Mueller reveals new Manafort link to crime Transcript 11/2/17 Hardball with Chris Matthews

Guests: Richard Blumenthal, Carrie Cordero, Renato Mariotti, Betsy Woodruff

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 2, 2017 Guest: Richard Blumenthal, Carrie Cordero, Renato Mariotti, Betsy Woodruff

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you talked to President Trump since you`re indictment?

HAYES: As the man who ran the Trump campaign returns to court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You worried at all about going to jail?

HAYES: The Attorney General suddenly remembers more conversations about Russia.

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump Campaign.

HAYES: Tonight, new trouble for Jeff Sessions, Robert Mueller`s new questions for Jared Kushner over the Comey firing, and new reporting about Paul Manafort`s ties to the Russian Mafia. Then a marine veteran calls out Chief of Staff John Kelly.

JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I`ll apologize if I need to but for something like this, absolutely not.

HAYES: And never mind the Mueller probe --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I really believe we`ll have it done before Christmas.

HAYES: Why failure on tax cuts could be curtains for the Trump presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s here -- it`s here.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. There has been a cascade of development in the Russia investigation since Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveil the first charges earlier this week including today, some really, really brutal headlines for the Attorney General Jeff Sessions. First, after being indicted Monday on 12 counts, including money laundering and conspiracy against the U.S. -- that`s the exact charge -- former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort was back in federal court today in Washington for a hearing on the terms of his $10 million bond. A federal judge ordered Manafort and his business associate, also indicted, Rick Gates, to remain under house arrest at least until next week citing their potential flight risk. Both men are currently under GPS monitoring.

Another hearing was set for Monday, while Manafort and Gates are expected to go on trial sometime in April. Now this comes as the Daily Beast reports that documented unseal the by the Special Counsel this week reveal links between Manafort and Russian organized crime including a notorious boss described as the most dangerous mobster in the world. I`ll talk to the reporter who broke that story coming up.

According to another report today, as yet unconfirmed by NBC News, the Special Counsel is now turning attention to Jared Kushner, the President`s son-in-law and White House Adviser whose name has surfaced in multiple different aspects of the Russia probe. Kushner`s legal team has reportedly turned over documents to Mueller`s investigators who have begun asking in witness interview about Kushner`s role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. If true, it is yet another sign that Mueller is seriously examining whether the President of the United States and those around him committed obstruction of justice by trying to derail a criminal probe into the campaign`s ties to Russia.

Meanwhile, fallout continues from the revelation that George Papadopoulos, Foreign Policy Adviser to the Trump Campaign pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his own efforts to connect the campaign with senior Russian officials. Today the President`s nominee for Chief Scientist for Department of Agriculture Sam Clovis withdrew his name from consideration after those same court filings unsealed this week revealed that it was Clovis who was Papadopoulos` supervisor who encouraged him to pursue cooperation with those Russian agents who were contacting him.

His withdrawal came after the Washington Post reported that Clovis, who again was nominated for a job called Chief Scientist, admitted he has no actual scientific credentials. So that was sort of a tough one too. Clovis isn`t the only Trump official for whom those unsealed filings are causing lots of trouble. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are demanding an explanation from the Attorney General of the United States Jeff Sessions. And they`re demanding it about the discrepancies between his sworn Congressional testimony and the actual events recounted in those filings. Sessions appeared before both the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees in recent months where he categorically denied any knowledge of contacts between the campaign and Russian nationals.

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SESSIONS: I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump Campaign.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: You don`t believe that surrogates from the Trump Campaign had communications with the Russians? Is that what you`re saying?

SESSIONS: I did not and I`m not aware of anyone else that did. I have not seen anything that would indicate a collusion with Russians to impact the campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: But Sessions and the President both attended a meeting with Papadopoulos -- remember that, the same person that pleaded guilty to lying, right -- they attended the meeting in March 2016 where according to newly revealed court documents, when Papadopoulos introduced himself to the group, in that meeting -- you see them all sitting at the table -- he stated in sum and substance he had connection that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin. Over the past couple of days, numerous reports have appeared to try and clear Sessions of wrongdoing, and also throw the President under the bus, recounting according to anonymous campaign sources that while then-Candidate Trump listened with interest to this proposal, Sessions spoke vehemently against the idea, asking others not to discuss it again.

There is however just one problem with that account. It`s tough to square the idea that Sessions dramatically shut down talk about connecting with Russia, with his claim of having no memory whatsoever of any such talk by anyone involved with the campaign. Now tonight there`s a new report. In just the last few minutes that Campaign Adviser Carter Page, who was just sitting at this table a night ago, who set off investigators` red flags with a trip to Moscow in the summer of 2016, is telling ALL IN tonight that he testified in Congress today that he told Sessions ahead of time he was making that Moscow trip. Ken Dilanian is a National Security Correspondent for NBC News who reported today that Sessions rejected the Russian proposal by George Papadopoulos. What is the latest on that Ken?

