CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Like any mafia boss, the President didn`t need to say that`s a nice country you have, it`d be a shame if something happened to it.
HAYES: It`s even worse than you thought.
SCHIFF: What those notes reflect is a classic mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader.
HAYES: The damning evidence against President Trump as he shook down the new Ukrainian president for dirt on a political opponent.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Impeachment for that?
HAYES: Tonight, the latest on the impeachment investigation and just who supports it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump.
HAYES: Then, the rest of the President`s men.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): William Barr has to recuse himself. He has clear exposure here.
HAYES: What exactly did the attorney general know? Plus --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you read the transcript?
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: Let`s say it was read to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was read to you, the whole thing?
GIULIANI: I hope.
HAYES: What was the deal with Rudy Giuliani?
TRUMP: You`d have to ask Rudy.
HAYES: And just who else was involved?
TRUMP: I think you should ask for VP Pence`s conversation because he had a couple of conversations also.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We still do not know everything. But what we know is much worse than we thought. Last night I stood here and told you the White House is set to release these notes of Trump`s phone call with the Ukrainian president. And everyone thought including myself, well, if they`re going to release it, it can`t be that bad.
And then we saw the notes today, and my God, it is flagrantly corrupt. The notes reveal an open and obvious abuse of the totality of the United States foreign policy to extort a political investigation of Trump`s political rival. It is exactly what we thought it was but to see it so explicitly spelled out is shocking.
And don`t take my word for it. One Senate Republican said the transcripts release was a huge mistake that the GOP now has to confront. Republican Strategist Mike Murphy told Andrea Mitchell earlier today "One Republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican voters -- senators would vote to impeach Trump."
Here`s how House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff described it earlier today.
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SCHIFF: What those notes reflect is a classic mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader. This is how a mafia boss talks. What have you done for us? We`ve done so much for you but there`s not much reciprocity. I have a favor I want to ask you. And what does that favor? Of course, the favor is to investigate his political rival.
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HAYES: Keep in mind that this what we saw today, the notes from this phone call, it`s what the White House is letting us see. And this is only day two of official impeachment proceedings and what they are letting us see in the estimation of many flatly confirms the impeachable facts that we basically already had.
The President personally ordered a halt to $400 million in military aid to Ukraine passed by the way of both Houses of Congress, official U.S. policy between the two branches. He dispatched his personal attorney, not a U.S. government official, using the U.S. government and the State Department to set up a variety of meetings with Ukrainian officials to pressure them, to start an investigation into his political rival. And then Trump called the Ukrainian president to personally pressure him to investigate his political rival.
In a sort of almost darkly comical twist, the Republicans prior to the release of these notes had set up a threshold of quid pro quo, and when the notes came out they said, a lot of them, oh there`s no quid pro quo. But there is a very obvious implied quid pro quo.
Here`s how it happened. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense, right, the US defense assistance. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. Specifically, we are almost ready to buy more javelins from the United States for defense purposes.
Javelin, a weapon the U.S. is selling Ukraine, right? We`re ready. Lay it on us. We`re ready to do it. He explicitly references the U.S. military support for Ukraine to purchase American weapons to fend off the Russians that are currently occupying their country.
And the very next thing Trump says is, I would like you to do as a favor though, though, though. What`s the though doing there? I would like you to do us a favor though. And then the President proceeds to ask two things. He makes his asks. One, it`s almost too ridiculous to fully get your head around but essentially Trump wants the Ukrainian president to pursue an insane and discredited conspiracy theory that basically the DNC was not hacked by the Russians. No, no, rather the security firm the DNC hired to do their forensics called Crowdstrike was actually framing the Russians on behalf of some nefarious Ukrainian interests.
Now, just be clear, this is nutbar, Infowars, Pizza gate, 9/11 truth level stuff, OK. Trump is asking the Ukrainian president to pursue this all in a phone call, the head of state. That`s the first ask. And then the big ask, the one we knew about, investigate my political rival.
The other thing. There`s a lot of talk about Biden`s son that Biden stop the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the Attorney General, meaning William Barr would be great.
Biden went around bragging he stopped the prosecution. So if you look into it, it sounds horrible to me. Now, just to be clear, that`s a mischaracterization of what Biden did. The prosecution he did not stop. He got a widely viewed prosecutor removed from office.
And then Trump goes on to implicate his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and the Attorney General and Department of Justice in this, widening the circle of people implicated and involved. And all of this comes in the midst of an emerging picture in which the totality of American foreign policy our government that represents us and our interests and the State Department are being used for this purpose.
Everything in these notes amounts to a wild abuse of power, an egregious abuse of power, an abuse of power that makes it impossible to trust the man to conduct American foreign policy or frankly any policy. But it wasn`t just one call.
The Washington Post reports this call was part of a broad set of efforts by the president, Giuliani his personal lawyer, and a willing State Department apparently to essentially run a parallel American foreign policy with Ukraine focused exclusively on investigating Trump`s political rivals. Much to the horror, we should note, of many people who are in the government watching it take place including the whistleblower who launched this whole investigation.
