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Manafort signs cooperation deal with Mueller. TRANSCRIPTS: 9/14/2018, All In w Chris Hayes.

Guests: Eric Swalwell, Elie Honig, Barbara Boxer, Elizabeth Holtzman, Elliot Williams, Jim Manley

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 14, 2018 Guest: Eric Swalwell, Elie Honig, Barbara Boxer, Elizabeth Holtzman, Elliot Williams, Jim Manley

STEVE KORNACKI, NBC NEW NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is impossible to look at these new developments and not recognize that this was the setup to that extraordinary drama back in 1991. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thank you for being with us. And "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Paul Manafort who really is a nice man. You look at what`s going on with him, it`s like Al Capone.

HAYES: Paul Manafort flips.

PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: That`s what he said, that`s what I said, that`s obviously what our position is.

HAYES: Donald Trump`s former campaign chairman cuts a deal with the Special Counsel.

TRUMP: I think the whole matter for trial is very sad.

HAYES: Tonight, what we know about Manafort`s surprise agreement while his lawyer says he`s trying to protect his family and what all of this means for the Russia collusion case.

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: And Paul Manafort was on his -- on his phone the whole time.

HAYES: Then, new bombshell reporting on the sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Jane Mayer has a scoop and she joins me live. And with rescues underway, what we know about the damage caused by Hurricane Florence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s still a very hairy situation out here.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight, on another staggering day of news, we`re tracking three huge stories, tropical storm Florence now downgraded from a hurricane which is still battering the Carolinas as it slowly grinds its way inland already resulting in at least five deaths, and newly surfaced sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh who is on the brink of being confirmed to the Supreme Court. But we begin tonight with the single biggest development in the entire course a Special Counsel Robert Mueller`s investigation. Donald Trump`s worst nightmare just came true. Paul Manafort has flipped.

The president had floated a pardon for Manafort, had openly urged him to stay strong, tweeting last month that his campaign chairman refused to "break." Such respect for a brave man. But today in federal courtroom in Washington, D.C. Manafort not only pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy against the U.S. and witness tampering avoiding a second trial, he signed his name to an open-ended cooperation agreement requiring his full participation of Mueller`s probe in exchange for the possibility of not dying in prison.

Nothing is off the table in Manafort`s cooperation deal. He agreed to cooperate I`m quoting here "fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly with the government." Meaning, the Mueller team and other law enforcement authorities identified by the government in any and all matters as to which the government deems the cooperation relevant. Whatever prosecutors want him to do for them, he has to do it. And we can assume Manafort is telling a very different story now than he told the public during the campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, to be clear, Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs.

MANAFORT: That`s what he said, that`s what I said, that`s obviously our position is.


HAYES: The deal specifically requires the Trump campaign chairman to testify before any and all grand juries and any trials or other court proceedings of Mueller`s choosing. On top of that, he agreed to waive his right to have legal counsel present in interviews with law enforcement and prosecutors. Manafort was also forced to forfeit millions of dollars in assets including his apartment in Trump Tower.

And if you`re wondering how the White House is taking the news and how they plan to proceed, look no further than the two statements from the President`s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. I will read you statement one. It goes like this. "Once again an investigation is concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason the President did nothing wrong and Paul Manafort will tell the truth. Statement two, "Never mind about the Manafort telling the truth part.

It`s not hard to imagine why the President`s team would open the door to discrediting Manafort. He led the campaign through a crucial period when Russia hacked and first released Democratic e-mails and he presided over the convention where the party platform was changed to align with Russia opposing military aid to Ukraine. He was also one of three senior campaign aides inside that infamous meeting at Trump Tower. And according to one of Mueller`s prosecutors Andrew Weissmann in court today, Manafort has already sat down with the Special Counsel multiple times to tell them what he knows.

To help understand this major break from the Mueller probe I`m joined by MSNBC Legal Analyst Nick Ackerman former Watergate Prosecutor, MSNBC Contributor Natasha Bertrand, Staff Writer for The Atlantic, and MSNBC Legal Analyst Benjamin Witness, Editor-in-Chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. And Ben, I will start with you. How significant are today`s developments?

BENJAMIN WITNESS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Potentially enormously significant but we honestly don`t know and we won`t know until we see the fruits of this whatever they may be. One of the things about the Mueller investigation is that they give away very little and what we know is that Manafort is obliged to cooperate. What we don`t know is what the what his capacity for cooperation is and there`s -- you know, you can make a case that this could be the keys to the kingdom, you can also make a case that this is a guy who you know, is -- didn`t -- may not know that much and who chiefly what he`s giving Mueller is saving him the time and expense of going through another trial. And so you know, my gut is that there`s something very significant happen today but I don`t think we know that for sure.

NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It`s got to be significant. And the reason it`s significant is you don`t --

HAYES: Just be clear. You think between those two options, right, which is that this is saving time, and energy, and money, and resources, and sort of cutting to the chase, and the idea the significant in terms of what Mueller believes Manafort can provide you think it`s --

AKERMAN: Oh, I think it`s hugely significant. I mean, basically, Manafort raised the white flag today. He basically gave up everything. He is now sitting there exposed to 20-plus years in prison in order to provide information that`s going to make any difference to get him into a sentence that`s going to be even reasonable. He has got to be singing like the largest choir in this country. He has got to provide so much information and he`s got to feel comfortable about doing that to enter into this deal that he has got to have a lot of information. And if you kind of combine what is going on here with what happened with Van der Zwaan and -- who was the fellow who`s now serving time in jail who pled guilty.

