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Trump: I would accept information on opponent. TRANSCRIPT: 6/12/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Hakeem Jeffries, Chris Lu, Barbara Boxer, Richard Painter, KamalaHarris, Basil Smikle

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  That`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good evening from New York I`m Stephanie Ruhle in for Chris Hayes and there is a lot to get to you tonight including my interview with 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris.

But we must begin this evening with breaking news from the White House.  President Trump was asked in an ABC News interview if he would accept help from foreigners, or Russia, or China, or anyone else in the 2020 upcoming election and our President of the United States of America said yes, he would do it all over again.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS:  Should he have gone to the FBI when he got that e-mail?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:   OK, let`s put yourself in a position.  You`re a congressman.  Somebody comes up and says hey I have information on your opponent.  You call the FBI?

STEPHANOPOULOS:  If it`s coming from the Russia, you do.

TRUMP:  I don`t think -- I tell you what.  I`ve seen a lot of things over in my life.  I don`t think in my whole life I`ve ever called the FBI.  In my whole life, I don`t -- you don`t call the FBI.  You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever --

STEPHANOPOULOS:  Al Gore got a stolen briefing book.  He called the FBI.

TRUMP:  Well, that`s different, a stolen briefing book.  This isn`t a stolen -- this is somebody that said we have information on your opponent. Oh, let me call the FBI.  Give me a break.  Life doesn`t work that way.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  The FBI Director says that`s what should happen.

TRUMP:  The FBI Director is wrong.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information an opponent, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?

TRUMP:  I think maybe you do both.  I think you might want to listen.  I don`t -- there`s nothing wrong with listening.  If somebody called from a country, Norway, we have information on your opponent.  Oh, I think I`d want to hear it.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  You want that kind of interference in our elections?

TRUMP:  It`s not an interference.  They have information. I think I`d take it.  If I thought there was something wrong, I`d go maybe to the FBI if I thought there was something wrong.  But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, oh let`s call the FBI.  The FBI doesn`t have enough agents to take care of it.  But you go and talk honestly to congressmen, they all do it, they always have.  And that`s the way it is.  It`s called oppo research.


RUHLE:  If that`s not enough for you today, this comes on the very same day that former FBI spy catchers warned the House Intelligence Committee that Russian intelligence agencies will in fact tried to attack the American elections again.  And it comes on the same day the president`s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee to try and clarify his previous testimony about his contacts with Russia.

We also learned today that former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks has now agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week.  If you recall, Hope Hicks helped craft Trump`s attempt to cover up his son Donald Trump Jr.`s trumped our meeting and is quoted extensively in Robert Mueller`s report.

And while all of this was going on this very busy news day, Donald Trump`s lawyers filed a remarkable brief before the D.C. Circuit Court arguing this.  Congress is simply not allowed to conduct law enforcement investigations of the president.  We have a lot to get to.

Joining me now Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York.  He serves as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus and is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee.  Congressman, thank you for being here.  What -- we must start with this.  Do you make of the president saying right there in the open he`d accept help from foreigners in the next election?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY):  It`s a shocking statement.  Accepting assistance from a hostile foreign power like Russia is treasonous behavior.  The President of the United States should condemn it instead he`s embracing it.  And that should tell the country all that itneeds to know about the current occupant in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It also makes clear that in Congress we need to legislate such behavior out of existence in terms of making it clear that it`s criminal, and that any individual campaign moving forward that engages in that behavior should be locked up.

RUHLE:  Well, you said he should -- that should tell the American people everything they need to know about the president.  But the president also told that people it`s normal.  It`s what everybody in Washington does.  And when you pull the average American, they say they don`t really trust the people in Congress.  So given your position, what can you do to actually impact the president`s behavior?

JEFFRIES:  Well, the Mueller investigation had three central findings.  First that Russia interfered with our election for the exclusive purpose of trying to artificially place Donald Trump at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  The second finding is that the Trump campaign willfully accepted that interference as Donald Trump just confirmed for all in America to see.

The third point is that when a counterintelligence investigation, ultimately a criminal inquiry was launched, the Trump campaign and Donald Trump may have engaged in at least ten different instances to obstruct justice in connection with that investigation.

We need to make sure that Bob Mueller tells this story to the American people and does it in a public way and that`s something that the House Judiciary Committee is determined to make happen.

RUHLE:  Robert Mueller has said he has already done that.  It`s in the report and he`s handed it off to you.  Tonight you`re telling me this is treasonous behavior.  If it`s treasonous, shouldn`t you move forward with impeachment proceedings?

JEFFRIES:  Well, I think we have to move forward and stay the course in terms of following the facts, applying the law and being guided by the United States Constitution.  The approach that we`ve taken to date is to make sure that we are aggressively pursuing our oversight responsibilities beginning with the hearing that took place on obstruction of justice on Monday.

We`ve successfully won multiple court cases including in Washington D.C. and New York that reaffirms Congress`s ability to get information and get documents and secure a witness testimony.  The Justice Department just yesterday blinked in advance of a criminal contempt potential vote that was going to take place on the Florida House of Representatives.  And now they`re beginning to provide the information that we`ve requested such as the underlying documentation connected with the Mueller report as well as giving us access to some unredacted material.

We should stay the course and then eventually when we`re able to tell the full story to the American people, we`ll see where that leads us.

RUHLE:  So stay the course.  This evening the president admitting it`s no big deal.  He calls it opposition research to get information or help from a foreign government I.E. Russia.  That doesn`t make you want to change course?

