Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 22, 2018 Guest: Sherrod Brown, Karen Finney, Margie Omero, Jenna Johnson, David Jolly, Jim Himes
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: We have someone in the Oval Office who if you were acting like this in class will be sent down to the vice principal`s office. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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HAYES: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the hell up and take back the country. It`s about who we are.
HAYES: Fifteen days till the Midterm Elections and enthusiasm is high. Tonight Senator Sherrod Brown on the stakes for the country, the push to get voters to the polls.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s no reason to overcomplicate stuff. Sometimes I think Democrats do just like their analyzes stuff -- just vote.
HAYES: Plus, huge turnout the first day of early voting in Texas while Trump rallies for Ted Cruz.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I call him Texas Ted.
HAYES: Then, new evidence that Robert Mueller might have the goods on Roger Stone.
ROGER STONE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I will never roll on our president.
HAYES: New promises from Democrats to reopen the Russia investigation if they win back the House.
TRUMP: It`s fake news.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. We are now just 15 days from the Midterms and both sides are extremely fired up. 72 percent of Democrats telling NBC News and The Wall Street Journal they have a high interest in the Midterms with Republicans close behind at 68 percent.
Well, nobody knows what`s going to happen, 50 percent of the likely voters say they prefer Democrats to control Congress after the Midterms compared to 41 percent who want Republicans to keep power. The biggest question now is who turns out to vote. Appearing in Nevada today, former President Obama warned of the consequences of staying home.
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OBAMA: The stakes are high. The consequences of anybody here not turning out and doing everything you can to get your friends neighbors family to turn out, the consequences of you staying home would be profoundly dangerous to this country, to our democracy.
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HAYES: Already more than five million earlier absentee votes have been cast nationwide. And in Texas today on the first day of early voting, the turnout was in the words of the Houston Chronicle, downright shocking with thousands in line before a key early voting event even opened. Some very enthusiastic Beto O`Rourke supporters even camped out overnight to cast the early votes earning a visit from the candidates himself for their trouble.
Trump supporters were also camped out in Texas last night ahead of his rally tonight in Houston with Ted Cruz. This is a live shot of the rally, one of the four the Trump is holding this week alone. And while the President has been talking a big game in public about the Midterms in private, according to Politico he is distancing himself from the potential GOP thumping telling confidence that he doesn`t see the Midterms as a referendum on himself. And according to Carl Bernstein, he`s also considering casting the results as illegitimate if the GOP loses.
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CARL BERNSTEIN, POLITICAL ANALYST: I talked to people in the White House on -- or in touch with the White House on Friday who believe that if the Congressional Midterms are very close and the Democrats were to win by five or seven seats that Trump is already talking about how to throw legal challenges into the courts, sow confusion, declare a victory actually and say that the election has been illegitimate.
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HAYES: Now there`s been a stark divide in the closing arguments for the two major parties. Democrats have embraced the record on health care which polls show is the top issue for voters. Many Republicans have responded by misrepresenting their record like candidates like Missouri`s Josh Hawley falsely suggesting they fought to ensure coverage for people with pre- existing conditions when in fact they`re on a lawsuit that would end it.
If there was any doubt where the GOP truly stands, the Trump administration itself put it to rest today releasing a new rule two weeks before the Midterms to allow states to add plans which effectively do not cover pre- existing conditions. Trump and the GOP have also been working hard to inflame the Republican base in part by spotlighting a caravan of desperate migrants traveling toward the U.S. border and falsely asserting that it`s full of criminals and terrorists and trying to infiltrate America with the support of Democrats.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you thinking that as we watch this caravan make its way through Mexico, is this going to be a winning issue for your party?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think it`s a winning issue and I think the President is handling it perfectly.
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HAYES: There you go, quiet part loud, a winning issue. Amazingly as we get closer to Election Day, the lies are only being ratcheted up both in intensity and frequency. I mean Trump is taking the claiming at rallies the Democrats want to give free cars to unauthorized immigrants, fact-check false. And with polls showing you the GOP tax cut for the rich and corporations remains remarkably unpopular, the President has been suggesting Congress will pass another tax cut before the Midterms even though that`s literally impossible since Congress won`t be back in session until after the votes are cast.
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TRUMP: We`re giving a middle-income tax reduction of about ten percent. We`re doing it now for middle-income people. This is not for business. This is for middle --
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HAYES: Joining me now Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, currently running for reelection on that state. The President inventing out of thin air a ten percent tax cut for the middle class between now and Election Day apparently, what is -- what do you think of that?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Well, I just think he`s talking and making it up and nobody knows what he`s talking about. But more to the point, it brings back to mind what McConnell and Ryan did when they jammed through the tax cut for the rich a year ago. More than three-quarters of all the benefits go to the richest one percent, and then McConnell said just recently and that this is the real key there, not only the tax cut go to richest people in the country but McConnell, they usually wait till after the election to do this. But now he`s saying what they`re going to do and that is that they`re going to cut Medicare, cut or raise eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security in order to pay for the tax cuts. So we cut taxes on the rich and then we pay for it by the middle class by the tab being tossed -- by the cost being stuck on the middle class and it`s just what Republicans are doing now.
