Trump rants in early morning phone interview. TRANSCRIPT: 04/26/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Victoria Valentino, Kirsten Gillibrand

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: April 26, 2018 Guest: Victoria Valentino, Kirsten Gillibrand

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight on ALL IN.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a phony cloud over my head that doesn`t exist.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: The President`s rambling tirade on Trump T.V.

TRUMP: It`s a fix, OK? It`s a witch hunt and they know that and I`ve been able to message it.

HAYES: Unprompted musings.

TRUMP: I went to Russia for a day or so, a day or two.

HAYES: And explicitly threatening the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: Our Justice Department which I try and stay away from but at some point I won`t.

HAYES: Then.

TRUMP: He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal. He represented me.

HAYES: Trump coughs up new details about the Stormy Daniels hush payment.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER, STORMY DANIELS: This is a very damaging admission for Mr. Trump.

HAYES: Plus.

TRUMP: Doc Ronny, you know, we call him Doc Ronny.

HAYES: Trump`s pick for the V.A. withdraws as his EPA Chief hangs by a thread.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: I think he has a pretty good cabinet actually.

HAYES: And after decades of alleged abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man who had evaded this moment here today for far too long.

HAYES: Justice for Bill Cosby`s accusers.

LILI BERNARD, ACCUSER OF COSBY: Women are worthy of being believed and I thank the jury.

HAYES When ALL IN starts right now.

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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It was yet another extraordinary day of news which began with the President of the United States calling into live national television and explicitly threatening to obstruct justice by interfering with the investigation into his campaign, his aides, family members and himself.

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TRUMP: You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it`s a disgrace. And our Justice Department which I try and stay away from but at some point, I won`t.

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HAYES: At some point, I won`t. And that was just one part of a genuinely unnerving performance by the President first thing this morning, an unhinged 30-minute rant that according to reports is not all that different from how he spends much of his day on the phone with confidantes outside the White House. According to The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Trump aides fought for months to keep him from doing what he did this morning/the thing that makes him happiest. Just calling Fox & Friends and talking as if it was one of his private conversations. It`s not hard to see why his staff did not want him to do this. While the President was raving like a worked up talk radio caller, you could watch the hosts, his most friendly interviewers squirm in their seats and try to steer him away from the brink of self-immolation. One day after Trump lawyer Michael Cohen invoked the Fifth Amendment in the Stormy Daniels civil case, the President publicly weighed in on Cohen`s legal troubles. The prosecutors have already put his comments to use today just a few hours later in federal court. We`ll have more on that coming up. The President also brought up entirely unprompted his overnight stay in Moscow in 2013 which would, of course, be the scene of the most salacious allegations in the infamous Steele Dossier. But over and over again, the President kept coming back to the Justice Department`s investigation of him and the possibility of intervening to try and make it stop.

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TRUMP: Because of the fact that they have this witch hunt going on with people in the Justice Department that shouldn`t be there, they have a witch hunt against the President of the United States going on, I`ve taken the position and I don`t have to take this position and maybe I`ll change, that I will not be involved with the Justice Department. I will wait until this is over. It`s a total -- it`s all lies and it`s a horrible thing that`s going on a horrible thing.

So I`m very disappointed in my Justice Department. But because of the fact that it`s going on and I think you`ll understand this, I have decided that I won`t be involved. I may change my mind at some point because what`s going on is a disgrace. It`s an absolute disgrace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last year you said in the first month, I`ll give myself an A for effort and a C for messaging. How would you grade yourself now?

TRUMP: Look, I`m fighting a battle against a horrible group of deep seeded people, drain the swamp, that are coming up with all sorts of phony charges against me and they`re not bringing up real charges against the other side. So we have a phony deal going on and it`s a cloud over my head and I`ve been able to do, to really escape that cloud because the message now everyone knows it`s a fix, OK? It`s a witch hunt and they know that and I`ve been able to message it. I would give myself an A-plus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The whole thing went so off the rails the hosts, the hosts eventually had to cut off the President of the United States to make him wrap things up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it make you want to talk to Mueller and put an end to it? Does it make you want to talk to him because that`s what Rudy Giuliani --

TRUMP: I can. The problem is that it`s such -- it`s such -- if you take a look, they`re so conflicted. The people that are doing the investigation, you have 13 people that are Democrats, you have Hillary Clinton people, you have people that worked on Hillary Clinton`s Foundation. They`re all -- I don`t mean Democrats, I mean like the real deal. And then you look at the phony Lisa Page and Strzok and the memos back and forth and the FBI and you look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it`s a disgrace. And our Justice Department which I try and stay away from but at some point, I won`t.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

TRUMP: Our Justice Department should be looking at that kind of stuff, not the nonsense of collusion with Russia. There is no collusion with me and Russia and everyone knows it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talked to you all day but it looks like you have a million things to do.

