CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
MATT WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: This report that Mueller is going to ultimately give the Congress is going to be like a bombshell going off.
HAYES: The Special Council stays active.
ROGER STONE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I actually have communicated with Assange.
HAYES: As Democrats go after Trump`s Acting Attorney General.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We are demanding that Mr. Whitaker recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Tonight, Congressman Adam Schiff on Matt Whitaker.
TRUMP: I don`t know Matt Whittaker.
HAYES: Protecting Robert Mueller and the whiff of indictments in the air. Then, meeting the new class as more races are called for Democrats.
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), CONGRESSMAN-ELECT, NEW YORK: Guys, there are secret underground tunnels between all these government buildings.
HAYES: Ta-Nehisi Coates on where we stand after the Midterm rejection of Donald Trump`s bigotry. And the latest on the California wildfires as the Trump delegation sidesteps the President`s attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now is not the time to point fingers.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. News from the Mueller investigation into Roger Stone on multiple fronts tonight. NBC News has exclusively obtained text messages between Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone and his friend Randy Credico showing once again Stones foreknowledge of those WikiLeaks e-mail dumps. Big news Wednesday, radio host Randy Credico wrote on October 1st, 2016 according to the text messages provided by Stone. Now pretend you don`t know me. You died five years ago, Stone replied. Great, Credico wrote back. Hillary`s campaign will die this week.
Six days later, WikiLeaks did release its first batch of e-mails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. And this was not the only Roger Stone news today. The Wall Street Journal reporting The Specials Counsel`s office is now looking into possible witness intimidation by Stone of that very witness Randi Credico, something that Stone denies. Now, Stone has already said he expects to be indicted went on Laura Ingraham`s radio show today to try once again to rewrite history.
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STONE: To date, there is no evidence whatsoever of Russian collusion or WikiLeaks collaboration or any proof or evidence that I knew in advance the source or the content of allegedly stolen or allegedly hacked e-mails published by WikiLeaks. Never predicted anything of the kind nor heard any such thing from Jerry Corsi who`s a great researcher and a writer and a friend of mine, so it`s a witch hunt.
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HAYES: Witch hunt. You get all that? He didn`t know what? He didn`t know "in advanced the source or the content of stolen e-mails published by WikiLeaks." That is one should note quite different from not knowing it was coming. And those text provided by Stone to NBC News ostensibly to vindicate himself show that he knew it was coming. "I think it`s on for tomorrow, Credico texted Stone on October 3rd, 2016. Later that day, Credico texted Stone asking, why can`t you get Trump to come out and say that he would give Julian Assange asylum, according to text obtained by NBC News?
Mueller`s investigation is still firing on many fronts. Today it was in court where prosecutors from the Special Counsel`s office said they were not ready to yet sentence Trump`s former Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates because he "continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations." And this comes two days after Michael Cohen was in Washington to meet again with the Mueller team. It comes just one day after Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi who you heard him referred to there above, abruptly canceled an interview with NBC News. Corsi`s lawyer stopping Corsi from going forward with the interview here at 30 Rock while at the same time fielding a call from the office of the Special Counsel.
Of course, there`s an open question in this moment about just how much latitude Robert Mueller has to operate and follow the truth where it leads since he is now reporting, let`s remember, to this man Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker who today received a ruling from the office of legal counsel inside the Justice Department saying his appointment is lawful and valid. This despite the fact that the only time in American history that an attorney general was even remotely appointed in this way was back in 1866 and he held the position for six days. But Whitaker is not out of the woods yet.
House Democrats are preparing to investigate Whitaker`s role on the advisory board of a company accused of scamming millions from its customers. Congressman Adam Schiff of California Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee joins me now. Schiff and his Democratic colleagues sent letters requesting information on Whitaker`s involvement with that company`s advisory board. And let`s start there. Congressman Schiff, what are you asking for, what are your concerns about Whitaker?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, our concerns are that at a time when he was a paid advisory board member, this company is alleged to have been engaged in criminal conduct. We`re talking about the chief law enforcement officer of the country. If he was aware of this criminal conduct or was implicated in any way, or failed to uphold his responsibility, that is something that we ought to know of the chief law enforcement officer of the country. And certainly, it raises another recusal issue there`s no way that he can or should be involved any of the aspects of that case given that he was -- has such a close tie to those involved.
HAYES: Is it your understanding -- that`s been publicly reported -- but is it your understanding as well that the FBI has an open criminal investigation into the activities of that very company?
SCHIFF: You know, I don`t know the answer to that. That`s not information generally that they share with the Congress.
HAYES: Let me ask you this. Maryland has filed a motion basically asking a court to declare Rod Rosenstein the real attorney general basically saying Whitaker, his appointment is unconstitutional. Do you agree with that argument or what remedies or courses of action do you want to see happen here?
