Moseley Braun ran against and defeated her Senator. TRANSCRIPT: 9/20/2018, All In w Chris Hayes.

Guests: Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Richard Blumenthal, Maggie Hassan, Carol Moseley Braun, Scott Shane

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 20, 2018 Guest: Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Richard Blumenthal, Maggie Hassan, Carol Moseley Braun, Scott Shane

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- as just what happened. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

AMERICAN CROWD: We believe Christine Ford. We believe Christine Ford.

MELBER: Dr. Ford responds, and says she wants to testify.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still stand by Judge Kavanaugh, sir?

HAYES: Tonight, as the attack ads begin --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought he might inadvertently kill me.

HAYES: The latest on negotiations for a hearing next week. Plus --

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: Who is not asking the FBI to investigate this claims? The White House.

HAYES: Does Judge Kavanaugh deserve the benefit of the doubt as he`s hunkered down inside this White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He can do anything.

HAYES: And breaking Michael Cohen news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, any thoughts on Michael Cohen, Sir? Are you worried?

HAYES: What we know tonight about what Michael Cohen is telling Robert Mueller.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: I`ll do anything to protect Mr. Trump.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. A major development today involving the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who says that Kavanagh sexually assaulted her when he was 17 and she was just 15 indicating that she is willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about exactly what she says happened. Her lawyer asserting in a letter back to the committee that under the right conditions Dr. Ford would be prepared to testify next week. Her lawyer writes, she wishes to testify provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.

Meanwhile, the 11 Republican men of the Judiciary Committee led by Senator Chuck Grassley have been trying to quickly move past Dr. Ford`s allegation. They announced she`ll remember without Dr. Ford`s consent that she must testify by this coming Monday or they would move to a vote to confirm the man that she says assaulted her. But Dr. Ford`s attorney today rejected that artificial timeline writing a hearing on Monday is not possible and the committee`s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event.

Dr. Ford has ample reason to be skeptical about the motivations of the Republicans running a committee who have ruled out an outside investigation or one conducted by the FBI and said they do not even want to hear testimony from Kavanaugh`s high school friend Mark Judge, the man Dr. Ford says witnessed her assault. Judge says he has no memory of the incident. Late last night, the committee`s top staffer for judicial nominations, Mike Davis, who is supposed to be leading the committee`s unbiased investigation into the allegation tweeted that in the wake of the allegation he was unfazed and determined we will confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Mike Davis eventually deleted that tweet.

On Capitol Hill today, meanwhile, protesters poured into the offices of GOP senators to tell their stories of sexual assault and proclaim that they believe both Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford. Capitol police said they arrested 56 of the protesters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senat0r Grassley, I know you don`t know me but you must know hundreds and thousands of women just like me who have never said a word. And for them and for your constituents and for the good of Americans everywhere, you will not appoint this man to the Supreme Court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Senate Republicans appear terrified about the optics of having 11 Republican men on the Judiciary Committee questioned a woman who says she survives sexual assault. Tonight, two sources tell NBC News Republicans are now searching for a female lawyer to question both Judge Kavanagh and Dr. Ford so they don`t have to do it themselves.

Meanwhile, a pair of new ads is targeting GOP senators who may be willing to vote against Kavanaugh`s confirmation with one of the ads linking the Kavanaugh allegation to the many sexual assault claims against Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can do anything, grab them by the (BLEEP).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An admitted sexual abusers sits in the White House who supported an accused child predator for the Senate.

TRUMP: So get out and vote for Roy Moore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then he nominated this man to the U.S. Supreme Court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault. When she tried to scream, she said he put his hand over her mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can`t let Brett Kavanaugh decide on our rights for a generation. Enough is enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Kavanagh who unequivocally denies the allegations spent his third straight day at the White House today. And NBC News reports tonight that on Tuesday, he spent two hours prepping for the possibility of testifying again with the Supreme Court nominee being grilled by senior White House staff for roughly two hours about his past, his dating life and Dr. Ford`s allegation. Among those questioning Kavanaugh in preparation was none other than Bill Shine who was drummed out of Fox News after allegedly helping enable Roger Ailes sexual harassment there, something shined denies.

