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Rep Al Green announces intention to vote on impeachment Transcript 11/30/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Brian Schatz, Patricia Cohen, Norm Ornstein, Al Green

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 30, 2017> Guest: Brian Schatz, Patricia Cohen, Norm Ornstein, Al Green

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight the Senate votes on a tax cut bill amid new calls for the President's impeachment. Then --


HAYES: The radio show host who could be the linchpin of the Russia investigation.

Plus pressure on the longest-serving member of Congress to step down after multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Congressman Conyers should resign.

HAYES: And Lindsey Graham 2017 --

SEN. LINSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook.

HAYES: Versus Lindsey Graham 2016.

GRAHAM: I think he's a kook.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

GRAHAM: This is kook land.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I'm Chris Hayes. Right now at this very moment, the Senate is debating the most-ambitious rewrite of the tax code in over three decades. And nobody, and I mean nobody, knows precisely what's in the bill or what exactly it would do. In a word what session that started tonight on the Senate floor, Republicans lawmakers are scrambling to get legislation passed before it can see the light of day before anyone can actually figure out what's in it. Adding to the urgency is the increasingly unhinged behavior of the President of the United States, whose pen they still need to sign a tax bill into law. This bill that they're debating right now, that they plan to vote on tomorrow, is why, for the past year and a half, Republicans have chosen to tolerate Donald Trump's destabilizing, dangerous conduct. Nothing he's done has outweighed the singular goal of getting this thing passed.

Not his bragging about committing sexual assault backed up by accusations from over a dozen women on record, not his attacks on the U.S. intelligence committee or his deference to Vladimir Putin or the mounting evidence his campaign tried to collude with Russian agents. Not his repeated ethical violations using his government role to profit his private business. Not his anti-Muslim hate mongering which has endangered Americans around the world and hurt relations with our closest ally. Not his defense of white supremacists newly emboldened under his leadership and not his reckless, belligerent posture toward North Korea which is now, according to experts, a full-fledged nuclear power. All of that, all of it has been worth it to them, the Republicans in Congress, to get to this moment. It's the price we have all paid to pass a very unpopular tax bill. Which is why Republican Senators like Orrin Hatch are thrilled with this President's leadership.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I'll say this for you. He's been one of the best Presidents I've served under. And the reason is, is he's not afraid to make decisions. He's not afraid to take on the big-mouths around here. And frankly, I've got to say if you give him a chance, he's going to be a great president.


HAYES: One of the best. Even outspoken critics of this President like Jeff Flake, who wrote an entire book denouncing Trump's politics, or Bob Corker who publicly called the President a danger to the country, putting us on the path to World War III, even they are widely expected to fall in line and vote for this bill. Every Senator who does so is, of course, complicit in the Republican devil's bargain. For the President, this bill is a tradeoff of a different sort. He ran as a defender of Main Street, a brand-new breed of Republican looking out for working people and the forgotten man.

But that's not who this bill is designed to help, just the opposite. It is a massive transfer of wealth from workers and the middle class to the wealthiest people in this country. According to nonpartisan analysis, listen to this, by 2027 people making $40,000 or $50,000 would pay a combined $5.3 billion more in taxes while the group earning $1 million or more would get a $5.8 billion cut. It's actually that straightforward, essentially a dollar to dollar transfer. The middle class pays more, the rich pay less. The President either doesn't understand what's in this bill or he's just lying.


TRUMP: This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing, believe me. Believe me. This is not good for me. Me, it's not so -- I have some very wealthy friends, not so happy with me but that's OK. The beating heart of our plan is a tax cut for working families. That's what it is.


HAYES: The tax bill already has support from some of the same Republican Senators who defied their party on the health care vote like Lisa Murkowski and John McCain, even though this bill has similar problems, for instance, by getting rid of the individual mandate under ObamaCare, it is projected to raise health care costs and premiums and leave millions of more people without insurance. According to a new nonpartisan report, the bill would also add a trillion dollars to the deficit, which used to be a deal breaker for Republican fiscal hawks. But all those details may be beside the point. This bill has one specific goal according to a prominent tax expert. "It's not aimed at growth, it's not aimed at the middle class, it is at every turn carefully engineered to deliver a kiss to the donor class." For anyone who's been listening, that's exactly what Republicans already told us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You I imagine are the point person in the White House for big CEOs because you come from their world, they know you. What are you hearing from them right now?

GARY COHN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: The most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happens politically if Republicans aren't able to pass a tax reform package?

GRAHAM: The party fractures. Most incumbents in 2018 will get a severe primary challenge. A lot of them will probably lose. The base will fracture. The financial contributions will stop.


