Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: July 16, 2018 Guest: Cory Booker, John McLaughlin, Michael Isikoff, Julia Ioffe
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- to the military domination of Moscow. Was there an objective and obvious reason for this national humiliation? History demands an answer and so are the American people. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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ALI VELSHI, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.
VELSHI: Trump stands with Putin.
TRUMP: He just said it`s not Russia. I will say this, I don`t see any reason why it would be.
VELSHI: And slams U.S. intelligence.
TRUMP: What happened to Hillary Clinton`s e-mails?
VELSHI: Tonight, accusations of treason.
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA: Mr. Putin now is the master puppeteer of Donald Trump, the person who is in our Oval Office. It`s outrageous.
VELSHI: And the big flashing red warning light about the next election.
TRUMP: This was a very constructive few hours that we spent together.
VELSHI: Plus the Mueller investigation under attack.
TRUMP: I think that the probe is a disaster for our country.
VELSHI: And Putin`s non-denial on kompromat.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA: And now to the compromising material.
VELSHI: What does Russia know about Trump?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: If that`s not the explanation that Putin has something on it, what is it? What the heck could it be?
VELSHI: ALL IN starts now
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VELSHI: Good evening from New York, I`m Ali Velshi in for Chris Hayes. Three days ago, on the same day that Robert Mueller charged 12 Russian military officers in a conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 election, the President`s own Director of National Intelligence former Republican Senator Dan Coates warned that it may be about to happen again comparing this moment right now to the summer before 9/11.
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DAN COATES, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: He was in the months prior to September 2001 when according to then CIA Director George Tenet the system was blinking red and here we are two decades, nearly two decades later and I`m here to say the warning lights are freaking blinking red.
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VELSHI: The warning lights are blinking red. Today, one of Coates` Intelligence Community predecessors former CIA Director John Brennan issued a different kind of warning calling the President of the United States "nothing short of treasonous for siding with the man behind both that 2016 attack and the ongoing intrusions that Coates warned about Russian President Vladimir Putin." In January 2017, Brennan was one of four senior intelligence officials who briefed then President-Elect Trump on Russia`s campaign to subvert the American election, a campaign that according to intelligence assessments was specifically aimed at getting Trump elected. Today in a year and a half later the President appeared to return the favor to Putin`s -- for Putin`s help taking the Russian president`s side over the U.S. government, the Intelligence Community, and his own hand-picked Intelligence Director.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just now President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. Intelligence Agency has concluded that Russia did. What -- who -- my first question for you, sir, is who do you believe? My second question is, would you now with the whole world watching tell President Putin would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?
TRUMP: So let me just say that we two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server, why haven`t they taken the server. With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others they said they think it`s Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it`s not Russia. I will say this, I don`t see any reason why it would be but I really do want to see the server. I also have great confidence in my intelligence people but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today and --
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VELSHI: If you`re a little confused about the whole server thing, don`t worry so was much of the world. Coates, the President`s own Director of National Intelligence responded to what Trump said in a statement. He said, "we have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy." It`s pretty clear. The President`s extraordinary comments come just three days after Mueller`s latest indictment was spelled out in (INAUDIBLE) detail. How those twelve Russian military intelligence officers hacked into Democratic servers and released the stolen material. Today, the President who is himself a subject of Mueller`s probe faulted both sides -- both sides for the current state of affairs singling out the special counsel.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular and if so what would you -- what would you consider them that they are responsible for?
TRUMP: Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we`ve all been foolish. We should had this dialogue a long time ago. I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it`s kept us apart. It`s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. The main thing and we discussed this also is zero collusion and it has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. It`s ridiculous, it`s ridiculous what`s going on with the probe.
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VELSHI: Yes Mr. President, that was, in fact, your outside voice. That`s what the President said in public. We have absolutely no idea what he discussed with Putin while they met one-on-one for over two hours. This is how Republican Senator John McCain who`s currently in treatment for brain cancer summed up the President`s performance. "Today`s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. According to former CIA Director Brennan that performance "rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors" which by the way is the condition for impeachment. Brennan now an MSNBC Contributor elaborated on a phone call earlier today.
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BRENNAN: One can only conclude that he fears Vladimir Putin and that one- on-one discussion who knows what was discussed there and how Mr. Putin now is the master puppeteer of Donald Trump the person who is in our Oval Office. Outrageous.
