Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 13, 2018 Guest: Tom Hamburger, Natasha Bertrand, Chris Lu, Lawrence Wilkerson, Chris Murphy
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wish Rex Tillerson well.
HAYES: The Secretary of State fired with a tweet.
TRUMP: He`s fired!
HAYES: Tonight, Donald Trump`s sudden firing of Rex Tillerson.
REX TILLERSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: God bless America.
HAYES: And why the President`s overhaul may not be done yet.
TRUMP: We`re getting very close to having the cabinet and other things that I want.
HAYES: Then another massive breach of security.
TRUMP: They all want a piece of that Oval Office.
HAYES: Why the President`s personal aide has been fired and escorted off White House grounds. Plus, new reporting on Roger Stone`s contact with WikiLeaks.
ROGER STONE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I actually have communicated with Assange.
HAYES: And the first results from Pennsylvania.
CONOR LAMB, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, PENNSYLVANIA: We need their support.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Saccone, can I ask you, what is your message.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The polls have just closed in that Special Election in Pennsylvania`s 18th Congressional District, a district the President of the United States Donald Trump won by nearly 20 points just less than two years ago. Despite that fact, the race has been extremely close with Democrat Conor Lamb widely seen as having a legitimate chance to defeat Republican Rick Saccone. We`ll be monitoring the results throughout the hour as the votes start coming in. The White House and GOP has thrown everything at this race in hopes of avoiding a demoralizing and embarrassing loss. Trump, Mike Pence, Donald Trump Jr. all personally stumped for Saccone and the GOP dumped more than $10 million into the race.
A massive amount of money for a congressional race and yet, Lamb has been polling strongly as Pennsylvania voters responded positively to his image as a competent relatively boring candidate who can counter balance the on- going unmitigated chaos in the White House. And those voters went to the polls today on one of the most chaotic days yet. Here is a quick rundown. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired apparently without warning in a presidential tweet. To replace Tillerson, the President tapped CIA Director Mike Pompeo an Iran hawk and Benghazi conspiracy theorist, who has been a top recipient of campaign funds from the Koch brothers. To replace Pompeo, Trump chose CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel who ran a secret prison known as a black site under the Bush administration where suspected terrorists were tortured. She also assisted with an order to destroy CIA evidence of said torture in waterboarding videos.
All that news nearly buried yet another massive story, that Trump`s long- time personal aide, John McEntee was fired and escorted off the White House grounds amid a Secret Service investigation into alleged serious financial crimes. Then tonight, House Democrats dropped a new revelation about the Russia investigation just hours after the Washington Post reported that Roger Stone had boasted of knowing about the WikiLeaks e-mails months before they were publicly released. We`re going to talk about all those stories but we start with Tillerson who described his own firing this way.
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TILLERSON: I receive a call today from the President of the United States at a little afternoon time from Air Force One. And I`ve also spoken to White House Chief of Staff Kelly.
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HAYES: So Tillerson says he got the call at noon which was hours after Trump had tweeted out that Tillerson would be replaced. A senior State Department official told NBC News that Tillerson learned of the firing from that tweet. Sources familiar with the situation disputed that claiming Chief of Staff John Kelly called Tillerson on Friday and said Trump intended to ask him to step aside. But today the State Department released a remarkable document, a statement that read in part, "The Secretary had every intention of staying behind because the critical progress made in national security. The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason for his firing."
Now, the author of that statement is Steve Goldstein, the fourth highest ranking official at State. He was then fired. Tillerson and Trump, of course, have long heavy strained relationship. Tillerson even reportedly called the President a moron after July 20th meeting at the Pentagon, something Tillerson despite given ample opportunities definitely never denied. Two sources tell NBC News that Trump could never get past Tillerson calling him a "moron" and that it was constantly an undercurrent being called a moron that exacerbated their tension. Tillerson also supported the Iran nuclear deal which the Trump has railed against. The President suggested today the Iran disagreement is what led to his decision to fire Tillerson.
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TRUMP: We disagreed on things. When you look at the Iran deal, I think it`s terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process.
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HAYES: Within the State Department itself, Tillerson was reportedly widely loathed for hollowing out the Department he was supposed to be leading. For more on Tillerson`s tenure, I`m joined now by Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, a Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I saw you giving an interview earlier today in which you were very critical of Rex Tillerson`s tenure at state. Are you happy he`s gone?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Rex Tillerson was a very bad Secretary of State in large part because he didn`t believe in the State Department and he was very enthusiastically overseeing massive reorganization that if the administration had its way was going to cut the size of the State Department by 40 percent. He left many positions unfilled and he telegraphed in a variety of ways that he just didn`t think that the State Department could make progress globally on issues like human rights and democracy promotion.
That being said, my worry is that Mike Pompeo is just going to do all of those things more effectively and more enthusiastically. There`s no sense that Mike Pompeo is going to come in and oppose the President on his plans to dramatically cut the size of the Department. And from what I know about Mike serving with him in the House of Representatives, this is someone who really views American power through a military and covert action lens, not through a diplomatic lens. So, no, Secretary Tillerson was a very bad Secretary of State, that doesn`t mean the next one will be better.
