Trump urges VA nominee to fight on. TRANSCRIPT: 04/24/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Sherrod Brown, Mimi Rocah, David Ignatius, Elie Mystal

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: April 24, 2018 Guest: Sherrod Brown, Mimi Rocah, David Ignatius, Elie Mystal

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Some just split. If you can`t make judgments about who to hire, how does he make judgments about Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un? We`ve already answered that question, haven`t we? 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 said to Dr. Jackson, what do you need it for?

HAYES: President Trump suggests the man he picked to head the V.A. should withdraw.

TRUMP: I really don`t think personally he should do it.

HAYES: As questions swirl about Ronny Jackson`s past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying those are categorically untrue?

RONNY JACKSON, NOMINEE, VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY: I`m saying I`m looking forward to the hearings.

HAYES: What it says about how Trump is picking his best people.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The cabinet is turning into a sad game of musical chairs.

HAYES: Then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what about Michael Cohen, are you considering a pardon for Michael Cohen?

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s go.

TRUMP: Stupid question.

HAYES: The latest on the Michael Cohen investigation and what role Jeff Sessions is playing. Plus, we now know Mueller`s team sought evidence from the Trump Tower meeting when they raided Manafort`s home.

TRUMP: I think that`s pretty tough stuff.

HAYES: And --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean he had to be in sport but he wasn`t in sport.

HAYES: Meet Mr. Utah. When ALL IN starts right now.

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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It has been a remarkable day of news even by the standards of the Trump administration. Yet another high profile Trump appointee now fully mired in scandal and the President who earlier today publicly on camera coached his pick to lead the V.A. to drop out, is now saying he should stick it out and fight. The White House today alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, President Trump today heaped praise on his now embattled nominee to lead the Department of Veteran Affairs, that would be White House Physician Ronny Jackson. But at the same time, he encouraged Jackson to drop out of consideration for the V.A. job because Trump said it`s really just not worth the hassle.

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TRUMP: I told Admiral Jackson just a little while ago, I said what do you need this for? This is a vicious group of people that maligned and they do and I lived through it, we all lived through it, you people are getting record ratings because of it, so congratulations. But I said, what do you need it for? He`s an admiral. He`s a great leader and they questioned him about every little thing. But I told him, I said you know what, Doc, you`re too fine a person, his son`s a top student at Annapolis. He`s a high-quality person. I said, what do you need it for? So he`ll -- it`s totally his decision but he`ll be making a decision. But here`s a man who has just been an extraordinary person. His family, extraordinary success, great doctor, great everything and he has to listen to the abuse he has to -- I wouldn`t -- if I were him, actually, in many ways I`d love to be him. But the fact is, I wouldn`t do it. I wouldn`t do it. What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians that aren`t thinking nicely about our country? I really don`t think personally he should do it. But it`s totally his. I would stand behind him. Totally his decision.

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HAYES: OK. Now Trump tapped Jackson for the job after firing the previous head of the V.A., you remember, David Shulkin who came on this very show after his firing and told me that Trump`s political appointees at the agency had conspired against him because he refused to move quickly to privatize the V.A. Jackson does not have the sort of resume that would prepare him to lead the V.A. with its more than 375,000 employees. Before his nomination, he was most famous for his remarkably rosy assessment of the President`s health which included references to Trump`s "incredibly good genes" and the claim with a better diet, Trump could live to be 200 years old. Jackson was supposed to have a confirmation hearing this week before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee but the hearing was postponed this morning as reports surfaced concerning allegations of misconduct in his past.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Jackson, can you say anything at all about these allegations that have come out against you in the last few days?

JACKSON: No, I`ll just say that I was looking forward to the hearing tomorrow. I`m kind of disappointed that it`s been postponed but I`m looking forward to get it rescheduled and answering everybody`s questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve seen the allegations, hostile work environment, allegations about potentially drinking on the job, overprescribing medications, are you saying those are categorically untrue?

JACKSON: I`m saying I`m looking forward to the hearings so we can sit down and I can explain everything to everyone and answer all the Senator`s questions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Two sources told NBC News that allegations against Jackson include over prescription of medications as well as workplace environment issues, although they added that prior internal White House reviews, they found nothing out of ordinary. Then, appearing on national public radio this afternoon, Democratic Senator Jon Tester, who`s the Ranking Member of the Veterans Fairs Committee detailed the allegations.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of prescription drugs are we talking about.

