STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: In the meantime, "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I think that this is about us doing our jobs.
HAYES: The movement to impeach the president keeps growing.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Are we doing our job as a member of the House?
HAYES: Tonight, why more Americans are getting on board with impeachment as more Democrats say they don`t want to wait until the election to vote on the President`s fate.
REP. ANDY LEVIN (D-MI): I am going to be supporting and seeking and trying to build consensus for an impeachment inquiry into --
HAYES: Then, Senator Chris Murphy on new Republican calls to bomb Iran.
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
HAYES: What we learned from the Democratic candidates at the Poor People`s Campaign presidential forum.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joy, I know you`re one of the ones who thinks it`s naive to think we have to work together.
HAYES: And the art of the deal ghost writer Tony Schwartz on the President`s coughing pin.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And let`s do that over. He`s coughing in the middle of my answer.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
TRUMP: If you`re going to cough, please leave the room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We have some breaking news at this hour. Representative Katie Porter, a freshman California Democrat has just announced her support for an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.
Of course, she made the decision after weeks of deliberation, conversation with voters, and that while she did not come to Congress to impeach the president, "when faced with a crisis of this magnitude, I cannot with a clean conscience ignore my duty to defend the Constitution. I can`t claim to be committed to rooting out corruption and putting people over politics and then not apply those same principles and standards in all the work I do."
And Porter is an interesting case. She defeated an incumbent Republican in a district that was created in 1983 and from the time of its creation till Porter`s election had never once voted for a single Democrat.
She now becomes the 67th member of the House to favor starting an impeachment inquiry, 66 Democrats and one lonely Republican. In that list includes Michigan Democrat Andy Levin who announced this -- his position had switched at a town hall on Saturday night.
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LEVIN: I am going to be supporting and seeking and trying to build consensus for an impeachment inquiry into --
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HAYES: News that more lawmakers favored opening impeachment proceedings comes as a new poll from Fox News of all places found that a combined 50 percent of Americans believe the President should be impeached including 43 percent who want him impeached and removed, and seven percent who want him impeached but not removed.
Trump T.V. poll also found that 50 percent of Americans believe the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government which suggests that half the country has a far better grasp of the contents of the Mueller report than the President does.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Mueller comes out, there`s no collusion, and essentially a ruling that no obstruction, and they keep going with it. You know what, people are angry about it.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: I don`t think that`s what he found but we don`t have a time for that. Now, we`ll talk about --
TRUMP: It is what he found -- excuse me, he found no collusion and he didn`t find anything having to do with obstruction because they made a ruling based on his findings and they said no obstruction.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn`t examine collusion. He laid out evidence of obstruction.
TRUMP: Were you trying to say now that there was collusion even though he said there is no collusion?
STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn`t say there`s no collusion.
TRUMP: He said no collusion.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He said he didn`t look at --
TRUMP: George, the report said no collusion.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you read the report?
TRUMP: Yes, I did and you should read it too. Come on let`s go. You should read it too, George.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, that`s basically how it goes. But just to be clear, Mueller explicitly writes in the report that he`s not evaluating collusion as a useful concept so he explicitly says that he`s not saying no collusion.
Now, it has been pretty remarkable to watch the calls for impeachment grow even as Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership are doing just about everything in their power to discourage impeachment talk. Pelosi seems to be operating on the notion the country can and should wait until the 2020 election to register its disapproval of the president`s conduct.
Just about every poll shows that Trump isn`t popular and trails potential Democratic opponents and head-to-head matchups. In fact, the president was so embarrassed when leaked internal polling showed him trailing Joe Biden in battleground states that Trump cut ties with his own pollsters after first claiming falsely that the negative polls never exist in the first place.
Now, I am sure that many Democrats and opponents of the president loves seeing these polls understandably, but 17 months into Election Day might as well be an eternity. Those polls are functionally meaningless in any predictive sense whatsoever.
And while some Democrats fear that impeachment inquiry could help Trump, the politics of impeachment are far from clear. Regardless, a growing chorus of Democrats say that the politics are not the point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Every day that passes the pressure to impeach grows and I think that it`s justifiable. I think the evidence continues to come in and I believe that with the president now saying that he is willing to break the law to win re-election, that that goes -- that transcends partisanship, it transcends party lines, and this is now about the rule of law in the United States of America.
This is about us doing our jobs. And if we`re talking about what`s going to be a victory for Trump and what`s not going to be a victory for Trump, then we are politicizing and we are tainting this process which again should be removed from politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now a former Democratic presidential candidate, DNC chair, Vermont Governor Howard Dean who does not favor opening impeachment inquiry. Are you surprised at all by the -- by the way the numbers have moved recently?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR, VERMONT: No I`m actually thrilled. I`m one of the few people who was actually around when Nixon was impeached. This is exactly what happened. They were very careful they were very deliberate. They didn`t go beyond the facts that were known, and the grounds grew to -- so much that in those days the Republicans were actually patriots.
