STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: It was those debate performances that helped him land on Barack Obama`s ticket as the V.P. That Joe Biden, the strong and effective communicator is inextricably linked to the Joe Biden who talks his way into trouble. And for his campaign, that`s a tough choice because you can`t give up one without giving up the other.
That`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have something ready to go subject to my approval.
HAYES: About last night.
TRUMP: How many people are going to be killed? Sir, I`d like to get back to you on that.
HAYES: Tonight, what we know about how he got through the last 24 hours without war and what it means to have the reality show president in charge of war and peace. Then what could be the most serious allegation of sexual violence ever made against the president?
E. JEAN CARROLL, JOURNALIST: I fought. It was shocking. It was against my will.
HAYES: Writer E. Jean Carroll`s cowering claim of sexual assault by Donald Trump. Plus, five days from the debates, Joy Reid on what could be the most consequential event of the primary so far. And what we learned when a federal judge unsealed Sean Hannity`s text messages with Paul Manafort.
PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: That`s what I said. That`s obviously what our position is.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. There`s one thing we know for sure tonight and it`s something to be thankful for. We did not start a military conflict with Iran last night. That is unequivocally good news. Now, the rest of the story including how close we came to launching an attack remains unclear due to conflicting and accounts and an administration whose word has absolutely no credibility.
Not long after we got off the air last night, the New York Times broke the story that the president had approved military strikes against Iran in response to the downing of an American surveillance drone, and then he abruptly changed his mind.
According to the Times citing senior administration officials, the president initially approved attacks on a handful of targets including radar and missile batteries. And planes were already in the air and ships in position when the word came to stand down.
Today, the President gave his own account of what happened both on Twitter and in an interview with NBC`s Chuck Todd. And his version which frankly sounds like the script for a bad action movie contains a couple of suspicious details.
"We were cocked and loaded to retaliate last night on three different sites -- assuming he meant the other kind of sites -- when I asked how many will die. 150 people sir, was the answer from a general. Ten minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry. Our militaries are built new and ready to go, by far the best in the world, sanctions are biting and more added last night."
OK, a lot there. First of all, it`s very hard to imagine the Pentagon waiting till the last second to brief the President on potential casualties. And in fact, the Daily Beast just reports that this is flatly untrue that the President was fully informed before giving the OK.
Second of all, contrary to the President`s claim, the White House did not impose new sanctions last night. He appears to have made that up. The President also contradicted key parts of the New York Times report telling Chuck Todd he never gave an initial go-ahead and the attack had yet to get underway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: So did you greenlight something or had you said if we do it, I`ll do this. What was -- what was the order you gave?
TRUMP: Nothing is green-lighted until the very end because things change, right.
TODD: OK. So you never gave a final order?
TRUMP: No, no, no. But we had something ready to go subject to my approval. And they came in and they came in about a half an hour before. They said, sir, we`re about ready to go. I said, I want a better definition --
TODD: Planes in the air? Were planes in the air?
TRUMP: No. We`re about ready to go. No, but they would have been pretty soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We may not know exactly what happened last night, we do know though how we got to this point in a broader sense which is that the President, that same president, the one who`s asking for us to thank him for not ordering the strike, has taken a series of steps that are designed to escalate tensions with Iran, his campaign of so-called maximum pressure.
He started by violating the international nuclear deal with Iran even though his own government said Iran was in compliance and by surrounding himself with top advisors who have for years been agitating for war against the Iranian regime.
Now, faced with the incredibly highest of stakes consequences of those actions, the president is firing off tweets about potential death tolls and the U.S. being "cocked and loaded." And it`s almost like he doesn`t take the possibility of war or his own responsibility for the safety and security of the country all that seriously.
A source told The Times Maggie Haberman today, the President was pleased with his own performance last night and loved being in command by ordering the strikes and by then ordering to stand down.
I`m joined now by MSNBC Foreign Affairs Analyst Brett McGurk, former U.S. Special Envoy of the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS. Just first, Brett, as just a basic technical matter, in terms of how something like this would go, is it plausible in any way the president is first informed of casualty estimates that close to the actual commission of the strike?
BRETT MCGURK, MSNBC FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: No. The whole thing here is very -- is very strange. I think look, the first thing the military is going to tell the president is probably a range of options on targets. There is always a battle damage estimate, meaning what we think the casualty toll will be in a strike package. So that would have been initially briefed. What I can`t say is when the president was briefed or anything like that.
Well, we know though from his own account -- I think we have to take his own account at face value. We were ten minutes away -- from his tweets, that`s what he said. Ten minutes away from a series of American airstrikes on Iran and soil that would have killed 150 Iranians.
So that would have been a very serious piece of business and the Iranians probably would have responded in some way. And the question then is what would have our response be? So it`s really important in making these most deadly serious warranties decisions is thinking through the consequences.
