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All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/24/17 Dossier Drama in the Senate.

Guests: Richard Blumenthal, Renato Mariotti, Dan Donovan

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: August 24, 2017 Guest: Richard Blumenthal, Renato Mariotti, Dan Donovan


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: New focus on the infamous Trump Russia dossier.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: The three core goals that are outlined in that dossier, by that particular source do seem to be very well borne out.

HAYES: The man who orders the dossier testifies for over nine hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He answered dozens if not hundreds of questions.

HAYES: A senator from that Committee wants that transcript released and he joins me tonight. Then --

KELLYANNE CONWAY, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S COUNSELOR: He is dead serious about building that wall and getting the funding for that wall.

HAYES: Will Trump shut down the government over the wall that Mexico won`t pay for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you confident that you can influence the President?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: It`s a day-by-day deal.

HAYES: Plus, weeks after Trump`s declaration on the opioid crisis.

TRUMP: We`re going to draw it up and we`re going to make it a national emergency.

HAYES: Why the White House hasn`t drawn up anything. And what to make about growing questions from lawmakers about the President`s fitness for office?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At some point, we`ve got to stop whispering about this.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good morning from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight a top Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal who I`ll speak to live in just a moment is calling for the release of the potential explosive transcript of an interview before his Committee with one of the men responsible for the dossier that kicked off the investigation into possible ties between the Trump`s campaign and the Russian government.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee interviewed Glenn Simpson behind closed doors for more than nine hours. Simpson is a former Wall Street Journal Investigative Reporter and the co-founder of the firm Fusion GPS. They do research and that produces the unverified intelligence dossier containing a variety of explosive allegations, included among them that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton. This is dossier authored by former British Intelligence Officer Christopher Steele, that John McCain himself brought to the attention of the former FBI Director James Comey. And that intelligence official brought a summary of direct link to President Trump. It contains some very salacious and totally unconfirmed allegations as well as claims we know to be true. as Representative Adam Schiff pointed out today.


SCHIFF: When you look at just what has become public, some of the public information is very much in line with what is recorded in that dossier. And I`ll give you an example that really strikes me, and that the dossier talks about sources within the Kremlin reporting that they have three goals. They want to find out what support friendly U.S. persons would want. They want to gather relevant intelligence and then they want to disseminate compromising information. All of that is implicated in the Don Jr. e-mails that have already been released. I think people put too much focus on the salacious allegations within the dossier about that video as if that`s really what the is about. That`s the least significant part of the dossier for my point of view.


HAYES: In February, CNN reported U.S. investigators had corroborated some of the communications detailed in the dossier. And a month later, the BBC reporting that U.S. officials had verified a key claim in the dossier that a Russian diplomat in Washington was, in fact, a spy. President Trump for his part dismisses the dossier altogether.


TRUMP: It`s all fake news, it`s phony stuff. It didn`t happen and it was gotten by opponents of ours as you know because reported it and so did many of the other people. It was a group of opponents who got together, sick people and they put that crap together.


HAYES: And after Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS answered questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, his attorney said, "Fusion GPS is proud of the work it has conducted and stands by it. At a Town Hall in Iowa yesterday, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee was asked about releasing the transcript of the Simpson interview.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I`ll take a vote of the Committee to do it, but presume that they will be released.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you personally vote for the release of the transcripts?

GRASSLEY: I don`t know why I the wouldn`t.


HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a member of that Senate Judiciary Committee who wants the Simpson transcript released. Senator, why do you think they should be released?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: The public has a right to know what Glenn Simpson said to our Committee. And in fact, in my view, he should be coming before the Committee in public, under oath, so that all of the public can appreciate the credibility as well as the accuracy of what he has said. And this dossier has some allegations that could be very relevant to the question of whether there has been obstruction of justice. We are reviewing in the judiciary committee, investigating whether there has been obstruction of justice particularly in the firing of Jim Comey.

There`s also the Special Counsel investigation separate and apart where that dossier and the interviews with Glenn Simpson may be relevant as well. And that investigation is being pursued vigorously. I think it has to be protected against political interference from the President who has sought to bully and intimidate and has threatened to draw lines around his financial dealings and was calling it a witch hunt and a hoax. But we need as much of what happens before the Judiciary Committee to be made public because the public deserves it.

HAYES: My understanding is that this interview took place with staff members of your Committee. Have you seen of the transcription? Are you aware of what transpired in that interview?