SCHIFF: I do agree with that lawsuit and I think that his appointment does violate not only Constitution but other statutes as well. He is a principal officer. He`s the top law enforcement officer in the country. The fact that he is serving it for a temporary period doesn`t make him somehow inferior. We look at both the letter of the Constitution which requires that position be Senate confirmed, but we also look at the functionality that is if you interpret it the way the Justice Department is, what does that say about the function of that office by somebody who`s an Acting Attorney General as compared to with someone who`s a permanent Attorney General. And by that test, there`s no difference in the function. He has no greater, no lesser responsibilities than if he would the permanent Attorney General, they`re identical so it makes no sense to treat them differently.
And finally, and I think this is very persuasive and was also pointed out by the Maryland Attorney General, and that is we have a succession statute specifically for the Department of Justice. In other cases, with other agencies that have a succession statute, they specify when you can also use the Vacancy Reform Act. This statute does not do that and the strong implication is when Congress passed this statute and said this is the succession, it meant what it said and when you have conflict between a specific statute and a more general one, it`s the specific statute that governs.
HAYES: So there`s a situation right now, the special counsel`s office is doing its work. It now reports up to as far as we know Mr. Whittaker, the Acting Attorney General. There`s a question about what is happening in those interactions. What can you and the Democratic Party do once you gain control the gavel to find out what`s happening and ensure that there`s no untoward interference?
SCHIFF: Well, the first thing we can do is bring Mr. Whitaker before the Congress and I think that`s exactly what`s going to happen and we could demand answers in terms of what actions he`s taking in the investigation, what communications he`s had with the president, whether he sought an ethics opinion, what that ethics opinion told him to do, whether he is violating the terms of the ethics opinion.
Now, I would fully expect under some of these questions the White House is likely to fight us. But nonetheless we are going to persevere and the truth is going to come out. There`s just no way to avoid exposure if Mr. Whitaker does anything unethical. And we ought to expect everyone in the Justice Department to abide by the highest ethical standards and that includes particularly the Attorney General.
HAYES: There`s been some -- Benjamin Wittes wrote of piece to this extent the other day and I`ve seen other people make the case that essentially the Mueller investigation is far enough along that it will find what it will find that at this point there`s not that much and even a malevolent Acting Attorney General could do to stifle it. Is that your view?
SCHIFF: No, it is not my view at all. That presupposes really all the work has been done in the investigation or farmed out to other people who can carry it on. No, let`s remember that he can not only in this position interfere with what Bob Mueller is doing, he can interfere in what the Southern District of New York is doing. And to the degree that Bob Mueller has more work to do, let`s say that the Mueller team has decided it needs to subpoena the President to force him to testify, that`s something that can be prevented and that may very well be the best evidence and interview with the President on the issue of obstruction of justice.
So there`s a great deal that he can do to harm the investigation. We in Congress are going to do everything we can not only to protect the investigation but to assist where we can. And you know, in light of what you were discussing earlier, one of the things that we ought to do immediately is provide the transcripts of these witness interviews to Bob Mueller because in light of the disclosures within the last 24 hours of these text messages that Mr. Stone apparently have provided to NBC News, both the existence of these text messages and their content arrays a very substantial question about Mr. Stones truthfulness under oath before our committee and that evidence should be provided to the special counsel.
HAYES: I should note, in the other House of Congress, in the Senate today, Jeff Coons and -- Senator Coons and Senator Flake attempt to bring to the floor a protect Mueller bill that`s already been written and co-sponsored and they were objected to by speaker -- by Leader McConnell so that`s not going to happen. We`ll see where it goes. Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you very much.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
HAYES: All right, let`s bring in MSNBC Legal Analyst Jill Wine-Banks and MSNBC Legal Analyst Nick Akerman, both former Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutors. Nick, I`ll start with you. What is Roger Stone doing to your mind watching his behavior, the interviews sort of selectively leaking different you know, messages, changing his story, what`s he doing?
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I think he knows he`s in trouble. He knows he`s a key target of this investigation. I think he knows he`s going to be indicted. He`s definitely going to be one of the people. He`s already been named by virtue of his messages in the indictment of the 13 Russians. Roger Stone is a little crazy. I mean, he -- I mean --
HAYES: Like a fox.
AKERMAN: Yes, right, exactly. And so, I mean, this is more of a P.R. thing because Roger Stone is directly connected to only one person in this entire thing and that is Donald Trump. They -- he`s the one that basically talk Trump into running president, has been friendly with him in New York over the years. He put up this big charade of being fired from the Trump campaign so we could go undercover and do all of these things that he does in the campaign. He is out there --
HAYES: Do you think he`s a direct connection? That`s the key to me because --
AKERMAN: He is.
