CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: There will be a time when the whole country will learn whether we are in fact one country or simply a battling pair of tribes each honoring its own truth ignoring all else. That`s what I fear. And that`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m not concerned about anything with the Russia investigation because it`s a hoax.
HAYES: Donald Trump`s answers to Robert Mueller are leaked.
TRUMP: We want to find the collusion.
HAYES: And the Trump lawyers now admit Paul Manafort and Jerome Corsi were informants inside the Mueller probe.
PAUL MANAFORT, CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: That`s what I said, that`s obviously what our position is.
HAYES: Tonight, what Donald Trump is claiming in his answers and the next moves for Mueller as an ongoing conspiracy to undermine the special counsel comes into focus. Then --
TRUMP: I don`t know Matt Whitaker.
HAYES: Renewed concern about the acting Attorney General as Republicans block a bill to protect Mueller. And today`s stunning rebuke of the President`s support for Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Khashoggi murder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a president who is part of the cover-up.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. There`s right now it appears an ongoing conspiracy to undermine Robert Mueller`s investigation and it is being conducted in plain sight by the President and his legal team. Now, publicly President Donald Trump has been doing everything he can to diminish the credibility of that investigation and he just keeps ratcheting up the pressure.
Today, he brought a series of frankly unhinged tweets including a retreat of a weird troll account today from the Trump train in which the President accused his own Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and many others of the capital crime with treason. You see Rosenstein there behind bars. That`s what the President has been doing publicly but what Trump and his team have been doing behind the scenes appears to be even more sinister.
Let`s start with Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman who has been convicted of multiple felonies and currently sits in jail had a plea deal to cooperate with Mueller`s investigation. But according to Mueller as of a filing this week, Manafort has been lying to the government. And now, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has confirmed Manafort was actually acting as a kind of mole the whole time and feeding inside information to Trump.
Giuliani telling the A.P. that Manafort`s legal team shares with me the things that pertain to our part of the case. Now, Manafort did have a joint defense agreement with Trump which allowed both parties to share information. But that agreement should have ended when Manafort cut his plea deal and started working with the feds. Instead, Manafort seems to have pretended to cooperate with the government while secretly feeding information back to Trump and his legal team.
We don`t know why he would do that. It doesn`t make much sense unless of course, the President promised him a pardon. And today right on cue, Trump pointedly said a pardon for Manafort remained a possibility telling the New York Post I wouldn`t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?
Manafort apparently wasn`t the only person feeding information about the Mueller investigation back to the president. Conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, a key Mueller witness who allegedly passed information WikiLeaks, the Trump campaign, also appears to have been in on it. Giuliani telling the Wall Street Journal that, get this, Trump`s legal team received a packet of court papers two weeks ago relating to Corsi. The details of which reportedly infuriated the President.
Remember, all of this was happening his Trump and his legal team were crafting the written answers to Mueller`s questions that they submitted last week. Today, NBC News confirmed two of Trumps answers. Two sources telling NBC News that Trump claimed that one he was not told beforehand about that now infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Don Jr. and a Russian attorney offering dirt on Hillary Clinton from of the Russian government.
And two, that his former campaign adviser Roger Stone did not pass along information about WikiLeaks and the e-mail stolen by the Russian government. Notably, the sources who communicated this information to our reporter said the Trump answered: "to the best of his recollection."
Joining me now NBC News National Security Contributor Frank Figliuzzi who was Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the FBI under Robert Mueller, also with me MSNBC Legal Analyst Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Frank, I want to start with you. There`s a new story just out in the last few minutes in the Wall Street Journal with some more details. According to sources close will have knowledge we don`t know whether who they and where they`re from but that Manafort lied about his business dealings particularly with the Konstantin Kilimnik who is his sort of associate and deputy who worked in Ukraine who`s now fled back to Russia, who has been indicted by Robert Mueller and who`s believed to have ties or does have ties to Russian intelligence. What do you make of that?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I -- so while I`m just hearing the report now Chris, this makes sense to me and here`s why. I`ve been struggling in the past 48 hours to figure out what has motivated Manafort beyond a mere promise of a pardon. Because remember, the state prosecutors can go after him on these guilty pleas that he`s filed with the federal court so there`s something more going on and this may be it.
It`s hiding the deep, deep relationship with Russia and when it started and when they assembly owned Manafort, and whether or not he was directed into the campaign or whether he was an opportunistic co-optee of the intelligence services. I think this is at the root of what Manafort is trying to hide.