One thing I just don`t really understand on the timeline is the hastiness of this. This -- there did not seem to be an imminent threat to U.S. personnel. They were not U.S. personnel in danger so it`s unclear even why the rush timeline was apparent here over the last 24 hours.
I am not someone who has spent my life a career at all making these sorts of calculations presenting this kind of advice to a president, but it strikes me that 150 Iranians dead from U.S. strikes in response to the downing of unmanned drone would be an extremely serious escalation that would produce very serious results in consequences.
MCGURK: Well, I think there`s no question. Look, Iran is a seriously problematic actors so we can all stipulate that. They`ve taken now a series of provocations and reckless acts over the last month. But you also have to ask why. You have to ask why is your enemy making the calculations they are.
They started to do this about a month ago really in response to our decision in which we are going to take all of their oil off the marketplace. That`s really a campaign that they see as economic strangulation. They consider it an act of war. So they are now taking these provocative moves in which they see as defensive.
I am pretty sure -- and I spent enough time around the Iranians here over the last decade in one way or another. I am pretty sure they have calculated that should the Americans respond, they have a counterpunch ready. And it would probably be asymmetrical, it will be deniable, but they would definitely do something. And then the onus would be back on the president the White House for what to do well. So this can escalate very quickly.
HAYES: Yes, I want to just be clear about the sort of where things stand vis a vis the -- whatever kind of punch would be or whatever escalation. I mean, you were the envoy for the coalition that was fighting against ISIS. We have I think around 4,000 to 5,000 American servicemembers in Iraq still. Iraq is a place that the government has a relationship with Iranians. There are Iranian backed militias that are very powerful in Iraq.
I mean, those U.S. service members are on the front lines as targets, right, in any kind of counter attack.
MCGURK: Well, this is why I don`t quite understand the hastiness of the timeframe. Look, this is -- this is deadly serious business. I think if you want to put together a campaign, a strategy here against Iran, you have to ask what is your objective. Number one, what are we trying to achieve, and then you put together your resources and your means of deploying them.
It`s unclear first of all strategically what we are trying to achieve with -- against the Iranians through this maximum pressure campaign. That`s one. But in this strike package, what are we trying to achieve and then how would we make sure that our personnel are protected after the repercussions of the strike. Have we consulted with allies? Have we done the groundwork to make sure that if this escalates, that we will have escalation dominance to control the aftermath?
It just seems like given the time frame, there`s no way that deliberative process was really -- was really done and that`s troubling.
HAYES: All right, Brett McGurk, thanks for time tonight. I appreciate it.
MCGURK: Chris, thank you so much.
HAYES: For more about how the Iranians might be perceiving the situation, I`m joined by Iranian-American Journalist and Writer Hooman Majd, an MSNBC Contributor who`s done a lot of reporting on Iran and on this regime particularly in relations to its U.S. relationship.
How do you think the Iranians are and particularly the government are viewing this, perceiving this, and gaming this out?
HOOMAN MAJD, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I`m sure that they`re very concerned about what happened last night and are concerned about the character of the President of the United States and how he goes from one extreme to another. One day he`s calling the President of Iran a lovely man, the next day he`s threatening to annihilate the entire country. It`s confusing.
And I think that we have to really consider from the Iranian perspective what`s happened in the last two years.
MAJD: From the Iranian perspective, everything was hunky-dory two years ago. They were abiding by the deal, they were getting -- buying Boeings, they were buying airbus planes, there are businesses, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, all these companies were going at the Iranian. People were very happy because the economy was now getting back.
HAYES: Yes. There was -- there was a win-win so to speak, that they were complying of the terms of the nuclear deal, and it was good for the Iranian economy.
MAJD: There were some -- there were some tensions. For example, we didn`t like the fact that they were supporting Assad in Syria.
HAYES: Right. They were doing other things that the U.S. government did not like.
MAJD: Yes, but they were -- but we did like the fact that they were fighting ISIS in Iraq.
HAYES: Right. That`s true.
MAJD: So there were different things going on but there wasn`t a crisis. There was no crisis, none whatsoever.
HAYES: In fact, probably the low point for crisis between those countries since the 79 revolution.
MAJD: Absolutely. Between 2015 and between President Trump taking over. And I would say even the first six months of President Trump being president, there was no -- certainly no crisis. So the Iranians are going -- everything was going well. We were abiding by this nuclear deal that we didn`t like. We Iranians did not like because we had to give up a lot of things in order to get this economic benefit.
And then Mr. Trump blows up the deal, blows up the deal, and then applies this maximum pressure on Iran not really knowing what the endgame is. I mean, it`s not clear we know -- as Brett says, we don`t know what the endgame is here so the Iranians are going OK, you blew up this deal, you`re the arsonist, and now you`re coming here and saying I want to put out the fire so come talk to me. Talk to you to do what? From the Iranian perspective, to get what?
HAYES: We had a deal.
