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Pressure to impeach builds. TRANSCRIPT: 9/23/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Elizabeth Holtzman, Gina McCarthy, David Jolly, Michelle Goldberg

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  If they won`t vote, you can.  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Russia if you`re listening - -

HAYES:  The President keeps running the same play.

TRUMP:  If you don`t talk about corruption, why would you give money?

HAYES:  Donald Trump admits to using his power to coerce a foreign government into sabotaging his opponent.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, Senior Judicial Analyst, FOX NEWS CHANNEL:  I think this is the most serious charge against the president.

HAYES:  Tonight, what we know about what the president has already done.  And as new pressure builds on leaders in the House --

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  We may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.

HAYES:  Will Democrats dare to try and stop Donald Trump.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI):  When do we say enough is enough?  We have to hold him accountable.

HAYES:  And what happened today when the world convened in New York to address the climate catastrophe?

GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVIST:  We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.  How dare you?

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  When it comes to the President`s actions with Ukraine, we don`t have all the facts.  We don`t have access to the whistleblower complaint which is still being withheld from Congress in apparent violation of law.  We don`t have the transcript of the phone conversation President Trump had with the Ukrainian president even though Trump today said, "I hope you get to see it and I hope you get to see it soon."  Take that with a little grain of salt.

But what is clear now is that the basic contours are essentially agreed to by all parties including the president.  The reporting and overtime President Trump himself acknowledging that in a phone call Donald Trump pressured the head of Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden with the possibility hanging over his head the U.S. would not release hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid the country says it needs to defend itself against the Russians who have already invaded.

All of that has essentially been copped to.  And we`ve gone through this trajectory before just not in quite as short a time frame.  First, the President denies it and the White House and Trump T.V. called fake news.  And then Rudy Giuliani gives an interview giving away way more than anyone expects.

And then lo and behold President Trump once caught pivots to a so what defense confirming that he talked to the Ukrainian president and he said they talked about "corruption" which of course we all know is used the same way they talked about adoption with the Russians in 2016.

That`s just a code word for this very specific ask.  Use the official instruments of Ukraine`s justice system to wound my political rival.  The president also conceded that the money the U.S. had appropriated to give the Ukraine was that issue.  And to make it easy for us, he did all of that in front of cameras earlier this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What did you tell the Ukrainian president about Joe Biden and his son during your phone call?

TRUMP:  You`re going to see because what we are doing is we want honesty.  And if we deal with a country, we want honesty.  And I think with the new president you`re going to see much more honesty in the Ukraine and that`s what we`re looking for.

We`re supporting a country.  We want to make sure that country is honest.  It`s very important to talk about corruption.  If you don`t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?

One of the reasons the new president got elected is he was going to stop corruption.  So it`s very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption.  It`s very important.


HAYES:  So throughout the day he hit all three major parts of the contention, right?  An investigation pertaining to Biden or you don`t get the money.  And that is an obviously impeachable abuse of power.  A president unilaterally hijacking American foreign policy and public dollars as a tool for extortion, bribery, and blackmail of a foreign country to get them to sabotage a likely opposing candidate, and it`s mostly confirmed.  That`s where we are.

Now, there`s more we should learn.  New York Times reporting indicates that the substance of that whistleblower complaint that sort of kicked all this off actually involved multiple actions.  The Washington Post reports Trump`s interaction of the foreign leader included a promise that was regarded as so troubling it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint.

And that complaint was later seen as urgent by the Inspector General of the intelligence community so we should see it all, right?  I mean, at this point we should see the transcript of the phone call of Ukrainian president.  What`s the point of keeping it secret anymore?  It`s mostly out there.

Giuliani and Trump are running around basically saying it`s right.  And the actions of Trump and his cronies with respect to this are not surprising anymore.  I`ve used this metaphor before but when you`re watching a football game and the defense can`t stop the offense from say running up the middle, the offense will keep running the ball up the middle.

Trump and his cronies are going to keep running the same play.  In the case of Donald Trump soliciting, accepting, and aiding a foreign government in smearing your political opponent is hopelessly corrupt was the winning play in 2016 and they are just running the same play again.

It`s shocking and it`s appalling but it`s not surprising.  In fact, look at when the phone call happens.  It`s the day after the Mueller testimony.  Now, you can just hear the president thinking OK, I got away with it.  Get me that new Ukrainian president.  Let`s do some colluding for real.

Joining me for more on the President`s corrupt behavior, Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas.  He sits on the House Intelligence Committee that is demanding to see the whistleblower complaint, also the vice-chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Before we get to the details of whistleblower complaint and the sort of questions around that, in broad strokes what is your understanding of what happened and how serious an infraction it is?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX):  Well, you know, obviously I sit on the Intelligence Committee and can`t speak to what we were briefed on last week by the Inspector General, but as you mentioned between Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, they`ve basically confirmed about 75 percent of the reporting.