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VELSHI: Former FBI Director James Comey tweeted "this was the day an American president stood on foreign soil next to a murderous lying thug and refused to back his own country. Patriots need to stand up and reject the behavior of this president." And this was the reaction from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.
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SCHUMER: A single ominous question now hangs over the White House. What could possibly cause President Trump to put the interests of Russia over those of the United States? Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this dangerous behavior is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump.
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VELSHI: All right, for more on the President`s stunning performance today I`m joined by Senator Cory Booker, Democrat from New Jersey. Senator, the question that Chuck Schumer put out there or that John Brennan put out there is the one that many Americans who even were not until today predisposed to thinking that the Russian president has something on Donald Trump. That is the question we are all now left asking. What other reason could there be for President Trump not to even entertain the possibility that his Senate, his House and his Intelligence Agencies have come to that Russia was meddling and continues to meddle in American politics?
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: Yes, well, his behavior was so shameful, so weak. I would even use the word submissive before Vladimir Putin. You have to wonder why. And we know our president. He`s this guy with his hair-trigger -- hair strings trigger where he attacks people left and right with really very little provocation getting in people`s face whether it`s military folks press, even people within his own cabinet he attacks, attacks, attacks. But the one person that he`s not attacking, did quite the contrary who he`s being submissive to, who he`s elevated on the world stage, who he`s been willing to go against our allies criticizing them more than he has any criticism for Vladimir Putin is this dictator who has murdered his own people, who`s murdered people on British soil, who was brought down an airliner over Ukraine, who`s annexed Crimea, who has attacked to this country with cyber-attacks and is continuing to do so.
And so this is a President who has betrayed what I believe is the role of a Commander-in-Chief to protect this country. We all swear oaths to defend the United States of America and what he`s doing to his complicity in Putin`s behavior and we know Putin is somebody that needs to be met --
VELSHI: Let me ask you this --
BOOKER: -- he`s encouraging it to be ongoing.
VELSHI: Because the President`s selling point here was that these are two nuclear superpowers that need to be in closer coordination, virtually nobody believed that. But one person in your chamber did. Senator Rand Paul had a remarkable response to a remarkable press conference. Listen with me.
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SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think they you know, the people we`ve indicted in all likelihood were people that were meddling somehow in the election. But I would also put it in perspective. I think we have gone a little deranged as far as over-the-top on this thing so the Russian meddling in the election, maybe they thought it might be better to have Trump but guess what, in the end what they`ve done is made it impossible for any engagement to happen because everybody is crazy now about the meddling in the election. So when I talk to the Russians, that`s what I say to them. I can`t prove whether you did or didn`t but think twice about it because you`ve messed it up --
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VELSHI: It`s kind of a remarkable response. I`m assuming that you`ve talked to your colleagues on both sides of the aisle today and that is not a widely held a view of how President Trump acted and what should happen next.
BOOKER: No, I mean, I`ve had moments sort of honest, very honest moments with my Republican colleagues. Everybody is somewhere between stunned and outraged that we would so debase our nation, that we have a president that attacks his own country, attacks his own intelligence officers and really frankly invites Russians to continue to doing what they`re doing to our nation.
VELSHI: Senator Booker, what`s your message -- what`s your message to our allies? This president has fought with Justin Trudeau, with Theresa May, with Angela Merkel, our strongest allies in the world. He`s got NATO very scared tonight as people are asleep in Europe. What`s your message to our allies?
BOOKER: Well, I think that again with all the partisanship people look to and think they see in Washington, remember, we just before we left for this weekend in a unanimous way passed legislation a resolution affirming NATO here in the United States Senate. We know the importance of not only NATO but the G7 without Russia making it the G8. We know the importance of our Canadian allies and our Mexican allies. We know in this world you need friends and we stand by our friends.
And when someone has proven themselves to be an enemy, has attacked our country and others, has violated international rule, has showed thuggishness and undemocratic ways, then we all have to stand united against that individual in that nation. And I`m telling you right now what Donald Trump has done is a betrayal of those ideas and undermine the safety and security of our nation and all of us. This is why I was happy to see even Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell releasing the state -- critical statements today. All of us should unite in one voice and saying no, not here, this is not the United States of America. We are the strongest nation on the planet Earth and we will defend ourselves.
VELSHI: Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, thank you for your time tonight, sir.
BOOKER: Thank you.