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, just that you know, Senator Patrick Leahy, the Ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Al Franken, who asked Sessions the original question and got misleading information are demanding that Jeff Sessions come back to Congress and clear this matter up because they feel like they were misled. Now, Sessions, it`s interesting in the clips that you just played, we saw how Sessions` testimony evolved from "I didn`t -- we didn`t talk to Russians" to "we didn`t talk to Russians about collusion." And it`s not alleged that the subject of collusion came up at this March 31st meeting, but it is alleged in those court documents and Jeff Sessions is not disputing this that Papadopoulos described how he had these contacts who could put together a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. And my sources are telling me that Jeff Sessions nixed that idea, though it wasn`t a good idea.

HAYES: Wait, OK, but here`s what I -- the source -- my understanding of what the source is telling you about Sessions in that meeting is that he doesn`t remember it, but definitely nixed the idea.

DILANIAN: Yes, that is the bizarre --

HAYES: Am I right on that?

DILANIAN: You are absolutely right. And the source may be basing it on the accounts of other people in the meeting as well. Essentially, the source seems to be saying Sessions is not disputing it, but he has no specification recollection of Papadopoulos because he was a 29-year-old campaign aide that nobody remembers.

HAYES: This seems to be the sort of idea behind the lot of the sort of spin from the White House or pushback about Papadopoulos and it`s obviously the case that he was fairly junior, but he is sitting in that meeting, he do have the e-mail chains, and there`s now what seems to me a pattern that Sessions has a real problem with as he thinks about both Mueller and also the committees that have oversight over him.

DILANIAN: Oh, I agree because you know, by the time he answered the second round of questions after having to clear up his testimony and acknowledge that he did meet the Russian ambassador, Jeff Sessions knew the overall line of inquiry here was, hey, did you guys have relationships with Russians? Were Russians talking to the campaign? And it`s clear that he knew that that was the case, at least in the terms of this Papadopoulos meeting talking about trying to broker an arrangement between Putin and Trump. And so it`s -- you know, the Members of Congress are saying, wait a second here, you know, how can you claim ignorance of this did?

HAYES: Yes, it does seem that having had to recuse yourself for a statement that was misleading at best, and outright false at worst in that original hearing, when you come back to clean it up, going back through e- mail traffic or notes to say, actually, you know, I was at this meeting -- I mean, the best thing right, would have been to say, I was at this meeting where actually someone broached this and I said, that`s a bad idea. You end up looking like the good guy and you come forward, but that`s not what happened in that testimony, correct?

DILANIAN: That is correct. And the other big question here of course is, did Papadopoulos pass on to anyone at the campaign the offer that he got from his Russian friends of dirt on Hillary Clinton and thousands of e- mails? It`s inconceivable to many people that he did not, that he just kept that information to himself. And then the question becomes, well, who did he pass it on to? To Sam Clovis, his immediate supervisor, Jeff Sessions, who is supervising the Foreign Policy Advisory Committee, you know, that you saw in that meeting? Sessions` people are saying he has no recollection of hearing about that but you can be sure he`ll be asked about that before a Congressional Committee.

HAYES: And one of the issues I think for the campaign at this point, and you can see it from that meeting that we showed at that photo again, this is a very flat campaign organization at this point, right? You know, you got -- I mean, one of the things about this operation, it was fairly fly by night, it was very small particularly in the paid staff. I mean, you don`t have sort of junior staffers sitting next to Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton or your normal sort of sized campaign. So the idea that this guy is getting offers of dirt and it doesn`t make it up the very small chain to the people at the very top of that campaign, including the candidate, might be -- you know, it`s less plausible than it would be in a normal campaign.

DILANIAN: I agree. I mean, if you`re a 29-year-old campaign volunteer, what else are you there for, besides passing on those kinds of offers?

HAYES: Right.

DILANIAN: Although you could argue that maybe you know, in a normal campaign they would have called the FBI but that`s not what happened here.

HAYES: Or -- right -- or it wouldn`t have been in the meeting to begin with, which is -- which is part of the problem they have now. Ken Dilanian, thanks for great reporting.

DILANIAN: Good to be with you, Chris. Thanks.

HAYES: Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, Member of that same Senate Judiciary Committee that of course has oversight over the Department of Justice where Jeff Sessions is the Attorney General. Does Jeff Sessions have a credibility problem?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: He has an enormous credibility problem. And he has to come back to the our committee, the Judiciary Committee. I`ve written him today asking him in effect to come clean, to explain, clarify, justify, these apparent false statements to our Committee that he had no knowledge of any contacts between the Trump Campaign and Russian officials. And it is not only that picture, a picture`s worth a thousand words, but it`s also the Papadopoulos plea document which details multiple contacts between him as a campaign surrogate and Russian officials, literally the Russian foreign ministry and his e-mails to other in the campaign.

HAYES: I want to see if I`m tracking this. I want to stipulate what would have to obtain in order for Sessions not to have intentionally misled you. And it is that he did shut down that talk at the meeting, but doesn`t remember the meeting whatsoever, that he was cut out of all subsequent communications and e-mail about the possibility of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. And then when Carter Page told him he was going to Russia and it was approved by the campaign, he forgot that. So all four of those things would have to be true right?

BLUMENTHAL: And in addition, that he did not receive any of the e-mails sent by George Papadopoulos, that he was unaware that Papadopoulos was telling his campaign supervisor, campaign high-ranking official, and other members of the foreign policy team which he, Jeff Sessions, headed, about these continuing conversations and communications with the Russian foreign ministry and Russian agents. So there is a lot of explaining here to do.

