Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: August 28, 2017 Guest: Tom Perez, Paul Butler, Barbara McQuade STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: OK, Susan Del Percio, Michael Hopkins, Shelby Holliday, thank for joining us. That is HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever seen a flooding like this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I haven`t.
HAYES: A major American city is under water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People carrying babies on their soldiers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we`ve been rescued. So we`re very thankful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you just go through back there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hell.
HAYES: Tonight, the perfect storm in Houston and why no evacuation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should there have been a bigger effort to evacuate Houston?
HAYES: Plus as the President prepares to tour the damage.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They`re saying the biggest, historic.
HAYES: Two new reports that give us the clearest picture yet on Trump world coordination with the Russians. The New York Times and Washington Post reporters who broke the stories join me live. And the President explains his thinking and his timing on the pardon of Joe Arpaio.
TRUMP: In the middle of the hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I the assume ratings would be far higher than they would be.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight the fourth largest city in the nation remains under water as tropical storm Harvey continues to dump rain on Eastern Texas causing what officials have called the worst flooding in the state`s history. In Houston, thousands still stranded waiting to be rescued as that water keeps rising and the rain keeps falling with totals up to 50 inches expected in some areas by the end of the week. That is a year`s worth of rain in a matter of days. At least ten people have lost their lives and the result of the storm while 30,000 are expected to need emergency shelter according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The President and the first lady are now headed to Texas first thing tomorrow morning to survey the damage.
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TRUMP: I look very much forward to it. Things are being handled really well. The spirit is incredible of the people. The coordination between all of the different services as you know has been going very well. We`ll be traveling going throughout certain parts and we may actually go back on Saturday depending on where the storm goes. We may also go to Louisiana on Saturday.
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HAYES: A storm comes amid an onslaught of new revelations about efforts by the President and his company to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the Presidential campaign. In a 2015 e-mail published today by the New York Times, a business associate of the President`s drew a direct link between that project and Trump`s White House bid. He wrote, "I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected," meaning elected president. Now, that e-mail sent by Felix Sater, he`s a Russian born real estate developer with a criminal history and known mob ties. And he was the driving force behind the President Trump`s Soho project in New York City. The recipient of the e-mail, Michael Cohen, the President`s long time lawyer and Executive of the Trump organization. In the wake of Russia`s interference in the 2016 election, amid questions about collusion with the Trump campaign, the President himself insisted he had no Russian ties to compromise it.
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TRUMP: I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals in Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia because we`ve stayed way.
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HAYES: While that may have been strictly true when he said it this past January, we now know it did not tell the whole story. As the Washington Post broke this weekend, the Trump organization did seek a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow while its Chief Executive was actively running for President. That effort led by Sater and Cohen lasted until at least January 2016 on the eve of the first primaries. By that point, Trump had already been leading the Republican field for about six months. We know that Sater and Cohen weren`t just going rogue because again, as we have just now learned, the President himself signed a nonbinding letter of intent sometime in 2015 to do the deal. Cohen explained in a statement to NBC News "the Trump Moscow proposal was simply one of many development opportunity the Trump organization considered and ultimately rejected." But not before reaching out to the Kremlin to try to get it back on track.
Listen to this, The Post broke the news today that Cohen e-mailed Vladimir Putin`s personal Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov to ask him for help advancing the stalled Trump Tower Moscow deal, writing, "as this project is too important I am hereby requesting your assistance." Now, according to Maggie Haberman from the New York Times, Cohen e-mailed Peskov at a general e-mail address equivalent she says, to firstname.lastname@example.org not Peskov`s direct e-mail. The Post reports Cohen said he did not recall receiving a response from Peskov. Regardless, the correspondence showed efforts by the Trump team to cooperate with the Russian government. The Washington Post obtained the statement Cohen submitted to Congressional investigators in which he claimed "the Trump Tower Moscow proposal is not related in any way to Mr. Trump`s Presidential campaign but crucially that is not how Felix Sater, the other part of this deal, portrayed the deal in his e-mails to Cohen published again today by the New York Times suggesting that the deal`s success and Vladimir Putin`s involvement could be the factor that put Donald Trump in the White House.
I quote from that e-mail. "Buddy, our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin`s team to buy on this. I will manage this process." I`m joined by two of the reporters who have been breaking these huge stories. Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post and Matt Apuzzo from the New York Times and thank you both and great work today. Rosalind, may -- I will start with you. Some complicated things in terms of the characters and what we`re learning. But I want to start with this, just the time line of this deal. I mean, one of the big revelations that starts in the reporting over the weekend and develops today is we were told that basically there was no overlap between Donald Trump running for President and Trump Org. pursuing a Moscow deal. That is definitively not true, as we now know, right?
