Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: July 11, 2017 Guest: Mark Warner, Dan Rather Michelle Goldberg, Asawin Suebsaeng, Charlie Dent, Carrie Cordero
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.
HAYES: Donald Trump Jr. gives up the game.
TRUMP: There`s no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians.
HAYES: The President`s son releases a jaw-dropping e-mail showing attempted collusion with the Russian government.
DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP`S SON: This is time and time again, lie after lie.
HAYES: Tonight, what did the President know and when did he know it?
TRUMP: Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
HAYES: What this revelation means for all three investigations.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: The e-mails, I think, made quite clear that the Russian government had possession of damaging information.
HAYES: How the White House and Republicans are reacting to a story they can no longer call fake news.
SEBASTIAN GORKA, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP`S DEPUTY ASSISTANT: This is a massive nothing burger.
HAYES: And why this bombshell e-mail is already affecting the trajectory of Trumpcare in the Senate.
TRUMP: I love e-mails. You can`t erase e-mails. When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. After a year of denials, tonight we know that the campaign of Donald J. Trump for President at its very highest levels sought to collude with the Russian government to damage Hillary Clinton and win the 2016 election. All of Trump world routinely dismissed the very notion of collusion with Russia as insulting, fake news, cooked up by the campaign`s enemies. But the release of e-mails today by the President`s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. shows the campaign was eager to accept Russian government`s help. That it now appears is how the President`s son, son-in-law and Campaign Chairman ended up in a meeting last summer with a Russian lawyer as the New York Times first reported, hoping to collect dirt on their opponent Hillary Clinton. On June 3rd, 2016, Donald Trump Jr. received an e-mail from Rob Goldstone, a music publicist and acquaintance of the Trumps who was acting on behalf of his client, a Russian pop star with his own ties to both the Trump family and to the Kremlin through his father. "Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. The crown prosecutor Russia met with his father Aras this morning, and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."
Now, there`s no crown prosecutor in Russia, that`s a British term, but there is a Prosecutor General, a powerful position appointed by Vladimir Putin himself. Goldstone`s e-mail continues. "This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government`s support for Mr. Trump, helped along by Aras and Emin." Part of Russia and its government`s support for Mr. Trump. Keep in mind this e-mail came before we had any idea about the extent of Russia`s election interference and long before the U.S. Intelligence Community released its conclusion that that was meant to help Donald Trump which means Donald Trump Jr. knew what was happening before any than the rest us did. He knew the Russian government was trying to get his father elected. His response, "Thanks, Rob, I appreciate that. If it`s what you say, I love it especially later in the summer." Just a few weeks later in the summer, the first batch of hacked DNC e-mails was released. It is now clear that Trump Jr. was lying when he claimed not to know who the Russian lawyer was, the person he was meeting with. She is described in an e-mail from Goldstone as a, and I quote again, Russian`s Government Attorney. Donald Trump Jr. was lying when he denied having contact with Russian individuals on behalf of the campaign. And when he initially explained that he took meeting to discuss a suspended adoption program, Donald Trump Jr. was lying last summer when he ridiculed reports about Russia`s role in the DNC hack.
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JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Robby Mook, the Campaign Manager for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Your response?
TRUMP JR.: Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they will say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won`t say, well, I say this, we hear experts. You know, His house cat at home once said that this is what`s happening with the Russians. It`s disgusting. It`s so phony.
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HAYES: Disgusting, so phony. It is not just Trump Jr. who is implicated by these new e-mails. The whole chain appears to have been forwarded to his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort then the Campaign Chair. Under the subject line Russia, Clinton, Private and Confidential, that`s the actual subject line showing up in everyone`s inbox. Both Kushner and Manafort attended the meeting with the Russian lawyer and Kushner, now a Senior Adviser at the White House maintained his high-level security clearance. And in an exclusive interview with NBC News, the Russian lawyer herself said she never intended to hand over any damaging information of Hillary Clinton. And according to Trump Jr., he did not receive any material. At this point, we had absolutely no way of knowing what actually happened in that meeting on June 9th, 2016 but we do know is that the Russian government`s efforts to help the Trump campaign did not stop after that day. In a new interview tonight, Trump Jr. admitted again, he wanted to hear what the Russians had on Hillary.
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TRUMP JR.: In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently. Again, this was before the Russia mania. This was before they were building it up in the press. For me, this was opposition research. They had something, you know, maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I`ve been hearing about that were probably underreported for - you know, years, not just during the campaign. So I think I wanted to hear it out. But really, it went nowhere and it was apparent that that wasn`t what the meeting was all about.
