CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: And more than that, the proud sense of country we felt so many of us knowing that we had those among us who would race to their duty on such a day.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John wasn`t in line with what we were doing and actually in some cases he thought it was too tough what we were doing, Mr. Tough Guy.
VELSHI: The Bolton fallout from the Iran negotiations, to nuking a hurricane, to North Korea.
TRUMP: I don`t blame Kim Jong-un for what he said after that, and he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton.
VELSHI: Tonight, new details about exactly why Trump no longer has the National Security Adviser. Plus, breaking news, Michael Cohen makes a new agreement to tell all about the Trump Organization. Then --
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): People are dying but Senator McConnell hasn`t acted.
VELSHI: New pressure to resolve the gun impasse as states start taking matters into their own hands. And the scheme pulled off by North Carolina Republicans while Democrats were at a 9/11 commemoration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this is the way you believe democracy works, shame on you.
VELSHI: Wen ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Good evening from New York I`m Ali Velshi in for Chris Hayes. It`s been only a day since President Trump fired his National Security Adviser John Bolton or since John Bolton quit depending on whom you ask, and already the numerous disputes between the men are being aired in the open.
It`s hard to pin down the exact reason for the split between the President`s comments and different reports. It seems the two men disagreed on just about everything. For one, we now know that one of the reasons Trump got rid of Bolton was because some of Trump`s friends didn`t like him either.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Take a look at what happened to Gaddafi with the Libyan model, and he`s using that to make a deal with North Korea? And I don`t Kim Jong-un for what he said after that, and he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: So the North Korean dictator who imprisons and murders his own people didn`t like John Bolton. CBS reports that Trump fired Bolton for publicly embarrassing him. The main irritant that drove Mr. Trump to distraction was his belief that Bolton or those close to Bolton leaked a story about Mr. Trump asking about whether nuclear weapons could be used to abate hurricanes.
Multiple reports have centered around the two men disagreeing on how to deal with Iran. Bloomberg reports that Trump discussed easing Iran sanctions and meeting with the country`s president causing the notoriously hawkish Bolton to push back.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports "in June, following Trump`s decision not to order a military attack on Iran after it downed an unmanned U.S. drone, Bolton was devastated. Yet another point of contention between Trump and his former National Security Adviser was the President`s secret plan to host Taliban leaders at Camp David that he later canceled.
Here`s how Politico described it. Bolton`s ousting "came after widespread reports that Bolton tried to stop Trump from inviting leaders of the Afghan Taliban to Camp David for peace talks. Trump ultimately scrapped the idea but multiple people familiar with the issue said the news reports about Bolton`s dissent believed to have been planted by Bolton`s aides infuriated Trump.
Donald Trump wanted to host leaders from the Taliban at Camp David. That was the plan just days before the 18th anniversary of 9/11 which is today. Americans across the country held solemn vigils to honor the nearly 3,000 people who died that day. President Trump held a moment of silence at the White House and spoke at the Pentagon warning the Taliban not to mess with the United States.
But here`s the weird thing. Donald Trump is the guy who invited the Taliban to Camp David on the week of 9/11. It is unclear exactly what happens now. But one thing we do know is that Trump appears to be bumbling his way through foreign policy at a time when American leadership is most needed on the global stage.
Joining me now is a man who worked with John Bolton in the George W. Bush administration retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson. He was a chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Colonel, good to see you.
If you didn`t know what John Bolton was about, if Donald Trump is surprised by John Bolton, he`s about the only person in the world surprised by John Bolton, John Bolton has been exactly who John Bolton is for 30 years.
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON (RET.), FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL: Well, you just put your finger on it. I said John Bolton wouldn`t last very long when he was appointed. I didn`t think he would last as long as he did. But you just put your finger on it. It`s a reflection of the president and his ability to select people who are not just compatible with his views and with his personality but compatible with the strategies and policies he wants America to pursue, if you can find any.
So this is as much a reflection of Trump`s inability to get along with other human beings and to select people who are good for the job as it is Bolton`s irascibility, warmongering, and noted penchant to be a hard-nosed character.