And I believe that the Speaker has laid down a gauntlet and asked that the whistleblower information be brought to the Congress by Thursday.  If that information is not presented, on Friday we should move forward with a formal impeachment proceeding.

HAYES:  So wait a second.  So you think that`s it, that is essentially the straw that breaks the camel`s back here, which is that if they don`t provide the whistleblower complaint, it`s not a subpoena, it`s not a fight in the courts, it`s that compelling it requires essentially moving forward formally with impeachment?

CASTRO:  Right.  And to be clear I`ve supported opening an impeachment inquiry before based on the obstruction of justice issues with President Trump during the whole Russia investigation.  But this is a whole other matter unto itself.

And the idea that the House of Representatives would sit idly by while a president abuses his power and tries to intimidate or coerce a foreign president into opening an investigation into a major political rival, for us to sit back and do nothing about that, it goes beyond Democrats and Republicans and really honestly even beyond Donald Trump.

If you do nothing, you are normalizing his behavior, you`re encouraging him to continue doing things like this, and you`re encouraging future presidents to take the same liberties and abuse power in the same way.

So at some point, it becomes not a matter of who`s going to win this congressional district or even the presidency in 2020.  As I know it`s tough as that sounds politically, it becomes bigger than that.  It`s a matter of what kind of country and what kind of democracy we`re going to have.  That is what is at stake right now.

HAYES:  Is there a universe in which some kind of deal is struck in which some limited number of folks like the gang of eight, for instance, are briefed on this complaint that get access to it?  Can you imagine something between total refusal or it all gets put out in the public?

CASTRO:  Yes, I think that`s quite possible.  Sure.  It could be a situation where the gang of eight seized the information that that`s a negotiation and the rest of the Intelligence Committee and the rest of the Congress are not allowed to see it.  But again, even from the reporting and matching that up against what Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have already said, they`ve confirmed about 75 percent of that reporting.

And it appears as though the President on eight occasions pressed the Ukrainian president to open this investigation.  It`s obviously political in nature.  It`s meant to benefit him.  And this is a version of the 2016 call for Russia to find Hillary Clinton`s e-mails.  It`s the same thing.  It`s asking a foreign government to do his dirty work for him.

HAYES:  You just mentioned Rudy Giuliani and I wanted to go through at the time.  I mean, this is in some ways again like many things the president done, it`s sort of been half out in the open.  In May, Rudy Giuliani is the president`s personal lawyer, meets the Ukrainian diplomat, a former Ukrainian in New York.  In June, with the Ukrainian prosecutor general`s office in Paris, that would be the office that would reopen the investigation.

August, the Ukrainian president`s aide in Madrid, September he admits he asked Ukraine to look into Biden.  Independent of what the president`s doing, is what Giuliani doing appropriate and should we hear from him on Capitol Hill.

CASTRO:  Yes.  I think that we absolutely should.  Whatever proceeding, whether it`s another hearing, whatever we`re doing, he`s an important piece in understanding what exactly happened.  Because we know he`s working for the president, he`s working on the president`s behalf, and at his behest.

So Rudy Giuliani is not just some private citizen who decided to go travel and meet with some foreign leaders, he`s acting very specifically at the command and at the order of Donald Trump.

HAYES:  All right, Congressman Joaquin Castro who sits on the Intelligence Committee, thank you very much for your time tonight.

CASTRO:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Joining me now for more on the implications of President Trump`s actions Barbara McQuade former U.S. attorney from the Eastern District of Michigan, now an MSNBC Legal Analyst and David Leonhardt New York Times Op- Ed Columnist.  His latest piece is titled Donald Trump Versus the United States of America, and reminds us that several undisputed facts about president rump including he has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election and he urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.

Barbara, let me -- let me start with you and just -- the infraction here almost seems to be bigger than the law in some level because it`s the kind of thing that really the only the president could do.  So the laws as we think of them like normal statutory laws about fraud or theft or larceny or whatever, you know, they don`t envision like you know, intimidating a foreign leader over foreign aid to investigate the rival.  But how do you see this in legal terms?

BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Yes, you`re right.  I mean, this is the kind of act that an ordinary citizen probably couldn`t commit because of his position.  But it really does echo the statutory prohibition on bribery and extortion.  It`s essentially demanding a thing of value to which he is not entitled in exchange for the performance of an official act.

In my district, the former mayor of Detroit was convicted of an extortion scheme that was very similar.  He would withhold contracts, public works contracts that were worth millions of dollars unless he got a demand met and received a thing of value, that was his friend getting put on all of these contracts to cash in on some of the proceeds of those contracts.

