All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/9/17 The Manafort Raid

Guests: Tom Hamburger, Renato Mariotti, Natasha Bertrand

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: August 9, 2017 Guest: Tom Hamburger, Renato Mariotti, Natasha Bertrand

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Thank you all for joining us. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thank you for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP`S FORMER CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: I`m not looking for any clients right now other than Mr. Trump.

HAYES: The FBI raided the home of a man who ran Donald Trump`s campaign.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have great people. Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort has done an amazing job.

HAYES: Tonight, what we`re learning about the raid of Paul Manafort`s home. What it means for an investigation that is more advanced than anyone knew and what the Manafort raid means for the President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So to be clear, Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs?

MANAFORT: That`s what he said. That`s what I said. That`s obviously what our position is.

HAYES: Then the White House confirms the President is improvising his North Korea threats.

SEBASTIAN GORKA, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S DEPUTY ASSISTANT: We were a super power. We are now a hyper power.

HAYES: And the growing back lash to the President`s plan for opioid abuse.

TRUMP: The best way to prevent drug addiction, that overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place.

HAYES: When all in starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight, a dramatic new chapter in the Russia investigation, news of a pre-dawn FBI raid at the northern Virginia home of President Trump`s former Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort. Sources telling NBC News, the search is tied to the intense investigation into Manafort`s business dealings and financial relationships, both in the U.S. and abroad. After the Washington Post broke the news this morning, Manafort spokesman confirmed it in a statement, "FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr. Manafort`s residences.

Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well." When the FBI is executing a search warrant in your home, you really have no choice but to cooperate. ABC News cites a source familiar with the investigation and says a dozen armed FBI agents walked Manafort up by not being on his bedroom door. Manafort`s friend and former lobbying partner Roger Stone gave his version of events to Alex Jones today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER STONE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Thugs authorized by Robert Mueller kicked down the front door of Manafort`s home, proceeded to the bedroom, kicked down the door to the - to the marital bedroom seeking documents that they had never requested

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The granting of the search warrant is a big development in this case. It`s a sign that investigators do not trust that Manafort fully responded to their subpoenas. In order to get a search warrant, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team had to convince the Judge that there was probable cause to believe that a serious crime had been committed and that a search would likely turn up evidence related to that alleged crime. The FBI search took place on July 26th. That`s one day after Manafort met with the staffers at the Senate Intelligence Committee who are investigating the Russia matter.

Notably, in the hours after the FBI raided Manafort`s home, President Trump unleashed a misleading attack on the then Acting Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, "why didn`t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe? A Comey friend who was in charge of the Clinton investigation but got big dollars, $700,000, for his wife`s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. The Trump administration has sought to play down Manafort`s role but Manafort spent six months last year on Trump`s campaign and ran it from June through August of 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Paul Manafort has done an amazing job. He`s here someplace. Where`s Paul? Paul Manafort. Good, he made it.

He doesn`t have to do this like I didn`t have to. He didn`t need to do this but he wanted to because he saw something and he called me, he said, this is something special.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Sources with knowledge of Mueller`s inquiry tell NBC News that FBI investigators are looking at records tied to Manafort`s activities in Ukraine, Cyprus and other parts of the world and they have plenty of avenues to explore. In June, Manafort retroactively registered as foreign agent disclosing that his consulting received more than $17 million in secret payments from a Kremlin linked political party in Ukraine. Manafort has also been accused of possible money laundering, both in the tax haven of Cyprus and here in the United States where his all cash real estate deals have raised flags among experts.

Manafort was also present along with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner at that infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton direct from the Russian government. Manafort denies all wrong doing. Last July, when he was Trump`s campaign chairman, Manafort was pressed on whether then candidate Trump had financial ties to Russian oligarchs and whether Trump would release his tax returns to put the issue to rest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANAFORT: Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing it. It has nothing to do with Russia. It has nothing to do with any country other than the United States and his normal tax auditing process. So that issue will be dealt with when the audits are done

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So to be clear, Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs.

MANAFORT: That`s what he said. That`s what I said. That`s obviously what our position is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Joining me now, Washington Post Reporter Tom Hamburger who broke the story of the Manafort raid with his colleagues at the Washington Post. This strikes me as someone who follows this story closely, as an enormous deal. Is that how you understand it?