HAYES: What specifically about the Iran deal? I know that`s something that`s close to your heart or something thought a lot about and something you advocated for and voted for, have sought to defend and the President highlighting that as something where he`s more in line with Pompeo as review and certification comes up on the horizon, do you have concerns about that?
MURPHY: Well, I certainly do have concerns about it but I also know that Tillerson wasn`t the only one that was advising the President against pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement. The Defense Secretary reportedly has told the President repeatedly that it would be a national security disaster for the United States to allow Iran to start pursuing a nuclear weapon. And by the way, if you want any chance at disabusing the North Korean regime of their plans to get a nuclear weapon that can hit the United States, you can`t be pulling out of nuclear agreements just when you`re trying to negotiate a new one with the North Koreans. So I think Trump is going to continue to hear that his desire to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement just because he wants to unwind everything with Obama`s name on it is still a bad idea.
HAYES: Gina Haspel, who is a 30-year CIA veteran by all regards, she`s well-liked within the agency itself, but she oversaw a black site in Thailand. In that black site, suspected terrorists were detained, were subjected to waterboarding one 83 times in a month. They were denied sleep, loud noises played, put into coffin-like confinement boxes. Is that disqualifying?
MURPHY: It might be. She clearly presided over a massive illegal operation that violated both the U.S. law and international law. I`m sure those orders came down from above her but that is no excuse. I don`t know her particularly well and so I`m interested to hear from her. But you know, at some point Congress and this administration has to wake up to the fact that when we have a president who continues to enthusiastically endorse actions that violate international human rights, we are providing bulletin board material to the very terrorists that we claim to be fighting. They happily sign up more recruits as the administration talks about the terrible things we have done and he continues to want to do to violate these human rights agreements all across the world.
HAYES: There was some speculation today a little back and forth from the timeline with regards to Rex Tillerson that perhaps the final straw were his words about Russia yesterday with regards to the apparently attempted assassination of Skripal, Sergei Skripal who`s a former double agent for the British who was in Russia. He was brought to Britain in a spy swap. He was attacked it appears by a nerve agent that basically only the Russians had custody over. There seem to be some daylight between the President or at least Sarah Huckabee Sanders yesterday and Rex Tillerson. Do you have concerns that that wasn`t a;; the proximate cause here?
MURPHY: I really don`t know what the proximate cause was as you said. Calling your boss a moron is probably by itself a firing offense. But you know, I am -- Chris, I am a little concerned about this effort today to remake Rex Tillerson as an anti-Russia cold warrior. This is somebody who just about three weeks ago said that Russia was probably going to interfere in the 2018 elections. And there really wasn`t anything that we could do about it. Nobody believed that he was arguing vociferously with the President to apply the sanction power that Congress gave. So you know, I think it would be a mistake to remake this disagreement between the President and the Secretary of State over the Secretary of State`s particularly strong beliefs about counteracting Russia.
HAYES: What -- and you go to bed tonight, this is -- something you spend a lot of time thinking about in that committee and as a senator, what is keeping you up most?
MURPHY: Well, what`s keeping me up most is this continued withdrawal of American diplomats all over the world. I just came back from a big transatlantic conference in Brussels, Belgium. It`s one that the United States would normally send a host of diplomats to. The Trump administration sent one person there and so the Europeans take the signal and they are starting to make defense plans without us outside of NATO. And as America just pulls itself back in only portrays itself through its military might, the world goes on. And all of a sudden, the rules of the road are different four years from now. All of a sudden, democracies in Eastern Europe and the Balkans have back slid into something that looks more like autocracy and it`s too late by the time that the next administration gets there. If Mike Pompeo is going to continue that withdrawal from the globe, it`s going to be very hard to correct for that in two and a half years.
HAYES: Senator Chris Murphy, thanks for being with me.
MURPHY: Thanks a lot.
HAYES: I`m joined now by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and is a man who spent his time in foggy bottom. Your assessment of Rex Tillerson`s tenure there?
LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO COLIN POWELL: Chris, let me say that I identify almost completely with Congressman Murphy`s remarks but I`ll give you a little more experiential insight into it I think. The Republican Party with some aid from the Democrats from time to time has been trying to consolidate foreign and security policy in the White House orchestrated staff wise by the NSE staff for a long time ever since Nixon. So this is not something new. Trump has just brought it to a brutish apotheosis if you will. He is the chief diplomat and by God, the White House is going to run American foreign policy.
That`s the real impetus behind this. Tillerson I think was given orders to dismantle the State Department just as Congressman Murphy pointed out. I think he grew a little bit irritated at that mission as he saw that maybe that wasn`t necessarily the best thing to do. And so that created some tension in addition to the personal remarks he made about the President and so he had to go. Pompeo will be a sycophant and do exactly what Trump tells him to do because he`s just as brutish as the President.