HAYES: I`m not sure that causal story is correct. My read of the causal story is that the impeachment inquiry began when most people didn`t favor impeachment and moved in tandem with the --
DEAN: That is -- that is true because times are very different. There was no forum for learning about the things that we`ve learned about Trump outside the impeachment process. That`s not true today. I mean that the analysis of what Mueller -- first of all, I don`t believe for a minute from thread the Mueller report because I don`t think he can possibly read 400 pages for him.
But the fact of the matter is, what I think what Nancy Pelosi is doing is brilliant and actually she`s letting the momentum build. I don`t think she`s resisting it as much as you said she was. That`s the storyline.
HAYES: You think it`s just strategic patience?
DEAN: I think it`s just strategic patience and I think strategic -- look Pelosi has not missed a step. She is the one person who`s got Donald Trump`s number in Washington. She hasn`t missed a step yet. I think it`s great that people who are calling for impeachment in the House. I don`t think that`s the problem. I think Pelosi is playing her hand exactly right.
HAYES: So you basically think that it -- that it`s a productive -- the dynamic is productive, the tension is productive --
DEAN: I absolutely think so.
HAYES: -- between leadership saying no, no, no, we want to take it -- we want be patient and member after member coming out.
DEAN: And that`s why you see these numbers. These numbers in the public - - in the public is fantastic. 48 percent now think he should be impeached or 50 --
HAYES: Right, yes. And we`ve seen I should say in our own NBC poll that it`s 27 percent think an inquiry should start but that`s up ten points this time.
DEAN: I happen to be a big fan of AOC not because I agree with her on every point but I think she injects an energy into the debate and to the Congress. It`s badly needed. I think what she is doing is driving those numbers and I think that`s a good thing. Let Pelosi be the stage person that she is and the leader that she is. I think this is a good dynamic. And we`ve got -- and I expect the numbers to go higher.
HAYES: Well, here`s -- so here`s my -- the one reason I want to talk to you about this topic is because you know, there -- one of the things that can happen among political parties or political classes they can get a kind of groupthink, right?
HAYES: And that happens. And it happens to cable news.
DEAN: That`s a big problem.
HAYES: Right? And I remember you know back in 2003 when you`re running for office is that is there was a big group think about Iraq like oh we got a road for the Iraq war and defend it, and you came along, you were like what are you nuts? Like no, that`s crazy. And I just wonder if like this sort of establishment view that like impeachments too risky, it has political downsides represents a kind of group think, you know --
DEAN: It could -- it could be inside the beltway group thing. That`s true. But what`s -- when you look at the dynamic of what`s happening, it`s better for the public to lead on this and that`s what they`re doing with a lot of encouragement for these 60-70 members of Congress.
HAYES: So you --
DEAN: I think this -- I don`t think anybody is doing anything wrong here. I think --
HAYES: I think that`s very interesting.
DEAN. And it`s moving the way we wanted to move.
HAYES: That`s interesting. I have not -- I have not sort of thought of that -- thought it in that way because part of what I`ve been hearing from Democratic leadership is like -- I thought this piece in The Washington Post was interesting. The idea that like we need to focus on these sort of kitchen table issues, you know, we`re passing a prescription drugs bill and we`re passing a campaign finance bill HR-1, and then there`s this piece in The Washington Post today about how it`s -- that message is not breaking through, that that Cheri Bustos who chairs the DCCC was sort of briefing fellow House leaders saying like no one`s paying attention to these bills, that`s not where the energy is. And I was like yes, no kidding.
DEAN: So here`s my thesis about the election, how this is going to work. If we are talking about Trump four months before the election, Trump is going to win. The idea is we needed to dismiss Trump. We don`t have to put up with all his silliness. We can just say -- we can do what Klobuchar did when she announced. She goes, you think Donald`s hair would look like this in a snowstorm?
And then we need to talk about the kitchen table issues. Right -- look, Trump is an expert at getting people to talk about Trump. That`s all he cares about. He`s nuts that way.
HAYES: I don`t disagree with that.
DEAN: So let`s not play his game but right now it is his game. We have no spokesperson until we have a nominee.
HAYES: I mean, that`s my -- yes, right, exactly. My point is that --
DEAN: Until we have a nominee.
HAYES: But do you agree with me. I guess my read on the situation is that the idea that from the house you can pass these bills which some of which we`ve covered and some of which are quite worthy, right. I mean, you know, ending LGBT discrimination. They are not -- they are not -- that cannot drive an agenda for a national party.
DEAN: It will in eight months.
HAYES: When there`s a candidate. Yes, agreed when there`s a nominee, but you can`t do it from the House.
DEAN: When there`s a nominee -- yes you can. Here`s why you can. Because it`s just as important to win the presidency -- it`s actually almost just as --
HAYES: Oh no, that I said it, right, yes.
DEAN: Right. So we got these Republicans on record of voting against people`s health care, getting rid of you know, pre-existing conditions, maybe bombing Iraq, God knows what they`re going to do now.