BLUMENTHAL: I`m aware generally of what happened in the interview because I`ve been briefed on it. I have not seen a transcript of it. But keep in mind Chris, your focus is very well placed that there will be many other witnesses to come before our Committee and many other interviews. And this interviews should set precedent in terms of making it public available for all the American people to see. And two of those witnesses, Donald Trump Jr., and Paul Manafort, the President`s son and his former Campaign Manager may actually be more significant in what they have to say about that June 9th meeting that was attended by Rinat Akhmetshin who was an associate of Glenn Simpson. So there are ways all of these threads begin to tie together.

HAYES: Give me, can you give us the context for how this interview came about and why your Committee felt it was crucial to talk to Glenn Simpson, the person who oversees the firm that ends up commissioning this document?

BLUMENTHAL: Good question. He prepared this dossier which has information that implicates Donald Trump, President Trump in Russia meddling in the election and possible other wrong doing. And of course, he was an associate of Rinat Akhmetshin. And so he was one of the witnesses who was subpoenas to come before our Committee along with Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. was also requested as a first ground. There will be other -- many other I think witnesses to come before the Committee.

And I think that Senator Grassley is taking the right approach and he`s to be commended for wanting to make this testimony public because it relates to our oversight of the Department of Justice. That`s the function of the Judiciary Committee. Special Counsel is pursuing potential criminal charges and we want to make sure also that anything may be made public including the tens of thousands of pages of documents that have been submitted by various of these witnesses, does not in any way interfere with the Special Counsel`s investigation.

HAYES: Finally, can you tell us if your staff were in the briefing about what happened in this interview, have made a determination that has affected your opinion of the credibility of the underlying dossier because it is difficult document for folks on the outside to wrestle with in terms of what`s true, what`s not, what`s verified, what`s not, what to make of it? Has your judgment of its credibility or value been altered by what you and your staff have learned in the last day or so?

BLUMENTHAL: I`ll be very blunt, I`m not at liberty to talk about the substance of the testimony that we took from Glenn Simpson but every witness is going to have relevant information of varying degrees of credibility and importance. So I think that this kind of testimony from all the witnesses adds to the total. Keep in mind, again, there will be other witnesses. Glenn Simpson is only one of others. And I hope they will soon. We`re in negotiations right now with Donald Trump Jr. I anticipate he will be coming before the staff with Senators for interview very soon. Paul Manafort has been more resistant and that is unacceptable to me. I think that we will have to use subpoenas for a number of the witnesses that we want to hear from.

HAYES: All right, Senator Richard Blumenthal, thanks for your time tonight.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC Terrorism Analyst Malcolm Nance, author of the Plot to Hack America and a Trump dossier expert and former Federal Prosecutor Renato Mariotti who`s annotation (INAUDIBLE) investigation on Twitter is a must read daily. Renato, let me start with you. Do you think it`s a good idea that this transcript which nine hours of questions is a lot? There`s a lot of information one imagines (INAUDIBLE). Do you think from an investigative standpoint, it is good to make that public?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think there`s two different things there. I think it`s a great question because it is important for the public`s right to know what is going on in government. I think that what the Senators are doing is different than what Mueller is doing. You know, what Mueller is doing is he`s trying to build a case for criminal charges. And Senator Blumenthal just said that they would talk to Mueller and make sure that they weren`t impeding his investigation. But involvement beyond that, you know, you`re talking about Twitter a minute ago, the people who are you know, communicating with me on Twitter and following me on Twitter are interested in this investigation and want to know what`s going on because they`re American citizens and they have a right to know what is happening behind the scenes and they`re concerned about their government. And I think, from that perspective, it`s important to make this public.

HAYES: Malcolm, Blumenthal said that you know, the emphasis on this interview was well placed just a moment ago. Why is -- I guess as someone who is -- who wrote about this before, it was even a story, has followed this day by day, for a year -- over a year, why is this document at the heart of -- at the heart of this story?

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, because the document itself, when you read it, it provides the framework for everything there is to know the motivations of the Russians and then the motivations of the Trump campaign. When I wrote my book, it was an intelligence analysis based on the open source information of what I thought the Russian are intelligence operation had to be. The Steele Dossier has the details of how the Kremlin and people associated with the Trump campaign put that into motion, and how they actually weaponized all of this information. Things in that camp -- that dossier have been verified by, you know, and overtaken by acts.

