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Former Vice President Al Gore on impeachment. TRANSCRIPT: 9/17/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Gary Peter, Jake Sullivan, Sheila Jackson Lee, Nate Silver

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Here`s to Cokie Roberts, a true believer in God and country, thank you, who told us, by the way, what her life beginning as a young girl had taught her about what good politics can be.

And that`s HARDBALL for now.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.




HAYES:  As the president weighs starting a war on behalf of a Saudi prince.  Bombshell new reporting from Politico on big Saudi spending at Trump resorts.

TRUMP:  They spend $40 million, $50 million.  Am I supposed to dislike them?  I like them very much.

HAYES:  Then --

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI):  This witness continues to obstruct the work of this committee.  I ask that you would judge him in contempt in these proceedings.

HAYES:  What we learned from Corey Lewandowski when he wasn`t performing for the president.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY):  Did you lied to Bob Mueller or are you lying to us?


HAYES:  Plus, Al Gore on why he supports impeachment.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The only remedy for these serious crimes that have been alleged is the impeachment process.

HAYES:  FiveThirtyEight`s Nate Silver on just what is happening with Elizabeth Warren.


HAYES:  ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from Nashville, Tennessee, I`m Chris Hayes.  The President of the United States operates a byzantine set of nested businesses whose finances are totally opaque.  Each of which presents a conflict of interest at best and at worst presents standing opportunities for bribes.

This is a problem that hangs over everything the president does up to and including the single most important decision a president can make whether to engage the country in war.  With the president vowing that he is locked and loaded to go to war on behalf of the Saudi Kingdom, a bombshell report today now represents the third time that we know of solely through reporting that Saudis have dumped enormous amounts of money into Trump`s properties.

Thanks to the Washington Post`s David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O`Connell, we know the Saudis spent a significant sum of the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan in March of 2018 even though the royal family didn`t actually stay there.

"The Trump Hotel didn`t have suites big enough to accommodate them.  No, they stayed on the other side of the Central Park at the Plaza Hotel.  But that`s Saudi contribution, the number of rooms they booked for the duration mattered so much that the hotel`s general manager told investors that after two years of decline, revenue from room rentals increased 13 percent in the first three months of 2018 thanks to "a last-minute visit to New York by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."

Would you look at that?  Thanks to another scoop by Fahrenthold and O`Connell, we also learned that a Saudi funded lobbyist paid for an estimated 500 rooms at Trump`s D.C. hotel in the months following his election.  They described an elaborate and bizarre effort to stop Congress from passing a bill that would hold Saudi Arabia legally responsible for 9/11.

Now, the latest on Trump`s Turnberry Golf Resort in Scotland, Politico first broke the story about taxpayer money flowing into that resort about ten days ago.  Now, today, we get this.  "Earlier this summer, according to a staffer, a group of Saudi royals stayed at the resort for about a week at the tail end of extended travel bringing a party of 25 people and more than 100 luggage."

Did you hear that?  To repeat, a group of Saudi royals brought 25 people to Trump`s Scottish Golf Resort for a week.  And that is just what we know through reporting.  We also know that Turnberry was a place that previously reported that the resort lost money in 2017 but revenue went up $3 million last year according to Politico.  So how did that happen?

And that is only part of the corruption.  We already know enormous amounts of money are put in the President`s pocket but going down to Mar-a-Lago with his entire security revenue.  We also know that Mike Pence made this improbable journey to Trump`s Doonbeg resort in Ireland which is three hours from Dublin where he had his meetings.

And Politico`s Natasha Bertrand previously reported that an Air National Guard crew stayed at Turnberry on both legs of a trip from the U.S. to Kuwait at taxpayer expense.  Now, today`s Politico report says "a five-day visit to Turnberry in the surrounding region reveal the regular visits from Air Force crews on layovers from Prestwich Airport have become a major facet of the life of the resort."

It also revealed that rather than being restricted to single night refueling stops, some visits last multiple nights expanding the known dimensions of the relationship between the President`s luxury resort and the U.S. military.

Every cent of public money the military spends at Trump`s properties is a cent of public dollars that is being put into the president`s pocket.  We still have almost no idea the extent to which money from American taxpayers and money from foreign governments with agendas is going directly into the President`s bank account.

Joining now one if the reporters who broke the Trump Turnberry story, the aforementioned Natasha Bertrand, Politico National Security Correspondent and an MSNBC Contributor.  Natasha, you`ve been on this from the beginning of the first scoop on it.  Walk me through the trajectory.  What did we first learn and what have we learned since?

