Senate GOP hires "female assistant". TRANSCRIPT: 9/25/2018, All In w Chris Hayes.

Guests: Kirsten Gillibrand, Seung Min Kim, Adam Jentleson, Ron Klain, Sam Stein, Nina Tottenberg, Michael Moore

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 25, 2018 Guest: Kirsten Gillibrand, Seung Min Kim, Adam Jentleson, Ron Klain, Sam Stein, Nina Tottenberg, Michael Moore

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: This fight he never looked to me like he was so thrilled to have to make in the first place. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The second accuser has nothing.

HAYES: The President uses the world stage to attack Kavanaugh accusers.

TRUMP: He admits that he was drunk.

HAYES: Tonight, mounting evidence the Kavanaugh denomination is in serious trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have 50 votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I believe he will be confirmed, yes.

HAYES: And my interview with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: She`s being disparaged publicly by this president. It`s disgraceful.

HAYES: Plus, Mitch McConnell`s new hire.

MCCONNELL: We have hired a female assistant.

HAYES: And the growing concerns about a rigged hearing. How Brett Kavanaugh is widening his own credibility gap.

BRETT KAVANAUGH, NOMINEE, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: The vast majority of time I spend in high school was studying.

HAYES: And making sense of Donald Trump`s unexpected laugh line at the U.N.

TRUMP: I didn`t expect that reaction but that`s OK.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It is a striking testament to the politics of this moment in America 2018, that today as Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination threatens to fall apart over sexual assault allegation which he denies. Bill Cosby was just sentenced to three to ten years in prison for his own sexual assault conviction. And that outside the courtroom, Cosby`s spokesman drew an explicit link between the two men describing them both as victims of what he called "sex war."

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ANDREW WYATT, SPOKESMAN, BILL COSBY: The racist sexist mass media was attacking and denouncing Dr. Cosby. What is going on in Washington today with Judge Kavanaugh as part of that sex war that Judge O`Neal along with his wife are part of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That is probably not a connection Republicans want to make as Kavanaugh`s nomination hangs in the balance just two days before the nominee and the woman accusing him of sexual assault Dr. Christine Blasey Ford are set to testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And as negotiations over the terms of that testimony continue behind the scenes, one thing seems very clear. At this moment, Mitch McConnell does not appear to have the votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. If he did, he would have probably already called the vote.

And now, two days before the American people get to hear Dr. Blasey Ford`s story in person in her own words, Republicans are trying desperately to savage Kavanaugh`s nomination through sheer bluster and brute legislative force. That includes the President who`s speaking at the U.N. General Assembly in New York has now abandoned any restraint on this topic maligning Deborah Ramirez, a second woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct which Kavanaugh also denies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Now, a new charge comes up and she said, well, it might not be him, and there were gaps, and she said she was totally inebriated, and she was all messed up, and she doesn`t know it was him, but it might have been him. Oh, gee, let`s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that? This is a con game being played by the Democrats.

The second accused it doesn`t even know -- she thinks maybe it could have been him, maybe not. She admits that he was drunk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Maybe because of comments like that, because of the risks of trying to demonize and accuser as Bob Corker put it. The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee all of them men decided to outsource their own questioning to a female attorney described as an experienced sex crimes prosecutor. And this was how McConnell characterized her role.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: We have hired the female assistant to go on staff and to ask these questions at a respectful and professional way.

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HAYES: A female assistant. They have found a female assistant to help them. Republicans have declined to identify said female assistant but I`m guessing that`s not what`s on her resume. GOP Senators just announced plans to move forward with a vote the morning after Thursday`s testimony but it`s hard to imagine how they`re going to convince more senators to support Judge Kavanaugh after they`ve heard Dr. Blasey Ford`s own account of what happened to her.

One of the Senators they`ll have to convince is Lisa Murkowski who does not sound like she`s there yet. Murkowski told the New York Times it`s important for her colleagues to take the accusations against Kavanaugh seriously. She acknowledged today that an FBI investigation which Republicans ruled out would have helped to get to the truth.

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SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: An investigation would certainly clear up some of the questions that are out there. I think what is most important for not only our process in the legislative branch but for the -- for the integrity of the judiciary, I think it is important that we have a process that is viewed as credible and respected.

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HAYES: For more on where Kavanaugh`s nomination stands, I`m joined by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Senat0r, what is your understanding of where things are at right now?

GILLIBRAND: Well, I feel like what we`re seeing from the Republican Party and certainly the White House is just attack, deny, attack, deny and try to shove this through so quickly so that you can`t actually have a real hearing or a proper investigation. And the fact that they won`t allow the FBI to investigate these claims is shocking. The fact that they don`t tend to call corroborating witness is concerning. And the fact that they`re not even going to assess Ms. Ramirez` claims is also unacceptable. So I just feel like they`re just pushing this through at all cost.