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HAYES: We don`t know if that`s true, of course. Now, today the President of the United States finally broke his silence on the controversy over his son releasing a brief statement through his spokesperson.
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SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I have a quick statement that I`ll read from the President. My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency.
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HAYES: A high-quality person. The big question now, whether the President`s son, his son-in-law or his Campaign Chair ever told the President, the candidate at the center of this campaign about the meeting, or about the offer of government support from the Russian government. The President was at Trump Tower on the day of the meeting. His office just one floor up from where it took place. But according to his son and his lawyers, he remained in the dark. I asked Democratic Senator Mark Warner, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee whether he already knew about these new e-mails.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I`m not going to talk about what the Committee knew or didn`t know before today but obviously in the last 24 hours, the public for the first time has seen clear evidence that officials from the Trump campaign knew about the Russian efforts to try to interfere in the elections, to try to hurt Clinton, and help in this case Donald Trump Jr.`s father. And it included not only his son but his son-in-law and the Campaign Manager and the fact that they somehow all managed to kind of forget this information when they filed their appropriate reports, is fairly stunning to me.
HAYES: What do you say to folks that say - the defenders of the President that I`ve seen basically that - you know, they fell for a bait-and-switch, nothing happened, no crime, nothing to see here?
WARNER: What I`d say is, there is not anyone that I would know, Democrat or Republican that would take an incoming from an agent of a foreign government. In this particular case, a foreign adversary like Russia that said, hey, this is part of the Russian government`s effort to try to help in this case Mr. Trump and derail Hillary Clinton. No one would take that kind of meeting. Most folks would actually turn that kind of information over to the FBI before they`d take that kind of meeting on.
HAYES: Do you believe the accounts that have been given about-have been given about the content of the meeting?
WARNER: Again, I think I`m not going to reach any conclusions - I know some of my colleagues have - until we as a committee get a chance to talk to Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Kushner, and Mr. Manafort. I think we owe them at least a chance to offer some answers. But believe you me; I`ve got a number of very serious questions to ask all three of them.
HAYES: Why do you think that Jared Kushner should retain his security clearance, given the fact that we now have three examples of meetings with Russian nationals connected to the Kremlin that he omitted from his security clearance SF86 Form under penalty of perjury?
WARNER: I want again, give Mr. Kushner a chance to testify but what bothers the heck out of me is, it`s not just Jared Kushner. You know, this is now close to a dozen plus events where senior officials, either from the Trump campaign, the transition, or the Trump administration have gone on television and public media and constantly said no meetings with Russia, nothing to look at here. But every one of them had said that until they`ve seen the actual evidence. Then they`ve had to recant and either go amend their filings or publicly apologize, or in the case of General Flynn, get fired or in the case of the Attorney General, recuse himself from the whole investigation. But this is a very, very disturbing pattern from this whole group of individuals.
HAYES: The President of the United States, his lawyer today denied that the President had any knowledge of either the e-mail or the meeting. Do you take the President`s lawyer at his word?
WARNER: I would just say this, Chris. If you had your son and your son- in-law received information that said hey, the Russian government has got valuable information that is going to help you as a candidate and hurt your opponent, Hillary Clinton, it strains my credibility to think that the son or the son-in-law wouldn`t strain that information. Now again, the committee is going to get a chance to ask those individuals directly those questions, so I`ll reserve final judgment until we get a chance to ask those questions but it`s peculiar, to say the least.
HAYES: Republicans on the Hill today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he`s going to push back the recess in full steam ahead with the health care bill. I mean, what is your response to a GOP majority full steam ahead on the legislative agenda as we are learning more and more about what happened during this campaign?
WARNER: Well Chris, I`m happy to say that an awful lot of my Republican colleagues have expressed a lot of dismay. Not all of them on camera, many of them to me privately but we`ve had members of the committee like Susan Collins and James Lankford who both said this is a very important information that Donald Trump Jr. needs to testify. My job is to keep this bipartisan investigation bipartisan moving forward. I`ll let others - you know, jump to the extremes but I think it`s important we continue this. I do think it`s going to take more than a couple more additional weeks of the Congress being in session before anything close to that dreadful health care bill ever gets passed by the United States Senate.
HAYES: Mark Warner, thank you for your time tonight.
WARNER: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: I`m joined now by Dan Rather host of AXS TV`s The Big Interview, former Anchor of CBS Evening News. It`s always great to have you here Mr. Rather.
