ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES March 15, 2018 Guest: David Jolly, Jenifer Rubin, Zerlina Maxwell, Adam Davidson, Andrea Bernstein, Josh Marshall, Mikhail Zygar, Andrij Dobriansky
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "ALL IN"
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said if it`s possible, will you let me know am I under investigation?
HAYES: Mueller time for the Trump Org.
TRUMP: They all say there`s no collusion and there is no collusion.
HAYES: For the first time, the Special Counsel has subpoenaed the President`s business.
TRUMP: It`s a Democrat hoax.
HAYES: Tonight, what Robert Mueller wants as a showdown with the President looms.
Plus, the new steps to confront Russian aggression in the wake of the chemical attack in England. New reporting uncovers even more extravagant spending by the Treasury Secretary. The Stormy Daniels saga continues to unravel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have more women come to you?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER, STORMY DANIELS: Yes.
HAYES: And in the wake of a Pennsylvania defeat, the President`s fund- raising grip is caught on tape.
TRUMP: He ran on a campaign and said very nice things about me.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We now know that Robert Mueller is inside Trump Tower. In the latest sign that the Special Counsel`s probe is nowhere near wrapping up, New York Times reporting today that Mueller has issued a potentially wide-ranging subpoena to the Trump Organization which oversees President Trump`s business ventures. In the subpoena, Mueller reportedly ordered the Trump organization to hand over all documents related to Russia and other topics he is investigating. The White House declined to directly respond to the report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: We`re going to continue to fully cooperate out of respect for the Special Counsel. We`re not going to comment for any specific questions about the Trump Organization, I would refer you there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In a statement, a lawyer for the Trump Organization said it is fully cooperating with all investigations including Mueller`s adding this is old news, not really, and our assistance and cooperation with the various investigations remain the same today. For more, on what Mueller`s move, means to the investigation of the President, MSNBC Legal Analyst, Nick Akerman, former Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor. What would you want to know -- what do you think this indicates?
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I think what this indicates is the timing. I mean, we`ve known for over a year that there were all these connections between the Trump Organization and Russia and Donald Trump and Russia. We knew about the attempts to establish a Trump Tower in Moscow.
HAYES: That`s all been documented and reported.
AKERMAN: Right. But what`s I think important now and what`s really motivating this is probably what Rick Gates is telling the prosecutors. So what they`re out there doing as they`ve been doing all along, you could almost map this out what they`re looking at is they`re trying to corroborate and look at things that he is telling them. And they`re trying to prove those out and they probably have very specific items in that subpoena that relate to items that Gates has told them about.
HAYES: Interesting. I hadn`t put that together that of course, Gates is now cooperating. We`re getting these now. There are some who talked about why a subpoena rather than essentially voluntary document production.
AKERMAN: I don`t think with a corporation you ever see voluntary cooperation. It`s always done by subpoena. It protects the prosecutors, it protects the government. They have to produce it. There`s no Fifth Amendment privilege with a corporation. There could be attorney/client privilege if the corporation has the privilege on certain documents. They could assert that privilege. But there`s certainly no executive privilege and no other privilege. So all of these documents, for the most part, have to be produced.
HAYES: There`s also the question of the timeline. My colleague Ari Melber made the point that you know, or a bunch of people made the point it takes a long time for document production, right? Like, if you`re wrapping things up, a new subpoena to the Trump Org of unspecified scope is not the thing you do when you`re wrapping up.
AKERMAN: It`s got to be at least a month. I mean, I haven`t seen the subpoena. None of us have. But you have to assume that to do it properly, do the proper searches, normally you have to produce it in data format and you have to do a pretty careful search because you can be brought into the grand jury and you`re going to be asked what did you do to respond to this subpoena?
HAYES: There`s also the problem here. I mean, One thing when I think about what happened with Paul Manafort particularly, right, here`s a guy who had a lot of sketchy business dealings that were reported on, real estate transactions that looked like they might it be money laundering and yet was out there in the public doing his thing, not prosecuted and not with an ankle bracelet on until Mueller starts to look into it and lo and behold, these counts are slapped on him. You`ve got to wonder if there`s concern from the President that once you start getting Trump Org docs, if Mueller sees illegal activity even if it`s you know, ancillary to what he`s investigating --
AKERMAN: Somebody`s got to go with it. I mean, you can`t just ignore it if it`s in plain view. Sure, he`s in trouble. I mean, God knows what`s in there. There could be all kinds of different things that relate to his dealings with Russia, his dealings with various Russian oligarchs.
HAYES: Or kind of kind of corner cutting. I mean, we`re going to talk to two folks in just a moment who looked at the Trump Org. I mean, the fact of the matter is, if you`re a New York City real estate developer and someone starts going through your books, anyone, you might be a little worried.
AKERMAN: You probably could almost indict them before you look at the books basically.
AKERMAN: I mean, that`s what it comes down to. But there`s all kinds of things he could have been prosecuted before the Trump University classic fraud. I mean --
HAYES: He has managed to get away for many years with civil penalties, civil settlements, civil fines and avoided any kind of criminal --
AKERMAN: Yes, not to mention his tax returns and taking all of the other people`s money and deducting it so he didn`t have to pay taxes for a number of years.