HAYES: The President today referred to the claim by Ms. Ramirez that she was drunk, that she was confused, and that all of this is a "con job" in his eyes. What do you think about it?

GILLIBRAND: I hope the American people are paying attention. I hope American women are paying attention. President Trump has already shown in his words and deeds that he doesn`t value women. He`s attacking someone who has come forward, a survivor. They wonder why survivors don`t come forward. It`s exactly for this reason. Because they`re treated so poorly by the Commander in Chief. She`s being berated, she`s being accused of lying, she`s being disparage publicly by this president, it`s disgraceful.

And I just hope the American public and women all across this country are paying attention so they can call their senators and urge their senators to vote no on Kavanaugh. Clearly, he does not have the character or the honesty to be a Supreme Court Justice.

HAYES: Do you think your colleagues in the Republican side or do you think they`ve convinced themselves as this is some kind of conspiracy, this is some sort of grand plot that you and your colleagues in the Democratic side have cooked up to sabotage Kavanaugh?

GILLIBRAND: I can`t -- I don`t I can`t get into the minds of the Republicans but I can tell you what they`ve done is unconscionable. They`re not even giving the basic process that they gave to Anita Hill, to not even have the FBI investigation to make it impossible to call corroborating witnesses who have relevant information to offer I think is really disconcerting. But I think if America`s public does speak out, we have a chance of defeating this nominee on the merits.

HAYES: You don`t think -- you don`t think it`s a done deal? You think -- you think there are -- there`s an open question as to whether the votes are there and whether this is going to happen or not?

GILLIBRAND: I believe it`s an open question because I believe that if the American people speak out loudly on this and really talk about their own personal experiences and how they see this unfolding and how offended they are by the president`s remarks and offended they are by this process, I think they could change votes of Senators today. So I think it`s a moment when America`s women need to be heard and that Americans who care about justice need to be heard.

HAYES: Let me ask you -- there`s been a strange line I think Republicans are trying to walk here. I think clearly they have been counseled not -- to try to not disparage or attack the accusers and have an open mind, but clearly they`re all -- a lot of them just want to go ahead and vote anyway. I want to get your reaction to some of the comments we`ve heard some of your colleagues then also from Kevin Cramer who`s trying to be one of your colleagues running in North Dakota for the Republican Party. Take a listen.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think these women are making it up?

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: They had a little help, I have a feeling. Accusations are being made about the things that didn`t happen and I think it`s just very unfortunate.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If the accusation is enough, God help us all around here. I will respectfully listen. But if there`s nothing new here, I`m not going to deny him a promotion to the Supreme Court based on a 35-year-old accusation.

REP. KEVIN CRAMER (R), NORTH DAKOTA: Even if it`s all true, does it disqualify him? Certainly, it means that he did something really bad 36 years ago, but does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Let`s start with that last question. What`s your answer that?

GILLIBRAND: Well, the fact that he -- that this candidate for Senate doesn`t believe that someone who assaults a young woman who`s a minor, 15 years old, assault her, covers her mouth when she tries to scream, and that story is being corroborated by people who have heard this story before. The fact that she told her therapist five years ago, the fact that she told her husband five years ago, a friend a year ago. The fact that she`s taking a lie detector just asking the FBI to investigate. Those are all edition of truth.

And so, the fact that he says even if it`s true, that this is not grounds to disqualify him, I don`t know what planet he`s living on. That`s a violent crime. He should be going to jail if he was allowed to be prosecuted today. It`s not OK. And so I think the fact that so many people, some of the Republicans, my colleagues are saying, oh, it`s just an allegation, well it`s not just with an allegation. You assess their credibility. That`s their job as Senators.

They`re supposed to assess the credibility of people who are coming forward to say I don`t think this person`s trustworthy. I don`t think this person is telling the truth. I think they`ve lied under oath about their past. And then to roll out a Fox News interview as if it`s an FBI investigation? A Fox News interview is not an FBI investigation.

They didn`t even ask all the relevant questions. And the fact that he downplayed his drinking while his best friend wrote a whole book about their drunken behavior, the fact that his college roommate said that he would come home drunken and belligerent. The fact that he said about Mr. Ramirez and this is again Brett Kavanaugh`s college roommate said I believe her because she has the kind of personality. She was kind. She was thoughtful. She couldn`t imagine her making this up.

That`s called corroborating evidence. It`s things you hear and listen to and then assess who do I believe. That`s your job. Now, this is not a court of law. We`re not proving beyond a reasonable doubt. No one`s going to jail. This is about do you deserve the promotion? Do you deserve this job opportunity to be a Supreme Court Justice, to a lifetime appointment, to make fundamental decisions about women`s rights for perhaps decades to come? Do you have the privilege to serve, not whether you`re going to be convicted in law.