TRUMP: You could --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I hope you can join us again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Looks like you have a million things to do. For more on the President`s threats to interfere the Justice Department, I`m joined by Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal who sits on the Judiciary Committee and MSNBC Legal Analyst Benjamin Wittes, Editor In Chief for the Lawfare Blog. Senator, let me start with you. Your reaction to the President saying I stay away from the Justice Department but not for long.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: An ominous clear threat to people who are properly and legitimately investigating not only his campaign`s collusion with Russia but also obstruction of justice by him. And there is now a credible even compelling case of obstruction of justice against the President of the United States and that kind of rant and die tribe are exactly the reason why today, the Judiciary Committee, the United States Senate, voted out favorably to the floor of the Senate a measure to protect the special counsel. And that vote was 14-7. Four Republicans sided with us in a measure that was thoughtful and reasonable as a result of Chairman Grassley taking the lead on their side. There is mounting alarm among my Republicans as well as Democratic colleagues that this unhinged type of threat and an intimidation is actually a case of obstruction of justice unfolding in real time.

HAYES: Ben, what did you make of that this morning?

BENJAMIN WITTES, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, so at one level, of course, it`s totally unsurprising. We know he`s willing to intervene in the Justice Department because he`s done it before, right? He did it privately in a number of meetings with the FBI Director. He`s done it publicly in a vociferously tremendously whining about the Attorney General`s recusals and he has done it very publicly in demanding the prosecutions of individuals particularly Hillary Clinton and also insisting that on the outcome of the Russia investigation no collusion exclamation mark, exclamation mark. And so in some ways, all he`s doing here is reading the stage directions, right? He`s saying that I haven`t interfered in the Justice Department which is, of course, false but I might, which is, of course, something he`s already done.

HAYES: There`s opposition to the bill that was voted out of the committee to protect Robert Mueller that it was expressed by Senator Corker and the leadership. I want to play you what he said about why he`s opposing it and get your response to that point. Take a listen.

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SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: So that`s the first reason I will vote against the legislation because it`s unconstitutional. Secondly, I believe it`s unnecessary. The President is not going to fire Director Mueller, I believe, because the repercussions of doing so would be disastrous for his presidency and for the country. Third, this bill will not be taken up on the Senate Floor. Fourth, the House will not pass it. Fifth, the President will not sign it nor should he.

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HAYES: Your reaction.

BLUMENTHAL: Well, let`s take it one by one. The constitutional argument is red herring and plainly we have overcome it. Number two, the idea that this bill won`t be brought to the floor is based on wishful thinking and denial with all due respect to the Majority Leader. I think he is hoping that it will be unnecessary but the mounting evidence is a grand swell of support within the United States Senate.

HAYES: Really, you really think that?

BLUMENTHAL: The vote today, I never would have predicted just two months ago. 14-7? That`s two to one on the Judiciary Committee, four of our Republican colleagues siding with us. The vote today, well, there probably would be no vote today because of the Majority Leader`s view, but if there were one, I think it would be very evenly split because my Republican colleagues have this growing sense of alarm.

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HAYES: Ben, one of the points of contention and one of the most interesting parts of the Comey memos is the President affirmatively talking about the Moscow trip and appearing to affirmatively lie about it out of nowhere. Today he returned to this topic again unprompted. He just brought it up. It`s clearly on the front of his mind to talk about the Moscow trip. I want to play that and get your response knowing James Comey as well as you do. Take a listen.

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TRUMP: He didn`t write those memos accurately. He put a lot of phony stuff. For instance, I went to Russia for a day or so, a day or two because I owned the Miss Universe Pageant. So I went there to watch it because it was there in Moscow. He said I didn`t stay there overnight. Of course, I stayed there. I stayed there a very short period of time but of course, I stayed. Well, his memo said I left immediately but I never said that. I never said I left immediately.

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HAYES: Do you think James Comey lied about that?

WITTES: I can`t imagine James Comey lied about that in a memo to himself, much less can I imagine that he lied about it to the public. Look, in any dispute between Jim Comey and Donald Trump, you have to keep in mind that one of them is Donald Trump and the other is a person with whatever you think of judgments that he made, whatever you think of you know, his decision making in any of several issues, he is somebody with a reputation for honesty and truth-telling. And so I just resolve any dispute factually between the two of them as who are you going to believe.