Just a short time ago, Kavanaugh sent a letter to the Judiciary Committee thanking them for their invitation to appear Monday even though Dr. Ford says she cannot appear Monday. Kavanaugh wrote in his letter "I will be there." Joining me now with the latest, MSNBC Political Analyst Robert Costa, Political Reporter to the Washington Post and Sheryl Gay Stolberg Congressional Reporter at the New York Times who wrote today about Dr. Ford opening negotiations on testimony next week. Let me start with you Sheryl. What is the latest in this back and forth?

SHERYL GAY STOLBERG, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: So the latest is that Dr. Ford`s attorney Deborah Katz wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee and said she`s willing to testify under certain conditions, if her security is protected and if it`s a fair hearing. And as I understand it there have been negotiations going on throughout the afternoon and into this evening between cats and Republican and Democratic staff on the committee. I was told they`re talking mostly about logistics sort of the timing and whether or not there would be other witnesses and what precautions would be taken to protect Dr. Ford safety.

As you might have heard she`s been receiving death threats and those talks are ongoing and I was told it was more of a discussion not really a list of demands and we`ll see where it goes. I think Republicans would be hard- pressed not to meet her halfway. They can ill afford to look like bullies regarding a sexual assault survivor. They know that it`s a delicate matter for them. As you mentioned 11 Republican men on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are looking for a female lawyer to question Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford so you know we`ll see how this plays out. I suspect no resolution until later tonight or tomorrow.

HAYES: Robert, what is -- it`s been the third day that Kavanaugh has been in the White House, what are you hearing from your sources about what the thinking is there?

ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Most importantly they tell me the President is not involved with the preparation. They`re trying to keep president Trump away from this situation. Of course, the White House publicly and privately standing behind their nominee for the high court but they know that this situation is as Cheryl said delicate and they`re not really sure how this hearing is going to go, if the hearing is going to happen but negotiations continue. And so they want president Trump to stay on message as he has been most -- for the most part for the last few days surprisingly muted even to some of his own aides.

HAYES: Robert, there`s new polling out tonight from NBC News and Wall Street Journal. Should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed at the Supreme Court is the question. He is now underwater a 38 percent saying no, 34 percent saying yes, 28 percent have no opinion. Women overwhelmingly opposed to his nomination. Do you think, Robert, that matters to the White House and to those on Capitol Hill?

COSTA: It doesn`t matter to the White House and to the Republican Party because they know regardless of how this plays out on Capitol Hill, that`s its own situation. There`s still the political fallout just weeks ahead of the midterm elections. This House is going to be won in suburban districts we`re independent women voters are going to be critical for whoever wins that majority this year.

HAYES: Sheryl, do you have a sense of whether in the negotiation the public or private nature of hearings is one of the things being discussed?

STOLBERG: They do have a sense. I think she you know, Dr. Ford, she also goes by Dr. Blasey. We refer to her actually by her professional name Dr. Blasey understands that she is likely going to have to testify publicly and it appears to me that she is willing to do that.

HAYES: Interesting. So that was -- there was a question I think about whether that was the sticking point but it seems that`s not the sticking point.

STOLBERG: Well, it was left on unclear in the letter. The letter just said she would be prepared to testify. It`s my understanding that she understands that this could mean public testimony and that she is prepared for public testimony.

HAYES: Do you know -- also one other aspect of this there was a request for -- by her lawyer for an FBI investigation and also that Mark Judge testify. Are those still things they`re pursuing?

STOLBERG: Well I think -- I`m not certain if it`s specific to march -- Mark Judge but they clearly are pursuing having other witnesses testify. As to the FBI negotiation -- investigation, that`s a little bit soft in a way. She had been demanding an FBI investigation which as you know Democrats are demanding, and in fact, the Democrats ratcheted up their demands for an FBI inquiry today. But in the note to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Deborah Katz said that it was Dr. Blasey`s strong preference that a law enforcement investigation be conducted.

And I took by those words strong preference that she was given kind of a little bit of wiggle room that she didn`t want to back away completely from asking for an FBI investigation but it seems to me a hint that she is willing to go forward without one.

HAYES: Robert, who in that White House is working on war rooming Brett Kavanaugh in preparation for what looks like is going to be a hearing?

COSTA: Bill Shine as you mentioned is involved, A former confidante and advisor to Roger Ailes and Fox News. But the key person remains Don McGahn the outgoing White House Counsel. This is his legacy project. He is personally involved in almost every detail. He`s the one who has wanted to bring Judge Kavanaugh to the White House. People who have been involved in past preparations for Kavanaugh like Senator Portman of Ohio I`m told by people familiar with the process are now not involved. This is McGahn and a couple other White House officials.