VELSHI: All right, here to help us understand what we just witnessed today, I`m joined by MSNBC Global Affairs Analyst John McLaughlin, former Acting Director of the CIA. Sir, I have to -- I have to ask you about what we`re supposed to make of a president who in a press conference and in a media interview suggested that the advice from his Director of National Intelligence is just not something he takes. He just doesn`t share the view the Dan Coates shared with him that represents the consensus of the Intelligence Community on Russian interference in the election.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CIA: Well, Ali, it`s even worse than that. I mean, what he`s refuting here, what he`s refusing to accept is the consensus of the Intelligence Community, what we have learned from the special counsel and what has been concluded by the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee in their look at the issue of Russian intervention in our election. So he`s turning his back on all of that. It`s a time I think when it doesn`t help to mince words. I think what`s gone on here is that America has been attacked and the President sides with the enemy. It`s about that simple. And good on Dan Coates by the way. Those of us who worked in the intelligence field are very gratified by the fact that among all of the officials of the U.S. government, the one who has spoken up in the aftermath of this and reaffirmed what he said earlier about Russian intervention is Dan Coates and --
VELSHI: Right. It`s noteworthy that Dan Coates issued a statement after the press conference reiterating his view of Russian interference in the Intelligence Community`s view of Russian interference. That in the -- in the Trump administration has got to put you on thin ice.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I don`t know. You know, I think what I feel good about what Dan Coates` statement is that`s the role of intelligence. Intelligence is the is the part of our government that has the job of walking in the room and saying the truth regardless of where that the chips may fall and I`m proud of Dan Coates for doing that. What we need now I think is for you know, the concept that occurred to me a couple times today is the concept of an intervention with the President and I think it needs to come from --
VELSHI: Who conducts that?
MCLAUGHLIN: Pardon me?
VELSHI: Who conduct such an intervention? Who would do that?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the way I was thinking about it and everyone is, of course, brainstorming and thinking about this and going crazy about it all day long but it seems to me it ought to come from elected officials in his own party. I kept thinking back to the time when people like Hugh Scott, a legendary Senator and Barry Goldwater and others showed up in Nixon`s office to tell him game`s up. I don`t know that they would be showing up to tell the President games up. They would be showing up though to tell him you know, Mr. President, this has to stop. You`ve gone too far now.
VELSHI: John, there are -- you know, there are some Americans probably not a whole lot who are watching us tonight but have a benign view of what the President`s connection to Russia is. They may believe the President`s constant reiterations that there was no collusion but one is faced with the reality. Senator Tammy Duckworth put it out today where she says Republicans in Congress cannot continue to turn a blind eye toward the very real possibility that Vladimir Putin has compromised our Commander in Chief and turned him perhaps without his knowledge into a Russian asset. One is left with diminishing possibilities here as to why Donald Trump won`t take one of the easy options and try to confront Vladimir Putin one-tenth as much as he goes after Trudeau, and Merkel, and May, and others.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it`s hard to know. You know, I would say he`s acting like -- of course, we don`t know the facts yet. We`ll find out eventually. But he`s acting brilliantly like what we would call in my former business not a controlled asset but an agent of influence. That is someone who is easily influenced to say in this case what the Russians want him to say and how they want him to act. I put this down in large part. We`ll find out eventually if there is some kind of collusion or with Putin holds something over his head. Who knows at this point? I put it down in part to naivete and arrogance.
It is typical often for American foreign policy officials to believe what others tell them even -- because they`re saying it to them, no one would lie to me if you`re -- if you`re naive and arrogant and if you don`t have the experience. I can tell you, Ali, I have gone to Russia a number of times in my former job and actually since my former job and sat in the Kremlin. In my former job, I actually sat a couple times in the Lubyanka, the head of the KGB so they -- the brutal place where they used to take prisoners and had conversations with Russians where I knew they were lying to me. And the important thing is to let them know that you know they`re lying. That doesn`t mean they`re going to admit it but it means they then have some respect for you and they -- and they know you`re not putty in their hands.
VELSHI: Well, let`s hope that would happen in the two hours preceding that press conference that we watched today. John, good to see you as always, John McLaughlin. All right, for more on the President`s relationship with Vladimir Putin, I`m joined by Julia Ioffe, Correspondent for G.Q. Magazine and Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent for Yahoo! News, and Co-Author of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin`s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. Thanks to both of you. Julia, what do you make of what we`ve been talking about so far? You know at some point one grows tired of thinking that the President`s just not listening to his advisors or the President must know better. You`ve got to arrive at the conclusion that he knew what he was doing. The whole world told him he wasn`t prepared for this meeting and he said he`d prepared -- been preparing all his life for it. He went in there apparently knowing what he was doing.
