Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 9, 2017 Guest: Bob Vance, Rosie Gray, Josh Marshall, Betsy Woodruff, Kurt Bardella
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- something good in this country, something pushed aside, but I`m glad not forgotten. Well, that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST, WHITE HOUSE: All the instruments to try to destroy Judge Moore and his family, your day of reckoning is coming.
HAYES: The Republican Candidate for Senate in Alabama accused of a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s only one relationship that`s been alleged that`s problematic.
HAYES: Tonight the charges against Roy Moore, the defiant defense from the candidate and the right and the ground-shaking implications for Republicans in the Senate and the Trump agenda.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people of Alabama, who I like very much and they like me very much, but they like Roy.
HAYES: Then, about that dossier.
TRUMP: I was in Russia years ago with the Miss Universe contest, which did very well.
HAYES: What NBC News is reporting tonight about what Trump`s bodyguard told investigators.
TRUMP: I told many people, be careful because you don`t want to see yourself on television. Cameras all over the place.
HAYES: About five women in a Moscow hotel.
TRUMP: I`m also very much of a germophobe, by the way, believe me.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight the Republican Party`s nominee for U.S. Senate from the State of Alabama stands accused of molesting a child. We`re going to go through the allegation and it`s going to be graphic, but it`s important that we report to you the details. A woman named Leigh Corfman told The Washington Post on the record that Roy Moore approached her outside a courtroom in 1979 when he was 32 working in that courtroom and she was just 14. And he told her mother that he would look after her while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing. That`s what they were at the courtroom for. He said, oh, you don`t want to go in there and hear all that, I`ll stay out here with you.
Corfman`s mother told the Post, after getting the 14-year-old`s phone number, Moore picked Corfman up days later, drove her to his house she says, where he told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, I`m quoting here, "she remembers that Moore kissed her, then he took off her pants and shirt, that he touched her through her bra and underpants. She says that he guided her hand to his underwear and that she yanked her hand back. "I wasn`t ready for that. I had never put my hand on a man`s penis, much less an erect one" Corfman told the post. She says she asked Moore to take her home and he did.
The Post also talked to two of Corfman`s childhood friends who both said she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, one even saying she had identified the man as Roy Moore. Corfman`s mother says she was told about the encounter over a decade after it happened. And aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by the Post on the record say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s. He allegedly approached two of them at a local mall, the third after speaking to her high school civics class about his job as assistant district attorney. In total, the Post spoke to more than 30 sources who said they knew Moore during that same time period. In a statement, Moore unequivocally denied all the allegations.
The question now is whether more women will come forward as they have in the wake of other reports about abuse by powerful men. One Alabama political columnist claimed he`s heard rumors of such conduct by Moore for years. And the Post dropped its blockbuster report less than two days after the Republican Party suffered an absolute rout on election night sending the party into a panic about his prospects for holding on to power in Washington. And the one bright spot on the horizon for the party, a safe seat in a deep red state in a special election coming come December, was supposed to be Roy Moore, the GOP`s nominee to fill Attorney General Jeff Session old Senate Seat in a special election.
Next month, the Republicans have been counting on Moore despite the fact that long before today his record put him way, way outside the mainstream of American politics. Moore was thrown out of office of Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court twice for defying the federal judicial system. He said homosexual conduct should be illegal, called for representative Keith Ellison not to be seated in Congress because he practices Islam and has suggested that both 9/11 and the Sandy Hook massacre were punishment for turning away from God. Same goes for child abuse according to Moore in a speech just two months ago.
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ROY MOORE, GOP SENATE CANDIDATE, ALABAMA: All across our land, we have child abuse, we have sodomy, we have murder, we have rape, we have all kind of immoral things happening because we`ve forgotten God.
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HAYES: Many current Republican Senators including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had endorsed Moore`s primary opponent Luther Strange, and today many of them including Mitch McConnell called on Moore to withdraw from the race if the allegations are true. Senator John McCain, by contrast, said in a statement, "The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of." You can bet Rep1ublican lawyers have already been scouring Alabama`s election laws for any way to get Moore off the ballot before voters go to the polls on December 12th. But do not expect Roy Moore to go quietly. He`s denying the allegations, leaking a defying statement to Breitbart calling the Post report garbage and the very definition of fake news.
And allies in right-wing media in the political field response are rallying to his side. Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler told the Washington Examiner in Moore`s defense, "Take Joseph and Mary, Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter, they became the parents of Jesus." Bob Vance is Alabama Circuit Judge and a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against Roy Moore 2012 to be State`s Chief Justice, which is the last statewide race Roy Moore has won, and it was a close race. And I guess the first question is how has this news landed in your state of Alabama?