HAYES: All right, Robert Costa and Sheryl Stolberg, thank you both for your time tonight.

STOLBERG: Thank you.

HAYES: I`m joined now by a pair of Democratic Senators, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. Let me start with you Senator Blumenthal because you`re on the committee. Are you involved in the negotiations happening right now about the contours of testimony next week?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: All of us committee members are involved at least indirectly. And the simple fact is that the Republicans leading that committee have imposed a completely arbitrary and irrational deadline. They should be insisting in fact that the FBI reopened its investigation. They prefer be insisting that there be other witnesses in the interest of uncovering the truth and basic fairness they should be insisting that Dr. Blasey be given an opportunity to set the terms of her coming forward. That`s a basic foundational principle in dealing with all victims and survivors of sexual assault but they are taking just the opposite tack.

HAYES: What do you think, Senator Hassan, about the idea of the Republicans on that committee, it`s all madness 11 men bringing in a female attorney, a woman to do the questioning?

SEN. MAGGIE HASSAN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, you know, this should be about getting to the truth, not political optics but let`s take a step back here. We know that women who come forward with allegations of sexual assault with stories like Dr. Ford`s have historically they`ve been vilified, they`ve been diminished, they`ve been doubted even though we know how prevalent sexual assault is in our society. And what we have seen is that we all need to do better in listening to women investigating these claims taking them seriously. And the Senate needs to do better.

So now you think back to 1991 to Anita Hill`s testimony in that hearing. That hearing had an FBI investigation beforehand, it went on for three days. I think it included multiple, multiple witnesses and even that was considered to be grossly unfair and inadequate. And now today Senate Republicans are talking about a process that is far worse. We should be trying to fulfill our constitutional obligation to get to the truth here to vet this candidate fully. And I continue to be just amazed that the Republicans aren`t insisting on an FBI investigation which is the kind of foundation you need to have a productive effective hearing in which you can actually get to the truth with multiple witnesses because there are more than two witnesses in this matter according to Dr. Ford`s account.

HAYES: What do you ascribe the -- I mean, they -- let me give you the argument that Republicans have been making and you can respond to it. This is -- that this was all done in bad faith, that the ranking members, Senator Feinstein sat on this and then it leaked out and it was a bomb exploded at the last minute as a sort of desperate attempt to forestall this and the mishandling has brought us to this perilous moment. I want to get both of your reactions. I`ll start with you Senator Blumenthal to that argument.

BLUMENTHAL: Let`s be very clear. The foundational principle of dealing with sexual assault is that the survivors have the right to come forward when they wish to tell their story as they wish and identify themselves when they think it`s appropriate. That is the principle that Senator Feinstein followed. And the timing issue --

HAYES: Well, leaked though. I mean, someone didn`t follow it.

BLUMENTHAL: After six weeks in the United States Senate, a lot of things leaked. But here`s the other important point. The timing here is solely the result of the Republican leadership setting this arbitrary October 1 deadline and trying to ram through this nomination on a timetable that is totally cravenly and blatantly political. And if their instinct and the intention was to uncover the truth, they would insist on an FBI investigation. Otherwise, we`re just going to have a sham and charade show hearing, not a real hearing.

HAYES: Senator Hassan?

HASSAN: Look, yes, a real hearing should happen and then the process that follows should be determined by what they find out in the hearing. But look, this is just -- these allegations from Republicans are just shameful. Dr. Ford has had to flee her home. Her children, her husband and she had been subjected to death threats. She is trying. She has stepped forward. She has been brave and courageous in bringing forward these charges against an incredibly powerful person. And what she is being met with is a rush to defend this person rather than get at the truth.

You know, the benefit of the doubt here to quote Senator Robert Byrd back I think in about 1991, the benefit of the doubt should go to the court and to the country. That`s our job and it is absolutely shameful to be playing politics with this.

BLUMENTHAL: And there is an effect, Chris, in the larger context on other survivors who are deterred from coming forward. You know I spent a part of today with a couple of survivors and advocates who describe their own experiences very much like this one when they felt doubt self-blame, guilt, stigma. They waited years to come forward. One in every six women in America are assaulted or raped. This crime is underreported because of precisely the fear that now is being realized the nightmare for Dr. Blasey ford. And the way that some of our Republican colleagues are talking about her with utter intensity -- insensitivity and hostility simply illustrates the problem she may encounter at this hearing.

