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Longtime Cohen business partner pleads guilty. TRANSCRIPT: 05/22/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Daniel Goldman, Harry Litman, Tim O`Brien, Mazie Hirono, David Jolly, Rick Pence, Darrick Hamilton, Lisa Green, Paul Camposs

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: May 22, 2018 Guest: Daniel Goldman, Harry Litman, Tim O`Brien, Mazie Hirono, David Jolly, Rick Pence, Darrick Hamilton, Lisa Green, Paul Camposs



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of my personal attorneys, good man.

HAYES: Breaking news in the saga of President Trump`s lawyer.

MICHAEL COHEN, LAWYER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: I`ll do anything to protect Mr. Trump.

HAYES: Tonight, why the New York taxi king`s cooperation against Michael Cohen could be a massive problem for Donald Trump.

Plus, is this man about to be the next major Trump scandal figure?

TRUMP: I hope not.

HAYES: New scrutiny over an RNC mogul`s big payment to a playmate. Then the backdoor attack on the Mueller probe continues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have confidence in Rod Rosenstein.

TRUMP: What`s your next question, please?

HAYES: And how the Trump tax cuts for Harley-Davidson led to hundreds of people losing their jobs?

TRUMP: Thank you, Harley-Davidson, for building things in America.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We have breaking news tonight and it looks like potentially bad news for one Michael Cohen, potentially even worse news for Donald Trump. New York Times first breaking the story now confirmed by NBC News that Cohen`s long-time business partner Gene Freidman has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors after pleading guilty today to stealing around $5 million worth of taxi fees from New York State. In exchange, Freidman will be avoid jail time and been assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations according to a person briefed on the matter. Freidman who faces a slew of lawsuits over alleged professional misconduct is quite the character, Russian immigrant known as the taxi king, he once controlled as many as a thousand New York City taxi medallions. Those are the licenses that allow drivers to legally operate New York taxicabs which in the pre-Uber age were going for more than $1.2 million a pop. Cohen was also in the taxi medallion business. In fact, New York State says taxi companies can owned by Cohen or his family owe the state another $174,000 in unpaid taxes. Freidman says he`s managed Cohen`s medallions for more than 16 years. They`re tight. The taxi king describing Cohen as both a close personal friend and "a wonderful client." Now, Trump`s long-time lawyer and fixer was already as we know in quite significant legal trouble. Last month of course, federal agents raided his offices and home and hotel and even before day`s move, Trump`s lawyers were reportedly worried even resigned about Cohen cooperating with federal prosecutors. Now, Freidman`s decision to cooperate could the make Cohen`s problems that is much worse and potentially increase the pressure on Cohen to tell prosecutors everything he knows about the man who now occupies the presidency. For more on the potential legal implications in all of this, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Daniel Goldman and former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman. Dan, I`ll start with you. I should start with this which is that Freidman himself texting a New York Daily News court reporter, I pled -- I plead guilty -- pled guilty to a felony, I am humbled and shamed. This is me taking responsibility for my actions and has nothing do with M.C., Michael Cohen. What do you make of this?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, there are two things to make of it. One is that he`s trying to indicate he`s not cooperating. The other is a sort of delicate dance he`s doing here by saying this, meaning this guilty plea today which related to charges originally brought against him last June before Michael Cohen was in any hot water, this particular guilty plea has nothing to do with anything related to Michael Cohen. And based on the little bit that we know of, this case, it does seem like this was sort of a simple -- not a simple, this was a tax evasion, grand larceny case pled down to probation and repaying $5 million that he took. So in that instance, it`s still is consistent with the idea that he is cooperating with the New York State A.G.`s office and potentially the Southern District of New York.

HAYES: I want to come back to you on that possibility. Harry, the sort of theory people have here is the way this is gone about is and even a federal judge basically said this to Mueller`s people in court, right, that you`re rolling up people to get to the person at the top. The dominos here aren`t that far removed from the President. It`s Freidman is in business with Cohen, Freidman cooperates, hopefully to put pressure on Cohen to cooperate to talk about the President. Does that make sense?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sure it`s a Freidman to Cohen ton Trump play if indeed that`s what`s going on. And this opposition strikes me as reasonable, Chris. He did say he was only -- this was just pleading to these charges. But he also said in open court that he really appreciated and understood what a good deal he was getting. And that indicates that you know, he had been charged with over $5 million in tax evasion. He`s pleading only to $50,000, only one felony. He knows he`s getting a sweetheart deal. Why would he be getting it? There are several possibilities, but at least right now, everyone`s thoughts turn to his fellow taxi royalty Michael Cohen.

HAYES: Prince, the medallion prince.

LITMAN: The prince, yes, the (INAUDIBLE). Thank you.

