Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 5, 2017 Guest: Renato Mariotti, Jill Wine-Banks
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC) CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The issue of collusion is still open.
HAYES: The White House snaps on Russia.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: More importantly than the President being frustrated, I think the American people are frustrated.
HAYES: Tonight, the pushback from Trump world as sources tell NBC news Senate Intel has corroborated parts of the Steele Dossier.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A thing like that should have never been written.
HAYES: Plus --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you address the main headline of this story that you call the President a moron?
HAYES: New details on President Trump`s furious eruption in the wake of the NBC News moron report.
TRUMP: It was fake news.
HAYES: Then, is the NRA really making a concession on gun regulations? And an ALL IN conversation.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: I don`t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy.
HAYES: As Facebook comes to terms with its unprecedented power, is there anything anyone can do about it?
ZUCKERBERG: I wish I could tell you that we`re going to be able to stop all interference. But that just wouldn`t be realistic.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight, the infamous Steele Dossier is at the very center of the news on the Russia investigation. NBC News reports that investigators on Special Counsel Robert Mueller`s team have interviewed Christopher Steele. That`s, of course, the former British Intelligence Officer who compiled that absolutely explosive document. The Dossier details an alleged effort by the Russian government over a period of years, stretching back to 2013 or so, to cultivate and coopt Donald Trump and his inner circle, as well as an extensive conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian forces to work together to interfere in the 2016 Presidential Election on Trump`s behalf. The President denies those claims but clearly, Mueller isn`t taking the President`s word for it, and neither is the Senate Intelligence Committee. Yesterday Chairman Richard Burr discussed the Committee`s investigation into the dossier but said they`re having trouble verifying some details.
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BURR: As it relates to the Steele Dossier, unfortunately, the committee has hit a wall. Though we have been incredibly enlightened at our ability to rebuild backwards, the Steele dossier up to a certain date, getting past that point has been somewhat impossible.
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HAYES: It appears however that those efforts haven`t been entirely unsuccessful because according to NBC News Reporter Ken Dilanian, two sources told NBC, the Committee has indeed corroborated parts of the dossier. NBC News National Security Reporter Ken Dilanian joins me now. And Ken, what is your reporting telling you about the ways in which the committee or the Mueller investigation are dealing with that document?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: I wish I had a better answer to you Chris, but the real answer is, we just don`t know. It`s classified and they`re not giving details on what they`ve corroborated. But I`m really glad you played that rather inarticulate clip from Senator Burr because the Republicans are trying to say today that he said no such thing. And he clearly said in his -- in his -- inartful way, he used the term "rebuilding." They have a timeline. I mean, there are meetings, there are things in that dossier that can be checked with, for example, U.S. intelligence reports signals intelligence, travel records. And every effort has been made to do that. The FBI has done it as well.
And so -- and there are -- and there are parts of the dossier, Chris, as you know, that track with what we know from public reporting. For example, the dossier said weeks before newspapers reported that there was a Russian hack of the DNC in July 2016, there`s a dossier report dated in July that says that there is a Kremlin effort to hack the DNC. And it wasn`t until October that the U.S. government formally said, hey, this was the Russians that hack the DNC.
HAYES: And crucially, I just want to be clear because it`s actually one of the elements going back to that document. And I have to say that the document itself which was published to great fanfare and great controversy, it contains some salacious details and explosive allegations the President denied that somewhat humorously, that to go back and look at it and read line by line, there are -- you are constantly encountering bits of information that are just publicly verifiable. For instance, that July 19th report in which the dossier says that Russians have hacked the DNC, it`s not till like, two weeks later that press reports say that.
DILANIAN: That`s absolutely true. There`s another passage where it says, look, despite Trump denying that he wants to do business in Moscow, he`s been actively seeking it out. Well, what do we learn a couple of months ago that there was a Trump Tower Moscow proposal on the table and Donald Trump`s lawyer Michael Cohen was pursuing it with top Kremlin officials during the Republican Primary? So yes, there are some things that have been verified. There are other things that are unverified, unproven, and the subject to investigation. For example, the dossier basically says that Paul Manafort was acting as a go-between, between Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign. Obviously, that`s not proven, that`s something Mueller and the Congress are investigating, Chris.
HAYES: Yes, and the sort of final thing I think that seems important here is just the degree to which the status of this document, which always -- you know, this document has been at the center of a lot of the reporting, the earliest reporting that it was Comey himself who had to pull the President aside at a briefing and say this thing was out there. What does seem clear, and I want you to tell me whether this is how you understand it, is that this is taken seriously as a document, not itself verified, but as a skeleton to work off to attempt to verify.
DILANIAN: That is such a great way to put it. You know this is raw intelligence. Raw intelligence is often wrong, but some of it is right. And you know, James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, said in June that Donald Trump asked him to refute the dossier. And he said, I could not and I would not. So you`re right, it`s a roadmap for the investigation. And by the way, the FBI has had most of it from Steele for a long time. And now it appears that Mueller wants to ask some follow-up questions. That`s what I think this interview would have been about, Chris.
HAYES: All right, Ken Dilanian, thank you. I want to bring in former Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks and former Federal Prosecutor Renato Marriotti. Renato, what do you make of this news?
