Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 20, 2017 Guest: Pam Keith, Evan McMullin, Phillip Rucker, Jason Johnson, Richard Painter
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: "ALL IN" with Chris Hays starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
JOHN KELLY, CHIEF OF STAFF, WHITE HOUSE: She sat down and we were stunned.
REID: Debunking the Kelly attack.
KELLY: Even for someone that -- is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.
REID: The White House Chief of Staff is caught in a lie and there`s video to prove it.
CONGRESSWOMAN FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: He didn`t tell the truth and he needs to stop telling lies on me.
REID: Tonight, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson`s speech in its entirety as President Trump`s Gold Star Family firestorm erupts again. Plus --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen the speech?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: I have.
REID: The jaw-dropping White House response when confronted with another falsehood.
SANDERS: If you want to get into a debate with a Four Star Marine General, I think that that`s something highly inappropriate.
REID: And what the Kelly incident means for the adult day care theory of managing the President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is now a grown-up in the room.
REID: When ALL IN starts now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Good evening from New York, I`m Joy Reid in for Chris Hays. Today, the White House is defending Chief of Staff John Kelly`s smear made yesterday from the White House Podium against the Democratic Congresswoman from Florida, Frederica Wilson. Wilson who accused the President of being disrespectful to the family of fallen Army Sergeant La David Johnson is a longtime friend of the family. She knew La David since he was child. She knows Johnson`s brothers and his uncle who went to the school when she was the principal. And she was in the limousine this week when the -- with the family as they drove to the airport to claim the body of Sergeant Johnson, one of the four U.S. soldiers who were killed in an ambush in Niger two weeks ago.
And that is why she was with Johnson`s family when they took the call from President Donald Trump on a speakerphone. Wilson`s answer to a local news reporter who asked her how the call went led to two days of Trump attacks on Twitter and on camera. But yesterday`s appearance by Trump`s Chief of Staff took it to a new level. Kelly himself a Gold Star Father went before the White House Press Corps to defend the President`s handling of the phone call. And then he added this completely unrelated story about a prior encounter with the Congresswoman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: On October -- April, rather, of 2015, I`m still on active duty, I went to the dedication of the new FBI field office in Miami. And it was dedicated to two men who were killed in a firefight in Miami with -- against drug traffickers in 1986, a guy by the name of Grogan, and Duke. Grogan almost retired, 53 years old, Duke I think less than a year on the job. Anyways, they got into a gunfight and they were killed. Three others, FBI agents were there were wounded, not retired. So we go down, Jim Comey, get an absolutely brilliant memorial speech to those fallen men and to all of the men and women of the FBI. We serve our country so well, in law enforcement so well. There were family members there. Some of the children that were there were only three or four years old when their dads were killed on that street in Miami-Dade. Three of the men that survived the fight were there and gave rendition of how brave those men were and how they gave their lives.
And a congresswoman stood up and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up and all of that, and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building and she took care of her constituents because she got the money and she just called out President Obama and on that phone call, he gave the $20 million to build a building and she sat down and we were stunned, stunned that she`d done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned. But none of us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and were appalled. We just said, OK, fine. So I still hope as you write your stories, and I appeal to America, that let`s not let this maybe last thing that`s held sacred in our -- in our society, a young man, young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country, let`s try to somehow keep that sacred, but in a road of a great deal yesterday by the selfish behavior and the member of a member of Congress.
REID: Frederica Wilson have completely denied Kelly`s allegations that the Congressman in neglected to mention the fallen FBI agents who are being honored, that she talked only about her own role in getting $20 million from President Obama for the bureau`s new building and that she then sat down and they were stunned. Well, tonight, you could decide for yourself who`s telling the truth because the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has unearthed a video of that 2015 speech and we`re now going to play it for you in its entirety. Take a look.
