Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 19, 2018 Guest: Dorian Warren; J.D. Scholten, Kara Swisher
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "All In" .
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The king firmly denied any knowledge of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Saudi government produces its story about the death of a Saudi journalist as the president of the United States celebrates criminal violence against an American journalist.
TRUMP: Any guy that can do a body slam, he`s my kind of -- he`s my guy.
HAYES: Tonight, Steve Schmidt on what the Saudis are saying and what Donald Trump is getting away with.
Plus, what we know about the Russian national charged with interfering in the 2018 election.
TRUMP: He had nothing to do with my campaign.
And how the rage over Obamacare repeal is playing out in elections across America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have been the single greatest threat to my family in the entire world. You are the reason I stay up at night.
HAYES: When "All In" starts right now. Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight, breaking news, after two weeks of obfuscation and angry denials the Saudi government has finally admitted that "Washington Post" columnist Jamal Khashoggi is dead. And that they killed him.
Here is their story via the official Saudi press agency. The prime mare investigation indicated discussions which occurred between him, that would be Khashoggi, and the persons who met him while he was present at the kingdom`s consulate in Istanbul led to a quarrel and fighting by hand with the citizen Jamal Khashoggi which led to his death.
They were saying it was an accident, the result of a quarrel that got out of hand. That`s what the Saudis want you to believe. Never mind the Turkish officials that said they have evidence, much of it confirmed by other journalists, that 15 Saudi agents flew into Istanbul on October 2nd, assassinated Mr. Khashoggi, dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for that purpose, and flew out the same day.
One of those agents is a forensic doctor who specializes in autopsies. Now the statement from the Saudis doesn`t explain any of that nor does it say what has happened to the body of Jamal Khashoggi. Tonight as we mourn the death of a "Washington Post" journalist at the hands of a government that wanted to silence him, Donald Trump is currently in Arizona preparing for another MAGA rally like the one he held last night in Montana, in which he cheered the criminal, physical assault of a journalist from "The Guardian" by a Republican Congressman who didn`t like the question he was being asked. Representative Greg Gianforte pleaded guilty to that assault. Trump and the crowd loved it.
TRUMP: Any guy that can do a body slam, he`s my kind of -- he`s my guy. I shouldn`t say this -- nothing to be embarrassed about. I was in Rome with a lot of the leaders from other countries talking about all sorts of things, and I heard about it. And we endorsed Greg very early. But I had heard that he body slammed a reporter. And he was way up, and he was way up. And I said, oh, this was like the day of the election or just before, and I said, oh, this is terrible. He`s going to lose the election. Then I said, well, wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well. I think it might help him. And it did.
HAYES: As Trump was making these comments a CNN reporter tweeted I saw one young man in the crowd making body slam gestures, he looked at me and ran his thumb across his throat. I talked to him after the rally was over and he couldn`t stop laughing.
Seems well past wondering if the rhetoric of the man that we`ve elected president is just harmless talk. Jamal Khashoggi himself who we can confirm tonight has been killed by the Saudis, warned last year that the possibility of what he called the Trump effect was goading Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman toward more aggressive actions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That made Prince Mohammad bin Salman feel empowered to this impulsive behavior in foreign policy? It is dangerous.
HAYES: Joining me by phone from Dubai, MSNBC`s own Ayman Mohyeldin, a reporter of extensive knowledge of the Assad(ph) kingdom in the Middle East. Ayman, what do you make of this report released by the Saudi official news agency?
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC EGYPTIAN-AMERICAN JOURNALIST: I think you have to take it in its totality and I think anyone who is watching in and has watched what has unfolded the past couple of days will look at this and immediately think this is something that has been in the making for some time.
This was clearly a narrative that the Saudis were slowly trying to put together and floating and testing to see how much they can buy time until they can come up with an explanation that clearly does not meet any of the questions or answer any of the questions that people had. And we take that step by step. What I mean by that is as you mentioned in the outline, the prosecutor`s statement that came out tonight identified that Jamal Khashoggi is dead.
Interestingly enough the foreign ministry also put out a statement they acknowledged this was an attempted rendition. They say these individuals who traveled to Istanbul to meet with Khashoggi did so after it appeared that there was information that they were going to be able to bring him back to the kingdom. So clearly there are a lot of questions that -- this was not an individual who was just walking in to process some paperwork. There was an operation intended to do something to Khashoggi.
What that is is why there are still so many questions because as you mentioned 15 individuals don`t get in a fight with an individual going in to process some paperwork and then suddenly have his body disappear over an argument. There are a lot of questions. But that`s only part of it. The second part of it has to deal with a lot of the secondary announcements that came out of the royal court this evening. And that includes a lot of the dismissals of senior members of the Saudi intelligence services in addition to a senior adviser of the royal court.
When you put all of that in its totality, you can understand why people are saying this amounts to a cover up. How is it possible that the deputy general of the Saudi intelligence agency carried out an operation, a possible operation of rendition, which is acknowledged by the Saudi foreign ministry statement without a command or an order from somebody in the royal court? I think people who watch Saudi Arabia very closely will be quick to say an order like that does not happen without the most senior levels of the royal family aware of it, in specific with the crown prince himself.
