Mueller investigation closing in on. TRANSCRIPT: 08/02/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Bob Garfield, Betsy Woodruff, Michael Rothfeld

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: August 2, 2018 Guest: Bob Garfield, Betsy Woodruff, Michael Rothfeld

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Here in present horror about the strike with a stark power he's never before had to confront. I suspect this for him is the stark and awful truth. 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.

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: The pretext of the meeting was hey we have information.

HAYES: The Special Counsel is negotiating an interview with the man who set up the Trump Tower meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been accused of influencing --

HAYES: And bad news for Roger Stone.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: Stage of scary times.

HAYES: Tonight, we're learning about where Robert Mueller is headed. And bank fraud, oligarchs, and more suits on day three of the Manafort trial.

PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: That's obviously what our position is.

HAYES: And the White House affirms the President's position that the Free Press is an enemy of the people.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President has made his position known.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York, I'm Chris Hayes. We're learning more tonight about how Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is closing in on the President and his inner circle. NBC News is reporting tonight that conversations are ongoing between the Special Counsel and Emin Agalarov, that would be the Russian pop star who is instrumental in setting up that infamous June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower. In an e-mail exchange you might remember, a British music promoter named Rob Goldstone who represented Emin wrote to Don Jr. "Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. The Crown Prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and it's government's support for Mr. Trump helped along by Aras and Emin."

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mueller first made that request in the fall but Emin isn't the only person Mueller wants to speak with. A federal judge ruled today that a former aide to Roger Stone, that would be U.S. citizen and confidant of the President must testify before the grand jury despite an attempt to get out of the appearance. Roger Stone, of course, former Trump campaign adviser who you will recall appears in Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking Democratic groups in the election. Stone appears to be referenced as an unnamed person in contact with an online persona set up as a front by Russian intelligence officers. And Stone himself acknowledges he is of interest to Mueller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Are you preparing to be indicted?

ROGER STONE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I am prepared should that be the case but I think it just demonstrates again, this was supposed to be about Russian collusion and it appears to be an effort to silence or punish the President's supporters and his advocate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Of course Mueller and his team continued to negotiate for the biggest interview of them all, Donald Trump himself. Washington Post reporting the Special Counsel has offered to limit questions to the President and to accept some answers in writing in an attempt get the president to the table. And all this happens is a trial of former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort it's day three and as a parade of administration heavy hitters today said that Russia is still trying to attack U.S. elections even as some of those key administration officials admit they don't entirely know about the relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're saying today that the President has directed you to make the issue of election meddling a priority. How do you explain the disconnect between what you are saying his advisers and what the President has said about this issue?

DAN COATS, UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I'm not in a position to either understand fully or talk about what happened at Helsinki.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: For more on where Robert Mueller is headed tonight, MSNBC Political Contributor David Corn, Co-Author of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War in America and the Election of Donald Trump, and NBC News Senior Investigative Producer Anna Schecter, one of the bylines on that story about Mueller's pursuit of Emin Agalarov. And let me start with you, Anna. So what do we know about the status of this back-and-forth between Emin Agalarov and the Special Counsel?

ANNA SCHECTER, NBC NEWS SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Well, we don't know exactly where it's going but right now his attorney is in conversations with Robert Mueller and they're trying to figure it out. Emin is trying not to come to the United States. It's unclear right now if Robert Mueller can compel Annan to come to the United States and sit for an interview.

HAYES: Why would he -- I mean he's not -- how would he compel him, right? I mean there's all sorts of Russians they have indicted. There's all sort of Russians they presumably would like to speak to who they can't compel. Why would -- why would he be able to compel him?

SCHECTER: Well, right now we're trying to figure out his citizenship status so that might have implications but we really don't know. So this reporting is ongoing.

HAYES: David, the Roger stone associate who has been told by a court that he has to testify to a grand jury reminds us that Roger Stone remains someone who has not been contacted by Robert Mueller and he's actually been named in an indictment -- or not named indictment, identified or cited in an indictment.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Roger Stone was in contact with a Russian intelligence front, Guccifer 2.0 a cyber-persona that leaked some of the material that was stolen, stolen, a criminal action from the Democratic National Committee and by other Democratic targets. And you know, it's -- you know, whether Stone has any criminal exposure here or not, it's important to keep in mind that when this was happening in the summer of 2016, Stone was out there while others were saying Guccifer is part of a Russian operation. Stone working with the Breitbart right-wing publication well, they're insisting that Guccifer 2.0 was what he claimed to be, a lone Romanian hacker had nothing to do with Russia. So what he was doing was advancing, supporting, bolstering a Russian disinformation campaign designed to cover up a Russian attack on the United States. That's what Roger Stone was doing in the summer of 2016.