I see this in a very similar way with parallels to bribery and extortion and unlike the kinds of crimes that Robert Mueller was investigating of obstruction, there actually is reference to bribery in the Constitution as a grounds for impeachment explicitly.

HAYES:  David, one wrinkle to this I think is also interesting in terms of the ways in which the president has run roughshod over certain kind of constraints and the oath of office to take care is this little detail about these funds which are sitting there in Ukraine is expecting.

And by August, Congressional appropriators became aware that officials at the Pentagon and the State Department have lost control over the process to the Office of Management and Budget, an executive office run by Mick Mulvaney who also serves the president`s Acting Chief of Staff.

For weeks thereafter, Congressional aide said the OMB announced short-term holds on Ukraine funds.  There was never an express reason given except the administration was conducting a vague interagency review of the funds.  What do you make of that?

DAVID LEONHARDT, OP-ED COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Well, I mean, we`re at the point in which this president has violated the Constitution and the law as Barbara was just saying so many times that it`s clear the solution for this has to be political.  And I`m one of those people who`s been somewhat skeptical of impeachment because I didn`t really see how it helped make the case against Trump.

But it`s hard not to look at this, like those details you were just putting on screen or the brazenness of what he did today and ask yourself if the Democrats don`t impeach him, isn`t as you said at the top, isn`t he just going to do this again and again and again?

And although impeachment brings political risk, I don`t really see what alternative the Democrats are going to have soon.

HAYES:  What do you think about that argument, Barbara?

MCQUADE:  Well, I think at some point Nancy Pelosi and others need to think about what is their duty here.  Is it just to elect Democrats to the White House and to Congress or do they have a further obligation to govern to the American public.  Because at some point, if they let President Trump get away with all of this misconduct, they`re setting the standards in the norms for future presidents.

And so I think they have to ask themselves what do we want to tolerate in a president, and they`re drawing that line or not drawing that line with our action now.

HAYES:  Part of the issue here too, David, is as we saw with the Clinton e- mails, right, that the president was able to sort of successfully particularly among his base and even among the mainstream press a fair amount sort of point the light back to Clinton which then became as a system.

Here`s the president today talking about Biden again copping to the basic underlying points here that he`s like pushing the Ukraine to investigate -- the president to investigate Biden.  But here`s what he said about the great conversation he had with Zelensky.  Take a listen.


TRUMP:  The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don`t want our people like Vice President Biden has done creating to the corruption already in Ukraine.


HAYES:  I mean, this has now been the line.  I`ve seen Marco Rubio, I mean down the line Republicans, Trump T.V., and right-wing media.  This is now - - their intent to make this a story about the other side.

LEONHARDT:  Yes.  It`s the classic deflection strategy.  And what they hope is that by throwing up enough smoke and that our country is sufficiently polarized, that people will just say well, everyone is sort of just the same, right?  And yet what we know is that everyone is not the same.

You know, everyone has looked at the Biden thing and tried to look at it carefully in a non-partisan way, has basically come away saying there`s no there there.  And there clearly is there to the President of the United States trying to use the power of his office to help his own reelection campaign in concert with a foreign government.

HAYES:  And one of the reasons you know there`s a there, Barbara, is this reminds me of the trajectory of Stormy Daniels and those payments.  It was deny, deny, it didn`t happened, I don`t know anything about it.  And then when they were caught and they`re backed into a corner, when it was a matter of record, it was yes, so what.

And we saw that same -- the same with the idea that they were pursuing Trump Tower Moscow much later than -- they had lied about how long they`re pursuing Trump Tower Moscow.  They had gotten much closer to Putin directly in the conversations about it.  And when they were caught, the president comes out and says of course, yes, what am I going to do, not do a deal?  That to me is in some ways a little bit of an indicator of the -- of a guilty mindset, Barbara.

MCQUADE:  You know, it is.  And in fact, there is a doctrine in the law under a rule of evidence that says that prior bad acts are permissible and admissible if they tend to show that this is your M.O., this is your modus operandi that is admissible to prove that that`s what you`re doing in this instance.

What`s interesting about it, Chris, is you know, sometimes they say there`s some adage like insanity is doing this the same thing over and over again and getting the same result.  This is insanity that makes you crazy like a fox because they are doing the same thing over and over again and it`s been working.

At some point, one hopes that the strategy if people begin to see through it and it no longer works.

HAYES:  David?

LEONHARDT:  Yes.  Oh I was going to say, I think -- I think it`s clear from Trump`s behavior and some of the things people around him have said, he doesn`t want to be impeached.

HAYES:  Yes, I 100 percent agree with that.

LEONHARDT:  And I think this is a political -- this is not going to be a legal proceeding.  This is going to be a political battle.  And so I think Democrats should ask themselves.  If President Trump doesn`t want to be impeached and he -- and they believe he`s a threat to the well-being of this country as they do and they should, doesn`t that suggest that impeachment might, in fact, be the right move for them?

