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Russia probe moving into Trump's inner circle Transcript 11/20/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Leonard Lance, Donna Edwards

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 20, 2017 Guest: Leonard Lance, Donna Edwards

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Let`s not forget him especially now. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.




KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I`m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax -- this tax bill through.

HAYES: The White House effectively backing an alleged child molester because of tax cuts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe Roy Moore`s accusers, Mr. President?


HAYES: Tonight, why won`t the President drop Roy Moore even as more of his accusers tell their stories?

LEIGH CORFMAN, ROY MOORE`S ACCUSER: I was a 14-year-old child trying to play in an adult`s world, and he was 32 years old.

HAYES: Then the long winter of the Russia investigation. Mueller asks for documents related to possible obstruction of justice.

Plus, the candidate who assaulted a journalist and got elected to Congress lied to the police.

REP. GREG GIANFORTE (R), MONTANA: I`m sick and tired of you guys. The last guy that came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here.

HAYES: And how the Republican tax plan sticks to it the middle class.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: Where do you think the $300 billion is coming from? Is there a fairy that`s dropping it on the Senate?

HAYES: Michael Moore is here to talk about that when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The White House spent ten days studiously avoiding taking a clear stance on alleged child molester and GOP Senate Candidate Roy Moore. That changed today. Kellyanne Conway going on national television to effectively argue that the people of Alabama should stand with the man accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old.


CONWAY: Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don`t be fooled. He`ll be a vote against tax cuts. He`s weak on crime, weak on borders. He`s strong on raising your taxes. He`s terrible for property owners, and Doug Jones is a doctor and a liberal which is why he`s not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him.


CONWAY: I`m telling you, we that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax -- this tax bill through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the RNC has withdrawn the support for Roy Moore, Mitch McConnell has withdrawn support, so has the young Republicans vote withdrawn support for Roy Moore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a lot of women.

CONWAY: Right. And you know what? The -- I just want everybody to know, Doug Jones, nobody ever says his name.


HAYES: OK. Message here is not ambiguous, it is unmistakable. Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President says that at December 12th Alabamians should vote for a man who currently stands accused of molesting a 14-year- old girl, sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl, groping a 28 year old woman and dating or attempting to date five more teenagers including calling one while she was in trigonometry class when he was more than 30 years old. Moore denies the allegations. That person should be elected according to Kellyanne Conway so that Republicans can pass a massive tax cut that overwhelmingly benefits corporations and the wealthy. Now it`s a very different message than Kellyanne Conway herself was pushing just last week.


CONWAY: Whatever the facts end up being, the premise is, of course, the principle, the incontrovertible principle is that there`s no senate seat that`s worth more than a child.


HAYES: No Senate seat worth more than a child. It`s profound. So what changed? Well, according to new reporting of the Daily Beast over the past week, the White House and President Trump`s top allies have gone from laying the groundwork to ditch Moore, to laying the groundwork to celebrate his possible victory next month. Multiple sources in and out of the west wing telling the Daily Beast that Trump being told not to criticize Moore by many of his closest advisers including both Kellyanne Conway and Breitbart Chair Steve Bannon, Trump`s former Chief Strategist who of course aggressively championed the now accused child molester Moore in the primary.

President Trump has been accused on the record and of course, we should note of unwanted physical contact by at least 15 women. He denies all their accounts, called them liars, said they were not attractive enough for him to assault. On Friday, the President criticized Al Franken over sexual misconduct allegations and then over the weekend, he found time to attack a black football player and the father of a black college basketball player. But for some reason, for some reason, the President, who has opinions about nearly everything under the sun, continues to simply have nothing to say about Roy Moore.


TRUMP: To the media, to the press, thank you very much. We appreciate it. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your thoughts on Roy Moore, Mr. President, do you believe his accusers?

TRUMP: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe Roy Moore`s accusers, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Thank you very much.


HAYES: At the White House press briefing today, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about Conaway`s comments.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that the position of this White House that voters are better off voting for someone accused of assaulting teenaged girls than a Democrat?

SANDERS: Look, as I`ve answered, I think even for the third or fourth time just today, as well as 10 or 15 times on both Thursday and Friday of last week, the position of the White House hasn`t changed. We feel like the people of Alabama should make the determination on who their next Senator should be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But she made a clear suggestion over who they should vote for.

SANDERS: And I`m telling you -- I`m giving you the answer of the position of the White House.


HAYES: For his part, Moore gave a radio interview this weekend in which he suggested that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is part of the conspiracy to discredit him.


ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE, ALABAMA: I believe with all my heart that Mitch McConnell and the establishment are in cahoots with the Democrats to stop this campaign.


