Carter Page on Papadopoulos guilty plea Transcript 10/30/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Nick Akerman, Carrie Cordero, Jim Himes, Natasha Bertrand

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 30, 2017 Guest: Nick Akerman, Carrie Cordero, Jim Himes, Natasha Bertrand

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So to be clear, Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs?

PAUL MANAFORT, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, TRUMP 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: That`s what he said. That`s what I -- that`s obviously what our position is.

HAYES: The man who ran Donald Trump`s Presidential Campaign is charged with conspiracy against the United States.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the way, Paul Manafort was replaced long before the election took place.

HAYES: Three arrest, a guilty plea, and a surprise proactive cooperator who is actively trying to collude with the Russian government.

TRUMP: George Papadopoulos, he is an oil and energy consultant, excellent guy

HAYES: Tonight the massive fallout from Robert Mueller`s twin bombshells. Plus, what did the President know and when did he know it? And how does Carter Page fit into all of this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has the Special Counsel reached out to you?

HAYES: My exclusive interview, when ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight the former Chairman of the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign, Paul Manafort has been placed under house arrest, ordered to home confinement while out on $10- million bail. Same goes for second Trump Adviser Richard Gates, indicted along with Manafort and free on $5-million bail. But it was a guilty plea by a third adviser that was truly an astonishing move today by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. First came the indictments of the two senior campaigns to the President on 12 charges, including conspiracy against the United States.

According to the unsealed indictment, former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and long-time associate Rick Gates stand accused of working as unregistered foreign agents for Russia`s former puppet regime in Ukraine and illegally laundering part of a $75 million flow of pavements over a period that lasted into the campaign. Both men pleaded not guilty. And under any other circumstances, the indictment of the President`s former campaign chairman on those charges would be an earth-shattering event in Washington enough to provoke a major political crisis.

But now it`s not even the biggest story of the day because minutes after the indictments were announced, we learned that a little-known campaign aide named George Papadopoulos had already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about efforts to collude with Russian representatives during the campaign and that he`s been actively cooperating with the Mueller investigation for at least the past three months. Papadopoulos is one of a small group of foreign policy advisers appointed to the campaign in March 2016. Days later, after that appointment, according to court filings, he was approached by an intermediary who put him in touch with individuals claiming high-level connection with the Russian government.

And what followed was a series of routine repeated contacts between Papadopoulos and those individuals in an effort to set up meeting between Trump and senior Russian officials. Those efforts were regularly relayed back to, even encouraged by top Trump campaign aides. They were also known to the president himself. On March 31st, 2016, Donald Trump attended a meeting in Washington with his national security team, headed up by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions and right there in the middle of the table facing Sessions is George Papadopoulos who when he introduced himself, stated in sum and substance that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then Candidate Trump and President Putin. But perhaps most significantly, Papadopoulos was told the Russians had thousands of e- mails damaging to Hillary Clinton.

And he was told this crucially months before the public found out about the Democratic e-mail hacks. On March 19th, 2016, Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta received that fishing e-mail, the one that gave Russian hackers access to his entire inbox. Days later on the 22nd, a staffer at the DNC received a similar e-mail which led to what was then a second round of DNC hacks. Now, it wasn`t until June 14th that either of those attacks became public. But here is the thing. On April 26th, just about a month after the hacks, but six full weeks before anyone in public would know about them, Papadopoulos, the man who plead guilty, met with his intermediary, supposedly of the Russian government, who said of Hillary Clinton, they, the Russians, have dirt on her. The Russians had e-mails of Clinton. They have thousands of e-mails.

Today, the White House Press Secretary argued, pretty implausibly that Papadopoulos was just an obscure volunteer whose case had nothing to do with the campaign but the Special Counsel seems to think otherwise. We have now learned that Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27th on arrival at Dulles International Airport. Since then, according to court filings, he has been working with investigators as what`s called a proactive cooperator. Carrie Cordero is a former Attorney with the Justice Department`s National Security Division, Nick Akerman was an Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor. An astounding day, I mean --

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Absolutely. This is amazing.

HAYES: First of all, it feels to me that the track that American history is on switched today.

AKERMAN: Totally. I mean completely took everything off of the oh, it`s a witch-hunt routine so we`ve got something really serious that we`re dealing with.

HAYES: I want to -- let`s start with this idea, Carrie, of proactive cooperator. I want to talk what that could mean, what the significance of the fact that he was secretly arrested and secretly been cooperating and secretly plead as to what this investigation is. What do you think about that?

CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER ATTORNEY, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NATIONAL SECURITY DIVISION: Well, so obviously there was a huge investigation going on. They had information indicating probably already information they knew of what Papadopoulos had been involved in. So because remember, this was a long-standing investigation even before the Special Counsel office was created. There was an FBI investigation and intelligence community looking into Russian influence on the campaign. So there`s more that they knew all along that time. But they obviously explained to him a little bit about in terms of the jeopardy that he was in. He was interviewed, and he lied. And lying is just one theme that I think is revealed throughout both the Papadopoulos situation where he lied during an FBI interview when they warned him that lying is a federal offense, as well as throughout the Manafort indictment that indicates lying in a whole host of other contexts.