HAYES: There`s a question here about what the President`s legal team is doing. There`s reporting indicating that they are beginning the process of preparing the President for his interview. You were a Watergate Prosecutor and you`re a Federal Prosecutor. You now do some white collar defense I understand, only for innocent clients.
AKERMAN: Right. Only innocent people, exactly.
HAYES: If you had one of those innocent clients and they had to go, what is that process and preparation?
AKERMAN: Well, what you wind up doing is really trying to learn -- if you`re going to actually have your person go in and talk to the prosecutors or before the grand jury --
HAYES: You better know everything.
AKERMAN: You better know everything. You have to know every little item. And then you make a decision whether or not you`re going to take the risk of allowing this person to speak to the prosecutors either in a meeting where there`s a queen for a day where what they say can`t be used against them but leads can or you let them go into a grand jury where you can`t be with them and they`re asked questions under oath. The problem with this particular client, Donald Trump, is he`s not going to tell the truth to his lawyers. His lawyers are not going to know the pitfalls. They`re not going to know the facts.
HAYES: In fact, we have reporting from lawyers of Trump in the past that they had a policy between the two of them. They had to have two people in the room with him when talking to his lawyers because he would lie to his lawyers.
AKERMAN: I`m sure he is the lawyer in this case. He views himself as running his own defense. You saw it with don junior, what they did on the airplane on Air Force One when they were coming back and preparing that statement. It was Donald Trump who prepared that statement. It wasn`t the lawyers.
HAYES: Nick Akerman, thanks for being with me tonight.
AKERMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Last summer, Trump was asked about the scope of Mueller`s investigation, specifically whether the Special Counsel will be crossing a line if he looked into Trump`s personal finances. Here`s that exchange and how the White House responded when asked about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Mueller was looking at your finances or your family`s finances unrelated to Russia, is that a red line?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?
TRUMP: I would say yes. I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don`t -- I don`t -- I mean it`s possible there`s a condo or something so you know I sell a lot of condo units and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows. I don`t money from Russia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s now been reported that the Special Counsel has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for its dealings with Russia. Is this a red line? Is the President upset about this?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: As we`ve maintained all along and as the President has said numerous times, there was no collusion between the campaign and Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: With me now to provide insight in exactly what Mueller might be looking into, Andrea Bernstein who`s Co-Host of WNYC and Propublica`s Trump Inc. podcast which examines the intersection of Trump`s business and the government of which there are many, and New Yorker`s Staff Writer Adam Davidson who has written about Trump`s business and corruption asking what secrets will Mueller find when he investigates the President`s foreign deals. And I`ll start with you, Adam because that`s the -- I think that`s the sub -- sort of sub-heading on that story that you wrote which is about a deal in a former Soviet Republic which you just -- without Mueller`s ability went in and found some pretty shady stuff going on.
ADAM DAVIDSON, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: I mean, one of the most amazing things in investigating the Trump Organization is how much and what people call open source intelligence which basically means Googling, reading articles, maybe reading some court documents --
HAYES: I like to call it open source intelligence every time I Google.
DAVIDSON: Yes, exactly.
DAVIDSON: Yes, exactly. Yes, as a restaurant opened, I`m doing some open source intelligence. And how much is already out there. How much -- how many the people Trump has done business with have been criminals of a wide range, sanctions violations with Iran, Russian mafia figures, I just yesterday learned about a whole group that was associated with the FARC, with terrorists in Latin America, with human trafficking, and there`s so much out there. But what we don`t have and what Mueller can uniquely get we journalists can`t get is the actual trail, the e-mails describing mind frame, describing do they know this is criminal activity? How are they interacting with these people? Where is the money coming from? Where is it going? Who knows the sources? That`s the stuff that we reporters would kill to have and Mueller actually can just get with a subpoena.
ANDREA BERNSTEIN, CO-HOST, TRUMP INC: It`s hard even with all of this open source intelligence not to have subpoena envy and to sort of wish we could know what Mueller is going to find out when he gets to the end of the subpoenas.
HAYES: You know, he has -- the President has always said I don`t have deals in Russia. And again from the sort of what the reporting is, we know they pursued deals in Russia but there was -- the deals didn`t come to fruition.
BERNSTEIN: Right. What it seems to me is he doesn`t have a Trump Tower in Russia because he certainly got all kinds of business ties. I mean, just to take the most famous example, the Agalarovs, this oligarch family from Russia. He did the Miss Universe Pageant with them and then three years later they walk into Trump Tower with dirt on Hillary Clinton. So there`s a connection that we already know about from e-mails that the President`s son released into the public domain.
HAYES: Right. They were the intermediary that sent the dirt to Trump Tower.
BERNSTEIN: Right, but there is no -- there is no separation between the business associations and these possible collusion associations.