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Wow. Well, it`s really interesting and big news because the dossier, I think you and Ken covered it very well, Chris. The dossier contains a lot of explosive details and you know, had been denied -- had been the subject of very frequent denials by the administration. They said, it`s this -- you know, false dossier, fake, you know, there`s nothing real in there. But as Ken was pointing out, there have been portions of it that have been verified. Now that Mueller`s looking at it, what it tells me is he`s going back and trying to figure out what he can create usable evidence out of. So just so your viewers understand, you can`t just toss this dossier in front of a jury. You actually have to bring in witnesses who can testify as to what they saw, and what they heard, you have to bring in documents that can be authenticated.
But look, even if Mueller is able to just verify small portions of it and bring in that evidence, that could be real problems for some of the President`s associates like Michael Cohen. You know, he is all throughout that dossier. You know, there`s been -- there are these allegations in there that he was meeting with Russian representatives. And if you look at his denials or I should put that in quotation marks, his sort of denials, you know, he denies certain things and not others. And so you really could see him potentially getting in trouble for lying to Congress.
HAYES: Jill, I was curious about when you were working on the Watergate -- the Watergate investigation. You know, a lot of what was being uncovered was happening in the press. You know, famously by Woodward and Bernstein and others. And the degree to which you in the investigator`s office were taking tips that you were maybe getting some other places and attempting to run them down using your powers?
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: We took every bit of information that we got, every clue, every tip, and took it seriously. It`s interesting especially in light of the release of the Mark Felt movie and his being held out as a hero but really, he was telling us what we already knew, because his information came from the same FBI that worked for us. So it wasn`t dramatic, new information. The FBI knew everything that he had and we had it. The people who didn`t have it were the public.
And it was helpful to bring public opinion to support our efforts to uncover all the information and it really helped, in the end, to bring about the replacement of the Special Prosecutor after the Saturday Night Massacre and to get the release of the tapes, because the public was supporting us because they saw the evidence publicly. Here you have a situation where the Senate has to get to the bottom of what happened, not just in terms of the dossier, but in terms of the clear and convincing evidence that we have that the Russians hacked because they have to protect our electoral system. And that`s a really important underlying thing that the Congress has to do, whereas the criminal prosecution has to proceed through the Mueller investigation.
HAYES: Renato, I want to talk about timescale here. I mean, this is now an investigation that was opened if I`m not mistaken in summer of 2016, I believe June. It`s gone through several phases. I think it`s intensified. It`s been passed over to the Special Counsel. And the argument that you heard from Sarah Huckabee Sanders, although it was about the Senate Intelligence Committee but of the same kind ilk was, well, they`ve been looking and they`ve been talking to all these people and there`s thousands of pages of transcript, and they haven`t found the smoking gun yet, so this is a witch hunt. What do you say to that?
MARIOTTI: First of all, we don`t know what Mueller`s found yet. You know, just so your viewers understand, when you conduct a grand jury investigation, as a legal matter, it`s secret. So Mueller can`t divulge to us everything that he knows. We don`t know what he knows. And this is just in the -- you know, frankly, in many ways, it`s still in a fairly early stage. As we just heard recently, Mueller is interviewing people at the White House about obstruction and other issues. So each one of those interviews is going to generate more requests and more subpoenas and more interviews. I mean, this is going to go on and on as he`s verifying this dossier. He`s going to be interviewing more people and bringing them in. This is just the beginning and I would not draw any conclusions other than what we already know about Manafort and others being indicted.
HAYES: OK, so then Jill, this goes to you. And obviously there`s been reporting suggesting that Mueller has informed Manafort directly, you are going to be indicted, which if he was unclear on that, you know, breaking into his apartment to search a search warrant probably helped him to that possibility. But, Jill, I guess my question here is to Renato`s point, did you feel when you were working the Watergate investigation, was there some sense of external pressure that you guys at some point, in order to sustain the public interest or sustain people`s thoughts that this was a fair proceeding, did have to produce something tangible that you could come public with?
BANKS: Well, let`s look at the smoking gun which you mentioned. And we were appointed in May of `73. We found out that there were tape recordings in July of `73. We immediately subpoenaed them, we were stonewalled, but then we finally got some. And they weren`t the smoking gun tape. It was nine limited tapes and actually, of course, we only got six because one had an 18-minute gap and two were missing. So we only got six of the nine. And then in March, we returned indictments. It was only in preparation for trial which was set for September of `74 that we subpoenaed 64 more tapes and got the smoking gun. When we got the smoking gun, and this is now more than a year after we started, that was an immediate response. The Republicans acted as Americans. The three top Republicans in the Congress, House, and Senate, went to Nixon and said, there is no more support for you, you will be convicted in the Senate if you do not resign. And that was the end. But that was a year into it. We did not get the smoking gun right away. This takes time. You know, slow and steady wins the race. We have to put the puzzle together piece by piece. And it takes a little bit of time to develop all the evidence that`s necessary. And I think Mueller is showing every sign of getting it done.
HAYES: All right, Jill Wine-Banks and Renato Mariotti, thanks to you both. Joy Reid, Host of "A.M. JOY" joins me now. What do you think is the significance of Mueller sending folks to talk to Steele?
