Mueller's team interviewed Priebus Transcript 10/13/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Josh Dawsey, Natasha Bertrand, Nick Akerman, Joyce Vance, Tom Reed, Hooman Majd, Jason Maddy

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 13, 2017 Guest: Josh Dawsey, Natasha Bertrand, Nick Akerman, Joyce Vance, Tom Reed, Hooman Majd, Jason Maddy

CHRIS HAYES: Good evening from Los Angeles, I`m Chris Hayes. We have two big stories breaking tonight just in the last hour or so in the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign and the Russian interference in the election. First, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the man who is in the room for meetings with Russian officials and who is reportedly part of discussions on firing the then FBI Director James Comey was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller`s team today according to his lawyer William Burck. Burck said Priebus was happy to answer all of their questions and then we also had a second piece of big breaking news tonight.

That`s NBC News exclusively reporting that Donald Trump`s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort had a $60 million relationship with a Russian oligarch. Much more on that story in a moment, we begin tonight with Reince Priebus meeting with the Special Counsel`s team and the reporter who broke that story for Politico, White House Reporter Josh Dawsey. Josh, what can you tell us about how this meeting came together?

JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: We know that Reince Priebus is of interest to the Special Council office because he was there for a dozen of meetings, spent hundreds of hours with the President and was there when he fired James Comey. When that decision was made, he was off to on Air Force One. He was there in the campaign and that several weeks ago Mueller`s team signaled to Reince Priebus`s lawyer, we want to talk to you. They spoke today at the Special Counsel`s office for several hours we believe.

And of interest to you know, Bob Mueller, is why Comey was fired, what meetings President Trump had with Russian officials, and you know, a whole other host of things including why a statement was written on Air Force One that was misleading about Donald Trump Jr.`s meeting with Russian officials at Trump Tower in 2016. So we know that Reince Priebus is a key figure here and probably took you know, all sorts of questions, a smog as board of questions about Donald Trump and the Oval Office and the campaign.

HAYES: Priebus was there -- a few key moments just to go back through that, right? So -- he was on --was he on the plane when that statement was crafted, that wildly misleading statement about Donald Jr.`s meeting?

DAWSEY: No, he was not on that plane but he was obviously there for you know, some surrounding conversations and White House strategy around that. But he was not on the plane. And to be clear, we do not think Priebus is a target in this. We think he is a witness but he is a highest level witness to be called yet. It doesn`t get much more powerful than Chief of Staff to the President. So, when you`re Bob Mueller, you know, he`s a fount of information and his lawyer said he was happy to answer all questions honestly. So we`ll see.

HAYES: He also was there -- he was in the room that the sort of fateful meeting and correct me if I`m wrong on this, but my understanding is that that meeting in which James Comey says that the President dismissed everyone from out of the room, and then said to him, can you find your way to letting him go, meaning stop investigating Flynn, that Priebus was one of the people who was in the room before being dismissed.

DAWSEY: Right. He wasn`t in the room when that conversation allegedly happened. He had left the Oval Office by then. But he was there during the, you know, surrounding conversation before that. And probably you know, had a number of conversations with the President about Comey at that time and later on before he fired him. So that is a hot topic of discussion for Bob Mueller`s team we know is why James Comey was fired. He could have (INAUDIBLE) should have happened in the firing of him. And you know, a lot of these key moments that involved Mr. Comey, the former FBI Director, Reince Priebus was right in the middle of it.

HAYES: All right, Josh Dawsey, thanks for joining us.

DAWSEY: Thanks for having me, Chris.

HAYES: Now the news on Donald Trump`s campaign manager and his multi- million dollar relationship with a Russian oligarch. NBC`s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engle has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD ENGLE, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight with Paul Manafort, a key focus of investigators looking into correction between Russia and the Trump team. Our NBC News investigation reveals new evidence of the money trail connecting Manafort, President Trump`s former Campaign Chairman to Moscow $26 million more than has been reported before. Money loaned to Manafort before 2012 by this man, Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Which may explain why according to recently linked e-mails, Manafort offered the Russian a private briefing about the Trump campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were unsecured loans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. So we don`t know if they were paid?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can call it a loan. You can call it Mary Jane, if it is not -- if it`s not -- if I there`s intent to repay it, then it`s not really a loan, it`s just a payment. And money launders frequently will disguise payments as loans.

