IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 9/12/17 Trump Admin vs. Comey

Guests: Carol Leonnig, John Hudson, Carrie Cordero, Renato Mariotti, Ann McLane Kuster

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 12, 2017 Guest: Carol Leonnig, John Hudson, Carrie Cordero, Renato Mariotti, Ann McLane Kuster

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The receiving hand grabbing whatever is being offered from Trump Tower. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.

HAYES: New reporting that Robert Mueller is "going for the kill" as the White House toys with an investigation of James Comey.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that`s something that certainly should be looked at.

HAYES: Tonight the latest on the Russia investigation, including new reporting on what Vladimir Putin wanted from Trump.

Plus as the Clinton book drops, Hillary says she is convinced she knows what happened between Trump and the Russians.

TRUMP: No puppet, no puppet,


TRUMP: You`re the puppet.

HAYES: And the head of Trump`s so-called Voter Fraud Commission caught red-handed.

KRIS KOBACH, PRESIDENT ELECTION INTEGRITY COMMISSION CHAIR: I said it appears that non-residence may have tipped the results.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The White House once again went after fired FBI Director James Comey today as Special Counsel Robert Mueller`s Russia investigation continues to widen. Comey of course who would likely serve as a key witness in a criminal obstruction of justice case against the President. And today for the second day in a row the White House Press Secretary argued from the podium that it was Comey and not the President who broke the law.

SANDERS: I think there`s no secret Comey by his own self-admission leaked privileged government information. Weeks before President Trump fired him, Comey testified that an FBI engaged in the same practice, they`d face serious repercussions. I think he set his own stage for himself on that front. His actions were improper and likely could have been illegal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would the President encourage the DOJ to prosecute Comey?

SANDERS: That`s not the President`s role, that`s the job of Department of Justice, and something they should certainly look at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that something you`d like to see?

SANDERS: I`m not sure about that specifically but if there`s ever a moment where we feel someone`s broken the law, particularly if They`re head of the FBI, I think that`s something that certainly should be looked at.


HAYES: We should note here that while Comey has admitted to leaking his own memos to the press, there is absolutely no reason to believe that conduct was illegal. This comes after the Wall Street Journal reported the President`s attorneys have been making the case against obstruction of justice to the Special Counsel, submitting memos that call into question Comey`s reliability particularly as a potential witness. And it comes amid efforts by Republicans on both the House Intelligence Committee to discredit the infamous Steele Dossier, efforts that according to New York Magazine`s Jonathan Chait are ultimately aimed at attacking Comey. It`s not hard to see why the White House would have such an interest in wrecking Comey`s credibility. According to Axios, senior aides believe the Special Counsel is and I quote here, "burrowing in hard on the obstruction of justice angle," which helps explain comments by ousted Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in his 60 Minutes interview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone said that you described the firing of James Comey. You`re a student of history as the biggest mistake in political history.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: That would be probably -- that would probably be too bombastic even for me but maybe modern political history.


HAYES: Axios reports that Bannon and others are increasingly worried about their own legal exposure because they were with Trump during those frantic takes around Comey`s firing and nobody was saying and what was on his mind. More and more senior officials have reportedly also lawyered up in recent days and that includes Communications Director Hope Hicks, Former Chief Of Staff Reince Priebus, and even the President`s lawyer, White House Counsel Don McGahn. Some of them may be preparing for a run-in with the Special Counsel who, according to Washington Post, has given the White House a list of six aides he and his team expect to question in the Russia probe.

And as Mueller`s investigation continues to advance, the incentives for individual members of the Trump circle to turn on each other original grow. According to multiple reports, some of the President`s lawyers argued that his own son-in-law Jared Kushner should resign from the White House to avoid further legal applications for the man at the top. Carol Leonnig who broke that story for the Washington post, she joins me now. Tell me more about what we know about the President`s lawyers` views on Kushner.

CAROL LEONNIG, WASHINGTON POST STAFF WRITER: So, within the White House, remember this is in June right after the Special Counsel has been nominated or named -- forgive me, in May -- a group of White House lawyers are talking about all of the e-mails and all of the records that they`re going through to respond to Congressional inquiries and ultimately to prepare for Bob Mueller`s investigation. And what they find are things that worry them about Jared Kushner, the President`s son-in-law. He`s a person who had a ton of interactions with foreign officials and Russians in particular. He did this during the campaign and during the transition. There`s no indication there was anything wrong about that except he didn`t disclose those conversations.

