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Mueller indicts 13 Russians. TRANSCRIPT: 2/16/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Betsy Woodruff, Julia Ioffe, Harry Litman, James Risen, Jerry Nadler, Philippe Reines

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 16, 2018 Guest: Betsy Woodruff, Julia Ioffe, Harry Litman, James Risen, Jerry Nadler, Philippe Reines



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you put sanctions on Russia? Nothing on Russia, Mr. President?

HAYES: 13 Russians indicted for election interference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, will you punish Russia?

HAYES: Robert Mueller lays out a grand conspiracy of Russian election sabotage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel vindicated in the Mueller investigation?

HAYES: Tonight, what is in the indictment.

ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Russians also recruited and paid real Americans to engage in political activities.

HAYES: And why what`s not in the indictment could mean big trouble for the President.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No puppet, no puppet. You`re the puppet.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Special Counsel Robert Mueller just revealed yet again that we`ve only scratched the surface of what he and his team discovered about the 2016 election. Today Mueller charged 13 Russian nationals with illegally interfering in the American political process through what the Russians called information warfare. And while various aspects of the Russian social media operation have already been reported by the press in dribs and drabs, the 37 page indictment lays out the full picture in extraordinary detail. It traces the different phases of the operation beginning way back in 2014 and continuing through Election Day.

What it reveals is a highly sophisticated well-funded and vertically integrated enterprise intended to influence voters effectively a third campaign. A third campaign controlled by a Kremlin ally that worked against one of the candidates, Hillary Clinton, and ultimately backed her opponent, the man who is now President of the United States. According to the indictment, the operation began four years ago long before election with intensive studies of different political groups active on social media. In June of 2014, two of the defendants traveled to the U.S. under false (INAUDIBLE) stopping in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas and New York to gather intelligence.

Later, the alleged conspirators commonly referred to targeting purple states in directing their efforts. The defendants working out of a Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency went onto create social media accounts, group pages meant to look like they were run by Americans. Some of those efforts have been previously exposed like Facebook groups like Secured Borders, Twitter handles like 10 GOP which I myself had re- tweeted at one point. What we didn`t know was just how professionalized those efforts were. With so-called specialists divided into day shift and nightshift hours instructed to make posts in accordance with the appropriate U.S. time zone.

And like any sophisticated digital operation, they tracked the size of the online audiences reached through posts, different types of engagement with the post, changes in audience size and other matrix all reported up the chain. In an internal review of the Secured Borders Facebook page a couple of months before the election, the account specialist for that page was criticized for having a low number of posts dedicated to criticizing Hillary Clinton and was told it was imperative to intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton in the future post.

The conspirators also took their activities offline using their digital personas to organize actual political rallies in the U.S., coordinating with unwitting activists and Trump campaign staff. They even paid people to show up at events in costume like this guy spotted by a reporter outside a Trump rally in Pennsylvania a month before the election. Don`t let the government-run media elect crooked Hillary.

In the latter half of 2016, the homestretch before the election, these Russian operatives used fake American accounts to push conspiracy theories about Democratic voter fraud and to discourage people of color from voting according to the indictment. Just days before the election, for example, they brought an ad to promote a post on one of their Instagram accounts called the Blacktivist that read in part, "choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it`s not a wasted vote." The Russians according to the indictment pulled the whole thing off using stolen identities to open bank accounts, send money through Paypal. They routed their web traffic through the U.S. to conceal Russian origins.

When it was over, according to the indictment, they took steps to erase their digital trail. One defendant writing in a September 2017 e-mail to a family member, "we had a slight crisis here at work. The FBI busted our activity. Not a joke." So I got preoccupied covering tracks together with the colleagues." Further wrote, I created all these pictures and posts. The Americans believed that it was written by their people. Now, the indictment today only concerns Russian information operations. It does not even touch on the criminal theft of documents from the DNC or the Clinton campaign or the question of potential collusion with the Trump campaign which almost certainly means there are more shoes left to drop.

The President of course, already declared victory today tweeting Russia started their anti-U.S. campaign in 2014 long before I announced I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong, no collusion, while Mueller makes no determination one way of the other whether these Russian efforts ultimately affected the election outcome.

He leaves no doubt that they put a very large thumb on the scale. Matt Miller former Chief Spokesperson to the Justice Department under President Obama and MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst, Betsy Woodruff a Political Reporter of the Daily Beast. Matt, I have to say, this indictment really is a remarkable document. What`s your reaction to it?

MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, it`s a -- this indictment lays out I think a much more far-sweeping conspiracy to violate U.S. election laws than we really knew. We knew a lot -- about a lot of social media activity on Twitter, on Facebook. We had no idea that Russians sent operatives over to the United States to gather intelligence, that they were in addition to organizing rallies on ground, that they were paying people to attend rallies.

This is a well-financed at one point over $1 million a month operation. A really well financed, well researched, well-executed conspiracy to violate election laws and it is only one piece of the puzzle. As point out, this had nothing to do with the hacks of documents at the DNC or John Podesta that I think many election observers will argue have even more of a dramatic impact in the social media activity.

HAYES: I should note just so people what they`re looking there on the screen, that is the President of the United States who is down in Florida who we are expecting some comments from. We`ll listen in.