JULIA IOFFE, CORRESPONDENT, G.Q. MAGAZINE: I think that`s probably true. I think he went in there knowing that he was meeting with a man who expressed a clear preference for him during the election, after the election. Donald Trump has seen even more than we`ve seen in terms of classified intelligence on what the Russians did to help him win so you know, I and I think that he -- you know, he again thinks it was a brilliant campaign and Russia has helped a little bit. Why should he think that this was an attack? They helped him. I think -- I think John McLaughlin is right. When you`re naive and arrogant and perhaps narcissistic, when it`s all about you and you`re -- and you versus your enemies, it`s not about the country it`s about Donald Trump. The Democrats to him are not American worth defending. Hillary Clinton is not an American worth defending. It`s just -- you know, he was -- he was helped, he`s glad he was helped and he doesn`t see anything wrong with it.
VELSHI: And Michael, as he likes to point out, he won. It is kind of interesting because while a lot of people don`t draw a clear line between collusion and interference, the fact is there two things they maybe two things. There may be two things that worked hand-in-hand, we don`t know that but Donald Trump doesn`t seem to be able to separate them either. He was asked several questions today about Russian interference which Republicans will tell you is established fact based on our intelligence and our committees. Donald Trump won`t even go that far.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Yes, look, you know, the word meddling is sometimes used, interference, I mean, the enormity of what took place in 2016 I don`t think has fully been grasped yet by most people. I mean, this was multifaceted influence campaign at every level involving cyber attacks, information warfare, probes of state election sites, social media masquerading and it was all designed for the purpose of sowing as much discord in the American electorate denigrating Hillary Clinton and at times boosting Donald Trump. So you know, it`s just Trump clearly his campaign benefited from much of this.
The fact that the Podesta e-mails were strategically dribbled out in the closing weeks of the campaign keeping alive all the questions about Hillary Clinton`s own conduct unquestionably helped Trump but he doesn`t want to accept that. And just sort of one point you know, Putin of course, was trained by the KGB. The KGB for decades during the Cold War engaged in active measures for the sole purpose of undermining the credibility of US intelligence agencies and law enforcement. You know, the CIA created AIDS. The CIA had secret biological warfare labs that they used around the world, all of that. Here we had today the President of the United States doing the successor of the KGB`s business by undermining the work of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement --
VELSHI: But -- so Julia, for a lot of people that changed something today. The idea that the last stand was the President possibly surprising us and saying something to -- in public to Vladimir Putin that maybe they agreed beforehand in the two hours they were together, I`m going to say this, just ignore it. He didn`t even do that. What`s left? What do most Americans who sit here tonight in fear thinking wow have we really rolled over for the Russians? What do they have to think about now?
IOFFE: Well, I don`t know that most Americans are thinking that. I`m sure -- I`m sure there are a lot of Americans especially on the who don`t see a problem with this. You know, I think John McLaughlin made an interesting point that we were attacked and Donald Trump is siding with the attackers. On 9/11 they happened to be brown Muslim men from other countries and I think that was very easy for people to understand especially in America`s heartland. When it`s a white Christian leader in charge of a white Christian country who flatters Donald Trump and is all about Donald Trump and these are people who are getting their information from Fox News which is all about how there was going to be a war and there was going to be no war. Like the same way that we -- that we saw with North Korea.
Donald Trump averted a war with North Korea that was never going to happen. Today Donald Trump averted war with Russia -- right. But I think they`re seeing a totally different picture. I think that`s part of the problem and Donald Trump is doing Vladimir Putin`s dirty work for him with his own hands.
VELSHI: It`s truly remarkable to behold. Julia Ioffe, Michael Isikoff, great to have both of you on tonight. Thank you for joining me.
ISIKOFF: Thank you.
VELSHI: All right, much more on the fallout from the President`s performance today including his shocking comments about the Mueller investigation and as we just mentioned nuclear weapons next.
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TRUMP: I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it`s kept us apart. It`s kept us separated and it has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between the two countries. It`s ridiculous, it`s ridiculous what`s going on with the probe.
