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All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 7/12/17 The Trump Effect

Guests: Steve Schmidt; Julia Rovner

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: July 12, 2017 Guest: Steve Schmidt; Julia Rovner

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Does anyone want to be this President? That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. ALL IN with Chris Hayes starts right now.



SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: When you read the parts about the Russian government or Russia supporting your father, did that put off any sirens in your head?


HAYES: The trump family defends.

JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP LAWYER: We were not aware of the meeting. We didn`t - the President did not attend the meeting.

HAYES: Tonight, new questions on when the President found out about Russian government support.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week.

HAYES: Plus, what Donald Junior is leaving out.

TRUMP JR.: As I recall, it was all basically this e-mail coordination.

HAYES: Was there a phone call in-between e-mails and what that could mean?

Then the Republican chance to repeal ObamaCare could be slipping away.

TRUMP: He`s got to pull it off. Mitch has to pull it off.

HAYES: And in the wake of the Trump e-mails, Steve Schmidt on what it would take for the Republicans to abandon the President.

TRUMP: I could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t lose any voters.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Despite claiming to have no involvement in a meeting last summer between his closest campaign aides and a Kremlin linked lawyer and no knowledge of said meeting until it became public in recent days, the President of the United States now appears to have played a key role in efforts by the White House to cover up that meeting. And now, amid continued fallout over the e-mails released yesterday by his son Donald Trump Jr., showing he was eager to accept Russian government aid. Investigators are taking another look at potential evidence collected as far back as 2015 according to the Wall Street Journal. Minutes ago, the President boarded air force one en route to France where he`ll meet tomorrow with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The last time he was on Air Force One - the President that is - was just a few days ago. He was on the way home from the G20 where he held his first face to face meeting with Vladimir Putin. During that trip, the President was involved in producing the false statement that his son Donald Trump Jr. initially gave to the New York Times about his previously undisclosed meeting last summer. According to the times, as jetted back from Europe on Saturday, a small cadre of President`s advisers huddled in a cabin helping to craft a statement for the President`s eldest son explaining why he met last summer with a lawyer connected to the Russian government. Ultimately, the Times reports, the President himself signed off on the statement from Donald Trump Jr. And that statement which characterized the meeting as primary about adoption and was released before the incriminating e-mails came out, it turned out to be aggressively dishonest at the very best.

We now know from the Times reporting and from the e-mails that Donald Trump Jr. himself released yesterday that Trump Jr. took the meeting after receiving an offer reportedly from the Russians government of "some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father." Trump Jr.`s brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort were both in that same meeting with the Russian lawyer which took place in Trump Tower, one floor below the candidate`s office on a day when the candidate was in the building. But the President`s son denies his father knew anything about it.


HANNITY: Do you tell your father anything about this?

TRUMP JR.: No. It was such a nothing. There was nothing to tell. I wouldn`t have even remembered it until you start scouring through this up. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes which was a shame.


HAYES: The President responded to his son`s TV appearance in a tweet this morning. "My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent, this is greatest witch hunt in political history. Sad." In a new interview with Reuters today, the President both defended his son and insisted he was personally in the dark about his son`s meeting last summer. "No, that I didn`t know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this. I think many people would have held that meeting." The e-mails released yesterday have raised a new round of questions about what the President knew and who his aides were in contact with, when, even prompting investigators to re-examine earlier material.

According to Wall Street Journal, U.S. Intelligence Agencies, starting in the spring of 2015, detected conversations in which Russian government officials discussed associates of Donald Trump several months before he declared a candidacy for President. The conversations were confusing, the journal reports. It wasn`t clear which Trump associates were being discussed and investigators didn`t know what to make of it. But now in light of the release of the e-mails Tuesday, investigators are going back to those early reports to see if they can understand them better. The e- mails have also raised new questions about a little-noticed speech then candidate Trump gave last year on June 7th. Earlier that day at 5:16 p.m., Donald Trump Jr. sent an e-mail confirming the time and date for his meeting with the Russian lawyer to collect dirt on his father`s opponent. Almost exactly four hours later, his father made the following announcement.


TRUMP: I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week, and we`re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you`re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.


HAYES: I`m joined now by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode Island and Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Do you believe the President that he had no knowledge of the meeting or the e-mail or anything like that?

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI) SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It`s hard to tell. Although when you consider how close this family is, and when you consider how excited Donald Junior was about this, I love it. We`ve got to get this out there maybe later this summer. And when you consider the extraordinary number of tell tales that were dropped into the e-mail chain about Russian interference, you know, my gosh. It`s hard to believe that that didn`t cross over at some point to a conversation. But we don`t know that. It just seems so improbable.