HAYES: So here`s the question for you. I should say his lawyer also said, the New York Times report assumes facts not in the record, my client enter a plea this morning in Albany. The plea agreement is not of record. I cannot comment on any speculation regarding what the entry of plea indicates regarding any case other than my client`s. Here`s the thing though. This case was brought by the New York Attorney General, used to be Eric Schneiderman, now on by Barbara Underwood. What is the significance to that in terms of the possibility of cooperating with the Southern District where you used to work?

GOLDMAN: Well, It`s significant that it`s not the District Attorney`s Office which generally speaking does not have join investigations with the Southern District of New York. The Attorney General`s Office has a number of joint investigations with the Southern District of New York, traditionally, and we know that they are working with federal prosecutors whether the Southern District or Mueller`s team, we`re not entirely sure, but that they are all working together jointly on some of these issues related to Russia and some of the people who have been charged.

HAYES: So this is -- I want to be clear. This is -- this is a thing that has happened in the past that the Attorney General`s Office works with the New York A.G. and the Southern District work together and have witnesses that might cooperate in one place or the other.

GOLDMAN: Correct. And that they are -- they use joint resources and joint law enforcement agents and build a case together that ultimately is usually charged in the Southern District of New York because the Attorney General does not have its own court like the District Attorney does.

HAYES: Right.

GOLDMAN: So this is very consistent with what we know to be the cooperation going on between the Attorney General`s office and federal prosecutors in connection to the Trump investigation so to speak and some of the campaign officials that may be working for him. So in that regard, the information is again consistent with the notion that Michael -- sorry - - Freidman might be cooperating with -- and he would be cooperating with both. So he would be cooperating with the Attorney General`s office and he would be cooperating with the federal prosecutors, most likely in the Southern District of New York because that`s where the Michael Cohen case is.

HAYES: Harry --

LITMAN: And by the way, small point, Chris. Underwood herself is a former Federal Prosecutor, former Federal DOJ employee, more likely to be involved with, familiar with the federal system. Sorry, go ahead.

HAYES: I was just going to say, if you`re walking down the street in Manhattan and happen to see Michael Cohen outside his hotel puffing on a cigar hanging with his boys and he solicits legal advice from you at this point, what is the lay of the land from where you see it?

LITMAN: Wow. Well, you know, it`s hot and getting hotter for him. I mean eventually, the question that I think I`m sure he`s thinking of daily is just at what point is he going to give the information he has that will keep him out of trouble. And that`s obviously against the man he said he would take a bullet for. But at some point, I think he is going to be -- or prosecutors will hope he`ll realize not simply the stakes in terms of years but also the sort of psychological bond he`s formed with Trump should be broken. That he, in fact, has been abused by Trump and is not someone he should continue to put his life down for.

HAYES: Yes, we should note that the Daily Beast reporting that Michael Cohen has become a Trump world pariah. Time to keep a distance, they avoid calling him because they`re worried. Have you been through sort of the psychology of this before? I`m sure you have.

GOLDMAN: Many times, many times. And what I would suggest people look at are a couple of things. One thing is when targets of investigations start talking about their families, start talking about the stress that they`re under, that`s something that is an indication of cooperation. The other thing is you`ve got to remember that are and what we`re seeing with the essential consultants and what we`re seeing with the way that Michael Cohen conducted business is this was a man who was very self-interested. And if you are self-interested, you`re then going to do what`s best for you in every case. And when it gets to -- you may say in theory I`ll take a bullet for someone, but when you`re looking down the barrel of six, eight, ten years in jail for what now appears to be increasingly serious crimes they are looking at him for, your self-interest is going to be I don`t want to go to jail and you know what, Donald Trump, maybe I would have taken a bullet for him before I was facing ten years but not taking a bullet for him for that.

LITMAN: And it could be 15.

HAYES: Well, we`ll see. I mean, again, the man has not been charged, innocent until proven guilty. He`s not -- he`s not been charged. He`s simply been raided and has a person that is a friend and business partner now cooperating with investigators. Daniel Goldman and Harry Litman, thank you both for being with me.

LITMAN: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Joining me now for more on Trump and Cohen`s background, MSNBC Contributor Tim O`Brien of Bloomberg, Author of Trump Nation: The Art of being the Donald. You know, one thing that strikes me here, I don`t think anyone -- no one should be condemned by their social network or associations, right? People rub up against all sorts of people, they might have a friend of a friend. But that said, Donald Trump is not too many stone throw`s away from people that are in pretty sketchy territory, pretty gray areas of the law with some pretty close proximity to criminal behavior.

TIM O`BRIEN, AUTHOR, TRUMP NATION: Even prior to this investigation --

HAYES: That`s what I mean. Right.

O`BRIEN: Donald Trump`s had associations going back to Atlantic City with organized crime figures. He built the Trump Soho Hotel with Felix Sater who is a career criminal. So this isn`t new territory for him. I think one of the reasons in recent weeks you`ve seen him am pup attack mode on institutions and civil servant who are roundly involved with the rule of law and civil procedure that we all sort of commonly used to respect is because he`s afraid. And I think he`s afraid that he`s going to get implicated. I`m projecting that. I`m not in his head so I don`t know. But generally, when Trump gets in a corner, he lashes out. He`s not someone to sit on his hands. And I think it`s significant this past weekend that as all of these things coalesced around him, he decided he was going to depend the Justice Department interfered with an investigation that was possibly targeting him, his children and his associates.

