All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/29/17 Trump is stronger than the Storm

Guests: Neera Satija, Sheila Jackson Lee, Chris Christie

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: August 29, 2017 Guest: Neera Satija, Sheila Jackson Lee, Chris Christie

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: All right, and we are against to the end of the show. Thanks for joining us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We won`t say congratulations. We don`t want to do that. We don`t want to congratulate. We`ll congratulate each other when it is all finished.

HAYES: The President visits Texas in the middle of the most extreme rain event in U.S. history.

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. What a crowd. What a turnout.

HAYES: My guest tonight, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the storm and the President.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I own the truth and we have a friendship for 15 years.

HAYES: Then the latest news on the Russia investigation with the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. And a new case for the President`s impeachment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answer to the question, should there be an impeachment inquiry was, duh!

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Hurricane Harvey is now the most extreme rain event in U.S. history. With more than 51 inches falling in some areas as catastrophic flooding has left hundreds of thousands without power and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. And the rain is not stopping. Now, in Houston, the nation`s fourth largest city, reservoirs are overflowing, infrastructures degrading as flash flood warnings remain in effect with officials now moving to open new mega shelters to accommodate the storm`s victims. Victims who continue to flock to the city`s now overflowing convention center where thousands have already sought refuge. Officials and regular citizens have been working tirelessly around the clock to rescue people and pets stranded by the storm.

The Coast Guard saying it has already rescued more than 3,000 and the job isn`t getting easier. Bands of heavy rain are expected to persist in parts of Texas and Louisiana into labor day weekend. NBC News has confirmed five deaths related to the hurricane. That number is expected to rise as the waters recede. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo telling A.P., "I`m really worried about how many bodies we`re going to find." Among those killed, Veteran Houston P.D. Officer Steve Perez who died on the job on his vehicle on a high water.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ART ACEVEDO, HOUSTON POLICE CHIEF: His father-in-law, a Korean war veteran from the army, combat veteran who told him not to go because the conditions were so bad. And his response was, we`ve got work to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump today traveled to Texas for an update on the storm, stopping first in Corpus Christi for a meeting with local and state officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This was of epic proportion. Nobody has ever seen anything like this. And I just want to say that working with the governor and his entire team has been an honor for us. So Governor, again, thank you very much and we won`t say congratulations. We don`t want to do that. We don`t want to congratulate. We`ll congratulated each other when it is all finished.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The President then appeared in front of cheering supporters at a Corpus Christie firehouse where he waved a Texas flag making no mention of the victims of the hurricane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We are here to take care. It is going well. And I want to thank you for coming in. We`re going to get you back and operating immediately. Thank you, everybody. What a crowd, what a turnout.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The President then toured the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Operations Center in Austin where he received an update on the damage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Probably there`s never been anything so extensive in our country`s history, there`s never been anything so historic in terms of damage and in terms of ferocity as what we witnessed with Harvey. It sounds like such an innocent name Ben, right, but it`s not innocent, it`s not innocent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Neena Satija who investigate Houston`s hurricane readiness from the Texas Tribune joins me again via phone tonight. And Neena, I`m seeing reports that the sun is out for the first time in Houston. Is that right?

NEENA SATIJA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE: It is. It is very sunny. I`m very grateful for a brief respite in the rain.

HAYES: What -- where do things stand right now? It seems like today the capacity of shelters and things like that were getting to more of a strained point.

SATIJA: Yes. Absolutely. You know, we`ve been periodically visiting the Red Cross shelter downtown and the convention center, the George R. Brown Center. We had a few thousand people yesterday, it looks like bow, it`s more than that and they`re now having to open the Toyota Center, which is right next door to accommodate more evacuees. So certainly, that`s an ongoing situation.

HAYES: What does the city need right now? I mean, you`ve got a little brief respite from the rain. I think there`s going to be a bit more that hits Houston. What do the next say, 24 hours look like?

SATIJA: You know, I think a lot of people are watching the Addicks and Barker reservoirs on the west side of the Houston area. Even though it`s shining -- the sun is shining right now, hopefully, we`ll get a respite and the rain will get as much. Those reservoir levels are continuing to rise. And you know, areas around the reservoir are flooding. The Army Corps is having to send water the least water from the reservoir in the neighborhoods to prevent more flooding. So that`s one really, really big issue the city is facing. And you know, on top of that, if it continues to rain, that just makes the situation even worse. More need for high water rescues. I think the city is trying to make sure that people don`t become deceived by this sunshine and you know, try to go out and about and spend a lot of time outside driving because it`s going to rain again.

HAYES: You`ve got about -- as I understand, about 30 percent of the metro area is currently under water. And to your point about those reservoirs, I mean, you got these kind of brutal choices that the Army Corp and other are going to have to make about essentially intentionally flooding parts of the city where there are homes to save from more catastrophic damage. Is that the sort of calculation?

