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Pres Trump ousts NSA John Bolton. TRANSCRIPT: 9/10/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Daniel Benaim, Chris Murphy, Francis Robles, Walter Schaub

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  the early vote in 2018 was 61-37.  So we said McCready needs to be at or above his early vote level in 2018.  He`s two points above in the early vote in the Robeson County which is the first thing we have coming in.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  It looks to be a squeaker based on that.  And I mean a squeaker.  Maybe I have to wait for Brian Williams tonight at 11:00 to get this one.  This could be really close.  Thank you, Steve.  You`re the best.  Thank you, Heidi Przybyla, thank you so much -- and Eugene Robinson.

And that`s HARDBALL for now.  What an exciting night to find out which way North Carolina -- as goes to Tar Heel State.  Watch out.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It was a very close race.  I think it`s getting less close.

HAYES:  What we already know from the early results in North Carolina nine.

DAN MCCREADY (D-NC), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE:  We got a chance to change this country.

HAYES:  Plus, the President bounces his National Security Adviser.

TRUMP:  You`re fired.

HAYES:  Or did he?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  John Bolton has just told me, he texted me.  He said, I resigned.

HAYES:  Tonight, what we know about the unceremonious exit of a Republican perpetual war advocate.  And new reporting and new confusion tonight over what`s stopping Bahamians fleeing disaster for reaching safety in America.

MARK MORGAN, ACTING COMMISSIONER, CBP:  We don`t want this max exodus from the Bahamas.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  There`s good news and there`s bad news.  The good news is John Bolton is no longer working for the Trump Administration.  He is no longer the National Security Advisor, fired by tweet, the most humiliating way to lose his job, and then having to tweet out that no, no, he wasn`t fired because he had already offered to resign.

But he`s out now.  John Bolton was one of the most aggressive advocates of U.S. military intervention over the last 20 years in American public life.  He notoriously could not get confirmed as U.N. Ambassador under President George W. Bush.  Contemptuous of our allies, a vicious infighter who had bureaucratic carcasses left in his wake from the people he shifts, pushed out, ran over.  That is what he was known for.  And now today he finds himself preyed to the same kinds of tactics.

So that really is the good news.  The bad news is the guy who hired him is still there.  Donald Trump is now burned through three national security advisors.  The first of whom Mike Flynn learned today he`ll be sentenced later this year for lying to the FBI.  John Bolton hasn`t been indicted so he has that going for him.

But even with all the National Security Advisor turnover from day one, the President has had no coherent foreign policy vision aside from a very palpable and I think genuine affection for brutal strongmen.  The rest of the plan seems to just be do the opposite of whatever Obama did.

For anyone tempted to think that Bolton`s departure signals some kind of dovish turn in President Trump, here the facts.  Under Donald Trump, the pace of airstrikes has increased in almost every area in which the U.S. military is engaged.

In fact, according to the LA Times, "The United Nations mission in Afghanistan reported recently the U.S. airstrikes and Afghan security forces killed more civilians in the first half of 2019 than the Taliban did.

The Trump administration has also escalated the U.S. war against Shabab militants in Somalia watching 123 airstrikes since early 2017.  That`s four times as many as Obama ministration conducted over years.  Presumably, that means more civilian casualties.  But it`s hard to know for sure how many civilians have been killed since the administration also stopped reporting civilian casualties from drone strikes.

We`re still engaged in strikes in at least seven different countries.  Unlike President Obama, President Trump has struck the Syrian government of Assad twice.  Perhaps most notably before Trump hired John Bolton, he pulled out of the Iran Deal pushing us closer to some kind of full-blown conflict with that country.

Bolton`s firing comes just days after the president swooped in to essentially snatch defeat from the jaws of possible victory vis-a-vis months of painstaking negotiations to attempt a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan negotiate with the Taliban all because the president insisted on a big event that would give him credit for a deal that he had little to do with.  And in so doing, to topple the whole thing over, we`re now resuming more intense military action in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, North Korea says it is willing to hold talks the U.S. but they just launched two more missiles.  And Trump is downplaying the fact that they are blowing stuff up.  We`ve learned a lesson before that personnel can always be worse in Donald Trump`s Whitehouse, but the personnel is just a symptom.  The cause of the problem remains Donald Trump.

Joining me now our resident expert in all things foreign policy Andrea Mitchell NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Anchor of MSNBC`s "ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS."  The writing on the wall was there for a while on this so not surprising but still sudden.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT:  Very sudden indeed.  To be fired on Twitter and experience that Rex Tillerson, and Dan Coates, and you know, those now three prominent national security officials have experienced is not only humiliating.

But in this case, there was pushback immediate pushback from John Bolton in real-time tweeting -- texting to our colleagues, to other news reporters that he had resigned, had not been fired.  So there was a lot of contention there.

And then very shortly after, an hour or so later, the briefing that he was supposed to attend in the briefing room where the Secretary of State was clearly triumphant after months of tension over foreign policy key issues, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran with John Bolton, the obvious smiles and with Pompeo saying that there were clearly disagreements.  There was no attempt to cover up their friction.

HAYES:  Yes.  Pompeo was positively beaming,  It looked like he was -- had his birthday party.  You know, here`s what strikes me in what I think is so notable about the President`s strange abrupt announcement of that ill-fated Camp David summit with the Taliban and the Afghan President.