DAN RATHER, AXS TV HOST: Good evening.
HAYES: You wrote this on Facebook today and it`s stuck with me. "The questions are obvious, the answers are wanting. We the American people deserve to know what in god`s name is happening." Do you feel like you have any idea what in god`s name is happening?
RATHER: I think the seeds of suspicion (INAUDIBLE) and we do have suspicions. What we have are very few hard granite truths. But you know, this situation is unprecedented in our history. We talked about that before but I think it is worth italicizing and underscoring (INAUDIBLE). This is jaw dropping and has never happened in our history before. You know, we`ve had presidents who have lost all sense of credibility with the people, Andrew Johnson after the Civil War, Richard Nixon deep into the second time of his Presidency. But all these happened, Donald Trump has been President for only six months.
HAYES: That`s a good point.
RATHER: And it just keeps on coming. Now, we need more facts. What I call hard granite truths. But we got some of those hard granite truths today, that what we were told by the President`s son and others in the campaign before, untrue. Now, the potential for legal problems just grow by the minute here because whatever he did or didn`t do in that meeting, whatever his reaction to was or wasn`t, if he has, in fact, lied about it - I know some would say, since he`s lied about it - but if in fact, he lied about it, that`s a crime. That`s - that can be perjury. But at the very least, whether he is legally accountable or not, there`s a real ethical question involved here. There`s a question of patriotism involved here. And it is an immense political problem for Donald Trump`s Presidency right now because the hot breath of truth is coming down heavy on their necks just now.
HAYES: As to the ethical problem, I really want to get your perspective on what we have seen happen in just the last 24 hours. We`ve seen, OK, you know, people that defended the President said, well, there`s no interference, and then there was interference but no collusion, and now, it`s basically, well, they tried to collude but really who wouldn`t? I mean, as someone who has reported and observed American political life for decades, what do you say to people who say any campaign would have taken this meeting, this is totally normal, this isn`t an aberrant.
RATHER: I would say that`s not true and is demonstrably untrue. For example, during the 2000 Presidential campaign, before one of the debates between Al Gore and George W. Bush, George W. Bush briefing book was delivered to the Gore campaign. The Gore campaign immediately called the FBI and turned the book over to the FBI. Well, what should he have done? I find people to say, well, what do you expect the President`s son to do? On these circumstances, I expect him to call the FBI and say this is what happened because when a foreign power gets involved with trying to affect the sovereignty of the United States, it doesn`t get much more difficult - more difficult than that. And you know, a president - the power of the Presidency, which we often, so often talk about, a central power of the Presidency has the power to persuade. In the military, they put it this way. You have - down the ranks, they have to have faith in command. The American faith in the command of Donald Trump overall and in domain was never high and has been sinking ever since he got into office primarily because of this business with the Russians. Now, as is so often as the case, Chris, again, whatever happened in that meeting or didn`t happen in that meeting, it`s the lies that have been told since then, the conflicting testimony, the backtracking. They are in a word, they have been - and they have been from the beginning even before the Presidency on this issue of what happened and didn`t happen. They`ve been slipping and sliding, peeping and hiding but now the game is closing in on them.
HAYES: You know, it`s important I think to sort of focus in on that. Because I remember when we were first reporting on just this question about, did Michael Flynn talk to Sergey Kislyak? (INAUDIBLE) is a little story. I thought to myself, well, it wouldn`t really be that crazy. He`s the incoming Security Adviser. He talks to the Russian Ambassador, says look, the sanctions are going in effect, but they just started lying about it. And I wonder, I mean, what does it do to your journalist`s brain in here and your sort of experience, when you watch people tell a series of repeated untruths about the same thing?
RATHER: Well, one of those has raised great suspicions about what is it they`re hiding? And what we`re talking about tonight basically is what are they hiding? They were hiding some things, some things are coming into the light now. There are other things that they are hiding and we have to keep in mind that the Special Prosecutor, Attorney Mueller, Kushner was in that room, Manafort was in that room, the President`s son was in the room, what he will do is get them individually and talk about it and compare their stories, that you just - you can`t keep on lying, you can`t keep on telling one story one day, then backtracking and reversing on it the next day. In terms of the optics, in terms of public relations, you can get away with it. In terms of the law, you can`t get away from that.
HAYES: Dan Rather, thank you for joining me.
RATHER: Thank you, Chris, always good to be with you.