HAYES: What do you tell people who say well, the president says that`s not going to happen, don`t listen to Mitch McConnell. Well, I think it`s clear that the president has already seen we got to make cuts. We -- and you know, whether that`s in my state, cuts to Lake Erie cleanup or whether it`s cuts in Medicaid. I was at Saint Vincent Charity today in Cleveland, a hospital that does more to deal with opioid addiction and then probably any place in the state. And they have told me if Medicaid is cut that people will die, the number of -- a couple of people around the table I was talking to said.
And if in that they want to come back, they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that means cutting Medicaid, they want to raise the eligibility age of Medicare, they want to cut Social Security. I mean, it`s the same game they always play. Tax cuts for the rich, come back and stick into the middle class. I urge people to come to my website sherrodbrown.com. Sign a petition saying no to these cuts from McConnell because that`s what they will try to do if they win the House in the Senate next year. And Trump as he always does, goes along with the corporate Republican agenda every single time.
HAYES: You know, one of the -- one of the main issues in this -- in this race has been healthcare and it`s been I think under-covered at the national level but every race you look at. Your opponent is an incumbent Congressman in the Republican Party and Republicans swear they want to protect pre-existing conditions today. The White House itself issued guidance to states that will allow them to essentially allow them, to essentially allow for plans that skimp on coverage for pre-existing conditions, allow larger rates to be charged for those people. What is your feeling about how bedrock the Republican commitment to protecting people with pre-existing conditions actually is?
BROWN: Well, it`s all talk. I mean, every incumbent House member has voted -- if they`ve been there more than two years I believe -- have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act at least a dozen times, and that means they have voted to take away the consumer protections for pre-existing condition. They`re giving the insurance companies the power to deny coverage. If there are incumbent senators, they voted the same way to deny -- to allow the insurance companies to deny coverage.
They can -- they can -- they can prattle all they want now and say in all the protestations of oh we`re going to we`re going to preserve it. No, they aren`t. They want to raise the eligibility age and cut on Medicare and Social Security and they want to go after a pre-existing condition, consumer protections. They`ve already tried. We beat it back by one vote in the Senate. They will be back with more tax cuts that go overwhelmingly to the wealthy and again, more undercutting the safety net. They don`t like -- they don`t like social insurance, Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment, they live to do tax cuts and they live to shred the social safety net.
That`s who they are as a party. I don`t I don`t judge them morally -- well, maybe I do a little bit -- but that is -- that is their political strategy. That`s what they`ve done for 20 years or 30 years or 40 years. They really never loved Medicare to begin with. And so we know that`s their game plan. You can count on it. That`s why we fight back. That`s why Democrats are going to be successful in the Midterms.
HAYES: Final question. You`re in a state that Trump carried by quite a few point, seven, eight points I think, just two years ago. I mean, you`re running as an incumbent Democrat. You`re polling ahead right now. I`m curious, what is the issue terrain you`re hearing when you`re talking to voters or when you`re engaged in this race at the local level.
BROWN: Well, voters know that -- they know that President Trump has followed the typical Republican corporate agenda except one trade and I happened to agree with him mostly although I wish he had done it a little differently, but again mildly. But on everything else he`s followed the corporate agenda, more tax breaks for the rich, more bailout -- more gifts to Wall Street, more standing up and giving away the -- just everything. Pro-drug company, pro-Wall Street, this whole agenda, this pro -- this corporate agenda, look who they`re -- I mean their Supreme Court nominees, both of them put a thumb on the scales of justice so that corporations get -- corporations win over workers and Wall Street wins over consumers and insurance companies win over patients. That`s who they are, that`s what they stand for, that that`s what`s going to determine this election and that`s why Democrats are going to win.
HAYES: All right, Senator Sherrod Brown, thanks for being with me.
BROWN: Thanks, always.
HAYES: With me now for more on the Midterms, I`m joined by former Hillary for America Spokesperson Karen Finney who is now Senior Advisor to Democrat Stacey Abrams` Gubernatorial Campaign in Georgia, also with me Democratic pollster Margie Omero Co-Host of the podcast The Pollsters and MSNBC Political Contributor Jason Johnson, Politics Editor of The Root.
And Karen let me start with you because I feel like there`s a sense collectively that this is a test right now. The President has been lying with more zeal and frequency than even normal all day, I mean, inventing this 10 percent tax cut, the Democrats are -- want to give people cars, the Democrats are behind the caravan, there`s terrorist, all this stuff, and there`s a real question like is it going to work and has everyone learned their lesson? Well, how do you see it from your perch?