MAJD: We had a deal. So you want a better deal than that. Then if we accept that -- this is the Iranian perspective, I`m not defending --
HAYES: No, no, no. But it`s important in this context --
MAJD: They`re saying if we do that, if we come and sit down and talk to you, what we`ve done is rewarding you of violating a deal that you sign.
MAJD: And then how do we know that the next president is going to say well, we could always just violate deals and say we will actually -- you know, actually we want a better one than that now.
MAJD: So what they`re saying is we won`t be held hostage. So if you want to talk to us, you were talking to us, even the Trump administration was talking. Brian Hook was the coordinator for the -- for their JCPOA and was going to those meetings every six months with the Iranians. They could have talked to the Iranians there in those meetings. Once the U.S. withdrew --
HAYES: There`s no channel. There`s no official channel. In fact, that was one of the big things about the joint agreement was that it created for the first time since the hostages in the embassy in 79.
MAJD: Exactly. And resulted in John Kerry being able to get on the phone with the Iranian Foreign Minister --
HAYES: Right, for the first time.
MAJD: And get sailors who were arrested in Iranian water released within 24 hours. I mean, that`s never happened before. So we -- like I said, we had problems with Iran, and Iran had problems with the United States, but nothing like today. So what did we think was going to happen from the Iranian perspective?
I mean, I`m sure Donald Trump doesn`t know a lot of Iranians. I mean, he came of age after the Iranian Revolution, probably didn`t meet a lot of Iranians, probably didn`t do a lot of real estate deals with Iranians, probably doesn`t know the Iranian psyche, but there are people in the administration would do. And so now, you have to think to yourself who`s advising Mr. Trump.
HAYES: Well, it`s not just like -- I mean, just -- there`s no -- what you`ve just laid out isn`t something like mysterious, culturally, specific perspective, it`s the basic ways that a nation-state would perceive a deal in the aftermath. Like --
MAJD: Yes. When foreign ministers are asked, why don`t you meet with Trump? And he says, well, we meet with him for what, to do what? Let`s say we have the meeting. We shake hands, and Donald Trump says you know what, I agree with you, I`ll lift these sanctions, and then he goes off on Air Force One back to Washington and he says to John Bolton and John -- and Mike Pompeo to make the deal.
MAJD: And the Iranians don`t trust because they`re hearing different things. You know, Trump says there`s no preconditions. I`ll sit down and talk to the Iranians anytime and then Mike Pompeo says when they start acting like a normal country. Well, what`s a normal country?
HAYES: This is the key part is that there is not the credibility for diplomacy for peace for de-escalation.
MAJD: No, no.
HAYES: There -- it just doesn`t exist.
MAJD: No, it`s diplomatic malpractice, actually, what`s happening right now.
HAYES: All right, Hooman Majd, thank you. That was illuminating. I really appreciate it. Next, what it means to live in the reality of President Trump`s incoherent approach to foreign policy, whether danger of him leading us into a conflict with Iran is still ever-present. The unfit president next.
HAYES: We thankfully got into the last 24 hours without a military escalation with Iran but all the conditions that brought us to that brink are still there, especially the nature of the commander-in-chief himself including his other lack of moral compass or strategic vision. All of which are on display as he campaigned for the office but now his mass of foreign policy contradictions on the trail is coming home to roost.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would just bomb those suckers. That`s right. I`d blow up the pipes. I`d blow up the -- I`d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.
Unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.
I`m going to bomb the (BLEEP) out of them.
I would be very, very cautious. I think I`d be a lot slower. She has a happy trigger.
The other thing is with the terrorists. You have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.
We can`t be the policemen to the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Here with me now to talk about the President`s inconsistencies and contradictions on foreign policy, Chris Lu who served as White House Cabinet Secretary of the Obama administration and Barbara Boxer former Democratic senator from the State of California and the co-host of the Boxer Podcast.
You know, Senator, just in that little montage, you know, Trump was all over the place. It was -- he was pro-war crimes, pro-torture, killing their families, bombing the S out of them, taking their oil, and also you know, we shouldn`t start new wars. And all of those competing impulses are now brought together in the situation with Iran and this is where we find ourselves.
BARBARA BOXER, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: We`re in utter chaos. I served on Foreign Relations Committee for many, many years. I personally never went to a briefing where we weren`t told what the expected casualties would be and what the options were. And I was in the United States, not the president.
But I have to say. This is what happens when you have a clinical narcissist as president of the United States. Why do I say that? Because everything that Obama was known for, the great success he had on getting close to universal health care, he wants to do away with Trump does. And then there was the Climate Accords, he wanted to do away with that.
And then, one of the shiny examples was this treaty, the treaty with Iran to stop them from getting a nuclear weapon. He walked out of that. He didn`t sit down with them before, now he wants to sit down with them.
Last point is every action brings a reaction. What did they think would happen? And the bottom line is there are (INAUDIBLE) who want war with you know, Iran. I`m glad the president pulled back, but the whole thing is not gone. It`s still there.