HAYES: But not all of it. I mean, I just want to be clear about this, right? Because --

NANCE: No, no. There`s 36 pages.

HAYES: Right. 36 pages, there`s lot of claims and that some of which I think -- some of which I think have been ruled out, right? Some of which I think we know are not true. Some of which are hotly contested, some of which are unknown and some of which are verified. And I guess my question to you is, the biggest most sort of remarkable claim is that Trump was being cultivated for years as a long term project. That to me is the thing that kind of makes my eyes wide the most when I read it, how about you?

NANCE: And it`s the exact same thing that I wrote about in my book. And there are indications of that in the CIA assessment also. This operation had to have started somewhere -- you know, with great commitment by the Kremlin, somewhere in the 2012, 2013 period. I estimated that it was 2013 because the Miss Universe Pageant gave Donald Trump a platform inside of Russia to where he was completely exposed to all the wonders of the Russian oligarchy. And that`s an incredible dangle out in front of a person. But did the Kremlin want to cultivate him as a Presidential candidate? Even I didn`t believe that at the time. What I believe is that he was a personality that they could use. And as we know, the FSB Russian intelligence, they collect people who are sympathetic to them. So by them bringing him on board and then seeing his presidential aspirations by 2015, they kick this operation to full gear to help him get elected.

HAYE: One of the things that we`ve learned in the last few days at the level of the White House response to the investigation is it is how much the President hates it and how much he likes the call-up Senators to berate them about it. And there`s lots of ways that you could describe as motivations. He thinks you know, he`s innocent and it`s unfair. He`s being betrayed by his party or he`s guilty and he`s trying on cover it up, or something between. Renato, what do you make of the accounts of the President calling up Thom Tillis from North Carolina, calling up Bob Corker, to berate them about the fact that they`re not protecting him from this investigation?

MARIOTTI: I think that that is evidence that Mueller is going to use in order to you know, potentially prove an obstruction of justice charge against the president. So, to prove that the Special Counsel is going to have to prove that the President acted with corrupt intent. In other words, that he acted with improper purpose in trying to fire Comey and just shut down the investigation and all of that shows a really intense interest by the President in the Russia investigation and in ending it and having an ability to fire Mueller. And that`s just you know, basically, he`s his own worst enemy again. I think that the President is just creating more fodder for Bob Mueller.

HAYES: The person I always wanted to hear from the most, of course, is Steele himself, Malcolm. I mean, you know, here`s this guy who deemed credible in the intelligence world, that he was someone who worked at MI6, he worked a Russia briefer while this is not some you know, random internet person putting things together. This is someone with actual source. Do you think -- I mean, as someone who worked in the intelligence, what do you think his interaction with the FBI have been like?

NANCE: Well, I think they`re going to be work a day and professional. I think they`re going to be interviewing him. They`re not going to be interrogating him. They`re -- he`s going to be giving them tips and hints and clues. He used an extraordinary amount of sources. And I know, some have said, well, he misspelled this word, he misspelled that word. That`s a relatively solid intelligence analysis document but again, it`s rumor intelligence. And that -- those rumors, which we also use in the U.S. intelligence community, have to be worked up into verifiable and trustable intelligence. I think as a -- as a pro like him having worked the Russia desk, having been an MI6 operative, he`s going to give the intelligence professionals them the exact pathway that they need to go to verify or refute this information using our own intelligence collection processes.

HAYES: All right, Malcolm Nance and Renato Mariotti, thank you both for being here tonight.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

NANCE: My pleasure.

HAYES: Ahead, serious people with serious questions about whether or not the President is fit for the office he calls. Tonight the White House responds for Republican Senators` concern about the President`s stability. And next, as he continues to taunt Republican leadership, did President Trump just fence himself in with his border wall threat? New signs the White House may already be blinking in just two minutes.



TRUMP: We have to close down our government, we`re building that wall.

The American people voted for immigration control. That`s one of the reasons I`m here. One way or the other, we`re going to get that wall.


HAYES: Donald Trump seems determined to do something that has not been done in almost 40 years, and that`s shut down the government when only one party controls all of it all because he wants Congress (INAUDIBLE) $1.6 billion this year towards building the wall along nearly 2,000 the Mexican border. Now, the last government shutdown was in 2013 which Republicans widely took blame for. And right now, GOP leaders seem intent on preventing that from happening again. House Speaker Paul Ryan said yesterday, "I don`t think anyone is interested in having a shutdown." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who`s relationship with President according to New York Times was recently falling apart issued a statement saying that "The President and I and our teams have been and continue to be in regular contact about our shared goals."