HAYES: His Democratic opponent Doug Jones has surged in the polls in the wake of the Moore allegation but the race remains close. Yesterday, the three largest newspapers in Alabama ran identical front-page editorials arguing that Alabamians must show themselves to be people of principle, reject Roy Moore and all that he stands for. This morning on NBC`s "TODAY SHOW," Leigh Corfman who says Moore molested her when she was 14 offered her first on-camera account of what happened.


CORFMAN: He basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceed to seduce me I guess you would say. And during the course of that, he remove mid clothing. He left the room and came back in wearing his white underwear, and he touched me over my clothing, what was left of it. And he tried to get me to touch him as well. And at that point, I pulled back and said that I was not comfortable and I got dressed, and he took me home. But I was a 14-year-old child trying to play in an adult`s world and he was 32 years old.

GEORGIE GARDNER, NBC NEWS HOST: Roy Moore denies these allegations and further says he does not even know you.

CORFMAN: I wonder how many times he doesn`t know.


HAYES: With me now, Republican Congressman Leonard Lance of New Jersey. Congressman, do you believe Leigh Corfman?

REP. LEONARD LANCE (R), NEW JERSEY: Yes, I do and I think that Mr. Moore should not be elected to the United States Senate.

HAYES: Do you think Alabamians should vote for Doug Jones?

LANCE: No. I`d like to see a write-in, and I would suggest Martha Roby, my colleague from Alabama who is a conservative Republican and I think a very fine member of the House and would be a fine member of the Senate.

HAYES: So -- but you think unlike the White House, you`re willing to take that a stand and say that you should -- that he should not be in the race and that people should not vote for Roy Moore based on what you know about him?

LANCE: Correct.

HAYES: Do you find it astounding that the President who has opinions on so many things where he shares them with all of us all the time has no opinion about a man who stands credibly accused and you believe the accusation of molesting a 14-year-old girl whose bear his party`s imprimatur, who still has the endorsement of the president as far as we know, that the president has nothing to say about that. do you find -- what do you make of that?

LANCE: I hope the President speaks up on it and of course he had endorsed Senator Strange in the primary and I wish that the Senator had been renominated.

HAYES: Do you believe the women that have accused Donald Trump of touching them --

LANCE: I have no reason to disbelieve them. I think in both the Bill Clinton case and the Donald Trump case, it was a behavior before they were president and President Clinton got into trouble based upon behavior while he was president and I hope this President conducts himself in office in a higher standard.

HAYES: So your idea is that it was before Election Day, that`s just bracketed it away.

LANCE: With regarding presidents, I think that we`ve elected these men as President, recognizing their faults. And let me say that I try to lead by example and I certainly have tried to conduct myself in an honorable manner, and certainly as well regretting the office I run.

HAYES: How do you feel about being -- let me ask you this. There are many people who thought -- Republicans who thought that Roy Moore was unfit to be A United States Senator before these allegations. This is a man who has been kicked off the Supreme Court twice. This is a man who said one of your colleagues, Keith Ellison should not be allowed to serve in Congress because he is Muslim, in direct contradiction of the ban on religious test for office as found in the United States Constitution. Do you share that belief that this is a man who is unfit before these accusations?

LANCE: Yes and I think that there should be no religious test in holding office in this country and Keith Ellison and have I different political views, but he is a colleague and a friend, and he has a right to serve in the Congress of the United States.

HAYES: What do you think about when you think about Roy Moore possibly winning this election, you and he serving in the same party in Congress?

LANCE: He`ll be over in The Senate if that were to be the case and I hope that he`s not elected.

HAYES: Let me tell you something. You`re running in New Jersey Seventh District. It`s going to be a very competitive district. You know that. Obviously, and we can talk about your vote on the -- on the tax bill in a moment. They`re going to run ads about Roy Moore in your district. If I was a Democratic consultant and Roy Moore was a sitting U.S. Senator, I would say this is what the -- this is what the Republican Party stands for. Donald Trump in the White House and Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate who`s credibly accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl. Is this the party you want the give power to?

LANCE: I represent a very sophisticated district, and I`m sure the voters in the district I serve will reelect me based upon my views and any such campaign, of course, would be demagogic.

HAYES: You voted against the tax bill?

LANCE: I did.

HAYES: You were one of 13 no votes. They say this won`t raise taxes on anyone in the middle class. Is that true when they say that?

LANCE: I don`t think it`s completely true. I`ve been fighting for what is known is SALT, the continuation of the deductibility of state and local taxes. That`s very important for New Jersey because we have the highest property taxes in the nation.

