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Third in command at Justice department resigning. TRANSCRIPT: 2/9/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Asawin Suebsaeng. Donna Edwards, Michelle Goldberg, Harry Litman, Kathryn Rampell, Linda Chavez, Natasha Bertrand

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 9, 2018 Guest: Asawin Suebsaeng. Donna Edwards, Michelle Goldberg, Harry Litman, Kathryn Rampell, Linda Chavez, Natasha Bertrand

CHRIS HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It is Friday night in Trump`s America which once again means we`ve had an absolutely incredible flurry of late-breaking stories including the unexpected sudden resignation of the number three person at the Department of Justice, Rachel Brand would of course be the person who would oversee the Mueller probe if Rod Rosenstein were to be remove. Tonight, she announced her resignation. Also tonight within just the last hour, within 20 minutes, in fact, President Trump announcing he will not -- will not approve the release of that Democratic memo, a response to the infamous Devin Nunes memo last week.

But just moments ago, right before he came on air, Washington Post reporting another sudden resignation of another White House official amid allegations of spousal abuse. And in case there was any doubt how it happened to begin with that a man accused Rob Porter of abusing his two ex- wives who reported their stories to the FBI and shared documentation of what they say he did to them was allowed to continue working at the highest levels of the White House. Today, the President of the United States made it very clear. He made it clear who he believes, how he views domestic violence and how the culture of this White House said at the very top encouraged Rob Porter to stay on the job until the press forced his hand because these were the President`s first public comments on Porter`s departure.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we wish him well. He worked very hard. I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it. But we certainly wish him well. It`s an obviously tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House and we hope he has a wonderful career, and hopefully, he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly, he`s also very sad. Now, he also, as you probably know, he says he`s innocent. And I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he`s innocent. So you`ll have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well. He did a very good job while he was at the White House.


HAYES: You will note probably that there was absolutely zero mention of the two women who say Rob Porter terrorized them while they were married, whom he allegedly kicked and punched in the face and berated endlessly, who in one case has to obtain an emergency protective order to escape his abuse and whose lies were upended by what he put them through.


JENNIFER WILLOUGHBY, EX-WIFE OF ROB PORTER: By the end of about three years of marriage, I was sort of a shell of a person and a muted version of the woman that I had been when I met Rob.


HAYES: The President of the United States couldn`t even bring himself to go through the motions of condemning domestic violence in the abstract. As we saw with the white nationalist murder in Charlottesville, this President cannot bring himself to denounce an obvious and flagrant evil standing in front of his eyes when to do so would defy his own interests and inclinations. And the more we learn about what his staff knew about Porter and when they found out, the clearer it becomes that they take this issue just as seriously as the President does. Today White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told reporters he first learned about the extent of the allegations Tuesday night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you clarify to us exactly -- there`s been a lot of reporting about the timeline and when you found out about things. Can you just clarify that?

JOHN KELLY, CHIEF OF STAFF, WHITE HOUSE: Tuesday night. Tuesday night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You found out Tuesday night.

KELLY: That the accusations were true. 40 minutes later he was gone.


HAYES: Tuesday night, found out the accusations were true, 40 minutes later he was gone. Now that echoes the story that Kelly directed senior staff to adopt in a meeting this morning according to The Washington Post, telling those in attendance to say he took action to remove Porter within 40 minutes of learning the abuse allegations were credible. But with hours of that meeting, staff were already leaking to The Post that Kelly`s account was false which is plainly and painfully obvious from the public record that anyone can examine. Because on Tuesday night when Kelly says he first found out the accusations were true, he put out a statement defending Rob Porter. He called him a man of true integrity and honor, a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional.

And then the next morning after photos were published of Porter`s first wife with a black eye, White House officials told The Post that Kelly was still standing by Porter, in fact, was urging him to stay on the job. We also know from multiple reports that senior Trump aides have known for months about the allegations against Porter including White House Counsel Don McGahn who was first alerted over a year ago and Kelly himself who learned last fall of the allegations were holding up Porters` security clearance. Today Kelly explained that he wasn`t told the details.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You had some indication, right sir? Last year about the nature of --

KELLY: In November, I did an update on some of the investigations and the update was there was some things that needed to be looked into. And literally, that was it.


HAYES: It`s a little hard to square that claim with a report from Politico that Kelly was told several weeks ago that the FBI would recommend denying full security clearances to multiple White House aides including Porter. At that senior staff meeting this morning, according to Washington Post, the Chief of Staff also told subordinates to convey to other White House aides he cares about domestic violence. And then moments ago, moments ago, Washington Post break the story that a second White House aide has resigned because of allegations of domestic abuse which he denies. Late tonight, a breaking report the President is privately questioning the credibility of Rob Porter`s accusers. I`m joined now by one of the authors of that report, Asawin Suebsaeng, Politics Reporter for the Daily Beast. Tell me about what you found in your reporting today.