Why that is significant is because it seems this evening, from all of the movements and all of the different announcements that have happened, the crown prince is not going to be implicated in this. How do we know that? Well, the king issued a decree a short while ago issuing a statement that says he`s ordering the formation of a ministerial committee to review and implement changes to modernizing the Saudi intelligent agency. The person who`s going to be heading that is the crown prince. So I think any analyst who watches this, who is saying is the crown prince going to be implicated, did the crown prince give the order, the answer tonight is, according to the king of Saudi Arabia, it is unlikely that the crown prince is going to be implicated in this in any way.
And some of the unofficial chatter that`s been coming out of the kingdom tonight suggests the crown prince is going to in some way or in some capacity say he had no knowledge of this operation with the specific details it entailed.
HAYES: One item that seems worthwhile to mention, right, is that the Saudis have given flatly false statements for two weeks on this. They said he left out of the embassy, of the consulate. They gave an interview to Reuters saying he wasn`t there. Mohammad bin Salman himself, if I`m not mistaken, three days after Khashoggi goes missing says my understanding is he left within an hour of getting there. There has been -- there`s a real credibility issue with the Saudi official line.
MOHYELDIN: There`s absolutely a credibility issue with the Saudi official line. And I think for anyone who`s been watching this closely, and this is where it gets a little bit tricky. Because on one hand you have to trust the Turkish government in what they are saying, which is that the Turkish government has overwhelming evidence that this murder took place inside the consulate, that his body was dismembered, they put together obviously the list of individuals who traveled to the kingdom. Sorry, who traveled from the kingdom to Turkey to carry out this operation.
As a result of this right now what you have is the Saudi Arabian government essentially saying he died as a result of a brawl or a quarrel that turned into a fistfight. That immediately raises the question, again, is the Saudi Arabian government lying if they in fact knew that he died as a result of a fistfight, why in the world have they not been able to provide evidence of where the body is? That in itself is going to be a significant question because as we mentioned, the Turks have said they have overwhelming evidence, including an audio recording.
It does also put pressure on the Turkish government to provide what evidence they have to back up their narrative. But for the most part, as this event has played out from day one, it has been the Turks whose story has been somewhat corroborated by the fact that, you know, Khashoggi`s body was never recovered, so far it hasn`t been recovered, the notion he may have been alive never materialized and today the Saudi government confirmed that.
So clearly, the Saudis have access to some information that he is dead and the fact they want to put out the narrative that it was as a result of a fight, they now have to provide concrete evidence as to how they came to that conclusion. Because if it`s just purely the testimony of these 15 individuals, the Turks themselves have not been able to interview these individuals, and there`s going to be serious questions as to whether or not, from a justice standpoint, there`s going to be a transparent process in which these individuals can be questioned in some kind of form.
Some people have suggested it needs to be the United Nations to avoid there being any kind of cover up. You`ve been hearing the statements coming out of the White House that a lot of people are saying amounts to a Washington cover up - a Washington cover up of this.
So I think there are a lot of concerns that the investigation itself, at least coming from the Saudi royal court and coming from the Saudi public prosecutor are not going to meet the standards of getting to the bottom of what exactly happened to Jamal Khashoggi.
HAYES: All right, Ayman Mohyeldin, thank you very much. I`m joined now by former Senator Barbara Boxer who served on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator, let me start with a statement the White House put out after this ridiculous charade that the Saudis have dragged everyone through over the death of this man. United States acknowledges the announcement from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is progressing and that it has taken action against the suspects it has identified thus far.
We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely transparent and in accordance with all due process. We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi`s death. We offer our deepest condolences to family, fianc‚ and friends. Am I wrong that that`s incredibly weak?
BARBARA BOXER, FORMER DEMOCRATIC SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA: Well it`s embarrassing for our country, I mean truly. Let`s take it away from anything else, just look at the story. A man who works for the "Washington Post," who`s been a critic of the Saudi government, wants to get married. And he goes in to the embassy, as I can see the picture, just dressed as a civilian. Didn`t look like -- didn`t have anybody else with him for protection. He walks in. He never comes out.
And then you see the pictures of kind of an execution squad, you know, coming into the embassy. And we hear gruesome stories. And for us to just say, oh, we`re so glad they`re doing all this and to see Pompeo our Secretary of State sit there and smile, I mean, what was his next stop, to visit Jack the Ripper?
I am so saddened for our nation. And then this business of, oh, we -- you know, we better be careful because they buy $110 billion worth of weapons, now it`s turned into $450 billion. I don`t know what they`re buying. Maybe they`re going to his hotels, Trump`s hotels and spending all that money. This thing just embarrassing, it`s sad, it`s awful. And at the rally Trump then, you know, praises a Congressman who committed a felony.
BOXER: . and beat up a reporter. So this thing is awful. One more point I`d make, serving so many years on the foreign relations committee, with presidents Republican and Democratic, they all had the voice of leadership, morality and, you know, the rest of the world had to catch up with us. We can deal with complications of a relationship. I understand the Middle East is complicated.