HAYES: And at the same time, you`ve got his lawyer like Rudy Guiliani who is both sort of trying to kind of prosecute the prosecutor, relaying all sorts of conversations he had. And he just said this about the new stance on Russian collusion, the e-mails. He said, it was sort of like a gift, he said of the campaign material stolen by Russia.

O`BRIEN: It was a gift. Yes, the e-mails were a gift. The potential proposals to get projects done in Moscow were gifts. I think one of the things that Bob Mueller has to be looking at that I think is possibly the most threatening to Trump are financial quid pro quos in exchange for policy shifts whether it involved the lifting of economic sanctions in Russia or change in attitude toward Ukraine. And obviously, Mueller is looking at those things. And I don`t think Rudy is probably being judicious when he describes these as gifts.

HAYES: Michael Cohen -- you know, Donald Trump`s someone who`s got sort of a very tight circle with his family. He doesn`t seem to have a lot of friends as far as I can tell.

O`BRIEN: He does not have a lot of friends. He`s -- and the Trump Organization is essentially a boutique operation. And I think that`s one of the reasons I`m somewhat skeptical that will Michael Cohen will ultimately be the straw that breaks the camel`s back in all of this.

HAYES: Why is that?

O`BRIEN: Well, because he`s relatively new to the organization. He joined in the late 2000`s. By the end of that period towards the beginning of the election, he and Trump were on the outs. Trump openly disparaged him. The children didn`t really have time for him. He`s not the lawyer who kept all the secrets. The lawyer in the Trump Organization who kept all the secrets is Jason Greenblatt. He`s now special envoy to Israel. The figure in the Trump Organization who kept most of the financial secrets was Allen Weisselberg. He`s still there. He runs Trump`s trust with his sons. If this investigation goes deeply into the Trump Organization, which we have no idea whether or not it`s going to. Clearly, they`ve subpoenaed records and they`re looking at that. Jason Greenblatt and Allen Weisselberg who have far more information than Michael Cohen.

HAYES: That`s fascinating. Tim O`Brien, thanks for being with me. I appreciate it.

O`BRIEN: Thank, Chris.

HAYES: Next, in light of the ever too tightening noose around Trump`s cronies, no wonder the President`s defense is moving into high gear. The latest turn in the plot to stop Mueller in two minutes.


HAYES: We are all witnessing in broad daylight a coordinated campaign between the President of the United States, his personal legal team defending him, Donald Trump as a person, Republicans in Congress and Trump media to sabotage an ongoing criminal investigation into the President`s campaign, his associates and family and the President himself. We are all watching it happen day by day. That investigation which has already resulted in 19 indictments and five guilty pleas including people that worked for the President and his campaign has yet to reach a conclusion on the key question of whether the President conspired with a foreign adversary to disrupt and sabotage the 2016 election in his favor. And now, the President and his allies are trying to make sure we never get the answer. Of course, they don`t admit in public that that is what they are up to. Instead, they hide behind lofty principles like Congressional oversight and the rule of law. The latest red herring is the baseless claim that a confidential informant used by the FBI was part of a political conspiracy against the Trump Campaign. A claim the President`s surrogates in Congress are leveraging to try and extract classified material on the Mueller probe.


TRUMP: As you know, the Congress would like to see documents opened up. A lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign. If they had spies in my campaign, that would be a disgrace to this country. It would make probably every political event ever look like small potatoes. General Kelly is going to be setting up a meeting between Congress and the various representatives, and they`ll be able to open up documents, take a look and find out what happened.


HAYES: Again, and this is important. We have zero evidence of a political conspiracy against the Trump Campaign coming from the FBI. Remember, key point, the FBI talked publicly and leaked openly about its investigation of Hillary Clinton during that campaign hurting her campaign while keeping its probe of the Trump Campaign happening at the same time completely secret. And despite all their posturing, the President and his allies keep tipping their hand about what`s really going on. Yesterday after the White House announced it would arrange a briefing for Congressional leaders, Senate Minority Leader Cluck Schumer called not unreasonably for the meeting to be bipartisan to prevent it from being politicized. Today, the White House revealed that would not be the case.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: It is scheduled to take place on Thursday of this week. The individuals that are expected to attend are Chairman Nunes, Chairman Gowdy, FBI Director Wray, DNI Director Coates and DOJ official Ed O`Callaghan. No one from the White House staff will attend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would the White House welcome Democrats to be at that meeting?

SANDERS: We`ll keep you posted. To my knowledge, the Democrats have not requested that information so I would refer you back to them on why they would consider themselves randomly invited to see something they`ve never asked to.