BOB VANCE, CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, ALABAMA: Well, it`s been a bombshell here just as elsewhere. With the election roughly a month away, this changes the dynamic, many people think. Moore was regarded as the front-runner, although the polls were tight, were close but this kind of revelation really does call into question his fitness to serve in the United States Senate.
HAYES: You ran a race against him and got I think around 46 percent of the voters, a tighter race than o think people maybe thought and suggested that Moore had some real problems in popularity. And I`m seeing two different kinds of reactions from people inside the state and outside of the state. People like, well, they`ll still vote for him anyway. And a lot of people I follow inside the state saying, no, no, he`s got some real vulnerability. This will change people`s calculation. Which of those do you think it is?
VANCE: Well, first let me correct you, Chris. I got a little over 48 percent of the vote.
HAYES: Even better.
VANCE: So it was actually even closer. And I mention that because it is indicative that I think Roy Moore is a divisive candidate even among Republicans. That`s why I entered the race against him in 2012. I saw an opportunity because I know that there are many reasonable conservatives who can`t stomach what Roy Moore stands for. So there is an opportunity there. I don`t ascribe to the belief that it`s a given that he was going to win even before the revelations of today. So this just makes the equation even more complicated for Moore.
HAYES: We`ve seen a lot of quotes from local officials, Republican officials essentially, saying they`re still sticking with him. These are state party chairmen. Do you think there`ll be moves by the state party to try to pressure him to step down or withdraw?
VANCE: I would doubt it, just because they`re left with no alternative. My understanding of state law is that there`s no way at this date to name a replacement for Roy Moore. It`s too soon. Absentee ballots have already gone out. So I think the Republican Party is pretty much stuck with him. I would not expect Roy Moore to withdraw unless there are further revelations that come to light, nor would I expect the Republican Party to somehow disqualify him. So the question becomes, what does the Alabama electorate do given this new information about the Republican nominee?
HAYES: We should note that even before this the Republican Governor Kay Ivey had declined to endorse Moore. There`s some real dissatisfaction with him bubbling up there. Final question for you as someone who ran against him, did this -- does this shock you to hear this this morning, to see it reported out in the Washington Post with 30 sources, or was this something you had an inclination was out there?
VANCE: It frankly did surprise me. In my campaign against Roy Moore, I did not get a whiff of any kind of scandal such as this. Roy Moore presents a target-rich environment to be sure for an opposing candidate. But this kind of personal scandal is something new that he`s going to have to deal with.
HAYES: All right, Judge Bob Vance, thanks for your time tonight.
VANCE: My pleasure.
HAYES: Rosie Gray is White House Correspondent for the Atlantic, Josh Marshall is the Editor and Publisher of Talking Points Memo. Where to start? I mean --
JOSH MARSHALL, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, TALKING POINTS MEMO: Busy day.
HAYES: It`s an astounding -- it`s an astounding thing for any politician to be accused of. And you could almost see like the Republicans look like deers in headlights today. I mean, they really did. Murkowski says she`s spoken to Senator Strange about running a write-in campaign because maybe that`s a Hail Mary. But what would you make of watching this ripple through the party today?
MARSHAL: You know -- we are in such a chaotic period. Good news and bad news, there`s so many shocks moment after moment and you know, today the President`s bodyguard said, well, they did offer to send women to Trump`s room. And he goes, that`s like -- we`re not even talking about that.
HAYES: We`ll do it later, yes
MARSHALL: It`s a -- it`s a tough situation for them politically because they seem -- there seems to be no option to get him off the ballot. They didn`t want him there to start with and they`re just kind of stuck. And I think one key thing I take from this, we`ve seen lots of allegations against lots of different men over the last few weeks. In most of those cases, a lot of people come out of the woodwork very quickly once one person comes forward. And they`re fired, they step down, whatever. Those reactions out of -- out of Alabama, at least from his top supporters, are pretty striking. I mean, they`re invoking the bible on his -- in his defense, right? So the key -- what I take away from this is, how these things go down all depends on who your constituency is.
HAYES: That`s right.
MARSHALL: And I think it`s really clear that Roy Moore`s core constituency does not care, or he is more important to them than these allegations are.
HAYES: We should note Rosie, I mean, one of the most incredible things that happened today is that he`s fund-raising off of it. I mean, the man is accused of molesting a child on the record in the Washington Post and sends out a fund-raising e-mail based on the article about the fact that he`s under siege. "We`re in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message." Do you think he can ride this out?