HAYES: Next, now that we know top members of the Trump team knew that the Russian government was trying to influence the election, it paints a very different picture to the 2016 campaign, that today`s big news changes the context of everything the Trump campaign has ever done and said regarding Russia, in two minutes.
HAYES: We now know that three people at the very top of Donald Trump`s campaign for president, his eldest son Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law and close aide Jarred Kushner and his former Campaign Manager Paul Manaport took a meeting with the Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer last June after being promised, "information that would incriminate Hillary," information that was "part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump." And that e-mail was sent to John Jr. who forward it to Manafort and Kushner, they all knew and they all attended the meeting. Yet a month and a half later, after the release of the hacked DNC e-mails, Manafort explicitly denied any ties to the Russian government.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you and your campaign, and the Putin and his regime?
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PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: No, there are not. It`s absurd and you know, there`s no basis to it.
HAYES: Absurd, no basis. That same day, John Jr. responded angrily to a Clinton campaign claim that the Russian government was seeking to help Trump something he knew at the time to be true.
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TRUMP JR.: It`s disgusting. It`s so phony. I watched him bumble through the interview; I was able to hear it on audio a little bit. I mean, I can`t think of bigger lies, but that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do. They will lie and do anything to win.
I don`t mind a fair fight but these lies and the perpetuating of that kind of nonsense to try to you know, gain some political capital is just outrageous and he should be ashamed of himself.
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HAYES: That man who was quite evidently passionate and exorcised about the outrageous claims being made, that man has now admitted he tried to get damaging information on Clinton from the Russian government. Then there`s Jared Kushner. Now, Kushner is not on tape a lot. Kushner who would reportedly later attempt to set-up a back channel with the Russian government possibly in their facilities to evade detection from U.S. Intelligence Agencies, he did not disclose the meeting with the Russian lawyer on his security form. And that was one of at least three meetings with Russian citizens linked to the Kremlin that Jared Kushner did not disclose. We don`t know if President Trump himself was aware of the meeting. The White House says he wasn`t but we know it took place in Trump Tower. We know that the future President was in Trump Tower on that day. We also know the man who sent the e-mail promising Russian government dirt to John Jr., offered to, and I quote again, "send this info to your father via Rhoda - that`s Trump Personal Assistant, longtime trusted and gatekeeper - Rhoda Graff, though we do not know if he did so. If the President did know that the Russian government was actively seeking to help him, it puts everything he`s done regarding Russia from his repeated charges of fake news all the way to the firing of James Comey into a whole new context, not the least which this moment.
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TRUMP: Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be reward mightily by our press.
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HAYES: Joining me now, Michelle Goldberg, Columnist at Slate and Asawin Suebsaeng who`s Politics Reporter at the Daily Beast. And Asawin, you have some great sources in the White House who are always good for incredibly colorful quotes. What is the mood over there in the wake of this bombshell?
ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, THE DAILY BEAST POLITICS REPORTER: Well, a lot of this does rather feel like burn after reading but starring the Trump family now, doesn`t it. Well, what we do know based on my reporting by me and my colleague Lachlan Markay over at The Daily Beast, is that people within Trump`s inner circle, including top officials in the White House, for months and some over a year now, do not have a very high opinion of Donald Trump Jr. at all. And if anything, that opinion has cratered even further, given the revelations of the past few days. Quite frankly, many of them think he`s an idiot. That`s not my word. That`s from two sources Lachlan and I have in the piece. And during the campaign, there were people at the top levels of the Trump campaign who would gossip about him behind his back and called him Fredo, which is a direct reference to Fredo Corleone which anybody who`s seen the Godfather series knows that when you say that, you`re referring to a weak and insecure and failure of a son who does harm to the family and contributes very little.
HAYES: I keep thinking about - so I keep thinking about what happened after this meeting. OK. So here`s the thing I think about. I want to get your - what your thoughts. So let`s say meeting goes down exactly the way that they say, right? They go and it turns out to be a kind of this con. This woman is talking about adoption, Magnetsky, she leaves, you think - six weeks later, when you`re watching the news, and these hacks start coming out and there`s reporting the Russians are behind it, you then know. I mean, you got to remember at that moment, oh, right, they said -
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SLATE COLUMNIST: Yes, and oh yes, I said it would be great if something came out later in the summer. I mean, it`s just, it`s - but it`s not credible, the idea that they had no idea that this was coming and certainly that they had no idea who was behind it once it began to emerge. And one of the things that`s been so bizarre and I think kind of psychologically debilitating for those of us who are forced to live through the terrible period is that so much of what they`re doing is on the one hand completely out in the open and on the other hand completely implausible, right? So there`s been all of these bizarre coincidences, lies, scandals, you know, the Kushner backchannel, the Flynn firing, the money that`s already emerged, you know, that Donald Trump`s ties to all of these oligarchs. It seems a lot like there was something so profoundly corrupt going on that you could scarcely grasp it. But because it`s so crazy, it`s hard to even - right, it`s - there`s this believability hurdle that it doesn`t surpass. And so, when they say things out in the open, on the one hand, it`s - he just said that he just asked for collusion on live television. On the other hand, they`re so blatant that it almost seems exculpatory because you think well if they were actually colluding with the Russians, why would they do it on live television?