HAYES:  Yes, it`s a good -- it`s a good point.  Barbara McQuade, David Leonhardt, thank you both.

LEONHARDT:  Thanks, Chris.

HAYES:  Next, will this be a break-glass moment for the impeachment holdouts?  We`ll talk about some of the interesting reactions of the members of Congress with vocal impeachment advocate Al Green in two minutes.


HAYES:  So I`ve been noticing there`s some really interesting reactions to this unfolding story about Donald Trump pressuring a foreign country Ukraine to help is election 2020 by investigating one of his rivals.  And those reactions are coming from the Senate side which has, by and large, more or less largely stayed mum up until now about the issue of impeachment.  Of course, it doesn`t originate in their house.

So Senator Brian Schatz Democrat of Hawaii tweeted, "What is impeachment for if not for this?"  Senator Chris Murphy, Democratic of Connecticut tweeted, "If he demanded a foreign government to do his political bidding, that`s when he crossed the critical threshold.  No need to overthink this."

And then there`s Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts obviously running for president who was already on the record supporting impeachment sending an unmistakable message directly to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with this tweet.  "After the Mueller report, Congress had a duty to begin impeachment.  By failing to act, Congress is complicit in Trump`s latest attempt to solicit foreign interference to aid him in U.S. elections.  Do your constitutional duty and impeach the president."

Pretty direct.  So that`s what`s going on the Senate.  In the House, the tally for impeachment for the Democrats was 134 before today when Minnesota Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips came out somewhat surprisingly and I`ll explain in a second, in favor of impeachment saying, "If the reports are corroborated, we must pursue articles of impeachment and report them to the full House of Representatives for immediate consideration."

Another of his Minnesota colleagues Democratic Congresswoman Angie Craig also falling suit.  And I should tell you that both of those Minnesota Democrats, they are from swing districts and they are now in favor of impeachment.  This could be the break glass moment but it remains to be seen if the rest the Democratic caucus agrees.

Here with me now, someone who`s been an outspoken advocate of impeachment since well before the current news, in fact even before the Moller of work Democratic Congressman Al Green of Texas who`s now introduced articles impeachment against Donald Trump unsuccessfully three times.

Congressman, what do you make of both this story and whether it constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors and the statements of your Democratic colleagues in the wake of it?

REP. AL GREEN (D-TX):  Well, thank you so much for having me on, Mr. Hayes.  This is an important story.  It could be the straw that will break the camel`s back for a number of people who haven`t come on board.  But as you know, a good many people have already decided that we should move in the direction of impeachment.

It`s my belief that we`re seeing a rerun of what happened with Mr. Comey.  If you`ll recall with Mr. Comey, the President fired him, the President went on television, national T.V., prime time and said that he was thinking about that Russia thing at the time he fired Mr. Comey.

So this is nothing new in the sense that the President does this quite regularly.  He`s done it with other things and he`ll continue to do it.  With reference to my colleagues, we`re at the crossroads of accountability.  Either we will hold the president accountable or we will be held accountable.

There are people who literally believe now that we are aiding and abetting the president not in the legal sense but in the sense that our inactions allow him to continue his actions, his invidious actions I might add.  So the public expects something from Congress given this circumstance.

And for those who say that you have to wait on the public, I am so pleased that Rosa Parks didn`t take a poll.  She wouldn`t have taken that seat on that bus.  If John Lewis had taken a poll before they cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I`m not sure they would have crossed on Bloody Sunday.

And thank God Dr. King didn`t take a poll before having the march on Washington.  The great issues that have to be dealt with are not dealt with based upon polls, they`re based upon principles.

HAYES:  Well, let me ask you this.  There`s a sense right that there`s political danger for members of front-line districts in moving in some formal sense towards impeachment.  And I wonder if you think it`s significant that those two Minnesota members who are in swing districts, who aren`t in very safe seats, safe Democratic seats came out today based on this information.

GREEN:  I think you`ve made a salient point in referencing them.  I do believe, Mr. Hayes, that they should be saluted.  I commend them for putting principle above politics, for putting the people above our party.  This is what has to happen.  This is not about Democrats and Republicans, it`s about the democracy, government of the people by the people for the people and whether we`re going to save our republic.

They have done the righteous thing, not just the right thing but the righteous thing.  And I commend them and hope that they will continue to encourage others to do so.  By the way, I think you`ll see more people coming out.  The momentum now is in the direction of impeachment.  I think the President will be impeached and I think that you`ll see many more come out within the next week or two.

HAYES:  So tomorrow there`s going to be a House caucus members-only meeting at 4:00 p.m.  Do you have anticipation I think this will be one of the agenda items along with I think some discussion of trade and the President`s efforts to ratify a kind of NAFTA 2.0 and whether the speaker will put her muscle behind that effort, deliver that for the president?  Do you anticipate a lot of this can be hashed out in that caucus tomorrow?  Is this something that is going to be a strenuous debate about?

