Democrats still weighing impeachment. TRANSCRIPT: 5/17/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Marcy Wheeler, Quinta Jurecic, Al Green, Marc Caputo, Basil Smikle,Danielle Moodie-Mills, Waleed Shahid

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  One that the Democratic candidate all them -- and also Donald should watch because what the voters talked about last night is important to all Americans Democrats, Republicans and other people.  You can catch The Deciders, by the way, tomorrow night.  There it is.  7:00 p.m. Eastern Saturday night right here on MSNBC.  You hear the people, not just the politicians.  That`s HARDBALL.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight on ALL IN.

BILL BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES:  My understanding is that Chairman Nadler is talking this over with Bob Mueller.

HAYES:  As Democrats wait for Robert Mueller.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The Mueller report was great

HAYES:  Tonight exploring the mountains of evidence of presidential malfeasance hiding in plain sight.  Then, Congressman Al Green on his call for impeachment and how 2020 Democrats are messaging their pitches to hold Trump accountable.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The real way we get these guys is by winning in 2020.

HAYES:  Plus, as another state votes to eliminate abortion rights.

REP. BARRY HOVIS (R-MO):  Most of my rapes were not the gentleman jumping out of the bushes.

HAYES:  We`ll take a look at the men taking those rights away.

HOVIS:  Most of them were date rapes or consensual rape.

HAYES:  And what we`re learning tonight about the two Florida county election systems hacked by the Russians when ALL IN starts right now.

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HAYES:  Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes.  It`s been a month since the Mueller report came out and the full weight of what is inside it still has not sunk in.  That is partly due to a very successful spin effort by the President, his allies, and his loyal hand-picked attorney general.  But you can also tell the White House has some sense of just how damaging the content of that report is for them because now they want everyone to just stop paying any attention to it whatsoever.

Today we learned the White House`s ridiculous claim of executive privilege over the Mueller report is now stalling negotiations for Robert Mueller himself to testify before Congress.  The Wall Street Journal reports that the privilege claim could prevent Mueller from getting into any details about the president beyond what is in the unredacted report.

In an interview with Trump T.V. earlier today, Attorney General Bill Barr reiterated that he wouldn`t have any problem if Mueller testified.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You`re okay with him testifying.

BARR:  Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He works for you.

BARR:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Under you.

BARR:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Or did.  What seems to be the holdup?  Jerry Nadler said this week it will happen soon.  Perhaps it happens in June or not.  Do you have any information on that?

BARR:  My understanding is that Chairman Nadler is talking this over with Bob Mueller and his staff and trying to schedule it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So you expect it to happen.

BARR:  I have no reason to think it won`t.

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HAYES:  But here`s the thing.  Whether or not Mueller does testify, there is a good argument that there is more than enough incriminating, damning information publicly available right now the Democrats to move forward with impeachment proceedings against the president.  They don`t need Mueller to testify and they don`t need the unredacted Mueller report.   What happened yesterday was a perfect example of this.

Think about it first second.  So a federal judge unmasked that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had told the special counsel of multiple instances where he or his attorneys "received communications from persons connected to the administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation.

In other words, a federal judge unmasked the fact that they had been tampering with a witness Michael Flynn.  But here`s the thing.  Most of that was already in the Mueller report.  It`s an extremely damning piece of information about the president`s minions acting like mobsters.

In fact, it`s so damning let me read it to you again from the Mueller report because it`s literally a transcript for the president`s own lawyer calling Flynn`s lawyer in an attempt to interfere with a cooperating witness

"I understand your situation but let me see if I can`t state it in starker terms.  It wouldn`t surprise me if you`ve gone on to make a deal with the government.  If there`s information that implicates the present, then we`ve got a national security issue so you know, we need some kind of heads-up.  Just for the sake of protecting our interests if we can.  Remember what we`ve always said about the president in his feelings towards Flynn and that still remains.

If you think, that sounds bad or not the way the present lawyer should be speaking, he does sound like a mob boss.  That kind of behavior, that is all over the Mueller report.  Volume two covers a dozen instances of possible obstruction by the President.  And it`s not just that.  All the no collusion talk from the Trump White House obscures the fact the way they acted visa vie the Russian interference was completely, morally, and ethically indefensible.

They outright encouraged a foreign adversary to help them publicly and privately.  They sought actively elicit means of help through back channels.  And that for an adversary understood them and went ahead and helped them.  That`s not right and it`s not OK and all of that information is in the publicly available Mueller report.

The President of the United States has very clearly violated his oath of office.  The question is what do you do with those facts.  Now, as a public service joining me now two people with a deep knowledge of the actual report Marcy Wheeler Independent Journalist writing about national security and civil liberties and Quinta Jurecic, she`s the Managing Editor of Lawfare.  She published this chart of Trump`s possible obstruction that was then used by Senate Democrats when they questioned Attorney General Bill Barr.