HAYES: Right. The only reason that he knows these people is because they were in business together on the Miss Universe Pageant. There`s also the question of I mean, when you get to the money flows, right? The big question in real estate is, blind LLCs and no name operations that purchase real estate is incredibly common in the New York real estate market. The New York Times has done some investigative reporting and no one knows. Again, from the public view of reporter, it`s very hard to figure out where the money is coming from.
DAVIDSON: Exactly. Let`s say you own an apartment building. You sell three units to the an LLC. Someone later finds out that LLC was owned by a company that was owned by a company that was own by a criminal who was using that purchase to launder some money. Something a prosecutor would want to know is, did you know who that was, did you know where the source of the money was. From some amazing reporting, Andrea did, we know Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka openly in e-mails talked about how they knew that a real estate deal they were involved in was criminal but they weren`t worried because nobody would find out about it. So these are people we know, I mean, Don Junior`s e-mails saying I love it.
HAYES: I forgot about that.
DAVIDSON: These are people who say things in e-mails you really should not say in e-mails.
HAYES: Will you remind me of that reporting.
BERNSTEIN: So the story is that in the Trump Soho which was an apartment - - an apartment tower or condo, hotel tower in Downtown Manhattan where there was -- it was very hard to sell. And there was a criminal case, a two-year criminal investigation into Don Junior and Ivanka, and whether they had knowingly committed fraud in saying that there were so many units sold that they were making false assurances to buyers.
HAYES: Yes, you can`t -- you can`t materially misrepresent. You can`t say we`ve sold 80 percent of the units when you`ve sold 20 percent because that`s fraud.
BERNSTEIN: And in fact, most of the prosecutors in the Manhattan D.A.`s office who were working on this wanted to move the case forward but sigh advance, the Manhattan D.A., after he was paid a visit by one of President Trump`s lawyers decided to end the case. So it was -- the story was about how Donald Junior and Ivanka were almost indicted. So this was one case where you were just talking about Donald Trump hasn`t had criminal indictments that he`s faced before. But this was one case where his family came very close.
HAYES: And do you think that you would be able -- I mean, we know that they were able to make out a series of very sophisticated and intentionally opaque financial transactions in the case of Manafort. They were able to make those fairly clear.
DAVIDSON: Absolutely. I mean, with Manafort, it`s hard to imagine how he does anything other than either cooperate or go to jail. And I think once you get inside the paperwork of the Trump Organization, it is -- they have been involved in so many people who are laundering money, so many people violating other kinds of financial crimes, it`s -- to me, it seems impossible to imagine there is not criminal activity recorded in e-mails, financial transactions, legal documents.
BERNSTEIN: It would be extraordinary with all of the people who are around them. I mean, everywhere we look, there`s -- one step away, there`s a money launderer, there`s somebody involved in fraud, there`s somebody who is evading paying their taxes all around Trump world. Now, in real estate transactions, you`re not required to know who is the buyer.
HAYES: That`s right.
BERNSTEIN: It can be a money launderer. But this issue of what is the Trump organization`s knowledge is key.
HAYES: And then also key is what is the connection to the campaign. We now know with this recent Michael Cohen information that the Trump Organization and its legal apparatus was much more entwined with the campaign than we had realized.
HAYES: That is a great point. Once you start getting documents from Trump Org, you start to see what will e-mails are going and which direction that might overlap with the campaign. Andrea Bernstein and Adam Davidson, thank you both.
BERNSTEIN: Thank you.
DAVIDSON: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Next, what we`re learning about the Trump Organization`s involvement in the effort to silence Stormy Daniels as her lawyer reveals there may be more lawsuits and more women on the way. That story in two minutes.
HAYES: There is now a second Trump Organization lawyer involved in the attempt to silence Stormy Daniels. Jill Martin is listed as the attorney in gag order documents filed just last month. She is also an assistant general counsel for the Trump Organization. But the company claims she facilitated the filing in her individual capacity. Much like former Trump Org lawyer Michael Cohen who claimed that he used his personal funds to facilitate the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels last year. The news breaking as the lawyer representing Stormy Daniels revealed that even more women have approached him with potential cases against the President. I want to bring in someone who`s been following all these developments very closely. Josh Marshall, Editor, and Publisher of Talking Points Memo. And I`ve been following your coverage of this. What`s the significance of another lawyer popping up with the Trump Org e-mail address?
JOSH MARSHALL, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, TALKING POINTS MEMO: You know, the thing that jumps out to me is they are sloppy. There are a lot of the lawyers in Los Angeles. And so why? There`s no reason why this had to be the case. I mean, we know this. This was a Trump Organization operation to shut her up. But what it really -- what strikes me about it is, when I think about the Russia probe, when I think about everything that happened, these are people are not careful. They`re very, very sloppy.
HAYES: What do you think the broader sort of significance of the story is as we`re sort of watching it kind of unravel in real time?