ROSALIND HELDERMAN, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL ENTERPRISE AND INVESTIGATIONS REPORTER: Right. I mean, Donald Trump starts running for President in June of 2015. We now know that in September of 2015 is when these conversations about sort of this iteration, this attempt to build a Trump Tower in Moscow begin. Donald Trump himself signs that letter of intent with a Moscow-based development company on October 28, 2015. And then we get this e-mail from Michael Cohen to Dmitry Peskov in mid-January. And then they say a deal is abandoned at the end of January. So, what you`ve got a very active negotiating process right during the heat of the Republican primary campaign election.
HAYES: Now, not only that, Matt but to your reporting on that Sater e-mail which is pretty remarkable document, because it explicitly connects the two, right? I mean, it could be the case that there`s a parallel, that`s the Trump Org. and they`re trying to do deals everywhere. They`re in Turkey, they`re doing in the Philippines but the Sater e-mail says, no, no, no, there is a direct line. If we build this and get pewter Putin on board, that will get Donald Trump elected. What do you make of that?
MATT APUZZO, THE NEW YORK TIME WRITER: Well his logic -- Felix Sater`s logic here is the world needs to see that Donald Trump is this brilliant businessman and great negotiator and if we can get him cutting a deal with Russia and get him on the same stage as Vladimir Putin then the world will see that he`s not just a great businessman, he is a great statesman. This will elevate his portfolio. This will show he is the man to bridge the gap, you know, in our relations with Russia. Again a lot of this, as Russia said, a lot of this just shows a willingness by people around Trump to kind of grab hold of Russia both as a business solution and as a political solution. We saw it in the June Trump Tower meeting. A willingness of the Trump campaign to say yes, I`ll take damaging information on Hillary Clinton from the Russians. here -- yes, absolutely, that`s going the same stages as Vladimir Putin back and only help our fortunes.
HAYES: Yes. And part of this Rosalind too, is that it`s not just -- it`s not complete idle speculation or vaporware that they`re coming up with, right? I mean, what is your understanding of the degree which there are other people on the other side of this potential deal that folks in Trump`s orbit are in constant contact with?
HELDERMAN: Yes, I mean, this was real proposal. It obviously it did not come to fruition. That`s been sort of a theme in the Trump business world of deals that start to get off the ground and don`t ultimately result in a project. But you know, we know from Cohen`s statement to Congress that they apparently had a conversation with architects about building plans for this. They had conversations about financing for this project. You did get this initial letter that is signed by Donald Trump himself. So this was a real negotiation. They were really trying to build the Trump Tower while Donald Trump in Moscow, while Trump was running for president.
HAYES: What seems established here Matt and I would like you to weigh in on this. In your reporting, in the Washington Post reporting, Rosalind`s reporting, and reporting on the meeting, in all three cases, what`s seems established is that if Russia or representatives of the Russian state wanted to send information or set up a meeting or contact the Trump orbit or vice versa, there were channels along which that could conceivably be pursued?
APUZZO: No question. When we have, we have an administration previously a campaign that said over and over again, no contact with Russia, no contract with Russia, no contract with Russia. And it`s been -- it`s been, gosh, it`s only the end of August. It`s been eight months of nonstop contact with Russia. So of course, there were -- there were channels by which Russia could pass information or there were channels where information could be exchanged. The thing is, is we don`t know, obviously if we have seen some e-mails here, we haven`t seen any e-mails that show information saying there are some hacked e-mails and they are going to come out and this is how it will go. And that`s really the -- that`s really the smoking gun. But what we are seeing here is just another example of another channel of people who have access to or claim to have access to high-level Russian officials who can get things done and get information and get close to Putin.
HAYES: And to that point, and here is the sort of one take away and one question I think for future reporting. You know, we never know -- we don`t know, we`re seeing a very small sample of the e-mail. So we don`t know what happened after the infamous Don Jr.-Trump Tower meeting, what was e- mailed the day, the next day or the day after that. and it seems to me, and I will ask you, Rosalind and Matt, to weigh in on this. we have a small sample of the e-mails here. We don`t know necessarily what happens afterward. Is that right, Rosalind?