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, POLITICS REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: What me and my colleagues at the Daily Beast Sam Stein, Lachlan Markay and I have found is that over the past couple of days, the President of the United States has been privately raising questions to both aides and long-time friends and confidants about the credibility of the allegations against Mr. Porter. He has been repeatedly asking if there are any reasons that people have uncovered as to why these women could be lying about this. So this is a president who is clearly not ready to accept both privately and publicly that his former staff secretary could be capable of these credible allegations leveled against him.

HAYES: Or he`s an individual who doesn`t believe -- he believes that women are liars.

SUEBSAENG: Well, that was certainly the case -- look, it`s the standard operating procedure of not just the president but of the Trump White House in situations like this. The President of the United States took the exact same playbook and ran with it when it came to former Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore. He took the same playbook when it came to Roger Ailes, Bill O`Reilly, Mike Tyson, many years before he became President when it came to sexual assault allegations. And the standing position, the official position of the Trump White House is that all the women, many of them who are accusing the current sitting president of sexual misconduct are themselves all lying. So the sad thing is, this is all par for the course. There`s nothing particularly surprising about any of this.

HAYES: I just want to sort of highlight something important here I think because it`s very important from what you mentioned. In the case of Roy Moore, there was identical reporting that he was privately saying he thought the women were lying. In this case, we have him privately not just publicly out of necessity he has to say whether lying because it`s a sort of P.R. defense but genuinely believes that Roy Moore who`s credibly accused of course in molesting a child when he was a district attorney and multiple women going forward. In this case, two different women independently abuse allegations documentation, a restraining order, call --

SUEBSAENG: On the record.

HAYES: On the record, calls to 911, telling the FBI, furnishing them photos of a black eye, all of that, that all of that is fabricated and made up.

SUEBSAENG: We have not heard of the reporting that the President has been saying that they have been fabricating, just that he is finding plenty of substantive reason at least in President Trump`s eyes to cast doubt on it or at least question the veracity or the credibility of this allegation. And look, like whatever he is saying or musing about or pitching in private to aides and confidantes, it`s literally the easiest thing in the world to come out and say publicly as he should have said this morning or yesterday or whatever that domestic abuse is bad and we take these allegations of spousal abuse very seriously.

HAYES: Yes, it was a notable absence in both John Kelly`s statement and the President`s statement just any pro forma condemnation. Quickly and finally, word just late-breaking that the speechwriter resigned amidst allegation of domestic abuse. Do we know anything about that? Do you know anything about that?

SUEBSAENG: Well, I`ve actually been trying to gather information in the seat as it`s been breaking. And all that we`ve received from the White House so far, and again, we`re still trying to confirm information about this is that A, this position did not require a security clearance and B, that the background check was ongoing. Now, we still have a lot of double and triple checking to do with that. It feels like there`s another shoe or two to drop on this.

HAYES: I think that`s a good instinct.


HAYES: Asawin Suebsaeng, thanks for your great reporting.

SUEBSAENG: Thank you.

HAYES: Donna Edwards is a former Democratic Congresswoman and former Executive Director of the National Network in Domestic Violence and Michelle Goldberg is an Op-Ed Columnist from the New York Times. I mean, I think the President and John Kelly I think have genuinely and honestly and earnestly revealed who they are and what their feelings are about this matter this week

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right. And it thinks John Kelly, in particular, can almost be forgiven for not understanding what the big deal was with a high-level aide who smacks his wife around because this administration has been full of people like that. You know, Steve Bannon is someone else who had very credible accusations of domestic violence against his second wife, although they were dismissed when she didn`t show up to testify against him. And there was reporting that he --

HAYES: There was a restraining order.

GOLDBERG: And there was sing that Trump nicknamed him Bam Bam which tells you a lot about how Trump sees the seriousness of domestic violence.

HAYES: Based on that allegation. A jokingly like --

GOLDBERG: Yes, Bam Bam, haha, smacks his wife around. You know, Trump himself, Ivana Trump in here -- in their divorce in a deposition gotten by one of Trump`s biographers said that you know, that I think what`s gotten attention is that she said he raped her but she also talks about her throwing her down on the beds in a rage and ripping out handfuls of her hair. Puzder, the Trump`s first appointee for Labor Secretary had to resign when it turned out that his wife had been on Oprah inn disguise and anonymously talk --it was an episode I think was high class battered -- high class battered women. And although Puzder then -- you know, his nomination was torpedoed, there`s been reporting that there looking to find a way to bring him back in a role that doesn`t require Senate confirmation, right? So this are men who -- this is not considered particularly outrageous in the milieu in which this president lives.