It seems very clear to me that Donald Trump wants some big diplomatic wins.  He wants some iconic moment where he`s shaking hands and it`s on the front page of the paper, and it`s Donald Trump dealmaker, Donald Trump peacemaker.  And it seems to me that he is desperate to find that in anywhere that he can at this moment.

MITCHELL:  Well, that is the concern of many foreign policy experts, Chris, that here you have the show of the stepping across the DMZ into North Korea.  You have in fact the first Singapore summit but followed up by the Hanoi meeting which ended disastrously.  And then a third meeting when you still have not had a single proffer of what the weapons inventory is from North Korea.

That was what he promised in Singapore to explain what he`s got and then start de-accessing his nuclear weapons.  Not only has that not happened, but the president has been dismissing the seriousness of these short-range missile launches as not important because they were not part of the Singapore promise when in fact they have made significant advances in North Korea on their weaponry.

Then again Iran saying now that he is willing to meet without preconditions.  Well, this is certainly better than military conflict with Iran if it results in something.  What we can expect now is that all the signals are there could be a meeting with President Rouhani in New York.

And most importantly, this Camp David I think ill-conceived notion the week before or the weekend before the week of 9/11, to have the Taliban coming to Camp David of all places, have them coming to Washington which the United States at all when the Afghan leadership was completely sidelined here.

But this is again something that had been blessed by Secretary Pompeo.  So you have an, in this case, this and the North Korea negotiations were fully embraced by the Secretary of State.  Again, diplomacy is better than war but what if we got for all of this and where is the American leadership?

Clearly, the president now goes into the U.N. meetings with no one being able to trust that they can talk to any his advisors, they have to talk to him and he could change his mind by tomorrow.

HAYES:  I think that`s what he likes.  Andrea Mitchell, thank you so very much.

MITCHELL:  You bet.

HAYES:  Joining me now for the more for on the state of U.S. foreign policy under Donald Trump Daniel Benaim former Middle East Policy Advisor and Foreign Policy Speechwriter at the White House, the State Department, and for the U.S. Senate and Ned Price former Spokesperson and Senior Director at the National Security Council, now an MSNBC National Security Analyst.

Dan, I`ve seen Democrats with sort of two reactions like yes, it`s good John Bolton is out but also we don`t love the chaos.  Your read, a good day or a bad day for U.S. foreign policy?

DANIEL BENAIM, FORMER MIDDLE EAST POLICY ADVISOR, WHITE HOUSE:  Well, look, I think this is a good day in a bad period.  Boulton to somebody who broke the interagency process, who before getting the job declared in print that we should bomb not just Iran but North Korea who took us to the brink of war with Iran.

Now, the idea that the only thing standing between Donald -- between John Bolton and a war with Iran was the restraint and good judgment of Donald Trump who has spent the last week raging at the weather is something that should give us all pause.

HAYES:  Right.  You know, there`s also the -- there`s also I think a turning point in Bolton`s estimation in the President`s view, Ned, and that was the Venezuela situation which Bolton was very clearly had kind of wrangled control Venezuela and I think had sold the President that they were going to essentially topple the Maduro government.

There`s the notorious moment where Bolton comes out with 5,000 troops to Colombia like written on a notebook so everyone can see it.  And then that whole thing didn`t really work out.  Like the entire enterprise was botched in a sort of a classic like John Bolton sniffing around for a place for the U.S. to flex its muscle way.

NED PRICE, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST:  Well, in some ways, Chris, it culminated in a very public and especially disastrous way.  And the U.S. government essentially announced that there would be a coup underway in Venezuela only to have it never materialized.

And Donald Trump is someone -- he`s a showman, right?  He is someone who wants the spectacle.  He wants the action.  He wants the drama.  And so when the administration gave this dramatic preview of a forthcoming coup, the removal of President Maduro in Venezuela, I think President Trump was looking forward to that only to be sorely disappointed by not only John Bolton, to be fair, but also to others with an administration who had really oversold the process for regime change there, and more broadly oversold I think the influence that the American government has in aid in a transition like that.

HAYES:  You know, one of the lessons we`ve learned, right, about U.S. military intervention is your intentions matter less than what actually happens, right?  But it strikes me that it`s the same on diplomacy.  I mean, it`s so clear the President is palpably desperate for a big deal now but there`s none of the -- none of the stuff under -- during the process to produce the actual diplomatic breakthroughs.

BENAIM:  No, that`s right.  I mean, I think he`s thirsty for a huge agreement with Iran.

HAYES:  Very clearly.

BENAIM:  He`s you know, blowing up the cell phone of the Iranian president trying to get a meeting.  But if you haven`t done your work, if you don`t have the leverage, if you don`t have policy coherence, if you don`t have a basic competence strategy, if you can`t get out of your own way to make a deal like that as we saw this weekend with Afghanistan, then you`re really sunk and you`re left with this kind of policy adrift of half-finished deals and pandemonium and policy chaos.

HAYES:  Do you think, Ned, that we`re -- for all the pandemonium and chaos and this kind of like diplomatic thirstiness which the president is evincing -- which again better than him desperate to start a military intervention, we should be very clear.  Does it -- how much does it matter whether the successor -- who the successor is here?