So every time you hear on Fox News, oh innocent, you know, assume you`re innocent. You have to have proved beyond a reasonable doubt. They`re trying to confuse voters, they`re trying to confuse people across this country. That is not -- that is not what this is about. It`s about do you believe he`s honest, do you believe he has the character to have a lifetime appointment? Do you think his story isn`t adding up? And based on hearing from these two women, these strong credible women, and their stories, and all the corroborating evidence, I believe them.

HAYES: All right, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, thank you so much for joining me.

GILLIBRAND: You`re welcome.

HAYES: For more on what the Kavanaugh vote stands at this hour, I`m joined by Seung Min Kim who`s a Capitol Hill Reporter from the Washington Post and Adam Jentleson former Deputy Chief of Staff to Democratic Leader Harry Reid. And Adam, I`ve been -- I`ve been following your commentary on this as someone who spent a lot of time working on the other side from Mitch McConnell, knows him well, knows his staff well. I want to play you a question he got today about whether it has the votes and get your response to it. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: We`re going to be moving forward. I`m confident we`re going to win, confidence that he will be confirmed in the very near future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have 50 votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh?

MCCONNELL: I believe he`ll be confirmed, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: He didn`t answer the question there, Adam. What do you think?

ADAM JENTLESON, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO DEMOCRATIC LEADER HARRY REID: Yes. I think he didn`t answer the question because he doesn`t have 50 votes. I think what he`s betting is that he didn`t get 50 votes when he calls the vote. And what he`s doing here is an extremely aggressive strategy against his own members. And what`s interesting about this is that this is the same strategy that Mitch McConnell employed on health care repeal.

He called the vote when he didn`t have the votes betting that he could put some combination of Collins, Murkowski and McCain on the spot, forced them on the carpet to vote the way he wanted them to vote and they didn`t. I think the big issue here is that senators do not take kindly to being called on the carpet. What happens from here remains to be seen but I think it`s very clear that he doesn`t have the votes right now.

HAYES: Seung Min, we just got word that the Committee Chair Chuck Grassley has noticed a vote for Friday which means procedurally giving enough warning for that. Senator Harris of California saying that -- reacting that saying, Republicans just announced a committee vote at 9:30 a.m. on a Friday less than 20 hours after Thursday`s hearing ends. This means little to no chance the American people to contact them a way in. This is a sham.

And the Chair Grassley responding and basically saying, look, after hearing Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh`s testimony, if we`re ready to vote, we will vote. If we aren`t ready, we won`t vote. It does seem like they`re trying to put the conditions in place they can vote just a day later if they want to, right?

SEUNG MIN KIM, CAPITOL HILL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Exactly. I mean, committee rules getting to get a little wonky here. You have to announce it about three days before they want to hold a vote. And so they`re clearly holding the option if the hearing goes very bad for Judge Kavanaugh and folks on their side to delay it if necessary.

But look at in the context of what Republicans have been saying for the last several days. Once we got that Thursday day hearing lockdown for that very highly anticipated hearing, we -- a lot of senior senators have said we`ll probably vote Friday. We`re looking at Friday for a committee vote. Earlier in lunches, in their weekly party lunches, Republican senators were told to be prepared to actually stay in Washington this weekend to start processing the Kavanaugh nomination.

If the clock goes as planned, we could see a confirmation vote for Judge Kavanaugh on Tuesday. So it seem -- it does seem like from that clock and also from the comments that we`ve seen from the Senators as you played earlier, a lot of their minds are made of. And I think some Republicans tell me privately they expect you know, perhaps both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford to do well, kind of speaking generally in front of in this very tense situation in front (AUDIO GAP) have to determine their own credibility threshold and figure out who they believe.

HAYES: Although the rush here, Adam, it seems to me is partly a kind of confidence game by McConnell. I think this is the key point here. Like, all of the rushing, the way they`re conducting this, McConnell is not bargaining for a position as strength at this point in terms of the signals they are sending about how they manage this.

JENTLESON: That`s right. McConnell is running game on his own conference on his fellow Republican senators. he is betting that he can basically bully them into voting yes. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. But this is a very interesting approach from a leader. Again it`s exactly what he tried on health care. We`ll see if Republican Senators have the courage to stand up as Senator McCain did on that vote for what`s right here. But it is very interesting to see a leader be sort of taken antagonistic approach when it comes to strategy to his own conference.

HAYES: Seung Min, you spend time in the halls of Congress all day. I mean, is your sense the Republican caucus has basically made his mind up but for a few members?

KIM: That`s what it seems like. I mean, obviously, the leadership tells us that a lot of members are watching Thursday`s hearings and we`ll make it official after then. Senator Bob Corker actually told us earlier in the capital that he has asked his staff to clear out his entire day to be able to watch that hearing. But in that same conversation, you know, the Senator Corker made it clear that he will officially make up his mind after he watches that testimony. But at the same time, knowing what he knows of Judge Kavanaugh, like he thinks he`s a good guy. Like the -- his interview went with him went well.