HAYES: I have to say, Donna, I was thinking about you and I know you worked in domestic violence. And to watch the President say that today, we feel sorry for him, it felt like a real -- I mean, smack in the face I guess is what I want to say to people that work in this field, to survivors of this and to 40 years of work to say that this kind of thing isn`t just some private matter that you just scoff off.

DONNA EDWARDS, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL NETWORK IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Well, this is exactly why it is so difficult for women to come forward because they know that they will be met with this kind of denial propping up the abuser, describing him as nice to them so therefore, it means that he could not possibly have committed violence. And you know, I mean, when you look at Porter`s behavior, it`s one woman and then another woman, and apparently a girlfriend. I wouldn`t be surprised if there were more because it`s a pattern of abusive behavior that is learned behavior. And he picks and chooses his victims. Clearly, he didn`t go to the White House and beat up everybody there. He beat up women that he -- that he knew and that he had a relationship with. And so you know, I guess I`m not surprised anymore by the White House`s response.

I mean, the President`s response to me was reminiscent, of course, of Roy Moore, but also of Charlottesville. You know, you know, both sides you know and really covering for Porter. And I think at his heart because the President has been accused of very similar behavior himself, I mean let`s not forget the 12 women who have accused him of harassment and assault, that he can`t possibly take the side and understand the plight of women who are trying to survive domestic violence. And the White House is filled with them and so it actually wasn`t a shock to me to hear the story. What`s really shocking is Don McGahn and Chief of Staff Kelly sat on this information clearly for months and months and months and allowed -- and allowed Porter to have access to our most secret documents and to continue to work in the White House. And frankly, had he not been found out, he`d still be there.

HAYES: 100 percent is clear. In Kelly`s case, I mean, this nugget I thought was interesting that he appeared as a character witness in 2016 court-martial of a marine colonel accused of sexually harassing two female subordinates. He praised the colonel as a superb marine officer. Kelly, right now, there`s all this conflicting reporting about him offering to resign. But right now, I just want to be clear, he is lying. There`s no other word to describe it. I try to be charitable in my interpretation in deployment of that word. He`s lying in a bald-faced plain, obvious way of what went down.

GOLDBERG: Right, but he does that. I mean, right? He lied about Frederica Wilson, he -- and that kind of the hallmark of this administration is to lie about what`s right in front of your face. And one of the reasons I think -- you know, we all know there have been women pouring into politics. One of the reasons that I think so many women have been truly traumatized by this administration is that they look at these men and know who they are. You know, any woman who has ever dealt with a violent unhinged man sees these men for what they are. And you know, and part of that is not just the abuse, not just the anger but the gaslighting, the constant kind of lying about what`s right in fronts of your face, this weird way that they destabilize you by denying reality.

HAYES: Donna, do you think that Kelly and McGahn have to go?

EDWARDS: Well, I think they do. I mean, I would have thought that Kelly would have to go last week when he disparaged DREAMers but apparently, that wasn`t enough either. And you know, it`s not really clear to me that the President is willing to let go of people he thinks -- he thinks are standing out there in a sort of protecting his White House and protecting him. And so, you know, do I think he has to go? Yes, I do. Will it matter? No, it won`t. I mean, I think the - you know, the President of the United States himself is engaged in this kind of behavior. He`s protected this kind of behavior. We have no reason to believe that he won`t continue to do the same. And unless it`s uncovered, you`re safe in the White House.

HAYES: There are still a lot of explaining that has to come out of the White House. We don`t know yet a lot about how this went down. We have another story -- before that, before we end here, I just want to say Colby Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby are the names of the two women who have married to Rob Porter, the two women who have shown remarkable strength and courage to come forward to talk to the FBI, to go public with their stories. And I just don`t want to lose sight of them as individuals, as people in amidst of this entire maelstrom. We`re talking about this now because they took the risk of coming forward. Donna Edwards and Michelle Goldberg, thank you for joining us.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

HAYES: Much more breaking news tonight. The White House issues a letter saying they will not release the Democratic response to the Devin Nunes memo they released last week. Plus Rachel Brand`s sudden resignation at the Department of Justice, what we know about why she`s leaving and what it means for Mueller probe in two minutes.