HAYES: Senator Brian Schatz is one of the Democrats leading the fight against this tax bill, what is the status right now where you are?

SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ (D), HAWAII: Nobody knows, really, Chris but they are stuck. This is an unexpected turn. We did expect that you know, Republicans do tax cuts and they have the votes, and they felt a sense of urgency, even though this is probably the most unpopular major tax cut bill in American history. We figured they would have the votes but they got stuck tonight. And I think the precipitating moment was when they got that score back from the Joint Committee on Taxation which showed a trillion- dollar deficit as a result of this bill. Weirdly they were surprised at that. And that has caused a lot of conversation. There was a moment on the floor when it actually looked like we might even win unexpectedly around 5:00 p.m. tonight. We're not done yet, but they're not done yet. So they're stalled and they're going to reconvene tomorrow and see whether they can put together a bill. But your point is a really important one. We haven't seen legislative text.

HAYES: You know, I just want to be clear here. This is -- this is what I call the heist model of legislating which they tried with the ACA, which is like you sort of plotted out and then you kind of wait until the guards have turned their heads and you get everybody in the car and you try to get in there and pass a vote and get out. They're doing that again. You're saying that you don't know what legislation is, you do not know what the bill is?

SCHATZ: No, I mean, we have the broad contours but right now because there are so many individuals who have problems, for instance, with the deficits that are going to be run, very obviously. And other people have other things that they want in the bill. The parliamentarian is now saying certain things aren't compliant with our rules. And so all of those things have to get fixed if you will. And as a result, they're going to be feverishly writing a bill overnight, mistakes will be made. This is a multi-trillion dollar piece of legislation. Whether or not you like it or you don't, it seems to me to be the kind of thing that you ought to take your time with. But they're going to try to jam us.

HAYES: I wanted to bring your attention to this because tax law is an area where if you make a slight drafting mistake there is an industry of people very well compensated to take advantage of that. This is a University of Chicago professor who says, is there a trillion-dollar hole in the Senate tax plan?

SCHATZ: Right.

HAYES: You're not reading that incorrectly. He argues, based on sloppy drafting, that there's literally a trillion-dollar hole in the thing. Can you be confident they're not going to pass something that has some massive, massive error at the heart of it?

SCHATZ: No, I think that's exactly right. And after all of their criticism of you know, read the bill, which by the way I think is always a legitimate thing to ask of your legislator. did you read the bill? And it is true that you've got to work with staff for them to help you interpret certain aspects of the bill. Sometimes they're referring to a different part of the U.S. code. So I get that it's technical and sometimes it's a gotcha question. But let's be clear. There literally is no bill text. This isn't just a matter of the individual member not poring over 500 pages. Staff hasn't seen it. It's not available because it isn't written yet.

So the one thing I wanted to add is that it is a miracle that Democrats and the resistance across the country have been able to make this so close. A lot of people I think had a rough week emotionally when it came to what was all the ups and downs in the country for the republic. There was a lot of anxiety out there. And one bright spot here, and I don't know if we're going to win or not, is that we're making this very, very close. It is not over and I certainly encourage everybody to keep burning up the phone lines.

HAYES: All right, Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, thanks for making time tonight. I appreciate it.

SCHATZ: Thank you.

HAYES: Patricia Cohen covers Economics for the New York Times, just published a masterly analysis of how the tax bill could change American life. Norm Ornstein is a Contributing Editor for the Atlantic and Co- Author of the new book, One Nation After Trump. Patricia, you and your co- author in a piece did I thought, a remarkable job in communicating the scope. How big is this bill, how ambitious is it?

PATRICIA COHEN, ECONOMICS REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean, it's very difficult sometimes to talk about the tax bill because it's so complicated and there's so many different pieces to understand. So what we try to do is just -- is to say, you know, a tax bill is always a political document. For any -- you know, whether it's the Democrats or the Republicans who are in control. But what this bill does, it does more than you know, ostensibly just either raise or lower taxes or spur growth, do things to the economy. There are big social changes, ramifications, that are embedded in the bill that will affect decisions people make about health care, education, and all sorts of things --

HAYES: Abortion, the way that churches communicate in the public sphere based on politics and their tax-exempt status. I mean, there -- it is a broad-reaching piece of legislation.

COHEN: Right. And in a lot of ways, it's -- there's -- all of these -- it's like what they say, it's a Christmas tree bill. You want to get a lot of different constituencies behind you. So everybody wants their little piece. Some of it are economic but some of it are not. And that we've seen that with drilling in the Arctic wildlife refuge.