HAYES: Did you ever - if I had interviewed you a week ago, and I said to you, Senator, how likelihood - likely do you think there`s an - there`s an e-mail from a purported Russian intermediary offering Russian government help in writing to bring down Hillary Clinton to a member of the campaign who then said yes and sets out the meeting, what would you have put the odds of that e-mail existing a week ago?

WHITEHOUSE: That e-mail is so flagrantly incriminating, it almost looks like it was a set-up. So when I first saw it, I looked at it and I thought this can`t be so. And then I realized that it was actually Donald Trump Jr. who had released it and authenticated it. So it is astonishing to think that any American citizen would read an e-mail that says, this is part of Russia`s effort to help your father get elected, and think that there`s nothing dangerous in that. I mean, the average American, I think their instinct would be, you go to the FBI with that.

HAYES: The average American. You use that phrase and I`ve heard from - there`s been a variety of defenses that have been offered in the last 48 hours. One of them is, people don`t care about this stuff. This is a Beltway thing. I saw Ted Cruz saying, you know, this is just you reporters you know, staking on Capitol Hill. You`re the only ones that care about this. Do you think that`s true?

WHITEHOUSE: I don`t think that`s true at all. And the key audience here so much what somebody inside or outside the beltway thinks, it`s whether this was a violation of law or part of a larger conspiracy to violate the law. And Bob Mueller`s team is what`s going to look into that. And the law frankly, doesn`t care very much whether it`s reporters or people inside the beltway or people outside Beltway who are paying attention. And if there`s been a legal violation here and this is very strong indication that there has, then you`re dealing with things like, indictments and the House potentially beginning impeachment proceedings and people having to start talking under oath instead of just - you know, talking out into the air waves where they lie as easily as they breathe.

HAYES: Do you feel the disclosure of yesterday`s e-mail adds urgency from a time line perspective? From - you know, I mean, everyone says, well, there`s Bob Mueller in it, there`s an investigation and anyone who is watching this who`s a journalist or just a responsible citizen, you want to know the actual truth. We don`t want conjecture. We don`t want speculation. We just really want to know the facts whether they`re exculpatory or inculpatory. At the same time, the fact that we didn`t know that e-mail existed and we found out yesterday, does it feel to you like there`s added urgency to getting to the bottom of it at a pretty quick rate?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, I think it`s important that the investigations on this and particularly Bob Mueller`s investigation be adequately staffed and moving fast because there`s such a broad array of evidence to look at and there`s such a lot to digest and take apart and find links among that you could really drag this out for a long time if you didn`t have the resources to pull the whole picture together. Any investigation like this starts small and it expands, as you look more and more at the evidence. And then when you`re satisfied you`ve got a good picture of the evidence, then you narrow it down on your targets. And you want to get past that narrowing point and I don`t think they`re there yet. There`s just a lot out there.

HAYES: Former U.S. Attorney, current Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, thanks for your time tonight.

WHITEHOUSE: Thank you.

HAYES: Joining me now, Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger of North Carolina. Congressman, do you think it`s a bad idea to take a meeting with someone who offers aid from a foreign government in bringing down your political adversary?

REP. ROBERT PITTENGER (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I think, you know, what materially illegal is there about that, I don`t know. I`m not a lawyer -

HAYES: No, but I`m just asking, do you think - do you think it`s bad? Like if someone you were advising said to you, said look, I just got an e- mail from an adversarial government that says they have dirt on my point. Should I go to the meeting? What will you tell?

PITTENGER: I`ll listen to anybody for whatever they have to say but at the end of the day, you weigh through the - you weigh through the facts -

HAYES: Would you take a meeting - Sir, sir, let me ask you this question. If you say you would take a meeting - you would listen to anyone would have to say, you would take a meeting with say, an agent of the Venezuelan government to give you opposition research on an opponent? Would you do that?

PITTENGER: Again, Chris, you`re coming out with some conjecture here of things. These are hypothetical things and I don`t deal with -

HAYES: No, no, but you just - I`m sorry, I`m sorry but you just said - you just said, you would take - you think it is OK -

PITTENGER: I would listen to people and what they had to say -

HAYES: So you would take that meeting?

PITTENGER: - but I want to let you know that I respect what you just said a minute ago. You said that all this has been a lot of speculation and conjecture. And let`s get down to the facts. We`ve been hearing speculation and conjecture for the last six months, issue after issue after issue. This has been trial by Democrat, trial by media. You, there`s an obsession of trying on find something, can we get something on this guy, Trump to nail him. Can we finally get in and we just kind of keep looking. And I think that at the end of the day, there hasn`t been anything shows any collusion.

HAYES: OK, so I just want to be clear about what`s speculation and what is fact so we can sort of agree on that. So you agree that Donald Trump Jr. published e-mails yesterday that he received from a reported intermediary for -

PITTENGER: And I commend him for doing that. I think he did the right thing.