HAYES: You -- I mean, just to be zero in on this, they`re saying no one is going to see a tax hike. No one in the middle class is going to see a tax hike. What you`re saying and I think is borne out by the analysis is that is not true.

LANCE: I think there will be some who will see a tax hike. There will be some who will not.

HAYES: Of course.

LANCE: And there will be more who will not but certainly there will be some who will and that`s why I have been fighting on this SALT issue.

HAYES: All right, Leonard Lance from New Jersey Seventh District, thank you for making some time. Have a great Thanksgiving if I don`t see you.

LANCE: You as well.

HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC Political Analyst Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for the Nation and former Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland, Senior Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. Joan, since you`re right here, let me start with you. This morning when I saw Kellyann Conway, I thought to myself, wait a second, is she freelancing or is this now they`re turning the ship towards an endorsement. And the Daily Beast reporting Trump world wanted distance from Roy Moore, then key allies lobby the President to reconsider. In the span of a single week, the White House and President Donald Trump`s top allies have gone from laying the groundwork to ditch Roy Moore to possibly celebrating his victory.

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that`s what she did this morning. And I have to say, I mean, last week -- excuse me -- even Steve Bannon was saying that, you know, he`d kill him himself. You know, Hannity was going after Roy Moore. And then something changed over the weekend. And I don`t know what it is but Kellyanne, having said what she did last Thursday, this morning I think even the Fox folks were kind of like what?

HAYES: You could see that they were not anticipating and they were confused as to what the actual line was.

WALSH: Is this what you`re really saying? Yes. Wait, this is what we`re supposed to be saying for the rest of the day? OK.

HAYES: Donna how much -- I was just talking to the Congressman here and you served in Congress and one of the things that happens to Democrats for instance and I`m not comparing the two situations but from the political perspective. Like they`ll say you know, they`ll run against Nancy Pelosi when you`re running against a Democrat in Kentucky. I do wonder like, this figure of Roy Moore, this is -- I don`t think you can unring this bell, but maybe I`m wrong. You`ve been on the front lines of politics. What do you think?

DONNA EDWARDS, FORMER UNITED STATES CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, I have and I could see for myself traveling around the country of course that the Republican Party ran against Nancy Pelosi in a very effective way to take control of the House of Representatives. And I have to tell you, I mean, I think that this is really an albatross around the Republicans` necks. I mean, you look at the defense of Donald Trump, which was indefensible, and now you add to that Roy Moore. And they become the party that is, you know, a party that`s about pedophiles and sexual predators. And I don`t think it`s defensible anymore. And I think you can see the tightrope that my friend Leonard Lance was walking both on the tax issue but also on this question of sexual assault, sexual harassment. You know, it`s a very bad look for the party, the supposed party of family values.

HAYES: I should note this is a broader issue than Roy Moore, and I don`t want to make apples -- I don`t want to aggregate everything together as all incidents are the same. So I want to be clear that what he stands accused of is incredibly serious, and the other things I`m about to introduce are in different grades of that. But as to no party having a monopoly on this, today there`s a second allegation against Al Franken. There`s reporting about Glenn Thrush, New York Times Reporter, I should also note, full disclosure an MSNBC Contributor, and Charlie Rose.

Now, this is the Washington Post, our friend Irin Carmon co-bylined on this. Eight women have told the Washington Post longtime television host Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances towards them including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, groping their breast, buttocks or general area. I should read Charlie Rose`s response and then I want to get your response, Joan. "It is essential these women know that I hear them and I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times and I accept responsibility for that. Although I do not believe all of these accusations are accurate. I always felt I was pursuing shared feelings even though I now realize I was mistaken."

WALSH: I`m supposed to say what? People are learning. Men are learning, you know. We`re all learning together here. I mean, it`s kind of amazing. But we do have a to put what Roy Moore is accused of in a separate category because it was preying on young women, including a couple of juveniles. But these other things, Chris, they keep -- they keep coming out and there are people of different ages and we can say some are old school and some are newer school. But we have -- we just have to keep talking about this. And, you know, I`m glad you`re not asking me what we want to do with everyone.

HAYES: Well, that`s the -- I mean, in some ways that`s a difficult situation. I mean, in the case of Roy Moore, it seems to me an open and shut case. Whether whatever party you were part of, these are obviously disqualifying. No question. In the case of Al Franken, it`s a much more open question, and there is real Democrats wrestling with that right now.

WALSH: Right, including myself. But you know, what kind of troubling to me right now is that women are having this stuff thrown back into our laps.