HAYES: Jill, here`s where I see this going. There`s going to be effort if in fact Stone is indicted, and again, that is what he expect, Jerome Corsi also expects it. There`s lots of evidence as (INAUDIBLE). There`s going to be this effort to say, Donald Trump barely knew the guy. Do you anticipate that? Is that a similar play that was used back in the Watergate days?
JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It`s not so much that it was used in the Watergate days is that it`s a traditional pattern for Donald Trump. I know him well until they get indicted, I never met him. That`s his pattern. He does it every time. He said it about every single person. Whitaker, he knew until he didn`t know him. And so we can expect Donald Trump to say that very much.
The thing that does remind me of Watergate really goes back to the fact of the Attorney General and you mentioned the Acting Attorney General is under investigation for a scam for a board that he was on and the Watergate break-in was planned in the office of the Attorney General. He was also serving as the head of the committee to re-elect the president as the campaign manager but he was still the Attorney General. So the actual planning happened in the attorney general`s office which to me is really crazy and I hope we aren`t seeing a repeat of that.
HAYES: Well, having gone through the Saturday massacre and watching Whitaker now, there`s this sort of battle over him. There`s been news that the White House is surprised by all this. You got an active I should say, to Jill`s point, there`s an active FBI criminal investigation into the company, not clear that he is part of that investigation, but he was advisor to it. What do you see here in terms of his grasp on power and his legitimacy?
AKERMAN: Well, first of all, he is a political hack. Donald Trump put him in there for one reason in one reason only, as a get out of jail card free. I mean, this is precisely the problem that Elliot Richardson and Ruckelshaus foresaw before the Saturday Night Massacre occurred. I mean, they pre-planned to make sure that a political hack wouldn`t be put in charge of the Department of Justice. They both knew that they had to resign but the -- Bork was prevailed upon to fire Archibald Cox so that they wouldn`t put in some hack from the White House the takeover.
HAYES: That was the reason. What`s so striking is the doomsday scenario during the Saturday Night Massacre is what we have now with Matt Whitaker right? The doomsday scenario was at least go down the line of succession at DOJ. Don`t let Nixon just put in some guy to run the department.
AKERMAN: Exactly. Trump has just gone all around that. I mean, he has basically circumvented that whole succession law and he`s put in a guy who he thinks is going to get him out of jail free.
HAYES: Wall Street Journal reporting, Jill, as I mentioned earlier that that one of the witnesses has been before that grand jury, the Mueller grand jury was asked questions about Roger Stone`s intimidation of Randy Credico, this person that he has a strange relationship with. He`s a New York radio host who Stone has claimed at one point he was his sort of connection to Assange who was then berated publicly and privately at time to apparently intimidate him or at least that`s the supposition here. What do you make of that?
BANKS: Well, knowing Roger Stone and I`ve had the pleasure of being on a panel with him where he is quite charming in person but if you look at his history --
HAYES: In an odd way, yes.
BANKS: Definitely in an odd way, yes. And -- but I would say based on everything that we`ve seen and heard and everything that we know from the days of Watergate on, he is very likely to be a person who thinks that he can get away with anything, and that he would intimidate witnesses without even thinking that he was doing it. So I think it`s quite possible that that`s something that has happened. I think everyone underestimates how much Mueller knows.
And so they go in there giving their story not realizing that everything that they say there is some contradictory statement under oath by someone else or some document. I mean, all of the text messages and e-mails contradict what Roger Stone says. And people need to really pay attention to all of the things that get triangulated in any investigation. That`s what we do as prosecutors. We take conflicting statements and we triangulate and then you come to the truth. And I think that that`s going to catch Roger Stone.
HAYES: You know, it`s precisely -- what you just described as what Jerome Corsi by his own words says happened to him which is that he wanted to talk to investigators and they had all sorts of documentary evidence, perhaps contradicting some of the things he said. That`s in his own telling precisely what happened. Jill Wine-Banks and Nick Akerman, thank you both.
AKERMAN: Thank you.
BANKS: Thank you.
HAYES: Before we go to break, I want to give you this news from Los Angeles tonight, just broke a little while ago that the LAPD is confirming at this hour that a Michael Avenatti, the high profile Donald Trump antagonist as well as the attorney for Stormy Daniels and others, has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. In a statement, Avenatti`s wife says she was not involved in the alleged incident. Senior law enforcement officials tell NBC News Avenatti is expected to be booked into a local jail later this evening. Meaning he is currently in custody as I understand it.