HAYES: No, it`s not gone. And you know, to the point that Hooman Majd has made and that -- and that Senator Boxer just referred to, Chris, is that all of the kind of -- the zigzagging of Trump about all this all over the place actually matters tangibly to resolving things because there is no credibility of any attempts for a deal or peace on the other side to the Iranians because of who he is and how he has talked about this.
CHRIS LU, FORMER CABINET SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: There`s also no sense of order, there`s no sense of process. Chris, you described it well at the top of the show. This is like a really bad action movie. You have a president who has about 11,000 false or misleading claims during his time and who`s now trying to make a case for war based on the reports of an intelligence community that he`s derided for the past two years.
He`s being advised by one acting defense secretary who is about to be replaced by a second one, and according to federal law may soon be replaced by a third acting secretary. There`s no discernible policy process that anyone can make out, and he`s often being advised by his friends on Fox News.
And finally, this is a president who is glibly talking about serious and grave matters of war on Twitter trying to fit all this in within 280 characters. Look, he ultimately probably reached the right decision, but he certainly is not handling in this in the deliberative way that his predecessors have done.
HAYES: I mean, to me, the outcome actually, in this case, mattered we`re in the process insofar as like not starting another war with Iran which just strikes me as insane. But the problem is the process is what keeps us in the status quo which is the possibility of escalation.
And Senator -- and Senator, part of that also has to do with where -- I mean Senator Tom Cotton thinks we should have a strike on Iran. There are voices in the Republican Party. It`s obvious and clear to me that you need congressional approval even though he won`t get it. But also, can you imagine that there`s anyone -- having lived through Iraq, there`s anyone in the United States Congress who thinks starting another war in the Middle East is a good idea?
BOXER: Oh, there are a lot of people there, a lot of hawks on the right and within the administration itself who have had their eye on Iran for a long time. I mean, when he pulled out of that treaty, we were alone. Our allies in NATO did not want that. So now how do we look in the world?
We look weak. We look odd. It looks like we`re in chaos and that worries me. Because when this president as narcissistic as he is, looks like maybe he`s a little cowardly or whatever, the Iranians are not good people. They are vicious. They have -- they`re a terrorist country.
HAYES: Let`s just be clear. The Iranians -- the Iranians are good people, whatever you think of their regime. There`s --
BOXER: I meant the country.
HAYES: -- yes, 80 million, yes.
BOXER: I meant the -- I meant that the leaders of the country are not good people. They have terrorist cells all over the Middle East. So we are walking into a problem. This isn`t a question of dealing with a country that is very weak. They are very strong. And even though -- I agree with you -- the people don`t want this, what we have done to the people is punish them through this escalating series of sanctions.
And now the president says, I`ll meet with them anywhere anytime, fine, I hope they do. Trust me. But if they don`t, I don`t think we`re out of this mess.
HAYES: I completely agree with you and I also, Chris, to the Senators point, what seems very clear to me is that what Trump wants is what he did with basically NAFTA which is that to rebrand the thing, say he pulled out and have another one. It`s what he wants in North Korea.
He would take the Obama deal or a worse deal if it has a name on it and he thinks that this is the way he`s going to do it. But the Iranians have no incentive because of the way that he`s behaved.
LU: Yes, look, we know Donald Trump is no student of history but he would be well-served to remember that Colin Powell line from the Iraq war, the Pottery Barn Line. If you break it, you buy it. So he`s broken this Iraq -- Iran nuclear deal, so now he owns this and he has no credibility to cut a new deal, and he`s turned his back on the allies who pushed him to hold on to this deal.
And he says -- so now he`s stuck trying to fix this alone and there`s no clear indication that he knows how to do that.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, at this point the only real out is get back in the deal and extract some concession where they named it after Donald Trump and everyone could just like go back to the status quo ante and maybe he`ll be happy. Chris Lu and Senator Barbara Boxer, thank you very much.
Next, the first-hand account of what is the most serious sexual assault accusation against Donald Trump yet and how the president himself is responding to what amounts to an allegation of rape.
HAYES: Tonight, we find ourselves if not once again in the position of having to warn you about the graphic nature of a story concerning the man that we have made our president. That is because in the pages of New York Magazine today, a well-known writer has accused Donald Trump of raping her.
In a cover story featuring excerpt from her forthcoming book, E. Jean Carroll says that 23 years ago after joking exchange with Trump in the Bergdorf Goodman department store, he assaulted her in a dressing room. Carroll describes the assault in disturbing detail. I quote here.
"The next moment still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat. He opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis, halfway or completely, I`m not certain, inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle.
I`m wearing a pair of sturdy black patent leather four-inch Barney`s high heels which puts my height around 6`1, and I try to stop his foot. I try to push him off me with one free hand. For some reason, I keep holding my purse with the other and I finally get a knee up high enough to push him out and off and I turn open the door and run out of the dressing room."