Now, just a few hours ago, members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were allowed to view the whistleblower complaint. And the people who`ve seen it are freaking out.
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SCHIFF: I found the allegations deeply disturbing. I also found them very credible.
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): I will tell people that it`s deeply disturbing. It reinforces the concerns that what previously learned --
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): The complaint itself is a five-alarm concern for me.
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HAYES: Tomorrow morning, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire who has been sort of caught in the middle of all this, he`s expected to appear in an open session in front of the House Intel Committee fresh on the heels of the new blockbuster story that he threatened to resign unless he was allowed to testify freely. He has denied it as is the White House.
That`s where we are right now. Again, we don`t have the full picture. This is day two there`s still a lot to learn. Joining me now Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a member of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate.
Senator, first your reaction to what you read in the memo of that phone call between the President and President Zelensky.
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): You`ve laid it out really well, Chris. I don`t see how any reasonable person reading these and those could portray this as some sort of an innocent conversation. When you have the President of Ukraine saying to Trump I`m going to need to buy some missiles to defend ourselves, the president says I need to ask for some you know, some help here though. I need some help here though.
You framed it better. You did it exactly. So yes, where did that though comes come from. And then I know that the President I mentioned his two legal henchman Attorney General Barr who`s supposed to be the attorney for the country but apparently he views himself as the attorney for the President, and his other legal henchman Rudy Giuliani at least three or four times in this relatively short conversation he`s having with the president of the Ukraine.
HAYES: You mentioned Attorney General William Barr. Barr`s office the Department of Justice put out a statement today saying in effect that Barr was not instructed to investigate Biden. He says, Kerri Kupec say -- the spokesperson says, Attorney General Bill Barr never spoke to Trump or Giuliani about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son. First, do you believe that?
HIRONO: It`s a little hard to believe this because I know that when Attorney General Barr came before the Judiciary Committee back in May, and Kamala Harris asked him has the President or anybody from the administration asked you to investigate anyone, he didn`t answer and then he had the -- he said I`m having trouble with the word suggest because she said, did anyone suggest -- from the administrator suggest you investigate anybody.
So I don`t know what word he`s using but he responds in that way and he never responded to the question. This is back in May. This conversation where the president is throwing around Barr`s name, as well as that of Giuliani, happens since July.
HAYES: I want to play something else the president said today which caught my ear. And we know that the relationships, the bilateral relationship with Ukraine was obviously not just run for the president. The Vice President was actually there recently and met with Zelensky. And the President referenced that today, the Vice President`s conversations with Zelensky. Take a listen to what he said.
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TRUMP: I think you should ask for V.P. Pence`s conversation because he had a couple of conversations also. I could save you a lot of time. They were all perfect. Nothing was mentioned of any import other than congratulations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do you think we should take up the President`s suggestion and see the memorandum memorializing the Vice President`s conversations?
HIRONO: I think that would be enlightening also.
HAYES: Do you --
HAYES: Do you expect -- you`re not -- you`re not part of the gang of eight and you`re not on an Intelligence Committee. Do you --
HIRONO: I used to be.
HAYES: Yes, I know you used to be. So I wanted to ask you like do you anticipate -- I`ve seen a bunch of people coming out having read it saying this is troubling, this is deeply troubling, this is really bad. Do you anticipate that whistleblower complaint will be made public at some point?
HIRONO: I would hope so because we`re talking about a president abusing his power and more. And I think the American public needs to know the extent to which this president has gone to use his power against a much weaker country, by the way, to get what he wants from the political side -- on the political side.
And that is not a president who`s talking about national security issues or anything like that, he`s talking about protecting himself or as we say in Hawaii protecting his okole. That`s what the President is talking about right now, political information on his opponents.
HAYES: All right, Senator Mazie Hirono of the Senate Judiciary Committee, thank you so much for joining me.
HIRONO: Thank you.
HAYES: I`m joined now by Congressman Maxine Waters of California, Chair of the Financial Services Committee, one of the six committees that is now formally working on that impeachment inquiry announced yesterday by the Speaker of the House.
Let`s start here, congresswoman. What is different now? You have been on the show a number of times over the past two years talking about this president. You obviously have been very out front on an impeachment before this set of facts came to light. But what`s different to your mind today than yesterday or the day before?
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Well, obviously the difference is the Speaker of the House of Representatives is now on board for a formalized impeachment inquiry and she has her caucus support in doing so. That`s extremely different.
You`re absolutely right I started a long time ago right after the president was inaugurated talking about impeachment and saying that he was dishonorable, he was a con man, we could not trust him. And of course, I was way ahead of all of this and nobody really took me seriously.
But I also knew that this president is so brazen and so disrespectful of the Constitution that he was going to continue to abuse the presidential power. And so he`s done just that. And now I think in everything that we have discovered in the past, it does not even measure up to what we have just discovered over the past few days about him and his attempt to leverage and get the president of Ukraine to do his bidding and find dirt on his political opponent, and so all of this is different.