HAYES: I would note, just in closing that the President does something sort of subtle in that where he claims that Comey claimed he didn`t stay there overnight and then says, of course, I stayed there overnight. But --

WITTES: But Comey in fact just reported that the President --

HAYES: The President -- yes.

WITTES: -- said he didn`t stay there overnight and the President appears to have as best as I can tell appears to have misstated the fact to Comey and now is imputing the misstatement of fact to Jim. That`s s a nice trick if you can get away with it but I don`t think anybody who reads the memo will fall for it.

HAYES: All right, Senator Richard Blumenthal here in New York, good to have you and Ben Wittes, thank you both for your time tonight. I really appreciate it. for more on this morning`s extraordinary performance by the President of the United States, Barbara Boxer, former U.S. Senator from California, Founder of PAC for a Change and MSNBC Political Analyst Josh Earnest, who`s the White House Press Secretary to President Barack Obama and having served that role, if you put on your press secretary cap, what do you think watching the President this morning?

JOSH EARNEST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, Chris, what`s extraordinary about it is I was actually thinking in the car today about the most -- probably the most controversial interview that President Obama did in his eight years in the White House, at least controversial with the White House Press Corps is an interview he did with the woman named GloZell Green. She was a Youtube star. She has millions of followers under her YouTube channel.

HAYE: I remember.

EARNEST: Her distinguishing feature was that she wears green lipstick in these videos. And the thing about it, Chris, is that we always made the case even to White House journalists who were insulted that President Obama would talk to GloZell Green instead of them, was that we never viewed an interview with GloZell Green as a substitute for engaging on a factual basis with professional journalists. We actually saw this an opportunity for us to expand the audience and go to people who may not be getting political news and what`s striking to me about this is that President Trump always only goes to the same source and it explains why his base is loyal but small and not growing. And you know, even in watching the interview and some of the clips that you played today, the journalists who were sitting on that couch, you know, the hosts sitting on that couch were not pushing back. They weren`t suggesting that somehow President Trump was saying things that weren`t true even though he was. It was almost as if they were sitting there listening to somebody leave a rambling voice mail message. It was almost like Mr. President, at the tone, please give us your thoughts about Michael Cohen.

HAYES: Senator Boxer, do you think your former colleagues in the Senate watch this sort of thing and what goes through their head?

BARBARA BOXER, FORMER CALIFORNIA SENATOR: Well, I watched it and I`ll tell you what went through my head. I think Fox & Friends should give up doing their version of the news and instead, they should become online therapists. It`s perfect. They can have people call in who are narcissistic, paranoid, upset, frustrated and angry and they`ll do better at that. This was incredible. And in all seriousness, they looked so uncomfortable. And I`ve never been on a news show when the person like you would say, you must be so busy, bye, usually they say, we`re running out of time. We`ve really enjoyed your -- thank you very much. They said you must be so busy. He could have stayed on there all day rambling, undermining his own attorneys by saying that Cohen was hardly even his attorney admitting that he knew about Stormy Daniels and on and on.

HAYES: You know, that`s a really great point, Senator. Josh, have you been in the situation of course, what usually happens with the President of the United States and I`ve been on the other side of this with principals is the journalist wants as much time as possible. If you agree toe 20 minutes, they keep going, 22, 23, and you as a press secretary sit there going no, no, no, got to get him out. And this was the reverse. The President seemed game for however long and he got cut off by the interviewers.

EARNEST: Yes, that`s exactly what happened, Chris. There is this dynamic where usually there`s you know, Mr. President, I`ve just got two more questions I want to try to get to. But you know, Chris, even the prep for this interview must have been extraordinary, if there was any, you know, typically in a conventional White House, you would have a team sitting down with the President talking about even putting this interview on the calendar and making sure there was a goal that was trying to be achieved, a message he wanted to deliver to a particular audience. There would be a memo that will be submitted to him, a day or two in advance with the topics so he could expect to come up in the interview. And then you certainly would have an in-person briefing immediately before the interview where the President would gather senior members of his team, policy experts, he`s going to talk about trend, have the national security adviser there to make sure that he had the latest information that he could convey on national division. And in this case, it`s pretty clear that the White House staff was watching the interview on television just like everybody else as President Trump paced the halls of the White House residence in his bathrobe.

HAYES: Why do you think, Senator, he doesn`t do any interviews with anyone other than these small selected outlets?