SATIJA: It is the calculation, yes. And you know, when the Army Corp built these reservoirs in the 1940s, nobody lived around them. There was no development around them. Now there is a development around them, so the Army Corp has to make a calculation about that area as well even though the reservoirs were (INAUDIBLE) originally just to protect east of them, you know, downtown Houston, central Houston, west Houston. So it`s a very, very tough calculation and it`s a political nightmare for them.

HAYES: Right, because they`re going to be affirmatively flooding areas where people have their lives and livelihoods and homes and possessions.

SATIJA: Absolutely.

HAYES: All right, Neena Satija, thanks again for your insight. Stay safe.

SATIJA: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who`s district includes a large swath over Downtown Houston joins me live from there tonight. Congresswoman, how are you doing and how are things in Downtown Houston?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Well, Chris, thank you so very much. Let me, first of all, offer my deepest sympathy to those who lost their life, their family, whose vehicle, van went over because of the flooding and lost numbers of members of their family. My deepest sympathy to them and of course today we lost Sergeant Perez, a Houston Police Officer on his way to work. And we`ve seen other deaths but we are resilient. And we pray for those families, we pray for those who`ve been evacuated to our centers, our shelters, and we`re just showing the toughness of Houston.

I think it is important Chris, to know, which is unusual, we don`t repeat it often but we are 50 feet below sea level. And all of the patch work that we`ve tried -- and I don`t say patch work out of criticism at this moment bust reservoirs and the Addicks and Barker dam structure is to be safe as much as we can. People love living around water, that`s a big question but we have lakes and we have bayous. And what happened is something that in the history of Houston and Harris County we`ve never seen. We`re about to get 50 inches of water. We will hit water between tonight and tomorrow.

Even though I love the sun coming out for the moment that it did, Chris, I just came back from areas where we are still trying to rescue people off of Tidwell and Beltway Eight. I`m trying to get to make sure that our first responders, meaning, our Coast Guard and Texas National Guard get out to those areas, C.E. King Area. But the point is that we are standing strong. We are opening these other shelters and we don`t want to open them unless we have all of the resources that we need, food, cots, medical care, and we`re going to do it. And if we get through Thursday, we can begin the long journey of recovery and that`s where the President and the Congress comes in. And that`s where we need not one divide, not one moment of sunlight between our focus to get the dollars here so that people can go on with their life.

HAYES: Do you have a sense at this point of what kind of scale or scope you in the metro area are looking at in terms of the level of destruction?

LEE: Well, we know that a vast amount of people and property are underwater. We know that some downtown structures have not yet opened. And so, it might be a large assessment of what has happened to those businesses, for example. That`s the property aspect of it. We know City Hall is underwater and having to be repaired and we know the housing stock, from low income to high-income housing have been impacted. So we`re in the billions by ourselves. We are metropolis between four to six million people. That`s a wide gap but we continue to grow. The city is 2.3 million.

So Sandy was a request or damaged of $70 billion. That swath of damage there and of course we pray for them. We think that from Victoria and Corpus and Rockport that was destroyed. Beaumont hit last night and all of us, that it will be in the billions and billions of dollars. And we need those funds coming quickly, but we also need FEMA on the ground dealing with people who want their homes restored and back in their homes. People are resilient but Texans love their land, love where we are and certainly want to stand up to the forces of nature as best we can, recognizing the challenge that`s we have. We want to be good custodians of what we have. We want to believe in the environment and then we want to be back on our land.

HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it.

I`m joined by someone who has a lot of experience with hurricane damage or recovery, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. What did you learn from Sandy that you were thinking about or want to communicate as you watch this development?

CHRISTIE: Well, a few things that you`ve heard already tonight. There are stages to this, Chris. And so, right now you`re still in kind of the rescue stage and trying to make sure that you get the people to safety. But what you have to be prepared for long before something like this happens is, where do you put all these folks? And I saw the Congresswoman mention, we need the utmost supplies. If they don`t have enough of them already, they`re in trouble. Because trying on get those in now, under these circumstances, are extraordinarily difficult. So the first part of this is you got to be prepared for this and over-prepare. The next phase now is going to be interaction with the federal government and that is not easy. And it doesn`t matter what administration it is, whether it`s Republican or Democratic administration, FEMA is FEMA and it`s a tough agency to work with. They do their best but it`s hard. So the state --

HAYES: People -- I mean, people going through -- just going through a flood insurance claims program. It can be a nightmare.

CHRISTIE: It is a nightmare and it is one of the worst running programs in America, the National Flood Insurance Program. And it committed fraud against the people of New Jersey and had to repay them the second time. So you got all kinds of issues there. And then the third part of this is to remember that what your -- what your people are expecting from you is, how do you return me to some sense of normalcy, right? The way we look at it in New Jersey Chris, was four things on get done really quickly. First get power back on, second, get your roads cleared. Third, make sure gasoline is available for cars and for generators and fourth, get kids back in school. If you do those four things, you get to more of a sense of normalcy.