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VELSHI: President Trump today standing beside Vladimir Putin seemed to suggest that the Mueller probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was elevating the risk of nuclear war. Joining me now for more on what exactly we witnessed today MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst Matthew Miller, former spokesperson at the Justice Department and with me is MSNBC Contributor Jill Wine-Banks who was one of the Watergate prosecutors. Jill, I`m going to start with you because this is a remarkable technique of distraction for all the very valid concerns that people around the world have about nuclear war. This hasn`t generally been where this conversation is gone. But the President seems to bring anything possible in to try and distract anybody from suggesting that he is doing Vladimir Putin`s bidding.
JILL WINE-BANK, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, as someone who grew up in a time when we used to have to hide in the hallways and sit because of air raid drills fearing nuclear weapons, this is very scary but it is not the conduct of the special prosecutor that is creating any problem, it is the conduct of Russia and it is the conduct of the President in response to that. I looked up the definition of treason as soon as people started saying this was treason and indeed it is. Treason is giving aid and comfort to our enemy and this is definitely giving aid and comfort to reject the opinions of your in own intelligence community, your own Department of Justice, the special prosecutor, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee and to accept the word of President Putin is treason. And I hope that the American people Democrats and Republicans will really take action in response to this. This should motivate people to vote in November.
VELSHI: I want to, Matthew, read you something that was just published in The Washington Post today, new reporting, just now in fact that said that ahead of the meeting staffers provided Trump with some 100 pages of briefing materials aimed at laying out a tough posture toward Putin but the President ignored most of it according to one person familiar with the discussions who requested anonymity to disclose internal deliberations. Trump`s remarks were very much counter to the plan, the person said. Are we just all being duped? Are we all silly to think that there is a plan and there is research and there are intelligence briefings and there are trained intelligence officers and that the president is ever giving -- the president ever is going to use the option of listening to them?
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think the staff can have a plan but it`s very clear the president has a different plan. And he`s had a different plan all along when it comes to dealing with Russia and dealing with Vladimir Putin.
One of the things that, you know, when you look at how he behaved today, when you see the staff having a very different idea for how this ought to go than he does, they don`t know what he did during the campaign. They don`t know how far back his interests go in Russia and whether there`s anything compromising there. They don`t know whether the stories in the dossier are true. So when you see Donald Trump behaving in ways that don`t make sense both to his outside observers and his very own staff, you have to ask is he just being irrational or is he actually making a rational decision...
VELSHI: This is my point, maybe he`s being rational.
Jill, you know, the president -- I want to just read a little more from this new Washington Post reporting: "the U.S. president spent much of the weekend growling, in the words of one White House official, over his own Justice Department`s indictment on Friday of 12 Russian intelligence officials for interfering in the 2016 election. He fretted that the timing of the indictments was intended to injury him politically, the official said. He also made clear that he was more excited to sit down with the Russian president than he had been to visit with NATO or allies earlier in the week in Brussels."
That`s an amazing, amazing sentence. He was more excited to sit down with the Russian president than he had been to visit with NATO allies. At some point this has a complexity that`s even richer than the one you were involved in with the Watergate investigation in that nobody thought that Richard Nixon was working on behalf of an enemy of the United States. How do you even make sense of this?
WINE-BANKS: You can`t make sense of it. It`s very hard to possibly analyze. And you`re quite correct, the burglars were Americans. They worked for the White House. They worked for the committee to re-elect the president. They weren`t foreign agents. And yet we were burglarized this time by foreign agents. And it`s just as serious to me as the Cuban missile crisis in terms of an attack, or the 9/11 attack.
The president is taking the side of the people who attacked us instead of trying to prevent a future attack. He has done nothing to make sure that the elections four months away are going to be safe. And I would say that his performance today will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht.
And it`s really a serious issue that we need to deal with. There`s no explanation for what could be motivating him. No matter what Russia has on him, if that`s the explanation, it can`t be as bad as his behavior is today. And I think as General McLaughlin mentioned, I`d like to see where are the Republican patriots, the men who were like Senators Goldwater and Scott and Rhodes, who came to the White House and said to the president we know the facts and you are done, and he resigned. He resigned, announced it the next day, and was out there the day after that. That`s what we need.
VELSHI: Where are the patriots indeed?
Matthew Miller and Jill Wine-Banks, thank you both for being with me tonight.
Coming up, from showing up late to getting the first question, the multiple ways that Putin ran roughshod over President Trump today, just ahead.
VELSHI: President Putin floated an idea today about the 12 Russians indicted by Special Counsel Mueller, and President Trump seemed to love it.
