Trump team keeps changing its story, TRANSCRIPT: 8/6/2018, All In w Chris Hayes.

Guests: Daniel Goldman, Kim Wehle, Mike Quigley, Amy Siskind, Amy Hanauer, Cornell Belcher, Franklin Foer

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: August 6, 2018 Guest: Daniel Goldman, Kim Wehle, Mike Quigley, Amy Siskind, Amy Hanauer, Cornell Belcher, Franklin Foer

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But candidates I`ve been talking to say that they are not playing up the gender card. They have disadvantages in this election.

STEVE KORNACKI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: All right, that`s it for HARDBALL tonight. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right not.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Listen, I think politics is a dirty game.

HAYES: The President all but admits to campaign conspiracy with Russians.

TRUMP JR.: As you can see from the e-mails, the pretext of the meeting was hey we have information.

HAYES: Amid fears of legal jeopardy for Donald Trump Jr.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as my son is concerned, my son is a wonderful young man.

HAYES: Tonight, the growing case for a collusion in plain sight and why the President`s adult son may be in trouble. Plus, the star witness takes the stand in the Manafort trial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gates is admitting to everything.

HAYES: Dramatic testimony from the Trump Campaign official who today admitted he and Paul Manafort committed crimes together. And 92 days out.

TRUMP: There`s only one choice in this election.

HAYES: Can Democrats pull off a surprise victory in Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not tired of winning.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The President of the United States has now confessed that his campaign, his own dear beloved son tried to collude with the Russian government to take down Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. He tweeted as much over the weekend, "fake news reporting a complete fabrication, but I`m concerned about the meeting my wonderful son Donald had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal, done all the time in politics and it went nowhere. I did not know about it."

For the record, it is not totally legal. That`s a little unclear to get help from a foreign national government. It`s actually totally illegal. As to whether the meeting may have -- where the meeting may have led and what the President knew about it, those remain very much open questions. You`ll remember that a source recently told NBC News that Michael Cohen is prepared to tell the Special Counsel the president did, in fact, know in advance the meeting was taking place. The President`s own open admission of an effort to collude with Russia echoes comments that he made last year after the e-mails setting up the Trump Tower meeting first became public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: As far as my son is concerned, my son is a wonderful young man. He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer. Most people would have taken that meeting. It`s called opposition research or even research into your opponent. I have a son who`s a great young man he`s a fine person. He took a meeting with a lawyer from Russia. It lasted for a very short period and nothing came of the meeting and I think it`s a meeting that most people in politics probably would have taken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: This would probably be a good time to point out that Donald Trump Jr., the wonderful young man is now 40 years old. His father made clear everything was above board but that meeting in Trump Tower has been the subject of a long campaign of deception by the President himself and his inner circle. First, Don Jr. claimed the meeting was primarily about adoption changing his story only after e-mail surfaced showing he was offered and I quote, "official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary." That coming from someone billed as a Russian government lawyer. Later the White House claimed the President himself played no role in drafting his son`s misleading statement but eventually the President`s legal team acknowledged that OK, yes, he actually dictated the statement. Yesterday one of his lawyers attempted to explain the discrepancy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY SEKULOW, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUM: I had -- I had bad information at that time. I made a mistake in my statement. I`ve talked about that before. That happens when you have cases like this. Over time facts develop. That`s what investigations do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: By the way that is an all-time great phrase from Trump world, over time facts developed. It may or may not be a coincidence that a key witness involved in the drafting of that misleading statement, the one that we know that Mueller`s team is looking at, former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks but she happened to be traveling with the President aboard Air Force One on Saturday hours before his tweet. Hicks has already been interviewed by the special Counsels Team and reporting indicates they are interested in that statement. And then, get this, calling into Laura Ingraham`s radio show today, Don Jr. claimed once again the Trump Tower meaning didn`t yield the Hillary dirt he was looking for as if the Russians alleged failure to deliver clears him of all suspicion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP JR.: I guess that is a 20-minute meeting. It ended up in you know, about essentially nothing that was relevant to any of these things. And you know that`s all it is and that`s all this got and you know that is I guess the ultimate distraction from what`s really going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That argument, however, does not seem to be putting his father`s mind at ease. According to a report by The Washington Post which appears to be what provoked that incriminating tweet from the President yesterday, the President has confided to friends and advisers he is worried the Mueller probe could destroy the lives of what he calls innocent and decent people namely Don Junior. As one advisor described the President`s thinking, he does not believe his son purposefully broke the law but is fearful nonetheless. He inadvertently may have wandered into legal jeopardy. For more on the potential legal jeopardy facing the President`s son, I`m joined by federal -- former Federal Prosecutors Daniel Goldman and Kim Wehle. Kim, I want to start with you. First, I guess, is Don Junior in some legal jeopardy?