Carroll spoke with Nightly News correspondent Ann Thompson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: I had a run-in with the president in a dressing room and Bergdorf`s. I fought. It was shocking. It was against my will. From the minute he closed the door, boom. He threw me up against the wall and just tried to kiss me. It was so shocking to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Trump released a statement reading in part, quote, "I`ve never met this person in my life. She is trying to sell a book, that should indicate her motivation. It never happened."
Point of fact, here is a photo of them together meeting. It is in the New York Magazine story that he is referencing. It shows Trump and Carroll and their spouses at a party in 1987.
Earlier today a senior White House official offered New York magazine a statement calling the account, quote, "completely false and unrealistic, although one has to note unrealistic is an interesting choice of words considering the behavior described in the story is remarkably similar to what Trump himself has bragged about." As noted by Carroll, Trump has also denied accusations of sexual misconduct by 15 other women.
After the incident at Bergdorf, Goodman Carroll says she told two friends at the time. And New York magazine verified that. A friend of Carroll`s also confirmed to NBC News that Carroll told her about the alleged attack the next day.
According to Carroll, one of those friends, quote, said he raped you. He raped you. Go to the police. I`ll go with you. We`ll go together. The other friend said, quote, tell no one. Forget it. He has 200 lawyers. He`ll bury you.
Tonight E. Jean Carroll will join Lawrence O`Donnell for an interview on The Last Word at 10:00 p.m.
Joining me now MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley, senior vice president for social justice at The New School.
It`s a remarkable thing to read.
MAYA WILEY, THE NEW SCHOOL: Oh, it`s disturbing on so many levels. And the way she writes about it in her own voice is a very powerful and direct description of her side of events.
HAYES: It`s also the case that I mean this is part of the issue for the president in denying this, is that there are other women who have accused him of doing things somewhat similarly, nothing quite as bad and violent as this. But also he has talked about doing things like this, grabbing them by the privates, which is what she describes. I just start kissing them, that`s the famous line from Access Hollywood. It becomes difficult for him to deny it when those two things are there.
WILEY: Absolutely. And when she has one of the things that prosecutors look for when there`s an absence of physical evidence in terms of demonstrating credibility is the fact that she told people at the time, not that you should consider someone not credible if they didn`t, because a lot of people keep what happens to them secret for deeply psychological reasons, because it`s traumatic, but the fact that there are people she told at the time -- if you remember, Justice Kavanaugh`s confirmation hearings was one of the issues in the Ford case in terms of looking for people who she told contemporaneously.
HAYES: Contemporaneously, and she had not.
WILEY: And she had not. It had been a period of years, which as I said is not uncommon at all. But in this case you have contemporaneous discussions.
HAYES: I thought this was interesting. She said I told two close friends, the first a journalist, magazine writer, correspondent on the TV morning shows, author of many books, begged me to go to the police. And then other, she says, was a New York anchorwoman, which I thought was interesting in terms of her presenting the social capital and credibility of the contemporaneous witnesses.
WILEY: That`s right. And the contemporaneous witnesses can talk about her state of mind. You know, when you`re talking about -- and the way she recounts, she is a writer. She`s a very talented writer, obviously, by the way this is written, that she can recount it in a way that`s very direct, and while she -- and in some respects clinical, right? And that can be used -- that`s something that sometimes people use against someone who has been the victim of a crime is if they are not emoting.
But if you told someone contemporaneously, then that person becomes a witness to your state of mind.
HAYES: There`s also the fact that -- what`s remarkable to me is this is the year 2019. The president has started running for president four years ago, and there was an avalanche of accusations against him on the record by women, many of whom also told people contemporaneously at the time.
WILEY: Some of whom have sued him.
HAYES: Some of whom have sued him, Summer Zervos for defamation when he called her a liar, that we`re still -- this is a new accusation, and in some ways the most serious yet.
WILEY: Yeah. And I think one of the things -- one, I will say we don`t yet know what happened. We do know that she has some corroboration. We know the president has denied it. But to your point, when you have a pattern of behavior, because he certainly also has a pattern of womanizing. I would say that is in the public record.
HAYES: Yeah, that`s I think self-admitted.
WILEY: And self-admitted. He has said in the public record, deny, deny, deny and become aggressive in the face of accusation in order to get out from under it.
So what that tells us is the fact of his denial is not sufficient either.
But I think the question here, I have to say, New York State no longer has a statute of limitations on first-degree rape. That doesn`t mean that in this case she is necessarily saying she would bring a rape charge, but this would be a first -- from what I understand of the fact, this was potentially a first-degree rape case which doesn`t have a statute of limitations and she has the coat. So the other question I had is did she get it dry cleaned or not? And if...
HAYES: There`s also the fact that in the case of Summer Zervos who you mentioned, she has a lawsuit that will go forward as of now, it`s set to go forward, in which in a court of law evidence is going to be presented because she is suing him for defamation, because he called her a liar. And so what will be litigated are the underlying facts.