HAYES; Nick, what leaped out to you about the -- we can talk about Manafort and Gates but I want to talk about Papadopoulos, what leaped out to you about that?

AKERMAN: What leaped out to me was he started cooperating in July. This was kept quiet until today. To me, that says that they had him out there playing dial a crook, calling people with a wiretapped phone, meeting with people, wearing a wire. There are all kinds of people. Look how many different campaign officials were mentioned in that information. Not by name, but simply by position. And if I were the prosecutor, I certainly would have sent him out with all kinds of stories about being pressured by the FBI, being subpoenaed, what do I tell them, what do I do? And I`ll bet anything that they`ve got a whole array of tapes that have already been made, and there are a lot of other people in Muller`s sights.

HAYES: To Nick`s point, there`s three individuals that are mentioned in the Papadopoulos document, campaign supervisor, senior policy adviser, high-ranking campaign official. We don`t -- we don`t have definitive -- we have some source saying that one of those campaign supervisor might be Paul Manafort. We don`t definitively know who the others are.

AKERMAN: And some are done in the plural too so there is a number of people.

HAYES: There`s also, Carrie, I want to come back to this timeline issue because this really strikes me as significant. The world does not know until June that there are these e-mails that have been hacked, that the DNC has been hacked. And yet you got someone who is in meetings with the candidate. Let`s be clear, I don`t know if we had that photo but just to - - he`s in meetings with the candidate, with Donald Trump, right? There he is. You`ve got that guy on e-mail chains with senior people on the campaign about setting up a meeting who is also being told by intermediary we have e-mails from Clinton. That seems like pretty close to the heart of the matter of what we`re talking about here.

CORDERO: It really does. And this really is probably one of the -- if not the most significant perhaps you know, one of the most significant things that has been learned today, which is that not only did Papadopoulos become informed by an individual who portrayed themselves as affiliated with the Russian government, that the Russians had her e-mails, Hillary Clinton`s e- mails. He repeatedly communicated to other more senior campaign officials that he was in contact with Russian government-affiliated people on -- in relation to this topic. And what did they do? They didn`t say what are you talking about?

MELBER: Right.

CORDERO: Or they didn`t say you can`t be part of this campaign anymore. This is stuff that we don`t want to get involved in. They had so many -- based on just on his information, on his plea agreement, which is limited information, there is a lot more that the Special Counsel`s Office probably has that`s not in that document. But just based on what`s in that document, they had -- the campaign had repeated opportunities to turn away an individual who said that they were trying to set up meetings that they were trying to coordinate efforts, that they were trying to be on the receiving end of information from the Russian government and they did not cut him off.

HAYES: That`s a great point. It`s now two -- we have two documented examples, right? There`s the infamous Trump Tower meeting, we`ve got this now.

AKERMAN: Right.

HAYES: So, we`ve now learned over the course of the last several months, there`s two points at which essentially Russian cutouts, right, say like, would you like some dirt on Hillary Clinton? And in both cases, the campaign is saying yes. You got to wonder, did it stop at two? Did get it to three, four, and five? And did they do anything reciprocally?

AKERMAN: Right. And did they get stuff? I mean, it`s hard to believe that they didn`t.

HAYES: Carrie Cordero and Nick Akerman, thank you both. Matt Miller is an MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst who served as Chief Spokesman for the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder. Matt, your reaction to today`s big news?

MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: I want to pick up on something you were just talking about, this meeting that George Papadopoulos had where he was promised -- where he was told that the Russians had dirt on Clinton and e-mails. I think there was a very significant tell on the way Bob Mueller`s team wrote that indictment. If you go through the rest of the indictment, the -- not the indictment -- the rest of the plea-agreement after that paragraph, it talks in great detail about his attempt to arrange meetings with Russian officials. You get chapter and verse about that. You get nothing else about what George Papadopoulos did with that information about the stolen Clinton e-mails.

You don`t know if he went to his supervisor as he did about these meetings. We don`t know if he talked with other officials on the campaign. You know who does know that, however? Bob Mueller -- Bob Mueller knows because Papadopoulos is cooperating. I think putting that information out there was a significant way for Mueller to tell the rest of the world I know what happened. I know what happened, I know what Papadopoulos did, I know who he talked to. You need to talk to me when I come knock on your door. If you don`t, I`m going to charge you with the most serious crime I can prove.

HAYES: There`s also something here. I want to -- I want to play a little bit of sound because I think it`s important to sort of zoom back out to 30,000 feet. There are now two undisputed sets of facts around people representing themselves as intermediates of the Russian government, promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. In one case e-mails that they have stolen, all before, right, the whole thing blows up. And yet this is Donald Trump during the debate, OK, when his own campaign has been privy to this knowledge. This is what he has to say about whether it was Russia that hacked e-mails. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don`t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She is saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don`t -- maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia but it could also be China, it could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK. You don`t know who broke into DNC.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: I mean, that`s six months after we now know from a federal charging document that someone in -- who is in national security meetings with Donald Trump is being promised e-mails from Hillary Clinton by someone representing themselves as an agent of Russia.

