Trump organization executives under investigations. TRANSCRIPTS: 9/7/2018, All In w Chris Hayes.

Guests: Nancy Gertner, Harry Litman, Ryan Costello, Ted Lieu, Barbara Boxer, Tom Perez, Melissa Murray

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 7, 2018 Guest: Nancy Gertner, Harry Litman, Ryan Costello, Ted Lieu, Barbara Boxer, Tom Perez, Melissa Murray

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Another guilty plea on the outside.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I see Papadopoulos today, I don`t know Papadopoulos.

HAYES: Tonight, as another Trump campaign is sentenced, new evidence that Robert Mueller has his sights set on a bigger target. Then,

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The threat to our democracy doesn`t just come from Donald Trump, the biggest threat to our democracy is indifference.

HAYES: President Obama`s return to the campaign trail for the call to arms.

OBAMA: What`s going to fix our democracy is you. You`re the antidote.

HAYES: And echoes of the past inside the Senate.

JOHN DEAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency.

HAYES: Dire warning from a man who would know on the last day of the Kavanaugh hearing.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: There is now arguably a cancer on the presidency.

DEAN: Yes, I would agree with that.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. 60 days until the midterm elections and danger threatens Donald Trump`s presidency from both within and without including tonight a report that his private business empire, the thing that defines him above all else is in the crosshairs of a federal probe. Inside the White House, the president and his closest aides are reportedly turning the West Wing upside down to try and identify that senior official who wrote the anonymous op-ed in The New York Times claiming to be part of an internal resistance within the Trump Administration protecting the country from an unfit president.

Asked by a reporter if he thinks the Attorney General should investigate who wrote it, the President responded that he does claiming the op-ed is a matter of natural security. The reporter did not ask which law the President thinks was broken. And after issuing denials yesterday, administration officials are now going the extra mile to proclaim their innocence. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley publishing a signed op-ed in the Washington Post, and Economic Adviser Kevin Hassett throwing down the gauntlet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: But the New York Times, if you`re listening. If you -- if someone told you I wrote the piece, then you`re allowed to announce that publicly, that I forgive you of any the confidentiality agreement you might have thought you had with the purported Kevin Hassett because it was totally not me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Well there`s an idea. Maybe the President should challenge every single one of the officials who issued statements yesterday to follow suit. But all those underlings deriving him behind his back as an unstable malignant fool are the least of the President`s worries. They are not the ones investigating him for obstruction of justice and conspiracy with a foreign power to win the White House. As negotiations over a presidential interview with Robert Mueller dragged on and on, the president now sounds a lot less eager to face the special counsel than he used to.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You and Rudy are saying you`re not willing to answer questions to Mueller about obstruction. Doesn`t it send the message that you are hiding something?

TRUMP: Number one, there is no obstruction. Number two --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: -- is everybody that looked at anybody over there, they get them on some kind of a lie. I see Papadopoulos today is going to -- I don`t know Papadopoulos, I don`t know him. I saw him sitting on one picture at a table with me, that`s the only thing I know about him. I don`t know him. But they got him on, I guess, a couple of lies is that they`re saying.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAYES: A couple of lies, it`s a big deal. Speaking of George Papadopoulos the former Trump campaign aide, did appear in court today to be sentenced for indeed lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia linked individuals during the campaign. And his lawyer made a pretty extraordinary argument according to reporters in the courtroom that the President of the United States hindered the investigation far more than the lawyer`s client by launching a fake news campaign and calling the probe of witch-hunt.

The judge may have found that convincing. Papadopoulos was sentenced to just two weeks behind bars. He`s the first of the felons close to the President to be sentenced to prison though Paul Manafort has been locked up since breaking the terms of his bail accused of attempted witness tampering.

Meanwhile, the grand jury in the Mueller probe was meeting in that very same courthouse today where far-right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi was subpoenaed to appear, an ally of longtime trump confidant Roger Stone. Corsi has told Infowars run by Alex Jones that he would like to fight the special counsel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEROME CORSI, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I want to say to Mueller, let`s go out of the backyard of the Justice Department. You got to have some -- let`s duke it out. I mean, you know, what you want to behave like a thug, you want to behave like that, well, this is what you deserve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYE: OK. Today after his lawyer said he plan to cooperate to a Mueller subpoena, of course, he was a no-show. Another associate of Roger Stone`s did appear before the grand jury. The man he`s called his back channel to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Radio personality Randy Credico accompanied by his emotional support dog Bianca.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much of the questioning had to do with Julian Assange?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very little.