BOXER: Well, I think one reason is he doesn`t remember what he said from one day to the next. As we know, the New York Times has documented more than 2,000 lies. And one thing I learned early on, as a member of the Senate and before that the House and before that local government is this, don`t say one thing to one person and one thing to another. That`s what this guy does, and he can`t keep track of it. So I think he`s too afraid to go on a program where people will actually hold him accountable. We saw what he said in the past about people who take the Fifth Amendment. He said that they were part of the mob. Now, his sometime attorney, Michael Cohen, takes the Fifth. I mean, how is he going to respond if you were to ask him that question? The last thing I`d say is, I want to say what Josh says is so right and I never prepped a president but I was prepped even as a United States Senator. Now I`m not prepped at all so this is just me. But when you call --

HAYES: It doesn`t show but continue.

BOXER: -- when you called me when I was a senator, I sat around with the staff and I said, what if he asks this or that or the other because I wanted to be prepared and I wanted to be informed and I wanted to look good for the people of California.

HAYES: Yes, and you wanted to take cared and you cared and you exerted care. That`s the thing that members of the Congress and Senate, Republicans and Democrats will do, putting some effort on that front. Barbara Boxer and Josh Earnest, it`s great to have you both.

EARNEST: Thanks, Chris.

BOXER: Thanks.

HAYES: Still to come, the President makes an admission on Fox News about Stormy Daniels that is cited in court hours later. We`ll talk about just how damaging that rambling interview was for him legally in two minutes.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, how much of your legal work was handled by Michael Cohen?

TRUMP: Well, as a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction. But my goal would represent me and represent me on some things. He represents me liking with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me. And you know, from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why is he pleading the Fifth?

TRUMP: Because he`s got other things. He`s got businesses. And from what I understand, they`re looking at his businesses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Credit where due. Why is he pleading the Fifth? Good follow-up question. Within minutes of calling into Fox News this morning, the President for the first time, for the first time, admitted what has been obvious, Michael Cohen represented him in the Stormy Daniels case. Earlier this month aboard Air Force One he claimed to have no knowledge of the hush money paid to Daniels or where Cohen got the $130,000. So legally speaking, the President this morning possibly implicated himself in any wrongdoing associated with the Daniels` case. With Me Elie Mystal, Executive Editor of Above the Law who wrote today the President went on television and destroyed two legal cases, more on that on a moment. Also with me is Attorney Lisa Green. Lisa, I`ll start with you. Good idea, bad idea, legally to do that interview?

LISA GREEN, ATTORNEY: It was a pretty terrible idea. He sounded like a cross between my uncle may he rest in peace, he used to watch Fox News nonstop and a caller to his sports radio. It`s like, Donald from Jamaica, what`s on your mind, right? So the level of anger and then, of course, there`s never a time I think when the President uses a diminutive to talk about someone else in a flattering way. So if your goal, your squad goal was to get Michael Cohen to stay in your camp and you start using words like teeny weeny or teeny tiny, not a flattering look.

HAYES: Well, that`s interesting. So you think it actually -- it`s bad in terms of him being like -- you thought what he was doing was minimizing his relationship to Michael Cohen.

GREEN: Right and I get why with Cohen under investigation, his papers have been seized. He`s under a lot of pressure. But you know, some of the conventional wisdom is that Trump might want Cohen to feel an alignment toward him, some friendliness. That was not accomplished during this interview.

HAYES: You said he destroyed two cases today in that interview. What do you mean?

ELIE MYSTAL, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ABOVE THE LAW: Two, so first of all, he admits that he -- that Michael Cohen is representing him in Stormy Daniels. We all kind of knew that. That`s true, I think. The biggest mistake that Trump made today was that he actually told the truth a couple of times. But now that he`s admitted it, now that puts him right into Michael Avenatti`s world which I think everybody knows at this point is not a world anybody wants to be in, right? So now he is almost certainly going to have to testify in the Stormy Daniels thing now that he has actually admitted that Michael Cohen is representing him.

HAYES: You think -- so you think that this was sort of the final nail in the coffin.

MYSTAL: Yes, I think now, there is no chance for him to get out of Michael Avenatti`s world. And that`s bad for Trump. The second case he destroyed was with the minimization of Michael Cohen. He`s been saying -- what`s went on to say is that it`s all about business. Michael Cohen does a lot of business. It`s just a teeny tiny bit of legal work he does. Well, guess who`s arguing that? The Southern District of New York is arguing that against Michael Cohen so the SDNY on the ball literally amended their brief today to add in what Trump said today.