MILLER: Yes, I think that`s exactly right. And one of the questions Bob Mueller obviously will have had for Papadopoulos is who did you tell? And he`s going to go up the chain of command. And if Papadopoulos has told someone else, Mueller is going to ask that person who he told and he`s going to want to get to find out what the then candidate, now President of the United States told. That clip you just played is going to look a lot different in retrospect than it did at the time because you go back to it`s the same issue as the statement he helped write on Air Force One that we now know is misleading that his son put out. It goes to something called concealment. If prosecutors can show you were lying to the public, that in of itself isn`t a crime but it shows that you were trying to cover up something that you did and it shows consciousness of guilt potentially.

HAYES: All right, Matt Miller, always a pleasure. Thanks for making time.

MILLER: Thank you.

HAYES: Congressman Jim Himes, is a Democrat from Connecticut, a Member of the House Intelligence Committee. And Congressman, let me start by showing you what Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to say about George Papadopoulos and the role he played. I mean, the line from the White House is Manafort and Davis were from before the campaign and Papadopoulos, we barely know the guy. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you just explain what George Papadopoulos role with the campaign was?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: It was extremely limited. It was a volunteer position. And again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard.

He reached out and nothing happened beyond that which I think shows, one, his level of importance in the campaign and two shows what little role he had within coordinating anything officially for the campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Does that-- does that square to you?

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, it only squares in as much as it sort of illustrates that you know, the strategy that we`ve seen from moment one in this investigation, which has been to deny and then when you`re proven to be incorrect in denying, minimize. You know, this is what we saw, you know, Don Jr. Don Jr., his meeting, which you correctly sort of related to what we`re learning today, you know, started out as a Magnitsky Act meeting. It had nothing do with Russia. So you know, until these people are presented with indictments and facts on pieces of paper that come from the DOJ, they deny, they obfuscate. So look, at the end of the day, Chris, it doesn`t really matter whether this was a major operative or a minor operative.

He was -- he was a member of the campaign, acting for the campaign and as we now know, rather than doing and I think Carrie got it exactly right, rather than saying my God, this is an enemy of the United States with nothing but ill wishes for the United States, we shouldn`t touch this with a ten-foot pole. His reaction was exactly Don Jr.`s reaction which was let`s do it. Let`s keep this conversation going and let`s see what we can get on Hillary Clinton. And that obviously, I don`t know if that`s collusion. Everybody has a different definition of collusion. It is certainly cooperation. It is certainly working with an enemy of the United States to help compromise an election for the President of the United States.

HAYES: Congressman, you work on the intelligence committee, which is -- which is one of the investigatory bodies here. And one thing that struck me today, particularly the Papadopoulos announcement is that there is a set of facts that we are completely not privy to that did not leak. Let me ask you this. Do you know things about the facts that are not public yet?

HIMES: Well, I do. As you might imagine, this investigation has been going on for a long time. And of course, members of the two committees, the Senate and the House know things that aren`t out there in the public realm. But I will observe a couple things. Number one, at least my Committee did not see this coming. We were not briefed on what Mueller had, what the FBI was about to do and I think that`s appropriate, obviously, given the nature of what he is doing. And I would also observe that -- so this is the big story today. Clear attempts to cooperate with the -- with the Russians and we`ll see what comes out of that.

You know, the same thing with the Don Jr. meeting with an agent of the Russian government which is we didn`t -- we didn`t find that either. The media found that. And that`s important, Chris, because interestingly enough, as early as sort of 24 hours ago, my Republican colleagues were saying we should just shut this down, there`s nothing to see here, folks. Let`s just go away and let`s talk about Clinton and Uranium One, and boom, Mueller comes out. And now the lesson is my God, we better keep looking because every time we look or somebody looks, there is more there, there.

HAYES: All right, do you believe that sort of following up on that that Mueller knows more than the committees do?

HIMES: I absolutely believe he knows more than the committees do. And that`s not because I know what he knows. But it`s just, again, I as I guess the second most senior Democrat on that committee was certainly not in any way briefed about the activities that came to light today. And look, it stands to reason, right? Bob Mueller has resources that the Congressional Committees can only dream of. He can put people -- you know, he can put people with wires on the phone. He has you know, massive investigatory resources. So it doesn`t surprise me that he`s got much deeper probes into this than we could ever have.

HAYES: Final question. Is this moving faster than you anticipated?

HIMES: Well, you know, there is a lot of talk, Chris, it is fast or is it slow? This is as serious as it gets. This is something that reaches into the Oval Office that pertains to how we as a people handle an attack on the core of our Democratic system. Sadly, it`s become very partisan. But look, it was an attack on the core of our democratic system, so none of us should be looking for fast or slow. We should be looking at comprehensive. And I give Mueller a lot of credit because just at very moment that an awful lot of people were saying he should resign -- by the way, including people that you think of as having some creditability like you know, the Wall Street Journal, although maybe that`s not changed in the future. The editorial page.