PRICE:  Well, I think Donald Trump is going to have a very hard time finding a successor or someone who will willingly raise her/his hand to take a job that has seen the three incumbents disgraced.  One is in federal court today awaiting sentencing, the second was ingloriously dismissed, and of course, John Bolton depending on whom you believe was either fired or I think more improbably resigned.

But even if he does find that person, the job that Donald Trump wants to install this individual is not the role of National Security Adviser.  The traditional role of National Security Adviser in many administrations has been to play that of honest broker.  Not only -- not to allied arguments and disagreements but actually to surface them in a deliberative, inclusive interagency process that has all of the views incorporated.

What Donald Trump wants on the other hand I think is someone like Mike Pompeo.  Someone who at least pretends to see the world the way he does.  Someone who can whisper into his ear and give private candid advice and usually keep that advice private.  Donald Trump does not want to hear the views of the interagency.

Donald Trump doesn`t want to hear the views and the National City Council staff.  He wants this whisperer and I think he`s going to have a very hard time finding someone who is both competent and willing to take this job.

HAYES:  Yes, that -- I mean, there is no deliberation there`s no process really happening on that White House as far as we can tell.

BENAIM:  No, that`s exactly right.  Trump famously said in 2016, I alone can fix it and he seems determined to test that proposition.  We have no Secretary of Defense for 204 days confirmed which is a record.  We have no Secretary of Homeland Security or deputy confirmed.  We have no Director of National Intelligence or deputy confirmed.  The White House Chief of Staff is acting.

These are the people who are responsible as Ned well knows, you know, having sat in these deliberations as well.  These are the people who are responsible for coordinating the actions by the government to protect the American people on the eve of 9/11.

You know, it`s true that we can all debate how much influence anyone policy adviser has over Trump and whether it matters if it`s a hawkish or a dovish national security adviser.  But the simple lack of capable people willing to go in there and risk being fired by tweet and Trump`s unwillingness to put people in these jobs and delegate meaningful authority creates real chaos and real vulnerability for the United States.

HAYES:  Dan Benaim and Ned Price, thank you both.  This hour, we`re getting the first returns in the highest stakes congressional election of the year in North Carolina`s Ninth District.  An election where millions of dollars were spent where the President and Vice President campaigned, a district that the Republican candidate should win walking away.  It`s a district that Donald Trump won by 12 points in 2016.

The Republican candidate last time around got caught engaging in election fraud so massive the election was invalidated by the State Board of Elections so this is the do-over tonight.  Joining me now is MSNBC National Political Correspondent Steve Kornacki.  We`re just getting the first numbers and Steve, what are you seeing?

KORNACKI:  Chris, yes, we`ve got well over the first numbers here.  Almost half the vote will be in once we get the Mecklenburg early vote.  Basically what you got here is all the early vote minus one county.  There`s eight counties that are in this district, seven of the eight we have the early vote for.

We say the early vote in North Carolina, the early vote is half or more of all the vote that`s going to be cast.  So let me take you through what we have so far.  You can -- again, this tiny little sliver here is Mecklenburg County.  That`s a third of the district.  That`s suburban Charlotte.  That`s the only place we`re waiting on the early vote.

But what we can do is we can compare the early vote right now to what the early vote was last November.  And remember, last November, Dan McCready, the Democrat, was running and he basically battled the Republican to a tie.

You talk about all the election fraud that took place.  If he can basically say that was a tie, so compare his early vote level now versus last November.  Is he running at or above that level?  That would bode well for him.  Is he running below it?  That would bode poorly for him.

Let`s start in Union County.  The Republican bastion here.  This is also a third of the district.  Dan Bishop, the Republican, wins the early vote 56- 44.  However, what was it in 2018, McCready got 44 tonight, in 2018 he got 41.  So he has improved on his 2018 showing in the Republican bastion of the district, again, a third of the population right there.

Next door, Anson County.  This is 68 percent for McCready, in 2018 66 percent.  He`s improved in the early vote.  We got a little bit of the same day in here but I can tell you Richmond County, it was 51 percent in 18 for Macready, 52 percent tonight, improves on the early vote.  61 percent in Scotland in the early vote, 57 for Macready in 2018.

Notice a pattern here.  Robeson County McCready 63 in the early vote.  You`re looking at 61 in 2018.  Bladen County the other Republican area here 51 percent for Bishop.  What did Bishop get?  He got -- excuse me, what the Republican got last time 57.  Again, less for the Republicans, more for the Democrats.  In Cumberland County, just to finish it up, 56-44.  It was 56- 43 last November.

So again, we are waiting here on the population center Mecklenburg.  I can tell you that in the early vote in 2018 McCready won the Mecklenburg portion 58 to 41.  So what you basically see there`s a few precincts that have reported but this is basically the early vote plus a little same-day.

You can expect a massive jump for McCready when the Mecklenburg early vote comes in and it would mean -- unless there`s a big surprise in that Mecklenburg early vote, it would mean that Bishop needs huge Election Day turnout and he needs to do much better on Election Day this time than the Republican did last November.  Otherwise these early vote numbers, those are very positive for McCready, so we`ll see.