Now, shutting down the government to fund a border wall wasn`t one of them. Meanwhile, in her first press conference in three weeks, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders couldn`t give a straight answer when asked about the President`s game of chicken with the border wall.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President was asked over and over again during the campaign, he said that Mexico would pay for the wall. So why is he now threatening a government shutdown if Congress won`t pay for it?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the President is committed to making sure this gets done. We know that the wall and other security measures at the border work. We`ve seen that take place over the last decade and we`re committed to making sure the American people are protected and we`re going to continue to push forward and make sure the wall gets built.


HAYES: And here to talk about whether Republican Leaders want a government shutdown, Congressman Dan Donovan who`s Republican here from New York City. Good to have you here.

REP. DAN DONOVAN (R), NEW YORK: Good to be with you.

HAYES: Do you want a shutdown?

DONOVAN: No, not at all. No one sends their representatives to Washington to shut down their government down. they sent them down there to make it work better for them, improve what the improvement that they feel they need to live their own lives. I mean, you know, we have to secure our borders. We have to lower people`s taxes, we have to get a health care policy. We have to get an infrastructure bill. All at the same time, we have to raise the debt ceiling, we have to do flood insurance. We`re going to have a busy fall, Chris.

HAYES: Do you think -- I mean, there`s a new -- there`s a new sort of play in this drama, right? So you got the House Freedom Caucus who are always a problem in terms of shutdown, debt ceiling raises. You would -- you would agree with that, right?

DONOVAN: Yes. Many of my colleagues don`t want to see a dollar increase in the debt, and they wanst to see a balanced budget regardless of the cost. So now you got the President also threatening also a shutdown. And the President has basically declared that if it takes a shutdown to pay for the wall, there will be a shutdown. What do you think of that?

DONOVAN: I think there`s a lot of politics involved in here. I think the President is frustrated. He came to Washington with very ambitious agenda. He wants to do health care, income tax reform, infrastructure bill, and he had to do that all in his first year because everybody knows in a two-year election cycle, you get more work done in the first year than you do in the second year. He went to put a travel pause in place from six countries that we don`t have an adequate vetting process through. Already, the courts have told him no on the vetting process, Congress didn`t do anything on the health care, that failed. I think the President is getting frustrated. I think he`s been there for eight months, he`s used to doing things quickly and he knows even in his four-year term that he`s almost a quarter away through his term.

HAYES: Whose fault is that?

DONOVAN: I`m not sure it`s anyone`s fault. I think Congress runs slower than President anticipated. I`ve only been there two and a half years, it runs slower than I had hoped. I would hope that we get a lot of these things done.

HAYES: Does the President -- I mean, the President doesn`t tend to sell these policies in any detail. I mean, when you saw the health care bill, right? We saw the fight happening. It struck me, and I`m curios (INAUDIBLE) the President couldn`t really go more than a few sentences on what the health care bill was going to do.

DONOVAN: I think the President, when he walked in the door, they told him, here the sequence in which you have to do these things. You must do health care first because it has tax implications. After that, you must do tax reform because in order to pay for the infrastructure bill, you need to get money out of the tax bill. So I think he walked in there. I think the President`s son believes that the health care policies of the country are important but he wanted to get it done so he could get to the other two things that were really interesting to him.

HAYES: But there are lots of things we want to do in our lives, but then, to get them done, you have to put in some effort and kind of know what you`re doing. I mean, does President have sufficient command to be helpful in "getting things done?"

DONOVAN: Well, I think so. He`s a very influential man. He was a very successful businessman. He influenced enough Americans to vote for him to become leader of the free world. And you know, during this whole negotiations --

HAYES: Well, those are different things though.

DONOVAN: Yes, but a very much -- and during the health care debate, Chris, he was very much involved. People going in and out of the White House, he was sending people to Capitol Hill. Vice President Pence spoke to many of our groups, his Secretary to Health used to serve the best in Congress, Tom Price, he advocated. So they were very much involved in the negotiations.

HAYES: If there`s -- the President said, if it takes shutting down the government to pay for the wall, were going to shut down the government. He said that the other night. What are you going to tell your constituents in Staten Island if the government shuts down because they won`t -- the Congress won`t pass appropriations for a wall that President said Mexico would pay for it explicitly?