ROSIE GRAY, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTIC: Well, you know, I`m not sure whether this is going to necessarily result in a victory for him, although if I was a betting person I might probably still bet on that, to be honest with you. I mean, I think that Roy Moore has a very solid base of support in Alabama who have sort of known him for a long time. However, these allegations obviously are extremely serious. But what he`s doing is kind of turning this into a narrative in which he`s the victim of a kind of witch hunt you know being arranged by the so-called Amazon Washington Post, and you know, the Democrat-media complex, or whatever and basically turning it into a kind of he said, she said situation.
I mean, in terms of the Republicans` ability to get him off the ballot, it looks like it`s not actually really possible at this point so they are stuck with him like Josh said. And you know, the lessons that we all learned from the Access Hollywood incident is that you can actually sort of survive politically a scandal of this magnitude.
HAYES: Yes, I mean, there`s a blueprint here.
MARSHALL: It really comes down, again, who is your constituency? Donald Trump`s core constituency did not care. And I think what we are seeing right now, at least on first blush, is that Roy Moore`s core constituency does not care.
HAYES: Right. But there`s also a question here. This is a guy I follow on Twitter, Richard Alex Smith, he`s an Alabama political operative, and he was -- he was tweeting about this. He said, "I cut my campaign teeth and actual teeth in Alabama. Roy Moore has no path now, based on his historic performance." This is -- and this is someone who`s a Democrat, right, so that`s totally (INAUDIBLE). I`ve only ever said that about Democrats in my home state. There`s a real question about if that constituency is big enough to win this election.
MARSHALL: That I totally agree with. I don`t dispute that -- you know, that reasoning or analysis. I guess what I`m saying is, he may not win, but the --he needs a critical mass of people to stay in the race.
HAYES: Oh, absolutely.
MARSHALL: And I think that whether that`s you know, 30 percent, 40 percent of the electorate; I don`t think they care or they care more about him than they care about what he did.
HAYES: And not only that Rosie. I mean, there`s election law, but there`s also the fact that the Republicans in D.C. have no leverage over the guy.
GRAY: Yes, that`s right. I mean, they can`t make him get out of the race. I mean, they can put out strongly worded statements and they have. Although I would note that you know, every one of them is putting out these statements that say, if this is true and then you know, saying he should step aside. I`m not sure what burden of proof would have to be offered here.
HAYES: That`s right.
GRAY: You know, there are women on the record making these allegations but you know, the fact that there isn`t like an actual tape or photographic evidence or whatever is leaving them sort of enough rhetorical wiggle room to be able to you know, potentially be able to step back from what they`re saying.
HAYES: Yes, that point about, if this -- "if true," I think creates the space to essentially just kind of yadda, yadda, yadda for 32 days until the special election, which is -- which to Rosie`s very astute point, like if true, like what`s going to -- if this happened decades ago, so what`s going to determine it one way or the other for you?
MARSHALL: Well, I would say, and they are making themselves very vulnerable to what happens tomorrow?
MARSHALL: Are -- is there -- are there four more stories that come out over the next week? But the problem they have is, he got where he got by fighting them. He doesn`t need them.
MARSHALL: So they are -- they are in a spot. And I don`t think they have many good political options.
HAYES: There`s a lot of panicked calls happening today. Rosie Gray and Josh Marshall, thank you, both. Tonight, Republicans face a decision on whether or not they should support a Senate nominee who stands accused of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl and for some that has not been an easy answer. More in two minutes.
HAYES: Over the past month Senate Republicans have made something of an art formal out of ignoring questions about Roy Moore`s basic fitness for office, a man who is removed twice from the Alabama Supreme Court for ethical reasons, the man who believes that "homosexual conduct should be illegal," the man who once said that Congressman Keith Ellison shouldn`t be allowed in Congress because he is Muslim. They acted like they were OK with all this. I mean, Senator Rob Portman very revealingly, a Republican from Ohio, told Politico that Moore`s going to be for tax reform, I think, which is really apparently all that matters. A number of Senators like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, have officially and proactively endorsed Moore.
Tonight the Washington Post reports that Moore stands accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl several decades ago. And while Moore denies the allegation, there`s an open question whether conservatives will find this to be a bridge too far. Now, while Ted Cruz appeared on sidestep the issue this afternoon telling Politico, "I`ve seen the headlines but I`ve not had the opportunity to review the specifics." There are those in the conservative media who are so invested in a Roy Moore win, they will say things like this.
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SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: He was apparently like 32 and he dated -- one girl was 18, one girl was 17, they never said he did -- and there`s no sexual -- there`s kissing involved, and then they`re saying this one encounter with a 14-year-old --
LYNDA MCLAUGHLIN, RADIO PRODUCER: And it was consensual.