VELSHI: Well, if Martians landed on earth and said, earthlings, what is this war hawk that you speak of? You could direct them to a definition of John Bolton. The Wall Street Journal reporting from January of 2019 that after militants fired three mortars into Baghdad`s sprawling diplomatic quarter, Baghdad, of course, being allied with Iran, Mr. Trump`s National Security team led by John Bolton conducted a series of meetings to discuss a forceful U.S. response including what many saw as the unusual request for options to strike Iran.
"It definitely rattled people, A former senior U.S. administration official said of the request. People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran. John Bolton has invested a lot of time in the same way that Peter Navarro has invested a lot of time in getting the President to impose tariffs on China. John Bolton invested a lot of time in getting the President to get out of the Iran deal and to take a hawkish militaristic position with Iran.
WILKERSON: Absolutely. And Bolton is as far as I can see the crafter of the security policies such as they are that we`ve seen to this point. Let`s remember, Ronald Reagan wanting to be President of the United States. Regardless of what we think of Ronald Reagan, he wanted to be President of the United States.
He had six national security advisors in eight years. No one said much about it. We moved all the way from in the beginning people who weren`t even allowed to see the president to at the end Colin Powell and Frank Carlucci who got in almost any time they needed to. This is not Ronald Reagan, though.
This is a president who doesn`t get along with people. This is a president who can`t manage policy except that the policy is his and his alone and we`ve seen how disastrous that sort of policy is, if you can even say we have a policy, foreign or security policy. North Korea, Russia, China, you name it, we`re in disarray right now. John Bolton wasn`t responsible for that disarray. The president is responsible for that disarray.
VELSHI: So what does success look like for a National Security Adviser? I think it`s an interesting point that you brought up that Ronald Reagan had six in eight years. We`re now at three in the time that Donald Trump has been in office. So maybe the time is not the issue, it`s the who.
You need a National Security Adviser who is prepared to stand up to the president. At the same time, you need someone who`s got a good strategic sense of national security policy.
WILKERSON: And the compatibility with the president. If you want to look at the ideal National Security Adviser, you look at George Herbert Walker Bush and Brent Scowcroft.
WILKERSON: That was the most effective national security and foreign policy decision-making team since Eisenhower. That`s the way it`s supposed to be.
VELSHI: What makes that work?
WILKERSON: It may -- what makes it work is the personality of the President and the personality of the National Security Adviser and the experience of both, both. He was Vice President of Ronald Reagan for eight years. He was an ambassador to China. He was head of the RNC. He was Director of the CIA. He had experience.
Scowcroft had been Gerry Ford`s National Security Adviser. He`d run the tower commission report changes in the national security council. Scowcroft knew it, experience. If there`s one word that says what you ought to have in the White House in both men President and National Security Adviser is experience. And if you don`t have it in the president and you often don`t --
VELSHI: We`re not going to fix that problem.
WILKERSON: Yes, you need the National Security Adviser.
VELSHI: Let me ask you this. There`s some late reporting tonight from CNN. The President is considering Mike Pompeo to remain as Secretary of State and take on this position.
WILKERSON: Henry Kissinger did that. We saw how that worked. It didn`t work at all. The Congress should take great exception to that because you`ve got a person with no portfolio that`s subject to their advice and consent, not elected in the National Security Adviser, but immensely powerful because of his proximity to the president and a cabinet officer who`s subject to all of that and equally powerful.
VELSHI: That`s interesting.
WILKERSON: So you don`t -- you don`t want someone with both portfolios.
VELSHI: Colonel, thank you for your time in your analysis tonight, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson. All right, John Bolton`s out. Yesterday, President Trump`s first National Security Advisor Mike Flynn learned he`s going to be sentenced later this year for lying to the FBI.
And now tonight, we have learned that Donald Trump`s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen is cooperating with officials from behind bars. He signed a proffer agreement with the Manhattan district attorney`s office.
Now the proffer means Cohen will cooperate with the investigation and get limited protection against prosecution in return. The D.A. is looking into the possibility that the Trump Organization was falsifying business records.
Joining me now are two of our legal experts Cynthia Alksne a former Prosecutor in the Department of Justice`s Civil Rights Division and a former Assistant U.S. attorney, she`s now an MSNBC Legal Analyst, and Nick Ackerman former Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor, also a former Assistant U.S. Attorney. Thanks to both of you for being here.
Cynthia, let me just start with you. What does this mean the proffer agreement? I think we`ve been out of this business for a while of talking about Michael Cohen and what he`s up to. What does this mean?