ENGLE: Using official company records from several countries, we are able to trace two loans. One for $26 million, and another for about $7 million made by a company-owned by Deripaska (AUDIO GAP) linked to Manafort in Cypress. And they, in turn, lent at least $27 million to a Delaware company, named after Manafort`s two daughters. In total, at least $60 million in loans from the Deripaska landed in accounts connected to Manafort. Now those transactions are part of the investigation that led Special Counsel Robert Mueller to send agents to Manafort`s home, a raid the President said he found surprising.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man and he`s like a lot of other people probably makes consultant fees from all over the place.

ENGLE: But most consultants don`t receive tens of million dollars of dollars in loans from their clients. We asked Manafort`s spokesman to explained the loans, he didn`t answer our questions but said, Mr. Manafort "did not collude with the Russian government."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES: That was Richard Engle reporting. Richard will be joining Rachel Maddow at the top of the hour with more reporting, you definitely want to stay tuned for that. For more on Paul Manafort and his connections, I want to bring in Natasha Bertrand who`s Political Correspondent from Business Insider who`s been carefully following this story and particularly Manafort. And you pointed out, you highlighted the thing that blew me away the most in this story in the reporting. And that is the statement from the spokesperson for Paul Manafort. He first issues a statement to NBC News which says, Mr. Manafort is not indebted to former clients today and nor was he at the time he was working for the Trump campaign. They then withdrew that statement and gave a new statement that deleted that sentence, the contention that he`s neither indebted to Deripaska today nor at the time. That seems like a pretty big deal.

NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: It is and it says a lot. There has been this consistent effort since it was reported that Paul Manafort was the subject of a FISA warrant not once but twice, the most recent one being at the end of last year to -- you know, for FBI agents to essentially collect all of his stored communications. And ever since then, the line coming out from Paul Manafort`s spokesman has been, well, why was -- why was (INAUDIBLE) bailed? We really need more information on the -- from the Justice Department on this. And they`ve kind of tried to shift the focus from perhaps the reasons why this FISA warrant was obtained in the first place to well, maybe there was some kind of overreach by the Justice Department that was unwarranted here.

HAYES: So you`ve got this story that has been told and we found out those e-mails, that Paul Manafort sends almost immediately upon taking office. In the campaign where he goes to a protege of his as working in Ukraine and says how do we use this to get hull. And the story that Manafort`s people told was that they were owed money, that the people owed them money that they were trying to collect on even though it seemed like it was almost certainly the other way around and he offered Deripaska a private briefing. This adds a new wrinkle if he owes Deripaska $30 million.

BERTRAND: That`s why the original statement from Paul Manafort spokesman struck me as so odd because it`s been well-known that Manafort did this business with Oleg Deripaska in the mid-2000s that ultimately fell through. It was a project that Deripaska had loaned him a lot of money for, something like $17 million and Paul Manafort essentially -- Deripaska claims disappeared with that cash. And so Paul Manafort has always kind of been in this spot where he`s been trying to repay Deripaska for that. And that`s been well reported by the Associated Press and others. So for them to come out and say that Paul Manafort he was indebted to people like Deripaska or that Paul Manafort was trying to collect debt from people like Deripaska just seemed very backwards from the beginning.

HAYES: And I just want to be clear, that $17 million that ended up with the lawsuit in the Cayman Islands and that nothing ultimately came of it, the reporting tonight is new and out passed that to bring the total of $60 million. I mean, we have no idea as of now why Deripaska is channeling $30 million through a series of fairly intricate transactions to get them into the pockets of shielded corporations that are tied to Paul Manafort, right?

BERTRAND: No. We don`t. And that`s exactly what Bob Mueller wants to know now. He wants to know why was this money transferred, why was Paul Manafort trying so hard to use his position on the campaign as leverage in order to get you know, this money back to Deripaska. Somehow it worked some kind of deal out where they could you know, negotiate maybe debt cancellation or debt forgiveness. And you know, former counterintelligence people that I`ve spoken to have said that that is a huge red flag because debt cancellation is a lot harder to track than for example payments themselves. So this is going to add a whole new layer to the investigation.

HAYES: All right, Natasha Bertrand, thank you.

BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: To help put all these two breaking news stories in the big picture on the ongoing investigation, former Watergate Prosecutor Nick Akerman and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. Let me start with you Nick on the significance of Reince Priebus talking to Mueller`s team given that he is the highest ranking person who`s had to talk to him so far.

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR, WATERGATE: Well, he`s obviously the most logical person to go to. I mean, he was in the right place at the right time from the standpoint of the prosecutors. He was there when Donald Trump was dealing with Comey. He was there when Donald Trump was talking about what he was going to do to Comey. He was also involved with the Flynn situation. He made statements about the June 9th meeting at Trump Tower with the Russians showed up. I think he said that it was a nothing- burger. How does he know that, who did he talk to?

There are a whole series of things that he could be extremely helpful on and could provide lots of leads in terms of this investigation. I mean, he was with Donald Trump right from the time that Trump took office, he was in a position as his Chief of Staff where he was in the Oval Office all of the time, he was outside of the Oval Office. He knows who Trump spoke to. And I think even more importantly, he also knows what the posture was with the Trump White House with respect to cooperating or not cooperating with the Mueller investigation. I think he could give a lot of insight into exactly where this White House is coming from, in terms of this investigation and how it views it.

HAYES: Joyce, when you are speaking to the investigators to the special prosecutor and you worked in the White House, you have to be truthful under penalty of felony, is my understanding. You cannot invoke executive privilege in those -- in that context or can you?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA: Well, you know, you really can`t invoke the privilege, it`s really the President to invoke, to keep conversations about internal deliberations from coming forward. So it seems unlikely that Priebus would have asserted it and from all appearances today, he was a smiling and happy participant in these conversations.

HAYES: You know there is a statement -- I want to pivot to Manafort because there is statement from his spokesperson that I think is really interesting and it`s something that keep saying, which is that Mr. Manafort did not collude with the Russian government. And they`re always very clear about that word government and you are smiling Joyce, what do you Make of that?

VANCE: It sounds like something that I`ve heard in virtually every case I ever worked on in 25 years as a prosecutor, right? They find some small way to slice the difference so they are not guilty of what you are talking with them about. This is familiar to prosecutors and so he might be saying, well I didn`t collude with the Russian government, of course, that was in bed with a Russian oligarch. And so this, I don`t think this is particularly helpful or as prosecutors would say exculpatory to Mr. Manafort. At best it indicates that he and his spokespeople are struggling to stay alive here, deleting information from statements that they make and trying as far as possible to give the appearance of not having colluded with the Russians when that $60 million figure is now on the table for everyone to see.

HAYES: Nick, you know, the famous line, right, from all of the President`s men is follow the money. And you were on the that Watergate team. I am just astounded that we`ve just learned of $30 million in loans through very complicated sort of secret back channels from a Russian oligarch into the person running the president`s campaign that we are just finding out about now.

AKERMAN: And there`s probably a lot more that we don`t know about. I mean, all we know about is a bank account in Cyprus and we know about money going into there and into another account controlled by Manafort in the U.S. But we don`t know how much other money went in. We don`t know all of the circumstances surrounding this. I mean this is an enormous amount of money. I don`t think there was anything like this in Watergate. I think here in this investigation, we`re looking at following the rubbles, is what we are looking at and what did the administration and what did the Russians get in return for those rubles.

HAYES: Joyce, final question on Reince Priebus, he apparently dined with the President, I believe on October 5th, a little more than a week ago. Does that raise any red flags to you?

VANCE: So we know that the President has repeatedly made efforts, has reached out to witnesses despite the advice of counsel that he not do so. I`m sure that this would not have been with the blessing of his lawyers and equally certain that Mueller would have wanted to hear from Priebus about what went on during that meal.

HAYES: All right, Nick Akerman and Joyce Vance, thank you both.

VANCE: Thanks.

AKERMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Tonight the Trump attack on the Obama legacy continues. How the President declared war on his own country`s health care system and what it means for you after this two-minute break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: There are days when many Americans find themselves worrying about what the President could do and his potential long-term impact on American institutions. And then there are days like today, when he takes real concrete steps with immediate destructive consequences. Today, faced with a stalled legislative agenda and a fraying GOP coalition, the President used executive powers to make good on two of his preferred political threats. One disavowing the international deal with Iran, a move opposed by most of the world including our European allies and the President`s own national security team and two, ending payments to insurance company that`s help subsidize out of pocket costs for the lowest income Americans, a part of ObamaCare known as Cost Sharing Reductions or CSR.