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: I think it`s very important because I think you and -- you and Ken made a really important point that this is a research document. It`s a document from which the Mueller team can work to try to find facts. It is not the fact, right? So the important thing that is people sort of characterize the dossier as sort of the conclusions that this guy was drawing. No. He was sweeping in all of this information and then Mueller has to put it together. I think it`s important because there`s a lot in that dossier that has borne out. And I think that it provides the most compelling set of facts that could be a narrative as to how collusion took place. If they can get to the bottom of that by talking to him, finding out you know, where did he get some of his information, he may or may not be able to divulge it, I think it just helps them to build slowly this investigation.
HAYES: You know, the document itself, and part of the reason that I -- the way I think about it, I think it has shifted over time, partly as the facts have fall into place, is that when you read it the first time, what it lays out seems really kind of crazy. Like, I mean, or at least so broad in scope. I mean, the idea is that this was a sustained effort over a number of years to cultivate Donald Trump, to bring him into the Russian orbit, to have him be essentially turned into a kind of asset, and then to help his campaign. I mean, what it lays out in its scope is really, really enormous.
REID: Yes. But it isn`t if you think about the way that Russia has worked. I mean, just let`s remember that the current President of Russia is -- was a former KGB agent. And the KGB spent years cultivating assets. This is not something they do quickly and I think the idea that you have somebody like Donald Trump, who showed the affinity in the 80s, that had showed an interest in the 80s, and then had a need in the 90s, need and greed are usually the components of the way that the Russians when -- even when they were the Soviets would develop assets. This is how it`s done. So I think the idea is if you`re going to interfere in a Presidential election, this is really taking it to a level that is incredibly risky for Russia. If you`re going to do that, you better do it carefully, you better cultivate these contacts over a long period of time. It`s not something they would rush into. So I think it actually makes sense that it was that comprehensive and that it depended on the greed and need of a lot of different people who wanted to make money somehow through Russia, or who wanted to have the power of the Presidency.
HAYES: Do we have by the way, do we have this clip of the President just speaking a little while ago? Because if we do, I want to play it for joy. So this is the President. He`s having a dinner tonight with military officials and their families at the White House. And this is -- it`s slightly off target but it just happened and I want to get your reaction because I don`t know what to make of it. This is the President in the photo spray appearing to threaten something and no one can figure out what.
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TRUMP: Do you know what this represents? Maybe it`s the calm before the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your storm?
TRUMP: The calm before the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s the storm?
TRUMP: Could be the calm, the calm before the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Iran, ISIS or what? What`s the storm, Mr. President?
TRUMP: We have the world`s great military people here in this room, I will tell you that. And we will have a great evening. Thank you all for coming. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What storm, Mr. president?
TRUMP: You`ll find out.
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REID: Oh my gosh. You know, if Donald Trump --
HAYES: What do you make that?
REID: Well, on the one hand, Donald Trump seems to still think he`s in the episode of The Apprentice, where he has to do a suspense moment before you go to break, and he thinks he`s going to come back from commercial and then announce whatever it is he`s doing. And he treats the Presidency like a game show or like a reality show.
HAYES: He did this with Tom Price, famously, you know, he said --
REID: Hang on.
HAYES: We`ll have -- yes, we`ll have some more information for you.
REID: We`ll have some more information. But at the time that they`re potentially ripping up the Iran nuclear deal, which could send us on a path of hostility with Iran. Remember, Iran is not Iraq, it`s an actual republic, it`s not a put-together you know, republic where the people are fractured. It was an empire. It is -- it has an actual air force. It`s four times the population. And he`s contemplating any sort of you know, act of hostilities with Iran, that`s terrifying, and then, at the same time that he is goading North Korea. If he weren`t doing those two things that would just be Donald Trump doing his Donald Trump thing. It`s kind of terrifying in the context of what they`re doing.
HAYES: I mean, presumably there are you know, intelligence agents of other countries trying to parse this as well.
REID: Of course.
HAYES: And I think he thinks that it`s an asset if they can`t figure him out, but there`s a lot reasons to think from the literature of deterrence and game theory that actually that could be quite dangerous, which is, of course, the theory of Joy Reid.
HAYES: Ma`am, thank you for your time.
REID: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, more exclusive new reporting on the rift between Rex Tillerson and the man he reportedly called a moron. New details of a furious President fuming at the White House in just two minutes.
And later, the Facebook effect. A special conversation on the crossroads of democracy and the unprecedented power the social media giant holds ahead.
HAYES: New details tonight on Donald Trump`s fury over an NBC story. Yesterday our reporters revealed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had openly disparaged the President referring to him as a moron. NBC now learning that the president was so angry that Chief of Staff John Kelly scrapped plans to travel to Vegas to stay in Washington and do damage control. Also angry, Vice President Pence, who spoke with Tillerson ahead of the Secretary`s stilted press conference yesterday in which Tillerson never actually denied calling President Trump a moron. The President attacking this morning tweeting, "Rex Tillerson never threatened to resign, this is fake news put out by NBC News, low news in reporting standards, no verification from me." The White House today denying the President undermined Tillerson or any other cabinet secretary.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your response to those who say the President has undercut the Secretary of State? Sarah, just quickly before you --
SANDERS: I think it`s -- the premise of that question is absolutely ridiculous. The President can`t undercut his own cabinet, the President is the leader of the cabinet. He sets the tone, he sets the agenda, and I think that question makes no sense because of that.