Quinta, let me start with you because you were sort of tweeting and writing about this yesterday about how sort of the microcosm of this moment in which this new information comes to light that had already been in the report and when everyone`s attention is focused on it, they think to themselves, wow, that doesn`t look good.

QUINTA JURECIC, MANAGING EDITOR, LAWFARE:  Yes, exactly.  I think it really drove home exactly how difficult it is to really communicate the contents of the report.  It`s stuffed chock-full of information just like that Flynn voicemail.  When the report appeared you know all 450 pages of it, I think it was really difficult for people to process in part because the president and his allies were spinning it.

But then when you pull out individual pieces of information like that voicemail, they look incredibly damning.

HAYES:  You know, there`s one -- there`s a bunch of stuff in here and we`ve sort of talked you ahead of time about certain moments that you felt had not getting enough attention.  And Marcy, I think you would call the attention to this Lewandowski moment that is in the report which has not gotten a lot of attention.

According to Lewandowski, Trump asked him basically to bring a note telling Jeff Sessions to give a speech that would say the following.  This is while they`re investigating what we know is a breach you know, this hack by a foreign adversary tip an election.

Now a group of people want to subvert the Constitution United States.  I`m going to meet with a special prosecutor to explain this is very unfair and let the special prosecutor move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections so that nothing can happen in future elections.  This is an attempt to shut down the whole thing.

MARCY WHEELER, JOURNALIST, EMPTYWHEEL:  This is an attempt not just to shut down the investigation into him, into Trump, but also an attempt to shut down the investigation into the Russian hacking.  And no one gets this, no one gets that in the summer of 2017, at the same time that Trump had just met for the first time with Vladimir Putin in this kind of crazy meeting in the G20, he went to Lewandowski, dictated it to him.  It`s right there in the report.

He made him write it down and Lewandowski was like he`s never dictated anything to me before, makes him write it down.  And in that paper he says, go tell Sessions to shut down the investigation into the Russians who hacked us in 2016.  Mueller can investigate what`s going to happen in 2018, 2020 but not 2016.  That`s crazy and no one knows that Trump tried to shut down the entire investigation not just his side but the Russian side as well.

HAYES:  This also speaks to part of what the sort of broader theme here is, Quinta, which is many ultimately unsuccessful efforts to just -- to blow up the investigation ordering Don McGahn to fire Mueller, telling Lewandowski to bring this note to Jeff Sessions, trying to get Jeff Sessions to unrecuse.  In some ways he`s saved from the outright commission of the act even though he intends to commit it by people just not following his orders.

JURECIC:  That`s absolutely right.  And I do think it`s important to remember legally speaking, an attempt at obstruction of justice is exactly the same thing as obstruction of justice.  So just because people like Cory Lewandowski, Don MacGahn decided not to go through with what the president was asking them to do, that doesn`t mean legally speaking that he`s in the clear at all.

And I think it`s incredibly damning that as you say, you see him attempt this pattern again and again and again, pushing Sessions to unrecuse, pushing Sessions to investigate even Hillary Clinton.

HAYES:  Yes.  The pushing Sessions to investigate Hillary Clinton, Marcy, also seems to me germane to where we are now where you have Bill Barr who is basically looks ready to play ball and use the Justice Department in the way the president wants it used.  And part of the consequence of there being essentially no accountability for what is described in the report, repeated efforts to either obstruct justice or use the Department of Justice as a political tool without that punished, it`s now a live possibility.

WHEELER:  Right.  And what`s interesting is where Barr has gone.  Today he was on Fox and talking to Wall Street Journal and saying yes, you know, Nancy Pelosi better be careful or she might get investigated.  But I looked back to May 1st which is when he was supposingly testifying about the Mueller report and he had an exchange with Mike Lee.

And in that exchange -- and the exchange was 20 days after he had first said that Trump had been spied on, Mike Lee said, well, tell me about the spying.  And you could tell Mike Lee was trying to set him up.  And Barr was like well, actually, all I know about is the FISA warrant on Carter Page and the meeting with George Papadopoulos in London but that seems really anemic for an investigation that`s as serious as this so that can`t be true so there must be spying.

So the core of Barr`s public attempts to justify what he`s doing which we, of course, know Trump ordered him to do is basically not that there`s any smoke there or fire or any evidence that there was wrongdoing, but instead the absence of it.  The fact that Peter Strzok in August of 2016 said hey, this is crazy.  We need to investigate aggressively and he lost that battle.  Peter Strzok who`s like the villain of Trump`s narrative, he lost that battle.

And as a result, we didn`t have phone records from George Papadopoulos until well after the FBI interviewed him twice.  And that`s crazy but it`s a testament to how slow this investigation was, not how aggressive it was.