TOM HAMBURGER, THE WASHINGTON POST REPORTER: Well, it is a significant escalation and a sign of seriousness on the part of Robert Mueller and his team of investigators to request and then gets a search warrant. And then to execute that search warrant in the early morning hours at Paul Manafort`s home is really quite a striking development. We don`t know exactly what it means at this point but it is clearly an escalation, a sign that Mueller is moving in a very deliberate and now a pretty quick fashion and it is not good news obviously for Paul Manafort. And I can tell that it`s unnerved others in the - in the Trump world as well.

HAYES: What do you mean by that?

HAMBURGER: Folks that we talked to at the White House, my colleague Phil Rucker who covers the White House for us, has reported already that people are just feeling a chilling effect from this. To know that the investigation which was pooh poohed, it will be turn out that really there`s nothing to these Russia charges and so forth, that now it has proceeded to the point where the Special Prosecutor is asking a judge to issue a search warrant. And search warrants are issued as you know Chris based on probable cause of criminal wrongdoing. So this is a sign of seriousness and it`s both surprising in some ways and it`s shaking at some point.

HAYES: Obviously you can`t the back - your sources at the back ground of your reporting but I will say, note, it is remarkable to me that this did not get out for two weeks. I mean, 12 FBI agents showing up in a home in Alexandria in the middle of the night, you know, people are going to notice that. It is pretty striking we didn`t hear about this for two weeks.

HAMBURGER: It is striking I suppose in some ways. Maybe it`s a tribute to the way in which Bob Mueller and his team and others and also Manafort and his counselor kept things quiet. We had been hearing about it for a few days and finally got confirmation from three separate sources and learned just this morning just how dramatic this raid was occurring in the very early morning hours about 6 a.m. or just before and surprising Paul Manafort and his wife at home.

HAYES: Yes. So can you confirm and the detail, what do you know about how they found out that there were a dozen armed FBI agents in their house?

HAMBURGER: Well, I heard you play a clip earlier. I got it from Paul Manafort former business partner Roger Stone saying that they broke down door and surprised Paul Manafort in his bedroom, cannot confirm that. What we can confirm from those who are familiar with the situation is that Manafort was surprised that this raid occurred in the early morning, and is - and then it included numerous FBI agents who were wearing flak jackets. I gather that that`s customary in these sorts of raids but it was very surprising. I can tell that one of my colleagues at the Washington Post was - found no evidence at the scene that there was a door that had been battered down or that sort of thing. We would not be able to confirm that but we do know there was an early morning raid and it did involve multiple FBI agents and it was stunning to Paul Manafort, his wife, and his team.

HAYES: All right. Tom Hamburger, thank you for your time tonight.

HAMBURGER: Thanks.

HAYES: Joining me now, former Federal Prosecutor Renato Mariotti and MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst Matthew Miller, former Chief Spokesperson at the Department of Justice under President Obama. Renato let me start with you. What - how significant is this as someone who is a former Federal Prosecutor?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It`s very significant. What it indicates is not only do Mueller and his team and the FBI agents that they work with believe that there`s probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed and that evidence of that crime was in Paul Manafort`s home, but they had to go to a judge, a federal judge and get judge`s approval of that warrant, which means judge actually agreed with the same conclusion. So it is very significant because this is the first time you had an independent third party, a federal judge indicate that he believed that there was good reason to believe that a crime had occurred and was - that evidence of it was in Paul Manafort`s home.

HAYES: Matt, you said on Twitter just a little while ago that this was evidence of how quickly Mueller is moving. You even mused that you thought he may even already have the President`s tax returns. Why do you say that?

MATHEW MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: You know, look, anyone that has worked with Bob Mueller will tell you he`s not the kind of guy that let the grass grow under his feet and he`s not been doing that in his investigation. We now see that he has two grand juries open, one in Virginia, one in Washington. He`s executed this dramatic raid on Paul Manafort`s house, rather than issuing a subpoena and allowing Manafort to comply that way. I think - I think what we have to assume from Mueller is that he is pursuing this investigation as quickly as he can, as aggressively as he can, through every channel that he can.

And one of those channels would be getting the President`s tax returns. It`s funny you think about having to go to a judge to show probable cause that a crime - that there`s evidence of a crime to execute the search warrant. That`s actually a higher standard than he would have get to obtain the President`s tax returns. You just have to show a judge that it`s useful to his investigation, he could accomplish that.