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HAYES: NBC`s Carol Lee, who worked on that story and subsequent reporting, joins me now. And Carol, what do we know from your reporting about the reaction to the story?
CAROL LEE, NBC NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: We know that the President was furious and he vented in the White House for about two hours. You know, he had left quite early to go to Las Vegas. And once he got aboard Air Force One, that when Kelly kind of started to get into action. And two -- about two and a half hours later, we saw Secretary Tillerson`s press conference. The interesting thing that happened after that is that Kelly then summoned Tillerson and Defense Secretary Mattis to the White House for this meeting. And the reason why that is significant is because, as you recall, it was Kelly and Mattis who intervened in July when Tillerson was threatening to resign and convinced him to stay.
And so the three of them had this huddle at the White House where they talked about a path forward. And meanwhile, you have Vice President Pence who was really angered by this, particularly because Tillerson`s spokesman said on the record to us for the story, told us the story about a meeting that Tillerson had had with Pence and suggested that the Vice President somehow was questioning the job that the U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was doing. And Pence`s office have said that was flatly, patently false. And so he was very upset and he and Tillerson had a conversation and he basically said to him like, look, you need to get out there and fix this.
HAYES: You`re saying that that was the prompt for Tillerson to come out before the cameras in that hastily assembled press conference.
HAYES: Key point here. So what you`re telling me is that behind the scenes, the interpretation of your -- and colleagues and our colleagues` reporting was not, this is not fake news, but rather, I am furious that the man called me a moron?
LEE: It was essentially -- you know, yes. Why was he -- you know, the idea that Tillerson had said something disparaging behind the President`s back, the whole notion of this being out there in the headlines, the President was just -- you know, he was -- he was not -- he was not at all happy with anything that was -- that was happening yesterday morning.
HAYES: All right, Carol Lee, thanks for joining me.
LEE: Thank you.
HAYES: MSNBC Stephanie Rule, one of our Reporters who broke the news yesterday, it`s good to have you here. So --
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good to be here.
HAYES: My favorite part about this is that they are publicly -- the President tweeting about fake news, fake news, fake news, deny, fake news, meanwhile, they`re not interpreting it as fake news behind the scenes.
RUHLE: Think about this. Rex Tillerson comes out there, gives that press conference to an audience of one, apologizing to the President, saying you`re the smartest, prettiest, greatest, bestest boss there ever was in the whole universe, but by the way, I`m not going to comment on whether or not I called you a moron, because, from the parts where I come from, that`s too petty to say that. Well, you know what, it`s not too petty because people in that room said it. And what do you think it says about that palace intrigue, what goes on within the White House? This is a meeting that took place in July and this has been floating around. So those colleagues that he`s working with every day, remember, President Trump, says, the stories you hear about the chaos are nonsense, it`s a well-oiled machine. What kind of well-oiled machine leaks like this?
HAYES: Well, and the other part of this that strikes me is this is also been -- this account has been confirmed by other outlets now. So you know, this is something that was clearly -- people knew that this had happened and had been floating around. It was not a crypto secret.
RUHLE: That`s why it`s stunning for the President to say, let`s go after this fake news, fake news. This happened. Like no way -- other word to say, it happened. Multiple people have confirmed it. But think about how unhappy Rex Tillerson is. A year ago the guy ran ExxonMobil, right? He was the CEO. He flew around the world private, had his own security detail, foreign policy team, didn`t even eat in the cafeteria, and he does it now. He`s got a staff that doesn`t even interface with other parts of the administration, he travels alone. People in the administration talk about Rex Tillerson and his Chief of Staff like they are persona non grata and that`s how this -- something like this gets out.
HAYES: And not only is he persona non grata at foggy bottom, he appears to be at the White House too, so he`s sort of a man without a country. He also -- I mean, the other part of this is that it seems to me from the reporting I`ve seen, the President`s furious but also feels paralyzed because here`s this quick look at the people who have gone from the administration. This is last Friday we made this. This is like, Scaramucci, Bannon, Gorka, Gigicos, Comey, Flynn, Priebus, Spicer, Schiller, and on and on and on that, it will feed the chaos narrative if he actually does fire Tillerson so he`s stuck with him.
RUHLE: Well, remember, President Trump, "I hire the best people, the best people" and you`ve got a laundry list of people who have left and at the same time a laundry list continues of those who keep getting caught flying private, or flying on military planes. And we know how much that infuriated the President when Tom Price did it. So who`s he going to be mad at now?
HAYES: You`re well sourced in all this. So I wondered if I can pick your brain on the comments the President just made about this being the calm before the storm. Have you seen this?
RUHLE: I have. Listen --
HAYES: What the heck does that mean?
RUHLE: President Trump loves to be unpredictable. So it`s unclear what the calm before the storm. The thing is, it could mean anything. But if you are a member of --
HAYES: Or nothing.