RANDY CREDICO, RADIO HOST: I`ve got --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, don`t. The major -- the majority the question he had with Roger Stone. Specific questions we`re not going to get into.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: God bless lawyers. Now Credico is the latest in a long line of witnesses connected to Roger Stone to testify for the grand jury or to be interviewed by Mueller`s team and it`s another sign that the Special Counsel may be closing in on the President`s longtime ally and advisor. And if that were not enough to fan the flames of the President`s paranoia, tonight there`s this. A single source report that federal prosecutors in New York did not end their investigation with Michael Cohen`s guilty plea but rather are now examining whether executives at the Trump Organization violated campaign finance laws.

To help break down the astonishing number of legal threats circling the President, I`m joined by Nancy Gertner, a retired Federal Judge in the District Court of Massachusetts and Harry Litman former U.S. Attorney and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Nancy, let me start with you. As a former Federal Judge, a lot of people trying to make sense of this sentence today 14 days for what George Papadopoulos pled to. What do you think of it?

NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: Well, the guidelines, the plea guidelines were between probation in six months which is about as low a sentence as one could get and still be a felony under the federal guidelines. So I don`t think it means anything except that the judge saw a 29-year-old or a younger man who seemed to be showing remorse and the government really wasn`t pressing, the government didn`t say anything with respect to probation in six months, so I think that they just saw it -- that the judge would have just seen this as you know the kid is showing remorse. Sometimes was necessary but I don`t think it has any significance beyond that. It was really a relatively minor plea agreement.

HAYES: So Harry, let`s talk about the Credico, Corsi, and Roger Stone part of this. It has seen clear for a while that Mueller`s zeroing in on Stone. Stone himself has said he expects to be indicted. Credico today saying the majority of the questions at that grand jury Roger Stone. My question to you having worked the Justice Department, do you think today which is 60 days to the midterm, you think this idea the Justice Department can`t bring anything within that 60-day window applies to something they would do against Roger Stone?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: No. The short answer is no. I mean, you know, it`s a -- it`s a -- there`s no -- as we`ve learned from Giuliani`s false assertions before, there`s no strict policy and even the guidelines such as it exists has to do with the direct effect on an election. I think the argument is stronger that indicting Stone doesn`t have a direct effect on any particular election though it`s not good news for Trump.

Now, we do know that when Mueller proffered his list of questions to Trump and it included things specifically about Stone and Stone has bragged about his relationship and prior knowledge with both the WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, so if this indictment, if it comes, could actually bring the -- what has been activity across the Atlantic, that grew computer hacking indictment in particular onto our shores and very close to Trump.

HAYES: Well, yes. I mean, from the Trump perspective, I mean the indictments that have been on the Russian side, the conspiracy to sort of tilt the election, sabotage the election that the Mueller team has offered of Russians, if Stone were indicted in connection with that -- again if that were the indictment. that would be an enormous deal right Nancy? I mean, that would be --

GERTNER: Right. That would be the link.

HAYES: Right.

GERTNER: Right. That would be the -- I mean, Stone enters up to a much, much, much less a degree Papadopoulos are the link between the campaign and WikiLeaks and the Russians. So Stone would -- that would be -- that would be significant but it would not be new to some degree. You know, but Stone`s bragging about his relationship to Assange was I think was sort of central to this. The only difference would be now be indicted for it.

Let me say one other thing about the questions to the President. I wonder if the reason why Mueller is going to questions to the President rather than a grand jury subpoena is that he simply does not want to be litigating the subpoena issue all the way to the Supreme Court given the vagaries of the Supreme Court right now. In other words, getting questions, at least getting something as opposed to doing what any other prosecutor would have done which is a grand jury subpoena.

HAYES: Yes, they have played up the string on this, Giuliani and the President`s legal team so far to appear successfully, right? I mean, they haven`t -- they haven`t given them anything yet. We will see what the next chapter brings. But there`s also -- there`s also this news today, Harry, and again there`s a lot when you`re sitting and looking at the President`s legal --

LITMAN: Yes, just another Friday.

HAYES: It`s really remarkable right? So you got Credico down there. Of course, he doesn`t show up, Papadopoulos pleads, we got this too. Manafort weighing plea deal to avoid new criminal trial source says. Also, this is a Bloomberg scoop, this is also I should note single sourced, I believe, the idea that in between trials one and two Manafort may be talking to Mueller about possibly cooperating. What do you make of that?