Now, for months, the President has been threaten to hold those payment hostages in order to force Democrats to negotiate on repealing ObamaCare. Late last night, the White House announced he is now followed through. And this morning, the President tweeted out a ransom note. "The Democrat`s ObamaCare is imploding, massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies have stopped. Dems should call me to fix." Talking to reporters outside the White House today, the President made clear he either doesn`t understand what those CRS actually go towards or he`s just lying about them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: That money is a subsidy for insurance companies. Take a look at their stocks. Look where they are, they are going through the roof. Now if the Democrats were smart, what they do is come and negotiate something where people could really get the kind of health care that they deserve. But the subsidy is really a subsidy for the insurance company, that is not going to people. That`s making insurance companies rich.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Subsidies are "not going to people" according to the President but that`s exactly where they do end up, helping the poorest Americans pay their out of pocket costs for things like deductible and co-pays. Many of those people live in states that helped put Trump in the White House. As this map demonstrates, states like South Carolina, and Alabama and Mississippi which have the highest share of ObamaCare enrollees benefiting from the CSRs. The President`s move is already meeting strong opposition from some Republican officials including Brian Sandoval, the popular Governor of Nevada who said today it`s going to hurt kids, it`s going to hurt families, it`s going to hurt individuals, it`s going to hurt people with mental health issues, it is going to hurt veterans, it is going to hurt everybody. In an interview with NBC News, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine rejected the President`s rational.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This subsidy is not a bailout for the insurance industry. If you don`t have the CSR subsidy, low-income people are going to have a very difficult time that for some it may be impossible affording their deductible and their co-pay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The only substantive argument the President has ever made for repealing ObamaCare is that ObamaCare the law is imploding. It`s a claim that`s been shut down by experts, insurance companies, and the Congressional Budget Office. But his administration has been trying to make that claim come true. Cutting the open enrollment period, slashing funding to help people sign up, taking other steps to destabilize the exchange. But ending CRS payments is the most overt, explicit, destructive bit of sabotage to date. Remove that according to CBO will drive up premiums by double-digits, cause more insurers to withdraw from the exchanges and leave 1 million people without insurance in the next year. As the CEO of One Insurance Company put it on a conference call today, "If you want to have a great health plan for the American people, you wouldn`t be doing this."

In a joint statement, Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi call the President`s move a spiteful act of vast pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America. The question now is what exactly the President is demanding for ransom. According to his Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, a bipartisan ObamaCare fix won`t do the trick. Mulvaney told Politico, the CSR payments could be a bargaining chip in a broader negotiation either to repeal the Affordable Care Act or to fund the President`s long-stalled border wall with Mexico. Congressman Tom Reed is a Republican from New York States who voted for the House Bill to replace ObamaCare. Congressman, how does stopping these payments make anyone`s lives better when we know that it will make a lot of people`s lives worse?

REP. TOM REED (R), NEW YORK: Well, first of all, these are legal payments. They said it`s been ruled by the courts. These are legal payments, they`re not in the law, they`re unauthorized on the executive branch, and what the President has done is put the pressure on Congress to deal with this problem and I`m part of 46 members on both sides of the aisle that put together a proposal that will address this issue of the destabilizing the individual marketplace.

HAYES: OK, so just to go back for a second. Federal Judge had ruled that the payments were not appropriated by Congress but he stayed that pending appeal, right? So just to acknowledge, this is an affirmative decision by the President. He`s under no obligation to do this, he`s choosing to do this and he`s very explicit that he is taking people`s health care a ransom, right?

REED: It`s clear to me that under the Affordable Care Act, these payments are not authorized, they`re not appropriated and we have to go through congressional process to get it paid. The bottom line is, what the President is doing is following the law, and by following the law, we`re putting pressure on Congress --

HAYES: But why --

REED: Where the responsibility does rest Chris, in order to fix this problem.

HAYES: But why do you need pressure? This is the thing that drives people crazy. It`s been 266 days -- there`s nothing that is passed --

REED: Chris, because we have been playing -- we have been playing shirts and skins, us versus them. It`s enough of Democrats against Republicans. It`s time for our nation to come together. That`s why I`m part of the Problem Solvers Caucus working together to bring this a solution.