HELDERMAN: Yes. I think that`s a really fair point. I think had reported previously that there had been 20,000 e-mails that had gone to Congress and that apparently did not include these new e-mails because our understanding is they went to Congress just today. So what we know about so far is in a very, very small percentage of those -- of those notes. And you know, I think it is fair to say there`s probably likely to be more to come out as we learn more about what is in all of those e-mails.
HAYES: Here`s the e-mails I want to see. What e-mail traffic was going around the Trump orbit when they find out about the DNC hack getting published and people start accusing Russia? What light bulbs do you think went on in people`s heads when they saw that after all these back and fort. Rosalind Helderman and Matt Apuzzo, thank you, both.
HELDERMAN: Thank you.
APUZZO: Great to be here.
HAYES: All right. Senator Chris Murphy is a Connecticut Democrat and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He`s been particularly outspoken on this issue. How many more dots do you feel like you need to see connected?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, I think you need to start here with what we absolutely know. What we absolutely know for sure is that Russia expanded an unbelievable amount of money and effort to try to influence this election in Donald Trump`s favor. Hundreds of Russian operatives potentially, hundreds of millions of dollars. And the question really is, why? Why were they so sure that Donald Trump is a safe bet? And what you are understanding now is that they had lots of windows into how directly connected Donald Trump was to potential very lucrative opportunities to line his pockets in Russia.
Whether it be the investments that Russian entities made in the Trump operation, that he`s likely trying to hide by not releasing tax returns or now this potential deal to put a Trump Tower inside Russia. They were pretty sure when they made the big investment, that Donald Trump had and could have a future big financial stake in Russia. And they know what motivates him first and foremost is the security of his wallet, of his financial empire. So I think you`re seeing why the Russians may have believed that they were making a pretty safe bet.
HAYES: So, this strikes me as an interesting theory of the case. Now, we are saying basically is let`s table for a moment whether there`s collusion, they actively sort of conspiring on the hacks. What you`re saying is Russia basically probing and satisfying themselves. These are people we can work with, these are people we can influence, these are people we can get to before the big thing happens which is that they decide to publish those hacked e-mails in the DNC because all this stuff we are learning is before them.
MURPHY: That`s right. And when -- at the end, if we believe everything in this post report, these are pretty high-level communications. These are people close to Putin who were talking to people close to Donald Trump. And so it would, you know, lead to you believe there is a level of satisfaction inside the Russian government that they knew who these people were that they were dealing with.
HAYES: I want to ask you, you`re on the Foreign Relations Committee and very outspoken about America`s role in the world, American`s foreign policy both under Obama and Trump. I want to ask you to respond to something Rex Tillerson said this weekend. It`s pretty remarkable about who the President speaks for when he speaks. Let`s take a listen.
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REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I don`t believe anyone doubts the American people`s values or the commitment of the American government or the government`s agencies to advancing those values and defending those values.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the President`s values?
TILLERSON: And the President speaks for himself, Chris.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you separating yourself from that, Sir?
TILLERSON: I`ve spoken my own comments as to our values as well in a speech I gave to the State Department this past week.
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HAYES: What do -- what do you make of that?
MURPHY: That is a blow your socks off moment. That is Rex Tillerson very confidently separating himself from the President of the United States with respect to the President`s statements about Charlottesville. I think there are some members of his cabinet who are frankly thinking about their legacy. But at the same time, let`s remember, Tillerson is throwing some stones from a glass house when he is talking about American values. It`s worth remembering at the same time he`s trying to scrub democracy promotion and human rights advancement from the mission of the Department of States. So when you think about American values, trying to get more people access to democracy, trying to save people from terror and torture overseas has always been a pretty fundamental American value. And Rex Tillerson as much as Donald Trump has something to do with that being erased from our country`s mission statement.
HAYES: And finally, there`s some breaking news tonight which is that North Korea appears to have launched yet another ballistic missile. This one crossing over Japanese airspace precipitating a text alert to Japanese citizens, scary moment. They fired over Japan before but not ballistic ones. It`s the first time it appears. What`s your reaction?
MURPHY: Well, listen, this is probably a most provocative action that they have taken so far it suggests that they believe that they are acting with some degree of impunity. Now Trump has made this over the top statements about the military repercussions of attacking the United States. He`s been hand-handed about it but it`s not wrong to tell the North Koreans that there is a disproportionate response coming if they ever come after us or land on one of these missiles on our -- substantially close to one of our allies. But they clearly don`t believe that there`s any other path that will ultimately hurt them.
They don`t think that we have a handle on a diplomatic or economic path that would do substantial damage to their country. And so, from the beginning, many of us said that there`s a big piece of this North Korea strategy that`s missing and that is way to get China and other nations around Asia to change North Korea`s behavior. They don`t seem to fear that path which may explain why they continue to act in this manner.