WILSON: I want them to stand, as I call their name. Ladies first. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz who is a fighter and champion of the people, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart who is always advocating for the -- for the issues that impact our community, Congressman Carlos Curbelo who is new to the Congress but blazing his all great trail and they all helped move this bill. I also want to take a moment again to recognize the family of Special Agent Grogan who are here with us and the family of Special Agent Dove wherever they might be. We have the honor of having FBI Director James Comey with us. He has the enormous task of keeping all Americans safe and I have seen him so many times but he looks taller today to me. We`re also happy to have GSA Administrator Denise Roth here today. We`re fortunate to have a great local leader as the Head of the Miami Field Office Special Agent in Charge, George Pirro, and I also want to acknowledge our mayor.
Consider this scenario. The brand-new federal building that will house the FBI has been built and the FBI approaches my office. Congresswoman Wilson, the ribbon cutting has been scheduled in four short weeks. The dedication is on the government`s calendar and cannot be changed. One problem, the FBI wants to name this gorgeous edifice at the same time in four weeks. Everyone said that`s impossible. It takes at least eight months to a year to complete the process through the House, the Senate, and to the President`s office. I said, I`m a school principal. And I said, excuse my French, oh, hell no. We`re going to get this done. Immediately, I went to attack mode. I went to the Speaker, Speaker Boehner and I said, Mr. Speaker, I need your help. The FBI needs your help and our country needs your help and we have no time to waste.
He went into attack mode and then two days, pulled it out of committee, brought it to the board for a vote. Representative Curbelo and I presented it. We all voted and I dashed it over to the Senate and put our Senators on notice. Put it on your radar, Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio, who I believe have representatives here today. They hotlined into the Senate floor in just two days and guess what? The President signed the bill into law this past Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 with a bang, bang, bang, bang.
You know what? I will be presenting a bill, a copy of the bill that was signed into law to the FBI and also, pens that the President used to sign that hallowed document. It is a miracle, to say the least, but it speaks to the respect that our Congress has for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the men and women who put their lives on the line every single day. And today, we`re providing a boost to our nation by naming this fantastic building in honor of Special Agents Benjamin B. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove who died valiantly on Friday, April 11th day and what is still considered the bloodiest gun battle in the storied history of the FBI. Most men and women in law enforcement leave their homes for work knowing that there is a possibility they may not return. I may for all men and women and first responders who work in law enforcement, stand up, stand up now so that we can applaud you and what you do. Stand up, we are proud of you. We`re proud of your courage. Thank you.
I don`t know if that was on the minds of the Agents Grogan and Dove as they left their homes in April 1986 but I do know it was an unusually breezy spring morning in South Florida. So eerily -- so eerily similar to today and the actual anniversary is tomorrow. I do not know that Miami in the 1980s was plagued by crime and graphic violence. We all know that. This period has been chronicled in media reports and portrayed on the T.V. show Miami Vice and movies like Scarface. I know Agent Grogan was a company man and was one year from retirement. His wife also was an employee of the FBI. I know that Agent Dove joined the bureau after completing law school, and was living his boyhood dream, according to his family.
I know that their bravery was the motivation for joining a team on that morning, a team that was telling a vehicle with two suspects who, connected to a string of murders and violence, bank robberies. The agents attempted to get the driver to pull over, they were cornered, a gun battle immediately ensued. There was a barrage of bullets. I can only imagine the frustrations of those agents, yet, they battled on. In a desperate attempt to flee, the suspects tried to commandeer Grogan and Dove`s vehicle. It is reported that the suspect shot both agents with a high powered rifle at close range. Shortly after the suspects or themselves fatally shot by Agent Morales, Agent Morales made a memorable statement about his role and that historic event.
He said, I just knew I was going to die but I was going to do my very best to make sure that those suspects did not get away. When the smoke cleared, two agents lay dead and five were seriously injured. So today, it is our patriotic duty to lift up Special Agent Benjamin Grogan and Special Agent Jerry Dove from the street in South Florida and placed their names and pictures high where the world will know that we are proud of their sacrifice, the sacrifice for our nation. It is only fitting that their name should be placed on the same mantle with the letter FBI because Special Agents Grogan and Dove embody the sacred motto for which the agency has become known. Please repeat it after me. Fidelity.