CYNTHIA ALKSNE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it means that Cy Vance`s team has picked up the investigation into falsifying business records in the Trump Organization. It means that they`re sort of tugging that piece of yarn in the sweater and seeing what -- how it unravels.
This is interesting on lots of different levels not only on how they would do it and what they would find but can they really get information from Cohen so that they know where to go to find more information, so that eventually he never has to be a witness because you know he`s not a very good witness --
VELSHI: Right, right.
ALKSNE: -- because of his convictions. But they can get information on this falsifying business records. It could be a felony and a serious offense and it could lead as you tug on that yarn in the sweater from falsifying business to some kind of a criminal tax fraud case.
And so we just have to wait and see what they get in addition. What they got out of AMI, what they`ve gotten out of the records from the Trump Organization. And in the course of their investigation, have people in the Trump Organization lied to them? Is that another charge? So this is just the beginning to pull this yarn on this sweater.
VELSHI: Let`s -- let me ask you this, Nick. For people -- you know, Cynthia was just talking about Cy Vance, a Manhattan district attorney. We have mostly known about Michael Cohen through the work of the Southern District of New York. What`s the importance of difference here?
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: The big difference here is that Cy Vance is the local prosecutor. He is the state prosecutor in New York County. So he is not concerned with federal crimes, he`s concerned with state crimes. But I think we have a continuous theme here that pervades all of this. And it`s simply that all roads lead to Donald Trump`s tax returns.
To make this a serious crime in a serious felony, falsifying business records is usually associated with falsifying numbers so that they falsify in turn the tax returns.
AKERMAN: So in this particular case, it could very well be that they are looking at the false state tax returns that have been filed by the Trump Organization, filed by Donald Trump. And there could be all kinds of people who have criminal liability here.
If it`s just Donald Trump, obviously, the problem there is indicting a sitting president although the Manhattan DA`s office is not under the same stricture as the Department of Justice could indict a sitting president.
AKERMAN: Secondly, there are lots of people around Donald Trump who could be indicted for aiding and abetting and assisting in this. For example, in the Watergate prosecution, we could have indicted Richard Nixon up until the point that he was pardoned by President Ford.
However, we wound up indicting four other people who assisted Nixon in the preparation of his false returns. So here you`ve got people like Weisselberger given immunity by the feds, but that immunity doesn`t carry over to the state.
You`ve got people who were involved in actually dealing with this hush money, dealing with the books and records. So there are lots of potential defendants here who could be charged with crimes related --
VELSHI: This is the pulling of the yarn. Cynthia, what can Cy Vance offer Michael? Why would he do this? What does he get return for it?
ALKSNE: Well, first of all, revenge is a wonderful motivation which is another reason why you don`t want him on the stand. You know, Cy Vance isn`t in a position to do anything about his federal time because that`s -- he`s serving time in a federal prison and he can`t really do anything about that.
So I would say you know, Cohen obviously feels it`s deeply unfair, and I would agree with him, that he`s the only person serving time for the campaign finance violation. And it has inspired him to find ways to make sure the authorities in New York State know about the violation and will follow all the leads.
Because after all, in the New York State prosecution, there is no bar to shut it down. You know, the Attorney General. There is no OLC memo and there`s no pardon power associated with the state court crimes.
VELSHI: The OLC memo is the thing that prevents federal prosecutors from indicting a sitting president.
VELSHI: So Nick, one will remember that Michael Cohen was not jumping over himself to cooperate with authorities the whole way. There was always something there that prevented him from fessing up to everything he`s done. He`s worried about something.
AKERMAN: Well, he`s really worried of spending three years behind bars. I mean, I can guarantee you he is not sitting there now just making license plates. I mean, he is looking for ways that he can cooperate and get his cooperation before Judge Pauline in the Southern District of New York so that he can rack up those brownie points and bring down that sentence.
I`m sure he`s cooperating with Jerry Nadler investigation, he`s cooperating with the DA`s office, and at some point his lawyers are going to go before Judge Pauline, they`re going to list all this cooperation. They`re going to say that Michael Cohen, while he`s been in, has cooperated with a whole series of investigations and therefore, Judge, you should lower his sentence. And that`s what he`s going to try and do.
