NYC Terror Attack Transcript 10/31/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Hakeem Jeffries, Michael Daly

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 31, 2017 Guest: Hakeem Jeffries, Michael Daly

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- MSNBC for continuing coverage throughout the evening. My colleague Chris Hayes is going to pick up right now on this situation as we continue our coverage here on MSNBC for this night of terror in Manhattan which of course is always the target because it's the center of the universe in many ways in terms of finance, communications, culture. The enemies of our country tend to look, unfortunately, first in New York. And here he is, my colleague, Chris Hayes, who picks up our coverage.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York, I'm Chris Hayes. On what has been another overwhelming day of news including several major developments stemming from yesterday's blockbuster indictments and the guilty plea that we now know is just a small part of a much larger investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, we will get to all that news shortly but we begin tonight just a few miles away from here in Lower Manhattan. An attack here in New York City this afternoon now being called an act of terror has taken the lives of 8 people with 11 more injured. According to New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill, a man driving a Home Depot pick-up truck entered a bicycle path alongside New York's west side highway coming from Houston Street. The truck drove south from nearly a mile striking multiple cyclist and pedestrians who were using that path there. The vehicle collided ultimately with a school bus at Chambers Street injuring two adults and two children.

This is an image of the truck with investigators standing nearby. These videos appear to show the scene and the subject after he fled the truck but prior to his apprehension. The suspect who has since been identified as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan National living in Patterson, New Jersey exited the vehicle holding two objects which officials say appeared to be handguns. According to law enforcement officials, the suspect yelled Allahu Akbar when he exited the vehicle. He was shot in the abdomen by a uniformed police officer from the first precinct, was wounded, taken to a local hospital. A paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered at the scene, according to officials. Within hours, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Governor of the state, Andrew Cuomo, assessed the tragedy and the current belief that it is not part of any wider plot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Let me be clear that based on the information we have at this moment. This was an act of terror and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them. We know that this action was intended to break our spirit but we also know New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers are resilient, and our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence, an act meant to intimidate us.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: There's no evidence to suggest a wider plot or a wider scheme, but the actions of one individual who meant to cause pain and harm and probably death and the resulting terror.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Police Commissioner O'Neill said security is being tightened for tonight's annual Halloween parade in New York in downtown just about a mile or so from there. President Trump has been briefed on the matter. Earlier he tweeted, "NYC looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following them closely, not in the USA." The President followed it up with "We must not allow ISIS to return or enter our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!" We should note that we have no present knowledge that it was, in fact, ISIS that was connected to this attack. NBC News Correspondent Kristen Dahlgren is at the scene. She joins me now with the very latest. And Kristen, what are things like down there?

KRISTEN DAHLGREN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, still a lot of activity down here. We've got the crime scene vans that are just heading into the area to start to process the scene. We've also got barricades going up and going up in many areas around the city tonight. You mentioned the Halloween parade. It's been sort of a dichotomy where you see all the police activity and flashing lights and then you'll see little kids walking by in their Halloween costume. So if the idea of terror is to keep people in their homes and afraid to go out, we're not seeing that tonight. Still, a lot of people out here on the streets, that Halloween parade in Greenwich Village a few blocks from here is going on tonight although authorities say there's going to be a heavy police presence there and at different points around the city.

Now, earlier today we were down along that bike path and a lot of people asking where was the protection were the stanchions. And there are stanchions along some parts of that bike part and then other parts, particularly the two-block area here that the driver went up, there was nothing protecting that bike path. And so that's where authorities say he went up onto the bike path hitting pedestrians, hitting cyclists. We've seen bicycles strewn across the path there and mangled and the witnesses describing to us just the carnage that they saw after this and then they heard those gunshots. That was police taking down this suspect after he brandished what appeared to be a pellet gun and perhaps a paintball gun, but just a terrifying scene for them earlier today. You asked about what's going on right now, and a lot of people back out there and determined to keep living their lives here.

HAYES: All right, Kristen Dahlgren down at the scene in Lower New York where tonight she said is the Halloween parade that is still going on. One of the best nights in New York City, I have to say. Glad that is still happening. NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams joins me now. Pete, what do we know about the status of the investigation into who this was?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: All right, so the investigation is proceeding along several fronts right now. Authorities know who this was, they knew so shortly after the suspect was shot. You're looking at the booking photo from a previous run-in with the law with Sayfullo Saipov, S-A-I-P-O-V. He's 29 years old. He came to the United States in 2010 as an immigrant from Uzbekistan. He's here with a green card, a lawful permanent resident. He has a truck driver license and had been working as a truck driver and as a driver for a rideshare service, and he is now in the hospital with his wounds. We understand that authorities are preparing to question him tonight, so that's one area of the inquiry, talking to him himself.

