(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We should move with purpose and expeditiously.
HAYES: New signs that impeachment is moving fast, signs that Trump defenders are cracking.
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: Now, they were all over me, you know, asking me to do it. I was happy to do it. I help my country.
HAYES: Tonight, former CIA Director John Brennan on the corrupt abuse of power of Donald Trump. Plus, just exactly how will this impeachment inquiry work? And as "total panic besets the White House," just where is the president getting his conspiracy gibberish?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that the emails from Hillary Clinton, do you believe that they are in Ukraine? Do you think this whole --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think they could be.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from Austin, Texas, I`m Chris Hayes. Things have moved extremely quickly. We are just at the end of week one, but the trajectory of the entire Trump era has completely shifted, and things are going to continue to move at a rapid clip.
Just a few hours ago, the chairs of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Oversight Committees announced they have subpoenas Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for Ukraine documents "including many he has refused to produce for weeks."
They also announced they have scheduled depositions for five State Department officials over the next two weeks beginning Wednesday with the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, someone many people want to hear from.
Four of the five people are mentioned by name in the whistleblower complaint. One of them, Kurt Volker, we just learned an hour ago just stepped down from his role as U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine after negotiations earlier tonight. The witness who isn`t in the whistleblower complaint Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent oversees U.S. policy towards Ukraine.
Meanwhile, in a letter to colleagues, House Intel Chair Adam Schiff confirmed the Intelligence Community Inspector General who of course first alerted Congress about the whistleblower complaint, investigated parts of its claims, and ruled it urgent and credible will come in for a closed briefing before Schiff`s committee on October 4th.
Because of the whistleblower complaint, House Democrats now have in their hands a very clear road map of people to talk to and documents to seek. One of the most damning elements of the whistleblower complaint is that so many people were involved. Between that and the public reporting and, of course, Rudy Giuliani holding up his iPad sized text on live T.V. last night, we`ve already learned a whole heck of a lot.
Part of the reason it`s all moving so quickly is because the basics of this scandal are already sort of entered into evidence frequently by the President himself and not disputed. It is established The President himself personally ordered the suspension of military aid to Ukraine $400 million that have been appropriated by Congress to resist Russia which is already occupying parts of that country.
It is established the President`s personal attorney was actively both publicly and privately browbeating various Ukrainian officials including various prosecutors to meddle in the 2020 election by opening investigation into Joe Biden.
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GIULIANI: I`m the legitimate whistleblower. I have -- I have uncovered corruption that this Washington swamp has been covering up effectively for years, and his State Department you know asked me to do this. So, Mike, if you`re unhappy with me, I`m sorry but I accomplish my mission.
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HAYES: I accomplish my mission. Well, maybe. It is established that an official state phone call the President of the United States speaking as a representative of the American people leaned on the Ukrainian president to coordinate with that man Rudy Giuliani as well as the Attorney General on meddling in the 2020 election.
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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 the Ukraine.
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HAYES: Yes, of course, the President extremely concerned out of nowhere suddenly about the issue of corruption in the Ukraine. All the while, the need for U.S. military and aid hung over the Ukrainian president`s head. In fact, thanks to the notes of the phone call, we know right after Ukrainian President Zelensky brought up buying more weapons basically let`s talk about that military aid what we are waiting for, President Trump immediately pivots to ask for a favor.
It is also established that people in the White House freaked out after this happened. The whistleblower noting, "The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what it transpired in the phone call," and then they tried to cover it up.
"I learned from multiple U.S. officials senior White House officials had intervened to lock down all records of the phone call." They tried to bury the transcript in a special super-secret classified server. Tonight, CNN also reports the White House also tried to restrict access to -- and I`ll let you guess -- Trump`s conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. We already know from journalism reporting and from Robert Mueller`s investigation that Trump has at best a questionable history of making deals with both countries.