DONOVAN: The representative from Staten Island and Brooklyn will never vote to shutdown the government. That`s the one thing my constituents --

HAYES: Right. But it`s going to be your party and it`s going to be -- you`re going to be facing a Democratic challenger, whoever it is next year, right?

DONOVAN: Absolutely.

HAYES: And you`ve got to see that people are going to be eyeing for a pickup. And the argument from a Democratic challenger is, this is what a Republican Congress gives you. They will shut down your government so that the President can get money to pay for a wall that he promised everyone Mexico would pay for.

DONOVAN: And the people of Brooklyn and Staten Island know their Representative voted against that. I don`t think it`s ever going to come to that, Chris. I think this is again, trying to put some pressure on some people, maybe the leadership in the Senate and the House, particularly in the Senate. I mean, in the House, people don`t know this. We passed about 279 bills in this Congress. About 256 that are sent in the Senate with no action but -- so we`ve done a lot of work that people don`t know about. It is our job to tell them, it`s not their job to find out. But I don`t think it`s going to come to that. I think this putting pressure on leadership that, let`s get something done. We promised the American people all this things and one of the things the President promised was to build the wall.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Dan Donovan, thanks for your time.

DONOVAN: Good to be with you, Chris.

HAYES: Ahead, The President declared national emergency and nothing happened. The growing frustration over no progress following the President`s supposed emergency declaration of opioids. That`s coming up.



TRUMP: This week it`s Robert E. Lee. I noticed Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it, Thomas Jefferson, the week after? You`re changing history, you`re changing culture. It`s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions. And yes, by the way, -- and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see them.


HAYES: The President and like-minded people would like to argue that Confederate monuments are just about history and heritage rather than symbols of white supremacy. But you don`t have to scratch too far below the surface to see which of those interpretation is the correct one. Case in point what`s happening in York County, South Carolina back in January, the County Clerk of the newly renovated Courthouse announced he was removing a Confederate flag and two pictures of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from the courtroom prompting a lawsuit claiming the removal violated the state`s heritage act. This morning, a judge quickly dismissed the suit pointing out the plaintiff, one Russell Walker doesn`t even live in York County or even in South Carolina. So what was Walker`s rational for filing a suit? Well, here`s what he told reporters earlier today.


RUSSELL WALKER, PLAINTIFF: I don`t believe it`s a symbol of racism. I don`t believe it`s a symbol of slavery. That`s my personal view. How they feel is their business but it would be ludicrous for me to tell you how they feel.


HAYES: He doesn`t believe it`s a symbol of racism or slavery but then he slips -- let slip what he really thinks.


RUSSELL: I don`t believe it`s a symbol of racism. I don`t believe it`s a symbol of slavery. That`s my personal view. How they feel is their business but it would be ludicrous for me to tell you how they feel. Hey, I go down the street, I see Martin Luther Coon -- I mean, I shouldn`t said that -- Martin Luther King. I mean, should I rip -- should I rip the signs down or it says the thing they take Martin Luther King street down and the rest of that stuff?

HAYES: Should I rip down the sign of Martin Luther King who he called Martin Luther Coon. You know, when it comes to defending Confederate monuments, the most honest voices are the white nationalists and the Nazis who were chanting "blood and soil" and "you will not replace us" in a torch with march around the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville nearly two weeks ago. Those folks and those pictures, they are 100 percent right about what that statue stands for.


TRUMP: I`ve outlined today a detailed plan to stop the opioid crisis. My plan begins with a strong border. It includes the prosecution of drug dealers and dramatically expands access to lifesaving treatment that`s will help people unchain themselves from this terrible, terrible and very hard to get rid of addiction.


HAYES: Like many candidates, Donald Trump spoke regularly about the opioid crisis on the campaign trail. His promises to help families hard-hit by addiction probably helped win him some votes in crucial Midwest states.

And Trump himself attributed some of his victory to the crisis, telling the president of Mexico in January, and I`m quoting him here, "I won New Hampshire, because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den."

He won it in the primary, we should note, but lost it in the general.

In March, the president created a commission to study the opioid crisis, and the group released draft recommendations a few months later writing, quote, "the first and most urgent recommendation of this commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency."