BOXER: But this is someone who worked in our nation, who was moving forward with a voice of clarity on freedom of the press. Yeah, he had some things in his past that I`m sure he regretted. But right now -- and his last column, if you read it, was magnificent, really, in terms of the importance of the people in the Middle East knowing the truth.
HAYES: What did you -- I want to -- you mentioned this, so I want to ask a follow-up question. The president in front of a group of thousands of Americans in an arena last night, doing his best to bring out the worst of the people in front of him. People who I imagine in any other context if they came across Ben Jacobs after he had been body slammed by a man over a question about the CBO score for healthcare bill and left with his glasses broken would have offered him aid, would have felt sympathetic to him, would have been outraged if this happened to him. But the president has the ability to make people be terrible. It`s one of his most, I think, dangerous qualities. What did you think of that moment?
BOXER: Well, it`s another horrifying moment. But, you know, I don`t -- I can`t blame the president for everything. These are people there that are applauding this. What are they thinking? What is the message to our children? I`m a grandmother. I wonder what`s going and sinking into those minds. I have an 11-year-old and a couple of 9-year-olds now, and an adult one at 23. I wonder what`s sinking into their minds.
He`s gone after the press in ways, again, that belie the very basis of our nation, which is freedom of speech, freedom of the press. The press makes every elected official crazy. I can tell you that right now. But that`s their job since Watergate. You`ve got to be expecting that that`s going to happen. Another point I`d make is the president often talks about Abraham Lincoln, one of the few presidents he thinks is better than he, maybe.
But President Lincoln said he wanted to appeal to the better angels of our nature. And what this man does is he goes out and brings out the worst in people. Yes, the people go along with it, which is -- that`s a whole other topic. But the fact is, he`s supposed to lead us, lead us in a way that makes us proud. And he does the opposite.
HAYES: All right, Barbara Boxer, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
BOXER: Thank you.
HAYES: Here with me now, Josh Leaderman, he`s a National Political Reporter for NBC News for more on tonight`s breaking news and Josh, I couldn`t help but notice that this report is released at 1:00 a.m. Riyadh time which makes one think that the audience for this is not domestic, but instead, the Friday news dump here in the U.S.
JOSH LEADERMAN, NBC NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It`s funny, Chris, we talk about mastering the Friday night news dump in the United States, it seems like if there`s one aspect of how to deal with crisis management that the Saudis have picked up it`s that you do it at a time like Friday night, middle of the night in Riyadh, when nobody is going to be awake to see this. But it`s also important to note, Chris, that since Khashoggi disappeared, what has been distributed to the public in Saudi Arabia has been very different than what we are all reading and hear about all around the world. The focus inside Saudi Arabia has been really focused on how, you know, people are trying to disparage the kingdom and attempts by Turkey and Qatar to spin up misinformation, really portraying the kingdom as a victim in all of this. It shouldn`t be surprising that now even as they are coming clean about parts of this that they are not doing it in a way that`s totally forthcoming to their public.
HAYES: The White House and the president himself have seemed to be at pains to signal precisely to the Saudis what would meet their threshold for everyone to sort of wash their hands and say, okay, we`ve gotten past this but I wonder how you think this will be received in Washington past the White House, particularly in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee among Congressional Republicans and Democrats.
LEADERMAN: Not well, Chris. We`ve already seen statements on twitter and actual written statements from folks like Senator Lindsey Graham, Elliott Engle, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying this does not seem like credible, that people do not buy this explanation in Congress and elsewhere in the foreign policy community. Whether the White House is going to say that they accept this is another story. And I think the big unanswered question here is how much intelligence is already out there within the U.S. government about what happened?
Because if there`s intelligence that contradicts the public line which was that the Saudis didn`t send people to kill him, they sent him there to have a discussion with him, something went wrong, and there was some type of a fistfight and he died. If that is contradicted by intelligence that`s out there, it`s going to be very difficult for the White House to try to ignore all of that.
HAYES: There`s also some question about any sort of official actions happening in Congress. I mean, there are things that congress could do. There are provisions about stopping arms sales, there are votes they could take, the U.S. continues to aid and abet the Saudi led war in Yemen which is responsible for the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world right now, do you think that this is going to carry over by the time Congress comes back?
LEADERMAN: Absolutely. I think it will. And there are several options available to Congress from what we`ve heard from lawmakers so far, it`s pretty clear there will be an attempt to use the Global Magnitsky Act to sanction individuals who might have been involved in what looks like egregious violations of human rights. But there are other steps that could be taken.
Senator Feinstein has talked about cutting off arm sales with the kingdom as you`ve alluded to. There have also been talks within the Senate and within the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in particular about cutting off discussions that are going on between the United States and Saudi Arabia right now about what`s called the 123 Agreement. It`s a civilian nuclear agreement that would let the U.S. work with Saudi Arabia to rebuild nuclear power plants there. And there are some in Congress and the Senate particularly who are saying we should stop those discussions until we get this fully resolved.
HAYES: All right, Josh Lederman, thank you for taking time tonight.