KAREN FINNEY, SENIOR ADVISOR TO DEMOCRAT STACEY ABRAMS` GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN: You know, one of the things that I think is interesting about your poll is whereas we see maybe support for the President going up, we also see the enthusiasm on the side of Democrats continuing to be strong. We`re seeing that when -- in some of these early vote numbers. So what that says to me is that people might be saying I still like the guy but I`m going to vote for Democrats.
And so to that I say, you know, I think it`s probably not going to work. It certainly seems like a sign of desperation on the part of Trump, and did you ever think you would say he`s lying even more than usual. And what he`s doing is what he always does right, is he`s not just lying but he`s also trying to have it both ways because he`s saying I mean, if we lose it`s not on me but I know, I`m going to come and save these people except if they lose.
HAYES: Well and there`s also, Margie, I mean, part of what has made this a nerving situation to watch, I think a lot of people feel the stakes are very high, it`s hard to follow the polling because it`s complicated. There`s a generic ballot. There`s a bunch of individual races. But Nate Silver have this point and I`ve been talking to pollsters just communicating via e-mail and they`ve all been saying this. We don`t know how to model this electorate. We just don`t. Nate is saying, if polls under a Republican, underestimate Republicans by two or three points, a very normal sized polling error, the house is a district-by-district nail- biter. If they enter a straight Dems by two or three points, their path to victory in the Senate is much more viable. What don`t we know about where we`re headed right now, Margie?
MARGIE OMERO, CO-HOST, THE POLLSTERS: Well, what we`re asking polls to do is -- or asking voters to do is imagine a universe of people that doesn`t exist yet. People don`t know if they`re going to vote. They are giving us their best estimate as to whether or not they`re going to vote. So -- and we can take them at their word. We can use other information. There`s certainly internal polls and campaign polls that are different than some of the public national polls that look at -- look at turnout scores and turnout modeling but that`s based on past vote propensity. So these are -- you take all of these estimates into account and look at the different range of turnout scenarios to see what the range of outcomes will look like. But -- and then you have -- we have now early voting which in some states is starting to look Democratic and some states is actually a little bit more Republican, is that a sign of where things end up or is that just Election Day voters who are just voting early as opposed to an election day?
HAYES: Moving forward, yes.
OMERO: These are all questions we won`t know the answer to yet. So that`s why it`s important to not just look at who`s up plus two or what does the model say about this but what are the issues that are driving voters, what are they thinking about, what calculations are they making. Enthusiasm is one metric but an enthusiastic voters vote counts the same as someone who sort of reluctantly decide the day before the vote.
HAYES: Reluctant, yes, the grudging vote. And on that -- on the issue space, I mean, it`s so -- Jason, it`s so reminiscent to me of 2014 when Republicans obsessed with -- about Ebola for about four weeks completely cynically including Donald Trump. This was -- he was driving it back in 2014. And then as soon as the Midterms happen, they`re like oh were never talking about Ebola again because it was a convenient thing to inject the kind of reactionary mindset in their base. They`re doing the same thing it seems to me here with a caravan.
JOSON JOHNSON, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Right, right. So there`s this zombie apocalypse of people coming over from Mexico and they`re connected to Isis and everything else like that, and they`re magically going to disappear when Republicans you know, retake the House or keep the House. Chris, here`s the thing that`s very important to remember. Everyone is lying right now if they think they know what`s happening, right? Now we know Trump always lies so that`s a given, but these numbers, the universe - - I can say as a political scientist -- the universe that we`re dealing with is just unseen.
You look at Georgia, you look at Florida, you don`t have to just look at this idea of alright, the electorate may be different from 2010 and 2014, you also take that to take into consideration what impact that hurricane Michael have on early voting. What impact does voter suppression have on who`s going to turn out and win. So what`s really, really important and I think what`s been driving a lot of Democratic enthusiasm is people can`t trust the polls right now so they`ve got to get out of the vote. No one can sit on their laurels and say I think we got this and that that`s probably going to help Democrats slightly more than Republican.
FINNEY: Well, what I was going to say is -- let me just say, let`s be very clear, in this election health care is a top issue. You are asking about what the issue landscape is. I mean, I will tell you that in the state of Georgia where I`m working with Stacey Abrams, I mean, you have a majority of Republicans who want to expand Medicaid. So I think part of why --
HAYES: That is remarkable by the way.
FINNEY: Right. And the polls, by the way, are asking the what -- the what but not the why. So a lot of what we`re not understanding is, right? And so when you have Mitch McConnell -- I mean, Sherrod Brown was so right out there saying, hey we`re going to cut Social Security and Medicaid and these programs, people know that to some degree this election is about fundamental fairness. And part of the reason the Republicans are not running on the economy is that they know it has not trickled down to a lot of people who are still waiting for this infrastructure plan that was going to create these jobs.