Secondly, the vehicle that he drove today was a rented pick-up truck from the Home Depot. We now know that it was rented at the Home Depot in Passaic, New Jersey. Police are there now looking at the records that he signed to get that vehicle and then try to trace the movements. So we don't know when it was rented. You can see the vehicle there all smashed up. We don't know when it was rented. That's something they're trying to determine right now, what sort of I.D. he showed, that kind of thing. He did -- it's interesting that he did have a truck driver license, so that would make Home Depot or any or rental agency more likely to rent a truck to somebody who had a truck driver's license without asking them a lot of questions. The third avenue of inquiry is to try to look at friends and relatives.

Now, we talked to one of his friends, someone who knew him in Florida and knew him, kept in touch with him and had seen him just a couple of weeks ago and described him as a very friendly person, somebody who did not to this friend seem like a terrorist. He didn't express terrorist views. He was a happy man he said. So his -- this friend is completely mystified that Saipov would do this, would be accused of doing this. So that's another area of inquiry, friends, and relatives. And then finally something that's going to take longer, Chris, is to look at his social media, his internet searches because a big question on these cases is where these people actually in touch with foreign terror groups.

Directly -- was this a directed attack? Was it an inspired attack? Was this person consuming ISIS or other terror group propaganda? How did he get the idea to do this? Why did he do it? Did he tell anybody about it? Was anyone else helping him or aware of this? Those are all big questions that they're going to be answering. But this investigation is moving very, very quickly including the fact they're going to try to interview him in the hospital as soon as they can do that after his -- whatever his treatment for the gunshot wounds renders him sufficiently able to talk to them.

HAYES: All right, Pete Williams, thank you.

WILLIAMS: You bet.

HAYES: Joining me now, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York who represents New York's 8th District in Brooklyn and Queens. And Congressman, your reaction to what happened in New York tonight?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Well, these are definitely very challenging times in America. It seems like, Chris, we careen from one crisis to the next. You know, from the Congressional-baseball shooting, to Charlottesville, from Charlottesville to Las Vegas, now from Las Vegas to New York. We are a resilient community, a resilient city, a resilient country. We're New Yorkers, we're tough. We're the city that never sleeps. We're not going to move backward. We're going to continue to move forward. We want to make sure that we can support the families of those who were tragically killed today, support the victims who are recovering, support the first responders. The NYPD has done a tremendous job not just today but in terms of keeping a city of 8.5 million people safe. We'll figure out what happened and we'll also find a way to better protect the city of New York in an era where lone terrorists want to create mayhem as was done in the city of New York today.

HAYES: I should note that that, of course, is the Halloween parade right now here in Lower New York. I mean, really honestly blocks from the site of where this happened earlier. Congressman, the President tweeting about ISIS, not letting them into the country before there's anything in the investigation, any facts or details, I think I probably privately or publicly at least publicly connecting them to ISIS. What do you -- what do you make of that?

JEFFRIES: Well, there's no evidence, as you point out, Chris, that the individual was inspired or connected in any way to ISIS. And I think the President was premature in perhaps trying to draw a connection to whatever foreign policy initiatives he may have as it relates to the war on terror overseas and perhaps was even alluding to his unconstitutional Muslim Ban in his commentary earlier today. There will be a time and place for those types of policy discussions moving forward. 8 people were tragically killed today, several others were injured. We don't know the extent of those challenges. Some may be possibly life-threatening.

So I would urge the President and everyone to be responsible in their rhetoric in their observations, in their commentary. As New Yorkers, as a country, we should just all come together, lock arms. People, as you point out, Chris, are going to be out at the Halloween day parade in the village. It's a tremendous gathering of the gorgeous mosaic of New York City but we want to just be there for the families and moving forward and I would suggest that the President should leave his commentary to simply expressing his thoughts, prayers, and condolences.

HAYES: Yes, we should note of course that in none of the three iterations of the ban that you referred to was Uzbekistan, the country, the alleged salient appears to have come from included. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, thank you very much.

JEFFRIES: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: NBC Contributor Rukmini Callimachi is the Lead Correspondent on Islamic Terrorism at the New York Times. You've covered different truck attacks, you've covered attacks that range from directed by international terrorist organizations, inspired, to lone wolf. What do you make of what we know so far?

RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, NBC CONTRIBUTOR: There's a couple of interesting things that are happening here. Number one, just yesterday, ISIS put out a series of posters that were translated in four different languages that called for attacks on Halloween. It was issued in French, in Russian, in German, and in English. So that happened just yesterday. I find that curious. The second thing that is indicative I think here of a possible terror link is he screams Allahu Akbar. This man is from -- allegedly from Uzbekistan and lived in America so presumably he speaks Russian and English, he does not speak Arabic as far as I know.

He chooses to scream God is great in the Arabic language, right? That could suggest that he has been in these chat rooms and understands that this is the cry that one who is affiliated with these groups would make. That said, there is no claim of responsibility from ISIS. None of the official ISIS channels have made any pronouncements about him. And so the investigation needs to -- needs to further show these links if they exist.