HAYES: To the sort of status of Mueller and Agalarov, right? Agalarov is central of this because he becomes -- he and his father are the sort of host of Donald Trump back right when they host Miss Universe --

SCHECTER: 2013.

HAYES: Right, 2013.

SCHECTER: Trump showed up their music video.

CORN: Aras Agalarov and Emin are his business parners. It's Emin's idea to bring Miss Universe to Moscow in 2013 and a deal is cut. If this happens he gets to perform there and Aras Agalarov is a very Putin connected oligarch. So Donald Trump in 2013 was going to make money off this only because he was working with a Putin friendly oligarch and that sealed a relationship that then came to fruit in 2016 with the -- with the e-mail that you just read from Emin.

SCHECTER: There were also conversations about potentially introducing Putin to Trump so Emin had made overtures to offer that kind of a meeting which never materialized but these conversations happen between 2013, 2014 2015 2016. There was contact between Emin wanting to be close to the president and there's even video online where you see him talking to his publicist Rob Goldstone. How can we capitalize on Donald Trump who's the you know Republican nominee? You know, we want to get into the American market. They don't know about me but we can use this to our advantage so it's a really interesting relationship.

HAYES: There's also the fact that -- to what Anna was saying before about any leverage Mueller might have, Agalarov kind of has a foot in the U.S. right? I mean the family's got at home here, he was schooled here, he's been back and forth.

CORN: Well, Emin --

HAYES: Yes.

CORN: Emin wants something. He is wanted to be big in the United States. He's a middling level popstar in Azerbaijan and in Russia and he's the son of an oligarch so you know, that that has helped his music career. But one reason he hooked up with a Miss Universe contest in 2013 was that he was hoping to make it big in the United States and being part of that event would help. So I think he even has -- he's had some her tours here, I think he has one coming up in a couple of months. So if he wants to retain the ability to perform in the United States, that is a point of leverage that Robert Mueller would have on him and his father has business interests here too.

HAYES: Does that square with what you've been reporting?

SCHECTER: Yes, but well we'll see. I don't know that he's going to want to be coming to United States right now. Right now he knows he's in hot water so he's sweating right now. Right now he's nervous. He's like this Trump Tower meeting, he's feeling bad about that. He's like I wish I had nothing to do with that. His dad was the one who asked him to call Don Jr. He's like come on dad, I wish he had never gotten me involved.

HAYES: Right, well, he -- we should -- we should note that he actually ends up having a phone conversation with Don Jr. Don Jr. says he can't remember it but he admitted to it. And I -- if I were him, I mean just free legal advice, I would not fly to the U.S. expecting that you're going to be unmolested. I mean, you -- like the Mueller team we already know has been doing operations where they meet people at airports, flash a badge and take him in a room to question.

SCHECTER: And you think about this personality. This is a playboy. He surrounds himself with beautiful women. For him, the Miss Universe pageant was the best thing that ever happened to him. He's not a serious guy and so all of a sudden the weight of the Robert Mueller investigation is coming down on him. And he doesn't know -- I mean who knows could Putin have been talking to Aras his father about setting up this meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya? We really don't know. There are a lot of questions and that's why Mueller wants to talk to them.

CORN: One big question that's hanging out there is by the account of Donald Trump Jr. and others who participated, not much came out of the meeting. That's what they say. But then the question I have is what happened after --

HAYES: What happened after.

CORN: Did Don -- I mean, if you told me, Chris, you were setting me somebody with great information for a story that I could break and I had a meeting and not much came out of it, the first thing I would do afterwards call you and say what gives? What happened and we don't know what happened and that call would have been made probably to Emin.

HAYES: The story that we got is that this thing comes in over the transom from this person they know from Russia who they have relationship with who says the Russian government wants to get your dad elected and he's got dirt. They set up a meeting that the son-in-law, the campaign manager, and the son attend with a whole bunch of people including a translator and nothing happens and everyone just say, well, you know --

CORN: Yes, that's it.

HAYES: David Corn and Anna Schecter, thank you both for being here.

CORN: Thank you.

HAYES: Here to help me understand where the investigation is, where it could be going, former Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor and MSNBC Legal Analyst Jill Wine-Banks and New York Times Washington Correspondent and MSNBC National Security Contributor Michael Schmidt whose latest report is headlined Trump Pushes for Interview with Mueller Against Lawyers Advice. And Michael, let me start by just being wildly cynical. Convince me that Donald Trump actually does want to talk to Robert Mueller because it seems to me that that's maybe unlikely or maybe it's the public posture or position of people around the President. Of course, he wants to talk to Mueller but I remain skeptical that he actually does.