MARSHALL: I think there`s a few things. I think you know, one is it -- ironically -- you know, the ironic thing is this seems to be one of President Trump`s few consensual sexual relationships. So it is ironic that this is the one that is causing him all the trouble when you had a couple dozen women accuse him of various kinds of abuse and harassment and so forth. I think the key is, it shows the way he uses lawyers to shut people up, to pay people off. There`s this underbrush of like walking around money and stuff that I think people -- I think people like Michael Cohen and maybe even this other woman lawyer could get end up getting in trouble and I suspect we will see that there are patterns of behavior here that may show up on the Russia front.
HAYES: Well, that -- I totally agree with that second point, right, so the sort of architecture of how they go about this which is not -- you can just tell this is not Michael Cohen`s first rodeo, right?
MARSHALL: Well, there`s almost like their defense. We have to write out a sexual NDA every few weeks with Trump so you know, what do you -- you know, it`s not that big a deal.
HAYES: Right. I mean, that is kind of what they`re saying. Although they`re also weirdly acting like it is a big deal. There`s also the fact that you have Michael Avenatti who`s the lawyer -- the new lawyer for Stormy Daniels, who -- by the way, the old lawyer, the lawyer who struck the deal seems to have a significant conflict of interest. He was kind of in touch -- he was in the Trump orbit.
MARSHALL: Yes. And I think well, there was --- I think we all remember there was another alleged Trump girlfriend who sold her story to the National Enquirer. They killed the story. She was paid off. He was her lawyer, too. So I think one thing that is going to come up there are going to be real questions about whether that lawyer whose last name is I think Keith Davidson is his name, whether he wasn`t all sort of controlled by Trump at the same time.
HAYES: Exactly. So there`s this -- there`s this question about whether other women might come forward, as well and whether what you`re seeing here which is this very sort of bold legal play might inspire others as well.
MARSHALL: Well, she seemed to have very questionable representation in the past. She has very aggressive and strong representation now. It`s almost unimaginable that there would be a lot of other women to come out of the woodwork because even that from what we know Trump met Stormy Daniels at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006. On the same weekend, according to published reports and legal documents, he also flew in his existing girlfriend, the one who later sold her story to the National Enquirer and he allegedly assaulted another porn star the same weekend. So the guy was busy just on that weekend. So it is -- it seems highly likely that there will be other women who will come forward either to tell stories, either to -- or break out of NDAs or more seriously to allege abuse or you know, more serious offenses than just embarrassing details.
HAYES: There`s this is other point now. There`s a new development which is that BuzzFeed is being sued by Michael Cohen for publishing the dossier. They have now used this lawsuit in this kind of legal ju-jitsu, they`re formally asking Trump via the White House Counsel Ty Cobb to preserve all an documents related to Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. So now, there`s a sort of a discovery in that Buzz Feed has to anything that may have been going back and forth between them.
MARSHALL: Well, one thing you can see is Michael Cohen doesn`t seem like a terribly careful guy and suing BuzzFeed was a bad idea. You never sue a news organization like that because of discovery. But I do think you know, at a certain level as long as this was a consensual relationship, there are limits on the gravity of the situation. But I think what is important is we are seeing and we will continue to see that this is what Michael Cohen did for Donald Trump. He handled people and situations that Trump wanted to keep at a distance. And that is not that different from what is described from various sources of what he did with various Russian money people and maybe even Russian intelligence figures.
HAYES: Josh Marshall, thank you.
MARSHALL: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, Russia now facing international condemnation after a chemical attack against a former spy. The condemnation hasn`t stopped Russia before. So what`s to stop them now? We`ll talk about that next.
HAYES: Tensions between Russia and NATO allies is ratcheting up even further today yet again. The United States, U.K., France and Germany jointly condemning Russia for a chemical attack on British soil this month calling it and I quote here, "the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the second world war." The attempted assassination in the U.K. is only the latest act of Russian aggression in recent years from the apparent involvement in shooting down a civilian airline filled with hundreds of people, to the annexation of Crimea, then part of an entirely different country, Ukraine, to the sabotaging of the U.S. Presidential Election in 2016 which continues to come into full view and now U.S. and allies face this challenge, how to stop Russia`s escalation before things get very dangerous very fast.
Joining me now to help figure out where we are, MSNBC National Security Analyst, Evelyn Farkas, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Euro-Asia, journalist Mikhail Zygar, who is an expert on Russian politics, the Author of All The Kremlin`s Men Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin, and Andre Name, an Executive Member of the Ukraine Congress Committee of America, a non-profit group that represents the interest of Ukrainians in America. Mikhail, let me start with you. It`s great to have you here. Look, Russia has been accused in the past of killing people in the U.K. There`s been a bunch of mysterious deaths. This was done in such a provocative manner. I mean, this agent is extremely deadly. It leads a huge trace. What do you make of it having written a book about Putin`s inner circle, having been an independent reporter in Moscow? What were they doing? What were they up to?
MIKHAIL ZYGAR, AUTHOR, AUTHOR OF ALL THE KREMLIN`S MEN: That really looks very weird. First of all, we have little doubts that there is some Russian organization, I don`t know, government-related or some association of ex- veterans of KGB --
HAYES: Connected to.