HAYES: Yes, let me read from this. So they come in and they said, they`re arguing, look, there`s not really attorney/client relationship here that we have to be too worried about which is why it`s fine for us to go through these papers because this is not like he represent -- the President goes on air and says that`s exactly right. It`s not much of a relationship. And then they say President Trump reportedly said on cable television this morning Cohen performs a tiny, tiny little fraction of his overall legal work. The statement suggest that ceased materials are unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents.

GREEN: Yes, I`m glad the SDNY has television sets in their offices and --

HAYES: I like the reportedly --

(CROSSTALK)

GREEN: Allegedly. So you know, remember when this started, Cohen`s lawyers claimed to the judge that they had thousands if not millions of privileged documents that was seized by the FBI. At this point, we`re going to have three crumpled up pieces of paper and some cigar rings. You know, and none of that plays well for the Trump lawyers, the Trump Organization lawyers and Cohen`s lawyer who`s want to protect as much of this as possible from the eyes of investigators. P.S., a win for them today.

MYSTAL: As usual, Trump becomes the worst client possible. Like what the lawyers will need to do -- Trump doesn`t need to take the Fifth. They need to like grab him and put him in the Hannibal Lecter mask and not let him out anymore. Like --

HAYES: Well, they tried to do that. I mean, you saw the reporting saying they didn`t -- they didn`t want him to do this interview. They have kept him under wraps. The last sort of big network mainstream interview he did was Lester Holt almost a year ago.

MYSTAL: I think he got back from his play date with Emmanuel Macron and was like hey, I`m Trump again and felt really good about himself. Look, Lisa and I were talking in the back, so much of this is really about how Michael Cohen perceives what`s happening to him. If he feels the deep sting of the bus, that`s going to make him more likely to turn on Trump. But the other as we were talking about, the other thick here is that maybe the FBI, maybe SDNY doesn`t even need Michael Cohen to flip if they`ve got all of his documents and --

HAYES: The thing I keep coming back to is they`ve got months of e-mail.

GREEN: Months of e-mail and you know, who knows how truthful ultimately he`ll be as a witness. What you have --

HAYES: Right, or reliable even.

GREEN: He`s a conflicted -- clearly a conflicted person in terms of his loyalties.

MYSTAL: Sad person. I mean, that Wall Street Journal article today was just --

GREEN: That was tough, cold, you know, like the Bar Mitzvah story, you know, Trump shows up and then tells a story about how Cohen begged him to show up for his son`s major religious event. That was really cold. So you know, you`ve got a guy who maybe can`t be relied upon to tell a dispassionate story. But the paperwork, the phone records, the e-mails maybe do a better job.

HAYES: There`s also a place where the law and politics intersect which is that for the reasons that Josh Earnest have said and that you`ve said, he - - the President of the United States fundamentally can`t be let loose into interviews in the wild. Seriously, because of the amount of legal problems he has, right? So you`ve got the situation where the President is someone that generally does a lot of interviews and getting sort of this out there and he can`t do that under legal advice.

MYSTAL: As people have said before, he`s got -- he`s got this really difficult existential problem. If he talks and tells the truth, he gets himself in trouble. If he talks and lies, he gets himself in trouble. He -- there`s nothing he can say at this point anymore to get himself out of it.

GREEN: Yes, but here`s what`s coming. Today at the hearing, Judge Wood said I`m going to appoint a special master, former federal judge --

HAYES: Independent person is going to go through these files.

GREEN: And what she also said is I don`t want to waste a lot of time here. I`m looking at a four-week plan. Time is not friendly to Cohen, Trump or the Trump Organization, but very friendly to prosecutors.

HAYES: Elie Mystal and Lisa Green, great to have you both.

MYSTAL: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come under intense questioning by lawmakers about his mounting scandals, Scott Pruitt admits he flat out lied about one of them. That story after the break.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re committed to the Trump agenda, why did you go around the president and the White House and give pay raises to two staffers --

SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR; I did not, my staff did. And I found out about that yesterday, and I changed it. I found out about this yesterday and I corrected the action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Embattled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt today admitted he lied when he claimed earlier this month he had just found out about improper raises to two of his favorite aides. Facing a grilling on Capitol Hill, Pruitt, testifying under oath, admitted he had known about one of the raises in advance. But he was defiant when pressed on his myriad of scandals, blaming his aides and insisting that reports of his misconduct, which have led to at least ten, count them ten, federal investigations were drummed up by his political enemies.

Joining me now, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a member of the Senate committee on environment and public works. And Senator, I guess I should start with this, were you at all assuaged, or convinced of the forthrightness of Scott Pruitt during his performance today in the House?

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D) NEW YORK: I didn`t see his performance, but I have deep concerns about Scott Pruitt and I think he should resign given all the allegations against him for taking a rental apartment from someone lobbying him, from the issue of raises, to all the other scandals that he`s brought forth.