LITMAN: You know, it came up before right? There was a flirtation with it about a week or ten days ago. What I mostly -- most likely make him, he has stayed quiet so long is that he is broke and knows he`s going to be convicted in D.C. In other words, I think the cooperation he is looking to make is just to surrender. Let him -- let him take him and -- but not this sort of full-on cooperation that would vitiate any odds he has of a pardon. So I think it`s just to lay down his hand and let the -- let the sentence this come.

HAYES: Let me ask you --

GERTNER: Cooperate, you mean, just to plead? Is that what you`re saying, cooperating to the extent of pleading and surrendering?

LITMAN: Yes, that would be my best guess, Judge, is that he`s just lucky - - he`s --

(CROSSTALK)

LITMAN: -- on trial which is enormous. My best guess.

HAYES: Nancy, because we have Jerome Corsi today who is a figure who is circled or in different orbits in conservative world. He was quite mainstream when he Authored the Swift Boat book against John Kerry which is part of George Bush`s defeat of him. He`s also a conspiracy theorist par excellence has all sorts of nutty things, an associate of Roger Stone. He just doesn`t show up to it a subpoena today. He`s now the second associate of Roger Stone that has done that, Andrew Miller is another one, and a third Sam Number balked at showing up. What does a judge do when someone like Jerome Corsi just says screw your subpoena?

GERTNER: The government comes to the judge who`s supervising the grand jury and asked for it for a contempt finding in an arrest warrant. That`s what -- that`s what they would do.

HAYES: Do you think --

GERTNER: In other words, that`s not even -- that`s not even a close question.

HAYES: And you think they would --

GERTNER: You don`t say never mind.

HAYES: Yes, they will do that here?

GERTNER: I don`t think that there`s any question about whether they would do that.

HAYES: So the interesting --

GERTNER: So Harry, would you think -- wouldn`t the government -- wouldn`t the government go for that? I mean, they could be sued up with civil disobedience.

LITMAN: You know, I see your point and to pass -- and it`s super cheeky but they`ll -- you know, he`s already been in touch with the lawyer. I can -- I can foresee scenarios where they you know, say he`ll be in Tuesday where he`s got -- where he thinks he has bigger fish to fry but I`ve certainly seen the government do exactly that.

HAYES: Here -- final question here on this idea that the might -- well, there was this question right, where Michael Cohen please, one of the things he pleads to is a campaign finance violations. He says the President I states direct me to it and in the information provided with that plea there are two executive name -- that are not named but two executives at Trump world who knew about it. We understand one of them is Alan Weisselberg who`s been granted immunity according for reports by Mueller for his testimony in the Michael Cohen case.

Today the idea of the Southern District in New York, Harry, is looking at campaign finance violations by Trump Org. executives, you would tend to zero in on whoever executive number two is and it`s a small list of people most of them related to the President.

LITMAN: Yes. And Mueller knows and we can figure it out but not just related to the president. The organization is related to the President. This really puts the screws to him in a serious way without having to deal with the authority questions of criminal liability. If between Mueller and SDNY and New York D.A. and New York A.G., they`re coming at the financial empire possible civil RICO charges etcetera. That`s serious pressure even be -- even though it`s not criminal.

HAYES: All right, Nancy Gertner --

GERTNER: That persists regardless of what happens to Mueller.

HAYES: That`s exactly right. In parallel right now which is a part of the significance I think of that report today, it didn`t have with Michael Cohen and you`ve got SDNY still on the case, got to make you think long and hard as you`re sitting there during executive time in easy way. Nancy Gertner and Harry Litman, great to have you both.

LITMAN: Thank you.

GERTNER: Thanks.

HAYES: For more on today`s developments and the President`s very bad week, I`m joined by a Republican Congressman Ryan Costello who`s retiring in his term. And I want to start Congresman by saying you can really play ball. I saw -- I saw a clip -- I asked on Twitter today, the other day who`s the best ballplayer in Congress and you were in a lobbyist game and you can genuinely hoop.

REP. RYAN COSTELLO (R), PENNSYLVANIA: That`s very true.

HAYES: I like it. That is --

COSTELLO: We should play -- we`ll play some -- we`ll play sometime but I`m ready for your questions. OK, first of all, Michael Cohen said -- stood up in a federal courthouse a few weeks ago and he said under oath and you know, there`s reason the guy has credibility problems, but he said under oath and prosecutors let him say that the President of the United States has directed him to commit a federal felony, a violation of campaign finance law to bury information days before election. Does that trouble you the President was accused in court of directing a felony.

COSTELLO: Certainly. I think and most folks around the President from the reports that I`ve read indicate that what concern that most is what Michael Cohen knows and might testify to much more than the Russia issue.