HAYES: All right. Senator Chris Murphy, thanks for taking some time tonight. I appreciate it.
HAYES: After the break, as the floodwaters continue to rise, would an evacuation order have helped in Houston or just compounded and exacerbated the devastation? I`ll talk to a man who played the role in the last decision to evacuate that city in two minutes.
HAYES: Big parts of Houston are under water tonight and it looks like it is still going to get worse. Hurricane Harvey made land fall Friday, a night dumping a record obliterating amounts of rain and is currently forecasted to continue for several more days. Authorities and volunteers are rescuing people from water that`s now reached up to several feet high.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was over five feet in our house. We barely made it out. I`m just so grateful that they came.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they was telling to shelter in place, I don`t think people need to shelter in place. I think they need to leave as soon as possible.
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HAYES: That gentleman isn`t the only one suggesting people should leave their homes but Houston authorities did indeed tell people to shelter and stay in place and with good reason according to the Mayor.
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MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON, TEXAS: The major thing was to stay off the street. No evacuation honor was given for Houston, Harris County. We were not in the direct line of the Hurricane. So for the areas down in Rockport, Victoria, Corpus Christi, further south along the coast, they were in the direct path. The City of Houston, Harris County, we were not.
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HAYES: Reporters from the Texas Tribune compared Houston this time around with Hurricane Rita in 2005 when about 3 million Texans were evacuated many at the same time. According to the Tribune, "Of the 139 deaths the state links to Hurricane Rita, 73 occurred before the storm even hit Texas. 20 people died in a bus fire. 10 others died from hyperthermia due to heat exposure in their cars. Roadways were so crowded that time around last time they tried to evacuate that many people ran out of gas over traffic jams that lasted two straight days. In contrast, here`s what some Houston area highways and (INAUDIBLE) look like this weekend instead. The former Mayor of Houston who ran the city during Hurricanes Rita and Katrina joins me by phone. He`s Bill White and thanks for your time tonight Mr. White. And first, how are things right now in Houston?
BILL WHITE, FORMER HOUSTON MAYOR (via telephone): The water is still coming and I`ll tell you what, computer models 20, 25 inches of rain, and some parts of the nation`s fourth largest city, one of its largest metropolitan areas, are getting at 40 to 50 inches of rain the forecast now say. Which is to put it in perspective, about the same amount of rain as you would normally get in a year in this area.
HAYES: You were -- you were there during Rita and Katrina and I think a lot of people understood why the evacuation happened with Rita because you had just watched what happened in Katrina. But people felt like they learned lessons from Rita in terms of how hard it is to actually evacuate a city the size of Houston. Do you think this Mayor made the right call in having people shelter in place?
WHITE: Yes. Certainly, people who are not in the direct you know, hundred-year, 500-year flood plain and moreover, I`m pointing out on Rita, that we only had a mandatory evacuation area for the storm surge area. What happened and you know, surveys who showed this for the benefit of hindsight is that ten times as many people have evacuated at the same time because they witnessed what happened in Katrina. So the idea of avoiding panic is, you know, a legitimate point.
HAYES: The infrastructure of the city seems at one level overwhelmed as it would be would given the sheer amount of water. What is your sense of how bad this is going to be for the City of Houston in a long-term?
WHITE: First in American perspectives, it could be the largest natural disaster in terms of property damage the United States has ever seen. Bigger than some of the likes I guess of Sandy, right now, Katrina. I think the storm, a big hurricane that hit Florida were, you know, share that dubious and along with Rita. Because we`re such a, you know, large metropolitan area and there`s going to be a significant percentage of homes including mine, I might add, that are under water. So this will be a very large undertaking.
The key issue for people to watch though is then what is going to be the response of the federal state and to some extent local governments in making sure that people who are now rendered homeless, that they can`t go back to their home, could be the same magnitude as, or significant fraction of the people that were evacuated after Katrina. How will they learn the lessons that we learned in Katrina, including the successes to make sure that people are in apartments and can move on with their lives.
HAYES: Mayor Bill White, former Mayor of Houston, I just want to say obviously everyone in America is pulling for you and the city. We`re all watching with our finger crossed and our prayers. Thanks so much for making time tonight.
WHITE: You take care.