SEN. JON TESTER (D), MONTANA: Well, most of them are the ones that make you want to sleep and then make you wake up. And by the way, we had 20 military folks and retired military folks tell us these stories. These were -- these were doled out on overseas trips where there`s a lot of time zone changes. In the previous administration, we were told the stories where he was repeatedly drunk while on duty where his main job was to take care of the most powerful man in the world. Some of the exact words that were used by the folks we talked to were abusive toward staff, very explosive personality, belittles the folks underneath him.

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HAYES: So, Dr. Jackson yet to address those specific allegations that Republican Senator Jerry Moran said today that Jackson denied allegations of creating a hostile workplace, and claimed he had "never had a drink while on duty." Speaking to NBC News today, Jackson claimed there had never been an Inspector General report about those allegations but a short time after he said that, after those comments, the A.P. then reported that well, actually, a 2012 watchdog report ordered up by Jackson found that both he and a rival physician exhibited unprofessional behaviors as they engaged in a power struggle over the White House Medical Unit. According to Bloomberg News, Jackson decided after meeting with Trump today he will not withdraw his nomination. Administration source told NBC News Jackson feels the allegations against him are false and he wants them to --- he wants t0 air them out in a hearing. For more on the controversy surrounding Dr. Ronny Jackson is Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat from Ohio, a Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Senator, do you have access to the same information that Jon Tester has and what are your conclusions, have you drawn based on it?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH), SENATE VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Yes, I talked to Senator Tester a number of times since last late last week when people started coming forward. And as he said, more than 20 people, many of them active duty, all of them either veterans or active duty have come forward and told these stories in enough detail that makes it credible. I mean, these are not -- these are people that you know, they`re not willing to put their names out there yet because they know there`s been -- there can be a vindictive Commander in Chief but these are people who have credibility, who have worn the country`s uniform, who had no reason at all to come forward except that they know that the Secretary of the V.A. is responsible for the health care of 9 million people and 9 million men and women who have served our country. And that`s a pretty awesome responsibility. That`s why Senator Tester and I take this vote so seriously. It`s why when I met with Dr. Jackson, I pushed him really hard on the whole issue of privatization because every veterans group I talk to from the Paralyzed Veterans of America, to VFW, to the Legion, the AMVETS, the, DAV, they all are very concerned about Shulkin`s firing as you showed in your show, Chris, that he was fired because he pushed back against privatization. In what position might Jackson take on that when Jackson`s record clearly is to be very nice to his superiors and his, "equals" and treat those that he considers inferior in a pretty bad way? So we want to know more about this. The Republican Chairman is the one that delayed the meeting so it`s not -- the hearing, I mean, President Trump can blame Democrats like he always does but I would encourage people to come to sherrodbrown.com and say to President Trump look out for veterans. Don`t do the bidding of the Koch brothers because that`s what this is all about in the end.

HAYES: Well, so let me -- let me see if I can understand this. I mean, before these allegations happened, there was a real question about just at a basic level of resume if Ronny Jackson`s qualified for the position. I mean, what was -- what`s your feeling about that independent of what we`re learning now?

BROWN: Well, I don`t -- I don`t think we knew. I was -- you learn a lot of leadership training by becoming an admiral in the United States Navy. However, this is an agency that`s the most complicated one of the two or three most -- agency that`s most complicated to run in the United States government, so we all had questions Republicans and Democrats alike to see how the management skills. What I honed in on with him is what are you going to do when the President -- the political people in the White House push so hard for privatization, do the Koch Brothers bidding? That`s what they`re all about. To the point that I was going to ask at the hearing, how hard are you going to fight, are you willing to be fired making that fight for veterans because I don`t know any veterans organizations or individual veterans, the hundreds of veterans I talking to pretty regularly in Ohio, I don`t know of any that think that privatizing the V.A. does anything except enrich the owners of the new privatized V.A. and compromise the care of veterans. I mean, that`s why we`re building a whole campaign including on sherrodbrown.com to say sign this petition and make sure that we fight against privatization. If Jackson withdraws or we don`t confirm him, I`m equally concerned about the next one, maybe more qualified, may not be have a toxic work environment but I`m still concerned that they`re going to do what every veteran I know doesn`t want and that is to privatize because that`s coming straight out of the White House.

HAYES: All right, Senator Sherrod Brown, I appreciate your time tonight. For more on what the Ronny Jackson fiasco reveals about how this President governs, I`m joined by MSNBC Contributor Jennifer Rubin, Conservative Columnist from the Washington Post, and MSNBC Contributor Sam Seder, Host of the Majority Report Podcast. Jennifer, this seems part of a larger pattern. What do you make of it.

JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you think? You know, you could throw darts at a board and come up with better people than this. And this is going on mind you at the same time Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the EPA is immersed in scandals. This comes after HHS Secretary Tom Price was fired. This comes after there have been incidents of misuse of taxpayer funds by the Treasury Secretary, by the Interior Secretary. This is pandemic in this administration. And I think there are two problems. One is President Trump doesn`t have any ethical standards for himself and that message has clearly gone out. So that his -- the people who work for him don`t feel like they have to behave themselves either. And the second is that Trump really doesn`t know anything about the government. He doesn`t know what these people do. He doesn`t know what it takes to be a good head of the V.A. So he hires people because he like him or because he says nice things about him or because he says he passed the mental test. You know this is nonsense. But it has very serious ramifications because these are real people`s lives. Everyone knows the stories about veterans dying, waiting in line to get medical services so it`s really an atrocious abuse of his power to appoint people. And frankly, the Senate for one should stand up to him and reject this candidate. They are really serious about going through with him.

HAYES: To Jennifer`s point, this is just a list of a few of the people that had to step down when prior misconduct or statements that was on. You got the Chief of External Affair at AmeriCorps, you`ve got the President`s personal assistant remember who was escorted off the White House. It was a one day story. Secret Service has escorted him out of the White House. Of course, you`ve got Rob Porter who was accused by both of the ex-wives of domestic abuse. So there`s a pattern here. There also, it seems to me, Sam, you know, the President talks a lot about veterans and how important they are. What do you -- what conclusion can you draw about the importance of them to him based on this process?

SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, look, he has no governing agenda. And to the extent that we`ve heard one come out of this administration, deconstruction of the administrative state has been -- has been -- and there`s no reason to believe that`s not still operative. And when you don`t have agenda, if they don`t have a positive agenda that you want government to do, if you are a member of a party that has had espoused and still maintains a philosophy that government is an obstacle as opposed to something a force for good that can do things, the idea of putting people in who are going to do their job well is not even -- it`s not something that contemplated. They are there to act as a conduit to privatize, to basically strip the government of its services. I mean, you see this in agency after agency whether it`s the DOJ which is run fairly well relatively speaking but still, you have you know, a guy like Sessions who is essentially pulling back on many of the functions we anticipate for a DOJ. You see the same thing with the Environmental Protection Agency which is almost a joke to call it a protection agency at this point. You see it across the board. And so, this is part of the agenda. The idea of installing someone who is actually going to operate the V.A. as opposed to figure out how to dole it out to private interests, we`re operating on two different planes here when we criticize them for incompetent because we`re assuming that they have the same agenda that people who actually have a faith in government do.

HAYES: Right, Josh Marshall at TPM has this phrase dignity race to refer to the President and here`s Josh Dawsey at Washington Post, Jennifer, saying this, that Jackson besieged by all sorts of accusations offered to drop as V.A. nominee this afternoon. Trump said no, to fight. The White House aides say the nomination has been handled disastrously, allegations are overblown. Can it be saved? You know, what is Ronny Jackson supposed to make of this?

RUBIN: Oh my goodness. You know, within the same sentence, Trump contradicts himself. He certainly sounded like he was telling him to step down earlier in the day. So Dr. Jackson is entitled to be very confused, maybe he wants to rethink his analysis of the mental acuity of the President. But I don`t know if he is serious. This is Trump not wanting to admit he made a stupid pick, not wanting to admit that this person is not going to get through. So goodness knows whether tomorrow Trump will wake up and start tweeting something else or not. But this is exactly why it`s so dangerous to have a Senate that is so obsequious --

HAYES: Good point.

RUBIN: -- so subservient to the President because they don`t act as they should, which is a check on a president who really doesn`t give a darn about who he appoints to in some cases as with judges a lifetime appointment.

SEDER: And like we saw with Shulkin where he was supposedly calling Shulkin to fire him and then got off the phone and Shulkin just thought it was just a normal conversation.

HAYES: He said it on my show the next day. He said I got off, I didn`t realize that there was anything wronging.

SEDER: He clearly -- when he has one to one contact with a person is afraid to deliver the bad news. And so, he was hoping he would show up at the meeting.

HAYES: Take the hint.

SEDER: Yes. And he would have heard Trump with Macron and said, look, I heard what you said. You`re right. I don`t need this. And then Trump would have been like, I`m really sorry to hear that and that`s it. But he clearly is afraid to raise it with him when he`s there in person. It`s bizarre.

HAYES: And Jennifer, to your point, I mean, I think this nomination if they want to fight this out and forge ahead, this is taking on a lot of water and they were in very serious trouble of just having it voted down in humiliating fashion.