KIM WEHLE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, there are two questions. One is can you make a case based on the public facts that there`s a violation of the campaign laws? I think yes. The second is whether Mueller or someone else in the Justice Department would feel that this is a case that could be brought before a jury and won because that`s an issue that prosecutor takes into account. But you know, Mr. Trump Jr. is not -- is not an elected official. He`s not protected by the argument that he could only be impeached and he could actually be subject to a criminal prosecution and I think that that`s got to be of great concern to his father not only because as you mentioned dirt on Hillary Clinton is likely something of value and the federal election laws both the statutes of the regulations say you can`t be -- foreign nationals can`t be mucking around with our elections.

We want American voters actually casting those votes. So if you`re a foreign national and you`re volunteering on a campaign, you can`t throw in ten bucks for pizza that the Federal Election Commission has indicated would be a problem. Now, it all comes down to whether there`s accountability. But surely there`s some liability here at this point for Mr. Trump Jr. and the fact that it was inchoate that it that is that they actually didn`t get good dirt does that mean that he didn`t solicit it. We`ve all had dingdong you know, somebody ringing the doorbell and say please buy some candy. That`s soliciting. If you don`t buy the candy it doesn`t somehow not make it soliciting and that`s what is unlawful under the statute.

HAYES: You know, I want to say two things to that. One is they say nothing came out of it, the meeting`s participants say. I just -- I want to bracket that because like I don`t know, right? I mean, everyone is in the meeting is saying nothing came out of it. None of us are in there. We don`t have recordings. The -- in terms of your point about the publicly available facts, that`s the other question to me always is there are still missing facts which is the phone called Don Jr made to the blocked number and what happened after the meeting that are going to be really important in determining whether there is in fact legal jeopardy.

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You have to remember that this is one data point. We`re focused on it because of Don Junior`s testimony, of his involvement of the e-mails that came out.

HAYES: Well, and we got public knowledge of it.

GOLDMAN: Exactly. But remember there`s a whole another wrinkle and this came out last week when Rudy Giuliani went on his little circus is that there may have apparently been a pre-meeting and one of the attendees maybe Rick Gates, today`s star witness in the Manafort trial. But remember, if he was there at that meeting, he has told Bob Mueller and his everything about that meeting. So what I see with this shift with Trump is what has been going on repeatedly in Trump world which is when they sense that there`s some bad news coming out, they try to change the story admit to a little bit but not the worst part. So it started -- as you pointed out, it started with adoptions, OK, now they`re saying sure it was for opposition research but what are they really worried about? Did they discuss sanctions because ultimately that`s what the Russians wanted to get out of all of these meetings is some easement of the sanctions?

HAYES: By the way, I just want to say there`s a universe in which the President was told he denies that. There`s a universe in which he was told the meeting is a bust, everyone is frustrated and when the President looks in the camera and says Russia if you`re listening, he`s like literally passively, aggressively telling them what he wants. Like that is not --

GOLDMAN: It takes on a whole different --

HAYES: That is not totally absurdity.

GOLDMAN: If he knows about that meeting and he knows that Russians are offering it, it takes on a very different --

HAYES: Yes, and because in front of the camera he says, I`ll tell you what I want, not the (INAUDIBLE) you brought in Trump Tower. I`m telling you. I`m looking in the camera. I`m giving you orders.

GOLDMAN: It`s what we used to call in the prosecutor world evidence.

HAYES: Yes. Here`s the question too because I think this sort of -- this gets the tenor of the President. You`ve got him -- the word is that the Trump team is expected to respond to Mueller in the coming days and what that suggests is that they had some communication from Mueller recently and one wonders if there`s a relationship between that and the President`s apparent panic.

WEHLE: You know, that`s pure speculation. I always wonder where this information actually comes from. You know, we hear these things all the time do they come from the Cohen team, do they come for the Giuliani team? I mean, we`ve been hearing people talk about whether Mr. Trump is going to sit down with Mueller for months now. I think it`s been over a year that he`s floated that he wants to do that. I think any defense lawyer is going to say it`s a really bad idea and the bigger question really is about accountability. It seems like his voters do not care. Whatever he does is totally fine and we`re at this crossroads in American culture right now where we have to ask ourselves do we care about the rule of law? Does it even matter if people violate the law?

I mean, we -- it does -- it seems when it comes to immigrants coming, committing misdemeanors at the border, but we`re talking about the integrity of our democratic process that is you know is well established that it was attacked by the Russians. It`s probably going to happen again. The money isn`t being put into stopping that and people are just turning a blind eye to this and I think it`s time for everyone to wake up if we want to have a free society for our children. That`s really what`s at stake here.

HAYES: Final thing that we do know that`s publicly available information is that the Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis, an associate and friend of Roger Stone is going to testify before a Mueller grand jury this week which you`ve undone with Trump I`m not super excited about.

GOLDMAN: No, I mean, all of these --

HAYES: It`s like one of your associates -- friend is going to be for grand jury.