HAYES: Randomly invited. Republicans Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy are the only members of Congress in that meeting on Thursday along with the FBI Director, Director of National Intelligence and senior official from the Justice Department. Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono is a Democrat from Senate Judiciary Committee which has oversight of the Justice Department. What do you think about the fact this meeting will happen with no Democrats present?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think it`s ridiculous. And you know what, all facade of any kind of bipartisan objective inquiry is out the window with regard to the House and definitely with Chairman Nunes. So he`s totally compromised and he`s being a shield for the President. So we talk about the rule of law. The difference between a democracy and a totalitarian government is the rule of law. So you have a President Trump who has attacked the media. He`s gone after the -- gone after judges who don`t agree with him. He`s certainly going after the intelligence community, the FBI, Department of Justice. And these are the kinds of actions taken by people like Erdogan in Turkey, Duterte in the Philippines and, of course, Putin in Russia, all three dictators basically. The President very much admires them. So the rule of law with regard to this President is of no consequences. He does not respect the rule of law.

HAYES: Rod Rosenstein is the Deputy Attorney General, of course, is the person overseeing and supervising is the Mueller probe because Jeff Sessions is recused. The President was asked about his confidence in him today. I want to get your reaction what to what the President said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have confidence in Rod Rosenstein?

TRUMP: What`s your next question, please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, I`m a reporter from --

TRUMP: Excuse me, I have the president of South Korea here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I have a question --

TRUMP: He doesn`t want to hear these questions if you don`t mind.


HAYES: That`s by the way after a five-minute rant about a meeting that was happening over classified information with Devin Nunes. But what do you make of that reaction?

HIRONO: I think the President who started with a big lie that the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt is proceeding apace with that. And you know what, I think he is setting the stage for something to happen with regard to Rod Rosenstein. Maybe he`s a little bit assuaged because there`s a meeting going to occur which doesn`t make any sense especially as it is a meeting that involves Nunes who is already totally compromised so it`s all part of the plan to protect the President at all costs. And you know, with this President, it`s all about him every day all the time, every time.

HAYES: Should the meeting not happen?

HIRONO: It shouldn`t happen. And I`m really disappointed that Rod Rosenstein who up until now has said that the FBI cannot be coerced, et cetera, et cetera, that he`s doing this and disclosing -- I hope not disclosing confidential information to just one you know, Republican person and his mignons who have already indicated that they have no intention of supporting Bob Mueller and his investigation. So the whole thing is very questionable to me, but it is all of a piece to protect this president come what may.

HAYES: Can Devin Nunes be trusted with classified information at this point in your opinion?

HIRONO: Of course not. Of course, not. He`s totally compromised. And so his ranking member Adam Schiff has questioned this meeting. And of course, if they`re going to go ahead with the meeting, my goodness, you should have Democrats there. So the fact they don`t go through the charade of having anything objective coming out of this meeting or what they`re planning, I think it just shows that it`s all a plan to -- on behalf of President Trump and his big lie which is that the Mueller investigation is a witchhunt. And we already know that a witch hunt that produces all these indictments and all these guilty pleas, nothing could be further from the truth. And it just indicates a president who feels very much under the gun and he`s just flailing away. But you know what? He`s the President of the United States and he thinks that he can demand that the Department of Justice, which by the way he keeps calling "my department of justice", again no adherence to the rule of law at all.

HAYES: Let me ask you a final question since I have --

HIRONO: OK, I could keep -- I could keep going if I can do that.

HAYES: Well, since I have you here, I want to -- I want to ask you about this. You represent the great state of Hawaii which has been having -- you know, has been dealing with volcanic eruptions left and right. And since I do have you here, I want to ask how the state is coping, how your constituents are doing?

HIRONO: I visited with many of the people who were evacuated. Those who were at shelters this past Sunday to make sure that we were -- that I could hear what their concerns were, but there are about 12 federal agencies either on the ground or in communication with the first responders not to mention all of the state and county people who are basically 24/7 monitoring what`s going on with the air, with the volcanic flow, et cetera. So we`re doing everything we can to make sure that the people get the accurate information. And been by the way, there are not eruptions all over the place. It`s one part of one island. The big island. It is not the rest of the state.

HAYES: That sounds like the Senator that represents the state very dependent on tourism dollars, front of mind.

HIRONO: Well, it`s a fact. You know, it is a fact that the whole state is not being inundated by lava so let`s get the facts straight.

HAYES: OK, I hope -- I hope everyone is doing OK and visit Hawaii if you`re thinking of it.

HIRONO: We`ll do everything we can.

HAYES: Senator Mazie Hirono, thanks for your time.

HIRONO: Thank you. Aloha.

HAYES: For more on the GOP sabotage campaign, I`m joined by former Republican Congressman David Jolly. Here`s my view of this. It`s a pincher movement. Rather than going at -- straight at Mueller, it`s the White House comes from this side and the house comes from this side. And Lee Zeldin and Mark Meadows and all these guys and Nunes and they`re trying to squeeze from each side.