DEAN: That`s going to be important three months before the election. Right now people were caught up in the drama of Trump because nobody`s better than Trump and he`s the president. He gets to set the agenda.
HAYES: Attracting attention.
DEAN: But the agenda is creeping up against him. Now -- to see that 50 percent of the people think he should be impeached, that means 50 percent of the people know what Democrats have known for a long time. This guy is a crook and he`s incompetent. Let Trump prove that he`s a crook and he`s incompetent. He does it every day.
HAYES: That my question to you though. Ultimately is then do you have to -- you have to sort of press the button so to speak on actually impeachment?
DEAN: We may have to do that. We don`t know. It depends what comes out. The Mueller report turned out after the gross disingenuous Barr who really shouldn`t be barred, should be disbarred. But after his gross disingenuous, people who were lied to by the Attorney General, they now know it, and that`s one of the reasons Trump is so awful --
HAYES: Well, it`s why it`s remarkable. I mean, that polling, they used the word coordinated which I think is actually a good word. It`s better than conspiracy and collusion because I think it actually catches something that he coordinated with the Russian attacks. Like yes, they did coordinate, right? Like they -- he said Russia if you`re listening like --
DEAN: This is the first poll I have seen that shows that something very close to a majority of the American people believe that Trump is a liar. That has to include people who voted for him.
HAYES: Yes, Howard Dean, thank you so much for being with me. I appreciate it.
DEAN: Thank you. It`s my pleasure.
HAYES: For more of the impeachment debate, I`m joined by Danielle Moodie Mills Host of #WokeAF on Sirius XM, Brian Beutler who`s Editor-in-Chief of Crooked.com. Danielle, I`ll start with you. Katie Porter was interesting to me because one of the things you`ve heard is look, we`ve got 40 frontline districts right.
These are these freshman members who are in districts that where they took a Republican seat and we`re going to follow them. They`re kind of a weathervane here because they`re the ones we have to worry about and like safe Democratic districts, people can do all they want. So it was significant to me that she from her district came out in support.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILL, HOST, #WOKEAF: I think that is incredibly important. But here`s the thing. I also believe that Democrats actually need to do their job which is to educate their constituency which is what they are not doing. Right now, you have a bunch of Democrats you have the Democrats in leadership that are saying you know what, no, slow your roll. We`re going to walk ourselves towards impeachment, we`re going to allow the president to self-impeach.
And the reality is it that these poll numbers are ticking up and they`re not ticking up because people are pulling in Justin Amash and they`re actually going in to their constituency bases. They`re actually holding town halls where they`re talking about a myriad of issues, but one of those issues being impeachment, and why impeachment matters, and why the Constitution matters, and why what Donald Trump is doing as a lawless president matters to your day-to-day lives.
Justin Amash is doing that but Democrats aren`t so those numbers are ticking up. And I agree with Howard Dean, I agree with the fact that OK, here`s the thing. Maybe we`re doing a strategic patience we`re doing right now.
Maybe Nancy Pelosi, she is three -- playing three-dimensional chess as many of my callers into my show say, OK, you know, you`re getting really carried away because you`re really going after Nancy Pelosi here. And I said yes, because here`s the idea. The rest of America doesn`t have three and four months to wait. The rest of America it`s actually becoming more and more disengaged every day that goes on and they see that no one is doing anything about Donald Trump.
HAYES: So this is -- that`s I think a really interesting point, Brian. So there`s sort of two ways I think to think about this you know, strategic patience here which Howard Dean was talking about in the earlier conversation. One is as a sort of tactical ploy, right, to kind of let public opinion lead.
But there`s also this question about like what do you want -- if you`re Nancy Pelosi of the Democratic Party right now, what do you want the Democratic grassroots engaged in? What is the fight right now? What do you want to be telling them? What do you want to tell them you stand for? And to Danielle`s point, do you think there`s a worry that they become essentially demobilize?
BRIAN BEUTLER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF CROOKED MEDIA: Yes. I mean, I read a story and I think it was in the -- in the Washington Post today that was filled with Democrats complaining about how they can`t get the public to care about the agenda that they`re passing through the House because Donald Trump has this megaphone and he does all these controversial things, and he`s super corrupt, and that`s all that the media cares about.
And Democrats, on the other hand, have this sort of break glass in case of emergency option. If they`re worried about Trump controlling the narrative, they both can begin an impeachment process to take it away from him but also because it`s the right thing to do.
I mean, I kind of find it mystifying to hear Howard Dean say that he thinks that Nancy Pelosi is not anti-impeachment because she`s -- I mean, I`ve covered her for a long time and what she`s doing with impeachment is sort of how she talks about an issue when she`s whipping against it.
It`s not -- it`s not the way she talks about an issue when she`s trying to let her members get in front of the issue first. She`s saying mutually contradictory things about what impeachment means and when she should do it. She says we shouldn`t do it for political reasons but we shouldn`t do it for not political reasons. And then in the next interview she`ll say something like impeachment is very divisive and we shouldn`t -- we shouldn`t just leap into it. But that`s a political judgment that she`s making.