HAYES: There was some reporting today -- Kyle Cheney who`s a reporter for Politico said that Democrats increasingly agree they should expedite impeachment efforts by focusing exclusively on Trump and Ukraine which some say could bring articles to the floor before the end of the year.
As someone who is investigating a parallel set of facts, is held up in the courts right now over document production by the President`s financial firms, do you agree with that?
WATERS: Well, basically the chairs of the six committees are going to get together and go over all of the investigations that we have been involved in, and take in you know, advice and comments from others and come up with what we think should be the items for impeachment.
Whether that`s one or several, that certainly has not been decided yet, but we will be working. And we will try and expedite this and work as swiftly as we possibly can to come to what you go into an impeachment resolution.
HAYES: Another question. There has been some suggestion in certain quarters -- I think Jerry Nadler came out and said this, that because of the Constitution specifying the impeachment power, that it would give you and your colleagues some legal force to be seeking document production and subpoenas under that impeachment power. Do you have intention of going back and refilling in some of these cases in which you`re locked in the courts under this new official and formal inquiry?
WATERS: Not necessarily. You know, we have been requesting documents from Deutsche Bank and other banks and other entities of government etcetera, etcetera. And this is slow and tedious work and we will continue with our investigations in the way that we started out. But I do not anticipate refilling of subpoena requests and documents etcetera, etcetera. We`re going to continue with the investigations in the way that we began.
HAYES: Finally, it appears that the number of members of the House Democratic caucus plus Justin Amash who have come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry at the very least is now either at or near the 218 needed for passage on the House. Is that significant to you?
WATERS: That is absolutely significant. We had a number of members who you know, believed that perhaps we should not get involved in impeachment, that it would interfere with the elections and we would be better served if we basically went after this president in the elections, that we had enough information but not impeachment, that it was too complicated, that it was a very, very serious.
And many said we don`t believe the Senate will basically support it and he will be exonerated and we don`t want that. So there was a lot of speculation, a lot of uncertainty, and I see that that has diminished significantly, and that we have now more than a majority in the Democratic caucus who favor this formalized impeachment inquiry.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thank you so much.
WATERS: You`re so welcome. Thank you.
HAYES: For more on the legal implications on all this, I`m joined by Cass Sunstein Harvard Law Professor, author of Impeachment: A Citizen`s Guide, and Jill Wine-Banks former Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor and MSNBC Legal Analyst and Jill let me start with you as someone who was on that Watergate team.
A lot of parallels, right, to the production of the infamous Nixon tapes, the fact that they first -- they wanted to release the transcript to someone else, eventually got shaken out of them. How are you viewing the somewhat remarkable disclosures that we`ve seen shaken loose from this White House in the last 24 hour?
JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I`m working on a book now and I`ve recently been paying a lot of attention to exact comments by Richard Nixon. And when he released what became the smoking gun tape, he said it`s really not so bad which sounds exactly like what Donald Trump is saying.
This was a beautiful conversation, a perfect conversation. It isn`t. This conversation is a smoking gun. It clearly links him to asking for something that is illegal to ask for that is the help of a foreign government for his campaign.
So that`s one of the things that is very significant today. Anybody who reads that cannot help but conclude that he has done something that endangers our national security, endangers the security of an ally of ours against his very favorite person, against Russia.
HAYES: You mentioned that the possible illegality of what`s asked for here, and Cass, there`s reporting tonight by the Washington Post about actually there being a criminal referral about the possibility of some kind of criminal conduct here that the DOJ ultimately decided was not criminal.
But I`ve been thinking a lot about a conversation we had about a month ago but on impeachment. When you made the case that look, some crimes aren`t impeachable and some things that are impeachable aren`t crimes. How do you think about what`s represented in this conversation more broadly the story we`re learning in that framework?
CASS SUNSTEIN, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW: Well, it`s clear that the impeachable offenses don`t be -- aren`t limited to criminal activity. Its abuses of the public trust as Alexander Hamilton put it. So an egregious misuse or abuse of presidential authority would be an impeachable offense even if it`s not criminal.
If the President suppressed civil liberties or decided to go on vacation for eight months or enlisted foreign help in deterring his reelection, all of those would be egregious betrayals of public trust. Whether or not they`re crimes they would be impeachable offenses.
HAYES: There`s also here, Jill -- and this is also something I think the echoes Watergate is, so much of the president`s misconduct has been out in the open. Russia, if you`re listening, etcetera. Here he got caught doing something in secret and it seems there`s still more things to learn which seems to be part of what is making this different perhaps than previous things we`ve seen with this president. What do you think of that?
WINE-BANKS: Well, I have pages of questions and witnesses that I would like to find out about that could really fill in the context of this particular violation which is egregious. But there is also everything else that he`s done and while I urge that we focus now on something because nothing has stuck to him because there`s so many differences, every day he does something different that`s bad, and so nothing sticks. So you do need to focus.
WINE-BANKS: But on the other hand, in Watergate, there was a context to all this. And we have a pattern of misbehavior here by President Trump as we did with Richard Nixon. It wasn`t just the break-in and the cover-up, it was many other things as well. It was campaign violations, it was contempt of Congress, it was abuse of power. We have all of those things here.