Avenatti, of course, has been exploring quite vocally a 2020 presidential run as a Democrat. In a statement tonight he calls the allegations "completely bogus" and said he would be exonerated adding I have never been physically abusive in my life nor was I last night. Any accusations to the contrary are fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation.
Ahead, Ta-Nehisi Coates on where America stands after the Blue Wave Midterm election. Plus, blockbuster, truly blockbuster New York Times reporting on the insane tactics Facebook used to navigate the Russian interference scandal. And next, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries on the remarkable first day for a remarkable freshman class orientation, next.
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CORTEZ: Guys, there are secret underground tunnels between all these government buildings.
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HAYES: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest member of the incoming class of Congress is giving her soon-to-be constituents an insider look at the Capitol documenting her freshman orientation on Instagram as she and others learn how to navigate Congress. Two more House seats went to the Democrats today. And while eight races are still to be called by NBC News, there are at least 87 new incoming House members, 87.
Here`s a Republican freshman, those new to Congress who will soon be taking office on the Republican side, look at that for a second, and then here are the new Democrats. Yes, there are more Democrats and Republicans but there`s another difference. In case you need some, help here the two incoming groups of freshmen side by side. The Republicans overwhelmingly white and male, the Democrats look more like well, America.
Here was me now someone who will be returning the Congress come January and who had a hand in helping elect all those Democrats, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York. How does it change Congress that this many new people in your caucus from this many new different backgrounds?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Well, it`s a phenomenal thing and they are the majority makers and in many ways we will clearly represent the gorgeous mosaic of the American people, you know, we`re black, we`re white, we`re Latino, we`re Asian, we`re men, we`re women, we`re young, we`re older, we`re gay, we`re straight, we are --
HAYES: Let me just stop you there and say young and older, spoken like a true politician.
JEFFRIES: Well, we got seasoned members and we`ve got newer members who`ve never served in elected office. It`s been a great combination. And many of these individuals, Chris, as you know, you know, they`re veterans, they`re national security professionals, they`re super moms, they`re nurses, they`re activists. It really runs the gamut and they will supercharged and energize the new Congress next year.
HAYES: Is it -- I mean, is it strange? You got -- the House Republican caucus is now I think 90 percent white men and the Democratic caucus is going to be 38 percent white men. I mean, there is something striking about the demographic fissures of American politics being so replicated in the -- your workplace.
JEFFRIES: Well, we absolutely represent the face of America in every facet possible which is consistent with what the Congress should look like particularly the people`s house here in the House of Representatives which as you know the Founding Fathers envisioned as the most direct representatives of the American people. And when you look at the other side of the aisle it`s like a country club that is pretty exclusive and I think that is the direction that we`ve seen our colleagues and the Republican Party going and they`re going to need to reverse course or they`re going to lose America.
HAYES: There`s a leadership -- all sorts of leadership talks, so there`s going to be leadership elections, I think you`re running for House caucus chair if I`m not mistaken, some other folks running for that position as well. What do you make of the -- there`s a letter out today of a bunch of Democrats saying they don`t want to vote, they won`t vote for Nancy Pelosi, I think 15 or 20 years those. Is there a serious challenge to her speakership or not?
JEFFRIES: Well, I think that she`s got the votes to be the speaker designee. I`m certainly going to support her effort and on her path toward 2018, I`ll be one of the people that support her. She led us into the majority once in 2006 and is now led us back into the majority. But of course, there is a desire, Chris, as you know for generational change and for that to be reflected in the leadership in some way shape or form. Hopefully, we`ll be able to work this all out in a manner that will allow us to then focus on the things that we promised the American people we would do lowering health care costs, increasing pay, cleaning up the mess and corruption here in Washington.
HAYES: So let me stop you there because you said that -- you said that the generation -- the desire for generational change which to me is the more -- most -- I have a hard time figuring out what the argument about Nancy Pelosi is. Is it a personal one about who she is and her ineffectiveness as a leader? Is it an ideological one? Was it a political one? Because people are on the trail and she`s been turned into this lightning rod I think largely by conservative media. What -- or is the generational argument. Is that do you think the argument that`s driving all this?
JEFFRIES: Well, I do think that there are people of goodwill who have legitimately concluded that our leadership moving forward and in terms of how we run the House has got to allow everyone to be on the playing field so they can contribute and elevate the aspirations and dreams of the districts that they represent. But I do believe that there`s a way for us to work this out, and the bottom line is as you pointed out, the other side right-wing conservatives tried to weaponize Nancy Pelosi to stop us from seizing the majority. It didn`t work. We`ve seized the majority.
HAYES: Yes, it`s a pretty good political argument. It also be a little weird if after losing in 2010, 2012, and 2014, reelecting Nancy Pelosi and then after winning in 2018 to dump her.