Trump initially ignored that recommendation even at his major briefing about the crisis at his golf course during vacation on August 8, but two days after that, he abruptly reversed course.


TRUMP: The opioid crisis is an emergency and I`m saying officially right now, it is an emergency. It`s a national emergency. We`re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you need emergency powers to address it?

TRUMP: We`re going to draw it up and we`re going to make it a national emergency.


HAYES: We`re going to draw it up.

OK, that was two weeks ago. Since then, Donald Trump has signed no emergency declaration, has sent over no paperwork to congress, nothing has been drawn up. In fact, there`s no official emergency. No emergency funds, no emergency programs. There is just nothing, because they have done nothing.

Joining me now, Dr. Anna Lembke who wrote about the opioid crisis in her must-read book drug dealer M.D., which is a phenomenal read, really important to understanding the roots of this crisis.

Do you think it is a national emergency?

DR. ANNA LEMBKE, AUTHOR: I absolutely think it`s a national emergency, Chris. And I think we need to take steps immediately to address what is one of the modern plagues that we will be visited upon in this century. It`s absolutely a crisis.

HAYES: The numbers here are astounding. And this is part of what I think is pretty remarkable about the disconnect between this commission and essentially an action. Folks just look at the per 100,000 deaths that have happened. And we`ve seen this unbelievable spike. Are there things the U.S. government, this White House could be doing today, tomorrow, to help?

LEMBKE: So, I think it is important to look at, since President Trump has been in office, he has introduced no formal legislation to combat the opioid epidemic. He recently declared it to be a national emergency, yet he`s not taken any of the legal steps to enact that declaration.

If he would take those legal steps, it would create access to funds, to waive restrictions on Medicaid reimbursement, for example. That would make it possible to target the opioid epidemic. It would make it possible to dispense and distribute Naloxone, which is an emergency opioid overdose reversal agent. It would make it possible for us to prescribe more Methodone maintenance and Buprenorphine, which are proven treatments for opioid addiction.

So, if he would just follow through on the declaration that he made a couple weeks ago, that would make a difference at least in the short term.

I also think, though, it is important to note that most of President Trump`s efforts have gone toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act. And the Affordable Care Act is the single piece of legislation that has gone furthest toward combating this opioid epidemic by expanding Medicaid, to allow people who have opioid addiction to be treated within the house of medicine.

The Affordable Care Act has also made opioid addiction and its treatment an essential benefit. And this is so key to targeting this epidemic. But if we give people health insurance to pay for addiction treatment, if we create an infrastructure in the House of Medicine to care for people with addition, this is a sustainable intervention, which we will absolutely need because this crisis is not going to be turned around in a year or two or probably even five or 10.

HAYES: There`s a focus, a point of focus when the president speaks about the epidemic, which is the border and illegal drugs, particularly. And I wonder what you make of that given the fact that your book chronicles the degree to which this is borne of legal drugs, prescription drugs, and big pharma as one of the kind of root causes behind all of this.

LEMBKE: So I believe that we all have an important role to play in combating the opioid epidemic. We have to get doctors to prescribe fewer opioids. But I also believe that law enforcement can play a role here.

The important piece to understand is that although we cannot arrest our way out of this epidemic, we also can`t prescribe our way out of this epidemic. And importantly, although law enforcement can play a role, the role that they need to play is getting people to treatment, or implementing modest, swift sanctions that encourage behavior change.

What the war on drugs did was it imposed extreme sanctions, putting people in jail for a decade for carrying an ounce of marijuana. That we know is not effective to change behavior around -- addictive behavior substance abuse.

But law enforcement can play a role, shoring up our borders to limit the influx of illicit fentanyl is important. We need on acknowledge that those are ways we can intervene. But it`s not going to be the whole solution.

I think the bigger and more important intervention is going to be expanding treatment to addiction and looking at our impoverished communities and what other alternatives we can give them rather than becoming patients, getting on disability and living these very sad lives of addiction.

HAYES: Alright. Dr. Anna Lembke, thanks so much for joining me.

LEMBKE: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: Ahead, what to make of the bipartisan push to diagnose the president`s mental state and how the White House and the president are responding to questions about the Trump`s stability.

Plus some presidential social media training in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, if you follow me on Twitter you know I tweet a lot. So does this show, by the way, which you should be following, @AllInwithChris.

One thing I know about Twitter is you have to be careful who you`re retweeting. The President of the United States has 36 million followers, for some reason has a retweeting problem. A pattern that goes back to his campaign.