HAYES: Well, the editorial page. Yes. Eye of the beholder.

HIMES: You know, in the very moment in which people, you know, colleagues of mine on the Republican side, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal are calling for Mueller to resign, at the very moment they`re trying to distract with uranium deals, boom, this hits and it reminds us that there is serious stuff here and we shouldn`t be hurrying this along.

HAYES: Congressman Jim Himes, thanks for taking the time tonight.

HIMES: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Still to come, former Trump Campaign Foreign Adviser Carter Page on what he makes of today`s big indictments. My exclusive interview is ahead. And next, a look at all the major warning signs on Paul Manafort the Trump Campaign simply ignored in two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Paul Manafort`s resignation from the Trump Campaign last year should have surprised no one. There were red flags over Manafort going back years. And that despite Manafort somewhat hilariously originally pitching himself to the Trump Campaign with a promise that, and I quote here, "I will not bring Washington baggage." The opposite was actually common knowledge in political circles and in many published reports. Soon after Manafort joined the Trump Campaign, Eli Lake of Bloomberg wrote that Donald Trump just hired his next scandal. Describing Manafort as "A former lobbyist who`s been linked to one corruption scheme after another."

In fact, by the time that that piece came out, which is less than a month after getting the gig, Manafort had already e-mailed a Ukrainian contract about leveraging his new role in the Trump Campaign writing, how do we use to get whole? Has OVD operation seen? An apparent reference to Kremlin tied Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska with whom Manafort had millions of dollars of business. And Manafort`s protege Richard Gates even stayed on with the Trump Campaign despite years of working with Manafort on the very same projects. In fact, Gate`s continuous relationship with the White House well into this year. The Daily Beast reporting in June that Trump friend Thomas Barrack "was again at the White House with Gates in tow, two White House officials confirmed.

Political Correspondent Natasha Bertrand of the Business Insider wrote today, the Special Counsel just complicated the President`s attempts to distance himself from Paul Manafort. And MSNBC Political Analyst, Times Reporter Nick Confessore was shining the light on Richard Gates months ago with that profile. Good to have you both here. Natasha, on the -- so the indictment. It`s funny because in some ways it almost feels like an open source document because so much of it has been publicly reported, it`s sort of all drawn together and put in one place.

NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Right. It`s kind of like we`ve connected all of the dots now and they`ve put all together in one place for everyone -- for the world to see. You know, on Friday, when the news of the indictments broke, everyone kind of figured, well, it`s either Paul Manafort or it`s Michael Flynn. But it was really unlikely everyone thought that Mueller would be going for such big fish so early on in the investigation. I mean, he`s only been leading it for about five months. But on the other hand, you know, everyone was like, well, Manafort is the obvious choice because everything -- he`s just so vulnerable.

I mean, everything that`s already been reported about his past financial ties, about his FARA violations, about his, you know, alleged money laundering. There was a Wall Street Journal report just last week that said that he`s the target of yet another money laundering investigation in New York. This was just all building for so long that there was really no way it couldn`t be Manafort.

HAYES: And Nick Akerman who we just had here made a really good point to me which he said -- he said it`s a very ingenious charging documents because the charges all revolve around documentation, like failures to file things which are tough to defend against because it`s not a question about witness credibility. They can -- they can make a lot of the cases that are in the charging document just on paper alone and it puts Manafort in a tough spot in his calculation, I would imagine about whether he`s going to talk or not.

NICK CONFESSORE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Exactly. Look, just take one thing. The FARA violation, the foreign agents -- excuse me, the Foreign Agent`s Act. It`s been said that he worked for Ukrainian interests and didn`t disclose it and didn`t file properly and they have him chapter and verse on that it appears. And they`re shining a light by the way on entire business model in Washington of lobbying for foreign governments and pretending not to by laundering the lobbying through nonprofit groups overseas. So right there they had him on something that is technically very, very serious, but are not prosecuted very often.

HAYES; And you`ve also -- so then the question becomes, at the core of this, I want to get to Gates in a second, but the core of this is it really looks like Paul Manafort was way in debt when he got this job.

BERTRAND: Right.

HAYES: And not only was he in debt, he was up to a lot of stuff that whether it was on this side of the law or not, wasn`t the kind of stuff you really want people looking at and yet he gets himself into the center of the campaign. The big question is why.

BERTRAND: He was in debt and he pitched himself to lead the campaign. He really, really wanted to lead the campaign. He wanted this high-level position. And as we saw, as soon as he got on to the campaign, he tried to leverage that. He e-mailed his longtime business associate Konstantin Kilimnik who`s a Russian-Ukrainian you know, a friend of his and he said, how do we use this to get whole. He was essentially trying to collect past debt which he did have to Oleg Deripaska. They had a falling out and Deripaska accused him of essentially stealing $17 million. Now --

HAYES: I want to clear because there`s a lot of facts and names here, right? But like, Manafort says -- Manafort is engaged in this sort of -- according to Robert Mueller, right, this money laundering scheme, right, this flow of income. He then pitches himself to the campaign, right? He gets them to take him on as campaign chair and then turns around immediately and goes to his associate in the Ukraine and says, has Oleg`s people seen this? How do we use it to get whole? It`s not a crazy conclusion that was part of the reason he wanted to be in the center, to begin with.