NATASHA BERTRAND, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes.  Well, we first heard word that the Air Force had lodged at least one crew in March of this year.  And we thought, OK, that`s a little bit weird.  We went to the air force and we continued to report out that story after we got confirmation that in fact this Air Force crew en route to Kuwait had stayed at Turnberry on both legs of their trip.

Now, since then, we have learned that this is obviously a recurring experience for the Air Force they are continuing to spend money at Trump`s resort when they do layovers at the small airport called Prestwick Airport just outside of Turnberry while they`re doing refueling, etcetera.

So this has happened about 40 times now.  And what we learned from our colleague Ben Schreckinger going over to Turnberry to report on the ground on this is that 40 stay figure might be a little bit misleading because they`re not just staying for one night at a time.

A lot of them are actually staying for multiple nights while their planes get serviced which of course is even more difficult at Prestwick Airport because it`s not a U.S. military base.  So you`re having to bring in technicians to deal with these planes.  Meanwhile, you have the Air Force crews lodging at Turnberry for multiple nights and playing golf there, buying food there, you know, going to the bar.  So all of that money, you know, particularly because the president never fully divested from his businesses, and I think that that`s a really important point we have to remember, could be flowing back into the president`s pocket.

And it certainly helping keep the resort afloat because the U.S. Air Force actually acknowledged to us that they wouldn`t be surprised at all and it would make complete sense if they were Trump Turnberry`s largest customer at this point.

HAYES:  They said that?

BERTRAND:  Yes.  On background, they acknowledged to us that it wouldn`t be surprising to them that they don`t have the exact figures but that it would not be -- it would be logical for people to assume that they are the largest single customer for the resort.

HAYES:  And this is a resort, we should be clear, that has had some trouble.  I mean, it was -- it was a money-losing property, and that money- losing has turned around.

BERTRAND:  Correct.  And you know, we don`t know if that`s solely because of the U.S. military spending money there because, of course, once the president became the president, more people, of course, would flock to his resorts especially foreign money as we saw with our reporting this morning.

Foreign money is flowing into his properties.  And Saudi lobbyists and the Saudis themselves have spent thousands of dollars since he was elected.  So we whether or not it`s actually just the U.S. military, we don`t know and it`s probably pretty unlikely.  But the fact that they are perhaps the single biggest customer as they told us recently is pretty jarring.

HAYES:  You also -- your colleague also in going there reported about this trip by Saudis which to me is quite significant because again, we have no way of peering into this.  We have no way of looking at the records, we don`t know which foreign governments are spending what amounts of money, and what for Trump properties in general.

We just see little snippets from reporting.  We had two previous stories of huge Saudi expenditures of Trump hotels, and now it appears we have a third at Turnberry as well.

BERTRAND:  Right.  That`s exactly right.  These things just keep trickling out and we had no idea, for example, that this massive group of Saudis had stayed there.  I mean, we had no idea that the U.S. Air Force had been doing this for the last three years, right.

So I mean, the more that people I think realized that this is not normal, that we never had this issue before because the president didn`t divest from his businesses and now owns the properties that so many of these entities are patronizing is leading reporters to new leads and new tips about these things.

And you know, if we`re thinking about the impact that the Saudis have had perhaps on U.S. foreign policy as a result of their going to Trump`s properties and hotels and resorts, etcetera, I mean, we just have to go back to the very beginning when you know, Saudi Arabia was the first country, foreign country that Trump visited what he became president.  And of course, now we`re seeing with his defense of Saudi Arabia and the Iran conflict.

HAYES:  Yes.  And I would just also note that if hypothetically you were attempting to use your patronage of a business as a way of curing favor and sending a kind of bribe, you would have to make it large enough that would work its way up the chain of a hotel night here or there.

25 people for a week, that`s the kind of thing that might work its way up the chain that people would hear about that.

BERTRAND:  And this is also -- you know, Trump often tweets well, I don`t need the money from a single stay at a hotel or you know, I`m way beyond that.  Well, obviously, this is not that.  This is a recurring -- this is a recurring thing.  It`s a pattern.  And foreign entities have obviously figured out that it`s a way forward to get themselves on the president`s radar.

It`s not just the Saudis, it`s the Qataris, and of course, now we`re learning that it could be a violation, it could be violating the domestic emoluments clause with federal money that is not the President`s salary flowing into his businesses.

HAYES:  All right, Natasha Bertrand, great reporting on this.  Keep at it.  Thank you very much.

BERTRAND:  Thanks, Chris.

HAYES:  Joining me now Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan.  He`s the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Just yesterday, he introduced a bill to stop the federal government for spending any taxpayer dollars at properties owned by the president.

Tell me about that piece of legislation.

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI):  Well, Chris, it`s the hotel act which really would bar federal money from going to hotels that are owned by high-ranking government officials including the president, the vice president, or cabinet secretaries.