JEFFRIES:  Well, the President`s admission again, is part of the body of information that we will continue to present to the American people.  It speaks for itself and it certainly will be an important part of the conversation as we move forward.

We also have to continue to try to get things done on behalf of the American people and we`re committed to that as well on issues like driving down the high cost of life-saving prescription drugs and enacting a real infrastructure plan.  We hope that the president in that regard will start to act presidential and work with us on the people`s business while at the same time we`re executing our constitutional responsibilities to serve as a check and balance on an out-of-control executive branch.

RUHLE:  Jon Stewart was asking Congress to work for the American people yesterday.  He made an impassioned case for Congress to aid 9/11 first responders.  Why isn`t this something that simply hasn`t been fixed forever ago?  Your New Yorker, I`m a New Yorker, these are heroes.

JEFFRIES:  This is incredibly an important issue.  And the bravery and the courage that the 9/11 first responders showed on that day of September 11 and then in the days and weeks and months to follow, at great peril and risk to themselves and many are suffering to this day is exactly why the House Judiciary Committee earlier today passed a unanimous permanent extension of the Zadroga Act to make sure that moving forward there is never again any uncertainty.  We expected that bill will come to the floor of the House of Representatives.

RUHLE:  Why did John Stewart have to be the one to make that happen?

JEFFRIES:  Well, we were already moving forward in that regard.  But I think his eloquent and thoughtful and heartfelt articulation of the importance of the issue perhaps will shake some of my colleagues on the other side of the isle who`ve been reluctant to move forward in this direction.  We want to see a strong bipartisan vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.  I expected that will happen shortly.  And then we need Mitch McConnell, the self-described Grim Reaper to do his job in the Senate.

RUHLE:  Thank you, Jon Stewart.  Leave it to a Jersey guy to get the job done.  Congressman, thank you so much, Hakeem Jeffries, for joining us this evening.  Joining me for now on this breaking news evening my friend Joyce Vance, former U.S. Attorney, now an MSNBC Legal Analyst.  She appeared -- I`m going to say, she knocked it out of the park before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday to testify about Robert Mueller`s findings.  Chris Lu former White House Cabinet Secretary and special assistant to President Obama, he was also deputy chief counsel for the House Oversight Committee.  And former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, she is now the co-host of the boxer podcast.

What a perfect trio on a night with so much news to dig through.  Joyce, helped us.  What do you make of President Trump saying he would accept help from a foreign adversary in the next election, it`s no big deal everybody does it in his words?

JOYCE VANC, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  So it`s now open season for whatever foreign country can put together the best -- let`s take the president at face value, the best opposition research, give it to Donald Trump, help him win the next election and who knows what Trump will offer to that country in return.

You know, Stephanie, what this really demonstrates is something that came up in that hearing on Monday where some of the Republican Congressmen were asking well, how can you still say that there`s collusion, Bob Mueller didn`t find that there was collusion.  And what Muller found was that he couldn`t prove a conspiracy between the President`s campaign and Russia.

But this is the definition of collusion.  This is a campaign that apparently would be open in 2020 to accepting help from a foreign country, no problem with doing that, that`s collusion and plain sight.

RUHLE:  Collusion in plain sight but is there any consequences when the president tells the American people it`s no big deal and there aren`t consequences for him.  This is the same routine we saw out of Rudy Giuliani no collusion, no collusion, so what if there`s collusion, you`re allowed to do it.  The president successfully normalizes this conduct and people out there start to believe him.  Chris, what`s your thought?

CHRIS LU, FORMER CABINET SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE:  Well, let me give you my perspective.  In addition to the titles that you mentioned I had, I was also the transition director for president-elect Obama`s transition.  I work on the transition six months before he was elected, three months between election day and inauguration day.  I had no contacts with any foreign officials and I knew full well that if I were contacted by foreign official, I should report that.

I didn`t need a briefing from anyone.  I knew that was wrong.  And you don`t have to take it from me.  You could take it from veterans of any other recent presidential campaign.  They know exactly what they`re supposed to do.  There`s only one campaign that doesn`t know that and that was the Trump campaign in 2016.

What has been fascinating is the evolution of this story.  We went from Hope Hicks saying in 2016 no contacts with Russian officials.  We now know that there were at least 100 contacts with Russian officials.  Then they admitted well, we talked to them about adoption.

We`ve now gone completely over the line to they would welcome a foreign interference and that`s what it is.  It`s not opposition, it`s foreign interference, its subversion of our democracy.

RUHLE:  OK.  But Barbara, to Chris` point, if everyone except the Trump administration knows that you should not do this, it`s absolutely wrong, what are the consequences for this president?  Because he could say oops, I didn`t know, and tomorrow he still wakes up in the White House.

BARBARA BOXER, FORMER U.S. SENATOR:  He can`t say oops, I didn`t know.  His own FBI director Christopher Wray said clearly, if any of this ever happens you must call the FBI.  Now, I could tell you as head of the Ethics Committee for many years in the United States Senate, we knew clearly we couldn`t take a penny from a foreigner.  We couldn`t do that.

RUHLE:  And you did, what would -- if you did, what would the consequences have been?

BOXER:  Well, the Election Commission comes after you, and they find you, and they -- you know, there`s already laws on the books.  But this is bigger than that.  You know, we do have a series of Investigations going on right now in the Congress.