HAYES: But wait a second Congressman, Congressman, I know you`re from the Problem Solvers Caucus but there are people in Oregon who just got an e- mail today saying their premium is going up right now at least eight percent. There`s so many people across the country. Why is necessary because --

REED: And I`ve been seeing those premium notices for years Chris, and I`ve been seeing the lack of choice in many counties across the country --

HAYES: I understand that but you would acknowledge --

REED: -- but this is a problem.

HAYES: Yes -- no -- I know that. But this has gone up more over and above, it is not just the same thing, right? There was yesterday, the premiums were one thing, today they are 15 or 20 percent higher, right? So you have to complain to those people who are getting those bills from the mail why you guys in Congress, why the Republican Party which controls all three branches of government can`t solve the problem without making them pay more money out of pocket.

REED: This is about not republicans, this is about Congress. Democrats and Republicans solving this problem for the people we represent.--

HAYES: Congressman, you control --

REED: I appreciate the people in the Problem Solvers Caucus, they are leading on this issue.

HAYES: But you are not leading. I hate to tell you this.

REED: Yes, we are.

HAYES: But it`s 206 --

REED: We have a whole proposal together that deals with the 80 percent victory on both sides of the -- of the aisle that we could move the ball forward to solve the health care problem in America.

HAYES: That would be great. But if you were leading and if the solving -- the solving of the problems was happening, then we wouldn`t be in a position where people are getting notices from their insurance companies saying your premiums are going up.

REED: And that is why the extremes on both sides and right and the left who are putting us in this gridlock positions have to be broken. And that`s why we`re part of the effort to do this.

HAYES: Congressman, the President of the United States took this action today. I feel like we`re not acknowledged that. The President took an action today. It was an action he undertaken before. It was an action that he didn`t have to take as evidenced by the fact that it took him 266 days to take it. So why is it the case that people should have worse health care or pay more money for it because Congress and the Republican Party in particular, which controlled Congress, cannot fix their health care?

REED: I think you nailed it right there. Congress needs to act to fix this problem. And that is where it rests and I fully take that path in order to solve this.

HAYES: So here`s a proposal --

REED: It will take legislation working together to get things done.

HAYES: OK. So here`s a proposal. I know that lot of people in your party do not like long legislation, it was one of the knocks on the ACA. You could probably write a three or four lines appropriation bill to appropriate the CSR, bring that to the floor tomorrow. Can do you that?

REED: But that`s not going to fix the entire problem. What we can do is start with the marketplace, talk about stability funds --

HAYES: Right, but it is a problem.

REED: -- waiver authority, repeal the employer mandate up to 500 employees like we did, pay for it in reimbursement policy that are going to drive health care costs down. Now, you got a solution that you can build off of and a foundation to grow.

HAYES: Let me tell you this, I hope that you are successful in Congress for stalling the disaster and we can have you back on the program. But given what we see so far--

REED: I`m working for it, Chris.

HAYES: -- you`ll forgive me for sharing the skepticism of a lot of Americans. So Godspeed. Godspeed Congressman.

REED: I appreciate that. There are many of us that wanted to get this done for the American people.

HAYES: We`ll see. I appreciate you being here tonight.

REED: Always a pleasure.

HAYES: Coming up, the President who sold himself as the world`s greatest builder is stuck in demolition mode. Steve Schmidt on the Trump attack on the Obama legacy next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The last 10 months we have followed through on one promise after another. I didn`t have a schedule, but if I did have a schedule, I would say we are substantially ahead of schedule.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That last line, that is not true. Donald Trump did have a schedule, made it public. And he is substantially behind it. As a candidate he laid out 10 pieces of legislation, including tax reform, repealing ObamaCare and ending, "illegal immigration" that he wanted to pass in the first 100 days. Well we are 166 days past that deadline and none of that legislation has passed, none of it. Instead, the President with blunt object in hand is just swinging blindly at Barack Obama`s legacy. I want to bring in MSNBC Contributor, Republican Strategist Steve Schmidt. Where -- how do you understand where the President`s agenda is and the actions -- dramatic actions he`s taken particularly today just on Iran and the CSRs in sort of unilaterally trying to tear down some of the stuff that was built before him.