Certainly, my job as the ranking member of Homeland Security and Government Affairs, we`re the top oversight committee for the United States Senate.  My job is to make sure taxpayer money is being spent the way it`s intended and not currying favor or used basically to align the pockets of a president or another high-ranking official.

35 of my colleagues have joined with me on this legislation.  We`re hoping to move.  We`re hoping to talk with some of my colleagues on the House as well.  But clearly, the conflicts of interest, the misuse of taxpayer money, all of those issues are very serious issues and ones that we need to deal with.

HAYES:  When you say 35 colleagues, I`m imagining that`s 35 Democrats.

PETERS:  That`s correct.

HAYES:  It seems to be prima facie obvious that it just should not be the case that any public money is being spent in the private businesses of the President of the United States over and above whatever the security retinue brings down to Mar-a-Lago which itself is problematic.  Like do you think this is the kind of legislation the House would take up and pass?

PETERS:  I certainly hope so.  This is a very straightforward.  As you mentioned, this should not be going on.  The legislation does create some exceptions as you mentioned for security staff of the president at of Mar- a-Lago and he has Secret Service.  They certainly need to be close to him so we`ll deal of that.

But you certainly don`t need to have what we are apparently seeing in Scotland where you have Air Force crews staying at the hotel, not likely the lowest-cost hotel in the area and staying there for multiple days.  That`s why I`ve requested the I.G. from the Department of Defense to do a detailed study of what exactly is happening so we can get a bit of handle at this.  We need to get the facts.

HAYES:  Have you gotten a response from the DOD I.G. on that?

PETERS:  I haven`t talked to him directly.  I did talk to the Air Force I.G. who has also started an investigation.  I had a long talk with him last week.  He seems to have a pretty comprehensive study in the works.  But I`m going to be working closely with him and hopefully, we`ll have those results fairly quickly.

HAYES:  You`re on the Senate Oversight Committee for -- you`re on Senate Armed Services.  Did you know this was happening?  Was it -- do people on Capitol Hill know that it just was the case that the Air Force was you know, when they were stopping at Prestwick which you should note predates this president, that was a deal that was signed to use that at airport, they were sending Air Force crews to the president`s own hotel property?

PETERS:  No, I don`t.  I certainly had no knowledge.  I don`t know of any of my colleagues that knew that.  You know, the hotel is further away from the airport as well.  It`s a -- it`s a very fancy Golf Resort.  You know, I served in the Navy Reserve.  I spent time part of my training in places overseas.  The military put me up in hotels.  But I guarantee you, they were not golf resorts that I stayed in.

HAYES:  Do you think that we should have some comprehensive accounting of it all at some point?  I mean, I suppose the President`s tax returns.  But it just seems to me not a crazy ask as a matter of congressional oversight transparency and democracy just to have an actual sum total of how much this is happening, which foreign governments are spending money in the president`s hotels, and how many public federal employees are.

PETERS:  Think so.  And that`s -- we`ll see what happens with the I.G. report related to what`s happening at Prestwick and at Turnberry, but certainly, we need to be looking at other areas where federal agencies or folks in the federal government may feel they need to do this in order to curry favor of the president.

It clearly is the appearance of conflict of interest, if not an outright conflict of interest.  And I know the taxpayers in Michigan want to make sure that that money is being spent in ways that further proper purposes and lighting the pockets of the president is not a government purpose that taxpayers want to fund.

HAYES:  Final question.  As the President has talked about being locked and loaded in waiting for essentially instructions from the Crown Prince about whether or not to strike in the wake of those strikes and the Saudi oil facilities, I believe two of your colleagues have already made the case Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, if I`m not mistaken, that the president already has the authorization he needs to strike Iran.  Do you agree with that?

PETERS:  No, I don`t -- I don`t agree with that at all.  I don`t know where they`re getting that.  I`d certainly like to see that argument because we don`t believe that the president has authority to protect Saudi oil which is what he`s saying, depending what the Saudi government would like him to do.

Apparently, he said he they protect Saudi oil.  I don`t believe he has that authorization.  And if he does, we`re going to fight back very aggressively to make sure that that doesn`t happen.

HAYES:  All right, Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, thank you so much.

PETERS:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Next, the campaign within the White House to launch a military strike against Iran.  Why the Secretary of State is going to Saudi Arabia to talk strategy in two minutes.


HAYES:  Even in the wake of John Bolton`s humiliating and ignominious departure, there are clearly forces inside the White House perhaps even the President himself that are champing in the bid for a military strike against Iran.

Almost immediately after attacks on two major Saudi Arabian oil facilities on Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for what he called "an unprecedented attack on the world`s energy supply."  And last night, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Intelligence claims the attacks were launched from inside Iran.

