Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: July 31, 2018 Guest: Zoe Tillman, Mazie Hirono, Angus King
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- the far right gun crowd. That`s how Donald Trump does if the federal court`s will. One judge already has. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I`m working directly for Donald Trump but I`m working with the whole team as well.
HAYES: Mueller time for Paul Manafort.
MANAFORT: A lot of what`s being talked about is much ado about nothing.
HAYES: Day one of the trial of Donald Trump`s former campaign chairman.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And Paul Manafort has done an amazing job.
HAYES: Tonight, why prosecutors are calling Manafort a shrewd liar and what we now know about the Manafort defense. Then the star witness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One person Rick Gates.
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: Rick Gates, Manafort, and two others.
HAYES: Why all of Trump world is worried about Rick Gates. Plus, 98 days out, Facebook says another round of election sabotage is underway. And the Trump official who says his warnings about the psychological damage of family separation were ignored.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We raised a number of concerns.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Paul Manafort is a shrewd liar. So says the prosecution in their opening statement in the trial of the President`s former campaign chairman. Opening statements and even the testimony of our first witness concluded just hours ago in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort is facing 18 felony counts in the federal court of bank fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy charges in relation to his work for a pro-Russian party in Ukraine. Work we should note which predated his duties on the campaign of one Donald J. Trump where of course he served as campaign chairman at the same time that Russia and it`s proxies launched a massive campaign of criminal sabotage to help get Donald Trump elected. Manafort also a man who attended the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. And that man Paul Manafort faced the first of two trials today.
In his opening statement before a packed courtroom Prosecutor Uzo Asonye, part of Robert Mueller`s team portrayed Manafort as shockingly greedy, a consummate liar and a shrewd manipulator of 30 bank accounts in three countries all for the purpose of hiding money. The prosecutor told jurors "the evidence will show he placed himself and his money above the law and every year he lied." The prosecutor said the evidence would show that Manafort filed false tax returns, committed bank fraud, lied about his property, his debts, his net worth, that he established offshore accounts and shell companies to funnel money and bankroll his lavish lifestyle. Manafort`s defense focused on what they said was the unreliability of the prosecution`s star witness. That would be Trump`s former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates. We`ll have much more on that in a moment.
But today`s opening statements arrived far sooner than anyone expected after Judge T. S. Ellis who proceeds over a court dubbed the rocket docket ushered the prosecution defends through jury selection at breakneck speed taking a pool of 65 prospective jurors and narrowing that down to 12 jurors and four alternates in a mere four hours. The man at the center of it all Paul Manafort arrived the courthouse at 8:13 a.m. from the Alexandria Jail where he is being held throughout this trial. After his bail of course was revoked because of charges that walked out on bail, he tampered with the witness. Manafort is apparently still adamant he will not be cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His lawyer Kevin Downing telling a reporter this morning there was "no chance his client will cooperate with Mueller to avoid a trial. For more on what happened inside that courtroom today, I`m joined by NBC News Intelligence and National Security Reporter Ken Dilanian and BuzzFeed Reporter Zoe Tillman. Ken, let me start with you. What you see in that courtroom today?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: You know, I wrote down the word "astonishing greed," Chris. That`s exactly the way that prosecutors portrayed Manafort`s conduct. It`s a tale of greed and lies. And you know, we knew the outline of this tale from the indictment and from court documents but it`s another thing to hear a prosecutor working for special counsel Mueller lay it out in court this scheme whereby you know Manafort was earning some $60 million from this Russian backed Ukrainian oligarch. But instead of just taking the money in a wire transfer, you know, he concocted this elaborate -- allegedly this elaborate scheme to accept it in loans which weren`t really loans. It all to evade some $15 million -- taxes on $15 million in income.
And then interestingly when Viktor Yanukovych`s client was scurried off to exile in Russia and the spigot of cash turned off then prosecutors say Manafort turned to bank fraud because he was milking some of the real estate that he had purchased with his ill-gotten gains because he needed cash to fund his lavish lifestyle. And that conduct prosecutors say continued up to and including the time he was leading the Trump Campaign. So that paints a picture of a stark picture of a man who is the Chairman of the Trump Campaign working for free in debt to Russian oligarchs, broke and scurrying around for cash. A ripe target presumably for Russian recruitment although that is not going to be covered at this trial.
HAYES: Yes. To that and that the judge -- my understanding Zoe, is the Russia aspect of this won`t really figure prominently in this trial through the dire financial straits and bizarre financial alleged behavior of Manafort will, isn`t that right Zoe?