HAYES: OK, but that`s - just to be clear, that`s not speculation. Those e-mails exist, correct?

PITTENGER: Absolutely, (INAUDIBLE) very straightforward.

HAYES: Those e-mails - those e-mails involved an offer to collude with the Russian government to bring down Hillary Clinton.

PITTENGER: That`s your interpretation. I don`t -

HAYES: They say - this is part - just to be clear, they say, this is part - and I`ll just read from it. This is - this is obviously very high-level sensitive information, but it`s - and I`m quoting here, part of Russia and its government`s support for Mr. Trump. Now, you agree that that`s actually what that e-mail says right?

PITTENGER: I`m not getting into what is a material fact relative to aiding and abetting, the takedown. I think what - you know, you want to be a prosecutor right now. I think great, go back to law school and be a prosecutor. We know, we shouldn`t have trial by media. I think -

HAYES: I agree with you. I agree with you.

PITTENGER: That`s why we have mr. Mueller, that`s why I really commend President Trump for the nomination he has of Chris Wray. This man is outstanding. He`s going to get to the facts.


HAYES: I agree entirely.

PITTENGER: Chris Wray is going to help get to the bottom of it. Donald Trump is the one who appointed him.

HAYES: OK, so let`s agree on this, right? You and I both and I think, anyone in the country genuinely wants to know truth, right? I want to know the actual facts.

PITTENGER: Absolutely.

HAYES: Particularly - Sir.

PITTENGER: We have six months of this issue after issue, conjecture, and speculation.

HAYES: So particularly though - that`s right. Particularly if it`s - if it`s exculpatory, I mean, particularly from your perspective. If it turns out this entire thing is a witch hunt, right, you want to know the actual facts. So we have something that we haven`t had in a long time in the last day which is just concrete facts, its actual documents, right? And the documents and the chain of events that happened which is this offer and a meeting are real things that happened in the world that aren`t conjecture and they`re not speculation. And I`m just asking you as a human being, as a politician, as a citizen, do you think it`s OK what the campaign did when offered this? Is that an OK thing that you approve of that you would advise a friend to do?

PITTENGER: Was it illegal? Was it - was it a material reality that what they did was wrong? Was it illegal? I think we`ll get to the facts on that. I`m not an attorney. Well, I think you can take information from anyone. I think -

HAYES: So you think it was OK? I`m just - I`m asking for your opinion. I`m really not-I`m just asking like it`s ok to do that?

PITTENGER: It`s not - you can - I hear information from people all the time on the many things. And also, I think you need to understand in a campaign, I`ve been in many campaigns, particularly in a national campaign. Donald Trump probably had 25 meetings a day.

HAYES: Let me ask you this.

PITTENGER: You know, you run through a lot of people during course of the day and if they`re not -

HAYES: I hear that and there`s a lot - there`s a lot of hangers on and people who come through your door and I know that first hand.

PITTENGER: Anybody wants to get the son of Donald Trump`s attention. And you know, I`ve got something for you.

HAYES: Final question for you. Have you personally ever met with someone who represented themselves as a foreign agent to give you dirt about a political point?

PITTENGER: No, never have. No.

HAYES: Congressman Robert Pittenger, I appreciate you being here.

PITTENGER: Good to be with you Chris, hope you have a good evening.

HAYES: Thank you very much, you too. I`m joined by Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California. It strikes me that the question of, is this an OK thing to do, would have been something that people would have had a clear answer to just four days ago.

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Chris, not only is it not an OK thing to do. It is a clear violation of federal law. Donald Trump Jr. clearly violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by conspiring to solicit something of value from a foreign national. And as a former prosecutor, I can tell you that conspiracy is very easy to prove. You just have to show he took an act on further ends of the crime. And in this case, not only did he write an e-mail back saying I love it, getting the dirt on Hillary Clinton, he also set up a meeting and showed up at the meeting that more than completes the crime of conspiracy.

HAYES: OK, right. But - that - let me just - I want to play devil`s advocate here because I remember there was - six months in this nation`s history when extremely literal readings of statutes was being used to construe criminality by one Hillary Clinton, right? And you know, there`s a lot of statutes on the book, and you read them in a very sort of constrain ways, you can make an argument for illegality. It seems to me that very few prosecutions would be brought on the facts that we just know now. Isn`t that true?

LIEU: That is not true. Let me give you an analogy. Let`s say someone e- mails you and says I got a bag of cocaine and you e-mail back and saying, I love it, and then, you set up a meeting, you show up at that meeting and if the bag of cocaine turns out to be sugar, you still committed conspiracy and you will be prosecuted.

HAYES: So you think - you actually think, and I talked to lawyers on both sides of this over the last 48 hours, 24 hours. You actually think that it is -it is - what was revealed yesterday is prosecutable?