HAYES: To your point here, I mean, no greater illustration of this idea than what we`ve seen play out with North Korea. I mean, you`ve got the secretary of state saying we`re very far from any sort of direct talks with them on the day the President himself interrupted a briefing that was supposed to be for senior staff from the South Korea and interjected he will meet in a summit with Kim Jong-un. At the same time there is no Ambassador to South Korea and we`ve hollowed out the entire State Department. What are the tangible consequences, risks of this?
WILKERSON: Well, I think the first reason Trump did this is because there`s a lot of stuff that`s damaging to him in the background, everything from Stormy Daniels to the Russian scandal. So he`s trying to do these things in order to deflect you and others from reporting on that and he`s being rather successful with it. In terms of the actual meeting in Pyongyang, I don`t think it`s ever going to come off. I think the chances are less than 10 percent that it`s going to come off. But let`s look at the history of this. This is nothing new.
Madeleine Albright met with Kim Jong-un`s father Kim Jong-il for six intense hours in Pyongyang and essentially agreed to President Clinton visiting later and much closer relations, the agreed framework the nuclear agreement (INAUDIBLE) and along came my administration, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney and abrogated all of that, screwed the pooch, ruined the entire -- the entire momentum of that diplomatic policy. So Trump is actually picking up on a Bill Clinton policy but I don`t think he`s going to be successful with it.
HAYES: I want to get your thoughts. I mentioned Sergei Skripal to Senator Murphy earlier and you know, at the center of sort of American foreign policy in this moment and particularly in the last few days is how to deal with what appears to be just shockingly provocative act by Russians to attempt to asassnate an ex-spy in England using a chemical agent. What is the appropriate response of the U.S. to this on an ally?
WILKERSON: Well, of course, we`ve already had Litvinenko with polonium 210 in the hotel my wife and I used to stay in. So this is -- this is really worrisome in terms of what people are willing to do to other people in this confrontation that we`ve created particularly with Russia. And not for a second do I think that Vladimir Putin had much to do with this other than as perhaps Henry II did when he said won`t someone rid me of this troublesome prince or this troublesome bishop. But the fact that these kinds of things are happening now and they`re being accomplished with such sophisticated munitions or the thing that`s causing the death or the sickness in this case, probably ultimately death, is really disturbing. This is the sort of thing you just do not want to start between states because there is so much capacity out there to carry it to the degree of absurdity.
HAYES: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, it`s always great to get your insights. I appreciate it on this very busy day.
WILKERSON: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Still to come, the first results from tonight`s big election in Pennsylvania. We have our eyes on that, Steve Kornacki standing by. Then, Democrats drop a treasure trove of leads from their investigation of Trump and the Russian. We`ll go dig through those and tonight`s big Roger Stone news ahead. And next, the President`s personal assistant fired and escorted from the White House grounds amid an investigation for financial crimes? Those explosive details in two minutes.
HAYES: A day full of very shocking White House news, one of the most unexpected was the abrupt firing of John McEntee, that would be the President`s personal assistant called the Body Man on Monday. The Wall Street Journal reporting that he was escorted off the White House grounds "without being allowed to collect his belongings, he left without his jacket." According to NBC News, McEntee is under investigation by the Secret Service for serious financial crimes. And despite all that, he`s already got a brand-new job, Senior adviser for Trump`s 2020 campaign. I want to bring in one of President Obama`s former assistant White House Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu. Let`s start with this. Can you imagine -- you spent -- you spent eight years in that White House, didn`t you? You were there?
CHRIS LU, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CABINET SECRETARY: Eight years in the administration, yes.
HAYES: For the whole time of the administration. Can you imagine the circumstances under which someone is escorted off White House property without being allowed to go back and get their jacket?
LU: Chris, I know of no instance where anyone who had that level of exposure to the President was escorted out of the complex without even having a chance to get his personal effects. That`s astonishing. I mean, this is an incredible story and the fact that this isn`t even the second or third biggest story today just shows you how much turmoil there is in this administration right now.
HAYES: He was the Body Man. And I want you to explain what role that is and how close that is person is to the President of the United States.
LU: Right. This is a very troubling story. So the Body Man accompanies the President at all times, on weekends on domestic trips, on foreign trips. It`s the person who not only just has the sharpies for photos and has the hand sanitizer, that`s the person who carries the President`s briefing book. That includes the classified materials which we talked about so much with Rob Porter and his security clearance. It`s -- this is the person who knows the President`s schedule. Not only the public schedule but the private schedule, as well. This is the person who`s in the limousine with the President who overhears all of his phone conversations. This of all people, this is a person you want to make sure is a person of high integrity, of good judgment. And the fact that this person is being investigated for a serious financial crime is troubling.
HAYES: This is also someone who presumably and we don`t know, there`s sort of conflicting reporting, would need a permanent security clearance, right? I mean, if you`re going to be that close proximity to the President, you would need that, right? That would be standard operating procedure?
LU: Absolutely. I mean, look, this is not a policy-making position. But the mere fact that you`re holding the briefing book that has the most sensitive information, you`re literally standing next to the guy who has the nuclear football. You need to have that security clearance. You`re in the limo when the President is having conversations with foreign leaders, when they are discussing sensitive operations. Yes, you`re not deciding what happens but you`re overhearing all of that. So this person absolutely needs to have a permanent security clearance.