HAYES: Renato, take me through the reasoning here of if you are - if you had someone that is a target investigation, or someone who is involved in an investigation, I know target is a slightly technical term here. But someone that you`re talking to as a federal prosecutor, you want documents from them, they have fancy lawyers who are complying with you and saying we`re cooperating. What`s the trigger to go from that to 12 armed agents in flak jackets at their residence in the middle of the night?

MARIOTTI: That`s an excellent question because the usual course of action is to use a subpoena. To send a subpoena to the lawyers because then the expense is on them. They`re going to spend the hours going through all the documents, weeding out the ones that don`t matter, collecting them all, putting them all with an index - you know, in an organized way, putting them in a file that I can - that I could read or search et cetera, doing all the work for me. To go and send agents in to conduct a search warrant and seize documents is a pretty aggressive step.

What it means and what it suggests to me, is that Bob Mueller and his team believed they would not have received the same information if they had requested it via subpoena. And so that either means they`re concerned about documents being destroyed or altered or they`re concern about an assertion of Fifth Amendment privilege over the production of documents, but they`re definitely concerned they`re not going to get the same information. That`s what it would take.

HAYES: Matt, it also strikes me that Flynn and Manafort have always been at the forefront of this and they`ve always seem to be the ones in the most legal peril. How do you think this affects their calculations of their decisions in terms of how cooperative to be?

MILLER: Yes. Both Flynn and Manafort are in a little bit of a present dilemma right now. They each are kind of in a same situation where they have three possible strategies. One it`s to continue to protest their innocence and hope they don`t get indicted and fight an indictment if they are indicted. Two is to cooperate. And you know, there`s usual a golden ticket for the first person in to cooperate so I think they`ll be eyeing each other wondering if the other one is going to go in and cooperate and get the best chance for reduced sentence or no jail time. And then the third is to continue to drag your heels and hope you eventually get a pardon from the President. Obviously, that`s a lot to ask from the White House, it would be greatly, hugely, politically controversial but it might be the safest way out for both of those people.

HAYES: Renato, this may be a naive question but indulge it. If someone was involved in a level of criminal conspiracy or criminal activity that appears to be what`s being investigated here, would they just keep incriminating documents in their house? It seems to me unlikely that if you were doing the thing that you may be accused of doing, that you would just have like incriminating documents around your house.

MARIOTTI: Well, that`s a great question. So first of all, let me - let me answer your question this way as a starting point. They had to show the judge, not only that there was a crime committed and that - but they actually had to show the judge and convince the judge that there was evidence that there would be things in that house that would constitute evidence of a crime, so they`ve convinced the judge of that. And what I would say is, you know, some people asked me on Twitter today, there was a lot of discussion on my Twitter about, wouldn`t somebody already destroy everything?

And I`ll tell you, I`m sure Paul Manafort has good lawyers. A good lawyer is going to tell his client and I tell my clients don`t destroy anything. That`s a separate crime, that`s going to be evidence of your guilt and the least finger prints behind and there may be duplicates elsewhere, it`s a bad thing to do. But there`s some - there`s no question that Bob Mueller and his team have some evidence to suggest that he was keeping stuff at home.

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: In showing to the judge actually, it isn`t just probable cause that a crime was committed but probable cause that there are things in the house that they are serving the search warrant on that would be evidence of said crime.

MARIOTTI: And specific things. So the stuff that they ceased, these financial documents, they actually specify those in the warrants. So they hadn`t know - I mean, who does that, right? I don`t keep in my house all sorts of complex financial records. I doubt most people do. So they had to have reason to believe that he was bringing that stuff home for some reason.

HAYES: All right, Renato Mariotti and Matthew Miller, thanks to you both.

MILLER: Thanks.

HAYES: Coming up, the ties that bind the current President to the man whose home was just raided by the FBI. Why today`s big news about Paul Manafort could have massive implications for Donald Trump in two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And then obviously there`s been discussion of Paul Manafort who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time. But you pull out a gentleman who was employed by someone for five months and talk about a client that he had ten years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The last time that Paul Manafort was splashed across the front page, the White House tried very hard to downplay his role in the Trump campaign. But it`s worth remembering who Paul Manafort is and his relationship to the President. He is a longtime Republican operative hired by the Trump Campaign on March 28th, 2016, to lead the effort to lock down enough convention delegates to secure the nomination. But from the very beginning, Manafort had some baggage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANAFORT: I`ve known Trump for 30 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have some controversial clients in your past, some current, some in the past. Has Mr. Trump asked to you stop working for certain clients, stop working in Ukraine if it`s against America`s national security?