GOLDMAN: Well is it`s not just a friend, it`s someone you know, in sort of an underbelly underworld --

HAYES: Yes, a collaborator of some sort.

GOLDMAN: Exactly. And Roger Stone has been a subject of this investigation for some time and the Mueller -- by the public reports the Mueller investigation has been closing in on a lot of associates around him. And that just gets back to this whole issue of no collusion that the talking point that there`s been no evidence of any collusion. First of all, that`s wrong. There has been. We talked about this June 9th meeting which is good evidence of it. But the second thing is that that we are getting just bits and pieces and all these people are testifying but what we can glean from it is that there is -- there is smoke there, and at some point, that evidence will come out.

HAYES: Daniel Goldman and Kim Wehle, great to have you both. Thanks for joining me. I`m joined now by a Member of the House Intelligence Committee which interviewed Donald Trump Jr. under oath last year, Congressman Mike Quigley, Democrat from Illinois. Are you confident that Donald Trump Jr., the President`s son and a campaign adviser was truthful in his sworn testimony to your committee?

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Oh, I think that most of the people who came before us need to come back. I can`t talk exactly about what they said but I can tell you that Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trump, I would say seven or eight others, there is new evidence that has come forward, or reporting that brings into question, their veracity. So certainly I`d like to bring them back. But we have a problem doing that. We`re not in the majority. We don`t have the power to compel them to come back. The majority, the Republicans refused to issue subpoenas for almost everyone in this and they went along with the White House gag order. So unless things flip, unless the Mueller investigation is allowed to do this or has time to do this, the American public won`t know.

HAYES: Just to be clear on that gag order. Don Jr. sat before a committee for a number of hours and answer questions am I right? But that has not been made public, those questions or answers?

QUIGLEY: No, I what I`m getting to is a part of the larger picture. The White House issued something of a gag order for several of the people who witnesses -- who testified before the House Select Committee on Intelligence. And Mr. Nunez the Chairman of that committee refused to compel them to answer certain questions about their time in the White House for example.

HAYES: I see.

QUIGLEY: So I put into the larger context of this is a hard investigation to do when you`re not in the majority and you can`t compel people to answer questions.

HAYES: In the -- in the broader sense, there`s always this question about the President`s behavior and whether it`s sort of accelerating, right, are things getting worse or is this just sort of the equilibrium that he enjoys which is a kind of state of permanent chaos. What is your sense from your perch as a member of Congress who`s been involved in the House Intelligence investigation?

QUIGLEY: I think it ebbs and flows but certainly since the events of Helsinki, the President seems to be as we described I think a week ago, a little shaky. This is the President in a legal term freaking out. I just don`t know how to express it. And it seems to be accelerating because look, is his campaign manager -- chairman is on trial, his attorney is apparently appearing to flip and there`s so many more things that are going on right now. But I think -- I think part of this he starts to get what I`m hoping the American public gets. We`re talking about the Trump Tower meeting. What happened just two months before that? The Russians told a campaign associate George Papadopoulos that they had dirt on Hillary Clinton, they had e-mails.

All they did two months later was move up the food chain to Mr. Manafort and to the President`s son. And they offered dirt. Mr. Trump Junior`s response was all we love it. They even talked about the timing of getting this information. They were -- they were disappointed by the results. What happened just days after the Trump Tower meeting? We`re forgetting this. That`s when Julian Assange and WikiLeaks announced that they had these e-mails and clearly at the same time the President, the candidate that is starts talking about how he loves WikiLeaks and he`s encouraging them to release more and to hack more. So I think it`s simple enough for the American public to start connecting the dots. I think the President realizes that that is what`s happening.

HAYES: Do you think the President is right to worry about the legal jeopardy of his son?

QUIGLEY: I think the President has right to worry about the -- his son and I think he has a very even right -- equal right to be worried about his own legal issues. Everything is connected here. The fact is we`re watching a trial for Mr. Manafort that appears to be just financial criminal acts but on his part. That`s what he`s accused of doing. But obviously this is all within the same web of money-laundering that could have taken place with Deutsche Bank who was fined $600 million for laundering money illegally with the Russians. And where were all these things happening? In the same cesspool, Cyprus. So if we`re allowed to continue that investigation and we barely scratch the surface, we`d find out a lot more of what took place.

It`s interesting, last week the President said something after he asked Mr. Sessions to shut down this investigation. He called the Russian investigation a stain on the country. To your point of how this is accelerating and how the President appears to be unraveling, I think the more appropriate phrase comes from our time watching the tragedy of Watergate. This is a cancer on the President.

HAYES: Congressman Mike Quigley, thank you for making time tonight.

QUIGLEY: Thank you.