So you can`t have it both ways. And the reason she`s trying to have it both ways is because she needs a reason to explain away why she`s not doing what the Constitution clearly contemplates her doing at this point.
HAYES: Well, I think also to me, I mean, this is -- again, this is attacking the question I was talking to Howard Dean before about the Iraq war which is on just totally different substantive and moral stakes right, it involves thousands of lives. But in terms of like groupthink, right, when I saw the Washington Post story about this that Cheri Bustos is telling folks like look our message bills are not getting out. It`s like that may be -- like yes, no kidding. You needed a focus group to tell you that?
Like this -- what world are you -- that really made me really wonder what the world is looking like from those that cohort of folks.
MILLS: And this is what`s making me concerned on a day to day basis about Democratic leadership because here`s the thing, is that a majority of people, a majority -- when you look at the polls and you fascinate them together, a majority that people want an impeachment inquiry at the very least. They`re not talking about removal, they`re talking about going through with the procedure to understand more of what is happening right now.
And Nancy Pelosi is out of one side of her mouth saying OK, the President belongs in jail and then on the other hand saying but I don`t want to do it for political reasons and I`m saying you`re not making a decision based on political decision because you`re deciding that we have time to wait for 2020 when he told us that he`s ready to steal the election before them. I`m just saying.
HAYES: Part of the issue too, Brian, is that the you know, the proceedings itself have been stonewalled. I mean, the president has made these extremely tenuous and aggressive assertions of privilege over ex-staffers. There`s been agreements cut for people to testify behind closed doors. Mueller has still not appeared.
I mean, any sort of degree to which that body can call people forward and use it as a sort of public tool is being stonewalled at this point with the idea that the courts are going to rule in their favor but that`s just an open question.
BEUTLER: Yes. I mean, I think what happened is that Democrats made a strategic decision well before the midterm elections to do something -- to avoid impeachment that was based on a kind of misunderstanding of what kind of person President Trump is, right. They say that -- they worry that he`s trying to goad them into impeaching him because impeachment will be good for him but he actually quite plainly seems very scared of impeaching.
He`s cooking -- he`s cooking up all these nonsense legal argument like I will sue if they try to impeach me which just isn`t a thing. He doesn`t want to be impeached but he`s -- he also identifies weakness and he attacks weakness. He`s a bully and that`s how he operates. So the failure to start an impeachment process is encouraging him to lawlessly block the oversight process in Congress, to sort of sick the Justice Department on Democratic candidates and it`s not going to stop.
I mean I don`t see -- why would you contest the 2018 elections if you didn`t think you were going to end up in an -- in a debate over impeachment with Donald Trump. The person he was is clear to everyone before the election.
HAYES: I should note that the President is tweeting that Fox News poll that we talked about. The president is tweeting about it just to show how I`m concerned he is. They`re always bad for me. They were against Crooked Hillary. So they show us leading in swing states and then a lot of stuff. He`s clearly watching television right now.
But we should also note that there`s a New York Times story that just crossed which is that to your -- to your point about the sort of continuing lawless behavior that that suggests the number two of the Department of Justice personally intervened to make sure that Paul Manafort wouldn`t get set to Rikers which people in the piece quoted as saying incredibly anomalous right. A high-level intervention to make sure the Paul Manafort knows some things about the president is not sent Rikers as would have been standard practice to face the state charges so we may see a lot more of that. Danielle Moodie-Mills and Brian Beutler, thank you both for being with me tonight.
BEUTLER: Thank you.
MILLS: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, intelligence officials consider the president to be such a security risk they are hesitant to share details about their operations against Russia. That report in two minutes.
HAYES: It looks like President Trump`s own national security team is taking precautions to leave the commander-in-chief out of the loop as it relates to their efforts to combat Russian cyber interference because they are afraid of the president`s reaction.
When the president saw this reporting by the New York Times the U.S. had escalated online attacks of Russia`s power grid as a kind of warning to President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Trump basically flipped out accusing the Times of a virtual act of treason saying the report was not true. And really you can practically feel the flop sweat coming off that tweet as he appears to publicly assure Putin he would never do anything like that to him.
The Times in response made it abundantly clear Trump`s own national security team did not take issue with Times reporting saying in a tweet "Accusing the press of treason is dangerous. We described the article to the government before publication as our story notes. President Trump`s own natural security officials said there were no concerns."
MSNBC National Security Analyst Ned Price, former special assistant to the President Obama, and a former NSC Spokesperson and he joins me now. Ned, what do you make of this story?
NED PRICE, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, in digesting the contours of this story, Chris, I see a couple different possibilities at play. Neither of which really speaks well of this president, The national security processes in his White House or the people around him. I think the first possibility is that which the New York Times story largely describes that the President`s team decided to undertake these offensive cyber operations deep inside Russia`s electrical grid without informing the president.