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Chris, that`s an extraordinary interview you just did with the Congressman. I was -- I applause your you know, restraint from having an aneurysm during it. It`s a -- look, it`s -- you`ve never seen an action by a President purposefully that is going to harm Americans. It`s going to do real damage to real people. The Republican Governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval is exactly correct. There are substantial issues with ObamaCare that you would like to see be made better. But when you are in a hole, stop digging. And so he made the problem materially worse.

And so you know, we`re looking out at a range of issues. We have a -- we have a President of the United States who`s talking very loosely about a war where it could be estimated as high as a million casualties in the first day of the war in the Korean Peninsula. The remarkable achievement of giving to Iran the moral high ground in a -- in an agreement with the United States, that we acknowledge that they are in compliance with, though they do many other bad things, the complete and total incompetence and malfeasance of this administration where we -- where we likely have significant numbers of deaths on Puerto Rico that have been caused by it. And we look across the board, we see damage to our institutions, damage to our culture, damage by policy, it`s extraordinary to behold at this moment in time.

HAYES: You know, one of the things, I remember I covered the Obama administration, in those earliest days, and it was in the midst of that financial crisis. And they came in and there was a lot very hard calls they had to make, some I think they did the right things, some I think they did the wrong thing. But there was potable sense that they were working -- they were trying to figure out what you could and couldn`t do, to reduce harm. And it seems to me that we`ve got this sort of backwards thing happening now where after this period of time the President is really acting out of peak and frustration in the actions he`s choosing to take.

SCHMIDT: I think there is no question that that is true. When you look at the comments he`s made for instance with regard to Puerto Rico in the hurricane, it is clear from his comments that he views himself as the penultimate victim of the hurricane, because he was criticized by the mayor of San Juan.

And so, when he`s criticized or provoked he lashes out. And he`s lashing out indiscriminately with his usual level of incompetence, and now the cost to people`s lives is going up. And could get much greater as, for example, when we look at the Iran deal, there are serious implications from the North Korean perspective about how they evaluate this as -- and you start now to hear the drum beat and the drums of war starting to sound around this administration and it is quite disturbing.

HAYES: What about the argument that in doing both the Iran deal and the CSR`s that he is putting pressure on a Congress that has failed to act. That he is putting the ball in their court, that he is trying to get them to do things they haven`t.

SCHMIDT: Well, look, I think the thing that unites more Americans maybe than any other issue is their contempt for the United States Congress, which has an approval rating on a good day, that gets to 13%. But unilaterally aggregating an agreement, dividing us from our western allies, giving Iran the high ground in a deal that they are in compliance with, according to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State, and according to the Secretary of Defense that is in the material national interest of the United States, has the affect of making the world more dangerous.

And so if the calculation is Congress is bad, which they are, but the way to remedy that is to aggregate agreements that make the world more dangerous and have the exact opposite effect than the one we are trying to achieve in North Korea than it doesn`t make a lot of sense.

HAYES: It doesn`t make a lot of sense. Steve Schmidt, thank you very much.

SCHMIDT: Good to be with you, Chris.

HAYES: And still to come, the reports that the president threw a fit when he was told to stick with the Iran deal. The global implications of his decision to decertify, some of which Steve was just talking about next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Disregarding his top national security advisers and many of America`s closest allies, the president did not certify the Iran nuclear deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal. So today, in recognition of the increasing menace posed by Iran, and after extensive consultations with our allies, I am announcing a new strategy to address the full range of Iran`s destructive actions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That phrasing there is significant. The spirit of the deal. And that is because Iran has in fact lived up to the letter of the deal itself. They are in compliance.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis even testified it is in our national interest to keep the deal. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others reportedly urged the president to certify it.

But according to The Washington Post, the president through a fit over that idea, so his advisers came up with the current plan which puts the burden on imposing sanctions on Congress.

The leaders of France, Germany and the U.K., along with the International Atomic Energy Agency, took a very different stance today, releasing statements in support of the deal, and Reuters reported that the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will remain committed to the multinational deal as long it serves the country`s national interest.

Much like the president`s efforts to derail the ACA, Donald Trump`s actions keep in the deal in place, at least for now, while undermining yet another of President Barack Obama`s signature achievements.

Journalist and author Hooman Majd has written several books on Iran, including The Ayatollah of Democracy, an the Iranian Challenge.