HAYES: And we don`t know if he had one, whether he was in the sort of interim kind of loophole that Rob Porter used or he actually been grand one. Both of which are troubling. But here`s the Wall Street Journal with a little more reporting on the source of the problems here. People close to McEntee said problems related to online gambling and mishandling of his taxes prevented him from gaining clearance necessary for the role. So the idea that he didn`t have the clearance but thought -- the thought to me is, this is precisely -- particularly a gambling issue -- is precisely the kind of weakness, blackmailable weakness that the entire security clearance system is meant to flag.
LU: Well, exactly. And we`ve had this conversation as it related to Rob Porter. You want to make sure this is a person of high integrity that they can be trusted with the secrets and that they can`t be compromised by anything in their past. And what I find especially troubling, Chris is not only the gambling allegations but there`s also reporting indicating that the Secret Service is investigating him. And if you look at the secret service, they investigate things like counterfeiting, bank fraud, credit card fraud, cybercrimes. So we don`t know the extent of this. But this isn`t somebody who simply has some online sports betting account.
HAYES: Yes, serious financial crimes was the terminology of the reporting that we were given which is serious. And then finally this, he is deemed unfit and a danger to occupy White House grounds. He is thrown out unceremoniously without his jacket. He is immediately given a role and job on the 2020 trump campaign.
LU: With the title of senior adviser for campaign operations and you`re being investigated for serious financial crimes, that gives you a sense of what type of operation they`re running over at the Trump campaign or it possibly suggests they are -- you know, I don`t want to be a conspiracy theorist on this but there might be some reason why they want to keep him close to the operation.
HAYES: That`s a perfect legitimate point raise. It also makes you wonder where the Secret Service out there, were there no background check, who exactly would be occupying the White House at this hour? Chris Lu, thanks for joining me.
HAYES: The top Democrat on the House Intel Committee slams the decision by his Republican colleagues to shut down their investigation and he came with receipts. The latest details after this.
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REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We are releasing this evening 22-page status report on the investigation that sets out some of the key witnesses that the majority has been unwilling to bring in, the key documents they`ve been unwilling to ask for, the witnesses who have come before our committee and stonewalled on key questions so that the public can see just how incomplete this effort was. But the work is too important to leave undone. In particular, the American people need to know whether the Russians still have something they can hold over the President`s head, the President of the United States.
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HAYES: What might the Russians still have on Donald Trump? That`s it the question from Democrats on the House Intel Committee after Republicans suddenly and unilaterally decided to end their Russia investigation. Democrats detail more than 30 key witness who`s were not interviewed including people like Reince Priebus along with unanswered questions and new revelations including -- the minority has good reason to believe the White House does in fact possession documentation memorializing President Trump`s conversations with Director Comey. Interesting. All this comes as the Washington Post reports today that Roger Stone who advised Donald Trump boasted he knew about the hacked DNC and Podesta e-mails months before WikiLeaks made them public.
Jill Wine-Banks, is a former Watergate Prosecutor and MSNBC Legal Analyst, Natasha Bertrand covers the Russia investigation as a Staff Writer for the Atlantic, and Tom Hamburger is a Reporter for the Washington Post. He has one of several bylines in today`s big scoop about Roger Stone. And Tom, let`s start there and work our way back to the nuggets that are in this House Intel doc, the minority party`s House Intel doc. What does your reporting indicate about what the status of Roger Stone`s prior knowledge of the impending hacks or the hacks and leaks from Wikipedia -- WikiLeaks?
TOM HAMBURGER, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: What we reported this morning is that Roger Stone told two people in mid-2016 that he planned to meet with, talk with Julian Assange who runs WikiLeaks and told one of those individuals that he was told there would be documents in the WikiLeaks repository that would -- that would prove torturous for top Democrats including John Podesta. So these are claims that Roger Stone made mid-2016 months before these WikiLeaks documentswere released. Stone, it`s important to add has told us that he only recalls mentioning that he was meeting with Assange to one person and that his reference was a joke.
HAYES: Just to be clear. He knew about the Podesta or mentioned it prior to that becoming public, correct?
HAMBURGER: That`s what one person has told us. That`s correct, yes.
HAYES: And Natasha, you reported on this and you reported a bit on the degree to which Stone appears already to have been caught in at least a shading of the truth about his contacts with Assange.
NATASHA BERTRAND, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Right, and when I spoke this morning to the Majority Leader of the House Intel Committee Adam Schiff, he did tell me that the Committee, its investigation got caught short before it could really kind of determine what the discrepancies were between the statements that Roger Stone had given to the House Intel Committee and his testimony back in October and what we`ve learned now from media reports such as my reporting that he was actually in touch with WikiLeaks communicating with them privately on Twitter and now The Washington Post reporting that he was talking to associates. I think it`s up to at least three people now during 2016 telling them that he wanted to meet with Assange that he planed to fly over to London and speak with him and was talking about, you know, the WikiLeaks emails before they were even -- before it was even known that they were hacked.