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VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA, (through translator): We can actually permit official representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller, we can let them into the country and they will be present at this questioning. But in this case there is another condition, this kind of effort should be a mutual one. Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate. For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder in this particular case.
TRUMP: What he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that`s an incredible offer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: No. It`s actually not an incredible offer because Bill Browder, an American citizen, by the way, is the man who lobbied for the Magnitsky Act, imposing sanctions on officials responsible for the death of his former lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who blew the whistle on massive fraud in the Russian government.
I got the chance to talk to Mr. Browder earlier about why he has gotten under Putin`s skin.
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BILL BROWDER, CEO HERMITAGE CAPITAL: It`s kind of a -- the Achilles heel of Vladimir Putin that we found through this Magnitsky Act, and that`s why he`s so obsessed by me and by the Magnitsky Act, and that`s why he keeps on bringing it up with Trump and people close to him.
Putin`s got a real problem here, because I put his money at risk, and that`s why he`s so angry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Now, Putin may be angry, but he`s also in complete control, which was on full display in the way he owned the room at today`s press conference. I`ll have more on that next.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was not a very forceful presentation from President Trump with Putin standing right next to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just found that Vladimir Putin appeared to run circles around the president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He basically said he didn`t buy what his own intelligence community was telling him. He should have defended us. He should have defended his own intelligence community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This to me was just outrageous. And I think you`re hearing it, you know, listen...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, from everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You used the wort upsetting and Neil uses the word disgusting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And disappointing...
I`ll add another word, OK? Unpatriotic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Even on right-wing networks like Fox Business, President Trump was widely seen as weak, submissive, and unpatriotic. As the Drudge Report puts it, Putin dominates in Helsinki. He made Trump wait 30 minutes to start their meeting. And then he spoke first at the press conference.
Joining me now is Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, a member of the foreign relations committee. Senator, good to see you again.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY, (D) OREGON: Ali, good to see you.
VELSHI; But it`s a strange night. This is a night -- I mean, usually people talking about unpatriotic and treasonous and traitorous. These are things that recall some of our worst moments in American history.
But today people on all sides of this political spectrum have no other reasoning to fall back upon except that either Donald Trump is in the pocket of Vladimir Putin or Putin`s got something on Donald Trump. You`ve speculated that it might be the latter.
MERKLEY: Well, there has to be an explanation about how the president completely abandoned the United States of America. He didn`t weigh in on Crimea, on the Ukraine, on the use of chemical weapons against the Russians in Britain, people in Britain, about his support of the Syrian government in bombing and obliterating villages, about being involved in our elections and underming them.
The president abandoned his representation of America and became today a spokesman for the Russians.
VELSHI: You know, senator, if you believe that the president is light on Russia because they maybe he believes they helped him win the election or at least they came out against Hillary Clinton and maybe he just thinks that`s a nice thing, that`s very different from thinking that he may be acting a certain way because they`ve got something on him. And at that point you in the senate and your colleagues on both sides of the aisle have got to think about what the next steps are.
MERKLEY: Well, absolutely. We should be in full investigation mode to try to understand exactly what`s going on. But our Republican colleagues who control the committees aren`t going to conduct those investigations, therefore, we are where we are right now in simply kind of speculating from the outside.
But what we don`t have to speculate about is what happened today in which the president did not represent American interests. He abandoned the arguments and evidence put forward by our own government, our multiple intelligence agencies in excruciating detail, the indictments of the Russians and said all of it is essentially a fiction, that after all Putin told him they didn`t do it, so end of story.
VELSHI: But senator, I mean, America, the president kept talking about how this is an equal nuclear power. The fact is America has 10 times the military might that Russia has. It`s got ten times the GDP that Russia has. How is it that Vladimir Putin came across as looking like he was in control of this whole thing today?
MERKLEY: Well, he manipulated the entire gathering from showing up late and keeping President Trump waiting to dominating the podium, to putting forward the absurd suggestion that it was a moral equivalence between the United States of America, that they would facilitate our investigation if we facilitated their investigation against an individual who made sure the Magnitsky Act, as you mentioned earlier, this was a case in which the Russian government killed an individual who brought to light vast corruption of the Russian government.
And we put forward sanctions saying that when human rights are trod and knocked down around the world we`re going to stand up for people. And the president put the two nations on the same plane is really -- it`s really horrific.