And so there may need to be at least three pots of evidence that get looked at and reviewed not just this one. But this one is big. It seems to have caught the public attention because they can understand and because it affects the upcoming election. We`re not looking to back anymore. We`re looking toward is this election safe or is the president going to use foreign powers to help him win.
HAYES: Of course, the next piece of information that will I think come out is the whistleblower complaint. I just want to read Elise Stefanik who`s a freshman Rep from New York, a Republican, who saw it and said, I do not support impeachment for the President Trump. She goes on to say, I`ve just read the whistleblower complaint made available. I believe strongly in transparency. It should be immediately declassified and made public for the American people to read. And that`s that.
Cass, one thing that struck me about this exchange, and you work in the Obama administration and your wife worked as a U.N. Ambassador and you`ve been on sort of the inside of how policy gets made. There is not a single discussion of U.S. policy in this phone call, nothing.
There`s nothing about the national interest. There`s nothing about U.S. policy. This is like Donald Trump real estate mogul trying to make some kind of deal to benefit himself.
SUNSTEIN: Well, I`d want to be a little careful. You`re right, but I want to be a little careful here. So misbehavior on the part of the president or future threats are not impeachable. It`s very important to go behind a veil of ignorance and think, if I love this guy would I think this is impeachable.
For the president to have a conversation with a foreign leader that doesn`t deal with foreign policy but basically congratulations, that`s completely fine. If there -- if there are things that are look kind of untoward or inappropriate, that`s also fine in the sense that it doesn`t amount to a high crime or misdemeanor.
So the gravity of what we`re now involved in and the majesty really of it which goes back to the American founding, even the Revolution itself, I think warrants to focus on what is specifically the concern here and to focus on one thing alone is really a good idea, that is engagement with a foreign leader to get investigation of a political opponent.
That is doubly harmful from the constitutional point of view. First, it`s interference with our capacity for self-government, and second, it`s an interference with the liberty of an American citizen that is former Vice President Biden and his son.
And so those are -- those are two problems and they`re extremely specific problems. It`s not about patterns of misbehavior, it`s not about you know climate change or it`s disliking 90 percent of what the President Trump believes in. Those are part of legitimate democratic processes. We have two specific things which are warranting an impeachment inquiry.
HAYES: That`s really succinctly and well said. Cass Sunstein, thank you very much. Jill Wine-Banks, thanks to you as well. Still ahead, who else is implicated in this scandal? What is the next step for Democrats? How our Republicans responding? We`ll start there in two minutes.
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SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I think it`s very natural for people to look at circumstances and see them in the light that`s most amenable to their maintaining power and doing things to preserve their power.
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HAYES: So far, Mitt Romney is the only Republican senator who seems to be taking the devastating facts revealed seriously. There`s also those like Lindsey Graham spinning furiously on the President`s behalf. But there has been a lot of silence and everything politically seems really balanced on a nice edge.
For more on how this looks in the U.S. Senate, I`m joined now by Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat who was just reelected in Montana State that the president carried by a 20-point margin. Senator, your reaction of what we`ve learned today.
SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): Well, it`s disturbing. I mean, I think that anytime you have a president that requests a foreign government to do research into one of his political adversaries is wrong on all sorts of front. So I`ll just say very, very disturbing.
I`m not on Intel or Armed Services or foreign affairs so I don`t get a lot of the documents, but I hope to be able to get all the documents, the whistleblower complaint in the I.G. We`ve got the transcript of the conversation. I think that conversation was very disturbing.
HAYES: So you think the whistleblower complaint should be made more publicly available so that you and others can read it.
TESTER: Absolutely. I`m a big believer in transparency and I think we need to get the information so that we can based off the facts, make the good decisions for the country.
HAYES: How are you and your Senate colleagues viewing this last 48 hours? Obviously, the House has been taken up with this. There`s been debates, there`s been discussion what their strategy is and lots of internal debates about impeachment. I`m curious what it looks like on your side.
TESTER: Yes, well look, I haven`t had any in-depth conversation with anybody in my caucus about this. Mostly it`s just passing a line or two. But I can tell you what my belief is. My belief is that now that the Speaker has decided to impeach, they need to make sure it is very, very focused. They need to get to the bottom of the information as promptly as they can, and they need to move.
Look, we`re dealing with the president who is the king of pivoting out of situations. And we saw it in some of the stuff he did today trying to bring in Vice President Pence, take a look at him, don`t take a look at me. He does this stuff all the time. And so I think the folks who are getting to the facts need to have a laser focus, get the information, they need to be very transparent about the process, and let the chips fall where they may.
It appears to me there`s some huge problems out there, but by the same token I don`t have all the facts yet.
HAYES: A lot of people I think because of what you just mentioned, the president`s ability to kind of pivot out of things and wriggle away from things that seem quite damning have this sign of resigned resignation that nothing matters, no set of facts matter. You have constituents in a state that has supported the president, voted for the president by pretty large numbers, you just won reelection.