HAYES: The scope here -- I mean, the scope here is beyond historic. I mean, this is record for the continental U.S. No amount -- we`ve never seen this much rainfall. So we`re dealing with a crazy scope. I want to play for you something that Ted Cruz said because there`s this sort of back and forth to the Texas delegation and other folks. The Texas delegation was a kind of geographical locals of folks that voted against that second Sandy, laid back. I think it was 20 members of that delegation. People are now, of course, asking Ted Cruz about that naturally. Here what he had to say. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The problem with that particular bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated core. Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy and what I said then and still believe now, is that it`s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster and people are hurting to pay for their own political wish list.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: What was wrong was for Ted Cruz to exploit the disaster for political gain. And that`s what he was doing. The fact of the matter is, that is an absolute falsehood that two-thirds of the $50 billion did not go to Sandy aid. It`s an absolute false. It was untrue when he said that. And listen, let`s remember what Senator Cruz was trying to do at the time. He was trying to be the most conservative, the most fiscally conservative person in the world. And what I said at the time as you might recall is, someday it`s going to come to Texas. It just does. If you -- if you have a coastal area, or is in a gulf coast, Atlantic and Pacific Coast, a disaster is going to come to you. And when it does, I`m going to promise him that New Jersey Congress people will stand up and do the right thing.

HAYES: And Peter King is saying that he`s going to -- you know, he`s going to vote for it. But there`s a proper context here which is back in Katrina, he got Mike Pence, for the first time it used no offsets for a disaster funding. It`s an emergency, you got the disaster. It was -- in Katrina, what Mike Pence got on the floor for the House and the Congress and he said, it breaks my heart but I don`t want to break my grandchildren`s heart. We need offsets. That -- based that precedent, do you expect the Vice President to tow that line this fall?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I hope he doesn`t.

HAYES: It would be wrong for him --

CHRISTIE: It would be wrong to do that. Listen, the fact is that this is what the federal government is there for.

HAYES: Correct.

CHRISTIE: It put everything else aside and we have all kinds of philosophical arguments. But if you`re not there for this, then what the hell are you doing?

HAYES: Let me ask you on the broader question, right? We got -- there are 60 million people under water in Bangladesh and India right now. One of the things we know about climate models, we don`t know about hurricanes. A lot have debate about that but we know there`s more flooding. There just this, sea level rise, huge water events. A week before this storm the President revoked an Obama era directive that required federal agencies to factor climate change into their flood preparation. Is that a mistake?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I think that what we`ve done in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is to say, we got to react to new realities.

HAYES: That may be true in -- that may be true in New Jersey but the federal government and this president --

CHRISTIE: Well, what I`m saying is for whatever the cause is. And I think what happens here is this gets really politicized Chris, and people want to argue about the cause, about what`s causing this. What we know in New Jersey now is that our homes, if you`re going to be along the coast, it has to be higher. We have to raise our homes, we have to be account for zoning --

HAYES: All that`s true -- all that is true. I`m asking you, is that a mistake? The President did that. It`s (INAUDIBLE) directive. It says, look, you should look into this. You got the climate models, this isn`t some sort of crazy voodoo we`re casting here.

CHRISTIE: I think what we`ve seen over the course of the last number of years was Sandy and Katrina and now Harvey tells us it that it has to be taken into account. We have to take to this stuff into account --

HAYES: So it was a mistake.

CHRISTIE: Well, sure. And -- but you know, the fact is, why it gets -- why mistakes are made like this, is because they get overly politicized -- they get overly politicized by both sides. But it doesn`t mean that it`s not a mistake but my point to you is we`ve all got to stop arguing about cause and look at effect.

HAYES: Wait. OK. But that`s a perfect example of the psychology there, right? Because you`re talking about it getting overly politicized. It`s not like that directive didn`t go down to say like, you dumb conservatives. It was a directive that came down because it thought, look, we`re going to have more flooding, we should do this. The revocation of it strikes me as the kind of thing that`s like, well, I`m going to stick it to the liberals by revoking this at the cost of what?

CHRISTIE: And my point to you is that`s the climate that has been created -- political climate that`s been created by both sides over the course of - -

HAYES: That`s a very passive construction though.

CHRISTIE: No, it`s not passive construction

HAYES: That been created.

CHRISTIE: Sure. It`s been created by both sides. So I can put it -- listen, I`m glad you`re the first person who ever accused me of being passive. I should come on this show more.

HAYES: The construction -- the construction -- wait, I want to talk about -- there`s a lot more to talk about. Stick around, we`ll talk about that right after this break. Don`t go anywhere.

CHRISTIE: Absolutely.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Still with me here at the table, Governor Chris Christie talking Harvey and the Trump administration. I want to ask about something that happened on Friday night as the storm was bearing down. You`re a former federal prosecutor.

CHRISTIE: Yes Sir.