Quinta, what do you think -- I mean, one of the things you`ve seen and you were writing about this, that people who have read the actual report and you see this in the -- in the letter signed by former federal prosecutors come away in the words of someone white-faced right.  Like the behavior there is so obviously indefensible.

And if you did it in any other investigation, if you were the mayor trying to -- and they were investigating your real estate deals or if you were someone who was you know, around a murder and you`re calling around telling witnesses don`t talk to the cops, you would get nicked for it.  What do you think the sort of distance is between that and what the public understanding of what`s contained in there?

JURECIC:  It`s a good question.  I think that there are a couple things going on.  One is frankly that the President and his allies including Attorney General Barr have been really successful in spinning the narrative.  As the President said, you know, no collusion no obstruction which is not what the report said.

The other part of it is that to be fair to the press, look it`s a 450-page document.  It is really dense.  There is a lot of stuff in there and most people are just not going to have the time to sit down and read it through carefully.  And I would argue that it`s really at this point the responsibility of the Democrats in Congress to start thinking more carefully about how they can really communicate what is on the page so that we have more moments like we did yesterday where information that was already in the report is put on the table and people can really take a step back and say oh my god, I didn`t realize that the president was doing this terrible thing.

HAYES:  Marcy, your thoughts.

WHEELER:  Well, I`ll add another example today, right.  So Trump who`s trying to distance himself from Mike Flynn again because Emmett Sullivan is going to release more papers about how bad he was.  So Trump says you know, I wasn`t warned about these investigations into him.  Another little detail in the report that people don`t know is that both Hope Hicks and Steve Bannon testified in December of 2016 when Flynn was calling up the ambassador to Russia and making -- doing all these crazy things that violated the stated policy of the United States.

According to them, Trump was already pissed at Flynn.  He was already angry at Flynn because Obama had warned him about that investigation on November 10th, 2016.  So Trump has spent the day saying I didn`t know about the investigation.  And that effectively according to the Mueller report is him calling Steve Bannon and Hope Hicks liars because that`s what they told the FBI is that Trump not only knew about it but that he was really stewing about it all through December 2016.

HAYES:  All right, Marcy Wheeler, Quinta Jurecic, thank you both.  I really appreciate it.  Joining me now, a legislator who has been calling for the president to be impeached for over a year now, Democratic Congressman Al Green of Texas.  He co-authored an op-ed out today titled Congress has a duty to go through with the impeachment and public trial of President Trump.

I guess let me begin here, Congressman.  You`re someone -- a lot of people have taken the position that we have to wait and see what the Mueller report says and then move on that.  We need to get all the information.  You have believed the president was -- had committed impeachable offenses for over a year now.  What are they?

REP. AL GREEN (D-TX):  Well, thank you for having me on and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share some thoughts.  Let me start with this.  This has been a two-year journey and it`s not one that I came to Congress to embrace but I`m doing it because I love my country.

When the President decided that he would fire Mr. Comey and go on national television at primetime and confess that he was thinking about this Russia thing, that was the genesis of this.  And we`ve had many other opportunities to see him thwart this investigation, to see him interfere with it. 

And we have reached a point now Mr. Hayes wherein it`s really not about the president as much as it is about the Congress.  What you and your colleagues just presented to the public will be seen by future historians as almost a turning point, I think.  You laid it out about as clearly as it can be explained.

And it`s about the Congress.  It`s about whether we in Congress are going to stand up to a reckless, ruthless, lawless president who continues to thwart the investigations, who interferes, and whether we will be a co- equal branch of government.  If we don`t do this, future presidents, future secretaries of the Commerce, and other areas of government will simply ignore us.  They will conclude that weird a toothless paper tiger.  What we have to do is impeach.

Let me explain.  Impeachment means simply this.  The House can take this book that you have so eloquently discussed, they can take this book, we can take it.  We can find reason here that`s more than enough evidence to impeach the president.  Then there will be a trial in the Senate.

That trial in the Senate will allow all of what we have been talking about as evidence to be presented.  The witnesses will be called, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court preside.  There is no need to try to meander through inferior courts now, to try to get some ruling on subpoenas, whether we`ll have the opportunity to get certain evidence.  Take it straight to the Chief Justice.  He will be the ultimate decider as it were.  And we will all see there will be transparency.

We want to have the trial in the House.  Great to have a trial in the House but the Constitution doesn`t require it.  We but only have to impeach, that is to indict, and then the trial would take place in the Senate.

If we fail to do so, sir, here`s what will happen.  No guardrails.  We will allow the President to have power concentrated in his hands to the extent that he becomes a monarch.  We are the check.  We have the check to maintain the balance.  If we don`t do our duty, if we don`t do our job, future historians are going to look upon us with disdain and they will wonder what was wrong with us.

HAYES:  Congressman Green, you said something there that is interesting to me that I haven`t quite heard articulated this way which is that people I think, think of impeachment as a means to an end.  The end is the removal of the president.