From your perspective, in talking to the Montanans that you represent, do the facts matter? Like does the actual nature of the case fundamentally matter to what you can go and tell your constituents?
TESTER: Look, I think -- I think his applies to any state in the Union. If folks perceive this is being done for politics, I don`t know that you can win. If they`re doing it for the best interest of the country to keep our democracy strong and keep us the leader in the world, and if people are doing shifty things especially the President of the United States, they need to be held accountable.
I think Montanans would accept that. And so it`s all how its presented. And that`s why I believe it needs to be a very narrow investigation, laser- focused, and done as prompt as you can. If it drags on and on and on like the Mueller report dragged on and on and on -- and there are going to be people out there, by the way, that are on President Trump`s side that are going to want to drag this out forever.
I think that it`s very important that you get to the facts, be transparent in the process, and make the decision whichever way it goes.
HAYES: So just to follow up on that and then I`ll let you go, but in this debate that I think is happening a little bit in the House, and I talked to Congressman Maxine Waters earlier about it about do you produce an article impeachment on this very concrete incident where we have a whistleblower report, where the transcript, we have the notes, there`s other evidence, or whether you sort of talk about broader things. You`re clearly in that former camp.
TESTER: Yes. Look, I`m not a lawyer and I`m not a constitutional scholar, but I think --
HAYES: Well, you`re a U.S. Senator. You got a say.
TESTER: Yes. That`s exactly right. But the truth is -- and we will have a say in the Senate, by the way. We`ll all be jurors at some point in time depending on what happens in the House, of course. But I think that if you look at the facts and then -- and I got to tell you right up to now, it really hasn`t passed the smell test and so we just need to get all the facts.
HAYES: All right, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, thank you very much.
TESTER: You bet.
HAYES: Coming up, the central role of Rudy Giuliani in this scandal. We`ll break down what is going on with the president`s bagman right after this.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you know the libel law.
GIULIANI: Shut up, moron. Shut up. Shut up, you don`t know what you`re talking about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris. Chris. Chris.
GIULIANI: You don`t know what you`re talking about, idiot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Next to the president, the chief character in this rapidly metastasizing scandal is of course Trump`s personal lawyer, that man there, Rudy Giuliani. And helpfully, just like a Bond villain, or Shakespeare`s Iago, Giuliani came on stage back in May and explicitly told the audience what his villainous plot was, that he was going to use his proximity to the president to work over and pressure Ukraine to open up an investigation to Joe Biden`s family, part of which he was doing while Trump was withholding aid from Ukraine.
Giuliani literally told The Times that he was planning a Ukraine trip to push for inquiries that could help Trump and that, quote, "we`re meddling in an investigation." His words.
And meddle he did. Giuliani has been working for months to push the Ukrainians to dig up dirt on Biden. On that July phone call in which Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to do his bidding, the Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelenskiy assured Trump, quote, "I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke to Mr. Giuliani just recently, and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine."
The meddling by Giuliani, who remember is not a public official in any way, reportedly greatly alarmed national security officials who told The Washington Post that Giuliani had pursued a shadow Ukraine agenda while they were pushed to the sidelines.
I`m joined now by one of the authors of that report, Washington Post National Security Correspondent Greg Miller.
Greg, it`s great reporting. And the big take away I had was there were people inside the U.S. government watching this happen who were alarmed by Giuliani`s role and the ways Ukraine policy were veering more broadly. What can you tell us?
GREG MILLER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, and that alarm grew and expanded and intensified over time. I mean, it starts with some of what you just showed in those clips. Giuliani declaring that he`s on his way to Ukraine and, you know, U.S. officials` ears perk up. Why? What is he going to do there? We don`t know anything about this. On what authority?
And then, you know, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is suddenly and abruptly removed from that job as part of a sort of right-wing campaign against her that included Giuliani.
And so that tension and that concern what he`s doing builds and builds until it culminates in this July25 call.
HAYES: So, what is your understanding of the relationship between the officials who actually run Ukraine policy -- like the people at state -- like there`s a whole bunch of civil servants who deal with this, and Giuliani. Did they have -- were they know what was happening?
MILLER: No. These were parallel and completely unconnected universes here, and that was a huge issue and a huge source of anxiety for people in the White House. They were not privy to what Giuliani was doing. As one person told me in a story, we were learning about it like everybody else by assembling bits and pieces from watching television news. So I mean, they were completely in the dark about it, and they were -- but yet they were trying to contend with aspects of it. There were officials at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine who were being asked by Ukrainian officials what are we supposed to make of Rudy Giuliani? Is he an official representative of you guys are not? Who do we deal with in this government?
HAYES: Giuliani, I want to play you what his claim is, that this was all set up by the State Department. He was just doing at the State Department`s behest. I want you to take a listen and tell us what your reporting indicates. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAM: Insiders saying you muck this up, your response.
GIULIANI: Man, I really did. And you know who I did it at the request of? The State Department. I never talked to a Ukrainian official until the State Department called me and asked me to do it, and then I reported every conversation back to them. And Laura, I`m a pretty good lawyer, just a country lawyer. But it`s all here, right here. The first call from the State Department.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do we know if that`s true?