HAYES: You worked for the Justice Department. The President pardoned Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of the Maricopa County. A lot of people were very critical of that, particularly people who worked for law enforcement or worked in the rule of law, who know how hard it is to get a criminal conviction for contempt. Did the president make the right call?

CHRISTIE: You know, I talked to the President about this. And I said to him, you know, if feel really strongly about it personally, it`s your call. I mean, I --

HAYE: Well, that`s on the constitutional matter.

CHRISTIE: Right. You know, the conversation was extensive. But what I -- but in the end, listen. I think that the pardon power should be used very, very sparingly. I think it`s an awesome power. I`ve used it as governor to pardon people who are involved in previous drug addiction offenses and people have changed their lives. I think a key part of this is, has the person changed their life and have they changed what caused them to do it?

HAYES: The answer there is no.

CHRISTIE: Certainly it does appear to me. But in the end, you know, he`s got to make those calls and you got to be held responsible for him as the executive for making those calls. And what the person will do after you pardoned.

HAYES: Well, normally he`s 85 years old and he got voted out and loss by 13 points. But the message your sending. So there`s two message, right? There`s the sort of rule of law question for someone who has criminal contempt for unconstitutional policing but also to the Latino that live there where you know, Sheriff Joe was growling around demanding papers of people in violation of the constitution as found by two different judges. For the President to come out and say he was protecting the people and to pardon him, like what message does that send to people?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, it`s a message that --

HAYES: Two weeks after Charlottesville.

CHRISTIE: It`s the message that the President has sent through his whole campaign. Now, you know when I ran for president, I disagreed with the building of the wall, I disagreed with the Muslim ban. I think these things are very, very harmful to the spirit of the country. And so, you know, listen, but that`s -- you know, that`s one of the reasons I ran against them.

HAYES: Right. But then then, what`s on the other side of the ledger?

CHRISTIE: Well, I mean, what`s the question?

HAYES: Meaning like, well, these things are destructive to the spirit of America, harmful to the spirit of America.

CHRISTIE: That`s my view.

HAYES: But on the other -- but on the plus side, he X, Y, and Z.

CHRISTIE: No, listen. From Trump`s perspective, from Trump`s perspective, he believes that that type of enforcement -- he disagrees with the courts and the judges, he believes that types of enforcement is effective. What I`ve said all along is, you can be an effective enforcer of immigration laws acting within the constitution. And that`s what we should be doing.

HAYES: But -- I guess my question is, you`re talking about these things on Muslim ban, you`ve -- lining up these things, like the Muslim ban, the pardon of Joe Arpaio, the building of the wall, Mexicans are rapists. You ran against them when he was saying that, right? You`ve got a comments about Charlottesville, right? Violence on both sides, also I think you disagree with. At a certain point, it adds up to someone whose world view really does seem to be precisely shot through with bigotry, right?

CHRISTIE: Yes -- now, I just don`t agree with that because I`ve known him for 15 years, and I know it isn`t. I mean, you could disagree with him philosophically. He doesn`t believe --

HAYES: But you understand why that testimony doesn`t stand? You just say, well, I know him but it`s like, well, I`m a U.S. citizen. I just -- I just see what the President says. And what he says is after a bunch of neo- Nazis chanted blood and soil, there were some decent people there.

CHRISTIE: Listen. And I think he made a big mistake saying that. I said that. But it`s different -- listen, the charge of bigotry Chris, is one of the most base, awful charges you can make about a person. And I`m just telling you that I don`t think you have nearly enough information to make that charge. I just don`t think you do. I think I do for knowing him 15 years and I don`t think there`s a bigoted bone in Donald Trump`s body. You guys disagree philosophically on how the laws are being enforced.

HAYES: The guy just went out and said, a person who was unconstitutionally demanding the papers of Latinos after he started his campaign and saying Mexico is sending rapists which is not true in a real sense, right? This person who in the middle of that said that neo-Nazi marching were fine people like at a certain the point I don`t care what`s in his body or what his bones are, it`s a question of what the public record is, right? Like, is there some way you can make that determination without knowing someone for 15 years?

CHRISTIE: But the fact of the matter is, that he disagrees with the premise of your question. He does not believe that Arpaio`s actions were unconstitutional. He disagrees what the court is finding. And so you can`t subsume that answers the question Chris and then say, well, therefore that makes it bigotry. He doesn`t believe it is unconstitutional.

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: You`re saying -- you`re making un-rebuttable contention which you`re saying, I know the guy for 15 years. I`m saying that -- you do know him better than I do. I believe that you when you say I don`t think he`s bigoted. What I`m saying is, there`s this whole big country out here of people that do not know the President of the United States. What they see is how the President says things and they see the actions that he takes. And those things add up to a very reasonable conclusion about what his views are.