HAYES: You know, we should just hit for some background there that Oleg Deripaska, of course, the very Putin aligned Russian oligarch that -- who was paying Paul Manafort, who one point sued Paul Manafort because he said he stole essentially $20 million and then got rid of the debt, that it was when Paul Manafort got the job, he e-mails Konstantin Kilimnik to be like, hey, has Oleg Deripaska seen this. How could we use this to get whole? So that`s the context there for what you`re saying, Frank.
Let me ask you this, Barbara. This arrangement that`s not coming into light, right, where Manafort has got a joint defense agreement agrees to cooperate, kind of half cooperates but he`s talking -- he`s reporting back to the Trump -- have you ever heard of anything like that?
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: No, I really haven`t. It`s -- you know, I don`t -- I`ve read the plea agreement. It doesn`t explicitly say and don`t tell you know, the subjects of the investigation what we`re talking about but it seems so implicit in the very idea of cooperation. I have not seen this before. You typically agree to cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly.
And you know, that means that you`ve got to be all-in as you might say. You -- the idea that you are then feeding information back to the other side, you know, sometimes people use the term flipping. It means you flip person from one side to the other. Sometimes people refer to it as signing up for Team USA. And so to share information with the other side is really certainly at least contrary to the spirit of a cooperation agreement and depending on what their intent was and how much information that evolves, I think you could even make a case potentially for obstruction of justice here if they were intending to undermine the investigation by sharing information.
HAYES: Yes, my colleagues here at NBC today publishing a piece about the possibility that depending on what the details of this are, that it was obstruction of justice, a Ken Dilanian piece. Cooperation being Trump- Manafort camp raise a specter of obstruction of justice.
Frank, what do you make of it also given -- one more detail I want to add to what Barbara said, the Rick Gates plea agreement did have a gag order. There was a stipulation in Rick Gates who is, of course, Manafort`s deputy that he not talk about anything. That gag order was not in the Manafort plea just as a sort of thing to note. But what do you think about this arrangement?
FIGLIUZZI: So I think we have to be careful here because what we`re perhaps implying here is that maybe this was deliberate. And I just don`t see Mueller operating that way. It`s -- it would involve him anticipating this leakage. It wouldn`t involve him perhaps knowing that Manafort is going to be doing this and then trying to trap him at it. I`m not certain that`s what we`re doing here. I think we may have a misstep where that was not inserted in this language.
But I will tell you this. At the point when the Special Counsel team recognized that Manafort was not cooperating, that he was lying, that he was going back to the Trump camp, now I`ve got a question in my mind whether they played a masterful chess game and let him lie and lie and asked him some questions that may have misled him and caused him to perhaps cause Trump to supply written responses to Mueller that were erroneously relying upon bad info for a Manafort. That would not be out of the question.
HAYES: Well, Barbara we`ve got these two answers from the President on two key questions. Did he have knowledge of that meaning in Trump Tower and did he talk to Roger Stone about WikiLeaks. The best of his recollection seems like a key aspect of this as we go forward.
MCQUADE: Yes, and you know, no doubt this is a language that the lawyers inserted. You know, there was talk about he answered these questions himself and that this is the downside of using written questions as opposed to sitting him down and asking him questions on the spot where he doesn`t know what question is coming and you can ask him the question.
And so it allows him some wiggle room because if they come up with some smoking guns, some document, some reporting, some eyewitness who says I was at the meeting and I told them and he said this is the greatest news I`ve ever heard, then he could just simply say oh, you know, now I remember but I didn`t remember then or maybe it happened and I just don`t remember it so it gives them that wiggle room.
HAYES: That precise thing is happening with Jerome Corsi who is a figure in all this as we speak basically saying oh yes, I forgot about all that. Frank Figliuzzi and Barbara McQuade, thank you both for being with me.
MCQUADE: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: For more of the big picture on the Mueller probe let`s bring in MSNBC Political Analyst David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones, Jonathan Chait who covers politics for York Magazine. And David, I want to talk about Corsi now because he is -- he is acting in a bizarre manner. He seems to be caught dead to rights having lied, obscured, or omitted in his conversations with Mueller. He is sort of making available to journalists what his sort of criminal plea, right, and the information. It appears he may be sent it to the president a few weeks ago before anyone else knew about it. What is going on to your mind here?
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think a key thing to keep in mind, Chris, as you know, Jerome Corsi is a conspiracy theorist. He is -- he has said in the past that 9/11 was an inside job, he was a birther, he worked with Infowars and Alex Jones, so you really have to wonder what is his ability to assess truth, to know facts, to know reality? Is he too deep into that swamp?