LIEU: Absolutely. Congress went to great lengths to put in a prohibition against accepting or soliciting anything of value from a foreign national or a foreign government because we understand that foreign influence can be very corrupting, and that is straight up in the law and this is a straight up violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act which includes imprisonment.

HAYES: Right. So then, what is your - I mean, this sort of goes back to I think the both previous interviews, right? Representative Pettinger saying, we need to get to the bottom of this and we want the facts and not trial by media which I respect. And I think that`s you know, everyone is accorded a certain degree of presumption of innocence and Sheldon Whitehouse`s conversation about how long this takes. I mean, what is your expectation about what happens next given how remarkable the last 48 hours have been?

LIEU: These e-mails are facts. They`ve been authenticated by Donald Trump Jr. If his last name wasn`t Trump, what happen is, there would be a Grand Jury and then he would be indicted and then a Jury can decide if he should be found guilty or not.

HAYES: Do you - do you honestly think that Congressman? You really think that it`s that black and white? Because I`ve talked on people who say, I don`t know, I don`t know if there`s a case here. You really think that?

LIEU: Absolutely. This is absolutely conspiracy to solicit something of value from a foreign national. It`s right there in the e-mails. And by the way, here`s a fun fact. There`s an open question whether a sitting President can be indicted but there`s no dispute at all that his son can be indicted.

HAYES: Yes. I mean, one of the things that people noted about Watergate all the time is that people went to jail well before the President ultimately was impeached. There`s to protection for folks that are in the President`s orbit is what you`re saying.

LIEU: That`s correct. And one more layer to this, if this meeting wasn`t a big deal, why would the President himself, as you noted earlier in the show, to go great lengths to cover it up and help his son putout a false and misleading statement when this New York Times story first appeared?

HAYES: All right, Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you for your time tonight.

LIEU: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, is Donald Trump Jr. still withholding information about that meeting with the Russian lawyer? We noticed something odd in his e- mail thread that hasn`t gotten much attention. Did Donald Trump Jr. speak with anyone in Moscow before the meeting? That story in two minutes.


HAYES: We now know that Donald Trump Jr. received a series of e-mails last June in which he was offered unspecified dirt on Hillary Clinton. The dirt he was told would come from the Russian government. Now, Trump junior admits taking a meeting with what was described in those e-mails as Russian government attorney in order to get that dirt. He maintains, however, he was offered nothing of value. Last night on Fox News, Sean Hannity asked Trump Junior if before the meeting he had been given any indication as to what the information about Hillary Clinton might be and listen carefully to his answer.


HANNITY: At any point where you told either in a phone conversation or otherwise, what they might tell you, what Goldstone seemed to be implying you would recieve?

TRUMP JR.: No, as I recall, it was all basically this e-mail coordination. Let`s try to set up a meeting and see what happens and that it was going to be interesting information. And you know, in the end, it wasn`t about that at all.


HAYES: OK, he says no, as I recall, it was all basically this e-mail coordination, basically no more context. Now, someone saying they had information to provide and the meeting which he said was a dud. But NBC News investigative reporter Ken Dilanian noticed something interesting. A careful reading of the e-mail chain seems to suggest that Don Junior, in fact, did have a conversation on the phone before the meeting with the person in Moscow offering information despite claiming he had no such contact just last night on camera. The e-mails were between Don Junior and his acquaintance Rob Goldstone and this is during the back and forth setting of the logistics of the meeting.

Now Goldstone references his source, that`s the pop singer, real estate developer Emin Agalarov, right? At 12:40 p.m. at June 6th, Goldstone wrote, "Hi, Don, let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info, you had mentioned earlier this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day." That afternoon, 3:03 p.m. Don Junior responds, "Rob, could we speak now? d." Goldstone responds half hour later, let me track him down in Moscow. What number he could call? One minute later, Don Jr., "My cell. Thanks. d." Five minutes after that, Goldstone, "OK, he`s on stage." That`s Emin Agalarov, right? The guy who`s at the center of all this. "He`s stage in Moscow but should be off within 20 minutes so I can -- I`m sure can call."

And then nearly an hour passes and Don Junior writes, "Rob, thanks for the help." OK, so what happened during that hour? It appears that there was a phone call. Did that phone call between Don Junior and Emin take place? That thanks for the help an hour after setting up a call suggest that it might have. And then this exchange the next day. Goldstone writes, Don, hope all is well. Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and the Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow this Thursday. I believe you are aware of the meeting, and so wondered if 3:00 p.m. or later on Thursday works for you? I assume it would be at your office." I believe you are aware of the meeting. Again, that seems to be a reference to them having a form of communication already, perhaps a phone call, making Don Junior "aware of the meeting." Well, what are they going to give you? What are they going to talk about?