HAYES: So, when do people - I mean, the thought that I had today, I never thought an e-mail like this existed. It`s possible that this didn`t lead to anything further although I think at this point we have to be skeptical about that idea. It seems to me that everyone in the White House and everyone in the Republican party is tied to a potential cover-up that they don`t know what`s being covered up, I mean, right? The people - there must be a lot of people working in that White House who are just waiting for the next bomb to drop like the rest of us.
SUEBSAENG: Correct. And that might even include the President himself. Again, it strains credulity somewhat that President Trump was kept in the dark entirely over this. But if you look at the President`s statement today, which came after several days of silence on Twitter and elsewhere, where he wouldn`t defend his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., it is a very brief one-sentence statement that defends his high quality son and he praises him for his transparency and it wreaks of a statement that doesn`t seem full-throated or enthusiastic.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, I noticed that as well. Vice President Pence as well sort of coming up with a statement that was very tepid. I`m focused on what we`re trying to do here. You know, you can almost watch people, it seems like in real-time we are watching Trump Jr. be turned into the fall guy for this story.
GOLDBERG: Right. But I think - I mean, it seems like that`s what they are attempting to do, right? But that cannot be allowed to happen and I don`t think it will be allowed to happen. I mean, it`s a scandal that will - Jared Kushner even might still have a security clearance. I guess that Sarah Huckabee Sanders won`t answer one way or the other. But it clearly was far deeper than Donald Trump Jr. And the other thing, if somebody says to you - they kind of say part of the Russian government`s support for your father and interest in helping you get elected or whatever the exact language is. That`s presented as not a new revelation.
HAYES: A known fact. Something already entered into office.
GOLDBERG: But - right, exactly. And if - and if it wasn`t and something like that comes across your desk, you know, even Donald Trump Jr., I can`t imagine him saying with a straight face that he decided not to mention that to his father.
HAYES: It is also a scandal. I just want to say that no one called the FBI when this e-mails starts coming out. I mean, that just seems like the obvious thing that you`re obligated to do if you have any moral compass whatsoever. Michelle Goldberg, Asawin Suebsaeng thank you so much.
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, in the days after the Watergate break in the Nixon White House famously tried to minimize the fallout by calling it a third rate burglary. Today, it`s all about nothing burgers, nothing burgers, coming up next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Reince Priebus called it a nothing burger on the weekend. I have a real problem with this. This is an insult to nothing burgers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump Jr. is not part of the administration. And so this is a massive nothing burger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know burgers. And I`ve got a gut to prove it. And this is a nothing burger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would fall in the nothing burger category on this one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So far a nothing burger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m one of those people where it says it`s a nothing burger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess that would be the condiment that you`re adding to it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALEL; But is that just mustard on the burger or is that a game changer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you like to talk about (inaudible) or would you like to continue talking about a nothing burger story?
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: So put Brit Hume down as nothing burger.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS: Well, that`s a phrase that has gotten so common I`m kind of -- I kind of hesitate to use it.
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HAYES: Now the emails are out, at least one of those people has evolved. Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin today declaring the story is now, a, well, a something burger tweeting, "I voted for POTUS last November and want him and the USA to succeed, but that meeting, given that email chain just released, is a big no-no."
Mitch McConnell had a very different response in the wake of news the president`s son sought to collude with Russia, the senate Republican leader renewed his push to get a GOP health care bill passed, possibly before it`s too late.
The fallout from the Trump emails on the Hill right after this break.
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REP. TREY GOWDY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Someone close to the president needs to get everyone connected with that campaign in a room and say from the time you saw Dr. Zhivago until the moment you drank vodka with a guy named Boris, you list every single one of those and we`re going to turn them over to the special counsel, because this drip, drip, drip is undermining the credibility of this administration.