RUBIN: Absolutely. And this is not an instances in which ideology although Sherrod Brown made a passion plea against privatization is going to be the driving force. It`s going to be basic competency and misconduct. And this is the problem with getting into Trump`s orbit. A guy who did have a nice career, people said nice things, you know, had a good career as a doctor, suddenly is put in a position he is no way qualified to hold and his life comes part at the seams. This is Trump. Anything he touches as my good friend Rick Wilson says, dies and this is the problem.

SEDER: I would also add that anybody who makes the sort of I guess positive choice to join this fiasco, you have to -- immediately is suspect in terms of their judgment at this point. I mean, who is going to follow - - who is going to follow this fiasco?

HAYES: I will say David Shulkin had a sterling reputation, got unanimously confirmed to this role before he ended up with his reputation in tatters. There`s a very strong pattern here. Jennifer Rubin, Sam Seder, great to have you both. Next, the President snaps at a reporter who dared to ask him about pardoning Michael Cohen in the Oval Office but he could be getting some important backup in the New York investigation of his lawyer. The story of Jeff Sessions and his no-recusal in two minutes.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what about Michael Cohen, are you considering a pardon for Michael Cohen?

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s go.

TRUMP: Stupid question. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: OK. The President wasn`t in the mood to answer that but he might be happy to see this headline from Bloomberg News saying his Attorney General Jeff Sessions has declined to recuse himself from the investigation into Michael Cohen. Bloomberg adds Sessions will consider stepping back from specific questions tied to the probe according to a person familiar with the matter. To help put this in perspective, I want to bring in Mimi Rocah, she`s a former Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York which is of course in charge Michael Cohen`s case at the moment. Good to have you here.

MIMI ROCAH, FORMER ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Thanks.

HAYES: So, I guess first the reaction to the source saying that Sessions has declined to recuse from the entire Michael Cohen case. Is that surprising or unsurprising?

ROCAH: I think it`s not surprising at this moment and here`s why. Right now, the Southern District has not identified what statutes -- publicly identified what statutes are you know, being investigated with Cohen. Cohen knows that was on the search warrant. But in the briefs that they filed and in court, they`ve actually blacked out what statutes. So nowhere is it listed that you know, they`re investigating the campaign finance laws. That would be the basis for recusal right now. The recusal would be if Sessions, you know, if we know that this investigation is going to campaign finance violations and Sessions obviously had a major part in the campaign, then he should recuse himself. He has a little wiggle room right now I think. You know, the problem with this is that so you know, he`s not saying I`m not recusing myself forever as I understand it. I mean, I`m going by the reports. He`s saying right now and I`ll look at it later. So maybe he`s just buying himself some time. Maybe there`s some wiggle room but it looks bad. I mean, the point is it looks bad because of what Trump has said in the past, pressuring and badgering Sessions about recusing him on Russia.

HAYES: It also feels like you`re possibly inviting the President to lobby you.

ROCAH: Yes. I mean, it`s going to put Sessions in an unbelievable uncomfortable position because I mean, Donald Trump, you know, we know he called Cohen the next day. He`s not going to be able to control himself from asking sessions what`s going on. The other point I think is worth making here is you know, now that this is in the Southern District of New York, I realize this is an extremely high profile unusual you know, investigation because it was referred from the special counsel. But the Southern District of New York has high profile cases all the time.

HAYES: Yes, they do.

ROCAH: I mean, WorldCom, Martha Stewart terrorism investigations, there are certain consultation requirements where you have -- for example, they consulted with the office of enforcement operations on the search warrant. That`s something you`d have to do anytime you`re seeking a search warrant for a lawyer. They don`t have to consult with the Attorney General on really much of anything. Now, again, it`s high profile. They might want to. He may want to have a some say. But at the end of the day, most of the calls, in this case, should come from the Southern District of New York. And if they don`t, that`s a sign to me that`s something`s wrong.

HAYES: Well, that`s interesting. I mean, I guess one thing I`m having a hard time figuring out is the reporting, in the beginning, was this was referred out of the investigation, the Mueller investigation because there were stuff that didn`t have to do with Russia. But now we`ve got some more information saying that for instance, the Eastern District of Virginia executed the search warrant on Paul Manafort and maybe that -- I guess it doesn`t have to necessarily be either or, right? That Michael Cohen is either being investigated for things pertaining to Mueller or something completely different.