Later that day, Don Junior mentions for the first time the other participant he plans to bring writing, "Great, it will likely be Paul Manafort, Campaign Boss, my brother-in-law and me. I`m joined now by Ken Dilanian, he`s Intelligence National Security Reporter from NBC News Investigative Unit, Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. Ken, you noticed this. It sure does look like a phone call happened, we don`t know, but it sure looks like it.

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: It sure does, Chris. It`s a logical inference. And why it`s important, it`s because Rob Goldstone is not the man with the connections to the Kremlin. Emin Agalarov and his father are the guys that are close to Putin and have high-level connections to the Kremlin. And this could explain a few things. One, the day after this arrangement, this phone call may have taken place, you know, Donald Trump, as you note earlier on the show, gave a speech where he promised later to make some announcement about Hillary Clinton and her dealings.

And of course, he never did that but he was intimating that he had some dirt on Hillary Clinton. The other issue is, there`s a huge disconnect between this - the e-mail that very explicitly promises you know, incriminating information on Hillary Clinton and the explanation of how this meeting actually - you know, played out with the lawyer who was talking about the Magnitsky Act and adoption and you know, Donald Trump Jr. saying, I didn`t really get anything. There`s no real explanation for that disconnect. And maybe this phone call explains it.

HAYES: Barbara, you were a Prosecutor, a Federal Prosecutor. What would you want to see, if you had subpoena power right now if you could just pull records, what would you want to see in the wake of this?

BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN: Yes. So, you know, all we really have is one little nugget about this whole scenario. So what you want to do is get as much information as you can around it to see what else happened around the circumstances. So number one, getting the telephone records of Donald Trump Jr. might be one way to confirm whether there were additional phone calls. You can`t get the content of those calls after the fact but you could at least determine whether those calls occurred, that could be helpful. I`d want to talk to Rob Goldstone as well.

Now, he, of course, is a British national so you can`t just use your subpoena to pull him in but we do have treaties with the British government so an interview could be arranged through that mechanism. So I`d want to find out as much as I can about all the things that it can lead up to this. I also want to find out about what happened afterward. Were there any subsequent meetings? Were there subsequent e-mails? So I would be using a search warrant to try to get the content of the e-mails between Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Goldstone, all of these players.

HAYES: Yes, can, to Barbara`s point about what happened after, that to me is the part of the story that we`re getting now that seems a little unresolved, right? So let`s say, everything that Donald Junior is saying is true, that they go to this meeting, it`s weird and disappointing and doesn`t involve what he thought. Do you just let it go? The e-mails goes out and say, hey, what the heck was that? You wasted my time. You made me look bad in front of Paul Manafort. There`s a lot you would imagine would happen after that other than a shrug.

DILANIAN: Absolutely. And there`s so many unanswered questions. One is, you know when Don Junior gets the e-mail about the Russian government effort to help your father, he doesn`t respond, what effort?

HAYES: That`s right.

DILANIAN: So he`s acting like he understands there is such effort. And then, there is - again, this disconnect between this very explicit promise of help and what they`re saying was kind of a nothing burger.

HAYES: Barbara, did you get that same - that line of the e-mail? Did that read the same way to you? A lot of people are talking about this. It says, you know, the Russian effort to help your father, part of that effort. It`s not introduced as a new thing. Like here`s some crazy bombshell news, bruh, the Russian government is kind of - kind of trying to help your dad elected. It`s just mentioned.

MCQUADE: Yes. I think that`s one way to read it. You know, when you think about what Mueller`s mission is really here, is a quest for the truth and although I think people will want to see accountability for anyone who has committed crimes here, the really bigger quest for truth that we want is what was the Russian government up to in this counter intelligence investigation? What were they doing? What was their game? And that quest for truth is what Robert Mueller will want to know. So, he`s going to want to know about all of this. Were there activities that predated this in this effort to undermine the Clinton campaign?

HAYES: And I can`t - I can`t help but note the irony of, we - you know, we went through an entire campaign in which we read a lot of people`s e-mails. We got into everyone`s inboxes. We read a ton of e-mails that the secretary sent that were turned over to the State Department pursuant to the law. We read criminally exfiltrated e-mails from the DNC and from John Podesta. This is the first time that we`ve read an e-mail from the Trump campaign on the inside. You know, voluntarily disclosed. It does make you wonder what - you know, what else is in those inboxes.

DILANIAN: It absolutely does. And I`ll tell you, in the absence of hard facts, what we`ve gotten is a lot speculation from current and former intelligence officials. But what`s interesting to me is they all see this the same way. They say that this is right out of a Russian play book, this is a - they believe this is a dangle. This was Russian intelligence trying to see how the Trump team respond to this offer of assistance. And as it turns out, if you believe the accounts of the meeting wasn`t much of an offer in practice but what they showed is that they were eager for more.

