timing of Comey`s leak of his modems to the press. On March 12, three days after firing Comey, the president tweeted infamously that Comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press, which prompted Comey to leak his memos to The Time through a friend, per Comey.

According to Kasowitz, Comey had his timing wrong.


KASOWITZ: Although Mr. Comey testified that he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that The New York Times was quoting from those memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey`s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to be entirely retaliatory.


HAYES: OK, that appears to be flat out wrong. The Times responded Kasowitz is mistaken. We never quoted memos prior to Trump`s May 12 tweet regarding tapes. First story doing so was indeed May 16.

So that`s how the man paid by President Trump is attempted to rebut James Comey.

And then there`s the defense being mounted by Paul Ryan and Trump`s Republican allies in congress. And that`s next.



REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: The president`s new at this. He`s new to government. And so he probably wasn`t steeped in the long-running protocols that established the relationships between DOJ, FBI, and White Houses. He`s just new to this.

And so I think what I got out of that testimony is we now know why he was so frustrated when the director told him three times there`s no investigation of him yet that speculation was allowed to continue. So, obviously we know now why he was frustrated.


HAYES: Joining me now, Congressman Jim Banks, Republican from Indiana.

And Congressman, to Paul Ryan`s point, and I`ve seen a number of Republicans make this, it spikes me as sort of a low standard to hold the president of the United States to, the most powerful person on the planet Earth, that he just didn`t understand the protocols, like isn`t it fair that Americans expected him to steep himself in exactly those protocols and norms?

REP. JIM BANKS, (R) INDIANA: Well, Chris, It`s good to be with you again. But, look, I`m not here to defend the president today. Listening to the testimony it`s clear that if you were looking for a smoking gun from Director Comey`s testimony today, you`re probably disappointed.

What came out of today would lead many of us to believe, myself included, that the president probably engaged in inappropriate conversations with Director Comey leading up to his firing, but nothing came out of today`s testimony that would be a smoking gun that would lead anyone to to believe he engaged in illegal conduct or obstruction or justice.

So, today`s investigation or committee hearing was a good step forward to get beyond this frenzy. It`s time to get back to work on Capitol Hill.

HAYES: I get that. But respectfully, just in terms you said, it would not lead anyone. I mean, there are people, including a former Watergate prosecutor, who sat across from me just moments ago who said that there`s quite a good case for obstruction of justice, that this is impeding or interfering in an ongoing federal investigation with a corrupt purpose that he told him to lay off Flynn and fired him when he didn`t.

And that may not be open and shut, but that`s certainly pretty good evidence that maybe he did obstruct justice.

BANKS: Again, no smoking gun came out of the testimony today. But the details like that, you and I both know will be covered in Director Mueller`s independent investigation.

What happened today, the investigation was a healthy step forward.

HAYES: Let me ask you you think it`s -- James Comey today revealed in the session that it is in the purview of the Special Counsel Mueller to look at this question of obstruction. Do you think that`s good and appropriate?

BANKS: Undoubtedly Director Mueller will evaluate much of the testimony today as part of his investigation. So, too, will the bipartisan committees in the House and the Senate which will come to conclusions that will be provided to congress and to the American people as we look for a way forward.

But all of this is part of a frenzy that is brought about to distract us on Capitol Hill from getting the work done that we were elected to do. And it`s my hope that we can get back to work. We had an important day today as we...

HAYES: You voted to deregulate the banking industry today.

BANKS: Today was a big step forward in doing what we promised the American people that we would do before the election day last year, rolling back regulations. That`s what we should be talking about.

HAYES: What do you think will happen - do you think if people are - what do you think will happen to you and your congressional allies if Robert Mueller comes back to you in a few months and says I recommend, I find that the president did, indeed, commit crimes or obstruction of justice, are you prepared to accept the recommendations from this individual, special counsel, that everybody seems to have a very high opinion of?

BANKS: I do personally have a great deal of respect for Director Mueller who has great integrity, a great background to do what he`s been hired to do in this independent investigation.

So we have to wait and see and follow the facts when we have them, both from Director Mueller and from the bipartisan committees in the House and the Senate who are both evaluating and investigating the same subject.

In the meantime, Republicans have to get back to work. We`re caught up in the frenzy of the day, and get back to work in what we`re supposed to do. That`s exactly right.

HAYES: Congressman Jim Banks, as if the financial institutions that he voted to help deregulate today. Thank you for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.

BANKS: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.