JEFFRIES: Yes -- no, certainly, and that is a case that`s being made and that we shouldn`t let the other side dictate to us how we proceed. I think you`ll see a more inclusive Congress in the next Congress in terms of how we provide opportunities to newly arriving members to fully display their talent and ability.
HAYES: That`s interesting. All right, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn. Thank you very much for your time.
JEFFRIES: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, shocking new expose from New York Times on Facebook`s attempts to delay, deny, and deflect their way through the backlash following the 2016 election. Nick Confessore who is on this story and one of the reporters on that article joins me next.
HAYES: Tonight, disturbing new details on the lengths that Facebook executives were willing to go to in order to defend the company. In an extensive report based on interviews with more than 50 people, the New York Times says the company knew about Russian activity on his platform during the election long before they went public with the details. It reveals a range of unsavory tactics the company used to fight it`s growing list of critics including hiring and I quote here, a Republican opposition research firm to discredit activist protesters in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. Also, persuading a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
Joining me now one of the reporters who broke that extensive report Nick Confessore of the New York Times, also an MSNBC Political Analyst. It`s a great, great reporting. It`s so massive that I was sort of -- I think all this stuff is new. It was sort of hard to tell. So I want to start with the stuff in there that seems -- some of the stuff that seems new is the extent to which Facebook knew what was going on 2016 on their platform and did not disclose that the public and slow walk their disclosure.
NICK CONFESSORE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. So our reporting shows that Facebook first saw strings of Russian activity on the platform in the spring of 2016. That`s a long time ago. And it wasn`t until the fall of 2017 after they had done more study but also tried to fend off some of the emergent criticism that they finally told the public and their own board which sparked a major confrontation in the boardroom between Sheryl Sandberg and some others.
HAYES: Yes, you report that when they come to the board, Erskine Bowles, who is on the board -- he`s a sort of investor, and he`s been in and out of politics, there was a furious fight over it because he felt and others felt like this had been hidden from them for a very long time.
CONFESSORE: That`s right, it had been kept from the executives at first. And then when the executives knew about it everybody kind of clamped down and didn`t want to go public until they absolutely had to.
And when they had gone public in the fall of 2017, they said, you know, it`s not that bad.
HAYES: They kept minimizing -- I remember -- the statements kept coming out being like it didn`t persuade anyone. No one saw it. It was $100,000 worth of ads and every one of those statements were either just flatly untrue or massively misleading, right.
CONFESSORE: Right. And that was stage one, Chris. Stage two is, OK, we`re in trouble, what to do. And there you see more of the classic playbook of the big corporation in Washington trying to get trouble off its back.
You had calls to senators. Sheryl Sandberg put in a call to Amy Klobuchar, who is sponsoring a pretty strong bill on ad disclosure in the wake of this and said what`s going on here? You know, you are attacking us, said we`re a terrible company. So there was a heated conversation there, right.
But they were hiring lobbyists, obviously, which everyone does. And they also hired an op-o (ph) firm, a PR firm, this PR firm, Definers (ph), had done a lot of work. They`d done some media monitoring. They`d done press releases and press calls. But finally they were pressed into service to do campaign style research and to try and get stories written about Facebook`s critics.
HAYES: Didn`t they also create like a website with alternate news?
CONFESSORE: That`s right. So they...
HAYES: Like a literal fake news?
CONFESSORE: It`s not really a secret because it`s all on the masthead, but the Definers is co-located with a conservative news site that happens to write a lot of articles that attack the enemies of their clients. So in this case you saw that Tim Cook was blasting Facebook over privacy.
HAYES: In an interview with yours truly, actually.
CONFESSORE: And so all of a sudden there were articles on NTK (ph) saying that Cook was a hypocrite. You know, there were articles saying, well, Google also does a lot of data collection like Cambridge Analytica style stuff. And they`re also bad. How come look at those people.
So, they were trying to spread the blame and say, look, it`s not a Facebook problem, this is a big tech problem.
HAYES: There was a kind of public face/private face, which is one of the themes here. I mean, publicly they`re minimizing, privately they have their own engineers being like this is a big problem. Publicly they`re saying we`re sorry. We`re working it out. We want to connect everyone. We love connecting, you love connecting, we`re trying to figure it out. Privately they`re on war footing and going after their enemies.
CONFESSORE: Absolutely. What they don`t want is a regulation they can`t get around. And so what they`re trying to do is say, look, we`ve taken all the best ideas already and we`ll do them ourselves. Don`t pass a big bill. But then in public they`re saying we are ready for regulation. It is time. So, it is a bit of a two-step.