ZOE TILLMAN, REPORTER, BUZZFEED: That`s right. The judge had actually made clear pretty early on that he did not want this case to about things that were not charged. There`s nothing to do with the campaign. There`s nothing to do with the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election. There had been some discussion in a request by Manafort`s team to ask the jury about I think whether they voted or whether they had any thoughts about the election and the judge said no we`re not bringing that into the courtroom.
So today, you know, if you were a juror not paying attention to this case, you might not really know what`s going on here. There was no mention of Robert Mueller. There was a one or two offhand references to the special counsel`s office but no reference to the controversy, no reference to Trump`s allegations that it`s a witch hunt, nothing about that. And you know there were really no references to Trump. There was no mention -- there was one reference to the fact that Manafort you know, his lawyer said was a respected political consultant who had worked with presidents. There was no mention of which president he had worked for.
DILANIAN: And Chris -- and Chris, in fact -- in fact, I believe his defense team went out of his way to wrap Manafort in the mantle of his work with Democrats. And the fact that Tad Devine, the Democratic strategist who was the first witness on cross-examination, Manafort`s lawyers made a point of eliciting for Mr. Divine, oh you guys are on opposite sides in America but in Ukraine, you`re on the same side. And I think that`s no accident. We`re in Alexandria, Virginia in a district that -- in a precinct that went for Hillary Clinton. These are well-educated jury pool. Many of them work for the government. They`re middle-class people that a lot of them tend to be Democrats and that was the message of the Manafort lawyers today.
HAYES: The roadmap laid out, Zoe, in the opening statement for the prosecution -- we`re going to get to the sort of response and Rick Gates centrality. But the roadmap is, Zoe, that this is a case that they can show the with a paper trail right?
TILLMAN: Right. What Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye said is that there are -- they`re going to show forms, his tax returns that show boxes were not checked that should have been they say that should have indicated his foreign bank accounts, his interest -- the financial interest overseas that you`re supposed to report. They`re going to show that he didn`t file you know, forms that you`re supposed to, to the U.S. Treasury showing that you have foreign bank accounts worth more than $10,000. They say they`re going to show that he was bringing in a lot more income than he was reporting. And they said that they`re going to show the jury documents that were falsified, documents that were altered to reflect money either that he was bringing in or not, but either way that documents that didn`t accurately reflect the income that he had and what he was telling the U.S. government he was making and therefore could be taxed on.
HAYES: So just to be clear on this so this. This is a set of charges can that have to do with his financial dealings with -- as a consultant in Ukraine and then bank fraud allegations here in the U.S. What are the -- so we talked a bit about the sort of circumventing the American tax system right? You`ve got overseas payments and overseas bank accounts and never comes back of the U.S. and you never report it which is what`s being alleged. What`s the bank fraud part of the case?
DILANIAN: The bank fraud part, Chris, is that is the prosecutors allege that after 2014 when the spigot of cash from this Ukrainian politician turned off, Manafort needed to fund his lavish lifestyle. What he had were a bunch of real estate holdings that he had purchased through these bogus loans, that`s the way the Russian politician paid him. And so what the prosecutors say he did is he began overstating the value of some of these properties lying on loan applications, faking his income, faking they say a profit and loss statement for his company, essentially you know, showing cash that he didn`t have to bankers including while he was chairman of the Trump Campaign in one case. They haven`t named the bank. They call it Bank C, I believe. And that`s the kind of fraud that they`re alleging here. You know, and he would have signed statements, sworn statements attesting that this information was true and prosecutors going to show that in fact, it was false.
HAYES: Zoe, Tad Devine was there today. He of course most famous probably recently for being one of Bernie Sanders senior-most advisors. He`s on T.V. all the time. We had him as a guest. He was a partner with Manafort. They showed contracts in the -- in some of the filings. He was a partner with Manafort in his work in Ukraine. What did -- what did he have to say?
TILLMAN: So Todd talked about being brought in starting in 2005 to basically head media strategy for the pro-Russia Ukraine political party, the party of regions that Manafort worked for, the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Devine talked about e-mails he exchanged with Manafort detailing the extent of his work, the contracts that he signed. This -- some of this evidence was evidence that Manafort had actually asked the judge to keep out of the trial. He had argued that getting too much into Yanukovych, he was a very controversial figure might prejudice the jury. Why was it relevant? Prosecutors said it was absolutely relevant. There`s no agreement between the parties about how Manafort made his money, how much money he made, where it came from so this all was relevant.
And I think Divine`s testimony really illustrated what appeared to be essential tension going forward in the trial which was exactly how hands-on Paul Manafort was in his business. You know, whether he was really the day-to-day. He knew everything that was going on. The questions from Prosecutor Greg Andres really seemed to try to get at this idea of Manafort as very hands-on, very involved in every aspect of his business, I think trying to counter perhaps the defense narrative that Manafort was very high level. He entrusted his financial dealings to his associates like Rick Gates and that you know, he thought that everyone was going to do what they were supposed to with all of his finances and he had no intent, his lawyers say to mislead any U.S. officials.