TRUMP: Got here over to the hospital in less than 21 minutes. She had no chance. And between the first responders, your people who got her, you know who I`m talking about, they got her there, Scott. What a job you`ve done. And the doctors did a great job over at the hospital. The combination is incredible. And I hope you`re getting credit because believe me, you deserve it. The job you`ve done is unparalleled.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, these are the leaders who they led, they led SWAT teams, they led staging areas, the led command post --

HAYES: The President down in Florida visiting with the Sheriff of Broward County, an individual we spoke with last night. He visit a hospital just before then. Matt and Betsy, are you still there? We`re sort of curious that the President who looked like he didn`t want to visit with victims of the mass murder that happened down there and decided to change his mind and go there. Whether he`s going to be addressing any of this at all, we`re going to keep an eye on that. But the President did have to address this indictment earlier today in a tweet. And Betsy, what was striking to me is how this essentially has him pinned because he has been calling this a hoax even things like the Facebook ads from almost the beginning.

BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICAL REPORTER, DAILY BEAST: Right. And what`s clear from Mueller`s indictment, is that that`s just not the case. At one point Trump suggested that maybe Russia interfered or maybe it was some 400-pound guy in his mom`s basement.

This is makes it crystal clear that it was Russia, that it wasn`t random trolls in the United States. One thing that really popped out at me from the this indictment sort of buried towards the back is the fact that not only did Russian operatives interact with Americans in some cases pay Americans to do specific tasks, Americans actually paid Russian operatives, not with evidence that they knew, they were paying Russians for ad space on some of these social media pages that the Russian operatives developed.

That`s a really powerful indicator of just how influential these social media presences they had were. The fact that Americans would see these social media pages and say it makes sense to tones actually pay to get space on the platforms that they have develop. That`s pretty extraordinary.

HAYES: And Matt, it also just confirms the basic contours of what -- we have to say what Hillary Clinton was seeing at the time. I mean, the entire campaign, you go back and look at debate footage and it is so striking. She is saying Vladimir Putin is actively trying to get you elected and he says no, puppet, you`re the puppet. And today you have the federal government pulling its full weight behind a series of claims they say they can back up in court that spell out exactly that.

MILLER: Yes, Hillary Clinton warned us at the time, it was obvious to a lot of people watching that federal government sort of warned us at the time, although only one voice of the federal government, the Republican Party, and Congress was unwilling to join in the opposition. But you had the then candidate, now President of the United States out there publicly not just benefitting from the Russian operation but we have to remember this, I think this is a crucial point, actively encouraging it. Encouraging it in July when he encouraged them to hack Hillary Clinton`s e- mails, encouraging it in the fall where he`s talking about the WikiLeaks hacks constantly.

You know this is the President who called it a hoax after the election and continues to call this investigation as witch hunt. He has been actively promoting the Russian interference in the election, for now, you over a year and a half. So for him to -- the statement he made today was a bit of a climb down where he has to now admit that there actually was some intervention but he continues to make claims that just aren`t back up by the facts. You know, his claim that he was vindicated today, there`s nothing in this indictment that vindicates him. There`s nothing that Rod Rosenstein said that vindicates him. What we saw today was the first step of a conspiracy charge. There could be multiple further actors in that conspiracy charged in the months to come.

HAYES: We are going to talk about that as time goes on. Certainly, Matt Miller and Betsy Woodruff, thank you for hanging with me there as were juggling a few different balls in the air, I appreciate it. Julia Ioffe is a Staff Writer for the Atlantic covering Russia and U.S. Politics, Naveed Jamali is an MSNBC Contributor, former FBI Double Agent who infiltrated Russia intelligence. And Naveed, for that reason I`ll start with you. The scope of this, the granularity of it, I mean, just as an intelligence professional, you sort of have to take a step back and kind of be impressed just the sheer scope of trade craft here.

NAVEED JAMALI, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. And you know what, Chris, what jumped out at me was the thing that wasn`t mentioned here and that was specifically one of the last things President Obama did in December of 2016 was throw out essentially the totality of the Russian intelligence operations here in the United States.

He threw out 35 Russian diplomats which is in fact what Flynn was talking to Kislyak. So when President Trump comes out and says it clears him, I think that you know, that dotted line is still a dotted line, it`s not been connected -- the bona fide Russian intelligence officers and sort of these what we call NOCs, non-official cover. These are people who are operating under false cover. I think that is interesting thing and it`s clearly going to be part of this.

You know, we know Russia was involved in this. We know -- when they say -- by the way, when they say intelligence collection, that is an innocuous word, but let`s be honest, that means spying. So there were people here who were recruiting spies, were gathering intelligence. Abd I think that`s an important point.

HAYES: I keep picturing this Julia, I picture these folks, you know, driving around Nevada, like stopping, getting gas, getting a rental car. I don`t know what they`re doing, like having political conversations in diners like American political reporters do. Are they watching cable news? But you know, the scope of this, it`s something that you and I have spoken about on the air and in other venues in which you said what`s so remarkable to you about the operation was that it showed a level of political sophistication of the grasp of American politics that you had not seen from Russian operations in Washington before. What is your take away from reading the indictment?

JULIA IOFFE, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, one takeaway is that it reminds me a lot of the indictment that was issued when the illegals were caught in 2010. I don`t know if you remember that, Anna Chapman and a bunch of other spies, and it also got really deep in the weeds of their operations. And it was you know, at that point, it was going to Think Tank events and reading newspapers and kind of radioing back to Moscow. But that was you know, 2007, 2008. The internet wasn`t quite as advanced. It is interesting that they felt this time that they still had to get on the ground whether he a lot of stuff was readily available online. They could done it you know, from the comfort of foggy St. Petersburg.