MANAFORT: Well, the work I was doing in Ukraine was to help Ukraine get into Europe, and we succeeded. But I`m not working for any clients right now other than Mr. Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: No, it would not become public knowledge till much later. The FBI investigation into Mr. Manafort began during that spring in 2016. In May of that year, Manafort was promoted to the role of Trump Campaign Manager and Chief Strategist. On June 9th, Manafort in that capacity attended the now infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and a Russian lawyer and some other folks, a Russian lawyer who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. As the Republican National Convention in early July, the Trump campaign which had extremely spare of policy positions and took a very light touch during platform meetings intervened specifically to change the GOP stance on arming Ukrainians that were fighting Russian forces. In an interview, Manafort denied having any part of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANAFORT: I had not - in fact, I didn`t even hear of it until after the convention was over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did it come from then because everybody on the platform committee had said it came from the Trump campaign? If not you, who?

MANAFORT: No, it absolutely did not come from the Trump campaign. I don`t know who everybody is but I guarantee you -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody from the Trump campaign wanted that change in the platform?

MANAFORT: No one. Zero.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: In July, WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of DNC e-mails in the roundup to the Democratic National Convention. And Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook asserted that Russia was behind it and suggested ties to the Trump campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, your or your campaign and Putin and his regime?

MANAFORT: No, there are not. That`s absurd and there`s no basis to it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Keep in mind, that was after the meeting. The meeting that he had with Russians who said they`re going to give him Russian government information on Hillary Clinton. Now, on August 14th of 2016, a secret ledger revealed $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, pro-Russian political party. The Trump campaign fire Manafort on August 19th but he reportedly remains in contact with the President. Joining me now, Natasha Bertrand Political Correspondent for the Business Insider and MSNBC Political Analyst Robert Costa, National Political Reporter at the Washington Post. Robert, how long - how long is the relationship between Manafort and Donald Trump?

ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The relationship goes back decades because Manafort has long had property at Trump Tower in New York. They have associated different Republican circles over the years. But it really came through Roger Stone the long-time Trump confidant who connected Manafort to Trump during the campaign.

HAYES: And just to be clear, I mean, he was central to that campaign. He was not an ancillary figure when he was the Campaign Manager and Chair and the Head of the delegate strategy.

COSTA: Correct. You just said it yourself, Chris. He was Campaign Manager, he was Chairman, he was head of delegate strategy and as someone reported day to day on the Trump campaign, he was for a time the man at the top of the whole operation.

HAYES: Manafort`s role - of all of the players in this, the one whose financial ties to Russia and Russian friendly operations in Ukraine seemed the clearest. I mean, they`re pretty extensive, right?

NATASHA BERTRAND, BUSINESS INSIDER POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Paul Manafort worked for roughly a decade in Ukraine working for this pro- Russian political party in Ukraine for you know, the former President Viktor Yanukovych. He was eventually ousted in 2014. And also, as previous reports have shown, Manafort is indebted to pro-Russian interests. I mean, there was a New York Times report that said that he owed many - as much as $17 million to pro-Russian interests. So this is someone with very explicit ties to pro-Russian entities that of course would be of interest to Robert Mueller as he investigates whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

And I`ve also point out that Manafort is not just - he wasn`t just central to the campaign but as soon as he came on, that`s kind of when all the Russia shenanigans started to really play out, right? I mean, so we had you know, the DNC was hacked and the e-mails were released by WikiLeaks in June. We had the change of the GOP platform which softens the stance on Ukraine and I would you know, push back against what Manafort has said which he said, the Trump campaign had nothing to do with it. Multiple people who were in the room at the time told me that he played a very direct rule over the Trump campaign did anyway which he was managing at the time. So these are all connections that Mueller is going to be looking at and that are very significant.

HAYES: And Robert, there`s also - I mean, Manafort had to - the reason Manafort left the campaign at all was stories related to this. That the story about the secret payments from the Ukrainian political party if I`m not mistaken, right. That was the reason that he left.