HAYES: I should say we just got some reporting from Jonathan Dean who's an NBC Reporter in New York saying there was a note in the truck claiming he did it for ISIS. That's the first that I'm hearing of that.

CALLIMACHI: If that's the case, then that matches almost exactly what was said in Rumiyah which is ISIS's English language magazine in a couple of issues ago. They specifically said to do truck attacks. They showed images of trucks saying don't use a car, it's not heavy enough, use a truck, and to be sure that people know that it is ISIS, leave notes, and they suggested throwing them out of the window of cars. So who knows? I mean, this is also a style of attack that al-Qaeda actually pioneered. And so, again, it's too early to tell. But if that is the case, then that seems to point in that direction.

HAYES: There's also -- I'm not quite sure what to make of the spectacle of this individual running around having just murdered allegedly a bunch of people and then having on him a paint ball gun and some other sort of not actual gun and just -- it's just a very bizarre thing. Has something like that happened before?

CALLIMACHI: The instructions that ISIS gives is that you should use a truck to go and kill as many civilians as you can and then you should get out of your truck and try to have a confrontation with more civilians using a gun or a knife. And the idea is to be martyred, meaning that you're supposed to invite enemy fire, right? That didn't happen. And thank God he wasn't killed because now they can question him, right? That does present a ripple here which is that ISIS, in general, does not claim attackers if they're in custody. Remember the Chelsea bomber. I was able to get copies of the Chelsea bomber's journal which very specifically mentioned Abu Mohammad al-Adnani who was then the spokesman of ISIS and who was the person who was most validly calling for attacks overseas. ISIS never claimed it. We know that was a terrorist attack and it's -- we believe because he's on custody.

HAYES: Fascinating. Rukmini Callimachi, thank you for joining me.

CALLIMACHI: My pleasure.

HAYES: Still to come, the day after the indictment. There are developments in the Trump-Russia investigation. How George Papadopoulos is only a small part of a much wider investigation. Today we learned the names of just who else is caught up in that web. And more on how New York City has learned to fight terrorism over the last 16 years.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Today's deadly truck attack is just the kind of vehicle versus civilian attack that both ISIS and al-Qaeda have encouraged their followers to execute. As NBC's Tom Costello reports tonight such attacks are difficult for law enforcement to prevent.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's a growing terror tactic that's been used around the world with devastating results. July 2016 a truck on the boardwalk in Nice, France plowed through crowds of people on holiday, 86 killed, 200 injured. Similar tactics used on the London Bridge last May, eight dead, another five killed in March. Around the world attacks in Barcelona, Stockholm, Berlin, and in the U.S. last year at Ohio State University, 11 injured. For years, ISIS and al-Qaeda have called for just this type of low tech attack using cars and trucks to mow down and kill as many people as possible.

MICHAEL LETTER, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: These small-scale attacks using tools, not even weapons but tools that are widely available make actually suppressing this entirely not just difficult but truly impossible.

COSTELLO: In New York last May, it wasn't a terror attack but a deranged suspect on drugs who killed a woman and injured 22 after driving through a crowd in Times Square. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill told Lester earlier this year that threat from trucks is top of mind for the NYPD critical response command now using city trucks to wall off large public gatherings, including Thanksgiving.

JAMES O'NEILL, COMMISSIONER, NYPD: We had a ring of sanitation sand trucks around the whole route to make sure there were no unauthorized vehicles on the route. We did the same thing on New Year's Eve and then the Fourth of July is always a challenge.

COSTELLO: After ISIS called for targeting New York's Thanksgiving Parade last year, police visited 148 truck rental facilities telling them to be aware of any suspicious persons who might try to rent a truck.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES: That was Tom Costello reporting. Today's attack appears to be the deadliest terrorist incident in New York City since 9/11. Much more on that next

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: We have been tested before as a city very near the site of today's tragedy, and New Yorkers did not give in in the face of these kinds of actions. We'll respond as we always do. We will be undeterred.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Mayor Bill de Blasio described today's incident in Lower Manhattan as an act of terror knowing the suspect was apprehended just blocks from the World Trade Center. With eight people killed and more than a dozen injured, the apparent terror attack would be the deadliest in New York City since September 11th. Jonathan Dean is WNBC Chief Investigative Reporter and NBC News Contributing Correspondent Michael Daily of the Daily Beast, Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2002 for his work including columns written in the wake of the September 11th attack. As a lifelong New Yorker, my first thought today was we have gotten so -- I mean, a combination of extreme vigilance and luck on the part of New Yorkers for 16 years that a bunch of things that were planned or tried to execute didn't happen.

JONATHAN DEAN, WNBC CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: There have been more than 20 plots that the city has seen since 9/11. Most of them thwarted, a few of them have been isolated like knife attacks and now this with eight people killed and 11 more seriously injured by what appears to be a lone actor. Everything we're hearing appears to be ISIS-inspired. We're told from law enforcement sources the suspect left a note in the truck that he rented that truck at 2:00 this afternoon in Passaic, New Jersey which is just across the Hudson River, it's about a 30-minute drive into the city. And he took that truck that he rented from Home Depot right into Manhattan and carried out the attack.