HAYES: You know, (INAUDIBLE) the Texas Tribune and ProPublica have partnered to publish a bigger part last year and pointed out why Texas was not ready for another big hurricane. One of those reporters Neena Satija joins me now by phone. And Neena, that piece was about the particularities of Houston that made it particularly susceptible to flooding in the case of a big storm. What is it about Houston that makes it so challenging?
NEENA SATIJA, TEXAS TRIBUNE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: There are two things I would say about Houston that make this such a challenging issue. I mean, number one, as the mayor said earlier, this is a huge sprawling metropolis and of course, we have seen incredibly widespread flooding. We have seen flooding across all of Harris county, which is home to Houston across a number of the neighboring counties. So that`s going to be a huge impact there. There`s just a lot of places and a lot of people that can get flooded out. And second of all, you know, scientists and experts have said, again and again, Houston has allowed unchecked development that made this flooding worse. Now, let`s be clear, this flooding would have occurred you know, no matter what, I think, the amount of rain fall that has fallen is just so huge. However, scientists and experts say some of the damage could have been prevented had Houston developed better.
HAYES: So you`ve got a city that`s been building very rapidly. It also is shot through with waterways and bayous that make it prone to flooding. What was the reaction -- you wrote this piece that basically said look, our policies here in the City of Houston is growth plus climate change equals a disaster is coming our way. What was the reaction when you guys published that piece last year?
SATIJA: I think it was a pretty strong reaction. A lot of residents of Houston were encouraged to see the piece because they felt like their voices weren`t being heard. They felt like there wasn`t enough attention being paid to the issue of flooding in the city. So we got a very good response. And a lot of people were, frankly, shocked to hear what local officials told us when we interviewed them. The local officials in Houston did not think that development was contributing to flooding which is not what scientists told us. Local officials in Houston didn`t have plans to study the effects of climate change in the city or think about whether the city needs to plan for more frequent and more intense rainstorms which scientists say are a sure thing for Houston. So there was a lot of shock around that as well.
HAYES: From a removed perspective of watching this happen from afar, it seems like two things. One, the sheer amount of rain is just incomprehensible and would overwhelm any city anywhere in America. Number two, the response of citizens and folks just going out and helping each other is incredible and heartening. What do you make of the municipal response state and local response in terms of getting people out and rescuing folks?
SATIJA: I think they are doing the best that they can. I think it was hard to anticipate this amount of rain. I think it was hard it anticipates how widespread it would be. We were here and we`ve been here since Friday, even on Saturday night, and were still weren`t sure if things are going to be bad for Houston as they ultimately did. Certainly, you know, city, state and federal government don`t have enough resources to deal with this storm that why they are calling on private citizens. We spoke with many people who`ve been evacuated from their homes who couldn`t get through to 911, couldn`t get through to 311 were helped from private -- by private citizens from the roofs of their homes to whatever evacuation center they ended up at. So the resources are stretched thin for sure.
HAYES: Yes, we should note at this point that there`s maybe 15 to 20 inches more forecast. I`ve seen reports, a bunch of evacuation centers are already starting to overfill. So that`s something to keep your eye on as we move through the rest of the weeks. Neena Satija, thanks so much. It`s great report and stays safe.
SATIJA: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Up next, President Trump speaks for the first time on his controversial pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. How cable news ratings during a hurricane factored in his decision making after this quick break.
HAYES: President Trump today defended his decision to pardon controversial former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. A pardon the President issued late Friday night as Hurricane Harvey approaches the gulf coast.
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TRUMP: Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders. And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election -- an election that he would have won. So -- and he was elected many times. So I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe, and I think the people of Arizona, who really know him best, would agree with me. Thank you very much.
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HAYES: Put in facts Arpaio lost that last election by double digits and he was convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a judge`s order to stop his unconstitutional targeting and detaining of people he and his officers suspected to be undocumented immigrants with no evidence to support it. The Washington Post reported that as Joe Arpaio`s federal case headed to trial this spring, the President asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether it would be possible for the government to drop the criminal case against Arpaio but was advised that would be inappropriate. So the president appears to just have pardoned Arpaio instead, arguing today that previous presidents have pardoned far worse people.
Now, when we come back I`ll be speaking to someone who knows Arpaio`s record better than almost anyone, the man who successfully brought the Justice Department case against Arpaio joins me next.
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LOU DOBBS, FOX NEWS: The idea that you`re criticized in some quarters for enforcing the law, I mean what -- how do you react to that?
JOE ARPAIO, FRM. MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF: Well, you know, they call you KKK. They did me. I think it`s an honor, right? It means you`re doing something.
DOBBS: Just saw the right people...