HAYES: Well, there`s also a granularity here, Naveed, in what they were up to that I find sort of remarkable. They paid people to dress as Hillary behind bars, right? Defendants and co-conspirators asked one U.S. person to build a cage on a flat (INAUDIBLE) truck and another U.S. person to wear a costume portraying Clinton in a prison costume. Defendants and their co- conspirators paid these individuals to complete the request. And the fact is, that the meme, Hillary for prison, it was not just the Russians that came up with it but they played a role in furthering what became an extremely, extremely common meme in the American electorate.

JAMALI: Yes, look, and to what Julia is saying, I`m very skeptical, having sat down with Russians, having sat down with Russian intelligence officers, my sense here is that Russia understands U.S. sort of customs and politics from as an outsider. And it tends to be that it feels like there were more than just the Russians involved. There had to have been Americans directing whether willingly or unwillingly advising them of how to do this. This is far too targeted for someone in Russia to kind of figure out the specifics of it. That`s what they do. I`m sure. I go back to the intelligence collection, again, that is -- that is code for spying. To me, that means they were recruiting. The other part was that they didn`t go into detail. They were recruiting U.S. persons to do part of their bidding.

HAYES: We`re going to get -- yes go ahead.

IOFFE: The indictment goes into that about the Americans. They contacted the Americans they paid. The other thing I think that we need to not overlook in this indictment is the extent to which the Russians sought to the help Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein and to suppress the vote. So it wasn`t just about Hillary versus Trump. It was also about you know, anybody but Hillary or stay home and don`t vote.

HAYES: That is a great point. This was a -- this was -- if there was a target of it, it was an anti-Hillary operation they were running, and that could be Jill Stein, that could be Bernie Sanders, that could be Donald Trump, that could be suppressing voters of color which was a clear objective -- yes Julia.

IOFFE: The other thing I wanted to say, there`s no chance in hell essentially that any of these 13 Russians are going to see justice in the U.S. The U.S. and Russia don`t have an extradition treaty. There`s no way we`re ever going to see these people here -- face trial here. But this is kind of a shot across the bow to the Trump administration. You know, no collusion, no collusion. We keep hearing this from the White House and saying, you know, that all of this is a witch hunt, that this is a Democratic delusion. And here Trump is sending -- this is not a message to the Russians. This is a message to the President and his base saying no collusion? How about all this?

HAYES: Well, and we should say this. We don`t know what is out after this. I mean, we`ll talk about this most of the show today but you know, there`s a bunch of things about the hacking that we still don`t know. But one thing, Naveed, from the counterintelligence standpoint, Robert Mueller sure does seem to know a lot. I mean, at one point, he quotes an e-mail that one of these alleged co-conspirators sent to the family. I think we read it in the intro basically being like, we got busted by the FBI. I`m covering my tracks and you read that in the indictment and think, wow, they`ve got eyes on a lot here.

JAMALI: Right. Sources and methods, Chris. And you know, I come back -- the starting date of 2014 is so interesting to me. As someone has who`s sort of covered this other character Carter Page in this, the fact that Carter Page was involved in this 2015 case and Carter Page actually met with Russian SVR officers in 2013 in New York, there`s a nexus here. There`s a nexus to all these operations, there`s a nexus to the 35 Russian intelligence officers that President Obama threw out. There`s going to be more that`s going to drop and we`ll certainly see a not a dotted line but a solid line that points squarely back to Russia.

HAYES: Final point to you, Julia. One thing is not in the indictment is the Vladimir Putin or the Russian government. Everything is contained in the world of the internet research agency, this one individual, you have (INAUDIBLE) who runs a catering business and what do you knowing all you do about Russia and reporting there, what is that relationship look like?

IOFFE: It`s a very, very close relationship. In Russia, he`s known as Putin`s chef. And this is very much in keeping with how the Russians do things, right? There`s never going to be or probably not going to be any finger -- any of Putin`s fingerprints on this, right? Probably what it looked like was Putin essentially saying, you know, who will rid me of this you know troublesome Hillary and everybody else kind of gets what that means and swings into action. But it`s all you know, trusted entities and plausible deniability has always been a crucial, crucial part of this. We saw this in Crimea in 2014 and further on. There has to be -- there`s always a bit of distance between Putin and executors.

HAYES: I remember covering the soldiers without flags on their uniforms, one of the creepiest things I`ve ever seen. Julia Ioffe, Naveed Jamali, great to have you. One of the more notable things about the announcement today of Special Counsel Robert Mueller`s indictment of Russian individuals and companies accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election was the theater and craft around its announcement. With me to read between the lines of the Mueller indictments today is Frank Figliuzzi, MSNBC National Security Analyst, and former Assistant Director of Counter Intelligence to the FBI and Harry Litman, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice.

And Harry, I`ll begin with you with Rod Rosenstein. Previous indictments did not have Rod Rosenstein coming out and announcing them. They did not have him taking questions. They did not have him owning the work product of Mueller. Today he did. What`s the significance of that?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, it`s a big vindication for Rod Rosenstein. He`s been maybe a sharper whipping boy for Trump and the White House and Trump partisans even than Mueller. And this is -- he gets a chance now to play the traditional role that a Deputy Attorney General plays, the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way against what was, after all, an attack on U.S. soil by a hostile power.