But here`s the thing, even the Saudis aren`t saying that right now.  In fact, they have "lagged American officials in their willingness to openly blame Iran for carrying out the attack."  Meanwhile, the Houthi rebels in Yemen who were found fighting the Saudis in Yemen in a brutal war have claimed responsibility for the attack.

And if you want a real sense the White House perspective right now, look no further than Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran.  Hook was on a phone call with Congressional staffers yesterday talking about the attack on South Saudi oil fields.

When asked about the impact of the strikes on the kingdom, Hook responded that the Saudis consider it to be their 9/11 according to two people familiar with the call.  For the record, no one died in the attacks on the oil facilities, nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11.  Also, 15 of the 19 hijackers themselves were from Saudi Arabia.

To talk more about what exactly is happening here, I`m joined by Jake Sullivan former National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, also worked in the negotiations with Iran on the Iran deal.

Jake, here`s my first question.  What do you make of what is a fascinating distance to me between the way the Trump administration and forces inside the administration who we`re leaking at reporters are saying with certainty it came from Iran and the Saudis themselves not being willing to go that far?

JAKE SULLIVAN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:  Well, there`s a real irony here.  The Saudi government which is led by the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has engaged in all kinds of dangerous and risk-taking behavior across the region, and yet they are pressing the pause button here.

They want to be sure about what exactly happened while certain voices inside the Trump administration are trying to drive this whole conversation towards the potential for American military action.

So we`re in this funny circumstance where actually Saudi Arabia is the voice of caution while voices inside the Trump administration are whipping up the case for potential war.  And I think this is going to create a real challenge in the days ahead as the United States and its putative ally in the region try to get on the same page.

HAYES:  I mean, I have to say, if you`re a foreign government, a foreign diplomat, a foreign state making calculations right now, like you watch Donald Trump lie all the time.  It`s just a fact he lies all the time.  Why would anyone believe any presentation of American intelligence on something as high-stakes as this by this president?

SULLIVAN:  I mean, this is what the cumulative effect of not just the President`s lies but the effort by significant members of the national security establishment in the Trump administration including Secretary of State Pompeo have done in hyping intelligence as it relates to Iran in trying to sell a narrative with respect to Iran that just hasn`t been borne out by the facts.

And so when they go around the world now and try and look people in the eye and say we know what happened, they`re going to be met with skepticism.  They`re going to be met with resistance.  And when American credibility can`t be counted on, can`t be trusted in a circumstance like this, then we`re more likely to be isolated and less likely to be able to rally a unified international response.

HAYES:  The Saudis obviously have been buying American weaponry for years.  There were sales when you were working for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Saudis of American arms and they were -- they were a big deal.

The President sort of said the quiet part loud in talking about the Saudis the other day.  It`s a really amazing quote.  I just want to play it again and get your reaction to it when he describes them as paying cash.  Take a listen.


TRUMP:  Saudi Arabia pays cash.  They`ve helped us out from the standpoint of jobs and all of the other things, and they`ve actually helped us.  I would call and I would say, listen, to our oil prices, our gasoline is too high, you got to let more go.  You know that.

I would call the Crown Prince and I`d say you got to help us out.  You got to get some more and all of a sudden the oil starts flowing and the gasoline prices are down. No other president can do that.


HAYES:  What do you make of that?

SULLIVAN:  Well, this is classic Trump.  He basically views our relationships with countries around the world is a mafia-style pay-for-play protection racket.  If you pay up and especially if you pay in cash apparently --

HAYES:  He has no credit.

SULLIVAN:  -- then the United States is prepared to defer to you in terms of whether or not they want us to use military force.  From my perspective, the President should be looking to the Congress of the United States not the crown prince of Saudi Arabia for guidance and authorization as to whether to use military force here.

But it`s clear that he`s decided at least to a certain extent to outsource his decisions on matter of war and peace to Riyadh and not to a co-equal branch of U.S. government.

HAYES:  I asked this question to Senator Gary Peters about a Congressional authorization.  Obviously, that`s something that you thought about it worked on where you were in the administration also working for Secretary of State Clinton.

What is your view about whether there -- it would be legal for the President to order a strike over Iran?

SULLIVAN:  It is very clear the president does not have the authority to take military action against Iran without getting the support of the United States Congress.  And this important not just as a technical legal matter, it`s important because of how we got here in the first place.

This didn`t drop out of the sky literally as an issue that the Iranians created out of nowhere.  This is the result of the self-inflicted wound of Trump administration policy.  The Iranians were abiding by the nuclear deal and were not attacking Saudi Arabia when the nuclear deal was enforced.  It was only after the United States in the Trump administration decided to pull out that we ended up in the circumstance were in.