What I`m hearing from you is you view impeachment as an end in and of itself, that essentially it`s a constitutional duty and what comes after that in terms of the trial whether he`s removed or not, let the chips fall where they may, have the trial.  But to you the actual impeachment itself is the point, is the goal.

GREEN:  Well, the impeachment is the genesis of this process that will lead to the trial.  And as has been indicated, 800 lawyers, former prosecutors have indicated that anyone other than the president would be prosecuted.  The president as I speak to you now, sir, is above the law.  He`s above the law and he will continue to be above the law until Congress acts.

And we in this country cannot allow it to be said that the president is above the law.  These prosecutors indicated in their letter that it is critical to the administration of justice that we prosecute people for obstruction, because if you don`t the entire system itself can find itself weakened and may collapse.  They didn`t use those exact words.

But the point is you will say to people you can`t interfere with an investigation with impunity.  We can`t allow this.  This is really now about Congress.  Will Congress have the will to follow the way that the framers of the Constitution have put in place for us.  And impeachment is the genesis of it.  The trial is in the Senate.

We are a grand jury.  We will indict.  The Senate will take up the trial.  We will send managers over.  They will be the equivalent of prosecutors.  They will present this case on national T.V.  Everyone will see, the witnesses will testify.  Let the chips fall where they may.

I do agree with you there.  This should not be about political expediency, wait until the next election so that we can take control of the Senate.  Let`s control the House.  This is about the moral imperative to maintain the system of checks and balances so that we don`t allow the president to have power concentrated to the extent that he will have no guardrails, there will be nothing to prevent him from doing what he will and only God knows what his will is.

HAYES:  All right, Congressman Al Green who has been outspoken on this for over a year now as you heard before.  Thank you for so much for making time tonight.

GREEN:  Thank you and I honor you for what you`re doing.

HAYES:  Thank you, Congressman.  Ahead, meet the men who were voting to eliminate abortion rights in America including one lawmaker who today said most of the rapes that he encountered as a police officer were either date rapes or quoting him here, consensual rapes.

And surprising new details about actual Russian hacking of voter systems in a state where Donald Trump narrowly won.  That story is in just two minutes.  Don`t go anywhere.

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HAYES:  We now have a solution to at least some of the puzzle around Russian election hacking in Florida three years ago.  The Washington Post reports that Washington County in the Florida Panhandle was one of the two Florida counties that were actually breached by Russian hackers in the election year of 2016.

Now this comes after Tuesday`s bizarre briefing by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in which he came out and told reporters about the hack but said he couldn`t name which two counties have been penetrated because the FBI made him agree not to, which leaves a lot of questions about what exactly happened, the nature of the access to voter files the Russians had gained, and most importantly how to keep it from happening again.

Now. the Washington Post reports that the Florida lawmakers "were frustrated that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials who briefed them -- briefed them were unable to guarantee the breaches hadn`t resulted in election information being compromised."

The officials would say only that they found no evidence that any data was altered or affected, a lawmaker said.  Officials also assured them vote counts and electoral processes were not affected.  Marc Caputo has been reporting on this from Politico.  His latest piece is specifically about the Washington County breach.

Marc, I guess, let`s start there.  So DeSantis comes out and says the federal government told me that two counties were breached, doesn`t say which ones, and then reporting suggest today that it is, in fact, Washington County is one of them.  That`s as much as we know right now?

MARC CAPUTO, SENIOR REPORTER, POLITICO:  Yes.  And it`s really difficult getting answers out of the FBI.  I spent 30 minutes on the phone with a spokeswoman just to get her to answer the yes-or-no question, is the identity of the two counties classified.  It took 30 minutes.  It was kind of an exercise and reading Kafka or maybe Alice in Wonderland.  It was kind of bizarre.

Also as part of that, we determined that the counties are allowed to disclose the information that they had been hacked but the governor whose office kind of oversees the counties is not allowed to disclose the information that they had been hacked because the FBI made him sign an NDA.

HAYES:  I never -- let me just stop -- stop right there.  I have never heard of NDAs in this context ever in my life.  I mean, I`ve covered politics you`ve covered -- the FBI and the governor signed a Nondisclosure Agreement?  That is weird.

CAPUTO:  You know, that`s my reaction as well.  But the FBI says that this does happen when they have sensitive information to share.  And we asked, OK, well how many times have you made a governor sign an NDA.  Well, we didn`t really get an answer to that.

And in this case, we also have the FBI saying there`s a victim here, and the victim are the two county election offices that had been hacked and it`s up to the victim to disclose.  And we said well, the victim and it`s not just us but lawmakers as well, victim are the voters, the public --

HAYES:  Right.

CAPUTO:  -- who work or you for whom the elections offices work.  And in the FBI`s view, they`re not really the victims.  And meanwhile as a result of this kind of battening down of public information in this vacuum, all of these conspiracy theories are starting to pour.  It looks like a cover-up and blah, blah, blah, blah.