HANNITY: And consensual, that`s true. And there`s, you know -- I just -- I don`t know how you find out the truth.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Betsy Woodruff, Reporter for the Daily Beast, Kurt Bardella, a Political Commentator, former Breitbart Spokesperson, joining me now. Betsy, let me start with you. I anticipated a fake news attack. I anticipated deny, deny, deny, Washington Post is fake news. What I did not anticipate was watching a bunch of conservatives today bend over backward to defend molesting a child, and yet somehow that`s apparently where we are.
BETSY WOODRUFF, REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: This phrase "I don`t know how you find out the truth" is sort of a profound philosophical moment in conservative media. The idea that there are certain things that are beyond knowing, even when women go on the record when all their friends and their family members go on the record saying this type of sexual attack happened, and they still don`t think they can believe that, I mean, it`s extraordinary. It makes you wonder, under what circumstances would pundits like this believe the truth about sexual misconduct is knowable? Do they have to be in the room watching it happen to believe that it`s actually happened? It`s astonishing and I don`t really know how else to put it. It`s hard for me to get my head around. Why would you consume journalism if you don`t trust reporters and you don`t trust their sources?
HAYES: Well, and Kurt, there was this really bizarre thing that happened with your old haunt Breitbart in which Breitbart was leaked that the Washington Post was working on this story and got out ahead of it to essentially run interference for Roy Moore. One of their editors on T.V. today basically talking about the -- you know, how it`s perfectly fine a 32-year-old man was trying to date a 16-year-old. They are -- you know, Breitbart is all-in on Moore. What are they going to try to do? Are you surprised by what they are doing today?
KURT BARDELLA, FORMER SPOKESPERSON, BREITBART: No I`m not, Chris because it`s vintage Breitbart. Any time that there`s an issue that they don`t like, any time there`s an attack that they don`t like, they go right at attacking those who are reporting on it. They go right at trying to create their own alternate reality, really. And they`re banking that their audience, the Trump audience, and as they say with the Access Hollywood campaign situation, that they won`t care, that they`ll believe what Breitbart says, which is this is a fabrication, that this is the media and Democratic machine attacking the Republican, and they will try to steer the conversation of their audience towards that because they`re so all-in.
Bannon, of course, was the one leading the charge for Roy Moore, in the first place even against Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump over Luther Strange. They`re so vested in this, and if it goes south, it could send up the entire plan that Bannon has to try to remake the Republican Party up in smoke.
HAYES: You know, Betsy, it seems to me this is a real test moment. I mean, I really have to say I didn`t -- I thought I`d lost my capacity for shock. But reading like -- these are just some of the statements from a local Alabama officials who are talking to Daniel Dale today at the Toronto Star about this behavior. "It was 40 years ago, I really don`t see the relevance of it. He was 32, she was 14, she`s not saying anything happened other than they kissed. Other than being with an underage person, he didn`t really force himself. I know it`s bad enough but I don`t know, if he withdraws, it`s five weeks to the election, that would concede to the Democrat. There is no option to support Doug Jones the Democratic nominee when you do that you`re supporting the entire Democrat Party." It`s like, I felt -- you were talking about this being profound. It`s profound in the sense that there`s nothing that Roy Moore could do that is going to detach the party from him, it appears.
WOODRUFF: I don`t know, I think that`s probably correct. I don`t know of another way of reading the statements that Alabama Republicans are making these days. And one piece of context on this that`s really important is to remember that the seat Roy Moore is currently running for is one that is extraordinarily symbolically significant to the Republican Party and especially to the Breitbart wing of the GOP. This is Jeff Sessions` Senate Seat. If Jeff Sessions were to lose --were to pass off his Senate Seat to a Democrat, if Republicans were to lose control of it, that would just be for the Breitbart wing of the Republican Party the ultimate humiliation. Remember, Sessions was their favorite Senator in the Senate.
He was their guy. He was the one who was -- who was the most hardline on immigration, who was the first strong Senate supporter of Donald Trump who now has been implementing and advancing the Trump agenda from his perch as Attorney General. If a Democrat takes over that seat, that would be indicative of an extraordinary sea change, of a humiliation not just for the Breitbart wing of the Republican Party but for the Tea Party Bannon project of trying to primary comparatively moderate, comparatively middle of the road Republicans for the purposes of these purity tests. It`s just so important to them.
HAYES: Well, Kurt, that`s what I thought today too. It`s like congratulations Steve Bannon who read some high school Shakespeare and some cliff notes of Tsung Tzu, that you know, that the strategic genius who`s managed to maneuver the Republican Party into being all-in on a man who stands accused of molesting a child today, way to go.