But if you`re the Democratic campaign and you`re looking at these early vote members, I think it`s safe to say you got everything you wanted out of them.

HAYES:  That is very, very interesting, Steve.  Bladen County which you just mentioned there, of course, was the county where the alleged criminal conspiracy to get people`s ballots happened last time around.  We should note here, Steve, I mean, this is a pretty red district, right?  I mean, I think it`s almost red than any district that was won in the in 2018.

KORNACKI:  Yes.  And, Chris, here it is.  Mecklenburg, I said we`re waiting on it, and you can see now.  What this means is all of the early vote has just come in Mecklenburg County.  Again, Charlotte suburbs, we said McCready got 58 last November.  I can`t tell -- this 28 percent means also twenty-eight percent of Election Day precincts are in.

So it looks like I would -- my guess here would be he performed better than he did in 2018.  That would complete the cycle but he`s running at 60 percent.  Again, what did McCready get overall?  When all the voting was counted in McCready last -- excuse me in Mecklenburg last November, McCready got 54.

So again, you expect Bishop to do better as their start to count the Election Day vote here.  But about a third of that -- a quarter with third of that`s already counted.  You factor that in and look what that has done to the district-wide margin here.  Dan McCready the Democrat now with all the early vote in and some of the same day counted, he`s at a nine-point lead.

I can tell you when you counted all the early day vote last November, the lead for Dan McReady was five points.  So he is running better than that right now.  Again, with the same day vote coming in, Bishop is going to need some big same-day numbers here, Chris.

HAYES:  Yes, big question now is whether any that early vote was essentially cannibalizing same-day votes through enthusiasm, but right now ahead of all the benchmarks for McCready against Bishop there and we`re going to keep checking in with you.  This is -- this is a fascinating race.

I mean, this is -- this is sort of a marquee back battleground, Steve.  And you know, we had a bunch of times in 2017 we could dip in with specials.  In 2018, we had the midterms.  This is our first real kind of on-the-ground look at the political terrain in this off-year and it`s fascinating what we`re seeing so far.  Steve Kornacki, we will see you again through the hour with further updates.  I want to keep monitoring that.

Next, new reporting on why a key CIA informant was pulled from Russia shortly after the2016 election after having over -- helping Intel for decades.  Senator Chris Murphy on that story and the firing of John Bolton.


HAYES:  Tonight, there are now multiple credible reports that in 2017 the United States extracted a priced high-level spy from Russia amid fears for this person`s safety, fears that their identity could be compromised.  That informant is believed to have interacted regularly with Vladimir Putin and fed the CIA information about Putin`s role in ordering the 2016 operation to sabotage our presidential election.

CNN was the first to break the story about the decision to remove the former senior Russian official, a reporting that came after that infamous May 2017 Oval Office meeting in which President Trump discussed highly classified information with the Russian Foreign Minister then-Russian ambassador.

The decision came amid "concerns that Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.  CNN`s reporting was then followed by pieces from our own NBC News, the New York Times, The Washington Post, all which advanced the story in varying ways.

The Post reporting that while Trump`s disclosure of classified information alarm national security officials, it ultimately quote was not the reason for the decision to remove the CIA asset.  But the Post and Times reporting that CIA officials grew increasingly worried for their asset safety after according to Times, intelligence officials revealed the severity of Russia`s election interference with unusual detail, in part because this asset was the American government`s best insight into the thinking of and orders from Mr. Putin.

I`m joined now by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  What do you make of all this, Senator?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT):  Well, I think you are exposing a conflict that is inherent in intelligence gathering.  The most important intelligence often ultimately does need to be made public in a way that allows for public policymakers to be able to make decisions.

And so, in this case, it may be that this intelligence about the ways in which Russia affected the 2016 election was so important that it ultimately did have to be disclosed in order to move the public and to move policymakers to action.  That is something that happens often and often leads to intelligence sources having to be withdrawn or channels shut down.

But I also think it stands to reason that the President`s loose lips about intelligence likely chills our ability to gather this intel abroad as well.  And what the president has a problem with is not human intelligence, it`s just any intelligence that contradicts what he wants to believe.

And so it especially puts in jeopardy those that are collecting intelligence abroad that ultimately is going to be at odds with Trump`s worldview whether it be in Russia or North Korea.  So I think it`s likely that both of these scenarios that have been played out as to why the asset was withdrawn could be true.

HAYES:  I don`t normally think of the president as a kind of virtue ethicist who has like kind of bright lines and moral do`s and dont`s, but this reporting that he has privately said that foreign spies can damage relations with their host countries and undermined his personal relationships with their leaders, the president believes we shouldn`t be doing that to each other.  We shouldn`t be spying on each other which I just -- he seems like a person who`s not you know, too fastidious about moral transgression.  I was surprised by that view.

MURPHY:  Well, I think that`s simply because some of the most important human intelligence that has been handed to him contradicts the way in which he wants to see the world, right?  He was being given intelligence reports, we now know, giving him definitive proof that Putin may have been directly overseeing the interference in the 2016 election which led to Donald Trump`s election.

He was given plenty of intelligence to tell him the Kim Jong-un was indeed a really horrible person not worthy of a face to face tete-a-tete with the president but that`s not what he wanted to hear.  And so I think it stands the reason that he ultimately doubts human intelligence because a lot of human intelligence he`s been getting tell some things that aren`t interesting to him.