HAYES: Yes, the lawyer.

AKERMAN: Right. And you look at the Russian angle that`s in this huge information that was filed today with this Konstantin Kilimnik who was a reputed Russian --

HAYES: Intelligence officer.

AKERMAN: Right. I mean you, look at that and the fact that Van der Zwaan at the urging of Rick ---

HAYES: Rick Gates.

AKERMAN: Rick Gates wound up having a conversation that was tape recorded. We don`t know what is on that but there`s clearly a Russian connection. Manafort would know about what Roger Stone was doing during that period of time when he was a campaign manager. He would know what happened at the Trump Tower, he would know what happened at the convention, he would know what happened after the Access Hollywood tape was released. He has got to have lots of information if he`s not going to be spending 20 years in prison.

HAYES: The Trump Tower meeting is a thing. I mean to Ben`s point about whether what he knows is -- indicates wrongdoing, he does know at least some things factual or not right? I mean, things that I would like to know the answer to, for instance, the Trump Tower meeting, right? I mean, now Mueller has someone who is cooperating who was in the meeting. He didn`t have that before and potentially could answer the question about any meetings before the meeting or any follow up afterwards.

NATASHA BERTRAND, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right, and before today, Manafort had already proffered information to the Justice Department several times so it`s very clear that they thought that he had information that was valuable to the broader investigation that he could offer them. Of course, Manafort had the most significant Russian connections of anyone on that campaign at the time that he joined it. So if anything happened between the campaign and Russia, it`s inconceivable that he would not have known about it.

It`s not just the Trump Tower meeting, it`s not just the Ukraine platform change which is very significant, and it`s not just that the DNC hack, it`s also the e-mails that he exchanged with George Papadopoulos who of course had already known about the Russian dirt on Clinton that they had. He knew that George Papadopoulos was trying to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin so my bet is that this is an area where Manafort is going to be able to cooperate in a very, very significant way.

HAYES: Ben, one thing that -- when we think about what the significance is as you outlined the possibilities, you know, I keep thinking about Michael Cohen right? In the case of Michael Cohen, Mueller did not -- first of all the case was farmed out to SDNY, he did not retain it, and second of all there wasn`t -- they didn`t -- they weren`t beating down his door to cooperate it seemed. In fact, Michael Cohen was running around sort of (INAUDIBLE).

WITTES: He want to talk to Robert Mueller, help me. Help me. I want to cooperate.

HAYES: Exactly. There is reporting today that in the wake of Manafort`s plea deal sources confirmed is now common knowledge among Cohen`s inner circle Trump`s former lawyer has been in contact with Specialist Counsel`s office but in terms of the differential treatment between the two of them, it does seem significant at least in terms of how Mueller perceives the relative significance of these two figures.

WITTES: Yes. And so I think it is a highly significant fact that Manafort kept the -- that Mueller kept the Manafort case for himself precisely at a time when he was farming out these other components to not just the Southern District of New York but also the National Security Division at Justice and the -- and the U.S. Attorney`s Office here in the District of Columbia all got referrals from Mueller. Manafort stayed within the mauler investigation. And I have to believe that the reason for that is that he believes Manafort has some answers to questions that are core to his investigation.

You know, the difference between Manafort having information that Mueller wants and Manafort having the keys to the kingdom, however, is a potentially big one and I do think it is worth you know, being a little bit cautious about you know, assuming that this is the big breakthrough.

HAYES: Well, and I would say here, again, as with all of this, what matters more than anything is what the facts are. I mean, that`s the question. What was done by whom in furtherance or not of what we now know is it pretty well-established attempt by the Russians to subvert the election. Like we don`t know right? So the question is what the facts are. To me, the thing that I`m constantly just sort of salivating on is just that -- it`s just knowing what the facts are.

AKERMAN: Well that`s right. But you`ve got two major witnesses that are so close to the President of United States. You`ve got Michael Flynn and now you`ve got Paul Manafort the campaign manager, Michael Flynn the National Security Adviser. I mean just to give you an example in Watergate, we never had any of the inside people like that cooperating to the extent that both of them have to cooperate. So we really do have an insider`s view of what Trump was doing and what was happening during that campaign.

HAYES: There was something the Manafort`s attorney said today, Kevin Downing, that I wanted to play for you, Natasha, and get your feedback. I mean, just -- it struck my ear sort of oddly. Take a listen.


KEVIN DOWNING, LAWYER OF PAUL MANAFORT: Tough day for Mr. Manafort but he`s accepted responsibility and he wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.


HAYES: Want to make sure his family was able to remain safe.

BERTRAND: Yes. So as soon as I heard this, I asked lawyers about it and whether or not once he strikes this kind of deal and whether -- and when he chooses to cooperate that means that the government would then be required to afford him and his family some kind of protection and the unanimous answer I got was yes. There would be another layer of protection that he would get now that he`s actively coordinating with the government.