And in some cases, he seemed to talk about things he also didn`t come completely clean about. There were other meetings that he had with, as we later learned, the public didn`t know it at the time, but he had other meetings in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer. And what the White House lawyers were, the people who are supposed to be sort defending the President and the White House itself, what they were worried about was whether Jared was going to complicate things by being in the office and whether he was going to draw scrutiny and draw the President further deeper into this probe by being somebody who was always there, somebody who could casually bring up the probe or some element of the probe while he was doing his job.

HAYES: You know, one of the dynamics that appear to be emerging as the this begins to play out are questions about how high up it all went. I mean, one of the most outstanding questions is, did the President himself know about the now-infamous meeting at Trump Tower that Jared Kushner attended in which the campaign was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton directly from the Russian government? It seems that they`re going to be forced to make a choice in the story they tell that may come at the expense of people who are quite close to the President, including his son-in-law and his son.

LEONNIG: Absolutely. I mean, some key questions are going to be asked and all of those people are going to be in the parlance of prosecutors squeezed. Each of them are going to be asked to replay, what did they hear the President say? What did they tell the President? We know the President didn`t use e-mail. Donald Trump as a candidate didn`t use e-mail but he had close confidants around him at all times. His secretary, his security agents, his children, his son-in-law and each of them will be asked to give their account of what was said and those stories should all match up.

HAYES: To the point of the obstruction case, is it your understanding from your reporting as well that Kushner was a key adviser close to the President, advocating for Comey to be fired?

LEONNIG: Yes. It`s our understanding that that`s the case. And keep in mind, Chris, that you know, here are these lawyers, they were debating whether Kushner should be removed from the White House in June of this year. Ultimately their idea was rejected. But I sort of am starting to see the wisdom of why they would have wanted to consider this because in July, Kushner is also present with the President on Air Force One, and right before that, when he`s deciding and helping sculpt the story that will be shared with the public about that meeting at Trump Tower in June of 2016.

HAYES: That`s right.

LEONNIG: And as you know from our story which broke back at the time, the President was intensely involved in shaping that message and Jared Kushner was present. What does Jared Kushner remember about the President sculpting a story that wasn`t entirely true?

HAYES: All right, Carol Leonnig, thank you very much.

LEONNIG: You bet.

HAYES: At the heart of the infamous and largely unverified, at least in independent terms, Steele Dossier, was the idea that Russia interfered in the 2016 election on Trump`s behalf in exchange or seeking out some kind of favorable policy outcome. Now a secret Russian document obtained by BuzzFeed sheds light on just what outcome the Russian government may have been seeking. Reporter John Hudson got his hands on a Kremlin proposal for a broad reset with Trump, offering up the full normalization of relations between the United States and Russia across all major branches of government. BuzzFeed`s John Hudson is here with me now. And John, what can you tell me about what the scope of what this document sketches out and whether it was ever proposed?

JOHN HUDSON, BUZZFEED FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: This is a massive reset. It goes across diplomatic, military, and economic channels. And it really seeks to turn back the clock from before the Syria crisis, before the Ukraine crisis, and to be frank before Edward Snowden asylum, to a time where there was a reset in relations. And essentially Putin was looking to restore relations and sort of put aside all of the major geopolitical issues that the United States and Russia have at the moment. Obviously the 2016 tampering of the elections at the forefront.

HAYES: Is the document -- I mean, are you convinced the documents are both authentic and that they`re actually something that were being considered at the highest level? I mean, this reflects this sort of roadmap for the thinking of Putin and how he wants to approach Trump.

HUDSON: I am convinced that the document is authentic. And what Russia analysts have told me, who I offered them to give their analysis, is that essentially the Russians have long wanted these channels to exist. What surprised them is that they assumed -- that the Russians assumed they would be able to let this fly and they wouldn`t get laughed out of the room. Essentially that`s because the U.S.-Russia relationship is in such a bad place right now. To assume that within a month you would be able to restore some of these incredibly sensitive channels, such as a meeting between a top Russian cyber security official and his American counterpart, in many ways that would be seen as beyond the pale.

HAYES: Well, and what was fascinating a about the document to me is first it sort of floats a kind of diplomatic jubilee, which is basically let`s just -- let`s just wipe the slate clean, Crimea, Ukraine tampering, all that stuff, let`s forget about that. And there`s obviously something to be said for improving U.S.-Russia relations (INAUDIBLE) in a lot of channels. But second of all, it seems that they did not -- were not aware that their catastrophic success in terms of what they were able to do in the election made it politically impossible for them to actually pull this off.