HAYES: One thing that I think sheds some light, J.D. Gordon, if we can show the photo again, J.D. Gordon is in that meeting and he`s the one sitting there with the blue tie, he`s looking towards Jeff Sessions, he`s to the left of Jeff Sessions. This is J.D. Gordon in the New York Times tonight. Recalling this moment which was apparently memorable enough that J.D. Gordon remembers it, he went to the (INAUDIBLE) right away, said J.D. Gordon, Campaign Adviser who attend the meeting, he said he had a friend in London, the Russian ambassador, who could help set up a meeting with Putin. Mr. Trump listened with interest, Mr. Sessions vehemently opposed the idea, Mr. Gordon recalled, he said no one should talk about it because it might leak. What do you make of that?

BLUMENTHAL: We`re at a what did he know and when did he know it moment here, similar to what happened with Watergate and happens in a lot of investigations. And as a former prosecutor, I`ve seen this kind of story unfold. The Special Prosecutor, Special Counsel, is climbing the ladder of criminal culpability.

HAYES: Do you think that chief law enforcement official in the United States of America is under legal peril right now if.

BLUMENTHAL: He certainly has explaining to do. Whether he`s under legal peril, he knows best, but lack of recollection and the possibility that documents showed that he was on that e-mail chain create some peril for him.

HAYES: Let`s go to the person sitting in that meeting who is the candidate at the time, Donald Trump, who also I think has some credibility issues. Here he is in the February 16th news conference when asked any contacts with any Russians? Take a listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?

TRUMP: Well, I told you, General Flynn obviously was dealing. So that`s one person, but he was dealing as he should have been --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the election?

TRUMP: No, no, nobody that I know of. Nobody --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you`re not aware of any contacts during the course of the election?

TRUMP: Look, how many times do I have to answer this question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you just say yes or no on it?

TRUMP: Russia is a ruse -- I know you have to get up and ask a question, it`s so important. Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The President by his own -- by his own claims is one of the all- time great memories appears to have forgotten this particular moment in this meeting.

BLUMENTHAL: He appears to have forgotten that moment and he appears to have forgotten his attempts to do business in Russia previously. And if he ever knew about the June 9th meeting involving his son-in-law and his son and his Campaign Adviser with Russian agents, he has forgotten that as well.

HAYES: Do you think it`s credible at all that he didn`t know about that meeting, this Trump Tower one?

BLUMENTHAL: I find it incredible. And in fact, given that he authored a statement for his son to provide to reporters who were inquiring about that meeting, and it was a statement that seems deliberately to have obfuscated what happened, I think it is incredible.

HAYES: As a former colleague of yours, I mean, it`s been really remarkable to watch Jeff Sessions come and testify in front of your Committee. He was full of fire and brimstone and indignation in the last time that anyone would question his integrity, that anyone would question his truthfulness, that it was an assault on his reputation and his character, that he felt dishonored by the treatment before the Committee. What do you make of that self-righteousness in light of subsequent revelations?

BLUMENTHAL: I hope that he would be as indignant as I am right now as a member of that committee, having watched that testimony, and feeling that he has to explain to me as a member of that committee the discrepancy, most charitably, a discrepancy.

HAYES: He served on that committee, so he should understand the shoes that you are in. Senator Richard Blumenthal, it`s a great pleasure to have you here in person to come by. Thank you.

BLUMENTHAL: Anytime. Thanks.

HAYES: Carrie Cordero is a former Attorney with the Justice Department`s National Security Division, Renato Mariotti is a former Federal Prosecutor. Carrie, let me start with you, this question on the Attorney General. You know, look -- this doesn`t add up to any conclusive evidence of anything, but what do you make of this pattern of sort of forgetting misleading, deception in the worst case scenario, what do you make of it?

CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER ATTORNEY, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NATIONAL SECURITY DIVISION: Well, and he was very strongly worded in his congressional testimony and very indignant about being accused of not being truthful or trying to hide something. So the Attorney General is in sort of a bad place right now, particularly with respect to his testimony before Congress. I think the best possible outcome from him is that he`s able to correct or update or amend his testimony in writing if the committee were to allow him to do that, then he would sort of perhaps be able to explain and massage away the discrepancies between what has been revealed and what he actually testified.

I think it will be far less good for him if he is actually called back up to testify in person and have to explain in open session the difference between him hearing informational at a meeting as it`s been revealed, versus what he said to the committee. But it reveals sort of a bigger issue, which is that the Trump Campaign and the Trump administration and those who are out sort of trying to explain away these series of events continue to talk about each one, whether it was the June meeting or whether it was this March meeting, as if they are isolated events.

HAYES: Right.

CORDERO: And so the reason why that becomes a problem is because when you start to look at them and you sort of move the lens back, they`re not isolated. There were obviously many different e-mails and many different communications and many different conversations. And so that cuts against their credibility as it being one conversation here or one particular event.