HAYES: That's a great example.

COHEN: You know, or with as we were talking about before, allowing religious groups to do political lobbying which they have not been allowed to do since 1954.

HAYES: A huge, huge change. Norm, you've been writing about -- your earlier book is called Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism. You've -- I mean, you wrote that with Thomas Mann. You've been writing for a long time about sort of the ways in which the Republican Party has changed over the years and become more extreme. What does this moment mean in terms of the development of the party?

NORM ORNSTEIN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: I think it's taken it from bad to worse to even worse than that. You know, I've thought for a long time, a lot of these Senators are friends of mine, Bob Corker, John McCain, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake. And to watch people cave on something like this, not only not knowing what's in it, but for John McCain, who had said passionately about a return to a regular way of legislating the regular order, saying he's going to vote for this, it really suggests a party that has gone completely rogue. And I'd make another point, Chris. In almost 50 years of being around the legislative process, I've never seen a bill handled in this fashion.

Not only without any significant hearings, having it on the floor without even having a document, but the complete detachment from representatives from their own voters. We've been moving in that direction for a while. But the fact, you go past the electoral college, gerrymandering, a Senate where 40 percent of the population controls the super majority or close to it of the Senate. The fact that you have such opposition to this from every expert group, from large numbers of people, and they don't care anymore, all they care about is the large donors and an ideology that ignores facts. It's just appalling.

HAYES: One of the things that has happened with this bill, it's been very hard to get independent analysis. They've been rushing it so quickly. And one of the things that was reported today is the Treasury usually issues -- I mean, the Treasury is the Treasury, right? So the Treasury is ultimately the people that take in the receipts. They want to know how a tax bill's going to do.

COHEN: Well, and not only that, they write the rules. It's the Treasury that is really going to be writing the language --

HAYES: Implementing.

COHEN: -- and how this happens, exactly.

HAYES: And Treasury has just simply refused to offer analysis of what the bill would do.

COHEN: Well, it could potentially be even worse than that which is that the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, claimed that he had (INAUDIBLE) and now we're going back months. The Treasury Department to do an analysis to show that these tax cuts would spur incredible economic growth. And of course what we've seen is not only from a joint taxation committee, which is Congress' own committee, saying that you know, it's going to cost over $1 trillion. It turns out it looks like they were never even asked to do an analysis. So it's not that we haven't seen it, it's that we don't think it exists.

HAYES: That they didn't actually want to find out?

COHEN: Right, I mean --

HAYES: Or that's the implication?

COHEN: Or you know, if you're going to make the claim that you know, the facts are on your side, well, present the evidence. But apparently, they didn't even attempt to look for the evidence.

HAYES: What do you think, Norm about the idea that essentially this is the devil's bargain for members of Congress, that with the President, like yesterday, say tweets out essentially racist and fascist propaganda that earns a rebuke from our closest ally. That you just have to countenance that if he casually libels someone, accuses them of murder. If he -- whatever he does, you look the other way because this is the reward. Is that -- is that the deal?

ORNSTEIN: Oh, it absolutely is the deal. And I think, you know, you've got people nervous because they have not done a single significant thing in this Congress. And they need to have some kind of a record, they control everything. They need the money from their donors and they've been flat- out saying that. And let's face it, another part of this which a couple of people have talked about, Marco Rubio very frankly just the other day is this is the old Republican approach of starving the beast and getting at a goal that they've sought for a long time, which is to reduce and privatize Medicare and Social Security. Remember, we have a Pago element that is going to hit this bill, that with the deficits as they grow, they'll take a huge chunk out of Medicare automatically along with a whole series of other important programs.

HAYES: Yes, this is the first step, and Marco Rubio has been very clear about this. Pat Toomey was just sort of caught on the floor by Bernie Sanders essentially, tacitly admitting that the next step is to go after Medicare and Social Security. Patricia Cohen and Norm Ornstein, thank you, both.

COHEN: Thank you.

HAYES: OK, don't go away. My next guest says he plans to force a House vote -- force a House vote on impeachment next week. Why he says it's time in two minutes.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's brought us to the brink of nuclear war, obstructed justice at the FBI, and in direct violation of the constitution, he's taken money from foreign governments and threatened to shut down news organizations that report the truth. If that isn't a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what does our government become?