DAVID JOLLY, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: That`s it. This is no longer about getting to the truth for House Republicans. This is about insulating and protecting the President of the United States from accountability, doing so out of partisan loyalty not out of their constitutional duty.

HAYES: But you serve -- you serve with these guys.

JOLLY: I did.

HAYES: Guys I should note. You served with these guys. Is this bad faith or do they think -- here`s what I can`t tell. Do they sit and watch Fox News and read Breitbart and whatever and think, genuinely think there was a deep state political conspiracy to take down the President of the United States.

JOLLY: I think a lot of them do. And a lot of their constituency does. But look at the contrast with the Senate, Chris. The Intel Chair and ranking are not going down to view this because they know it`s bad for them and they shouldn`t be doing it. This is not about the truth. And very importantly to the President`s language today, if there`s an investigation into suspicious activity of a national political campaign provided due process followed, that is not spying. That is law enforcement doing their job. And my party has joined with Donald Trump in undermining law enforcement. The Republican Party is no longer the party that supports law enforcement no matter what they say with their rhetoric because they are undermining them by word and deed throughout this investigation.

HAYES: Louis Gohmert I thought sort of gave away the game a little bit today on the latest strategy to subvert this investigation that deals with calling for a second special counsel sort of fringe idea. Take a listen. I want to get your response.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: It was June of last year, I told President Trump look, nobody needs firing more than Robert Mueller, but you can`t be the one to fire him because we`ve got some weak need Republicans out there who will say they`ll come after you if you fire the guy that needs firing. But you can appoint a special counsel and that`s what we need then, it`s what we need now. And like any good idea, it just takes a while for it to catch on.


HAYES: Being very clear about the goal.

JOLLY: Of course. He played a strategy in public. This is about undermining Bob Mueller who Republicans were happy to embrace, who they lauded with superlatives over his record. And now because he`s actually getting close to the President, they`re trying to cut him off at the knees. At least they`re honest about it. At least they`re honest. Look, House Republicans right now are completely devoid of being a coequal branch there, simply an arm of the Trump Administration. We are a weaker nations because of what House Republicans are doing this week and continued to do.

HAYES: Do you think it`s working?

JOLLY: Yes, with the base, absolutely. Look, the base --

HAYES: It`s working. So opinion -- from a political standpoint with the base, but I mean like in terms of the institutions, you heard Senator Hirono say -- Hirono say she was disappointed that Rosenstein has agreed to this meeting. There`s worry that we`re seeing some sort of erosion.

JOLLY: They -- look, they are browbeating the very norms that we are used to. And in doing so, they`re tearing apart the fabric of the House though, of the Congress. We were happy to say we`re a co-equal branch and stand tall when we disagreed with President Obama. They`re folding like cheap suits on the Hill right now simply to protect the political fortunes of a President who mind you, most of them did not trust until he won. And then they tied their sails to him for the sake of their own --

HAYES: Have they changed their minds or they`re just doing this because that`s where the political win spot?

JOLLY: They`re doing this because a large part of the party supports Donald Trump and a lot of members support Donald Trump. This is Donald Trump`s party. Even if they don`t though, they`re doing it to protect themselves.

HAYES: All right, David Jolly, thanks for joining me. Coming up, Trump tax cut was supposed to keep jobs in America, but take a look how Harley- Davidson used its big corporate tax break. That`s next.


HAYES: The story I`m about to tell you is the kind of story that had it happened under Barack Obama`s administration Donald Trump would be telling every chance he got. Last December, President Trump signed the Republican tax bill into law touting the great volume of jobs it would bring back to America.


TRUMP: The corporate tax rate, as you know, will be lowered from 35 to 21 percent. That means that more products will be made in the USA. A lot of things are going to be happening in the USA. We`re going to bring back our companies. They`ve already started coming back.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Less than a month later it was announced about 800 workers at a Harley Davidson factory in Kansas City, Missouri were told they would lose their jobs. A few days after that, the company announced the purchase of up to 15 million shares of Harley Davidson stock, putting nearly $700 million back in the hands of their shareholders. Then just a couple weeks ago, labor union for Harley Davidson`s workers met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to raise concerns about Harley announcing the opening of an assembly plant in Thailand.

To talk more what`s going on at Harley Davdison since the signing of the tax bill, I`m joined by Rick Pence, a machinist at Harley Davidson`s Kansas City plant, and Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics and urban policy at The New School.

Let me start with you, Rick. When were you told that the factory you work at will be closing?

RICK PENCE, HARLEY DAVIDSON EMPLOYE: On the morning of January 30, we weren`t even allowed in the front door. They had a bunch of folding chairs set up right there at the main hall, weren`t allowed in, said to sit down. A few minutes later it`s go home. They said we`re closing this plant. Go home for the rest of the day and show up tomorrow and ready to work.

HAYES: So the announcement happened -- the plant is going to stay open for a little while. And this was just -- this was a month after the big tax cut bill passed?

PENCE: About five weeks.