But he, Roger Stone, and a guy named Randy Credico who Roger Stone said told him about WikiLeaks, all of them are out there saying well yes, I lied. I lied to my friends, I`d lie to the public, but the only time I never lied was when I was before the grand jury and now they`re coming after me even though I`ve publicly admitted that I am a liar.
I have to believe that Robert Mueller knows exactly what happened between all these guys and he`s building a case, and now course he`s out there peddling a sob story that he`s being unfairly targeted and talking about getting a pardon from his former friend Donald Trump. You know, ultimately this will sort itself out because he can`t believe anything that he, Roger Stone, and now Randy Credico are telling us when they`re trying to save their backside.
HAYES: Yes. Let me -- Jonathan, I want to play you in exchange between Corsi and Ari Melber today. It`s on this -- on this question here at 6:00 p.m. that aired. Basically, the story is I was lying and forgetful then but I`m on it now. I`m truthful now. Take a listen.
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ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You had led them to believe that you did not have contact with someone on behalf of Roger Stone when you did.
CORSI: The first day the statement I gave was wrong.
MELBER: Wrong. OK.
CORSI: OK. And it was wrong because I forgot the e-mail that they`re referring to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The reason I think this is relevant is I think we`re going to see a lot more of this as more facts come out.
JONATHAN CHAIT, WRITER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: You might be right. I mean, Corsi`s original story was completely preposterous. He said that he only seemed to know that WikiLeaks have all these information about Hillary Clinton because he had been conducting this masterful forensic analysis of computer documents where he studied the entire pattern of the Democratic Party`s computers and figured it out what was missing and what was the next thing that dropped, but he also said that he`s like this forgetful old man who doesn`t remember anything. So like this like near senile old man was somehow you know in this studio with thousands of pages of documents piecing it together. I mean it was totally ludicrous. And then it was all blown up by this by this court document that basically shows the e-mails he got from Roger Stone saying you know, go meet with Assange and find out what he has.
HAYES: David, you wrote -- you and Michael Isikoff co-wrote a book about sort of a lot of this about the sort of the web of ties. What do you feel like you`re learning right now as these developments happen in quick succession?
CORN: You know, that it was in some ways more of a clown show than we -- than we thought. There were more people involved with the lying and -- but you know, I don`t mean that to diminish what they did. Remember, throughout the August, September and up into the election period, the Trump campaign and Roger Stone we`re both out there amplifying and echoing Russian disinformation.
By this point in time they`ve been reported that the Russians that hack the DNC, had leaked the material but Roger Stone is out there in the conservative media and Donald Trump is out there in front of all of us saying it`s not the Russians, it`s not the Russians at all, it`s a hoax which is what the Russians were saying. So that I think is a key element to all this that these guys are trying to escape.
HAYES: And in fact, Jonathan, this is a good catch from The Daily Beast. You know, one of the -- one of the e-mails from Corsi is he`s talking about time to let more than Podesta be exposed as in bed with enemy if they`re not ready to drop HRC. That appears to be the game the hackers are now about. The hackers. He and Stone and a huge part of the right-wing media including Sean Hannity and others essentially libeled a dead staffer named Seth Rich for being the cause of these leaks when here Corsi is giving away the game that he knew it was hacked.
CHAIT: He knew. And I think that that bears on David`s original point like Corsi being a conspiracy theorist. He is a conspiracy theorist but he`s also you know was a deliberate one, a sticky one. He doesn`t necessarily believe all the lies he peddles for political purposes. So I think we have to be pretty cynical about the game he`s playing.
HAYES: I love the fact that this guy -- I mean this is Swift Boat Veterans For Truth co-author Jerome Corsi, Birther (INAUDIBLE), Jerome Corsi, and now at the center of this, Jerome Corsi. It`s quite a through-line David Corn, Jonathan Chait, thanks for being with me.
CORN: Thank you.
CHAIT: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: And joining me now Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, what do you --
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Hi, Chris.
HAYES: What do you think of the President`s tweets this morning?
SPEIER: I think the President is continuing in his path to try and undermine the Mueller investigation. I think what you just went through with Mr. Corsi -- I mean, that was part of a cesspool. They were all let loose by the Trump campaign to peddle the Russian propaganda and I have no doubt in my mind that we will at some point when the Mueller investigation is over be able to -- the dots all in a row and draw a line through them. There is clearly conspiracies all over the map here.