ZYGAR: But still there are no doubts about that and indirectly we had an official confirmation about that from Russian state television because last week, Russians, the Editor-in-Chief of the information service -- the news service of Russian state first T.V. channel said that that is going to be the lesson for the traitors and everyone who betrayed Russia should understand that United Kingdom is not a safe haven for them.
HAYES: Yes, Russian state T.V. says the lesson here is that U.K. is not safe for traitors which is pretty close to a claim of responsibility.
ZYGAR: That still -- at least that`s a threat. Officially Russian authorities are denying but actually, they are always denying any kind of - -
ANDRIJ DOBRIANSKY, EXECUTIVE MEMBER, UKRAINE CONGRESS COMMITTEE OF AMERICA: This is beyond those spy versus spy because 40 people have been poisoned.
DOBRIANSKY: You don`t just say it`s Americans. You know, that`s something else.
ZYGAR: That`s a huge tragedy for any country.
HAYES: But it`s also, Evelyn, it strikes me that we have seen -- I mean, this is an escalation. It`s obviously a provocation and it seems there`s a dangerous ambiguity about what the rules of the road are in the nature of this relationship right now that I fear is incredibly worrisome in terms of how quickly conflict could continue to ratchet up.
EVELYN FARKAS, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I agree, Chris. I mean, what we`ve seen here is across the board Russia is breaking the international rules of road. They`re escalating. You know, we even have a Russian oligarch Mikhail Lesin who I`m sure the other Mikhail knows who was this mysteriously found dead in his hotel room and they said he had the equivalent bruising of someone who fell downstairs 50 times in a row. You know, so --
ZYGAR: Speaking about mysterious deaths of Mr. Lesin --
FARKAS: Lesin, exactly.
ZYGAR: Everybody in Russia thinks -- at least a majority of Russian experts think he was murdered by Americans so --
FARKAS: Oh, my --
FARKAS: OK. So the American authorities, of course, don`t have a conclusive explanation. And I personally believe this is probably you can add it to the tally of these Russian assassinations. But I think your point, the question that you asked me, you know, what do we do about all this escalation, unfortunately, whether we like it or not, this Kremlin doesn`t understand when we say, oh no, please don`t do that, you know we have to be firm. We have to make them pay a price. We need to show them that there are limits.
And even more shocking, Chris, is this thing we just learned today. I mean, frankly speaking I`m a bit embarrassed because I was in government during part of the time when this must have been happening, but the Russians not only infiltrated our power grids, our power plants nuclear and it looks like then regular electrical power plants, but they sat and to my knowledge, perhaps they`re still sitting on those systems. And that`s very disconcerting if you know how they plan to fight if they had to fight some day.
So, I think we`re really need to have to have high level talks with the Russian...
ZYGAR: I always feel very uncomfortable when I hear something like that, that the Russians should pay a price. Please...
FARKAS: I don`t mean Russians, I mean the Kremlin, the Kremlin.
MALE: Tell me, what does it mean.
HAYES: Well, that`s why I wanted -- that`s why I want you here. Like that to me is pay a price is an abstract thing, Andrei. What do you -- I know this is something that`s near and close to your heart. You`ve worked on the issue of Ukraine and Crimea for a long time. What does that mean to you concretely?
DOBRIANSKY: It means that when we`re sanctioning, when you call what happened to certain individuals in Russia from 2014 on sanctions, that`s not anywhere near the kind of sanctions we put on rogue states, that`s not near what we have on North Korea or Cuba or whatever state. This is a country with the most nuclear warheads in the world. It`s acting incredibly irrationally, it will continue to do so, but there are no sectoral sanctions, we`re not -- we have the power to make them very uncomfortable. We`re not doing that, and we haven`t done it for a very long time, because this didn`t start today, this didn`t start with Ukraine, this didn`t start with the invasion of Georgia or the cyber attack on Estonia. I mean, this goes on for over a decade.
HAYES: So, just to be clear, and Evelyn I think you would agree, that there`s a difference between -- there`s a set of sanctions -- you know, sanctions is just a word that can mean a whole bunch of different things, obviously the Magnitsky Act that`s targeted individuals. We have a new set of sanctions, some of which were sort of implemented and announced today by Treasury in response to the election interference.
So, what you`re saying is there`s a lot of room to escalate them.
My question to you is, how central -- what is the effect of sanctions, particularly post-Crimea, in Russia? Does that hurt? Does that dent? What does it mean there?
ZYGAR: No, we haven`t seen any effective sanctions so far. And no actually no sanctions are visible for Russians. There are so-called self-imposed sanctions. Russian President Putin initiated sanctions in gains to European food. And that`s the only sanctions Russians observe.
HAYES: So, that they notice, but the ones -- you`re saying the ones that were implemented, say, post-Crimea, did not have a tangible effect.
ZYGAR: A lot of member of Putin`s inner circle, Russian political elite, political bureaucratic elite and not visit their villas in Cote d`Azur, so they visit the villas in Seychelles Islands, for example.
So, that`s really important for them, or they don`t visit their villas outside of Russia, but they still something inside the country. OK they don`t travel.