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HAYES: That was Congressman Trey Gowdy on the Don Junior emails. His was one of a range of Republican reactions today, including Utah Senator Orrin Hatch who called the emails, quote, overblown.
But one man in Washington had a more immediately pragmatic reaction. Mitch McConnell appeared to recognize that a clock is likely now running on this administration with hours of the release of the emails, he pushed back the August recess so as to jam through as much business as possible as quickly as possible.
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SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: We`ve got the defense authorization. We`ve got the debt ceiling. We`ve got the FDA user fee, and other important legislation that we need to address and we simply, as a result of all this obstructionism, don`t have enough time to address all of these issues between now and the originally anticipated August recess.
So we`ll be here the first two weeks of August.
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HAYES: Mitch McConnell may be blaming Democrats who are of course in the minority for obstruction, but the calendar suggests that this is about passing health care reform before more Trump scandal erupts and closes McConnell`s window to pass legislation, this, despite hard evidence today that President Trump`s campaign sought to collude with a foreign power during the election.
With me now, Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania.
Congressman, how would you characterize senior members of the campaign taking a meeting with someone described as a foreign agent of a foreign power to provide derogatory information about their campaign opponent? How would you characterize that?
REP. CHARLIE DENT, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: At the very least, problematic. It`s damaging.
DENT: Problematic, damaging. I would say, it`s not something I could ever defend or explain, and I won`t even try.
I think it is a very serious problem and that`s why Bob Mueller is out there investigating and he will make a determination if any laws were broken, or if there was any collusion. So, I think it is a very serious matter. I`m not going to whitewash this by any means, Chris.
HAYES: Is there anything -- I don`t know how the ask this, but it`s the question that everyone wants to know, is there literally anything that could happen that would just say -- that would make you, Charlie Dent, say I cannot support Donald Trump as president of the United States? I can`t vote for his agenda. I can`t be on board with him.
DENT: Well, Chris, let me answer it this way, I think when we get beyond the day to day news on Russia, the drip, drip, drip, I think we have to look at this on a much broader context on Russia.
Russia is a hostile foreign power. They are an adversary. They are a threat. They want to break up NATO. They want to unravel the European Union. They want to undermine American power and influence anywhere they can. They behaved badly in Ukraine. They behaved badly in Syria, in Europe, in our elections of course. We all know that. They`re bad actors.
and we should not be entering agreements with them on cyber security, for example. We should be doing that with our friends and our partners and our allies to protect ourselves against threats like Russia, and not expose our methods and our intelligence, our knowledge, with a hostile actor.
So, I don`t understand why this administration is so he conciliatory and accommodating to Putin`s Russia.
HAYES: Congressman, wait a second, but you don`t understand, but I mean, there is a plausible theory given today`s email, perhaps they`re accommodating because they know that that government helped them get elected, and could presumably help them in the future. Isn`t that a theory to entertain?
DENT: I guess a fair point, Chris. Fair point. But my view on the administration is, I work with the administration on issues when I think they`re moving in the right direction. I will support them. When they are doing things not in our nation`s interests, I will serve as a check and I will oppose them when I have to.
So, I think it is not an issue of a zero sum game that because of an issue, I can`t support them on anything or I have oppose him on everything. I think that`s -- I think we have to all be a little bit more balanced and nuanced in how we deal with this administration.
HAYES: I get that. And one of the things that you did not support them on is the AHCA, which is the name of the health care bill in the House and you voted against it.
DENT: And the travel ban. I was the first Republican to speak speak out against the travel ban.
HAYES: But I guess the question I`m trying to get at is, at what point do you approach something that looks like a legitimacy crisis? And here`s an example. You know, right now, Mitch McConnell is going to try push through through a bill crafted in secret and then rewritten in secret that would reorder 1/6 of the American economy. 22 million people lose health care, $800 billion cuts to Medicaid, and do that in a two-week window in the wake of finding out concrete evidence the president`s campaign sought to collude with a foreign entity and the president himself under criminal investigation for obstruction of justice.
Under those conditions, isn`t it fair for Americans to say, wait a second, hold up. Shouldn`t we find out first if the president definitively is not a criminal before we pass this health care legislation?
DENT: Well, let me say this, we have important work to do here, whether it`s on tax reform, health care, infrastructure. And, you know, I have to operate under the presumption of innocence. All people are presumed innocent under proven otherwise. And so I think what we have to -- we have business to attend to.