HAYES: You've probably seen those ads on this network and elsewhere calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. After billionaire Tom Steyer first launched that ad campaign on October, a lot of people criticized him for promoting an idea that was well, at the very least impracticable. But as the President's behavior grows increasingly erratic, his rhetoric ever more destructive, the idea of impeachment grows as a real and concrete possibility. Today Ezra Klein of argued at length that the time has come. We've grown too afraid of the consequences of impeachment, he writes, and too complacent about the consequences of leaving an unfit president in office. If the worst happens and Trump's presidency results in calamity, we will have no excuse to make, no answer to give. This is an emergency. We should break the glass. Impeachment, of course, requires a Congressional decision. And today, one lawmaker, member of Congress, said he is bringing that option to the House floor.


REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what the vote will be but I do know this. Next week, there will be a vote to impeach.


HAYES: Congressman Al Green of Texas joins me now. You're in the minority, of course, sir. How do you make that happen?

GREEN: Well, thank you for having me on, Chris. If I may say this, I love my country. And this is being done out of love for the country. It will happen because each member of Congress has the right to bring a privileged resolution before the House and it will be acted upon. It can be tabled, it can be voted up or down, or it can be sent to committee. It is my hope that we will have an opportunity to vote it up or down. But I will vote to impeach, which means that I will not vote to table. I will not vote to send to committee. I will vote to impeach Donald Trump if given the opportunity to by way of an impeachment vote. Either way, it will come before the House and there will be a vote next week.

HAYES: How many votes -- my sense is -- you and I have talked about this before. There's been some back and forth. Leadership doesn't like this idea for whatever reason. I think they think the politics of it are disadvantageous. How many votes are there for impeachment from the Democratic Caucus right now?

GREEN: I don't know because I haven't whipped, I haven't polled. What I've done is what I believe is best for my country. I believe that this is not about the Democratic leadership or the Republican leadership. I've said before that it's about democracy. It's about our government. It's about the opportunity to salvage the republic. It's about a president who is unmindful of the high duties of his high office, to the extent that he has brought disrepute and shame upon the presidency to the manifest injury of the American people. When this happens, impeachment is an option. It is an option that was contemplated by the framers of the constitution. Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 65 speaks of this. And it doesn't have to be a crime. And I think that we finally got that message out to the American public, that a president doesn't have to commit a crime to be impeached.

As a matter of fact, Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for a high misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a misdeed. I believe that this President has committed misdeeds that would require someone to take a stand. My constituents and the people I represent, they expect me to eliminate the hate that he perpetrates. He is consistently doing things that are harmful to the vibrant fabric of this country. With his latest tweets and those three videos and most of the information being inaccurate. Not any remorse, doesn't say "I made a mistake." And remember this now, Chris, this is the president who has the greatest access to intelligence of any person on the planet. He doesn't vet these things before he does them. He simply chooses to do things that are harmful to this country, and now to the world, because other countries are seeing it as well. So we're going to take up the hate agenda. I think a President can be impeached for perpetrating hate.

HAYES: What I hear from you, which is a fascinating idea, is basically impeachment doesn't have to be a sort of criminal conviction on a crime, but is a political remedy for offense and for deep unfitness. And that's - - the argument that Ezra Klein makes in this Vox piece is exactly this. I want to read this quote to you and see if you agree with him. He says, "It is a principle that sounds radical until you say it at which point it sounds obvious. Being extremely bad at the job of President of the United States should be enough to get you fired." Is that your theory of impeachment?

GREEN: Well, being extremely bad at the job to the extent that you create harm to the American society. Yes, that would be it. If you create harm such that the society that we live in is going to have what I will call close to irreparable injury, if not irreparable injury. Then, of course, you can impeach a president. And this was contemplated. This is -- impeachment was designed for a time such as this and a president such as Trump.

HAYES: Congressman Al Green, thanks for your time.

GREEN: Thank you.

HAYES: Next, one of the key questions in the Trump-Russia story was just how the campaign was connected to WikiLeaks. Well, we now have an answer. The missing link after this quick break.


HAYES: One of the mysteries of the Russia story has now been solved. Who is Roger Stone's link to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange? Now, remember back in early August 2016, it was after WikiLeaks released stolen e-mails from the DNC that Stone seemingly out of nowhere boasted about his connection to Assange.


ROGER STONE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next crunch of his documents pertains to the Clinton Foundation. But there's no telling what the October surprise may be.


HAYES: The October surprise. Interesting he was talking about that. Then a few weeks later, Stone famously tweeted that it was soon going to be Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta's time in the barrel. And then that happened. In early October, when WikiLeaks released the most damaging cache of hacked Podesta e-mails. After that release in October, Stone again spoke about his connection to Assange. "I do have a back channel communication with Assange because we have a good mutual friend. That friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk." But Stone has always refused to say who was that go-between? Who was his link to Julian Assange?