I think that Manafort is less worried about the Russians coming after him and is just arrogant. I think that he was sitting in a jail cell and he knew that the walls were closing in on him and he chose to trust Mueller more than he trust Donald Trump. And that`s really significant because of course, Donald Trump is a very fickle person. He can choose to give him a pardon or he could not. And one of the things that I`ll be looking for is what Manafort actually says about whether or not he was dangled a pardon by the president because they did have this joint defense agreement.

And if Trump said I will give you a pardon for example in exchange for your silence, then that would not be -- that would be subjected -- subject to the crime-fraud exception. That would be a crime and he would be able to tell Mueller about that.

HAYES: All right, Nick Ackerman, Natasha Bertrand, and Ben Wittes, thanks for being on here this big night. For more on Manafort`s cooperation means and where the Mueller probe goes next, I`m joined by Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, member of both the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. Your reaction to the President`s campaign chairman pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Good evening, Chris. The jig is up. You know, this nonsense that there`s nothing to see here, this is a witch- hunt. Well, now the Trump team is Oh for Mueller. And as Mueller continues to zero in on the President`s family businesses campaign, I think the best thing the President can do, Chris, is to just be straight with the American people and certainly be straight with the investigation because he now has a bankrupt credibility.

And so that credibility affects not just the Russia investigation but his ability to lead in a storm, his ability to address health care issues in America, his ability to address the economy. And so the more he refuses to sit down with the Mueller team as they obtain more guilty pleas and send more people to jail, I think that affects Donald Trump`s ability to lead our country.

HAYES: Did this development as someone who has been on a committee investigating this, is this development today surprised you?

SWALWELL: No. But what I hope we can obtain from this as well and I hope the mother team is able to learn is not just Paul Manafort`s relationship with Donald Trump and what he knows of Donald Trump`s knowledge at the time as to what the Russian intentions were, and what Donald Trump gave as far as orders, but also how the Russian intelligence network works. Because it`s clear that Paul Manafort was close to Russian intelligence officers based on other people who have been indicted and other press reporting. So we could really color in I think some gaps in understanding of you know how the Russians work if Paul Manafort is able to cooperate.

HAYES: You know it was striking to me that the Konstantin Kilimnik who is the Manafort sort of deputy and associate in Ukraine, the one he famously emailed and said, has Oleg Deripaska seen this? How do we use to make whole? He`s suspected of being a Russian intelligence asset. He reportedly fled to Russia earlier this year from Ukraine. He shows up a lot in the information presented by Mueller`s team in court today as a fairly central figure and also a central figure in the witness tampering that Manafort actually pleaded to today.

SWALWELL: That`s right. And he`s an individual that in our investigation we certainly would like to explore further. We also wanted Paul Manafort to come in. We wanted to at least send the subpoena to him and let him refused because he did testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee but the Republicans in our investigation refused to do that.

So again, I believe that there really is an opportunity to learn more about you know, what the Russians were doing and also one fact not to be missed, Paul Manafort worked for free. That`s pretty unusual at that high of a level of a campaign and that suggests to me that he had other intentions.

HAYES: Final question. Does this increase the odds of the President doing something potentially constitutionally damaging or crisis inducing down the stretch here particularly in the lame-duck session?

SWALWELL: Well, we have of course seven weeks until the midterms and I think because of these guilty pleas, because the Republicans have been unwilling to check the President and the obstruction runs rampant he`s going to be checked at the ballot box and so they may be able to do that in the short term. He may able to do that in the short term but he will not be able to avoid all of the investigations that the Republicans were unwilling to conduct in the first two years of his presidency.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Eric Swalwell, thanks your time.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

HAYES: Next, there`s a lot to go through in Paul Manafort`s cooperation agreement. We`ll get into the details of what`s in it and why my -- some of my next guests say it poses an existential threat to the President. They explain in two minutes.


HAYES: The Paul Manafort cooperation agreement and information filed today are both hefty documents detailing dozens of wire transfers, messages, memos, and more. What does it all mean for Manafort and what does it mean for the future the Mueller investigation? Here to help me understand the answers to those questions Elie Honig, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mimi Rocah, also former Assistant U.S. Attorney in that office and an MSNBC Legal Analyst. They wrote together today about the Manafort cooperation agreement, and Paul Butler or former Federal Prosecutor and an MSNBC Legal Analyst. I`ll start here at the table. Elie, what jumped out to you about what we`ve learned today in court?

ELIE HONIG, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SDNY: To me the most important thing in the language in the documents we saw is that this is all or nothing. And that`s the way federal cooperation works. I have some experience in the state system. Sometimes the state systems cooperation can be selective. We want this person, this person. With the federal, it`s everything.

HAYES: Everything what? What does it mean?

HONIG: Meaning, Manafort has to come in and tell the prosecutors everything he knows about what he did and everything he knows about what everybody else did from the lowest ranking person all the way up to Don Junior, all the way up to Kushner, all the way up to the President.

HAYES: And he has no leverage here. I mean, what`s striking to me is like he`s already been convicted once right? So he`s facing sentencing there. He pleaded to these two crimes that are in the -- that we`re going to be in the next trial in D.C. but there`s a lot of time hanging over his head. Am I wrong?