MICHAEL SCHMIDT, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, look, the President has shown from before he was a president until now that he believes he can explain anything to anyone, that he can sit down and convince them the to see the world through his eyes and to understand where he's coming from. In this case, he believes he can sit down with Mueller and show him that he has nothing to hide and bring this investigation to an end. I understand that some people may be skeptical of this but what that skepticism sort of implies is that the President is thinking three- dimensionally and I don't think we've seen him do that in many cases certainly in regards to the investigation. He tends to think one sort of base at a time, reacts to things, tweets, pops off about them and I think that's what we're seeing here.

HAYES: What do you think, Jill, about the ultimate -- I mean about the sort of dynamic here that is to merge between Mueller and the President and his legal team.

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I agree with your perspective on this. I am skeptical as to whether he really does want to or whether this is just part of his public relations campaign to say I have nothing to fear, I want to do this. And I also agree with Michael that he probably does actually believe that he can con everybody into believing what he says because he has been successful at that. A lot of people do believe him despite evidence to the contrary. So why do I think? I think that actually, he has done enough obstruction in plain sight and probably enough conspiracy with the Russians in plain sight that his testimony isn't really necessary.

Yes, it would be helpful and I think that there's some amount of negotiating that the prosecutor can do to allow him to have a chance to get his story before the grand jury so that nobody can later say well he didn't have a chance to convince them of the truth of his position. This way he will have had his chance. But I don't want to see him having too many questions answered in writing which won't be his answers. They will be legally drafted and crafted as carefully as possible and I don't think he should be allowed to not answer questions on any particular topic.

HAYES: Michael I can't tell whether the conversations in the back and forth between Mueller's team and the President's team which we get a kind of one-sided reporting on it. Giuliani will talk openly about it. Is this just going around and around or is there actual progress being made. Which of the two do you think it is?

SCHMIDT: Well, I think it's probably a little bit of both. The negotiations have been going on for about eight months. There's these discussions, there's been posturing on both sides, Mueller at one point earlier this year threatening to subpoena the President. The President's lawyer at the time John Dowd saying they would fight it all the way to the Supreme Court. So there has this is sort of a negotiation and when you have someone like the President, prosecutors are going to be sensitive to that and are going to be willing to do things and do accommodations that they wouldn't do normally. In the case of Bill Clinton, he was allowed to be questioned at the White House for his case.

At the same time we -- the President's lawyers have said were about two weeks away from making a decision for several months now. And so the question is, is this sort of a rope-a-dope where they're trying to extend Mueller as far as possible, dragged out the negotiations perhaps to delay a report to go in -- from going to Congress before the midterm elections and then sort of take it from there is that what's going on. Is a reporter who has been sort of been told we're very close, we're very close, we're very close for several months, it's hard not to think that.

HAYES: Yes, it's like we should talk to Mueller stage directions, they do not move. It's been -- it's basically doing what we've been seeing. Do you -- do you think Jill, I mean ultimately this -- the question that hangs over all this right is like how much -- there's a kind of political calculation of capital from the Mueller side right, which is that like they can go to a subpoena. You could subpoena the President of the United States. It's going to get fought, it's going to go to the Supreme Court probably, but that's a big fight that's a kind of political capital- draining fight, how do you think they're thinking about that calculation?

BANKS: Well, I think that they would ultimately win that case. I think that the Watergate-Nixon case makes it very clear that the President is not above the law and can be subpoenaed. That was a case for documents, this would be for testimony but I don't think that there's a significant difference in terms of the law so I think they would win. But if you go back to my prior point, it's not worth the fight because why would they waste their time? What are they going to ultimately get? Is it really, really critical for going forward? And I suppose if you have a report and you want to be able to rebut what the defense will say it is better to have him on record. So it would be good to have his testimony on record and then you can rebut it in your report. So that would be the only real advantage to doing it.

HAYES: Jill Wine-Banks -- that that makes a lot of sense. Jill Wine-Banks and Michael Schmidt, thanks for making time. Next, breaking news tonight about a major Trump donor that get this, agreed to pay Michael Cohen $10 million while he was still the President's personal attorney just months ago. I'll talk to a reporter that broke that remarkable story after this two-minute break. Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Brand new reporting tonight on Trump fixer Michael Cohen and the vast amount of money he charged in consulting fees since the election. In addition to $1.2 million he got from Novartis, the $600,000 from AT&T, $500,000 from the Russian Oligarch connected investment firm, Columbus Nova, and the $150,000 from a South Korean aerospace company, Michael Cohen apparently get this, negotiated a $10 million deal just before his office was raided by the feds this year to help a real estate mogul get public money to build some nuclear power plants.