And so Trump has returned to his racist playbook right, and I think -- and people -- I really do believe people get that this is fear-mongering at its best and they`re determined to turn out and say no.
HAYES: You know, your point Karen, to Margie that that point about Sherrod Browns is making this point and this sort of -- this is his go-to point. It`s been effective for Ohio which is basically there`s no difference between this guy and Paul Ryan and McConnell and all the sort of like classic standard Republican tax cuts for the rich. Trump won I think in large part because he was able to convince people that wasn`t the case. We`ll protect pre-existing conditions, we`ll expand health care, but in this race that`s a harder sell when you have a Republican Congress on the ballot that has the votes they have.
OMERO: Yes, I mean, they don`t have -- they don`t have the goods that people want. They don`t have a position or a record that voters want. What they -- their one accomplishment, the tax plan, it has become increasingly unpopular we`ve seen in polls. And people -- and a large number said they`re not even sure how they feel about it. So if they resulted to a base play, a Trump inspired base play which is not good -- not only is it not good for the country, it`s not good for the long-term health of the Republican Party either for that matter, or a very inauthentic disingenuous view of their own record as you were talking about with Hawley in Missouri and other candidates. And that`s what that`s what is left and voters are seeing through it.
I mean things like health care transcend party lines. I`m not surprised about what Karen see because everybody has health care challenges for themselves and their family.
HAYES: Right. But the question, Jason, is does reality out, right? I mean the question is can you look into a camera and say I`m for protecting pre-existing conditions even though my lawsuit to end it and whether that gets enough people, in the end, to get them to vote for you.
JOHNSON: Well, I think -- I think, Chris, the best indicator that the message of protecting health care and keeping the economy moving is helping for Democrats is because the Republicans have to keep changing their message right? I`m old enough to remember a couple years -- a couple months ago where the biggest problem facing the country was black guys kneeling at football games, right? The Republicans had to get rid of that because it`s not working. Then they talked about the tax plan, it`s not working. But Democrats are pretty much stayed on message. We`re going to expand Medicaid expansion, we`re going to make it easier for you to vote, we`re going to make sure that we reign this guy in, and that`s usually the only message you really have to have for a midterm.
HAYES: Yes, it`s a good point. The fact that they want to make an election around this caravan that has occurred in the last few weeks to me does not build great. If that`s like you`ve got this the last second they`re like that`s why we should go back and retain power. Karen Finney, Margie Omero, and Jason Johnson, thank you all for being with me.
FINNEY: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, here`s a question. Are there any persuadable Republican voters or is it now just the party of Trump? A look at the success of the President`s political strategy and whether it will hold in the Midterms in two minutes.
HAYES: From the first day of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump`s guiding principle has been clear. The only thing that matters is his base. It`s why in 2015, he called Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists and that`s why he said this as president three years later.
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TRUMP: They`re not sending their finest? Does that sound familiar? Remember I made that speech and I was badly criticized? Oh, what`s so terrible what he said. It turned out I was 100 percent right, that`s why I got elected.
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HAYES: He was not 100 percent right, of course. As we`ve seen year after year now, Donald Trump does not care about the truth, but more interestingly is he doesn`t care about persuading people. He cares about what appeals to his supporters. That`s it. Historian Julian Zelizer has a great peace out today in the Atlantic that suggests this is not such a bad strategy. President Trump has a coherent theory about American politics that can be summed up in one sentence. Republicans will always come home. And until now that strategy has worked relatively well. The question is how effective will it be 15 days from now.
Joining me now to talk more about the strategy, Jenna Johnson National Political Correspondent for The Washington Post who has a piece out today on this topic, and David Jolly a former Republican Congressman from Florida. And Jenna your piece is sort of about the kind of safe space world of the Trump rally which is really not an event intended to persuade, it`s not an event about you know, you were used to American presidents talking in this talking to the middle, talking to people that don`t agree with him, that is not his rhetorical mode.
JENNA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Oh, not at all. I mean, these are rallies and these are all about rallying people who already support the President. I just been to many of these rallies. The message is often the same. The reasons that people go to these rallies are often the same. And Republicans know that this is probably the way -- the best way to use the president ahead of the Midterms, have him go to places where he`s popular, have him get his fans excited and leave the suburbs and places where he`s less popular to other means.
HAYES: Yes, and this -- the striking stat that you had in your piece of the 27 midterm rallies he`s held this year, more than three quarters were held in counties he won in 2016 by an average of 59.5 percent so he`s going to the deepest of the deep red areas. David, I think the bet that he`s making as Zelizer lines out is a -- is a he`s a pretty savvy one and it`s the bet of I can shoot people on Fifth Avenue, it`s the bet that works in 2016 which is no matter what people will come home when the chips are down and they have to vote.