GREEN:  Well, I would hope so in this sense.  I think we need to have a discussion about what impeachment really is.  Your prior guest, I believe his name was David, he made us an important point when he said that this is political.  And if we are going to make this a trial where you have to have guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, clear and convincing evidence, then we`re doing the Constitution a disservice.

The Framers didn`t intend for us to have -- to have a criminal offense.  This is misdeeds that we`re witnessing and they made it possible for us to impeach the president for his misdeeds when he spoke to the president of Ukraine.  And he by virtue of the circumstances was extorting him.  You don`t have to have extortion in the legal sense --

HAYES:  Right.

GREEN:  -- you just have it in the sense of a misdeed.  This is political.  There would be no appeal to the Supreme Court.  We don`t have to tell anybody why we voted to impeach.  This is all about doing what we would do if we were the corporate board members of a -- of a company and the corporate chief executive officer was misbehaving in such a way as to hurt the company.

The president is hurting the country and we have a duty responsibility and obligation to take that to the Senate and let the Senate act.  If the Senate doesn`t the impeach him, then those senators will have to answer.

HAYES:  Congressman Al Green, thank you so much for your time.

GREEN:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Next, climate activists Greta Thunberg shows no mercy in her U.N. address today.  Her powerful testimony after this.


THUNBERG:  This is all wrong.  I shouldn`t be up here.  I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.  Yet you all come to us young people for hope.  How dare you?  You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.  Yet I`m one of the lucky ones.

People are suffering, people are dying, and our ecosystems are collapsing.  We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.  How dare you?


HAYES: That was 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg chastising world leaders today at the kickoff of the UN climate action summit.

The summit was convened in an effort to get nations to commit to more ambitious plans to curb greenhouse gases than they had agreed to in the Paris Climate Accords.  The are reports that many, possibly all of the world`s countries, are poised miss even those Paris emissions targets, sometimes by a wide margin.

But at least those countries have targets.  The one country, the one country on Earth that pulled out of Paris is our own, with our withdrawal effective in 2020.

And today, when the day started, it looked like Donald Trump wasn`t even going to bother to show up at the climate summit.  But in just a tiny nod to the fact that the politics of this issue are changing, even Trump, who advertises his own contempt for concerns about climate change, couldn`t quite get away with just not showing up.  No, he popped into the climate summit for 14 minutes before  leaving for an event focused on religious freedom.

Trump was unfortunately not present while Greta Thunberg was speaking, though the Guardian captured this video of a visibly unamused Thunberg watching Trump today as he approached the cameras in the UN lobby.

I`m joined now by the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under Barack Obama, Gina McCarthy, who is now professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.  Good to have you here.


HAYES:  If it were not this president and this administration at UN climate week, but it were another one, say, Barack Obama or a president who is committed to the basic facts about climate and Paris, what should the U.S. leadership role this week look like?

MCCARTHY:  Oh, lord.  We should be playing the leadership role.  It shouldn`t be a 14-minute  drop-in, it should have been we give the speech that drives the rest of the world to take action on the climate crisis.  It should be talking about what our cities and states are doing.  It should be talking about what the president of the United States is doing to lead the way.  It should talk about why we need to do it for jobs and economy, not just for the planet, but for the health of our communities and our citizens.  That`s what it would have been under Barack Obama.

HAYES:  There`s an argument that you see made now by Republicans increasingly who I think have come to realize that outright denialism is embarrassing and a political loser, to this more arrangement about futility, which is basically we`re 20 percent global emissions, and if we do anything, China and India are going to eat our lunch.  And in fact, this week they`re going to announce whether people are hitting their emissions targets under Paris and most countries, I think all countries, are not.  How do you respond to that cynic, to that argument that the rest of the world isn`t doing their part either.

MCCARTHY:  Would it surprise anyone to know that the United States, who is the second leading greenhouse gas emitter in the world, is out of the picture, to think that under countries may not be stepping up?

HAYES: So, you think there`s a relationship between the two?

MCCARTHY:  Oh, absolutely I do.  And I think that under President Obama we knew that we had to take strong domestic action to have the credibility we needed to lead the rest of the world to a global solution on climate change, which is what is necessary. 

And we took those steps.  We were able to go to Paris and we were able to actually lead the world to get a resolution that mattered, one that people would stand behind.  And if the countries of the world are taking a pass right now, it`s because the United States is absent from the discussion.  And we need to get it back, we need to get it back quickly.

HAYES:  You were the administrator of the EPA.  And I wonder both in your role there and in your career afterwards if you have relationships with other folks that have similar kinds of positions in other countries -- administer of the the environment or environmental administrators?  And how they view this?  And how they view their own domestic politics in dealing with it?