HAYES: Next the White House is shifting stories about their involvement with Russians looking the interfere in the 2016 election and what they`ve admitted only after they`ve been caught. That story in two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anyone involved in the Trump campaign have any contact with Russians trying to meddle with the election?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely not. And I discussed that with the President-elect just last night. Those conversations never happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did any advisor or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who are trying to meddle in the election?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, of course not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Of course not, obviously. It used to be way back in the day, back in December 2016 that you would get those kinds of blanket denials out of Trump world as it related to the criminal sabotage the American election by a foreign government. And then the New York Times reported that lo and behold, Don Junior, Donald Trump Jr. set up a meeting with the Russian lawyer during the campaign and then they started lying about the reason for that meeting. So first of course, no meetings, OK, there was a meeting but the original story was that it was all about a thing that apparently, they were very focused on, Russian adoption. You see the real policy wonks over there in Trump world, really laser focus on Russia adoption. And then we found out the meeting was billed as support from the Russian government promising information that would incriminate Hillary Clinton which led the President`s later claimed collusion is not against the law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: I`ve been sitting here looking on the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not.

GIULIANI: Collusion is not a crime.

For months, they`re not going to be colluding about Russians which I`m not even know if that`s a crime colluding about Russians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Now the president has gone from calling Russian collusion fake news to tweeting this weekend that meeting with Russians to get information an opponent was totally legal. To talk more about these conflicting explanations evolving I`m joined by Amy Siskind, Host of the podcast the Weekly List and Author of The List: A Week-By-Week Reckoning of Trump`s First Year, Nick Acerman former Watergate Prosecutor. What do you -- what do you see is going on here in terms of the trial of this by public opinion which seems to me Rudy`s intent here? He understands that he`s facing ultimately for his client. Ultimately, it`s an -- it`s an impeachment question, right? So it`s like they`re very I think effectively kind of drip, drip, dripping out the facts.

NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they`re trying to get ahead of the facts because they know these facts are coming out but you have to sit back and ask yourself if all of this is innocent is Trump claims. If this is all what people do in the normal course then why are they all lying about it? And the reason for that is they`re still lying about it. What you didn`t talk about in the beginning of this show in terms of what the crimes are that are involved, all you need to do is look at the Russian indictment of the 12 Russian nationals that were recently indicted in a conspiracy that included not only breaking into the Democratic National Committee and stealing documents but also staging the release of those documents. And if you recall Don Jr. in response to the letter that he got from Goldstone said you know I love it. This is going to be really helpful at the end of the summer.

HAYES: Especially later this summer.

AKERMAN: Yes, and look what happens at the end of the summer. He starts he`s communicating with WikiLeaks at the same time they`re releasing documents just prior to the Democratic National Convention, releasing documents to deflect away from the Access Hollywood tape and basically acting as a boiler room for the Trump campaign.

HAYES: What do you see sort of coming into focus here when you sort of take a step back from all that?

AMY SISKIND, HOST, WEEKLY LIST: Well, I see from the Mueller angle that he has set out through these 25 indictments that it`s irrefutable that Russia did hack our election and attack our election. And now that that`s established, then we have the other offshoots. Then we have Butina who is being indicted as a spy for Russia who by the way met with Donald Jr. and Torshin her handler at the NRA meeting in Kentucky weeks before this June 9th meeting. And then we have the other band which is Roger Stone and his six associates and the madam now being subpoenaed as well. So you can see how he sort of has laid the groundwork and now he`s reaching into Trump`s circles, Mueller, very systematically to draw them in.

HAYES: Well, that`s sort of the legal question here, right? And you`ve been saying it`s the beginning. It`s like there is a conspiracy, a criminal conspiracy that has been indicted as such which says like these people criminally conspire to commit these crimes and then the question is oh who is a party to the conspiracy? That`s ultimately the legal question. Just -- by the way, this is the Moscow project which (INAUDIBLE) this. This is 87 contacts based on what we know publicly between the Trump campaign in the Kremlin. 87 contacts, like it was happening all the time, particularly when you like go back to those old interviews like categorically on Mike Pence. Oh gosh no.

AKERMAN: Right. But you have to realize that this is really what they`re looking at now. What Mueller is putting together is the mirror image on the American side of the conspiracy that was charged against those 12 Russians. You`ve got some indication of the fact that --

HAYES: That`s what you think he`s doing now?

AKERMAN: Right, that`s what he`s doing now. You see there, Trump reaching out instructing Russians to break into Hillary Clinton`s -email. You see Roger Stone`s communications with Guccifer 2 .0 which is the first contact and the first release of the information that was stolen. What you`re going to see in the course of the next few weeks and months is oh, this is going to be brought together in an indictment that is going to mirror what you have on the Russian side.

HAYES: Which is --

SISKIND: And I think what Trump is trying to do which he`s been remarkably effective at is he creates this alternative truth starting you know, with the Swedish terrorist incident in Bowling Green Massacre and everything but that doesn`t work so well with the tweet this weekend because we do have a legal process. And so he`s trying to tell people yes Donald Jr. met with them but it`s perfectly legal. And he might win in the court of public opinion which is I think the battle he`s trying to fight but he`s realizing and probably his biggest thing that he`s working against him is he thinks he`s smarter than everyone else, that he can meet with Mueller and convince him that this is a witch-hunt.