So that doubly requires this president to go to the Congress to get any kind of authorization if he wants to use military force which I think would be a misguided decision at this point.

HAYES:  Final question.  The Ayatollah, the Supreme Leader -- religious leader in Iran said the Iran will never talk to America ahead of those U.N. General Assembly meetings.  There had been some back-and-forth about some sort of diplomatic meeting.  Do you think that`s posturing or do you think it`s possible to get back to the table?

SULLIVAN:  I think it is possible to get back to the table.  The supreme leader in my experience has repeatedly made rhetorical comments only to then turn around and authorize his negotiators to go to the table.  But that requires the United States to actually get serious about nuclear diplomacy.

And instead of that, what we have is an administration that decided to take a deal that was working, tear it up, walk away, abandon our allies.  And until the United States recommits in a serious way to a diplomatic effort to resolve this nuclear issue, I don`t think there will be diplomacy.

I think this lies much more at this moment at the feet of policy in Washington than it does at any decisions that are being taken in the region.

HAYES:  All right Jake Sullivan, as always, great to have you.  Thanks for making time.

SULLIVAN:  Thanks for having me.

HAYES:  Next, did we learn anything new from Corey Lewandowski`s performance from the House Judiciary?  Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee is here fresh from the hearing, joins me next.  Don`t go anywhere.


HAYES:  Today the House Judiciary Committee has held its first big impeachment/non-impeachment hearing and two things happened.  One is that a fairly ludicrous and deeply untrustworthy figure former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski appeared to perform a kind of MAGA karaoke for an audience of one.

Lewandowski`s testimony today included him insulting people and not answering questions.  There were multiple calls to find him in contempt.  But also beneath all the performance, Lewandowski essentially confirmed the facts of the Mueller report.  Basically, any time his appearance and the Mueller report was read or recited to him, this is what he said.


LEWANDOWSKI:  I believe the Mueller report accurately depicts that.  I believe that`s an accurate representation.  I believe that`s an accurate representation.  I believe it`s accurate.  If it`s in the reporter, I believe it to be accurate.


HAYES:  The thrust of the Mueller report with regard to Lewandowski is summarized in this heading from the report.  The President asked Corey Lewandowski to deliver a message to Sessions to curtail the Special Counsel investigation.  And that was a big portion of today`s hearing.

Reading from the Mueller report, "Lewandowski recalled the President told him that if Sessions did not meet with him, Lewandowski should tell Sessions he was fired."  When asked about this, he did not contradict it.  Lewandowski said he thought it was a joke.

The second thing and really the bigger problem for Democrats is that Lewandowski is pretty far down the list of the most important witnesses in this matter.  And just today, there were two witnesses that House Judiciary Committee called who were not there because the White House is currently asserting that they can basically stop anyone they want to from delivering testimony to a congressional oversight body.

Joining me now, fresh from today`s hearing, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Congresswoman, what was the goal of today`s hearing?  And did you feel you accomplished it?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, (D) TEXAS:  We absolutely did.  And the goal, of course, was to take the American people and to take the record down the journey of obstruction.  As you well know, Chris, the Third Article of Impeachment for Richard Nixon was obstructing congress. 

Now, that was not necessarily our start.  We thought that Mr. Lewandowski would come and tell the truth.  He was, in fact, in living color the story that was told in the Mueller report.  The American people haven`t read the Mueller report.  They got to see a living character who was actively engaged -- although he was not an employee of the United States government, he was not an employee of the White House, but he was used by the president to sidestep the laws of the land.

And that, I believe, throughout the entire day was very clear.  It was very clear in his use of the letter that was given to us on the 16, that clearly was inappropriate because the confidentiality provisions that they referred to has to do with counsel to the president on making decisions of policy.  To go and tell someone to change the Mueller investigation to elections in the future are not policy, it is obstruction. 

And we clearly watched Mr. Lewandowski as well create a pathway for the story of whether or not the president of the United States was trying to obstruct justice, which was all about what Director Mueller had in volume two.

Remember now, he said I cannot exonerate him.  And it was all about the issues and the facts of  obstruction.

HAYES:  There was a moment where he expressly invoked privilege to not answer a question about whether he discussed a pardon.  I thought it was kind of an interesting tell.  I want to play that moment and get your reaction.  Take a listen.


REP. MARY  SCANLON, (D) PENNSYLVANIA:  Has the president ever offered you a pardon?

LEWANDOWSKI:  Again, the White House has directed not to disclose the substance of any discussions with the president or his advisers to protect the executive branch confidentiality...


HAYES:  What do you make of that?