HAYES: Are you confident that the sort of thorough look at the president`s finances, his tax returns would not yield any felonies or indictable offences or crimes committed by the President?

COSTELLO: Oh, I have no way of knowing one way or the other, but to be even more direct, I do have confidence that the prosecutors in the Mueller investigation is going to unearth everything that there is to unearth. And so if there is any wrongdoing they will find it and that`s furthermore why I think when folks get frustrated with Congress, particularly Republicans in Congress, you need to do this, you need to do that, my response is well that`s what the Mueller investigation and federal prosecutors are doing right now and they seem to be doing a very good job of getting -- go ahead.

HAYES: No, no, please finish your thought.

COSTELLO: And they seem to be doing a very robust job of finding truth and getting those who have committed wrongdoing to cooperate so that they can get to the bottom of everything that may have happened. But I think you know, it`s interesting you say this. So there`s two tracks I think people launched that complaint against you and your colleagues. One is on the investigation, and I think they`re -- what they say more is it`s bad to sabotage the investigation in the way that many people feel that Devin Nunez and others have done to sort of pull at the threads of DOJ to try to get information that that may be made public that threatened the investigation.

But the other thing people I think are saying or just about the President`s general fitness. I mean, I want to play for you some reactions of your Republican colleagues on the other -- in the other House and the Senate to the anonymous op-ed describing the president as a fundamentally unfit. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: There wasn`t much new information there. But all of us have said for a long time we`re glad there are people who are willing particularly those publicly like Jeff Sessions to push back.

SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: It`s just so similar to what so many of us hear from their people around the White House, you know, three times a week so it`s really troubling and yet in a way not surprising.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one. I understand this is the case and that`s why I think all of us encourage the good people that are around the President to stay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Was that your reaction?

COSTELLO: I think in large measure, sure. And I think the Woodward book will enunciate that or embellish upon that even further in terms of the fact that I mean, look, what the President does it rallies, the base loves him when he does that. But my follow-up to that is everyone in America can watch that and in these swing districts where folks are focused on what you`re saying and what you`re doing, they don`t like that. Now I -- we can talk about the political implications because I still think Republicans have a very good chance of holding the House but if you`re asking me about my frustrations with what the President says and does and some of the character flaws, I mean, I`m there, I`m there.

HAYES: I just want to --

COSTELLO: Senator Corker and --

HAYES: I want to go one step further right though because it does seem to me if you have people close to the president inside the White House and in the Senate who say he`s fundamentally unfit, Corker calling it adult day care, but that the equilibrium we reached is that a bunch of anonymous unelected folks in the administration take things off his desk and save us from his worse impulses, that seems completely democratically untenable. If he`s unfit for office, he should be removed or people should listen to what he`s doing.

COSTELLO: A couple of things. Senator Corker took the shot with the adult day care thing, the anonymous op-ed I take issue with in the following respect, I don`t know who wrote it. The only thing I can guarantee from that anonymous op-ed is that whomever is elected next is going to have an anonymous op-ed against them published. I would take more stock in whatever Woodward reports in his book two weeks from now.

HAYES: Interesting.

COSTELLO: Yes.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Ryan Costello who is a good basketball player, not particularly humble about it as we learned over the course the interview.

COSTELLO: One last thing.

HAYES: Yes, please.

COSTELLO: Three percent wage increased growth year after -- year after year. That was the other thing that was -- that came out today that I think was good news.

HAYES: The wages -- the wage numbers look good although non-supervisory still a little low but we will see, I agree. Look, tight labor markets are good for everyone. More tight labor markets. Congressman Costello, I really appreciate you being here.

COSTELLO: Thanks for having me on.

HAYES: For more on what all this means 60 days out for the midterms I`m joined by Congressman Ted Lieu, Democrat from California, Member the House Judiciary Committee. I will ask you the same question I asked Congressman Costello. Is it an untenable state of affairs that there`s a consensus within the government and in the Republican Party that the President is unfit but we`re just going to go ahead anyway.

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Absolutely, Chris. And about this you know, White House official I think what he has done is really confirmed from the inside what we`ve all seen from the outside which is that Donald Trump is unfit for president. But he can`t then go around and try to resist the president anonymously. He needs to be public, come forward and then try to convince the American people. And if he can`t do that he needs to resign. But as a staff member, he was not elected and he can`t be here trying to normalize the president because we as voters need to see how unhindered crazy Donald Trump really is and then have the voters make a decision.