HAYES: Well, and there`s also the fact that the court of public opinion, the Rudy strategy which is very, very clear on where he`s like no one`s going to indict the President so we`re dealing with an impeachment strategy which is a political question. That is true I think about Donald Trump. It`s not true about Donald Trump Jr. Donald Trump Jr. is just a guy. Like from the legal perspective he can get indicted like anyone else.

SISKIND: Right. And it`s not necessarily even true about Trump because Rudy Giuliani is -- is (INAUDIBLE) information we`re largely getting information from one side and with a very big spin with it.

AKERMAN: Right. And all of this is going to disappear, it`s going to disintegrate the minute they come out with the big indictment.

HAYES: Well, OK, it depends on what the facts are but yes. Should the facts is damning as they appear in previous indictments, I would agree that. Amy Siskind and Nick Akerman, thanks for joining us.

AKERMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: After the break, the star witness, it happened today. We`ve been talking about will he won`t -- the star witness of Paul Manafort trial does take the stand and admits he committed crimes with his fellow Trump campaign official. What Rick Gates said under oath next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: A big day on day five the trial of Paul Manafort and a big moment that felt like a harbinger, future days of future trials because today for the first time a former Trump campaign official took the stand to testify in open court against another former Trump campaign official claiming they committed crimes together. A former deputy campaign chairman for Donald Trump Rick Gates had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements to the FBI and today he went under oath to testify about his former business partner Paul Manafort`s alleged crimes. Gates has been called the prosecution`s star witness and his initial testimony offered one big reason why.

Prosecutor: Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort? Gates: Yes. Prosecutor: Did you commit any crime with Mr. Manafort? Gates again responded, yes. The prosecution also tried to defuse a key defense strategy on the stand. Gates admitted he had embezzled that is stolen from Manafort "in the hundreds of thousands." NBC News Intelligence, National Security Reporter Ken Dilanian was in that courtroom today. He joins me tonight along with Atlantic Staff Writer Franklin Foer who wrote the definitive piece on Paul Manafort`s rise and fall and all his shady deals.

Ken, sounds like quite a day in that courtroom.

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: It was riveting, Chris. I mean, we knew it was going to happen, but it`s one thing to hear about it and imagine it, and another thing to see it. Rick Gates, who was Paul Manafort`s protoge for 10 years, who started as an intern basically in Manafort`s old consulting firm, walking into that courtroom slowly, methodically taking the oath and then getting on to that witness stand and essentially admitting to a crime spree. And we`re not done yet.

But he admitted to everything. I mean, he was indicted along with Manafort on all these bank and tax fraud charges and he said explicitly, yes, I was guilty of those charges. And then he, of course, had to admit to a series of other crimes, because you know the idea here is to get it all out, as you said, to make sure there are no surprises on cross-examination, to confront the jury with all his bad acts up front, and then try to build his credibility.

And in the course of that, he admitted that he disclosed bad conduct to prosecutors that they didn`t know about, and one of them was the example that cited, he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mr. Manafort, taking advantage of his ability to wire money from those foreign accounts that they both controlled and he used fake expense accounts to cover up the crime.

He also admitted to filling out a false letter and investment scheme, and even to being 15 minutes late for curfew and violating his bail conditions. The idea was we have no secrets from you. This is a flawed individual. You should believe him anyway, because if he lies on the stand his deal is null and void and he won`t get a reduced sentence, and they went through all that as well. His cooperation agreement, the circumstances of his plea. It was all laid out for the jury today, Chris.

HAYES: Frank, in that piece you wrote about Manafort, which is just a great piece. I mean, what`s funny is that first of all that piece is basically -- uses publicly available information to put together what ends up being a lot of the case the government is trying. Like it was not hiding.

But there`s also just like the kind of level of shadiness here. I mean, as you hear this Gates testimony, what are you thinking about all this?

FRANKLIN FOER, THE ATLANTIC: So, Rick Gates was defrauding Paul Manafort as Paul Manafort was defrauding the United States government. You look at everything we`ve learned about the recent history of these guys and everything they`ve done, from the tax fraud to the bank frauds to the witness tampering, to the lying to prosecutors and destroying evidence, and the mind begins to wonder -- we know that their experience in the Trump campaign was book-ended by all this shady behavior. What shady behavior extended into that period when they were running the campaign?

HAYES: Well, -- and that`s a great point. Because, you know, when I think about this stuff, it`s like he was stealing from Manafort? It`s like what -- what are these people up to?

FOER: To be sure, they`d been doing business in Ukraine, and that`s just the way that business was done in Ukraine. Everybody in Ukrainian politics was stealing from everybody else in Ukrainian politics. And for all I know Paul Manafort priced that into the bill he was charging Viktor Yanukovich.