DAVID JOLLY (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN, FLORIDA: No, that`s it. And this isn`t new -- Donald Trump`s not the first person to recognize this. Look, I`ve had races, I think every candidate out there, well, you have to make a decision to get that next vote. Are you going to energize your current voters to get more of your base out or you`re going to try to expand the coalition by inviting as you say, persuadable in.
You know, what I`m looking for in November 6th is where those persuadables go. It may be that Donald Trump`s not trying to persuade them and you can ask even if the Democrats are trying to persuade them, but we know there are voters right now looking for a political home on November 6th. The Delta I want to see in the long length of history looking back what I want to study on November 6th is this.
There are Republican voters, probably disproportionately large number of Republican Women Voters who ideology will not be the first factor that informs their vote on November 6th. It will be about sending a message to Trumpism and to the Trump Republican Party and ideology simply will be second. Now, the question is do Democrats find an opportunity to court those voters or do they just accept them as willing participants in a coalition on election?
HAYES: Well, that -- and that`s -- the question is the size of that set which I think is smaller than people think. I mean, honestly, I think that`s what -- when I look at -- Jenna, when I look at this data the -- our polling having his approval at 47 percent, what I`m seeing is there is some marginal set of people who generally think of themselves as either Republicans or Conservatives who are driven crazy by lots of hijinks of the President and things he does, but when it comes time like if there`s two tribes in America, they don`t know which one they`re part of.
JOHNSON: Yes, exactly. I mean, a big reason that Donald Trump got elected in 2016 was not just because he had such strong supporters out there, people who hadn`t voted in many years, maybe people who used to vote for Democrats but voted for him. It`s because there`s so many Republicans out there who were willing to hold their nose and vote for him. There was more loyalty among the Republicans than we saw on the Democratic side and the question is, does that continue in a Midterm Election when Trump is not on the ballot and when people are voting on races that could impact their own lives.
JOLLY: Yes, look, these races are decided at the margins. And I`ll tell you what both sides that are looking at. You need to hold 90 percent plus of your voters. So Republicans right now in a lot of key races including the Florida governor`s race Ron DeSantis is worried that his Republican support has fallen below 90 where Andrew Gilliam is exceeding 90. That`s enough to decide the race. It is a small number of persuadables but that 90 percent benchmark could decide a lot of races on November 6th.
HAYES: Yes. And it`s interesting actually to look at some of the polling in that -- in the Florida gubernatorial Andrew Gilliam and Ron DeSantis just had a debate because the gubernatorial races and this is true in Georgia, it`s true a few other places, Jenna, they are the ones that seem the most sort of exempted from Trump because they`re not about whether he going to retain full control of the government or his party will, and yet he`s still inescapable in every race even a gubernatorial races.
JOHNSON: Yes, exactly. I mean, every Midterm race is kind of about the president. He kind of looms over all of these. Because hear this, I`m mean it`s just unlike anything we`ve seen, and Trump himself has said voting for Republican is voting for him and has encouraged people to think of this as exactly a referendum on him. Yes, governor`s races are particularly interesting because it is one of those last forms of statewide races where people feel like they`re voting for someone that perhaps they`ll have access to who`s going to be deciding on things that are actually happening in their lives. You know, tolls on bridges, state taxes, you know, what`s happening with the legislature and things like that.
When I`m not in the country, it`s interesting to hear people talk about congressional candidates who feel like they live just a world away from this district and gubernatorial candidates where a lot of times voters say they`re looking for someone boring, someone who`s going to get work done, things like that.
HAYES: All right, Jenna Johnson and David Jolly, thank you both.
JOLLY: Good to be with you.
HAYES: All right, coming up, would Democrats reopen the Russia investigation if they win back the House? House Intel Member Jim Himes on that and more including the latest developments in Saudi Arabia right after this.
HAYES: Today, National Security Advisor John Bolton took an interesting approach to Russian interference in the presidential election. While in Moscow to discuss U.S. withdrawal from nuclear weapons treaty he told a Russian radio station, quote, "the point I made to Russian colleagues today was that I didn`t think whatever they had done in terms of meddling in the 2016 election, that they had any effect on it, but what they have had an effect on the U.S. is to sow enormous distrust of Russia," that is according to text from the interview provided by the National Security Council.
Bolton, and other Trump administration officials, may get their chance to share views on the records if the Democrats were to win back control of the House and reopen the Russia investigation.
Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and he joins me now.
There has been some movement to suggest that`s in the offing were you to take back the gavel on the Democratic side. Is that true?
REP. JIM HIMES, (D) CONNECTICUT: Well, Chris, there is certainly ample information that we would want to get.
So, interview after interview where one of two Republicans would say, hey, did you conspire, collude or cooperate? And the witness would invariably say, no, and the Republican colleague would say, oh, that`s good. And we`d move on. No attempt to follow-up. No attempt to, you know, look at phone calls that we would have liked to have known were made.