HAYES: One place, Evelyn, that in the UK there`s a discussion now about the fact that there`s a tremendous amount of Russian money and Russian oligarch money that is sloshing around London, particularly the city of London, particularly country of UK, and a desire for something like a Magnitsky act in the UK or more to be on on that. Do you think that would that be effective?
FARKAS: That would be effective, Chris, because there are a lot of Russian oligarchs banking their money in London. The ones living there obviously, but other ones.
And I also think we need to point out -- I agree 100 percent that, you know, if you look at the sanctions we have on North Korea, those are the -- we`re calling that the extreme pressure. The Russian ones in comparison, I mean, they`re like a featherweight kind of pressure. There`s a lot more we can do.
And there are -- if I can just finish, I want to really point out also that, you know, ranking member Menendez, he put out a statement, and he pointed to the fact that while the new sanctions address the cyber criminality, the cyber attacks the Russians have perpetrated against us, there are six other categories of mandatory sanctions in that law, things like sanctioning Russian crude oil so that we don`t purchase it, and nobody we trade with purchases it.
Those things are not sanctioned. They have not been acted on yet by Treasury. I say yet, because I`m hopeful that they`ll take action.
But there are mandatory sanctions that the Trump administration has yet to implement, even in the law alone, much less going beyond that. And I do think we should go beyond that to tighten the screws on Russian banking and Russian access to capital.
DOBRIANSKY: If you want to describe Russia again as a dictatorship that`s basically a gas station, it`s all about the gas and it`s about the sanctions talking about what`s going to happen with the development of gas pipelines into Europe, whether North (inaudible) II happens. Putin is really trying to avoid any of the gas lines he has through Ukraine right now so he can avoid any kind of warfare and just go in directly.
But also LNG now is going through a third party and exactly be...
HAYES: Liquid Natural Gas, you`re talking about.
DOBRIANSKY: Coming into the United States.
HAYES: So, you`re saying part of the energy sector that are not targeted that could be.
DOBRIANSKY: There`s no other sector that you can really apply pressure to Russia to give them an effect.
HAYES: When you hear about broadening so you have more sectoral sanctions, or sanctions that would start to hit things like oil, gas, things like that, what do you think?
ZYGAR: Well, as part of Russian civil society, I always feel very uneasy when I hear that Russians should be punished. For example, when I hear that Russian oligarchs in London should be punished, or their assets should be freezed, I try to remember that a lot of Russian who`s live in London live there because they were trying to escape.
HAYES: They are critics.
ZYGAR: Yeah, they were trying to escape and they were trying to have their money in London not to spend -- not to have them in Russia. So, that would be -- they could be targeted, although they are not part of Putin`s regime.
Russian civil society actually exists in Russia. And that`s probably the price to pay for us to live in Russia, but actually Russian civil society is going to be the major victim of squeeze -- of any kind of cold war number two. And actually hawks in Putin`s inner circle would be happy for new wave of crisis and escalation.
HAYES: Evelyn Farkas, Mikhail Zygar and Andrei Dobriansky, that was excellent. Thank you very much.
Still ahead, the president of the United States caught on tape boasting about lying to an ally flat out lying about the Republican defeat in Pennsylvania. And you`ll never guess what Steve Mnuchin`s been up to. That`s tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, it`s worth remembering that just after he was elected president, Donald Trump settled a $25 million fraud lawsuit brought against his now defunct Trump University. So it shouldn`t be too surprising to see the behavior now of the people who filled up his administration, such as former CDC director Brenda Fitzgerald who is reportedly trading tobacco stocks while leading anti-smoking efforts, or Veteran Affairs secretary David Shulkin who turned a European business trip into a $120,000 nine day family vacation, or of course HUD Secretary Ben Carson and his wife Candy and the $31,000 in office furniture it appears they absolutely had a role in buying despite earlier denials, or the former -- remember him -- HHS Secretary Tom Price, or the current EPA head Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke all flying around in massively expensive military jets at public expense.
But when it comes to the straight up dollar amounts grifted, no one in President Trump`s cabinet has anything on the man seen here holding your cash. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Commercial air travel is good enough for millions of people every day. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is not one of them. Mnuchin is estimated to be worth at least $300 million, that`s not his money you see there, that`s actually U.S. printed currency.
Last summer he got married for a third time and asked to use $25,000 an hour government jet for his honeymoon. That request was fortunately for all involved denied. And Mnuchin and his wife flew to Kentucky in August to check out the eclipse atop the roof of Fort Knox. They used a military jet that cost the public more than $30,000.
A government inquiry revealed Mnuchin traveled seven times on the aircraft since taking over the Treasury Department at the cost of more than $800,000. Today, thanks to a watchdog group in Washington we found out Mnuchin took eight separate trips on military aircraft at a total of nearly $1 million.
As the watch dog crew notes, Steve Mnuchin seems to put his own comfort before the protection of public funds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Let me be clear, you know, I`m very sensitive to the use of government funds. I`ve never asked the government to pay for my personal travel. And this is purely about alternatives of how I would be able to be involved for national security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`ve got a perfect example of Donald Trump`s approach to truth today thanks to a recording of his closed door fundraiser in Missouri on Wednesday provided by a Republican donor.