HAYES: I want to ask you something that I asked Harry Litman two seconds ago or previously in this segment. Do you think -- is your understanding of DOJ regulations such that they would not be able to bring an indictment against Roger Stone if that`s what they were going to do within this now 60-day window we are doing within to the midterms?

LIEU: I think Special Council Mueller could certainly bring a diamond if he wanted to. I don`t think he will. I think he understands that you don`t want to be seen as messing around with elections or trying to influence elections in any manner. He could certainly bring in indictments afterwards I do note, however, that Rudy Giuliani said that this investigation was going to end on September 1st. Clearly, it`s not ending. They`re interviewing more and more witnesses. This investigation is going to continue and there`s no timeline for when it ends. It`s going to be based on the facts and the evidence.

HAYES: Should the President be subpoenaed?

LIEU: If he does not talk to Special Counsel Mueller he should and he has a right to plead the Fifth Amendment but he doesn`t have the right to simply ignore the request from the Special Counsel.

HAYES: Don`t you think we should -- don`t you think though if Mueller has enough to go ahead with an indictment or has more information, isn`t there some level which American voters should know when they go to pick which party will be in power in both these houses of Congress what is known or knowable about what the President did or didn`t do?

LIEU: Absolutely. So you have again this senior White House official trying to resist within the administration but ultimately you`ve got this complicit GOP Congress that is simply failing the constitutional duties to be an adequate check and balance on the presidency and the 60 days of voters across America have an ability to try to change that if they still want to.

HAYES: There`s a bunch of swing districts out in California, a lot of them are around you. There`s some new polling coming about out there. Do you think -- what do you see is the sort of drivers of voters out there in those swing districts that are close to your district in Southern California?

LIEU: Well, I clearly think that a Donald Trump is one driver but also the fact that Republicans have tried to sabotage health care, try to take away pre-existing conditions coverage from millions of Americans, that has also been weighing on people`s minds. And then the breathtaking corruption in the last year and half of the Trump administration, you have multiple people that have been indicted, convicted, or have pled guilty and more people that have are under investigation. So all these will be drivers in this election.

HAYES: Yes, your colleague in the California caucus Duncan Hunter suddenly appears to have himself a race which tends to happen after you get indicted. Congressman Ted Lieu, always good to have you.

LIEU: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Next, a new entrant to the midterm fight as President Obama returns to the campaign trail delivering a pointed rebuke of the Republican Party and what he says are dangerous times. Barack Obama in his own words in two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They like to use the impeach word. Impeach Trump. Maxine Waters: we will impeach him. But he didn`t do anything wrong. It doesn`t matter, we will impeach him! We will impeach, but I say, how do you impeach somebody that`s doing a great job, that hasn`t done anything wrong. They`ll say, we want to impeach him and we`ll impeach him, it`s so ridiculous. But don`t worry about that. It ever happens. But if it does happen it`s your fault because you did go out to vote. You didn`t go out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Now, the President was in Montana last night riffing about impeachment hoping a Republican red wave will spare him in November. Meanwhile, we got a pretty stark contrast from Democrats today. For the first time in recent memory, a former president, just two years out of office inserted himself into a national midterm election. Today in Urbana, Illinois, Barack Obama delivered a speech that both served as a rebuke to the past two year`s Republican-controlled government and a call to arms to American voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom not the cause. He`s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that`s rooted in our past but it`s also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.

In a healthy democracy, there`s some checks and balances on this kind of behavior, this kind of inconsistency, but right now there`s nothing. Republicans who know better in Congress and they`re there, they`re quoted saying yes, we know this is kind of crazy, are still bending over backwards to shield this major from scrutiny or accountability or consequence, seem utterly unwilling to find the backbone to safeguard the institutions that make our democracy work.

It should be democratic or republican to say that we don`t threaten the freedom of the press because they things or public stories we don`t like. I complain plenty about Fox News but you never heard me threaten to shut him down or call them enemies of the people. It shouldn`t be Democratic or Republican to say we don`t target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray. We are Americans we`re supposed to stand up to bullies not follow them.