HAYES: There`s a sort of interesting moment of kind of constitutional peril right now which is this lame-duck session that the President has a unified government. Republicans control both Houses. Democrats like yourself will take over in January. What is the plan or what is your assessment of where things stand vis a vis this period of peril one which you don`t have any actual power until January?
SPEIER: Well, it is a you know, very crucial time. And obviously, we`re being very observant. I don`t believe that there will be an effort to shut down the Mueller investigation during this period of time. Maybe I`m being optimistic and not cynical enough but I do think that there is so much going on here in the halls of Congress just with leadership battles and trying to see if you can get a continuing resolution to keep the government open and some funding for a wall that I think that -- I think they`re going to stare very clear of trying to shut down the Mueller investigation.
HAYES: So you think -- that`s interesting. So your assessment is that they are sort of politically astute enough not to lob a huge Molotov cocktail on the Capitol Hill with some wild action vis a vis this investigation?
SPEIER: Well, that`s my take at the moment.
HAYES: Well, you`re there. I mean --
SPEIER: I want to withhold as the next week. Who knows what will happen next week. But right now I don`t anticipate that that would be one of the things that will happen.
HAYES: You are -- if I`m not mistaken you are on the House Intelligence Committee, correct?
SPEIER: That`s correct.
HAYES: There`s sort of the beginnings of percolations about you know, what that committee is going to do. Are you -- is that -- is the committee members meeting and thinking about what that agenda looks like in January?
SPEIER: Well, we`ve had a couple of meetings but we have not yet formulated what that agenda is going to look like except to the point that we believe very strongly that the report was put out prematurely, that it was not completed. We want to go back and have persons that were interviewed come back before us who may have perjured themselves.
We want to subpoena documents that were never subpoenaed by the Republicans although they have suggests that they would subpoena them. We want to know who that blocked call was between -- that Don Junior had on his phone. Those are the kinds of things that we really need to still get to the bottom of.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you so much your time tonight.
SPEIER: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, renewed concern over the man President Trump hand-picked to oversee the Mueller probe. The damage acting Attorney General Matt Whittaker could do to the Special Counsel`s investigation after these two minutes.
HAYES: We`ve talked about how possibly illegal back channels between Paul Manafort, Jerome Corsi, and Donald Trump could undermine the Mueller investigation but there`s another insider who could do even more damage and that, of course, is the Acting Attorney General of the United States, Matthew Whitaker. It has been now exactly three weeks since President Trump appointed Whitaker who had been openly critical of the Special Counsel investigation as a temporary replacement for Jeff Sessions the president fired.
Now, Trump has not yet put forward a permanent candidate. He`s not nominated an actual replacement. The Justice Department said Whitaker was consulting ethics officials weeks ago about whether he needed to recuse himself from the Mueller probe. There has been nothing said publicly since then. Whitaker`s hands are just one question per reporter in his three- week tenure about a visit to JFK Airport. It took him two weeks to release his financial disclosure forms and he revised those forms at least five times since his appointment.
Yesterday the President`s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Wall Street Journal that two weeks ago an anonymous person sent court papers including Jerome Corsi`s draft plea document to Trump`s legal team. While Whitaker hasn`t taken any public action to hinder Robert Mueller`s investigation, the uncertainty surrounding the Acting Attorney General`s level of involvement has done nothing to alleviate concerns. He is only in his role to protect the president.
Here you give us some perspective, Nancy Gertner former Federal Judge and Maya Wiley former U.S. Attorney, now Senior Vice President for Social Justice at The New School and an MSNBC Legal Analyst. It -- there is no precedent for what is going on with Matthew Whitaker. This -- how significant do you think it is that there has been no nominee and the President saying today he`s in no rush.
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I think it`s clear that the president is quite comfortable with his acting U.S. Attorney -- by the way, you gave me a promotion, Chris, but that`s --
HAYES: Assistant U.S. Attorney. Sorry -- yes.
WILEY: I think he`s quite happy with his acting senior law enforcement officer for the country who has made it clear that he will be loyal to the president, who auditioned for the job on CNN essentially making the kinds of statements that would catch Trump`s attention and make him an attractive candidate for the administration, making specific statements that the Mueller investigation shouldn`t look at the family, shouldn`t follow the money, fill in the blank. But why should he nominate anyone else? He`s perfectly comfortable with the person he has. And it`s been the first time for him since Jeff Sessions recused himself that he feels he has the person who will protect himself -- protect him.