WALSH: OK, there are all these allegations, there are all these guys who`ve done things wrong. Well, what should we do? You know, should Bill Clinton have been --have resigned, blah, blah, blah. I mean, I think we`re -- I don`t know. I actually don`t know. These are all --

HAYES: I think that`s -- a lot of people feel that way.

WALSH: Yes. These are all different situations. So when you turn it around to ask me or Donna what should happen, you`re not doing that, but it`s happening all the time. It`s kind of like we all need to get together and decide, and we all need to figure out why are men doing this.

HAYES: Yes. What should happen is that people shouldn`t do this in the first place.


HAYES: Is the first answer and that should be prevented. And Donna, the point of Roy Moore in a sort of separate category, it is just astounding to me that the White House would even flirt with continued support. I mean, it just seem to me -- I just can`t imagine going back in any moment that I`ve covered politics, someone being really credibly accused. We`ve got say credibly accused because this is something that she shared with people contemporaneously throughout her life. Credibly accused of molesting a 14- year-old girl that he picked up outside a custody case when her mama went inside for that custody case, that would be a career-ender in any universe I think I`ve lived in, right?

EDWARDS: Well, and, you know, I think that that is true. But I mean, let`s really be clear here because I don`t want to reach back you know, 20, 30 years ago with people who were in office. I want to talk about people who want to hold office now, about people who were in every single workplace, sometimes for women who really don`t have anywhere to turn. And I have to tell you, whether or not Leigh Corfman had shared her story or it had been corroborated, I listened to her and I know her words to be truthful. And we have to start trusting women. We have to start believing women.

And they shouldn`t have to stand in groups and blocks of women making accusations in order to be believed. And I feel like that`s the kind of environment that we`re in right now and that`s not acceptable. As to the what we should do, we should do different things with different people because they`re accused of different things. And you`re right, where Roy Moore is in a completely separate category than some of the other things that we`ve discussed. But frankly, I have to tell you, starting with the President of the United States that we knew all along, this has got to stop.

HAYES: Joan Walsh and Donna Edwards, thank you both for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thanks.

HAYES: Ahead, Michael Moore joins me to talk about the state of the Republican Party and why the GOP is jamming through a tax hike on low and middle-income Americans. Plus, the President`s lawyers are assuring him the investigation will be done by the end of the year but others are preparing for a long winter. Amazing new reporting on the (INAUDIBLE) of the west wing after this two-minute break.



TRUMP: -- recommendation, I was going to fire Comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It`s an excuse.


HAYES: The President`s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey in the midst of the Russia investigation is now widely regarded, include big Trump allies like Steve Bannon as a catastrophic error which triggered, of course, the appointment of a special counsel and a probe into possible obstruction of justice. So for the President`s lawyer, how do you keep him from lashing out again and creating another potentially disastrous self- inflicted wound? The answer, according to a new report from the Washington Post, you convince him it will all be over soon. The Post reporting that Ty Cobb, it`s really his name, the outside lawyer handling the Mueller probe for the White House had initially said he hoped the focus in the White House would conclude by Thanksgiving but adjusted the timeline slightly in an interview last week saying he remains optimistic it will wrap up by end of the year, if not shortly thereafter.

The President had warmed to Cobb`s optimistic message, according to the Post. There is just one problem. Witnesses, legal expert, even Republican allies consulted by the post all say Mueller is still a long way from wrapping up his investigation, which is expected to continue well into 2018. On top of that, "witnesses questioned by Mueller`s team warn that investigators are asking about other foreign contacts and meetings that have not yet become public and to expect a series of new revelations." As one Republican operative told the Post, it`s going to be a long winter. I`m joined now by one of the reporters on that story, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Carol Leonnig. Carol, what is the -- what`s pitch from Ty Cobb to the President to try to keep it -- keep him cooling his heels?

CAROL LEONNIG, REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: The White House lawyer Ty Cobb who`s been on the job since this summer basically have said to the President and everyone in the White House we are turning over records, we are providing in a cooperative manner all of the needs of the Special Counsel Bob Mueller. We are providing him with interviews with former and current staff. And all of that will be completed by Thanksgiving or December or the end of the year.

And in truth, that stage of the process could very well end by the end of this year. But probe is going to go on for some time and remember every prosecutor is looking at a big wide circle of people on the outside to get closer and closer to the inside. And we just don`t know what we don`t know. We don`t know what`s going to happen as a result of lower level aides and even Paul Manafort, Former Campaign Chairman who has been indicted, Rick Gates, another campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, another Foreign Policy Adviser to the campaign being charged. We just don`t know all of the things those people are going share with prosecutors, and that their information is going to lead and point to others.