Yes, they`re doing their for the people legislative work that they must do under Nancy Pelosi and take care of the people and the needs of the people, but they`re also investigating this president.  Number one, you know, they`re looking at the Mueller and the ten at least examples of obstruction of justice there, and now obstruction of Congress.  Now there`s yet something else.

He is telling the American people it is OK to break the law.  And you know, that has to be part of it.  And the American people understand this.  This is not complicated.  You cannot take anything from a foreign government whether they`re a friendly foreign government or an adversarial foreign government, period, end of quote.  And he will pay a price for this.  And for him to get angry at Christopher Wray is beyond the pale.

RUHLE:  When you say he`ll pay a price for this, in what way?

BOXER:  Yes, he will.  In public opinion polls which we see constantly now he loses to every Democrat that`s at the top of the list there, and also in the election, and also in terms of the respect and lack of saying that people will have hurt him when he`s going around in plain sight you know, contradicting what the laws are, period.

It`s just simple and he is paying a price.  And I know everybody loses patience.  Yes, it takes time for these things to sink in but it will sink in.

RUHLE:  Joyce, from a legal perspective, the president`s admission tonight, will that result in any consequence, will price be paid?

VANCE:  I think yes and no.  In the short term, no I don`t think he can be charged for making this kind of statement.  But I do think that we`ll hear -- we`ll see the kind of action that Congressman Jeffrey`s talked about that at least in the House, new legislation will pass to tighten up the laws to make it clear that this kind of conduct is illegal.  The big question will be what happens when it goes to the Senate.

Will Mitch McConnell bring it to the floor or will he try to let that bill die as so many others have in the Senate?  And if so, will the American people hold Republicans in the Senate accountable for failing to criminalize conduct that clearly none of us wants to see in an election.

RUHLE:  Chris, just a moment ago, Joyce said the President`s admission tonight means it`s official, it is open season.  Any foreign government that wants to interfere, come on over.  But I want to play some of the President`s comments to ABC News again, really listen to what he said.


STEPHANOPOULOS:  Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information an opponent, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?

TRUMP:  I think maybe you do both.  I think you might want to listen.  I don`t -- there`s nothing wrong with listening.  If somebody called from a country, Norway, we have information on your opponent.  Oh, I think I`d want to hear it.


RUHLE:  OK, Tom Nichols writes this tweet in response.  If any U.S. government employee with a clearance declared why yes, I talked to a foreign agent and not talked to the FBI.  Not only would that person be in violation of security requirements, but the people around that person would be required to report him or her as a security threat.  Is the president going to be reported as a security threat after that interview?

LU:  Well, Stephanie, the irony of all this is that based on his previous statements, his legal problems, his financial problems, but for the fact that Donald Trump is the President of the United States, he could never qualify for a security clearance in the first place.

But let`s take another aspect of this.  It`s not just what joy said which it`s open season for governments to approach him.  What message doesn`t send when the President of the United States is dismissing foreign interference at a time when the entire intelligence community has said that there are foreign governments that are trying to subvert our elections and they`re trying to shore up our systems right now and you`ve got the commander-in-chief who won`t take it this seriously?

And we know the Russians interfered with our election in 2016.  They tried to do it in 2018.  We know from intelligence reports they`ll do it in 2020.  This lack of leadership is grossly irresponsible.

RUHLE:  Do you believe, Barbara, before we go, this is going to change Congress`s actions in any way?  Does it move Nancy Pelosi?

BOXER:  I think -- I think it`s going to deepen their conviction to investigate this lawless president, this president who we have all seen he`s called for obstruction in plain sight, and now he`s sending out a message to the whole country, get all -- get all the dirt you want get it to my campaign.  This is beyond the pale as I`ve said before.

And I know that there`s a lot of impatience but in this democracy, you know the truth comes out, the issues come out and I think this is yet another outrage where he has taken on his own Justice Department again.

And I think he will pay the price and it may not be in a court of law but it`s going to be in the court of public opinion, it`s going to be in the elections.  We`re going to take back the Senate, we`re going to keep the House and we`re going to have a Democratic president because the people won`t stand for this in my opinion at the end of the day.

RUHLE:  Going against his own intelligence agencies, President Trump picked Christopher Wray.  Joyce Vance, Chris Lu, Barbara Boxer, thank you all for joining on this busy evening.  Coming up, one of the President`s potential 2020 opponents responds.  What senator Kamala Harris thinks of the president accepting what he calls opposition research, what we say interference help from foreigners.  That interview ahead.


RUHLE:  Tonight, in an extraordinary admission from President Donald Trump, he`s telling ABC News that he would happily accept damaging information about his general election opponent from foreigners.


TRUMP:  OK, let`s put yourself in a position.  You`re a congressman.  Somebody comes up and says hey I have information on your opponent.  You call the FBI?

STEPHANOPOULOS:  If it`s coming from the Russia, you do.

TRUMP:  I don`t think -- I tell you what.  I`ve seen a lot of things over in my life.  I don`t think in my whole life I`ve ever called the FBI.  In my whole life, I don`t -- you don`t call the FBI.  You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever --

STEPHANOPOULOS:  Al Gore got a stolen briefing book.  He called the FBI.

TRUMP:  Well, that`s different, a stolen briefing book.  This isn`t a stolen -- this is somebody that said we have information on your opponent. Oh, let me call the FBI.  Give me a break.  Life doesn`t work that way.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  The FBI Director says that`s what should happen.

TRUMP:  The FBI Director is wrong.