MIMI ROCAH, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: There is a lot of time. I mean, the way this is structured, it is now limited as to these charges that he pledged you to ten years. That`s the math --

HAYS: Just these two today, right?

ROCAH: Right. Now, today they notified the judge in Virginia about this plea and also asked to postpone that sentencing as well. So both sentences now are being put off for some period of time for this cooperation to play out. So what that tells me is that he is going to try with the government`s agreement basically under this agreement to sort of have all the sentences combined together --

HAYES: Run concurrently --

ROCAH: Run concurrently both the counts in here and the two different cases. So he`s going to try to sort of wrap it all up into one and get less than ten years because of the cooperation.

HAYES: A reminder, he`s a 69-year-old man. Paul -- and aside the cooperation agreement, you know, what`s included in the -- in the -- what was filed by the Mueller team, the superseding criminal information is a lot of crimes. He committed a lot of crimes and he admitted to committing a lot of crimes, not just the crimes that he admitted that he pleaded to. He pleaded to doing all the other crimes, the ones he was convicted of and other ones he`s accused of.

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, Chris, Mueller famously does not have press conferences. He speaks through his indictments. And in today`s plea agreement, we get a sense of what he really thinks about Paul Manafort. First, $46 million, that`s how much in real estate and cold cash Manafort has to turn over. Even if there`s a pardon Manafort, doesn`t get that back. And the other is as you mentioned, the jury in Virginia convicted on eight counts hung on ten. As part of this agreement, Manafort was required to stand up in court today and say oh yes, those ten felonies, that`s the Virginia jury couldn`t agree on, I did those too.

HAYES: I did those too. That`s right.

BUTLER: Yes. So again, not a press conference but Mueller`s way of saying, Mr. President, how you like this witch hunt now?

HAYES: Yes. So -- exactly -- so he got up there and today he said, I did it all, right? I mean, this is -- even though he`s only pleading to the two charges, he`s saying under oath like, I did all this stuff, all of it. Everything you`ve accused me of, all the criminal activity, even up to -- like I was doing some of it when I was brought on board the campaign, right?

The big question is like what -- why didn`t Manafort end up here? Everyone was like why is the guy even going to trial? It just seems like he ends up for the worst of all worlds. Like he went to one trial, he had to pay a lawyer for that which was expensive, he got convicted, now he pleads, he retroactively admits to doing the other stuff. They`ve got him over a barrel, like this --

ROCAH: He waited too long, right? I mean, he is you know Example A of someone who why people say cooperate early, cooperate early. The first one in the door gets the best deal. I mean, the other co-operators in this investigation have done much better. I`m not saying they had the same level of culpability but I do think Manafort is paying the price here for waiting.

HAYES: Let me briefly interject as if someone who`s written a book about criminal justice system, that also can be tremendously abused. There`s lots of people who end up cooperating and end up throughout the criminal justice system all the time in all sorts of terrible situations because of that. Just to put that narrative.

ROCAH: Sure. Absolutely.

HONIG: Cooperating, as Mimi said, earlier is better than later but later is better than never.

HAYES: Clearly that`s the calculation here, right?

HONIG: Of course, on both points of view. And he was up against it. He`s -- you know, try to put yourself in a Paul Manafort situation, 69-year-old guy. He`s already looking down the barrel of eight, ten, 12 years based on his Virginia conviction. She`s got the D.C. trial come up. It`s going to be hugely expensive. It`s going to expose how he earned that money, all the inner workings, all the things that the judge tried to keep out of the Virginia trial, all those inner workings with the oligarchs, with the pro- Russians is going to come out. He doesn`t want that. And then he`s potentially got a third trial on the hung counts that he`s now admitting to from Virginia so --


HAYES: Paul, there`s some talk about -- you mentioned this that the forfeiture which by the way is more than the sum total of the budget of the Mueller probe spent so far if I`m not mistaken so he`s sort of like you know, plundering his way through and feeding the army off what they capture. But there`s also the fact that some people think this is pretty pardon proof that it was designed to be pardon proof not just the forfeiture. What do you think of that?

BUTLER: So I think the President will probably still dangle a party in front of Manafort as a way of saying you know, don`t cooperate too much. Well, there are a couple of problems with that. The first is that now that there`s this guilty plea that Mueller can pierce this joint defense agreement that Mueller -- I`m sorry, that Manafort have and with Trump. And so, if the president suggested anything about a pardon to Manafort during the course of preparing their defenses, that`s obstruction of justice. The president has wide exposure there.

HAYES: Right.

BUTLER: And the other thing is that today Manafort admitted to many crimes that would also expose them to state prosecution, the President does not have the power to pardon anyone for a state crime.

HAYES: Mimi.

ROCAH: Just on that timing question. We`re talking about why -- what -- you know, Manafort pleading why would Mueller cooperate him at this point, right? I mean --

HAYES: That`s the big question to me.

ROCAH: But I think that does have to tell us a lot about how valuable his information must be.