RUHLE: Or nothing. But I`ll tell you, if you are one of his senior staff members and you hear him go out there and say, the calm before the storm, you`re not feeling like you know what he`s about to say. You`re feeling like, what could it be? Realize, it could be Iran, it could be North Korea, it could be fake news, it could be firing someone. Who knows?
HAYES: It could be he`s going to fire Rex Tillerson for calling me a moron, which I said was fake news.
RUHLE: Hey, it could be -- it could be he`s going to do something very progressive on gun control.
RUHLE: Who knows.
HAYES: All right. Stephanie Ruhle, thank you for joining me.
RUHLE: Good to be here.
HAYES: Just ahead, the NRA comes out in support of new regulations. Why it is not exactly the concession some are making it out to be, ahead.
HAYES: There are a lot of people in America who learned that the Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock killed 58 people in just 10 minutes using a device known as a bump stock and thought to themselves -- I really need to get one of those. Bump stocks are legal, even though as this video illustrates they effectively transform a semiautomatic rifle into a fully automatic weapon. And bump stock sales are spiking after Paddock`s massacre. With many retailers now sold out of the device. It comes amid a push from some lawmakers to ban bump stocks.
The devices are being defended by the Group Gun Owners of America, which bills itself as the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington. You would expect the National Rifle Association to take the same position, having spent decades opposing almost every single gun safety law. But today, after days of silence following the Las Vegas attack, the NRA announced it was backing new regulations on bump stocks. Sounds promising, right? Only there`s a catch and it`s a big one. I`ll explain next.
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HEWITT: Jon Cornyn has said he wants to have hearings on bump stocks open to a vote. Are you open to a vote?
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: Yeah. Look, I didn`t know what they were until this week. And I`m an avid sportsman. So, I think we`re quickly coming up to speed with what this is. Fully automatic weapons have been banned for a long time. Apparently this allows you to take a semiautomatic, turn it fully automatic, so clearly that`s something we need to look into.
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HAYES: A significant number of congressional Republicans as well as the White House said today they are open to banning those so-called bump stocks, the devices that the Las Vegas mass shooter used to kill or injure more than 500 people in just 10 minutes.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should bump stocks be...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should people be allowed to buy devices that...
TRUMP: We`ll be looking into that over the next short period of time. We`ll be looking into that over the next short period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Short period of time tends to mean never, but maybe not this time.
In something of a surprise, the normally vehemently anti-regulation National Rifle Association seems to suggest today it was fine with banning bump stocks, saying in a statement, quote, "NRA believes the devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations."
But read the fine print. What the NRA is advocating is not legislation to ban bump stocks. Instead, it is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.
As Politico points out, the move is designed to head off a messy gun control debate in congress, and a debate over issues such as universal background checks on gun sales, a ban on assault weapons, and limits on high capacity ammunition magazines.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has introduced new legislation to ban the sale and possession of bump stocks and similar devices, suggested today that the NRA`s stance is really designed to maintain the status quo, saying in a statement, "the ATF in 2010 made clear that it did not have the authority to regulate bump stocks under the Gun Control Act or Nnational Firearms Act. Legislation can and will save lives, and congress should act immediately."
Here to break this down, Democratic Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota. He`s a deputy share of the Democratic National Committee.
Congressman, what do you think is happening here?
REP. KEITH ELLISON, (D) MINNESOTA: Well, I think, you know, talk about the least you can do. I mean, bump stocks, of course we should ban them. They shoulder in have been allowed.
But what about all of the other lives we could save if we took more action? I mean, look, you know, there should be universal background checks. You should not be able to have a high-capacity magazine. We ought to be able to step up and ban all these weapons of war that people use on our streets so we can protect human life.
But I mean now that we`ve seen 59 people killed, murdered, over 500 people injured, you wonder what it`s really going to take to actually take real action.
You know, I`d say that when they killed 20 kids at Sandy Hook or killed 59 people partying in Miami, I mean, now we see this tragedy. The bottom line is there is -- the bump stock is just a minimal starting point.
I really do believe that we need to put the lives of people first, and put somebody`s right to possess these weapons of war way behind.
HAYES: Well, OK, so then I want to ask about the sort of mismatch there is between the problems and the solutions. So part of the issue it seems to me is, you know, people who advocate for greater gun safety legislation say, you know, we`ve got 30,000 Americans dying every year, about two- thirds of those are suicides, 10,000 gun homicides. We need to do these things.
And then when you look at the things that are being advocated like banning bump stocks or even universal background checks, or even high-capacity magazines, the idea that that`s going to stop or reduce the amount of gun homicides in Chicago and Baltimore, it`s hard to make that case, and yet that`s what`s politically possible.
How do you bridge that gap?
ELLISON: Well, look, I think that a lot of the guns in Chicago come from other states -- Wisconsin and Indiana. There needs to be stronger enforcement there.
But I think in this case, you know, every time you save one life, you are saving somebody`s whole world, Chris. So we`re going to solve this problem with a number of different measures. But you`ve asked about the politics. That`s the hardest part, right? Because even though about 90 percent of Americans say that there ought to be background checks for handguns, we still cannot get them. And this is because the NRA and others are funded by gun manufacturers, give very, very generous donations mostly to one party, the Republicans, overwhelmingly.