RUHLE:  Maybe the casino and real-estate business doesn`t work that way, but the U.S. government does.  Joining me now with his thoughts Richard Painter who is Chief White House Ethics Lawyer under President George W Bush.  Richard, what is your take on the President`s comments this evening?

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER CHIEF ETHICS LAWYER, WHITE HOUSE:  Well, he`s dead wrong.  The FBI director is correct.  If a foreign government approaches you with information on an opponent and the political race, it is critically important to call the FBI.  We need to protect our own country from foreign interference, foreign espionage.  He make all this opposition research but the rest of us call it subversion and espionage.

And what happened in 2016 is detailed in the Mueller report.  A lot of that has been redacted.  That needs to be unredacted, shown to the United States Congress immediately.  It`s been subpoenaed.  The Justice Department is holding it back.  And the only way to proceed is for the United States House of Representatives to impeach this president.

They need to open an impeachment inquiry.  They need judges to enforce those subpoenas, find out what happened in 2016, and we`ve got to make sure it never happens again.  But if they aren`t willing to impeach the president, we are not going to go anywhere on this because the courts are going to take forever to enforce the subpoenas and we`ll be way past the next election and they`re already trying to bring in the Russians, Ukraine, even North Korea, he`s talking to whether it`s Joe Biden or anyone else he wants opposition research on.  This is a very dangerous situation.  The United States House of Representatives needs to act now.

RUHLE:  Well, we learned today from the House Intel hearing, that interference is a threat today.  It`s not on the horizon, it`s happening now.  Let`s actually share Christopher Wray, the President`s own head of the FBI speaking about interference.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI:  To the members of this committee, any threat or effort to interfere with our elections from any nation-state or any non-state actor is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know.


RUHLE:  So you and Christopher Wray are an absolute agreement.  Besides the Congress moving forward with impeachment proceedings, what consequences are there?  We say it`s absolutely wrong.  It`s absolutely wrong or what?  Because the president says I`m the one who`s still the president.

PAINTER:  Well, that`s who -- that`s what he said.  He says he could do whatever he wants so whatever he wants.  The FBI director is obviously right.  And if Congress is not willing to open an impeachment inquiry now, Donald Trump is going to continue to do this.

He`s going to continue to show the middle finger to every one of these subpoenas.  He`s going to tell you to say that the FBI Director is wrong when all the FBI Director is trying to do is protect our country from foreign espionage and foreign subversion.  And we are going to have a repeat at 2016.

And the more you let them get away with this, the worse it`s going to get.  And we can`t just have the Speaker of the House of Representatives say that she wants him in jail.  Her job is to open an impeachment inquiry and send it up to the Senate.  And if the Senators decide they don`t want to have a real impeachment trial or they want to quit him, then they`re going to get voted out in 2020.

RUHLE:  Should Bill Barr be weighing in here?

PAINTER:  But if the House doesn`t do anything, we`re in trouble.

RUHLE:  Should Bill Barr be weighing in?

PAINTER:  Bill Barr should have absolutely nothing to do with a Russia investigation.  He was working for the defense team before he became Attorney General.  He was writing memos for the defense lawyers.  He interviewed Donald Trump, wanted to be his lawyer in the Mueller investigation.  And then it comes over to the Justice Department and he`s supervising the prosecution.  He`s redacting the Mueller report.  He`s refusing to share it with Congress.  He should be impeached along with the president.

RUHLE:  Richard, in the same vein of the president feeling like he can do anything he wants, we must talk emoluments.  NBC News is reporting that representatives from 22 different countries, foreign governments have spent money at Trump properties.  Should this not be a big deal for this White House?

PAINTER:  It is.  It`s a separate impeachable offense.  It`s right there in the Constitution that no person holding a position of trust with the United States government and that includes the president.  No person holding a position of trust in the United States government can receive profits and benefits from foreign governments.

That`s the Emoluments Clause.  He has violated it since day one.  I helped bring a lawsuit against him on behalf of CREW, Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington.  There are two other lawsuits.  In those lawsuits, two of the three are proceeding through discovery, but it`s time for the House of Representatives to impeach him for unconstitutional emoluments in addition --

RUHLE:  Richard, what evidence is there to show that the president should stop this conduct?  A week ago, you see Bill Barr having a drink at the Trump D.C. hotel.  They`re laughing their way through this while the rest of the world looks at their conduct and says this is outrageous.

PAINTER:  Because the United States House of Representatives won`t even open an impeachment inquiry.  They`re -- you know, they think the Democrats are going to win in 2020 just by complaining about Trump and that`s not going to work.  Trump is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.  It`s right in the Constitution.  They need to impeach him now.

If the Democrats don`t do that, they`re going to lose in 2020 because we do not want to choose between liars and losers.  We want leaders who are going to enforce the law and it`s set forth in the Constitution.  He has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.  He has to go.

RUHLE:  Wow, no liars, no losers.  Richard Painter wants leaders.  Richard, thank you so much.  Well, my next guest, I believe she`s pretty confident that the Democrat will win the next election.  Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris joins me live and we certainly have a lot to talk about from tonight`s breaking news to her comments about prosecuting President Trump after he leaves office.  I`ll be asking the Senator about all of it next.  Stick around.  We got a lot to cover.



GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR:  Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponent, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think maybe you do both.  I think you might want to listen. I don`t -- there`s nothing wrong with listening.  If somebody called from a country -- Norway -- "We have information on your opponent."  Oh.  I think I`d want to hear it.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  You want that kind of interference in our elections?

TRUMP:  It`s not interference.  They have information.  I think I`d take it.