MCCARTHY:  Yeah.  Well, here`s the shortest answer I can give is when I talk to people, I always begin with a little bit of an apology for the United States right now, because we`re not at the table, never mind leading.  And then they always say, Gina, everybody has had an administration that they`re not particularly behind, and maybe not even proud of.  But don`t do it again. 

And that`s really their answer to me.  Once is OK, twice is a disaster.  And I think that`s pretty much the going theme, because we are losing time.  We have about 11 years to really make some serious effort on climate change.  And we have the students out there begging for us to take action.

My favorite sign was if the adults can`t do it, we will.  And that`s what they`re poking us at.  And we have to step up.  It`s time.

And this administration clearly isn`t going to do it this term and it`s not going to do it any future term.  So it`s up to the folks in the United States to decide who they want to stand behind.

HAYES:  One of the things this administration is doing is sort of actively rolling back regulations that reduce emissions.  They`re trying to get rid of methane emissions.  Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas, even though it stays in the atmosphere for a shorter duration than carbon.  They are also attempting to block the automakers from a voluntary pact with California for increased fuel efficiency.  They`re now -- they`re suing in court now and they`re even threatening to sick the Justice Department on them.  We  reported on this last week. 

How big a deal is this story as it continues to play out?

MCCARTHY:  Well, I think the California thing is a big deal if everybody wasn`t a little bit snickering at it.

HAYES:  Because you think it`s so preposterous.

MCCARTHY:  It`s ridiculous.  It`s absolutely preposterous. 

I mean, California has a right in the law to do what they`re doing.  And they`re doing it in a way that made four of the biggest car companies join them to protect themselves against this administration`s rollback.

And then the administration stood up and they proposed their rollback, and there wasn`t a single automaker standing with them.

Does this tell you anything?  You know, what it should tell you is the world knows we`re moving to cleaner cars.  I know that GM is responding to China, because they are the biggest driver of the auto industry right now.  I know where the world is heading.

HAYES:  So, you think GM is on...

MCCARTHY:  ...we`re not heading in the direction that this administration is trying to deny it.  It is absolutely contrary to reality.

HAYES:  So, GM and other U.S. automakers, when they model 20 years from now and they think of hundreds of millions of Chinese car owners, they don`t think those people are going to be driving fossil fuel combustible engines?

MCCARTHY:  No.  No.  They don`t.  And they know right now that they`ve already invested, and they have the supplies purchased for cleaner cars that are more fuel efficient just like the Obama  administration was requiring of them.  And they know that if that gets all rolled back, that their world is tossed up in a way that provides instability to them. 

They don`t want it.  So, as much as this president thinks that all those stuff was really bad for the industries involved, he`s not talking to the industries involved.  He`s just playing some kind of an I told you so game, everything you did was bad and we`re going to roll it back with total disregard for what it means for those industries, but more importantly, what it means for you and me and our kids and their future.

HAYES:  All right, former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, thank you so much for being with me.

MCCARTHY:  Great to be here, Chris.  Thanks.

HAYES:  Still to come, what Democrats risk if they don`t take action on an emboldened President Trump.

And tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, the cautionary tale for presidential candidates as things heat up on the primary trail.  There are so many things can go wrong at food related campaign events from the awful variety of deep fried things you have to eat to the dangers of being photographed with a corn dog, to the actual physical danger of flipping pancakes.


UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE:  Whoa!  Oh, no.  Candidate missing in action.  Yes!  And who said this wasn`t going to be an exciting event?


HAYES:  He`s fine.  Don`t worry, that was Republican candidate Gary Bower (ph) at a New Hampshire pancake breakfast ahead of the 2000 election, but he was not injured.

Most food-related campaign mishaps don`t actually end in physical injury, but a lot of them do result in some seriously hurt pride, which brings us to this weekend`s Polk County steak fry.  And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  The Democratic presidential candidates flocked to Iowa this weekend for the annual steak fry.  And the extra fun thing about the steak fry is that everyone makes a really grand entrance.  Joe Biden came in with a fire truck and a marching band, his supporters shouting "fired up.  Ready for Joe."

Cory Booker carried an Iowa state flag as he led in a crowd of his own chanting "we will rise."

Julian Castro brought along a mariachi band and showed off some moves.

A drill team with dancers and drummers led Kamala Harris and her supporters into the steak fry.  The senator couldn`t resist joining in the fun with them.

Amy Klobuchar also had a drum line joining her for her entrance and some interesting moves as well.