HAYES: It`s a great point, because if you ever -- you know, you`ve ever caught someone in a lie or a pattern of behavior in which they`re trying to get out of, there`s a sort of tendency to focus on each instance. It was like, well, that time -- you know, that time, I just forgot and that other time, well, that was crazy, I was running late, that`s why -- when you put them all together, Renato, it looks a lot more damning. And I wonder from a sort of prosecutorial and legal standpoint, at what point does lack of memory tip over into implausibility?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, that`s a great question, Chris. And I will tell you as I sat and watched the very lengthy testimony of Mr. Sessions recently, I was as a former prosecutor sitting on the edge of my seat and saying things like, you know, follow up, ask this question or you know, come on, you know, you should try to pin him down on this and that. I mean, he was, in my opinion, very evasive. He was somebody who, you know, like you said, very selective memory. And I thought at times he got away with not answering the Senators` questions. So for example, you had played a clip earlier at the top of the show where I believe it was Senator Franken was asking about, you know, did you have conversations with people about Russia and the campaign? And he`s like, well, we didn`t have conversations and then he kind of melded it into, conversations about collusion that affected the election.

HAYES: Right.

MARIOTTI: And I felt like he had a lot of qualifiers all the time. It was a deliberate strategy on his part.

HAYES: Yes, and I want to talk about this. You know, we were talking about obstruction. And again, there`s evidence today, more evidence, that that`s something Mueller`s looking into. There`s a lot of reasons to think that`s something he`s very serious about, the document requests from Kushner. But Carrie, one of the things we talked about obstruction was idea of corrupt intent, right? So the idea that you show that you are with corrupt intent trying to obstruct an investigation. And there`s not a real particular precise technical legal analog here but I thought this quote from J.D. Gordon about Sessions was interesting, where he says, "He said no one should talk about it because it might leak," which suggests to me that Sessions in that moment recognized there`s something problematic and something sketchy about what is being proposed here.

CORDERO: Well, Sessions, I mean, he was the Head of National Security Committee, and he as a Senator, I mean, he did have understanding I think probably more than anybody else that was advising the President during the campaign that Russia is known to members of Congress as being an adversary, and that it sounded like a very bad idea to be trying to set up a meeting between the candidate and Vladimir Putin or trying to have any kind of outreach. So in some ways, it`s a little bit reassuring if it`s true that Attorney General Sessions at the time said it was a very bad idea. But what then cuts against that is the fact that if this individual raised what he thought was a really bad idea, why was that person continually on the advisory committee? Why didn`t he pull someone aside and say, get rid of this guy --

HAYES: Right.

CORDERO: Or you know, why was that individual allowed to continue to have access to more senior-level campaign officials? So it just doesn`t paint a very good story for them if they`re trying to explain it away as not a big deal.

HAYES: Well, and Renato, it also made me think there`s sometimes in institutions and environments, there are things people don`t know because they don`t want to know them. And one wonders the degree which after Jeff Sessions shut that down, if in fact, that`s accurate, that it lingered in the back of his head that there was probably some things happening, particularly when Manafort come on board that maybe he didn`t want to know about.

MARIOTTI: Well, you know, that is actually a concept that is in the law. And in fact, at times in criminal case wet give something called the ostrich instruction, which is essentially for somebody who willfully you know, does not want to know what the truth is. You know, it`s like, don`t tell me what`s inside the suitcase sort of thing.

HAYES: Right.

MARIOTTI: So you know, certainly, there could be an effort to which that`s the case. And I thought one piece of the Papadopoulos charge thath which is very interesting as when there -- when there is a suggestion that we send somebody low level to Russia. Why does it need to be someone low level? Obviously like you said, there`s something problematic, sketchy, call it what you want, they knew that there was something you know, untoward about this going on.

HAYES: That`s the other data point that suggests they`re not just total naives that were bumbling around like, oh, what`s wrong with this? Oh, I guess we`re not sophisticated enough. Both of those data points suggest they kind of knew that -- what they were doing, if in fact, they were doing what they are accused of doing. Carrie Cordero and Renato Mariotti, thank you, both.

CORDERO: Thank Chris.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

HAYES: Up next, new revelations from Robert Mueller`s unsealed documents including former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort`s links to Russian organized crime. That remarkable story and the reporter who broke it after these two minutes.

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TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best my knowledge, no person that I deal with does. Now, Manafort has totally denied it. He denied it. Now, people knew that he was a consultant over in that part of the world for a while but not for Russia. I think he represented Ukraine or people having to do with Ukraine or people that -- whoever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: You know, something like that. From the beginning, Donald Trump has called the Russia investigation fake news, witch hunt, ridiculed the notion his campaign had any ties to Russia. But as the investigation proceeds, more and more ties surface, including connections between sketchy Russian figures and people who were in the Trump campaign. Just today we learned, thanks to some ace reporting at the Daily Beast, that Paul Manafort, who ran Trump`s campaign and lived in Trump`s building and who was just indicated for conspiracy against the United States, that guy, not only had contacts with Russia, Russian agents, but was one step away from one of Russia`s most notorious mobsters, Semion Mogilevich, a man who is according to the FBI, responsible for weapons trafficking, contract killings, and international prostitution. In 2009 he made the bureau`s ten most wanted fugitives list. The author of that report, Daily Beast Reporter Betsy Woodruff joins me now. Betsy, what is the connection here?

BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICAL REPORTER, DAILY BEAST: It`s an interesting one and what`s sort of hidden in plain sight. What we learned from the indictment is that Paul Manafort, through a company called Lucicle Consulting, spent upwards of $5 million on Mercedes-Benzs and real estate and clothing from a Beverly Hill clothing store, starting in about March 2012. That`s the new information we got from the indictment. The reason that information is important is because the New York Times reported this past summer that Lucicle Consulting received millions of dollars from Ukrainian political figure named Ivan Fursin in February of 2012, a month before Lucicle starting spending so much money at Manafort`s behest. Which of course raises important questions like, who is this Ivan Fursin guy?

According to an Austrian Police report, and the Austrian Police piece of this is really important, The FBI believe that Ivan Fursin was a senior figure in Semion Mogilevich`s organized crime group. Now, Austria is key here. The country the Austria is sort of at the crux of Eastern and Western Europe, particularly in Vienna, there`s significant influence from Russia. Austrian Police are very much invested in understanding the way that Russian organized crime operates because it comes right up to their doorstep. So that means that this assessment, this understanding from the Austrian Police, is something that we should take with the greatest degree of seriousness. That`s why it`s so important that a man who gave millions of dollars to a Manafort-linked company, a company that Manafort controlled according to the indictment, is someone who was a figure of such acute concern to the police in Austria.

HAYES: All right. So I want to walk through this again because it`s a little complicated, but it is really, really, like it`s not a lot of chess moves to get you from one to the other, right?

WOODRUFF: Exactly.

HAYES: There`s a guy -- there`s a guy named Ivan Fursin, who is a Ukrainian parliamentarian and we have reporting that in 2012, he`s putting millions of dollars into this entity, which is called Lucicle Consulting, the holding company right, and putting millions of dollars into that. And then a little bit after he puts it in, millions of dollars flow out as spent by Paul Manafort, who has control. So the money is flowing in a fairly clear way. It`s flowing from Fursin into the thing, into the company that Manafort controls, into the big expenditures that are recorded in the charging document. The guy at the other end of that, Fursin, is, according to as Austrian Police, a sergeant in the mob army of one of the most notorious Russian gangsters in the world. Is that correct?

WOODRUFF: He`s a person of serious concern to the Austrian Police because of his connection to the Semion Mogilevich organized crime project. And an important thing to remember about Russian organized crime, I`m not a Russian organized crime expert but I spent a lot of time talking to experts in this space over the last two days. And an important thing to understand about the way organized crime functions in Russia is that how it`s been explained to me is that it`s more of a process, a medium, a mode, rather than in the United States where we think of organized crime as discrete groups.

So for instance, when we`re talking about what Semion Mogilevich`s organized crim3 project did, it`s something that brings in businessmen, politicians, folks like Ivan Fursin, according to the Austrian Police, who`s a member of the Ukrainian parliament. Organized crime is so influential and powerful in Eastern Europe, that it`s not -- it`s not a discrete project the way it is the United States. And that`s why Fursin simultaneously raised major concerns to the Austrian Police, while also wielding significant political power in Ukraine and having this lucrative connection to Paul Manafort.

HAYES: You know, the possibility that Paul Manafort joined that campaign while in business with or in debt to some extremely dangerous people seems nontrivial at this point. Betsy Woodruff, thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: Sure thing.

HAYES: Coming up, President Trump`s Chief of Staff under fire. I`ll be joined by marine vet currently serving in Congress who blasted the former general as a liar lacking integrity. The latest in the John Kelly saga ahead.

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SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Now the president is now demanding tougher immigration laws, more extreme vetting, and is considering sending this, quote, "animal terrorist" to Guantanamo Bay. The president is responding to this terror attack and he`s calling for tougher measures to keep the American people safe. Isn`t that what`s most important?

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HAYES: Over on Trump TV, there was elation last night with the president`s tough talk, that was a graphic. They were praising his tough talk in response to the New York terror attack, particularly the loose conjecture about sending the attacker to Guantanamo Bay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you want the assailant from New York sent to GITMO? Mr. president?

TRUMP: I would certainly consider that, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you considering that now?

TRUMP: I would certainly consider that.

Send him to GITMO, I would consider that, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Of course, this is part of Donald Trump`s pattern, escalating his own attacks and his own rhetoric past any plausible vision of governing, desperately exaggerating his own response in an attempt to appear tough and get a graphic like that on Sean Hannity`s program.

Today, the president found himself walking back those same remarks about Guantanamo, tweeting, quote, "would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo, but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the federal system."

Maybe he watched our show last night.

Before then adding, quote, "there is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed, should move fast, DEATH PENALTY."

Of course, pronouncements like this for a pending case in the courts have legal consequences and in just one tweet the president managed to give a huge boost to Saipov`s defense attorneys and also make the work of frontline prosecutors charged with obtaining justice against this alleged mass murder that much harder.

So the trash talk and the tough talk may sound tough to his base, but it`s awfully foolish in practice, which is a pretty good summary of this entire presidency thus far.

Coming up next, the chief of staff John Kelly yet again refuses to apologize for smearing a congresswoman. Stay with us.