The Wall Street Journal breaks the news tonight that Franklin Haney who donated, by the way, $1 million to Trump's Inauguration Committee, just the cause, has club membership at Mar-a-Lago because he likes playing there I guess, and reportedly boasted about his dinners with President Trump last year. Also according to the Wall Street Journal agreed to pay $10 million to President's then-personal attorney Michael Cohen if he successfully help obtain funding for nuclear power project including -- this is my favorite part -- a $5 billion loan from the U.S. Government according to people familiar with the matter.

Joining me now is one of the Wall Street Journal reporters who broke that story tonight, Michael Rothfeld. Wow, there's a lot going on here. One thing that strikes me is this says to me -- I thought we might knew all the gigs of like the Michael cone influence side gigs but I guess we didn't.

MICHAEL ROTHFELD, REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: No, no we didn't know all of them and there may yet be more. There's one that we had reported before that Cowen had arranged a meeting for Haney with the Qataris to try to get an investment for this nuclear power plant he's trying to open in Alabama but we didn't know exactly the terms of the agreement so today we reported that. As you said, he -- Cohen was promised $10 million if he could help get funding for this power plan including this $5 billion loan and just you know, an astounding number of both -- on both counts from the Department of Energy.

HAYES: So there's a few things here that are see that is striking and I should take time to read what I think is kind of a non-denial denial from Haney's attorney as is neither Mr. Haney nor Nuclear Development LLC ever entered into a contract Michael Cohen or his affiliate for lobbying services related to the Bellefonte Project. That's the project. We should note that that's a specific technical meeting right? You got to register to be a lobbyist.

ROTHFELD: Right.

HAYES: You could enter into a consulting contract.

ROTHFELD: Right. And that's most likely what this contract says is consulting or strategic advice except that we have reported that federal prosecutors in New York are looking at whether Michael Cohen engaged in illegal lobbying. They've contacted some of his other consulting clients such as AT&T; and Novartis to talk to them about the deals they had with Cohen and we reported today that Cohen in fact had called the Energy Department several people there to ask about this nuclear power project and to see if it could -- the process can be speeded up so --

HAYES: You can't do that.

ROTHFELD: Well, I'm not a prosecutor but that's -- that is --

HAYES: You can't do that. I mean, you -- I mean, you can -- look, there's a whole universe of people in Washington who consult and don't lobby.

ROTHFELD: Right.

HAYES: But there's certain lines -- like to get away with I'm a consultant, not a lobbyist is like calling up the Energy Department and puts you in a tough spot when you have to explain that behavior.

ROTHFELD: Yes, that could be a problem potentially.

HAYES: There's also -- am I wrong that it's a crazy amount of money?

ROTHFELD: It's a lot of money, $10 million. And we spoke to a number of experts who said both that success fees are very unusual while legally it's not certain that it's illegal but --

HAYES: Gray area.

ROTHFELD: It's a gray area and $10 million is unheard of, is what we reported.

HAYES: Unheard of. $10 million unheard of, a success --

ROTHFELD: For any government action, $10 million.

HAYES: You know the success fee is left out to me as someone who used to be a reporter in Washington and did a lot of reporting on influence, I'd never heard of a success fee.

ROTHFELD: Right.

HAYES: Because you know, it's one thing if -- I mean look, there's a continuum here right? But it's one thing if you say I'm paying you to go help me work over these people. If you say I'm going to give you the money if you're successful, it at least looks a lot more like a bribe.

ROTHFELD: Yes, the problem is it lends itself to corruption and the old days of court said you know, that that should not happen. But now that lobbying is much more entrenched you know, it's as you said more of a gray area.

HAYES: It's also fasting because there's this reporting about the he keeps intersecting with Qataris, right? There's his reporting back that during the transition he's hitting up a Qataris being like hey hook me up, I'll shepherd some money, we'll go 50-50 on some projects and the Qataris are a little freaked out. But he got a meeting with the Qataris again.

ROTHFELD: Yes, I mean, Cohen was very successful in selling himself to a lot of people. I mean, we have reported earlier this year, he said, I look I'm the guy. Fire all your other people. I'm the guy with the closest relationship to the President so hire me. But in fact, you know, it seems he produced very little for any of his clients.

HAYES: Last question, we think there was a monthly retainer along with the success fee right? He's not doing it for free on contingency.

ROTHFELD: Right. Yes, we reported that the contract has -- and we don't know the amount of that but some of his retainers were in you know, $50,000 a month range.