HAYES:  Right.  You tweeted this morning in the wake of the Bolton`s ignominious and very publicly humiliating departure.  "I`m legitimately shaken by the grave instability of American foreign policy today.  I`m no Bolton fan but the world is coming apart and the revolving door of U.S. leadership is disappearing America from the world just the moment where a stable American hand is most needed."  Counterpoint, also John Bolton is gone.

MURPHY:  Right.  And so you know, I think you know, my statement maybe lack some subtlety that is necessary in these moments.  So obviously, John Bolton`s departure and how we evaluate it is dependent on who replaces him.  So we can assume that there`s no one worse than John Bolton but in fact, there may be --

HAYES:  No that`s -- I agree.  That`s a dangerous assumption.

MURPHY:  It`s a dangerous assumption to make.  Second, it can also be true that Trump is picking really bad people for these jobs but it is also dangerous to cycle through bad people so quickly that it makes it really hard for us to be credible in the world on the things that are not that controversial.  And there are plenty of things that we actually don`t fight about that the National Security Advisor in the Secretary of State and the Department of Defense represent the world, represent America abroad on.

You can`t be credible on any of those issues if you`re just pushing people through these posts so quickly.  And so I`m simply raising the point that we should be upset that John Bolton was ever in that position, but we should also be upset that the president is moving people through these jobs so quickly because that damages our credibility on all sorts of stuff that the Democrats and Republicans actually agree on.

HAYES:  Senator Chris Murphy, thank you as always for being with me tonight.

MURPHY:  Thanks.

HAYES:  The former Director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub on the Trump swap and why he says the president is putting his own interests ahead of the nation`s.  Walter Shaub joins me next.


HAYES:  It is election night in North Carolina with a marquee race in the Ninth District.  And for the latest on the results, we go back to the big board with Steve Kornacki.  Steve, what have you got?

KORNACKI:  All right, Chris, so we told you again they do this basically in two parts here.  It says 26 percent of the vote is in.  Don`t be fooled, actually a lot more of the vote is in.  What this means is all of the early vote, and the early vote give or take, is going to be half of all the vote that`s cast, that is in; and then on top of that basically one quarter of the election day vote, that`s folks who went out to the polls today and voted.

So, basically that means we expect more than 60 percent of the vote is in right now in this district.  So, we told you the early vote always favors the Democrats.  McCready, we can tell you, he performed 2.7 points higher, better than in the early vote now  than he did last fall.  so, that was the early up shot for Dan McCready, he improved off of his baseline last November.  That was very good news for him.

The question now for McCready, the question now for Bishop, the question now for anybody interested in this is, is there going to be a same-day vote surge for Dan Bishop?  You can see, if you remember earlier, McCready`s lead was nine points.  It`s now down to six.  I would expect that to continue to shrink.

We can show you basically what we`re looking at now.  County by county it looks like this, the action  starts in Mecklenburg.  This is the  south Charlotte suburbs.  Basically, you`ve got more than a quarter of the same- day vote in here.  When all the votes were counted in Mecklenburg in 2018, Dan McCready had 54 percent of the vote in Mecklenburg.  So, expect this number to come down.  same-day votes probably a little more Bishop friendly.

But if this number ends up, when you get up to 100 percent here, if McCready is at or above 54 percent, he`s hit his benchmark in Mecklenburg County.  Keep that one in mind.

This is the other giant in the district, Union County,  sort of exurb and other side of interstate 45, about a third of the election day vote is in right now, this is the big Republican bastion in this district.

You see Dan Bishop running at 57 percent right now.  The benchmark for him right here in Union County, he`s probably got to get to 60 or above.  So he`s at 57 now.  You can expect in this big Republican county it`s going to get better for him as those final votes are counted.  But is it better enough that he gets to 60 percent?

You keep going, Anson County, McCready running at 63 right now.  He ended up at 58 here in 2018.  So, again, he wants to be at or above where he was last November.

You take a look at Richmond County, that is a nail-biter right now.  Where did McCready end up here in 2018?  50 percent.  So he`s just hovering at that line right now.

This is the only county we have 100 percent of the vote in, this is not a big one, Scotland County, McCready at 56 percent.  You take a look, Robison County here, same-day coming in, McCready at 64 percent here.  Again, 56 percent was his number when all was said and done.

So, again, he just wants to stay above that -- excuse me, 48 for McCready in Bladen, the other Republican part of this district, 41 is the number he wants to stay above.

And we can finish up in Cumberland, that`s the president last night, Fayetteville, this is the area he was in.  McCready 56 percent.  And again,  this was 51 percent was the number he wants to stay above here.  So, you see, none of the same-day vote was counted here.

 So, we will see, but again, I`m just going to click on this and see if we`ve got more vote in.  It looks like it`s still stable from where we began.  It`s basically a game now to see what was the turnout today, the election day turnout.  It`s got to be  big for Bishop, it`s got to break to him at least as decisively at it typically does for Republicans, because he`s got to make up some ground now, because  McCready over-performed in the early vote, Chris.