HAYES: Did you think that that, the passage that have bill would generally be good for your company?

PENCE: we thought it would. We really thought it would. I mean, Harley netted a billion dollars last year, so that was a pretty good tax cut they got. We figured they would put some of it into us.

HAYES: And the company says that 400 of those jobs are going to go to a plant that`s in York, Pennsylvania, and 400 are just disappearing. What did they tell you about this Thailand company -- the Thailand factory?

PENCE: Yeah, they announced the Thailand plant May of 2017. It`s about completed now. They`re going to start making bikes over there real shortly.

HAYES: Darrick, let me ask you, the basic theory behind the tax cut, other than, you know, rewarding donors, was you cut taxes, you make companies more competitive. They invest more. There`s going to be an increase in capital investment like opening factories as opposed to closing them, and then more people will get jobs, right?

DARRICK HAMILTON, THE NEW SCHOOL: Yeah, I mean, if we summarize that, that is the guise of trickle down economics, the idea that with the greater resources that the company gets, they`ll be able to invest more in the workforce and hire more workers and build more American products.

HAYES: Has that happened so far?

HAMILTON: It clearly has not happened in the case of Harley Davidson. And if we find little examples where it does happen, the question is it permanent or is it really just an example of politics trying to demonstrate that it might have occurred, when in fact, at the end of the day, the firm is interested in profit maximization and trying to enrich itself, not necessarily to workers` benefits.

HAYES: You wanted to say something, Rich.

PENCE: No, I was going to agree with the other man`s comment. He was exactly right.

HAYES: And so what he is the sort of mood like in that factory? I imagine those are folks who, I don`t know the voting behavior, the people you work with, but I imagine there`s a fair amount of Trump voters. I`m imagine, there`s a bunch of people who are Republicans and thought the tax cut was a good idea and thought the jobs would stay at home. And what`s the mood like in that factory?

PENCE: Yeah, that`s exactly what it was. I guess maybe 40 percent of my plant vote for President Trump. They were -- it was very upsetting. A lot of people were very upset. It`s still hard to believe even today. It`s been a couple months now, and we still shake our heads that they`re just pulling the rug out from underneath us, putting 800 people out on the street and our families, too.

HAYES: And Harley Davidson says, well, sales are down and they said that the Thailand plant is to sell things build abroad. What`s your reaction to that?

PENCE; Well, we`ve been building bikes in our plant for 21 years that go overseas every day. Every day we build bikes that go overseas somewhere for a Harley customer to buy. We`ve been fighting tariffs for 21 years, and all at once, they just pull the plug on us.

HAYES: Darrick, one of the big things that happened is the stock buyback boom. Just explain what a stock buyback is and why companies do it, who it benefits.

HAMILTON: Well, he will well, it benefits the shareholders. It provides greater power for the company that is doing the buyback. And it was the liquidity that came about from the tax cut that empowered them to do the buybacks.

With greater liquidity and financial resources, they can rely less on the market and trying to raise liquidity in that way.

HAYES: so, you`ve got more cash from the tax cut, you can do a few things. You can invest in opening a new factory, you could raise wages, right, or you could do a buyback. I mean, those are different options you can do with that pool of money that`s sitting there.

HAMILTON: That`s exactly right. And I`m glad you framed it that way, because the big question is what else could we have done? So, even with the tax cut, what else could we have done? Is there a different strategy than trying to do what we have been doing for the past 40 years of cajoling or bribing the private sector with tax incentives and deregulation in the hopes they will hire more workers...

HAYES: Invest more.

HAMILTON: Why don`t we invest directly into the workers? You know, there are plenty of ideas we can do -- why doesn`t account federal government offer direct jobs? Why doesn`t the federal government offer what several of my colleagues have been talking about and the Democrats are starting to take up, literally a federal job guarantee.

HAYES: ...guarantee, which has been an item that Kristen Gillibrand, other folks, have been celebrating. Finally, let me ask you this, Rick, I mean, the other idea behind the tax cut was that everyone was going to get more money in their paycheck. And I wonder if personally like, what`s the trade-off look like from where you`re sitting?

PENCE; Well, when the tax cut finally rolled down to us, I got about $16, $17 more a week. And -- but now Harley is giving me one heck of a tax cut, because I won`t have no income at all next year, and my tax will be zero.

HAYES: All right, Rick pence, I`m about sorry what happened to you. I`m wishing you all the best and the folks that work with you in that plant there in Kansas City in Missouri, and Darrick Hamilton, thanks for making the time.

Still to come, meet Elliottt Broidy, the former deputy finance chair for the Republican Party, who had his very own hush money scandal, which looked really similar to President Trump`s hush money scandal, that`s just ahead.

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, since he took office, Donald Trump has tweeted over 3,300 times. That`s a lot, although, you know, glass houses I admit. And with that many tweets, of course, anyone would have their share of spelling errors, typos, that sort of thing, but the president has taken it to a whole other level. We never really got an explanation for the infamous covfefe tweet last May, so we don`t know what he was trying to spell there. That came just a few weeks after he tweeted about the White House counsel and got schooled by Miriam Webster about the difference between the two counsels.