To my mind, that would be equal parts terrifying and reassuring. I mean of course it`s reassuring in some ways because we knew this president is. We know what he`s done in the Oval Office with the Russians. We don`t know what he`s done at Helsinki one-on-one with Vladimir Putin. We know what he`s done in terms of loose lips at Mar-a-Lago and he turned that into the makeshift Situation Room, and on Twitter when he spilled classified information.
In some ways though, it would be terrifying for the president the precedent it would set for our democracy. In some ways it`s anathema to our system of democracy and certainly to the notion of civilian control of our military if the Department of Defense can just undertake a profoundly novel and important offensive cyber operations deep inside Russia`s electric grid.
I actually think though there`s another possibility that could be at play here, and that is that the President`s team and talking to the New York Times over a series of weeks was actually just overstating the degree to which they had undertaken cyber operations as a sort of psychological warfare, as a way to deter Russia to sort of psych them out.
Under that storyline, Chris, I think the president`s team was trying to counter Russia`s game of chess with their own game of checkers, but then, of course, the President jumps in by losing a game of tic-tac-toe, by saying on Twitter that no, no, no this story is not true thereby revoking all of the leverage and the psychological benefit we would have gotten.
HAYES: Here`s more reporting for that piece. The Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction and the possibility he might counter manned it or discuss it with foreign officials as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operations here to the Russian Foreign Minister.
To your point about the terrifying part of this, I mean it just seems untenable. Like he`s the President of the United States. You know, you`re going to sort of cabin him off from sensitive intelligence but he is the president but also you can`t trust him. It`s just incredibly damning if in fact they would do that, incredibly damning.
PRICE: Well, it is. And I have reason to suspect they -- this may not be precisely the case. Look, this according to the New York Times reporting came out of the Department of Defense. The senior military leader at the Department of Defense is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He reports in many ways directly to the president.
It would be difficult especially with this culture of accountability at the Department of Defense when it comes to operations as profound as offensive cyber operations that the President wouldn`t have at least been back briefed on this.
You know, a senior Obama administration official recently said in a public forum that during the Obama years, he could count the number of offensive cyber operations on one hand. These are not operations that you undertake every day, every week, in some cases even every year.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, the other issue here is the sort of moral substantive strategic question about like taking out someone`s grid which seems to me like an extreme escalation that I really hope that no one -- no one is considering.
PRICE: Well, it`s an extreme escalation against a civilian target. This is not going after Moscow`s nuclear arsenal. This is not going after their command and control structures. The power grid is an inherently civilian structure. And that`s the problem with cyber warfare.
Look, in a conventional war, you respond with conventional means. In nuclear war doctrine prescribes you respond with nuclear means. In cyber, it`s much more difficult because attribution is not a given and there`s this potential for escalatory spiral that you just don`t see in other realms.
HAYES: Yes. This is my big concern. Ned Price, thank you very much.
PRICE: Thank you. Ahead, Senator Chris Murphy on his colleagues call to bomb Iran. The Trump administration`s very dangerous campaign for war next.
HAYES: A little over a year ago, the President announced he was walking away from an international deal to limit Iran`s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. According to his own administration, Iran was fully complying with the restrictions that were imposed by that deal on enrichment and on its nuclear stockpiles. Nevertheless, the President ripped it up, withdrew the U.S. from six-party pack and reimposed sanctions, broke the terms of the deal.
One year later, the chickens are coming home to roost. Iran is now threatening openly to exceed the limit on its stockpile of enriched uranium in just ten days. That is, of course, the exact situation that the nuclear deal was created to prevent, the deal that Donald Trump walked away from for no discernible reason.
But this latest development comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran over attacks on shipping in the Middle East as some of the president`s closest advisors continue to push for further escalation. Tonight, the Pentagon just announced, it`s sending 1,000 additional troops to the region for what it is calling defensive purposes, some of the president`s allies are not content to stop there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: These unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant retaliatory military strike.
MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS SENIOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Are you - - you`re comparing the tanker war in the `80s to now and saying that that`s the kind of military response that you want to see?
COTTON: We can make a military response at a time and in a manner of our choosing, but, yes, unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Do you agree with your colleague, Tom Cotton, that there should be a US military strike on Iran?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT), SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, that`s an extraordinary precedent to set, that the United States has a defense obligation to come to the aid of commercial shipping companies. It may be that the Iranians instigated this attack, as Secretary Pompeo said this weekend, but none of that evidence has been provided to Congress yet.
And what we can say with definitiveness is that the Trump administration`s policy towards Iran thus far has been an unmitigated disaster. He inherited a relationship that needed lots and lots of work, the Iranians were still engaged in all sorts of bad behavior in the region, but they were not actively threatening US forces. They were not launching attacks against commercial interests at sea. And they were not restarting their nuclear program.
All three of those things are happening now. And there seems to be no way out of this other than this new suggestion of a military strike.