Then, when the whistleblower complaint about the Ukraine came over from DNI, William Barr`s Department of Justice tried to kill that and prevent Congress from seeing it. President Trump abused his power, people all across his administration tried to cover it up. They all got caught.
Joining me now for more on the President`s conduct is Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, one of seven freshmen Democrats in frontline districts who called for an impeachment inquiry on Monday night, beginning a flood of over 90 new calls to investigate the president. Also, she`s a former CIA analyst who served as the Acting Assistant Secretary Defense for National Security Affairs under President Obama.
Congresswoman, reflect on how you feel four days later after you co-wrote that op-ed and we still I don`t think at that point had the rough notes of the phone call do you feel that op-ed and you`re decision to support impeachment inquiry have been vindicated.
REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): Well, I don`t think it`s about being vindicated or not being vindicated. The reasons why myself and my colleagues came out were very, very clear and they were based on our experience in national security.
We had the president of the United States and his lawyer acknowledging that they used you know, the leverage of being the president to get a foreign leader to provide dirt on an opponent, and that just can`t be OK. And for us it was different and it called into question immediately the oath to defend and protect the Constitution.
And it was prospective, right? It was looking forward to 2020 and about protecting the future not just reviewing the past. So we came out and things move quickly. And I think a lot of people were just taken by the differences in this particular issue from some other things we`ve seen beforehand.
HAYES: You worked at the CIA. I wonder your reaction in the president speaking to the staff of the U.N. mission from the U.S. the other day at a breakfast in which he said the person was almost like a spy. In the old days, we would treat them like traitors. We would -- essentially implying they should be hanged.
SLOTKIN: Yes. Well, I mean, this president has unfortunately attacked the Intelligence Community since nearly he was sworn in. And it just doesn`t make any sense to me as a former CIA officer because you know, the folks who are coming to CIA every day are risking everything to try and provide information that helps us protect the country.
So I don`t know. It`s kind of like the coach of a football team attacking his own running back publicly. It just doesn`t make any sense. And you know, I think with his language, this is why we have whistleblower protections. This is why you know, Intelligence Community officials are now also protected by those protections because you don`t want retribution.
And for the president, the commander in chief to talk about it like that it`s just -- it`s deeply I think disappointing and frankly scary for a lot of people in the community.
HAYES: Having worked at the CIA and also at DOD and having I would imagine interacted with all sorts of different levels of classified information, what do you make of this use of essentially codeword-level classification systems to bury what are perceived not as national security secrets but politically embarrassing documents, and reporting tonight that conversations with Putin and Mohammed bin Salman are also in that system?
SLOTKIN: Yes. So I was also a CIA detailee down to the National Security Council. And I worked on the staff of the National Security Council under George Bush and then under Barack Obama so I`ve used these systems. And you know, we have a whole set of rules around how you classify documents.
And one of the first things you learn when you`re a new CIA analyst is you can`t just classify something if it`s embarrassing or if it`s politically sensitive. There are reasons and rules why we classify things so it was -- it was inappropriate and frankly violated, you know, executive order on -- that`s on the books on how you classify things by moving it from an unclassified to a very classified system.
But I will be honest, I think it`s important especially in communicating why this whole thing is different that we focus on the big picture. And again, it`s about what the president acknowledged himself using his role to leverage, you know, a foreign leader. And with that, I just try to imagine you know a Democratic president going to China for dirt on a political opponent. That would never be OK.
So I just -- it`s a different thing, and we got to focus on that top-line issue and not get stuck in the weeds.
HAYES: So then, is it your understanding on that point that that will be the focus of the now formal impeachment inquiry that was launched in the wake of these revelations and going forward?
SLOTKIN: Yes. So certainly, many of us have made our voices known to our leadership who`s been very receptive. For me, it`s extremely important that this process be different, that it be strategic, that it be clear, and that it be efficient.