VELSHI: Thank you to both of you, Cynthia Alksne, Nick Akerman. We appreciate it. Coming up next, while Republicans continue to obstruct gun legislation, Democrats are finding new ways to get things done. How one governor is taking matters into his own hands, after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): I know the pain of losing a child to gun violence. And not anyone in this room, anyone in this country should ever be faced with that pain. And for every single day that we fall into not taking action, mothers and fathers across this country will live to the same nightmare that I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: That was Congresswoman Lucy McBath of Georgia yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance three bills designed to counter the gun violence epidemic in this country including one that would allow authorities to take guns away from dangerous people known as a red flag law.
It`s the latest gun safety push from the Democrat-controlled House which voted earlier this year to require background checks on almost all gun sales, something supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans.
But Senate Republicans have refused to take up any gun safety legislation with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisting that he needs to know what Donald Trump would sign before he brings a bill to the floor which is unusual because the Senate is part of the Congress which is a co-equal branch of government. It`s not actually necessary for them to know what the president will sign before voting on legislation.
But today Donald Trump said he was working with the Senate lawmakers on gun safety measures that will be "acceptable to everybody." Another things that seems unattainable. But he appears unlikely to support even moderate gun safety measures despite a recent spate of mass shootings.
Just last month, he reportedly assured the NRA that universal background checks are off the table. With Republicans continuing to instruct gun safety measures at the federal level, some states are stepping up.
In New Jersey this week, Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order mandating that his state not do business with gun manufacturers and dealers that do not adopt more stringent gun safety policies.
Joining me now to tell me more about this, New Jersey Democratic Governor Phil Murphy. Governor, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Thank you for having me, Ali.
VELSHI: We have seen across this country over the last few years -- gun safety advocates point this out all the time that while the focus seems to be on the failure of Congress to pass meaningful legislation on guns since 1994, in fact, there has been meaningful legislation passed in states across the country including things like red flag laws which your state has. And they argue that in fact a lot of progress is being made on that front.
MURPHY: Ali, it`s quite appropriate to have a discussion on public safety on this most solemn of day, so god rest the souls of all we lost 18 years ago. Yes, there`s been progress at the state level because we frankly have no choice. There`s inaction in Washington.
I hope the president has seen the light in Senator McConnell. I`ll believe that when I see it. But we have from day one in our administration taking a whole series of actions, executive orders, legislative action, forming a coalition with other like-minded states called States for Gun Safety.
And yesterday, as you pointed out, an executive order that would require gun vendors, financial institutions that financed those vendors, as well as insurance companies to adhere to a set of principles that we think are consistent with the values associated with a smart gun safety state.
And we`ll keep at it because at the end of the day we all need -- we all know that we need Congress to act. But in the absence of that, we can`t stop them, we`ll continue to stay at it.
VELSHI: Governor, we have a Second Amendment in this country. It is the law of the land regardless of whether people like it or not or think that rulings about it have made sense. It is what it is. How does your new executive order stand up to that when you say that these vendors, these companies and financier of insurance companies live up to a set of standards that you think are acceptable? How do you do that while we`re standing up to a potential court challenge?
MURPHY: So we enter this executive order and the execution of it in a spirit of goodwill. So we`re hoping to find common ground with the vendors and that`s guns, ammunition, other equipment. We`ve spent over the recent period of time about $70 million. We have right now six vendors that deal with the state. Again, we enter that with a spirit of goodwill.
Financial institutions we spent a lot more in fees. I think we spent about $1 billion in fees with financial institutions. And lastly, on the insurance carrier side, it`s unclear yet what the exact magnitude is.
But not of what we`re doing in any way challenges the Second Amendment. This is asking vendors to adhere to a set of principles that they respect universal background checks, that they won`t sell to straw purchasers, that they`ll take training and communication seriously. And likewise, the financial institutions will choose in their dealings to finance only the vendors whether they be retailer manufacturers, that also adhere to those principles.
I don`t think any of that goes near the Second Amendment and I think we can make that case quite clearly. And I would hope that we could continue to do so not just in New Jersey but that we could -- we could do that across our country.
VELSHI: Governor, I want to ask you really quickly. The President says he`s going to come up with something that everybody will be happy with. There`s no gun law that everybody`s going to be happy with, but there is common ground.
And those red flag laws across this country are an example of common ground where gun safety advocates have worked with gun advocates to come up with something that does not skirt the rule of law and due process in saying that there are people who are dangerous who maybe shouldn`t have guns but that will be adjudicated.