Surprisingly, considering the amount of news about Special Counsel Mueller, he still hasn`t quite learned that lesson. There was a time he accused President Obama of tapping his phones and managed to spell the word tap wrong. Then of course there was this tweet last week about his own wife Melania who had just gotten out of the hospital where he called her Melanie.

If you ever wondered how the leader of the free world with a staff of hundreds could manage to make all those mistakes, well today we got a new explanation from the White House: they did it on purpose. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: Donald Trump`s error-filled tweets often seem impulsive, but in a new report White House staffers want us to believe those grammatical mistakes are done deliberately. Two sources telling the Boston Globes, quote, "it`s not always Trump tapping out a tweet even when it sounds like his voice. West Wing employees who draft proposed tweets intentionally employ suspect grammar and staccato syntax in order to mimic the president`s style. They overuse the exclamation point. They capitalize random words for emphasis. Fragments. Loosely connected ideas. All part of a process that is not as spontaneous as Trump`s Twitter feed often appears."

That`s a nice story, plausible, I guess, which might be more believable if someone could explain the strategy behind all the other mistakes this White House makes. By calling the president`s plane Air Force Once on an official schedule, or misspelling the word education in a Snapchat story about the secretary of education or getting British Prime Minister Theresa May`s name wrong three times so that it matched the spelling of a former porn actress.

We all make mistakes, and lord knows I make a lot -- you can go to my Twitter feed to see that -- but it must be exhausting to work so hard to get so much wrong.


HAYES: If you`ve been following the scandals in the White House, you know there`s a pretty big cast of characters. Frankly, I pay attention for a living and it can get a little much. There`s one man, though, we think is the next key figure to watch, Elliottt Broidy, who was until recently, the deputy finance chair for the Republican Party. That`s a pretty big deal. And his name came up before notably when The Wall Street Journal back in April published a really odd story about him. So, the journal reported that Donald Trump`s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who, of course, you know, had negotiated a $1.6 million settlement for a Playboy model to cover up an affair she had with Broidy and which resulted in a pregnancy that she terminated.

Now, if that sounds like it has more than a little resemblance to Donald Trump`s alleged affair with, and subsequent payoff of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, well get ready for more coincidences. Cohen received payment in both the Stormy Daniels case and this case through the same LLC he set up, Essential Consultants. The nondisclosure agreement in both cases, this is for Elliottt Broidy and his alleged affair person and for Donald Trump and his, in both cases, used the same pseudonyms, David Denison and Peggy Peterson. And both contracts not only involved Cohen on one side, but the same lawyer, Keith Davidson, representing the women in question.

But it gets ven weirder, because as we`re now learning, including from an AP story based on emails that Broidy`s lawyer has called fabricated, Broidy, like everyone else around this president, was looking to get his. According to the AP, Broidy was working with Lebanese-American George Nader to convince Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of his influence with the president, and to therefore land lucrative contracts for Mr. Broidy.

And the coincidences continue. New York Magazine reports the, quote, the first payment of the agreement with Shera Bechard, that`s the woman that Elliott Broidy paid off, was supposed to be due on December 1, 2017. OK, so he pays this $200,000 to her. And then the very next day, according to the AP story, Broidy gets a face-to-face meeting with none other than President Donald Trump. So, he pays the money, then he gets the meeting with the president.

And then the AP reports, quote, "days after Broidy`s meeting with Trump, the UAE awarded Broidy the intelligence contract the partners had been seeking for up to $600 million over 5 years. That`s a lot of money.

He pays off this woman through Michael Cohen, the president`s lawyer, using the same very similar contract, and then he gets a meeting with the president and he gets this very lucrative contract from people who thinks that he has an in with the president.

The real kicker, something you should know about Broidy, is that he`s already pleaded guilty to bribing government officials, including their girlfriends, and that story is coming up next.


HAYES: So there`s one more thing you should know about Elliottt Broidy, he has a history of bribing public officials. According to the New York State release archive at the wayback machine, Broidy paid nearly $1 million in a kickback scheme back over a decade ago. And he didn`t just bribe public officials, quote, "Broidy paid over $90,000 to the girlfriend of a high ranking official from april 2000 through October 2005, and he paid $44,000 to the relative of said girlfriend.

So, was that $1.6 million payment to Shera Bechard really about covering up an affair with Elliottt Broidy or about something else?

Here to help me figure out what`s going on, attorney Lisa Green, and University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Camposs who wrote a piece for New York Magazine today suggesting, quote, "Broidy may have been covering for Trump in that playmate affair."

And, Paul, I`ll start with you. You wrote a piece a few weeks back on this, you used some new evidence about the meeting. What is your theory here?