HAYES: Senator Hassan, do you have faith that there`s persuade ability on the Republican side that there are members, colleagues of yours that haven`t opened enough mind that you think that something can be accomplished here in terms of a presentation of the evidence?

HASSAN: Well, I certainly hope so. And that`s why I think it is so important that we get this hearing right. I think it is so important that Dr. Ford`s concerns about her safety and about feeling respected in the process really need to be honored. And I think that`s why it`s so important for there to be serious good faith here. I am concerned when I hear some of my Republican colleagues say that you know, we`ll have the hearing on Monday and then we`ll vote on Wednesday, when in fact what happens in an investigation and hearing should then determine when and if a vote happens.

HAYES: Yes, and you have the chief counsel on the Judiciary Committee for Senator Grassley saying we`re going to confirm him which seems to be sort of tipping the hand a little bit. Senator Richard Blumenthal and senator Maggie Hassan, thank you both being with me. Ahead, the man who managed the Roger Ailes debacle at Fox News is now trying to save Donald from Supreme Court nominee from the sexual assault allegation. We`ll talk about that in two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Prior to the current allegation Negation against Brett Kavanaugh, supporters of his nomination characterized him as a decent man of fine colleague and a mentor and now they along with President Trump take umbrage that this good man`s name is being tarnished. And one can easily understand why they feel that way. But let`s honor the context. Kavanaugh was nominated by a man and chose to accept the nomination of a man who bragged about sexual assault, who later disparage the many woman who came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. A man who endorsed her person credibly accused of sexually assaulting a woman when she was 14 and he was a prosecutor, a man who had a staff secretary Rob Porter who incidentally Kavanaugh recommended, according to Bob Woodward`s new book who was accused of physical and verbal abuse by two former yet wives and yet stayed in his job long after the FBI raised concerns about his alleged spousal abuse. Kavanaugh has said he was unaware of those allegations against him.

Let`s bring an MSNBC Contributor Jennifer Rubin, Columnist of the Washington Post, MSNBC Contributor Sam Seder Host of Majority of Report with Sam Seder and Danielle Moodie Mills the Host of Sirius XM`s WokeAF. Jennifer, let me start with you because I think you`ve -- closer to the sort of social circles, I mean, I will say that the people that I know that know Judge Kavanaugh in you know, having clerked on the circuit court or professionally like do attest for highly to him. He has a good reputation. It is also the case that A, this allegation is extremely serious but B, you can`t kind of buy the ticket and not take the ride. Like you accept Donald Trump`s nomination, you work with Bill Shine in the White House, like that`s kind of on you reputationally.

JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, listen, I think these guys have trouble imagining that they`re a good buddy, Brett Kavanaugh, because he`s such a great guy and he`s a good conservative, could have done something like this. But you know, people like this who are respectable, who are lawyers, who are doctors, abuse women. That`s a fact. So their faith in him is both misplaced and indicative of the problem here which is whenever someone steps forward, when this woman steps forward, no matter how credible destroyed, no matter how specific, she is immediately tagged as irrational, forgetful, has him confused with somebody else, she`s making this up for political reasons and we`re down that rabbit hole all over again.

So why don`t we stop assuming that because he`s a great lawyer that he couldn`t have abused someone as a teenager. Those two things are not connected and yet, again and again, we hear that. He`s such a great guy, he couldn`t have done this. Well, great guys do this kind of stuff and maybe they`re not such great guys at least for the time when they committed these acts.

HAYES: Although I will say that that hat that instinct of people who know people who are accused is not a partisan one. I mean, people do this and have seen this all the time.

RUBIN: Right.

HAYES: Like all the time. I mean across the ideological spectrum and across the partisan spectrum we have seen men accused and men and women in their life saying look I know this person, it can`t be true,

DANIELLE MOODIE MILLS, HOST, SIRIUS XM`S WOKEAF: But the reality is all that she is asking for, all that Dr. Ford is asking for is for an investigation, right? Why don`t you do a thorough investigation and tell - - and tell the story and understand the thoroughness of what an investigation would bring and they don`t want to do that. We`re going to have a hearing on Monday, vote on Wednesday. What does that say to women who a majority of women have been assaulted or harassed by men? A majority of them and they`re not done -- they`re done by men who are supposedly good guys.