Well, now we know. And that person has been subpoenaed by the House Intel Committee. It's this guy, Randy Credico, who is, let's say, an unusual personality. A comedian, radio host, occasional political candidate, sort of a lefty, and who is friends with Stone and shares some of Stone's views like legalizing marijuana. Credico is part of the United States Cannabis Coalition that stone founded. And Credico recently posted his Congressional subpoena commanding him to appear on December 15th before the House Intel Committee investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. And now after all this, Roger Stone has finally admitted that yes indeed, it was Credico that was his back channel to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks though he claims it's no big deal.

In a Facebook post writing in part "I want to reiterate there is nothing illegal or improper in communicating with Julian Assange or WikiLeaks." How close was Credico to Assange? Look at this photo. Here's Randy Credico in what we might call the smoking selfie, emerging from the Ecuadoran Embassy in London where Assange has been living of course since been granted asylum there. Credico tweeting, "Leaving Ecuador, Embassy London, past scary Brit agent." That post -- that post was just two days before the Podesta e-mails were published by WikiLeaks. The most consequential day in the 2016 presidential campaign and the link to Randy Credico, Roger Stone, and the Russia investigation next.


HAYES: So there's a very suggestive timeline on the events leading up to the release of John Podesta's hacked emails. And it goes like this: on August 21st, 2016, Roger Stone tweeted this, "trust me, it will soon be Podesta's time in the barrel. #crookedhillary."

Which got a lot of people's attention at the time, because how can Stone possibly know that? What did he mean? And then on October 5th, Stone's now-identified back channel to WikiLeaks, Randy Credico, posted this selfie after meeting with Julian Assange in the Ecuadoran embassy in London. One day later, after that, on October 6th, Roger Stone tweeted, quote, "Julian Assange will deliver a devastating expose on Hillary at a time of his choosing. I stand by my prediction. #handcuffsforhillary." That's cute.

And then one day after that, the single most consequential day of the entire 2016 campaign, the "Access Hollywood" tape came out. It's a tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault, threatening to sink Trump's already faltering campaign. But within hours, WikiLeaks posts John Podesta's stolen emails.

Nick Ackerman is a former assistant special Watergate prosecutor, and Anne Milgram, former New Jersey attorney general, professor and distinguished scholar in residence at NYU school of law.

I thought of you immediately when we found this out, because you've been obsessed with Roger Stone and the nexus between Stone and WikiLeaks as the place that all this touches.

NICK ACKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Exactly. And it spreads out from there. But you have to back up even a little bit more to June 3 when Ron Goldstone emails Don Jr. and says they've got all of this highly sensitive information that they want to turn over to the Trump campaign.

First., they wanted to turn it over to Donald Sr.'s secretary, but then he says it's too sensitive, and I have to bring it to you personally.

So we know at least in April of that year through Papadopoulos, that the Russians were bragging that they had over thousands of emails that were taken from Hillary Clinton and the DNC.

So I think what happens here was that these emails...

HAYES: This is your theory. I just want to be clear.

ACKERMAN: This is my theory.

HAYES: This is not confirmed, this is the Ackerman theory.

ACKERMAN: This is the Ackerman theory, but I think it's pretty much spot on, because what you have are these emails I am convinced were brought to the Clinton campaign. Donald Senior on June 7 says he's going to have a press conference next week and he's going to tell everybody about all...

HAYES: The crimes of Hillary Clinton.

ACKERMAN: Right, the crimes of Hillary Clinton, all the horrible things that they have both done. He doesn't do it. And I think what happened was that they realized that this stuff was too hot to handle. And Donald Senior called up Roger Stone and says, how do we get it out there? How do people learn about this so that we have plausible deniability?

And the key was Roger Stone contacting, one, Gucifer 2.0 who put it out two times within a couple of weeks after that June 3, June 9...

HAYES: Right, the DNC stuff.

ACKERMAN: Right. And then a week later, bingo, it shows up in WikiLeaks, and June 20, right before the Democratic National Convention, it's all over the place.

HAYES: The October 7 moment to me seems key, right? Because you've got The Washington Post publishes this story that's widely considered devastating for the Trump campaign. And then four hours later WikiLeaks publishes the first tranche of Podesta emails.

And from an investigative standpoint I would imagine you'd want to know about what kind of phone conversations or email traffic there was on that day.

ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER NEW JERSEY ATTORNEY GENERAL: So, from an investigation standpoint if you think about either Mueller's team or the House intelligence committee, 100 percent what they're going to try to understand is we have evidence from the U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russian government was involved in the computer hack.