Take a listen to how President Trump describes a meeting had he with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Trudeau came to see me. He`s a good guy, Justin. He said no, we have no trade deficit with you. We have none. I said, whoa Justin, you do. I didn`t even know. Josh, I had no idea. I just said you`re wrong. You know why? Because we`re so stupid. And I thought they were smart. I said you`re wrong, Justin. He said no, we have no trade deficit. I said well in that case, I feel differently.
I said, but i don`t believe it. I sent one of our guys out. His guy, my guy. They went out. I said check, because I can`t believe it.
Well, sir, you`re actually right. We have no deficit, but that doesn`t include energy and timber. And when you do, we lose $17 billion a year. It`s incredible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, whether or not we have a trade deficit with Canada is an easily verifiable fact. According to the office of the United States trade representative, which is part of the executive office of the president, the U.S. in fact has a trade surplus with Canada, $12.5 billion in 2016.
If you look at goods trades on its own, there`s a deficit but the surplus in services we trade more than makes up for it.
So, first Trump lies to Prime Minister Trudeau, claiming we have a trade deficit with Canada, then he boasts about that lie to the crowd at the fund-raiser. Then he gets caught boasting about the lie when the audio from the fund-raiser is released. So, what does he do next? Well, he doubles down on the lie in a tweet, once again we do have a trade deficit with Canada. Again, not true.
And then finally he makes his subordinate go out and triple down on the lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is a trade deficit. That was the point he was making is that he didn`t have to look at the specific figures because you knew there was a trade deficit whether they got down into the dollar amount or not, there is a trade deficit between the two countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The full arc of Trumpism on display. No truth, only what the man says at a given moment. More on that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Trudeau came to see me. He`s a good guy -- Justin. He said, "no, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none."
I said, "wrong, Justin, you do." I didn`t even know. Josh, I had no idea. I just, "you`re wrong." You know why? Because we`re so stupid. And I thought they were smart. I said, "you`re wrong, Justin."
HAYES: I want to bring in Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post columnist David Jolly, former Republican congressman from Florida, and Sarah Lina Maxwell, senior director at programing at Sirius/XM radio and a new MSNBC contributor.
Well, this is -- Jennifer, what I think is funny here is the president sort of boasting about being this con man at a big fundraiser that people paid money to sort of fork over their money to him and it`s like when someone like confides in you and talks smack about another person who is not in the room, it`s like you`re going to do this when I leave, too, right?
But that never seems to occur to anyone.
JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: No, it doesn`t. And it doesn`t occur to him that he looks stupid because he`s admitting first of all, he didn`t know a basic fact about our trade. At a time he is enacting tariffs. So, don`t you think it would make sense for him to understand if we have a trade deficit or not before doing this?
And of course, as you pointed out, he lies and then he doubles down and then he makes his people lie and pretty soon, frankly, no one believes him even when he, as a broken clock is right twice a day, stumbles upon the truth people aren`t going to believe him.
He is advertising to Mr. Mueller who is out there who will eventually investigate him that he`s one big fat liar.
RUBIN: So I think this is not a good strategy, but this is him. And this is who the Republicans will defend. You won`t hear a single Republican in congress other than maybe Jeff Flake who is leaving, condemn this kind of behavior.
HAYES: Zerlina, I am torn about these sorts of things when they crop up about whether to fact check them or not because it really feels like you`re stepping in quicksand, like well he says the trade deficit is this, but it`s not. But, it`s like, at some level the truth of what he`s saying is not the point of what he`s doing.
ZERLINA MAXWELL, SIRIUS/XM: Right. I think it matters every time.
HAYES: It does matter? You think the right thing to do is to be like no, this is the trade deficit.
MAXWELL: Absolutely, because one thing about this story that`s different than most of the time he`s lying is that he was lying to a foreign leader and one of our allies which has implications beyond just lying about something small. I think in this particular context, it`s not something that is life or death, right? But it could be in the future. We don`t know what he`s saying in other meetings with other foreign leaders that may be hostile to our interests, for example.
So, I think that the fact that he`s a liar is something that is not just relevant to Bob Mueller, as Jennifer said, but also something that`s relevant to our allies and nations who are hostile to us because we can`t hold him to his word.
HAYES: Well, it`s a really good point, too, because there`s -- we`ve seen him now twice in the domestic policy setting where he has the bipartisan table, you know, and he talks about guns or DACA and it`s like it`s all worthless. Right, but he`s presumably he`s doing that with allies on important stuff, and they`re coming away scratching their head.
David, this is my favorite coda, by the way, just -- it`s unclear whether this ever happened just to sort of complete the ark of is this, the Canadian government is unsure what meeting he`s referring to. Canadian officials said the conversation may have happened by phone, (inaudible) the topic has come up several times in chats between Trudeau and Trump, so it`s also possible at the end of this whole thing it`s just a made up anecdote.