HAYES: One of the things they`re saying too and you see this, the Republicans, clearly people behind the scenes are being like don`t say the wrong thing, treat her respectfully, don`t come out guns blazing, and there`s this crazy push and pull where what they want to say is like come on really, or we`re going to confirm anyway, but they`ve also been coached to be respectful so you get this very weird sort of rhetorical tap-dancing.

SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: There`s a sense that people are walking around afraid of landmines. But let`s also not forget that for some reason there was an extended campaign and there`s been a lot of advertising seemingly focused on women. Now, one of those reasons could be because they`re bleeding Republican women in the suburbs, but it`s also quite a coincidence. I mean, there`s a real sense.

Let`s put it this way. It`s not that much of a stretch to say that maybe they saw a problem coming down the pike, that they introduced us to the girls basketball team that he coaches. There is an ad running with someone who doesn`t know him as a lawyer, just knows him -- a woman who just knows him as a nice guy, a very odd tack to take for the Supreme Court and particularly you know, look we didn`t see this with Neil Gorsuch. I`m no fan of his we didn`t see anything like that. This didn`t come out of nowhere.

HAYES: I will say, you know, one explanation, the (INAUDIBLE) explanation is that they thought Roe was going to be a huge deal and this was their way to deal with the Roe issue although it`s also possible there`s something else. I will say there`s eyes on the other side now. I want to play this one from Demand Justice and this is pretty brutal stuff. Like these are going to play in battlegrounds right now. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can do anything, grab them by the (BLEEP).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An admitted sexual abusers sits in the White House who supported an accused child predator for the Senate.

TRUMP: So get out and vote for Roy Moore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then he nominated this man to the U.S. Supreme Court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault. When she tried to scream, she said he put his hand over her mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can`t let Brett Kavanaugh decide on our rights for a generation. Enough is enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That really kind of ties it together, Jennifer.

RUBIN: Yes. Well, listen, it`s sort of the birds of a feather theory. There`s also another one running which they just read from her letter which is even more stunning I think, the allegations that have come out one by one. And it listen, there`s plenty to investigate. What we have heard from numerous individuals who are part of that social clique, the Washington Post interviewed a number of them that this was an alcohol drug- soaked culture in which a lot of juvenile boys were rough with women, were disrespectful towards women and let`s, first of all, find out if that`s the milieu in which he was operating if he did drink to excess. And if he did drink to excess, he`s not a very good witness to his own behavior quite frankly.

So there`s a lot of evidence now that we see. We also have had someone come forward, a friend who says eight years ago she said she needed a bedroom with an extra door so she would never be trapped in her room. These are facts that can be confirmed that do add for her credibility. And what other explanation other than the fact that this occurred would there be? You know, if people concocting theories that there`s some mistaken identity or some evil twin running around, this is nonsense. And you know what, who could clear that up? It would be the FBI.

HAYES: Well that`s -- yes, I mean, the point here about the fact that she`s asking for more evidence can`t be dismissed but it`s also the fact that like it is so perfect to me we find ourselves at this moment, the sort of #MeToo moment, this allegation happening, and Bill Shine of all people. Bill Shine who was unemployable at Fox News because of his alleged complicity in a sort of sexual reign of terror by Roger Ailes but was hired by the White House is now doing the murder boards with Brett Kavanaugh behind the White House doors. That makes total sense. If you`re unemployable at Fox, clearly the White House is going to open their doors to you because that`s what they do.

MILLS: I mean, the idea that these men, they`ve gotten away with everything their entire lives. They are elite, they are wealthy, they are white, like that is their M.O. They can do what they want, when they want it, with whom they want to. There`s nothing that Dr. Ford stands to gain from coming out at this moment, nothing. Her life has been turned upside down. Her -- she has had to relocate. Tell me why you would do that if you were lying? Is she looking for a reality T.V. show? No, she`s not she`s just looking to be heard for the first time in her entire life and taking a huge gamble in order to do so.

SEDER: Yes, and it`s clear that in the context of the White House -- I mean we -- there was reporting that Mitch McConnell had problems with Kavanaugh. We don`t know what the nature of those were. But it`s quite clear as to what goes on at the White House that the idea that there was a past involving some type of sexual abuse of women would not be disqualifying in any way. I mean, it`s -- the proof is in the book.