HAYES: You know, it was striking to me just the sort of evolution of tactics on the part of counter-terrorism forces and NYPD who have huge amounts of large crowds constantly try to protect. Listening to Costello puckish in talking about now adapting to the truck threat with trucks ringed around.

MICHAEL DALY, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY BEAST: And you'd think that the thing to protect today was the big parade tonight.

HAYES: Exactly.

DALY: You know, I remember, I was walking from the subway this morning looking at the barricades, I'm thinking, you know, these guys don't really, you know, they love death, they hate life so maybe this -- I started thinking maybe they would take a run at this thing. But that's what you would figure. You would never figure that they're going to get the bike path down along the Hudson River. And I guess the main thing is the Trade Center is still there. I mean, that's still the --

HAYES: The focal point.

DALY: I mean, he came right through that tunnel. If there had been a breakdown in the tunnel, those people wouldn't have been killed. You know, the guy would have never gotten through. And all of the sudden you just -- you got to think that some of those people probably never knew what hit them. When you're riding downtown, you don't see - you know, you don't look behind you when you're riding a bike. And you might have heard a sound or something but there's all that traffic going on the West Side Highway, that's loud, so you wouldn't really pay attention to a truck. And you got some poor person going along probably never knew what hit them.

DEAN: Although if you look at past targets, the Chelsea bombing, who would think someone would set off a pressure cooker bombs in --

HAYES: In a dumpster on a side street off of the Avenue. I mean, that was the thing that always struck me about that.

DEAN: And another lone attacker carrying a knife in Queens targeting police officers on routine patrol who were posing for a photo. So in terms of symbolism, anniversaries, targets, I think we're somewhat past that and anything goes.

DALY: Knuckleheads is what they are. I mean, they're not wolves, they're just knuckleheads. I mean, this plot consists of the guy going to Home Depot, rent a truck and then driving through the tunnel.

HAYES: Going to Home Depot, writing a wrote, and then going off the act. How folk -- I mean, over the years since 9/11, NYPD has built up this sort of some of this legendary kind of counter-terrorism unit. I mean, how focus -- how big a focus is this for the department?

DALE: Well, you have the whole world there. I mean, I don't know if you heard the scanner going down. You probably listened to it going down. I mean, the whole world, I mean, shut this down, shut down, close this down, the SRG there, SRC, you got -- I mean, the counter-terror, you got the bomb squad, you got- - you know, FBI was there. I mean, the whole world responded to this and it was this one guy, this one knucklehead that rented a truck. And they've called hundreds of truck and car rental places asking them to keep an eye out.

HAYES: I didn't even realize that there had -- they had already been some protocols put in place on the front end of truck rentals.

DALE: Oh yes, they have a whole -- they're constantly you know, checking buildings, calling rental people. They're doing everything they possibly can. That's probably why you haven't have a bunch of other attacks but there's no way to protect against a guy like this.

DEAN: Truck rentals, hotels, you have 1,000 police officers every day, their only job is counter-terrorism. That doesn't count the intelligence unit, that doesn't count the NYPD officers who are now stationed overseas in foreign capitals and with foreign police departments sharing intelligence in real time. So they are operating side by side working hand in hand with the federal government doing all they can because they know New York remains the number target.

HAYES: I also have to say, I thought about you know, over the course of the last few years you've seen these stanchions sprout up everywhere. First, they were the big flower pots outside, things like federal buildings.

DALE: The flowers they're like the (INAUDIBLE)

HAYES: Yes, and then now you just got them everywhere. And I remember when the Times Square thing happened which was not -- you know, someone who was on drugs or alcohol, sort of possibly out of his mind, the thing that stopped that was that he eventually hit one of those and we've seen those come up all over the city and those prove to be remarkably important in these kind of circumstances.

DALE: Could have used a couple of them today. And they -- the one thing - - the thing that really struck me, that whole thing down there, they shut down all the schools, right? There's a grammar school right there a block away from where this thing stopped and they had it on lockdown. So you had all these parents waiting for their kids on Halloween. You know, you're sitting there for three hours waiting for these kids. They weren't even born when the Trade Center got knocked down and there's the Freedom Tower right behind them, these terrified parents and then these kids are going to come out and you wonder are they going to go trick or treating or not. One came out in tears, the other one came out just seemed determined. She said trick or treat, smell my feet which I thought was the best line of the whole day. You know, I mean, that was her saying you're not going to ruin my Halloween. She was maybe eight years old.

HAYES: I know Stuyvesant High School was down there was someone that I know.

DEAN: A school bus was targeted.

HAYES: Was targeted, was hit.

DEAN: The school with disabled kids. Three of them injured on that bus because the police say that guy drove the truck deliberately right into --

DALE: You can see it was broadsided. The school bus was like -- if you were going to aim at a school bus that's where you would hit.