BARDELLA: Yes, and remember, the interesting thing is when Bannon talked about this grand plan to remake the Republican Party that they would learn from the mistakes of the Tea Party, the Sharron Angles, the Todd Akins, the things that we saw go so horribly wrong for Republicans in previous elections. This was supposed to be different, this as they called it, their league of extraordinary candidates, Chris. I mean, give me a break. And so we`re seeing right now that`s why they`re not going to back down, that`s why they`re so vested in making sure that Roy Moore gets through this because if this falls apart it really could be the beginning of the end of something they`ve barely gotten off the ground.
HAYES: Well, I think every Republican is going to wear the mark forever on where they stood on Roy Moore. And that was true even before today. Betsy Woodruff and Kurt Bardella, thank you, both.
WOODRUFF: Next, President Trump`s right-hand man testifies in front of House Intel, NBC`s reporting on what came out about the infamous dossier and it is something, after this quick break.
HAYES: During a 2013 trip to Moscow, a Russian participant in the Miss Universe contest offered to send five women to Donald Trump`s hotel room, that according to closed-door testimony Tuesday by Trump`s long-time bodyguard Keith Schiller which three sources who were present for Shriller`s testimony recounted to NBC News. Schiller is a one-time NYPD officer and Trump Lieutenant who became Head of Security at Trump Tower in 2005. He was with Trump on the campaign trail, followed him to the White House where he served as combination of body man, confidant, and gatekeeper before leaving in September.
And Trump traveled to Moscow for the Miss Universe competition in 2013with Schiller by his side. And it was on this trip that the Steele Dossier alleges the Russian government gathered compromising material on the future president. Two sources told NBC News Schiller told the House Intelligence Committee that he viewed the offer of five women as a joke saying he told the Russian who made the offer "we don`t did that type of stuff." Joining me now, one of the reporters who broke that story, NBC News National Political Reporter Jonathan Allen. Jonathan, what was the context of Schiller`s testimony about this?
JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I mean, generally speaking, I think you`ve got members of the committee trying to figure out whether that Steele Dossier is accurate, which parts of it are accurate if it`s not all accurate. Obviously, President Trump has denied it. And you have here Keith Schiller, his body man, basically saying that parts of it are true. I mean, there`s confirmation here that there was an attempt by Russians to send five women to Donald Trump`s room. And then, of course, Schiller says, but that`s as far as it went, says he walked Trump up to his room, left him there, didn`t stay the whole night but believes, as he said, to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors that nothing happened.
HAYES: Do you -- I mean, do you want to just spell out what the actual allegation the dossier is and why it`s germane here?
ALLEN: I mean, the allegation in the dossier is that President Trump was present for sexual acts between two women, you know, including urination. And that is not something that Keith Schiller testified, having, in fact, said denies that allegation, President Trump has denied all those allegations. There is no evidence beyond the Steele Dossier allegations of that. And this particular testimony does not bring anyone closer to that. What it does do, however, is confirms some other pieces of the Steele Dossier, some of the basic facts leading up to what would have been that moment.
HAYES: Yes, it places them -- I mean, we should say that the idea of the allegations in the Steele Dossier is that this was the room the Obamas had slept in, and this was a way of essentially defiling the room, right? That was the -- essentially that was the act that was undertaken. Again, I`m quoting the Steele Dossier, characterizing it here. But what this does seem to confirm is Schiller saying, yes, we were in Moscow, obviously we knew that. And yes, there was this attempt made, this offer made, by one of our Russian stewards there to quote send women.
ALLEN: Yes, I mean, absolutely. There`s -- and that`s what`s interesting. I mean, this is an interview with the House Intelligence Committee. You can`t lie to Congress in that situation. So you know, this is something that is, for the record, confirming some of these details.
HAYES: And also, he does say, again, that he walked the now-President to his room, he stood outside it, is that correct, for a little bit, then left? Is that the gist?
ALLEN: That`s right. That`s right.
HAYES: All right, Jonathan Allen, great reporting. I kind of can`t imagine -- I can`t believe that was testimony before a Congressional Committee, but you know, these are the times we live in. Thank you very much.
ALLEN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right, more on this breaking story. Don`t go anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was in Russia years ago with the Miss Universe contest, which did very well, Moscow, the Moscow area, did very, very well. And I told many people, be careful, because you don`t want to see yourself on television. Cameras all over the place. And again, not just Russia, all over. Does anyone really believe that story?
I`m also very much of a germophobe, by the way. Believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now by someone who`s closely tracked what we know, what we don`t know about the Steele Dossier, that`s Business Insider correspondent Tasha Bertrand.
And Tasha, you were tweeting about this today in response to the NBC story, what are your takeaways from what we know about Shiller`s testimony?