HAYES: Well, let`s remember. Rob Porter who is recommended by Brett Kavanaugh -- and Kavanaugh says he had no idea about the abuse allegations -- but he recommended him for that job and Rob Porter, it was the FBI that came to Don McGahn and said we`ve talked to his ex-wives who alleged abuse. There`s a picture of a -- of bruise on her face after he allegedly put a (INAUDIBLE), right, and kept him in that job. Don McGahn made the decision to keep him in that job for months, and months, and months, and months, until it came out with the security clearance in a high-profile job and it is Don McGahn right now who is prepping Brett Kavanaugh.

SEDER: I mean, the FBI did an investigation. I mean, you know --

HAYES: That`s exactly right. They went and they talk to some people. Jennifer Rubin, Sam Seder, and Danielle Moodie Mills, thank you all.

SEDER: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up. As Republicans cringe the impact the Kavanagh hearing could have on the midterms, a look back at what happened in the wake of the Anita Hill testimony, the woman who took her senator`s job because he voted for Clarence Thomas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: One unmistakable trend about the upcoming midterm elections, in that there is a record number of women running for office.

Now 2018 isn`t the first so called year of the woman. 1992 saw a surge in female candidates, thanks in part to the Clarence Thomas nomination hearings which saw the five women elected to the United States Senate, including a young African American woman named Carol Moseley Braun, who at the time was a Cook County executive. She primaried her democratic Senator from Illinois, Alan Dickson, because he had voted to confirm Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court the year before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN DICKSON, SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS: I thought Clarence Thomas was a decent man, and I did not agree with the view of those that thought that he would have done anything like Anita Hill claimed.

So I`ll be honest with you, as a lawyer, that was my view. I followed my conscience, and I paid the price.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That price being his Senate seat. Braun defeated the two-term incumbent, becoming the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

Joining me now is the former Senator from Illinois and former ambassador to New Zealand, Carol Moseley Braun. Ambassador, tell me what was going through your head watching the Anita Hill hearings back in 1991?

CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN, FORMER SENATOR: Well, my entire -- thank you, Chris, for that question. My entire life path was made possible because of the Warren Court and Thurgood Marshall and Earl Warren. They opened the door for me, they changed society in America so that I could attend good schools and live in a decent neighborhood. And so all of those things were made possible.

And I looked at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings as a real challenge to the legacy of the Warren Court and of Thurgood Marshall. That was very important. It was -- it struck to the core for me. It was an issue for me personally of liberation.

But a larger issue for the direction of America, which way we were going to go. We have to remember, these are lifetime appointments of people who are the most powerful people in the country, and the question is whether or not this will be a water shed moment for women, whether this will be a point at which we recognize that women are citizens to, and are entitled to the kind of consideration at every turn that I believe that we are.

And so I come to this -- the Kavanaugh conversation with the real view to what had gone before and the fact that our country moved in one direction under the Warren Court. It`s taken a sharply different turn.

So the question is, are we going to continue to support communities of interest, half of America is female, and so are women going to go back to the days when it was okay to beat your wife, when I was recorder of deeds, a county executive, a recorder of deeds and the deeds when I first took that office, the deed said this property belongs to, you know, Chris Hayes, and et ux, and et ux referred to the Latin term for and his wife, his cow, basically.

So are we going to go back to that? Or are we going to continue to move forward and recognize that women are people too and are entitled to respect, and should not be assaulted at any point?

And, you know, obviously it`s a matter of hearing all the facts from everybody. And I`m looking forward to the hearings. And I keep an open mind as my mentor the late Senator Paul Simon would say, the question is whether the nominee has a good head and a good heart.

There`s no question, but that that nominee has a good head in terms of his legal acumen. But the question is, can misconduct, even that far back, be just kind of overlooked, boys will be boys, or is this a matter of recognizing we want the best that we can find in America for the highest court in the land?

HAYES: It`s interesting. What I hear from you in sort of making this decision is that what motivated you in terms of primarying in Dixon and the vote for Thomas, wasn`t the treatment of Anita Hill, which was kind of a visceral experience many women shared and angered them, but rather the fact that it was a vote for a view of the constitution you disagreed with.

To the Kavanaugh issue too, which is that lots of people oppose him over and above whatever the truth of the allegations and even before the allegations.

BRAUN: Well, that`s correct. That`s correct. But, again, without taking -- I`m not in the Senate anymore, but having served on the judiciary committee, and had gone through the nomination process with other judges, you do your best to try to get at the truth, and that`s what`s involved here.