HAYES:  It`s striking to me that the one count, if I understand you correctly -- we basically we`ve got all the vote that McCready is running at 56 percent, which is exactly what he did the last time, which was essentially a tie.  We can`t say for sure, because of the election fraud what the actual number should have been, but essentially a tie.

KORNACKI:  This was -- so, yeah, last November Mark Harris was the name of the Republican, 56-42.  This is probably -- this is the best individual bit of data we have up here on this board right now for Republicans.  Again, Scotland County.  This is about 3 percent of the district.  This is tiny, but that to be basically a point above Harris` 2018 level, that`s the best piece of news he`s got here.

HAYES:  All right, Steve Korancki, we will check back in.  This is fascinating.

Meanwhile, growing pressure tonight on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross following a new letter from Chairman Elijah Cummings about the oversight committee`s investigation into the reported conflicts of interest for the self-proclaimed billionaire, insisting Ross comply with the committee`s request for documents.

Ross is also dealing with the inspector general at the Commerce Department who`s open to probe in an unsigned statement from NOAA and Ross`s role in Sharpie-gate.  That story broke open yesterday when the New York Times reported that Ross threatened to fire top employees at NOAA, after the agency`s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump`s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama.

NOAA reportedly bowed to the pressure releasing an unsigned statement on Friday back up the president.  I should tell you Ross denies the The Times story.

Today, the acting NOAA administrator happened to be in Alabama where he defended that statement in which his organization sided with the president over its own scientists, but he also expressed support for the, quote, good intent of the forecasters in the Birmingham office.

And so with this president at the helm, the future of NOAA and Secretary Ross remain very much in doubt.

Joining me now to talk about that is Walt Schaub, he`s the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, now a senior adviser at the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

So, there`s sort of three issues with Ross at least, Walt, as far as I can tell.  There`s the fact that he appears to have lied before congress on the census question.  There`s what has happened with NOAA.  And then the conflict of interest issues that Elijah Cummings is investigating.

Maybe we should start with those.  How serious do you view those conflicts?

WALT SCHAUB, CITIZENS FOR  RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON:  You know, I think this is really serious because even though we`re just talking about one press release and an embarrassing episode involving the president making a mistake and refusing to admit it, what we`re really talking about is NOAA changing data in order to please the president, and that undermines the credibility of the data NOAA puts out.

Now, N OAA is in the Department of Commerce for a reason, it produces data that businesses and investors rely on, not just at NOAA but at other agencies.  And, you know, with this evidence that Wilbur Ross may have threatened these people with firing for having told the truth, and having lied to the congress about who initiated the question on the demographics, you know, of citizenship for the census, that really calls into question what else he may be tampering with that we don`t even know about.

HAYES:  The recourse here is there`s not many recourses.  I mean, obviously they can try to bring them before the committee.  You can impeach a cabinet secretary if you so choose.  The IG has a report.  How do you see the sort of binding restraints on Ross here?

SCHAUB:  You know, unfortunately what we`ve learned over the past is the systems we had in place to protect against abuses are a lot more fragile than we ever thought.  I don`t have a lot of hope that there is much that can be done except hopefully shine some light on what`s really going on here.  And we`ve seen in the past that can create enough pressure that somebody`s out, but it can also serve to deter this kind of misconduct.

People do seem to be responsive to public pressure in the administration on some issues, and so it`s always worth pushing on this.

HAYES:  I want to play for you, as someone who has been thinking about both in and out of government the conflicts of interests and the threats they pose, a defense that Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who`s of course the Republican leader in the House gave, of public dollars being spent on the president`s hotels, something that we now know has been document -- obviously Vice President Mike Pence in Doonbeg, Air Force crewmen staying at his property in Scotland.  And this was the congressman`s defense of it.  Take a listen.


REP.  KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) CALIFORNIA:  The president`s resorts or hotels that he owns, people are traveling, it`s just like any other hotel.  I know people who look at it.  I don`t know if that that`s different than anything else.  Is it different that if I go and stay or eat at a Marriott here or eat at the Trump? 

The president isn`t asking me to.  It`s -- he`s competing in a private enterprise.  It`s nothing, something that controls in that process.  So, if it`s in the process, they can stay there.


HAYES:  What do you think of that?

SCHAUB:  You know, he`s a smart guy.  This is just as disingenuous as you could hope to see a member of congress being -- members of his own caucus are throwing events, fund raising events, and other events, at Trump properties.  And they`re showing up there at other peoples events.

This is not just a coincidence that somebody winds up at the Trump resort.  For one thing he gave the example of the Marriott versus the Trump resort well, there`s a huge cost difference there.  And if you`re winding up at the Trump resort, it`s for a reason, and that reason in many cases seems to be that the president is behinds it.

And we have a president who hasn`t done anything to deter people from doing that.  In fact, quite the opposite, he`s encouraged it.  When this news about air force personnel staying at his resort in Turnberry came out, he tweeted that they showed good taste in doing it.  Well, I don`t know about their taste, but what they showed is poor judgment, because the American people don`t have any basis to have confidence that it wasn`t chosen to enrich the president.

HAYES:  All right, Walter Schaub, great to have you back.  Thank you for joining us.

Next, more confusion tonight on how hurricane survivors are meant to reach safety in America.  The latest reporting in the Bahamas after this.