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REP. FREDERICA WILSON, (D) FLORIDA: Well, all men and women and first responders who work in law enforcement, stand up. Stand and up now so that we can applaud you and what you do.

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HAYES: If you recall, that was congresswoman Frederica Wilson in 2015 at the dedication of a new FBI building named for two slain agents. And that was a speech about which White House chief of staff John Kelly two weeks ago said this.

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JOHN KELLY WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: And congresswoman stood up. And in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that, and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building. She sat down. And we were stunned, stunned that she`d done it, even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.

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HAYES: John Kelly was wrong. And even when the video, the same video we just played, proved him wrong, he refused to apologize to the member of congress he just smeared. And he still refuses to do so.

In an interview Monday night, John Kelly made headlines for saying a lack of compromise led to the civil war, but he also renewed his attack yet again on Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you feel like you have something to apologize?

KELLY: Do I?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

KELLY: No, no. Never. I`ll apologize if I need to, but for something like this, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Congressman Ruben Gallego, former Marine, Iraq war veteran, who has called John Kelly a liar who is, quote, "is going to be used as a weapon so don`t be distracted by what he used to have on his lapel."

Those are strong words. Why did you say them?

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO, (D) ARIZONA: Because they`re truthful. Look, we have a fact. He lied. We have video proof that he lied. And now this chief of staff, he`s not a general, is using his former title basically to cow public opinion against everybody and against this member of congress, a respectable member of congress, a member of the branch of government that also is very involved in decision-making process.

And he absolutely lied. And the fact that he uses both his title, which is the general,former general of the United States Marine Corps, and the -- all the good thing that come from that, but then doesn`t actually live by the values, is just disgusting.

If I had done this in the Marine Corps, if I had lied about another marine or somebody else in the course and conduct of my duty, and then got caught and did not own up to it, did not apologize, I would have been busted down a rank. So, he doesn`t get to live in both worlds.

If you want to live -- if you want to use your title to somehow gain some type of leverage on, especially on the media, then you should live by those values. But he`s not. So he`s no longer a general. We should not treat him as a general. He`s a chief of staff and we should recognize that he`s being used by the Trump administration and he willingly is being used by the Trump administration.

HAYES: Do you think he`s an honorable man?

GALLEGO: At this point the way he`s acting he`s not honorable. You lied about another fellow human being, you were caught in the lie, and then you have not actually owned up to your actions. Not only are you not honorable, you`re not an adult. You are in charge of essentially the executive branch right now, and you have been caught in a lie, and you cannot even admit it because for some reason you, I don`t know, you just can`t accept the fact that you were wrong. And anybody that does that, whether they are a former general or they`re a former lance corporal like I was in the Marine Corps, you have to accept the fact that there`s something wrong with them.

At this point, he`s not acting honorable.

HAYES: Do you think that what that -- when he came to the podium that day a few weeks ago, when he said that about Frederica Wilson, called her an empty barrel, recounted a characterization of the speech that`s belied by the actual video, did that alter the perception that you personally and your colleagues on Capitol Hill in the Democratic Party at least have of him?

GALLEGO: Well, certainly. And certainly the fact that after it was proven false, that was even -- that certainly changed our minds about him. For me, actually, the biggest problem was when he was standing in front of the media and would only call on people that know somebody that was from a gold star family. That is not the way that we should be conducting our government. That is an overreach. That is a level of militarism that this country should not be moving in.

Just because you are a general does not mean -- a former general, somehow you get to declare that one citizen has a better opinion than the other, especially when it comes to issues of war. We`re a citizen-led, and will be forever as long as I can be here on this Earth, military. And certainly generals and former generals do not get to somehow impede on the fourth estate about where they get to ask questions about what happened, who died, and why they died. It`s absolutely ridiculous that he even did that.

That was actually the breaking point for me. And the fact that then he lied about Frederica and what she said, and then didn`t have the integrity to actually own it, really disappointed me. But, you know, at the end of the day he has gone with Trump. He has become Trump. And I think we and everyone else that is here to keep the executive power in check need to recognize that.

HAYES: Congressman Ruben Gallego, thank you for joining me.

GALLEGO: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, after staking everything on the president in the name of tax reform, there are early indications passage is far from a lock. The dire consequences if Trump and the Republicans fail again ahead.

And tonight`s, Thing One, Thing Two starts right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, we told you last night about the struggle over naming the Republican tax reform bill after Paul Ryan reportedly asked the president to help brand it, Trump was insistent the deal be called the Cut Cut Cut Act. Well, today the Republicans released the bill -- and sadly, really, reject the president`s idea. They decided to go with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The president may not know what`s in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but he did comment on the name today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It`s tax cuts, it`s tax reform, and we added the word jobs, because it`s all about jobs. We`re going to have tremendous numbers of jobs pouring in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: You see how that works? It`s the tax cuts, and it`s also the jobs. You got both those there.

But while Congressional Republicans did not use Trump`s cut cut cut idea, they did appear to throw him a bone, specifically naming one person he`s been feuding with in a document outlining the tax plan, and that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: When House Republicans released their 429-page tax bill today, they included this handy explainer along with it deciding to call out one person in particular. I`m quoting here, "our legislation will ensure this much- needed tax relief goes to the local job creators it`s designed to help by distinguishing between the individual wage income of NBA all-star Stephen Curry and the pass through business income of Steve`s Bike Shop.