Ahead, 18 days out, the incredible Republican strategy of telling voters they`re the ones who will protect Obamacare and coverage for preexisting conditions. That story in two minutes
TRUMP: That`s the group. This is a repeal an a replace of Obamacare. Make no mistake about it. Make no mistake.
HAYES: Jubilant cheers. That group of very homogenous House Republicans after they passed healthcare repeal May 4, 2017, a bill that never passed the Senate and a bill that now haunts them. Healthcare has emerged as the single biggest issue in the midterms. Republicans are desperate to change the subject and erase people`s memory of moments like this. When just six days after that health care vote, Republican Congressman Tom McArthur, whose amendment resuscitated a dead bill, was confronted by a constituent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there was a horrible bill available to you from a horrible group of people who believe that we don`t deserve health insurance. These are the people in your party that you`re working with. These are the people that came up with a plan that`s going to kill millions of people, and I read the bill that you sponsored. I read the one that you were willing to say yes to. I know exactly what`s going on, congressman, and you`re going to find that out in 2018.
HAYES: And so now MacArthur is running attack ads against his Democratic opponent evoking cop killers and terrorists because the very last thing that McArthur wants is for anyone to vote on healthcare. To discuss Republican strategy and their predicament, let`s bring in Dorian Warren, President of the Center for Community Change Action which is very involved with the work on the healthcare bill. It is remarkable how much they are trying to both memory hold the entire fight in which they passed that and now to also turn around and say like we`re the ones who are here to defend it.
DORIAN WARREN, PRESIDENT OF THE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY CHANGE ACTION: You used the word desperate. When you`re desperate to win an election that it looks like you`re going to lose, you will pull out all the stops. So I think the Repbulican Party has three plays. Play one, just lie.
WARREN: Just say what`s up is down, what`s down is up, it`s very Orwellian and the magnitude of the lie, just blatant lie.
HAYES: I want to play evidence of that. One of them is the health care -- two things that have gone after preexisting conditions, the bill they passed.
WARREN: That`s right.
HAYES: . and lawsuit that`s currently working its way through court that state A.G.s and state governors have signed onto. These are a bunch of people who support either the bill or the lawsuit saying I support preexisting conditions. Take a listen.
JOSH HAWLEY, (R) ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR MISSOURI AND SENATE CANDIDATE: Earlier this year we learned our oldest has a rare chronic disease, preexisting condition. I`m Josh Hawley, I support forcing insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s why I`m taking on both parties and fighting for those with preexisting conditions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I voted to protect people with preexisting conditions.
SENATOR TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: I want to repeal Obamacare, reduce premiums, protect preexisting conditions.
HAYES: So that`s -- that -- I mean -- and they are doing it everywhere.
WARREN: So play one, lie, just lie, pretend like your position, which is unpopular, isn`t your position any longer. Play two is fear, right? Usually what they do is use racism or sometimes misogyny, or homophobia. But we`re seeing in this election, the threat or fear of brown and black people, of immigrants, of Muslims. This is what Donald Trump did in `16, right, using the fear of the other.
WARREN: . somehow you`re losing your country to those brown and black people.
Play three is rig the rules. We`re seeing this too. Suppress the vote. So Georgia, Texas, North Dakota, you just change the rules to suppress the other side`s right to tilt the playing field in your favor. We`re seeing all three of those plays right now in this election, lie, fear, using racism in particular, and rig the rules.
HAYES: An yet, what`s been interesting for me is all the national conversation with the Democrats lacking a message, when you look into the data, Democrats are really running on health care, they really are. Like it`s in 62 percent of their ads. You`ve got midterm election top issues, health care 71 percent, economy jobs at 64 percent. So they`re really on the other side Democrats really have been focused in on this.
WARREN: And the polling shows it`s become more popular. So since -- in the last two years, the support for health insurers covering preexisting conditions has gone up even among Republicans and Independents.
HAYES: You`re seeing it become a national consensus before our eyes.
WARREN: Indeed. And in fact, we learned today there was a study from the Economic Policy Institute that shows American workers have paid $400 billion in lost wages towards health care costs. The focus should really be on the costs, the rising costs of health care, and instead of repealing and replacing Obamacare we should be thinking about repealing and replacing the Trump tax cuts, which Senator Kamala Harris just announced a bill yesterday to do just that.
WARREN: That should be the focus, those things are popular. Those are actual issues the American public supports, health care.
WARREN: .increase in wages and money in your pocket.
WARREN: Not taking away health care from people who need medicine. And because it`s unpopular they`ve got to go to those three places, lie, use fear, rig break the rules.
HAYES: It`s sort of (inaudible) too because it`s not a -- at least before there was a debate before about what kind of health care we want, which has sort of gone away. Once they lost the Obamacare repeal fight, they`ve started lying about it as opposed to making an affront of that argument and part of the reason you mentioned the polling here. This blows my mind, ACA favorability right now, 54 percent favorable in the "Fox News" poll, which is a record for it. This thing has been under water, it`s been 30 percent forever. I saw someone on twitter joke that we`re just a few short elections away from a Republican looking into the camera saying only I will protect your Obamacare from the Democrats.