Strategic, meaning, we focus on the big picture, the strategic problem here which is protecting our 2020 elections and what the president has acknowledged that he`s done. Clear, meaning, we have to communicate with the American people. You know, with no offense to anyone in the media, the drip, drip, drip of information for almost two years now means a lot of people have tuned out. And we have to bring the public along with us. It can`t just be an insider Washington conversation.
And then efficient, right, we don`t need a year and a half to work on this. We need to be clear that we`re going to get it done quickly. And that`s why I was so glad to see some of the committees staying back in Washington to move forward like this coming week.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, it`s great to talk to you. Come back anytime.
HAYES: Joining me now for more on the President`s conduct, former CIA Director John Brennan, now an NBC News Senior National Security and Intelligence Analyst. Let`s start with the top line Mr. Brennan. To someone that says, you know, this is just routine diplomacy, I think as a member of Congress in the Republican Party said, or it was a perfect phone call, that there`s nothing to see here, or presidents do this all the time. As someone who`s worked in a White House I imagine has staffed these calls, what do you say to someone who says that?
JOHN BRENNAN, MSNBC SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, in all my experience, I`ve never heard anything like this on any presidential phone call. And it is quite abnormal for an individual in the Oval Office to raise with a foreign leader politically damaging information that they`re seeking on a political rival. This just goes well beyond the pale.
So if anybody thinks that this is normal, it is far, far from perfect. And I think as we have now seen in you know, broad light based on the things that have already been released, Mr. Trump clearly exceeded the bounds of what a president should be saying and doing with a foreign leader.
HAYES: I want to ask you to respond to the same thing I asked Congresswoman Slotkin which is the reports and we now have video I guess of the president saying this person is almost a spy, I want to know who talked to him, and in the old days we treated them like they were committing treason, we knew what to do with them. What message do you think that`s sending? What are the ramifications of him talking like that?
BRENNAN: Well, it`s sad to say that that is very unsurprising coming from Donald Trump because it`s consistent with what he has done before. His strategy is to attack, attack, attack, and to disparage public servants, those who are working to try to keep their fellow citizens safe and to come out against not just the whistleblower but the people who talk to the whistleblower which such -- with such vehemence.
I think it really does send quite a chill through the federal workforce, but also I think it just signals to the federal workforce that the chief executive is somebody who is quite frankly not fit to hold that office. So I think it hurts him certainly, and it may, in fact, emboldens others to speak out because they just feel that this is you know, an outrage in terms of how he has treated and handled this matter.
HAYES: You worked for the CIA, you worked in the White House, you have a lot of experience. And there have been chapters in the history of American intelligence that have been quite ugly. There have been reforms to laws, legal procedures to deal with those.
At this sort of hinge moment, are you confident that there is an institutional culture and a legal framework throughout the Intelligence Community to resist unlawful directives from people at the top particularly the president?
BRENNAN: Well, I think any bureaucracy, any government is made up not just of laws but also of people. And the laws are designed to try to ensure that there`s going to be appropriate, ethical, legal activities taking place within a government. But then it`s also up to the individuals within the do various government organizations to demonstrate the integrity, the honesty, as well as the commitment to the rule of law in their daily duties.
And I think what the whistleblower complaint indicates is that there were a number of individuals who seem to be willing to abet and assist in this effort to try to hide information that is not just damaging to Donald Trump but also it could involve criminal activity.
And I think that`s what the whistleblower in those individuals he was talking with, he or she, really felt that this went beyond just inappropriate behavior the types of things that Donald Trump usually does, that when it rises to the level of criminality there is an obligation on federal employees to be -- to report that to the appropriate authorities.
And I think that`s what the whistleblower was struggling with when he or she finally decided to go forward with this whistleblower complaint.
HAYES: You just mentioned the efforts to abet the hiding of this and the reporting indicates both in the whistleblower complaint and the subsequent reporting that they moved it out of the normal system in which such call notes would reside and be circulated into a highly classified system.