COSTA: It was one of the things that pushed him over the edge. The family, the Trump family, I remember at the time was telling me and other reporters that they were just becoming concerned about all the mounting new stories. And then candidate Trump was also slipping in the polls. But you had a scenario that played out in a strange way. He was brought on to someone to steady the whole campaign, a campaign that was falling apart. Corey Lewandowski had tensions with then candidate Trump. But then the recognition started to sink in that this was a foreign lobbyist, a long time foreign lobbyist now running the campaign and the consequences weren`t really thought out by the people around Donald Trump at the time and it wasn`t until August that they finally had a reckoning.

HAYES: Now, there`s another aspect to Manafort which is these stories about transaction that he has made, real estate transactions in particular. That - for people who study money laundering, at least look a little strange. Here`s one, in 2006, Manafort`s purchase of a Trump Tower apartment for all cash coincided with his friend`s signing of a $10 million contract with a pro-Putin Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

BERTRAND: Right. And this is clearly what the FBI was looking for and that`s great. Violations of the bank secrecy act which has to do with restrictions on money laundering and detecting money laundering in the U.S. Paul Manafort is known for buying real estate with shell companies. And many of those shell companies have been connected back to Russian oligarchs. So a big part of this is going to be trying to figure out where his funds come from and whether or not he was rerouting them into Russian - into New York real estate in properties across the United States for the purpose of hiding the sources of the cash.

HAYES: Robert, we`ve seen what the President that even when people are fired or removed from their official position with him, or quit, he remains in contact. It`s true Roger Stone who was briefed was part of the campaign, it`s true to Corey Lewandowski. Was that true of Paul Manafort? I saw a reporting indicating that they were still in touch even after he left the campaign.

COSTA: There was a time where the bridge was burned, so to speak and they were not in contact but you`re right. There were sporadic reports that Manafort during the Fall was in occasional touch with then candidate Trump, was in touch with people within the campaign, that they publicly kept their distance from him and there was some talk even in the transition, could Paul Manafort have a role of some sort but because of all these controversies and allegations, that never really came to be.

HAYES: As someone who has really followed this extremely closely and I`ve been reading your reporting on it, were you surprised by the news today?

BERTRAND: No, absolutely not. I mean, I think that Paul Manafort along with Michael Flynn have both been kind of at the center of Mueller`s investigation. Not only because they are you know, arguably the most vulnerable players in all of this, just given all their financial ties and their past contact with Russians, but also because they have, you know, they`ve had contact with Russians in the past. I mean, Paul Manafort was at that meeting last June at Trump Tower with Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. And that was - you know, he was the most high ranking figure in the campaign at the time to attend that meeting. So I think that you know, all of these players they`re going to be - Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn are going to be you know, extremely central to all this and the FBI is probably going to try to get them to talk by trying to leverage the possibility of criminal chargers being brought against them.

COST: And real quick Chris, it`s so important in our reporting. We`re watching Mueller, the Special Counsel, hire prosecutors who pursued financial crimes, raid Manafort`s home for financial documents. This is not just about possible obstruction of justice or meetings with Don Junior, it`s about possible financial crimes.

HAYES: Natasha Bertrand and Robert Costa, thank you both.

BERTRAND: Thank you.

HAYES: As the world grapples with how to handle the President`s rhetoric, can the remarks from international leaders paint a picture of an ill- informed erratic Obama obsessed Commander in Chief, those comments after the quick break.

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HAYES: As the world tries to figure out what to make of the President`s latest threats towards North Korea, we`re gaining a new sense of how foreign governments including close allies have come to regard the U.S. Commander in Chief. BuzzFeed talked to six senior European officials who have all had direct dealings with the President and his administration. They paint a pretty grim picture of the President`s reputation abroad. Some diplomats have reportedly taken to mocking the President for what they perceive to be sort of intellectual shortcomings. One source revealing that a small group of diplomats played a version of word bingo whenever the President speaks because they consider his vocabulary to be so limited. Everything is great, very, very great. Amazing.

Others officials question the President`s comprehension of world affairs. He has no historical view according to one source. He`s only dealing with his issues now and seems to think the world started when he took office. The President`s main concern according to BuzzFeed sources seems to be unraveling the legacy of his predecessor. It`s his only real position. He will ask if "did Obama approve this?" And if the answer was affirmative, he will say we don`t. He won`t even want to listen to the arguments or have a debate. He is obsessed with Obama. And even before the latest tensions with North Korea, one diplomat expressed grave concerns about the President`s behavior. "Trump could send a tweet in the middle of the night pissing off Kim John-un and the next morning we wake up to a world on the brink of war. The real danger is a President reacting off the cuff right after this break.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: North Korea from best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Lots of reporting today has confirmed the impression that many people had watching those comments yesterday, that the president wasn`t delivering a carefully vetted statement crafted by national security aides, he was improvising. The escalator y rhetoric surprised some of his closest advisers, according to the New York Times, including John Kelly, the new chief of staff, who was recruited to improve White House discipline.