HAYES: I mean, we just got through -- I mean, the Comey thing was fascinating right? I mean, Cohen was in there, he`s basically -- his lawyers going all over cable news basically being like for the love of God please we`ll talk to anyone. What do you want? We`ll give it to you. The phone doesn`t ring, the phone doesn`t ring. So to me it`s like they put the screws to Manafort with the intention clearly of getting cooperation with these lives. And we know the other thing. Andrew Weissmann in court today right, Andrew Weissmann who`s like the top gun on that team saying we`ve already done two proffers with the guy or at least not to -- at least to right? Plural sessions. That means Manafort has been in there telling them things.

ROCAH: Which means the pardon will not have as much effect if he does had to do I, right?

HAYES: Right. You`re saying it has --


HAYES: The way that works is you come in and you say the most valuable target. I`ll get to you a sec, Paul, the most valuable thing first, right?

HONIG: Yes, they have to have been. Mueller`s team has -- their eyes have to have lit up when they got that proffer. They have to have an interest into what he was selling. Think about it. The Trump Tower meeting. This is the guy who`s right there. I would want to know every detail about that. How did he get the position as campaign manager? Why did the Republican platform change? All these questions are a goldmine.

HAYES: Paul.

BUTLER: And the WikiLeaks dump. Again, at the time, Manafort was running in the campaign, that happened. So I think there`s lots of questions that you know, Mueller will be able to ask. And importantly part of the deal was that when these great FBI agents and prosecutors sit down with Manafort, Manafort`s lawyer does not get to be there. So he gets team by some of the best prosecutors and agents in this country.

HAYES: All right Elie Honig, Mimi Rocah, Paul Butler, that was illuminating. Thank you very much. Still ahead, what Paul Manafort`s plea agreement everyone tells about -- tell us about the trajectory of the Mueller probe. Plus, Florence downgraded to a tropical storm but still poses threat of catastrophic flooding as it continues to dump rain on the affected area. Bill Karins has the latest next.


HAYES: At least five people have died in what is now Tropical Storm Florence which continues to batter the Carolinas tonight, wind gusts reaching 100 miles per hour today as Florence crawls along at just 3 miles per hour, which means it`s dumping more than 20 inches of rain already in some regions, up to 40 inches predicted in other areas.

High tide will hit in the next few hours tonight as storm surge and flooding remain major concerns. NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins joins me now with the latest on Tropical Storm Florence. Bill, how are things looking?

BILL KARINS, NBC NEWS: We`re halfway through the marathon. Isn`t that`s sad? We`re only halfway through this. This is ridiculous.

So, we`re through the part where the winds are going to do a lot of the damage. We`re through about 75 percent, 80 percent of the part where the storm surge is going to do damage. And now we`re just going to watch the rain and the rivers through about Wednesday of next some of these are going to crest. I mean, Wednesday next week, that`s like five, six days from now.

So, here`s the storm walking itself across the border from North Carolina into South Carolina. And the poor people up here in Carter County and Craven County areas. Of course New Bern, the story last night with all the water rescues. People stuck on the roofs waiting for rescue.

But this feeder band has been over them for like 24 straight hours. They can`t believe how much rain has been falling. They`re under a flash flood emergency. We`ve had reports of almost 24 inches of rain already and it is still pouring.

So for that reason -- the map here shown in red is where we have flood warnings. We have flood emergencies in place. And that`s almost the entire eastern half of North Carolina. And we`ll watch those rivers coming up.

Now, we don`t care too much more about the winds. They`re not going to do any more damage. But the path of the storm at least is going to start to move to the west a little bit and then we`re going to bring our flooding threats to areas like Columbia, Florence and also toward Charlotte, North Carolina in the days ahead.

So -- but then by the time we get into the mountains, that`s not until Sunday. We could have problems with flooding even as far north as the mountains of Virginia and then we`ll bring a little bit of rain to the northeast Monday, Tuesday.

You know what Mountains do when you get heavy rain, that`s a bad recipe any time. But that won`t be until we get until Sunday and Monday, Chris.

So, here`s the timing. This is what it`s going to look like on radar. This is as we go through Saturday morning. Notice Wilmington, still raining Saturday morning.

Then the storm moves towards Columbia -- yeah, Wilmington, still raining, p.m. Saturday night.

Then as we go through into Sunday morning, still bands of rain over the top of Wilmington. That`s why one of our computers is saying we could get an additional 30 inches of rain in Wilmington. That`s insanely high. I mean, this is like a Harvey situation in eastern North Carolina.

By the time we get to Sunday, it goes to the north there.

So here`s the computer I was talking about that really adds up the totals. This pink coloring in here, that`s where you get to the 20 plus inches. When you get to the blue, when we start getting to the mountains of North Carolina and up here in Virginia, that`s when we start to get up here right around seven inches or so.

And that`s going to be problematic, that`s where we really could start to see some of the issues. And, you know, we get to the Boone, the Asheville areas, the Roanoke, those will are going to be some of the greatest areas of concern.

I`ll leave you with this, Chris. This is the northeast Cape Fear River. We get these river predictions, and they update it with how much rain is going to fall. Almost all of the rivers are going to get towards major. Most of them are going to go the record flood stage. This one goes above record flood stage on Monday. And it`s going to break the record by two feet, which is kind of unheard of. And then we`re going to see it continuing that high into Wednesday.

And I was looking at what happens when it gets up here about 24 feet. There`s going to be at least 200 to 300 homes that will have three to four feet of water in them.