HAYES: -- Justice Department is out leaving her post according to a report in the New York Times which has now been confirmed by NBC News, in a move that could have far-reaching implications if President Trump decides to escalate his attacks on the Mueller investigation. Rachel Brand, the Associate Attorney General at the Department of Justice since May 2017 will be stepping down after just nine months in that position to pursue a job in the private sector.

Two sources familiar with her plans tell NBC News she found the job irresistible. The chain of command at the Department of Justice and its direct oversight of the investigation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now more striking and alarming than ever. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as of course recused himself from the Russia investigation, which leaves Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the second in command overseeing Mueller`s team.

If President Trump were to fire Rosenstein his current Solicitor General who he appointed Noel Francisco would then be the man overseeing Mueller and would have the ability -- the direct ability to fire him. That could, of course, facilitate the end of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. Harry Litman is a former U.S. Attorney and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General who worked with Rachel Brand as a Clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, MSNBC Justice Analyst Matt Miller is a former Chief Spokesperson for the Department of Justice under President Obama. Let me start with you, Harry. Knowing Rachel Brand, having been very high up in a political position at the DOJ, what do you make of this?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, look, what I don`t make of it is that the Walmart offer was just irresistible and she couldn`t say no. I mean, what -- in terms of why she left, there`s a sort of divide in Washington between the kind of credentialed conservatives and the you know, traditional stripe and then the kind of Trump infidel. She`s very much in the first camp and that correlates with people who would be more likely to resign than top fire Bob Mueller. But for her, you know, there`s a lot of reports about how miserable it is to work there. I think that`s right. And it`s miserable not just day to day there but in the whole sort of dinner party circuit.

Her -- the people she you know goes around town with, they know and think that the President is a repellent figure. She has to sort of defend working for this kind of Mussolini like guy day in and day out. And then second, if there is to be the sort of bloodletting and bedlam that Trump sometimes threatens, it`s a smart move on her part because better to not even have her fingerprints on it than to have the kind of heroic move of resigning. If she`s out of it, it just means that`s one less point of controversy, one mark not to discuss when the next job comes around. Those I think are the two big points and the magical allure of Walmart General Council is I think the least of it.

HAYES: That seems a very plausible scenario that you painted. I should say, Eliana Johnson, who`s a very good White House Reporter for Politico said the White House in this admin are in a state of crisis. Rachel Brand, number three of DOJ is leaving for somebody close to her and admin because she is very smart, accomplished and talent and wants to protect her career, she`s going to Walmart this source says. Matt, what does this do to the way you think about the integrity and independence of the Justice Department.

MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE ANALYST: I think the pressure on the integrity and independence of the department is one of the reasons Rachel Brand is probably leaving. I think Harry has it right. It`s a miserable place to work right now. But often if you`re the Associate A.G., you`d stick around because you want the opportunity to either become the deputy attorney general or the attorney general. And let`s face it, those aren`t great jobs to aspire to right now because you know if you take one of those jobs, at some point the President is going to ask you to do something inappropriate, something unethical, maybe even something illegal. And so why would you want that job? I think -- I think Harry has it right that she found an escape hatch to get out of the department. I think the big question now is what it means for the future of the Mueller investigation.

Look, as long as Rod Rosenstein stays in his job, it means nothing. But if he were to recuse himself, If he were to find himself having to recuse which is a very real possibility, I think you know, a lot of long-time DOJ veterans and DOJ watchers like myself are puzzled that he hasn`t recused himself yet given his role in the Comey firing. If he ever does, the supervision of that investigation will fall to the person in this job. And so at some point, we`ll have a nominee for this job and the Senate will get to ask hard questions about this person and presumably extract pledges not to meddle with Mueller. But in the meantime, that person will be -- that job can be filled by an acting official. It could be a U.S. Attorney, it could be someone else, it could be someone like Scott Pruitt. And in that case, you have to really wonder what happens if Rosenstein ever takes himself out of the line of fire.

HAYES: You know, that as a great point because they have used the vacancies act extremely aggressively. This administration has been pushing actings in in every conceivable direction. They`ve sort of been pushing the envelope about how long you can have people in Senate-confirmed positions without Senate confirmation as actings. And you`re right, the vacancies act allow anyone who already been Senate confirmed to be put in that position. Right now, it`s Noel Francisco who`s the Solicitor General. My question to you Harry is I saw a lot of people react to Rachel`s departure, Rachel brand`s departure as upset because they felt that she was a figure of integrity, that she had trust and reputation and this meant that in some ways the pressure of the President is putting on DOJ is working. Is that your take away?