MURPHY: Yes, red flag laws are a good example of steps that are broadly if not overwhelmingly supported by Americans of all political stripes. Universal background checks I think clocks in at 90 percent. It`s completely shameful that Congress in this administration have enacted already on those steps.
I`m hopeful that they will, but in the meantime, I`ll hope for the best it will prepare for the worst and keep at it here in New Jersey.
VELSHI: Governor, thanks for joining me tonight. We appreciate it, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey. Coming up next, new courting tonight the White House was involved in the ultimatum to NOAA, either back up the President or lose your job. The details of that next.
VELSHI: Another day and another round of reporting on the White House pressuring a government agency to back up President Trump`s incorrect claim that Hurricane Dorian was threatening the state of Alabama.
What had devolved into the ridiculous when Trump held up an outdated hurricane trap -- track which had been sharp heed by him according to the Washington Post citing an unnamed White House official became far more serious when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA actually issued an unsigned statement backing President Trump up and rebuking the National Weather Service in Birmingham for correcting the president.
That`s not it. Then we learned that Wilbur Ross, the Secretary of the Commerce Department which oversees NOAA, reportedly personally directed the acting administrator of NOAA to issue that statement or risk having top political appointees at NOAA fired, that`s according to The New York Times.
Wilbur Ross denies that, and now there`s new reporting that the pressure on NOAA came straight from the White House. The New York Times is reporting that, quote, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have NOAA publicly disavow the forecasters position that Alabama was not at risk.
And The Washington Post reporting that, quote, President Trump told his staff that NOAA needed to deal with a tweet that seemed to contradict his statement that Hurricane Dorian posed a significant threat to Alabama, senior administration officials said.
When asked today if he had directed Mulvaney to do that, the president denied it calling it a hoax by the fake news. But that has not stopped the inspector general of the Commerce Department from investigating that unsigned statement made by NOAA saying this was a matter of, quote, scientific integrity.
Earlier this week in an email to the staff of NOAA`s acting chief scientist Craig McClain he condemned the agency`s response as political and a, quote, danger to public health and safety. And he`s investigate why NOAA issued that statement.
So this is far from over.
As for President Trump`s treatment of actual victims of Hurricane Dorian, Bahamian people displaced by the catastrophe, we`re going to talk to Congressman Ro Khanna about that next.
VELSHI: As thousands remain missing, then tens of thousands more are homeless in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, a Trump administration official tells NBC News that the United States will not grant protected status to people who are displaced by the storm.
Now that status would allow Bahamians to work and live in the United States until it`s deemed safe to return home. It`s the same status that was granted, for example, to victims of Haiti`s earthquake in 2010.
Bahamians can still come to the U.S. temporarily if they have the right travel documents, which is proving complicated in some places. And this news comes on the same day that, quote, Bahama`s emergency services listed 2,500 people as missing.
A government official says the list has not been checked against government records of who is staying in shelters or who has been evacuated. The number of people confirmed killed in the Bahama`s stands at 50 tonight. That number is almost certain to rise.
Joining me now is Congressman Ro Khanna of California, a member of the House oversight committee. Congressman, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.
REP. RO KHANNA, (D) CALIFORNIA: Ali, good to be on.
VELSHI: In the wake of a humanitarian disaster, which I saw with my own eyes, as I just returned from the Bahamas, the president uttered language he`s used about all asylum seekers, and some Mexicans, he talked about criminals, drug dealers, gangs, people who are not legally in the Bahamas. And actually a lot of that is a reference to the Haitians who went thereafter the earthquake in Haiti.
The -- it is not the normal tone you would expect in the face of a humanitarian disaster that the Bahamas is facing.
KHANNA: Ali, it`s morally outrageous. Let`s be clear what this administration is doing, they`re turning away poor black people who are coming after having faced a category 5 hurricane, and they`re coming here for temporary relief. These are climate refugees. I mean, they faced a more severe hurricane, because of the warming of the ocean caused in part by our carbon policies. The least we can do is to allow them here on a temporary basis. And this administration is just really despicable that they`re being turned away.
VELSHI: And to be clear, we have systems in place for doing this. The temporary protected status law allows for us to bring people in with documentation, know where they are, monitor it when the temporary protective status ends, they would go back. This isn`t a they`re invading us thing.