CHRISTIE: Well, two things. First, that`s why I said the comments after Charlottesville were a mistake, that`s why I said that the rhetoric around the wall, that things were a mistake. I think they`re a mistake not only because I think they`re divisive which I said before but also because I don`t think he`s giving an accurate portrayal of who I know him to be. So I think that`s a mistake. Now, second part is, the country is going to have to meet these judgments. He`s now placed himself in a position as President of the United States where whether you know him well or not, everyone is going to have an opinion about you.

HAYES: Yes. He`s the President. That`s right.

CHRISTIE: OK. What I`m saying is he`s placed himself in that position, so he`s not going to have to live with the ramification to that.

HAYES: All right. I want to ask you another thing. The President says a lot of untrue things all the time. That just a document effect and I`m not going to say I know what`s in his mind and say he`s lying but you have to know his state of mind but yesterday he said like, Finland is buying a bunch of F-18s. They`re not buying any F-18. That`s like a perfect little micro example of these untruth that come out all of the time. It`s tiring, it`s fatiguing. It`s bizarre to have a President who utters untrue things this much. Don`t you agree?

CHRISTIE: Well, I don`t want you to be tired or fatigued Chris because --

HAYES: I don`t want anyone --

CHRISTIE: You can keep your energy high --

HAYES: No, but that`s the truth is, right? Like how do you deal with that?

CHRISTIE: Listen, people -- listen people in public life often say things that turn out not to be true. Listen, I remember President Obama saying, if you like your doctor, you can keep them if you like your policy then keep it.

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: Wait a second, that turned out to be -- it doesn`t make it any less untrue. It turned out to be demonstrably untrue.

HAYES: Barack Obama did not routinely state mistruth about easily verifiable, checkable things as a matter of course, for instance, the 3 million people who illegally voted. It is simply not the case, he did. I`m not saying he was always truthful, of course, he was not. He said untrue things. Absolutely. It is different. It really is. I mean --

CHRISTIE: I know you feel like it`s different.

HAYES: You really think it isn`t? You actually don`t --

CHRISTIE: This is-- this is what I feel. I feel like the intensity of the coverage of this President, for now, seven months or so, a little over seven months, has been exhausting. Like I watch, you guys I watch, some of the other networks, it feels like this president has been going off for four years already not seven months.

HAYES: Yes. But he likes that, he likes that.

CHRISTIE: Well, I`m not saying that he doesn`t like all the attention.

HAYES: He does a lot of it.

CHRISTIE: He likes the attention.

HAYES: He`s driving a lot of them.

CHRISTIE: Of course. But part of it is the exhaustion that some people feel and I understand that exhaustion is not just because of him. I think it`s also because of the intensity of the coverage of every little thing that goes on which I haven`t seen with previous presidents. Now I`m not saying that even -- I`m not even saying that`s even a bias. I think -- I think it was the same thing with George W. Bush and often times with Barack Obama. This is even more intense than either one of those.

HAYES: I just feel like there`s this fundamental level. Let me sort of ask you this because it`s concrete, right? So you`re the Chair of the Opioid Commission.

CHRISTIE: Yes sir.

HAYES: OK. 60,000 American died. Let`s stipulate that if ISIS killed 60,000 Americans, we would have constitutional governance suspended and we will be under martial law forever --

CHRISTIE: As I said in the report, it`s a 9/11 every three years.

HAYES: OK, your number one top line recommendation is to declare a state of emergency which is an actual statutory declaration that has actual legal consequences. What can you mobilize? Now, the President says he`s not going to do it at first.

CHRISTIE: Well, he never said it, Secretary Price did.

HAYES: Price did. Now, they had this meeting bizarrely when you`re not there. You`re in Italy on vacation. They had this meeting down at Bedminster.

CHRISTIE: (INAUDIBLE)

HAYES: OK, fine. But it`s weird you`re not there. Like you did the Commission.

CHRISTIE: Yes. It`s true, weird. I mean, I was on vacation.

HAYES: I know, but still weird, still weird. Then he gets asked about the emergency declaration. And he gets up and says, yes, we`re drawing -- we`re drawing papers up. And there`s no papers still.

CHRISTIE: It should be done.

HAYES: But it`s like that`s what I`m talking about. That is precisely what I`m talking about. Why don`t --why does he do that? Why does he say he`s going to do it if he doesn`t do it?

CHRISTIE: No, it is being done. That I know. There`s a lot of debate inside the administration about which way to do it. We presented him with two different options. Now, I`ve been an executive now for nearly eight years and there are times when the people who have work for me frustrate me. I think it`s time for the White House -- seriously, I think it`s -- the President is not a lawyer and he`s not (INAUDIBLE) stuff up himself, but I think it`s time for the President and the White House staff to get on this. And for the President to demand that they get papers in front him so he can sign it. I absolutely agree with that.

HAYES: It`s an emergency, it`s an emergency.

CHRISTIE: Listen, when a 9/11 is happening every three weeks, in our country, it is an emergency. We need to open up these beds in Medicaid bed immediately. We need to be getting people in treatment. We need to make sure that --

HAYES; Massively expand the capacity of treatment as you mention --

CHRISTIE: Absolutely. And we need on get more medication assisted treatment. We need to make sure that no lock zone is in every law enforcement officer`s hands, state, local, federal, county and federal in this country so no one dies unnecessarily.

HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) of the administered to stop --

CHRISTIE: It is the antidote for heroin. They preferred opioid overdose. We need to do this things, Chris. And I feel very strong about it. You saw how I were with that report is. And I made it very clear to my friend the President, we need to get moving on this.

HAYES: He`s probably watching so -- thank you, Governor.

CHRISTIE: Thank you, Chris. I`m happy to be here.

HAYES: All right, a lot more ahead. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bankruptcy was a broken promise. Why should the voters believe the promises that you`re telling them right now?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, like many other very big businessmen I could name them here, but I`m not going to do that for a lot of obvious reasons. But the biggest, and almost all of them, they`ve all used the chapter laws, the bankruptcy laws, to their own benefit. Before this, I was a very successful person as a developer and as a businessman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: By the third Republican primary debate, then candidate Trump was already the frontrunner. But he wasn`t quite ready to leave his business career behind. On that exact same day, that one you saw right there, the president signed a letter of intent with a Russian developer to license his name for a new Trump Tower in Moscow, that`s according to Michael Cohen, an executive of the president`s company and his long-time personal attorney. And it is the latest shocking revelation following the news first reported by The Washington Post the Trump organization was seeking a deal actively in the Russian capital while the chief executive was running for president of the United States and leading the field.

Cohen told The Wall Street Journal he discussed the deal with Trump himself on three separate occasions. He said he identified their partner on the project as Moscow- based IC Expert Investment Co, which is financed, according to Mother Jones, by a Russian bank subject to U.S. sanctions.

Now, six days after candidate Trump signed that letter of intent, another business associate, a Russian-born ex-con, emailed Cohen about the deal`s potential impact on the campaign as The Times reported yesterday, writing, "I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected."

Though the project ultimately stalled, it represents yet another effort by the president`s allies to cooperate with the Russian government or its agents during the campaign.

We now know of three such efforts including Donald Trump Jr.`s meeting with a Russian lawyer who was presented as having government supplied dirt on Hillary Clinton. The president`s son has now agreed on a date to be interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, though that has yet to be made public.

Then the reported attempts by Peter W. Smith, a Republican activist and donor who claimed ties to the campaign to obtain Clinton`s deleted emails from Russian hackers. Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on what all of this means to the Russia investigation, right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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 away.

I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.

I am not involved in Russia. No loans, no nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Congressman Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House intelligence committee. Let me start with this, given what we`ve learned and what you have access to, is the president telling the truth when he says that?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, Chris, I can only comment on what is revealed publicly, but clearly and publicly the president was not being truthful about that.

I think the significance - there are several layers of significance to these latest developments, the first is that the president had a financial interest, a potential financial interest in doing business with Russia during the course of the presidential campaign. And that financial interest may have caused the president to have a pro-Russian foreign policy during the campaign.

But the second point is the one that you mention, you bring up, which is the president was being less than truthful about pursuing business with Russia during the campaign. This is part of a pattern we have seen not only with the president, but with his son and with others, being less than truthful when it comes to Russian ties.

Of course, probably most significant is both the president and his son, dissembling about the purpose of that meeting that the son and others and the campaign had with Russian representatives, which they claimed was about adoptions when wasn`t.

And finally, Chris, I would say that it is also significant that Michael Cohen should issue a statement about this today during the storm. This is an effort, I think, once again to get this information out in a way that they can try to frame what it means or hide what it means during the storm.

We early on in this part of the public record had requested information from Mr. Cohen. When that wasn`t sufficiently forthcoming we had to subpoena the information. And Mr. Cohen is now choosing this time to make a public statement about how he would like that information to be seen.

HAYES: Are you convinced that the subject of the back and forth from Felix Sater, who is an associate of the president, and has done some deals with him, who is a Russian-born ex-con, and Michael Cohen, the president`s personal attorney, that what they were really wanting to do was build a tower in Moscow, that was actually the object that they were engaged in.

SCHIFF: Well, you know just looking at the public record, if these reports are accurate, and I can`t comment on any materials we may or may not have.

But if the public reports are accurate and they sought to build a tower in Russia, obviously that`s a major financial undertaking that would - in which the Trump organization would derive a considerable mount of economic wealth or it would have a sufficient economic interest to make it worthwhile.

That was ample reason for the president to adopt a very pro Russian policy. Particularly at that stage of the campaign when the president doesn`t know whether he`ll win or lose, when he may derive benefit from whatever it does to his brand by running for president.

But also, if he were to lose the election, at least he`d have the benefit of saying nice things about Russia and having a pro Russia policy that might help him do business with them in the future.