HUDSON: Absolutely. I mean, it`s very clear that Putin underestimated how difficult it would be for Trump to carry out a rapprochement of this type amid congressional probes, amid FBI probes, amid constant media scrutiny. If you think about this Chris and how this would play out, you would be having international meetings, you`d have photo ops where U.S. and Russian officials are seen together working together. In the climate that exists right now, that -- you know, a political adviser would kill this thing immediately upon hearing about it. And largely that`s why this rapprochement hasn`t really happened. If you go down the list of the different proposals that the Russians had, very few of these meetings have actually taken place.

HAYES: Yeah, it should be -- we should be clear here that in a substantive sense, the quo, if there was one, and if there was any sort of active collusion, has not been delivered on substantively. I mean, the President continues to rhetorically say nice things about Putin, he`s talked to him, he snuck Russian Ambassadors into the White House. But in terms of those substantive agenda items, right, I mean, is it your sense basically that those asks have not been granted?

HUDSON: Yes, absolutely. The fears of a grand bargain between the United States and Russia in which the U.S. would sell away the farm and give Ukraine to the Russians, just forget about Crimea, that hasn`t happened. And especially if you look at some of the appointments that have happened in the Trump administration, you`ve seen fairly hawkish officials be appointed to senior positions in the NSC and in the State Department. So by no means has Trump installed a number of Putin lackeys throughout the administration. And in fact, if you look at it, the White House hasn`t even really pressured the State Department or the Pentagon to accelerate the kind of rapprochement that has been offered.

HAYES: All right, John Hudson, appreciate your time.

HUDSON: Great to be here.

HAYES: For more on where the Mueller investigation is headed, let`s turn now to Carrie Cordero, former National Security Lawyer at the Justice Department, and former Renato Mariotti, a former -- a former Federal Prosecutor. Renato, you`ve had lots thoughts on the developments over the last day or two and I`ve been sort of tracking them. What jumps out to you most at this point?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, one thing that has really jumped out to me, and I know, I`ve discussed this a lot on Twitter over the last couple of days, is the growing mounting attack on James Comey by the President, not only the Press Secretary, but by his lawyers and aides and others. You know, what we saw yesterday and today by the Press Secretary is literally an accusation that the former FBI Director committed a crime and that DOJ ought to investigation that and ought to consider charging him. And that`s absolutely appalling to me. It is totally inappropriate for the White House to be suggesting that a witness against the President and others of his aides should be prosecutied.

I mean, typically, there are walls between the White House and DOJ. And what she`s basically doing is making an end run around that by making statements to the press suggesting that he should be charged with a crime knowing that the press is going to report on those. And that people from DOJ are going to read those reports. It`s absolutely inappropriate.

HAYES: Carrie, do you agree on Renato on that?

CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE NATIONAL SECURITY LAWYER: I absolutely do, certainly. I mean, there`s been procedures in place for a long time. And my understanding is that these procedures are still in place under Attorney General Sessions that there`s not supposed to be certain contacts between the White House and the Department of Justice regarding ongoing investigations. Now, if the White House Press Secretary stands up in public and says there should be an investigation of something, then they`re actually bypassing the direction of the Attorney General. And so really she needs to not talk about investigations and not suggest that investigations take place. It goes to the heart of our rule of law. It goes to the heart of our justice system that there`s not supposed to be the politicization of ongoing investigations or of launching investigations or prosecutions.

HAYES: It also seems to me, Renato, and I`m not a lawyer, so I`d like to hear what you think, that there`s no criminal claim here, that this is essentially just kind of like, "I know you are, but what am I?" kind of argument from the White House.

MARIOTTI: Well, that`s what makes really her comments even more abhorrent. I mean, this was part -- clearly part of a calculated political strategy. You know, we heard recently that there were memos that the Trump lawyers had prepared and sent to Mueller attacking Comey`s credibility. A couple of weeks ago the President tweeted that you know, Comey was unfair and that the system was rigged. And now we`re hearing these attacks when there literally is no evidence whatsoever that Comey committed a crime. I mean, you had referenced earlier, Chris, that -- and I thought you made the correct call as you know, even though you`re a non-lawyer, that you know, releasing information to the press is not a crime if that information isn`t classified. In fact, we have a first amendment in this country.

HAYES: Right.

MARIOTTI: And the default rule that is talking to the press is something that is protected by the constitution. So it is just -- the suggestion that he committed a crime or that he did something even wrong is totally off base.