NATASHA BERTRAND, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, one of the biggest things that I took away was how much it seems to corroborate the part of the dossier, the parts of the dossier that discuss how Russia uses things like this to gain kompromat over people that they want to blackmail in the future.
I mean, this idea that Russia actually offered up five prostitutes to Trump while he was in Moscow in 2013 really raises additional questions about, well, what may have happened in other instances when Trump was in Russia, for example?
And one of the biggest questions that I have remaining is, well, did the House intelligence committee ask Shiller about things that happened in St. Petersburg? Parts of the dossier allege that a lot of these acts occurred while Trump was in that city at one point.
Now it`s still very murky that he even traveled there. No one can seem to get a straight answer about whether or not Trump actually ever went to St. Petersburg. But this is an allegation that is laid out in the dossier. And if they`re taking cues from that dossier, it really makes you wonder, well, did they ask about this too?
HAYES: Yeah, one of the -- you know, the Moscow trip obviously is documented. We run "B" roll of Trump in Moscow. There was a thing that was put on television.
The dossier talks about other trips to Russia, it talks about Petersburg. I believe Shiller was asked and said he didn`t remember going to Russia with Trump, but couldn`t confirm, which sort of made me scratch my head a little bit, because that remains a big thing we don`t know about that period is was Trump ever in Russia other than that trip?
BERTRAND: Right, and it`s really curious that Shiller wouldn`t remember taking a trip to Russia with Trump. He said that he would look back at his passport, and if he saw anything that suggested that he had traveled to Russia, that he would give it to the House intelligence committee, but as of his testimony, he really couldn`t recall whether or not he had traveled to the city with Trump. And that really just -- it`s kind of hard to believe.
HAYES: One of the aspects of the dossier that I find the most explosive, and it`s obviously totally unconfirmed, is a basic thrust that from the very beginning, bringing Trump to Moscow for this was essentially a Russian intelligence operation That he was being cultivated from the beginning, that they -- and sort of stewarded the whole way along.
What`s your judgment based on what we know from the Shiller testimony or from other things we`ve learned about the plausibility of that?
BERTRAND: Well, it definitely seems like Russia was making a play at cultivating Donald Trump from very early on. The dossier says that it went back for as long as five years. We obviously don`t know whether or not that`s true, but again it wouldn`t be surprising. This is what the Russians do, they spot people who are motivated by things like ego, money, and they really try hard to kind of use them or leverage them the best way that they can.
Trump while he was in Moscow in 2013, he did meet with very powerful Russian oligarchs. He went to a restaurant before the pageant or just after, I can`t remember the exact date, and sat down with these powerful Russians and then he kind of bragged about it later. He said, you know, I met with these very high-level officials, you know, Vladimir Putin wasn`t able to join me but I wish I had met him. Vladimir Putin then sent him a gift later. So, there was this period of kind of trying to stroke his ego and cultivate him while he was in Moscow. And the question is did that continue through the 2016 election?
HAYES: YOu know, one other detail there as we watch that video roll is that Emin and Aras Agalarov who were the father/son team who show up in those emails that precipitate Trump Tower, they`re also in that dossier, and they`re identified as essentially the intermediaries for this entire operation.
BERTRAND: Right. So Rob Goldstone, who is, of course, the publicist for Emin Agalarov, he orchestrated the entire Trump Tower meeting last June. He reached out to Donald Trump Jr. on behalf of the Agalarovs, and he suggested they meet with this Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. The dossier interestingly also says that Emin`s father, who has done business with Trump for several years, would know more about the alleged acts that Donald Trump did while he was in St. Petersburg.
So, this is a relationship that goes back a very long time. And I think that if Mueller really wants to get to the bottom of a lot of Trump`s ties to Russia, then he`s really going to have to interview the Agalarovs.
HAYES: Yeah, and of course the thing that looms all over all of this is the idea that there are tapes somewhere, that the entire thing was done to produce compromising tape. And we know the compromising tape is something that`s been marshaled in Russia for political purposes quite often.
BERTRAND: Right. So the top Russian prosecutor who was appointed by Vladimir Putin himself, who has very close ties to the president, he actually has done this before. He has used videotapes in order to essentially ruin his political adversaries or those that he`s trying to bury.
And so it`s really -- it`s a common tactic in Russia. As trump said, he was right when he said that everything is taped, everything is recorded, everything is documented, and it`s because they`re just waiting for the right moment when they can use it against you later.
HAYES: Natasha Bertrand, thanks for being with me tonight.
BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, I`ll talk with Senator Bernie Sanders about what could be the next disaster for Republicans as they unveil their tax plan in the Senate today.