It`s to be an exercise looking for what is the truth of this man`s background. How will he -- will it indicate how he will serve the country in this lifetime appointment on the United States Supreme Court?

And so I think we have to have a complete airing of the conversation of the allegations of Dr. Ford`s experiences with him. And we have to know everything we can know as the senators get ready to make a judgment about filling this important position.

HAYES: All right.

BRAUN: This is what the Constitution called for. You know, absolute power corrupts absolutely. And so the whole idea is that when you`ve got a lifetime appointment, the Senate`s job is to try to search for the truth so they can give the country the very best and the brightest, and the people of the highest character and moral fiber. So that`s what this comes down to.

HAYES: Former Senator Carol Moseley Braun, who as you said, served on that judiciary committee when she was in the Senate, thank you for your time.

Still to come, breaking news that Michael Cohen spoke to the Mueller team for hours, keeping up with the many threads of the Russia investigation ahead.

Plus, Marco Rubio gets salty in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, have you heard of Salt Bae? It`s a person, Salt like salt and bae, a term that`s become popular in recent years, used as a term of endearment, often referring to your boyfriend or girlfriend. But bae has also, as Time Magazine notes, taken on a wider meaning, being used to label something as generally good or cool, as in this sandwich is bae.

So this is Salt Bae, his real name is Nusret Gokce. He`s a Turkish chef and restaurateur who rose to fame thanks to a video he posted to Instagram showing the distinct flourish with which he applies salt to his dishes, grabbing a pinch, holding it up high by his head, letting it sprinkle down his forearm and onto the food. His nickname, Salt Bae.

In the wake of all the internet popularity, he`s actually done quite well for himself. Salt Bae owns restaurants all over the world, including New York and Miami. And man oh man, all that salt is making a certain U.S. Senator really thirsty.

That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: So, the Florida Senator Marco Rubio has this move when he`s beefing with someone, it`s the old, I don`t even know who you are man move, he used it a couple weeks ago when he was confronted in the capital by Alex Jones who Marco Rubio absolutely knows.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARCO RUBIO, SENATOR OF FL: Who are you? I swear to God I don`t know who you are.

ALEX JONES, INFOWARS: Tens of millions of views. He knows who InfoWars is. He`s playing this joke over here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Rare time when Alex Jones was telling the truth.

Whatever you`ve got to do to get away from Alex Jones.

But this week, Rubio picked a fight using that same move. "I don`t know who this weirdo #SaltBae is".

Well, if you are tweeting about Salt Bae, maybe you have some idea who he is. This might refresh your memory. Now Rubio`s problem with the internet famous Turkish chef was a video posted by Salt Bae on Instagram showing him serving the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro at his restaurant in Istanbul.

Of course, many of Maduro`s people are starving due to the food shortages caused by the Maduro`s own aggressive misrule. So images of him being served a heaping platter of meat didn`t go over very well back home.

It also didn`t sit well with Senator Marco Rubio, who decided to attack #SaltBae, accusing him of admiring Maduro and then weirdly posting the address and phone number of Salt Bae`s Miami steak house for his 3.6 million followers, "just in case anyone wanted to call".

Tough to pick a winner in this battle of two of the internet greatest memes, but we`re going to have to go with Senator Rubio, because at least he stands up for human rights, and he did give one of the best speeches we`ve ever seen from the standpoint of water.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO: On foreign policy, America continues to be indispensable to the goal of global liberty, property and safeguarding human rights. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Back in August you might remember we reported on this show about a Saudi led coalition attack on a school bus full of children in Yemen with a bomb reportedly sold to Saudi Arabia by the United States, killing more than 40 children.

Today there`s new reporting about the role of the United States in perpetuating the war in Yemen.

The European Union described the war bluntly last month, "Yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world."

Among the horrors, two major cholera epidemics in recent years with the WHO warning of the potential for a third, a famine that now threatens over 5 million Yemeni children, and a UN tally of over 17,000 civilian dead and injured, mostly because of air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition.

Crucially it is the United States government that has consistently helped that coalition. It`s gotten so bad, in fact, that a bipartisan group of congress people want to stop American support for the war.

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to think otherwise. According to "The Wall Street Journal," Pompeo, over the objections of his own staff, backed continued U.S. support for the war because he didn`t want to jeopardize $2 billion worth of weapon sales to Gulf nations.