HAYES: So, Carrie, I want to talk about this obstruction, the reporting that the concern of the White House increasingly, it does seem to me based on the hires that Mueller`s made, the asks, that they appear to be working towards building an obstruction case independent of whatever they`re doing with Manafort and Flynn and investigating the sort of possibility of Russian collusion. And there seems to be a paradox that I liked you to sort out here which is that, if anyone obstructed, it seems to be it was the President himself. He ultimately is the one who fired, he is the person who asked Comey to lay off Flynn, et cetera. And yet it`s really unclear that Robert Mueller could prosecute the President. And that seems like pretty sticky terrain for him.

CORDERO: Well, so there is a legal question that`s outstanding, that constitutional lawyers will disagree about, whether or not a sitting president can be indicted for a crime. But that doesn`t mean that the Special Counsel can`t put together the facts that would establish a case and then either decide to bring that to the Grand Jury and actually have a charging document, or whether then that`s something that the special Counsel would refer to Congress as a political matter. So it`s an open question. It`s quite possible that the Special Counsel could conduct a legal analysis and determine that in fact, they could bring a case against the President.

But certainly, there`s a lot of individuals in the White House who are witnesses, as fact witnesses to this investigation. And so that`s why we`re seeing reporting that the Special Counsel wants to interview all of these different people who might have different insights regarding what the President said, what discussions took place in the White House regarding his efforts to shut down, obstruct, derail different parts of this overall investigation.

HAYES: Renato, it also seems that whatever constitutional questions are with the President would also be bound up in anything that Mueller were to do if he were tempt to charge anyone as essentially an accomplice in this, if the argument is that the President had the constitutional power to do this and therefore definitionally cannot have been engaged in obstruction?

MARIOTTI Yes, I don`t -- look, I don`t think that argument is very compelling. Essentially it`s saying, you have the power to do something, so no matter how you exercise that power, it`s always legal. So for example, the President has the power to end investigations. So would it be -- it wouldn`t be obstruction of justice for him to take a bribe and end an investigation for that purpose? I mean, I don`t find that very compelling at all. And what I do think is that you know, you talked about the heat retching up earlier on -- and potentially you know, going for the top. You know, if the -- if the stakes are high enough, people who are investigated tend to do desperate things, tend to do more aggressive things. And what we`re seeing is unlike what we`ve seen earlier from the Trump camp. We are seeing a very coordinated strategy against Comey and I think we are going to see more aggressive tactics to come now that they seem to have their act together and are working together.

HAYES: Carrie Cordero, Renato Mariotti, many thanks to you both.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, one of the men leading President Trump`s voter fraud task force caught red-handed. What happen when Kris Kobach went up to New Hampshire today in two minutes.


HAYES: Today the Breitbart columnist who serves on a Presidential Voter Fraud Commission that critics call a sham was caught red-handed attempting to put the full weight of the White House behind a preposterous conspiracy theory. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is Vice Chairman of President Trump`s Presidential Advisory Commission on election integrity which was we should note reverse-engineered around the President`s embarrassment that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. The President has repeatedly claimed he only lost due to widespread voting fraud, insisting absurdly and in the face of every bit of available evidence that 3 million to 5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote. They did not.

Now, Kobach, who spent an entire career fear mongering about voter fraud and trying to make voting more difficult, has made it his mission to find some evidence to back up the President`s absurd claims. And last week he wrote for Breitbart triumphantly that, "now there`s proof that voter fraud likely cost Republicans a New Hampshire Senate seat and perhaps cost Trump New Hampshire`s four electoral votes." That is a very, very, very serious claim and it was, in fact, total nonsense. Kobach`s alleged proof was the fact that several thousand people who registered to vote on election day had out-of-state driver`s licenses.

But here`s the thing. In New Hampshire a person who lives in the state most of the time, like for instance college students, can vote with an out- of-state I.D. In fact, it took The Washington Post all of 60 minutes to find three college students in the state who voted exactly that way, perfectly legally. Kobach either somehow didn`t know the law or he willfully misrepresented the facts. And yet his voter fraud commission rolls on. Today the commission held a hearing in New Hampshire where Kobach did not exactly apologize.


KOBACH: -- the columnist I said, it appears that nonresidents may have tipped the results. And I`m still wondering if that was the right word. And I am also wondering if it`s even possible to condense what is really a complex legal issue into an 800-word column.


HAYES: Kobach was greeted in New Hampshire by protesters who lambasted the commission as a thinly veiled effort at voter suppression. In Washington, Democrats said it should be disbanded.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: They are so eager to prove their point about voter fraud, which is demonstrably false, they`re resorting to these crazy claims, discrediting their commission, and discrediting them.


HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Representative Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire, who is calling on long-time New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to resign from serving on that same voting fraud commission. Let me start with this, I mean, a White House commission with a White House`s full effort behind it. The Vice -- the Vice Chair of that commission basically said your election in New Hampshire was illegitimate. What do you -- what is your response to that?

REP. ANN MCLANE KUSTER (D) NEW HAMPSHIRE: This is totally outrageous, Chris. It goes to the heart of our Democracy. And I can do it in way fewer than 800 words. The New Hampshire constitution gives anyone domiciled in New Hampshire the right to vote. And the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld that 2015. This is a new case. And this is well- settled law in New Hampshire. So Mr. Kobach`s claim is blatantly false, and frankly, I think he`s chairing a voter-suppression commission. He has no intention of upholding our democracy. And it`s an affront to every citizen of the State of New Hampshire. We`re very proud of our role in the democracy with the first in the nation presidential primary and we uphold the right to vote by people who are qualified domiciled in the state of New Hampshire.

HAYES: So let me ask you this. You`ve got a Secretary of State who`s a legend in New Hampshire, Mr. Gardner.


HAYES: He is a Democrat. He is one of the few Democrats serving on this commission. And he`s on this commission against a lot of criticism with this individual, Kris Kobach, coming into his state and telling him he oversaw a fundamentally fraudulent election. What do you think of that?

KUSTER: Well, I will say both Bill Gardner, the Secretary of State from New Hampshire, and the Secretary of State from Maine, Matt Dunlap, tried to clarify and correct Mr. Kobach today on the record at the commission hearing. They told him he was using the words interchangeably, they`re not the same. The legal definition is different for domicile and for residency. There is no requirement to have a New Hampshire Driver`s License. These are people who live in the state of New Hampshire, they`re domiciled in New Hampshire, they probably don`t even have a car.

HAYES: Right, stop, stipulated. I think that`s fairly clear. My question is the role that the Secretary of State of your State is playing in lending credibility and capital to a commission that appears to be engaged in, frankly, hack work.

KUSTER: Absolutely. It`s a fraud.

HAYES: So why is he still on -- should he resign?

KUSTER: Well, the entire delegation, all members of the New Hampshire federal delegation, have called on him to resign. Democrats in the statehouse have called on him to resign. Frankly, I`m a little bit suspicious of the Republicans that think he`s doing a great job. And I think they have made repeated efforts in our statehouse to change the law. But this is a constitutional right in New Hampshire. So my own feeling is that Bill Gardner is running the risk of being -- you know, it`s a sham.

HAYES: Do you think he`s a tool? Is he a patsy?

KUSTER: I think he is. I think he is and it`s a real risk for the State of New Hampshire. Bill Gardner has spent the last 40 years defending the New Hampshire first in the nation presidential primary. It`s important to us. It`s important to our democracy. And I`m proud of our role. But to call into question the integrity of our election and to blatantly discourage people from turning out to vote is appalling and I believe he should step down. Frankly, I agree with Mr. Schumer, Senator Schumer, the entire commission should be disbanded. We should get back to the story that you are covering earlier on your show, the actual Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential Election.

HAYES: Representative Annie Kuster, thanks for being with me tonight.

KUSTER: Thanks, Chris, great to be with you.

HAYES: Still ahead, the renewed hype of the Presidential pivot. I`ll ask Senator Chris Murphy if he expects the President`s deal with Democrats will change anything going into the Fall. Stick around.


HAYES: Today search and rescue teams reached a desperate situation in the farthest edges of the Florida Keys two days after Hurricane Irma tore through the islands. FEMA estimates 1 in 4 homes on the Keys are fully destroyed while 65 percent sustained major damage and power could be out for weeks. Statewide, 10 million residents, half of Florida`s population, remains without power tonight. And more than 90,000 people are in shelters. Meanwhile, we`re getting new images of the devastation in the Caribbean, which was hit hardest by Irma. NBC`s Ron Mott is on St. Thomas, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ron, we haven`t gotten a lot of reports out of there, what can you tell us firsthand about what the situation`s like there?

RON MOTT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there Chris. One of the reasons we haven`t gotten a lot of reports out of St. Thomas and St. John is simply it`s hard to get here. We got here a few hours ago. The U.S. Coast Guard helping us get here from Puerto Rico. We arrived about three hours ago. You can see the police lights behind me. There is a curfew in effect. We spent the better part of the evening getting cleared so we can work and bring these reports to our viewers outside the curfew. The cure few from 6:00 p.m. to noon the following day.