HAYES: Do you think it`s that money? I`ve gone back and forth on this...
ELLISON: Not only, not only.
HAYES: Yeah, it seems to me you could wipe out the money that Mitch McConnell`s gotten from the NRA and he would be acting no differently about what legislation he`s going to bring up in that senate.
ELLISON: Well, I`m not sure that`s true either. I think that it is in part the money. I think that it is aggressive lobbying by some people. I think some of these folks get into office based on their devotion to guns. I mean, look at Roy Moore right now. He`s waving pistols around at a press conference. I mean, these folks, there`s a selection element to this thing as well.
So I think you`re right. There is a complicated thing. But look, this has absolutely nothing to do with hunting rifles, shotguns, people going hunting, being a sportsman. That`s irrelevant. Most sports people agree there should be background checks on these handguns and these other sort of measures that really cost so many lives all over this country.
But we really got to look at the money too, Chris. I mean, it`s not just the money in terms of donations. It`s the money in terms of the money spent lobbying. It`s the money spent on independent expenditures that try to shape public opinion. It is a range of advocacy that manufacturers owned by wealthy people keep on fighting for to stop us from passing sane, sensible gun legislation.
You know, we`ve had more mass shootings than we have had days in the last year and a half. It`s outrageous. And if we can do bump stocks we`re going to do them, but we need to do much more than that.
HAYES: All right, Representative Keith Ellison, thank you for being with me tonight.
ELLISON: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, democracy in the age of Facebook. As we learn more about what happened in 2016, what responsibility do social media companies have to prevent intrusion into elections? The experts are here to talk about just that coming up.
And a rare breaking news Thing One, Thing Two starts right after this.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, a Sistine Chapel of political hypocrisy by an elected official. It comes from this Republican, Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, a member of the House pro-life caucus, endorsed by Life PAC , given an award in 2015 by the Family Research Council for a perfect, perfect voting record opposing abortion rights.
So this past January, it wasn`t unusual to see a post like this on Murphy`s Facebook page. "We`ve had great victories to protect the sanctity of life in the first weeks of this new year, #defendlife."
But Congressman Murphy received a text message a day after that post from a woman he has since acknowledged having an affair with. According to said text message, the records of which were obtained this week by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, she texted, quote, you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options."
A reply from Murphy`s cell number responded, "I get what you say about my march for life messages. I`ve never written them. Staff does them. I`ve read them and winced. I told staff, don`t write any more. I will."
Murphy has not responded to the Post Gazette`s report, but one hour after that report published on Tuesday, alleging he urged his mistress to get an abortion earlier this year, the House held a vote on a bill to restrict abortion rights. And can you guess what Tim Murphy did? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Pennsylvania Republican Tim Murphy, a congressman staunchly against abortion rights, reportedly urged a woman he was having an affair with to have an abortion. An hour after that report, the House voted on a bill to restrict abortion rights, making abortions after 20 weeks illegal in every state. This bill likely won`t have enough votes to pass the Senate, nevertheless clear muster at the Supreme Court, but Republicans applauded in the chamber as it passed the House.
And among those voting in favor of restricting abortion rights was Congressman Tim Murphy.
Yesterday, Murphy announced he would be retiring at the end of his term. Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that Murphy would be resigning a lot sooner than that. His last day is now October 21.
HAYES: Facebook, it`s not only the largest media company anywhere on the globe, it is also, with possibly I guess the exception of the world`s major faiths, the single institution with the greatest audience size in the history of human civilization. What other entity has assembled 2 billion people? Worldwide, more than 2 billion active users, 1.3 billion daily active users, 300 million photo uploads a day. 510,000 comments posted every 60 seconds. And close to 5 billion pieces of content shared daily.
All of which generates a lot of money, $9 billion in ad revenue in the second quarter of this year alone.
And as massive as Facebook is, it isn`t just a social media platform. As one of our next guests, Max Read suggests, the comparisons include government metaphors like a state, the EU, the Catholic Church, Star Trek`s United Federation of Planets, and business metaphors like a railroad company, or a mall, physical metaphors like a town square, an interstate highway, or an electrical grid.
Facebook right now seems to boast the kind of ubiquity of an electrical grid. But what it delivers isn`t just a neutral commodity, its content can be as innocuous as a flier stapled to a telephone pole, or as malevolent as fake Russian accounts buying political ads.
Facebook has the power to flip a switch on an algorithm they own proprietorially and do -- what, exactly? What could they do? I mean, if Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg were to run for president, could Facebook`s algorithm assure only favorable coverage of candidate Zuckerberg? Only unfavorable coverage of everybody else running for president?
Even if that power is not ever used unethically by Facebook itself, the scope of Facebook is so massive it may have grown wildly beyond their control. The perfect host for a virus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO & CO-FOUNDER: We`ve been working to ensure the integrity of the German elections this weekend. But we are in a new world. It is a new challenge for internet communities to have to deal with nation-states attempting to subvert elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Arguably the most powerful non head of state in the world assuring us his team of engineers will get on top of the problem of making sure the world`s elections are secure.
How exactly did we end up here?
I`m joined by Silicon Valley reporter Kara Swisher, an NBC News contributor and also the Executive Editor of Recode, where her interview with Mark Zuckerberg was published earlier this year.