My worry, Chris, is that there are people inside the administration that think that you can get away with a time limited military campaign against Iran. Ultimately, I think that if we begin that campaign there is no seeming end to it, which is why I`m pretty worried.
HAYES: Well, yes. I mean, you`ve got Bret Stephens, New York Times columnist, calling for the same thing that Tom Cotton called for. This has become the talking point in the last three days, right? Like the US should just have a military strike.
There`s of course the little question of the constitution and whether it would be legal. This is what Mike Pompeo said when asked about legal authorization for a military strike against Iran. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: Do you have the legal authorization for a strike on Iran?
MIKE POMPEO, US SECRETARY OF STATE: We always have the authorization to defend American interests. Remember, they now have attacked US aircraft. They -- on June 6th, there was a missile filed from Yemen that we assess had Iranian assistance that took down an MQ-9 aircraft. These are attacks on fundamental international norms and now on American interests, and we always have a right to defend our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Is that true?
MURPHY: It`s fundamentally not true. The President does not have unchecked Article 2 authority to launch war against a country overseas simply to defend American interests. Now, a president can take a short- term military action to defend against an imminent attack, but you don`t have the broad authority to defend against perspective attacks on American interests.
And by the way, this idea of American interests is a new paradigm without end. I have no idea how to defend and explain what American interests are, and apparently the administration has a very wide-ranging view of that.
HAYES: I am glad you say that because I can`t tell if I`m losing my mind every time I hear that term invoked. There are literally millions of American interests around the globe. Like, there`s -- you know, name a country in the world. It`s got American interests. There are some American -- some American businesses doing business there. Maybe there are students there. Like that just seems an utterly deranged way to define the ability to make war.
MURPHY: Well, and then add to it the fact that they apparently are prepared to go to war against Iran for anything that -- anyone affiliated with Iran does.
MURPHY: That touches anything somehow connected to American interests. So I will not sit here and defend that the Houthi fired missiles into Saudi Arabia. But the Houthis do not have a command and control relationship with the Iranian government. This is a rebel group inside Yemen. And we don`t have a defense agreement with the Saudi Arabian government, and yet, apparently, if the Houthis fire miles into Saudi Arabia, that could drag the United States into a war that could last years.
HAYES: Are there votes in the Senate on the Republican side to override anything they do here?
MURPHY: I don`t know. I mean, there is certainly nothing in Republicans` behavior in the Senate in the past to suggest that there are enough. We put forward a war powers resolution limiting the President`s authority to go to war inside Yemen. And we got only a handful of Republican votes.
We have a piece of legislation that`s pretty simple that says the president can take pre-emptive military action against Iran without congressional authority. We offered that for a vote in the Foreign Relations Committee a week or so ago and only got maybe one or two Republican votes.
So I worry that the Republicans are prepared to defend the President`s actions here no matter what.
HAYES: Quickly, 1 to 10, how worried are you about where this is going?
MURPHY: I don`t know I`d put a number on it but a thousand new troops into the region, vague talk about needing our allies to support some campaign that`s coming. And again, this talk that we hear sometimes informally from the administration that they think that they could get away with a military campaign against Iran that could be contained, make me more worried today than I have been at any other point during this crisis.
HAYES: All right. Senator Chris Murphy, always a pleasure. Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, Trump ghost writer Tony Schwartz and the President tweeting the Oval Office like the set of a reality show. And tonight`s "Thing One, Thing Two" starts next.
HAYES: Thing one tonight, most of the world leaders who want something from Donald Trump have by now learned the secret, just flatter him like crazy and he is all yours. Putin knows, Kim Jong-un knows, and Benjamin Netanyahu really knows.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: There is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump.
You back up your strong words with strong actions. You`ve changed history and you`ve touched our hearts.
I`ve never seen the realistic alliance between the United States, Israel and your other allies in region as strong, as unified as it is under your leadership.
My dear friend, Donald, I think we quote each other. We understand each other. Mr. President, Donald, there is no city on earth where you are more welcome than right here with us in Jerusalem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, Netanyahu is a smart guy. He pours it on because being tight with Trump is good for both parties, which explains his huge campaign posters around Tel Aviv earlier this year.
It`s more than just words. When Trump visited Israel, Netanyahu made sure he got his favorite foods like burgers, steak, chocolate cake, and even supposedly named a new settlement after Trump.
OK, is that real? Is Trump really falling for this stuff? No, it`s not. And, yes, he is. That`s thing two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu have a special relationship. You may remember back in March, Trump announced via Twitter the US was going to recognize Israel`s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and then commemorated the move with a nice gift to his friend, Bibi, a map of Israel, including the Golan Heights handed over by Jared Kushner.
Trump sharpied the whole thing up, signing his name and adding a little arrow pointing to the Golan Heights with one word, nice. Naturally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to return the favor and decided to get the president a whole town in the Golan Heights named after him, Trump Heights.