HAYES:  The official death toll in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian is now up to 50 people, but that number is expected to jump quite a bit.  One reporter tweeted out a quote from from an Abacos resident saying, quote, "I saw 80 bodies.  There are at least 1,000 people dead on my island."

There are reports that there are still hundreds perhaps even thousands of people that are still missing.  According to the United Nations, 70,000 people, 70,000, are homeless in the Bahamas.

These are our neighbors and our allies as Americans, and they are going through an unfolding humanitarian crisis.  And just this week, we all saw what happened when desperate people fleeing the destruction and devastation in the Bahamas were ordered off a ferry going from Freeport to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

There`s a lot of confusion.  The ferry company blamed Customs and Border Protection who then blamed the ferry company.  And then Donald trump weighed in casting aspersions basely on the survivors of this natural disaster saying, quote, "some very  bad people and very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers had gone to the Bahamas and that now the U.S. need to keep those people out who are trying to come in."  Now it appears that Customs and Border Protection is, in fact, closing the door on these folks, stipulating restrictions and doubling down on requirements.

Here with me now, New York Times correspondent Francis Robles who has been reporting on the crisis in the Bahamas.

There was a lot of confusion about what you need as someone on the Bahamas to get to the U.S. now.  Has that confusion been cleared up?

FRANCIS ROBLES, NEW YORK TIMES:  It has been cleared up.  I mean, even Customs and Border Protection didn`t seem to know yesterday what the requirements were.  It depended what time of day you asked them and who you asked.  And so the final answer is the policy is that you cannot get on a ferry with only a passport and a good conduct certificate, you need a visa.

And so there was a feeling on Sunday night, you know, well, there was a category 5 hurricane, look at all these homeless people, let`s let them go.  And then that`s the rule that they decided not to be flexible on.

HAYES:  So, just to knee clear that means people that are not in -- as I understand it, are in the capital to get that visa have to travel in a U.S. embassy -- like in the midst of this wreckage and perhaps homeless without their papers, have to go about finding some way to get a visa, is that right?

ROBLES:  Not just a visa, actually there`s an easier step.  They can get a good conduct certificate.  You can travel that way, but you would have to be traveling from Nassau or on a plane.  And so if you were trying to get on a boat without a travel visa that`s a problem.

So what we know is that 1,500 Bahamians requested the good conduct certificate from the police department yesterday, Chris, in one single day.  And we also know that about 4,000 people who came to the United States from the Bahamas in the last week.  So, we`re definitely going to be expecting far more people in the days to come.

HAYES:  You have also been covering for a while the aftermath of the Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the aftermath of what happened there.  And there was some really startling news today, and I was sort of surprised it did not blow up more, that a former FEMA official is accused of taking bribes in the recovery of Hurricane Maria and was indicted today.  Can you tell us more what happened there?

ROBLES:  That`s absolutely right.  The senior official in charge of the electrical restoration in Puerto Rico it seems that she was in a romantic relationship with a the top contractor, a contractor that  got about $2 billion, billion with a "b," dollars in contracts to restore the energy in Puerto Rico.  And so I do think that there`s going to be a little bit of a fuzzy line between accepting a bribe and having a romance with, you know, a top contractor.

She`s not being accused of taking money in paper bags, but, you know, hotel trips, airline flights, helicopter rides, and then turning around and going into meetings in FEMA and looking like she was an advocate for this company.  I mean, there is e-mails and text messages where she looks like she`s their representative in these meetings, and that is going to be a big problem for her.

HAYES:  OK, I just want to make sure I`m tracking this story.  This is FEMA official who worked for the United States federal government, who is tasked with overseeing the restoration of the grid which of course is the single biggest issue on Puerto Rico and notoriously unreliable, problems with PREPA who runs it, and she was romantically involve with the person that ran the company that got a $2 billion contract from the federal government to restore the grid?

ROBLES:  I don`t think they were in a romantic relationship when they got the contract, I think the relationship developed in that year that everybody spent on the grounds trying to get the power back up.  And so they`re very adamant about that.  It`s like wait a second, he hadn`t even met her when this thing started.

But then you see evidence of her in meetings saying, well, you know, I think these guys should  be the ones to take care of that explosion and that damaged equipment.  Oh, I think these guys should  get this much for this project.

HAYES:  Unreal.

ROBLES:  And, so it`s a big problem.  She`s facing 10 federal charges.

HAYES:  All right, Francis Robles, thank you so much for your reporting on both of these issues.

When we return, Steve Kornacki is back with the latest on that North Carolina special election, a nail-biter.  Don`t go anywhere.


HAYES:  We`re watching that congressional election in North Carolina as results come in tonight.  North Carolina is, in many ways, the most egregious example of the Republican Party`s escalating attempts to lock in their political power even if they do not win a majority of votes.

Republicans in North Carolina gerrymandered the state so ruthlessly after 2010, the state`s congressional seats went from, quote, a 7-6 democratic edge into a 10-3 Republican fortress.

North Carolina has had their gerrymandered maps thrown out by numerous courts both on racial  and partisan grounds.  They also introduced one of the strictest voter ID laws in the nation. 

And the argument of Democrats and progressives and voting rights activists has always been that all this was a purely cynical and mercenary attempt to use the levers of power of government to disenfranchise young voters, people of color and other Democratic constituencies.