HAYES: We still don't have the victims identified. There are eight confirmed fatalities, 11 injured at this point. Hopefully, that number stays right there. Jonathan Dean and Michael Daly, thank you for joining me. Next, the amazing scene happening just 15 minutes away from today's attack where New Yorkers are carrying on with their lives just hours after that attack in Lower Manhattan. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In less than 90 minutes that parade will kick off. We will proceed with the parade and certainly we've added more resources, more police officers, heavy weapons teams, blocker vehicles on the street leading to the route as well as more sand trucks.

And there's also heavy weapons teams being deployed throughout the city at key iconic locations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: New York City did not cancel the Halloween parade in New York City's Greenwich Village, a more that 40-year tradition which got under way tonight just blocks away from the tragic and deadly attack in downtown Manhattan.

Police said there would be increased presence in the area and throughout the city.

NBC's Gadi Schwartz joins us live from the parade, which I grew up going to and love as much as anything that happens in the city.

What's it like down there, Gadi?

GADI SCHWARTZ, NBC NEWS: Yeah, so many people out here love this parade.

I want to show you what you were just talking about. Look at that, that is the world trade center over there and this is where the parade is.

Let me show you what's going on right now. Talk about resiliency of New York. This parade was not going to be stopped by terrorists. People here saying that they didn't want the terrorists to win.

In fact, if you look over here, you can watch this for two seconds. This is a crowd doing the thriller, Michael Jackson's thriller here.

If I take you over here, you can kind of see along this line there are officers about every 10 to 15 feet. There are also officers on the other side of the street. We saw them earlier. They were talking to each other saying make sure that you're keeping an eye on all the windows that are open. They've been very vigilant. They've got teams all throughout here.

And I want to talk to some of these families out here. In fact, this is Keanu, Ex Wing Fighter and his father Jeff.

Jeff, what happened a little bit earlier today, so, so tragic. Tell me, why did you bring your son out here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have got to live, learn, but we've all got to survive, man, you know what I mean. Just got to come out and enjoy ourselves and whatever happens happens.

SCHWARTZ: How important is a night like this for a family, for you and your son here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say again?

SHWARTZ: How important is it for a family to come out and see this? I mean, this is a tradition for so many people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Right. Well, you know it's been going on for like many, many years. So, you know, we all got to come out here and enjoy ourselves. That's the bottom line. Like I said, we got to live, love and survive.

SCHWARTZ: And this is a school night. You got homework to do, right?

BOY: I did it in school.

SCHWARTZ: You already did it at school so you can stay out a little bit later?

Got it.

Perfect.

Well, thank you guys so very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, man.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you so much.

May the force be with you.

That's just one of the families out here. You've got literally thousands and thousands of families. And check this out, these are the officers that are going down. We see them coming by periodically checking the rooftop. You've got helicopters above. But the security around here is so tight. And again, you can see so many people out here enjoying themselves.

Chris, back to you.

HAYES: All right, Gadi Schwartz, almost drowned out by the strains of Thriller there.

That little boy there, 33 years ago I think I was down there I'm pretty sure in a Luke Skywalker costume. So, some things never change.

We will continue to monitor the developments stemming from today's attack in New York City.

But up next, the day after the indictments, there is more big news coming from that Mueller investigation. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: As the president tries to distance himself from George Papadopoulos, the former campaign aide, whose surprise guilty plea was revealed yesterday, the special counsel's investigation is already moving closer to the inner sanctum of the White House.

A one-time foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts to work with Russian proxies during the campaign. And according to court filings unsealed yesterday for the first time, he was told in April 2016 crucially two months before the DNC hack become public knowledge, that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails.

Today, the president, who called Papadopoulos a, quote, "excellent guy" after he joined the campaign, later attended a meeting with him at Trump Hotel in D.C. Tweeted, "few people knew the young low level volunteer named George who has already proven to be a liar."

Senior campaign adviser Michael Caputo tried to downplay Papadopoulos's role as wel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CAPUTO, SENIOR TRUMP CAMPIAGN OFFICIAL: I never heard of Papadopoulos. He never showed up at Trump Tower, never had any interaction with any of the campaign leaders around me. And the leaders of the Washington office of the campaign didn't even know who he was until his name appeared in the press. The guy was - he was the coffee boy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: they can try to distance themselves from Papadopoulos all they want, but they can't distance themselves from the people implicated in his guilty plea, some of whom are now senior members of the Trump administration.

NBC News reports today that Sam Clovis, the campaig's policy director, who is now the president's nominee for chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture, was just questioned last week by special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Not only that, he testified before the investigating grand jury. Now, Clovis, who is not a scientist, and who has been working in the White House while he awaits confirmation, verified today that he's the individual identified in court filings as Papadopoulos's campaign supervisor with whom he corresponded regularly about his outreach to those Russian representatives.