HAYES: You can buy a lot of suits with that money. Michael Rothfeld, great reporting. Thanks for being here tonight. All right, next a major blow to the defensive Paul Manafort today and why the judge doesn't want to hear any more about Manafort's taste in suits, speaking of that. That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: In day three of the trial of Donald Trump's former campaign Manager Paul Manafort, the prosecution went straight at the central theory of the Manafort defense team at least laid out in their opening arguments that Manafort was basically ignorant of his own finances, that he left into others to make decisions for him hence, he's not criminally liable for his omissions and his behavior. Today the prosecution rebutted that argument by putting Manafort's longtime bookkeeper Heather Washkuhn on the stand and she testified that "he was very detail-oriented. He'd approved every penny of anything that we paid for."

Earlier in the day, prosecutors submitted more evidence of Manafort's lavish spending. One witness saying that at Manafort's Hamptons home there was "a huge flowerbed that was all white flowers with red flowers and it's shaped like an M. Well, that's nice, you'll know what home you're at. And of course, lots and lots of super pricey suits though the judge would not admit all the prosecution's photos of Manafort's wildly expensive clothing saying it could prejudice the jury, just sampling to get a taste.

The other big development today is that the star witness who then wasn't going to be the star witness maybe back to being a star witness again. I speak of course of Rick Gates. There was a moment of shock yesterday. One of the prosecutors said that Gates, Manafort's former business partner who also works for the Trump campaign might not be called as a witness. Today another prosecutor seemed to put that possibility to rest saying "we have every intention to call him as a witness.

To go through the day's developments I'm joined by former Federal Prosecutor Elie Honig and NBC News Intelligence and National Security Reporter Ken Dilanian who witnessed today's proceedings inside the courthouse. Ken, what do you see today?

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, Chris, we've been talking about Rick Gates as potentially the star witness but I'm not sure this bookkeeper Heather Washkuhn won't turn out to be if not the star witness a very important witness. And she was important in the incriminating information she offered about Paul Manafort. But she's also important for those of us who are watching this trial to learn what it might mean for the larger Russia investigation because she really painted in stark terms a picture of Paul Manafort flat broke by 2016, in fact, deeply in debt. His company lost $1.6 million, Chris, in 2016. That's the same year he joined the Trump campaign where he was working for free.

And so here you have Paul Manafort, Chairman of the Trump Campaign in debt we know to a Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, close ties to another person Konstantin Kilimnik who's been identified by Mueller as having ties to Russian intelligence. We really need to ask ourselves how desperate was man afford and what was he willing to do while he was the Chairman of the Trump campaign and the Russians were circling and trying to influence the election. Now, none of that's going to come up in the trial but that was the most interesting thought that I had today listening to this --

HAYES: Fascinating.

Because the bookkeeper says basically with Yanukovich, Viktor Yanukovich who is his big client, who is, of course, the Russian aligned ruler of the Ukraine who has to flee his -- in -- veyr quickly, that when he -- that when that golden goose essentially goes away, that all of a sudden Manafort finds himself broke and terrified, and that's just a few months, if I'm correct, right, a few months before he joins the campaign he's in that situation?

DILANIAN: Well, it was a gradual decent. Yanukovich fled to Russia in 2014. So, that's -- the spigot started to turn off. 2015 was a very bad year for Manafort and his partner. By 2016, they were having trouble paying their health insurance bills. I mean, and it is not really clear why Manafort, a well-known political consultant, was unable to generate any other income, but there we are. He was in desperate straits.

And there was also information that she provided that they started to defraud banks at that time by overstating, by sort of making up, essentially, income on their balance sheets in order to get loans on some of the properties that Manafort owned.

HAYES: Elie, there's this back and forth on Gates, right. We expected him to be the star witness. The defense targets him in their opening, says this guy is a scoundrel. He double crossed Paul Manafort. You're going to hear from him.

Yesterday, a prosecutor says, well, we don't know if we are going to call him. Today, and what is going on here?

HONIG: Yeah, so I've been in a similar situation. And I think the prosecution's point of view, the fact that they were considering now calling him shows that they're feeling good about how the case is coming in and can hit on it.

You know, the bookkeeper really gave them a big piece of the case, and the strategy, the thought behind potentially not calling him is, well defense has made clear, they've got all guns trained on the cooperator, on Rick GAtes, and if you can take that target away, they have got nowhere left to shoot.

But I do agree with the strategic decision to call him, ultimately, and it looks like they will, and here is why. If you don't call him as the prosecutor, you mention him in opening. Now, the prosecutor didn't say we will call him, but they mentioned him. The defense opened entirely on Rick Gates. If you don't call him, here is what the defense is going to say to the jury in closing, he is their witness. They have the ability to call him. They told you about him. And they are hiding him. What are they hiding? And that is reasonable doubt. That can be a pretty powerful jury argument.