HAYES: All right, Ken Dilanian and Zoe Tillman, thanks for that great reportage. I really appreciate it. I learned a lot.
DILANIAN: You bet. Thanks.
HAYES: The possible legal repercussions not only from Manafort but ultimately for President Trump, let`s bring in MSNBC Legal Analyst Jill Wine-Banks, former Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor, and MSNBC Legal Analyst Mimi Rocah, former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. It was interesting to me. You know, you got a case like this and in some ways it`s a little bit of a boring case insofar as it`s a lot of paper and money trails. You`re like saying yes.
MIMI ROCAH, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes.
HAYES: So they were there was like a little bit of spice about like they talked about a $15,000 ostrich jacket.
HAYES: We were -- like what is that -- what`s the approach here if you`re the prosecutor trying to make a fairly complicated financial case?
ROCAH: Well, I mean, it`s a good point because first of all you have to keep the jury`s interest a little bit. And so I do think that sometimes dwelling on some of the more extravagant unusual purchases by defendants can help do that just the same way it holds are the public interest as well a little bit more than hearing you know, about mortgages. But you know, I think really what the strategy here is going to be showing and it sounds like the prosecutor was cut off a little bit in the opening on this, but showing how much Manafort loved his money right? I mean the ostrich jacket is not just a quirky interesting fact, it -- who buys that? You know, and you could spend your money on a lot of things. There are a lot of objects to put that kind of money in but an ostrich jacket is bought by somebody who`s very flamboyant and you know wants to sort of you know, really relish it literally where their money.
HAYES: Someone who`s been spending too much time around the oligarchs of the former Soviet republics possibly.
ROCAH: But the point is it`s -- exactly -- it`s going to make this defense of he wasn`t involved in his business very hard because someone who cares that much about those goods and their money and how they lived isn`t going to just you know and trust that to someone else.
HAYES: So Jill, the -- we got a sort of first look at the defense. We`re going to talk a lot about Rick Gates who`s a sort of central witness here but the defense opening statement really focused on Rick Gates who was Paul Manafort`s deputy. And what they appeared to be saying was look it was all this guy. The guy is cooperating to turn state`s evidence is going to be testifying against our client, he was the guy who did all this. He`s untrustworthy. You can`t trust him. What do you think of that approach?
JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I think it`s often the approach of defendants. It`s been one that I`ve seen many, many cases where it`s always someone else`s fault and you blame the other people particularly those who are cooperating witnesses. It`s seldom really works especially in a documents case like this where the evidence will be visible to the jurors. They will see how much money came in, they will see how much money was reported, they will see the signatures and all of the bank accounts overseas. They will see who had the foreign bank accounts and who didn`t. And so I think this won`t ultimately be successful and it is -- it`s exactly what Donald Trump is doing too. It`s not me, it`s someone else. It`s always someone else`s fault.
HAYES: Presumably this is an expensive defense and yet this is someone who seems like they`re in financial straits which is a bit odd. I mean, do we know how he`s paying for it?
ROCAH: We don`t. The government is entitled to ask that of the defendant and usually, you know, you get a vague answer like family and friends donations.
HAYES: They don`t have to file some form --
ROCAH: You don`t. I mean, there is a hearing that the government can request to try and get to the bottom sort of who`s paying for it. I don`t know. I haven`t heard that they`ve done that in this case. I`m not sure why that would be. Maybe they -- you know, it`s hard to know why they wouldn`t have done that here but I suppose in some ways they want him to be able to mount whatever defense he`s going to mount because they have a strong case. And if he`s going to get convicted, they want everyone to know that he had a fair trial.
HAYES: That`s a good point. I mean, that -- part of what`s surprising here, Jill, I think from the all the people that I`ve been talking to is it surprising it`s going to trial. I mean this sort of last salvo by his attorney today saying there`s no you know, he`s not going to plead, he`s not going to cooperate, a lot of people feel like in similar situations that a case like this would probably have been pled out by now.
BANKS: I was surprised that it didn`t plead much earlier but at a certain point he had spent so much money on the defense that it makes no sense for him to start talking about cooperating at that point. But it`s also very interesting if he`s blaming his partner Rick Gates. Rick Gates pled out in part because he had no money. So now you have Manafort saying he stole my money, he embezzled money from me. How come Rick Gates doesn`t have enough money to defend himself and you do? That would be my question. So it sort of undercuts his argument that Rick Gates is the one who took the money.