And to the extent that we are, you know, talking about, you know, in this case the Russian matter or some other tweet that really has nothing to do with anything substantive, you konw, it`s distracting us from dealing with these very real and serious policy issues that the country expects us to address.
HAYES: Let me just -- and you`re right, of course, and presumption of innocence is something that I think is incredibly important, a central tradition in our judicial tradition.
It is different with the president, though, right, because the president of the United States doesn`t have -- he isn`t tried in normal courts, right? The president is a citizen who has a very different set of legal accountability, which is the powers under Article 1 of impeachment of the United States congress. And so you ultimately, you ultimately, sir, are sitting on -- you know, you are sitting in judgment, because there is no other process that doesn`t involve one Charlie Dent and his colleagues in determining what is too much.
DENT: Well, I don`t think that -- look, Chris, you`re using the term impeachment. I think that is not something we should be talking about at all. I mean, again, there is a threshold for that, you know, high crimes and misdemeanors. And, again, there is a presumption of innocence.
Yes, there is an ongoing investigation by Bob Mueller and the House and Senate committees. This is being investigated. I think it is premature to be jumping to the next step about what should happen in the event something does happen.
I mean, we simply don`t know if there was collusion or not. Obviously these emails don`t look good, but that`s up for the special prosecutor to make that recommendation not for you or me.
HAYES: Fair enough. And final question, should Mitch McConnell have at least one hearing before they vote in the Senate?
DENT: Well, I think there should be more transparency on the health care issue. I`ve always felt that way. I felt the Democrats...
HAYES: So, just that one question. Should he have a hearing?
DENT: Yes. We should. And the Democrats shouldn`t have muscled Obamacare through the way they did and I don`t think we should make the same mistake the Democrats did trying to reverse it.
HAYES: Congressman Charlie Dent, always a pleasure. It`s always a pleasure for your time. I really do appreciate it.
DENT: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, did Donald Trump Jr. commit a crime? I`ll talk with two former DOJ lawyers about that and where the Mueller investigation goes from here just ahead.
And members of the Trump orbit lawyering up in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tongiht, lawyering up. With public focus on the Russia probe rising, so are the billable hours as the Trump orbit continues to hire personal outside counsel.
President Trump`s legal team currently consists of Mark Kazowicz (ph), Jay Sekulow, Mark Bow (ph), and most recently John Dowd (ph), a high profile D.C. criminal defense lawyer.
Vice President Pence called it pretty routine when he hired a lawyer last month around the same time Attorney General Jeff Sessions retained legal counsel.
Now, President Trump`s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has hired two personal lawyers. And even Trump`s long time personal attorney Michael Cohen hired a personal attorney of his own.
Now, following revelations of Don Jr.`s meet at Trump tower with a Russian lawyer, we`ve been introduced to several new characters in the unfolding investigation, including this guy who is now shelling out cash for a lawyer for himself. We`ll show you the legal hires in the last 24 hours, including one with a history of defending mobsters. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Today we learned that three of the people allegedly connected to Don Jr.`s meeting last year with a Russian lawyer have hired lawyers themselves. Rob Goldstone, the publicist and former British tabloid journalist with a penchant for posting Facebook videos like this one and who emailed Don Jr. to set up the meeting, he confirmed today he`s hired a New York-based attorney to handle inquiries related to the Russia probe.
Meanwhile, the father/son duo with ties to Kremlin, that would be Russian real estate developer Aras Agalarov and his son Emin, the pop singer, the ones who are allegedly involved in setting up the meeting with Don Jr., they also retained an American attorney today.
But perhaps the most significant legal hire made this week was this guy, that is criminal defense attorney Allen Fudifoss (ph) who made a name for himself by defending high profile mobsters, including the alleged head of the Lucchese crime family, and defendants accused of working with the Gambino and Genovese crime families.
That lawyer was retained yesterday by none other than Donald Trump Jr.
HAYES: The revelations of Donald Trump Jr.`s meeting, along with Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, with a Russian lawyer, came to light through dogged reporting and leaks. Now, imagine for a moment what kind of information this guy can get his hands on.
Since being tapped for special counsel in late May, Robert Mueller has quietly been leading a Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in last year`s election. And as part of that, the investigation of the president himself for possible obstruction of justice.
And doing so with an army of investigators in what is widely considered an all-star roster of lawyers known for their work in national security, public corruption, and financial crimes.
But what we`re hearing from a lot of the president`s defenders today is that even if his oldest son crossed the line on collusion, he didn`t commit a crime. Are they right? We`ll talk about that and where Robert Mueller`s investigation is headed in the wake of the Trump emails, next.