Plus, the latest entries in the president`s best people category in Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, another one of President Trump`s judicial nominees gets a anonymous rating of "Not Qualified" by the American Bar Association, a designation that not one of President Obama`s nominees ever received.
Brett Tally this time nominated for Alabama District Court seat is the fourth Trump judicial nominee to receive the rare "Not Qualified" rating and the second to get a unanimous "Not Qualified" rating. The first trump judicial nominee to get that thumbs-down from the ABA, Leonard Steven Grass, testified at his confirmation hearing just last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, (D) RHODE ISLAND: You are the first circuit court nominee since 2006 to receive a unanimous "Not Qualified" rating from the ABA and the last nominee who had such a rating was withdrawn.
LEONARD STEVEN GRASS, JUDICIAL NOMINEE: That is my understanding, Senator.
WHITEHOUSE: It was a 14-0 vote, was it not of the committee of the bar?
GRASS: Senator, I`m not keenly aware of that. I believe there was one abstention, but that...
WHITEHOUSE: That`s why it`s 14, but there are 15 of them.
GRASS: I believe that`s correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
But that`s nothing compared to the president`s nominee for a top environmental post whose lack of qualifications were on full display before the Senate, and that is a must-watch Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: President Trump is nominating some extremely unqualified people, but one Senate confirmation hearing this week was especially cringeworthy, Kathleen Hartnett White was nominated to lead the White House`s counsel on environmental quality, which is in other words the nation`s top environmental adviser in the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BEN CARDIN, (D) MARYLAND: It seems to me that you don`t believe climate change is real.
KATHLEEN HARTNETT WHITE, NOMINEE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY: I am uncertain...
CARDIN: You are uncertain?
WHITE: No, no. I`m not. I`m sorry. I jumped ahead of my -- climate change is of course real.
CARDIN: Human activity affect climate change?
WHITE: More than likely but the extent to which I think is very uncertain.
CARDIN: Do you know how much of that excess heat has been captured in the ocean, is it more or less than 50 percent. Do you even know that?
CARDIN: No, OK.
WHITE: But I believe there are differences of opinions on that, that there`s not one right answer.
Do you think that if the ocean warms, it expands? Does the law of thermal expansion apply to seawater?
WHITE: Again, I`m not -- I do not have any kind of expertise or even much layman`s study of the ocean dynamics and the climate change issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just two days after a nationwide drubbing at the polls, Republicans were hoping to turn the page today. Senate Republicans were going to unveil a new tax bill, their last, best chance to actually pass some kind of, any kind of, major legislation this year.
But then the Roy Moore news broke, and suddenly Republicans, including majority leader Mitch McConnell, had to deal with yet another bombshell. Accusations in The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the party`s senate nominee in Alabama, had sexual contact with a 14-year-old who he picked up outside of court where her parents were having a custody case.
Republican Senators found themselves bombarded with questions not about tax brackets and allowable deductions, but about whether they would still stand by a man now accused of molesting a child.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking with only 16 days left in session for the House, and 20 days left for the senate. Donors are keeping up the pressure on Republican lawmakers to deliver on tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, a fact that some are publicly admitting like Republican congressman Chris Collins of New York who told The Hill, quote, "my donors are basically saying, get it done or don`t ever call me again, or Senator Lindsey Graham asked today about the consequences for the GOP if the tax bill dies said, "the financial contributions will stop, among other repercussions."
They might have a point. I mean, imagine if Republicans fail on tax reform the same way they failed on health care, ending the first year of the Trump administration with no real legislative accomplishments despite literally years of promises. That`s exactly what Bernie Sanders would love to see happen. And he joins me next.
HAYES: Republicans are hoping to use the release of their tax cut plan today to refocus their party after sweeping electoral victories for Democrats on Tesuday. Instead, they`re dealing with yet another scandal as Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore stands accused of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old.
Now, Republicans see their chance to fulfill even one campaign promise this year slipping away. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is one of those Senators working to stop the Republican agenda in congress on taxes. And Senator, I want to talk about taxes. I first have to ask you about this revelation about a man who could be your colleague in a matter of weeks, whether you think the Republican Party should...
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Let`s hope -- let us hope that he will not be my colleague or anybody else`s colleague. You know, I think you have heard, Chris, that there are a number of Republicans who are saying that at this particular time, given these horrific charges against Mr. Moore that it would be appropriate for him to step aside. And I support that. I agree with that.
HAYES: Let me ask you about the tax plan.
First of all, are you surprised that they`ve managed to write a bill that appears to hike taxes on some middle income payers? I have to say I did not see that one coming.
SANDERS: Well, they got a number of problems. It probably wasn`t their first goal, but if you`re going to give massive tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country, there are some things that you`re going to have to do and that includes that in the House bill at least over a ten year period, at the end of the ten years, you`re going to have almost half of middle income people paying more in taxes.