ARPAIO: It means we`re doing it.
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HAYES: It`s worth taking a moment to consider who exactly President Trump pardoned on Friday night and his record. Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for ignoring a court order to stop illegally targeting and detaining Latinos. Arpaio is an unrepentant birther conspiracy theorist who once staged an assassination attempt against himself to boost his profile.
As sheriff, he erected an open-air tent city jail, which he blithely referred to, his words, as a concentration camp where prisoners ate worse than prison dogs, suffered in temperatures that hit more than 115 degrees, sometimes melting the bottoms of their sneakers. They worked on chain gangs in old fashioned stripe uniforms, faced abuse, and died in custody at abnormally high rates.
Arpaio had journalists who covered him critically arrested in the middle of the night. And that move resulted in a $3.75 million settlement against him.
County taxpayers have also paid $70 million to defend his racial profiling. And from 1998 to 2010, the county paid $13 million to inmates and their relatives for injury and death claims.
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TRUMP: Sheriff Joe, what a great guy. Sheriff Joe! I love you, Sheriff Joe. What a great guy.
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HAYES: Joining me now, the man who as assistant attorney general brought the successful lawsuit against Arpaio for targeting Latinos, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.
First, explain why the government brought the case it did against Arpaio.
TOM PEREZ, DNC CHAIRMAN: He repeatedly abused his authority. He was racially profiling Latinos. He was arresting people and detaining people without probable cause. He was retaliating against people who complained against his practices. He engaged in unlawful practices in the jail itself.
And one of the other things we found, Chris, that is often underreported is that we found roughly 400 cases that involved allegations of rape, other serious crimes that went uninvestigated, because he had this focus on making sure abuelita had her papers.
And so, we found in our investigation -- and I`ll note that the initial inquiry was opened in June of 2008. George W. Bush was the president when the initial inquiry was open.
HAYES: I didn`t know that.
PEREZ: And under my watch is when we issued the letter of finding that resulted in a lengthy proceeding. And there was a parallel proceeding filed by private plaintiffs and the same findings were adjudicated by a court, which is that he repeatedly abused his authority, engaged in unconstitutional policing. He is a disgrace to law enforcement.
HAYES: This is what the president said today, and I want you to respond to this -- you sort of did here, but take a listen to what the president said about Obama people.
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TRUMP: I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down with their about big decision to go get him right before the election voting started, as you know, and he lost in fairly close election. He would have won the election, but they just hammered him just before the election. I thought that was a very, very unfair thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Was is it politically motivated.
PEREZ: Of course not.
Why don`t we talk about the facts, Chris. The initial inquiry was opened in June of 2008 under the watch of George W. Bush. When we investigated, one of the reasons we didn`t release our letter of findings until December of 2011 was because they fought us tooth and nail. They wouldn`t give us access to information. We actually had to go to court and file a lawsuit to get access to information. And so, 2011 was when we issued our letter of findings.
And so this case had an eight or nine-year shelf life to it because they continued to fight and fight and fight. And this pardon is really unconscionable, because, you know, frankly prejudice doesn`t deserve a pardon. And this is really an affront to all law enforcement who are trying to do our job.
What I think I remember the most about this case, Chris, was a deputy sheriff who said to our investigative team and this isn`t Tom Perez speaking, this was the deputy sheriff speaking, Joe Arpaio constructed a wall of distrust between the sheriff`s office and the community.
That was the wall that he built, and it was a wall that was a terrible wall, unconstitutional wall. It wasn`t safe for policing and it was terrible for the community.
HAYES: Final question about The Washington Post reporting this weekend which I thought was remarkable, that the president asked Jeff Sessions can we just drop the case.
Eric Holder tweeting a number of times over the six years President Obama called me to ask me about dropping the case. Zero.
What does that say to you?
PEREZ: Again, this president has no idea about the notion of the independence of the Department of Justice.
Remember, what he said to Comey when he was FBI director. Hey, can you go light on my buddy, Flynn.
Then you have this situation, hey, Mr. Attorney General, you ought to drop this case. That is an abuse of power. That is unconscionable. As Eric Holder said earlier today, that never happened under Mr. Barack Obama.
I entered the Justice Department when George Herbert Walker Bush was president. I`m confident that George Herbert Walker Bush never asked that of Dick Thornberg.
HAYES: Alright. DNC chair, former DOJ lawyer Tom Perez, thanks for being with me tonight.
PEREZ: Thank you.