They put up a big beautiful sign with golden letters, held a special dedication ceremony over the weekend. The US Ambassador to Israel, David freeman, was there, seen here in a photo that he tweeted. Prime Minister Netanyahu was there, too, and also tweeted about the historic day.
Trump himself re-tweeted that tweet, but there is just one tiny little problem, the town doesn`t seem to actually exist. As a member of the Knesset from Golan Heights said there is no budgeting, no planning, no location for a settlement, and there`s no binding decision to implement the project.
Other have noted, they can`t even legally establish a new community until after the elections in September. No word or whether any of that info has made its way to President Trump. You`d think as ambassador might have know this, there was nothing but dirt behind that sign.
HAYES: Joe Biden is leading the polls for the Democratic nomination, at least for now. And his stature as former vice president means he can afford to be somewhat selective in which forums and candidate cattle calls he attends. But today he did head down to Washington, D. C. for the Poor People`s Campaign Presidential Forum.
And Biden has largely stayed out of this kind of environment so far. It was fascinating to see how he navigated it, particularly when our own MSNBC`s Joy Reid, one of the event moderators, asked how he would deal with the senate controlled by Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joy, I know you`re one of the ones who thinks it`s naive that we have to work together. The fact of the matter is we can`t get a consensus, nothing happens except the abuse of power by the executive, zero, number one. Number two, there are certain things where it just takes a brass knuckle fight. You have to go out and beat these folks if they don`t agree with you by making your case, and that`s what presidents are supposed to do, persuade the public. Move people as to what`s going on.
So you go out and you beat them. You make the case. You make an explicit case just like we did for the house. I think we can do the same thing for the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren who has been climbing the polls recently had a different answer to that very same question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we`re in the majority and Mitch McConnell wants to block us on the kinds of things our country needs and the kinds of things they elected me and other people to enact, then I`m all for getting rid of the filibuster. We cannot let him block things the way he did during the Obama administration.
I`ve been there. When it was one set of rules when President Obama was president and now it`s a different set of rules now that they`ve got Trump in the White House. We can`t do that as Democrats. We have to be willing to get in this fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, I should say, this is a question I`ve asked a lot of candidates. And to be clear, what are you going to do about Mitch McConnell an impossibly tough question, whatever the right answer is, if there is even one right answer, remains unclear, particularly if the Republicans were to hold a Senate majority under a Democratic president.
But if a Democrat is lucky enough to win the White House next year, they will have to take a hard look at some kind of Mitch McConnell strategy and come up with a viable response to McConnell`s legacy because this just might be the question that defines their presidency.
HAYES: President Trump just had his newsiest non-Fox interview since he said this to Lester Holt way back in May of 2017.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia and is a made up story. It`s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, Trump has (inaudible) a lot in his latest interview with George Stephanopoulos. He said, he would accept foreign help in the next election. He accused his own former White House Counsel of breaking the law by lying to Robert Mueller.
And here`s his answer verbatim when he was asked what if he thinks Kim Jong-un is still building nuclear weapons. I`m going to quote and read it here.
"I don`t know, I hope not, he promised me he wouldn`t be. He promised me he wouldn`t be testing. I think he`d like to meet again and I think he likes me a lot."
But throughout the interview, it becomes clear that Trump sees himself as a performer above all else, even asking for a second take in an Oval Office interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you will see my financial statement at some point, I assume it`s going to be released. You`ll be very impressed with the job I`ve done, much, much bigger, much, much better than anybody.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Which financial statement?
TRUMP: They are after my financial statement, the Senate. They would like to get my financial statement. At some point I hope they get it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You`re going to turn it over?
TRUMP: No, at some I might. But at some point I hope they get it because it`s a fantastic financial statement. It`s a fantastic financial statement.
And let`s do that over. He`s coughing in the middle of my answer.
TRUMP: I don`t like that. If you are going to cough, please leave the room.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We should get a shot, and I`ll go over here.
TRUMP: You just can`t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry.
TRUMP: OK. Do you want to do that a little differently then?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes. We just changed the angle. Yes. Thank you.
TRUMP: So at some point, I look forward to -- frankly, I`d like to have people see my financial statement because it`s phenomenal.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It`s up to you.
TRUMP: It`s not up to me. It`s up to lawyers, it`s up to everything else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Mick Mulvaney getting toss in Oval Office for coughing. Joining me now an expert on Donald Trump, Tony Schwartz, ghost writer and co-authored "Trump: The Art of the Deal."
There is so much going on in that clip that sort of perfectly embodies. But the first is just that, do you want to do another take.
TONY SCHWARTZ, "TRUMP: THE ART OF THE DEAL," CO-AUTHOR: You know, the first is the number of lies he tells in a remarkably short period of time. You know, this is all he does now. He lies all the time. Virtually nothing he says is true.
HAYES: And so, he`s conjured a financial statement, a fictional thing that the Senate wants that he wants released that the lawyers won`t let him that does not exist.
SCHWARTZ: And none of it means anything. The right thing for, you know, starve this sucker. Just stop listening. Ignore everything he says.