HAYES: What`s also striking here, I mean, you can`t lose sight of the fact that here we have this courtroom is sort of hermetically sealed, right? Where you -- what you can and can`t talk about, what jurors can and can`t read, what evidence can and can`t be admitted right? But it`s happening here inside States of America at a time when the president`s campaign manager, he`s standing like and the stuff that they`re talking about he was doing. He`s like reporting to work by day to get Donald Trump elected and then like filing false forms --
ROCAH: Yes. It`s this artificial universe. Hermetically sealed it`s a great analogy. I mean, look, presumably in jury selection at least the extremes were weeded out. I mean, there are probably some people out there who don`t follow this. There are many people who don`t follow it as closely as a lot of us do.
HAYES: Right. God bless them.
ROCAH: Yes. They`re probably a little bit saner right now than we are. But you know, I think that nonetheless, trials when they happened, people they`re not this extreme but jurors bring biases and things that they know to trials that happen every day. You know, they hate cops and they`re never going to believe a cop or they think all defendants who are charged must be guilty. And so you know, those kinds of things get -- do get weeded out. I realize this is more extreme and there is the danger of those outside factors coming in but I think that court -- once you`re in that courtroom, there is something about the judge, especially judge like this who`s keeping everyone so focused that they are able to really get the jurors to focus on the law and the facts.
HAYES: And he seems to want to move this along quickly which is also interesting. Jill Wine-Banks and Mimi Rocah, thank you both so much. Next, the prosecution`s star witness as we said in the Paul Manafort trial, what Rick Gates know that could have Trump world worried in two minutes.
HAYES: Today during the opening statements Paul Manafort`s lawyer told the jury that his client is in court "because of one man Rick Gates." Gates is the prosecution`s star witness, a longtime metaphoric colleague and someone who`s at the center of the Trump world in a way that few people are. Rick Gates, you`ll recall first met Paul Manafort when he interned is lobbying firm thirty years ago. In 2006 Gates became partners with Manta for consulting and lobbying for Ukrainian politicians and Russian oligarchs. And when Manafort went to chaired the Trump campaign, gates went along with him joining as an aide, as a deputy.
And then, when Manafort was pushed out of the campaign in August 2016 crucially Rick Gates did not leave. He stayed on the campaign. He worked as a liaison between the campaign at the Republican National Committee. He then stayed with Trump after Trump won as well working for the President`s inaugural committee and then after that, with a Trump boosting non-profit America-first policies until March of 2017. And then even after he was pushed out of the non-profit, Gates was hired by Tom Barrack whose Trump`s close friend and Gates was reportedly spotted at the White House as recently as June of 2017 firmly in Trump`s orbit.
Now, four months later Gates was rolled up by Robert Mueller alongside Paul Manafort charged with 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to launder money. By February of this year, Gates had had a change of heart. He announced he was cooperating with Mueller`s team and now he central this case because Rick Gates is a man who knows a lot about what happened from Manafort`s lobbying to the campaign, to the transition, to the White House itself. For more on just how central Rick Gates is in the case against Paul Manafort, I`m joined by Daniel Goldman MSNBC Legal Analyst and former assistant U.S. Attorney. How central is Rick Gates to you?
DANIEL GOLDMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he`s very central to this trial unquestionably and he`s central to anything involving Paul Manafort. I think what`s more interesting than whether or not Paul Manafort evaded taxes or committed loan fraud which are serious crimes and he should be prosecuted for them is what does Rick Gates know beyond Paul Manafort and his financial dealings from his life before the campaign. And as you just recited, he was -- he has been Paul Manafort`s right-hand man for decades. He knows a lot of the inner secrets and he knows a lot about what Paul Manafort knows. And so that`s going to become a bigger and bigger issue as the collusion investigation --
HAYES: That`s the key to me, and is that he not only -- I mean, the thing I keep coming back to is that transition period where there were so much strange stuff going on, right? I mean, Kislyak getting shuttled into Trump Tower without the cameras catching him. Erik Prince flying off to the Seychelles Island you know, Michael Flynn lying about who he`s talking to right? But he`s there for that transition period too even while Manafort has sort of been pushed on the outs. That guy who presumably has been talking to federal investigators and prosecutors for months now.
GOLDMAN: It`s very timely that this is happening now and it`s not at all surprising that Rudy Giuliani went on his circular tour of the circular reasoning yesterday right when Paul Manafort`s lawyers would have received all of the notes and memos about everything that Rick Gates has told Mueller and his team not just about the Manafort`s trial but everything.
HAYES: Is that the way it works?
GOLDMAN: That`s the way works they`re obligated to turn over all of his prior statements because they can be used for cross-examination.