HAYES: David Cicillini who is the incoming Democratic chair of the House Anti-Trust Committee had this to say: "this staggering report makes clear that Facebook executives will always put their massive profits ahead of the interests of their customers. We`ve known for some time that Facebook chose to turn a blind eye to the spread of hate speech and Russian propaganda on its platform. Now we know that once they knew the truth top Facebook executives did everything they could to hide it from the public by using playbook of suppressing opposition and propagating conspiracy theories.
CONFESSORE: That`s a searing press release from the congressman. And, look, I can tell you that while Facebook is worried about privacy rules, for example, what they`re deathly afraid of is antitrust. The thing that would really end what they`re doing is to be broken up into smaller companies. They`re petrified of it. But until now, they were worried that the risk was coming from Republicans.
HAYES: Nick Confessore, great reporting. Thank you, sir.
Stick around, Ta-Nehisi Coates is here in studio to talk about the historic mid-terms and much more.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, you can see all sorts of crazy things on the channel we like to call Trump TV, especially as they and the boss struggle to deal with the terrible election results this week.
Here was a good one from last night. Laura Ingram using a nugget she found on The New York Times to slam the incoming class of House Democrats.
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LAURA INGRAM, FOX NEWS: Something that is good for the economy will not be good for the socialists led by Ocasio-Cortez. Any immigration reform will be rejected by the same cadre unless it abolishes ICE. And cooperation with red will be forbidden. Nancy Pelosi has inherited a load of unruly children. Good luck to her getting anything passed by her own people.
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HAYES: Huh, that`s an interesting bit of analysis from The New York Times. Wonder who wrote that? No, it actually isn`t analysis from The New York Times, no they`ve gone deep into the rando hot-takes of the website comments section to bring you autumnleaff -- two Fs -- with the perfect Ingram angle.
But if you think it`s just the people on the air you`ve got to see what`s been going on in the commercial breaks.
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ANNOUNCER: Storm is coming. You cannot defeat the storm. I am the storm. The great American grizzly. Introducing, the original Trumpy bear.
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HAYES: The truth about Trumpy bear is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Trump TV is fast becoming the full service channel for the MAGA cultists. And it`s not just the hackery on air, what is happening between the television segments is maybe even wilder. Consider this ad for Trump`s pick for speaker of the house.
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TRUMP: Jim Jordan, how great is he?
ANNOUNCER: Jim Jordan is great and we need him to be our next speaker of the house. It`s time for House Republicans to pick a new speaker who will support President Trump and fight for his agenda. Please call 800-825-2663 to sign the national petition supporting Jim Jordan for speaker.
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HAYES: And my question is, were they running the ad because Jordan was Trump`s favorite or was it the ad that convinced Trump that Jordan was his favorite? Either way, Kevin McCarthy was elected to lead the party today, not as speaker, we should note, in the minority. Sorry about that. But at least we still have Trumpy bear.
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ANNOUNCER: Storm is coming. You cannot defeat the storm. I am the storm. The great American grizzly. Introducing the original Trumpy bear. Just find the secret zipper and pull out the American flag-themed blanket, then wrap yourself in the red, white and blue for comfort and warmth.
Show your patriotism and proudly display Trumpy on any American holiday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God bless America and god bless Trumpy bear.
ANNOUNCER: Trumpy bear loves to cruise with his brother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a former Marine, and I`m proud to have Trumpy bear ride by my side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I ride with Trumpy bear, he makes my golf game great again. Thank you, Trumpy bear.
ANNOUNCER: Simply style his trademark hair and place him in his favorite chair. Even the toughest guys will love Trumpy bear. Order the super plus Trumpy bear for only two payments of $19.95.
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HAYES: Yes, that is a real commercial for a real product airing on Trump TV. A spokesperson for the company that owns the trademark on Trumpy bear told Snopes, quote, "no, this is not a joke." What is also not a joke is that all that weird storm is coming and grizzly bear stuff at the beginning is the exact language of the conspiracy cult QAnon, which has embraced Trump.
Now, if you`re lucky enough to come into possession of a Trumpy bear, you might be a little disappointed by some of the information disclosed on the tag. First, of course, it`s made in China. But also Trumpy bear is not for children under 12 years. Nothing Trumpy is.
HAYES: The president has backed down from waging rhetorical war with California as it burns. After a reported phone call from California congressman and soon to be Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday, Trump dropped his threat to withhold federal funding from California as it suffers the worst wildfires in history and instead approved the disaster declaration for the state.
Then today the White House released this photo of Trump receiving, quote, "the latest update on the devastating wildfires in California" while his Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke surveyed the damage with Governor Jerry Brown.
Now, the same Ryan Zinke who blamed the summer`s wildfires in California on, quote, "environmental terrorist groups" who he claimed were preventing the government from managing forests and are largely responsible for the severity of the fires.