WILSON: And Integrity.
AUDIENCE: And Integrity.
WILSON: God bless you, God bless the FBI and God bless America. Thank you.
REID: So, that was the actual speech given by the Congresswoman, the woman John Kelly called an empty barrel. What John Kelly accused her of as you`ve just saw in that video never happened. At no time did she mention securing funding for the new FBI building because she wasn`t in Congress at the time, she was a state senator. No mention of $20 million, of course. She did talk about her work to pass a bill naming the new building when she was in Congress crediting Republicans like Congressman Carlos Curbelo, then House Speaker John Boehner and Senator Marco Rubio with helping to push it through. Not only did she not immediately sit down as Kelly had claimed, Wilson got the law enforcement officers in the room to stand up so that they could be recognized and applauded and she gave a moving tribute to the two slain FBI agents for whom the building was being named.
Unlike Kelly, she got both their names right. As for the former FBI Director James Comey whose speech Kelly called brilliant, according to the Miami Herald, Comey spent part of that speech praising Congresswoman Wilson`s efforts. "Representative Wilson truly did the impossible and we`re eternally grateful, he said." And so it was not Frederica Wilson, but John Kelly, Four Star General John Kelly, Chief of Staff to the President of the United States who used the deaths of FBI agents Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove to launch a vicious and completely dishonest attack against a Black Congresswoman. And today, despite the glaring video evidence, the White House stood by Kelly`s performance by trying to pretend he said something else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does General Kelly still stand by the statement that he made yesterday that he felt she was grandstanding and then taking -- she was taking credit?
SANDERS: Absolutely. General Kelly said he was stunned that Representative Wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain FBI agents about her own actions in Congress including lobbying former President Obama on legislation. As General Kelly pointed out, if you`re able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes about yourself, you`re an empty barrel. If you don`t understand that reference, I`ll put a little more simply as we say in the south, all hat, no cattle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Have you seen the speech?
SANDERS: I have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that you know that most of it was her effusively praising the FBI agents and when she was talking about what she did in Congress, she was not talking about getting securing $20 million, she was talking about naming the building over these FBI agents.
SANDERS: She was also talking about the --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She then went on to effusively praised.
SANDERS: She was also --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that was the (INAUDIBLE) of the speech.
SANDERS: She also mentioned that and she also has quite a few comments that day that weren`t part of the speech and weren`t part of that video that were also witnessed by many people that were there. What General Kelly referenced yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us specifically.
SANDERS: Exactly what he said, there was a lot of grandstanding. He was stunned that she had taken that opportunity to make it about herself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can he talk here and tell us about this?
SANDERS: I think he`s addressed that pretty thoroughly yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was wrong yesterday. I`m talking about getting the money.
SANDERS: If you want to go after General Kelly, that`s up to you but I think that if you want to get into a debate with a Four Star Marine General, I think that that`s something highly inappropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So we asked Congresswoman Wilson to join us tonight but she had a previous engagement. She happens to at this hour be attending the wake for Sergeant La David Johnson. But we`re not done with this story. Don`t go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That`s obviously not the case anymore as we`ve seen from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life was sacred. That`s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star Families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: You know, White House Chief of Staff Jon Kelly is right. It appears that nothing is sacred anymore, at least not in the Trump administration. Not when Kelly can personally attack a sitting Member of Congress from the White House Press Room with a story based on lies and distortions and not when White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders went to the same podium today and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I specifically said, and I`ll repeat it again, General Kelly said he was stunned that she made the comments about herself and that was the point of what he said, that was what took place here yesterday and we still stand by those comments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And standing by comments that are provably and demonstrably not true is perhaps what this administration does best. I`m joined now by Pam Keith, Democratic Candidate for Florida`s 18th Congressional District and a former U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General and Evan McMullin a former Independent Presidential Candidate and CIA operative and both join me now. And Evan, is there a charitable explanation for why General Kelly would go out to that podium and say something that could so easily be disproven by video?