ROCAH: Well, I mean, it may all lead back to Russia and people have to asked, you know, I think we`ve talked about the evidence if it is tied to Russia could be referred back to the special counsel. I think we just don`t know yet which I think may be part of what`s going on here in terms of him saying he`s not recusing himself. There`s something here that we`re not allowed to know yet. I don`t know what that is, right? It`s blacked out. There`s something going on we aren`t supposed to know.

HAYES: Just to be clear, but you`re saying that Michael Cohen knows.

ROCAH: He should. Well, he knows the statutes, right? So he`s given a copy of the actual search warrant, the one-page document. He probably hasn`t seen the affidavit yet is my guess though I don`t know. The affidavit is likely still under seal. That`s the one with all the meaty facts. But you know, maybe it`s been unsealed for purposes of them. Maybe it`s been given to them in a blacked out fashion. I mean, that I just obviously don`t know. But the search warrant itself is going to lay out the criminal statutes. It has to do that.

HAYES: That at least he knows.

ROCAH: Yes, yes, so he would know whether it`s -- you know, obviously Sessions knows. But I just think there`s -- you know, it almost increases the mystery to me because well, maybe this isn`t about just campaign finance, maybe there`s more to the story but it`s not about Russia.

HAYES: Right. It`s all this black box stuff that we`re trying to sort of figure out based on the -- on the sort of publicly observable actions. Mimi Rocah, thank you for clarifying that.

ROCAH: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, we now know that when FBI agents raided Paul Manafort`s home, the other person who was raided, they were searching for evidence of Russian collusion, specifically documents about that very infamous Trump Tower meeting. That`s just one revelation from a new court filing by the special counsel. We`ll discuss that right after this break.

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HAYES: Robert Mueller just dropped another tantalizing hint about the investigation into potential collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election. Late last night was actually after we got off the air, Mueller`s team entered three new filings in the case against the President`s former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort who is facing two criminal trials related to his prior work in Ukraine. In one of the filings defending a search warrant executed on Manafort`s apartment last summer, prosecutors revealed the warrant specifically authorized them to seize "communication records, documents and other files involving any of the attendees of the June 9th, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower as well as Aras and Emin Agalarov. For more on this other bread crumbs on Mueller`s latest filing, I`m joined by Washington Post Columnist David Ignatius whose latest piece is "We know an awful lot about Manafort and Russia, Trump can`t make it disappear." Elie Mystal, Attorney, and Editor of Above the Law Blog and David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief from Mother Jones, Co-Author of the bestseller Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin`s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. And David Ignatius, I`ll start with you and your column. What are you driving out in that piece?

DAVID IGNATIUS, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: I wanted to make a couple points. First, even if Donald Trump were to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, there is so much evidence that`s already been introduced about Russian activities involving members of the Trump campaign. You can get rid of the special counsel, you can`t get rid of the evidence. Second, I was astonished as I spent many, many weeks looking at this material by the complete failure of the Trump campaign to even ask questions about the man they were hiring as Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort who it turns out had been interviewed by the FBI about his Ukraine activities back in 2014. This information was known to the FBI, would easily have been obtainable by anyone from the Trump campaign. That`s one of the things outlined in these latest court filings from Mueller that you alluded to in the beginning.

HAYES: Elie, in terms of the evidence, some of the stuff we see from last night`s filing that there`s the application for the warrant was based on a 41-page affidavit describing potential violations of approximately ten criminal statutes arising from three sets of activities. But the page describing the affidavit looks like this, totally and completely redacted. What -- so what can you conclude from what we can see?

ELIE MYSTAL, EDITOR, ABOVE THE LAW BLOG: Well, what`s happening right now is that Manafort`s plan of I shot the sheriff but totally didn`t shoot the deputy is just completely backfiring right now, OK? Because what Manafort is doing is saying like, oh, Mueller exceeded his scope by coming after me on my bank fraud, which I probably did, when he`s supposed to be looking at Russia which forces Mueller to say no, no, no, we are looking at Russia. And that`s how the Trump Tower meeting comes back into play.

HAYES: And David, I feel the White House has really been trying to steer everyone into this sort of -- this kind of I shot the sheriff idea, that like, yes, there might be some stuff in the president`s personal business. That`s not the Russia stuff. It`s not the main stuff. And do you feel that`s been an effective line for them?

CORN: Well, I think what Trump has done, I`m not sure it`s conscious, but he`s created a straw man by saying there was no collusion, no collusion, by which he seems to mean that he sat down with Russian agents and decided which DNC emails to hack himself.

I mean, we have a long list of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians, including Manafort. And I commend people to read David Ignatius`s piece today. We covered this extensively in our book, Michael Isikoff and myself. But then you also have this happening while the attack is under way. You know, Trump signaled to the Russians again and again and again with many different actions that he didn`t mind the Russian attack on the American election.