LITMAN: You know, I think so. She`s a stalwart, she`s a total pro, and she`s an anchor within the department. There are a few others but she`s certainly one for those people who want to actually have the traditional DOJ mission of the rule of law. You know, I thought immediately back when we got her the news to the video from a week ago where Sessions is you know, anxiously showering her and Rosenstein with praise and she seems on stage to be a little uncomfortable. You know, maybe she`s a good Midwesterner but part of her I think is thinking I`m out of here in a week.

HAYES: Well, and she announces now -- yeah, I want to -- hold on a second, I want to play that and get your response to that, Matt.


JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you, Rachel, for your kind words and more importantly, for your strong leadership as our third in command of the Department. Those two are -- Rod and Rachel are Harvard graduates. They`re experienced lawyers. Rachel has had a number of years in the department previously. And so they both represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department.

HAYES: The pictures is worth a thousand words, the facial expressions of the number two and number three at the Justice Department, Matt.

MILLER: Yes, that`s right. I mean, look, they`re sitting there wondering you know, what is he talking about. It is a not very well kept secret around Washington that people in the department and this includes Republican political appointees do not like working for Jeff Sessions. And it`s for a number of reasons but one of the big ones is, you know, he just failed to lead this department. He`s failed to stand up and defend the department. You never see him talk about the career officials and their work the way that he talked about Rachel Brand and Rod Rosenstein in that clip. And so, I think you see her you know, finding just a graceful way to exit this place that just hasn`t been any fun for anyone over the last year and in her case only over the last nine months.

HAYES: And we`re going to find out real soon who that replacement is, and that is a very, very important thing to watch. Harry Litman and Matt Miller, thank you, both.

MILLER: Thank you, Chris.

LITMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: All right, coming up, the other breaking news tonight. President Trump is blocking that Democratic response to the Nunes memo. More on that ahead.


HAYES: The Porter scandal has revealed some serious security issues for the Trump administration. According to Washington Post, White House Counsel Don McGahn knew about Rob Porter`s domestic abuse allegations for a year and did nothing. "In January 2017 when McGahn learned of the allegations, he wanted Porter to stay because he saw the Harvard law trained Capitol Hill veteran as a steadying professional voice in the White House. His view didn`t change in June when the FBI flagged some of its findings to the White House nor did he act in September when he learned the domestic violence claims were delaying Porter security clearance or in November when Porter`s former girlfriend contacted him about the allegations according to these people.

Throughout all that, Staff Secretary Rob Porter was still allowed to keep his position handling some of the most sensitive information that made its way to the President`s desk. In fact, handling all of the papers that made their way to the President`s desk. And he was doing this for a full year without ever being granted a permanent security clearance. And that`s just the half of it. Washington Post reported last night that dozens of White House employees are awaiting permanent security clearances while CNN says that 30 to 40 White House officials in the administration political appointees are still operating without full security clearances.

One of those aides according to both reports of course is the President`s son-in-law Jared Kushner. And Politico reports that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was told several weeks ago that the FBI would recommend denying full security clearances to multiple White House aides who had been working in the west wing on interim security clearances including Rob Porter. How is it possible that so many people without full security clearance are working at the White House? Washington Post provided a potential answer in a story that broke the last hour. Those on White House Counsel Don McGahn`s office, people familiar with the matter said feel they cannot take action on other people whose background checks have dragged on because they did not take similar steps with Kushner.


HAYES: Breaking news tonight, the president announcing within the last hour he will not, will not be declassifying a Democratic House intelligence memo that was drafted to rebut a Republican memo claiming the FBI improperly obtained an order to wiretap a former Trump official, of course after he left the campaign.

White House counsel Don McGahn writing a letter that says concerns from the FBI and DOJ reads in part, quote, "while the president is inclined to declassify the February 5 memorandum, because the memorandum contains numerous properly classified, and especially sensitive passages he is unable to do so at this time."

With me now Natasha Bertrand, staff writer at The Atlantic; Ned Price, MSNBC national security contributor, former special assistant to President Obama and former spokesperson and senior director of the National Security Counsel.

Natasha, are you surprised by this?

Not particularly. I`m surprised that the Trump administration would take this kind of reputational risk and do something so completely obvious. I mean, you had the DOJ come out with a letter that essentially said that the FBI and the DOJ had grave concerns and the FBI came out with its own statement saying they had grave concerns about the release of the Nunes memo and its potential impact, adverse impact on U.S. national security.

Devin Nunes did not even show his memo to the FBI and the DOJ before he gave it to the White House. So there was absolutely no vetting by the DOJ and the FBI of the Nunes memo. And Trump essentially declassified it immediately and was saying a day later that it vindicated him.