MILLER: So I would say two things about that. One is we`re still early in this investigation and we don`t know everything about that. We don`t know the extent to which Giuliani was coordinating with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, although some of the reporting we`ve done at The Post suggests that was an exaggeration if not worse by Giuliani.
The other is, I mean, I suppose investigators will find it helpful that he insists that he has the receipts for this and he holds up his phone like that, I`m sure they`re going to want to see that phone and see what`s on those calls and those records, because he`s functioning as a freelance person here. He`s not a U.S. official. He`s not, I don`t think, entitled to client-attorney privilege in this case, which was true when he was representing trump in relationship to the Mueller investigation.
So I imagine that that will be of intense interest to investigators on Capitol Hill.
HAYES: All right, Greg Miller, thank you so much for making time tonight.
We`ve got new reporting tonight from The New York Times about the whistle- blower concerns and just who the in White House knew about the call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. One of those reporters, Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Schmidt joins me now by phone with more.
Michael, what have you learned?
MICHAEL SCHMIDT, NEW YORK TIMES: We`ve learned that the whistle-blower had identified several White House officials who the whistle-blower believed could cooperate his account. After the inspector-general learned about this, some of the -- there were interviews that were conducted to determine the voracity of the complaint. These interviews, obviously as we saw, the inspector-general found the complaint to be worthy enough to be referred.
But as we know, that did not happen.
HAYES: One of the things you say in this -- in this report just published was that there were concerns the whistle-blower had with the actual handling of the records about the phone call. What`s that?
SCHMIDT: So what happened was that when a -- when the president speaks with a foreign leader it`s traditionally documented a certain way and memorialized. But the handling of this call was different. And that raised alarms within the White House and among some of these officials.
Why was it that it was being handled differently? What was said on it or what had happened that meant that it could not be so widely circulated as it usually is?
Now, you have to remember when these documents are circulated it`s not like they`re circulated out in the open, they`re circulated as secret White House documents on a classified system. But even that apparently was not good enough for whatever had happened on this call and it was handled differently and not as widely distributed.
HAYES: I see. So the whistle-blower and/or others within the intelligence or national security apparatus noticed that the process that`s normal for the president`s calls is different for this specific call with Zelesnkiy and that makes them worried and curious.
HAYES: Finally, there`s concern I think in the -- you have a memo I think of how the Department of Justice or -- I`m sorry -- how the inspector- general for the DNI thought about this. And one of the concerns is that there is a possible criminal infraction relating to the solicitation, unlawful of foreign campaign contribution. Does that -- is that in the context of the idea that the investigation into Biden itself would be an essentially unlawful thing of value?
SCHMIDT: Well, we`re not sure about the rationalization here, but basically what happened is that this complaint goes over to the Justice Department. The Justice Department has to make a decision about whether to open an investigation. And what they sort of lay out today is they did want think it warranted that. They didn`t think it had reached that bar. And they decided not to do that, not to move forward with it.
But what still happened was the complaint was not transmitted to congress. It sort of remained within the administration, and they sort of held back on it. And obviously that now has created to them disclosing it because the perception of them holding onto it was so damning.
HAYES: All right, Michael Schmidt, thank you so much for joining us on short notice. I appreciate it.
Much more on just more on who else could be implicated in the White House and the administration next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I told that to Mick Mulvaney. I told it to a lot of people. I told that to Mike. It told it to two Mikes. I told it to Steve. I keep asking the same -- I said it to Wilbur Ross.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s not just Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani who are implicated in the Ukraine scandal as the president seems intent on reminding us, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Attorney General William Barr, the White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, the acting DNI, the U.S. ambassador to the EU, and Vice President Mike Pence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The word is that they`re going to ask for the first phone conversation. You can have it any time you need it. And also Mike Pence`s conversations, which were I think one or two of them, they were perfect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Here to talk about the scope of this scandal, Erin Banco, the national security reporter for The Daily Beast who has a story about how the U.S. ambassador to the EU got pulled into it; and four-time Ambassador Christopher Hill, an MSNBC diplomacy expert, author of "Outpost: Life on the Front Lines of American Diplomacy."
Erin, let me start with you. Your stories if fascinating. What did you discover about the American ambassador to the EU`s role in this?
ERIN BANCO, THE DAILY BEST: So what we know is that at some point in mid- July to late July Rudy Giuliani has a couple of conversations with the State Department, with Kurt Volker, who is the special representative for Ukraine. And Rudy Giuliani tells us that at some point after he makes that initial contact he brings in -- Kurt Volker, brings in the EU ambassador, Ambassador Sondland. And he says -- you know, jumps on the conference call with Volker and they discuss everything having to do with Ukraine, everything that basically Rudy`s up to in Ukraine.
And we do know from some of the bit of reporting we did over the weekend is that at least two senior officials inside the State Department were read out based on those conversation. They were sort of read in on the conversations and talked to Volker and the UN ambassador about what Mr. Giuliani had said during those conference calls.