We`re supposed to stand up to discrimination and we`re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be saying that Nazis are bad? This is not normal. So these are extraordinary times and they`re dangerous times. But here`s the good news. In two months, we had the chance, not the certainty, but the chance to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics. So if you don`t like what`s going on right now, and you shouldn`t, do not complain, don`t hashtag, don`t get anxious, don`t retreat, don`t binge on whatever it is you`re binging on, don`t lose yourself in ironic detachment, don`t put your head in the sand, don`t boo, vote, vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: With sixty days to go before the mid time -- midterms are Democrats doing off to regain control of at least part of the federal government, how are they getting people out to vote? We`ll talk about that with the chair of the Democratic Party next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This whole project of self-government only works if everybody is doing their part. Don`t tell me your vote doesn`t matter. I have won states in the presidential election because of five, 10, 20 votes per precinct. And if you thought elections don`t matter, I hope these last two years have corrected that impression.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Joining me now is Tom Perez who served as labor secretary in the Obama administration who is now chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

The big project here it seems to me, particularly in the midterms, is it is 100 percent a turnout game. It`s kind of a persuasion game in some places. But when you look at all the models, when you look at all of the ways that we understand what happened in the special elections, is that kind of where you read this at?

TOM PEREZ, DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, we are organizing everywhere, Chris. I agree with you. And if you look in the last 15 months in the primaries, Democratic turnout is up 84 percent from where it was four years ago. That`s remarkable. You look down in Florida most recently, and Andrew Gillum excited people. He got them out.

You look at what happened in Pennsylvania a few months ago, same thing. Out in Idaho, where Paula Jordan is trying to become the first Native American woman, they ran out of ballots in the Democratic primary there.

And so, what we`re doing is we are organizing everywhere, and we are fielding candidates everywhere.

HAYES: Yeah, let me ask you this. So, this is from something that`s published in the New York Times back in March. And it`s about sort of two different categories of voters that change between 2012 and 2016. There`s the Obama-Trump voters, right, people that voted for Barack Obama and then voted for Donald Trump. We have heard a lot about them. That`s about 9 percent.

But then there`s 7 percent, that`s 4 million missing voters, 4 million votes that were on the table in 2012 that just didn`t appear in 2016. Do you at the DNC, do people at the DCCC, do you know who those people are? Do you have them modeled? Do you know how to turn them out?

PEREZ: The short answer is yes. We have identified 25 million voters in that category. And I would also say, though, Chris, we are leaving no voter behind. Connor Lamb won in Pennsylvania because the so-called Reagan Democrats came home. Those are Obama -- Obama-Trump voters. They came home, because we were fighting for health care. We were fighting for the right to organize. We were fighting for good pensions. And so I believe that we can bring those voters home when we organize them.

Your article, and I am familiar with it, talked about those Obama stayed home voters. And they tend to be younger and more diverse. And you look at what`s happening across America with the organizing that`s going on -- in Alabama, we had organizers on college campuses. That is lightning in a bottle.

We`re talking to young people. And most importantly, whether it`s young people or middle aged, older people, we are talking about the issues people care about. We`re talking about the exorbitant cost of prescription drugs, we are talking about making sure if you have a preexisting condition that you can still get health coverage. We`re talking about the fact that corporate profits are soaring and paychecks are flat. We`re talking about college affordability. We`re talking about women`s reproductive health. We`re talking about how we are saving not only our economy, but our democracy. And that is resonating with people.

HAYES: Let me ask you a campaign question. I mean, has things changed in the Democratic party in thinking about how to allocate resources between three things: organizing, television, and digital. I know this is a wonky campaign question, but it`s extremely important one. Many people think there were lots of lost opportunities in 2016 in that way.

Has thinking changed? Is it being deployed differently?

PEREZ: Well, I can speak only for the DNC. We spend $0 on television and we made a very, very conscious decision to do that early on, because what I want to do is make investments that pay dividends today and dividends tomorrow. So, for instance, we purchased 94 million cell phone numbers. In Florida, for instance 6.2 million cell phone numbers that we gave to the Florida Democratic Party. That helps them not only today for Andrew Gillum and Senator Nelson, but that helps candidates tomorrow.

Our investments and organizers, I believe, Chris, that the two most important days this year are November 6, which is the vote of our lifetime, and then November 7, because we to take those organizers that we`ve put on the ground and make sure we are deploying them for 2020.

If you compare, and I`ll just give you one example, if you compare the organizing footprint that has been in place for months in Wisconsin with the organized footprint that was in place in 2014, it is night and day. A woman named Martha Lanning (ph), the head of the party there, that is one, but it`s not the only example. That`s what we`ve been doing everywhere in Ohio and elsewhere. You see the organizing footprint.

We`re building meaningful relationships. In the old days, we showed up the October before the election in the black church and we asked for their vote. That`s transactional politics. We are building relationships. And that is why to get back to your question, which is a really important one, we are investing and organizing. We`re investing in making sure we build that organizing infrastructure.