Tonight the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, is just 35 percent contained. At least 48 people have been killed, dozens of people are still missing or unaccounted for, and in Southern California three people have lost their lives in the Woolsey Fire. It is only 47 percent contained.
HAYES: It is a fact of American politics right now that one party, the Republican Party, is overwhelmingly white, at least in its representation and its voters and its institutions, one party is not. It`s also a fact that one of the main thrusts of the Republican Party`s midterm strategy this year was rooted in bigotry and racism. The president spent the weeks before the midterms fanning the flames of racial fear by depicting Central American migrants as invading marauders.
And while that message may have motivated the Republican electorate, they still lost big. The new class of Democrats who were elected as a group that`s closer reflecting what America looks like than ever before. The question is, is this the start of something new in American politics or just a classic mid-course correction?
Joining me now is author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates whose most recent work "We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy" is not out in paperback. Great to you have you here, man.
TA-NEHISI COATES, AUTHOR: It`s great to be back.
HAYES: So, one of the essays in that book is called The First White President.
COATES: The last time I was here, was it to talk about that?
HAYES: It might have been.
COATES: I feel like we`re picking right up.
HAYES: Well, because in some ways it`s like a check-in on a bunch of the theses in that essay, which is that this is a man who harnessed the power of whiteness in a way no one had before, because no one had ever succeeded a black president. Where is that project now after these midterms?
COATES: I think it`s probably exactly where -- I`m trying to think of how to say this without sounding arrogant -- it`s about what I thought it would be.
COATES: You know, I think there`s quite a bit of research, you know, that`s come out since then. There`s Michael Tesler`s book, which you talked about on your podcast talking with Tesler. I think all of the research has pretty much undergirded that. But I think more importantly, the history was already there. It was quite clear.
So the expectation that Trump would be anything else I think is quite naive and goes against the data, goes against the history, and goes against his own actual biography.
HAYES: When you`re talking about the ways in which all this data, and Michael Tessler is a political scientist, I talked about with him on the podcast, about all the ways in which first Obama and then Trump in different ways, right, cultivated and activated white voters, racial anxieties, racial fears, racial...
COATES: Well, I just want to be clear about it, I don`t think Obama activated it -- he activated it by breathing.
HAYES: Right, yes.
COATES: And being president.
HAYES: He did not cultivate it, right.
COATES: Right, right, right, right, which is very different than what Trump did, which was an active attempt to stir it up. And in many ways, you know, I think was a kind of genius to Trump in the sense that for years, you know, it was this notion that the Republican Party was all these other things, it was a party of a kind of principled conservatism, free market politics, religion. And there are people who, you know, legitimate, serious people that believe in that. But Trump said, no, you`re this. This is your essence right here. This is your essence. And that`s what we see right now.
HAYES: Someone made the point the other day -- I think it was actually Salin Azedo (ph) who is a conservative writer, wrote that like Trump -- there is this sort of argument about whether Trump`s base is racist or not and said Trump clearly thinks they are. It is clearly Trump`s judgment that these people are racist, because look at the way he campaigns to them.
COATES: Right, right, no, it`s quite clear. And again, its a mistake, it`s not a shock. I think though maybe, like I feel like when I published that piece, there was still some debate. I think the debate is disappearing.
HAYES: I agree the debate is disappearing, but what I think is interesting about the midterms is it also shows there is a limitation to the electoral efficacy of that appeal.
COATES: Well, right now it is, right now it is. You know, I was looking at the results, you know, like I`ve been very encouraged, no matter what happens in Florida or Georgia by, you know, the campaign that Abrams ran and that Gillum ran. It was a very, very encouraging campaign, because I think, you know, they stood and said, this is who we are, and no matter what happens came damn close, like really, really close.
And so I think it`s a statement for folks of our political persuasion for how to proceed. But you can`t guarantee, if those governorships go the other way, that the election laws will be the same the next time. We just don`t know. I mean, I`ve been a skeptic of believing in demographics and OK well, we`ll just run this again. You just don`t know. You just don`t know if it is going to be the same.
HAYES: Well, it`s also the case, right, that nothing stays fixed in politics.
COATES: That`s right.
HAYES: Right, so one of the things in the south, and this is what I think is remarkable, Stacey Abrams who -- whether she wins or loses, has 200,000 more votes than the last person to try this. A white man James Carter with the most famous name in Democratic politics in the state, right. The legacy of the south is you can`t mobilize black voters without doing something else, which is mobilizing a lot of white voters too.
COATES: Right, right, that`s exactly it. That`s exactly it.