So I don`t think it`s accidental that he chose to do the press conference but it`s perfectly deserved. It`s a deserved victory lap and I think part of what it tries to signal. I mean, it`s a big momentum changer in general, it makes it much harder to shop the witch hunt charges and the like but it`s big not only because of the crimes but nature of them and puts it on the sort of axis of national security and above partisanship. It`s going to be very hard for Congressional Republicans or anyone really to poo-poo this. So Rosenstein wears the mantle of this important development and justifiably.

HAYES: And Frank, having worked with Mueller, I mean, he is obviously a very able and experienced institutional player in Washington. He`s making these decisions. He reads the newspaper, he knows the institutional landscape. Where do you think he`s coming from with this announcement at this moment?

FRANK, FIGLIUZZI MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, he`s laid the groundwork here to show the American public that we`ve all been targeted. This is not a hoax. A foreign power has tried to meddle with our democracy and our election. And he`s going to work his way closer and closer toward this collusion and conspiracy theory. I think the next, you know, the next step we`ll see here. This was the social media part of the Russian meddling.

Let`s not forget, there`s still a hacking part to the Russian meddling and I believe they know by name who the Russian hackers were and I believe we`ll see the hackers of the DNC, the Hillary e-mails actually named in indictments, as well. And then you`ll see him move on after the American public has -- had a chance to process this foreign government meddling, you`ll see him move on to the possibility of Americans conspirators.

HAYES: That`s interesting. So you think the sequencing here is important. To the extent there is a case about collusion, we don`t know and we don`t know if he`s found it. But this is a kind of predicate that he needs to lay down first?

FIGLIUZZI: Exactly. So you have -- you have underlying crimes committed. You have foreign government involvement that`s laid out and alleged. Then you need to show where you can insert the Americans and campaign officials if it`s true if they`re there. That would be the way to go here. And again, interesting, the level of detail in this indictment, he didn`t need all of that. But I believe he inserted it to show everyone and send a message, we`ve wrapped this up. This is a Russian intel operation. It reads like a Tom Clancy novel. And I can tell you who is not a happy camper today, that`s Vladimir Putin. He gets very emotional when his Russian intelligence operations are wrapped up as he did when the Bureau wrap up the ten Russian illegals several years ago. He`s not a happy camper. He`s embarrassed.

HAYES: Well, and Harry, one of the institutional factors to play with here is that we know that Rosenstein briefed the President today. And I saw a quote somewhere -- some reporter was told that the focus was doing it in a way that the President wouldn`t want to break glass. That they understand what they`re handling here, where the person who`s charged with protecting the country, who you would think would be like good job, thank you, is the one that you have to sort of step lightly around.

LITMAN: Right. I mean thank you very much since I`ve been derelict for a year. You would think but at least the initial indications are to the contrary. You have a tweet coming out of the box from him that`s not only wrong but is so sort of petty and personal and so misses the important note that as Frank is talking about, of the gravity of the sort of international security dimension of this. And I want to just agree with Frank here.

It makes -- these people as Julia said last segment, we will never expect to see them held before an American court. But they set the stage for a broader story and the development of this evidence today in some ways was much more difficult and challenging for a prosecutor than it will be to develop stories if there are any of American collusion where you`ll, after all, have witnesses, people at home, and the like. This is the foreign part of the -- of the tail that will have a domestic addendum.

HAYES: Well, that -- Frank, that`s -- I mean, it went through my head, I mean, that e-mail that one of the operators sent back to a family member when they got busted, the sort of fact of the names that were used and the ways they were moving money around and making payments. Were you as someone who worked in counterintelligence, what`s your thought as you read the level of details, what they seemed to have had eyes on?

FIGLIUZZI: Well, so the first thing that comes to mind when I read that is, that looks an awful lot like an intercept. That`s an electronic intercept. And what does that mean? It means that for quite some time, the FBI, the intelligence community, all the three-letter agencies have had their eyes on this. They`ve wrapped this up. This is an impressive bit of intelligence. This isn`t coming just from Mueller`s team I assure you. This is the counterintelligence division of the FBI and the entire intelligence community coming together. And that means they all agreed to declassify that very sensitive intel and put it in that indictment.

HAYES: That`s also a great point. Frank Figliuzzi --

LITMAN: And by the way, these are all the people who have been the whipping boys for Trump. So it`s not only -- I mean, we`ve had a failure over the last year of the people you would think would be addressing this, right? The President, Congressional Republicans, and the people who come in the cavalry here are the very ones that Trump has been disparaging, Mueller and the intelligence agencies.

HAYES: Frank Figliuzzi and Harry Litman, thanks for joining us.

LITMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, what we can glean from the President`s reaction to today`s indictments and why Russian sanctions just became even more pressing, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel vindicate the in the Mueller investigation?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, will you punish Russia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel vindicated Mr. President?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you punish Russia?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the Russia probe is a hoax? Will you put sanctions on Russia? Nothing on Russia, Mr. President?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it a hoax, Mr. President?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Join us for tea?


HAYES: Moments after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced charges against foreign agents for attacking our electoral process, the President was in no mood to take question during his long walk across south lawn departing for Florida. Instead, he used Twitter to incorrectly intimate that he had been cleared of any wrongdoing. "Russia starred their anti-U.S. campaign in 2014 long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted.