HAYES: I want to play for you the president`s explanation tonight, earlier today, of why he thought that attention would be garnered by his timing of Joe Arpaio and the role that ratings played. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of people think it was the right thing to do, John, and in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally. The hurricane was just starting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Always with his eye on the ball.
Still to come, the growing constellation of legal issues facing key players in Trump world. What today`s latest revelations mean ahead.
And, the last word on how the Gorka era ended, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, which you do not want to miss, next.
Thing One tonight, short-lived era of the alpha male.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN GORKA, FMR DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT: The message I have is a very simple one. It`s a bumper sticker, Sean. The era of the pajama boy is over January 20th and the alpha males are back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sebastian Gorka, a controversial deputy assistant to the president, who had a host of batty theories and extremely questionable credentials, was not at the White House today.
Late Friday, the Federalist reported that it got a scope that deputy assistant to the president, Sebastian Gorka had resigned, publishing portions of his alleged resignation letter.
But within an hour a White House official gave the press the following statement, "Sebastian Gorka did not resign but I can confirm he no long works at the White House."
So, did he resign or was he fired? Gorka is standing by his story, even trying to discredit the White House statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORKA: To have a lowly official in the comms shop basically lie about how I left the White House, that`s disappointing. It`s disturbing. The fact of the matter, as was reported in the Federalist and elsewhere after the Afghan speech, I decided it`s time to resign and support the president from the outside more effectively. I told General Kelly, I requested a meeting with him and I informed him both over the phone and via email on Friday that as of that day I am resigning. Those are the facts of the matter."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Are those the facts of the matter? We have some documentary evidence from the White House, an email entitled "Staff, do not admit Gorka."
That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: Much like Steve Bannon before him, Sebastian Gorka continues to insist he voluntarily left the White House, despite White House officials saying he did not resign.
We have some new information about what happened Friday night. Over an hour before the Federalist broke the news reporting Gorka resigned, there was already an order from the White House security system not to let Gorka into the building.
All In has obtained an email that circulated among the Secret Service at 6:45 p.m. stating, "JOC, Secret Service Joint Operations Center. Please notify officers of the following staff DNA, do not admit Sebastian Gorka, Executive Office of the president, blue pass holder. He has been made a do not admit in WAVES," that`s the White House entry system, "and his pass has been deactivated."
And a follow-up email was sent at 7:14 p.m. entitled, Additional Information: "Staff Do Not Admit Gorka." Adding, "Mr. Gorka is more than likely still in position of his PIV and the White House pass as his DNA status was performed without him being on complex."
We spoke with two former White House staff members who said an email like this is not remotely normal, saying they had never seen a directive like this for an employee voluntarily departing.
This does not prove that Gorka was fired, but he is definitely not allowed back.
It seems the era of sub Gorka at the White House is over.
HAYES: Police have now charged three more people after the violent attacks against counter protesters in Charlottesville a little over two weeks ago.
Daniel Patrick Borden and Alex Micheal Ramos have both been charged with malicious wounding after the brutal beating of Deandre Harris in a parking garage next to the Charlottesville police department.
Borden and Ramos were both identified after footage of the attack spread on social media.
Another incident also caught on tape went unnoticed until the ACLU found the footage and gave it to the FBI. It shows a white supremacist of the Charlottesville rally yelling the N word, pulling out a handgun and firing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a gunshot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Walking away post the line of police there. Police identified the shooter as a Baltimore resident, Richard Wilson Preston. The Associated Press say he was arrested Saturday in Maryland charged with discharging a firearm within a thousand feet of a school.
He was identified in news reports as imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in Maryland.
The city of Charlottesville has now instigated an independent review of what happened during the white supremacist rally and how they responded. Answers for which cannot come soon enough. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: New developments tonight in the special council`s investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia.
Robert Mueller`s team is looking into President Donald Trump`s role in crafting a response to published article about a meeting with the Russians and his son Donald Jr., three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
A person familiar with Mueller`s strategy said that whether or not Trump made a knowingly false statement is now of interest to prosecutors.
This news coming from amid the reports The Washington Post and New York Times detailing efforts for the Trump team to cooperate with the Russian government.
As the possible legal ramifications for all this, Barbara McQuade, former US attorney, and Paul Butler, former prosecutor who specialized in cases of public corruption. Both join me now.
Paul, let me start with you. There are so many signals to me it appears about how seriously they`re taking the obstruction part of this. There`s the, what happened with the Russians and then did he obstruct justice.
What do you make of the news reporting from NBC News that they`re interested in this statement?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTER: Why does Donald Trump keep denying he had all of these dealings with the Russians. He denied it with regard to business and he denied it with regard to politics.