Quoting the piece, "Mr. Pompeo overruled concerns from most of the State Department specialists involved in the debate who were worried about the rising civilian death toll in Yemen. He sided with his legislative affairs team after they argued that suspending support could undercut plans to sell more than 120,000 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates."

If you are watching this, and you think that children`s lives are more important than selling missiles, and if you think not bombing children is more important than weapon sales, this might be a good time to call your congressional representative.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Michael Cohen, one of the president`s closest associates before taking office has now spent hours over the last month talking to special counsel Robert Mueller`s team, according to ABC News and other outlets.

Cohen, who already implicated the president in the campaign finance violations to which he pleaded guilty last month, was reportedly questioned about all the president`s past dealings with Russia, including during the campaign and whether Trump ever discussed the possibility of giving Cohen a pardon.

Now, we cover developments likes this one almost every day on this show, but with so many different threads in the Trump/Russia narrative, so many characters coming in and out of the story, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of how it all fits together, even for us, even for me. And so with that problem in time, The New York Times is out today with a special report pulling together everything we know to date about Russia`s plot to subvert the 2016 election, including the plausible case that Vladimir Putin succeeded in delivering the presidency to his admirer Donald Trump.

I`m joined now by one of the authors of that fantastic report, Scott Shane, reporter of the Washington bureau of The New York Times.

Scott, it`s really, really great work, because of how comprehensive and how clear it is. What do you -- if you`re at a family party or like a barbecue or something and someone who isn`t paying attention to the news says, so what is the story? What is the Russia/Trump story? What is your answer to that?

SCOTT SHANE, NEW YORK TIMES: well, you know, people like you and me get paid to study follow it and even we, as you say, can kind of lose track. But I think, you know, at its essence, it was a decision by Vladimir Putin for a number of reasons, kind of long-held resentment against the United States and what he thought the U.S. had done to Russia and to him, you know, decided that he would mess with our election. And I think it began with the notion that he could damage Hillary Clinton, because they began planning this as early as 2014. And at that point really the only certainty about the 2016 election seemed to be that she would be the Democrat.

And then, you know, by the spring of 2016 it seems that just as Trump was emerging as the likely nominee, the Russians really sort of buckled down and started moving forward aggressively on three fronts, and that would be the hacking -- on March 15 was the first time they begin to probe the servers at the DNC, and on that same day,Trump had won five primaries and basically was beginning to look like the unlikely but suddenly likely nominee. And they were moving ahead in St. Petersburg with the internet research agency, this troll farm putting out thousands and thousands of messages on Twitter and Facebook, posing as Americans.

And then you began to see these weird sort of probes in which Russians, well connected Russian, many of them with intelligence connections, began to contact various Trump associates and sort of try their luck.

So when you look back on it as we did, you sort of see it all as one actually quite effective and quite imaginative and quite energetic campaign.

HAYES: Yeah, the scope of it is remarkable both in your reporting and as laid out in the indictments. What do we make -- so here are the Trump officials that were in contact with Russians or Russian cutouts in some form or another -- George Padopoulos, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Roger Stone, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn - - of course, you know, Paul Manafort is now cooperating.

What do we know or make of that part of the story? Because that`s the one, of course, that is on the front of mind about the possibility there was reciprocity from the campaign? What were the Russians doing with these feelers with these probes?

SHANE: Well, you know, if you look at it from the Russian point of view, first they have the from their point of view, amazing good luck that of 20 candidates, the only one who has actually quite warm feelings for Putin and for Russia and thinks NATO is obsolete begins to emerge as one of the two candidates, so they have somebody to root for. And then he begins to try to put together a policy team, and of course the sort of Republican mainstream was running the other way, so he came up with somewhat marginal characters.

And one thing that many of them had in common was fairly close ties to Russia. So you have Manafort, the lobbyist really for Russian interests in Ukraine. You have Flynn who had famously sat beside Putin at the RT dinner. You had Page who they`d actually tried to recruit in 2013.

So, you know, I think they must have been sort of amazed at their luck. And so they began to reach out and see what they could do.

HAYES: All right.

SHANE: I suppose it`s to both get information about Trump and also perhaps to influence them.

HAYES: We`ll find out more details of what exactly they were up to as the investigation proceeds and your reporting proceeds. Scott Shane, thanks so much 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

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