HAYES: I want to ask you about the timing and what you make of it. The three bits of information which we`ve got, which are these e-mails about the letter of intent and the deal and the pursuit of the deal which is happening during that primary period. And then of course that meeting in Trump Tower with Donald Jr. and Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner with someone who says they`re a Russian government agent with dirt on Hillary Clinton.

All of that happens before the DNC hacks are made public. What do you make of that timing?

SCHIFF: I think it is significant that what the Russians did, particularly in that meeting with Don Jr. and Paul Manafort and others was very much consistent with Russian trade craft and Jared Kushner. Very much consistent in a sense that the Russians use oligarchs and cutouts to give themselves some level of deniability.

They want to test, do we have a willing recipient of information of our help? And, if so, would it make sense for to us deliver negative information about Hillary Clinton?

And if so, how should we do it? How much deniability do we need? What`s the best timing?

And of course they got a lot of that information at that meeting. Yes, the Trump campaign would love it. Late summer is the best timing. That`s when the e-mails begin to be dumped.

So it is very consistent with trade craft. But even the business deal, the potential dangling of a business deal over this Trump Tower is also consistent with what the Russians do both in terms of legitimate transactions and illegitimate transactions as a way of exerting influence over people they think might influence U.S. policy. And, who could do that more then a candidate for president?

HAYES: I want to ask you something that seems first, perhaps half unrelated, which is the president`s first pardon of Joe Arpaio, who is a political alley. A person the president apparently reportedly asked Jeff Sessions if the government could drop it`s case against.

You had some reaction to that. How do you think that pardon will resonate with people that are currently under criminal investigation in the Russian matter?

SCHIFF: Well you know a couple of things, first, if the president was soliciting input from the DOJ about whether they could drop the case about Arpaio is consistent with Jame`s Comey`s testimony about what he tried to do with Michael Flynn.

But beyond that, this pardon in the midst of the case, because of course the case against Arpaio wasn`t over yet, he hadn`t even been sentenced yet, sends a message I think which very likely delivered to other people, if you have my back, if you stick with me, I will protect you. In fact, I won`t even wait until criminal proceedings are over to use the pardon power.

That`s very threatening, and not just to our investigation, but to the whole system of checks and balances. If the President of the United States can say basically, you can ignore the constitution if you`re on my side. And if you`re doing things, even if you`re racially profiling, that I approve of, I will pardon you, that tears apart our system of checks and balances.

And for one thing, I know a lot of people and the governor were suggesting that this power is more or less absolute. It`s not absolute.

You cannot read this power in a way that would allow a construction as negating other parts of the constitution, which it would if you read it as giving the president the ability to say, hey, law enforcement, you can ignore the constitution and if you do, I`ll pardon you.

HAYES: That`s a very interesting point from Congressmen Adam Schiff. Thanks for being here tonight.

SCHIFF: Thanks Chris.

HAYES: Still to come, making the case for congress to open a formal inquiry into the possible impeachment of President Trump. My interview with Lawfare editor and chief Ben Wittes on why he says now is the time, ahead.

And signs you may have a crowd complex in Thing One, Thing Two, Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, what a crowd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank you for coming out. We`re going to get you back and operating immediately.

Thank you everybody. What a crowd. What a turn out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: This president`s obsession with crowd size no secret.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You know, nobody has crowds like we do. Nobody.

I set a record. I had crowds like, well, massive crowds.

Massive crowds.

Did you see that crowd?

The line was like 30 blocks long.

The crowds are amazing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: As we`ve learned with this president and this administration, you cannot take them at their word. Certainly not about crowd sizes.

Take Trump`s remarks at CPAC this year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You folks are in here, the place is packed. There are lines that go back six blocks. And I tell you that because you won`t read about it, okay.

There are lines that go back six blocks.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HAYES: Those lines did not exist, as journalists tweeted at the time. And as for the packed arena, also debatable.

And we`re now learning that the president is so focused on his crowd sizes that photos like this from his rally in Phoenix last week really bothered him, and one of his longest serving staffers paid a price for it.

That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Wow, what a crowd! What a crowd!

And just so you know, from the Secret Service, there aren`t too many people outside protesting. Okay?

That I can tell you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: President Trump`s first order of business at his Phoenix rally to say there were lots of supporters and not many protesters. It wasn`t true, of course. There were thousands of people protesting outside.

We`re also learning Trump wasn`t satisfied with those inside either. According to Bloomberg, Trump was in a bad mood backstage after seeing reporter photos like this from the back of the arena, and while more people filled in by the time he spoke, Trump was displeased, one person familiar with the incident said. TV optics and crowd sizes are extremely important to the president.

According to Bloomberg, Trump directed his anger towards event organizer, George Gigicos, one of the four longest serving aides to Trump. He didn`t carry out the punishment himself. Trump later had a top security aide, Keith Schiller, inform Gigicos that he`d never manage a Trump rally again. (COMMERICAL BREAK)

HAYES: For more than two decades, Benjamin Wittes has written about national security. He was an editorial writer at the Washington Post and is a fellow at the Brooking Institution, and a co-founder of the Lawfare blog, which has become a must read during the Trump era.