And this is one of the reasons why the government wants to keep people off the streets. There`s a giant power pole here that has been on the ground here since last Wednesday, since the eye of the storm passed just north of St. Thomas, maybe 20, 30 miles. So they got the brunt of the winds here, especially on the north side of St. Thomas.

St. John, less populated, but took on even more damage. Within the past hour, I spoke to Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter who says they`ve got their work cut out here for them. I asked them how many people here do they know lost their homes? He would estimate, he said, about one in five people completely lost their homes.

Tonight, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Company is bringing in a ship. There`s some people here at the Haven Site Dock who are going to sleep on the ship tonight. And then tomorrow morning they`re going to take off for San Juan, Puerto Rico. So, these are folks who are evacuating this island, who perhaps do not want to be a part of the recovery effort here because it is going to take some time.

The governor, Kenneth Mapp is cautioning residents here who are going to stick it out through this long, tough, arduous process to manage their expectations.

We like to say, I have a small condo on the north side here, that this is island time. That`s one of the reasons you want to come down here. The residents who`ve been affected here want to speed things up a little bit and the governor and the administration wants folks to know it`s simply going to take time to clean and up rebuild from all this mess.

HAYES: Alright, NBC`s Ron Mott, thanks for going down there and thanks for that report.

Stick around, Senator Chris Murphy joins me next.


HAYES: Fresh off what Donald Trump considered positive press coverage of his debt and government funding deal with Democrats last week, the president is hosting a dinner tonight that includes three Democratic lawmakers.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

The deal with Democrats earned the president a slew of articles praising his deal-making and declaring the dawn of a new presidential era. Of course we`ve seen proclamations of a new Trump over and over and over before, only to see the old Trump re-emerge shortly after, every time.

But what has actually changed in the last few weeks in a legislative perspective is that Mitch McConnell and Republican leaders wanted an all- out effort on tax reform, but because of actions the president has taken, it appears the next big item on the docket could very well be protection for the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought here as children and given limited legal status under a program the president is now threatening to end.


CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) SENIOR UNITIED STATES SENATOR, NEW YORK: You know, we`ve talked a little bit about working together. And I said to the president, the best way he can show some good faith is support the Dreamers Bill, supported by Senators Graham and Durbin, bipartisan. Urge that we move it to the floor rather quickly and get it done.


HAYES: There are signs that the administration is open to those negotiations.

Mark Short, a White House Legislative Affairs Director, told reporters today the administration would not require money for a border wall in legislation to help the Dreamers.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut reportedly burst out laughing last week when someone asked him if Democrats could rely on Trump. He`s with me now.

So I am skeptical that there`s a deal here to protect the 800,000 undocumented folks who were given legal protection, but the people that I talk to who are in the know, and people I trust seem to think this is a possibility. Is someone getting punked here?

CHRIS MURPHY, (D) SENATOR, CONNETICUT: My friend Chuck Schumer is the eternal optimist and we love him for it, but he`s not totally wrong in the sense that the issue of protecting the Dreamers is very different today than it was ten years ago.

Today, 75% of the American public support giving these kids protection. They know it`s the right thing to do.

And so, it isn`t a Democratic issue anymore. There`s real downside to Republicans if they were to turn their backs these kids and allow for the TV cameras to cover them being rounded up and deported.

So, I think they have political interest in getting this done. It`s not just about a deal.

HAYES: Counterpoint. That preference is broad but not deep, and should they vote for it they`re going to get a primary challenge, which is what they`re worried about, which is been essentially the veto that has been held by the anti- immigration forces for the last ten years that I`ve been covering the issue.

MURPHY: Unless it is paired with so-called border security funding and I don`t think any Democrat should shut down the possibility of a deal which gives permanent protection to the Dreamers in exchange for some additional money for border security. That`s not a wall.

But of course Democrats have been on the record before, in 2013 voting for a comprehensive immigration reform bill, that did include substantial new money for additional security on the border.

So that may be able to give some protection to Republicans. I don`t think that that should be off the table.

HAYES: You think that`s a real thing? You think that`s a thing that could happen? We could see this happen? A vote on something like that? That kind of deal?

MURPHY: I think it could happen. But again, I don`t necessarily think it`s because Donald Trump is all of a sudden going to become a great deal maker. I think it`s because Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are going to see real political downside in turning their backs on these kids when the majority of Republican voters actually today support giving these kids protection.

HAYES: We saw a wave of analyses over the last few days about how this deal signaled the end of 150 years of two-party rule and the new independence. You said Trump sides with Schumer/Pelosi once, world forgets he aligns with hardline GOP on immigration, climate change, healthcare, taxes, spending etc etc.