WILEY: And the president can be deposed. All of this conversation that we have had in the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation does not apply to state law, it does not apply to civil actions. The other question is whether we might see a civil action here.
HAYES: Maya Wiley, thank you very much for coming in.
Next, a judge just released hundreds of texts between Paul Manafort and Trump TV Host Sean Hannity. What they said about the Mueller investigation after this.
HAYES:s A judge in Washington, D.C. today unsealed a document containing hundreds of text messages between former Trump campaign chairman and current inmate Paul Manafort and a person who is very clearly Trump TV host Sean Hannity.
Prosecutors submitted the texts into the record during Manafort`s sentencing. The logs show the two chatted frequently for almost a year before Manafort was sent to jail in June of last year.
They touched on a lot of topics, but perhaps most importantly Manafort made it clear over and over to Hannity that he was not going to flip on the president. And Trump`s close friend Hannity encouraged Manafort to stay strong. Like on March 14, 2018, when Hannity texted, quote, "why don`t you get a sweetheart deal like Gates?"
Manafort replied, "they would want me to give up D.T. or family, especially J.K. I would never do that."
Hannity says, "I understand. There is nothing to give up on D.T. What did J.K. do?
Manafort replies, "nothing, just like I did nothing. They will want me to make stuff up on both. I will never do that."
"OMG, our system is so messed up," said Hannity.
I`m joined now by Elie Mystal, executive editor of Above the Law, a contributor at The Nation.
Well, I will say this about these texts, Sean Hannity is not two-faced. He is not duplicitous -- no, I`m serious. And he is not putting on a show. The Sean Hannity of the texts is the Sean Hannity you get every night. He`s basically performing his deep state monologues to Paul Manafort via text.
ELIE MYSTAL, EDITOR, ABOVE THE LAW: Yes, which is why he should be fired in any kind of reasonable world where journalism exists.
Like, I know regular viewers of this show don`t really need to be told this, but this is just further proof that Sean Hannity is not a newsman, he is a spokesman. He is like the ShamWoW guy, only what he`s selling is misinformation. And you see it like rolling through all these texts.
Can you imagine what would happen to you -- I don`t want to blow up your spot, but like if you had these texts to Anthony Weiner saying stay strong, bro, it`s going to work out, like I don`t think you would have your show.
HAYES: Yeah, I think it would be bad.
MYSTAL: Like you just aren`t allowed to do that. That`s the one thing.
Then we have to remember the legal angle here, like the reason why these got entered into the record is because there was a gag order, right, and Manafort was violating the gag order.
MYSTAL: By sending these texts to Sean Hannity. There`s actually a bit of the text where he`s like -- where Sean is like come on, bro, you`ve got to come on the show. He`s basically like the Fyre Festival, like, come on, let`s come on the show and let`s be legends.
And Manafort is like, oh, man, I can`t, man, because of the gag order,. which he is violating throughout the texts.
There`s also a gag order applying to his lawyer, Ken Dowling, and Manafort repeatedly in these texts had showed that Ken Dowling, Manafort`s lawyer, is feeding Sean Hannity information. At one point Hannity says, oh, Ken is feeding me. He has to keep feeding me. Ken Dowling was also under the same gag order.
So, this is -- the reason why these got entered into the record in the first place...
HAYES: Is because they`re violations.
MYSTAL: Is because they`re violations of the gag order.
HAYES: The other thing here -- I mean, so here`s just sort of a taste of what this is like. Like Manafort says, "you know, I won`t give up and I won`t sell out." This is the distress signals text from August 11, 2017. "I won`t give up. I won`t sell out."
In November, he says we will win. It`s going to be ugly, expensive and aggressive.
He also says, "I live in a nightmare every day, but I won`t give in."
The clearest thing that`s happening here is that he`s talking to Donald Trump through Sean Hannity about whether he will flip or not.
HAYES: That is like the obvious implication.
MYSTAL: It`s not even subtext, it`s just text, right. At one point he says it`s just lonely out here, man. It`s so lonely. I`m very strong, but it`s so lonely. And Sean is like stay strong, brother. Stay strong. God is your -- it`s Sean Hannity being the go-between between Trump and Manafort telling Manafort that it`s all going to work out.
And Manafort is saying like, you`re right, you`re right, you`re right, I have to stay strong. And this is where we get into the J.K. thing, right. Because it`s seems very clearly like Sean Hannity completely in the tank for Trump. Nothing wrong with Trump. But what did J.K. do, right? They`re very easy...
HAYES: It keeps coming back to what did J.K. do?
MYSTAL: And then Manafort -- all Manafort says oh, nothing, just like me.
Well, see, the thing is Manafort did something, right? It reminds me when you see like a prison movie. And you`re like, hey, what are you in for? And the prisoner is like the lawyer got me. That`s what I`m in for. And everybody is like yeah. Like that`s Manafort and J.K. right now.