And this is kind of what happens when they`re not really forthcoming.  No one can explain why they`re not being forthcoming.

HAYES:  OK.  So Washington County which is a county that Donald Trump won by huge numbers, it`s a fairly conservative red county.  You know, they said basically that the -- and we don`t know the other county, so those that`s the information.  Do we know the level of access?  Like what does it even mean?  Has someone sort of walked the public through like just could they go in and like erase people`s information or change their addresses?  Do we know?

CAPUTO:  We don`t know that.  They do say that they had gained access.  DeSantis -- Governor DeSantis said something interesting at the press briefing that this was a spear phishing attack, that is there was an e-mail sent to some counties and in two counties people fell forth.  They opened up the e-mail.  It downloaded the malware and then Russians apparently got in.  He said -- but it was kind of sophisticated at least it looked like a real e-mail from a vote security firm and it didn`t look like a Nigerian banker scam that DeSantis had said.

But what`s interesting there is that DeSantis, the governor is disclosing look, this was a spear phishing attack.  This is what happened.  So disclosing the names of the counties is not going to disclose the sensitive investigative techniques of the FBI.  So we`re once again back at kind of square one of the FBI says look -- well basically they say look, they don`t say it.

The counties are the victims the victim can disclose.  The public is not a victim even though the county works for the victim. And the state overseeing the counties is not allowed to disclose because we made the governor sign an NDA and the members of Congress who we briefed had classified clearances and they can`t disclose because of their clearances.  So we`re back to square one wondering what the hell is going on.

HAYES:  You know, it seems to me the most important -- I mean, the counties themselves seemed important.  We should know which two counties.  But more important than that is just actually a public briefing on what exactly happened.  I mean, given the fact these are the voter files, it`s just not quite enough to say that people like don`t worry and they don`t do anything too crazy.  Like I want to know what didn`t they do, what could they have done.

CAPUTO:  Right.  Well, you reference the Mueller report before.  If you read in the Mueller report in section one, what`s pretty fascinating is how the Russians, they tunneled in to the DNC`s e-mail network and they set up a VPN, a virtual private network, and then the Russians are able to explore and look around and basically kind of have free rein according to the Mueller report.

It doesn`t look like that happened here in Florida, but I don`t understand how the Mueller report can disclose that case in the DNC but not here in the case of the two counties where voter data had been hacked.

HAYES:  Marc Caputo has been doing great reporting on this.  Thanks for making some time tonight.

CAPUTO:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Ahead, with polling showing plenty of Democratic presidential candidates beating Trump in head-to-head matchups right now, some Democrats seem to be playing a little cautiously with a full 18 months to go.  That`s next.

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SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D) MINNESOTA:  It was Thomas Payne who once said in the United States of America the king is not the law, the law is king.  And these guys seem to have forgotten that.  They think they can do whatever they want.  So, the answer is to hold them accountable, continue to push these subpoenas, to go to court to get the information.

But the second thing I would say is the real way we get these guys is by winning in 2020.

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HAYES:  2020 Presidential candidate, Senator Amy Klobuchar, was asked this morning on The View about what her party should do about the Trump administration ignoring oversight.  And that sentiment you saw there I think it`s pretty widespread among many prominent Democrats, basically that an impeachment battle would be a dead end, because the president isn`t popular.  The Democrats won big last election.  Polling right now indicates a host of Democratic candidates would beat Trump in head-to-head match-up.

So, with all those conditions, focus your efforts on oversight and accountability, and then basically run out the clock.

I`m afraid this might end up being the political equivalent of prevent defense in football, which can very often lead to a kind of inert stalling that ends up coming back to  bite the team that`s using it.

To talk more about the strategy, I`m joined by Danielle Moodie-Mills, host of Sirius/XM`s Woke AF, Basil Smikle, former executive director of the New York State Democratic Party, and Waleed Shahid, communications director for  Justice  Democrats.

The part of that statement to me that jumped out was the ultimately the way to hold them accountable is to win in 2020, and I think that is a very widespread -- do you agree with me that that is a widespread Democratic Party belief?

BASIL SMIKLE, FRM.  EXECUTIVE OF NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY:  Sure, absolutely.  But I also like what she said about accountability, that`s important, because there are a lot of voters that say if we are going to be fair to presidents past and future, and all of those folks that care about good governance, we have to hold a president accountable, all very fair and all very important.

But there are going to be folks that want a little policy there too.  Even if it gets sort of knocked down in the senate, I think it`s important -- I do think  it`s important that Democrats show that we`re slowly but surely pushing out their really good policy.

HAYES:  What do you think?

DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, HOST, WOKE AF:  I think that`s a disaster strategy.  I think that the house is on fire, right, and we are in a state of emergency and should probably act like we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

The president is a criminal.  We know that.  We`ve all read the 448 page report.  There is actually a book club doing it right on a week to week basis that`s reading the report.  We know in all of which ways that he has obstructed justice.  So, this idea of doing a little bit of oversight and we are going to kind of hope and pray on the polls...

HAYES:  Or have process fights...

MOODIE-MILLS:  ...or have these process fight that you`re actually never going to win.  I want to see the president have to fight a war on multiple fronts from the Southern District of New York to the federal government and have all of these lawsuits and all of these proceedings coming at him and have that cloud over his head as we go into the election.  Not like, oh, they are too scared to do their job so I`m going to continue pushing hard.

HAYES:  What do you think, Waleed?

WALEED SHAHID, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS:  One of the most embarrassing things that happened this week was watching congressional Democrats read the Mueller report on the House floor or in a press conference and it just was not the kind of like aggressive -- I don`t know, by reading the Mueller report, what do you think is actually going to happen?

My thing is that my dad is from Pakistan.  They recently impeached the president.  My dad is no liberal Democrat.  He probably identifies as a moderate and he`s like our country -- the nation he comes from, their prime minister was impeached for far less than what Trump has been held accountable for.  He`s like why aren`t people taking to the streets?  Why aren`t people demanding -- like demanding that the president is...

HAYES:  It`s funny you say this -- no, go ahead.

SMIKLE:  No, but that`s why.  I do think it`s important -- there are a lot of folks that say why don`t we just abandon this, because it`s just going to end if we`re not going to actually get to impeachment, why go through all this?  It is important that we are holding him accountable. 

But if Democrats are looking at -- if the party`s leadership is looking at their strategy in 2018 in getting the House back, a lot of the candidates campaigned by not really talking about Trump and focusing on running in their districts talking about policy.  And I think there`s a little bit of that...

HAYES:  No, that -- that`s the tension.  That`s the tension, because they feel like the recipe was talk about health care more than anything, that Trump is priced in.  And no one cares about this stuff.

And I also think there is a sort of interesting ideological switch that`s happened, because I feel like the left part of the party for awhile was like no one cares about this Russia stuff.  People want like kitchen table issues.  But then I also f eel like the left part of the party now is kind of like you should be impeaching him.  Am I misreading that?

SHAHID:  Also because you had the election of those members of congress, particularly Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who are from the left of the party, but are also pro-impeachment.  And I think that also moved...

HAYES:  That`s what I`m saying.  But I think that does something interesting to like where this sort of conversation had been, because there was this real debate in those two years, 2017, 2018, about like how much is it about Trump, how much is it about Russia, how much is it policy?  And all of those -- all of that has gotten I think mixed up in a kind of interesting way now.

MOODIE-MILLS:  And I think that this to me is where the Democrats always lose, it`s because they do a very terrible job of explaining to the people why this matters.  Impeachment is not impeachment for its sake, it`s for to restore integrity to the office of the presidency.  Hold this president accountable, but also these are tied into your kitchen table issues, right, this is about health care. It`s about abortion.  It`s about child care.

HAYES:  But is it, though?  Like how do you...

MOODIE-MILLS:  Yes.  Because you have a president that has appointed more federal judges than any other president...

HAYES:  At this point.

MOODIE-MILLS:  ...at this point.  There are over 100 judges that he has appointed, right.  If -- I think about it like this, OK, I`m a law and order type of lawyer, right, because I play one on TV, but here is the idea, if you make him illegitimate, like he is, and you talk about the fact that he is illegitimate, then you have to then start to look into the people that he has chosen for judges.  You have to start looking into the people that he has been appointing and start to put scrutiny on them as well.

There is a bigger thing that`s at play, and Democrats look through everything in a pinhole.

HAYES:  Don`t you think that -- I think that part of the fear, right, is just the basic fear, which is that like it would be a big bloody fight that would hurt people, like -- meaning like...

SMIKLE:  Impeachment.

HAYES:  Yeah, impeachment meaning like when you get into a fight, like you`re going to get punched and you`re going to get bloodied, and like if you look at impeachments past, like it was bad for the Republican congress with Andrew Johnson, it was bad for the Republican congress with Bill Clinton.  We never got to it in Nixon, but like that`s the fear, right, that they give up this capital they have.

SMIKLE:  Right, because there are a lot of Democrats that say, and I`m from the Bronx and I believe this fully, if a bully goes after you, you punch the bully in the face, right.  And so that`s -- so I do think that`s actually very important.

But -- and I take your point.  I do think Democrats and a lot of voters feel this way, too, that we`ve never have been good at really getting down and dirty in the way that Republicans do, and they want to see us do that more.

I just don`t know if the leadership wants to go ahead of where they think the voters are.