RUHLE:  It`s amazing.  Happened tonight.  New comments this evening from the president of the United States on his willingness to accept election assistance from the foreign country.

I am joined by someone who could suffer the consequences of foreigners helping the president.  Senator Kamala Harris joins me.  Senator, thank you so much.  These are some stunning comments from the president.  What`s your reaction?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, Stephanie, listen.  He`s the commander in chief.  And has a duty and a responsibility to the American people to be a defender if not the greatest defender of our democracy.

But to quite the contrary, what we hear tonight is that he is yet again open to the idea of working with foreign governments to undermine the integrity of our election system.  It`s outrageous and tells me the guy doesn`t understand the job and can`t do it very well.

RUHLE:  But you could be in a position running against the president where he is now welcoming foreign interference.  Are you concerned?  Do you feel like your campaign is secure?

HARRIS:  I am very concerned, Stephanie.  I am a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.  On a regular basis we received classified information about the threats to our national security.  There are public reports about the fact that Russia interfered in the election of the president of the United States in 2016.

We have heard most recently from Christopher Wray of the FBI that this is an ongoing threat and something we should be concerned about in 2020.  I am a leader on a bipartisan bill in the United States Senate to upgrade the security of our elections infrastructure.

Yes, I am concerned for all of those reasons and the American public should be concerned and most of all the president of the United States should be concerned, but yet again -- yes, because, you know why, Stephanie, yet again, this president is putting his self interest front of the interest of our democracy and the integrity of our democracy, and the American people`s confidence, and the security and the integrity of our election system which is one of the strongest and most important pillars are our democracy which gives us a role of leadership around the world.

But this president for self interest clearly is willing to compromise one of the components that gives us some of the greatest strength we have when we walk into rooms around the world because people respect that we fight for our democracy even when it is difficult to do so.

RUHLE:  Being out raged is not new.  People across the country including yourself have been outraged for the last two years.  Your colleague Hakeem Jeffries said earlier tonight the Democrats should stay the course.  The president`s admission doesn`t change anything and it`s not time to move towards impeachment yet.  What do you think?

HARRIS:  Well, listen, you know, I was raised by a mother who was all of five feet tall, but if you met my mother, you would think she was seven feet call.  And she was the kind of parent that if you ever came home complaining about something, the first thing she do is she look at you and she`d say well, what are you going to do about it?  Well, I decided to run for president of the United States.  That`s how I translate my outrage.

RUHLE:  Well, you are running for president of the United States and you are going to potentially see the president at the ballot box, but you are currently a sitting senator.

HARRIS:  Right.

RUHLE:  Given your current role, what are you doing about it?

HARRIS:  So we have this election security bill that unfortunately the leader on the Senate side will not put on the floor for a vote.  And I think it`s important that all Americans regardless of their party affiliation fight for the United States Congress to do its job and upgrade the elections infrastructure and secure the elections infrastructure in our country and so I`m proud to have been a leader and to be a leader in the United States Senate on that issue.  Because there is nothing more important than fighting for the integrity of our democracy and our election system regardless of party affiliation, regardless of whether you`re running for office or not.

RUHLE:  You can`t get anything done because you are being roadblocked by the opposite party.  Joe Biden was criticized earlier this week because he said he looks forward if elected, to working with Republicans again in a post-Trump world.  He got a lot of criticism for that.  But people around the country want a government that works.  So what will you do in that position?

HARRIS:  Well, I`m proud to be a part of a number of pieces I think very important public policy initiatives that are bipartisan.  I enjoy working with people across the aisle when we find common ground and I have seen examples where that can happen.

But where there is obstruction, where there is failure to act based on partisan perspective, then as president of the United States, I`m prepared to take executive action, Stephanie.  So, for example, I am prepared to take executive action on reasonable gun safety laws in this country because for decades now we have been debating this issue and there`s been no movement in the United States Congress mostly because of partisan divide.

And so, as president, I will take executive action.  I`ll take executive action on an issue like equal pay because since 1963, we have been talking about this when we passed the Equal Pay Act but yet today women in America are making 80 cents on the dollar, black women 61 cents on the dollar, Native American women 58 cents, and Latinas 53 cents.

I`ll take executive action to move this forward if necessary, but put in place a policy that gets us where we need to go.  I`m prepared to take executive action on the issue of what we need to do around the abortion laws that are being passed in states like Alabama, which when they are clearly from a state that has a history of denying a woman access to reproductive health that she wants and that she should have a choice in making, I am prepared to run a Department of Justice that says we will review those laws for their constitutionality and if they don`t pass constitutional muster, they cannot be implemented.

RUHLE:  Senator, I want to big into the topics more, but I want to turn to some comments you made about prosecuting the president.  Let`s take a listen.

HARRIS:  Sure.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you become president and if he was never impeached, would you want the Department of Justice now that he is no longer a sitting president to go forward with the obstruction of justice changes?

HARRIS:  I believe they would have no choice and they should, yes.  There has to be accountability.  I mean, look, people like, you know, question why I became a prosecutor.  Well, I tell you.  One of the reason I believe there should be accountability.  Everyone should be held accountable and the president is not above the law.


RUHLE:  As a former prosecutor, what makes you so sure the president should be charged?

HARRIS:  Well, what I believe is that everyone should do the job that they are charged with doing of pursuing the evidence and the facts and taking it where they lead.  And I have read the Mueller report.  And there are 10 -- at least 10 clearly outlined incidents of obstruction of justice.  I believe we should take Bob Mueller at his word.