You have significant skepticism from senior Republicans particularly on the second woman, the woman whose allegations were outline in The New Yorker over the weekend. So clearly as it often is, it`s down to just a handful of those Senators Susan Collins of Maine is obviously very closely watching the hearing on -- the hearing on Thursday.

I thought Senator Lisa Murkowski comments in the New York Times were very interesting. That`s someone who we should be watching. And Senator Jeff Flake as well. Obviously, he`s on the committee. They`re not going to be doing the questioning but it`d be interesting to just to watch him and see his reaction to their responses.

HAYES: It was -- it was Flake saying he would not vote out of committee unless they got a hearing. I think that`s the a reason we have the hearing. And if I had to bet, I think Murkowski and Flake are not in the pocket of McConnell at this moment and he needs one of those two. Seung Min Kim and Adam Jentleson, thank you both.

Coming up, more -- the "female assistant" the Republicans have hired to interview Kavanaugh`s accuser and why Democrats are raising alarms over the emerging details of Thursday`s hearing in two minutes.

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HAYES: We are now two days away from what promises to be one of the most- watched congressional hearings in decades. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine Christine Blasey Ford`s high school sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, an allegation Kavanaugh denies. And even putting aside the massive stakes for both parties, it`s shaping up to be a very strange scene. For starters, the 11 Republicans on the committee all of whom are men are not planning to ask questions, instead, they`ve hired a woman to do the job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: We have hired a female assistant to go on staff and to ask these questions in a respectful and professional way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: They don`t say who their new assistant is, all we know is that she is an experienced sex crimes prosecutor who Republicans won`t identify. And that we should note is contrary to the wishes of Dr. Ford. Her lawyer writing in a letter this is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate. Dr. Ford`s attorneys have repeatedly, repeatedly expressed concern the Republicans are trying to rig the hearing against her which is not a crazy thing to believe. Judiciary Committee Staffer Mike Davis who`s playing a central role in setting all this up tweeted last week that he was unfazed and determined we will confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

Joining now, former Senior White House Aide to President Obama Ron Klain who was also Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Also with me NBC News National Political Reporter Heidi Przybyla who`s been covering the Kavanaugh accusations for NBC News. Heidi let me start with you. The -- where are we now with this female sex crimes prosecutor who is mysterious and unnamed?

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: The Republicans have hired her. They confirmed that in a letter that NBC obtained earlier today. However, they are determined to keep her identity a mystery because they say that it is for her own security. That given all of the anger intentions around this entire process that they have to keep her name private.

Of course, the Democrats are crying foul because, in addition to all of the other requests that Dr. Ford has made that have been rejected, she and her team want to know who this person is because they feel like this is yet another example of how the cards, the deck is being stacked against her. So many of the requests, Chris, from the start have been denied with the very basic requests of just having any kind of corroborations even being allowed here, any kind of validators, any kind of testimony, the polygraph expert, her therapist, all of that denied, and now it looks like we may not know the identity of the questioner either.

HAYES: So just at default, is the idea that she`s going to get there and walk into a room and there`s going to complete stranger, a person she doesn`t know who`s just going to start asking her question?

PRZYBYLA: Well, if we the media do our jobs, then maybe this name will leak in advance.

HAYES: But that is the plan. Like that`s what they`re going with?

PRZYBYLA: For now. I didn`t get any an indication from the Republican sitting on the Hill that they -- that they intend to reveal who this person is. And if they do, it will be very soon before the hearing. I mean it -- we`re Tuesday now, right?

HAYES: Ron, I`m not crazy here. You worked on this committee. This is highly, highly, highly irregular and anomalous.

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Yes. Look, I mean, overall, we`re shaping up for the Red Queen`s courtroom from Alice in Wonderland which is you know, verdict first, trial later. They`ve already announced they`re going to vote the day after. They`ve rejected the idea of holding an FBI investigation before the hearing. They rejected the idea of hearing from any witnesses other than Kavanaugh and Ford.

That includes they will not hear from the woman who`s now brought a new charge against Judge Kavanaugh. They won`t hear from Dr. Ford`s therapist who can corroborate this. They won`t hear from other people who knew that. They won`t hear from the other person who was in the room. Mark Judge who`s hiding out in Rehoboth Beach with this comic book collection.

So I mean, this is a crazy process. This is designed to ramrod Judge Kavanaugh through to try to get a vote, to try to call the vote and to try to get him on it Supreme Court as quickly as possible.

HAYES: You said this, Ron, I thought was interesting. Here`s some advice based on the Thomas-Hill experience. Both Dems and GOPs should want professional outside counsel to question Kavanaugh and Ford public hearing, not senators. Make this a search for truth, not a political platform for senators of either party. Do you think that`s what they`re doing here?