There`s now reporting that that`s been done with conversations in the Mohammed bin Salman and Vladimir Putin. What do you make of the propriety legality of that? How big a deal is that?
BRENNAN: Well, I don`t know the details here. With just reading the whistleblowers complaint, it appears as though the information in terms of the transcript of this call which was done on I think an unclassified system because presumably, Donald Trump spoke on an unclassified phone to President Zelensky.
It was on an unclassified system and it was moved to a higher system. And based on what the whistleblower said, that it was moved to the Directorate of intelligence programs. And that`s not just a classified system or even a top-secret covert system, that is -- that is an area where you keep the most sensitive, the absolutely most sensitive information that the U.S. government has including on covert action programs, a standalone system.
It`s a way to ensure that there`s going to be highly, highly restricted access to that. It`s not connected to the rest of the White House complex. It is an enclave and if it was moved into that and it was not classified, it clearly was being done for another purpose which was to try to prevent it being discovered or seen by other individuals.
So I think that is a very, very worrisome development and I think that`s also something that the Intelligence Community and Joe Maguire the acting DNI has to be very concerned about that that was a misuse and abuse of a system designed to protect this country`s most precious secrets.
HAYES: Final question for you. The President is still the president. He will still be conducting foreign policy, phone calls of foreign leaders. He met with Zelensky and other foreign leaders this week. I mean, what level of fear, worry, anxiety do you have about the fact that`s in an individual who just got caught in this one instance continues to be the person conducting American foreign policy?
BRENNAN: Well, I don`t know if I`m the best person to ask that because ever since the first day of Mr. Trump`s presidency, I`ve been very concerned about his behavior, what he is doing. But now that he is in I think the most difficult political situation that he has faced to date, I think the potential for him to do some things to try to protect himself as he has done you know for so many years may, in fact, include some things that are going to seriously hurt our national security, but also are just our system of laws.
And that`s why I do think it`s important that the Democrats and Republicans can come together to try to prevent him from doing things that truly are going to be damaging far, far longer than maybe this issue is going to continue. So I think this is a very dangerous time, and I think Mr. Trump has demonstrated that his irrationality, his recklessness, his efforts to try to protect himself at all costs could come at the cost of this country`s security.
HAYES: All right, John Brennan, thank you very much.
BRENNAN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Up next, as the House impeachment investigation hits full swing, there`s a bipartisan inquiry quietly underway in the Senate. The latest on that in just two minutes.
HAYES: While Democrats in the House are moving forward on their formal impeachment inquiry, there`s a bipartisan inquiry in the Senate Intelligence Committee. That committee already heard from the Director of National Intelligence and the Intelligence Community Inspector General behind closed doors on Thursday.
And the Republican chair of the committee says they will keep hearing from witnesses though his office will not characterize it as an investigation, at this point only an inquiry.
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SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC): The committee is committed to make sure that we get to the bottom of what questions need answers.
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HAYES: Joining me now is a member of that Senate Intelligence Committee Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. Senator, Richard Burr, the chair of your committee is now undertaking his own inquiry, I guess, into the whistleblower complaint, the logs of the phone call, and everything around the Ukraine scandal. Do you have confidence that this is -- this is a good-faith undertaking?
SEN. RON WYDEN (D-OR): Well, my job is to make sure that we look at all of the issues, for example, it was very difficult to actually get the complaint initially. The federal law is clear, we were supposed to get that right away, that`s number one. Number two, I am not convinced, Chris, that existing federal law is adequate.
And I can tell you my phone is ringing off the hook now from people who are frightened about speaking out in the whistleblower community. I`m one of the co-chairs of the whistleblower caucus. There`s tremendous fear. And I want to make sure that in our committee we take the steps to strengthen the whistleblower law and make sure that when it`s needed now more than ever, people will come forward.