Now, the EU ambassador sort of had a bit of a low profile when it came to Ukraine up until the last five months or so. He`s been outspoken on things like the Nordstrom 2 (ph) pipeline and the sanctions that may or may not come with that, but he starts to team up with Volker some time at the end of July, and starts having conversations with Mr. Giuliani about the work that he`s up to in Ukraine.
HAYES: So, you`ve got two American officials, Kurt Volker in the State Department, and the EU ambassador. These are American officials. They`re there to represent the American interests, here to represent the American interests, teaming up with the president`s personal lawyer who`s on a single-minded mission, as he himself has said, to meddle in the investigation. Is that appropriate?
CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER AMBASSADOR: I don`t think it`s appropriate, but it`s also something you`d just want to stay a million miles away. I mean...
HAYES: You`re saying if you`re Volker.
HILL: Yeah, I mean, look, Volker`s interest should be to get these supply of arms moving. Presumably he`s been concerned about the fact that there`s been this hiccup, to put it mildly, and so tries to perhaps find out what`s going on, but in the meantime, according to this extraordinary report in The Daily Beast, he`s talking about Biden, which is just way out of bounds.
HAYES: And this is also -- these are not just -- these are U.S. officials.
HILL: Look, ever since Ukraine got independence, this has been one huge headache, you know, with...
HAYES: You sound like you`re sorry they got independence.
HILL: No, I won`t go that far. But I will say -- you know, without Ukraine, Russia is just Russia. With Ukraine, Russia is back to being the Soviet Union. So we`re talking big-time stuff. And in big-time stuff, you try to get Democrats involved, you try to make it bipartisan. And to see this kind of stuff go on, I mean there should have been huge red flags.
HAYES: You`re a career diplomat. You`ve served in all kinds of different roles. And I want to put your -- first, I want to ask this, have you ever seen a conversation like this between the president and a head of state?
HILL: No, never have.
HAYES: And you`ve read these kind of memos before.
HILL: Yes, I have. You know, sometimes they can be more candid than you think, but never with that kind of stuff, including criticizing the U.S. ambassador.
You know, the one thing you kind of hope for the president is to stickup for his own people. You know, that was just extraordinary reading that stuff.
HAYES: This is -- the president says this, he says the former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news. And the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news. So I just want to let you know that.
And then Zelenskiy says, it was great you were the first one who told me she was a bad ambassador, because I agree with you 100 percent.
By the way I think that`s a reference to their first conversation.
HAYES: Because he`s saying you`re the first one. Her attitude towards me was far from the best. She admired the previous president.
I mean, what is that?
HILL: Often a long shot candidate, in this case a professional comedian, might not be someone that the embassy really is sort of sure that this...
HILL: ...is the right. But, you know, if you`re an embassy you try to say, no, we`re not taking sides here.
So he may have sensed that the embassy somehow wasn`t on his side, whatever. For the president to kind of agree with him and suggest this is a big problem -- and then for the secretary of state to have her pulled early, and that was certainly the perception -- they tried to say, well, she was due to leave soon anyway. But that -- you know, again, this goes back to professionalism, this goes back to what kind of State Department do you want? And that is what a lot of us are worried about.
HAYES: Erin, what do we know about who at State -- the circle of people at State that actually did anything to further Giuliani`s mission?
BANCO: So I should note that we spoke to Giuliani earlier today. And we pressed him on some of these questions.
You know, in our conversation, which lasted about 15 or 20 minutes, he said that representatives from the State Department, including Volker and Mr. Sondland, had suggested to him to continue talking to the Ukrainians.
Now, Giuliani would not tell us exactly what was relayed from the State Department to him in some of these conference calls. We pressed him again, he said I won`t tell you what they said. We asked him if Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knew what he was up to in Ukraine, to which he says, you know, I don`t know for sure, but I can only imagine that he did know.
HAYES: That`s interesting.
BANCO: Yeah. And he continued to sort of lay out to us that the State Department, including Volker and Sondland, had spoken to him what else could be done in Ukraine in the future, whether it was relations with Ukraine or work with Biden. And he would not answer very specific questions about exactly what was relayed in some of those conversations today.
HAYES: Well, there is a huge trail here for investigators. I mean we know from The New York Times that actually the IG, Michael Atkinson, interviewed witnesses that the complainant said could corroborate. But there`s a huge trail of people here who had to have known about some of the stuff that was going on?
HILL: You know, Lindsey Graham today said this is one phone call. With due respect to the senator from South Carolina, it`s not one phone call. This is a lot of stuff going on. It`s going to be huge.
HAYES: Erin Banco, and Ambassador Christopher Hill, thank you very much.
Ahead, a look at the next moves for Democrats and their strategy for impeachment.
HAYES: The president and his allies seemed to think they could get away for setting the bar for scandal at quid pro quo and then release an edited summary of a phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine that shows basically an extremely obvious implicit quid pro quo and say nothing to see here. He doesn`t say the words quid pro or quo.