When Papadopoulos emailed the campaign, he just met someone he thought was Vladimir Putin's niece who wanted to set up a meeting between campaign officials and Russian leadership, it was Clovis who responded great work.

Jake Sullivan was senior policy adviser to the Clinton campaign in 2016, and one of the people sort of ringing the alarm bells about all this louder, or as loud as anyone else.

First, just your reaction having sat on the other side from this campaign, having watched all this developed, having thought about the degree to Russian involvement, your reaction to the facts that we learned yesterday?

JAKE SULLIVAN, SENIOR POLICY ADVISER CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Well, the first thing that I thought about was how far we've come, Chris. The Trump campaign and Trump himself initially denied that there was any interaction with any Russians at any time. That fell by the wayside.

Then, the interactions that there were with the Russians, they said, had nothing to do - they didn't talk about the campaign in any way. That fell by the wayside.

Now, they're trying to say, well, this is just some low level volunteer, but of course that's already fallen by the wayside ad we see from Mueller's investigation that it actually reaches further up into Trump campaign.

And the bottom line is, what we have suspected for months is now clear that the Russian government offered help to the Trump campaign to help him win and to hurt Hillary Clinton. And the Trump campaign was eager and willing to accept that help.

And that wasn't just George Padopoulos, it was others as well, and it's entirely consistent with the previous stories about Don Jr. and the meeting he held at Trump Tower.

So, whether you use the word collusion or not, what you have here is the Russian government serving up assistance to the Trump campaign, and the Trump campaign chasing that assistance, and that is making common cause with a hostile foreign power to interfere in our election.

HAYES: I want to play this clip that I played last night and I think it's worth playing because we now know that there was -- George Papadopoulos emailing other people in the campaign, including I believe Manafort. I've never known if that's precisely confirmed yet, saying I've got this person who says they're representing the Russian government, who said he got back from Russia and they got Clinton emails. They don't know what to do with it.

Then you have the email to Don Jr. saying the Russian government is trying to help your father and we have dirt on Hillary Clinton. And then the hacks become public and this is what Donald Trump said on the campaign trail in the debate. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia. But I don't -- maybe it was. I mean, it could also 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 weights 400 pounds, OK. You don't know who broke into DNC.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Is it plausible to you that the president, then candidate Trump, did not know?

SULLIVAN: It's completely implausible. It was implausible to me during the campaign when the intelligence community came out and said it was Russia and he denied it. And now after what we've seen from Robert Mueller's investigation, it defies all credulity that Donald Trump was not aware of the fact that the Russians were serving up hacked and stolen emails and that Donald Trump was doing his best to take advantage of it.

He referred to the Podesta emails, the WikiLeaks hacks, 164 times in the closing weeks of the campaign, cheering on Russia's interference in the election while all the while denying it.

HAYES: What about the idea that, well, these were low level people and you had this kind of -- I think one of the most charitable interpretations even people that aren't say advocates of Donald Trump is that this campaign at this point, particularly in March, was a mess, they were just pulling people off the shelf to serve as foreign policy advisers. How much do you buy that?

SULLIVAN: Well, I'm not going to say that George Papadopoulos was the campaign chairman, but it certainly seems like he may have been in contact with or at least his information was being passed to the campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

And that's an important fact.

Moreover, everything about the Padopoulos story is totally consistent with the Don Jr. story where an outsider came and said the Russian government wants to help your father get elected and we've got dirt on Hillary Clinton and Don Jr. said, great, come on by. And who joined them in that meeting? Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner.

So the idea that somehow this was cabin to George Papadopoulos makes no sense. This was clearly understood at the senior levels of the Trump campaign. And they should have to answer for that, because at the end of the day they know it's deeply wrong what they did, which is why they've been denying it all this time.

HAYES: All right, Jake Sullivan, thanks for being here tonight.

Still to come, I'll talk with two top prosecutors to break down the legal implications in the ladest developments. Stick around.

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HAYES: The revelation that a Trump campaign aid secretly cooperated with the special counsel investigation for months, two veteran prosecutors weigh the legal implications for the president and everyone around him, next.

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HAYES: George Papadopoulos was first detained over three months ago, but Bob Mueller's team successfully argued to keep his arrest secret because he was a proactive cooperator, in other words, because he was helping them.

For a deeper look at the legal implications here, I want to bring in two veteran prosecutors, Jennifer Rogers, former federal prosecutor and lecturer in law at Columbia Law School, and Renata Mariotti, former federal prosecutor who litigated multiple cases of public corruption.

Jennifer, let me start with you. So, we've identified it looks like some of the people that were in those emails with George Padopoulos. Corey Lewandowski was in some of them. He's unnamed in the complaint in the affidavit, but he's -- we think we know he is. Sam Clovis and then Paul Manafort. What's the significance for those folks to be implicated there?

JENNIFER RODGERS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it depends on what the rest of the investigation is showing. We now know that Papadopoulos was proactively cooperating. We also know that he's been providing information that didn't make its way into the document, so we don't know all of what he's been telling the authorities about these guys and their actions. We know that at least to some extent they were informed of these activities that Padopoulos was doing with the professor and others trying to get kind of information from Russia.