Now, obviously, I`m saying that as a subjective but the objective evidence makes it very difficult to lead to any other conclusion. Now, one thing is important to note, Donald Trump does have 210 days under the Vacancy Act.
WILEY: So he does --
HAYES: There`s a time limit.
WILEY: There is a time limit, but you know, this is why would he make a change? It`s not in his interest.
HAYES: You know, there`s also the fact that he said -- I mean you -- he would consult the Ethics Department at the DOJ about whether he should recuse, given everything he said.
NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: Right.
HAYES: And today Kerri Kupec who`s the new spokesperson there just says no comment. Like he`s the Acting Attorney General of the United States, we should hear something about this right?
GERTNER: Well, step back a little bit. Sessions recused himself because he had met -- he had met with the Russian Ambassador --
HAYES: Sergey Kislyak.
GERTNER: That`s right. And had not disclosed it. This guy is talking about real bias. Sessions recused himself because of the appearance of bias.
GERTNER: You`re talking about manifests, things that he said with respect to the very investigation that he is -- that he is in charge of. So if there`s if Session should have recused himself as we say in the law, a fortiori of course, he should have recused himself.
HAYES: Well, there`s also the fact that the Department of Justice seems to be -- I have to say, I mean, obviously that`s a sprawling endeavor and they`re running cases in all sorts of places. But in a lot of high-profile litigation, it`s kind of a train wreck right now. I mean --
GERTNER: That`s right. Oh no, every criminal defendant, everyone who has Sessions and now the Acting Attorney General`s a name on that paper are saying that there -- that the government isn`t authorized to take the steps that they`re taking not just because of recusal but because of the constitutional challenges to Whitaker as well which is -- which are winding their way through the courts.
HAYES: Right. There`s -- I think I forget there`s four or five lawsuits against him as of now.
WILEY: And there will be more. I would predict that we`re not going to see anything other than a bunch of filings in individual cases where defendants say sorry, you don`t have the authority to sign this paper.
GERTNER: There`s also this -- why he isn`t nominating someone new, so he actually nominated someone for the real position that was qualified, it would make Whitaker`s lack of qualifications all more clear.
HAYES: Right. It would also sort of -- it would also be shadowing him and sort of lame-duck-afy him.
HAYES: Yes, I made that up on the spot. But I do think -- I mean, there`s a question of how much damage you could do in the short period of time right? I mean, in some ways we just watch Manafort do this very weird think where he cooperated and he went over and then he was like feeding stuff back to the President and then that ended. It`s like OK, fine, sentence me now. Like there`s seems a little parallel with like what is Whitaker -- what can he do in this period?
WILEY: He can. You know, obviously, there`s been a lot of discussion about you know, whether or not he could impact the budget and kind of tie the --
WILEY: -- and squeeze Robert Mueller. I`m much more concerned that remember that when Robert Mueller makes a decision like whether to indict someone new for example, now that Paul Manafort has done this, it`s not just a question of whether -- of his sentencing, oh that`s one question. He`s just going to go to prison for a long time. Nothing stops Robert Mueller from saying he has new indictments for new charges against -- we don`t know. It`s the last thing he does. But say he did, he would have to essentially go to Whitaker to say I have additional charges I want to bring.
GERTNER: He would go to Rosenstein.
WILEY: Well, he`d go to Rosenstein but my point is Whitaker is the person who has the authority --
HAYES: Right. He`s not more recuse from overseeing him. Right.
WILEY: He`s no longer recused so that he technically could say I don`t think this is within your mandate.
HAYES: Right or use subpoenas or things like that.
WILEY: Or I think you have -- you have to go back and get more evidence. I don`t think there`s sufficient evidence. He could slow it down sufficiently even without saying no and that I think it`s real concerned. But I do think the interesting question would be what would people do? Would they resign, would they leak, would they -- because that really would be a constitutional crisis in my view.
HAYES: What do you think?
GERTNER: Well, I mean, I think -- I think that`s right. I mean, if he intervene particularly given what he has been saying, you know, I also worry about leaking information. We talked about Manafort leaking the information -- not leaking telling them about the information that he knew from questioning of Manafort, I wonder about Whitaker`s access to any of the investigation. Now, I`m going to assume that a special counsel has his own sources of information and that there`s not a one-to-one a relationship. But that would be part of it. That would be -- that would be a concern.
HAYES: Yes, he could just called out the White House. Nancy Gertner and Maya Wiley, thank you both for coming by.
GERTNER: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, Senator Chris Murphy on the bipartisan rebuke of the White House today in the wake of the Khashoggi murder. He`ll explain right after this.