But now when it comes to the Democrat`s rebuttal, which of course was written by Adam Schiff, and Adam Schiff is the one who has actually seen the underlying FISA application that these memos are based on, Nunes has not seen that material, Trump all of a sudden is very concerned about the impact it could have on national security. And he`s all of a sudden very concerned with the DOJ and the FBI`s input into this whereas he clearly was not when it came to the Republican`s memo.

HAYES: Ned, the argument that I`ve seen from Republicans is that this is a longer memo. John Kelly say, well, 10 pages. It goes into a lot more detail. I`ve even seen some sort of speculation that the Democrats have played the sophisticated game in which they laid a trap by writing a memo that couldn`t possibly be declassified thereby cornering the White House into having to block it. What do you make of that?

NED PRICE, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: With no offense to Adam Schiff, I think that may be giving the Democrats a little too much credit here. I think the blame lies with the White House, not the credit going to the Democrats for some strategy that may be too clever by half.

But I think Natasha is exactly right, this is absolutely a study in contrasts. The president even before he saw the Republican memo was 100 percent certain that he would declassify it, and when he did, not a single word was re-redacted, Chris. And when you read Don McGahn`s cover letter, he even states in there that the FBI and DOJ, the same entities that had vociferous warnings about the implications of releasing the Republican memo, that it deemed portions of the Democrats` memo to be classified.

So, the question is why not offer a redacted version back to the committee if Trump is so committed to having this memo get out. But instead it was just wholesale denied. And in doing so, Chris, I think what President trump has done has really weaponized and politicized intelligence. He`s trying to use this, and use the Republican memo itself, as a partisan political cudgel. And that is why he does not want the Democratic memo out.

HAYES: Well, Natasha, that seems to have been essentially the directory of all this since people started tweeting #releasethememo out of nowhere a few weeks ago. I mean, this entire thing began as a kind of partisan feint by Nunes.

I guess the question is, does this escalate here? What can the House Democrats now do?

BERTRAND: Well, it`s definitely going to escalate because now people are going to wonder, well, what`s in the Democratic memo.

HAYES: Yeah, I want to read it. I mean, I wanted -- to be honest I wanted to read them both. My feeling is yeah, sure, I would like to read both of them.

BERTRAND: Right, exactly. It`s kind of going to be like what`s in the Democratic memo that the president doesn`t want the public to see? What in it is going to be redacted and why are we prevented from examining that information for ourselves?

I think it`s worth potentially giving the DOJ and the FBI the benefit of the doubt here. Because, you know, in that letter, Don McGahn did say that the FBI and DOJ have recommendations to make that they will then send back to the committee and Democrats will have to review those recommendations and essentially compare them with the recommendations that the FBI and the DOJ have already given them, because remember the Democratic memo was already provided to the DOJ and the FBI to review for potential redactions.

So, they are going to have to go over this and see if any kind of political redactions were made by the White House in an effort to conceal something or other -- you know, some thing that the White House perhaps doesn`t want to get out.

But, ultimately, this has become a completely politicized game. And that`s just made all the more clear by the fact that the White House is blocking its release tonight.

HAYES: Ned, as someone who worked at the CIA and then at the NSC, what -- what do you make of what has happened to one of the two main oversight bodies for the intelligence community over in the House intelligence committee?

PRICE: Well, look, Chris, this is not the first time that we`ve seen partisan squabbles within the intelligence community. But we`ve never seen the intensity like this before. All comity has essentially broken down within the house. The Senate seems to be doing much better still, but the house has come to a standstill.

And my worry, Chris, is that there will be be tremendous implications for congress` ability to conduct its critical oversight role. I think by releasing the Nunes memo sight unseen, completely unredacted, the intelligence community is going to be more a lot more sparing in what it actually provides to the oversight committees knowing that their information could just go wholesale be made public.

And similarly, I think we`re going to see intelligence analysts and intelligence officials think twice or even three times before they do what used to be routine: submit FISA applications, unmask the identity of terrorists and other spies and others.

And the implications of that, Chris, are really profound for our national security.

HAYES: All right. Natasha Bertrand and Ned Price, thanks for joining us.

BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: All right, coming up, we now have more details about the latest resignation from the White House over domestic violence, the ones we mentioned at the top of the show tonight, it follows the same pattern, the same pattern as our handling of Rob Porter. That reporting is ahead.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, infrastructure week: the theme that became a punchline and symbol of this president`s inability to stay anywhere remotely close to on message. Last year, before the first infrastructure week event at 11:00 a.m. Monday June 5 -- remember back then -- things had already gone off the rails.

Shortly after 6:00 a.m., Trump blew up his administration`s legal defense for his travel restrictions declaring the latest version was still a travel ban, in all caps, in case anyone missed it.