HAYES: Right. And I wonder -- you know, Ken, there was a back and forth about this tactical move of Gates and his centrality. What was your sense today about how much more prosecutors have to do with him and what -- before that cross comes, which is probably going to be the cornerstone of the defense`s case.

DILANIAN: It did strike me today that Gates is a very, very important witness. Now, it`s also true that they can prove this case without Gates. They`ve already put on a lot of evidence of crimes that have nothing to do with Gates or only tangentially related to Gates about these overseas bank accounts that Manafort just simply did not disclose on his tax returns, knowingly, well, that`s the allegation anyway.

But Gates is the only witness that has brought us into the Manafort orbit. He can speak to Manafort`s state of mind, his motives, and he was part of the scheme so he has the feel of the insider.

And he`s a pretty good witness. I mean, he was nervous, but he was calm and composed and eloquent and the prosecution pointed out that he`s a military veteran. He served honorably in the Virginia National Guard. College educated. You know, he brings it all to the table. And he`s going to calmly walk through -- and they`re just at the beginning of this, Chris, so I think they`ll be a few hours tomorrow morning with the prosecution, all the various crimes that he says they committed together.

HAYES: You know, Frank, you`ve made this point before that, you know, this stuff was all out in the open. I mean, ultimately there`s this question of would Manafort and Gates be sitting in that courtroom if they didn`t happen to have essentially gotten a guy elected president amidst what looks like a vast international conspiracy to criminally tilt an American election.

FOER: Right.

So, we know that FBI visited with Manafort in 2014 in connection with his Ukrainian work, but they kind of let the matter seemingly drop. And so I do think that Manafort, who had this whole career based on these acts of what we can now describe as theft and fraud and money laundering and failure to registration, et cetera, et cetera, he would have gotten away with it had he not joined up with the Trump campaign in 2016.

And everybody who knew Paul Manafort knew that he shouldn`t step into the spotlight in this sort of way, and yet he did.

HAYES: That`s a great question. There`s a guy who should not step in the spotlight, but he`s desperate to get in the campaign. He`s broke. He gets on the campaign -- and he`s broke just a few months as evidence has been introduced in trial - - and he gets on and he works for free. And why did he do it? We still don`t know the answer to that question, although maybe we`ll get it someday.

Ken Dilanian and Frank Foer, thank you both.

Ahead, the special election in Ohio that`s so important the president made a last minute appearance over the weekend. Tonight, why Ohio`s governor says Trump`s visit could backfire as the Democrats hope for a surprise upset.

And next, how we know that Ron Estes will be the winner of his Kansas Republican primary. Thing One, Thing Two starts right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, meet Republican Congressman Ron Estes of Kansas`s Fourht District. Estes has had a pretty smooth ride up the ladder in GOP politics first as county treasurer, then state treasurer, a charmed political life, as the Wichita Eagle called it. And last year he became a U.S. congressman after winning a tough race in a special election for the seat vacated by Mike Pompeo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON ESTES, (R) KANSAS: I`m Ron Estes. After eight years of Obama, America is weaker and the swamp is deeper than we thought. And now the liberal activists are trying to steal this election by supporting a Bernie Sanders` backed lawyer, became they know he will vote the way Pelosi tells him to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: so much going on in that metaphor. Ron Estes won that race by more than six points, but the problem with winning a special election is you get to finish out your predecessor`s term so he`s now running for a reelection and he has a Republican primary challenger and the guy coming for Ron Estes is another dude named Ron Estes. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Republican Congressman Ron Estes of Kansas is facing a tough challenger in tomorrow`s primary, Ron Estes. It`s a different Ron Estes running against the incumbent Ron Estes, and these two Estes plain just don`t like each.

Challenger Estes filed right under the deadline at the May and secured the website realronestes.com. In response, Congressman Estes added a whole page to his website titled "Impostor Ron Estes."

Now, there`s been a lot of drama over how the two Ron Estes will be listed on the ballot. State elections board will let the congressman be identified as Rep Ron Estes, which normally wouldn`t be allowed, but according to Secretary of State Chris Kobach (ph) it would just cause too much voter confusion otherwise.

Congressman Estes now has a second campaign yard sign with the word Rep on it, kind of like a Post-It, as he puts it.

Meanwhile, the other Estes will go by Ron M. Estes on the ballot and now Rep. Ron Estes is attacking the middle initial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ESTES: Hi. This is Rep. Ron Estes. If you haven`t voted in the Republican primary yet, I want to remind you to get out and vote this Tuesday.

Just remember, there are two Ron Esteses on the ballot. I`m listed as Rep Ron Estes, the other one is backed by Democrats and listed as Ron M. Estes.

Just remember, the "M" stands for misleading.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Ah, misleading? No, says Ron M. Estes, the "M" stands for `Merica.