So that is not good news from them. I mean, that still remains to be seen about whether there was actually a crime here that can be charged but collusion such as it is, not necessarily criminal, but collusion such as it is is looking more and more like what happened given what we've learned.

HAYES: Renata, there was a detail that you were pointing out about Paul Manafort I thought was pretty fascinating, about -- am I right that somewhere in the filings they said he has three passports?

RENATA MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: That's right. Man, you must read Twitter in between segments because I literally just tweeted that a few minutes ago. Yeah, Manafort has three passports. He was using multiple phones. He was using alias emails. That's what we get from the court filings. He literally reminds me of the drug cartel members that I used to investigate when I was a junior prosecutor.

You know, it's very much indicative of a knowledge that you're doing something that's criminal. Why else would you need all of these phones, multiple aliases, three passports. It's very unusual, very suspicious and it explains why Mueller and his team didn't trust Manafort and why they sought a very large bail number for him. And they have him confined to his home.

HAYES: Where do you -- what do you make of where -- so yesterday you've got the announcement of Manafort, which I think was not surprising to people. Then Gates as well, which is probably a little more surprising, and then the Papadopoulos plea.

What do you make of the sort of strategy, Jennifer, here from how Mueller is proceeding?

RODGERS: Well, it was very interesting, because of course as you said you get the Manafort/Gates indictment, which while not surprising that at least Manafort was being charged, I thought that the substance of it, the heft of it was surprising.

HAYES: What do you mean by heft of it?

RODGERS: It's a very strong indictment. It carries a ton of jail time. It's just more in terms of charges than I think people were expecting, obviously because they actually picked up an investigation that had been going on for some time, and there was a lot of evidence collected, otherwise there's no way that Mueller starting in May could have put all this together in that amount of time.

So I think the kind of heft of the indictment was a little bit surprising. And then of course you had that come out and the reaction from the White House is saying, oh, but this has nothing to do with us. It has nothing to do with collusion. And then boom, comes the news that there is an indictment that has directly to do with that conduct.

HAYES: Right.

RODGERS: So, I'm not sure whether Mueller wasn't planning to release that until the comment from the White House. I suspect he was all along, actually, because, you know, if this is just his first kind of, I'm here. I'm working. We're being productive. And you can expect we're going to be continuing to be productive.

HAYES: Renato, it's funny, Jennifer said the "heft," because I've now talked to a number of prosecutors who are now all in sort of like a -- sort of the way that a craftsman might admire a fine piece of furniture, we're all sort of talking about the indictment and its heft.

And one thing that one prosecutor said to me was, there's a lot of years on the table here and it's very narrow what the government has to prove. For instance, he's not actually charged with tax evasion, which is a much more complicated thing to prosecute, because you've got usually an intermediary and an accountant and you've got to get testimony and things like that. They've tailored this to pack the maximum amount of years for the minimum amount they have to prove.

MARIOTTI: I think that's fair to say. I mean, there's certain counts there that I would call a backstop, Chris, that are very straightforward.

Like for example, either you disclose that you're a foreign agent or not. That's very straightforwward to prove. Either you have these foreign accounts or you don't.

So, those are going to be very tough to get around. And one thing your viewers may not know, as a federal prosecutor, you don't need to bat 1,000, you don't even need to bat 300. If you get a conviction on one count, the judge can consider a lot of this conduct at sentencing or all of the conduct really as part of the characteristics of the defendant at sentencing. So, really the defense has to kind of clean the table there. They've got to bad a 1,000.

And then they've got that huge conspiracy that pumps the numbers up and allows Mueller at trial to get a lot of evidence in over a 10-year period.

So, yeah, it's very weighty. And what struck me, Chris, yesterday we heard all this bluster from the Manafort defense team about how this was ridiculous and so on. What it told me is that they're angling for a pardon, because no defense attorney, unless a pardon was on the table, no defense attorney would have that sort of ultra aggressive, dismissive attitude towards this indictment.

If I was representing a client facing this indictment, and there was no pardon on the table, I would tell that client they are facing a very long prison sentence. It's going to be very hard to win. And we need to look seriously at cooperating with Mr. Mueller.

HAYES: What do you think of that?

RODGERS: Well, I think it's certainly irresponsible to behave that way. I don't know whether he things a pardon is on the table.

A defense lawyer should be saying, you know, we've pleaded not guilty and we're going to...

HAYES: So that struck you too, that kind of like, this is crazy, Coming out and saying, Donald Trump has been vindicated, which is the first thing he said? That struck you, Jennifer, as well.

RODGERS: Well, he sounded more like a Trump spokesperson than he did Manafort's defense lawyer. His client is Manafort. He should have saying, you know, we've pleaded not guilty. We look forward to vigorously defending these charges in court, and then he should have shut up. And then he should go start working with his client to say, we need to start talking to the Mueller team and see what's on the table and try to kind of think about cooperation, think about pleading guilty, think about what kind of deal you can get instead of being out there just to make headlines. He's really not doing his client a service there.