So, we still have homes right now that the people are living in, that are totally fine, but they know that this flood is coming and it`s going to flood their house and all their possessions. And there`s still a lot of heartbreak to come.

HAYES: All right, Bill Karins, thank you very much for that.

Up next, President Trump`s Supreme Court nominee now facing allegations of sexual misconduct. New Yorker`s Jane Mayer, one of the reporters who broke that story. And she joins me live next. Don`t go anywhere.


HAYES: An explosive allegation of sexual misconduct has emerged involving Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the man that Donald Trump and senate Republicans are seeking to put on the Supreme Court.

A woman, who does not want to be publicly identified, asserted in July that during a high school party more than 30 years ago, Kavanaugh held her down and attempted to force himself on her, according to new reporting today in The New Yorker.

The woman reportedly made the allegation in a letter to her congresswoman, Democrat Anna Eshoo. A source says it was then sent to the top Democrat in the Judiciary committee, Dianne Feinstein. NBC News has not seen the letter, but can confirm that Democrats on the Judiciary Committee met Wednesday night to discuss a vague sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh.

In a statement, Kavanaugh said, I quote, categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.

A friend, who was alleged, apparently in the letter, to have participated in the incident also denied it on the record, telling The Weekly Standard it`s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way. That man is named Mark Judge.

Feinstein said yesterday she had referred the matter to the FBI, which says it is not opening a criminal investigation before Feinstein referred the matter, according to The New Yorker, some Democrats have become frustrated that she had declined to share the letter with colleagues, with her office suggesting it did not merit public discussion.

And the White House is suggesting the allegation is a political ploy. It has accused top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, of a, quote, 11th hour attempt to delay Kavanaugh`s confirmation.

And senate Republicans say they will not let the allegations slow them down. They still plan to hold a committee vote for Kavanaugh next Thursday followed by a possible confirmation vote later this month.

Joining me now, New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer, who with Ronan Farrow, first reported the allegations against Kavanaugh.

Jane, I have heard inklings and rumors about the existence of this letter for a little while. I think many people probably have. It was hard to know what to do with the information. There`s a letter that maybe someone has read.

You have reported this out. So, let`s start with this, what, to the best of your knowledge in your reporting, what does she allege happened to her when she was in high school in the letter?

JANE MAYER, THE NEW YORKER: What she alleges is that she was at a party and Brett Kavanaugh was there too. She -- he had been drinking. They -- she went upstairs, and he and another boy, who you`ve now named, followed her into a bedroom, shut the door, locked it. Kavanaugh, according to her, forced himself onto her, held her down. And when she screamed, the boys turned up music so she couldn`t be heard and she alleges that Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth to try to stop her from screaming. She then managed to get herself freed from that and ran away.

HAYES: OK. Now, that is obviously a horrifying thing to have happened, if indeed this allegation is true. Kavanaugh denies it. Mark Judge denies it happened. I guess -- here`s my second question. Have you done -- I mean, you know who this woman is. I imagine you know her name and identity, although you`re not sharing it for obvious reasons.

Do you have enough to know that this can`t be like dismissed out of hand, I guess I would say? That this is -- that this woman could plausibly have been in the same social circles, that this isn`t someone who`s just obviously not credible?

MAYER: You know, we do know a good bit about the woman. And I think, you know, there`s certainly some of these details do -- she did attend a school. She was in the right social circles.

HAYES: right, that`s what I mean.

MAYER: And that`s certainly true.

And she had wanted -- I think the important thing almost in this is she had wanted to come forward. She actually had tried to in the beginning and to speak out in some way. She brought her allegations, as you mentioned, first to her own congresswoman, and then sent this complaint on up to Dianne Feinstein.

This is not somebody who was smoked out by people trying to sort of bring Kavanaugh down, this is someone who just wanted -- she was troubled by what she knew. She felt she had information that she thought was important that she wanted to share with the authorities.

HAYES: In many of the stories and reportings that we`ve seen about allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual assault over the last year and the #metoo movement, they`re very hard to independently verify, often because there`s just one or two people there. But one means of independently verifying them, or at least lending credence, is contemporaneous accounts, right. There are many people who were -- who say they were victims of sexual assault who then told people in their lives.

And I wonder if there`s any of that present in this case as far as you know?

MAYER: You know, I think what -- at this point, given how explosive this is that I think it`s important that people like myself be very careful and stick to what we`ve already reported and verified, which is what`s been in print.

So I don`t feel like we should go beyond that, but we feel absolutely confident in what we`ve reported.

HAYES: Let me then ask this final follow-up, because I think it`s just very hard for everyone watching this unfold to know what to do with this allegation, which is obviously extremely grave and serious. But, you know, the identity of the woman is being hidden, understandably. She wants that. Her position, my understanding, is that she does not want to be identified and does not want to come forward at this point even if she did in the past. Is that a correct characterization?

MAYER: I think as of at least last night that was her position and probably still true. She has changed her mind a couple of times about that, and which is evident from the fact that she spoke to a number of people, including the authorities here.

Her allegations now have been forwarded by Dianne Feinstein to the FBI, which can look into it.

HAYES: All right, Jane Mayer, thank you so much for being with me. I really appreciate it.