Hooman, what did today mean for the deal?

HOOMAN MAJD, THE AYATOLLAH OF DEMOCRACY: Well, I think something that has been under reported is the fact that he is, yes, he is kicking it to Congress and they`ll have 60 days to decide whether to snap back the sanctions or not.

But he said that if they don`t come up a plan and they would have to come up with a legislation that would pass the Senate with 60 votes, then he would terminate the deal. He said that. He said I will terminate the deal if we can`t come to an agreement in 60 days.

So, he`s basically saying I`m going to get out of this deal in 60 days, because there is very -- I can`t see any chance of new legislation that would make -- that would make the deal satisfactory to President Obama -- which means a permanent deal and that there is never any end point to the deal.

So I don`t see -- I can`t be very optimistic unless he comes back in 60 days and said well that wasn`t enough time and we`re at Christmas now so let`s give them another 60 days and keep doing that, but that alone will keep the uncertainty around the nuclear deal and Iran at some point will go to the JCPOA, the nuclear deal commission and say, the U.S. is in violation because they are in violation of the spirit of the deal as well as materially in violation because they are not encouraging or not not discouraging European businesses from doing business with Iran.

HAYES: And so one of the things at the core of the president`s speech, the whole idea behind the deal itself between these two countries that haven`t had diplomatic relations for 30 years was to hive off the nuclear issue from everything else. So, deal with the nuclear issue in parallel and everything else that Iran is doing from the U.S. perspective that we don`t like and think is bad and dangerous, that is just a separate channel.

MAJD: A separate channel and a separate issue.

HAYES: And so the appearance here is just sort of smash them back together basically. Is there any way that works?

MAJD: No. I mean, Obama made it very clear. It took two years of intense negotiations and every month we were in some European country for days, weeks on end negotiating just the nuclear deal.

If they wanted to do all of the other issues, it would have been impossible. It would have taken ten years. But the point was to halt Iran`s nuclear program, which they did. Which happened. And now, the Supreme Leader of Iran said at the time was, we`ll see what happens. If the Americans can be trusted on this, and he said I doubt that they can be, and unfortunately Trump is making him right.

Which is not a position you would ordinarily want our president to be in. But he said if they can be trusted and if the deal works, then we can talk about other stuff. Other stuff that we have problems with the United States and the west with.

But now, since he`s trying to mash those two together, I think Iran is basically never going to talk to the United States about any issue at this point. At least not while this is going on.

HAYES: Alright. Hooman Majd, thank you for your time.

MAJD: My pleasure.

HAYES: Tonight the amazing story of a group of veterans who are taking the Puerto Rican relief into their own hands, ahead.

And why the president was talking about sacrifices made for children`s furniture. Thing One, Thing Two, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, the President of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I left Texas and I left Florida and I left Louisiana and I went to Puerto Rico and I met with the President of the Virgin Islands --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: What he met to say was the governor of the Virgin Islands, corrected in the official transcript there in brackets, because of course the President of the U.S. Virgin Islands is the President of the United States, Donald Trump himself.

But that was not the only teleprompter moment the president had today, there was also the sacrifice for the furniture of our children.

That is Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: As we pointed out before, President Trump has a way of riffing when he makes teleprompter mistakes which we all make, trying to make it seem as if he meant to say the incorrect thing as well as the correct thing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And authoritarian powers.

Through their lives and though their lives were cut short --

In stem fields where women have been truly under representative. Really, I guess you could say under represented.

And very importantly air traffic controllers will highly, and this will be highly valued, these are highly valued people, these are amazing people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Which brings us to today`s installment from the Value Voters Summit, the furniture of our children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They work two jobs and sometimes three jobs, they sacrifice every day for the furniture -- the future of their children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And finally from today`s Iran speech, a cornucopia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It is appropriate and proportionate to measure and other measures taken by Iran -- the Iranian people who long to, and they are just longing to reclaim their country`s proud history.

Prevent Iran from developing an internet -- this is so totally important, an intercontinental ballistic missile.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: It has been more than three weeks since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico and the situation remains extremely dire, particularly in remote areas.

49 people are reported dead with reports that some 90% of the island is without power, and a third of residents still lacking clean drinking water. Cell phone and internet service remains extremely spotty, making it difficult to get an accurate picture of the situation on the ground.