And certainly -- and Chris, this doesn`t get a lot of coverage, but incredibly broad assertions of executive privilege including for the period of the transition, including for conversation that`s didn`t happen anywhere near the president. So there`s ample questions that we have.
But here`s the thing, we`ve got a Mueller investigation underway. Presumably he is going to cover a lot of the questions that we were looking at. So before we know exactly how big we would want to be, we would want to hear from Bob Mueller and find out what he determined and look to see if there were any holes we could fill.
HAYES: All right, since you`re on the House intelligence committee I wanted to ask you also about some developments in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate in Istanbul. Gina Haspel, who is the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been dispatched to Turkey. Do you understand the nature of that mission? What is your sense of what the U.S. is doing now?
HIMES: Well, what I`m going to tell you is a little speculative. But my guess is very senior people in Washington -- the secretary of state, the secretary of treasury, the president, head of the CIA -- don`t want to be caught under this rolling disaster of changing stories that is coming out of Saudi Arabia.
The president of the United States, of course, has been all over the map on this issue, which is not a good look for the United States when a journalist has been killed. And so my guess is that Gina Haspel, who is very serious business, is going to look at whatever evidence the Turks have, listen to tapes, look at videos, whatever there is, and come back with an assessment.
And while I don`t trust the president to get consistent on this, or if it turns out that the worst is true and the crown prince ordered this, to be particularly aggressive in his response, I do trust our intelligence community to come back and tell us what happened.
HAYES: Yeah. I wonder, there is an oversight question here as well, not just obviously on Russia, but on Saudi Arabia. And this bit of reporting today caught my eye, which is that a pro-government Turkish newspaper, which of course has been doing all the leaking of what appears to be Turkish intelligence, said that four calls went to the head of Prince Mohammed`s office, and another call -- this is in the midst of the killing -- went to the United States. Seems relevant to me to find out what is going on there if that`s true.
HIMES: Yeah, it sure does. And, you know, Chris, I`m again speculating a little bit here because none of us are in Washington being briefed at this point in time. But, you know, our -- I am pretty sure that our intelligence apparatus already has a pretty good sense of exactly who called whom, maybe even the substance of those calls, any emails, any texts that went back and forth.
You buy a lot of capability with what we spend on our intelligence community. And I`ve been sort of been a little bemused as I`ve heard the president continually say we don`t really know. We don`t really know. We don`t really know. I`m not sure that`s true. I`m pretty sure we know things that the Saudis don`t know we know.
HAYES: Should there be a fundamental reassessment of the relationship given what we have learned?
HIMES: Oh, you know, yes. There should have been a fundamental reassessment when the crown prince kidnapped the Lebanese prime minister, when he started a war in Yemen using our weaponry and bomb school buses, you know, when he decided to brutalize Canada over a tweet.
I must say I was hoping that the crown prince would be a reformer. And none of us knew. But he is taking actions with our taxpayer funded military, with our weaponry, that would just appall Americans. So, yes, even apart, even before Khashoggi there was a dire need for a reassessment of that relationship.
And, of course, the president got charmed, he got charmed because they treated him with a lot of respect in Riyadh. And that`s going to be a pretty tough thing to overcome, I think.
HAYES: Final question, a sort of factual one. Does anyone in your orbit on the House Intelligence Committee, the Democratic side, do you have any way of knowing what Bob Mueller is up to and when he is up to it?
HIMES: Well, you know, I`ll offer a real tribute to Bob Mueller. The answer to that question is an unequivocal no. You might imagine that Mueller, given the stakes and given the performance of the House Intelligence Committee under Chairman Devin Nunes, would treat us like we had small pox and, in fact, I think for that reason -- and also because it would be inappropriate in an independent apolitical investigation to have communication with a political body.
We don`t know much.
Look, in the early parts of this investigation that we did, we set up a mechanism to make sure that we didn`t do an interview that would screw up his legal process.
HIMES: But beyond that, no, we`ve gotten nothing.
HAYES: Congressman Jim Himes, thank you for making time.
HIMES: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, Robert Mueller has his eyes on Roger Stone and his changing stories about his connection to Wikileaks during the election. The latest on that coming up.
Plus, Mar-a-Lago member turned Diplomat. It`s a good Thing One, Thing Two tonight. Stick around.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, President Trump`s golf resort at Mar-a-Lago has become a key talent pool for his government. I guess he figures anyone who would pay him $200,000 in membership fees, $14,000 in annual dues and $2,000 for minimum dining requirements, passed the loyalty test.
You may remember reports earlier this year that three Mar-a-Lago members, a doctor, a lawyer, and the head of Marvel Entertainment, were secretly running the V.A. from the Palm Beach resort.