Then, the question is what do the Russian do with that information? And is the campaign working in any way, shape or form with the Russian government in how these emails get released?

And so, you know, this question of is there a federal crime committed involving computer hacking, this question of who, what, where, who was involved, all those would be questions for any of these investigators.

HAYES: OK, but here's a fascinating legal question. Let us say that through a back channel, Roger Stone -- we know Roger Stone's in touch with the president of the United States, with the candidate, Donald Trump. He said that. That's on the record. We know Roger Stone has a back channel. We now know he is, this guy Randy Credico of WikiLeaks.

Is there a crime committed if on the day that the Access Hollywood tape comes out, Roger Stone sends a message to Assange being like could you publish those emails today?

ACKERMAN: There's a couple crimes.

HAYES: You think so?

ACKERMAN: Oh, yeah, absolutely. First of all, the possession of emails is a felony in New York state.

MILGRAM: The hack and possession.

ACKERMAN: The hack, of course, is a felony...

HAYES: But that's not Roger Stone's crime. I mean, my point is if you tell someone who's a publisher, which is what Julian Assange calls himself, hey, today would be a great day to publish what you have. Why are you in any trouble?

ACKERMAN: He's facilitating it. He's using Julian Assange to provide help to the Trump campaign. I mean, what they are doing is what...

HAYES: You're saying, you think there's criminal exposure on that?

ACKERMAN: Oh, absolutely. What they're doing is the traditional idea of a boiler room in a presidential campaign, except it's the Russians running the boiler room.

MILGRAM: So, remember that there's sort of a number of different crimes we look at here. One is the computer hack and how that evidence comes out...

HAYES: The intrusion is clearly a crime yeah.

MILGRAM: But the other -- and it could be a crime by the campaign if the campaign is involved in releasing those emails.

HAYES: After the fact.

MILGRAM: Exactly. So, that's I think potential one area.

The other area are these election laws that basically say a foreign government cannot be involved in a U.S. election. So, if there's any indication that the Trump campaign was working with a foreign government like Russia and it could be through Assange, it could be through Roger -- I mean, you would try to find that link, then that is also a potential crime.

HAYES: But that strikes me as the key question here, right, because now you've got this sort of -- you've got the links in the chain. You've got the campaign talks to Roger Stone, Roger Stone talks to Credico, Credico talks to Julian Assange, like that's lined up. We know that they're talking to each other. He said it, Roger Stone said it multiple times.

ACKERMAN: And you've got more than that, though, you've also got Don Jr. talking to WikiLeaks.

HAYES: Right. But I'm talking about this specific alliance of interests. If that itself is -- if there's a way that everyone in that chain can claim plausible deniability.

MILGRAM: Right. So, I think the question you're asking is really what was said, what happened...

HAYES: Right, exactly. The actual details of what went down there.

MILGRAM: They matter.

HAYES: They matter for the criminal question.

MILGRAM: Because Assange has already announced in late June, I have these emails, right. We know there's a hack. Assange announces I have them. We don't know how they got from the Russians to Assange yet, right.

Then we have the Assange piece, and the question is this the link with the campaign? Was there -- what were those conversations?

HAYES: I mean, this is why -- Credico, who has emerged now as a figure in this drama, and there are many and it's hard to keep track of, it really matters what he did and said. I mean, him going before the House Intelligence Committee is a very, very big deal.

Nick Ackerman and Anne Milgram, thank you both.

Still to come, the depths of James O'Keefe and his team at Project Veritas, the lengths they went to to attempt to discredit The Washington Post. It goes farther back than anyone knew. The details of that story ahead.

And Senator Lindsey Graham takes the words right out of his own mouth. Tonight's Thing One, Thing Two next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, when it comes to questions about President Trump's mental fitness for office, Senator Lindsey Graham has had just about enough.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: You know what concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook, not fit to be president.


HAYES: Now I haven't heard anyone in the media specifically call President Trump a, quote, "kook, not fit to be president." But we did find someone who has made that exact claim about President Trump. A senator, in fact. That's Thing Two in 60 seconds.




GRAHAM: You know what concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook, not fit to be president.


HAYES: Senator Lindsey Graham can't stand people calling Donald Trump a kook who is not fit to be president, but that phrase sure does sound familiar.


GRAHAM: I'm not going to try to get into the mind of Donald Trump, because I don't think there's a whole lot of space there. I think he's a kook.


HAYES: OK, now -- he said he was a kook, but that's a short clip. I think we need more context. He didn't actually say he's unfit for office, did he?