HAYES: Do you think that`s right?
SCHWARTZ: I really do. I think he is -- he has gone so far already. I mean, there was a point at which only about 20 percent or 30 percent of what he said is untrue. It`s now 80 percent or 90 percent.
HAYES: Anything that gotten -- I mean, one thing -- I read the whole transcript today, so 40 pages. And one of the things strikes, jumps out of you when you read the transcript is, it`s just constant repetition and a total failure to ever form a complex thought or even build an argument.
You know, you can say like, look, here`s why I didn`t obstruct justice, one, two, three. Like can`t do it. And I can`t tell if this is someone who is choosing not to do it because he thinks repetition is more effective or is in incapable.
SCHWARTZ: He is 100 percent incapable of doing it. There is not one chance in hell that this guy could put together a coherent set of sentences, and when he`s under pressure and he`s feeling under enormous pressure right now, what he does is doubles down on what he always does, and repeats, he obfuscates, he lies.
You know, when you think about Mick Mulvaney standing in that office as the chief of staff to the president of the United States and he said get out of this room because you coughed, what you know is to know Trump is to hate trump. To know Trump is to hate Trump. Meaning everybody who knows him deep down hates him completely.
HAYES: You know, it`s funny you said that because Michael Wolf who has a new book coming, gave an interview. And I think that there`s lots of reasons that people have been skeptical from the things reported in Michael Wolf`s book. One of the big bombshells was denied by the Office of Special Counsel. So I make no determination about the factual accuracy of that book.
But he said exactly the same thing. He said that every person who works with him does secretly despise him.
SCHWARTZ: Ivanka despises him. Jared despises him.
HAYES: You know those are fact. You are deducing this from the behavior of the man that you spent time around.
SCHWARTZ: Correct. I`m deducing it from the behavior and from the fact --
HAYES: Because he treats people like that.
SCHWARTZ: Exactly. When you are around a person who devalues you, humiliates you, ignores you, shames you, what possible other reaction could you have other than to despise him. And what happens is, there is a percentage of people who feel that way and don`t care.
SCHWARTZ: Because he`s serving some other or they believe he is serving some other agenda that they share. But it is extraordinary to imagine the level of isolation that he has reached.
He is now alone in this White House. And I mean, alone, you remember when Nixon was walking around talking to the walls, but there was still a few people that was hey, and there was Diane Sawyer. There were a few people around who would still talk to him.
There is nobody with Trump who he pays any attention to, who he`ll give sufficient respect to that there`s actual dialogue that can take place.
HAYES: Right. I mean, that`s what worries me. I mean, you know, this is sort of character study, but again it`s character study in the context of, you know, are we going to go to war with Iran?
SCHWARTZ: Yes. And that`s a conversation he`s having with himself. Because he really does believe -- this is part of the doubling down. The more insecure he gets, the more upon inflated he becomes.
HAYES: Right, yes.
SCHWARTZ: So he believes even more in this omniscient.
HAYES: And then, there`s people that around who are opportunistically cultivating that to their own policy ends, which is also my fear particularly in the context of Iran, and there are people like particularly John Bolton who have we know for long periods of time desired this particular policy.
SCHWARTZ: Yes. So he will put up with anything, Bolton will. But --
HAYES: Right. He`s in that category.
SCHWARTZ: Yes. But Trump will turn on him one day. The opposite way he was the previous day. So good luck to John Bolton, today it may be OK, tomorrow it won`t.
HAYES: Right. And that, this has been true, Mick Mulvaney has been true, Pompeo has been true, every one has the limb sawed off behind them.
SCHWARTZ: Yes. And they walk out of it, you know, something close to impudent. I mean, he reduces you as a human being.
HAYES: But why do people keep signing up to be reduced. I find it just -- even watching Mike Pompeo answering questions on the Sunday shows, looking like just a complete befuddled fool, just absolute fool stripped down, sitting there, trying to deny the reality. We all see and he calls, you know, accepting foreign interference, you know, Washington talk.
SCHWARTZ: I think he has a certain kind of demonic power, a perverse kind of charisma that sucks people in. And then once they are in, it`s very hard to get out. And listen, the proximity to power.
HAYES: Yes, he`s the head of State. You`re the secretary of state.
SCHWARTZ: Exactly. You are the secretary of State, you`re working for the president of the United States. That is intoxicating particularly if you yourself have a certain kind of inner emptiness.
HAYES: Final question. The person that you see in this long interview, this is the longest interview we`ve seen with the current sort of real interlock either for a long time, compared to the man you worked with whatever was 25 years ago like. Is there decline?
SCHWARTZ: Oh, there`s massive decline. There is massive decline. Now listen, it wasn`t a high bar even then, but the amount of decline is extraordinary and it`s in the form of the inability to step back even an inch from himself.
HAYES: Yes, that`s very apparent. Tony Schwartz, thank you so much for your insights.
SCHWARTZ:: Thank you.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END