But it`s about as clear as things get in real life. Remember when Michael Cohen said Trump speaks in code?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: He doesn`t give you questions, he doesn`t give you orders. He speaks in a code. And I understand the code because I`ve been around him for a decade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Although you don`t have to have been around it for a decade to understand the code here.
Now Democratic leadership is trying to figure out its next move with some reports indicating Speaker Pelosi wants to move quickly on impeachment on just this Ukrainian scandal and set of facts while others want to broaden the inquiry.
Here to discuss the strategic choice facing Democrats, I`m joined by Danielle Moodie-Mills, co-host of the Democracy-ish podcast, and Micky Edwards, former Republican congressman from Oklahoma.
I think there`s -- I saw a lot of reaction today about the first report that they might just focus laser-like focus with this set of facts and move quickly with that. And I saw arguments on both sides that they should keep it wide and look at emoluments and the president profiting and obstruction. What do you think?
DANIELLE MOODIE MILLS, HOST, DEMOCRACY-ISH: I think that if you keep it wide, you will distract the American public. I think that the American people need something that is very clear and cut. This Ukrainian incident is as clear and cut as you get.
I remember I`ve been railing against Nancy Pelosi for the past six months. After the Mueller report came out, I was like what are we doing? When are we going to move. She said at one time, I you remember, the president is self-impeachable. This was that moment that she probably was talking about that I was like, I don`t know what you`re talking about. This was that moment.
This conversation happened a day after Mueller testified, because he was like who`s going to check me? Who`s going to tell me what to do? I am the president. I am the overseer of the United States and I can do what I want.
And so I think this was the moment that Nancy Pelosi was like just wait, we`re going to get there. We`re going to give him enough rope where he`s going to walk out and he`s going to hang himself. And that is what he did in this situation.
HAYES: Mickey, you served in the United States House. You were a republican. You were a stalwart Republican. How does this look as someone who served in that body? What is your thinking about what makes the most sense for Democrats` path forward?
MICKEY EDWARDS, (R) FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Well, you know, Sunstein and Jon Tester made a good point about the narrow focus. I`ve been more of the feeling that while this is not overt, you can read into it -- I read it the same way you did. This is the way mobsters talk.
But I personally, I think, would like to see a little bit of a tie-in to other things to show not all of it, not about the payments to women, not about everything he`s done -- tax returns and all, but I do think it would be good to show a pattern of behavior, that the president has indicated ever since he`s been president that he has done things and continues to, will continue to do things that undermine American democracy,. and in this case, you know, make a very bad attempt to -- now, the president of Ukraine said he wasn`t pushed. Well, he was pushed. I heard that, he was pushed.
And so I think this has to be the main focus. I don`t think it should be the only focus.
HAYES: One of the things that`s interesting today is that -- you talked about the specificity, the clear cutness here. I think there`s a few things at issue here. One of them, how much do you think it matters that this was something secret that they tried to keep secret that came out anyway?
MOODIE-MILLS: I mean, but this is how the president has worked. Like he does things in secret. And to Michael Cohen`s point, he tried to warn us, as did Hillary Clinton try to warn us exactly what Donald Trump does and how he operates.
I think that what`s more telling is the fact that they decided to release the transcript, because they thought there was nothing in there. And I`m saying to my -- my god, you really have no understanding of politics. You have no deep understanding of the law.
And just yesterday Nancy Pelosi was asked at The Atlantic forum, do you think that the president knows right from wrong? And her response was the president has to be held accountable, because to say that he knows right from wrong, clearly he does not. Why would you -- no one in their right mind would release this memo and think that that was going to exonerate him.
HAYES: Mickey, I`ve been watching Republicans very carefully. So, there`s Mitt Romney, who said he was disturbed. There`s Ben Sasse, who read the whistle-blower complaint itself and said Republicans shouldn`t circle the wagons, Democrats shouldn`t get ahead of themselves, but he was not defending the president`s behavior.
There are two Republican members who have read the whistle-blower complaint itself today that I saw, Elise Stefanik and Mike Conaway, neither of them defended the president. Mike Conaway saying I`ll let it come out. That was striking to me. Maybe I`m making too much of it. What do you think?
EDWARDS: Well, you know, I think there`s another thing here that Democrats need to do and you don`t want to hear this, but not everybody in America is watching this show. And you ask the right question to Jon Tester about how people in Montana are going to feel.
There are an awful lot of people out in the country who don`t follow this the way we do.
EDWARDS: And public`s opinion at this moment is against impeachment.
So, leading up to the American Revolution, we had these committees of correspondents that worked to go out into the various colonies and spread the word. And I think what Nancy needs to do, what we all need to do, those of us who believe in civil liberties and democracy, we need to have a real campaign to go out into the country and tell this story. And that`s not being done yet.
HAYES: Yeah, public opinion will matter quite a bit here.
Danielle Moodie-Mills, Mickey Edwards, thanks for making time tonight.
Our fall live WITHpod tour kicks off this Saturday at the Texas Tribune festival with Senator Ted Cruz. Check out our website for more details, MSNBC.com/withpodtour.
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That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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