Candidate Donald Trump retweeted a person who`s Twitter bio says #WhiteGenocide is real. He previously retweeted another user with white genocide in their handle and neo-Nazi links in their bio.

Donald Trump tweeted a meme of Hilary Clinton with a Star of David over cash before changing the Star of David to a circle.

Well, today, President Trump retweeted another meme of his own likeness, eclipsing the likeness of President Obama. It`s kind of a lame meme, particularly since, as has been pointed out by many, the analogy works against President Trump.

The thing about a solar eclipse is that although the moon wins for a fraction of time, the sun is always billions of times more powerful. Obama would be the sun, the giver of life, and a cold barren rock briefly moves in front of it.

All that being said, at least there`s nothing anti-Semitic about that retweet.

Well, actually, that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: So, the President of the United States retweeted a meme of himself eclipsing President Obama to which many Twitter users basically responded please leave and return us to the sunlight.

But there was another issue with the president`s retweet. The person who the president retweeted, Jerry Trevone, has also tweeted this, "We have enough of these Jews where I live lol. Someone else take them. They just can`t drive." Trevone tried on explain that one, writing to NBC News he was not anti-Semitic and quote, "It was just an emotional expression. I was referring to Lakewood, New Jersey and the horrible drivers of that town that happens to be mostly Jewish people that live there."

He added this, "I thought I was dreaming lol, and the president took time out of his extremely busy day to retweet my picture and it`s such an honor."

And that is exactly right. The President of the United States dedicated time out today to that guy`s meme. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: More and more often the language the people use to describe the President of the United States is the kind of language you`d use to talk not about someone`s politics, but about their mental state.

And it`s not just the Twitter trolls.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really question his ability to, his fitness to be in this office.

SEN. JACK REED, (D) RHODE ISLAND: I think he`s crazy.


REED: I don`t say that lightly and as a kind of, you know, a goofy guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a growing mountain of evidence that the president has been very erratic, as shown a mental instability.

SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate to be successful.


HAYES: This morning, the president hit back at former Intelligence Director James Clapper for his comments, deriving Clapper`s quote an authority on Donald Trump.

At the press briefing today the White House Press Secretary was asked about those last remarks we played you from Senator Bob Corker, the Republican Chair to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any response to that?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that`s a ridiculous and outrageous claim and doesn`t dignify a response from this podium.


HAYES: It also seems notable given the context that the press secretary was asked today in the president plans to have an annual physical at Walter Reed Army Medical Center like many of his predecessors.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us whether the president intends to utilize the federal facilities of Walter Reed this year to get a physical and release that information to the public?

SANDERS: I`ll let you know.


HAYES: Once taboo, discussions of the president`s mental health are becoming increasingly main stream.

A Harvard law professor arguing to The New Yorker that the psychiatrist should be able to break with professional standards to evaluate the president`s state of mind in public.

And a U.S. congresswoman introducing legislation urging the president to take a medical exam to determine his fitness for office.

Both of them join me right after this break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is calling on the president to take a medical exam to determine if he`s fit for office and Harvard law professor Jeannie Suk Gersen argues that psychiatrists should be able to share their professional opinions about the president`s state of mind. I welcome them both.

Jeannie let me start with you because I read your piece and it crystallized something that`s really been bothering me, which is I`m seeing a lot of armchair diagnoses of the president and it strikes me as bad.

There`s a reason for the prohibition, a reason for the mental health professionals not to do this, it`s called the Goldwater Rule, and you argue that this is an exception to that and they should be able to speculate on the president`s mental health, why?

JEANNIE SUK GERSEN, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: It`s not so much that I think this is an exception. It`s just that the rule itself seems overly broad at this point in time.

There`s a rule, the Goldwater Rule that says psychiatrists cannot speak about a public figure`s mental health, they cannot offer an opinion about that.

But, it seems that early this year in March the American Psychiatric Association broadened no the rule even father saying they can`t even offer their opinions about the person`s affect or their personality if it draws on knowledge or training that they might have as a psychiatrist.

That seems very very broad to me and I think that that rule right now is basically depriving the public of the knowledge and training of psychiatrists who might be better informed about somebody`s mental health and whether they`re able to perform certain duties than the rest of the public actually is.

And it`s not so much that we can`t see for ourselves what the president`s behavior is like. It`s just that we are right now experiencing a void in professional opinion because of this Goldwater Rule.