The Trump campaign did nothing wrong, no collusion." With me now is Congressman Jerry Nadler, Democrat from New York, a Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, a panel that would potentially initiate impeachment proceedings against the President if that were to happen and if Democrats were to win back the House, too extremely (INAUDIBLE). Your reaction to the news today?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: My reaction to the news is that this is absolute proof of what we knew all along and what the President has denied, namely that we were attacked. This is a very serious attack against the United States by a hostile foreign power, an attack against our election process, our entire governing process. That we know that the attack is continuing and that our intelligence agencies tell us that it`s going to certainly continue through the next election. And the President and the Republicans in the House for that matter refuse, refuse to do anything about protecting us from an attack. Imagine if FDR had denied that the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor and didn`t react. That`s the equivalent.

HAYES: Well, it`s a bit of a different thing.

NADLER: No, it`s not.

HAYES: They didn`t kill anyone.

NADLER: They didn`t kill anyone but they`re destroying our country.

HAYES: Do you really think it`s -- do you think it`s on par?

NADLER: Not in the amount of violence but I think in the seriousness, it is very much on par. This country exists to have a democratic system with a small d. That`s what the country`s all about. This is an attempt to destroy that. And the president`s core, the presidential oath is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. This President is refusing to do that.

HAYES: You heard people ask questions about sanctions. Preet Bharara, of course, who is the U.S. Attorney for the southern district until he was fired by the President along with every other serving U.S. attorney says how about some sanctions now, Mr. President? They`re -- they were passed, they sign into law over his objection and there has been nothing from them.

NADLER: And there was no waiver, no waiver authority. The President as far as I can tell is breaking the law by not imposing sanctions. The fact is we should impose very heavy sanctions and we should make sure that the Russians are hurt in some very serious economic way so that they don`t keep doing this. This is not an unserious matter. This is not tit-for-tat. You don`t expel a few diplomats. They tried to destroy our democratic system.

HAYES: So you think that the deterrence has been insufficient so far.

NADLER: Very much insufficient.

HAYES: What can you imagine -- what would it look like for it to be sufficient?

NADLER: Well, I don`t know. I`m not an expert in cybersecurity but maybe things should happen in Russia.

HAYES: You think so?

NADLER: If we --

HAYES: Do you worry about an escalation?

NADLER: Yes, I do worry about it but they have to be shown that this is not priceless -- I mean, this is not without a price. There has to be a heavy price. Someone attempts to destroy our form of government which is what this was. There has to be a price sufficient to make sure they stop - - and we know they haven`t stopped -- and sufficient to make sure they won`t do it again.

HAYES: What do you think about this claim, you keep seeing it over and over, Mike Pence said the other day that the intelligence community said the activities have no effect on the election outcome which is flatly false. They have never made that determination. Today the president, you get this talking point. There`s no determination about its impact and Rod Rosenstein in a very lawyerly fashion says the indictment does not say that it had no effect.

NADLER: The fact is, that they had millions and millions of dollars of ads on behalf of Trump or against Hillary, not accounted for in the American political system. They had all these social media things. They had all this attempt to depress the black vote, to get people to waste their votes on Jill Stein, et cetera. It had an affect. How much of an effect, I don`t know. No one knows. Whether it affected the election -- whether it turned the election is unknowable, but all we know is that they spent millions and millions of dollars on this. They did it very effectively.

HAYES: They ran another campaign.

NADLER: They ran a campaign. It had to have had some effect, whether it was enough to turn election is an unknowable question.

HAYES: Finally, is Rosenstein safer today having come out there and done this or is he in more peril?

NADLER: I would certainly hope is he safer. I issued a statement today saying that if the president now interfered with the investigation, either by firing Mueller or by firing Rosenstein, it would have to be viewed as a conscious decision to aid the Russian attack on American democracy.

HAYES: Yeah, do you feel like there`s an important kind of public democratic aspect to this indictment today, which is previous guests were saying probably will never come to any kind of criminal fruition, because we don`t have an extradition treaty with Russia, but this essentially is telling American citizens what happened.

NADLER: This is beginning to tell American citizens what happened. As someone pointed out on your show earlier, it doesn`t deal with the crime of hacking into the DNC and hacking in to John Podesta and the use that was made. It doesn`t deal with the -- we know there was collusion with people in the campaign with Russians, whether the president was involved, we don`t know yet. It doesn`t deal with any of that. But those are clearly crimes.

It does also -- it dose also point out that it says there are co- conspirators in the United States, known and unknown to the grand jury. That`s a broad hint there will be additional indictments of Americans for this and we`ll see where it goes.

HAYES: Do you think -- are you confident that Mueller will find out what there is to know?

NADLER: I`m confident if he is not interfered with, he will find out.

HAYES: He`ll get to the bottom of it.

NADLER: He`ll get to the bottom of a lot of it. I don`t know that you can find out everything.

HAYES: I ask because I have been re-immersing myself in Watergate. And one of the things about Watergate that`s sort of fascinating when you go back and look at it is how much of it in some ways was kind of dumb luck that Nixon ends up getting caught, partly because he tapes himself.

NADLER: If he hadn`t taped himself.

HAYES: In the absence of a lot of different things, you can imagine him skating away. And I guess my question to you is like just how confident are you we will end up knowing definitively what happened?