VELSHI: Senator, good to see you as always. Senator Jeff Merkley, thanks for being on with me tonight.
Joining me now Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign and former White House director of communications under President Obama., and Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies."
Rick, yyou tweeted out earlier that you`re going to be on the show with me and we`re going to be talking about summer gardening tips and the best deals on Amazon Prime, and by the way, filthy traitors who sell out their country.
This was a remarkable moment today. Four people who really weren`t willing to accept the fact that Donald Trump was in Vladimir Putin`s pocket. What happened next?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, I think what happens next, unfortunately in Washington, is Republicans will do their furrowed brows and deep concern act for 24 hours, then they`ll get right back on the Trump-Putin effort to delegitimize the investigation into Russian hacking into our country and Russians` attempt to manipulate our elections. They`ll be right back on the fire Mueller train in 48 hours or less.
I do think, though, that a lot of people today saw the real Donald Trump. They saw the Donald Trump who comes out acting like he`s the swaggering alpha male and he sat there on the stage like a whipped dog. I mean, he wanted Vladimir Putin`s approval. He didn`t care about anything else. He wanted Vladimir Putin to pat him on the head and to tell him he`s a good boy and nothing else mattered.
He was defending himself with these wild haymaker punches trying to bring Hillary Clinton back into the conversation. But it was very clear today who the boss was in that room and who wears the dog collar, and it`s Donald Trump.
VELSHI: Well, Jennifer, if there are residual payments for each time that the Hillary Clinton campaign is mentioned out of context by the president of the United States, you`d be rich. I mean, it is kind of fascinating that he was asked a very direct question about Russian interference in the election and he answered with Hillary Clinton and some Pakistani guy and a server.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS: Yeah, completely incomprehensible answer that was based off of, you know, concocted propaganda that I imagine was fed to him by the Russians.
It was in some ways not a surprising thing to see the way today played out, but it was stunning. And it was stunning to see among other things the president of the United States and the president of Russia appear to swap, you know, debunked propaganda stories about Hillary Clinton 18 months into the Trump presidency.
VELSHI: But you`re a communications expert, right? There were 99 other ways to skin that cat when President Trump was asked three or four direct questions from reporters, "do you believe your intelligence officials? Do you have anything you could possibly say to Russia? Is there anything you would say to Vladimir Putin?" I mean, explain to me the thinking here. You`ve worked with presidents...
PALMIERI: I think as is often the case with Trump we look for a more complicated answer than the one that is right in front of us, which is he does Putin`s bidding because he is indebted to him in many ways. And that was the most logical explanation for his behavior during the campaign and it`s the most logical explanation for today.
I imagine that -- you know, you see a lot of American former officials and thankfully members of congress come out as well today to put in very stark terms just how bought in to Donald Trump Russia appears to be and vice versa,
But we also saw this during the campaign. Mike Morel, who had been the acting director of the CIA, wrote an op-ed in August of 2016 saying I have concluded as a 30-year intel official that Donald Trump has become an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.
And now we see on the world stage what that looks like. You know, the indictment told us that Russia spent $90,000 in Bitcoin currency to conduct the hack, and $90,000 bought them...
VELSHI: That was a good deal.
PALMIERI: ...a neutering of the United States on the world stage. It`s remarkable to see.
VELSHI: So, Rick, the fact is we talked about earlier in the show, we talked about Rand Paul, who has bought into the idea that you know what communications with Russia is better, good relations are more important than not and this is all become a feeding frenzy.
At some point self-respecting Americans have got to say whatever you think the reason is, it`s just unpatriotic.
WILSON: It is only a feeding frenzy today because Donald Trump dumped a dump truck of chum into the water. He -- Donald Trump brought this on himself. He sided with Vladimir Putin during the course of this press conference and god knows what happened during the meeting, probably a foot massage. And did he something today that brought this feeding frenzy on. And almost every Republican in D.C. in elected office has come out and said, please, Donald, stop talking you`re hurting the team.
VELSHI: We`re going to leave it there, Rick. I`m sorry we didn`t get to talk about Amazon Prime, but there`s always tomorrow. Jennifer Palmieri and Rick Wilson, thank you for joining me.
The ranking member on the House intel committee on the president`s performance up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: There is no collusion at all, that the main thing -- and we discussed this also, zero collusion. Just to say the one time again, and I say it all the time, there was no collusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: No collusion. No collusion. That was the president`s refrain today, yet as The Washington Post`s editorial board pointed out this afternoon, quote, in refusing to acknowledge the plain facts about Russia`s behavior, while trashing his own country`s justice system, Mr. Trump was in fact openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power.