WARREN: Yeah, well, look at the history of Social Security. Who supported it in 1935 and who didn`t, and why is it a third reel of politics now? Republicans knew that the ACA would become more popular if it passed and especially once people started experiencing it in their lives and their family`s lives. So the same thing we`ve seen with Social Security.
HAYES: And Medicare.
WARREN: And Medicare.
HAYES: I mean in fact the messaging from Repbulicans to the extent that Republicans have a healthcare message in this election. I`ve looked at a bunch of ads, and if you listen to the president at those rallies, he said that Democrats will take away your Medicare because Republicans of the party to defend Medicare.
WARREN: But -- but we also heard Mitch McConnell say earlier this week -- bait and witch.
HAYES: He gave away the line.
WARREN: Oh wait, we`re going to have to cut spending, particularly Medicare, and Social Security, and Medicaid because it`s too expensive, knowing that the trillion dollar Trump tax cut, that was play one in that playbook of starve the beast so you can cut the programs you hate later. They can`t be honest.
WARREN: You can`t be honest with something that`s fundamentally unpopular.
HAYES: Right. Dorian Warren, thanks for making some time.
WARREN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Steve King, you`ve heard about him, he is facing his first reelection threat in years with 18 days to go before the midterms. It`s King`s endorsement in a Canadian election that`s making headlines. This week King tweeted his support for Faith Goldy. She is a candidate for Mayor of Toronto. Not Toronto Iowa, Toronto, Canada.
And an unapologetic neo-Nazi sympathizer. King said her greatest virtue is being quote, "pro-Western civilization and a fighter for our values." Goldy was fired last year from a far right news outlet, OK, they didn`t want her anymore after she appeared on a podcast produced by the neo-Nazi website "The Daily Stormer."
She`s also questioned whether immigration is contributing to a white genocide in Canada. That`s the person that Steve King wants to be the mayor of Toronto. It turns out people of Iowa have been paying attention to King`s support for a white nationalist. This week "The Des Moines Register," King`s hometown paper, has endorsed his opponent, Democrat J.D. Schullton writing quote, "in his almost 16 years in Congress, King has passed exactly one bill as primary sponsor, redesignating a post office, he won`t debate his opponent and rarely holds public town halls, instead he spends his time with fascist leaders in Europe and retweeting neo-Nazis.
Joining me is Democrat J.D. Scholten who is challenging Steve King for Iowa`s 4th Congressional District. By the way, we asked Congressman King to join us tonight and he declined. J.D., here`s the first question, is Steve King`s message back in Iowa like the one he has on twitter where he`s constantly talking about how much he loves fascist sympathizers in Europe and neo-Nazis sympathizing mayoral candidates?
J.D. SCHOLTEN, IOWA DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL NOMINEE: Yeah, it`s really not. And first of all thank you for allowing me to be on the show. And it`s bizarre to hear him talk about Toronto and the mayoral race. And it`s weird to see he`s had as many tweets about that as we just had a highway that`s very important in where I`m from in Sioux City go four lane for the whole district and we had a celebration today on that. And he`s had as many tweets about that mayoral race as this highway race. And it`s bizarre.
And his message here just doesn`t resonate as well as we`ve seen in the past.
HAYES: Let me ask you this. You know, are the vision that he lays out is fear about white genocide, association with white nationalists and Neo- Nazis, retweeting them, is that the values of the people in the district you`re trying to represent?
SCHOLTEN: Not at all. And when we have folks from all over the nation come help us out we talk -- I`ve been doing a town hall tour, doing a town hall in all 39 counties, and we call it the can`t fake showing up tour. And we go out on these town halls and we talk about immigration all the time and how we need an immigrant workforce in this district.
And we have two pork plants that the executive directors of those places have talked about the need for that. Last harvest I went to one of the grain elevators. And when I talked to their board, they mentioned how they needed 39 people to help with the harvest, and they didn`t get one American citizen. And so there`s a need for an immigrant workforce in this district.
HAYES: What about trade in that district? I know it`s been a hot issue in a lot of places. Has Steve King -- do you have a difference with him on the president`s trade fight with China?
SCHOLTEN: Absolutely. I mean, he`s not willing to go out there and look farmers in the eye right now. And where we`re going out there talking to folks, and we oppose this trade war. And you see -- to sum it all up right now, we`re borrowing money from China to give to our farmers not to sell products to China.
And when China starts looking down at South America, I mean, we spent 30 years trying to get into China and for them to all the sudden shift like that it`s not going to be easy to come back.
HAYES: You know, I looked at -- I was looking at your district. And like Duncan Hunter`s district, California 50th, we were talking to the candidate last night, it`s plus 11 Republican. What do you say to people who say, look, yeah, Steve King, I don`t like the things he tweets. I think he`s said ugly stuff, but fundamentally I`m a conservative or I`m a Republican, and why should I vote for someone that`s from the Democratic Party?
SCHOLTEN: Yeah, I mean, it`s about showing up at this point where he spent five of the last six years going to Austria on taxpayer dime, he hasn`t been to most of the counties five of the last six years. And so that`s the big contrast, showing up and we talk about being a rural Democrat. And it`s not easy. But when you go out there and look your voters in the eye and out on this town hall tours just talking with folks and engaging with anybody and everybody, it`s been awesome.