NADLER: Well, I`m not totally confident that we will end up definitively knowing what happened. We can`t be confident. I`m confident that Mueller and Rosenstein seem to be doing everything possible to find out what can be found out. There are a lot of people who could be in criminal jeopardy and who presumably may talk. And we`ll see.

But what we have already found out is more than sufficient to know what we have to do to protect ourselves and what the House Republicans and the presidents are refusing to do.

HAYES: In terms of a concerted effort both to make Russia pay some price for this and also in securing America.

NADLER: In securing America we know, for example, that the Democratic minorities on a couple of congressional committees oversight investigations came out last week with a report saying that just to protect our voting machines and our registration systems, never mind waging a separate campaign will cost about half a billion dollars in a one-time investment. The Center for American Progress did a thorough investigation, they said it would cost about a billion dollars in a one-time investment and $10 million, which is tiny, $10 million a year.

And even a billion dollars in the kind of budget we have to protect our democratic system is rather tiny and we should do that, clearly.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Jerry Nadler, thank you for joining us.

NADLER: Thank you.

HAYES: Russian interference in the election worked so well because the presidential campaign echoed its propaganda.


SEN. JAMES LANKFORD, (R) OKLAHOMA: This is not new for the Russians. They`ve done this for a long time across Europe. But it was much more engaging this time in our election. Why now?

CLINT WATTS, CENTER FOR CYBER AND HOMELAND SECURITY: I think this answer is very simple and is what no one is really saying in this room, which is part of the reason active measures have worked in this U.S. election is because the commander-in-chief has used Russian active measures at time against his opponents. He claimed that the election could be rigged. That was the number one theme pushed by RT Sputnik News white outlets all the way up until the election.


HAYES: Candidate Trump`s cries of voter fraud, the Trump campaign`s bragging about voter suppression, the ongoing theme of Hillary in prison lock her up all mirrored detailed in today`s indictment, of Russians and Russian entities.

Phillipe Reines is a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, was advising her during that campaign, if not formally on it. Having lived through that campaign, been part of an inner circle that was sounding the alarm about this, what is your reaction reading the indictment today?

PHILLIPE REINES, FORMER CLINTON ADVISOTR: Well, I have much the same reaction as you did. And, you know, a year ago, I would always ask myself, are we ever going to know the whole story? And I thought we wouldn`t because I thought there were too many players. And even someone like Vladimir Putin might not know everything.

But today it`s easier to see an end here where we know not everything but a lot. And I think today there was good news and bad news. The good news is, is that Bob Mueller has assembled the equivalent of the 1927 Yankees in terms of investigators. What he came up with is remarkable. And bear in mind, he came up with this about trained intelligence professionals who know how to avoid and who are reluctant -- he didn`t speak to. Imagine what happens when he starts to write up and really get into what Donald Trump and his nitwits doing. These guys hate each other. They can`t help but make things worse. Carter Page, all of them, just say dumber and dumber things. So, I think that`s the good news.

The bad news is we`re having the same conversation over and over and over again. To Congressman Nadler`s point, I do think this is equivalent of Pearl Harbor, not the loss of life but imagine if in the days and weeks and a year after Pearl Harbor, 40 percent of America, including 80 percent of the minority party, didn`t believe it happened, didn`t believe we lost 3,000 souls, didn`t believe that we lost half of our Pacific fleet. How would FDR possibly have pursued our enemies? Imagine if he had a congress that denied him a war resolution. That`s where we are now.

And as long as we remain there, as long as we have a president who is so small, who refuses to give an inch on the very fundamental question of whether there`s an adversary that is interfering with our democracy, then we have a big problem.

HAYES: I want to follow up on that analogy, because it`s a provocative one and I ask the congressman about this. I mean, the other side of that analogy, and I hear what you are saying is it sounds like what you are calling for war. What it sounds like you are saying is if it`s equivalent in some ways, right? I mean, and I think the concern a lot of people have about the state of the world right now, and particularly U.S./Russia relations, is twofold, right. One is this part of it, the openness we have to and the vulnerability we have and the fact we can`t trust the president is vouchsafing our interests, but the other is the fact that we`re sitting across from a nuclear power in an extremely dangerous world and a loop of mutual escalation can be extremely dangerous for the world.

REINES: No, I don`t think we should go to actual kinetic war and send aircraft carriers, but what Russia did in 2016, what they are doing now, what they will do as time goes on, is the equivalent of a cyber Pearl Harbor. And I think that`s what war is going to look like more and more. Now, we don`t have to counter that with conventional weapons, we can do so with cyber -- frankly with things that you and I have no idea about.

But it starts with a president who doesn`t deny its existence. It starts with a president who doesn`t convince 40 percent of the country that it didn`t happen. And it starts with a president saying I will not tolerate this.

And what the problem is is that he is so afraid of his illegitimacy, which I don`t blame him, because every time we hear one of these things it really does question whether he`s a legitimate president. He definitely deserves more than one asterisk and the next president should probably be named 45, not 46. But it really, he can say what they did and what they tried is inexcusable.

But look, I`m confident I won on the merits. And he does that. I won because she was bad. I won because I`m great. Blah, blah, blah. And he can say there`s nothing to this investigation. I am comfortable with that.

He does not have to go for this constant trifecta of nothing happened, therefore, I won on my own, therefore, there`s no investigation.

HAYES: Let me.

REINES: And he`s got too much of the country believing they cannot even give in to it.