OK, well, we were going to Milhouse.

Results should be in around this time tomorrow night and then we`ll find out which Estes is bestest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: It`s a big election night coming up tomorrow night with a special election in Ohio and primaries in Missouri, Washington, Kansas and Michigan where there`s an interesting race for governor. One of the Democratic candidate is an internationally recognized public health scholar, an epidemiologist and Rhodes Scholar who would also be the first Muslim governor in the nation`s history.

Dr. Abdul al-Sayed is still polling significantly behind the front-runner, Gretchen Whitmer, but he has got a lot of support from the left, like from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who campaigned for him last month, and Bernie Sanders who campaigned for him in Michigan for him this weekend.

Our own Trymaine Lee caught up with Abdul El-Sayed in Detroit yesterday to ask him about what he`s running on.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC: We often hear this idea of the working class voter, real Americans, and sometimes I think there`s a silent white on that. We`re talking white America. White America. When you look at Detroit and communities all around here, this, too, is a real America. What do the people, the real Americans in this city and in this state, what do they want?

ADBUL EL-SAYED, DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, MICHIGAN: The fact of the matter is, if you are a poor or working or even retired American be you black, brown or white, we`re talking about the same issues, right. People don`t have access to basic things like health care. And in this state, in particular, we know viscerally the experience of losing a job and potentially losing your health care. That`s something Michiganders, many of them went through, in 2008.

People talking about the fact that they can`t earn a living wage working 40 hours anymore, because so many of our jobs get offshored or automated. People worried about the air their kids breathe, the water their kids drink. And our message has always been that if we come together around a politics that puts people ahead of the corporations that have dominated our politics for so long, we can actually solve those problems -- access to health care, high quality schools, access to air and water that don`t poison your kids, a good job that pays a $15 minimum wage where you get union representation, those are the things that everybody deserves in our state.

LEE: In this day and age, in the Trump administration especially, in this era, do you have to run further to the left as a pushback to what`s happening?

EL-SAYED: You know, I don`t understand what`s radical about making sure that people get access to health care when they get sick. I don`t understand what`s radical about saying that we shouldn`t be asking our kids to suck from the smoke stack of a big corporation. I don`t know what`s radical about saying that if you work a 40-hour work week you should be able to afford the trappings of a dignified life, none of those things to me seem all that radical.

LEE: Have you gotten adequate support from the Democratic machine and the old school Democrats that, you know what, we believe in your vision?

EL-SAYED: I`ll be honest with you, right, unfortunately over the past 10, 20 years, I think the Democratic Party has gotten complacent about how we win elections and more importantly about who we serve. We cannot continue to take money from the same corporations if we say that we`re the party that works for the poor and working of our country.

And we cannot continue to apologize for our message. We cannot continue to apologize when we say people deserve health care, people deserve access to a living standard of water or real public schools that dignify their brains. Those are not things that I`m interested in apologizing for and working people know when you`re telling them half truths, right, when you`re telling them you want to get half the way there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES: We`ll be covering the returns on that really, really interesting gubernatorial race, and everything else right here tomorrow night, including the results from the fascinating and down to the wire special election in Ohio`s 12th district where the Republican, who should really have this in the bag, is having a rough time of it. More on that race when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: All eyes on a special election in Ohio in a district that Donald Trump won by 11 points and a seat that has been Republican since 1982. It should be a walk in the park for the Republican Party, instead, Democrat Danny O`Connor is in a statistical dead heat with Republican Troy Balderson, so it is all hands on deck now as Republicans try to save the seat. Donald Trump even flying into Ohio this weekend, reportedly uninvited, to stump for Balderson who has been having a tough time on the campaign trail.

At an event today, Balderson spent 10 minutes trying to call voters to ask for support without getting ahold of anyone -- I`ve been there.

And recently, he was forced to run from questions asked about a Democratic super PAC that was trolling him, frankly, about his fellow Ohioan and wannabe House Speaker Jim Jordan, who of course has been accused of ignoring sexual abuse allegations when he was a wrestling coach at Ohio State.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jim Jordan is an accused sexual enabler. You`ve got seven people. And you`re trying to go to congress, but you won`t promise not to make Jim Jordan Speaker of the House? Tell me how that works. How do you make a sexual enabler speaker of the house?

Troy, why are you hiding from this, man? Don`t be a coward, be a man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re running for one of the most honorable positions, political positions in the United States, and you are cowarding out back there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: He really likes that painting back there.

Joining me now to talk about the stakes in this special election for Ohio`s 12th Congressional District, I`m joined by Amy Hanauer, who is executive director of Policy Matters Ohio, Democratic pollster and MSNBC political analyst Cornell Belcher.

And Amy, I`ll start with you, you know, Ohio has trended towards Republicans in many ways. A lot of things that have happened in the state, in sort of the way of the demographics trends have gone. It wasn`t even that contested I mean compared to other states, right, in this last 2016.