KHANNA: Not at all. And in fact, Senator Marco Rubio is asking they be allowed in. I mean, the idea that you`re going to require first documentation when they`ve just gone through a hurricane and you expect that they have their passport or visa defies any common sense.
And second, almost any president in the past has allowed people, when there is a natural disaster to come here, they get to work, stay here temporarily and then they go back. We`ve done this when there was a natural disaster in Haiti. We`ve done in natural disasters in other parts of the world.
So this president -- what this president is doing is also unprecedented.
VELSHI: It`s worth noting that a lot of people in the Bahamas are descended from American loyalists who went there in many cases with slaves, so the connection is very strong.
Let`s talk about this whole NOAA thing, the president, the Sharpie, the Alabama thing. Would have been bad enough if it just happened, but the president continued to keep this in the news, continued to talk about it, and then it went a step further. It wasn`t just the doctored map, it went somewhere else. And with each passing few hours, we`re getting more information about how close the order to issue a statement to NOAA came from the president.
KHANNA: Well, as they say in Washington the cover up is almost always worse than the original misconduct. I mean, the president -- all the president had to do was admit a mistake, but this president is incapable of ever admitting that he`s wrong. And so he`s engaged in this elaborate cover-up to the point where the chief of staff to the president is allegedly directing an independent agency to put out a tweet defending the president and interfering in an independent process.
So it just shows what can go wrong in a democracy when you have a leader who has a disregard for facts and who has no sense of humility, no sense of willingness to admit that he made a mistake.
VELSHI: I have to say I have a lot of reasons as a guy who`s reported on hurricanes to not want the administration or the National Weather Service or NOAA or journalists to misrepresent storms because people already have issues taking it seriously.
But the idea that the chief of staff may have called the commerce secretary who may have called the head of NOAA to cause them to put out a public statement, because they didn`t want to contradict the president seems to be a greater offense to democracy.
KHANNA: It is. And it is a pattern with this administration. I mean, this is what got the president in trouble with the Mueller report, that he was trying to interfere with the Justice Department. He has tried to interfere with the fed. He`s now trying to interfere with the Commerce Department. He`s not king. He`s not a dictator. He lives in a constitutional democracy, and there are independent agencies that operate totally independent from his power. And he refuses to acknowledge the very basics of the checks and balances in our constitutional democracy.
VELSHI: Congressman, good to see you as always. Thank you for joining me. Congressman Ro Khanna.
KHANNA: Ali, great to be on.
VELSHI: All right, coming up next, did North Carolina Republicans really stage a legislative coup in the middle of a September 11 memorial event? The governor of the state, Roy Cooper, joins me to break down what happened after this.
VELSHI: All right, in North Carolina one day after special congressional elections netted two Republican seats, Republicans in the state legislator pulled off a move that the Raleigh News and Observer called a quote shameless theft of democracy. While the governor and some Democratic lawmakers were at services commemorating 9/11, North Carolina Republicans called for a surprise vote to override the governor`s budget veto.
Democrats say the vote was not scheduled. They were under the impression they didn`t need to be there, so only 12 Democrats were in the statehouse when it all went down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. DEB BUTLER, (D) NORTH CAROLINA: Mr. Speaker, you are making a mockery of this process. You are deceiving all of North Carolina. Your leadership is an embarrassment to the history of this great state. At this moment in time you are doing the unspeakable. Is this the legacy you want? Are you proud of this? Are you proud of yourselves?
Look at you. There`s no one here because we have been deceived. The trustworthiness is gone. We will not yield.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: All right, joining me now to talk about what exactly is going on in North Carolina is the governor of the great state, Democrat Roy Cooper.
Governor, I was just in your state last week as we were covering the hurricanes and I never cease to tell people what a beautiful state it is with great people and terrific food. What is going on with your politics?
GOV. ROY COOPER, (D) NORTH CAROLINA: Well, there`s no question that North Carolina is a great place to live and raise your family. But, Ali, what we saw today was an assault on democracy by the Republican leadership.
I vetoed this bad budget because it valued corporate tax cuts over investment in public education and denied health insurance to 500,000 working North Carolinians with Medicaid expansion.
For over two months, instead of negotiating with me to come to some consensus, this Republican legislature continued to tried to override my veto. They did by bribing legislators, even offering to move the entire department of health and human services to any legislator`s county who would vote to override my veto. They couldn`t get the votes.