HAYES: So he -- so Gates as part of the cooperation agreement sits down with prosecutors and investigators, tells them a whole bunch of stuff. The notes from that they`re turned over to Manafort`s attorneys on the eve of trial for discovery.
GOLDMAN: Yes, that`s exactly right. And then they -- that`s what they`ll use as part of their cross-examination to say oh you testified to X but you said Y earlier and they use that to try to trip him up. But it`s not a surprise that Rudy Giuliani is the first person to raise the notion of a pre-meeting meeting to the June 9th Trump Tower meeting and one of the people that he says is in that meeting is Rick Gates.
HAYES: Let`s play that because this is crucial right? We did this yesterday in the yesterday`s as he opened the yesterday show this idea that Giuliani sort of dropping these hints. There was a meeting to plan for the big meeting with the Russians two days before him. Here`s what he had to say.
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GIULIANI: Lanny Davis had added that there was a meeting two days before the meeting took place with Donald Jr., Jared, Manafort, and two others Gates and one more person.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that`s a real meeting. You`re saying that --
GIULIANI: That`s a real meeting on another provable subject in which he would not participate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So your key supposition here, we don`t know, this is your sense is that Manafort`s attorneys now have in their hands basically everything that Gates has told federal prosecutors and how is that getting communicated to Giuliani and Trump`s people?
GOLDMAN: Through the lawyers.
HAYES: You think they`re in contact?
GOLDMAN: I would imagine they are. I mean, again you are right. It`s supposition, it`s conjecture and we`re not there and we don`t know it and there -- sometimes our limitations on whether they can share that information --
HAYES: Yes, what is -- how is that guided? What`s the sort of --
GOLDMAN: It varies -- there are no real ethical guidelines. It really varies and for all we know Mueller could have gone to the judge and said we want to keep the collusion stuff out of this material. I don`t think that would win because you have to be able to cross-examine him so I think that they would get it. And so they would share that information but it goes to show how crucial Rick Gates can be to the collusion investigation. We`re talking about Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen may have some information but a lot less than Rick Gates for the reasons you described and it`s -- by the way he wasn`t there in the June 9th meeting, OK.
But if Paul Manafort left that meeting and went and told Rick Gates what happened, Rick Gates can testify to that as a co-conspirator statement under the rules of evidence. It has to be in furtherance of the conspiracy but anything that Paul Manafort told Rick Gates along the way and Manafort would have had better access than Gates. But if he`s telling Gates, Gates can relay that about what Manafort is saying at the time so you don`t even need Manafort to cooperate if he is sharing as much as one might think he would to his --
HAYES: Which is again why it`s going to be so fascinating when Gates takes a step what he`s going to do in this trial. I mean, that it`s going to be such an amazing moment after all this we`ve built up to, to see what he has to see. Although, a lot probably wouldn`t come up about --
GOLDMAN: So that`s what you got to recognize. It`s a tease to some extent. He`s not going to be talking about this stuff. Daniel Goldman, thanks for joining me.
GOLDMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up the growing signs Russians are using the exact same method of sustain criminal sabotage in the upcoming Midterm Elections as they did in 2016 and what the Trump Administration is or is not doing about after this.
HAYES: There are already signs that the 2016 playbook aimed at undermining American federal elections is once again on display in 2018, happening right now.
So, you`ll remember, in the runup to the 2016 election, there were two sort of main prongs of the strategy, the Russia-based Internet Research Agency used covert political ads and posts pretending to be Americans to sow discord and to try to sway voter opinion. Also, a dozen Russian officials used phishing attacks to gain access to Democratic operatives emails and computers. Both of those tactics have been outlined in criminal indictments from Mueller`s team.
Now, with just 98 days until the midterm elections, here is where we are. Senator Claire McCaskill has already reportedly been targeted by Russian hackers in her reelection bid, essentially these same kind of password stealing techniques that exposed Hillary Clinton`s chairman John Podesta in 2016. So, that`s already happened.
And then today, Facebook announced it had uncovered a coordinated attempt to potentially influence the 2018 election with dozens of fake accounts and posts. And while Facebook says it can`t be sure if Russia is behind the effort, they do say that, quote, some of the activity is consistent with what they saw from the Russian-based Internet Research Agency in 2016.
Senior investigative producer Anna Schecter has been covering this story for the NBC News investigative unit and joins me tonight.
All right, so Facebook made this announcement today, right.
ANNA SCHECTER, NBC NEWS SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: That`s right.
HAYES: What have we learned.