BERTRAND: It seems incredibly deliberate. And you know, the next month he actually wrote to his associate Rick Gates who was also named in the indictment this morning that he wanted to discuss these overtures that the Russians were making to George Papadopoulos, let`s discuss further. We need to make sure that there is no signal that is being sent. Well, need low-level campaign people to be traveling to Russia, not Donald Trump himself.

HAYE: Which also -- that`s a great point that is in that document. That`s also someone who kind of knows where the line is and how to avoid it, right? I mean, he`s thinking about this signal. Who is Gates as someone who wrote a profile on him, were you really surprised this morning to wake up and find him indicted?

CONFESSORE: No, I wasn`t totally surprised. Rick Gates was the protege for Paul Manafort. And for many years, if Paul Manafort was doing business somewhere, Gates was the guy helping him do it, working out contracts, hiring people, arranging flights, setting up shell companies, including the shell companies in Cypress where a lot of the money from Eastern Europe and Russia flowed and from which it came back to the U.S. He was everywhere that Paul Manafort does or was. Now, when I spoke to him in June, he would not talk that much about the purpose of these things. He always said I didn`t know much about the money side of it but we see in this indictment and this charging document that the prosecutors -- the Special Counsel office believe head was deep in every detail of these arrangements.

HAYES: All right, Natasha Bertrand and Nick Confessore, thanks for joining me.

BERTRAND: Thanks.

HAYES: Ahead, the White House furiously attempting to distance themselves from the campaign members indicted today. A tactic my next guest is very familiar with. Former Trump Adviser Carter Page on the Manafort indictment and Papadopoulos`s guilty plea, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: On March 21st, 2016, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump met with the Washington Post Editorial Board and named some members of his foreign policy advisory team. Now, these were the five individuals who Donald Trump announced would be the Foreign Policy Department of the Trump Campaign. It made news. I mean, people noticed. The candidate certainly at that point needed some sort of foreign policy cred but it also caused some head scratching because of the names candidate Trump offered.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: Walid Phares, who you probably know, Ph.D., adviser to the House of Representatives caucus and is a counterterrorism expert; Carter Page, Ph.D. George Papadopoulos, he`s an oil and energy consultant, excellent guy; the Honorable Joe Schmitz, Inspector General at the Department of Defense; Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg; and I have quite a few more. But that`s a group of some of the people that we are dealing with.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAYES: The names on that list were not generally well-known, or a lot of them are. But one of them we found out today, George Padopoulos, was arrested at Dulles airport on July 27 has since been cooperating with the Mueller investigation and plead guilty to lying to federal officials.

Another name on that list Carter Page. He joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Today, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was indicted. And we learn that former Trump campaign adviser George Padopoulos, who plead guilty to lying to the FBI, has been cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

And just last Friday, according to NBC News, former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page met behind closed doors with Senate intelligence committee staff for more than five hours. And former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump`s presidential campaign Carter Page joins me now.

How you, carter?

CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: Great to see you. I`m doing great.

HAYES: Congratulations on not being indicted.

PAGE: Of course not.

HAYES: You`re a free man.

Let me start with this.

So, George Padopoulos. Did you know him?

PAGE: We met briefly a couple of times early in the campaign, yeah.

HAYES: Do you recall -- I mean, first of all, you were part of that group of people, right? So, the key moment in the Trump campaign, it`s March. And it`s like where is your foreign policy credit? So, he gives this interview to The Washington Post editorial. He says your name, Padopoulos`s name, a few other people.

They`re saying now like these people were basically like people that came in off the street. they`re no different than volunteers who sort of answered phones. Like, is that an accurate characterization?

PAGE: It`s funny. I heard the end of that clip, which I haven`t heard in quite some time. And he said there are a lot of people coming on. And I think that is absolutely the case. So there were many people as time went on that we kept...

HAYES: Right. But you were doing something with the campaign. Like the candidate -- the candidate doesn`t say the name of a person randomly, right?

PAGE: Chris, in the grand scheme of things, the biggest thing I ended up doing is responding to all these fake reports that kept coming out against me particularly.

HAYES: Right.

But at this point there are no fake reports.

PAGE: Well, they`re starting pretty early.

HAYES: Well, no, but it`s March, right. So, the reason, there is five people named there. One of them just got pinched, right? You`re another one of them. Were you -- what was the role of those five people who were named there? Were you guys on email chains together, you and Padopoulos?

PAGE: Look, there is a lot of emails all over the place when you`re in a campaign.

HAYES: Right. But yes or no. Like were you on email chains with Padopoulos?

PAGE: Probably a few, yeah.

HAYES: Were you on email chains with him about Russia?

PAGE: It may have come up time and time. Again there is nothing major, yeah.

HAYES: Well, I mean, nothing major. It was enough for him to lie to federal investigators about and then plead guilty to that he was having an intermediary come to him and sayking you should come to London and talk to someone who has got Hillary Clinton`s emails.