What is your approach to the president`s actions, and how do you think of him when he does things that perhaps seem different than what he did before?

MURPHY: Well, I think it is important to remember as I said in that tweet the president has dragged his party and dragged the conversation further to the right, and he has not governed as a centrist. So, I think the Democrats should be careful to calibrate our strategy based on the expectation he`s going to continue to make these plays.

What I think is most interesting about the deal last week is that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell were so eager to accept it. And that`s because the governing majority in the house and senate hasn`t changed. It`s still the majority of Democrats and the minority of Republicans.

And so I think it is still important for to us remember that however we get there, whether it`s in a deal done by Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer, or whether it`s through the arm-twisting of McConnell and Ryan, ultimately Democrats are going to be a big factor in any deal that gets done to keep the government up and operating, to protect Dreamers, to raise the debt ceiling.

So whether Trump makes it happen or not, Democrats need to remember that we still have a seat at the table in all of this because of the dysfunction inside the Republican caucus.

HAYES: That`s a good point, Senator Chris Murphy, thanks very much.

Ahead, Hillary Clinton recounts President Trump`s inauguration day, a case of mistaken identity, and that infamous debate. Those stories coming up.

Plus, tonight`s Shirt One, Shirt Two, starts next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, on Sunday 60 Minutes had its big interview with former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, and so a huge new audience got to learn about all the weird stuff that makes the Breitbart website manager tick.


STEVE BANNON, BREITBART: America`s built on our citizens. Look at the 19th century. What built America is called the American system.

The catholic church has been terrible about this. They need illegal aliens. They need illegal aliens to fill the churches. They have an economic interest. They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration. Unlimited illegal immigration.


HAYES: The country discovered another thing about Steve Bannon, he seems to prefer to wear multiple shirts at the same time. Bannon wore a black shirt over what appears to be a black polo shirt and it`s topped off with a black blazer.

The question becomes, was it especially cold when they taped the 60 Minutes interview, or does Steve Bannon always dress like a 19th century shoemaker? That`s Thing Two in sixty seconds.


HAYES: Steve Bannon likes to rail against the mainstream media and how undocumented immigrants are a scourge on society all through the seams of several button-down dress shirts that he likes to wear all at once in public.

If you thought this was a one-time deal for 60 Minutes interview on Sunday you`d be sorely mistaken. Here he is earlier this year wearing three shirts, two button-down and a blazer. Here he is a week after the presidential election rocking two button-down shirts again in public. Here he is in July of last year holding up one finger while wearing two button- down shirts.

And here Bannon is last February wearing what could possibly be three button-down shirts. On stage with Kellyanne Conway during Trump`s victory speech looking somewhat dapper in three shirts, two of which are button-down. And here`s one with Sarah Palin, he`s been dressing like this for years but it`s not a secret anymore.


JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: A lot of people noticed that during his interview Steve Bannon was wearing two button-down shirts at the same time. Did you see this?

I`ve never seen this before.

Watch what happened during the whole interview. Watch this.


CHARLIE ROSE, 60 MINUTES: President made the wrong decision?

BANNON: I think that -- I think the --.

ROSE: The president made the wrong decision, you wanted him to go full bore.

BANNON: I think we have to focus on American citizens --

ROSE: So, what would you do with the people who came here -- just tell me what you would do.

BANNON: I think as the work permits run out they self-deport.

ROSE: They self-deport?



HAYES: In her new book, What Happened, Hillary Clinton describes a peculiar moment after the inauguration of Donald J. Trump in which she attended as is the tradition as a former first lady.

It was a moment when she was shaking hands with Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who has since retired. Quote, "I saw a man off to the side who I thought was Reince Priebus, Head of the Republican National Committee and incoming White House Chief of Staff. As he passed by we shook hands and exchanged small talk.

Later I realized it hadn`t been Priebus at all, it was Jason Chaffetz, the then Utah Congressman and want to be Javier who made endless political hay out of my e-mails in the 2012 tragedy in Benghazi and Libya."

Clinton notes that Chaffetz even posted a picture of that moment on Instagram account, on Donald Trump`s inauguration day, after which he wrote, quote, "So pleased she`s not president, I thanked her for her service and wished her luck. The investigation continues."

In her book, Clinton reacts to that tweet, "What a class act. I came close to tweeting back, to be honest, thought you were Reince."

Clinton`s new book is chalked full of those anecdotes about the campaign and its aftermath. The long-time Clinton adviser who played Donald Trump in debate prep, Philippe Reines and what he has to say in hindsight, next.