PAUL CAMPOS, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO LAW PROFESSOR: My theory is quite straightforward, it`s that Elliottt Broidy paid the $1.6 million that Shera Bechard demanded from Michael Cohen to cover up the affair that Donald Trump had with Shera Bechard. Elliottt Broidy did this in order to increase his influence peddling business and he was extraordinarily successful.

As you noted, he got a meeting in the Oval Office with the president. He was able to use that piece of information to impress his clients in the United Arab Emirates enough to get himself a $600 million contract, because he was trying to influence policy, U.S. policy, vis-a-vis the Gulf states. That`s a pretty good payoff, $1.6 million for a $600 million contract, it`s -- I think what is most remarkable about this story is that the truth is just lying -- I think, hidden in plain sight here.

It`s -- Donald Trump has affairs with Playboy playmates and pays them off to be silent. Elliottt Broidy bribes public officials to enhance his business interests. This should have set off red flags when Broidy told his, frankly, preposterous story to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and CNN back on April 13 in which he claimed that he had had an affair with Shera Bechard. I never believed it. And this AP story, I think, provides really compelling evidence that that`s not what happened.

HAYES: I just want to be clear here, this is a theory of yours. There is no hard evidence -- there`s a lot of circumstantial evidence about the kind of person you say Donald Trump is, the kind of person that Elliott Broidy is, the weird incongruities, you don`t have any hard evidence of this? This is a theory that you think fits the facts and evidence better.

CAMPOS: Well, Chris, I think there`s a tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence. And people go to prison in this country every day on the basis of circumstantial evidence. And there`s very much hard evidence that Donald Trump has affairs with Playmates and pays them off to keep them quiet and Elliottt Broidy bribes public officials. That`s not speculation, that`s what they do.

HAYES: Let me just say, there`s one other part of this -- there`s two things about this that are weird. So, even if you don`t think that Paul`s theory is correct, there are two things that strike me. One is, am I wrong that it`s weird to use the same template for these two different NDAs, one for President Trump where you`ve got the same, like same contract language and you`ve got the same anonymous pseudonyms, one for President Trump and one for Elliottt Broidy. Like, is that -- am I wrong that`s weird?

LISA GREEN, ATTORNEY: Without necessarily validating the theory of the case -- and it`s a fascinating one -- I think we can agree that Michael Cohen yet again proves that he is not necessarily in the first tier of lawyers. Who would ever recycle the essential elements of an NDA to make it preposterously similar?

So, I agree that is suggestive of some sort of either incredible recycling effort on Cohen`s part where he wanted to just reserve resources and only do the same thing over and over, or another connection yet to be seen.

HAYES: Let me -- one more question for you, Lisa, there`s -- the other thing that`s strange to me is the role of Keith Davidson. Keith Davidson is the lawyer for three different people: Stormy Daniels, who alleges a sexual encounter with the president of the United States; Karen McDougal, former Playboy Playmate, alleges sexual encounter with the president of the United States; and then Shera Bechard, who I guess alleges a sexual encounter with Elliott Broidy.

Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson keep hammering out these NDAs. Is that -- that also looks weird to me.

GREEN: I -- you know, there`s a current estimate there are about 1.4 million lawyers in the United States. Most of us know how to write a simple NDA. It is odd that somehow all that business goes to two guys.

HAYES: Paul, what do you think?

CAMPOS: Oh, it`s absolutely -- it`s beyond odd. I mean, it`s not a coincidence all thesewomen have fired Keith Davidson, because they`ve all come to the conclusion that he was actually in cahoots with Michael Cohen. And I think there`s very strong evidence that that is the case.

HAYES: Wait, let me just stop you there, I just want to -- so, is that true that all three, that Stormy Daniels, obviously Michael Avenatti represents her now -- Karen McDougal and also Shera Bechard have all fired Keith Davidson, the person who struck these NDAs for them?

CAMPOS: That`s right. And they did so because they all concluded that Keith Davidson wasn`t on the up and up. And I think, again, there`s compelling evidence for that.

And to elaborate a little bit on Lisa`s point about using Michael Cohen, who is obviously one of the worst lawyers in the United States, why would Elliottt Broidy, a man who in all his other legal affairs, uses only the top tier legal representation, the very top firms and the very top lawyers in the country, go to this barely lawyer, basically thug to work out an NDA on this incredibly sensitive matter? It is completely preposterous on its face.

And it`s amazing that the media continues to essentially transcribe the story they`ve been fed that here I want to emphasize there is no evidence for. There no evidence that...

HAYES: That`s a good point about who he chose for his representation. We also know that only three clients for Michael Cohen -- Broidy, Hannity and Trump.

Lisa Green, Paul Camposs, thanks for joining me.

A reminder, you can now listen to All In as a podcast, and there is our brand new podcast Why is This Happening? There`s a new episode out right now today. It`s on the rule of law in the era of Donald Trump featuring the greatest lawyer for her generation, Kate Shaw, who, along with having worked at the White House and clerked at the Supreme Court, also happens to be my wife. You can listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, it`s a fun one.

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


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