So many have been getting updates from these guys, a group of U.S. army veterans turned volunteers who have been handing out food, water and medical supplies in remote areas that have gotten little to no aid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this area we`re really the only ones here. We are 12 volunteer veterans and people are hurting really bad right now. These are your fellow Americans and they are suffering and hurting and not getting the support they need to survive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The vets have been uploading videos of residents to Facebook, many of whom have no other way to tell their families and friends they are safe.

NBC News traveled with the men into the mountains of a remote area of western Puerto Rico and we`re going to bring you the remarkable sight and sounds from that trip and speak to one of the vets live from Puerto Rico right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: In a remote section of western Puerto Rico, a group of veterans turned volunteers have become lifeline for residents who have seen little in the way of official aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

NBC News correspondent Gabe Gutierrez went out with them on one of their missions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These men came out of nowhere, pay all their stuff, and they know exactly where they got to go with a map. They have been up to midnight going into the mountains feeding people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody load up their vehicles, five minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you see like big, huge mudslides coming down the side -- some of them the houses are hanging on by a string.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is wrecked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, this one is rough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need food?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, of course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You haven`t seen anyone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy to see you.

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS: Grew up in West Virginia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, West Virginia. So, this is kind of like my home. I would love to see this place without the devastation, because this place would be gorgeous.

GUTIERREZ: What is the town calling you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)

Do you like that name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it fits. A bunch of veterans, military guys, show up in the town and start handing out food and water. I think it fits for us.

GUTIERREZ: Why do you guys do this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, these people need help. They need help. If I was stuck stranded in the mountains, I`d want somebody to come and help me. You know, and I wouldn`t want anybody to forget about me.

GUTIERREZ: Why is it so important for you guys as private citizens to step up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they are Americans, just like everybody here. If we were in trouble, we would want help too. These Americans are in trouble, they need help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The expendables, they are not getting paid for a movie, these are the guys who are the real McCoy. Jump in. The real Rambo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And I`m joined from Puerto Rico by one of those expendables, former Army Staff Sergeant Jason Maddy. Jason, first, how are you getting to where you`re going and getting supplies to the people you`re getting them to?

JASON MADDY, FMR ARMY STAFF SERGEANT: Basically we`re plotting out areas that are remote that we know are very far back into the mountains. We`re plotting out on maps. We are getting guided by the local population and they are taking us to the areas where people are trapped, isolated, they have no food, no water. And they are helping us out, guiding us in pretty much.

HAYES: You posted a video about people getting one meal ration with some snacks basically and six bottles of water for a whole family.

How dire is it in the places you`ve been?

MADDY: It`s extremely dire. The families there, they have -- some of these families have five and six children and you`re only giving them six bottles of water and one snack pack meal per day. And the problem is that that`s when we can get to them.

Most of the time we can`t get to them because it rains every day in Puerto Rico, it`s kind of monsoon season. When it rains the roads wash out and there`s mudslides and it becomes very dangerous.

There`s been times that we`ve been four or five days where we can`t get back to those families and those families, that`s what they are living off of.

HAYES: As someone who is in the U.S. Army, do you think that with sufficient capacity, will, money and resources, that the U.S. military could, in a more targeted, organized way, get to these people and be sustaining them until the infrastructure is repaired?

MADDY: I think the U.S. military -- being actually -- being from the U.S. military, spending 14 years in it, I think we do have -- the military does have the resources to do it. I think it`s just a matter of getting the resources to -- the adequate amount of resources to Puerto Rico to properly conduct these operations to get out into the isolated areas to get to people.

HAYES: What do you want people to know about Puerto Rico that are watching this?

MADDY: I want them to know that they are the most resilient people that I`ve ever met. They are wonderful. Even in tragedy, even in tragedy, they come together and they help each other.

And you know, they come up to us with no -- we`re trying to give them water, what little we have, and they`ll come up and offer us water. And you know, it kind of breaks our hearts to see it, to see it like that. But they are great people.

HAYES: All right, I just want to quickly note that you can see all of Jason`s videos which are incredible on his Facebook page and keep up with his team`s efforts there.

Jason Maddy, thank you so much for doing what you`re doing and being with us tonight.

MADDY: Thank you, sir. Good night.

HAYES: That is all in for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

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

END

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