HAYES: It was a rather busy day in the senate this afternoon, an attempt to force a vote on the bill to protect Robert Mueller from being fired was blocked for the second time in as many months. The bill would have required the attorney general to provide a reason for firing Mueller. This time Senator Mike Lee of Utah was the Republican who blocked the bill, claiming it was unconstitutional.
Also today, Republicans narrowly advance the nomination of lawyer Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. district court. Farr is known for helping to write North Carolina`s voter ID law, which according to a federal appeals court targeted African-Americans, quote, "with almost surgical precision."
And in what is a huge rebuke to the administration as the Senate voted to advance a resolution that would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Joining me now to talk more about all this on this busy day, Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the foreign relations committee, co-sponsor of that bill to end the U.S.`s role in the war on Yemen. I want to get to that.
First, I want to start with Thomas Farr, extremely controversial nominee, squeaked by, it was a procedural vote, the final vote is tomorrow. 50/50, Pence breaks the tie, What do you think of the chances tomorrow? What do you think the case against him?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, (D) CONNECTICUT: Well, it looks like a lot of this rides, unfortunately, on Republican one senator, Tim Scott of Georgia -- South Carolina, excuse me, who was convinced at the very last minute to vote on the procedural motion who has not committed as to how he`ll vote tomorrow.
As you mentioned this is the author of North Carolina`s law to keep African-Americans from voting, but it`s also -- this is also the guy who sat with Jesse Helms to come up with a plan to send out postcards to African-American voters telling them that they might be arrested if they showed up to vote in one of Senator Helm`s elections.
So, he has a long, long history of essentially leading efforts to try to keep African-Americans from the polls. And I would hope that he does not have the votes tomorrow to actually get to final passage, even if he just limped across the procedural finish line today.
HAYES: So you think it`s still an open question?
MURPHY: I think it`s absolutely an open question. Again, probably sits on the shoulders of Tim Scott. I wish it wasn`t his burden to bear. But he`s got a tough decision to make tonight.
HAYES: I should note that two black women were nominated by Barack Obama, President Obama, to fill this district court position, both were blocked by Republicans. This is who they`re trying to replace them with, just so folks know that.
That Yemen vote today was remarkable, 63-37. Again, procedural. What do you think the significance of what happened today, what happened there?
MURPHY: Well, you know, this is the fourth vote that we`ve taken over the past three years to try to put an end to the U.S. participation in the civil war in Yemen. Just let`s go over the data here, 85,000 kids have died from starvation or disease, three quarters of the population can`t live without humanitarian assistance, the world`s worst ever cholera outbreak. All of this is caused by a bombing campaign the United States supports.
Today, 63 senators, 14 Republicans, voted to move forward on the debate to end U.S. participation in that war. It`s a clear signal to the administration that Republicans and Democrats are furious about the Trump administration`s embrace of Saudi Arabia, at the very moment when their foreign policy is going off the rails.
And my read of the Republican vote today is that they are trying to send a signal to the president that if he doesn`t effectively change U.S. policy to Saudi Arabia over the weekend, then they are going to move this resolution to a final vote next week, which would then set up the potential that congress actually does force the administration to pull out of the civil war in Yemen.
So I think Republicans are trying to put this back on the administration`s plate this weekend. We will see if they come up with any reorientation of their policy towards Saudi Arabia that changes this debate next week.
HAYES: There`s a brewing geopolitical crisis between Russia and Ukraine. This is something you have been very invested in. You`ve gone to Ukraine with the late John McCain. You were there together. You`ve been invested this that country`s territorial integrity as Russia came and took Crimea and has fighters in the Donbass region in the east.
What do you make of this current moment?
MURPHY: Well, so this is obviously a serious provocation. I think it`s designed, in part, to test whether the Trump administration is willing to do the things necessary to defend Ukraine`s sovereignty.
But one of my worries is that we tend to view this war between Ukraine and Russia through a purely military lens. And so we pay attention when there`s a flare-up along the fault lines on land or when there is this confrontation at sea. Every single day Russia is actively engaged in trying to destroy the Ukrainian government, whether it be through intimidation, graft and bribery, whether it be through cyberattacks, whether it be through economic boycotts. Russia, every single day, is trying to destroy Ukraine so that ultimately the Ukrainian government will decide it`s better off if we just cut a deal with Russia and get back under their thumb.