So, this is another reason why it`s really important for the intel committee to not have concluded its investigation, because a day after the Republicans said nothing to see here, no collusion, we now learn even more about potential collusion between Roger Stone, WikiLeaks and Russia.
HAYES: And Jill, there`s a bunch of witnesses that are listed in this House document that just jump out at you the sort of normal kind of people you would call even a sort of first run at this thing if you were interviewing people like Reince Priebus, the Russian lawyer who was at the Trump Tower meeting. I mean, what is your take away looking over this list of witnesses and the document the Democrats in the House intel put out.
WINE-BANKS: My take away is that the majority are part of the cover-up. They don`t want the truth to come out. They want to cut this off to please the president. They are not interested in the American people getting the full truth, which is what we deserve. And it is really premature to have stopped the investigation. They need to have public hearings. They need to interview all of the people that are on this list. And there`s so much more beyond probably the ones who are already identified that will be identified as people start talking.
So it was premature and it is a cover-up to stop the investigation now.
HAYES: You know, Tom, there`s an interesting question here about the status of WikiLeaks as we think about the idea of collusion, right, which is Roger Stone says it`s simply a press outlet, other people say that. Julian Assange himself says that. The intelligence community assesses that it is essentailly an asset or a cutout for the Russians.
How important is that distinction in terms of how Mueller or others might sort of conceive of what happened?
HAMBURGER: Well, Chris, of course, it`s hard to know exactly how Mueller is proceeding here. He`s got the contradictory stories by Roger Stone`s own admissions whether he in fact influenced plans to meet with Julian Assange or about whether those plans were a joke. Since it was WikiLeaks that in fact was the vehicle for releasing some of the most damaging of the personal emails that created both distraction and confusion for the Clinton campaign and distracted the public from other topics during the campaign, it seems to me that the question of whether WikiLeaks is a Russian asset or was getting some of its documents from Russia and of course those are things that WikiLeaks officials and Julian Assange has denied, but that`s going to be an important question and would be one for the prosecutor. It`s one in a long list of questions involving these contacts that Trump campaign associates or people connected with the campaign or informal advisers like Roger Stone will be asked about.
HAYES: You know, the Stone/Assange thread is one that we sort of followed throughout, Natasha. Are there others that jumped out at you from the document from the House Semocrats?
BERTRAND: Yeah, one of the big things in there was a guy named Jon Iadonisi who did some social media work for the Trump campaign and no one could ever really figure out what he was getting paid to do. He was paid by kind of a private venture capital company -- venture capital company that really, like there was no reason for that kind of transaction to have happened. And he was a Flynn guy, you know, really no one was ever able to figure out why he was there. And so the fact that his name is on the list kind of raises questions about whether he was potentially -- he`s potentially being looked at for potentially organizing some kind of social media campaign with the Russians or orchestrating something on that end.
But there were a number of interesting -- there were a number of associates of the NRA on the list, as well. You know, just in terms of people who were connected with the campaign or who tried to make contact with the campaign who are you know, Russian gun advocates who tried to infiltrate the campaign for lack of a better word. So, there are a number of different threads here. And, again, when I spoke to Schiff this morning, he told me that this was an attempt to kind of put it all out there and have investigative journalists, perhaps even Mueller, look at it and find new leads.
HAYES: Yeah, Jill, it struck me that it was kind of a road map for a broader investigation that they can`t do.
WINE-BANKS: I think that is a very good point. And I also think that it`s important for us to keep in mind that all of the information that Mueller has we don`t know, but any leads that have come up from the House should go to Mueller and should be pursued. There`s just so much more that needs to be done. And it`s a shame that it can`t be done in a bipartisan setting, but we have to keep in mind that the purpose of the House is different than the crimes, so that some of the things that might it be crimes like your question to Tom about whether it matters that it`s a Russian asset, if WikiLeaks is a Russian asset, that might matter in terms of a crime, but it doesn`t matter in terms of whether or not it`s hurting our elections.
WINE-BANKS: And that`s what congress has to protect. It doesn`t matter who hacked the emails, it doesn`t matter who stole them or published them, what matters is that it happened and that it could hurt the election, it certainly was intended to disrupt the election. And it did that. It was very effective at that.
HAYES: And Schiff makes the point in that interim report that in some ways that that`s one area they did very, very little about on just the basic blocking and tackling of protecting security systems in the election in 2018 and beyond. Jill Wine-Banks, Natasha Bertrand, Tom Hamburger, great to have you.
We are just now beginning to see the first results from tonight`s big election in Pennsylvania. Steve Kornacki is here ready to make sense of what we`re seeing. And after today`s firing of Rex Tillerson, the president is now teasing more to come.
Plus, after throwing his administration into turmoil, Trump went to look at some wall samples. Tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, President Trump finally got to see protypes for his border wall, eight of them constructed at the San Diego site. As is often the case, the president latched on to certain key elements.
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TRUMP: The problem is you have to have see-through. You have to know what`s on the other side of the wall. Tell them, what do you think about the importance of see-through?