MAYER: Great to be with you.

HAYES: Joining me now, former Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California who served along with Dianne Feinstein for years as the two Senators from California. She`s host of the podcast Fight Back. Also with me, Jim Manley, former chief spokesman for senate majority leader Harry Reid.

OK, well, what do you do with this if you`re in the senate, Senator Boxer?

BARBARA BOXER, FORMER SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA: Well, we`ve seen this movie before. You talked about it, the Clarence Thomas battle, last minute, Anita Hill, who did not want to come forward, somehow her letter leaked and it all came forward.

And what happened? Everybody slowed down. I walked over to the Senate to protest the fact that they were not going to have a hearing with Anita Hill.

If Anita Hill didn`t have that courage many women, including Senator Feinstein and I, may never have made it to the United States Senate.

These senators have to slow down and take a look at this. We all know, after Anita hill was heard, Joe Biden shut the hearing down. Guess what? There were three other women waiting to corroborate.

So here`s the issue, we don`t know if this incident is true, but from what I read the other gentleman involved in it said he had no recollection. He did not deny it as in the way that Judge Kavanaugh did. And if, in fact, it was true, there are two things. Kavanaugh may be lying about it, or there may be other women who might come forward. We don`t know.

The only thing we do know is we should slow this down.

HAYES: Let me -- I just want to raise two things. Mark Judge is the individual who`s on the record in The Weekly Standard to more strenuously deny. I just want to be clear, in that New Yorker piece he said I have no recollection. He does affirmatively deny in The Weekly Standard piece. So, just so that`s entered into the record.

You reference Anita Hill. I would like to read Anita Hill`s statement on this today, because the sort of resonances here are eerie. It was very similar timing. The hearings had ended. She had made this sort of anonymous complaint, or she had not wanted to come forward, she ended up coming forward. Anita Hill saying today given the seriousness of these allegations the government needs to find a fair and neutral way for complaints to be investigated. The Senate Judiciary Committee should put in place a process that enables anyone with a complaint of this nature to be heard. I have seen firsthand what happens when such a process is weaponized against an accuser and no one should have to endure that again.

Jim, what do you think about what Senator Boxer recommends at the very least to slow things down here?

JIM MANLEY, FORMER CHIEF SPOKESMAN FOR SENATOR HARRY REID: I couldn`t agree with her more, obviously. And that was well said by Anita Hill as well.

Having said that, I`m not convinced, or put slightly differently I don`t believe it`s going to happen. You know, Republicans appear to be hell bent in confirming this guy come hell or high water.

Again, they stole the seat just last year with Merrick Garland. So, I don`t think they`re going to spend much time reviewing this before trying to jam this guy through.

HAYES: I want to read Senator Feinstein`s statement again. There`s a lot of sort of criticism coming in many different directions, most of it being said off the record. So, Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer, says this. Senator Feinstein was given information about Judge Kavanaugh through a third party. The Senator took these allegations seriously and believed they should be public. However, the woman in question made it clear she did not want this information to be public. It is critical in matters of sexual misconduct to protect the identity of the victim when they wish to remain anonymous and the senator did so in this case.

Do you think she did the right thing here based on the facts as you know them?

BOXER: Let me tell you what I think she did right, she did forward this to the FBI. That is appropriate. But eventually she did give that letter to the colleagues on the Judiciary Committee. If I were sitting in the senate right now and I was not on the Judiciary Committee, I would want to be briefed on this.

HAYES: Yeah.

BOXER: Look, this is a once in a lifetime type of appointment. This isn`t like, you know, with all due respect, the head of FEMA, they come and go. This is serious. Every single right that we hold dear is at stake. So when something like this comes along after the Anita Hill experience, after #metoo, at the minimum time out, let`s look at this.

HAYES: Jim, there are lots of people on the right who see this as all entirely a setup, that this was a grenade they had in their back pocket, that this is being done cynically and the timing of it is cynical and all of us have our own partisan biases. And I can imagine people on the the same fact pattern happened people thinking that.

As someone who has been on the inside of this, what do you think of that?

MANLEY: Yeah, I have a real problem with that, given how well I`ve known Senator Feinstein over the years. I mean, she`s extraordinarily cautious, maybe sometimes too much so. And so she`s very judicious and she`s very analytical when it comes to plying out moves like this.

So, for her -- for someone to suggest that this was a late-minute bomb she dropped is absolutely ridiculous.

HAYES: All right. I should note...

BOXER: And that`s what they said about Anita Hill.

HAYES: That is exactly that what they said, yep.

BOXER: You know what, it turned out there were three other women waiting to corroborate. And the whole thing was shut down.

It was a travesty of justice. And the justice is still sitting on the court.

HAYES: I should also note Chuck Grassley released a letter of 65 women who knew Kavanaugh in high school, defending his character today, which somehow was created in the last -- they say since 5:00 p.m. last night that is what their contention is, not that they knew this was coming.

Barbara Boxer and Jim Manley, thank you both for being with me.

Coming up, the new phase in the Mueller investigation is President Trump`s former campaign manager agrees to cooperate. What it means for case for collusion, and the slow motion constitutional crisis right after this.