The technology infrastructure, because you can`t door knock in rural America. And so that is why we invested in digital organizing in Indiana or Georgia, Montana and elsewhere. And then investing in a permanent voter protection infrastructure that recognizes that voter suppression is a permanent playbook in the Republican side.

Understanding that we have to build a permanent Millennial engagement infrastructure that represents and reflects the fact that young people are the biggest voting bloc right now.

HAYES: And they`re the ones -- they`re big a huge chunk of that marginal group that shows up in presidentials and not mid-terms. It`ll be a key to see how it turns out. Tom Perez, thank you so much for joining us.

PEREZ: 60 days until the weekend. Vote.

HAYES: Still to come, is Brett Kavanaugh`s confirmation a done deal? I`m not so sure. We`ll look at the options Democrats still have, the two Republican senators that could block the Supreme Court pick ahead.

Plus, meet plaid shirt guy in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, the president held another rally last night, and it`s always interesting to look at the crowd behind him at these things. Usually full of super enthusiastic MAGA hat wearing true believers, all coordinated of course for maximum effect.

And it matters what that picture looks like, because Trump is not just talking to the crowd there in Billings, Montana, as he was last night, he`s talking to the nationwide audience of Trump TV, the MAGArific news channel which broadcasts the Trump rallies, every single one of them, live, unfettered, straight to their viewers every single time.

Last night in Billings, there was even a very special home team interview taped before the event began.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Folks may have seen an anonymous column written in the New York Times. And I think this audience would say an attack on you is an attack on the people that voted for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It`s a good question.

Then they put that on their news channel.

So with all of that choreography, it is important that people in the room are all playing their parts for the broadcast as well, which is why, plaid shirt guy, the one over Trump`s shoulder, got the hook. And that is Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: So there were a few weird moments at Trump`s rally last night in Billings, Montana, his first since the big New York Times anonymous op-ed was published.

And the president did bring that up, although he had a little trouble with the delivery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The latest act of resistance is the op-ed published in the failing New York Times by an anonymous gutless coward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Anonymous? I mean, you know, we all make our mistakes.

The strangest thing was what was actually going on behind him. Something was not right about the man in plaid, the one behind Trump there making interesting facial expressions. Where is his MAGA hat? Why isn`t he MAGAing like the others? The internet wanted to know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Find things out that we didn`t know. It is hard and harder to win the popular vote, popular vote, you go three, four states and boom, boom you win the vote. It`s like the 100 yard dash versus running the mile. You practice differently.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: What?

It wasn`t long after this moment, the moment in plaid -- the man in plaid got himself the hook swapped out for the woman in the black dress who did both the ejecting and then took his place with double plus Trump enthusiasm.

But he isn`t the only one to get swapped out. Note the blond-haired woman in the blue dress who was later sent in to replace plaid guy`s friends. Then after woman number two was in place and the others had scuffled off, Trump rally organizers sent in a third woman. See her there cozying up to woman number two. So, now there are three women placed over the president`s shoulder -- no plaid, just passion.

Getting your propaganda just perfect for Trump TV can be hard work, but remember it is a team effort.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP))

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Tonight, the president was on a tear. It was the best of, kind of, of the campaign. And he reminded everyone I beat all of these candidates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He loves being out with the people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He looks happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what he is built for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: We are now 60 days out from what many are calling the most consequential mid-term elections of our lives. As we look ahead to November 6, we`ll be hitting the road visiting the sites of key battleground races. And we`re kicking it off with a good one in Michigan with Michael Moore.

We`re going to talk to the people who helped Donald Trump win Michigan by a sliver two years ago, and it is not the Trump voters you`re thinking of. Monday, we`ll be live from Ann Arbor, Tuesday we`ll be live from Flint, and on Wednesday we`ll be airing a special town hall event with filmmaker Michael Moore in his home town.

We`ll talk about his brand new movie Fahrenheit 11/9 about the Flint water crisis still ongoing four years on, about the Trump election and the Michigan voters who didn`t vote in 2016, about how we got here and crucially where we go from here and that`s all starting next week right here at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. I hope you`ll join us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: The Senate today finished confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh`s nomination to the Supreme Court, a rushed opaque process that perhaps raised more questions than it answered.

Among the witnesses today, John Dean, White House counsel to President Nixon, who warned that he sees parallels between that administration and this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is now arguably a cancer on the presidency as malignant and metastasizing as there was then, correct?

JOHN DEAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL FOR NIXON ADMINISTRATION: Yes, I would agree with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Here to help me understand what`s at stake, New York University law professor Melissa Murray, who actually testified today against confirming Kavanaugh, and Democrat Barbara Boxer, former U.S. senator from California.