In a statement today, the White House press secretary insisted Kelly had been in the loop along with the National Security Council.

General Kelly and others on the NSC team were well aware of the tone of the statement of the president prior to delivery. The words were his own. The tone and strength of the message were discussed beforehand.

While some aides are minimizing the president`s comments, warning against reading too much into the combative talk, as Politico reports, others suggest those comments reveal the president`s real thinking about the nuclear impasse.

According to the Daily Beast, it was a sentiment that Trump has shared privately with top White House staffers, some of whom report that he has used language that reflected the fire and fury bluster in sporadic fits of venting about a North Korean regime that his administration has sought unsuccessfully so far, to rein in through diplomatic channels.

The president was back at it first thing this morning, sounding off about nuclear weapons on Twitter: "my first order as president was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before..." That was the first tweet followed by an ellipses. You really wanted to see what he was going to tweet next. "Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world."

In fact, that first tweet is not accurate. There is a plan underway to overhaul the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It is expected, however, to take another three decades to complete and it was put in place by President Obama.

Hours after the president`s tweets, a guest at his New Jersey golf club posted a photo on Instagram of the two of them out on the golf course, noting they played a full 18 holes. The guest has declined to make his photo available to the press.

I am joined now by Ambassador Wendy Sherman, a former top official at the State Department under President Obama.

How surprised are you to hear the president was improvising?

AMB. WENDY SHERMAN, SENIOR STATE DEPT. OFFICIAL, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: I`m not surprised, sadly. I think we have a serious problem around the world with the president`s credibility. We know from the Pew Global Attitudes Project that the measure and respect for the president of the United States has plummeted around the world. The only two countries where there`s been an increase in regard are Russia and Israel.

This is not a good place for the United States of America. And I think it leads to concern about what the president`s actions might be to follow those words.

Words are concerning, actions are even more concerning.

HAYES: What do you mean by that? I mean, are you concerned the president will order a nuclear strike of North Korea?

SHERMAN: Well, I don`t think that is going to happen at this moment, I am happy to say for the American public.

HAYES: Good. Keep going.

SHERMAN: ...that might be watching this evening.

But let`s take a look at what the president said and what Secretary Mattis said. Secretary Mattis` comments were very tough, but they were all focused on what Kim Jong-un`s actions are, and that his actions will control what happens to the future of him, his regime and his people.

HAYES: Let me stop you there, because I want to actually read the statement, so folks know what you`re talking about. This is Mattis saying the saying the DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.

SHERMAN: So, you can see in that, I`m sure, that Secretary Mattis sat with his aides and very carefully went over each of those words. It wasn`t a statement of threat, though it was quite tough, maybe tougher than some people would wish for. It was all about what Kim Jong-Un was doing and what he could do to have a different future for his people.

I`m very concerned that there is not a cohesive, coherent policy in this administration, and you spoke earlier about Kelly having to bring discipline to the White House. I think he`s brought some discipline to the process, the real problem is he doesn`t seem to bring any discipline to the President of the United States.

HAYES: I want to play for you also the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who has become quite a controversial figure I should note, particularly in circles of foreign service that I`ve talked to, and folks around the state department, this is what he had to say on North Korea. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think Americans should sleep well at night. I have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days. I think the president as Commander in Chief, I think he felt it necessary to issue a very strong statement directly to North Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: What do you make of that?

SHERMAN: Well, I think Secretary Tillerson is in a very tough place. He`s in part put himself there. Quite frankly, both and he and Nikki Haley really did achieve something significant in the 15 to nothing U.N. security council vote the other day for a resolution to put some very tough sanctions in place against North Korea. It is amazing that the President of the United States didn`t pick up on that victory, so to speak, and move forward in the diplomacy.

Instead, he blew up the diploma and what Secretary Tillerson was trying to do, what Nikki Haley was trying to do. And it undermined the Secretary of State, who already, as you point out, is under a lot of controversy because the state department is completely demoralized. The most significant positions there have not been filled. Secretary Tillerson said he wants to wait until he achieves some reorganization of an institution he knows very little about.