So, we`re looking at the walls where you have some three -- really some see-through capability. If you don`t have some see-through it`s a problem.
I mean, we`re looking very much at the wall with some see-through capability on the other side.
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HAYES: What if you made the wall out of the same fabric out of which you constructed the emperor`s clothes? Just a thought.
The president also noted the importance of a wall you cannot climb.
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TRUMP: It`s really deterrent from getting over the top. Who would think, who would think? But getting over the top is easy. These are like professional mountain climbers. They`re incredible climbers.
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HAYES: Yeah, and professional mountain climbers. And you`ve got to see them.
Throughout the day, the president stressed the effectiveness of the wall in percentage terms.
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TRUMP: So that`s 95 percent with a scrap metal wall, but at least it stops 90, 95 percent. When we put up the real wall, we`re going to stop 99 percent, maybe more than that. It will be 99.5 percent successful.
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HAYES: 99.5, maybe 102 percent, just throwing that number out there. What about the big beautiful door, the infamous big beautiful door in the wall the president used to talk about? Well, maybe they can model that on the $139,000 doors that everyone is raving about over at the Interior Department. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So when it comes to the $139,000 spent on new office doors for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke`s office suite and a $12,000 charter flight he took from Las Vegas back to his home state of to Montana last summer, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington in Zinke`s Senate hearing today had some questions and Zinke gave some indignant and somewhat incoherent answers.
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SEN. MARIA CANTWELL, (D) WASHINGTON: While my constituents are hearing about private jet rides and expensive doors, they want to the understand why someone is proposing to raise park fees at this level. You took a private jet home from Las Vegas, do you think that was a mistake?
RYAN ZINKE, INTERIOR SECRETARY: Well, first, insults, innuendos are misleading. I never took a private jet anywhere. So I resent the fact of your insults. I resent the fact they`re misleading. I resent the fact the doors, and I`ll go through line by line.
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HAYES: He did just say I resent the fact of doors.
Secretary Zinke`s use of charter flights is the subject of investigations. His response to congressional oversight of the fact that his office spent $139,000 on doors is I resent the fact doors.
These are the people who get to keep their jobs in the Trump administration.
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ZINKE: Innuendos are misleading. So I resent the fact of your insults, I resent the fact they`re misleading. I resent the fact doors.
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HAYES: It is too early to call right now. The race in Pennsylvania`s 18th congressional district with the special election to replace Republican Tim Murphy should have been a very easy win for the GOP and President Trump. This is after all, the heart of Trump country where the president won by nearly 20 points in 2016.
Conservative groups spent over $10 million on this race and President Trump, his vice president Mike Pence and the closer, his son, Don Jr. all stumped for the Republican candidate.
MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki joins me now at the big board. Steve, what`s the latest?
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, here we go. We got the votes now starting to come in, Chris. Polls closed awhile ago. Right now, it`s very early. Conor Lamb, the Democrat is leading. Look, that is no surprise. We knew the vote early on is probably going to be coming out of Allegheny County. This is suburban right outside Pittsburgh. This really is kind of a tale of two districts.
As the numbers come in tonight, you expect Conor Lamb, the Democrat, to really do well in Allegheny. The question becomes how well does he do? And then you expect Saccone, the Republican, to kind of clean up in the rest of the district. And again, the question for him is how well does he do there.
So, mainly the precincts that are in -- and really this is just what we`re getting right now, kind of a scattering of precincts, but mainly those precincts are concentrated in Allegheny County in Lamb area.
Now, what I can tell you, we`re just scanning these. We`re trying to get little clues here. We knew there would be movement. You mentioned Trump won this district by 20 points. So, how much movement are we seeing in these precincts from where Trump fared, how trump fared in 2016.
Just looking at it, what I can tell you basically this, the closer Saccone comes in these Allegheny precincts to doing 10 points worse than Trump, that`s bad news for Saccone. The numbers we`re seeing, just read them right to you, 6, 10, 10, 6, 8, 12, 9, 3. That sort of is what we`re getting. You add it together early on, it`s right on that cusp of what the Democrats want to be seeing.
There is clear movement in the direction. Conor Lamb is well ahead in these early Alleghany precincts. The question is, is he going to be far enough ahead. So, again, Allegheny is the early part of the story tonight, then we`re going to move to Washington, Westmoreland, a battle of two different bases there really shaping up.
HAYES: Steve, this has been -- it`s an interesting district in some ways, right, because it has been represented by Republicans for a long time. It was a district that went plus 17 I think Romney, plus 20 Trump. But it is democratic -- it actually has a Democratic registration advantage, if I`m not mistaken.
KORNACKI: And here`s the amazing stat about this district. If you went back 30 years ago when guys like Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis were running for president as Democrats and getting their clocks cleaned nationally, they weren`t just winning down here in the 18th district of Pennsylvania. They were winning landslides. Mondale went by double digits down here. Dukakis, too.