KLAIN: No I don`t think that`s what they`re doing. This -- I still think the idea of having a counsel asked these questions instead of senators would be a good idea. But that`s only a good idea as I said in that the piece that that`s from, Chris, if you first have a professional investigation done, if you have transparency about who those councils are going to be and on what basis they`re asking the question, if it`s even- handed and balanced if there`s a chance to call witnesses.

You know, I was Chief Counsel of the Judiciary Committee during the Thomas- Hill hearings. Those hearings have been roundly criticized understandably. But we did call 22 witnesses to testify in public session about the interactions between Thomas and Hill. 22 witnesses. In this case, Chairman Grassley says no other witness will be called including as I said before, rejecting hearing from the person who was in the room when this happened. That`s an outrageous proceeding.

HAYES: Yes, let`s -- there`s some new details in there. There`s going to be a Ford statement with no time limit, a round of questions, five minutes each senator which is not much time and they can give other time to other senators or staff counsel. So Heidi, it sort of seem -- here`s my read on this and tell me what you think. I mean, so five-minute questions. They have hired this attorney to do it for them. They`re not talking to anyone else as Ron said.

Mark Judge, the person who is alleged to have been there which basically very rarely happens in allegations like this, usually it`s just two people at issue, right? It`s used to me like they were just trying to get through the day. Like that`s point of the whole thing is to have a hearing they can plausibly call a hearing and then gavel vote.

PRZYBYLA: You played the sound bite, Chris, from Lindsey Graham who said if nothing changes in this hearing, that I will vote and my mind will be unchanged. Well, it`s been predetermined that nothing will change in this hearing because you can`t possibly uncover new information if you don`t allow new information to come to the table which is what`s happened here with the express banning of any kind of validators or additional testimony or a polygraph test, for example, anything like that being submitted.

So yes, I think that it is fair to say that a lot of Republican Senators have already made clear that they`ve made up their minds. But there could be some kind of you know, dramatics in this hearing that we cannot anticipate that will affect the outcome of this book because they cannot take it to a vote unless they have a majority. And there`s one very important person on that committee, it`s Jeff Flake and I think Jeff Flake will have the courage to stand up potentially depending on what happens in that -- in that -- in that testimony room.

HAYES: I`m just -- I think they`re underestimating what`s going to happen on Thursday in terms of what it will be like to hear Dr. Ford say in our own words what happened to her. I think --

PRZYBYLA: Chris, one note here.

HAYES: -- the idea here is they`re just going to steam through and plow through in McConnell`s words.

PRZYBYLA: I want to add to your beginning question about the unprecedented nature of this. Some individuals are comparing it to Watergate and Iran Contra when they did bring in outside councils. That`s a red herring. We`ve never seen this before where an outside counsel is expressly brought in in order to shield the senators from having to ask potentially indelicate questions or to look awkward. Around Contra -- Watergate went on for months, Iran Contra runs for 41 days. It was -- it was a long process. We`ve never seen this before.

HAYES: All right, I will say this. Having all men on your committee is not a problem of optics, it`s an actual problem. They can`t be covered up by hiring someone else. Ron Klain and Heidi Przybyla, thank you both for being with me tonight.

KLAIN: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Next, how Brett Kavanaugh`s latest self-defense strategy only added to the already pressing questions about his credibility. We`ll talk about that right after this.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAVANAUGH: When I was in high school, and I went to an all-boys Catholic high school, a Jesuit high school, where I was focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects and friendship with my fellow classmates and friendship with girls from the local all-girls Catholic schools.

And yes, there were parties and the drinking age was 18 and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Judge Brett Kavanaugh`s memory of himself as a teenager is that of a young man fixated on church and his studies while only aware of parties that drinking maybe took place among the seniors. That portrayal seems to be at odds with what others are saying about him.

To talk more about what Kavanaugh is saying and how it jives with the public record, I`m joined by Sam Stein, politics editor at The Daily Beast and an MSNBC contributor.

He has chosen to tell a story about his high school life that seems plainly contradicted by the facts.

SAM STEIN, THE DAILY BEAST: There`s the yearbook. Obviously the clubs that he was reportedly in.

HAYES: 100 kegs or bust.

STEIN: His association with Mark Judge, which would be interesting to get more details on but we can`t talk to Mark Judge apparently.

I think it`s a very weird P.R. strategy. There`s two routes, right? One is to say I was a choir boy, I worked on my friendships, I was into academics and athletics.

The other is to say, you know what, like most teenage kids, I got into trouble. I learned from it. What I am being alleged to having done I didn`t do. But I wasn`t a choir boy, and now I`m a grown man and grown from those experiences.

They`ve clearly gone the other route. And I`m not entirely sure why because it opens him up to greater issues of credibility.