HAYES:  No, because they`re thinking of those -- they`re thinking of the 20 front line or 40 front line House members who won on health care and they don`t want to make them send them back to the district to explain impeachment, that`s what they are thinking.

Danielle Moody-Mills, Basil Smikle and Waleed Shahid, thanks for joining us.

So, just who are the men leading the charge to end abortion rights for women across America? An introduction ahead.  You are going to want to see that.  But first Donald Trump propping up his portrait in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  A special fine art edition of Thing One, Thing Two tonight.  Remember that time there was an auction of celebrity portraits in the Hamptons and the one that went for the highest price was a painting of Donald Trump.  No, not that one; no, it wasn`t -- no, no, no, not that one either.  This is the one.  That one, yes.

Someone spent $60,000 on this portrait.  60 grand for this.  Who would do such a crazy thing?  Well, Donald Trump of course.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER:  Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned off at an Art Hamptons event.  The objective was to ensure that this portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon.

The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000.  Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  So Donald Trump scammed the donors of his scam charity by scamming that auction and then kept the painting of himself, which sounds about right.

But it brings us to this, this rabbit balloon animal which went on auction this week and sold for an enormous amount of money to this rich guy who just so happens to be the father of this guy.  And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  Right across the street from where we do this show is the world famous Christie`s Auction House where they sell some of the most famous art in the world to some of the richest people in the world, like this guys: Robert Mnuchin, father of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.  And this is what it looked like when daddy bought that rabbit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, the beautiful Jeff Koons and we are going to open the bidding here at $40 million.

At $40 million.  $42 million, at $42 million, 45 is bid.  At $45 million.   At $45 million.  $48 million.  $50 million.  $50 million.  $55 million is bid.  $57 million.  $58 million.  $60 million is bid.  70 is the bid.

Would either of you like to give me 72?  Alex has it at the moment at 70 million.  72 million, it was a no and a yes.  I like that.  72 million.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  73.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  73 million.  74 million.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE:  75.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  75 million.

77 million.

Your`s is it, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  78.

78 million.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  80.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  80.  Here it is at $80 million.  Gentleman has it here at 80 million.

You have it, sir, $80 million.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  On the heels of Alabama and Georgia, today Missouri passed an extreme abortion ban beginning at 8 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.

In the Missouri House today, Republican State Representative Barry Hovis spoke in favor of the  legislation and drew on his past as a police officer to explain that really a lot of what we call rape is actually in his words consensual rape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STATE REP. BARRY HOVIS, (R) MISSOURI:   Let`s just say someone goes out and they have, or they are raped or they`re sexually assaulted one night after a college party, because most of my rape were not the gentlemen jumping out of the bushes that nobody had ever met, that was one or two times out of 100.  Most were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  Consensual rapes, as a phrase raised more than a few eyebrows in the chamber, according at least one reporter who was present.  Missouri is, of course, famously the same state that gave us Todd Akin with his fine grain distinctions between rape and legitimate rape and eccentric theories about women`s reproductive faculties.

Republican State Representative Barry Hovis walked back his statement about consensual rapes today after getting calling out on the house floor.  But the thing is the legislation is still the legislation with no exception for rape, meaning a woman who is the victim of rape will have to carry her pregnancy to term under the force of law.

And at a certain point, it doesn`t look like a weird coincidence, and when you scratch the surface of these laws, you find men like Hovis pushing for them.

In Alabama, one the proponents of that state`s abortion ban is an ob-gyn named Larry Stutts (ph), now Stutts (ph) has an interesting history.  Back in the 1990s, one of his  patients was released from maternity ward after giving birth and then died of complications just a few days later.

And that led to a good piece of legislation in Alabama that guaranteed minimum standards of coverage and care after women gave birth. 

And after Stutts (ph) was elected to the state senate in 2014, you`ll never guess what he did, he tried to repeal the legislation named after his patient who died after she gave birth under his care.

That earned him the distinction of being named AL.com`s 2015 scum bag of the year, beating out Roy Moore.

That same year, Stutts (ph) was sued for negligence by a former patient who suffered complications from childbirth.  He was eventually dismissed from the suit.

And last year, he was sued again by another patient who said  Stutts (ph) dismissed her complaints of pain and bleeding along with other signs of pre-term labor.  She went on to give birth to 24-week old twins who did not survive.

So, these are just a couple of the people backing this kind of legislation.  And you could  forgive women across the country who support abortion rights from thinking this is not some weird accident.  One thing the Missouri and Alabama laws have in common is a criminal penalty and prison time for doctors, but none for women who get abortions, which is weird when you think about it.  My next guest just wrote a piece directed at state legislatures called "Arrest Me, You Alabama Cowards," and she joins us right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  Both of the state abortion bans that were passed this week mandate prison sentences for doctors who perform the procedure, up to 15 years in prison in Missouri`s case, up to 99 years in Alabama; however, neither law includes penalties for women, which is truly weird.