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it`s hard to find one because he came out and he made such a specific accusation with so many words. I mean, he really laid out the scenario, described it with such specificity that it`s hard to imagine that he`s wasn`t remembering correctly. And I would be inclined to give him that benefit of the doubt, frankly, because I want to believe that we have somebody in his position who still maintains a high level of integrity but after listening to Congresswoman Wilson`s speech which I found incredibly eloquent, actually, she honored the FBI, fallen FBI Special Agents, currently serving FBI Special Agents, she went so far as to honor people of the other party, Republicans in both the Senate and the House at various points in the speech, Comey, she honored as well. It was -- it was a tremendous speech. It was something that you`d expect and hope for from our members of Congress and it hit all the right notes. And Kelly totally misportrayed it.
REID: Yes, I mean, she even repurposed the initials FBI to Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity at the flourish at the end. And you know, Pam, part of what the White House has done is to sort of wrap Donald Trump really in a valor of General Kelly and say, you can`t even question what General -- what the Chief of Staff says because he`s a General. As yourself you know, a military veteran, as former Navy JAG, what do you make of that as a defense that we are not allowed to question what John Kelly said because he`s a general.
PAM KEITH, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FLORIDA`S 18TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: Well, first, thank you so much for having me tonight and I have to extend a hello to Evan McMullin. I`m a big fan of his even though we come from very different political backgrounds.
MCMULLIN: Thank you.
KEITH: And I will say this. The Navy has a motto and the Marine Corp is part of the Department of the Navy. Our motto is Honor, Courage, and Commitment. And the first word is honor. And that means that above all things, your word is your bond. And as a former Navy JAG, I investigated a lot of crimes and incidences and those persons who made false official statements were held as accountable as the people who engaged in this conduct. So the assumption is that a person in the military is going, to tell the truth. And certainly, somebody with a background like General Kelly, we would expect him to tell the truth. But we`ve learned over time that that`s not always the case. I mean, General Flynn, most certainly, did not tell the truth. So stars do not guarantee honesty. I think of all the things that were stunning that happened yesterday and the day before watching a decorated marine officer get on T.V. and tell such a convoluted story was I think the most stunning thing that happened.
REID: Well, especially -- indeed. Especially, I mean, since it was irrelevant to the question at hand which was whether or not Donald Trump`s words to the Gold Star Family who were in the car with you know, Congresswoman Wilson was in the car with them, whether or not he offended them with the things that he said to the family, whether or not he took too long to call them. This is a complete non-sequitur that has nothing to do with it. And yet here`s Donald Trump, this is Donald Trump today again, not talking about the issue at hand which is whether or not his words -- maybe (INAUDIBLE) received wrong if you want to be charitable. But again, going back to attacking Congresswoman Wilson, this is Donald Trump on Fox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He was so offended because he was in the room when I made the call and so were other people and the call was a very nice call. He was so offended that a woman would be -- that somebody would be listening to that call. He was -- he actually couldn`t believe it. Actually, he said to me, Sir, this is not acceptable. This is really not. And he knew -- I was so nice. I was -- look, I`ve called many people and I would think that every one of them appreciated it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: He was on the call. I mean, General -- you know, John Kelly was on the call listening. So the idea that he was so offended that somebody was on the call listening when he himself was on the call listening, Donald Trump doesn`t seem to understand that the people in the car, including the Gold Star Family, say they were offended. So he`s calling them liars too.
MCMULLIN: Absolutely. And John Kelly and others haven`t refuted what President Trump is alleged to have said. President Trump has refuted it but others haven`t. So I think --
REID: Kelly confirmed it, by the way.