And so I think it's the right thing. Put him out there. He is very well supported. And let him do his thing.

So, the other part of this, Ken, is do they -- you know, you have got the bookkeeper. She says, he is very detail oriented. I didn't know about the foreign bank accounts. So, like, whatever he's doing with that he -- that's his deal. Did they cross her? What has the defense strategy been here like?

DILANIAN: Well, there was a little ambiguity, and particularly in the fraud that she talked about, because Gates was involved in that part of it. Gates was in communication with her. And you can sort of get a hint of where the defense is going.

To the extent that Gates participated in this bank fraud, which appears that he did they are going to pin it all on him.

But there has been so much evidence at this trial that Paul Manafort was very involved in all of these financial transactions, including money from overseas to purchase luxury goods, Chris.

HAYES: OK, one more thing about the judge in this trial. He really seems like a character. I mean, he is, like, really cracking the whip. Two things, he's been obsessed with speed. He keeps saying faster, faster, faster. He gave the assignment to the prosecutor to go home tonight and think about how to speed up your case and he has been very sort of guarding against what he views as prejudicial introduction of evidence of the lavishness of Paul Manafort's lifestyle. What's that about?

HONIG: Yeah, he sounds like a tough judge. I've been in front of judges like that. The speed thing is really a prosecutor's friend. When you are prosecucting a case, you want to get that -- you want to hit it and quit it. If the case drags on and on and on, you are going to lose the jury. They're going to blame you. They're going to start missing birthdays. Get in and get out. So, I think he is doing them a favor there. It's stressful, but I think he's doing them a favor.

On the lavish spending, so obviously it is an important piece of the prosecution's case on a couple of different levels. You know, it is inflammatory, right. You want to appeal not just to a jury's intellect, but to the gut. And you see this guy who is wearing python -- is a python...

HAYES: Ostrich.

HONIG: Ostrich, python...

HAYES: Both. Yes, thank you, Ken.

HONIG: All this bizarre clothing. But if that's all you knew about the guy, you hate him.

So -- but the judge doesn't want that to go overboard. And it's also -- he's, again, I think doing the prosecution a favor. If you go overboard on that, the jury is going to think -- they are just trying to make us hate this guy because he is rich and he's got weird taste.

But it's also relevant to what Ken talked about, the turning point in the case here is when Yanukovich loses and the money dries up, right. And now Manafort has got this absurdly lavish lifestyle that he has got to pay for. And that's where the bank fraud...

HAYES: Nothing worse than having -- you know, a quarter of a million dollars in yearly landscaping fees that you have got to find a way to pay for when your oligarch -- well, when you're sugar daddy strong man is forced to flee basically in the middle of the night.

Elie Honig and Ken Dilanian, thank you both.

Still ahead, the White House leaves no room for ambiguity. The president does believe the press is the enemy of the people, his phrase. We will play you that stunning moment ahead.

Plus, Ryan Zinke, just a man with a dream of brewing his own beer. That is tonigh's Thing One, Thing Two, next.

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HAYES: Thing One tonight, among the Trump cabinet secretaries that have not resigned in disgrace, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, as perhaps the most scandal plagued member left standing.

But something you may not know about him is he is a big fan of beer. In fact, Ryan Zinke has a beer dream. For years, Ryan Zinke he has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get a micro brewery built in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, first tried way back in 2012 to get approval to turn a piee of residential property he owns into a brewery he wanted to call the Double Tap, that a SEAL team kill a guy reference.

Unfortunately, the Whitefish city government turned him down, but Zinke didn't give up. In fact, he joined a local committee the next year hoping to change local zoning laws to make them more hospitable to a business like his proposed brewery.

Once again he failed after clashing with fellow residents about noise and traffic, antoher huge let down. What does a guy have to do to get a brewery built in Whitefish freaking Montana?

Well, becoming the Secretary of the Interior doesn't hurt. How Halliburton made Zinke's dream come true is Thing Two in 60 seconds.

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HAYES: In the Trump swamp, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was only overshadowed by our old friend Scott Pruitt, but Zinke has had plenty of scandals of his own. You may remember the nearly $40,000 of wildfire preparedness funds use to pay for Zinke to take a helicopter tour, or Zinke's insistence that a special secretarial flag be flown at Interior headquarters whenever he's in the building, like he's the queen of England.

But the latest scandal that emerged around Zinke maybe the strangest. The Interior Department's inspector general is now investigating whether Zinke colluded to have the chairman of Halliburton, the gian energy company with lots of business before the interior, build him the micro brewery he has always wanted in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana.