During George W. Bush`s presidency, Wittes made a name for himself defending the War on Terror and its policies against its many critics, particularly civil libertarians.

But this May, Benjamin Wittes went from covering the story to being the story. After Donald Trump fired James Comey in May, Wittes revealed that Comey, a personal friend of his, had been trying to to maintain distance and independence from the president amid the inquiry into Russia`s interference in the 2016 election, writing that Comey told him of at least two incidents which he, Comey regarded as efforts on the part of the president personally to compromise him or implicate him.

And that`s not the only story Wittes is famous for. He`ll often tweet out tick tick tick in events of the break of a Russia investigation related story.

And his website Lawfare Blog is read by everyone these days for its analysis of the current administration.

Now he`s gone further than ever before calling on congress to seriously consider impeaching the president.

In an article co-written with Jane Chong on the Lawfare Blog, Wittes says it`s time for congress to start seriously talking about an impeachment inquiry, and he told me the impetus of the article has been building for months.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN WITTES, LAWFARE BLOG: It really was a reflection of a larger sense of serious questions about the president`s fitness for office, and the urgency of the question presented itself somewhat in light of Charlottesville.

But I really think you could have written the same piece a week ago, a month ago, three months ago. You know, this is the consistent pattern of President Trump`s behavior really since January 20th, has involved conduct that is simply inconsistent with the office of the president.

And that`s across quite a range of activities. And so I don`t think there was any right moment in time to say, okay, now we`ve crossed the rubicon, any moment was going to be arbitrary.

HAYES: You use a fitness, and I`ve heard a lot of people talking about fitness and he is unfit. That judgment. And I`ve heard it from Republicans, heard it from Democrats, heard it from people across the ideological spectrum.

The question becomes is impeachment the appropriate remedy for that state of affairs?

WITTES: Well, it`s the only remedy. I mean, yes, there is the 25th amendment. But the 25th amendment is about disability, and the fundamental question is whether this man is capable of performing the office of president in a fashion that doesn`t threaten our democratic culture.

And you know, there`s only two mechanisms that we have to evaluate that question. By far the preferred mechanism is the electoral process. And we should always be extremely careful about presuming, as a legislative or non-electoral matter to overturn the results of a legitimate democratic election.

That said, the impeachment process is there for a reason. And it`s there to consider acts by somebody in office that are, you know, frankly inconsistent with the behavior that we rightly expect from people holding that office.

And so I want to turn the question around and ask you, do you think the president`s behavior sense taking office is consistent with our reasonable expectations for the office, and do you think if not that the deviations from those expectations are genuinely threatening to democratic governance in the United States.

And if the answer to that question is that you don`t think the president`s conduct is consistent with our reasonable expectations of the presidential office and that it does threaten democratic governance, what other remedies do you have other than impeachment?

And so my, I think, modest proposition with Jane in this piece, was that a reasonable member of congress simply has to be thinking about the presidential behavior in light of the impeachment clauses of the constitution.

That`s not to say that you must impeach and remove him. But if you`re not thinking about his conduct with reference to the impeachment power, you`re not doing your job.

HAYES: Are you setting a precedent here, if you go down the path of impeachment as the remedy, that creates some further unwinding of what is already a set of very fragile democratic institutions, or seemingly fragile democratic institutions in the country?

WITTES: So, of course you are. Anytime you invoke a process as rarely invoked impeachment, you`re setting potential precedence and the question is are you comfortable with the precedence that you`re setting.

Let me lay my cards on the table. I am very comfortable with the proposition that any future president who engages with his law enforcement apparatus the way this president has engaged with his should do so knowing that he may be subject to impeachment as a result.

I`m extremely comfortable with the proposition that any president who engages in the grotesque moral misbehavior that this president has engaged in with respect to lying about people, making up crimes by his predecessor, slandering the intelligence community that works for him would do so with some sense that congress might think about that conduct in light of the impeachment power.

I`m really comfortable with that. I`m really comfortable with the idea that a future president who not only fails to do the basic components of his job, like filling the government with people, you know, in executive branch positions but behaves in a way that, you know, dozens and dozens and dozens of times his senior staff and cabinet officers talk about him to the press as though he were a toddler, might raise a question in the minds of a reasonable member of congress about whether he should appropriately be in the office that he was elected to.

So yes, it sends a precedent -- sets a precedent potentially.

I`m not uncomfortable with the potential precedence that it might set. This situation is generally extraordinary and I hope it would set a precedent that says we will not tolerate this situation.

HAYES: Final question, does your friend James Comey agree with you?

WITTES: If I knew the answer to that question I wouldn`t answer it.

HAYES: All right. Benjamin Wittes, thanks for making time.

WITTES: My pleasure.

HAYES: That is All In for this evening.

The Rachel Maddow show starts .right now.

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

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