LEE:  well,  I make he was well briefed by the White House and issues that he could answer, that had nothing to do with advising the president on the question of governance, it had to do whether you asked -- you asked for or you were given the idea that you could get a pardon.  That`s why we believe that there`s several instances in which Mr. Lewandowski can be held in contempt  He used this privilege given to him by a White House counsel in a letter that was inappropriate.  And I think -- I really do think he was a living color witness to see the constant obstruction of justice, not by him, but by the White House.

HAYES:  OK, but here`s the problem, right, I mean, there were two witnesses called.  The White House has asserted extremely broad power to stop witnesses, even people that are not currently working for the administration, to testify at all.  The privilege that they are invoking here is extremely controversial in legal circles, in some cases they`re talking about blanket immunity, you can`t talk to anyone we don`t want you to talk to.  That`s the fundamental issue.  Like you can`t do this unless you break that and the question is how do you break that?

LEE:  Well, you know, Chris, you`re absolutely right.  We are reminded of Speaker Pelosi`s words, investigation, litigation and legislation.  We legislated last week with the impeachment investigation, we`re in the courts.

We insist that we have the right to question Mr. Porter, Mr. Dearborn, Mr. McGahn.  And we believe with the impeachment investigation we`re hoping positively that we`ll prevail in court not later but sooner than later, that the courts will see that we have nothing but obstruction not from the particular witnesses, but from the president of the United States

I think that was more than clear.  And you well know, because not only was he obstructing as instructed by the White House, but he launched his senate campaign in New Hampshire.  He launched a hashtag 2020 -- I mean absolutely absurd.  We cannot have witnesses disrespecting article 1 body, which is the United States Congress

HAYES:  There were several calls for him to be found in contempt.  I read former a congressman, Brad Miller, saying if you acted like this in court you`d be in jail cooling your heels.  Are you going to find him in contempt?  It adjourned.  I guess that`s the chair`s call, but it adjourned without that.

But, again, you keep saying you can`t have this, but yet that`s what you did have.

LEE:  I believe we will be reviewing the record.  And I frankly believe that Mr.  Lewandowski has been in contempt of congress.  There were questions that he could answer  There were questions that were not applicable to the confidentiality protection, and there were questions that he knew full well with the truth.  And the reason is, he had it in his book, "Let Trump be Trump."  He said it over and over again in television interviews.

One interview he said he had nothing to do, no one ever told him to contact Attorney General Sessions.  And then here he is sort of alluding that he cannot answer that question because of privilege.  Well, why didn`t he say the same thing that he said in his interviews.

I think it was more today than people might imagine.  Again, President Nixon`s third article of impeachment was obstructing congress.  Now we have a very colorful fellow, giving a colorful journey today, of just how deep that obstruction is.  I don`t think the American people -- I know they`re  busy, they`re working, but I think if they get bits and pieces of this, they can say this is not the way you run a government or a country.  The president should have those individuals no longer in the White House having the ability to come before the Article 1 body, who has a right to proceed under the impeachment investigation for high crimes and misdemeanors, or abuse of power, and  answer the questions and use the privilege only appropriately when you are counseling the president for something good dealing with the governance of the United States.

We cannot be undermined in the investigatory process.

HAYES:  All right, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you very much

LEE:  Thanks for having me, Chris.

HAYES:  Still ahead, with Senator Warren`s massive crowd signal in the Democratic primary and how it`s translating to her polling ahead.

Plus, Tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, a few weeks ago there was a report the president was upset because the pro-Trump pundit Steve Cortez wasn`t getting enough airtime on CNN.  He`d apparently been benched by the network where he was a paid contributor, perhaps because he is still part of the Trump team as part of his Hispanic advisory counsel.

But yesterday, Trump made sure Cortez got some time in front of the cameras.  He was one of the opening acts at Trump`s New Mexico rally and then the subjects of a just completely racist shout out by the president himself.


TRUMP:  He happens to be Hispanic but I`ve never quite figured it out, because he looks more like a WASP than I do.  So I haven`t figured that one out.  But I`ll tell you what, there`s nobody that loves this country more, or Hispanic more, than Steve Cortez -- Steve.

Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?  He says the country.  I don`t know, I may have to go for the Hispanics to be honest with you.  We`ve got a lot of Hispanics.  We love our Hispanics.  Get out and vote

And Steve, I want to thank you very much, by the way -- and you were incredible on CNN and now you`ll get a real job, OK?  Steve, that audience wasn`t big enough for you.  They`re ratings aren`t good.