PAGE: Listen, I`ve been focused on other things today.

But someone -- I`ve been getting calls all day asking this from various reporters. And I finally hit back and I said well, where is the main thing? What is your real question in terms of me. And they said there is something in there about some meeting in August.

HAYES: Yep.

PAGE: And what`s interesting about August is by then, you know, they`re saying well, they refer to some random or anonymous people. Were you one of those people dealing with him in August?

Remember, in July is when they started this dodgy dossier with all these kind of false stories. I have been totally...

HAYES: I know. I just -- let`s stipulate for the record.

PAGE: But I had nothing to do with any of that. I`m on none of those.

HAYES: I`m going stipulate for the record you feel you`ve been unfairly smeared, that the dodgy dossier is untrue, that your name has been dragged through the mud. I get that.

PAGE: Yeah.

HAYES: But I just want to zero in on what we know. So what people are talking about is that there is a footnote in this document, right, in which there is a back and forth about, well, should we set up a meeting? Should we have the candidate go himself? And someone says, well, you can`t send the candidate. It should it be a low level person. This is -- let`s discuss. We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.

Now you traveled over the summer to Moscow.

PAGE: Yeah.

HAYES: Are you the person they`re talking about?

PAGE: I don`t think so.

I think that`s a separate reference. And actually...

HAYES: But you`re not sure. You say I don`t think so. It`s possible?

PAGE: I definitely was not. I`m sure on that one that I wasn`t, because it was very clear. And if you listen to the audio of all or the transcripts of everything I said, I was always there just as a private citizen. And I`ve spoken at universities in Moscow, in Russia, in Asia, in Europe many times. So I was totally separate.

HAYES: But it`s already been established, you did get the green light from the campaign to go on that trip?

PAGE: They said if you want to go on your own, we`re fine with that.

HAYES: Did you brief anyone when you got back?

PAGE: I may have mentioned just a few sort of you know things I heard, but nothing serious at all.

HAYES: Well, people keep using these terms like serious or official. But you told them what you did and who you talked to?

PAGE: What I said is taht there is a lot of positive feedback, in general, on the street. The average person is really excited about...

HAYES: About Donald Trump.

PAGE: I think just in general about future possibilities.

So, again, I had no meetings, no serious discussions with anyone high up or at any official capacity. It`s just kind of man on the street, you know.

HAYES: Let me ask you this. Do you remember Padopoulos telling people back then in the spring, Putin wants to set up a meeting. I can set it up. They`re coming to me about Clinton`s emails. Do you remember that?

PAGE: I know nothing about emails. Definitely nothing. I heard nothing about that.

HAYES: No, no, but there`s a direct question on this particular thing.

Do you remember Papadopoulos emailing about this stuff?

PAGE: There were tons of emails happening on a lot of different things.

HAYES: So you could have been on them?

PAGE: I might have been.

HAYES: You might have been on them.

PAGE: There`s thousands of emails. But I definitely didn`t hear anything on email.

HAYES: On them hacking emails.

PAGE: The only hacking I heard about emails is from The Washington Post and The New York Times about my emails getting hacked with this fake FISA warrant that was based on the dodgy dossier.

HAYES: So here is the thing that I find remarkable.

People around the Trump campaign, right, have this idea that like all this Russia stuff is a witch hunt, right. And yet there`s two examples where Papadopoulos has someone coming to them representing themselves as Russian agents saying we have Clinton`s emails. And then months later, someone saying they`re a government lawyer sets up a meeting at Trump Tower to say like we want to help Donald Trump become president, right?

How does -- how do people in the campaign not put two and two together when the hacks start happening about what is happening?

PAGE: That -- to me they`re totally separate. And I don`t know anything about any of the...

HAYES: Which are totally separate?

PAGE: I don`t know anything about those other meetings. I wasn`t part of it. And it`s nothing.

HAYES: Carter, the biggest hack...

PAGE: The only hack I know about is the FISA warrant hack and the FISA warrant wiretap.

HAYES: Do you have legal representation?

PAGE: I have some people that are helping me. My main lawsuit that I`m thinking...

HAYES: But you have an attorney?

PAGE: I have some informal advisers and a formal adviser.

HAYES: Did you bring an attorney to you when you spent five hours before the senate?

PAGE: Nope. No. I`m very, very open and happy to give all the information I can. In the interest of really getting the truth out there, because I think when the truth comes out, when Speaker Paul Ryan says the FISA warrant or the details about the dodgy dossier and what happened and all this documents around that is going to be released, that`s what I`m really excited about. And I think the truth will set a lot of people free.

HAYES: Have you talked to federal investigators associated with Robert Mueller?

PAGE: There are -- look, there has been leaks, there has been leaks going back to The Washington Post earlier in June.

HAYES: No, but I`m asking you right now.

PAGE: And I think someone mentioned it previously. People are respectful of -- he has been respectful of confidentiality. There has been leaks that I spent 10 hours without a lawyer with -- in The Washington Post mentioning that with the FBI. You know, someone was saying about Padopoulos has been cooperating since July. I`ve been cooperating since March.