By 10:00 a.m., Trump was calling London`s mayor pathetic in the wake of a terror attack happening in that city. Those stories already eclipsed any news on infrastructure, but Trump piled on taking credit on Tuesday for the decision by Arab nations to cuts ties with Qatar, a U.S. military partner. By Thursday, James Comey was testifying about Trump`s loyalty test and potential obstruction of justice while Trump responded by accusing him of perjury all while Pence insisted this is fine.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF HTE UNITED STATES: Folks, it`s already been a banner week for infrastructure.


HAYES: I forgot.

Well, infrastructure week is back, baby. There`s already one big problem related to infrastructure. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about infrastructure? When is that going to happen?

TRUMP: We`re going to do infrastructure very quickly. We`ve got the plan largely completed and we`ll be filing over the next two or three weeks, maybe sooner.


HAYES: Two or three weeks. Donald Trump said his infrastructure plan would be out in two or three weeks, that was nearly 41 weeks ago. The White House still hasn`t released a plan, but now officials claim they really have a plan coming out this Monday.

Now, Trump has repeatedly promised a trillion dollars of infrastructure spending. There`s just one problem, Trump and republicans have done some serious spending already, especially their $1.5 trillion tax cut plan.

And NBC News reports today that Gary Cohn ended a late January discussion with the president believing he`d finally convinced Trump there`s no room in the federal budget for a masstive infrastructure spending bill. That can make Trump`s long, long, long awaited plan a tougher sell than he thought.


TRUMP: Oh, we`re going to get infrastructure. Infrastructure is the easiest of all. We`re very well on our way. But infrastructure is by far the easiest. People want it, Republicans and Democrats. I could have started with infrastructure. I actually wanted to save the easy one for the one down the road. So we`ll be having that done pretty quickly.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the leaders of the effort to keep Tyson out of prison is Donald Trump, the casino owner who could lose millions if Tyson is unable to fight at his resorts.

TRUMP: It`s my opinion that to a large extent Mike Tyson was railroaded in this case. You have a young women that was in his room, his hotel room, late in the evening at her own will. You have a young woman who was seen dancing for beauty contest, dancing with a big smile on her face, looked happy as could be.


HAYES: Throughout his 40 years in the public eye, Donald Trump has been all over the map on plenty of issues, but he has never wavered when it comes to his views towards women and the men accuses of harming them.

Remember when journalist Michelle Fields accused Corey Lewandowski of forcefully grabbing her when she tried to ask Trump a question? She even tweeted out a picture of her bruises. Trump wasn`t buying it.


TRUMP: How do you know those bruise weren`t there before? I`m not a lawyer. But she said she had a bruise on her arm. I mean, to me, you know, if you`re going to get squeezed wouldn`t you think she would have yelled out a scream or something if she has bruises on her arm?


HAYES: And there`s Trump`s response to Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore being credibly accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl and having sexual contact with a 14-year-old.


TRUMP: He totally denies it. He says it didn`t happen. And you know, you have to listen to him also. You`re talking about he said 40 years ago this did not happen. Let me just tell you, Roy Moore denies it, that`s all I can say, he denies it. And by the way, he totally denies it.


HAYES: Trump has bragged about sexual assault on tape. He has been accused of unwanted sexual contact by at least 15 women and he reportedly told New York Magazine in 1992 when it comes to women, you have to treat them like crap, though that`s not the word he used.


TRUMP: I have days where I come home and I don`t want to sound too much like a chauvinist, but when I come home and dinner is not ready I go through the roof.


HAYES: Yeah, I bet you do.

Trump has said he`d like to walk into changing rooms at the beauty pageants while the women were naked, that he prefers the company of beautiful women to those he considers unattractive.


TRUMP: 30 is like a perfect age.

HOWARD STERN, RADIO SHOW HOST: Absolutely. She`s had enough life...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Until she`s 35.


STERN: Too much life experience.

TRUMP: What is it at 35, Howard? It`s called checkout time.


HAYES: This attitude, in fact, in the Trump administration. As we discussed earlier, Trump reportedly gave Steve Bannon a cutsie nickname Bam Bam based on accusations of domestic violence against him that he beat up his wife.

At this hour tonight, more reporting on the second sudden resignation of a White House official this week amid domestic abuse allegations. And get this, once again, once again, just like the case of Rob Porter, the reporting we have now is that the ex-wife of this staffer told the FBI about the alleged abuse as part of a background check back in the fall.

New details on that, next.


HAYES: New details tonight about the sudden resignation of one of Donald Trump`s speech writer, David Sorensen, who worked under Steven Miller, just resigned from the White House tonight under circumstances that are remarkably similar to those of White House staff secretary Rob Porter who left amid abuse allegations from both of his ex-wives.