So what they did was lied. They told Democratic legislators and they told the media that there would not be votes at 8:30 this morning on 9/11, a day when Americans should be standing in solidarity. They scheduled this vote and overrode the veto. And the people of North Carolina lost today, teachers lost today. Working North Carolinians who don`t have health insurance lost today. And it is wrong. It is wrong.
VELSHI: Wrong it may be. Is it illegal?
COOPER: I believe that it is. I also believe that it is unethical, and the way they did it -- these legislators are citizen legislators, and they have been showing up every day there`s a session for over two months. One legislator had to get off her chemotherapy bed to get there. They missed family events. They have missed work in order to be there.
And there have been some days when the Republican leadership has told them there`s not going to be a vote. And this was one of those days.
And I think it`s all part and parcel of this Republican leadership and our legislature, which in fact has not reflective of who we are as North Carolinians. They were elected under illegal gerrymandered districts. And in fact, I think one of the reasons we`re seeing this -- it is the last gasp of a dying majority here, because I was elected governor in 2016. I issued a strong, clean energy executive order. I appointed by far the most diverse and qualified cabinet in the history of our state. I`ve been fighting offshore drilling, issued an anti-discrimination order, pushed for public education.
And then we went last year and recruited enough people to run for the state legislature. And even under terrible districts, we were able to break the super majority in both the house and the senate. And this year we`ve been stopping bad legislation, so they had to resort to trickery. And now our state courts, unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, our state courts have found partisan gerrymandering to be unconstitutional. So now they`re having to redraw their districts.
And every single one of those house members and state senators are going to be up for election next year along with me running for re-election for governor. And there will be a judgment day in North Carolina.
VELSHI: Gerrymandering is an important and serious issue across this country and it is driven home in North Carolina. In fact, I`m just showing our viewers a picture of North Carolina`s 12th congressional district which was formerly the most gerrymandered district in the United States.
One doesn`t have to explain gerrymandering, one can just look at a picture of that district and say that`s not really a thing, right, that`s not possible.
This Republican legislator -- dominated legislature -- in North Carolina, has been up to this for awhile. When you became governor, they attempted to strip you of most of your important powers.
COOPER: They did. We were able to sue them and get a lot of it back. But you`re talking about a legislative leadership when they drew these congressional districts, they did it with partisanship in mind first and foremost. And in fact we are a state that votes pretty evenly Democrat and Republican, and they drew districts that resulted in 10 Republicans and only three Democrats. And when asked this particular leader who told our Democrats today that there had be no votes at the 8:30 session, this leader when asked how in the world when it`s so even in North Carolina can you end up with 10 Republicans and three Democrats, his answer was we couldn`t figure out a way to make it 11-2.
Now, that, that is straight partisan game playing gerrymandering, and it is wrong to the core. It`s resulted in the extremism we have seen from our legislator in North Carolina.
But we are winning here. We are turning things around. We still have a fight in the senate. We broke the super majority in the Senate as well, so we`re going to fight it. But our best chance was in the House, and they had to use lies and deception in order to get this done today. And it`s wrong.
And I believe the people are going to react positively next year when every one of them are up for election.
VELSHI: Governor, good to talk to you. Thank you for talking to me. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
All right, coming up, the remarkable reporting that launched a national reckoning. Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor on their new book detailing how they broke the Harvey Weinstein story. They join me next.
VELSHI: It`s been nearly two years since two reporters for The New York Times broke open one of the most consequence stories of our time about sexual harassment claims against Harvey Weinstein whose trial on rape and sexual assault charges will begin in January, by the way.
Now that story galvanized the #metoo movement, reaching dozens of men in the highest echelons of power. And now the two Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporters, Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor are telling the story behind their reporting, and the massive cultural change they kicked off in a new book released this week titled "She Said." Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor join me now. Thank you. Congratulations on the recognition that your waiting has justly been given.
But in this book you tell of a journey. This is not just reporting a story, this has intrigue and mystery and threats and confidential sources. Two years ahead of this, two years from when this first started, what has changed in your mind? What is different today?