HAYES: There`s a great quote in here that I wanted to get your response to. A person close to the Trump administration to the Washington Post, "this investigation is a classic Gambino style roll-up. You to anticipate this roll-up will reach everyone in this administration." That`s got to be a terrifying thought for people in the White House.

LEONNIG: Well, it is kind of scary because, I mean, a lot of them have not had any up-close and personal experience with a white collar criminal investigation. This is a bit of a hybrid in a way though, Chris, because remember Bob Mueller`s original charge is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Almost everyone accepts as a fact that the Russian government tried in multiple ways to both tilt this election and to sow discontent in our country and lack of confidence in our institutions, and also tried to infiltrate the Trump campaign in some ways, multiple soft touches to various aides. So you know, there`s a serious criminal probe into the hacking, the stealing, the crime that`s there. But this is a white-collar probe too. What kinds of crimes, conspiracies were campaign advisers and friends and others involved in that might have helped the Russians?

HAYES: Does everyone have their own legal representation?

LEONNIG: A lot of people have lawyered up and it`s actually a source of the grim discontent inside the White House because some people really do face legal bills that would be three and four times their annual salary at the White House.

HAYES: All right, Carol Leonnig, thanks for joining me.

LEONNIG: You bet.

HAYES: Next, a huge development in the story of Greg Gianforte. Remember him? Then-candidate now Congressman who assaulted a reporter for asking a question during the campaign. That update after this quick break.


HAYES: Remember that time a Republican Congressional Candidate assaulted a reporter, lied about it and still won the election? We`ve just learned that Greg Gianforte who is currently serving as the sole Congressman from Montana not only lied to the public and to the press about that assault, he lied to police. The incident unfolded on May 24th, that was the day before a special election in Montana when Guardian Reporter Ben Jacobs tweeted, "Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses." The Gianforte campaign almost immediately blamed the incident on Jacobs himself. Gianforte`s Spokesman Shane Scanlon released a statement which read in part, "Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg`s wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It`s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene." But the audio record by Jacobs painted a much different picture.


BEN JACOBS, REPORTER, GUARDIAN: -- the CBO score. Because you know, you were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill and it just came out --

GIANFORTE: We`ll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yes, but there`s not going to be time. I`m just curious --

GIANFORTE: OK. Speak with Shane, please. I`m sick and tired of you guys.

JACOBS: Jesus --

GIANFORTE: The last guy who came in here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus!

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. You with the Guardian?

JACOBS: Yes and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You`d like me to get the hell out of here. I`d also like to call the police. Can I get you guys` names?


HAYES: The Gianforte campaign through its spokesperson Shane Scanlon who attached his name to the statement lied and they also slandered reporter Ben Jacobs. The next day Montana voters, many of whom had already voted early elected Gianforte to Congress. He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and in his June 7th apology to Jacobs wrote notwithstanding anyone`s statements to contrary, you did not initiate any physical contact with me and I had no right to assault you. He also, the Congressman promised to give an on the record interview to Ben Jacobs which he has yet to do. And now nearly six months later, we find out that Gianforte lied to the cops.

According to the newly released Gallatin County police report, Gianforte told the sergeant, "I probably shouldn`t do it, but I reached out for the phone. He grabbed my wrist. We -- he spun, we ended up on the floor so he pulled me down on top of him." Gianforte also said the liberal media is trying to make a story. Now, Gianforte`s current spokesman Travis Hall told the A.P. no one was misled, which is, of course, an obvious and demonstrable falsehood, which also means that Travis Hall`s word is worth what Shane Scanlon`s was before him, which is nothing. And Gianforte`s lie to the police mirrors the lie his campaign put out the night of the incident. Gianforte apparently hoped it would fall down the memory hole which for the most part it has. Something you can be sure is not lost on Roy Moore`s campaign.

HAYES: There is movement on special counsel Robert Mueller`s investigation, specifically on possible obstruction of justice. Mueller is reportedly asking the Justice Department for thousands of documents. A source telling ABC News that in particular Mueller`s investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter.

Natasha Bertrand is a political correspondent for Business Insider who has covered the Russia investigation extensively, just wrote about this latest push by Mueller`s team.

Natasha, what do you make of this development?

NATASHA BERTRAND, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, legal experts that I have spoken to have said that it is a very strong sign that Trump himself is under investigation, is under federal investigation. No matter how much the White House wants to convince us otherwise, the fact of the matter is that all signs point to Mueller is really homing in on whether or not Trump had corrupt intent when he fired FBI director James Comey in May, because, of course, Comey was leading the investigation into Russia`s interference in the election. And importantly, whether or not Trump`s campaign colluded with Moscow.