SCHECTER: Well, we`ve learned that the exact same tactics are being used that they`re trying to sow discord, these bad actors who created these fake accounts. And it looks like the Russians are behind it, although Facebook can`t say -- they haven`t found these Russian IP addresses, but they`re going the Unite the Right rally from last year in Charlottesville. There is another rally planned for August 12, and they`ve -- they actually engage real people to show up on August 12 with a counter protest.
HAYES: Yeah, so some of the -- just to be clear, some of them are like -- there is a group called Black Elevation, a group called Resisters, a group called Confront and Resist Fascism, which is aimed at -- which is aimed at opposing the Unite the Right rally.
This is all the same kind of, like -- what is uncanny about this, right, is like these are not actually the people they say they are who are fake posting political content to try to foment conflict.
SCHECTER: That is exactly right, but they are still getting people on board. And they had almost 300,000 followers on these various...
HAYES: That is a pretty big Facebook page -- oh, across the pages.
SCHECTER: Across the pages, but 30 events have already taken place. So, the Runite the Right Rally II is happening August 12, who knows what is going to happen there, but they were calling on people to show and, you know, bring their fight. And that`s exactly what the internet research agency wanted to do was to stow as much discord, as much conflict -- and you saw last year in Charlottesville that the result was a death, you know, and 19 people injured from that really tense environment.
Now we don`t know if the Internet Research Agency had anything to do with it, but still it`s those divisive issues that they tap into.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, there were also violent Nazis who were there that were -- that were responsible for that violence, but you also have a situation it seems to me where Facebook and Twitter has also killed off a bunch of accounts. As far as I can tell, like this seems to be being policed by the companies. Is that who is doing it? Like who on the watch for this?
SCHECTER: The companies are working with an FBI task force that is working specifically on this issue. But up until now, we didn`t really see the company`s self-policing. But there has been this complete cultural shift where we the users are saying, whoa, wait a minute, my data is all over the place. I`ve got, you know, Russian bots trying to influence my psychology, and I think people want the companies to hold themselves to account.
HAYES: The key point to me is transparency. Like people -- you don`t want to be encountering stuff that is essentially produced by imposters, particularly if it`s a foreign intelligence agency or like some foreign enterprise that`s been tasked with manipulating your psychology. Like, you want to know what you`re dealing with.
SCHECTER: It is deeply unsettling and to know that 30 of these events have already happened. I mean, I would like to know a little more about who showed up to those, and it`s pretty sad.
HAYES: This is -- I think we will be learning more about how extensive all of this is as we go forward.
Anna Schecter, thank you so much.
Joining me now, Senator Angus King of Maine, a member of the Senate intelligence committee which is holding a hearing tomorrow on efforts to spread political discord on social media.
And senator, what do you think about the fact that it appears the exact same playbook is being operationalized this year as 2016?
SEN. ANGUS KING, (I) MAINE: Chris, this is a big deal. Number one, as you`ve already pointed out, they are back at it. They`re doing it again. Number two, buried in the story today, it appears they are doing it in a more sophisticated way. They`re not paying with rubles, for example. And they`re disguising where some of this is coming from through VPNs around the world.
And number three, what they are really doing underneath all of this is taking aim at our system itself. The combination of the First Amendment and democratically elected governments is exactly what they are focusing on. I call it geopolitical Jiujitsu, remembe, where you use your opponent`s strength against them. And that is what they are doing here.
And this is -- this could turn out to be the biggest story of this whole matter as it plays out over the next couple of months.
HAYES: Well, what do you say to someone who says, look, I`ve looked at some of these Facebook pages. They look kind of lame. I`m not not convinced that a bunch of people posting on Facebook or on Twitter bots is really have a huge effect.
KING: Well, I think one of the things -- and you mentioned we are going to have a hearing on this tomorrow before the Senate intelligence committee, followed up, I hope, by another hearing a month or so from now, with the officials from these companies. Tomorrow are going to be experts on exactly what is going on.
But we think we are only seeing the tip of an iceberg, frankly. There is a lot more going on that is being used to manipulate us. And what they are doing is simply trying to sow discord and distrust. They are trying to divide American society. And frankly, they`re doing a pretty good job of it. And they`re going to continue to do it until we get real about some kind of response, so we can talk about that.
HAYES: Well, that`s my next question for you, has there been sufficient response from the Trump administration?
KING: The short answer is no. Although, I have to amend that by just this morning Secretary Nielsen in New York started making the right kind of noises, talking about a more structured response from within the administration. The problem is it`s been -- the response has been spread across a lot of different departments. Nobody was really in charge, nobody was accountable. They did set up a new office today, that may help.