And meanwhile, we don`t have an ambassador in Seoul, South Korea. We don`t have an assistant secretary for east Asia pacific. We don`t have virtually all of our assistant secretaries or ambassadors around the world. If we`re going to be focused on diplomacy, you`ve got to have the team ready to go. There`s no team.

HAYES: Ambassador Wendy Sherman, thanks very much.

SHERMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, the return of Just Say No as national drug policy. The brewing backlash as the president ignores his own commission`s recommendations to stem the ongoing opioid crisis, and was Donald Trump watching our show last night? Thing one, thing two, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One, a strange endorsement. President Trump chose to endorse a candidate in next week`s primary election in Alabama for the Senate seat vacated by his Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

It`s a race between three Republicans, at least two of which believe Trump was sent to Washington by God.

In a 9:16 p.m. tweet last night, he authored Luther Strange, current senator, "my complete and total endorsement." it is a significant blow to the other two Trump friendly Republicans in the race.

And the endorsement came despite Alabama Republicans having been told in recent weeks, the White House would remain on the sidelines. One senior GOP official saying my jaw did drop.

So why, all of a sudden, did President Trump decide to make a late night surprise endorsement on Twitter? We have a theory based on what was on TV just minutes before that tweet and that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: The President`s cable news consumption has been well documented and so have his Twitter reactions to cable news segments. For instance on Monday morning, Senator Richard Blumenthal talked about the Mueller investigation and eight minutes after that segment ended, the president began a tweet storm attack on Blumenthal.

Last night this was what was on cable news late at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time hour: North Korea coverage, someone phoning climate change film maker Josh Fox, and a segment on this show about the Alabama senate primary.

And just 16 minutes after this show`s segment, the president tweeted out of nowhere his surprise endorsement in that primary for the current senate Senator Luther Strange.

Now, we don`t fool ourselves to think the president is a regular viewer of All In. Perhaps he was tired of watching, "Transgender Athletes: Unfair Competition", and switched the channel, but this program was the only cable channel that covered the Alabama election at all yesterday, including the minutes leading up to the president`s tweet so it`s possible he saw this moment of discussion of the other two candidates Mo Brooks and Roy Moore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: Roy Moore and Mo Brooks have a fascinating commonality, which is both are conservative Christians and both of them during the presidential campaign were really uncomfortable with being closely associated with Donald Trump. Mo Brooks actually called Trump a serial adulterer. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Or maybe it`s just a coincidence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And can guarantee you, we will not only stop the drugs from pouring in but we will help all of those people so seriously addicted. We`ll get them assistance. We`ll make sure that they have the top treatment and get better. We got to get them better. We got a lot of people that are strung out on bad stuff.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump, like pretty much every candidate, Republican or Democrat, acknowledged the magnitude of the opioid abuse crisis all across the country.

And after he became president, Donald Trump created a commission on the subject appointing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, an outspoken advocate of treatment to lead it.

But we`ve since learned a bit more of what the president really thinks about the crisis. Just last week for example, the Washington Post published those transcripts of a call with the leader of Mexico in which the president said, quote, "I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug infested den." By the way, Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire.

And just yesterday he attended what was billed as a major briefing on the opioid crisis, except the head of the White House opioid commission wasn`t there. Chris Christie is out of the country having left the country for his own ten-day vacation in Italy.

Also absent, anyone at all from the Drug Enforcement Administration, from Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg on down. Someone who did manage to attend however was First Lady Melania Trump who has no formal role in fighting drug addiction.

Now, Donald Trump didn`t adopt his own commissions recommendation to declare a national emergency for opioids, instead he offered a very different plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place. If they don`t start, they won`t have a problem. If they do start, it is awfully tough to get off. So we can keep them from going on and may be by talking to youth, telling them, no good, really bad for you, in every way. But, if they don`t start, it will never be a problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The reaction to that from West Virginia, a state where someone died from an overdose every ten hours last year, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: No one in Washington was talking about opioids until candidates had to go start doing town halls. What happened in the campaign is they started showing up in New Hampshire, and every town hall, all anyone wanted to talk about was opioids.

How many people have lost someone in this room? Whoa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: We were in West Virginia earlier this year, everyone we spoke to had been affected by the opioid crisis. Instead of the resources for treatment and rehabilitation, they promised from the trail, President Donald Trump has offered basically not much.