HAYES: Yeah. I want to bring in Nina Totenberg, NPR`s legal affairs correspondent. What do you make of this strategy from Kavanaugh in recounting the life of his time in Georgetown Prep?

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: Well, people who live in Washington know what the culture was like in Georgetown Prep, at least then. People who have children who went through it, who are now middle-aged like Kavanaugh.

But what I can`t quite get over is that they have all these people who potentially have evidence who write to the committee through their lawyers and say I don`t remember anything, I don`t want to say anything. And they don`t even have to sign an affidavit, much less be subpoenaed, which is normally what you do when there is a dispute over facts.

Forget the FBI, just the committee. If there`s a dispute over facts, you subpoena everybody. You put them under oath. Some people you don`t put on in public. Some people you do put on in public. But either way, you make sure that the evidence you get is under oath, subject to a charge of perjury. Otherwise, it`s not worth the paper it`s written on.

HAYES: And one of the key people you`ve mentioned him now, and Nina, I think this is one of the people you`re referring to is Mark Judge, of course, the person who is alleged to have been there by Dr. Ford.

In his book, which is -- I mean, that`s the thing that`s also so bizarre about this. We know that Judge and Kavanaugh are friends, they refer to each other in the yearbook pages with a bunch of inside jokes about how much they drank. There`s a Bart O`Kavanaugh who shows up in the memoir passed out drunk and throws up in a car.

This is obviously on it`s face contradictory.

STEIN: Yeah and this gets to the big hole in what Kavanaugh is doing right now which is if anyone were accused of something like this, and they were innocent, the natural instinct of course would be open up my life, talk to everyone I knew back then.

HAYES: Right.

STEIN: Bring them in, subpoena them, launch an independent investigation.

HAYES: Of course talk to Mark Judge, I have a friend who can vouch for the fact I did not commit sexual assault. Please talk to him.

STEIN: And the reason you would do that is precisely because this is not a criminal trial, this is a trial of politics, and he may end up on the court, but he will end up on the court with a huge cloud over his head.

If you want to -- if you`re Brett Kavanaugh, you don`t want to just get to the court, you want to get to the court and be legitimate.

What he`s doing now, he may very well end up on the court, it will be very close, but he will end up there with an illegitimacy that could taint him and the court for a while.

HAYES: What do you think of that, Nina?

TOTENBERG: I think that`s possible. And I think this is a problem for the Supreme Court. Justice Thomas has outlived the accusations against him. Anita Hill is a person of great distinction today and so is he. But I`m sure he is not enjoying going back over this.

If there are two of the seven members of the court, the Supreme Court of the United States, who have these kinds of allegations about them unresolved, that is not a good thing for the court. It makes the court look like a pawn in political gamesmanship.

And we depend on the Supreme Court to be the last place that protects our rights. And if we can`t depend on that, because the people on it are puppets that are pushed through without the kind of process that we would hope they would be subjected to, then we`ve lost a great deal.

HAYES: There`s also, I think, to Nina`s point about the legitimacy, there`s also something strange about watching the spectacle of someone operating as a political operative, going on FOX News for a fairly safe interview when the whole idea is that, to Nina`s point, this is someone who is going to kind of exude this kind of profound authority, power and legitimacy in the court.

STEIN: This was always the problem with the Kavanaugh nomination, which was that his roots were as a political operative. He was part of that field. His association with Ken Starr, there`s a huge irony for him going after Bill Clinton for his moral failures, for fibbing and lying, and now he himself being caught in these same accusations.

There`s always that issue with this nomination. Whether he can surmount it is a difficult question. I don`t know. I mean, that is going to linger with him, whether he`s confirmed or not.

TOTENBERG: Well, don`t you think that this sort of is a moment, also, for the Republican party?

STEIN: Yeah. I mean, absolutely.

HAYES: How so?

TOTENBERG: Well, in the sense that they are pushing through this nomination, the Republican leadership at the behest of the president, after all, Brett Kavanaugh wasn`t -- was not Mitch McConnell`s guy.

HAYES: No, he was not.

TOTENBERG: He was not. He worried about the fact that he had a long paper trail. So a good deal of that paper trail was not given to the judiciary committee. So now there are all kinds of questions about this.

McConnell is carrying the water. There`s an election in, what, a month, five weeks, something like that? And the gender gap keeps growing bigger and bigger.

HAYES: Yeah.

TOTENBERG: And it`s just -- I think it is not a great position for the Republican party to be in either.

HAYES: I think that`s quite, quite true.

Sam Stein and Nina Totenberg, thank you both for joining us.

Coming up, Michael Moore is here to talk about Trump and the midterms, which Nina just talked about, and the democratic lead in the latest polling.

Plus, an international joke in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One, tonight, one of Donald Trump`s go-to lines is how the whole world is laughing at us, all the time. The whole world is laughing at us.