Why is that? You mentioned the Democratic registration edge, that`s a sort of a historical artifact almost at this point historical artifact. It was unions. It was blue collar. These are -- we talk about -- this part of the state traditionally we`re talking about blue collar voters, especially down here when you`re talking Washington, Westmoreland, Green.
And what`s been happening in this district is two different trends over the last generation. The closer you get to Pittsburgh, and even into those suburbs, you`re seeing trends, especially I think in the age of Trump here in the special election. You are seeing trends, and especially I think in the age of Trump here in this special election, you see trends away from the Republicans. We`re talking there about more suburbanites, economically upscale, college educated. Get away from Pittsburgh and those immediate suburbs, though, and go to these older areas in the district in Washington, Westmoreland, Green. The trend there is strong toward the Republicans, away from their ancestral home in the Democratic Party, so really that`s what you`re seeing tonight is what was once the Democratic heart, really, of Pennsylvania in a lot of ways. That`s the key to the Republicans and Saccone winning tonight.
HAYES: And that`s precisely the kind of sort of iconic Trump voter, right, that we`ve read one bazillion profiles of. And often in places like that, right. The idea that in that place -- I mean, we looked at suburban. We`ve seen some suburban districts, we talk about the sort of districts Hillary Clinton won, that Republicans represent. There`s about 22 of those. This looks nothing like this. This is one of those districts that the Trump coalition should hold all things considered.
KORNACKI: It`s a little strange because we talk about the formula for Democrats in this age of Trump being suburbanites, and yet the the suburbanites I`m talking about here in Alleghany, they didn`t break as hard against Trump as `16. Now, Trump won this portion of the county in `16 that Lamb is going to have to win big tonight, Trump won it by about 4 points. That`s certainly not great for a Republican, but not the kind of slippage we saw elsewhere.
But I`ve got to tell you, if you look at this district in its totality, Chris -- look, if the Democrats win tonight, I think really the story would probably end up being in large part a surge here for them in these suburbs of Pittsburgh and Alleghany.
We talk about this as a white working class district. That`s true here. That`s true here. That`s true here. You look into Alleghany and these suburbs, you`re looking at a higher 4 year degree rate significantly than the national average. You`re looking at a higher income significantly than the average. So, you really got two different things going on here tonight.
HAYES: Yeah, and you got Conner Lamb, a sort of perfect candidate for that district on the Democratic side who is a UPenn grad, a marine, a prosecutor moved out from Pittsburgh. He has done quite well for himself. We`ll see what happens as the night goes on.
Steve Kornacki, thank you.
KORNACKI: Sure, thanks.
HAYES: Meanwhile, back at the White House, it seems like a day does not go by without someone of note leaving the Trump administration. The president`s personal assistant. As we noted, John McEntee got fired yesterday and escorted off the premises, couldn`t get his jacket even. And Rex Tillerson was let go today as secretary of state via tweet.
A well sourced White House reporter indicated that people close to the White House say they expect more major personnel shifts this week. so, the president is basically saying I`ve got this, I can make the changes I want.
With me now Jess McIntosh, who worked for Hillary Clinton`s 2016 campaign, along with Michelle Goldberg; and Nick Confessore, who have both written about the Trump administration extensively for The New York Times, a reporter here and a columnist there.
Well, what do you -- what happened today?
JESS MCINTOSH, SHARE BLUE: Well, we had the same staffing issues on the Clinton campaign. Everybody.
I mean, he`s literally -- he`s got criminals in the White House who we discover only because Secret Service is doing the vetting necessary to make sure that there -- this is...
HAYES: Yeah, the McEntee news in someways is as shocking as anything we found out today.
MCINTOSH: I find that harder to take than anything else, that he was escorted out -- he was such a risk that he could not get his coat. He is escorted out of the building and immediately put on the Trump campaign. They spent years asking whether or not classified information was mishandled by Hillary Clinton even though there was mountains of evidence it was not. Here we know that 30 people had security clearances that they had no business having for months before they are taken off of the property..
HAYES: Including, it appears now that two people that are closest to the president in someways, the two people -- there is the body man whose like got his briefing book and then there is the staff secretary who is like handling the paper flow, both it appears.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEW YORK TIMES: Are massive security risks and are kind of presumably both compromised enough to be blackmailed. And yet, it`s astonishing apparently, McEntee, they say that he`s -- under investigation for I think it was major financial crimes.
HAYES: Serious financial crimes.
GOLDBERG: Serious financial crimes, so you have to wonder what sort of crimes those are.
But, yeah, it is astonishing that he was escorted out and straight to the committee to reelect the president, if you will. It`s just -- it makes you think that perhaps they need to keep him in the inner circle for some reason.
NICK CONFESSORE, NEW YORK TIMES: Look, what we`re seeing here is a culmination of two trends. The first trend is the president`s desire and insistence to have people working for him who are his complete acolytes who will say yes to everything. The other trend is his inability to find people who meet the criteria who can also pass a security check and a background check.
HAYES: Ding, ding, ding, that`s very well said.
CONFESSORE: It`s hard to have both things at the same time.
HAYES: That`s very well said.