Congressman Adam Schiff is the ranking member of the House intelligence committee. He joins me from Washington, D.C. tonight.
Congressman, what do you make of the president`s comments today standing next to Vladimir Putin, when presented by journalists with every opportunity to say something else, to say even the most benign thing about not wanting the interference of another country into America`s elections. He took no such opportunity.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: He certainly didn`t. And I think we were all surprised that we could still be shocked by this president`s behavior, but it was stunning to see what a complete surrender of American interests and values was represented at that summit, as the president of the United States stood side by side with the Russian leader, refused to confront him and far from it, basically said, I don`t believe my own intelligence agencies. I don`t trust my own Justice Department. I trust this former KGB officer more. And having just disparaged our NATO and european allies, this is the guy I want to make common cause with. It could not have been a more wholesale betrayal of what America stands for.
VELSHI: I think the commentary about Dan Coates caught a lot of people off guard, because the president is used to blaming you and your ilk, the intel committee, Democrats, whoever he calls the deep state, the FBI, all sorts of folks, but Dan Coates is a Republican, a former Republcian Senator whom the president picked to be his director of national intelligence. That`s an important decision. You would think at the very least, if you had trouble with your DNI, you wouldn`t say in it front of the leader of an adverse nation.
SCHIFF: Well, that`s certainly true. You wouldn`t make your disagreements with your own agencies or agency heads public, and you wouldn`t do it certainly right at a meeting with a foreign adversary who was the architect of interference in an our election.
You know, this is staggering at just about any level you look at it. Why the president of the United States would want to in a meeting like this throw his own country under the bus. There is just no other way to interpret this except to say he is not putting manager first at all. In this case, he was clearly putting Russia first and putting what must be his sense of his own personal interests.
But it is hard to see, frankly, how he advanced his personal interests by this complete debasement in front of this dictator.
VELSHI: Well, it is easy to see how Vladimir Putin benefits from the press conference today, how he benefited from the president criticizing NATO, the president criticizing Germany`s internal political issues with natural gas pipelines last week, criticizing Teresa May and her handling of Brexit.
This seems like it couldn`t have been better if Vladimir Putin orchestrated the last seven days himself.
SCHIFF: Well, that`s absolutely right. I mean, this is the Kremlin`s dream come true. You have a U.S. president who is affirmatively trashing our NATO alliance, trashing the European Union, pushing for a faster Brexit, pushing for other countries like France to also leave Europe, and then comes the Helsinki and basically says, I completely agree with the Russia talking points. I completely agree with what the Kremlin is having Vladimir Putin say. And that is, there was no interference in the American election. Why would Russia interfere? It is just beyond comprehension.
And at some point, the members of this body, Democrats and Republicans, need to speak out in unity to rebuke this president and this betrayal of our values.
VELSHI: How does that happen, congressman? How does that happen? Who makes that happen? Because there has been almost universal condemnation of the president`s comments today across the board and across party lines. But as said, you wouldn`t have thought you could be more surprised, except for all of us watching this press conference today were once again surprised at a level we didn`t expect.
SCHIFF: Well, you have a few people, like John McCain, who are speaking out quite directly and very strongly. But you`ve got the vast majority of GOP members in this capital who are remaining silent, who are running away from the camera or merely describing this as a missed opportunity.
This was no missed opportunity. This was a complete surrender of our values and our interests and our national security. And people need to speak out. How does that happen? I don`t know what more it will take. I would have thought we would have been at that point when the president called our press the enemy of the people, or started denigrating judges based on their ethnicity, or separating kids from their parents. But here, any vestige the GOP has of being the party of Ronald Reagan is gone. And for these members here in this building to remain mute, they make themselves complicit in the undermining of our national interests.
VELSHI: Congressman, this will be one of those days where all Americans are going to remember exactly where they were when they heard that press conference taking place. Congressman Adam Schiff, thanks for making the time tonight.
SCHIFF: Well, I think you`re right. I think Americans are going to remember where they were when the American president betrayed the interests of our country.
VELSHI: This is a big one.
Congressman, thanks for making the time. Good to see you, again.
SCHIFF: Good to see you.
VELSHI: And that is All In for this evening. Thank you for being with me. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
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