See, the Secretary of the Interior Zinke has rolled back Obama era rules on fracking, saving companies, especially like Halliburton, a lto of money.

Politico reports there is evidence that the micro brewery that Halliburton is proposing to build is the same one as the one Zinke has planned since at least 2012. And the Whitefish city planner also tells Politico that, quote, the developers of the project told him the micro brewery was intended for Zinke.

For his part, Ryan Zinke has responded to the charges with brewey? What brewery?

Quote, "at this point in my life I am more interested in sampling handcrafted beers than making them.

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HAYES: The House may be in recess, the president may be freaking out about the Mueller investigation, but the Trump administration keeps chugging along on their agenda, taking a sledgehammer to some of the most vital regulations that protect the country and the Earth.

Today, the administration announced its first big step to weaken fuel efficiency standards, standards that are, let's be clear, a win-win for the consumer and the environment since higher fuel efficiency standards means consumers pay less in fuel costs and there is less carbon put in the atmosphere, and the Earth is better off. So, who complains about it?

Well, fossile fuel companies and car companies. But even some the automakers are complaning the Trump administration is planning to freeze the Obama era fuel efficiency targets in the year 2021, goes too far. So, how does the Trump administration justify something like this? How do you justify something so obviously anti-consumer. Well, you do it with absurd bad faith arguments. Like this one, better fuel efficiency makes people drive too much and leads to more deadly crashes, the kind of bad faith arguments that are easily rebutted.

But of course that has never stopped the Trump administration before, as noted environmentalist Bill McKibbon (ph) tweeted, "got to say it takes a special kind of stupid to embrace gas guzzlers the same day scientists tell us America recorded the hottest month in Earth's history."

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HAYES: At a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday night, the president's supporters swore and made obscene gestures at the press. Video of a reporter getting heckled was tweeted by the president's son with the hashtag #truth and then retweeted by Trump himself.

Now, Trump has referred to the press as, quote, "as the opposition party, fake news, and as the enemy of the people." And today it became the official position of the White House that the press, those of us responsible for making sense of a complicated world, whose job it is to inform and guide society for the better, is actually your enemy, an enemy of the people." That's because given the opportunity to say that wasn't the case, Sarah Huckabee Sanders very pointedly chose not to.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the sake of this room, the people who are in this room, this democracy, this country, all the people around the world are watching what you're saying, Sarah. And the White House for the United States of America, the president of the United States, should not refer to us as the enemy of the people. His own daughter acknowledges that, and all I'm asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.

SANDERS: I appreciate your passion. I share it. I've addressed this question. I've addressed my personal feelings. I'm here to speak on behalf of the president. He's made his comments clear.

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HAYES: I'm joined now by Betsy Woodruff, reporter of The Daily Beast, and Bob Garfield, co-host of WNYC's On The Media.

Bob, what did you think of what has happened the last few days on this score?

BOB GARFIELD, CO-HOST, ON THE MEDIA: Well, I think it is obviously disgraceful. It is perverse. It is a lie. It's incitement. It is a whole mess of ugly things. And I think as far as Sarah Huckabee Sanders is concerned, not all that important. She -- what do you expect her to say? She has been a mouthpiece for Donald Trump. And she -- I would say she's an apologist for him, but she never apologizes. Her job is to marginally make his outrages seem less outrageous. She, as it turns out, very bad at that as well.

But kind of, duh, of course she said that, or more to the point, of course she refused to walk back his hideous allegation.

HAYES: You know, he made some clarifying tweet, which is not even worth getting into about how he only means the fake news. But what struck me, Betsy, is that like there is a sort of -- there is a trap here, I always feel worried of getting pulled into, which is the sort of desire on the part of hte White House to kind of make the press into the opposition. It calls it the opposition party, it wants to fight with the press, it is energizing for the people that come to the rallies and throw up their middle finger, scream to the press, and then ask for selfies afterwards. It's a very bizarre psychology.

But there is also something really nasty here happening. I mean, this is from the Committee to Protect Journalists, "21 journalists in six countries jailed on charges related to fake news in 2017, like there are consequences to this.

GARFIELD: Yeah, there are consequences. And it -- it's not that he's setting up the press an opposing party -- enemy of the people is not an opposing party -- no, he is right about one thing, there is an enemy of the people. There is a, an enemy within, a fifth column that is an enemy of truth and honesty and of civility and of respect and law and order, and it is the president of the United States. And what he is doing is so beyond the pale and unAmerican that what his press spokesman has to say is more or less beside the point.

HAYES: Betsy, what do you think?