During the Obama years he tweeted, "We need a president who isn`t a laughing stock to the entire world."

And yet today, we have a president at the United Nations where almost literally the entire world was laughing at us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In less than two years my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.

America`s -- so true.

Didn`t expect that reaction, but that`s okay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That was laughing at, not laughing with, just to be clear. The White House official transcript memorialized the moment for the record.

But Trump`s got another go-to strategy which he deployed after the speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think it went really well. It`s gotten very good reviews, certainly, and I think it went very well.

REPORTER: The laughter? What did you feel about that?

TRUMP: Oh. It was great. Well that was meant to get some laughter, but it was great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Yes, the I meant to do that strategy. Tried and true. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Regular viewers of Thing One, Thing Two know President Trump is a very effective construction strategy when he flubs something on the teleprompter.

Now all of us who read from teleprompters make mistakes, certainly I do. But when Trump messes up, rather than correcting the word and moving on, he does this thing where he adds a word and then corrects, making it seem like he meant to say the first word, and that both words are correct, no matter how incorrect or nonsensical or just plain weird it might sound.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Today at the United Nations, big teleprompter speech. While his delivery has gotten smoother, careful listeners caught a few new ones.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: As they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny. But despite reported and repeated warnings, tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling and trafficking is not humane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: He is definitely getting better, but that last one is a sure thing for our own hall of fame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He goes by DJ, and CJ. He said call me either one.

And has instead given unelected regulators and regulators.

We will arrive at a peace and a place.

They work two jobs and sometimes three jobs. They sacrifice everyday for the furniture and future of their children.

Authority and authoritarian powers.

Through their lives and though their lives were cut short.

Our hope is a word and world of proud independent nations.

What standard -- and really if you think of it, when you talk about the great sailors and the great sailors of the world, we have them. But what stranded sailor doesn`t feel relief.

Tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Remember when the Trump administration started getting criticism for ripping immigrant families apart? Homeland security -- security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen repeatedly insisted there was no such policy, like when she tweeted on June 17th, we do not have a policy of separating families at the border, period.

She followed that up the very next day at a White House briefing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: There`s a lot of misinformation about what DHS is, and is not doing as it relates to families at the border. I want to correct the record. Here are the facts.

First, this administration did not create a policy of separating families at the border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That was obviously untrue, as we noted repeatedly and loudly at the time. Not the least because the Department of Justice had just announced publicly a new so-called zero tolerance policy. With a public release out on their website for all to see.

Now we have even more on the paper trail contradicting the secretary`s statement. A group called Open the Government for a request got a Homeland Security memo dated April 23rd, addressed to the secretary with the subject, Increasing Prosecutions of Immigration Violations.

In this memo, among redactions, is the sentence "DHS could also permissibly direct the separation of parents or legal guardians and minors held in immigration detention so that the parent or legal guardian can be prosecuted pursuant to these authorities."

This is, of course, exactly what happened, pursuant to the policy that had been announced.

Yet they told us what we knew was happening was, in fact, not happening.

Federal court you`ll remember earlier this year ordered the government to reunite the children it took from their families, an order with which the government has only partially complied.

As of September 20th, 182 remain separated.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Today is national voter registration day and is also six weeks until the midterm elections on November 6th. Filmmaker Michael More has a new movie out, Fahrenheit 11/9, pegged to those elections, which we talked about during our hour-long show in Flint, Michigan earlier this month. He joins me again tonight to talk about the mid-terms, his new movie and more. Are you registered to vote? Have you gotten your registration in?

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: I`m registered. I vote in the first precinct voting in Traver City, Michigan.

HAYES: So, there`s a lot to talk about. First, I want to get your reaction to the president of the United States in front of literally in front world leaders today saying (inaudible). And a room full of trained diplomats who are trained not to react bursting out laughing.

MOORE: Right. And who were sure that they were not at Caroline`s or Stand-up New York, but they were -- and Trump clearly -- first thing I thought of was, though, this is whatever happened to him in that military school that he got sent to, what happened to him today happened every day. And, you know, I wasn`t there, but I`m just guessing that we`re paying the price for -- and what we heard today were those tweens who were laughing at him back then.

HAYES: We`re -- I had the exact same thought, because there is -- this is a reported story that his determination to run was forged in the crucible being mocked at that infamous White House Correspondent`s Dinner where President Obama and Seth Meyers just absolutely took the stuffing out of him. And this is the motivating factor for so much of what he does.

MOORE: Right, so which means what hell will we pay?

HAYES: That was the first thought I had as well.

MOORE: Or which countries that were laughing the hardest will be bombed tomorrow.

I mean, really, you can`t laugh at him like this. And I`ll

HAYES: But you can. See, that`s the thing, right, like that`s what makes us still a free society, thank god.