So by obtaining all of these documents from the Justice Department, what is happening is he is really trying to get at Trump`s state of mind. And that is the biggest hurdle that Mueller is going to have to clear if he wants to make a persuasive obstruction of justice case.

What -- you know, I thought about this a lot in terms of what that case would look like. So, in the case of George Papadopoulos, who has already pleaded guilty or Paul Manafort who has been charged, you know, they open up the federal criminal books and they charge people with chargeable crimes. They indict them. They go through the normal process.

In the case of a president of the United States who you believe is guilty of obstruction of justice, presumably they`re not going indict them in the courthouse. It would have to be essentially a kind of public finding, right?

BERTRAND: Right. And this is why ultimately the result of Mueller`s investigation is going to be a little matter. He is going to have to present his findings to congress because it`s very murky still whether or not you can indict a sitting president. Some people say yes, some people say no. But ultimately Mueller is going to have to go to congress and say we have evidence that Trump acted improperly, that he acted corruptly. And these are the reasons why he should be impeached or removed, if it comes to that.

So, ultimately if he finds that Trump did try to obstruct justice in this investigation, it is very unlikely that unless Trump resigned or was out of office for some reason that he would be indicted with a crime. But until then we really have to see what Mueller digs up.

HAYES: It speaks to the scope of this that Mueller -- I mean, Mueller has got this team that is going through these very complicated and baroque financial transactions that Paul Manafort`s people are running, but also making what it appears a pretty -- he would have to make a pretty sophisticated constitutional argument about obstruction were he actually to come against the president.

BERTRAND: Right. He would have to -- I mean, the rules would have to kind of rewritten. I don`t know about the constitution, but there is a lot of legal theory out there that argues against the idea that a sitting president can be indicted.

When it comes to whether or not there was actual wrongdoing by people like Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, of course that`s much easier. And that`s why he is going after them, it`s because they are very vulnerable legal targets just given their financial histories, their business dealings, alleged money laundering, you know, violations of the FARA, which is the Foreign Agent Registration Act. So, these are targets that you take on, you know, legal experts have told me that you take on when you`re trying to make a case about the entire organization.

So, he is essentially right now shooting fish in a barrel. And whether or not it reaches Trump himself, that remains to be seen.

HAYES: Quickly, some new revelations that Carter Page had some fairly high level meetings in Hungary, which are being looked into. It appears he did not tell the truth under questioning to Adam Schiff. What is the significance of those meetings?

BERTRAND: It just solidifies Carter Page as someone who was clearly some kind of high level player. We don`t really know what he was doing throughout the election, but every time he makes a statement, it seems he has to walk it back. Every time he says that this didn`t happen, as you know from doing many interviews with him, if you push him hard enough, he will eventually say well, I may have spoken to this person.

The fact that he was meeting with high level Hungarian officials, it`s very questionable, especially given Hungary`s connections with the Russian government. There is a lot of organized crime there. There is a lot of -- essentially there are arguments that have been made that the Kremlin essentially has its entire intelligence apparatus in Hungry right now.

So the fact that he was meeting with these officials just before the election raises many more questions.

HAYES: Natasha Bertrand, thank you very much.

BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Still could come, while the Trump administration claims their tax reform won`t hurt the middle class, Michael Moore joins me on why it does just that.

Plus, a stadium demolition and the bus that stole the show in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, the thousands of pounds of explosives the massive clouds of dust, there is just something oddly satisfying about watching a building implode.

These events are catnip for local news stations. But like the implosions themselves, covering them requires careful planning to avoid mistakes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bridge is about to be imploded this morning to make room for a new bridge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we`re going to stay with this. I think it`s supposed to happen right at 7:00 here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, while we`re stalling, go ahead and show the picture. But today as you get going, we have temperatures that are into the 30s around here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You kidding me! Who did that!




HAYES: Today, hundreds of people turned out in Atlanta to watch the implosion of the Georgia Dome. In fact, it was such a big deal this morning, even the Weather Channel was there with a camera crew staked thought the perfect spot. What they didn`t account for was the local bus schedule. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.



HAYES: For 25 years, the Georgia Dome in Atlanta was home to the Atlanta Falcons, even hosted a couple of super bowls and the Olympic games. This morning it succumbed to 4,800 pounds of explosives.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There it is. Oh, man.






HAYES: Over on the Weather Channel`s Facebook Live feed, they had their camera rolling 40 minutes ahead of time waiting for big moment. And if you were watching that, well, you also watched an emotional implosion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, four, three, two, one.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Bus! (EXPLETIVE DELTED), get out of the way, bus! Are you, agggh! What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).