Now, Elizabeth Warren on the other hand, well, she was all business.  Here she is flipping steaks on the grill, which, of course, triggered the soy boys over at Breitbart because, oh, I thought Dems hate meat.  For the record, veggie burgers were available for the two vegan candidates, Cory Booker and Tulsi Gabbard.  But if you were looking for yams, I think Amy Klobuchar was your only hope.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D-MN) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  My middle name is only three letters.  It makes it really easy.  They can also make yam.  Yam.  Yeah, May, they can make May, and then they can make yam.  Yeah, we`re very versatile.  Yeah.



HAYES:  On Wednesday, President Donald Trump is going to meet with the new president of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky.  He`s a fascinating guy, a comic and satirist who actually played the fictional president of Ukraine on a TV show and then he ran for president, won, and became the actual president in May of this year.

As president of Ukraine, he has got a pretty tough job, because you`ll remember Russia took part of their country, Crimea, back in 2014.  They are still occupying parts of eastern Ukraine.  And the country is caught in a kind of tug of war on the front lines of a battle between Russia and the European Union, NATO allies and the U.S.

The Ukraine is in the midst of a post-revolutionary environment in which they`ve already gotten sucked American politics before.  And plus this previous Russian stooge leader of Ukraine was paying Donald Trump`s campaign chair Paul Manafort tons of money and also working over the American system.

So imagine how this looks from the Ukrainian side of things.  Here`s the new president of Ukraine, who it appears is basically being extorted by the U.S.  And Donald Trump has essentially tried to get the Ukrainian president to do a thing that would, in any other circumstance, be viewed as unacceptable, a demerit on the global stage, ginning up an investigation into a political rival.

The president`s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has also admitted he asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.  And while the United States is putting all this pressure on the Ukrainian president to do this corrupt thing for President Trump, what hangs in the balance is hundreds of millions of dollars for military aid which the Ukrainian need to keep Russians at bay, $250 million of which they expected, the rest an additional $140 million being a kind of cherry on top who is not really well explained.

On Wednesday, all this will be before our eyes.  President Trump will be meeting with the man that he apparently pressured in that abuse of power, which is why we can expect Trump with the Ukrainian president there to just say in front of the cameras, you should really investigate Joe Biden, kind of like he did in front of the cameras the last time around.


TRUMP:  Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.



HAYES:  When Robert Mueller testified before congress that his report did not exonerate the president, Trump claimed it did.  He even said it was, quote, a great day for me.  And the very next day in the midst of the perception that maybe he`d gotten away with it, Trump gets on the phone with Ukraine`s president and apparently repeatedly pressed him to investigate Joe Biden`s son.

The problem for Democrats is how you bind the behavior of this guy who seems utterly confident that he can get away with anything?  And if Trump is doing this kind of thing now, trying to uncover dirt or manufacture it on a political opponent with the election year more than a year away, what`s he going to be willing to do in September 2020?

I want to bring in Michelle Goldberg, columnist with The New York Times who has a new piece out today titled Nancy Pelosi`s failure to launch, former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, whose  book is called "The Case for Impeaching Trump;" and MSNBC political analyst David Jolly, former Republican congressman from Florida who has since left the party.

Michelle, this feels qualitatively different than things that came before.  Why?  What do you think?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEW YORK TIMES:  Well, I think because even people who have been very resistant to impeachment so far are starting to find Nancy Pelosi`s position untenable.

So until now, there`s been a couple different lines from people who want to avoid impeachment.  They`ve either said that we have to protect the front- line members, right, that this isn`t -- that making them do this will endanger them.  That changes when those front-line members themselves start coming out for impeachment. 

And then there`s been this argument that you`ll sometimes hear from Pelosi allies that this has to be bipartisan.  And I think that that has created such anger among the grassroots base that built the blue wave, right, that they put Pelosi in power and now she`s basically giving, you know, a criminal syndicate veto power over whether its boss gets indicted.

HAYES:  Although, it is the case, to speak to your experience, right, I mean, bipartisanship was a real obsession of the judiciary committee, it is a real concern, and it was a bipartisan vote coming out of the committee.  And the fact it was bipartisan coming out of the committee really did mean something.

ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, (D) FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN:  Yes.  But it didn`t start out being bipartisan.

HAYES:  Right.

HOLTZMAN:  Because there were no Republicans when we started who announced for impeachment.  Howard Baker wasn`t for impeachment or didn`t think Nixon was involved in the cover-up until the senate Watergate hearings took place.

The difference today was the Democrats, or some of the Democrats, is that they think that they can`t go forward until everything is done.  In other words, they have to have the end of the story before they get started.  They don`t believe in a process that will persuade the Democrats, that will persuade some Republicans, and that will persuade the American people.  But I believe that can be done, has to be done.

HAYES:  Is persuasion possible?  Honestly, I`m watching the reaction to this and I`m thinking to myself, like...


HAYES:  ...this seems so clear, and I`m watching people spin it away, people that I -- some people who think are rather smart, sophisticated folks.