But the other thing that she mentioned, just obliquely, but is absolutely critical, we have got to convince the Russians or the Chinese, or the North Koreans or whoever is proposing to do something like this, that they are going to pay a price. They haven`t paid any price. We are a cheap date, Chris. We`re -- they knocked the hell out of our democratic process in 2016, and, you know, there were some sactions imposed, but nothing really, as one of our witnesses said, nothing that would change their calculus.
We have to have a deterrent policy that they understand that if they do this, there is going to be hell to pay. And so far, that hasn`t been forthcoming from this administration. I also have to say, the prior administration I dont think was adequate in developing a cyber deterrent strategy.
HAYES: Let me ask you a final question, and it has to do with a database that some Clemson professors have kept of Russian Twitter trolls with AN index of their activity through the 2016 campaign. FiveThirtyEight made a visualization of it. And you see there`s -- right there in the center of that chart -- I don`t know if you can see it -- there is one line that is higher than any other line, it is the single most active day for Russian Twitter trolls and bots, and it is October 6, 2016, which is the day before WikiLeaks publishes the first traunch of emails of John Podesta. Does that strike you as remarkable?
KING: Oh, I think it is a mere coincidence -- no, of course it is remarkable. This wasn`t some kind of random attack, Chris, this was very sophisticated. And one of the problems is they`re getting even more sophisticated. And we are still sort of trying to figure out how to respond in November of 2016. We have have got to learn how to respond now and they know what they are doing and their weaponizing information and using it against us.
This is very dangerous for our democracy and we have to get our act together to be able to fend it off.
HAYES: All right, Senator Angus King, thanks for making time.
KING: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, we now know the Trump administration was warned of the trauma they would inflict on children in their family separation policy, a warning they ignored. And we found that out during bombshell senate testimony, and we`ll bring that to you ahead.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, Donald Trump has been appointing judges at a record pace pushing through the Senate more federal judges than any other recent president in his first two years, stacking the courts with conservatives, many of them quite young, who will remain on the bench long after Trump, himself, is gone.
And Mitch McConnell is paving the way, calling it his top priority to get Trump`s judges confirmed. McConnell even went so far as to cancel the Senate`s August recess for an umber of reasons, including, among them, confirming as many more judges as he possibly can.
But now, the McConnell judge approval machine has ground to a halt, because apparently one member of the Senate judiciary committee has gone missing and so McConnell can`t get any more nominees to the floor for a vote.
Who would do a thing like that to Mitch McConnell? This guy, and that is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So majority leader Mitch McConnell canceled the Senate`s traditional August recess this year, but one senator just didn`t listen and flew off to Zimbabwe. Jeff Flake posted this picture on Twitter the other day writing, "sunset this evening in rural Zimbabwe. Tomorrow, election day. Marks a new day for this beautiful country."
Flake is there observing the elections, which are the first since Robert Mugabe left. And he posted several more photos yesterday of polling stations and ballots being counted.
Now it certainly is possible this was just a really important trip to Senator Flake. He does ahve a connection to the country, having served part of his Mormon mission there. But he must have realized that his absence, lasting approximately three more weeks, according to his office, is also royally screwing over McConnell and President Trump who need flake in D.C. to continue their mission of packing the courts with as many conservatives as they can.
And, again, Jeff Flake has announced he`s not running for reelection, so maybe this is his way of riding off into the sunset.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): Today, I practically can`t disappear for five minutes, because he starts crying and starts screaming. He has to practically see that I`m there, because if not, he starts yelling "Ma, ma, ma," because he can`t see me gone for five minutes. I can`t disappear because he thinks I`ve left him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In June, we brought you that story of a Salvadoran mother who was only reunited with her son after almost three months before separation by the U.S. government.
Now, as most immigrant children taken from their parents at the border are reunited with their familes, we`re learning that her experience, and her son`s experience, is far from unique. Many children are already showing the psychological scars of their ordeal. The New York Times reporting on one child, a 5-year-old brazilian boy, who regressed to asking for breastfeeding when he was reunited with his mother, quote, "now his favorite game is patting down and shackling migrants with plastic cuffs. When visitors showed up at the familys new home in Philadelphia, he crouched behind the sofa."
In at least one detention center where children were held, kids were given psychotropic medication without consent, a story we know at least in part thanks to the work of the Center for Investigative Reporting, while on Monday after a case that included filings from kids about being forcibly injected with drugs and feeling side effects such a dizziness, nausea and depression, a federal judge said the administration can no longer give those migrant children psychotropic drugs without consent.
But here`s the thing, not only was the damage done to these children foreseeable, it was foreseen within the administration. One Health and Human Services official today telling the Senate hearing that he warned the administration about what would happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN WHITE, HHS: There`s no question that separation of children from parents entails significant potential for traumatic psychological injury to the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s coming up, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D) CONNECTICUT: Any member of this panel saying to anyone, maybe this isn`t such a good idea. Commander?