And just today, I had five different people tell me, hey, I`m a Republican, but I`m voting for you. And they just appreciate the hustle and grit and using the term that the Des Moines Register referred to me as, and that`s what we`re all about.
HAYES: Let me ask you this. Would you have voted to repeal Obamacare? Would you have voted for that repeal bill?
SCHOLTEN: Well, and that`s the other thing is, no, we need to expand on it. And I feel the Affordable Care Act was a step, but I`m talking about Medicare for All out there. And...
SCHOLTEN: And that`s -- yeah, absolutely. And people are engaged in it. You talk to a farmer right now, as much as we`re talking about the depressed agriculture economy, we`re talking about health care and the need. Because they don`t have employer insurance.
HAYES: Yeah, all right. J.D. Scholten from the fourth district in Iowa taking on Steve King who we`ve spent some time talking about. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
SCHOLTEN: Hey, I appreciate it. Thank you very much, Chris.
HAYES: Ahead, we now have the first charges of attempted election interference of the 2018 midterms by a Russian national. That story ahead.
Plus, Ted Cruz plays it cool, rolls with the punches and definitely does not get flustered by an iPhone. That`s Thing One, Thing Two tonight next.
HAYES: Beto O`Rourke, the Democratic candidate for Senate from Texas has made the Facebook Live video a hallmark of his campaign. He does them all the time, sometimes multiple times a day, documenting life on the trail, from long drives to skateboarding in the parking lot of a Whataburger, the fast food chain, and air drumming to The Who, also at a Whataburger, while waiting in the drive thru lane.
How does he stay so thin? Beto likes Wataburger.
For some reason, his opponent, Ted Cruz, decided to use that as an attack line. Cruz`s spokesperson calling O`Rourke a quote, triple meat Whataburger liberal. I have no idea what that means. But it did make for some good fodder for director Richard Linklater`s newest anti-Cruz ad, starring Sunny Carl Davis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: Just as a consumer, I`m a big fan of eating White Castle burgers.
I like their little burgers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know even what that is. There`s not a White Castle within 900 miles of Texas, Ted. Maybe up in Canada, huh?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, Ted Cruz is clapping back at Beto again. He`s doing Facebook Live videos now too. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So Ted Cruz wants in on the Facebook Live action, but unlike his opponent Beto O`Rourke, who is a seasoned Facebook Live professional, Cruz had a whole bunch of trouble when he tried to broadcast an interview with Dallas radio host Mark Davis yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: Secure the border, how do you do that? Build a wall, but a wall`s not everything. You use technology. You use infrared. You use fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. You use boots on the ground. We need to triple the U.S. border patrol.
By the way, let me say for the technical thing, are we sideways. Someone call, because at least on your computer screen, we`re sideways, which would be -- we may not win IT department of the year if we`re...
UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: I`m trying here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s like an episode of NYPD Blue at this point.
CRUZ: OK, don`t put your hand over the camera. I think you need to hold it vertically. I don`t know that. But it`s sideways when you`re holding it horizontally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re getting more hearts than I`ve ever seen.
There`s a certain app for that.
CRUZ: OK, hold it vertically and leave it there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It tells you we won`t let you.
CRUZ: Oh, well, it`s sideways on the screen. Just hold it vertical and ignore what it tells you. Just leave it right there. Lift it slightly up.
Uncorroborated allegations, sometimes absurd and ridiculous allegations. They were repeating -- Emily, you`re broadcasting yourself. You flipped it.
UNIDENIFIED FEMALE: I know.
CRUZ: OK, you flip back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One of the closest gubernatorial races in the country this year is playing out in Florida. And even as the nation feels increasingly polarizing, local issues still matter. As we heard earlier this month when we went down to Orlando.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The red tide, it seems like it`s been a really big issue down here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, of course.
HAYES: And something that`s not a national issue, but very much matters to Floridians.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is specific to Florida. It is a really big deal. We need people in office that are going to help protect our environment for the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All In reporter Trymaine Lee has been in Florida covering this very story and files this report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a registered Republican. I`m conservative. I`m pro-gun, you know, but I don`t have a problem voting for a Democrat if he`s on the right side of this issue.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC: The biggest issue for many people in Florida this election season, the red tide.
JENNIFER LEIGH, REPORTER: Sarasota and Manatee Counties are seeing a full bloom of red tide.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The water, you can still see, is brown and murky.
KEITH CATE, REPORTER: 11 dolphins have been found dead and experts fear red tide is to blame.
LEE: Florida is facing an environmental crisis in the form of toxic algae. On the coasts it`s red tide. In the canals and waterways, it`s blue-green algae. It`s decimating marine life. People say they`re getting sick just from breathing.
JOSH GREER, FLORIDA RESIDENT: Everything is at stake. My lifestyle is at stake. My recreation is at stake. Everything I own is at stake. So, I`ve got it all on the line here.
LEE: What role does policy has played in all this?