And let`s remember, Mueller didn`t go through the process of forcing J.K. to sit down.
HAYES: That`s right.
MYSTAL: To testify under oath in his investigation, which to me kind of rolls us all the way back into the congressional investigations and impeachment. These texts show there`s clearly still more to uncover about Jared Kushner.
HAYES: Here`s the thing I would say, also, what these texts show to me. I mean, this is Manafort -- your monologue tonight was the best summary ever. The case against Mueller and his team. This is December 27, 2017. Hannity, F him, disgrace.
He calls Weissmann a POS.
Again, this is -- again, this is what he says on the show every night. This is not some -- But here`s what it shows to me. Manafort was never cooperating. He was never going to cooperate. We know he broke his cooperation agreement, according to the government. And we also know that the president`s lawyers are constantly monitoring who is and who is not cooperating in ways that border with witness tampering if not crossing over into that explicitly.
And this certainly makes it seem plausible that Sean Hannity is a party to that.
MYSTAL: We thought that Rick Gates was cooperating, right? But in these texts, Manafort says, no, Gates is with Trump and me. He`s strong just like me. And then, as you pointed out, Hannity says like why don`t you get a sweet deal like Gates? They clearly don`t feel like Gates is a threat to them, which suggests once again that Gates wasn`t actually cooperating this whole time.
HAYES: All right, Elie Mystal, thank you so much for coming in.
MYSTAL: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, less than a week from the first Democratic debates, candidates are preparing for the biggest primary event yet. Joy Reid is live in South Carolina. I`m going to talk to her about that ahead.
HAYES: One of the more maddening aspects of President Trump`s policy of ripping immigrant children from their parents by the thousands was the complete denial that that was what they were doing. Even after they announced it and talked about it, even bragged about it, there were those in the administration who not only refused to admit it, but just blatantly lied about it taking place.
The best example of that is probably former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. She was one of the people who would go out and lie and lie and lie. She`d lie to congress, and she`d lie to the people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D) CALIFORNIA: Have you been directed to separate parents from children as a method of deterrence of undocumented immigration?
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I have not been directed to do that for purposes of deterrence, no. This administration did not create a policy of separating families at the border. There was no parent who has been deported to my knowledge without multiple opportunities to take their children with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Lies. All of that. Obviously a lie when she first said it. It became even more obvious after the agency`s inspector general said thousands more children than previously thought had been taken from their parents, and memos surfaced outlining the policy itself.
Now, after that lie -- we all know it`s a lie -- and Kirstjen Nielsen can do whatever she wants with the rest of her life with that on her conscience -- after that has been so clearly debunked, the president is lying about it now today in the most insane gaslighty crypto-totalitarian way imaginable.
Here he is speaking to Telemundo`s Jose Diaz-Balart in his first interview with a Spanish language broadcaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE DIAZ-BALART, TELEMUNDO: The zero tolerance policy, was that a mistake?
TRUMP: It`s not a mistake. We want to have strong borders. It`s not a mistake...
DIAZ-BALART: Zero tolerance...
TRUMP: Let me just explain something.
DIAZ-BALART: ...separation of children from parents on the border...
TRUMP: No, no, let me explain.
DIAZ-BALART: Thousands and thousands of children separated.
TRUMP: When I became president, President Obama had a separation policy. I didn`t have it. He had it. I brought the families together. I`m the one that put them together.
Now, I said something when I did that, watch. Many more people will come up, and that`s what happened. But President Obama is the one that built those prison cells.
DIAZ-BALART: I understand. 2,800 children w ere reunited with their parents in the last year. We don`t even know. The government doesn`t even know how many children are still not with their parents. They don`t know, which I find incredible.
TRUMP: Ready? Are you ready? Under the Obama plan...
DIAZ-BALART: Sir, we`re talking about your plan.
TRUMP: No, we`re not, because I`m the one that put people together. I just -- they separated. I put them together.
DIAZ-BALART: You did not. 2,800 children were reunited with their parents in this last year after the zero tolerance policy.
TRUMP: Excuse me, because I put them together. That`s because I put them together.
Under Obama you had separation.
DIAZ-BALART: Under a court order, I might add, right?
TRUMP: No, I put them together. I`m the one that changed the plan.
I inherited separation. And I changed the plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: No, no, no, no, no. All of that is wrong, completely wrong, completely backwards. There was no child separation policy. He did not inherit it. He did not put the children together. He implement it. He ripped those children away. They were put together by a court order.
So everything the president said was an outright lie. And as Trump tries to lie his way to a second term, the nearly two dozen Democrats vying to replace him are all heading south for the weekend. We`ll get more from our own Joy Reid after this.