JOLLY:  In part because Donald Trump has had basically license to completely control the narrative for the past four, five days, because we have not seen that moment where the Democratic leadership -- you know, I suggested today, hold a prime-time press conference and explain why this is an impeachable moment. 

But also let`s be honest, Democrats, you`re never going to convince Republicans to vote to impeach President Trump.  That`s not happening.  You have is to choose your course based on your own convictions.

HAYES:  I mean,  the other -- let me sort of argue on the other side of this, because I think it`s worth arguing it out.  And, you know, we heard Al Green and we heard other people say, look, this is not politics, it`s about principle.  And I respect that.  Even Congressman Castro said that.  But it also is about politics, because politics is everything.

GOLDMAN:  And not impeaching is also about politics.

HAYES:  Right.  But the idea that, like, if you interviewed those 40 front- line members, or if you interviewed the 13 Democrats who are in, if I`m not mistaken, McCain/Romney/Trump seats, OK, so those are real Republican seats.  They don`t want to vote on impeachment.  And I think it`s worth noting that maybe they`re correct about their own political fortunes, and that making them do so would tangibly, materially harm the chances of the Democrats retaining the House.

GOLDMAN:  Can I say -- first of all, some of them aren`t going to have to vote on impeachment, right?  I mean, Democrats can get to a majority without making all of those members take that vote.  Some of them have said that they want to vote for impeachment, because they have the same feeling, I thinks, about the ethical obligation of this moment in American history.

But I also think that the idea that this is necessarily -- I agree with you that they know their seats certainly better than a pundit bloviating on television, but the idea that things, political dynamics change.

HAYES:  Change, right.

GOLDMAN:  Right?  And the idea that months and months of televised hearings into the comprehensive corruption of this extraordinarily hated president is going to somehow help him...

HAYES:  Yeah.

GOLDMAN:  ...right, you don`t need to persuade the entire country.  The people that you need to persuade are the people who disapprove of Donald Trump but are not yet convinced that impeachment is the right course.

HOLTZMAN:  I agree, you don`t have to persuade all the people, you just have to persuade a majority of the people, and that cane be done.

And by the way, there are also people who are willing to take risks for principle.

JOLLY:  That`s right.

HOLTZMAN:  I know Congressman Jolly says we`re not going to be able to persuade any Republicans.  I don`t know that -- it may not be zero, so it maybe it`s 5 or 20, whatever.   But the point is we had southern Democrats that we had to persuade on the House Judiciary Committee.  You had Wallace, Governor Wallace`s campaign manager voted for impeachment.  That was an act of courage.  He didn`t know what was going to happen in his district.  Congressman Mann from South Carolina, he had no idea what was going to happen.

So between a good case, a solid case, and there is a case to be made now, there`s no question  about that, and a good presentation, and trying to persuade Republicans -- and some of them were persuaded by the facts, some by the fairness of the process and some by the people in their districts who, themselves, were persuaded...

HAYES:  That`s also part of the dynamic.

HOLTZMAN:  So, it`s not just Fox News, it`s not just the Republican Party, it`s going to be a whole process.

JOLLY:  Chris, you had Democrats lose their seats over voting for the Clinton tax bill because they thought it was the right thing to do.  When the House passed Obamacare, it was polling at 40 percent.

HAYES:  Yeah, and people walked the line for it.

JOLLY:  People believed it was the right thing to it and they lost the House over the right thing to do. 

This is the moment the founders feared, this is the moment the founders feared, where a president crosses an impeachable moment, the Secretary of State admits this weekend that the State Department enabled the president`s lawyer to do so.  The director of the budget office froze the funding in the midst of this and the attorney general of the United States is coordinating a cover-up of all of that.

This is why the House was given the tool not to punish, but to charge.

HAYES:  Right.

JOLLY:  The question is, should the House charge?  And for those who say, well, the Senate won`t convict, would you rather live in a world in which nobody tries to hold this president accountable, or at least the House does?

HAYES:  Well, and the final point I would make here is to sort of go back to arguing the other side is the idea of the politics of 2020 are separate from the president`s actions is a little bit blown up by this, because if he can do this and go around the world -- I mean, he`s going to call up Mohammad bin Salman and be like, hey, what do the Saudis have for me?  Who can you hack?  I mean, honestly, what to stop him...

GOLDMAN:  The argument against impeachment has essentially been, no, the only way you remove him is in 2020.  And that`s true.  But you might need impeachment to at least curtail his cheating in 2020.

HAYES:  That`s right -- right.  Because if he feels he can get away with whatever he wants to do, he`s going to keep doing it and that`s going to effect how the election goes.

Michelle Goldberg, Elizabeth Holtzman, and David Jolly, thank you all for joining us.

That does it for us here on ALL IN this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.