MCMULLIN: Kelly -- yes, Kelly confirmed it essentially by saying I recommend that he say, X, Y, and Z. And that lines up with what he`s reported to have said. Look, the point is this, it is very possible that the President wanted to deliver a message that went something like this. Your husband did make an incredible sacrifice. He knew going into this when he signed up for the military, that he may make that sacrifice and he did it anyway and that`s why your husband is a hero. He could have done that and I actually think that`s the message from Kelly that he wanted to deliver but it just wasn`t done quite right.
Now, if President Trump had simply said this, look, I garbled the message but my heart goes out. I tried to do the right thing. We wouldn`t be talking about this right now. But the important -- the thing I just want to say I`m sorry is that you know, if President Trump hadn`t attacked John McCain, if he hadn`t attacked the Khan family, if he`d shown more respect for our military in time, he would have the benefit of the doubt to the American people.
REID: Yes, he`d have the goodwill.
MCMULLIN: And we wouldn`t be talking about this.
REID: Yes, absolutely. And if he wouldn`t consistently attack particularly women of color, because it is not lost on anyone that the person that he and John Kelly have chosen to viciously attack and lie about happens to be a black woman. Maybe it`s a coincidence. Pam Keith and Evan McMullin, thank you, both for joining us. I appreciate your time.
MCMULLIN: Thank you.
KEITH: Thank you for having me.
REID: Up next, why the CIA is correcting its own Director after he made a false claim on the Kremlin`s election meddling. And is America in need of an unprecedented Constitutional Intervention? I`ll talk to one Republican who said it`s time to start considering the 25th amendment. That`s ahead.
REID: The Head of CIA, Mike Pompeo, made an astounding claim yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say with absolute certainty that the election results were not skewed as a result of Russian interference, especially given what we`ve learned just in the last few weeks?
MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: We conducted an election that had integrity. Yes, the intelligence community`s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The CIA almost immediately walked back those remarks saying, quote, "the intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed. And the director did not intend to suggest that it had."
In fact, an intelligence assessment released in January went out of its way to not make any conclusion either way. Quote, "we did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The U.S. intelligence community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors. It does not analyze U.S. political processes or U.S. public opinion."
And yet the director of the CIA appointed by Donald Trump defied his own agency`s position to downplay Russia potential impact on the election. And his boss has gone even further in his attempts to distract from the ongoing investigations into Russia and the election.
And what he`s done is one of the many reasons the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush said it`s time to ask if Trump is simply unfit to serve and whether the people around him need to act and he joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, UN AMBASSADOR FO THE UN: The Russians, god bless them, they`re saying why are Americans anti-Russian? And why have we done the sanctions? Well, don`t interfere in our elections and we won`t be anti- Russian.
I will tell you that when a country can come interfere in another country`s elections, that is warfare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Nine months into his term, Donald Trump still refuses to acknowledge Russia`s interference in the election that made him president. In fact, he`d still rather tweet conspiracy theories suggesting that if Russia did intervene, the somehow were in league with the party that lost.
Yesterday, he tweeted, quote, "workers of firm involved in the discredited and fake dossier take the fifth. Who paid for it? Russia, the FBI, or Dems, or all?"
Clearly, this is a president who sees no shortage of enemies at every turn.
Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer sees no short of enemies. The ethics lawyer under George W. Bush tweeted, quote, "conspiracy between Russia, the FBI and the Democrats? The response to this is clear: amendment 25."
The 25th amendment sets out how a president, who has been incapacitated, physically or otherwise, can be removed. In a piece for NBC, Painter notes that certain behaviors could actually, quote, undermine a president`s ability to lead. He adds, "though remote, we cannot rule out the possibility that a president in a downward mental health spiral could destroy important global partnerships, alter centuries old alliances, and leave the United States vulnerable to terror attacks or war."
All of which leads Painter to ask an inevitable question: is America today in need of such an unprecedented intervention?