MEGAN TWOHEY, CO-AUTHOR, SHE SAID: Well, there is no question that this story helped break the silence that had basically governed Hollywood and so many other industries in which women were scared to speak out and go on the record their allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
But we realized that our Weinstein story, our first Weinstein story was just the beginning. We had been able in that first story to connect some of the dots of his alleged predation going back over the years and how it was covered up. But since then, we`ve been able to piece together so many other additional pieces of the puzzle, the machinery that was in place to silence women and try to stop our investigation, and also the way that individuals and institutions can become complicit in abuse. And that`s something that really goes beyond the Weinstein story to all these -- you know, to this issue as it plays out across the country.
Let me ask you, Jodi, what -- when people say that because of #metoo, women can make uncorroborated claims against men and they`re taken seriously. Your reporting shows otherwise, that there`s not -- that`s not how this all went down.
JODI KANTOR, CO-AUTHOR, SHE SAID: Well, that`s certainly not how we operate. One of the things we explain in the book is that every one of those allegations we talked about has to be vetted, it has to be corroborated. We were writing under legal threat.
But I think you are also talking about something more general now, which is a fear that #me too has somehow gone too far. What Megan and I have seen in our reporting is that there are three questions about #metoo that are very unresolved. Number one, what kind of behaviors are under scrutiny? Is this just about serious claims of assault or is it also about bad deeds, is it a bout bad jokes, is it about bra snapping in school hallways?
Number two, how do we evaluate these claims? What are the tools we use? What`s the process we use for figuring out the truth.
Number three, what is punishment and accountability look like? And in these very controversial cases what you often see is that all three of those questions are tortuously mixed up.
VELSHI: Are they answerable? Do we know in each case -- when you get a report of something that you need to pursue, do you know how to answer those questions?
TWOHEY: Well, so with we are able to walk readers through is the way that journalism works. And so there was -- I just got my -- I started my career at a newspaper in Wisconsin and my editor had a saying above his desk, if your mom tells you she loves you, check it out, which I think applies to all types of reporting and investigating of all different types of allegations.
I think people can mistakenly think that, especially in this #metoo era, that if a woman comes forward to a newspaper with an allegation that the newspaper turns around and publishes it. And what we are able to is walk readers through the rigorous amount of work that`s required to go to print with a story like this.
You know, this is -- we were able to basically amass a financial trail of payoffs that Weinstein had been able to -- that he used to pay off and silence women over the years. We were able to extract internal company records documenting complaints against him, this in addition to women going on the records with their stories and the corroboration we used in those cases.
And so what you are able to see is that -- and also in the final stretch that we go to Weinstein himself to give him adequate time to respond.
VELSHI: Who then came to your offices right as this was about to go to press?
KANTOR: Yes. He -- well, we got this strange call very close to when the article was ready, and it said Harvey Weinstein is on his way over. And we said, what? He is coming to the office? And he was going to show up within a matter of minutes. And actually my partner Megan decided to take the meeting.
TWOHEY: Yeah, he basically barged into The New York Times with many high- powered lawyers by his side, including Lisa Bloom, the feminist attorney who is one of his staunchest defenders as he tried to beat back this investigation, and he came in with folders that he had containing information and photographs that he thought he would be able to use to smear the woman who were preparing to go on the record for our story.
VELSHI: This is remarkable.
You mentioned that you were able to follow a financial trail. You had a source that was helping you with that?
KANTOR: We did. One of the things -- it`s sort of a relief to finally be able to tell certain stories in this book and to take people into these events. And one of the things we can finally disclose is that there was a kind of Deep Throat figure in the Weinstein investigation and his name is Irwin Rider (ph), Harvey Weinstein`s own accountant for his companies for about 30 years, so he was very much an insider. He still worked at the Weinstein company when I started meeting with him late at night in the fall of 2017.
And he provided crucial information about more recent allegations that helped us nail the story.
VELSHI: What a remarkable story. Did you -- when you started this, did you get how big this was?
TWOHEY: We certainly had no idea what the impact would be. At The New York Times all we know in 2017 is that we were committed to reporting on sexual harassment across a variety of industries from the restaurant industry to Silicon Valley to Hollywood to auto plants, and our hope, obviously, was that they would help bring about change, but we couldn`t be sure what was going to have what impact.
VELSHI: Amazing. It was the tip of the spear.
Thank you for not only your remarkable reporting, but for this book that tells us about how it all went down.
Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor.
And that`s it for ALL IN this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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