HAYES: All right, Ken, Dilanian, Barbara McQuade, thank you for making time.

MCQUADE: Thank you.

DILANIAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, as the Trump e-mail controversy grows, new signs that the repeal and replace effort may be slipping away in the Senate.



PAT ROBERTSON, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: Mitch McConnell is a tactician of great skill. Do you think he can pull it off? It`s his job.

TRUMP: He has got to pull it off. Mitch has to pull it off. He`s working very hard. He has to pull it off.


HAYES: During the interview today on the Christian Broadcasting Network, his first non-Fox News TV interview in more than two months, President Trump put the pressure to pass a GOP health care bill through the senate squarely on Mitch McMonnell`s shoulders.

And that`s not a bad place to put it. I mean, the Senate Republican leader has done a lot for this president dating all the way back to the campaign when he stood in the way of an Obama administration effort to go public with Russian efforts to influence the election.

According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration, wary of being seen seeking to influence the election last summer sought bipartisan support from congressional leaders for a statement condemning Moscow. But Republican leaders in congress, despite having been briefed on Russia`s efforts, resisted, none of them more adamantly than McConnell himself who voiced skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House`s claims.

One year later, Donald Trump is president, Mitch McConnell is facing the biggest test of his political career. After promising for eight years to repeal Obamacare, Republicans face massive pressure to follow through.

And while the effort has been rocky so far, Mitch McConnell is still desperately trying to pull it off, though events today suggest his chance may be slipping away.

The latest on the health care fight right after this break.


HAYES: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is scrambling to save his health care bill. McConnell failed in June to pass an earlier version, so he`s rolling out a revision tomorrow with the CBO score as soon as Monday on a vote just a few days afterwards, that`s the scheduled right now.

But how much actually changes remains to be unseen.

Now, one proposal under consideration by Texas Senator Ted Cruz would allow the sale of what amounts to sub-prime insurance, plans with far more limited coverage than is currently permitted.

But now health insurers, of all people, are tearing into that idea saying the plan would, quote, destabilize the individual market and increase costs for those with preexisting conditions. Crucially, even a revised bill supported by Cruz and his friend Senator Mike Lee, might still not get McConnell the votes he needs. Remember, he can only afford two defections from his slim majority.

You`re got relative moderates such as Suzanne Collins of Maine who is opposed, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Jerry Moran of Kansas, somewhat surprising, among others, all worry about people losing coverage under a Senate bill.

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska reportedly tore into the proposed Medicaid cuts in a meeting today. And conservatives like Rand Paul say it doesn`t do enough to repeal Obamacare.

Today, Paul announced he is a no vote.


SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: We promised the American voters that we would repeal Obamacare. But when you`re keeping half the taxes, most of the regulations and creating a brand new insurance bailout super fund, that to most people just doesn`t look like repeal. I will vote against the motion to proceed.


HAYES: Joining me now is Julia Rovner, she`s chief Washington correspondent with Kaiser Health News, you`ve been covering this closely. You`ve covered other efforts before. Where does this stand right now?

JULIA ROVNER, KAISER HEALTH NEWS: A good place if you`re Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. You know, he says that he is going to unveil this next draft tomorrow and try to take it to the floor. It is unclear whether he is going to take it to the floor to fail.

Even leadership concedes that as of now they do not have 50 votes. And it seems that the people who sort of last week when they were home were kind of saying, yeah, I don`t think I like it. they`ve come back or now come back to Washington and said yeah I really don`t like this.

HAYES: That`s a great point. I have noticed -- again, nothing is done until it`s and people change and Mitch McConnell is very good at his job. But I have noticed the tenor of the comments about it, the skepticism being articulated before the break and after, that they have grown more critical, not less. The folks before the break said, I have reservations and in its current form, you`re hearing much stronger language now.

ROVNER: Yeah, there seem to be many more firm nos, or fairly firm nos. Obviously, they could make some changes, but from what we`ve seen the changes that they seem to be making are losing votes rather than gaining them.

They want to, you know, perhaps have a little bit more money, a little bit slower cuts in Medicaid, and that`s what we have seen has driven away Rand Paul, turned him into an absolute no.

The moderates who are worried about the Medicaid cuts seem to be just as worried about the Medicaid cuts as they were even if there`s money enough to slow them down a little bit. So, it doesn`t seem to be that Senator McConnell has found, you know, that the magic bullet that can get everybody on board.

HAYES: Yeah, to be clear, there`s been all this attention on the Cruz amendment, which, a, hit the insurance industry today totally ripped, because it would essentially inaugurate a death spiral in these individual markets, right.