Richard Painter joins me now. And Richard, it`s always a pleasure to talk to you. Make your case that it is appropriate to consider the 25th Amendment when Donald Trump is clearly not physically incapacitate,that there is no way to diagnose whether he is mentally incapacitate, because no psychiatrist has treated him.
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER BUSH ETHICS LAWYER: Well, I have been concerned about President Trump`s psychological health for months now. And that`s why I collaborated in this article with Dr. Leanne Watt, a trained clinical psychologist, very experienced clinical psychologist, and we looked at this quite closely and she`s had a lot of experience dealing with a range of different disorders in her practice and there`s two specifically that we`re very concerned about.
One is extreme narcissism or self-centeredness. And we certainly see that with this president. The only properties he visits are Trump properties with his name on them, spending many of his working days at Trump properties. He`s very focused on himself and the election. He won again Hillary Clinton and his own ego, the appointment of family members to the staff. The self-centeredness goes on and on with this president.
The other disorder that we`re very worried about is an extreme anti-social tendency, an inability to understand how other people feel. We saw that last week in his dealings with the families of fallen soldiers. We saw that over the summer after Charlottesville.
When you have racists running up and down the streets chanting death to the Jews and carrying swastikas and confederate flags, that is a time for the president to understand how people feel about that. And instead, he comes out and says, well, they`re good people on both sides. That`s not a human response. It`s not a rational response. It`s not a response to that from someone who is psychologically balanced.
And now we`ve just seen that the Twitter machine is out of control. And just this week, the FBI is collaborating with the Russians and the Democrats, it`s just patently absurd. And to think that someone who tweets that way, who thinks that way, talks that way, is in control of nuclear weapons, they could wipe out human civilization. This is very, very worrisome. And that`s why we have the 25th amendment.
But what do you say, Richard Painter, to those who say, you know, Richard Painter, you`re known to be an opponent of Donald Trump. You`re a never Trumper, if you will. And that the things you just describe are really just things you don`t like about Donald Trump`s style, but that you`re not a doctor and you can`t apply the 25th amendment when you are not a clinician. You just don`t like him and you don`t like his style. That`s not enough.
PAINTER: I`ve been a Republican for 30 years. I wanted to support a Republican in 2016. And yes, going into this election, I felt that he was psychologically unbalanced. Anyone would say a judge should be thrown off a case because he`s a Mexican-American or say that Muslims should be banned from the United States. I mean, the statements he made there in the campaign were psychologically imbalanced.
And if we have to wait around for a doctor to implement the 25th amendment of the constitution, it could be too late. And that`s why we have the 25th amendment. It was adopted in the 1960s in the nuclear age when we understood the dangers, and indeed to human civilization.
If we had a president who is off his rocker -- and this is a very dangerous situation we confront right now. And I`m fine with him on Twitter, but we`ve got to take away the football.
REID: Richard Painter making your case. Thank you very much. Really appreciate your time.
PAINTER: Thank you.
REID: Thank you.
An still to come, John Kelly`s performance this week serves as a big reality check on that theory that despite Trump`s erratic behavior, there`s guardrails in the White House keeping him in check.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two where everything is made up, because #nothingmatters. That`s next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight. Donald Trump has a penchant for the fake. He has a fake Time magazine cover of his golf clubs. He has a fake Civil War memorial at his Northern Virginia golf course, and he even recently claimed he invented the word fake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The media is really the word, I think one of the greatest of all terms I`ve come up with is fake. I guess other people used it perhaps over the years but I`ve never noticed it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: He literally claims, falsely, to have come up with the term fake.