My interpretation of what he told us both in his written report and in his press conference is that the reason that there was not an indictment returned against this President is because of a DOJ memo which says that a sitting president cannot be indicted.  But absolutely, we should want and have checks and balances.  And the Department of Justice after this President is no longer an office, I would assume that they`re going to take a look at it and take it where the facts may lead them.

RUHLE:  Do you believe Robert Mueller got the job done?  It is a detailed report, as you said, you`ve read it, I`ve read it, but there is a lot of confusion out there and public fatigue.

HARRIS:  Well, I think that there was a very comprehensive and in-depth investigation that was conducted over two years and produced what we are aware of which is at least 10 counts of obstruction of justice.  And Stephanie, let`s not forget that over 1,000 former members of the United States Department of Justice, bipartisan, Republicans and Democrats have said that they believe that there is a crime that has occurred.  So that is a fact.

And when we talk about fatigue, you know, listen, I`m traveling the country and people are feeling an incredible amount of distrust in our government and its institutions and leaders.  And when we have a president of the United States who is very possibly engaged in obstruction of justice and then just today says that he would receive information from a foreign and potentially hostile government in a way that would interfere with the election of the President of the United States, I think that the American public is right to feel fatigued in terms of comparing what they would hope and expect would be the posture of the President of the United States against the conduct and the display that we have recently seen from this president.

RUHLE:  Then do you believe Nancy Pelosi is doing enough?  Just today, Trump`s legal team argued in court that Congress can`t even investigate a sitting president.

HARRIS:  Listen, I have a great deal of respect for Nancy Pelosi and I absolutely believe that when we look at the Bob Mueller report, I mean I`ve said how I feel about it.  And I think that when we talk about the conduct of this president including that interview today with George Stephanopoulos, you know, it`s sending a signal.  The conduct of this president is sending a signal to our adversaries around the world and fill in the blank, North Korea, Russia, fill in the blank.  It`s -- he`s sending a signal to them, "Hey, come on in for 2020".

RUHLE:  Well, he sent it to WikiLeaks and they responded.  It worked out.

HARRIS:  He sent what to WikiLeaks?

RUHLE:  He sent that the same thing to WikiLeaks back in 2016.

HARRIS:  That`s right.

RUHLE:  He said, Russia, are you listening?

HARRIS:  That`s right

RUHLE:  And they respond and here we are.

HARRIS:  That`s right.

RUHLE:  All right, please stay with us.  You and I have a lot more to cover.


RUHLE:  There was another shocking headline from the Trump administration about how they are handling what is happening at the southern border.  Senator, I know you have a new plan to help dreamers.  I want to ask you about that.

HARRIS:  OK.  Thank you.

RUHLE:  Please stay with us.  We have a lot more to cover.

HARRIS:  We`ll do.

RUHLE:  You`re watching ALL IN.


RUHLE:  The Trump administration has new plans for detaining migrant children, this time at the same Oklahoma Army Base that once served as an internment camp for Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans in World War II.  Sadly, this is consistent with how the administration treats migrants in general.

With one New Mexico State University professor calling an outdoor detention area in El Paso, "A human dog pound," and adding that migrants told him they are held there for weeks at a time and that, "They haven`t washed or been able to change the clothes they were detained in."

Still with me, Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California who of course is running for president.  Senator, day one, January 20th, 2021, you are in the oval office, you are the sitting president, what do you do about the situation at the border?

HARRIS:  Well, immediately and this inhumane policy that is about separating children from their families and holding children in cages, you know, frankly, Stephanie, this -- it`s a human rights abuse that is being committed by the United States government.

But in addition, immediately get to work on passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a pathway toward citizenship, but also in what I announced today is a plan to take executive action to immediately reinstate protection for DACA recipients and expand those that would be allowed to actually receive DACA protection and then give dreamers a pathway to citizenship, also expand protection so that we would actually defer deportation for the parents of DACA recipients as well as siblings and spouses and TPS holders.

Because what we`ve seen under this administration really flies in the face of what we know, which is we are a nation of immigrants and we have got to pull together a comprehensive system for giving people a pathway to citizenship instead of having a President of the United States who vilified immigrants, who was called immigrants from Mexico rapists and murderers who has a project that is a vanity project to build a $5 billion wall which is by the way, never going to get built.

So my plan is to get us back on the right course and give a pathway to folks to achieve citizenship.

RUHLE:  Your plan uses executive action.


RUHLE:  Making the program that way, doesn`t it put the program as vulnerable in the future?  It`s kind of what got us here.

HARRIS:  But Stephanie, here`s the thing, you should know that in the United States Congress right now, in the Senate, you know, Dick Durbin for example, has been a great leader on this together with Senator Graham on the DREAM Act which is a piece of legislation which would provide dreamers with a pathway towards citizenship.  But guess what, it hasn`t been put on the floor for a vote because there is -- because the president is not going to sign it.

So let`s be clear about this, this is a bipartisan issue, there`s bipartisan support.  In 2013, there was bipartisan support so it got out of the Senate.  But then, the then Speaker on the House side would not put it on the floor for a vote.

So when I`m elected president, I`ll take action to immediately reinstate protection for DACA recipients.  But I am -- I feel very confident that we will have and can get bipartisan support to get legislation passed and I will be clear with the United States Congress that I will sign legislation that is putting in place Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a pathway towards citizenship.