HAYES:  Perhaps Steve Cortez can get a real job at Trump TV, but he`s going to up his propaganda game.  And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  So, there are actually two cable networks devoted to spreading propaganda for President Trump: there`s Trump TV, as we mention a lot, and then of course there`s the Trump TV Business channel where a man named Lou Dobbs does his business every night


LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS:  I spent some time in the White House yesterday, and I want to give you an unauthorized quick update on the atmosphere that I witnessed in the White House, the demeanor of the folks working for this president, for the people.  It couldn`t be more positive.  The mood in that White House couldn`t be more high energy.  I`ve seen a number of White Houses.  I happened to have seen this one in its early days and I have seen it now, and I want you to know the joint is hopping.

At every level on every floor this White House is energized.  There`s sunshine beaming throughout the place and almost on every face.  It`s winner and winning-centered  And our White House, our president, is at the top of his game.


HAYES:  What the heck, dude?

If that sounded to you like something you`d see on North Korea state TV, you`re not alone  The Daily Show showed us what that would look like.  But honestly, the real thing is embarrassing enough on its own.


DOBBS:  Have a great weekend.  The president makes such a thing possible for us all.  Good night from New York.



HAYES:  So we`re coming to you tonight from Nashville, Tennessee.  And the reason we are here is because this is the home of the former Vice President of the United States Al Gore.  I came to sit down with an interview with Vice President Gore as part of our climate special coming up later this week.  But I also had a chance to ask him about his thoughts on the current state of affairs with our current president and the possibility of impeachment.


HAYES:  There`s a big debate in the Democratic Party right now about the best way to deal with this president, right particularly impeachment.  As someone who is bystander for one of only a handful of them in the history of the American republic, and I`m curious what you think.  Do you think impeachment is warranted?  Do you worry about the consequences having lived through that period?

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Well, I deeply respect Speaker Pelosi and her calculation of the risks and benefits and the way she`s been handling it.  And I think Chairman Nadler is doing a superb job

Where I come down on this is I get the political calculus, but it can`t end there, because of the risks that we end up normalizing the most obscene behavior I`ve ever seen from a president of the United States.  And if we did not challenge this behavior, then I think we`d be making a mistake.  Certainly true the Senate is unlikely in its present formulation to convict, you know, obviously. 

But I think we have an obligation beyond all of that to the constitution, and the only remedy for these serious crimes that have been alleged is the impeachment process.


HAYES:  You can hear my full interview with former Vice President Al Gore this Thursday for the first night of our two special Climate in Crisis, which will feature reports on effects of climate change all over the world plus highlights from our presidential candidate climate forum moderated by my colleague Ali Velshi and me at Georgetown University.

It will be a jam-packed two nights you do not want to miss.  We`ll be right back.


HAYES:  Twelve years ago at this point in the presidential race, Hillary Clinton was the clear favorite in the Democratic primary field.  But even though Barack Obama hadn`t broken through in the polling, he was drawing these enormous crowds, including this one in Washington Square Park in New York City.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This is a magnificent crowd, and we have been seeing -- we`ve been seeing crowds like this as we travel all across the country over the last seven months since I announced that I was running for the presidency of the United States of America.



HAYES:  That was Barack Obama back in September of 2000 behind the polls and bragging about his crowd size  That`s not to say that history will necessarily repeat itself, but it proved to be that that time around that enthusiasm really did mean something.

This time around, the front-runner in the Democratic primary is very clearly Joe Biden.  It has been him since the day he announced.  He has not significantly declined, in fact he continues to lead, and according to the latest NBC poll out today, he has even gained.

NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Biden with 31 percent support, followed by Elizabeth Warren with 25 percent, and Bernie Sanders with 14.

But it is also very noteworthy that Biden does not draw enormous crowds, whereas the two people who round out the top three in the field do.  Tens of thousands came out to see Sanders at his campaign launch in Brooklyn, and at rallies like this one last month in Long Beach, California. 

And last night in Washington Square, Warren got her biggest crowd yet, her campaign estimating that 20,000 people showed up for the rally.


WARREN:  I know, people are scared, but we can`t choose a candidate we don`t believe in just because we`re too scared to do anything else.  And Democrats can`t win if we`re scared and looking backward.  We win when we meet the moment, we win when we stand up for what is right, we win when we get out there and fight.


HAYES:  After the rally, Warren stuck around, as is her wont, to take pictures with supporters for nearly four hours, ending with this...




CROWD:  Fight hard.


CROWD:  Fight hard.


CROWD:  Fight hard.


CROWD:  Fight hard.



HAYES:  So, we`ve still got months to go before the first votes are cast, but the big question to me about the shape of this race right now is how much does enthusiasm matter?  At one level, an enthusiastic voter gets to cast as many votes as an unenthusiastic voter, but if you`ve been on the trail, if you`ve covered political races, you often get a kind of Spidey sense when you`re at an event with a ton of people that something is happening.