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: It strikes me that there is sort of a remarkable irony when it comes to the way that this White House talks about the media and that is that there is never been a president who simultaneously so bitter and angry and vitriolic toward the press, but at the same time, so dependent on it and so engrossed in every minute of media coverage of his presidency. And Trump has been like this going back for decades. This is not something new in his character.

When he was a real estate developer in New York, he was obsessed with the way that his business was covered. He was a voracious consumer of tabloid journalism, calling up reporters, complaining and badgering with them to write stories about him, to get him in the paper, to get him on TV. He was very much just consumed with media coverage of himself. And now we're seeing that play sort of out in his presidency as the decisions that he makes are infinitely more consequential than any decision he made as a real estate developer or as a reality TV star.

And he is facing a press corps that is significantly more -- I might get had trouble saying this, but significantly more sophisticated than the New York City tabloid press corps.

He's dealing with some of the most elite journalists in the world who are writing about his behavior every day, and yeah, it gets under his skin and it bothers him. And I think the challenge for reporters is making sure that we don't become this story. And that we don't sort of become participants in this fight that he wants to create.

HAYES: Yeah, what do you think -- that dynamic is one that I sort of wrestle with, too. I mean, I don't care what the president thinks about me or what he thinks about (inaudible) generally. You know, people dome like reporters. It happens all the time. There is something -- I mean, enemy of the people is like a Stalinist phrase like straight up. It is the kind of thing that people -- leaders in countries that, you know, throw people in prison for reporting the news, say. I mean, really, it's gross language.

And, Bob, what do you think about this dynamic between sort of, you know, adequately responding to how serious and ugly the language is, and not being pulled into a kind of like professional wrestling match with the president in which you are both in the sort of same cage?

GARFIELD: Well, it is a question that I personally have to face every day in my role as a critic of media and a commentator on politics.

But I must say, I've made my decision. Yes, there is a risk of creating a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy by attacking the president of the United States and creating exactly the confrontation that he is baiting us to be in.

On the other hand, this is a kind of historic evil, and it is such an attack on the constitution, on the society, on our way of life, on our history, on our founding principles, on our core values, and of truth itself, that I would rather fall into the trap of taking on the president than to be silent in the face of this grotesque situation.

The press is not the enemy of the people. He is trying to divide America. He is -- this is as demogogic as it comes. And it's really dangerous. And in time, there will be blood on his hands.

HAYES: There is also part of this, too, Betsy, which strikes me -- there is both personal pique to your point, there is sort of this demagoguery, right, his fans like it. There's also part of this, which is he doesn't -- it's like, you know, when cult leaders cut people off from their families, right. There is a thing happening here which is don't trust any information you don't get from me or from people I approve. Here's what he said at the VFW, which I thought was sort of an amazing moment when he telling people what to believe and not to believe. Take a listen.

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TRUMP: Just stick with us. Don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. And just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.

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HAYES: I mean, what an amazing quote, "what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."

And Betsy, that strikes me as -- that's very intentional and very tactical, that's not a bit of pique. It strikes me that he is really invested in making sure that people do not trust a huge spectrum of sources about what he is up to.

WOODRUFF: Right, it's not a fluke. Without question, it is part of a strategy. A piece of this that is important to remember is that Trump is not an aberration when it comes to the way conservatives and people on the right talk about the mainstream media. Going back for decades now, conservatives have been saying don't trust the liberal media. Sarah Palin made it a watch word. There were buttons at rallies in the 90s saying "don't believe the lying New York Times." This is something Republicans have been pushing for decades and decades. It has been sort of a key part of the way that the Republican Party has messaged itself as saying don't believe what mainstream media outlets say about us, rather trust only conservative media, trust only Republican politicians.

The difference, of course, is that Trump takes this message and weaponizes it and talks about it in a way that is extremely blunt, exremely candid. I guess maybe you have to give him credit for the level of honesty that he's showing here, and that he's saying what many other Republicans sort of hint at and thinking. He's saying what many other Republicans had wanted to be able to say. And he's sort of turning up to 11, if you will.

But this strain of thought is something that the Republican base has been primed for going back for quite some time.

HAYES: Oh, that's true. And they are enjoying this particular moment.

Betsy Woodruff and Bob Garfield, thank you both for joining us. I really appreciate it.

Before we wrap up, I want to remind you to check out our new podcast Why is This Happening? If you haven't started yet, folks have told us our two most recent episodes go really well together. Last week's interview with Giorgio Angelini about housing discrimination and segregation, and then this week's episode with Nicole Hannah Jones about segregation in schools. Download them wherever you get your podcast, like Apple Podcast. Tell us what you think using our hashtag #withpod.

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

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