HAYES: Congresswoman, what is the motivation behind the legislation that you`ve introduced?

REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D) CALIFORNIA: Actually the legislation urges the vice president, along with the cabinet, to secure the assistance of medical professionals.

As has been noted by your prelim into this, a lot of people are concerned about the president`s behavior. He seems to lack impulse control. He swings from topic to topic.

Any of us who have had an older person that we know suffering from a mental decline can see certain signs that worry us, repetition, someone who seems lost where they are.

You know, when he was in Israel saying we just got back from the Middle East. Did he not know that Frederic Douglas had died or was he confused.

I think that if this were an obvious physical disability, let`s say a massive heart attack, the vice president and the cabinet would be getting the advice of medical professionals. Similarly with these questions they should get advice from medical professionals on whether this is the president just being an odd person or whether there`s a problem here.

HAYES: Okay, but here`s the thing. It seems to me this is an impulse to medicalize the feelings that the people have about the president`s personality.

It could just be -- I mean, isn`t it just the case that you do not like the way the president acts and so you believe that it must be some -- or it`s possible there`s some illness behind it?

LOFGREN: No, that`s really not -- it`s true. I don`t agree with the president. There`s no question about that. But this is an entirety different matter. This is for the vice president, under the 25th amendment, and a vice president is certainly no enemy of the president, and the cabinet, all of whom have been selected by the president, to discharge their obligations onto the Constitution to make sure that there isn`t a problem with the president`s capacity to serve.

If they find with the help that they get that he is, then they`ve satisfied that question.

I`ll still disagree with the president, but this is a fitness question.

HAYES: Jeannie, part of the reason for the Goldwater Rule is precisely because there`s often a kind of blurring of the lines. People will casually say that person is nuts or that person is crazy, and in some ways that`s a way -- it has a perverse effect of stigmatizing mental illness because it conflates behavior I don`t like with mental illness.

And i wonder if you think that that`s -- you want to see medical professionals intervene because that`s what`s happening now?

GERSEN: Yes, that`s what`s happen right now. People are making very very casual remarks about his mental health and I actually think that we could have the benefit of actual professionals.

It may be that they may tell us that there is nothing wrong with the president. They may tell us there are problems with the president`s mental health but they don`t rise to the level of disabling him from performing the duties of office.

We have to be open to all of those professional opinions, not just the ones that say he`s unable to perform the duties of his office.

And I think that range of opinions is something we would expect to` if psychiatrists were allowed to speak or permitted by their professional ethics rules but we don`t see a lot of the conversation happening.

We don`t see that participation of professionals in this debate.

HAYES: Congresswoman, you wanted in on this as well.

LOFGREN: Yeah, it seems to me that an examination would be preferable. The president has gotten lost on TV, we`ve seen that happen, where he`s walked off or wandered off. He doesn`t seem to know where he is.

Is that because he`s overtired or is that something more serious? I think we`ll only find that out if he`s examined by medical professionals.

HAYES: There`s something remarkable about having this conversation, and in is a conversation that is being had in all kinds of corners, people have sort of danced around how they talk about it. Your colleague Jackie Spears saying we have to stop whispering.

I guess the question is is this something Republicans talk about as well to the extent that you talk to them on the Hill about this?

LOFGREN: I don`t want to mention names, but I`ve never been in a personal meeting with the president and don`t expect to ever. But people who have describe someone who`s unable to keep track of the conversation.

Is it because he doesn`t want to or that he can`t. That`s an important question that we need an answer to.

HAYES: The core reason, right, behind the Goldwater Rule, at least in the narrow sense is precisely because, you know you can`t evaluate someone, can`t render judgments on them until you`ve talked to them first hand, attended to them.

Isn`t the rule in place to sort of prevent the slippery slope and won`t we get just essentially armchair diagnoses?

GERSEN: I think it`s a wise rule to say that a psychiatrist should not render a diagnosis without a clinical examination. But I think that where it goes too far is when we think that psychiatrists cannot speak at all about the qualities of a person that may include qualities that they may know about from their psychiatric training and knowledge.

So I think that there`s a way in which this rule has just gone too far and expanded too far so that psychiatrists are essentially silenced from offering opinions based on psychology and psychiatry.

HAYES: All right. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Jeannie Suk Gersen, thank you both.

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

Good evening Rachel.


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