HAYES: We should note to Renato's point, of course, pardons under the constitution of the United States are only for federal crimes. There's been some reporting indicating that the attorney general of the state of New York Eric Schneiderman has worked in tandem with Mueller because I think there have been open investigations on some of the financial things, which would mean that he would be able to sort of swap those in as a way to sort of deal with any pardon the president might give, although that's getting slight ahead of ourselves.

Jennifer Rodgers and Renato Mariotti, thank you both.

RODGERS: Thank you.

HAYES: When Attorney General Jeff Sessions tesified under oath before the Senate intelligence committee in June he stated unequivocally he knew of no attempts by the Trump campaign to collude with Russian agents.

(BEGIN VIEO CLIP)

SESSIONS: Let me state this clearly, colleagues, I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.

Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: But Sessions was present at a March 2016 meeting with George Padopoulos, who we now know pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about efforts to cooperate with Kremlin proxies.

And at that meeting, according to the court filings, when Papadopoulos introduced himself to the group he stated in sum and substance he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin.

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist for The Washington Post. Her latest piece "The Papadopoulos plea has blindsided Republicans."

Jennifer, we should note that what's described in that plea document is not Papadopoulos saying, you know, we can collude with the Russians on something untoward. So it doesn't in and of itself show Sessions to be lying or not recalling, but it puts Sessions in some real peril, don't you think?

JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: It sure does.

And, you know, this could be just played as interesting sort of very broad assertion. People associated with the campaign making contacts with the Russians, that surely would encompass somebody who was trying to set up a secret meeting between Putin and the president.

And then when you combine that with the fact that Clovis, who is the senior policy person is encouraging him to go down this route, you certainly have people at the higher levels of the campaign who knew what was going on.

And remember, all of this preceded by quite a bit of time before we even knew that there were hacked emails, when Padopoulos is saying, yeah, I knew that there were thousands of emails that they were potentially in the possession of.

So their effort to distance themselves both from Padopoulos and also from all of these representations that they made about no one knows anything about Russia. Trump didn't know anything about Russia. He was sitting in that meeting, too, so he knew they were trying to make connections with Russia.

You know, the level of lying here is pretty stunning. And if you don't think Clovis and others are going to testify to more of this sort of thing, I think people are deluding themselves.

HAYES: Well, to that point, we should say the paper that you write for, The Washington Post, just breaking this, that Papadopoulos continued to be invited to campaign events, that in late June or early July, this is 2016, last year, he attended a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club along with several other national security advisers from the Trump campaign. Another person who was at the meeting says Sessions also attended, Papadopoulos was seated to Sessions' left. A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment.

So, Sessions cannot -- I mean, it seems to me that he, you know, it's going to be very hard for him to distance himself from what happened here.

RUBIN: Absolutely.

And remember, we're not just talking about lies under oath. He was also intimately involved in the lead-up to firing James Comey. Why was James comey fired? Trump told us he had Russia on the mind. Certainly, what Sessions knew was there was reason for Trump to be worried. He himself had witnessed connections with Russia.

So, this puts him in a very tight spot. No wonder he recused himself. And I think we're approaching the point where he has some legal jeopardy.

So, I think this is going to get very interesting.

HAYES: I keep -- here's what I keep thinking of. I keep thinking about putting myself in the position where I'm -- in this campaign in any way, peripherally exposed, whether at high levels or more medium levels, to the back and forth, to the Don Jr. meeting, to Papadopoulos. What's going through your head when the news starts coming out, when the DNC hacks start coming out, when there starts to be reporting that Russia is behind it, when WikiLeaks comes out, when there's an intelligence committee -- even if you weren't involved, you have got to start thinking to yourself, whoa, what were other people in this campaign up to?

RUBIN: Exactly.

And so what you do is you start throwing a lot of dirt and you start talking about Hillary Clinton and uranium and everything else you can this of and everyone else starts running for cover.

This is the beauty of a federal prosecutor, however. He doesn't care about all that dirt. He doesn't care about uranium one. He's methodically going person by person. He's now got Clovis. He matches people's testimony. He matches that written material. And he slowly puts together a case of who was lying, who knew what, and why it was that Trump felt so compelled to get rid of James Comey.

HAYES: Do you think Republicans on Capitol Hill, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, they're still sort of -- they've got their fingers in their ears. Are there any actions Mueller can a take that would change that?

RUBIN: You know, I used to think that there would, but I'm beginning to doubt that. I think these people are so far into the spin and so far into the delusion that they have just latched themselves to Trump and to this presidency.

So frankly, I would be surprised if they ever get off the ship. It's going to be an issue in 2018. The voters have a say.

HAYES: Pot committed. Jennifer Rubin, great to have you.

That is All In for this evening.

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

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