GRAHAM: I think he's a kook. I think he's crazy. I think he's unfit for office.


HAYES: OK, all right. So he said he's a kook. He's unfit for office. That was one time. It would only reach the height of hypocrisy if Lindsey Graham engaged in endless, endless attempt to label Trump as someone who is not fit to be president.


GRAHAM: I don't think he has the temperament or judgment to be commander- in-chief.

I don't think he has the temperament or judgment to be commander-in-chief.

He's not fit to be president of the United States.

He's a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.

Opportunistic, race-bating, religious bigot, xenophobia.

He doesn't have the temperament or judgment to control himself.

He's a jackass. And he shouldn't be commander-in-chief.

We think he's unfit for office, that he would be a terrible commander-in- chief. He doesn't have the temperament or judgment.

At the end of the day I think his temperament or judgment is not sound.

You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.



HAYES: Democratic Lawmaker John Conyers has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple former staffers, including Marion Brown one received a $27,000 settlement back in 2015 after claiming she had been fired for refusing Conyers' advances.

This morning, Brown told her story on the Today Show.


MARION BROWN, JOHN CONYERS ACCUSER: It was sexual harassment, violating. Violating my body, propositioning me, inviting me to hotels with the guise of discussing business and then propositioning me to -- you know, for sex. And he is just violated my body.


HAYES: Now top Democrats defended Conyers after allegations against him first surfaced, but today the entire House Democratic leadership called for the 26-term lawmaker to step down.


SEN. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: The brave women who came forward are owed justice. I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family and wish them well. However, Congressman Conyers should resign.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA: I talked with him in person. And told him then I thought it was in his best interests to step away from this body, that he'd given us over 50 years of great service, but this was not going to get any better. In fact, I could see it getting worse.


HAYES: Conyers denies acting inappropriately and is vowing to serve out the rest of his term, according to a spokesperson for his family. The 88- year-old was hospitalized last night for a stress-related illness.


SAM RIDDLE, CONYERS FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: The congressman's health is not what it should be. And a lot of that is directly attributable to this media assault.


HAYES: The accusations against Conyers come of course amid a string of high-profile allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, including some very stark ones against the now-fired Today show host Matt Lauer, as well as less-serious ones against Democratic Senator Al Franken, though there are now numerous people who have accused him.

Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore, who is credibly accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old among other allegations, says the claims against him are part of a vast conspiracy. And last night he identified the alleged conspiracists.


ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE, ALABAMA: They're the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders who want to change our culture. They're socialists who want to change our way of life.


HAYES: Roy Moore is right about one thing, there is a conspiracy, but it's not against him, it's against his accusers. And it goes far deeper than anyone realized. The disturbing details next.


HAYES: Self-styled gorilla journalist, James O'Keefe, strikes many people as well, an embarrassing doofis. There was this sad attempt to film hiss attempted abduction of the CNN corespondent, his botched break in to a Democratic senator's office. He got probation, community service and a fine for that stunt. And this week The Washington Post exposed one of his operatives who was trying to discredit Roy Moore's accusers.


JAMES O'KEEFE, JOURNALIST: Does Jamie Phillips work for Project Veritas? Are you going to answer that question?

AARON DAVIS, REPORTER: I'm have a few things to say.

O'KEEFE: Second question, are you working with Roy Moore?

DAVIS: Okay.

O'KEEFE: Are you working with Steve Bannon?

DAVIS: I'm going to ask --

O'KEEFE: Are you working with the Republican party of Alabama? are you working with the Republican party of Alabama.


HAYES: Despite all the failure, the repeated, systemic, embarrassing failure, James O'Keefe isn't going anywhere. He does occasionally hit his target, as with his misleadingly headed videos. And that's enough. He just has to get it right one out of 20 times. That's enough for wealthy donors who are literally invested in discredited and destroying institutions like journalism. They include the President of the United State Donald Trump, whose foundation donated to O'Keefe's organization twice in 2015, and Buzzfeed reports, the secretive Mercer family, the powerful Trump and Breitbart aligned billionaire donors. And there is donor trust, a dark money charity that doesn't reveal its founders, which has given O'Keefe's nonprofit more than four million dollars. That money pays for some truly truly behavior.

We now know the woman who attempted to discredit Roy Moore's accusers, Jamie Phillips, was part of a month's long campaign to infiltrate The Post and other media outlets. It included befriending journalist under false pretenses at professional networking events, congratulation send offs for colleagues.