ROVNER: Well, plus they would have to go back to, you know, what they call medical underwriting. They`re actually happy to stop doing that. The industry doesn`t love the Affordable Care Act because it doesn`t think that the mandate is strong enough to get healthy people in. But the idea of going back to sort of separate insurance markets where they would have to assess the health of certain people and decide how much to charge them is not something they want to do either.

HAYES: So, if you get the -- and I mean, it`s always seemed clear to me when Mike Lee and Ted Cruz raised their concerns at the beginning, they were going to get the bone thrown to them. It seems they are in this. But the two -- the real problem are those folks who don`t like the Medicaid cuts, that Dean Heller who is on the record as a no, Susan Collins of Maine, Capito who says she was a no in West Virginia in which, I don`t know, 40 percent of the population I think is on Medicaid, something like that.

And then you`ve got Rand Paul. If Rand Paul is really a hard no, that halves the room that McConnell has to negotiate.

Do you think he`s actually a no?

ROVNER: Yeah. I do. I think everybody has thought Rand Paul would be a no from the beginning. The wild card in this has been sort of Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. And remember there`s one more, even if they try to give them their amendment, and there`s a debate about does it go in the base bill or do they vote on it, you know, so they would need 50 votes affirmatively to get it in, it hasn`t been vetted by the parliamentarian yet. That`s actually going on this week as we speak. There may be a lot of things in this that can`t make it to the Senate floor, including a lot of this anti-abortion language.

HAYES: A key point here, there has been a lot of sustained activism and pressure. It`s been fascinating to watch. You have got the folks from Adapt, this disability rights group. There have Indivisible, Democrat socialists of America, different groups move on who have been direct action sitting in offices, showing up outside the homes of folks, you know, going to town halls.

Has that been working? Is that part of what`s pressing these folks towards a firmer no?

ROVNER: Well, I don`t know whether it`s, you know, having much impact on the people who don`t like it because it`s not conservative enough, but it does seem to be having an impact on the moderates. And of course, you know, Susan Collins came back and said when she was home in Maine last week everybody who approached her said, you know, praised her for her opposition, so basically reinforced her as a no.

And I think that`s what we`ve seen, even Dean Heller from Nevada who is, you know, was one of the sort early surprising nos seems to have come back, you know, more emphatic than before. He said today that the bill simply hasn`t changed.

HAYES: All right, you`ve got VP Mike Pence I think tonight working over Rand Paul in Kentucky, or meeting with him maybe in the Capitol. Julia Rovner, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

ROVNER: Sure. Any time.

HAYES: Coming up, an email sent to Donald Trump Jr. explicitly offering support from the Russian government during the campaign doesn`t raise questions among Trump supporters. What exactly would? Steve Schmidt here to talk about that ahead.

Plus, President Trump and the ultimate in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, for three days after arriving back from the G20 summit on Saturday, Donald Trump, the president, was MIA, holding no public events while his eldest son was left to explain why he met last summer with a lawyer connected to the Russian government who was said to have dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The president released a statement yesterday saying my son is a high quality person.

But the first we saw of him was this image from last night as he was being prayed over by evangelical leaders and that was the first hint of who the president planned to speak with for his first non-Fox News interview in two months.

Today, Donald Trump sat down with the Christian Broadcasting Network`s Pat Robertson. An interesting choice with his White House in damage control over his son`s emails. But CBN has been a friendly outlet for Donald Trump for years. He`s agreed to several interviews, and including one of our absolutely all-time favorite Trump clips. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: Last summer, Donald Trump was interviewed by Christian Broadcasting Network`s David Brody and he was asked about his relationship with a higher power.


DAVID BRODY, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: Who is god to you? What are some of your thoughts on this? Clearly you`re a smart man, you`re a smart businessman. You`ve contemplated this before, or have you contemplated it?

TRUMP: I would say god is the ultimate. You know, you look at this, you look at this incredible -- here we are in the Pacific Ocean. How did I ever own this? I bought it 15 years ago. I made one of the great deals they say ever with this piece of land. I have no mortgage on it, as you -- I will certify and represent to you. And I was able to buy this and make a great deal, that`s what I want to do for the country, make great deals. We have to. We have to bring it back.

But god is the ultimate. I mean, god created this.



HAYES: A week ago, if you said you believe there is an email from a Russian intermediary to the president`s eldest son, offering explicitly in writing the Russian government`s support by passing along information damaging to Hillary Clinton, people would have thought you were a conspiracy theorist.

I, myself, have been pretty skeptical all along that there was any such back channel, particularly one that blatant, or clumsy. And I think most people following this story did not think an email like the one we just read existed.

Then, the email came out. And it essentially said would you like to collude with the Russian government defeat Hillary? And Donald Trump Jr. says love it.