HAYES: Let me ask you a question about legitimacy, because you just mentioned it. There`s a phrase we hear a lot about free and fair elections, it`s a phrase that America uses when it`s talking about other countries. We call on them to hold free and fair elections. Those two words are paired and they have different meanings. Obviously, the 2016 election was a free election. There was not an authoritarian force. Was it a fair? Was it free and fair? Was it a fair election in 2016.

REINES: You know, the fact that you`re asking the question and that reasonable people -- I`d like to think I`m reasonable -- I don`t think it was at this point. And some people will say it is. But the fact that it`s even a debate whether an American presidential election was free and fair is a real problem. We are supposed to be the beacon in the world for free and fair elections.

This is not the poster child of how to conduct an election. And unfortunately, Donald Trump is not going to take this seriously until it happens to him. The Russians don`t care about Hillary Clinton anymore. They don`t care about me. They don`t care about, you know, anyone who threaten them in 2016. The people. They want to disrupt -- by definition you`re going to disrupt the people in power. The people in power are the Republicans. And the Republicans are not going to wake up to this until they are in the wrong end of it. And that`s sad for all of us.

HAYES: Let me play one more thing for you, while I have you here. I want to play this clip from the debate, it`s something I`ve returned to over and over again. And it`s Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and Donald Trump going back and forth about Russia. Take a listen.


TRUMP: From everything I see has no respect for this person.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, that`s because he would rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: -- and it`s pretty clear.

TRUMP: You`re the puppet.

CLINTON: It`s clear you won`t admit --

TRUMP: No, you`re the puppet.

CLINTON: -- that the Russians have engaged in cyber attacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do, and that you continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race.


HAYES: What`s your reaction hearing that again?

REINES: There was only one president on the stage and it was not Donald Trump. I mean, when he said not a puppet, not a puppet, he might as well as be saying I am a puppet. No collusion, no collusion. I colluded.

And, you know, Donald -- Vladimir Putin, give the guy credit. He didn`t pick Donald Trump because he thought he would be great for America, because he really wanted Obamacare repealed or he really wanted tax cuts. He wanted someone that was going to do the most harm to his adversary. And boy did he pick the right horse.

HAYES: Philippe Reines, thank you for your time tonight.

REINES: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Still ahead, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen and the question that his latest piece poses: "is Donald Trump a traitor?"

Plus, Scott Pruitt`s safe space is tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two. It`s is a good one. Next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, the scandal surrounding EPA administrator Scott Pruitt`s penchant for luxury travel using government public funds continues to grow tonight as more receipts come in. Bloomberg reports today that Pruitt has spent more than $107,000 on flights during just his first six months leading the EPA -- that seems like a lot to me -- including $14,000 spent on charter flights in his home state of Oklahoma July 27. Wait, $14,000 on one day? That also seems like a lot. The latest disclosures come on the heels of reports that Pruitt has been routinely flying first class such as a $1,600 first class seat to fly all the way from Washington, D.C. to New York and a round trip flight to Italy that cost at least $7,000 in the stupendously opulent business class cabin on Emirates Airline.

Earlier this week, Pruitt justified his first class flights by citing passengers in coach who weren`t nice to him.


SCOTT PRUIT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: There have been instances, unfortunately, during my time as administrator as I have flown and spent time of interaction that`s not been the best.


HAYES: Interaction that has not been the best. Today, we learned what one passenger allegedly said to Pruitt. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: Scott Pruitt reportedly enjoyed the luxurious business class cabin on Emirates Airline as he threw home from Italy in June, a ticket paid for by the Environmental Protection Agency. That is not normal, it`s not usually what the EPA administrator does fly in the cabins advertised by Jennifer Aniston.

Under Obama, EPA chief Gina McCarthy flew coach, former agency staffers told Politico, even on long trips to Africa and Asia.

But Pruitt says he needs first class because of unpleasant interactions with passengers and the EPA security office says they advised it, telling Politico we felt that based on the recommendation from the team leader, it would be better suited to have him in business for first class away from close proximity from those individuals who are approaching him and being extremely rude, using profanities and potential for altercations, and so forth.

What might be an example of that? According to the secuirty office, an individual who approached Pruitt yelling Scott Pruitt, you`re effin` up the environment.

But apparently Pruitt can avoid confrontations with those outraged by his policies if he`s just surrounded by rich people. Or, you know, in a private sleeping pod.


JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: I was on a plane and it was nothing like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; I`m sorry to hear that.

ANISTON: Thank you so much.



HAYES: In a new piece out today, Pulitzer Prize-winner James Risen writes in the Intercept, pointing out a stark truth about the man currently occupying the Oval Office, quote, "one year after Trump took office it is still unclear whether the President of the United States is an agent of a foreign power."

Jim Risen joins me now and it`s a real pleasure to have you here.

You have been covering intelligence for literally decades. You`ve co- written a book with someone who worked at the CIA, specifically about the KGB. Taking that -- because you write about this in the piece -- just start there with your knowledge of how the KGB and its successor agencies operated, and how that looks -- the indictment today and what we know about Russian interference with that history and context.

JAMES RISEN, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST: Sure. I think this -- the Russian interference in the 2016 election fits perfectly into the past history of the way the KGB has operated over the years. They are experts at covert action programs that are designed to inject disinformation into foreign countries, and one of the Cold War cases that I talk about in the piece is called Operation Infection in the early 1980s where the KGB went to great lengths through cutouts and intermediaries and using, you know, unwitting news organizations to spread the rumor and the false story that the United States was behind the HIV/AIDS virus and that had an insidious effect in the third world for a long time. It was kind of the precursor to fake news.