Also just his record. I mean, when he was attorney general of Oklahoma, he sued the EPA on behalf of polluters as opposed to helping his state and protecting the health and well-being of families.

And all he`s done since he`s been EPA administrator is roll back protections for clean air and clean water. So given where he is right now, I wish he would step down.

HAYES: Ronnie Jackson is another cabinet nominee. Obviously you`re not on that committee, I don`t think, but you have to vote on him were he to come to the floor. That has been withdrawn. What do you think of that?

GILLIBRAND: Well, given the allegations against him, I have grave concerns that he should be the doctor for the president at this point. Certainly he had no qualifications to lead the VA, an agency with hundreds of thousands of employees and huge issues that need to be done to help and be our veterans better.

So, I don`t think he was qualified for that job. And now given these allegations of drunken behavior, given not being prepared to help the president whether he he was needed, are serious allegations and it puts into question whether he should keep his current job.

HAYES: Do you have a unified theory about why this keeps happening, about the sort of quality of the people around this administration, about the accusations against them, about all withdrawn nominees? What is your operating theory what`s going on?

GILLIBRAND: Well, unfortunately, President Trump said he would drain the swamp. He has filled it up. And he`s putting in place people in his cabinet that are directly opposed to the agencies they`re supposed to be running.

Look at Mick Mulvaney, for example. You know, head of the CFPB. He`s supposed to be protecting consumers. And we hear that he`s bragging to bankers and bank lobbyists that the way to get access is to give money, and that`s how he conducted himself as a member of congress, which is one of the reasons why I dropped a bill today to have postal banking, to try to unwind and get rid of some of the most predatory practices that payday lenders have right now. And he was somebody vastly supported by payday lenders.

So, it`s a question of judgment. He`s got people around him that aren`t doing the mission of the agencies they`re supposed to be running.

Mick Mulvaney gave that speech to bankers. Afterwards your colleague Sherrod Brown called for him to resign. Do you agree with him on that.

GILLIBRAND: I do. I mean, what he said is outrageous. And I just have concerns that the president is constantly surrounding himself with people who are not putting the people`s interests first. They`re not serving others. They`re serving special interests. And they`re serving the ultra well connected, the ultra wealthy. Look at his tax bill alone.

HAYES: There`s -- you mentioned the swamp and obviously the allegations against Ronnie Jackson and Scott Pruitt. I want to ask you about a Democratic Colleague of yours, Senator Menendez of New Jersey. There`s a Senate ethics committee report today, a letter, a formal letter of admonition which severely admonished him for accepting gifts.

You were critical of your colleague Al Franken for the misconduct alleged by various women, said it was time for him to resign. Do you think Senator Menendez should resign?

GILLIBRAND: I haven`t seen the ethics investigation results, but he should follow the recommendations of the committee, and he should do what he`s been told to do.

HAYES: And you think that`s sufficient?

GILLIBRAND: I do.

HAYES: The president this morning did an interview on Fox & Friends this morning and he called in he had a lot to say about the Department of Justice, about the cases against him. I guess I wonder how confident are you in the president`s current mental state, fitness, where he`s at?

GILLIBRAND: Well, I don`t know about that, but I do think it`s really important to protect Mueller`s investigation. I think it is essential. I was grateful that from the committee today, there`s bipartisan legislation to protect that investigation. And if he is fired by the president, that there be a stay and all evidence will be preserved, why a judge can review whether or not he was fired for cause.

I think this investigation has to be continued. I think we`ve seen a lot of evidence already about different concerns that we have, whether it`s money laundering, whether it`s interference of our election by Russia, whether there`s collusion, whether there`s obstruction of justice, there`s still investigations that need to be completed.

And so I want to see this investigation to its fruition.

HAYES: Do you think Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should bring that bill to the floor?

GILLIBRAND: He certainly should. It`s a bipartisan bill and it just passed out of committee. It`s exactly the type of legislation we should be voting on.

HAYES: I`m going to ask you a question on a slightly obscure issue, but it may be something in your bailiwick and it`s about the southern district of New York, which is obviously in your state. It`s often referred to as the most important district in the entire nation, the sovereign district of New York.

The U.S. attorney there is a guy by the name of Jeffrey Berman, who was appointed on a interim basis by Jeff Sessions, never formally nominated. He`s now been appointed by the court itself.

It seems to me like the person who is running the most important law enforcement office arguably in the country, that oversees the Michael Cohen case, hasn`t gone through a advise and consent in the Senate. And I wonder as the home state senator, what do you think of that?