There`s nothing illegal if you`re a real estate developer trying to start a business some place. It sounds like consciousness of guilt to a prosecutor. Sounds like he`s trying to cover up.
Mueller may be like, I don`t know what you`re trying to cover up, but it sure sounds like something.
HAYES: Barbara, that statement again, the reporting indicated that essentially on the flight back from his big trip to Europe the president personally wrote the statement that Don Jr. gave, which again, to remind everyone, was basically entirely false, even if not in a technical sense, in what it communicated about the meeting. We talked about adoption. It wasn`t a campaign issue. It left all of that stuff out.
What would be the legal of the president personally intervening to create guess that false impression?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it`s not a crime to make a false statement to the public or the media of course.
HAYES: No. I`ve learned that the hard way, Barbara.
MCQUADE: What it shows is there is a willful intent by the president to mislead investigators and others about what`s going on in the Russia investigation. And that`s a really critical element of the offense, because not what he did but what was on his mind is an important part of Robert Mueller`s task.
HAYES: Here`s my take away from the reporting we have. There`s two channels here. Theres like what is legally chargeable or what is a violation of a crime and what is weird and aberrant behavior.
Here`s my takeaway. You got Satter going back and forth to the Russians. Micheal Cohen going back and forth to the Russians. In June you`ve got a meeting at Trump Tower, we`re going to give you dirt.
Given all of that, when the DNC e-mails come out and people start saying Russia did this, it just seems like there`s no way they did not know exactly what was going on.
BUTLER: Because we have this constant eagerness by Trump operatives to be hooked up with the Russians. What can you do for me with regard to building my tower, and with that meeting with Trump Jr. and Kushner, what can you do, how can you hook us up in regard to the campaign.
It`s not smoking gun evidence of collusion yet, which would be something like conspiring to hack e-mails.
HAYES: Or to release them at a certain time or something like that.
BUTLER: But what we do have is motive, wanting to win the election and we have means, all of these shadowy channels of communications.
HAYES: Channels that are already established that could be used for that end should that be what they want to pursue.
BUTLER: And the investigation is just getting started.
HAYES: So Barbara, I want to ask you about the legal status of a statement.
Donald Trump, the day after the RNC, and this is when the DNC e-mails have just leaked, he looks in the camera and says Russia if you`re listening, I hope you can find Hillary Clinton`s deleted 33,000 e-mails.
Now, later he would say that was joking. But in some ways it almost seems possible that he meant that very seriously. Like, I literally know that you`re looking to help me and I`m telling you right now what would help me
MCQUADE: It seems almost too obvious because he said it to the whole world, but when you put it in context it seems that the timing is such that he did know what was going on with Russia and e-mails at that time.
One of the things that the prosecutor will do and I`m sure Robert Mueller`s team is doing is building a time line of all of these events as they`re learning more and more facts, they`re putting additional pieces on the time line so that at some point they can see what the narrative actually is and what it all means.
Even though he said that blatantly, I`ve used evidence of people making public statements or statements they`ve used in political debates as evidence of a crime. Just because he said it publicly doesn`t mean it`s not.
HAYES: That is interesting because in some ways the publicness of it seems exculpatory, like if he was actually trying to collude with Russia he wouldn`t say it in front of everyone. But, he might just say it in front of everyone.
BUTLER: When you do these public corruption cases as I`ve prosecuted with the Department of Justice, you can never be surprised with really how dumb folks can be.
You would think when they have these high level positions they wouldn`t make gray level mistakes but they do all of the time.
Here`s why Donald Trump is in an unenviable position. If he`s a subject of this grand jury investigation, that is if he`s a target, that means at some point he`ll be subject to being impeached.
But if he`s not, if he`s just a subject, then he will be asked to come in and testify at some point by Robert Mueller, and then he`s going to have to come clean, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing by the truth. He has a hard time doing that.
HAYES: Barbara, that`s going to be an amazing moment and a legal battle if you try to get the President of the United States to come to your grand jury testimony.
MCQUADE: Well, it could happen. Bill Clinton had to testify before a grand jury and I think it`s a great point that Paul makes. President Trump as we have seen enjoys puffing and doesn`t always tell the exact truth. But when you`re under oath in front of the grand jury telling is truth is critically important. If you don`t tell the truth, that in itself is a crime.
HAYES: He`s got a lot of experience in depositions I should say.
Barbara McQuade, Paul Butler, thanks for joining us.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening Rachel.
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