Also with me, Siva Vaidhyanathan he`s a Professor of Media Studies at University of Virginia, author of the book, The Googlization of America, and a forth coming book about Facebook called, The Anti-social Network.
And last but not least, Max Read, Senior Editor of New York Magazine, author of a phenomenal recent article titled, Does Mark Zuckerberg Know What Facebook Is?
I want to start with you, Max. I love the piece. The basic argument of the piece is, this thing is so massive and it`s operating at such scale the person who created it can`t know what it is.
MAX READ, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Yeah. You put it well when you said it`s the largest gathering of people ever assembled on the planet. It`s about the size of Christians now. The group of people that we say Christians is about the same size as Facebook.
And when you say there are 2.2 billion Christian on the planet, most of them -- a lot of them aren`t going to church once a month. But Facebook users, when we say 2.2 billion, that`s once a month they`re signing into Facebook.
HAYES: And it`s 1.3 billion daily?
READ: Just in a day that`s 1.3 billion.
So, you`re talking about something that is so big even the guy who created it only has one particular kind of perspective on it. He can see certain aspects of it, he can think about how he might want to -- what he might want to do with it, but you can`t grasp something that size, that can change the world in that kind of way in one phrase.
HAYES: Kara, does Zuckerberg, and I`ll ask you this too, Siva, because I know you`ve talked to him, but does Zuckerberg -- does he himself feel -- he doesn`t strike me as a person who is like easily humbled, and he seems quite sure of himself in certain ways.
Does he understand what he`s running and the thing that they have built?
KARA SWISHER, NBC NEWS: Well, I`m going to step back on you both of you a little bit. It`s just a company, and you can say the same thing about Google or Amazon or any of these companies that run our things.
This happens to be, obviously, the biggest gathering, biggest social network on the planet, and the biggest communications company, biggest media company, however you want to call what it is.
I think he grasped it. I think he has a lot of control over it. I think they do -- what they have done is a lot of sloppiness in a lot of areas and they haven`t thought of the ways the platform could be abused and how social media can become weaponized.
That`s what I talk about a lot is that social media has become is weaponized, whether it`s Google or -- not really Google but Twitter.
HAYES: Twitter, yeah.
SWISHER: Or Facebook, or some other areas.
The fact of the matter is it`s a big company. They have control over the platform. They have control over the alga rhythm, and they certainly can do things to prevent these things and put these things in place. They just have been growing so fast they didn`t get to it.
People are talking about the nation state idea, I guess. I suppose.
They certainly have sway over a lot of things but, you know, it`s a little fever dream of old media to imagine they will suddenly sway the election or something like that.
HAYES: I guess here is my question to follow up on that. I play this idea -- I remember there was a time when Facebook -- there was some video they published and I forget what it was about. It was about something fairly technical and all of a sudden on my news feed and I talked to other people and they were like, oh yeah, it was in mine, too.
And, I just had the thought, like, they could just have every person in America see whatever content they want to have. And if they did flip that switch, that would be the largest broadcaster in America.
SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Chris, we can focus on what they have done and shown that they`ve done.
After the 2012 election, they published an academic paper emphasizing the fact that Facebook could in fact influence the level of voter turnout modestly but statistically significantly in certain areas, because the urge to vote is often socially shared and contagious.
They ran the tests, different places around the United States. They did it in conjunction with academic researchers, and they showed that they could actually influence voter turnout.
Now, that`s nothing close to the scenario you just painted of Mark Zuckerberg picks the president, but Facebook could and in fact did affect how many people voted in a particular place.
That might sway a local legislative race. It might sway the state of Florida, because that was 114,000 votes in November, right?
So Facebook has the ability to do more than its ever imagined.
The thing is, you know, I like how Kara put it about being weaponized. What we have right now is a system that unlike anything else we`ve seen in human history. So, trying to find the metaphor it fits in is futile. Facebook is Facebook. There has never been anything like it. There probably will never be another thing like it.
But if you design from ground up a system that would benefit authoritarian leaders and benefit various forms of nationalists, you could not do better than to invent Facebook. That`s not all it does. It`s great for puppies, it`s great for babies and --
HAYES: It does remind me -- Wait, but Kara I want you to respond because you`re rolling your eyes.
SWISHER: I`m not raising -- listen. I can`t believe I`m defending Facebook because I`m one of their biggest critics around house -- it`s not a benign platform and that is the problem that Mark and the rest of them --
HAYES: What do you mean by that?
SWISHER: They pretend its a benign -- Everyone in Silicon Valley, everything is a benign platform. We`re just making these tools, we don`t know how they are used. If you sit with them it`s exhausting to talk to them about it.
I think one of the things is is they see it as a benign platform. It is not a benign platform. Facebook Live is not. Any of the tools are not. All of these are not benign and they have to start taking responsibility for the tools and for the use of the tools and for the platform they built.
That said, look, you know, remember when Microsoft was going to kill us all?
SWISHER: It didn`t. These things happen.
Remember when blank was going -- Now Amazon apparently --
VAIDHYANATHAN: No one is going to kill us all, but the idea they would take responsibility for this Frankenstein monster that they built is, I think, unrealistic.