And even early when Manafort is hired to be his campaign manager, my colleague Michael Isikoff, my co-author reports, that he`s in debt $18 million to a Russian oligarch who is close to Putin. Did that cause any pause on the Trump campaign? None at all. It`s mysterious.

MYSTAL: What I still can`t figure out what Manafort`s end game is here, right?

Look, saying that the warrant was over broad and the search was bad, that is a -- you`re not even trying if you`re a defense lawyer if you don`t say the search is bad.

HAYES: Of course, that`s the first thing you do. You move to throw it out.

MYSTAL: So, they`ve got to say that, right. And that forces Mueller`s team to say this. Once the judge says no, no, no, the search was good, and 99 percent chance the search was good, once the judge says that Mueller did not exceed his scope, 99 percent chance Mueller did not exceed his scope, what`s then? Like is that setting us up for him to finally take a plea deal or does he actually want to go into open court and have to defend all of these blacked out lines?

HAYES: What do you think, David Ignatius?

IGNATIUS: Well, I think that it`s absolutely right that Mueller is trying to squeeze Manafort into a plea deal. They`re throwing everything at him. You read the indictments in two courts, the superseding indictments, the degree of detail they have, the corroborating witnesses who have already made plea agreements. I mean, they have Paul Manafort every which way. And clearly they`re trying to push him into cooperating. Manafort is resisting. Every time the president suggests he might end up pardoning people, that obviously makes it easier to contemplate not making a deal.

But the wealth of evidence that exists, as David Corn was saying earlier, in this case that`s already been made public is astonishing.

HAYES: David, what do you think of the theory David Ignatius just mentioned, and David Corn, the theory of the idea of the pardon of Scooter Libby and floating the pardon as essentailly some kind of communication to Michael Cohen or to Paul Manafort or both?

CORN: You know, Trump in previous years showed no interest in the Scooter Libby case. Scooter Libby, important to note, was convicted, prosecuted successfully, for lying to the FBI and obstructing justice. And now here comes Trump to say, you know, it doesn`t bother me so much if people lie to the FBI and obstruct justice to protect people in the White House, which is what Scooter Libby did.

I mean, it seems to be not a dog whistle but a bullhorn to people that, you know, I may have your back. But there`s a lot of issues. You still have to accept guilt if you do this. There are state laws that might not be reached by a pardon from the president. And I think Manafort`s doing all he can to stay out of jail for as long as he can.

And you know, is he counting on a pardon? I don`t know, anyone who counts on Trump for anything is playing a risky game.

HAYES: Let me ask you a tactical question, Elie, finally here, in the Manafort filing he omits three categories of items subject to seizure, right. So, items subject to seizure, the warrants say, it included but were not liminted to, records falling with 11 specific categories. So, he`s got eight of those listed, three of of them.

The stuff he`s holding back is that Mueller unilaterally deciding to do that? And what is the rationale by which you can redact or hold back stuff?

MYSTAL: Well, it could just be that he didn`t -- that he could have seized from 11 categories but he only seized from these four categories. I think that`s the most kind reading, right?

There could be something else. There could be an entire category of thing that Mueller doesn`t want us to know he`s looking at. And that`s possible.

But I think the most kind reading is that Mueller just included in the affidavit the categories from which -- from which he actually seized things from.

HAYES: All right, David Ignatius, Elie Mystal, and David Corn, thank you for joining me.

Still to come, why Democrats are closely watching a special election tonight in a deeply Republican district. That`s ahead.

And Mitt Romney enjoys some sport. That is tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.

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HAYES: Thing One tonight, if there`s one thing we know about Mitt Romney it`s that he loves to talk sport.

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MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, UTAH: I met a guy yesterday. Seven feet tall. Yeah. Handsome, great big guy, seven feet tall. Name is Rick Miller, Portland, Oregon. And he started a business. Of course, you know, it was in basketball, but it wasn`t in basketball. I mean, I figured he had to be in sport, but he wasn`t in sport.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And that wasn`t a one off. If you search Romney`s 2004 book Turn Around, you`ll find more than 30 results for the word sport, singular, most of them in phrases where you would normally write sports.

Romney also likes to engage in sport, like the time he fought heavyweight champ Evander Hollyfield in a charity boxing match, looking for the good thre.