Well, that`s weird. Why would they randomly use one specific NBA all-star as the face of America`s tax problems? It might be to please one person. Two months ago, President Trump just happened to get in a public feud with Steph Curry, tweeting, "going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn."

The president may still be sore about that incident, because while Trump withdrew Curry`s invitation with an exclamation point, that was a day after Curry made it clear, he`s just not that into you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPH CURRY, GOLDEN STATE GUARD: We don`t stand for basically what our president has -- the things that he`s said and the things that he hasn`t said and the right times that we won`t stand for it. And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: We`re working to give the American people a giant tax cut for Christmas. We are giving them a big, beautiful Christmas present in the form of a tremendous tax cut. It will be the biggest cut in the history of our country. It will also be tax reform and it will create jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: For a president who has yet to celebrate any marquee legislative achievements, and for a Republican Party that has been promising tax cuts for decades, the stakes couldn`t be higher. After finally rolling out their first attempt at an actual tax reform bill today, there is no guarantee this thing is going to pass.

Within hours of its release, at least four Republican House members said they could not support the bill in its current form. At least two Republican senators expressed doubts. In a statement today, Senator Bob Corker suggested he had a problem with the bill`s cost and that he looks forward to the debate ahead.

Senator Jeff Flake, meanwhile, voiced his concerns on the Senate floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R) ARIZONA: We cannot simply assume that we can cut all taxes and realize additional revenue. It`s important that tax reform comes as well. We`ve been hearing a lot about cuts, cuts, cuts. If we are going to do cuts, cuts, cuts, we have got to do wholesale reform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Then there are the warning from groups like the National Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders, who said the tax cut proposal could cause a housing slump, although take that with a grain of salt, obviously. And the National Federation of Independent Business who said it leaves too many small businesses behind.

After failing to fulfill the promise of repealing the Affordable Care Act, this is the last big push for the president and his party to actually deliver this year. If they fail, it could spell absolute political disaster.

One of the people the president is counting on to pass this tax cut legislation, Congressman Matt Gaetz, Republican from Florida. He said that congress must pass tax reform this year. And he joins me now.

Congressman, you were a no on the budget resolution, which was really interesting to me because I think it was a day or two after my show. You said it was basically liberal. And that it didn`t cut spending enough. So here`s my question to you, last time you were on, you said the reason this is going to be deficit neutral is because we`ve got all these cults on the spending side. You then voted against the budget resolution because the cuts didn`t materialize. So how could you vote for the fax cuts in good conscience?

REP. MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA: Well, hope springs eternal, Chris. My hope is that we`ll be able to repeal the individual mandate, that will cut spending. And I`m also hopeful that some of our friends in the senate, like Senator Corker and Senator Flake, will join us to actually cut the spending that is hollowing this country out.

The bottom line is, Chris, we`ve got to get these tax cuts passed to rescue the American people.

HAYES: Right, but those two things are intention, right. So, if you got to get them passed no matter what, that means you`re a vote yet no matter what, even if the spending cuts don`t materialize whereas the first part you say here is other places we can get pay fors, repeal the individual mandate, cut spending on other stuff. My question to you is, is there a threshold for you`re yes vote where this thing cannot be increasing the deficit by, say, $1.5 trillion like it now is projected to.

GAETZ: Well, Speaker Ryan has given me a commitment that we`ll be doing spending reform in the next budget resolution. The Senate kind of likes to operate in a linear fashion rather than a sequential fashion. And so, look...

HAYES: Wait a second.

GAETZ: Hey, Chris, if we go have a bill to cult spending, are you going to endorse it on the show? Are you going to be supportive of cutting spending so that we can actually deal with these deficit problems? Of course, no liberals will. You know what, if we had bipartisan cooperation on spending reform, we could actually deal with these deficit problems.

HAYES: Let`s be clear here, I don`t think the deficit is a problem. I didn`t think it was a problem during Barack Obama`s tenure. I don`t think it`s a problem now.

If you guys want to increase the deficit, that`s fine by me. I`m asking you because you think the deficit is a problem, because...

GAETZ: I do. I want to cut spending and I want to cut taxes.

There`s no amount of spending cuts or tax cuts alone that are going to deal with the deficit. We have to do both. The question is whether or not it`s sequential or whether or not it`s linear.

HAYES: But congressman, you realize, you`re smart enough to know this. You know you`re going to get rolled on this. If you say yes I`m a yes on the tax cuts votes, we`re going to get the spending cuts later, how long you have and I been paying attention to American politics where it`s always tax cuts now, spending cuts later and the spending cuts never come? You know that.

GAETZ: Chris, I think the last time we had real tax reform, you and I were in kindergarten. And so I think it`s important to recognize how challenging that`s going to be.

And so it`s appropriate to focus on tax reform, get the economy moving again, rescue the American people from the Obama economy where we had stagnant wages, limited investment, and we really didn`t have the opportunity for people to prosper.

Let`s unlock the American economy first and then I`m going to be one of the loudest voices in Congress to cut spending and I hope Democrats will join me.