GREER: There needs to be some tightening down of the screws of regulation. And we need to hold those accountable for that pollution.
LEE: Josh Greer owns a fly fishing shop near Fort Myers. He is a member of the nonprofit organization Captains for Clean Water.
It`s election year. How have the dynamics of these races you`ve seen play out differently because of what`s happening?
GREER: Now, every politician is talking about it, at least. And you know that`s a step in the right direction. If we can get politicians to talk about it, we can get them to do the right thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Toxic algae is polluting Florida`s rivers and beaches.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Red tide is wreaking havoc on our community. Congressman Vern Buchanan is leading the fight against red tide and toxic algae.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vern Buchanan took over $100,000 from big sugar special interests.
LEE: The toxic algae blooms are mostly caused by runoff from industrial farms, fertilizers overloaded with nutrients. They end up in Lake Okeechobee, then travel into Florida`s rivers and canals. What doesn`t end up in the lake, can seep into the ground water, eventually reaching coastal waters.
Those nutrients are supercharging the algae blooms, turning Florida`s pristine waters into this.
JOHN SCOTT, SIERRA CLUB: This is the most severe and by far the longest duration red tide we`ve seen in recent years.
LEE: John Scott is the vice chair of a local Sierra Club chapter. He`s concerned about what`s happening on the coast and in the canals and rivers.
SCOTT: Blue-green algae is a real big concern. It`s incredibly toxic. It`s on par with like poison dart venom or other types of venom like cobra venom.
ANDREW GILLUM, FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`ll protect our clean air and water, not corporate polluters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, dealing with the algae blooms and the red tide that we`ve seen, this is going to be a priority.
LEE: The issue is front and center in races across the state, most notably in the U.S. Senate race between Bill Nelson and the current governor, Rick Scott, who picked up a new nickname, Red Tide Rick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE; And it`s fair to blame Rick Scott. He savaged environmental safeguards.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Nelson made a pledge 30 years ago to solve this problem, but Nelson`s a talker, not a doer.
LEE: Is there any indication that there might be some sort of policy solution, or that any hope, given how frustrated folks are and people on the front line pushing and fighting, is there any hope here?
SCOTT: Yeah, the midterm elections, I that`s a big hope. I think if we can get even some of the people that were trying to get elected elected who really care about our environment, I think that will go a long way towards making progress on the policy front.
HAYES: Yet another great piece of reporting from our own Trymaine Lee. Thank you for that.
And coming up, another issue cropping up ahead of the midterm elections tonight. There are new charges against a Russian national alleging election interference for the midterms. That story next.
HAYES: We have a first tonight. New charges against a Russian national for conspiring to interfere with the midterm elections next month. Elena Kushanova who was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. The Justice Department described her as the, quote, "chief accountant of a project that spent millions of dollars to sow discord in the U.S. political system. This, of course, is on top of indictments earlier this year against 13 Russian nationals in connection with the 2016 presidential election.
But Russia is far from the only country using social media to try to influence politics in the U.S. and beyond with the news that Twitter yesterday suspended a network of suspected bots that bushed pro-Saudi Arabia hashtags and talking points about Jamal Khashoggi, The Washington Post columnist who was killed in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul more than weeks ago. Proving the extent to which these kinds of social media influence operations are now standard for regimes around the entire world.
Here to help me understand what`s at stake, Kara Swisher, the executive editor at Recode and host of the Recode Decode podcast; and NBC News reporter Ben Collins, one of the bylines on that story about the Twitter bots.
And I`ll start with you on that story. I even encountered them when I first started tweeting about this story.
BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS: They were fun ones, weren`t they?
HAYES: Yes. And it had a very Russian feel to it having encountered Russian bots before. And there are a lot of them out there. How dare you slander the kingdom.
COLLINS: Yeah. And, also, you probably saw they got retweeted a lot. That was the whole point, it was to drum up there was some sort of public support for this that didn`t really exist, that the idea that the Saudi Arabian government was-- like had this worldwide support that wasn`t really there.
And like the number one hashtag trend on Twitter in Sunday in the entire world was a pro-Saudi hashtag in response to this thing.
So, like if you were feeling it on Twitter, you were just like the rest of us. We were all there.
HAYES: Have they moved since the Saudi government now admitted that they killed Jamal Khashoggi?
COLLINS: I think they`re sort of like regrouping a little bit. Like the ones that are talking are a little contrite, but they`re also we`re about absolved. We`ve absolved ourselves here. We didn`t mean to do this. It`s bad. But in terms of bot activity, it`s basically gone.
HAYES: Kara, do you feel like -- I mean, there has been so much attention on this, and Sheryl Sandberg the other day was tweeting out photos, or posting on Facebook photos of the war room that Facebook has for their election integrity unit.
Do they have their hands around this problem?
KARA SWISHER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR RECODE: Well, it`s a really nice PR move to do that. They brought in all kinds of journalists if you saw 100 articles about the war room. It`s just a room full of computers.
HAYES: With screens. Don`t -- there are monitors as well.
SWISHER: Yes, exactly, and maybe some keyboards.