If aborting a fetus is indeed murder, if it`s taking a life as the laws proponents claim, then clearly the woman who seeks it out and pays for it is morally culpable in that.  But it`s quite a tell that they won`t follow that logic to its inevitable conclusion.

Writing in The New Republic Emily Atkins says Alabama`s male lawmakers could have sought to punish the women themselves, but they knew that throwing women in jail for doing what they please with their own bodies would have been seen as too cruel, so they targeted doctors instead.  Cowards.

Emily Atkin joins me now.

Why did you write this piece?

EMILY ATKIN, THE NEW REPUBLIC:  Well, normally I write about climate change.  It`s not something I normally write about, it`s not like I walked into the office that day thinking I was going to disclose my abortion to the world, but I was just so angry when I was reading the news that day that we had just -- it seemed that everything that had been told to me that was going to happen, that we were going to go backwards on this issue, was happening.  And I was seeing the anger of all these women around me, and on the Internet, and I couldn`t concentrate on my general reporting.

One of the reasons that I don`t talk about this in the piece, but one of the reasons I made the choice to get an abortion at age 19 was because I was in college, and I was pursuing a journalism degree, and that was my passion, that was what I wanted to do.  And that`s one of the many reasons I made that choice. 

So that day I was going to still do journalism that day, but there was no way I could focus on climate change, so this is what happened.

HAYES:  You disclosed having a medical abortion in the piece.  And one of the points that you make, and I think gets to something profound about the moral theory that under-girds these bills, is that you were the agent, like, it was your choice.  You were not the victim of a doctor.  It was an expression of your agency.

ATKIN:  Yeah.  I don`t -- one of the reasons I lead the piece with I don`t remember the name of the doctor who performed my abortion is because I don`t.  I mean, I value her so much, and I remember what she said to me, but she wasn`t there.  And the idea, you know, 25 percent of all women who get abortions get a medical abortion, and a medical abortion is performed in the comfort of your own home.  When you get one, you are the one who is handling everything, you know, like you`re the one who takes the pill, you`re the one who experiences the pain.  You are the one who handles the blood, and you are the one who holds the end result in your hand, which is about the size of a dime and is not a baby.  I don`t think it`s comparable to me.

But, you know, the reason I did that, I said that was just to illustrate that I`m the one you want, I  guess?  You know?

HAYES:  If they want to put someone in jail, if they want to say that this is a criminal act, that you`re the criminal, and women are the criminals.

ATKIN:  How dare you say it wasn`t me.  You know, you want to punish somebody for this, I think that`s ridiculous.  But OK, that`s what you want to do.  You take my autonomy away from me again, right, by saying, no you can`t do this and also it wasn`t you who did it?  I did it.  And you know what, like a quarter of all women did it.  We`re not -- one of the reasons I wrote about this again and thought it was important for me to disclose it was just because I`m not special you know?  There`s so many women have gone through the same thing I have and it`s not weird, it`s health care.  And don`t punish our health care providers because we would gladly throw ourselves in jail before we let them go.

HAYES:  There`s this moment I wanted to play, the sort of infamous moment on the campaign trail where Donald Trump basically stumbles into this moral logic with my colleague Chris Matthews.  And it was sort of blew up where shouldn`t the women be punished here if that`s what you think about it?  Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC:  Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a  principle?

TRUMP:  The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS:  For the woman?

TRUMP:  Yeah.

MATTHEWS:  10 cents, 10 years, what?

TRUMP:  That I don`t know.

MATTHEWS:  Why not?

TRUMP:  I don`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  Do you remember that the anti-abortion forces freaked out about that?  And why do you think that is?  Why don`t the bills punish women?  Why do the anti-abortion forces freak out so much when he said that?

ATKIN:  Because they don`t want us to know the cruelty is the point, the cruelty has always been the point.  And as soon as we know that being cruel to us has been the point of this all along, then we`ve exposed their game.

But, I mean, to act like when you hurt our health care providers you aren`t hurting us, no, we`re going to leave the women alone.

HAYES:  Right, we would never do that.  In fact, people said when he said that, like, that`s -- like, of course not, of course we reject that.  But it just makes no sense why they reject it?

ATKIN:  It doesn`t make sense.

And also, I mean, it just treats these health care providers as if they`re some evil godless people. who are...

HAYES:  Selling women on this, pushing them into it.

ATKIN:  Yeah, as of they`re not just there to literally hold your hand and say whatever you choose, which is how it`s supposed to be.  And really how -- we shouldn`t be talking about this right now.  I would like to come on here next time and talk about climate change.

HAYES:  ...climate change.

All rig ht, we will have you back for that.  Emily Atkin who writes for The New Republic, thank you for coming in.  I appreciate it.

ATKIN:  Thanks.

HAYES:  That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with Ali Velshi in for Rachel. 

Good evening, Ali.

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