HAYES: You`re -- you`ve worked on a report issued today in the Finance Committee which is you`re also on about the NRA, and it`s been getting a lot of headlines essentially something saying that it was acting as a foreign interest if I`m not mistaken in 2016. What did you find in that investigation?
WYDEN: Well, the report turns up the unpleasant fact that the R in NRA really stands for Russian. The fact is that we looked at the run-up to the 2016 election and it was very clear that Russia was using Russian nationals, Maria Butina, Mr. Torshin as a way to try to get NRA insiders in effect promising them lucrative kind of business deals to kind of grease their access into the United States.
Also what we were able to expose is this trip in October of 2015 the NRA lied about. They didn`t say that it was an official trip, it was and it was all about NRA insiders trying to enrich themselves personally. And that`s why the next step is I`m going to be looking at whether or not their tax exemption should stand given the fact that this is mostly about self- dealing and personal enrichment.
HAYES: Do you think the things exposed and also things that have surfaced in lawsuits and reporting indicate this as an organization that should not be tax-exempt, that has run afoul of the law?
WYDEN: We have compiled the documents, we looked at more than 4,000 documents, it was an 18-month investigation, I have real questions about whether you ought to be able to keep your tax exemption which is something that is handed out for special considerations in effect working in the public interest. You shouldn`t be just handing those out easily when people are basically using them as a glide path to enrich themselves personally.
HAYES: There was other news about the NRA today. Of course, Wayne LaPierre meeting with the President the White House, reporting initially from the White House indicating that the NRA was going to offer or floated the idea of contributing money to the President`s personal defense on impeachment, but that what they want is the president to drop working on anything -- any new gun safety measures. What do you make of that?
WYDEN: Well, they always look for something that resembles a quid pro quo. It was incredibly brazen based on the report I heard where they in effect said look, you know, we`re interested in helping you. You got to drop things like background checks or something like that.
Now, given what my report showed today, I`m about as surprised as the proposition that the sun comes up in the morning this is what the organization is all about. And it was clear based on the press reports that business-as-usual. They`re asking and powerful people have traditionally gifted to them. We`re trying to change that.
HAYES: Final question, do you expect that your committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee which is chaired by Richard Burr with Mark Warner as a minority leader on that, do you expect you will be hearing from witnesses in closed or open sessions pertaining to the Ukrainian issue?
WYDEN: I feel very strongly that there ought to be open hearings on this issue. What I`ve always said is that the big questions and certainly this is another one of the follow the money kinds of -- kinds of questions, that was what the debate was always about, Ukraine getting access to aid that they desperately needed. I think that you can find a way to get those issues discussed in public while protecting what are essentially classified sources, what are called sources and methods.
HAYES: All right, Senator Ron Wyden on the Intelligence Committee and Finance Committee. Thank you so much sharing your time.
WYDEN: Thanks for having me, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, as the fact-finding gets underway in earnest in the House, exactly how will this impeachment inquiry work? That`s next.
HAYES: The impeachment process can be confusing. And Republicans seem to be counting on that in their efforts to defend Donald Trump. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise tweeted earlier today complaining that, quote, "Nancy Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry before she even had the facts." Right, how dare she.
Again, that`s why it`s called an impeachment inquiry, because that`s what House Democrats are doing, it`s an inquiry, an investigation of Trump, a fact finding process to determine whether he has committed offenses that would then support articles of impeachment.
And to find those facts they have to subpoena documents. They have to talk to people, which is precisely what the committees are doing. When that`s done, articles of impeachment may be drafted. Those would then move out of the judiciary committee and onto the House for a full vote from the House on the articles of impeachment.
If the majority of the House votes for impeachment, then the Senate under the constitution, this is spelled out, conducts a trial presided over by the chief justice, which requires a two thirds vote to remove the president from office, which, we should note, has never happened in American history. Impeachment has happened, but removal never has and not many expect it will happen this time with Republicans in control.