HAYES: Today`s news that Paul Manafort, Donald Trump`s former campaign chairman, agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller and flip means that we`ve entered a whole new phase of the Russia investigation. It`s not entirely clear what will happen next, but with Manafort`s cooperation just beginning, it does seem increasingly unlikely that Mueller is anywhere close to wrapping things up.

To talk more about this next phase of the investigation, I`m joined by Elizabeth Holtzman, former U.S. congresswoman who was a member of the House Judiciary Committee when they voted to impeach Richard Nixon and she`s also the author of "The Case for Impeaching Trump," and Elliot Williams, a former deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs under President Obama.

Here`s the way I always think about it. You know, I always say about this, like we`re not going to get out alive. And what I mean that is, the trains are going towards each other. And today felt like an accelerant to that, like there is some kind of crisis constitutionally about the very nature of the power of the office that we`re headed towards. Do you believe that?

ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Oh, yes. I wouldn`t necessarily use the train analogy, I think about a noose around the neck. And I think the president is going to feel the heat really, really, really scorching him now. I mean, he`s got somebody`s whose close to him who potentially has not only information about him being the president of the United States, but his son, Donald Trump, Jared Kushner. This is getting so close to him that who knows what could happen.

I mean, I think we have to be prepared for a lot of things. And it`s concerning, but Mueller is moving forward methodically.

HAYES: Yeah. The three people in that meeting, Elliott, from the Trump representing the Trump folks is Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Don Jr., the president`s son and son-in-law.

One of those three is not cooperating, the other two have to be sitting around tonight thinking about what`s going on?

ELLIOTT WILLIAMS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Which one of these three is not cooperating like the other pretty much.

You know, the interesting thing as you discussed earlier on the show is that with these plea agreements or with these cooperation agreements, you know that Mueller, or whatever prosecutor , already has the information. He already knows that there is going to be more. So you`re going to see more indictments, more pleas, more statements. And frankly, at a minimum, Paul Manafort now has to be sentenced twice, once in the District of Columbia and once in Virginia.

These are times that this is going to stay in the news.


WILLIAMS: a huge distraction for the president at a minimum if it doesn`t make it all the way up to his son or like you said a Jared Kushner or anybody else.

HAYES: Well, that`s the question, right. I mean, the issue is what does the president do in response to this getting closer to him? I mean, that`s the real fear. I has always been the fear. there are -- we saw what he did with Comey. There were sort of signals sent to him at certain points to back off Sessions. Those signals have changed.

The question of how the Justice Department and the investigation are insulated from the president`s pressure becomes now a primary one.


And so he has two different pressures on him. One is, I`m sure, he would love to get pardons to everybody and make sure nobody can be touched so they`re not going took about him.

HAYES: You`re saying you think the president would like that.

HOLTZMAN: That`s what I think he would like.

But people are telling him you do that and forget the midterm elections. The Democrats will not only take the House, but they could take the Senate, and you`ll be in even more trouble. So he`s got no out here.

HAYES: That`s exactly right.

HOLTZMAN: And that`s problem.

I think he is caught, trapped. And then what happens? What irrational thing will he do?

HAYES: OK. So this is why I think, and Brian Boyler (ph) wrote a piece for Crooked Media about this that first spelled this out in a way that clicked with me, Elliott, which is that the lame duck session is very dangerous for precisely that reason.

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah.

HAYES: Because right now the electoral effects of major actions are enormous.


HAYES: And you`re right, I think that he doesn`t want to do that. The day after he enters a period in which he`s going to have a lame duck Republican majority in both houses, whatever they do, and that seems to me a very dangerous period.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. And to back up what the congresswoman said, this pardon question, you`re talking about constitutional questions and constitutional crises. Look at how the president has employed the pardon power since the beginning of the presidency, going back to Sheriff Joe, pardoning someone for obstructing the court system.

HAYES: Right.

WILLIAMS: He has used it to reward his political allies. And if you`re talking about potentially setting up a crisis between the branches of government, this is how -- and frankly, it`s one of the tools that the president has unobstructed, you know, he can do it. No one can really challenge it. And I think that`s the thing that poses the most problems for the government and for the potential clash that we`re seeing here.

HOLTZMAN: Yeah, any pardons now before the election, he`s in trouble in the midterms.

HAYES; right.

HOLTZMAN: And also, you know, pardons, that`s what Nixon did. He offered pardons to the burglars.

HAYES: Did he really? Oh, that`s right, yes.

HOLTZMAN: It is an impeachable offense, let`s not forget that. It is an impeachable offense. So, he...

HAYES: He personally offered them, right?

HOLTZMAN: No, he got his aides to offer them.

HAYES: I see. They floated them.

HOLTZMAN: But he authorized those offers of pardons. He offered the burglars two things to keep quiet -- money, hush money, and pardons. So pardons played a key role. They were part of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, so let`s not forget.

HAYES: That`s a great point.

HOLTZMAN: Using pardons to keep people quiet is an impeachable offense. We did it against Richard Nixon, and he is in trouble now, Donald Trump, if he follows that course of action.

HAYES: All right, Elizabeth Holtzman and Elliot Williams, thank you both for making time on this Friday night.

That is ALL IN for this evening on a very, very, very busy Friday news day. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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