But now we have the smoking gun showing that that is true.  And it comes from the mastermind behind this whole thing, Thomas Hofeller, a Republican political consultant who passed away last year.  Following his death, his daughter turned over his hard drives that contained, quote, "at least 70,000 files and several years of emails showing exactly what Mr. Hofeller was up to."

Here`s just one example, the biggest historically black college in the country, North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, in the maps that he helped draw, according to The New Yorker, that college is conveniently sliced right in half, which means half of those black voters to go one congressional district, represented by Republican and half of those voters go to another congressional district, represented by Republican.

How did that line get there?  Well, here it is, a file called "Greensboro master race," a color-coded map showing the black voting population by district.  He even had it down to dorm-by-dorm addresses on campus so they could draw the line through the campus, which to be clear is meant to dilute the black vote by spreading it between those two Republican congressional districts.

Hofeller was also instrumental in voter ID laws.  And he was one of the people behind the idea of using a citizenship question on the census. 

If you want to look the architect of a vision of a Republican Party that has lost majority support, but continues to rule from the minority, it is this guy.  And it is all there in black and white.

As for the North Carolina district that was, well, almost fraudulently taken by Republicans last time around, those are also getting a lot more interesting as the night goes on, back with us MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Korancki for the latest out of North Carolina Nine.

KORNACKI:  Chris, this one has gotten considerably tighter.  Remember, we talked about Dan McCready overperforming in the early vote.  We said the question then became can Dan Bishop, the Republican, do the same in the same-day vote -- that is not what I was supposed to press there -- we are getting an answer to that question in the most Republican part of this district, this is one- third of the district in terms of the population.  The answer is an emphatic yes.

Right now, half of the same-day vote is in in Union County.  This is sort of Charlotte exurbs here.  Again, we said about 59-60 was the benchmark for Bishop to hit here.  He`s absolutely cleaning up on election day with more vote to come.

So you can expect two things to happen as the final vote comes in in Union County.  Number one, I think this number is probably going to go up, so he`ll probably exceed the 2018 level for Republicans in this district.  Also, just given the size of this place, he`s going to build more of a plurality in Union County.

What that means, is that this margin right here district-wide that McCready enjoys right now, 2,708 votes, that`s the McCready margin.  When you add in Union County and where that`s going, that`s probably going to erase it.  That probably will be enough to put Bishop into the lead.

So what will be left after that?  You go to the eastern part of this district.  There`s still vote coming in in most of these counties -- pardon me.  Basically what you can expect here if you use 2018 as a benchmark for this thing, how the election day vote broke in 2018 in the eastern part of it, I don`t see a clear advantage that`s likely to emerge from either candidate.

And remember the eastern part of this district less populated than those two counties you have right there right outside of Charlotte.

So what that really means, then, if you get out of Union County, if this is a wash here, that leaves one piece of real estate left on the map, it`s the small smallest but also the largest in terms of population.  And there it is, Mecklenburg County, and now, this is new, since I clicked it on the last time, we`ve got more than a quarter of the election-day vote in in Mecklenburg County.  South Charlotte suburbs, a third of the district`s population here.

Again, McCready over-performed in the early vote.  The question is, can he keep that up in the same-day vote?  Given what`s happening in Union County, he has to.  In the same-day vote in 2018, McCready lost by .3 of a point.  I think he needs to win it tonight.  Right now with a quarter of the vote, a little bit more than a quarter of the same-day vote counted in Mecklenburg, he`s still at 60 percent.

He was at 60 percent when they went to count it.  What`s the number basically to look at here?  As this vote comes in, as this 28 gets bigger, how far does that 60 percent tick down?  He got 54 percent here on election day 2018.  If he is above 54 percent when we count all the vote here, that might be enough to wipe out the gains that Bishop is getting out of Union County.  If he`s not, Bishop might get this thing.

HAYES:  OK.  So, what I am hearing from you if I can synthesize this is that this looks like shockingly similar to everyone hitting the benchmarks that were hit in 2018 that made this thing basically a dead heat.

KORNACKI:  Yes, but the question now I think becomes, can McCready over- perform the benchmark on the same-day in Mecklenburg?

It`s the national story we`re talking about, Chris, because what is Mecklenburg?  As we say, it`s the suburbs, highly educated, higher income.  This is a place, this slice of the district, Trump won in 2016.  He won the Mecklenburg portion of the district by three points.  McCready won it by 10 points, so it`s that story we talked about...

HAYES:  Wow.

KORNACKI:  ...nationally.  That`s higher educated suburban areas that went from Trump to the Democratic side.  And, again, the national question here besides who wins this is that trend, is it alive and well in September 2019?  Is it getting stronger in 2019 than we saw in 2018?  McCready needs it to be at least as strong, and probably a bit stronger, but with 28 percent in, he`s holding at 60 percent.

HAYES:  That`s fascinating.

KORNACKI:  He finished at 54 percent.  He`s holding at 60 percent right now.

HAYES:  It`s amazing how much the sort of topography here has changed when you think that Trump was carrying that just three years ago.  And you see this all throughout the country in all kinds of suburban counties and districts.

Steve Kornacki, thank you so much for your time.  We`re going to keep monitoring throughout the night. 

That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.