I think you made the point a few moments ago, Chris, and that is the main point to be made, is that you have members of congress who are saying if we don`t pass this, our billionaire friends are not going to contribute to our campaigns. That is what this whole tax bill is about -- massive tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country, significant reduction in corporate rates at a time when corporations are earning recordbreaking profits, and at the end of the ten years in the House bill, almost half of the middle class will pay more in taxes. Totally absurd.
HAYES: I want to play you -- there is a great interview by John Harwood of Gary Cohn today. I want to play you a little clip in which Cohn says something I think similar along the lines of what Lindsey Graham and Chris Collins have said. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, I imagine, are the point person in the White House for bit CEOs, because you come from their world. They know you. What are you hearing from them right now?
GARY COHN, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: The most excited group out there are big CEOs of the modern tax plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That seems been very clear it seems to me in what they want out of this and who the constituency is.
SANDERS: What more can you say? I rest my case. This will be an incredible benefit to the wealthiest people in this country, it`s the large corporations and their CEOs.
And one of the things, Chris, that they are trying to do is to move this thing forward in lightning speed. There have not been any hearings. They`re going to try to mark this thing up, get it passed in the House, get it passed in the Senate. And you know why? Because they do not want the American people to know what is in it.
So you have a situation where we have massive income and wealth inequality in America. What we should be doing is telling the wealthiest people in this country they`re going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes so we can make public colleges and universitiestuition free, et cetera, et cetera and instead they`re giving these guys huge tax breaks. It is pathetic.
HAYES: The argument that they`re making, right, on the supply side, on the corporate tax cut to the extent I can find of find a unified argument is twofold. One, there`s tons of money sitting offshore, that basically the problem is there`s a lot of corporate profits. It sits offshore because our corporate rate is so high. We need to cut that rate so the money comes back in the U.S. and can be used for investment here. What`s wrong with that argument?
SANDERS: What`s wrong with that argument, that`s trickle-down economics, and also what it`s about is it`s dishonest. It is true that the nominal corporate tax rate is 35 percent, but that`s not what major multinational corporations are paying. They`re paying about 14 percent.
And in fact, one out of five large profitable corporations, Chris, pays zero in taxes. We have, if you`ve seen the Paradise Papers, of course, we understand that all over this world, including many American wealthy people and large corporations, are taking advantage of all kinds of loopholes to park their moneys abroad and not pay a nickle in taxes. What this tax plan would do, frankly, would lower taxes substantially for American corporations at a time when we should be raising them.
HAYES: So we saw -- I mean, you just talked about the process here which really looks like deja vu, the ACA repeal process. I mean, this sort of do it in secret, throw it out there, try to pass it quickly. The problems between the House and the Senate. They seem to be recreating the process.
And one of the things that happened with that is people really rose up in resistance partly because health care is so tangible and human. Do they have the same political vulnerabilities here or does the fact that it seems abstract or possibly more abstract in terms of taxes mean that they have more political room to work with?
SANDERS: Well, that`s -- I think you may be right, and that`s what frightens me a little bit.
If I tell you we`re taking away your health insurance, you`re going to say, damn, you`re not going to do that. I`m going to fight you. But if I say, all right, so billionaires are getting a huge tax increase, it`s kind of complicated what you may or may not get. You know, I don`t think people are staying up at night.
But what we have to point out is these tax proposals, among many other things, and many other provisions in it, would create a $1.5 trillion increase in our deficits. And what the Republicans were very clear about, because that`s what their budget was about, is saying that what we will then do, and they were clear in the budget, we will cut Medicaid by a trillion dollars, Medicare by over $400 billion, Pell Grants, nutrition programs, environmental protection programs.
So if they do this, trust me, the day after they will come back talking about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and the need to cut those programs.
HAYES: What is your big takeaway from Democrats victory on Tuesday night?
SANDERS: Well, obviously it was a referendum on Donald Trump. And you know what, Donald Trump lost and he lost badly. I think the American people rose up and said you know what, this guy is divisive. His policies are reactionary. We`ve got to fight back in every way that we can.
So, obviously the victories in Virginia, New Jersey, elsewhere were really great.
One of the stories, though, that is not being told about Tuesday is that all over this country we saw a lot of young people, people who for the first time engaged in the political process, running and winning. I know, our revolution in Virginia supported six challenges, new candidates. Three of them won, two lost. The one is in a recount now.
So I think what was very exciting, you see people of all colors, all backgrounds, all sexual orientations getting involved in the political process. That`s what the Democrats have got to encourage.
HAYES: New blood.
Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for your time.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
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