MOORE: Well, yeah, we can, because we have the right to. But in his mind, that`s not allowed.

And I thought during the debates, during the campaign had Hillary just slipped a comedy shiv under his very thin skin, just with anything that would have, you know, zinged him, he could have imploded right on national TV.

HAYES: Yeah, although she did -- she get under his very, very thin skin repeatedly, repeatedly. A lot of people do.

MOORE: But when he was stalking her during the debate.

HAYES: Right, yeah.

MOORE: There are at least three or four great lines to turn around and give him.

HAYES: So we know that he sort of is looking around constantly assessing who is loyal to him and whose not.

MOORE: Yes.

HAYES: And there is all this crazy hullabaloo about Rod Rosenstein.

MOORE: Yes.

HAYES: In the last few days. And a real question I think -- I was talking going back and forth to some folks who are sources of mine about what do you do if he`s fired? Like, is this the moment? When is the right red-line moment of America slipping past some sort of guardrail?

MOORE: Let me tell you what I think that -- what happened yesterday with everyone in that fire drill that everyone was participating in. Remember in New York, Trump was one of the number one leakers of information news, even calling up with his own voice and pretending to be somebody else.

HAYES: Loved talking to the press, loved feeding stories to page 6.

MOORE: It`s quite likely that what happened yesterday, all the Rosenstein stuff was put out there by him or his people to create a distraction from what? The fact that he may have a Supreme Court nominee going down.

And, remember, he is the master distractor. He is the king of the misdirect. And we`re always being played by Trump. He always knows what he`s doing when he does this. And so he`s got everybody all thinking about Thursday and we`re confused now. Do we cover Rosenstein? Do we organize walkouts on Kavanaugh? And he is just a genius, an evil genius at this.

Don`t assume...

HAYES: That imputes more tactical acumen to him than I think a lot of people around him feel...

MOORE: I give him the credit for figuring out how to win an election by losing by three million vote, oh, yeah. No, when you have that kind of -- that kind of twisted thinking and the ability to do that...

HAYES: Do you think this is a setup?

MOORE: I think it`s a possibility, and we should consider that, that we`re being played again. Because the real issue is are women going to have rights over their own reproductive organs? That`s what this whole Kavanaugh thing is going to be about. And do we allow the sexual predator- in-chief, the admitted sexual predator-in-chief, to place people on the Supreme Court first while he is under investigation, which he shouldn`t be allowed to make any of these appointments. But also, he is picking the type of people that are essentially like him.

And this whole thing needs a whole investigation now. This should not go forward. And I don`t -- I don`t see how they`re going to get away with it -- somebody must be advising the Republicans that if you do this, we`re going have hell to pay on November 6.

HAYES: I think they are, but I think they don`t care. I mean, I really do. I think that they are going to have hell to pay, but I also think they desperately want a conservative court, and they think this is the way to get it.

MOORE: OK. Do you remember back when we were in high school, there were those guys.

HAYES: We were in high school, Michael?

MOORE: Well we were not in high school together at the same time, because you`re a little older than I am. But when we were each in high school, we know these kinds of guys. We know these sexual predator guys, the guys who were abusive to women, the guys that were all -- you know, we called them d-bags, right? That was the term. We had to live with these guys our whole lives.

And this is -- this thing, whatever went on, if you read that yearbook, it`s stunning that this is a Catholic high school, that this stuff was in the -- we don`t have time to go into it now, but please Google and go in and read these pages of the yearbook, because I can`t believe this is a Catholic -- I went to Catholic schools. And first of all -- can I just point out there is no St. Brett? So I don`t know where the Brett comes from, but there is -- unless he is the patron saint of keggers...

HAYES: That`s disqualifying.

MOORE: That is disqualifying. I just don`t understand...

HAYES: They`re very...

MOORE: Everybody had a Brett or a Brad in their high school.

HAYES: Right.

MOORE: And you know what I`m talking about.

HAYES: Well, they`re very evocative of a certain specific kind of sort of loudish macho male adolescent behavior that`s gross.

MOORE: Correct.

HAYES: And one hopes that people that engaged in outgrew, and it would be nice to see someone be honest about their change.

MOORE: Right. But then now we hear about these stories from college.

HAYES: Right.

MOORE: And, you know, yes, he is innocent until proven guilty, but this isn`t a court of law, this is about what we know. And what does your instinct tell you? My instinct, what we all know is that men, boys who behave in this manner once, they do it again. They do it a third time. They do it a fourth time. And there are other women who will come forward. And if he ends up on the Supreme Court and we have to deal with it then, we don`t want to do that.

This is crazy. And everybody should go to cancelKavanaugh.com, because there will be -- what we really need to be dealing with in these next four days.

HAYES: Michael Moore, thank you again. The movie Fahrenheit 11/9 is out in theaters now. You can check it out.

MOORE: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening.

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

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