GILLIBRAND: I have huge concerns. In fact, I wasn`t going to return the blue slip for him because he met with the president. And to be someone who is going to have that position, authority over an investigation that could involve the president, to meet with the president and get his OK, just raises concerns, issues of whether there`s impropriety or not.

And so without any analysis of his qualifications I thought the meeting alone disqualified him. So, it is troubling that he is running an office that is perhaps one of the most important in the country, and doesn`t have the benefit of advice and consent of the senate.

HAYES: So, I just want to make sure, you are -- because of that meeting, you were going to not return a blue slip, which is -- .

GILLIBRAND: Correct.

HAYES: -- a Senate process in which the home state senator essentially kind of exercises veto over the nomination?

GILLIBRAND: Correct.

HAYES: Is that the reason they`ve done this weird end around the nomination? Because I`m trying to figure this out, like why haven`t they formally nominated him? Do you think that`s why they did that?

GILLIBRAND: I don`t know, but I wouldn`t be surprised.

HAYES: All right, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, thanks for making some time with me tonight.

GILLIBRAND: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, justice for Bill Cosby. Accusers today, what his guilty verdict means for the #metoo movement right now, and a White House birthday in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, happy birthday to the first lady of the United States. Melania Trump turns 49 years old today. And it`s been a big week for Mrs. Trump. She pulled off the first major White House event of her husband`s presidency, a state dinner honoring French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte. It`s one of the most high profile tasks that she`s taken on as first lady, and she received rave reviews on everything from the menu, showcasing the best of America`s cuisines and traditions with nuances of French influences, to the decor featuring more than 1200 cherry blossom branches, which the pool reported smelled divine.

The whole visit was deemed a great success by President Trump, and so naturally he would want to show his gratitude to his wife of 13 years by getting her a very special birthday present. Well, would you believe he got her an interview on Fox News? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: There`s a bit of a tradition of presidents making a show of their wives` birthdays. President Obama posted a romantic photo with his wife Michelle on Instagram for her birthday this year, calling her his best friend as well as surprising her with flowers and a handwritten note.

When President George W. Bush was in the White House, he got First Lady Laura a puppy for her 58th birthday.

As for our current president, well, here is what he said he got Melania for her birthday today when he joined Fox & Friends this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, good morning. And I picked a very, very special day because it`s Melania`s birthday. So, I said let`s do it on Melania`s birthday. So happy birthday to Melania.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Hopefully there will be visits in between. But have you decided on, or do you want to tell us what you got her?

TRUMP: Well, I better not get into that because I may get in trouble. Maybe I didn`t get her so much. I tell you what, she has done -- I got her a beautiful card.

You know, I`m very busy running out looking for presents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: A historic meeting is underway right now. Kim Jong-un has crossed the DMZ for a meeting with South Korea`s President Moon. And the two met at that military demarcation line there represented by a concrete curb. They shook hands. They then each stepped over the line, each going into each other`s country. It was broadcast live across the world.

Leaders then walked into the newly renovated peace house building. And there they will meet at a table designed to look like two bridges merged into one.

They`ll be sitting exactly 218 millimeters apart to highlight this historic inter-Korean summit in 2018.

This meeting is an enormous deal. This is a peninsula that`s still at war. It`s been at war since 1952. It also represents a huge moment for President Moon who ran on an explicit agenda and platform of rapprochement with North Korea, of tabling the nuclear issue so that they could have the beginnings of talks. This as a huge fruition of his campaign promises.

He has been much of the driver behind what the White House has done. Of course, it was the South Koreans sent a delegation to the U.S. that relayed the invitation for Kim Jong-un for the summit that President Trump has agreed to.

So, President Moon is in the driver`s seat right now in many ways. This is his vision coming into fruition here. Kim Jong-un, of course the first North Korea leader to cross the DMZ sine the Korean War armistice in 1953.

We do not know what the outcome of today`s meeting will be. We do not know what the outcome of the summit will be, or what the contours of it will be, how it will approach the many thorny issues between the new nations, but this is a remarkable moment on a peninsula that has been at war for 60-plus years.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LILI BERNARD, BILL COSBY ACCUSER: It is not just a victory for the 62 of us publicly known Cosby survivors whom Gloria Allred has helped give a voice, it is also a victory for womanhood, and it is a victory for all sexual assault survivors, female and male.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: For the first time today, after years of accusations from dozens of women, Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault. After 12 days of testimony and two days of deliberations the jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania found Bill Cosby guilty of all three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.