VAIDHYANATHAN: There is no way for them to fix Facebook. The problem with Facebook is Facebook.
What they have suggested is cosmetic. What they suggested might work in a fairly controlled test environment like Germany, which has deep Republican roots and has rules against hate speech, and whatever they did in Germany is not a good test for what is going to happen and has happened in Miramar and what`s going to happen and has happened in India, what is going to happen and has happened in the Philippines.
That`s where Facebook is doing the biggest damage, not in the United States.
HAYES: So that -- back -- I want to talk about the idea that Kara said about a benign platform and Siva`s point which is that the thing is built to be this platform, right?
At NBC News, when we publish a thing, it goes through standards. It gets lawyered and we say, this content -- and that`s not what Facebook is about, right? It`s like, we just got a platform you published.
But then, to the point what Kara and Siva are saying is like, at a certain point you can`t disengage from the stuff people are putting on your platform.
READ: Right. I mean, there has to be responsibility taken at some point. And this is why it`s interesting to hear Kara bring up Microsoft because Microsoft was going to kill all of us and then an enormous Anti Trust lawsuit was brought against it. The power of the people and the form of government was brought to bear against a company that had grown too big.
I don`t think we don`t have a clear sense of exactly how and why the Anti Trust lawsuit affected Microsoft, but it meant that it was flat footed when the internet really hit it big and it meant that Microsoft is now catching up to these other four companies that are newer ones.
In this -- in that way, we have to be thinking about how we can put ourselves in the position to stop Facebook from keeping together.
SWISHER: To be clear, Microsoft broke laws. This is -- one of the issues is Microsoft you can say definitely -- listen, I covered that with the Washington Post. I`m very familiar with what happened there and what they did.
The fact of the matter is, they also missed out on innovation. It wasn`t just the Anti Trust laws. Bill Gates initially did not get the internet. He didn`t think it was that big of deal. He didn`t get where computers were going. Steve Bomber was insulting mobile phones for the longest time.
There are cycles of innovation. And this is going to happen to Facebook too. Facebook is not going to be -- remember when AOL was so big and now it isn`t?
HAYES: Here is my question --
VAIDHYANATHAN: Just because it happened before doesn`t mean it will happen the same way.
HAYES: Right. I want to separate --
VAIDHYANATHAN: There`s unseen --
HAYES: Let me separate two questions. There is a conception distinction I want to separate.
There is a question about is the size essentially reached some kind of escape velocity where it is no longer within the kind of cyclical things that happen along with innovation and the giants and behemoths, Kara, have noted that were going to be --
SWISHER: They can control it. They can control it. They just haven`t done the work they need to control it.
And I know, listen, none of us are technical, let`s be clear here. They have built this thing and they can absolutely control it. I think the issues that people are worried about in Silicon Valleys is around AI and when that starts to control it --
HAYES: Let me just -- I want to zero in on that Kara. When they say they can control it, what I`m hearing -- I want to make sure, you think they have the capacity if they change thier assumptions and they change their behavior and they change their policies around what the platform is doing and allowed to be done to make it a benign platform or not a non-benign one.
SWISHER: Not a non-benign platform, but you know they control adds and they sure know how to -- they don`t control all the Russians but they certainly have control over spam and they certainly have -- the same way that Google does this.
It`s bad business for Facebook to be in the business that is out of control.
VAIDHYANATHAN: But Google doesn`t control what it does top to bottom. Google has some influence over what gets linked high.
But basically Facebook runs differently. Facebook would have to abandon its self-service ad platforms. It would have to abandon the process of ad tech, which relies on deep surveillance of nearly two -- of more than 2 billion people.
I mean, they would have to restructure from the ground up, do everything differently to fix the problems that we see right now, because it is so easily hijacked at the core.
The problem with Facebook is Facebook. It`s not something around the edges.
HAYS: Max, I mean, we`ve tried --
SWISHER: Google -- May I --
READ: We`ve spent five years trying to trust them and letting them say we`re going to fix this and we`re going to do this and it just keeps getting worse. At what point do we say, Mark Zuckerberg, you don`t get to control this anymore. You`ve done a bad job.
SWISHER: Well, that`s a fair point. One of the things they have done is slow rolled a lot of things. That`s what happening here. He initially said this wasn`t a big deal and maybe it was a big deal and then he wrote a long essay saying, okay, maybe there is some issues.
I think the -- you know, and then you see statistics.
What is interesting is the statistics around how many people get news from Facebook and people rely on things.
HAYES: Yeah. It has become central, central to American news consumption.
SWISHER: To many, to many and then the question is, what does that mean? Is it a utility. Is it more than that? Is it something else? I think utility is probably a better word than any of these nation states or his team of Asia --
HAYES: So, I want to -- I want to talk about this for hours because I think it`s fascinating and you guys all know what you`re talking about.
Kara Swisher, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Max Read, thank you. I learned a lot in that conversation.
Before we go, I want to tell you we have a huge show tomorrow night. Rare interview with the great Lin-Manuel Mirando on his efforts to bring awareness to the crisis in Puerto Rico. And I`ll be joined by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Both interviews tomorrow night right here on All In.
That`s All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
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