And so the optimistic piece of this would say, though, every year we get a little more browner, a little bit more blacker. But again, you can`t assume that the laws are going to stay fixed, though. And I think like when I think back to `08, how excited a lot of folks were about the president, the first black president. One of the great mistakes that was made was not to assume that there was going to be a response to this, that some people are going to see this -- and there are other people who, for instance, who are watching how close Gillum and Abrams got and are saying.
HAYES: And are thinking about.
COATES: And they are thinking, you know, about how to actually respond to that. And so I think folks should not sit pat.
HAYES: But the other part of that, too, is -- and I think this is the thing that`s been encouraging to me about the midterms, is that backlash works in both directions, which is that it`s also the case that there is a contingent of Americans who watch Donald Trump, and they`re the majority. I mean, if you look at the majority.
HAYES: I mean, if you look at the majority -- there`s a huge -- millions and millions of people watch this and think, yeah, this is awful, this is awful bigotry and racism, and not just people of color, but like white voters too.
COATES: But, you know, I have to tell you, I wonder if this is how bigotry and racism in particular, to some extent, always works. OK, so you need a critical mass of deep believers, you know, who are hardcore racists. But you don`t actually need the majority to be hard-core racists. What you need is for the majority to be willing to look the other way, you know.
And so you talk about, you know, say, segregation in the era of Jim Crow, you didn`t need the whole town to go to the lynching, you just needed a hard core group who felt that lynching had to happen, you know. And so I just -- I am always skeptical of these notions of progress. You know, I`m not saying you`re wrong, but I think it deserves some pushback.
HAYES: Yeah, I agree. And I think what`s unnerving in some ways is about the way in which he seems to recognize that you can cultivate a very powerful 38 percent of the country, 40 percent of the country, predominantly white, the data shows predominantly with racial attitudes that are fearful and prejudiced and skeptical, and wield that power. I mean, he seemed to get that.
COATES: So the question I have going forward, and I know you`ve dealt with this question quite a bit, is what does it mean for us as a democracy, when you only actually have to motivate a minority, you know what I mean, and nevertheless you can, you know, be in a situation where you get a Justice Kavanaugh, you know? Like there are results to this, where you can affect the Supreme Court, you know, in such a historic way.
You know, this white vote that Republicans have chased for years, you know, and by activating a minority -- you know, I agree with you I don`t think it`s actually the majority of Americans...
HAYES: It`s the power of that minority that they`ve activated.
COATES: So what does that mean for how we`re set up as an actual government.
HAYES: I want to -- I wanted to -- you know, there`s been this story about the way that he`s treated certain journalists, particularly black women for the last few weeks, you know, even by his standards I think particularly disgusting, if I can editorialize for a moment.
This moment I thought was really interesting in the context of what you`ve written about and about the data about people. This is him talking to Yamiche Alcindor and his response to her. Take a listen.
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YAMICHE ALCINDOR, JOURNALIST: On the campaign trail you called yourself a nationalist. Some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists. Now people are also saying...
TRUMP: I don`t know why you would say that. It`s such a racist question.
ALCINDOR: There are some people that say that now the Republican Party is seen as supporting white nationalists, because of your rhetoric. What do you make of that?
TRUMP: I don`t believe it. Well, I don`t know, why do I have my highest poll numbers ever with African-Americans?
That`s such a racist question. Honestly, I mean, I know you have it written down and you`re going to tell me -- let me tell you, that`s a racist question.
Excuse me, but to say what you said is so insulting to me. It`s a very terrible thing that you said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s a racist question. What`s going on there?
COATES: Well, I mean, it combines Donald Trump`s two great loves, racism and misogyny. So, that`s the first thing that`s going on. The second thing is one of the highlights of white supremacy as a force and racism as a force is this kind of truculent objecting. How dare you. You`re a racist for actually even imply that, you know, something I said might have been m racist.
So, I mean, it`s typical Trump. I mean, you know, for Yamiche and for the other black women who have been insulted like this over the past week, while it is, you know, completely predictable, I still think it`s absolutely outrageous and disgusting and I think that needs to be said.
HAYES: Yeah, Ta-Nehisi Coates, thank you so much for coming in.
COATES: Thanks for having me, Chris.
HAYES: Also, thank you for being our first guest of the first ever live recording of our podcast, Why is This Happening? Which I`m really looking forward to. Even though tickets to the event are sold out -- sorry about that -- we`re hoping we can do more shows like this in the future.
Of course we will pulse that conversation in the coming weeks if you aren`t able to make it, along with some other great guests we have lined up, including one of our most requested guests ever. Make sure you`re subscribed now.
Don`t forget to check out our newest episode with Maya Sen and Matthew Blackwell about their amazing research into the way slavery continues to this day to shape modern American political life.
As always, you can find it on TuneIn or wherever you normally get your podcasts.
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