I mean, I want to get the truth out there and just -- you know, it`s very clear that this is the main offenses were the ones that were -- that happened with the civil rights violations and the wiretapping and the hack against myself.

HAYES: And you`re pursuing a pro se lawsuit about that?

PAGE: Yeah.

You know, the sad part about it is there are two aspects of the January 6 intelligence report. One is the hack. Yeah, I was hacked. And we`ll find out more than when the disclosures come.

The other one is propaganda, right? And the propaganda, if you look at Radio Free Europe in late September, this -- part of the grand premiere, the world premiere of the dodgy dossier are the false accusations courtesy of Radio Free Europe with the financial backing of the cutout broadcasting board of governors.

So, it will be interesting to see how that plays out. This is -- everything that they`re talking about in the January 6 intel report is accurate. Just I`m speaking about it firsthand in terms of accurate as to U.S. government influence on...

HAYES: Let me just establish. So you and Padopoulos, you probably were on email chains together, right?

PAGE: Perhaps, yeah.

HAYES: OK. Those probably included discussions of Russia?

PAGE: It may have come up, yeah.

HAYES: You went to Russia, but you are confident that the footnote about sending a low level staffer is not in reference to you?

PAGE: I definitely did not represent anyone from the Trump campaign during my trip.

HAYES: But that`s different than...

PAGE: Again, I was busy working on more important things today. I haven`t read the sort of fine print. But what was read to me, it doesn`t sound like it has anything to do with me.

Because again, I never was representing myself, and I never...

HAYES: As part of the campaign. I know.

You have cooperated with the FBI. And you gave five hours of testimony to the senate intelligence committee.

PAGE: Yeah. And I`m really looking forward to a more open hearing with Congressman Himes and the rest of the House intelligence committee.

HAYES: I genuinely hope, Carter, that you are innocent of everything, because you`re doing a lot of talking. It`s either admirably bold or reckless. I guess we`ll find out. Thanks for coming by.

PAGE: Great to see you, Chris.

HAYES: All right. Carter Page.

Coming up, as Robert Mueller makes his first big play, renewed concerns over whether he, the president, can fire him. I`ll ask someone who helped draft the special counsel regulations just how safe Mueller`s job is, ahead.

And next, beers and burgers in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Thing One tonight. Today was a pretty big news day. And in cable news, sometimes you have a rundown you just need to tear up when breaking news intervenes, which happened of course this morning when news broke of Robert Mueller`s first indictments just before 8:00 a.m. And some networks went into rolling breaking news coverage for the hour.

But you have to admire the stubborn determination of producers over at Fox & Friends who reported that news along with segments on why a magazine questioned American patriotism, whether Newsweek is racist against Irish-Americans, and this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve been talking about it all morning. Can you see what`s wrong with this picture? The cheese is underneath the hamburger. Who does that?

Rhonda writes, "I worked at a restaurant in my younger days, and we were taught to put the lettuce under the burger to keep the bun from getting soggy."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Way to get to the bottom of that Jillian. Good work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Indeed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I Googled it, and it showed the cheese should the be on top of the burger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don`t we have cheeseburgers to try it out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: But that wasn`t even the worst attempt at distraction. The White House press secretary read a decades old chain email from the podium. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: It`s hard to imagine a White House press briefing with more significance than the one coming just hours after the president`s former campaign chairman is indicted for conspiracy against America. And so press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders chose to begin today`s briefing by literally reciting a right wing chain email forward about taxes dating back to 2001, a three-and-a-half minute reading that took up nearly one-sixth of the briefing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These 10 reporters paid their tab every night the way we pay our taxes. It would go something like this. The first fourth, the poorest, would pay nothing. The 5th would pay $1. The 6th would pay $3. The seventh would pay $7. I`m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. The seventh now paid $5 instead of 28, a 28 percent savings. The eighth now to -- each of the six was better off than before, and the first four continued to drink for free.

I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving, declared the sixth reporter. Why should he get $10 back, when I only got $2? The wealthy get all the breaks. They no longer had enough money between them all to even cover half of the bill. And that, ladies and gentlemen is how our tax system works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The blaring headline for The Washington Post reads about like you might expect it to. "Upstairs at home with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments."

According to a senior Republican with contact with top White House staffers, quote, the walls are closing in. Everyone is freaking out.

This weekend the president rage tweeted "collusion doesn`t exist," he wrote, "there is so much guilt by Democrats, Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. Do something," all caps.

Unclear who that`s directed to.

And then there are those in Trump world who seem to actually believe that Hillary Clinton is currently president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: The speculation is so insane right now, what we should be focusing on are the continued lies of the Clinton administration, the continued fallacies that they perpetuate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The lies of the Clinton administration.

But I have to say the most dangerous reaction from conservative media has the growing and unmistakable targeting of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time, folks. It`s time to shut it down, turn the tables, and lock her up. That`s what I said. I actually said it. Lock her up.