Last year the president tapped three Mar-a-Lago members for ambassadorships, though two of them politely declined, but it appears he`s ready to try again. And this time, he has a Mar-a-Lago member he wants to be the ambassador to South Africa. And, boy, does she fit the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANA MARKS, HAND BAG DESIGNER: This connection, it is inspired by nature, starting with the beautiful oceans, the blue oceans, and the waves of the oceans lapping up against the shoreline, the sky during daytime, midnight, and the evening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s Thing 2 in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Meet Lana Marks. She`s an exotic handbag designer. She`s a Mar-a- Lago member. And according to the Palm Beach Daily News, she`s President Trump`s choice for the next ambassador to South Africa.
And her resume feels strangely familiar. As the Daily News puts it, Lana Marks is a relentless self-promoter, protector of her brand, and teller of fantastic tales of wealth and privilege.
As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may soon find out, Lana Marks has also repeatedly been accused of stiffing her attorneys, accountants, landlords and employees in a dozen of past lawsuits. She talks of the extraordinary magic of her friendship with Princess Diana and claims they were supposed to be on a trip to Milan the night she died, although her timeline doesn`t quite add lineup.
Mara has claimed to have played tennis at Wimbledon, the French and South African open, which South African Business Day wasn`t able to find any evidence of.
And perhaps feeling the scrutiny, the president`s looming appointment is bringing, Ms. Marks` took to Twitter yesterday to brandish her South African credentials, also noting that she has been a mom for 37 years, wife for 42 years, and a ninja forever.
I have literally no idea what that means, but I think I see why President Trump has taken a shine to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARKS: The beautiful oceans, the blue oceans, and the waves of the oceans lapping up against the shoreline. The sky during daytime, midnight, and the evening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tonight, the Republican who organized a shout down protest of Nancy Pelosi in Florida is apologizing, not for his behavior, but because he was protesting alongside a violent ultra right-wing group.
The expletive spewing protesters, many from the right-wing hate group Proud Boys swarmed an alley outside the offices of Florida congressional candidate Donna Chaletla (ph) as Pelosi entered through a side door.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at Nancy Pelosi right here. Look at this piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) here. Look at this piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Pelosi right here. You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Communist. You don`t belong here, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Communist. Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of here. Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are wrong. You are wrong. You are wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you and your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open up. It`s the Proud Boys in here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yeah, you hear that? Also they are among the protesters banging on the door Pelosi just entered.
The Chairman of Miami-Dade County Republicans, Nelson Diaz, who told the Miami Herald he did not organize the protest, although his organization, the Miami-Dade GOP, did send out an email, according to the Herald, which asked the public to please join me in protesting the very presence of the invited guest.
Now, Diaz later explained that his, quote, "emotions got the best of me and that the hate espoused by the Proud Boys," you heard that guy say there are some Proud Boys out here, "has no place in our society. I made a mistake and I apologize for it, but I have nothing to do with that group," he said. "I am not a member of the Proud Boys group, now do I support this group or their mission."
Well, that is good to know. As I said before the show, I don`t think yelling at public officials is a great crime, but it is different when a members of a group do things like this, that is engage in a violent street brawl as the so-called Proud Boys did after their leader spoke at the Metropolitan Republican Club here in New York last week, a brawl which has now resulted in multiple arrests.
At a certain point, Republicans can be held accountable not only for who they are inviting, but who they are enabling.
HAYES: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is taking a much closer look at Roger Stone. According to The Washington Post, the Mueller probe is investigating whether long-time Trump advisor Roger Stone, or any other associate of the president, had advanced knowledge of Wikileaks`s plans to release hacked democratic emails in 2016.
Now, during the campaign you might remember Stone said he could get in touch with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Now he says those comments were exaggerated or misunderstood.
And according to a new CNN reporting, investigators have been provided recordings of Stone claiming he talked to Trump regularly early in the 2016 presidential campaign, and citing a single source, CNN reports that later after various document dumps from Wikileaks, Stone claimed in separate communications he should receive credit for coordinating with the group.
I want to bring in Nick Akerman, former Watergate prosecutor and MSNBC legal contributor, and Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney and MSNBC contributor.
Nick, I want to start with you, because when you worked in the special counsel`s office back during Watergate, you actually interviewed Roger Stone.
NICK ACKERMAN, FRM. WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I did. I mean, he was just a bit player in the whole operation that I was investigating, but today he is a major player in what`s being investigated by Robert Mueller.
HAYES: He strikes me as -- we`ve been getting more and more evidence in reporting that Mueller is taking a hard look at him. He has subpoenaed people close to him.
HAYES: We`re getting all these leaks. He strikes me as the most significant target so far in this entire inquiry.
ACKERMAN: He is absolutely the key to the connection between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
If you look at the indictment that came down naming those 13 Russian intelligence operatives.
HAYES: Who did the hacking.