Washington Post reporting tonight, Sorensen stepped down after the paper started inquiring about abuse allegations from his ex-wife, allegations that she reportedly told the FBI about last year, according to The Post. David Sorenson`s ex-wife, Jessica Corbett (ph), told The Post she described his behavior to the FBI last fall as the bureau was conducting a background check of Sorensen.

White House officials said they learned of the accusations by Sorenson`s wife Thursday night before The Post contacted the White House for comment.

I`m joined now by Linda Chavez, a syndicated columnist who formerly worked in the Reagan administration, and Kathryn Rampell, opinion columnist at The Washington Post.

I should say, you can check out that Washington Post article. We can tweet that out. There are some different circumstances here. I believe he has two ex-wives, one of whom vouches for him, says she did not experience anything like abuse. Sorensen himself says there was violence in both directions, of course which is something if you`ve been in domestic violence circles you have heard before.

There are also documentation from this woman. She showed a picture of a cigarette burn she says this man gave her to The Washington Post as well as text messages.

So, I just want to set the table there.

Linda, your reaction to watching the last few days of this White House?

LINDA CHAVEZ, COLUMINST: It`s absolutely amazing. I mean, what is most amazing about that is that you have a chief of staff that was supposed to have been brought in to give order to the White House, to be somebody who could be man of good character and lead by example, and yet, under his watch, we`ve had now two instances of staffers for whom FBI investigation showed that there were credible accusations of abuse and the people stayed in their job until it went public.

HAYES: It`s remarkable to me, as well, that this story they are attempting to tell now is so obviously in contravention of the facts.

KATHRYN RAMPELL, WASHINGTON POST: Oh, absolutely. And it`s not only an issue of disproving the supposed integrity that John Kelly has had all along, there are all of these, you know, glowing profiles of him last year, for example, when he first came into this job. It`s also a matter of besides how morally how repulsive these are, what effect could this have had on our national security, right? I mean, he was supposed to be the guy who was bringing in discipline to the White House and let he let at least one aide who could not get a security clearance have access to basically every document that found its way to the president`s desk.

The reason why the FBI does these background checks is not only to make sure that the people who are surrounding the president have good moral character, it`s also that they can`t be blackmailed, right? And now you have two cases of people who are in the White House who are easily blackmailable.

HAYES: And, Linda, you have had some experience with this. I mean, if background checks are not pattycake. You got -- you had an issue with the FBI background check. What happened to you?

CHAVEZ: Absolutely.

Well, when I was nominated by George W. Bush to be Secretary of Labor, I had taken a woman a decade earlier into my home. She was Guatemalaen, in the country illegally, and interestingly I took her into my home, because she was a victim of domestic abuse and was in a shelter at the time, but she lived with me for a year, and even though I didn`t do anything illegal, I nonetheless did not bring that up before I was nominated and when the FBI went out and did their investigation one of my neighbors, who actually employed this woman, told them that she lived with me and within minutes of learning that, the White House, was it was the transition then, but the transition was on the office, on the telephone with me. They sent FBI agents back to my house. I was asked specific questions about this incident. I told them the truth about it. And if I hadn`t, I would have committed a felony and that`s a very interesting question with Rob Porter.

HAYES: That`s a great point.

CHAVEZ: Because if he lied to the FBI, you may remember Henry Cisneros, who was Secretary of HUD under President Clinton, he apparently withheld information and lied to the FBI and he actually was punished for that.

So, you know, this is a very, very strange White House where you can get away with this kind of thing and where no one raises an eyebrow, and apparently General Kelly wanted Rob Porter to stay even after the story had broken.

To me, the person who has to go next is General Kelly. He should not be in that job. He has not served the country well, and frankly, he`s not serving President Trump well, either.

HAYES: Linda`s story highlights -- that`s a remarkable story to hear. I mean, right away they run into an issue, people are on the phone. Like, the casualness with which this was dealt with.

RAMPELL: Well, you can understand why, though, given that...

HAYES: Saw today.

RAMPELL: Well, you saw today, yes. And so many other members of Trump`s orbit, including Trump himself, of course, have been accused of abusing women in some form, whether sexually or just using violence against them.

You may remember that Bannon actually had domestic abuse filed against him that were dropped when his wife at the time did not show up to court. Lewandowski was mentioned earlier.

HAYES: Andy...

RAMPELL: You know, so many people in this world have had accusations leveled against them and have faced no consequences.

HAYES: Linda Chavez and Kathryn Rampell, thank you for both joining me. That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.