He likes to oversee sport, as he did at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. And he certainly, definitely likes to watch sport. There he is, cheering on the Utah Jazz last night in his personalized jersey worn over a button down shirt, a hometown fan if ever there was one, rooting for the team that he loves, no, no, not that one. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Mitt Romney, a Michigan native, the former governor of Massachusetts, who currently owns houses in three other states, is making it very clear that Utah is his real home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I have decided to run for United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah`s values and Utah`s lessons to Washington.

Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Utah, the state is called Utah, that`s where he`s running from. It`s Utah.

Now Romney has been working overtime to brand himself as Mr. Utah. He changed his Twitter home location from Massachusetts to Holiday, Utah. He invited an AP photographer to snap these epic shots of himself just hanging out, chilling -- oh, oh, are you there looking at me? I just happened to be here in Arches National Park last month.

And just last night he traded in his Boston Celtics fan gear for a Utah Jazz jersey. When Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook got in foul trouble with four fouls, well, Mr. Romney showed everyone just how passionate he is about Utah sport.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES SHAW JR.: WRESTLED GUN AWAY FROM SHOOTER: When I first heard the gunshots, so immediately it was like what`s going on type of feeling. And then I looked back and I saw a gentleman near the entrance door of the Waffle House. When I saw the barrel down, I just saw my opportunity and I attacked. And I took it, and it worked out for myself. It worked out for myself and others that were actually in the Waffle House at the same time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: On Sunday, James Shaw Jr., the man you see there, rushed the gunman who had already killed four people at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee. He grabbed the man`s AR-15 and wrestled it away from him and then threw it over the counter saving people`s lives who were in that Waffle House. And then, after he had done that, after he had saved these people`s lives, he started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for the other victims of the shooting. As of this afternoon, he has already raised more than $100,000. You can see it right there.

His home state of Tennessee recognized his valor today with a standing ovation at the state house. Also, a joint house resolution reading in part, his modest protestations to the contrary, James Shaw Jr. of Nashville is most decidedly a hero. If a hero is a person noted for courageous acts of nobility, of character then James Shaw Jr. is a hero twice over, for he has demonstrated both his courage and character in a manner few would ever attempt to emulate.

Here here.

After the break, the Arizona special election that has Republicans worried a little bit. And the under the radar issue that is driving people to the polls there and around the country next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Polls will be closing in just less than an hour in the special election for Arizona`s eighth congressional district. And for Democrats, the outcome of tonight`s race is perhaps less important than the margin, where it should be a shoe-in for Republicans, a district that Trump won by 21 points and Romney carried by 25. That does not mean Republicans are taking things for granted, evidenced despite $1 million they poured into this race.

To get a better idea of what`s happening on the ground, I`m joined now from Phoenix by New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg, whose most recent piece is called "Hope in Arizona;" and activist Ady Barkan who we first met during the fight over the Republican push to repeal Obamacare and who just got back stumping for the Democrat Hiral Tipirneni who is up against the Republican Debbie Lesko in that district.

And Michelle, let me start with you there in Phoenix, what are you seeing on the ground?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEW YORK TIMES: I think you are seeing the same thing that frankly I have seen in Georgia and many other places, this phenomenon of middle class women who voted, but weren`t particularly politically engaged, you didn`t know what congressional district they were in woke up the day after Donald Trump was elected and felt so terrified and degraded and immediately and kind of spontaneously turned to local politics.

And it`s just this fascinating phenomenon that you see all over the country. These women for whom activism and organizing has suddenly become their entire lives, their entire social worlds. And so if -- and to be honest, Hiral Tipirneni is herself one of these women who woke up the day after the election and thought -- you know, was talking to her daughters. And her daughter said, mom, if not you, who when they were talking about more women need to run for office.

And so I`m not sure -- I think it`s unlikely it`s enough in this district to push things over the edge. The district is substantially made up of very conservative white retirees. But the reason that it`s even close is because you have these women who night and day are working to turn this state blue.

HAYES: What did you see there, Ady, in terms of what the issue terrain this is being fought on are?

ADY BARKAN, FOUNTER, THE CENTER FOR POPULAR DEMOCRACY: I definitely agree with Michelle. Health care is number one. It`s a bargain in the group home and talk to voters of the doors. People don`t want their Medicare and Medicaid to be taken away.

You know I also joined the teaches on the picket lines. I mean, incredible to see them upsurge mobilization not just for the teachers, but for the support staff, for other public employees, and for investing in our kids, even in deep red Arizona, we ever saw (inaudible) we`re underdogs. Maybe we can`t win, but certainly it portends very good things for November.