ACKERMAN: Who did the hacking into the Democratic National Committee, that the object of that conspiracy was not just to break in and steal the emails and the documents, but it was also to release and stage those documents in order to benefit the Trump campaign.
So what Robert Mueller has done is he has set up the canvas of what he is looking at, and he is now looking to put the American side of the equation into that indictment which puts Roger Stone right in the middle.
HAYES: And Barbara, we`re approaching some really interesting and dicey legal territory. The law makes a distinction someone that, say, hacks documents. -- clearly that`s illegal -- and then someone that distributes hacked documents, right. So, the New York Times does that sometimes. They might upload documents that have been hacked.
The question of what Roger Stone did and what his -- how he`s implicated legally it could be a really, really thorny one legally.
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, I think to enhance what Nick just said, Robert Mueller has really laid a beautiful canvas here because he hasn`t framed it as a crime of hacking, he framed it as conspiracy to defraud the United States by interfering with the election, and so that conspiracy includes both the hacking and the dissemination of the stolen emails.
So if Roger Stone did something as simple as agreeing to participate in a conspiracy by encouraging this, or providing advice about the optimal timing of the release, that could be enough to put him or anyone else who committed those kinds of acts right in the center of this conspiracy.
HAYES: There is also question about exactly how significant his contacts were. He is sort of always claiming he had this one New York City radio host, Randy Credico (ph), was the go-between and maybe someone else. But he kept bragging about how easily he could get to Assange.
ACKERMAN: Well, he kept saying he had an inside contact. I mean, here he is, he is talking to Guccifer 2.0 which is the original staging of the stolen documents.
HAYES: Yeah, that`s a GRU officer.
ACKERMAN: Exactly. And then he is talking to none other than Julian Assange where the documents moved over to be released.
ACKERMAN: How many people in America were speaking to Guccifer 2.0 and Julian Assange?
HAYES: Yeah, that`s a good point.
ACKERMAN: I mean, this is no coincidence.
ACKERMAN: This is a guy who in August of 2015 was supposedly fired by the Trump campaign. He claimed he quit. But in fact what we have found is he has gone under deep cover so he could be separated from the campaign so that there would be plausible deniability for what he was doing.
He was a dirty trickster back in 1973, and he continued that pattern straight up to the present.
HAYES: Well, I don`t think you would even deny that. I mean, I think he likes being known as a dirty trickster.
ACKERMAN: That`s right. And he also lie about everything he does.
HAYES: I want to play this bit of him. This is -- Barbara, this is him talking about how Mueller has tried everything in his power to get him to flip and he won`t do it. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR: Having come up with no evidence whatsoever of Russian collusion or Wikileaks collaboration or any other illegal activity pertaining to the 2016 presidential election, out-of-control Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now poking through every aspect of my personal, social, family, business, and political life, grilling my long-time associates in an attempt to fabricate some offense in order to destroy me personally and financially.
I`m ready to fight. I will never roll on our president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You know, Barbara, you hear that. Everyone says they`ll never flip until the day when they show up and have flipped.
MCQUADE: Yeah. And, you know, he says that Robert Mueller has done everything in his power to fabricate evidence against him. Robert Mueller, I believe, will follow the Department of Justice guidance and will not file charges unless he has evidence of it. But once someone has charged, things look a lot different.
We saw that with Michael Cohen. It`s easy to talk tough when you`re not charged. And to suggest that there is no evidence here, I mean, all of these statements about his predictions that it will soon be Podesta`s time in the barrel, get ready for the October surprise, I think there is certainly some indicia (ph) there that he was involved and was communicating with Wikileaks and Assange.
And so Robert Mueller I think has an obligation to investigate those things to see if there was a connection between him and the Russians. And if he finds it he`ll change him. And at that pint, we`ll see at that point if Roger Stone is interested in cooperating, and if not he can be charged as a defendant and proceed to trial.
ACKERMAN: But look who the biggest cooperator is right now, it`s Paul Manafort.
ACKERMAN: Paul Manafort and Roger Stone were business partners going back to 1980.
HAYES: It`s wild. They founded their firm together.
ACKERMAN: If you had to pick one person who would know exactly what was going on with Roger Stone during that campaign, it is Paul Manafort, the campaign manager. It was Roger Stone who brought Paul Manafort into the campaign in March of 2016. He would absolutely know what Roger Stone`s role was, what he was doing. He was at the convention, Paul Manafort was, was involved with the whole business with the Ukraine and the platform committee in keeping that out of the platform. I mean, that was the quid pro quo for the theft of these emails.
Paul Manafort can absolutely put it to Roger Stone.
HAYES: Yeah, and it`s wild to think about these two guys, these two operatives in Republican politics coming up together over decades who are now both sides of the special counsel.
Nick Akerman and Barbara McQuade, thank you both.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END