So, to talk about this process Democrats are embarking upon I`m joined by Melissa Murray, professor of constitutional law at NYU School of Law, and Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general, now a columnist at The Washington Post.
Melissa, I`ll start with you, and I recently sort of read and reviewed a book on the first impeachment. And one thing that struck me there and I think has been true with Nixon and Clinton as well is some parts are spelled out in the constitution, but some aren`t, so there is some latitude constitutionally in how this all goes. Is that your understanding?
MELISSA MURRAY, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: That`s clearly the understanding. The constitution is relatively spare about the impeachment process. It provides that the impeachment process must begin in the House and then if articles of impeachment are voted on successfully, it then shifts to the senate which conducts the actual trial.
But as to the rules for how the impeachment inquiry starts, where it starts and how the trial is conducted, the constitution is completely silent. And so we rely on those chambers to come up with their own rules. And as we saw in the Clinton impeachment trial, sometimes they`re making it up as they go along.
Well, in this case the somewhat innovative thing Nancy Pelosi has done, Harry, is to announce this formal inquiry, to kind sort of call it into being, and then task these different committee chairs to go forward. I`ve seen Republicans say, well, there hasn`t been a House vote to initiate the proceeding, so it`s not a real thing. And I wonder do you think legally, constitutionally, does it matter that the full House hasn`t voted to open an inquiry in terms of how this goes?
HARRY LITMEN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Not at all. You know, pretty much what you and Professor Murray read is all the constitution has to say about it. We have some procedures not simply from presidential impeachments, but from impeachments of other officers, especially judges. It`s clear they can proceed through committees. And look, Pelosi here is focused a, on speed. They`ve reached a galloping pace and they`ve sense I think accurately that they really need to harness it and keep it going for that reason.
And she can also disseminate it across different committees. So, there will be a broad -- there`s going to cadres of depositions of the State Department folks, of Giuliani`s brigade in the Ukraine, of the people who overheard the call. And she`s quite focused, my understanding is, on there being at most two articles, one based on Ukraine and then a general kind of obstruction article, and the hows and wherefore really are, as Professor Murray said, she`s got quite a lot of latitude. You just have to gather evidence -- you can do it however you would -- and then when the time comes it just has to be presented to the House as a whole. And that`s of course what will happen.
HAYES: So the gathering evidence, Melissa, seems to me a key question here. The last time, in the Nixon case, right, the Nixon tapes became a key point of legal constitutional battle, went all the way up the Supreme Court, which is what can the executive withhold and what does it have to turn over?
And it seems to me that we are headed towards another kind of thing, particularly when you read the reporting that there`s these highly -- these calls with Mohammad bin Salman, and Vladimir Putin and other documents that the White House is not going to want to relinquish. How do you game out what the arguments are going to be here? And who`s going to adjudicate it?
MURRAY: Well, in the Nixon case the issue was there was an going criminal investigation of the Watergate break in. And so the president`s desire to invoke an absolute presidential immunity to prevent the disclosure of those tapes was deemed to be too broad. And if there was some kind of qualified immunity it couldn`t be used to thwart the operation of another branch`s process, namely the criminal justice process that the judiciary was charged with overseeing.
And I think we might find similar kinds of questions emerging here, like is this a situation where the requested disclosure would impede another branch`s opportunity to exercise its constitutional powers, namely congress` powers of oversight.
So I think we`re headed to a similar kind of place where a court is ultimately going resolve whether or not this must be disclosed.
HAYES: And then there`s the question, Harry, too, about speed, pacing, and dispatch. You just said it`s clear that Democrats are moving quickly and efficiently. One of the tactics Trump that has used, both in his previous life and as president under this era of oversight is to just tie things up in the courts, and you know, like whatever happened to his tax returns? Well, they sued and they counter-sued, and now it`s going to work its way through. The question is, do you think courts will move urgently on these evidentiary questions?
LITTMAN: So, yes. But even urgent movement by courts can be one, two months.