HAYES: When it came find someone to play Donald J. Trump in mock debates with Hillary Clinton, the campaign turned to longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines who was well legendary among reporters for a kind of Trumpian bluster, but who never-the-less had pretty unusual task, which included trying to calculate how candidate Trump might behave on stage with Hillary Clinton.



[ applause ]

[ laughter ]


HAYES: It caused laugh and on September 24th, 2016 there was another matter when Clinton was actually on stage with Trump during that second presidential debate on October 9th, just days after the Access Hollywood tape was released.


HILLARY CLINTON, FMR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So in my debate prep, we practiced this. The young man playing Trump would stalk me and I practiced keeping my composure and practiced not getting rattled so while I`m answering questions, my mind is going okay do I keep my composure, do I act like a president.

What he said was extremely unwise.

Or do I wheel around and say get out of my space, back up you creep?


HAYES: Adviser to Secretary Hillary Clinton, Philippe Reines who played Donald Trump in dozens of mock debates joins me now.

Philippe, it`s interesting to me to watch every bit of the complexity and polarization around Hillary Clinton rise back up the moment she has a book. Is this basically the kind of expectation you had for the reception of the book?

PHILIPPE REINES, ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON: Well, it`s unfortunately more than when she has a book. It`s pretty much all the time. It was throughout her 2007, 2008 campaign. Throughout last year.

She engenders very strong feelings on both sides and it crops up pretty often.

HAYES: What do you -- what do you think, what do you understand as the answer to the question the book poses what happened?

REINES: Well, I think the book could easily have been called what`s happening and what will happen. I think if we could pick one thing to change in hindsight, it would be Jim Comey, not simply what he did in the final weeks of the campaign, but what he did as far back as July.

He basically got up and gave a press conference where he spent ten minutes saying that she is the most terrible innocent person of all time. That was very much out of bounds, and that became something that Trump and the Republicans repeated over and over again.

What he did later was just an extension of that. He was very naive and he exceeded his authority as FBI director and as we`ve now learned, he intentionally cut out the attorney general and the deputy attorney general.

HAYES: There is a line in the book about Clinton`s secretary sort of contention or her understanding of the degree to which there might have been collusion between Trump and the Russians.

She says there certainly was communication, there certainly was an understanding of some sort. When asked does she believe there was collusion, I`m convinced of it, she said, though she stopped short of repeating that explosive word.

Do you feel the same way and was that the feeling during the campaign?

REINES: Well, it`s not just a feeling during the campaign. We at multiple times said as much and so did our government. If you recall two days before the debate that you were just referencing, it wasn`t just the Access Hollywood breakthrough, it was also the intelligence community said that the Russians were screwing around with our elections.

We on multiple occasions tried to make very clear including Secretary Clinton herself when she said that he was a puppet during that infamous moment where he said I`m not a puppet. You`re the puppet. You`re the puppet.

And I think in hindsight, we were -- we knew of what we spoke and every day since then has gotten harder and harder to look past the real likelihood that they were at the very least coordinating with the Russians or winking and nodding and giving them a green light to intrude in our elections which is a serious matter.

HAYES: What do you say to people that there are stories written about people within Democratic circles or within the circles of politics broadly in the sort of Democratic party, center left coalition that just say, oh, god, I don`t want to relive, for a variety of reasons, partly emotional trauma people went through, but I don`t want to relive this campaign. Why do we have to relive this?

REINES: Well, I would say a few things. First, I don`t want to live through the Trump presidency, but here it is and I think we all have to live with disappointment.

Two, I would say that people have been saying that about Hillary Clinton for a long time. I think most recently they were saying that after she lost the 2008 primaries to President Obama and I`m glad she didn`t. I think millions and millions to be specific, at least 65 million Americans were very glad she didn`t.

She went on to become Secretary of State and representing America abroad. She`s done -- she`s continued her life work.

Lastly, I think it`s naive for anyone to think what happened cannot happen again, and anyone who does not take seriously what happened last year and what continues to happen will be the victim of it next year and that seems exactly what President Trump is doing.

He`s not taking it seriously because he benefited from it. I can tell you without a doubt that if Hillary Clinton had won and people had said well, Vladimir Putin might have helped, she the next day would have said this is not acceptable. You will pay the price for it.

HAYES: Right. Philippe Reines, thank you for making time tonight.

REINES: Thank you.

HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now, which, this Thursday will feature an interview with none other than Hillary Clinton live, in studio at 9:00 p.m. eastern. You do not want to miss that.

Good evening, Rachel.


Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.