So I guess you all know the answer to this. There is a painting Donald Trump owns which he says is an original Renoir. You could see it right there behind Mike Pence`s head, and it pops up again during his interview with Harvey Levin at his Trump Tower penthouse. There it is. You want to take a guess whether or not that original Renoir is a fake? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So Trump biographer Tim O`Brien tells this story about traveling aboard Donald Trump`s private plane years ago, and noticing an obviously fake version of a famous painting by Renoir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM O`BRIEN, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: And I asked him about the painting, and Donald said, that`s an original Renoir. And I said, no it`s not, Donald. I said, Donald, it`s not. I grew up in Chicago. That Renoir is called Two Sisters on a Terrace and it`s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago.
We get on a plane the next day and he points to the painting again and he says, you know, that`s an original Renoir.
(EN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. So, years later, O`Brien says that he was watching a 60 Minutes interview with Donald Trump and Mike Pence and there it was again, the fake Renoir, evidently moved to Trump`s penthouse after he had sold his private plane. It even shows up when Harvey Levin went to interview Donald Trump at his home just over a year ago for a show all about Trump`s possessions.
So, where`s the real Renoir? Exactly where O`Brien said it was, at the Art Institute of Chicago where it`s been since 1963.
A spokeswoman saying the institute is, quote, satisfied that our version is real.
But Trump being Trump, no matter what evidence is presented to him, he kept insisting his fake Renoir was real, which came as no surprise to his biographer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`BRIEN: And one of the reasons that story to me is so emblematic of him is he believes his own lies in a way that lasts for decades. And he`ll tell the same stories time and time again regardless of whether or not the facts are right in front of his face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is someone that they`re bringing in that the president sees as closer to appear who will be an adult in the room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If General Kelly has the respect of Donald Trump and can play the adult in the room, you might see this administration become a little more effective.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There needs to be an adult in the room, and maybe Kelly is it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely you have got an adult in the room in General Kelly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The premise has largely been accepted by certain members of the media, and even by many Republicans, that our impulsive, irresponsible president -- the childlike taunting tweeter -- must be managed by the people around him, which is why it`s so crucial that we have the, quote, adults in the room to protect us from the president`s more erratic impulses.
The adult supervisor in chief was supposed to be chief of staff John Kelly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS: General John Kelly, a four star Marine Corps general, this is real stuff. This is an adult. This is discipline. This is a totally different culture coming in there. This is now a grownup in the room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: But General Kelly`s shameful performance in the White House briefing room yesterday, his willingness to lie about and smear a Democratic member of congress, and his use of two dead FBI agents to score cheap political points has made one thing abundantly clear: John Kelly is no better than the president he serves. And there is no grownup in the West Wing to protect us.
The death of the adult in the room myth right after this.
REID: We are back. And I`m joined by Phillip Rucker, White House bureau chief at The Washington; and MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson, politics editor at The Root.
And Phillip, I`ll start with you. This idea that John Kelly was sort of the adult in the room, I`m wondering if folks in and around the West Wing feel that his reputation on that score may have taken a blow this week given what he did to Congresswoman Wilson?
PHILLIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Joy, he certainly leveraged his reputation and the credibility he had as someone who led troops into battle and who lost his own son at war in able to help his boss contain a PR crisis. And didn`t do it so effectively, in part, because he couldn`t get his facts straight. And so we now have this story for a fifth day straight.
REID: Well, I mean, you know, Jason, there is a such thing as staff, right? I mean, normally no White House official just walks out to a podium without some decent briefing by staff. How could he possibly get so many fundamental details wrong, including claiming that she bragged about funding, that she couldn`t have gotten because she wasn`t in congress yet.
JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT: Well, Joy, because he`s a liar. He`s a liar just like his boss. And, look, I never believed in the myth of John Kelly, the organizer. It`s always a dangerous sign in a democracy when we`re saying the generals will save us.
These men are soldiers. They`re just soldiers with more epaulets on their shoulders, so he was going to do what Donald Trump wanted.
Remember, this is the same John Kelly that supported the Muslim ban. This is the same John Kelly that`s perfectly fine with people like Stephen Miller and white nationalists in the White House. I mean, he didn`t like Bannon because Bannon was as power hungry as he is.