I think the bigger question is political. I think there will be a showdown on one bona fide issue about possible privilege just for the words between leaders.
But the question is will the White House have the stomach now to try to interpose the kinds of really merit-less objections they`ve been doing routinely for the depositions of the State Department folks or the Ukraine folks. I think they probably won`t, and that those will proceed with dispatch. They could try the same tactic. But right now the initiative is in congress, and they could still go forward if the White House doesn`t play ball. That`s one big difference with where things have been going all the way to date with the aftermath of the Mueller report.
HAYES: That`s a great, great point there about how much of this, this sort of balance of power, perceived power matters in the actual legal framework here. Melissa Murray and Harry Litman, thanks for making time tonight.
MURRAY: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, as the president threatens the whistle-blower, rants about the impeachment inquiry, reports of total panic at the White House. That story is coming up.
But first Thing One, Thing Two is back. And that`s next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, we don`t spend a lot of time analyzing the tweets of Donald Trump, but if one were looking to get a sense of the current mind-set of the man we decided to make our president, his tweeter feed today will give you a pretty good idea. If you haven`t looked, I can tell you it`s an absolute garbage fire over there, the social media equivalent of someone like trashing a hotel room. He`s tweeted more than 100 times in the past few days, everything from wacky to ones like this at 9:30 this morning, "it was a perfect conversation with Ukraine president."
But in those hundred tweets there was one so out of whack he got mocked by the dictionary, and that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So, we all know that Donald Trump went to the best schools and has a very, very large brain, but that brain today wrote this tweet: "to show you how dishonest the lame-stream media is I used the word liddle`, not liddle, in describing corrupt Congressman Liddle` Adam Schiff. Low ratings CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!"
Now there`s a whole lot to unpack here, but I guess what he`s saying is that he used the word liddle with an apostrophe at the end, not the same word liddle without an apostrophe at the end when he was describing. quote, corrupt Congressman Liddle` Adam Schiff. And I guess CNN took out the hyphen and said he spelled little wrong, so I think he maybe thinks apostrophe is a hyphen and that little with two ds is an actual word.
And that guy right now is in charge of the nuclear codes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If you look at Mr. Pillsbury (ph), the leading authority on China, he was on a good show, I won`t mention the name of the show recently, and he was saying that China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump`s very, very large brain."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don`t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She`s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don`t -- maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also could be China, could also be lots of other people, it also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay?
I have President Putin. He just said it`s not Russia. I will say this, I don`t see any reason why it would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It has been well, well-established that Russia sabotaged the 2016 presidential election to help Donald Trump. The unanimous conclusion of our intelligence community summarized an incredibly detailed indictment from Robert Mueller, which included the names of the people who did it, their methods, even logs of e-mails they sent. If there`s one thing that Mueller report definitively established it was that the Russians did it and they did it to benefit Trump.
There`s no real doubt left. And so it is worth taking a moment to marvel at how wild it is, exactly what Trump did in that now infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
After holding back nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, Trump pointedly asked Zelensky for two things, right. One to work with Rudy Giuliani and William Barr to drum up a scandal around Joe Biden. And two, and I`m going to quote here, "I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, They say crowd strike. I guess you have one of your wealthy people, the server, they say Ukraine has it."
Now to 99.9 percent of people that makes absolutely no sense. But if you spent any time in the right-wing fear swamps, it might ring a bell. What Trump was referencing there was a crazy conspiracy theory, which basically claims Russia did not in fact hack our election. No, according to this crazy theory, the hack was actually done by Ukrainian interests working with a cyber security firm hired by the DNC who all worked together to frame the Russians for it.
Now, to be clear again it`s utterly bonkers. You look into it for even a moment, it completely falls apart, it makes no sense. It`s not true. And it`s not supposed to make sense, really. The point of the whole thing is to muddy the waters, to throw dust in peoples eyes, to make people doubt that Russia did what they did, even though we know Russia did what they did.