What are you seeing on the ground among the kinds of voters that might be the sort of say Obama/Trump voters that a Democrat would have to win the district like this?

AMY HANAUER, POLICY MATTERS OHIO: Yeah, I mean, I think what we`re seeing here in Ohio is just a real challenge from a couple years ago where I think people are really recognizing that Medicaid expansion has brought health care to nearly a million -- and the Affordable Care Act, nearly a million people in the state, that we need good jobs, that the sort of relentless tax cutting trickle down policies that have been pursued in the state House have not reached voters in the district, and that we need strong public schools.

And so I think that there are a lot of changes of in what the electorate is valuing compared to sort of some of the national rhetoric that`s being embraced.

HAYES: Cornell, it was funny the president went there, because there was - - I read some people saying, it doesn`t necessarily, even though it is a plus 11 Trump district, particularly the place he went in the district, Sean Trendy (ph) was talking about this, is actually the kind of the part of the district that he doesn`t really want a lot of people to know the election is happening.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Right, and here`s a fundamental problem, and I think Governor Kasich actually hit on this earlier when he talked about, you know, while the base of the Republican Party, that core base of the Republican Party, the overall party identification for Republican is shrinking, you do have a base there that is very much pro- Trump, but you need moderate Republicans, right, and you need a lot of moderate women to also -- who have been leaning Republican to break your way. And why that district is so tight -- I mean, it`s a 20 plus Republican registration district, it shouldn`t be close, but why it`s close is you do have, you know, college educated voters in that district right now, you know, underwater with Donald Trump`s job approval is underwater. And a majority of those voters will break against the incumbent party at that time.

And that`s why you have districts like this all across the country. You see sort of swinging and becoming super competitive. It`s absolutely the Trump effect.

I agree with everything Amy just said, but yet still this isn`t about economics, this is about something larger.

HAYES: Well, that`s the question, right? I mean, O`Connor seems to be running not that different than Connor Lamb who successfully pulled this off in Pennsylvania, right, which is like sort of basically safe Democratic agenda, but nothing too out there. He is not out past any frontier in terms of Democratic policy. But also basically like I`m not going to be the Trump enabler in this race.

HANAUER: Right.

Yeah, I think, you know, if you look at the thing that have gone on in the state house, like Troy Balderson opposed clean energy standards for Ohio. Those are standards that have created jobs in this state. He is on record opposing the Affordable Care Act and wanting to get rid of Medicaid, that`s something that`s brought health care to a lot of people in that district. So, I think it is kind of safe to say, you know, let`s kind of cover the basics and make sure we have health care and good schools and green jobs.

I don`t think it is such a bad strategy on the part of O`Connor in this race.

HAYES: Right. And it is true that the health care has been a net winner for Democrats, even in -- like in that Connor Lamb district, it was something that he felt confident.

I`ve talk to candidates in swing districts around the country, Cornell, on the Democratic side who feel like they have the better part of that argument. Wherever they are in the range of the Democratic Party, ideologically, they will lead with that.

BELCHER: No, it`s absolutely -- when you look at the top number one issue for middle class Americans right now, it is not jobs, it is health care and the prices that`s going up. And Democrats can draw a direct line to what Republicans have been trying to do to rises overall in their premiums. This year, a lot of Democrats are running on health care and what Republicans have hurt -- and Republicans don`t have anything to run on. They try to run on the tax cut. Unpopular. And they`ve done nothing around health care, so from an agenda standpoint it`s really hard to run in some of these swing districts.

HAYES: So what you`re getting instead from the president is, O`Connor is a total puppet for Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters. He wants to raise your taxes, open your borders, take away your second amendment, just like pure culture war.

Also, Maxine Waters -- I mean, Nancy Pelosi makes sense. Boy, what is Maxine Waters doing there, that`s so strange that he name drops her in that tweet. I really know what the president up to.

Amy Hanauer and Cornell Belcher, thank you for your time.

BELCHER: Thank you.

HANAUER: Thank you so much.

HAYES: One last note before I hand it off, some exciting news tonight. I`m going to be on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. As it happens, my interview happened right after some of Rick Gates` testimony came out, so I was able to offer some high level legal analysis of the Manafort Trial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: He gets up there and he says, like, literally the question is something like did you do crimes. And he`s like, yeah, we did lots of crimes. That`s almost verbatim the exchange. It`s like, are you are crime dude? It`s like, yeah, I`m a crime dude. Like, we`re like hell into crimes is basically the testimony.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: And who told you to do the crimes?

HAYES: He`s like Manafort told me to do the crimes, but then I did some crimes on my own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: It was a lot of fun. My thanks to Stephn Colbert. You can watch the rest of the interview tonight on the Late Show, 11:35 eastern on CBS.

That`s ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with Nicole Wallace in for Rachel. Good evening, Nicole.

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

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