RUHLE:  But does the system really work for the American people?  You were in office when President Obama was.  And day one, Mitch McConnell, who truly knows how the system works rolled up his sleeves and said, I`m about to block you for the next eight years, and in many ways, he was successful.

HARRIS:  Well, on the issue of immigration, I believe that there is room for movement.  I think that they -- listen, I meet with farmers in Iowa together with families in, you know, Texas, and from, you know, a range of different places, people in our country know that we need to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  They know that this is going to be something that will not only be the right and smart thing to do, which is to address the issue, but also, it will help our economy.

And the people of our country also want to know that we are not going to have policies in place that go against the morals of who we are and the traditions of who we are, including saying that, you know, we would not break up families and we would not put children in cages.

RUHLE:  Compassion matters, and most immigrants say -- excuse me, most Americans say that immigrants make our country stronger.

HARRI:  That`s right.

RUHLE:  But there is a new poll where a third of the respondents said that immigrants were a burden to this country.  You know San Francisco well, which has a debilitating homelessness problem.  What do you say to those Americans who say, I have compassion for those in the northern triangle, but I want the government to have compassion for me, and I too am suffering?

HARRIS:  I wouldn`t equate the homeless problem in our country with immigration, Stephanie, those are two separate issues.  And here`s the thing, on the issue of the northern triangle.  Let`s talk specifically, and I`m glad you raised that, about the fact that we have people who are fleeing murder capitals of the world.

And just to step back for a moment.  When a mother pays a coyote money to transport her child through the expense of a foreign country, in this case from the northern triangle through the entire country of Mexico, facing unknown peril, one must sit back and ask why would a mother do that?  And you know why?  Because she knows that the peril her child faces where they are is worse.

But yes, what is the policy of this administration?  When that child arrives to say go back where you came from, it is inhumane, it is irresponsible, and it is contrary to who we are and our nature and who we say we are.

The strong arms of America should be here to receive anyone who is fleeing harm, should be here to protect anyone who is fleeing harm, not to flick them away and say go become to where you came from.  And that`s the kind of policy we`ve had from this administration.  And it is intolerable, it is unacceptable, and it will end when I am elected.

RUHLE:  All right.  And apology, I`m not trying to conflate homelessness with the migrant situation, I`m simply saying that there are people in this country, there`s a sentiment that does conflate those issues, and there are Americans who say, I am not thriving, I am not doing OK, and I don`t believe our government --

HARRIS:  Sure.

RUHLE:  -- should be looking outside of our borders.  How do you help those people understand that you`re going to meet --


RUHLE:  -- their needs as well?

HARRIS:  Well -- and I thank you for raising that point.  Listen, to your point, almost half of American families are of $400 unexpected expense away from complete upheaval.

Part of how I`m going to address that is to change the tax code, so that for families that are making less than $100,000 a year, they`ll receive a $6,000 tax credit that they can receive it up to $500 a month which will be all the difference between them being able to get through the end of the month or not.  And when people ask, well, how are you going to pay for it, I will tell you.  On day one, I`m going to repeal the tax bill that benefits the top 1 percent and the biggest corporations in our country.

For too long, the rules in America have worked in a way that has not been about lifting up, working and middle class families in our country.  And it`s time that we stop and recognize that they deserve support, they deserve to be able to live and thrive with dignity, and with a sense of knowing that their government is valuing them and is supporting them and not just concerned about the top 1 percent.

RUHLE:  Senator, there`s so much more I`d love to get to you.  I want to talk about equal pay.

HARRIS:  Oh, good. I`d love to with you.

RUHLE:  Unfortunately, we are out of time.  Please come back again.

HARRIS:  Will do, will do.

RUHLE:  It was a night with a whole lot of breaking news.

HARRIS:  Yes, thank you.

RUHLE:  Senator Kamala Harris --

HARRIS:  Thank you.

RUHLE:  -- I appreciate you joining me.

HARRIS:  Thank you.

RUHLE:  All right, well, you know, what is coming up in just 14 days, the first democratic debate two weeks away.  And while the official list of candidates participating will be released tomorrow morning.  The field is pretty much set.  14 candidates, including Senator Kamala Harris have qualified by hitting the polling and fundraising thresholds, another six by polling alone.

And we`ve got some new polls just out today, including one from the economist YouGov showing former Vice President Joe Biden still in the lead nationally with 26 percent, and Senator Elizabeth Warren jumping ahead of Bernie Sanders into second place with 16 percent.  Her plan for that seems to be working.

Joining me now to talk about all of it, Basil Smikle, Democratic Strategist and Policy Analyst, who`s also the former executive director of the New York State Democratic Party, and my dear friend, Steve Kornacki, MSNBC Political Correspondent.  First of all, Steve, you`re road tripping it down to Miami--


RUHLE:  -- so you better hurry up we don`t have much time.

KORNACKI:  We got to get to Pennsylvania by 11:30 tonight.

RUHLE:  What do you make of these polls?  Elizabeth Warren jumping ahead?  I mean, she is in Bernie territory here.

KORNACKI:  Yes, look, that`s been the story of the last -- there`s been a story of a couple of surges, I think the last few months.  You had Pete Buttigieg early on from nobody knew who he was to somebody who is in the thick of things right now.  Then I think he was overtaken a bit there by Joe Biden, Joe Biden`s announcement.  He zipped up close to 40 percent in some polls and then weeks after he got in.  It`s receded a bit, but it`s clearly the front-runner heading into this debate, and now Elizabeth Warren.