HAYES: Tonight with the fate of the Trump tax cuts hanging in the balance, the president and his White House are pulling out all the stops to get a bill that will raise taxes on middle class Americans through congress.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN: So I guess the big question is how can Republicans and the White House propose a bill that would simultaneously cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans while effectively creating more of a financial burden for Americans earning less than $30,000 a year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Well, the bottom line is that the White House, the president is not going to sign a bill that raises taxes on the middle class, period.


HAYES: OK. But here is the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center saying something very different. Quote, some taxpayers would pay more in taxes under the proposal in 2019 and 2025. About 9 percent of taxpayers in 2019, 12% in 2025. In 2027, however, taxes would increase for 50%, that`s half, of taxpayers.

And who would get their taxes hiked? I quote again, in the middle income quintile, that`s folks right in the middle, 28% would receive a tax cut and 66% would face a tax increase. In other words, 2/3 of people in the middle of earners would see a higher tax bill. Taxes up. Raising your taxes.

In contrast, the tax policy center notes that 98% of the top 0.1%, which would be the richest of the rich, would of course get a tax cut. And Democrats and progressive groups are now using the Republicans` own tax plan in an effort to win back white working class voters.

Here is part of an ad from one group named Not One Penny.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For middle class Mainers, their plan raises taxes on people paying for student loans, medical expense and mortgages. It raises taxes on 124,000 Maine families.


HAYES: Coming up, filmmaker and activist Michael Moore on what the Trump tax plan means for the middle class, and what people can do about it, next.



CLAIRE MCCASKILL, SENATOR: So in order to save these poor people, 43 billion, you`re cutting 364 billion.

ORRIN HATCH, SENATOR: Senator McCaskill, if you would yield for a second. There are no cuts to Medicaid in this bill.

MCCASKILL: I beg your pardon. This is the CBO score, Mr. Chairman. I`m reading right off of the CBO score. 179 billion in reduced Medicaid subsidies. That`s where the money is coming from. Where do you think the 300 billion dollars is coming from? Is there a fairy that`s dropping it on the Senate?


HAYES: That`s Senator Clair McCaskill educating Senator Orrin Hatch in just one of the ways Republican tax proposal would hurt Americans. Michael Moore, Oscar winning film maker and activist, just got done with his Broadway show. It`s great to have you here.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILM MAKER: She was educating him about the fairy that drops the scores, the CBO scores, that he didn`t know about.

HAYES: That was such a great moment to me because well, here is what I want to ask you.


HAYES: We saw this incredible mobilization around the ACA, I mean people sitting in offices, shutting down switchboards. I think a lot of people who fought hard feel the same way about this tax bill. Do you think it`s harder to mobilize around this? How do you assess where folks are in terms of organizing around that?

MOORE: It`s been clear the public is very much opposed to it. From what I`ve heard, members of Congress, the switchboards continue to be melting down every day. People are calling. They should continue to call 202-225- 3121, by the way.

HAYES: Put it in your phone.

MOORE: Please, put that -- it`s your number. You pay for it as citizens of this country. So, so, you know, I`m not pessimistic about this. I think that, you know, the Senate -- enough people worrying about reelection are going to do the right thing. But it won`t happen on it`s own and people are going to have to speak up.

HAYES: It strikes me, it`s sort of remarkable this bill. It so explicitly hoses people. It`s weird for Republicans party to come up with a 1.5 trillion dollar tax cut that also hikes taxes on people. There is a bait and switch thing that`s happened time and time again and I got to think if this were passed, people know how much taxes they will pay. Do you think there -- this is the thing that would break a spell.

MOORE: Well, I hope so. Look, this should be called what it is. It`s the Trump tax increase. And it`s not a tax cut, it`s a tax increase. It`s the Trump tax increase, and it`s -- in a way, I`m finding some pleasure in the fact that so many Republicans think that this is going to help them when this is going to be the death of them next year at the ballot box. So have at it.

[ laughter ]

For now.

HAYES: You can see a lot of them are actually pretty scared of it.

MOORE: Yeah.

HAYES: What do you make of -- we haven`t gotten a chance to talk since the election night, which is a big night for the Democratic party for a lot of people that felt disspirited. What did you make of that night?

MOORE: I don`t know if it was such a big night for the Democratic party, because when you say the party, the party, the DNC didn`t get behind some of the people that won.

HAYES: Right.