And now you have got a situation I was thinking about your colleague, Maggie Haberman`s, tweet that we put out there, this idea that now he`s sort of feeling his oats, that he can kind of -- that there is late breaking news that he got rid of Shulkin at VA. He might move Rick Perry over there. There`s been all this talk about how long John Kelly is for this world. You have really got to wonder about, you know, what kind of -- I mean, there is always the it can always get worse.
GOLDBERG: It can get a lot worse, I think. I think that so far you`ve had -- it`s been hard I think from the outside to tell what the so-called adult in the room, or the people who...
HAYES: Right, which has been a narrative from the beginning, right, there is some set of people who are the adults, and they are the good ones who are reigning in the bad childish president.
GOLDBERG: Right. And I have thought that that narrative in a lot of ways was self-serving because the president continued to be bad and childish, but we really have no way of knowing what terrible things, what even more terrible things he might have done in the absence of these restraints. And so now we`re going to have Trump with a secretary of state who is, you know, himself completely Trumpish.
MCINTOSH: A secretary of state who was so undiplomatic that he went on a Sunday show just this last Sunday and said North Korea was kind enough to allow us to continue our military exercises. That`s the guy who is going to have to do a lot of reading to figure out how to talk about these kinds of issues.
GOLDBERG: I don`t know, to me, it scares me less that he`s maybe too differential, too eager to make this deal with North Korea, the really scary thing is his eagerness to rip up the deal with Iran.
HAYES: Slash other sort of hawkish instincts that we see them aligning on.
And then there`s the question of how Democrats play this, because to your point, right, this is a rare opportunity at this point for like big confrontation over nominees. The president has been using and abusing interim positions, but they are going to have to get these people in confirmation hearings. There are going to be a lot of question. The real question I think about how Democrats deal particularly at CIA with the torture legacy there and Pompeo at state.
CONFESSORE: Look, they can get a Republican to side with them in the Senate, it`s possible to block the CIA appointment for that very reason. Look, there`s...
HAYES: They would have to hold the line on torture, though.
CONFESSORE: They would, which is hard to do (inaudible) the Democrats.
Look, you can treat these jobs as all interchangeable. Just remember, like, in the old...
HAYES: Yeah, that`s a good point.
CONFESSORE: In the old days, it was considered a really big deal to play these musical chairs once in a tenure, right, once. But to treat all these people as you go there and you go there and you go there. Secretary of state is actually a very particular job and the guy who is really good for the CIA might not be the best person for our chief diplomat.
HAYES: And to your point, I mean, the reason that you`re seeing that, right, is the -- it`s the fundamental Vin diagram problem, a Vin diagram problem that I think is only going to be exacerbated as time goes on, particularly as you think about Mueller looming over all of this, which is who wants to walk in.
MCINTOSH: Who wants to join that kind of administration? You know that you`re liable to be undercut in public by your boss who doesn`t know anything about the work that you`re supposed to be doing and has no interest in learning, and you are entering the legal liability just by walking in the door. That`s to say that you first have to pass the test that you`re OK with the xenophobia, with the admission to sexual assault. If you`re OK with all of the other things that we know just come with working for Trump, you still have to be OK spending all that money on your own legal fees.
HAYES: and then on top of that, there is the ritual humiliation that is part of this. I mean, we watched Jeff Sessions get hectored. We`ve watched Rex Tillerson who was arguably, I really think you can make a case, the most powerful private citizen in the world. I think that`s a totally plausible thing to say to Rex Tillerson as the head of Exxon, get fired.
GOLDBERG: By tweet.
HAYES: By tweet and being told to shove wilted salad in his mouth, according to behind the scenes accounts we got today, and choking up in his departure. And like that is coming for you if you work for this individual.
GOLDBERG: Yeah, it`s everyone who goes into this administration is going to be humiliated and really tarnished. A lot of these people, you know, that would -- Rex Tillerson being this kind of failure and complicit figure in this administration that`s probably destined to go down in historic scandal is now going to be the first line in his obituary as opposed to being a phenomenally successful businessman.
HAYES: A colossus, literally a person who like bestrode the globe.
CONFESSORE: All right, so I made a second criteria, right. So, abject loyalty and the willingness to eat stuff from the president constantly for the entire tenure that you`re going to have there. That`s the other qualification. Why would you do that?
HAYES: Right. And the thing that changed today that I think is interesting is we know that -- well, the grand irony he hates firing people and it`s why he did it by -- you know, he fires them on Twitter and then he calls them later, right?
HAYES: The big question to me is does he get to that place with Sessions? Because that would be the kind of -- that`s the kind of break glass alarm moment I think that Washington.
MCINTOSH: I mean, eventually he does. There is no moment that he doesn`t get there with anybody at this point. We will see everyone go for as long as he is there.
HAYES: And what we saw with Tillerson was he`s unhappy. He`s unhappy. Behind the scenes reports. The trigger got pulled today. The question I think is if and when that happens with Sessions and what that triggers.
Jess McIntosh, Michelle Goldberg, and Nick Confessore, thanks for joining us.
That is All In for this evening on this insane news day. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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