WHITE: During the deliberative process over the previous year, we raised a number of concerns in the ORR (ph) program about any policy which would result in family separation due to concerns we had about the best interests of the child as well as about whether that would be operationally supportable with the bed capacity we have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was an HHS official testifying before the senate today, asked by Senator Blumenthal, hey, did anyone there inside HHS say don`t separate children from their families, don`t rip them apart? And what you just saw, and I`ll read this answer again, "during the deliberative process over the previous year we raised concerns in the ORR (ph) program, that`s a part of HHS, about any position policy which results in family separation due to concerns we had about the best interests of the child." In other words, absolutely we raise concerns, absolutely we warn them not to do it, absolutely it would be terrible for these children. And you know what the Trump administration did? They went ahead and they did it anyway.
Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii is one of the senators in today`s hearing. Am I misreading that answer, senator? Or was that how you heard it?
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO, (D) HAWAII: No, you are not. That is how we heard it. But the thing is that the Trump administration did not listen to the people and went ahead and instituted this very inhumane, cruel policy.
HAYES: What did you learn today at the hearing more broadly?
HIRONO: Very clearly that when the Homeland Security people instituted it, or when the zero tolerance policy was instituted and all these parents are going to be criminally prosecuted, they have to separate the children from the parents and they had absolutely no plan or intention of ever having to reunify these 3,000 or so children with their parents.
In fact, what they did with these children was made them instant orphans and sent them Health and Human Services jurisdiction and pretty much, Homeland Security washed their hands of it.but for this judge in San Diego who said you will reunite these children.
And you know what the person who testified from Health and Human Services said when these children are now deemed unaccompanied children, they were not set up there to reunify these children with their parents. They are there to find sponsors for them. They`re to do other things, so chaos ensued.
HAYES: I want to stop you there, because this is important and there`s a lot of jargon here, but I think this is a crucial point, what you`re saying and what that HHS official testified to you today, in your hearing, was that when they were taken from their parents, they were turned into what is called unaccompanied minors. They were not -- the shelters that got them, got them as if they had come alone, not with their parents. And those shelters have procedures to place those children with other people, sometimes other families or foster care, or adoption.
HIRONO: Yes. Exactly. And that is why the person from Health and Human Services said they were not set up to reunify these children with parents.
And the thing is, he said that the thing that was wrong was the separation of these children from their parents because they became basically orphans thanks to this zero tolerance policy.
HAYES: I -- there`s something about this story that fills me with a kind of Old Testament wrath. Who is going to be held -- I feel like I want a definitive accounting of how this happened, what the internal deliberations were, who said what to whom, who raised what red flags. Is there any plan to get some kind of definitive after action report about what happened here?
HIRONO: We can get to some of those specifics but basically, the president takes responsibility for this. It is his zero tolerance policy that resulted -- and as articulated by the attorney general, that all of a sudden now we`re going to start prosecuting thousands of parents as criminals, so this didn`t have to happen. And as I said, but for this judge in San Diego, who was by the way, appointed by a Republican president. If this judge did not say to the administration, you will reunite these children, they still wouldn`t be doing it. In fact, Homeland Security would have just washed their hands and all these 3,000 or so children would have been the responsibility of the Health and Human Services people.
HAYES: I guess -- my feeling is -- I know that you`re in the minority, but I guess what I`m trying to say is that`s not good enough. I mean, your colleagues in the House of Representatives and the House majority are chasing the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to the gates of hell to turn over documents, to turn over underlying warrants that have never been turned over in the history of the modern FISA court, and I just feel like this congress needs to hold some accountability over what this administration has done and that the aftereffects it has caused to these children.
HIRONO: I share your outrage. But there is no way that the House, which is filled people who are just enabling the president to do all kinds of chaotic and cruel things, don`t look to them. I`m looking to possibly the senate. At least we had a hearing with these people who came to testify because three weeks ago, Chairman Grassley was only going to have the person from ICC come testify, and it`s the rest of us who say, wait a minute, you have to have Department of Justice, you have to have the Homeland Security people, you have to have the Health and Human Services people, they all have to testify.
And what was really clear was there was never any intention to reunify these kids. And you know what, the person from Homeland Security said these family detention centers are like summer camps. So when I asked two of the five testifiers who had some experience, including the guy from ICE experience with these family centers, would you send your kid to these so- called summer camps, I just got a lot of hemming and hawwing, did not get a straight answer.
So we have an administration that still hasn`t reunified some 700...
HAYES: Yeah, 700. Senator Mazie Hirono, we`re going to keep on that story. Thank you for joining me.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now.
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