Joining me now, Bob Kincaid, the co-founder Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign, which is based in West Virginia, and host of Head-On with Bob Kincaid.

I guess, first a reaction to the president`s opioid briefing yesterday.

BOB KINCAID, APPALACHIAN COMMUNITIES HEALTH EMERGENCY CAMPAIGN: Well, considering he lifted his fury line from Harry Truman, now he`s lifted "Just Say No" from Nancy Reagan, if he shows up in a red dress now, I guess we`ll know he`s gone full Nancy.

HAYES: There was a certain kind of throwback quality to the idea of just don`t start. But my sense, from at least the data, I think it`s probably clear in West Virginia, that starting is often born of prescriptions, right?

KINCAID: Well, that`s exactly the point, Chris. Nobody gets up in the morning in West Virginia or anywhere else in this country and says, gosh, I think I`ll go get some heroin today. My life is going entirely too well.

This is a process of people getting addicted to prescription painkillers, that are made by pharmaceutical firms inside the United States, and frankly, some big stupid wall with holes in it and solar panels is not going to stop the profiteering that lies behind the influx of these pills.

There are legitimate uses for these chemicals, but you know, once they got hold of you, then after you can`t get them anymore, the problem arises and sends you out onto the streets where it`s not just heroin, it`s Fentanyl cutting into the heroin. What`s the other one now? An elephant tranquilizer that even first responders, the -- I`ve been told the mere touch of it can be debilitating?

HAYES: Wow.

KINCAID: And so this -- it`s a universe that cannot be solved, ever, as we learned with Nancy Reagan in "Just Say No". It cannot be solved by slogans, and by grandstanding.

Addiction treatment is hard work, and it is expensive work. And it requires compassion, and dedication, and understanding. And I don`t think any of those things are present in this president, especially in light of the fact that he completely blew off his own blue ribbon commission.

HAYES: I want to give people the sense of the scope of the problem in West Virginia. Here are overdoses, the rate. So this is per 100,000 deaths I imagine that is. You can see that shooting up, 41.5, shockingly high number, the national rate at 16.3.

This piece from the Washington Post, that there have been so many overdose deaths they have overwhelmed the state program for burial assistance for needy families for at least the fifth year in a row causing the program to be nearly out of money four months before the end of the fiscal year, according to the state`s Department of Health and Human Resources.

Does it feel like a top of line front and center crisis there, both in people`s lives, but also as a political question?

KINCAID: Chris, it is so in the front of people`s minds in West Virginia, that almost nothing else can get through. Because everybody knows somebody who has been through this. I know someone who`s died of an overdose. I know people who deal with addiction.

And you know what? This is the thing. None of them are bad people.

HAYES: Yeah.

KINCAID: And so just saying that it`s a bad drug, or acting like people deserved to be demonized, you know, one of the things that might have been nice in terms of dealing with this, and you asked about the political end of it, how about not talking about cutting out all the funds that go for treatment and healing and ending these addictions.

I`m talking about Medicaid where the treatment moneys can run as high as 40% of our Medicaid.

HAYES: Let me ask you this. I think the president performed better in West Virginia, I think than in any other states. He talked about this a lot on the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton did as well,m other folks did, but this was a theme of his.

I guess the question to you is, do you think it will matter, I mean, is there an expectation that there will be action taken by this president and the federal government and will it matter if there isn`t?

KINCAID: It depends on who you`re talking to. If you`re talking to a dedicated Trump supporter, then he`s the reason that the sun rises in the morning and sets at night. They point to an imaginary return of the coal industry. And so, sure, he`ll get something done about this, because he`s Trump.

But if you`re talking about the real world, the only thing that`s going to do anything about this, by any political party, or any politician, is the rolled up sleeves gritty work of dealing with the causes of addiction, and the treatment of it.

And I come back to it again and again and again, because treatment is everything. There was a brutal day of overdoses oh, a year or so ago in Huntington, West Virginia. I just read a newspaper story a week or so ago, maybe one out of, you know, more than 20, maybe more than 30 OD`s in that one day were referred to treatment, because you can`t get people to treatment.

HAYES: There`s a tremendous shortage in West Virginia, around this country of good treatment facilities and is a massive and pressing part of this crisis right now.

Bob Kincaid, thanks for joining me.

KINCAID: Thank you, Chris.

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

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END