Let me start with you, Melissa, because you were there on the Hill today. This was the end of the hearing part, right. You -- your area of scholarship is about reproductive rights, and you were there to say what about his record vis-a-vis Roe and reproductive rights?

MELISSA MURRAY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: I was there to rebut the idea that simply saying that you believe Roe is a federal precedent is enough to believe that you will be a jurist that will uphold reproductive rights protections for millions of ordinary American women. In my testimony, I talked about the fact that you can do a lot to undermine Roe versus Wade without ever saying that you are actually overruling it, and all of his opinions, his judicial record on abortion suggests that he would do that.

HAYES: You know, there`s of course both his record on that, there`s also this email where he says that I`m not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since court can always overrule its precedent and three current justices of the court would do so, which is an acknowledgment of what we all know, but no one ever says in front of the hearing body.

MURRAY: Not quite a smoking gun, maybe a smoking arrow, but what`s really meaningful about that email is he identifies the three justices who are already there, and among them is John Roberts, his hero, or self-described hero that he says, and Roberts came before the committee in 2005 and said the same thing, Roe is the settled law of the land.

And in fact in 2016, he voted to uphold those Texas restrictions in Whole Women`s Health.

HAYES: Which would have fundamentally gutted it.

The reason that I want to talk to you, Melissa, and because of your testimony today, and Senator Boxer, was this: when people think about what is the strategy here if there`s a way to stop Kavanaugh? There -- you need two Republican votes, and there are two women in the Republican caucus who are ostensibly pro-abortion, pro-choice -- pro-abortion rights. What do you think?

You know those women. What do you think about that strategy?

BARBARA BOXER, FORMER DEMOCRATIC SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA: Well, I think it is a good strategy. I watched every minute of these hearings as it pertained to Roe. I think it is clear that Kavanaugh is hostile to Roe, and yes, because of the secret emails that were made public because of Cory Booker and Mazie Hirono, we found out that, no, he`s not quite sure Roe is settled law.

And his point of view in the Garza case was outrageous and disrespectful of Roe, not to mention this young 17-year-old woman who is 15 weeks pregnant had gone through the entire Texas system and he tried on hold up her abortion? That is hostile to women.

And by the way, he also showed he is hostile to birth control. He said birth control is abortion producing. No, it`s not.

HAYES: Here`s my question to you, Senator. I mean, you know this and Melissa knows this, but do Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski know -- I mean, this is the big questions. Like they say that they support abortion rights. They say they support access to birth control and these things. They have to know what they`re looking at here. What you worked with them like what do you think works on them?

BOXER: Well, they`re very diligent. And I know my colleagues in the Senate on both sides of the aisle, and I know that Lisa Murkowski and Sue Collins have a lot of friends on both sides. And I know that the Democratic women of the Senate are sending them the very portions of the testimony that the two of us talked about tonight.

If I`m them, I have to say if you`re pro-choice, you vote no on this guy, not only because we know he`s -- Trump picked him because he wants to overturn Roe, but because of the way he responded when he was in front of the Judiciary Committee.

HAYES: This seems to me -- I mean, the Senator just mentioned this, the other part of this that makes it so extraordinary -- again, those are the two likely votes. It is hard to see any other votes on the Republican side. You need two. Is it the president did something no president has ever done when he explicitly said I am going to appoint justices to overturn Roe. That hasn`t happened before.

MURRAY: There`s so much about these hearings that have been highly irregular, but you had the president say he intended to appoint pro-life judges. We`ve already seen Judge Gorsuch on the bench and now we have Judge Kavanaugh who has an opinion where he denies a young woman who has completed all the requirements by the state of Texas to get an abortion and he blocks her from doing it.

It is clear. I mean, I`m from the south. They tell you like believe someone when they show you who you are. I believe him. He`s shown us.

HAYES: Well, so -- so Senator, there is going to be a week. I mean, what is happening behind the scenes right now?

BOXER: Well, right now, I can tell you that staff to staff, the staff of the Democratic members who are pro-choice, all of them, are reaching out to Lisa`s staff, to Sue`s staff. They`re sitting down with them. They`re showing them the record, the secret emails, the statements that he made. His comments in the Garza case which are cold. They are cold.

I would say to my friends in the Senate, my two Republican colleagues that I proudly serve with, just read his words. The way he talks about an unlawful immigrant minor. He doesn`t even give her a persona. It`s chilling, really.

HAYES: All right.

Melissa Murray and Senator Barbara Boxer, thank you for joining me.

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

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