Bill Cosby now faces up to 30 years in prison. His attorneys say they will appeal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM MESEREAU, COSBY ATTORNEY: We are very disappointed by the verdict. We don`t think Mr. Cosby`s guilty of anything. And the fight is not over. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to appeal, sir?

MESEREAU: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Very strongly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Here with me now Victoria Valentino, one of Cosby`s accusers. She was at the trial, but did not testify.

Ms. Valentino, first, what did you feel when you heard that verdict announced today?

VICTORIA VALENTINO, COSBY ACCUSER: Well, I was elated. I really couldn`t believe it. I was preparing myself for another mistrial and trying to process how I was going to deal with that outcome. And so when I found out that it was going to be a guilty verdict, that it was a guilty verdict on all three counts, I just -- I had such a mix of emotions. I was like wanting to cry, I wanted to laugh, I wanted to jump up and down. You just don`t know how to process it.

HAYES: How did you feel --

VALENTINO: But I`m thrilled to death.

HAYES: How did you feel the last time around when it did end in amistrial?

VALENTINO: Well, it was pretty depressing. But we felt very staunch about our position and we felt that the work had to go on no matter what.

HAYES: What would you like to say to Bill Cosby if you got an opportunity to?

VALENTINO: You have to pay the piper. You cannot destroy lives just rampantly for five decades without consequences. And it`s time. It`s time for you to step up and be that man and pull your damn pants up.

HAYES: I`d like to hear a little bit about your own trajectory about how you came to the conclusion to come forward and be public, and the conversations you`ve had with other women who have experienced similar things.

VALENTINO: Well, first of all, I had harbored this pain for 48 years. And I never really wanted to talk about it. I would make sarcastic comments when his face would pass on the TV screen. My children were not allowed to watch his show. And I just never talked about the real nasty dirty details, and as all rape survivors do, you know, there`s self-blame, there`s shame, there`s humiliation. There`s the fear of not being believed if you really tell the truth about the situation.

So every time he got another honorary Ph.D. and grew in the eyes of everybody in the public, we were being diminished more and more each time because we knew the shadow self of this man who was not the great Dr. Huxtable or America`s dad, that was the character he played, but that was not the real man.

And so consequently this journey has just really been very difficult for me. I wasn`t going to talk about it in 2005 when I heard that Andrea Constand had come out talking about drugging and -- being drugged and fondled by him. I looked at my daughter, and she looked at me. And we went oh, my god, that`s what he did. And then I just had to push it away.

And so then again in 2014 I saw Barbara Bowman on Yahoo. And again I just -- I couldn`t deal with it, because I couldn`t bring up those images and that experience again. But then I saw Hannibal Burress, a man, making a joke about it in a stand-up comedy routine. Suddenly he was believed, a man making a joke about a rapist and he was believed when all of these countless women who were disbelieved over decades. And that just pissed me off. I can`t even begin to tell you how pissed off I was.

And I had to find out who to talk to. And I figured out who Barbara Bowman spoke to, Washington Post. I contacted them, thinking again nobody would contact me, nobody would get back to me. Within the hour Adam Kushner called me, and it`s just been a snowball downhill ever since. And I am so grateful.

HAYES: You know, this is obviously coming in the context of this society- wide reevaluation of the behavior of men, not just powerful men, powerful men in particular, men in the workplace. What do you think the significance of today`s verdict is in that context, in the context of the #metoo movement, of other women considering whether they want to come forward and tell what happened to them?

VALENTINO: Well, I think it`s a real tsunami. I mean, once we opened our mouths and broke our silence and nothing bad happened to us and the world saw that, the world of women saw that we weren`t assassinated, we weren`t imprisoned, we weren`t crucified, and instead we were empowered and more people were coming out and more people were coming out, and I think it liberated women and gave them encouragement and inspiration and they felt, yeah, me too. And they were ready to speak. After stuffing all of their stuff for years and years and years, maybe centuries if you take it into an historical context.

And so consequently I think women were really ready to speak. I mean, for our social structure in the United States we`re supposed to be so progressive, but we`re not. And now what`s going on in the White House, we`re going backwards. You know, we thought we were on a roll with Obama, progressive laws being made and women being heard and laws changed, and we were moving forward and we thought we could only go up from there. Instead, we`re going back to the dark ages.

So, this is not just a victory for us Cosby survivors or me personally, this is a victory for all women who have not been able to open their mouths and share their stories and find their voice.

So, this is a wave, a big wave.

HAYES: Victoria Valentino, thank you so much. I can`t thank you enough for sharing your story and for your courage as well.

That is ALL IN for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

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