So, I don`t see any of this as an example of bad staffing. I see it as being a clear revelation that he was always the kind of man who was going to support Trump and his bad behavior.
REID: And, Phil, it does seem, you know, if you look at General Kelly`s history, that he is much more like Trump ideologically than a lot of people who are looking to him as their savior would believe. I mean, it seems to me he is for -- he was for keeping GIMO open. He was for the Muslim ban, as Jason mentioned. He is not some non-Trumpian figure, right?
RUCKER: No, he`s very different personally. I mean, he has a different style and a different way of doing business. But I don`t think anybody can be the adult in the room with Donald Trump. We`ve been watching him for two years now.
And remember Paul Manafort was going to be the adult in the room and then Steve Bannon was going to make him a disciplined candidate. And then Reince Priebus, the establishment figure, was going to create more discipline around him as president, and now John Kelly can`t even do it. Trump is going to be Trump and that`s what we`re all coming to understand.
REID: And, you know, Jason, it hasn`t just been about John Kelly. People have also looked at H.R. McMaster and General Mattis and saying, well, if worse comes to worst, if Donald Trump tries to go for the nuclear football they`ll tackle him and it will all be fine. Are people being delusional in trying to look to those other two generals, let alone Kelly?
JOHNSON: Well, first off, I don`t know if I ever want to put my confidence in a guy whose nickname is "Mad Dog." I mean, it just doesn`t seem like a good idea to me.
But at the end of the day, Joy, think about this, if the safety of the world and our democracy depends on we trust guys to tackle the president if he tries to start a nuclear war, that`s a really low threshold. So, do I believe they`ll keep us all from being annihilated? I guess so, but will they keep him from engaging in policies that could exacerbate tensions in this country, knock people of of health care, and basically erode our relationships with everyone else in the world, I don`t think they care about that, because they haven`t done a good job of stopping him already.
REID: Yeah, and I think, you know, part of Donald Trump is doing is relying on people`s, you know, faith in the military, right. You know, the military still polls as the most popular, trusted institution of American institutions, far above things like the presidency and even the media and even -- bigger than church and religion.
Is that something that White House staff are they deliberately doing? They`re deliberately saying when we get in trouble, we`re going to push a general forward because we know even if it isn`t true, somehow that is soothing to Americans?
RUCKER: Yeah, we`ve seen that actually that move played twice now in last two weeks. Last week, Kelly came out to that briefing room and had that whole presentation with reporters as a way to turn the page on what had been a very damaging narrative building about Trump as this furious president who can`t get things done and is lashing out a people. Then we saw it again this week. And part of it is the president`s own fixation and fascination with military figures as someone who went to military school, but didn`t actually serve in the military.
REID: Yeah, good point. He did not serve. Five deferments.
Jason, at the same time, General Kelly does seem to share something else with Donald Trump, and is he has a penchant to go after and attack a woman. He said is nothing sacred, women used to be sacred. He sure did go after a woman and a woman of color. Maybe he just wasn`t listening to her when she was talking and giving her speech.
JOHNSON: No. Joy, I`ve said this all along, black woman are the Kryptonite to this administration.
I swear, if you are a black woman has anything to say, they are immediately triggered. They can`t deal with it, whether it`s April Ryan, whether it`s Susan Wright, whether it`s Jamel Hill, and now it`s Congresswoman Wilson.
And at the end of the day, what this really speaks to an administration that at their core is afraid. They`re afraid of being exposed by people who aren`t afraid of them. And they`ve never been controlled by the military. Remember, Trump didn`t do that good in military school either.
REID: Yeah, indeed.
Phillip Rucker, Jason Johnson, thank you both. Appreciate it.
All right, guys, that`s All In for this evening. You can catch me back here tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern for more A.M. Joy, and the same time Sunday when I`ll talk to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi.
Rachel Maddow starts right now.
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