Joining me now to talk about the relative importance of enthusiasm, Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight.

Nate, I wonder how you think this when you`re looking at the polling, you`re looking at state polling, national polling, and then these more sort of qualitative pieces of data, like big crowds at events.

NATE SILVER, FOUNDER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT:  Yeah, I think crowd sizes are one of the last things I would look at, the reason being if you look at the broader scope of history, you know, candidates like Walter Mondale, for example, in 1984 drew very big crowds, told pollsters they were really wrong about the election versus Reagan and then won one state.

You had the Spidey sense for Mitt Romney in 2012.  You had Bernie drawing larger crowds in 2016 than Hillary Clinton, but not winning the nomination, although he did very well, obviously.

So to me it`s like, yeah, you can point out examples like Obama, but you can point out at least as many counter examples where crowd size was not as reliable as the polling was.

And by the way, Warren is doing pretty well in the polls, including polls that ask voters, hey, how enthusiastic are you?  How solid is your vote?  How much attention are you paying to the  campaign.  So both she and Biden should feel pretty good about their position.  Bernie should feel decently well.  It would be like Kamala Harris, frankly, or someone who would probably need to look toward more exotic indicators for signs of support.

HAYES:  Yeah, what I thought was interesting in the NBC poll today was there`s a question about enthusiastic or comfortable, right.  Like you`re enthusiastic about this person, but if your person weren`t to win would you be comfortable with this person?  And right now Warren is at the top with those two numbers, right, so 35 percent enthusiastic, and 35 percent comfortable.  Bernie Sanders 25 percent enthusiastic, 27 percent comfortable, and Joe Biden 23 percent enthusiastic and 41 percent comfortable.

And I think that is also, as just a polling indicator, says that there`s room there for her.

SILVER:  Yeah, she has that combo of both the enthusiasm and the comfortability, which maybe Bernie has less of, for example.  We`ve also seen like it`s pretty rare to see a candidate gain as steadily as she has.  It like literally is that every -- you look at the RealClearPolitics average, or the Economist` average, right, every other week she gains a point.  And you project that out, she goes from 17 to 18 to 19 to 25 or 26 by the time you get to Iowa and New Hampshire, which is a pretty good position, especially her polls in Iowa and New Hampshire have been a bit stronger than they have been nationally.

I should say there`s no guarantee that momentum continues.  Bernie, for example, gained ground throughout most of the run-up to 2016, and then finally when he hit Iowa and New Hampshire he came close, won those states, but could not quite get over the hump.  But still, there is maybe a narrative, which I would at least put some stock in that like as people get to know Warren better, they like the message, they`re more comfortable.

Remember, she started out with all these doubts about Pocahontas and very negative coverage.  So the second impression I think has been a lot better for voters than their first impression six months ago.

HAYES:  You have said this the other day or two ago, and I thought it was interesting that you thought that in the beginning I think people were trying to put an ideological frame onto the race that maybe didn`t quite match what was happening.  You saw a lot of voters who were sort of Biden/Bernie voters, or choosing between them, comfortable with both, but as the race has gone on, that the ideological lanes have gotten a bit clearer.  And again that`s sort of borne out I think interestingly in the NBC poll today that Joe Biden is winning 19 percent of liberal voters, but 42 percent of those who consider themselves moderate or conservative and Warren is getting sort of the inverse, 36 percent of liberals, 15 percent moderate or conservative.  It`s -- and Sanders there more liberals than moderate/conservatives. 

Those ideological identifications do start to become more salient as more and more time is being spent with the candidate.

SILVER:  Yeah, as voters become more interested in the campaign and things do become a bit more like rational in terms of left versus right.  Although I think Harris has also -- although Warren has gained at the expense of Harris as well.  Because Harris is trying to split the difference and now voters are saying, you know what I like Warren a little better.  She`s doing better than Harris.  She`s a little bit  bolder.  I don`t see any -- I mean, she actually does better on electability questions than Harris does according to Democratic voters, and so I think that`s been a big source of votes for her as well.

She got the kind of -- the left-wing vote early on, the kind of college educated white left-wing vote, I should say, which is not the entire left- wing by any means at all.  But now she`s picking up not the centrist vote, but the center of the party, Kamala Harris kind of, Beto O`Rourke voters, because those candidates are not doing very well in the polls lately.

HAYES:  Yeah, she has a lot of work to go on African-American voters where Joe Biden still holds a commanding lead.

Nate Silver, thank you for being with me. 

That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now, where I should mention Senator Warren herself will be sitting down with the one and only Rachel Maddow this evening. 

Good evening, Rachel.