Phillips spent five weeks texting with a Post employee who she repeatedly pressed to go out to dinner despite the employee informing her of a family tragedy. She even rented a basement apartment under a assumed name in a capitol hill home of Brad Woodhouse, the former communications director for the DNC.

It's pretty morally bankrupt and shameful stuff. The perpetrators have made it clear they view their cause as righteous, a war in which there are no civilians.

Joining me now, Joy Reid, host of A.M. Joy on MSNBC, and Hendrick Hertzberg or Rick, senior editor and staff writer for The New Yorker, editorial director at The Nation Institute.

There is something just to a human level like looking at the text exchanges that is upsetting because you have to be in such a head space to get yourself to do something like that. It really makes you wonder what is going on over there.

JOY REID, MSNBC: What is going on over there are two things. One, they are making money. Among the donors, in addition to the billionaires who are giving money to this guy who couldn't get hired at a college newspaper for free let alone at a normal news organization, are the marks in his e-mail list. Project Veritas is constantly fund-raising and including using Amazon Smile to get ordinary people who are charitably minded to give when they buy Christmas gifts to give them money. He's managed to rack up a six-figure salary for himself doing that.

So, one motivation is he's a drifter. And the second motivation is he usually pedals his wears to He did that with the videos where they took down a 40-year-old organization that registered black people and poor people to vote just because they hated them and hated Barack Obama. So, their other thing is they are just at ideological war. They are Steve Bannon turned into a scam.

HAYES: There is is something just from a journalistic perspective, I think that journalist who have been in the game for a long time are just unprepared -- when I saw the text messages, what is amazing about the messages is the reporter on the other side is just being so game and nice to this random person because there is no reason to be suspicious. You don't think like -- but they are -- journalists are viewed as the enemy in this terrain.

HENDRIK HERTZBERG, THE NEW YORKER: In a weird way, it reminds me of the very worst of the 1960s left, you know, it's sort of --

HAYES: That's a great analogy.

HERTZBERG: The hatred of all the institutions, the idea -- the picture of themselves as being pranksters, when they get caught they say we're just -- we're just messing around. Doesn't anybody have a sense of humor around here? They are -- you have to figure there is something other than just pure evil involved here. And I think it's a certain type of personality that doesn't always get to express itself. That's what these --

HAYES: There is a certain brainwashing, too, when you talk about the '60s left. Anything done is in service of the cause. You're seeing this play out in the Roy Moore situation with the people rushing to defend him there where you have this -- yeah, this sense that whatever transgressions we make, the transgressions are in the service of something great.

REID: Yeah, I talked to long-time political Republican in Alabama yesterday trying to get to the bottom of what is behind the Roy Moore support and on thing that struck me was the people voting for Roy Moore by and large don't believe the stories, even with all of these accusers, and what James O'Keefe are doing, is they're trying to burn down the concept that journalism is trustworthy. If you can kill the concept that there is any such thing that anything is journalism, my blog is journalism, my e- mail chain is journalism. It's whatever I want and what makes me -- reinforces what I want to believe.

HAYES: Well also you can discredit again in this cult-like fashion where you cut off people's ties to the various things in reality, if you can say anything comes from your account in The Washington Post is not true, you can get people to believe anything.

HERTZBERG: Yeah, it's on to logical warfare. It's a crusade against reality, and it's really unprecedented in that sense. They're trying to shake your sense of reality, and they have -- and their -- a lot of it is related to the collapse of the authority of the institutions that you've written about, too.

HAYES: Right. And this is part of sort of fomenting that along. There is something creepy about the President of the United States being aligned with them. Sarah Sanders has toted Project Veritas videos from the stand and it's one thing when they are working in opposition of Barack Obama. There is something that strikes me as creepily authoritarian when people who lie with the president are renting your air b and b to spy on you.

REID: But in a lot of the -- in a sense, Donald Trump isn't their Mussolini, he's their customer. I think what is scarier is that Donald Trump is a consumer of this stuff. He's actually consuming the world in a daily -- he's consuming the info wars, the Breitbart. He's not voicing the information to increase his power. He is as duped by it as their average person on the e-mail list who is sending them $25 out of their Amazon Smile account. Donald Trump is purchasing this stuff and that's scary because nobody around him with reacquaint him with reality, either.

HAYES: That's a great point, Joy Reid.

HERTZBERG: He's a pathological liar, too. He believes -- he seems to believe this stuff.

REID: Yeah.

HERTZBERG: When Nixon lied, I think we all knew he knew he was lying, but we are not so sure about Trump.

REID: Yeah.

HAYES: Joy Reid and Rick Hertzberg, thank you both for being here.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now.


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