No one could have possibly thought that particular email existed and then there it is. And the more shocking thing is that so far it appears to have changed no one`s mind.

And if something that incriminating doesn`t change, minds, what will?

Republican Strategist Steve Schmidt on that question next.



TRUMP: The people, my people are so smart. And you know what else they say about my people, the polls, they say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t lose any voters, OK. It`s like incredible.


HAYES: Public opinion on the president of the United States has actually been fairly steady and stable in a certain way. And President Trump started out unpopular. A recent poll, for example, places his approval rating at 41 percent. That`s not his worst standing since he took office, but that same poll shows that among those who voted for him, mostly Republicans, his approval remains solid at 88 percent. It almost seems like whatever happens in the world, it doesn`t affect that basic framework.

Joining me now, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt.

I saw a few folks, I want to start -- we`ll start at sort of the level of professional political operatives, conservative writers and stuff. Folks for the National Review, Charles Krauthammer, I saw a bunch of people responding to the email saying whoa, whoa, whoa, this is pretty messed up. Do you think that extends past a sort of relatively small group? Do you think that`s registering more broadly?

STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We`re going to find out, Chris.

Look, I think that as we approach the six-month mark of Trump presidency, the country`s never seen anything like it. He`s the most unpopular president this early in his term in the history of the country. And the polls range from 35 percent, 36 percent to 41 percent.

And I think it`s important to remember, even the day that Richard Nixon resigned, he was at 29 percent. I mean, 29 percent of the country stuck with him. And that`s just a dynamic feature of American politics.

And I do think that a lot of the Trump support isn`t so much support for the president as it`s anti-anti-Trump.

HAYES: That`s right.

SCHMIDT: As one commentator described it, and that`s a feature that we`re increasingly tribal politics where people, no matter what is done in the name of your tribe, people are supporting the tribe.

But look, I think that there are scores of Republicans who are beyond appalled by this. Overwhelmingly, independents and non-registered voters, or non-declared voters, and certainly Democrats.

And what we know from this is a couple of things, it was an attempt to work with the Russian government at the heart of a presidential campaign with the most senior people. Then they lied about it repeatedly from the president and vice president, and everyone on down. They got caught in a lie. They continue to lie today. They lied about it over the weekend.

And as the lies accumulate, and we go from smoke to fire on the horizon, we`ll see where this goes. And as it is fully known to the American people what happened, and as the Republicans continue to languish with their inability to pass anything that resembles a conservative policy agenda, I think the voters will grow weary over time.

HAYES: So, that latter thing I want to talk about, because to me, I`m of the opinion that these next three weeks are essentially make-or-break in a certain way, which is that this Obamacare repeal is on an knife`s edge. I think it`s basically a 50/50 proposition. It could happen or it could not happen.

If it happens, that changes everything I think in terms of the calculation that even people on The Hill make, which is, OK, we`ve got this guy maybe he`s under investigation, maybe he colluded with the Russians, but he`ll sit there and he`ll sign bills, and we can get an agenda through.

If it doesn`t happen, I think -- my theory is that Republicans start asking themselves what did I sign up for here? Is that your read on it?


Look, I`m old enough to remember that a prerequisite for passing legislation like this was to try to do everything you can to make an argument, and make it as popular as possible.

HAYES: Right.

SCHMIDT: Politics is sometimes the art of choosing between two bad options, but, look, so Republicans pass this at the end of the day. They stay in. And what`s the result? They reorganized the sixth of the nation`s economy with no idea who it affects, how much it costs, and that the support of the American people for the proposals at 13 percent, and that`s a good thing as you move into a midterm election where the incumbent president`s party has lost seats, and every single election for the last 118 years in that first midterm except for three.

So I think Republicans increasingly on this are damned if they do, damned if they don`t. But it seems increasingly difficult to see how they put together the necessary votes to do this.

And by the way, if you can get the necessary votes, do you really want to take a vote like this on an issue as big as this and pass it with 51 votes, or 50 votes with the tiebreaker by the vice president perhaps?

HAYES: Final question. Are Republican members of congress having the same conversation other people are, after that email gets published? Are they in rooms just saying off the record to their staff, like, can you believe this exists?

SCHMIDT: Look, I think the reaction behind closed doors is one of astonishment. It`s the same type of tone that you`re seeing play out on television, but what you`re also seeing is a Republican, elected official class, torn between their sense of their political survival and their duty to their oath, to the constitution.

I mean, how is it conceivable that any Republican member of congress reacts to this by saying no big deal. It`s a titanic deal. You`ve never seen anything like this.

This puts the Russian government into the heart of the Trump campaign in their insistence that the meeting was a big nothing burger frankly is not credible.

HAYES: All right, Steve Schmidt, thank you.

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