DAVID JOLLY, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN, FLORIDA: Well, that`s the thing about this president and the people who serve him. You never know when they`re lying.
Now, look, con men deal in it`s most often their own ignorance that sustains them. In this case, we have a president who by reputation and business has been at times a bit of a dead beat and a cheat, somebody who walks away from a deal right here in Tampa and my community, somebody who left a lot of investors holding the bag while he got off Scott free.
What is different is he used to work in non-public companies, right, no SEC oversight, nothing more than his board of directors and his own family. Now he`s in a position that holds the public trust and that scrutiny is very real, and it has real consequences.
Chris, it`s very possible that the reason we`re going through this national nightmare about whether or not Russia has leverage over him is because of the president`s own reputation as a con man and a deadbeat and a cheat when it comes to business, that he did not have access to U.S. commercial bank capital and instead had to reach overseas.
That very well might be what is underlying all of these issues investigated by Mueller.
HAYES: There is also this thing about this -- this sort of roguish -- this attempted Roguish charm, right, Jennifer, like -- and this was a big part - - I remember interviewing Trump people at rallies on the campaign where it`s like well he`s straight and honest. And part of the straight and honest, right, is that like I am weasel or I am a con man or I`m a liar as his sort of weird sociopathic disarming technique in a room full of people, by the way, two days after Conor Lamb beat his backed candidate in a plus 20 Trump district where he`s raising money from them to continue to support the sort of Donald Trump enterprise.
RUBIN: This -- only analogy I can think of is that it`s kind of like the mob that they brag that people applaud them and, you know, what a nice camel hair coat you have, Mr., you know, mobster. And they admire him for being a rotten human being.
I would just add two things. One is, can you imagine putting this man in a room with Kim Jong-un or any adversary for that matter? Goodness knows what would come out.
HAYES: By the way, I don`t think we have a trade deficit with North Korea. I`m just going to go on the record. I actually, like the president, haven`t looked that up but I`m going to guess that`s the case.
RUBIN: Right. And the other part of this, of course, is that, listen, when he does tell the truth, when it is time to kind of level the boom on a adversary, who is going to actually believe him? We`re going to have grave miscalculations whether it`s in Europe, whether it`s in Asia, because his word is worthless.
HAYES: Yeah, and that`s a miscalculations, that you`re talking about, like the stakes of the miscalculation, particularly as we think about this background of what is happening in Russia, right, that like some credibility in that what you say you`re going to do something your`e going to do it, in either direction is key to everyone figuring out what they`re going to do.
RUBIN: Yes, there is going to come a moment where there is some sort tragedy or another tragedy in this country, and we are going to have to have a White House and a president that we can trust with information for what we`re going to do. The story about the power grids and the nuclera power plants, for example, is something -- what if they do hack that and then the president is going to have to tell us what to do and not to panic. And can we believe him? Can he actually give us verifiable facts that we can trust? And I think that the lack of trust that we have in this White House and this president is going to lead to a crisis at a certain point, because we essentially have lived this way and it`s become so normalized.
HAYES: David Jolly, folks that are showing up for Donald Trump fundraisers now, which he`s doing a number of -- this was in Missouri where they want to raise money to take on the incumbent Claire McCaskill, who is the Democratic Senator there who is got a tough road ahead of her. What are those folks doing? Is this just basically these are Republican vote donors and he`s a Republican president?
JOLLY: Yeah, look, there is a donor base that benefits from a Republican agenda and those are the ones who quietly support him. The ones you see at the rallies and the rank and file members that are supporting him, it`s because to your earlier point he sold himself as the guy at the end of the bar. But the reality is, he`s the guy at the end of the bar who is drunk who cheated on his taxes that you wouldn`t let mind the store and that`s what America is realizing day by day with this president.
HAYES: Yeah, the guy at the end of the bar, I just want to say one more thing, because we`ll cover this more I think as it comes out be there`s now reporting that Trump is finalizing an opioid plan that includes the death penalty for drug dealers.
MAXWELL: Insane. I saw that today, and I couldn`t believe it.
HAYES: But it`s also like that`s a guy at the end of the bar position. That is a guy at -- it almost certainly unconstitutional under current Supreme Court precedent. It has no support, I think, anywhere in congress, but it`s like that`s the guy at the end of the bar.
Jennifer Rubin, David Jolly, and Zerlina Maxwell, thank you all for joining me.
JOLLY: Good to be with you.
HAYES: All right, before we go, a programming note, tomorrow night we`re going to have a special guest here, an interview with one of the most intriguing figures in Donald Trump`s orbit: Russian born, American businessman, Felix Sater, the man who authored the now famous 2015 email about Trump Tower Moscow, which said, quote, "our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it."
He spent nearly a decade working with the Trump organization to find deals in Russia and we just learned an astonishing new piece in Buzzfeed, he spend two decades as an intelligent asset for the U.S. government, might have gotten Osama bin Laden`s phone numbers at some point. Felix Sater will be my guest here live tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. We have lots of questions for him. You do not want to miss that.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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