HAYES: Yeah, the documentation of that in the piece and then it sort of led me down a rabbit hole looking at I mean doctors who were paid off and letters written into news publications and publications running stories on the supposed connections all across the world, all of it a KGB operation to spread this very damaging misinformation.

RISEN: Yeah, the interesting things was that there were East German scientists involved in spreading this rumor at a time when Vladimir Putin was a KGB officer in East Germany. And so it`s very likely he knew about Operation Infection, and he then later, as you know, became director of the FSB in 1998 even before he became president of Russia. So he has a long tradition steeped into the KGB`s history of covert action.

HAYES: When you read the indictment, what are your takeaways given all the reporting you`ve done on intelligence agencies through the years?

RISEN: Well, one of the things that is not -- I think I`ve kind of focused on what was not said in the indictment, which was how did Mueller get this information?

HAYES: Right.

RISEN: And to me, that was the most interesting thing because up until now, I`ve been concerned about whether or not Mueller will have the full cooperation of the U.S. intelligence community to gather information inside Russia, which he`ll need for proving certain parts of his case and that to me show that he does have information coming out of Russia in a way that`s pretty impressive and more than I really anticipated, and it raises -- to me, it`s an interesting question, which agencies are cooperating with Mueller despite Trump`s attempts to politicize this.

HAYES: Well, that -- you know, Frank Figluzi (ph), who worked with Mueller on counterintelligence, and was talking about this at the top of the show, that one of the reads he had from the documented was the collaboration that Mueller is getting and that kind of collaboration is not a given, even when you don`t have the incredibly dysfunctional situation, right. I mean, having reported on the unbelievably fierce rivalries and sometimes outright contempt between these various entities, you know, this is somewhat unusual.

RISEN: Yeah, and especially now it`s very fraught because you`ve got Mike Pompeo, who is the CIA director, who is very close to Trump and is seen as a Trump loyalest, and so there is a lot of questions about how aggressively is the intelligence community going to be in supporting Mueller and I thought that was the post interesting part of this is it looks like he`s getting information out of Russia.

HAYES: Do you think -- take me through your thinking about the underlying operation here and when you became convinced of its size and scope.

RISEN: Well, you know, I think in the piece I wrote, which came out right before this indictment, I wanted to step back and look and I was kind of stunned by how much information is already available to show that pretty conclusively that the Russians were behind the intervention in the 2016 election. And even before the indictment today, I thought one of the most remarkable stories that came out recently that has gotten very little attention in the United States was published in the Dutch press a few weeks ago about how Dutch intelligence had realtime eyes, realtime access to what the Russian hackers were doing and passing that onto the NSA in realtime. And the story, which has been mentioned in the United States, but hasn`t gotten much attention, shows that they actually took control of the security cameras inside the Russian offices where they were doing the hack and were able to match faces of the people in the hack in that room where they were doing the hack against Russian intelligence officers.

And so that`s the kind of level of detail that we now believe the United States has because of liaison with European intelligence and other things. And one of the other stories that came out recently that hasn`t gotten much attention is a spy case in Moscow where a hacker who had been arrested has come out and said that he was involved in the hack of the DNC on behalf of the Russian intelligence, and he named an FSB officer who separately has already been arrested for spying for the United States by the Russians.

And so the evidence is just piling up almost on a daily basis that shows that Russia was behind the intervention in the election.

HAYES: Let me ask about the headline in the sort of piece, the question you posed, is Donald Trump a traitor? And it`s obviously an incredibly provocative question. You write in it that people dismiss it because it seems almost hyperbolic or too much to contemplate. Why is that to you the core question?

RISEN: Because that`s what all this is saying, is was Donald Trump elected with the help of Russia? Did he cooperate with a foreign government to take control of the United States government? That, to me, is almost a textbook definition of treason. And if he did that, if collusion is proven, then I think almost by definition he`s a traitor, and I think everyone is afraid of the consequences of using that word, because it`s so fraught. But that is essentially what it is. If you collude with an adversary of the United States to take over the government of the United States, you`re a traitor.

HAYES: What do you think, you use the word collude and collusion is this term that obviously the president constantly says no collusion, which is, you know, that and $3 gets you on the subway. But what do you think collusion would look like were it to be found? Like what are you looking for as someone whose immersed in this world?

RISEN: Well, that`s the -- what I`m trying to do, this first piece I only looked at the whether the Russians were involved in the meddling. The next piece I`m doing is about did Trump collude? And I think that`s to me, the question we now -- the evidence we have on collusion is not as strong as the evidence on Russian meddling. And so the way I think about it now is we have very strong evidence on Russian meddling, pretty strong evidence of Trump`s attempts at obstruction of justice to try to block the Mueller investigation, and less conclusive evidence about Trump`s collusion with Moscow.

HAYES: Yeah, that lynch pin is the opening.

RISEN: That`s kind of the hole in the doughnut at this point, and I think that -- but it strikes me that if, you know, there are plenty of contacts. There is lots of anecdotal evidence. And it`s -- you know, it looks like that`s kind of the place that Mueller is investigation is beginning to converge on.

HAYES: Jim Risen, thanks for joining me. That is All In for the hour. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.