HAYES: With five days until the first Democratic debate, the biggest event in the 2020 primary so far is happening this weekend. IT is the legendary Jim Clyburn`s world famous fish fry. It`s in South Carolina. Which is the third state to hold his primary election in the Democratic primary. It is also the first really genuinely diverse multi-racial state, which matters a ton because the Democratic Party is a diverse party and a multi-racial coalition.
Not coincidentally, nearly every Democratic candidate will be there. And so will some of our colleagues. Joy Reid and Reverend Al Sharpton are live tomorrow from the South Carolina Democratic Party convention. Senator Kamala Harris talks with Joy live on A.M. Joy tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. And, former Vice President Joe Biden joins Reverend Sharpton live on Politics Nation tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern all right here on MSNBC.
And joining me right now from South Carolina is Joy Reid. It`s great to see your face, Joy.
That looks like a fun event to be at. What`s the atmosphere like? What are you expecting?
JOY REID, MSNBC: Well, the music is great. They just played Mary J. Blige
The crowd is huge. It took forever to get in here, Chris, because there are so many people here. I don`t know that I`ve ever seen this many people in one place, other than like a football game, huge.
And a lot of people who are passionate, too. As we were coming in, you can hear cheering -- this before any of the candidates got here. The people are here for their candidates, and obviously here for the politics and the fish. Fried fish, it`s good.
HAYES: You know, so here`s one way of thinking about the Democratic field, particularly as sort of the Joe Biden story this week, about him talking about the relationship that he had with Democratic segregationist senators, him getting some criticism for that.
I think a lot of people have talked about sort of racial cross tabs, you know, what black voters in the Democratic primary versus white voters, et cetera. One thing I`ve really been noticing are the generational lines. I almost feel like...
HAYES: ...white and black young voters are closer to each other, particularly those who are post college, you know, graduate degrees, than older voters black and white, particularly on these kinds of issues.
REID: That`s right.
HAYES: What do you think of that? I think the generational stuff ends up having more salients on these kinds of questions than the racial ones do.
REID: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I mean, on the surface level, right, what Joe Biden said about James Eastland and Talmadge who, by the way, were segregationist Democrats. So, he was not talking about bipartisanship, OK, let`s just be clear, he wasn`t talking about bipartisanship, because they were also Democrats -- at the time they were right wing conservative Democrats, but what he said resonated so differently with older people that we`ve spoken with here, white or black.
And when you think about it, six in 10 South Carolina Democratic primary voters last time were Democrats. This is a heavily black primary, right. And older black voters view those kind of comments through a completely different lens.
I just had a guy come up and explain why he likes Joe Biden. And he`s probably in his mid-40s, early 50s, something like that. And he said, look, this is the way it is. This is South Carolina. If you want to get anything done, you had to work with people like Strom Thurmond. You had to work with people like James Eastland, that`s the way it works. And Biden, as a white older man is from that generation. And we get it, right.
So, you have a lot of older black voters that are just writing those comments off and saying that it shouldn`t be something that you judge Biden by.
Now when you talk with younger voters here, what we found -- what I found just talking to people is that they`re for Kamala Harris, or they`re for Cory Booker, or they`re for Elizabeth Warren. There`s a few Yang gang people here. But they`re for someone other than Biden.
So, it`s heavily generational. And Joe Biden is benefiting from the fact, as one political strategist extraordinaire here told me, this primary is almost so lopsidedly over age 50, that`s his advantage. It`s older black voters who are carrying Joe Biden right now.
HAYES: Well, that`s a great point. And, you know, if you`re going to have a generational cleavage and you`re a candidate in a crowded field in the Democratic primary, you want the older voters because that`s where the most of them are. That`s where most of the votes are, not just in South Carolina, but if you look at who turns out to vote in primaries, it`s largely voters over 50.
And a big question I think we`ll see going forward, if that changes for those voters, who their allegiance to is, but also other people can motivate more younger voters to come out to kind of balance that.
REID: Well, that`s the thing. And I spoke to another strategist down here today. I was speaking with politicos as well as regular folks who made a really good point. The way that you shift that generational divide and get younger people in the game -- numerically Millennials actually are equal and even with Baby Boomers, or maybe even a little more -- but the problem is is that those older church voters, they vote. Younger voters need passion.
And so the question is can any of those 23 other Democrats ignite the kind of just base level rock star kind of passion that you saw in `92 for Bill Clinton, that you saw in 2008 for Barack Obama? Is there a Barack Obama in that field?
Because to be honest with you, Chris, having great policy ideas or great ideas, or a great profile or a great background isn`t going to do it because the older voters are Biden voters. Who takes them away? Somebody who ignites passion among younger voters. That`s what`s going to happen.
HAYES: Really interesting. We`re going be watching all your programming. Stay tuned to MSNBC tomorrow for more of Joy`s outstanding coverage for South Carolina. Thank you, Joy, for making time tonight. Have a great weekend.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now with Ali Velshi in for Rachel. Good evening, Ali.
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