MOORE: In fact, it was a victory for the people, for average everyday citizens that decided to run, whether it was an African refugee in Montana, or transgender citizen in Virginia. All throughout these states and these cities, people who didn`t have the backing of the local establishment Democratic party.

This is is critical for us to win next year. If people are sitting around waiting for the DNC to come up with the right candidates to run, I`m very worried that we are not going to be able to flip Congress or the state houses, but if every day average Americans will decide to run, and this is one of the things, I spoke to your producer before coming on here that I really wanted to say tonight, is that we`ve got -- it`s New Year`s Day is six weeks from today. Okay. We have got six weeks. By the end of this year, people have got to be running or at least decide to run.

What I want to have happen is for people watching this show right now sitting there thinking about why don`t I run, you should run. You should run. I really...


MOORE: Why not? I mean, what Tuesday two weeks ago taught us is that people could just decide to run and get elected, especially right now because so many people are upset with what is going on.

HAYES: And particularly, we should say, I think people think about flipping Congress and, you know, there are state House races decided but with this special election in Oklahoma in which...


HAYES: 20 something out lesbian won a district that Trump had won by 30 points, she won by 34 votes. There is below the congressional level, there is state, local offices...

MOORE: Which are critical.

HAYES: Right.

MOORE: No, no, in fact, there was Debra Gonzalez in Georgia won a seat there, state seat. She spent $55,000. The Republican spent $250,000. That was a Republican seat that I believe the Republican decided not to run and she won by spending one-fifth of what the Republicans spent.

I want to say to people, think about running. You don`t need a lot of money to do this. That was proven, and you don`t need -- you would be surprised to run for a state house or state senate in many states, in Maine and Alaska and Iowa -- in Iowa you need 100 signatures to run for state senate and I think 25 for the state house. That`s it. You don`t need a lot. You don`t -- some of these filing fees in states are $10.

HAYES: Right.

MOORE: No, I`m serious.

HAYES: 100 signatures and $10.

MOORE: And you`re on the ballot. I think over Thanksgiving, what I would like people to do, as you`re sitting around the table, like last year you had to deal with the right wing and he`s happy and Trump just got elected. Put him at the kids` table on Thursday. Let him eat there with the kids. Don`t bother him. Let him have his turkey. Everybody else will sit around the table and talk about who do we know that can run here in this town? You got to run locally. If we don`t flip these state houses this year and 2020 when they take the 2020 census, we`re going to get gerrymandered again and we`ll be stuck with that gerrymandered district until 2032.

So, next year in 2020, we`ve got to get these state houses and state senates in the hands of Democrats or we`ll get screwed with the gerrymandering in 2020.

HAYES: What do you think stops people -- one of the things --

MOORE: Because they think they can`t do it. Who am I? I`m not smart enough. You`re a citizen of this country. By the way, if you`re watching this show right now, you`re a good person already. I mean, just --

HAYES: I wouldn`t go that far. I would generalize --

MOORE: I`ll make this general -- if you`re watching Chris Hayes and you`re watching MSNBC, that automatically tells me that your heart, if not is in the right place, you`re curious for the truth, and that`s what has brought you to this channel. If you wanted something else, you would be watching Dancing with the Stars now or you`d be taking --

HAYES: You`re the source of a running bid in your Broadway show.

MOORE: Yes. But right now you`re watching this show. So why not run? Why not -- say to your partner, say to your spouse and friends, damn, I was watching Chris Hayes last night and I just got this idea, why don`t I run for state senate? Because the person we have there now is not doing us good. Look at the Republicans that were defeated two weeks ago.

HAYES: One of the things that strikes me every time that I go into the ballet box to vote is a, how many uncontested positions there is are.


HAYES: That goes for both parties. There are a lot of unchallenged, if you happen to live in a a Democratic stronghold, New York City, there is people who probably use a challenger, you know what I mean? To make the system work.

MOORE: The nationwide average I believe is 41% of all of those offices you go to vote are not contested. There is just one name on there, which means it`s a soviet style election. The candidate Chris. Right here. Just vote for that one candidate.

No, that`s 41 -- we live in a democracy. That`s why first of all, think about running because you don`t have any opposition in your party, you can at least get through the primary. There is 6,000 state, house and senate seats up for election. 6,000 nationwide. All right? 1400 of them because of term limits don`t have an incumbent. So there is 1,400 seats.

HAYES: 1,400 seats ripe for the picking.

MOORE: Right there and you watch Chris Hayes, which shows that you --

HAYES: Depending on your district I wouldn`t lead with that in the ads. It`s Michael Moore --

MOORE: I would put that on the yard sign. I watch MSNBC.

HAYES: Good luck. That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.


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