Special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller must be fired immediately. His role as head of the FBI during the uranium deal and the Russian extortion case, his friendship with Jim Comey demands his firing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Fox News ran a graphic today questioning Mueller`s credibility with this picture of a giant Russian flag. And last week, The Wall Street Journal`s editorial board wrote that Mueller could best serve the country by resigning.

And the White House has intimated this won`t happen. His lawyers say there is no plans to do it. But inevitably, the president does what he wants. And if he wants to fire Mueller, he`ll have to navigate the special counsel regulations under which Mueller was appointed.

Neal ... former acting solicitor general of the United States and the man who literally wrote the rules under which Robert Mueller was appointed joins me now.

So, let`s start, Neal, with this, when people say will the president fire Robert Mueller, the president personally cannot fire Robert Mueller. How would he go about -- what would he have to do to remove him?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: Well, he might try and fire him directly. And he might constitutionally be able to do that, or he could order the acting attorney general under the regulations, Rod Rosenstein who is ordinarily the number two, but Jeff Sessions is recused because he himself has some collusion with Russia -- allegations or something like that. So, he could order Rosenstein to fire him, and if Rosenstein doesn`t fire Mueller, then he could order Rosenstein fired and then go to the next person down, Rachel Brand in the department, and go down until he finds someone willing to fire him.

And really this is a consequence of our constitution. Our founders gave the president article 2 powers to over prosecutors. And so he does ultimately have the ability to fire Mueller. And what we did in the 1990s was strike the special counsel regulations so that if there is any high level interference with a special counsel it has to be reported to congress and sunlight has to be shown on it.

HAYES: But those regulations, I mean I want to go back to that first thing you said under the constitution. Like, could he just say, I hereby -- I, as president of the United States, hereby relieve Robert Mueller of duty, and that be effectuated tomorrow?

KATYAL: Well, he could either do that or he could say, I remove the special counsel regulations, which are an executive branch creation so they`re gone. And now Mueller, you don`t have any ability to exist any more.

So, one way or the other, I wouldn`t get hung up with the legal formalities. I think the ultimate question that we were struggling with in the regulations, indeed that the republic have been struggling with even before that, you know, Plato, who will guard the guardians or Dr. Seuss, the bee watchers and how lucky you are. The ultimate question is kind of how do we set up a system to avoid a government cover up?

And, you know, when you have an allegation that now has become more than an allegation, you know, in which people are literally pleading guilty to attempted collusion with Russia and the facts of their plea agreements, boy, this is starting to look really mighty serious.

HAYES: What would it mean constitutionally for the president to do something like that, to either fire Mueller or withdraw the regulations that you were involved in drafting, or to do a kind of Archibald Cox, Richard Nixon Saturday night massacre and start going down the line, firing Justice Department officials until they find someone who will get rid of Mueller?

KATYAL: It will be a deep constitutional crisis the likes of which most of us have not seen in our lifetimes. That is to say, if you go back and we study this in the 1990s and the Justice Department, you go back and over these scandals, Iran Contra, Whitewater, Lewinsky, you know, the ones that are the worst are the ones in which trust is implicated, in which the president looks like he`s in it for himself to grab power, that`s what Watergate was. And what, you know, and arguably according to what we`re seeing today, what might have happened here.

And so, if you have a president who is shutting down in the investigation or shutting down the prosecutor, boy, that`s going to look awful.

And indeed it wouldn`t be the first time. After all, you know, before -- the whole reason we have a guy named Mueller is because before that we had a guy named Comey, and Comey was investigating nothing else but -- he was investigating one of the things he was investigating was of course the Trump campaign`s collusion with Russia. And Trump fired him. And to do it again, boy, you know, fool me once. But I can`t imagine people standing for that.

HAYES: There is something that seems analogous to me. So, the president, you know, is arguably under Article 2 of the constitution has the power to get rid of people that are in the executive, like Robert Mueller, right, but there would be a constitutional crisis precipitated. Same thing with the pardon power, which also adheres to the president. It`s quite broad in its sort of as a sort of constitutional theoretical matter. But what would it mean if he just said blanket pardons to these named individuals?

KATYAL: Right, exactly. You know, so, he might have the constitutional power to do something like remove an executive branch official or grant pardons to certain people, you know, under some circumstances. But having constitutional power and having good judgment are two totally different things. The president has all sorts of constitutional powers, just as you and I have the right to say offensive speech in public or something like that. But that doesn`t make it smart or good judgment.

And here I think the most damning thing in what we learn today, particularly in the Padopoulos plea agreement, is that the Russians were attempting to infiltrate the Trump campaign. And when the Trump campaign found out about that, what did they do? A whopping nothing, you know.

If one of us were, you know, in the campaign and got a call from the Russians saying, hey, we have dirt on your opponent, I think our first reaction would be, oh, I got a call on the other line. We`d hit hold, and call the FBI. I mean, after all, that`s what happened with Al Gore in 2000 when he got Bush`s tape.

And so, you know, the lack of judgment here is astounding. And I think apart from all these legal technicalities, that`s what I think will ultimately resonate with the American people.

HAYES: That`s a great point. Neal Katyal, thanks for joining us.

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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