I think there has been more media coverage, more media attention of Eliza - - for Elizabeth Warren.  She`s gotten a lot of positive coverage in the last few weeks and you`re starting to see that reflected self in the polls too.  So I think what it does is -- I think everything is kind of on hold in a way heading into this debate but it makes her certainly somebody to be watching closely and in particular in that debate stage.

RUHLE:  All right, go nuts and bolts for me quickly Steve.  Next up with debate planning is the Friday lottery.  How does that work?

KORNACKI:  Right, so ac -- OK, there are three hours left today.  Three hours for another poll to come out.  We don`t know of anything.  Nothing has been scheduled or nothing has been announced.  And if nothing comes out in the next three hours and those 20 candidates you just showed, that`s it.  In the headline there, Steve Bullock, governor of Montana, would not be included in the debate.  He needs another poll to come out of nowhere in the next three hours to get him at 1 percent or he doesn`t meet the threshold.  So that`s the 20.

And then what we`ll find out Friday is what they basically decided to do is create two separate lotteries.  One for candidates who are barely registering, less than 2 percent in the polls and one for the candidates who are higher than that, for each night of debating.  They`re going to draw half from each poll.  They want to have a mix like that on the stage.

RUHLE:  It`s like a square dance, like a hoedown we`re going to see down there in Miami.  How did these candidates prepare?

I interviewed Colorado Senator Michael Bennet today and he was joking.  He said, don`t blink at the debate.  You might miss me.  But it`s really not that funny.  There are so many participants.  What does the game plan have to be?

BASIL SMIKLE, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NEW YORK DEMOCRATIC PARTY:  Well, the game plan really is a try to find a way to differentiate yourselves.  That is the hardest thing.

RUHLE:  OK great, I mean --

SMIKLE:  But that`s the hardest -- but that`s really important because a standard answer won`t do it.  They`re going to have to do something that is both policy oriented but is something that`s going to stick with you and stay with you, that`s actually -- that`s very important.

RUHLE:  All right.  You who did that?

SMIKLE:  Not everybody can do that.

RUHLE:  You know who did that --


RUHLE:  -- in the last election?  President Trump.

SMIKLE:  That`s right.  It`s exactly right.

RUHLE:  He got up there at every debate and he called people names --

SMIKLE:  Right.

RUHLE:  -- and he humiliated them.  But the spotlight all drew to him --

SMIKLE:  That`s right.

RUHLE:  -- and those other candidates disappeared.

SMIKLE:  That`s right.

RUHLE:  So that`s what we should do, have some kind of WWE match?

SMIKLE:  I would be really upset if my Democratic candidates actually took that same -- took exactly that tactic with exactly that language, but something in -- something along those lines.  You have to find what --

RUHLE:  Get freaky in a nice way?

SMIKLE:  Well, you`ve got to stand out.  And, you know, with 22 people in the race, how in the world do you do that, even when your policy differences aren`t that great?

But the one thing going back to Elizabeth Warren, she actually has built a policy binder, if you will, that she can call on as she`s in this debate.  A lot of the other candidates are going to be sort of debuting their policies on this debate.

And I think for voters, for the first time hearing that, they`re going to be like, yes, well, but what Elizabeth Warren has done is kind of built a following up until the debate.  Let`s see if she can hold it.

RUHLE:  What`s a good drawing look like, right?  I`m Kamala Harris.  Who do I want to face off against?

KORNACKI:  Yes, Biden.  I think Warren wants to be on the same stage as Biden.  I think Buttigieg probably wants to be on the same stage as Biden.

If you`re on the same stage with the front-runner, I think you`re going to look bigger.  If you`re taking your shots potentially at Biden, it may be different than taking your shots at Sanders.  And there are certainly different ways to go after each of them.

But Warren in particular, I think Warren is the one who really the luck of the draw.  But I think Warren is the one who really wants to be on the same stage with Biden.  I think there are some particular vulnerabilities to him that she is potentially positioned to exploit.

And I think unlike a lot of the other candidates, theater is involved in this to some degree. She has the sort of technical capacity to stage craft to pull it off potentially.  So I`m looking to see if she gets on the stage with Biden and if she does take a swipe at him there.

RUHLE:  What do you think?

SMIKLE:  Yes, I think that`s absolutely right.  And a lot of people have said that Sanders, for example, needs to go after Biden.  But I think his real opponent is Elizabeth Warren here.

RUHLE:  Isn`t that what President is -- I mean --

SMIKLE:  And, you know --

RUHLE:  -- they all -- they want to go after Biden.  But you know who wants that the most?

SMIKLE:  And I --

RUHLE:  President Trump.

SMIKLE:  Yes, and --

RUHLE:  Sitting back at the White House, eating popcorn saying bring it.

SMIKLE:  And what`s going to be interesting is if Biden uses the tactic to say, I`m not going to engage my opponents, I`m just going to engage Donald Trump.  I don`t know if everybody else on the stage has the same philosophy.

RUHLE:  Well, I know I`ll be watching.


RUHLE:  Steve, Basil, thank you so much.

And thank you for watching.  It has been quite an evening here at ALL IN.  I`m Stephanie Ruhle.

You`re in luck.  Chris Hayes will back tomorrow.  And you`re in even greater luck because I`m now handing off to "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.  You got a lot of news.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  I do.  And you are creating like a big expectation here.  I feel like I need to lower the temperature a little bit.  It`s not that big a deal that I`m here.  It`s 9:00.  It`s sort of a normal thing.

RUHLE:  Well, it`s a great thing.  Have a good show.