HAYES: Joining me now, Carrie Cordero, former Justice Department lawyer who now teaches at Georgetown Law; and Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor at the Justice Department, MSNBC legal analyst, who also teaches at Georgetown.
All right, so, Paul, let me start with you. Just, there`s a question today, and it`s not clear one way or the other, what we know today, does that constitute criminal activity. What`s your read on that?
PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Chris, when Donald Trump Jr. did this email dump today, he provided probable cause for Robert Mueller to charge him with a crime, specifically, campaign fraud.
It`s a federal offense to solicit a campaign contribution from a foreign national. The statute`s clear. The contribution doesn`t have to be cash money, it can be anything of value, including opposition research.
Now, do I think Mueller is going to charge him tomorrow? No. When you have probable cause, you don`t have to do it that day. But make no mistake, Mr. Trump Jr. is in deep trouble of his own doing at some point, at some point he will be charged.
HAYES: Carrie, do you agree?
CARRIE CORDERO, GEORGETOWN LAW: Well, here`s what I think the emails that were released today show. First of all, it showed that the Trump campaign`s senior individuals like Donald Trump Jr. and the other senior leaders of the campaign knew that there was a Russian influence that was supporting their -- his father`s campaign. And second of all, the emails provide more opportunity for the investigation to follow up on certain things.
So, for example, it said that there was Russian government support. And so the question that is raised is what is that other support that might exist? Was it only opposition research, or I think, the investigators are going to look at, were there other types of support, whether it`s financial or something else, and i Ihink that`s going to be another area that the investigators can look at now.
HAYES: Yeah, Paul I mean -- the thing that I want to read are the emails after this meeting. Because if the meeting goes down that the way that people -- Don Jr. says it went down, which is came -- the lawyer came in and kind of hand waved and then got into this adoption Magnitsky Act, you would imagine there might be further emails or conversations with Rob Goldstone saying, hey, what was that? I thought you guys had real good dirt/what`s the deal? Can you ask Aras and Emin about what -- all of that, presumably will be accessible to investigators if any documentation like that exists, correct?
BUTLER: I think that`s right. So, this is just the beginning of a paper trail. If this is what incredibly able reporters are getting, and all they have is the power of persuasion to get people to talk. Bob Mueller has the power of subpoena. So, I think we can guess that he has a lot more information that we wouldn`t know about.
And one thing he`s going to be looking at on these emails is the CC. And he wants to know if the Big Kahuna, Donald Trump Sr., was in on any of this. Chris, I`ve talked to a bunch of my former prosecutor friends, I don`t know anybody who believes Donald Trump Sr. when he says he didn`t know about this meeting. It just belies credibility if you think his son was there, his son-in-law, the chief of his campaign, talking about something Trump is obsessed with, Hillary`s email, and he knows nothing about it? Give me a break.
HAYES: Carrie, I also thought that today`s revelations colored the case for obstruction, or the question of obstruction, which is being investigated. You know, it does seem to me that if it is the fact that the president of the United States knew, and we haven`t established that at all, but if it were the fact that it was established that he knew that the Russian government was seeking to aid him, that his son and other aides had met with them, that would give them a very clear motivation to make sure that people didn`t do too much digging around into the issue, with right?
CORDERO: Look, he`s known. The things -- whether he knew about this particular meeting or not is one thing, but what this one meeting will lead to is an uncovering of whether there were other similar types of meetings or conversations.
His efforts have been to stop this investigation. He fired the chief investigator. He has tweeted repeatedly, trying to discredit the investigation. He`s tried to discredit the FBI, he`s tried to discredit the intelligence community. He`s wanted this investigation stopped.
And so, there has to be a reason for that.
HAYES: Paul, if you were an investigator, if you were working in the public corruption unit in the Department of Justice, and you saw something like this, just a local race, where a campaign aide met with a foreign -- the promise of a foreign attorney, to provide oppo, I mean, what would go through your head?
BUTLER: I would think, this is really weird. Why is this guy meeting with a Russian national? And then I would do what Bob Mueller is going to do, which is to bring Trump Jr. in for a little sit down with crack FBI agents and his best prosecutors.
And he`s in a difficult position. If he tells the truth, he just implicates himself in campaign fraud. If he lies, he`s going down for perjury. If he takes the fifth, then his dad, the president, has some explaining to do.
HAYES: All right. Carrie Cordero and Paul Butler, thank you both for your time.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
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