HAYES: So, what I hear from you is yes, so let`s talk about the stagnant wages, which I absolutely agree with you was the biggest problem of the Obama economy and the biggest problem now.

You`ve got a tax plan where all of the tax cuts for capitol, right, the corporate tax cuts are permanent. The wage stuff is all temporary. Why is that okay? If your priority are American families, families that have kids, all the stuff you`re doing for them, but those are temporary, those might go away, but corporations get the permanent ones, doesn`t that say what your priorities really are?

GAETZ: Absolutely not, Chris. We`ve got one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, that`s a wet blanket over the American economy. And our current cooperate tax rate is one of the reasons why we don`t have wage growth.

HAYES: What`s the evidence for that?

GAETZ: Well, the fact that when we`ve had the highest corporate tax rate in the world, we haven`t had the wage growth that we wanted. You just said the problem in the Obama economy was that people didn`t make more money. Let`s try something different. That`s why the American people voted for Republicans and voted for President Trump.

We can have higher wages if we bring more capital that`s currently overseas back into this country and inject it into the American economy.

HAYES: This economy is awash in capital. There are people who run around Silicon Valley getting hundreds of millions of investments for juicing companies that go bust. There is capital coming out of the ears of everyone. There is capital sloshing around global financial markets. What people don`t have is money in their pocket to take home from wages and what your tax plan is doing is cutting money on capital, hoping it trickles down to those people. Can you understand why they`re skeptical?

GAETZ: I understand that your constituency is largely in Silicon Valley, but in Main Street America we don`t see that we`re aflush in capital and one of the reasons is that the Obama economy had so many regulations, it had Dodd-Frank, the challenges of Obamacare, and those are major contributors to the economic stagnation that we`re trying to rescue the American people from with this fantastic tax cut.

HAYES: Congressman, I am going to make you this pledge, if this thing passes and we see real wage growth a year from now, I will have you on this show to take an enormous victory lap, all right?

GAETZ: I look forward to it.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Matt Gaetz, thank you for your time.

With me now, Jason Johnson, NBC Political Analyst, Professor at Morgan State University. There`s nothing -- in some ways there`s nothing new here, and the arguments are the same. It`s interesting to watch because the arguments aren`t different from 1980.

JASON JOHNSON, NBC: It`s the same arguments that Obama and Romney were having, the same arguments from the 1980s. This is the core issue that I see with the tax plan. What they`re doing is right up front they`re saying, hey, we`re going to offer you these great tax cuts but everything else associated with middle class life, your health care, education, moving, all of those things become more expensive. It`s like getting a really cheap plane ticket but they`re charging you $25 for the peanuts --

HAYES: And the bags. Right, because you have the student loan interest deduction will probably go away, capping the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000. Which is a lot of money, but in places that are high cost areas really can get you. So, there`s a bunch of places where you can find that hitting you.

JOHNSON: And since most of those things wear out after five years, middle class life doesn`t get better with this bill.

Look, I agree with you and I agree with the congressman. Everybody wants wages to go up. But wages aren`t magically going to go up just because businesses pay fewer taxes. It doesn`t mean that that money goes to the workers, it might go into the CEOs` pockets.

HAYES: I mean, this is the central thing. We`ve seen corporate profits go up and up and up. The Stock Market go up and up and up. It doesn`t do anything even to wages.

The story that they have to sell people on is that capital is somehow still restrained. The bosses still don`t have enough money, the owners don`t have enough money, the people you report to at work every day, the people that own your company, they don`t have enough money but if you give them enough of it, you`ll see a little bit it have.

JOHNSON: They`ll magically want to give it to you instead of themselves, instead of new cars, instead of investing in more equipment one way or another. That lie has never manifested itself. It`s a lesson we should have have learned 35 years ago.

HAYES: The stakes here are extremely high. You can see he`s on board. I think it`s going to pass the House. But they don`t have 50 votes in the Senate right now. And if this thing blew up and died the way ACA did at the end of this year going into the Christmas break, it would be -- I think it`s total political cataclysm for the party.

JOHNSON: I don`t think it`s going to pass. I think you have too many people who are concerned about it. I think that --

HAYES: You don`t think it`s going to pass?

JOHNSON: Yeah. I don`t think it will pass the Senate.

HAYES: It will get out of the House, though.

JOHNSON: Oh, yeah. There`s plenty of House people, Ryan will get them enthusiastic. You got people there who will be happy about it. The senators will say, look, this is going to kill me long term, because I`ve got to be in office for six years, I`m not going to be able to talk and dance my way out of this.

The other issue is this, you can`t run this kind of plan in conjunction to also failing to take care of the ACA, right? They didn`t manage to improve it and these two things are connected.

HAYES: And they`re recreating the process. It`s keep it secret, bust it out, try to pass it, and like the ACA, they`ve got an interest group process. It doesn`t mean the home builders are right. But, they have a real interest group problem.

JOHNSON: I know more people who are in the National Association of Realtors than I know people in the Chamber of Commerce and most Americans do. People have real estate husbands and wives working out there and these things are things people can understand and that`s what you get hit with in 2018.

HAYES: Yeah. I think we`re watching them recreate the ACA process and the stakes are only higher than Obamacare.

Jason Johnson, thanks for joining me.

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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