You know, I think the thing is, the question is they want to show that they`re committed to stopping this. But the fact of the matter is these bots have run wild all the time all over social media, on Twitter, on Facebook, everywhere it can go.
And so I think what`s really interesting to think about is that they`re sort of bots for hire. And so they bring them out, whether during the Roseanne thing, a lot of things were bots that started the problem and then humans interact with it. And that`s what happens, bots get everybody started and then humans like you were talking to bots.
HAYES: I didn`t talk to them. I never talk to bots. I have a no bot policy.
SWISHER: Right, your no bot policy. But I think the issue is they want to start to sow discord for whatever the side, like in the Roseanne thing they were also bots creating problems around Samantha Bee. And they`ll create - - whatever issue there is they`ll create discord and that`s the point of the situation.
HAYES: Yeah, and that`s what we saw in the indictment is that there`s -- it wasn`t even unidirectional. It`s just this sort of like stirring the pot, stirring the pot.
COLLINS: Polarize both sides to the point where like we have to talk to each other at some point, or it`s not going to happen.
HAYES: Well, and part of it too, I think is that there`s -- Kara, there is a particular toxicity to a kind of loaded political conversation that happens on social media that has a weird uncanniness to it that`s distinct from the normal kinds of fights you have, either arguments in person or with people you know.
SWISHER: But what they do is they pick topics that will polarize. Instead of stuff that becomes common. They don`t want to discuss commonality. And the whole point is these social media companies should be able to eliminate. It should be the lowest bar for these social media companies.
HAYES: Really, you think the technical capacity exists to get rid of this?
SWISHER: Of course it does. Of course it does. They can identify child porn. They can identify regular pornography. They can do this, it`s just the efforts that it takes to do it. And they have to rid their platforms of these things, because it creates toxicity. It creates confusion. It creates noise. It creates polarization. They should have had them off there by now at this point and not allow these, like the Saudi Arabian thing to go on.
It`s -- the fact that it continues with every story is shocking to me.
HAYES: In the case of the Saudi bots and Twitter like what was the -- what prompted them to remove it? Like how did that happen?
COLLINS: I didn`t mean to like -- that`s what happened, we found...
HAYES: So they weren`t affirmatively like wait a second, is the number one hashtag in the world really a pro-Saudi message?
COLLINS: Right, it wasn`t that -- here`s the thing, it`s not that hard to find. You take that number one hashtag. This is what we did -- there`s a guy named Josh Russell who is like an IT professional. He do this for a living. He lives in Indiana, and he`s been doing this for a few months now. You take he top trending thing on Twitter, you get a set of every Twitter account that has tweeted about it, and then you see ones that have tweeted on -- like were created on the same day and the same amount of tweets and things like that.
It takes like 20 minutes. This is not a complicated process.
HAYES: Right, so you guys just went through with him to that. And when you asked Twitter, they`re like oh, yeah, maybe we should take that down.
COLLINS: And they were like, yeah, we have found other ones too, like it`s even more than you think.
HAYES: You know, here that`s question I had, Kara, when I looked at the war room at Facebook and them saying we`re committed -- I forget what phrase was, but it`s something like we`re committed to protecting election integrity around the world. And I thought maybe you have too much power. Like maybe one room full of your employees with a bunch of computers aren`t the people who should be in charge of election protection for everyone`s elections in the world.
SWISHER: Exactly. And I think -- you know, I said this to you before, and we have discussed this before, is that they literally, these are the people that are in charge of these things. And are they equipped for it? Has it become a monster they can`t control? And the issue is the platform was created to do this. They`re not -- this is not hacking, which also happen had on Facebook, by the way. It`s not hacking. It`s that people are using these platforms the way they were built. And so maybe they shouldn`t be built this way, maybe they should change the way they`re built. Maybe they should -- you know, they should do different things so that this is engagement and virality isn`t what people should be...
COLLINS: Yeah, getting people so angry they have to click refresh is a feature, not a bug.
HAYES: That`s what they`re engineered to do. And so the bots come in and they use the tool for what it`s been engineered to do.
COLLINS: Exactly right.
HAYES: You know, there is also this loophole. The New York Times have this story about in the Virginia house race, an anonymous attack ad popping up on Facebook, which was, Kara, a problem they were supposed to -- a loophole they were supposed to close.
SWISHER: Yep, right.
HAYES: Which apparently has not been closed.
SWISHER: Not yet. And again, this is one company that wreaks havoc, because they`re not -- and by the way, to be fair, it`s impossible as the stuff continues to flood into these systems. And the question is do we -- we didn`t want gatekeepers, that was the whole point of this, these open platforms. But the fact of the matter is gatekeepers sometimes are good because of this. This is what happens.
HAYES: Right. I mean, the idea behind a gatekeeper is that there is a gate to keep bad things out and let in the good stuff, yeah, you open the door for the good stuff and then you close it behind you. And if you don`t have that, then you get what we have.
Kara Swisher and Ben Collins, thank you both for your time.
As always, you check out our # -- our podcast, Why is This Happening, anywhere you get your podcast. Check out the hashtag with comments on it if you liked it #withpod.
That is "All In" for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now with Joy Reid in for Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
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