The Trump administration, and congress, frankly, is not doing what it needs to do in order to support Ukraine politically, economically. And so I worry that we`re going to get distracted, we`re going to have a quick response to this flare-up at sea and then we`re going to go back to ignoring what the Russians are doing to try to cripple the Ukrainian government, which may end up in Ukraine deciding to get back into Russia`s orbit.
So, we`ve got to be vigilant about this every single day, not just when the military confrontations get to a point where the news starts to pay attention again.
HAYES: Do you think the president should cancel the meeting with Putin in a week`s time?
MURPHY: No. I mean, I think the president should be meeting with Putin and telling him what the consequences will be if he keeps this up. So, I don`t know, you will just give Putin a little bit of extra at the G-20 summit. It doesn`t really actually cause any harm to the Kremlin by telling him we`re not going to talk.
HAYES: All right, Senator Chris Murphy, thank you for taking the time.
HAYES: Still ahead, the sponsor of that Yemen bill we just talked about, Senator Bernie Sanders joins me coming up.
Plus, a presidential gut check. That`s tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, 13 years ago last month a new show began on Comedy Central called The Colbert Report. It was modeled after cable news politics shows, and it was hosted by an absurd conservative character who explained on the first episode why you`ve got to listen to your gut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: That`s where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen, the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your stomach than in your head? Look it up. Now somebody`s going to say I did look that up and it`s wrong. Well, mister, that`s because you looked it up in a book. Next time try looking it up in your gut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, obviously that is satire, not to be taken seriously in any way. And then we elected Donald Trump. Quote, "I have a gut," said the president of the United States at The Washington Post" yesterday, "and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else`s brain can ever tell me."
Yes, the president`s gut might be even smarter than his brain.
Tonight, we present Trump`s scientific analysis of the Earth`s climate. And you can decide if it came from his brain, his gut or somewhere else. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: The most powerful man in America, and probably the world, shared some thoughts yesterday on the single largest threat placing the planet and humankind, perhaps ever in history: climate change. Quote, and I`m going to read it, "one of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence, but we`re not necessarily such believers. You look at our air, and our water and it`s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including just many other places the air is incredibly dirty. And when you`re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small and it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific. It flows. And we say where does this come from? And it takes many people to start off with. Number two, if you go back and look at articles they talked about global freezing. They talked about at some point the planets could have freeze to death, then it`s going to die of heat exhaustion. There is movement in the atmosphere. There`s no question. As to whether or not it`s man-made and whether or not the effects that you`re talking about are there, I don`t see it, not nearly like it is. Do we want clean water? Absolutely. Do we want clean air to breathe? Absolutely. The fire in California where I was, if you looked at the floor, the floor of the fire, they have trees that were fallen. They did no forest management, no forest maintenance and you could take a match like this and light a tree trunk when that thing is laying there for more than 14 or 15 months, it`s a massive problem in California."
Sometimes it`s amusing to hear the unintelligible nonsense that comes from the gut or the brain of this president. If you care about the life of this planet, our future, our children`s future, what we just heard should be terrifying to you.
HAYES: Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a resident of the United States, was murdered by Saudi Arabians on the direct orders of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: that is what our CIA has concluded with a high degree of confidence, and that is therefore what the director of the CIA would have told the Senate today under oath had she been allowed to testify. But on order from the White House she was directed not to show up.
There`s a palpable air of desperation from a flailing Trump administration as the president and his advisers and cabinet attempt to justify willfully ignore the hard evidence in the Khashoggi murder right in front of you. Witness this incredible moment yesterday with National Security Adviser John Bolton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That audio intelligence of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, have you heard that tape?
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: No, I haven`t listened to it. And I guess I should ask you, why do you think I should? What do you think I`ll learn from it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you`re the national security adviser, you might have access to that sort of intelligence.
BOLTON: How many in this room speak Arabic?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t have access to an an interpreter?
BOLTON: You want me to listen to it? What am I going to learn from it? If they were speaking Korean I wouldn`t learn anymore from it either.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, an interpreter would be able to tell you...
BOLTON: Well, then I can read a transcript, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Today, the senate began a series of votes as we noted on a resolution to end U.S. support of Saudi Arabia`s morally odious war in Yemen. According to basically every NGO monitoring the situation, including I should note, that the Trump appointed head of the UN World Food Program, that war is threatening the starvation of 14 million people, the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in decades.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis went to Capitol Hill today to give senators a closed door briefing in order to stave off a rebellion from senators, but the chair for CIA Director Gina Haspel sat empty, to the dismay of senators on both sides of the aisle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROINA: I am not going to be denied the ability to be briefed by the CIA, that we have oversight of.
SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: We were told in this briefing, that it was the direction of the White House that she not attend.
SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: Like most in the room, was disappointed that Gina Haspel was not there.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R) ARIZONA: Nobody was happy that she wasn`t there, put it that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The senate resolution to debate the bill to end American support for Saudi War in Yemen was passed 63-37, a stunning rebuke of the president. And that bill was introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders who joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: I changed my mind, because I`m pissed.
The aid we provide to Saudi Arabia in Yemen would require an authorization to use military force.
Having said that, the way the administration has handled Saudi Arabia then is just not acceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Senator Lindsey Graham explaining why he switched his position and voted yes to debating a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen, a resolution co-sponsored by one Republican Mike Lee of Utah and introduced by independent senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. And Senator Sanders joins me now.
You got passed the procedural hurdle today. Explain what happened today.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: What happened is by a very good vote, we got this resolution discharged from the foreign relations committee. My expectation is that next week, there will be the vote on final passage. And I think we will lose a number of the Republicans who voted with us today, but I hope and believe we have the 51 votes that we`ll need to finally get the United States out of this disastrous and destructive war in Yemen.
HAYES: What exactly would this resolution do? What would it require?
SANDERS: What it would do is end U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen. As you mentioned, Chris, and I think a lot of Americans don`t know this, we are looking at the worst humanitarian crisis on the face of the Earth. 85,000 children have already starved to death, and what the UN is telling us is that millions more may starve in the imminent future. We`re looking at 10,000 new cases of cholera every single week.
And all of this has been brought upon by the Saudi-led invasion that took place three years ago, of which we are a part. And it seems pretty clear to me, and I guess a majority of the members of the Senate, that the United States should not be following the lead of a despotic, authoritarian government in Saudi Arabia, who are engaged in a very adventuristic military effort, which should end as soon as possible.
HAYES: The last time this came up on the floor, I think you got 44 votes and it failed.
SANDERS: That`s right.
HAYES: I wonder how much after what has happened with Khashoggi has altered the trajectory. They don`t relate to each other in any direct way, except for the fact that it`s Mohammed bin Salman who directed the killing of Khashoggi and the cover-up of it and is also directing this war in Yemen.
SANDERS: I think that murder of Khashoggi kind of exposed to every member of the senate just how reckless and cruel and despotic the Saudi regime is. And I think that played a significant factor, was a significant factor in us getting the vote we got today.
But I will tell you that I think more and more senators understand that the constitution of the United States is pretty clear, it is the congress that is authorized to make war, not a president of the United States. And I think you`re seeing Democrats and Republicans want to take back that constitutional responsibility, which we have abdicated for a very long time.
HAYES: The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been out front in advocating against this resolution, and for a partnership with Saudi Arabia, no matter what they did with Khashoggi. He referred to critics, who were upset about that murder of an American resident journalist as caterwauling.
He came today to brief members of the U.S. Senate. Was he persuasive?
SANDERS: Well, I guess not. I think we started the day with, I think, 52 or 53 votes, and we ended up with 63 votes. So I guess it wasn`t terribly effective.
But at the end of the day, I think there is growing antagonism in congress, and in this country, against the kind of despotic rule and arrogance that we`re seeing from Saudi Arabia.
HAYES: I want to give you the argument -- this is a tweet from Pompeo, but it`s broadly the argument of those who support U.S. backing of the Saudi regime. This is the tweet: "Iran`s regime has no interest in easing Yemeni`s suffering. The mullahs don`t even care for ordinary Iranians. Saudi Arabia has invested billions to relieve suffering in Yemen, Iran has invested zero." That`s a reference to the idea that Iran is backing the Houthi rebels who are one party in this war with the Saudi-backed forces. What do you say?
SANDERS: Well, what the secretary forgot to tell us that it was Saudi Arabia that intervened in this civil war in Yemen, that has caused this humanitarian disaster.
HAYES: They are currently, we should say, blocking a port in Hodeidah that is a huge part of why there is such starvation on the precipice.
Do you think you can win this? I mean, the question is what is the administration going to do -- Mitch McConnell and the administration are going to get their heads together and try to do something to kill this in the next week.
SANDERS: This is what I think, we have come a very long way since March when Senator Lee and I got 44 votes. I think now we have virtually the entire Democratic caucus, which is 49 votes. I think we can count on half a dozen Republicans.
HAYES: Yeah, those numbers look pretty good from what I saw today, particularly with Jack Reed and others signing on. Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you.
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