HAYES: But Ady just mentioned this, theteacher fight in Arizona, and that`s something that, yeah, you wrote about. You said on Thursday, public school teachers in Arizona, among the lowest paid in the country, are planning to walk out. Well, the walk out and the surprising viability of Tipirneni`s campaign are manifestations of the explosive activist energy, particularly among women set off by the catastrophe of Trump`s election.

How much is that -- that`s going to be I think the fourth state where you`ve seen something like this. How much is that teacher walk out playing on the ground there?

GOLDBERG: You know, it`s very hard to say, because unlike, say, West Virginia, Arizona is a very racially and socioeconomically stratified state. And so you do have I think a fair amount of conservative hostility to the strike. And I think to be honest, teachers don`t know what they`re walking into. And they`re worried about public opinion, and I was at a meeting last night where people were talking about going to canvass their neighborhoods and just knock on doors and explain to them what the strike is all about.

You know, but -- I think we`ve seen across the country that there is fairly broad support for raising teachers` salaries. And the shortage that teachers are contending with here are so staggering. I was in a classroom today with a teacher who makes less than the average baby-sitter in New York City and who had bought not just her books, but most of the furniture in the room. I mean, it`s amazing what is -- you know, and who had actually had to quit her second job after she had kids.

And so what these teachers are giving is so astonishing. And I think if they can communicate that to people, and communicate to people what it is that they are fighting for, which is not just it`s salary increases for themselves but also higher per capita funding for their kids, they will be able to get the public on their side. The question is, are they able to get the message out when you have Republicans out there saying that they`re just greedy puppets of the teachers` unions.

HAYES: Ady, you were very instrumental in the fight against the AHCA and both attempts to repeal Obamacare. And I wonder, you know, the news cycle can have a sort of amnesia, right. Like, oh, that happened a while ago. Does that -- has it been your experience voters still remember that, that that still looms large in voters` minds?

BARKAN: Yeah, I think people are worried about health care, and like why are they worried about losing it? Because like that was the drum beat all year long. The Republicans promised that they would continue in 2018. They continue to promise that they`ll take it away from us next year. That`s why, you know, I learned through this week, a week ago, the Be a Hero Fund to urge people like me to stand up, tell their stories, confront the elected officials who are perpetrating these crimes against us and say the way we retake our democracy is by telling our stories and demanding better from our government.

HAYES: You also have been -- I know that you have been on the road -- you`ve been doing grass roots organizing in a bunch of places. You were in Georgia with Stacy Abrams. You have been in other places. Are there sort of through lines that you are seeing in these local races?

BARKAN: I mean, I see that people are scared of Trump`s assaults on our democracy. People are looking for leaders who appeal to their humanity and try to help them build a more dignified life. We are looking to have the freedom to thrive in this country. And that`s what the Be a Hero Fund is going to be pushing over the coming year, demanding government policies that give us all whether it`s a guaranteed good job, or free college education, or health care, or child care. The freedom as Americans to thrive.

And our asking both to go to BeaHeroFund.com and pledge to vote in November, to get your friends and families to vote, and to really reclaim democracy, which is under severe threat.

HAYES: Michelle, there is a lot of -- if you spend time online -- in sort of press accounts, there is a lot of sort of factualism and fights among the center left, the Democratic Party, progressives. Does it look that way in the district you are in, other places you reported on?

GOLDBERG: No, it really doesn`t. And I think that a lot of these newly minted activists are only scarcely aware of these kind of factional fights and re-litigating the 2016 election. I mean, obviously, the teacher`s movement is something that has has significant support -- or not significant support, it`s been really championed by the social democratic wing of the Democratic Party, at the same time one of the groups that`s been really instrumental in supporting the teacher strike and helping to organize kind of in support of it is a group called Save our Schools Arizona, which is an outgrowth of Stronger Together Arizona, which in turn is an outgrowth of Pantsuit Nation, the pro-Hillary group.

And so, you really see, I think -- because -- and I think one of the reasons is because there is something constructive to do. And that`s something that people who are stuck raging against Trump on Twitter, and often I include myself in that category, are really missing, you know. But here there is real work to be done, and that allows you to kind of sublimate all of the rage and frustration into something useful.

BARKAN: Yeah, I know. I think being in opposition. Oftentimes in life, the opposition party, but articulating an ambitious agenda that says, yes, of course we`ll of course, we`ll oppose all of Trump policies, but here`s where we are for. And that`s what is so exciting about Bernie and Booker and Gillibrand coming out for the good jobs again. That we`re starting to articulate a policy that can really win over all Americans.

HAYES: Michelle Goldberg and Ady Barkan, thank you both for joining us.

BARKAN: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END