Yet here`s the president of the United States consuming this ludicrous conspiracy theory and then using it in a call with a foreign leader.
And, get this, tonight we have breaking news just published from The Washington Post about just how trump felt about Russian interference from the start. Reportedly telling Russian officials he was unconcerned about the interference, because the U.S. does the same thing in other countries, a response that was so troubling White House officials decided to, yes, you guessed it, limit access to the remarks.
It`s a big story. We`re going to talk about that next right after this.
HAYES: All right, we have breaking news tonight about the White House trying to bury another instance of President Trump`s inappropriate conversations with foreign officials about election meddling. This one comes from that infamous meeting you may recall, it was with Russian officials in the Oval Office in 2017. It was the day after the president fired Comey.
The Washington Post reports, quote, "President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that was unconcerned about Moscow`s interference in the U.S. election, because the United States did the same in other countries, an assertion that prompted alarmed White House officials to limit access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people. A memorandum summarizing the meeting was limited to all but a few officials with the highest security clearances in an attempt to keep the president`s comments from being disclosed publicly."
Asawin Suebsaeng, White House reporter for the Daily Beast; and Lynn Sweet, Washington, D.C. bureau chief and columnist for The Chicago Sun-Times.
Asawin, this is a wild story, for a bunch of reasons. One is, we already knew a lot of what was said in that meeting, because it was reported at the time. It was the one where he said, "I got rid of Comey and the pressure is off." He disclosed classified intelligence about Israel. But this is sort of a big deal if this is coming out now.
ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, THE DAILY BEAST: Right. And it`s sort of amazing that we had a two-year long massive federal investigation in the form of the Mueller probe and for some reason we`re right guy on The Washington Post to tell us this. So this is a case of federal tax dollars well spent.
But at the same time, I must say that in terms of Trump saying this privately to Russian officials in the Oval Office, it almost surprises me that he hasn`t said something to that exact effect publicly by this point now that we`re over two years into his administration, because in his first year in office, he said during a televised on the record interview when he was asked about abuses and human rights violations and I think also assassinations by Vladimir Putin`s regime in Russia, his response was, oh, you think America is so innocent? You don`t think we have killers as well? Which, you know, in a weird way he does have a ghost of a good point. The United States does have a lot of killers and human rights abuses, and we have interfered horrifically in elections, in democratic processes abroad?
But a normal brained president, or humane individual would say, OK, maybe other regimes, foreign as well as domestic and in the United States should stop doing those things, not that the ends justify the means.
HAYES: Yes, the natural conclusion to that is exactly that, right. Like, the interference in other people`s elections, which the U.S. absolutely has done in the past, like that is a bad thing should stop. but the crazy thing to me here, Lynn, is that his line, and I think almost a line that I think some people have come to think he believes himself is that it couldn`t have been Russia, that it was all him, that they didn`t actually interfere.
For him to say to the Russian ambassador and to the foreign minister it`s fine, that is him saying do it again. That`s indistinguishable from do it again.
LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, there`s a few remarkable things about this story. One, it digs up what really happened at the meeting. We had the picture, we knew it happened, we knew he had talked about some other classified information.
But I think what`s important here is that this shows that the dam is breaking, that we knew when this story got going from the whistle-blower memo that there were other instances where Trump said things that were so questionable that there was a move in the White House to bottle up these memos in a super secure, non-networked computer system, but now it`s coming out.
So I think that`s another point to remember here, that when it gets down to congress considering what really happened, you now have Ukraine, you now have this further information in this memo. So that`s what`s to be looking for as we push this story ahead, Chris. I think that people now feel there`s a little safe place to start leaking this stuff and pushing it out.
HAYES: Well, that is a great point. Preet Bharara made a similar point. He tweeted that the dam is broken, it`s all going to come out. And just Asawin, I just -- I mean, the trajectory here is the whistle-blower complaint talks about them moving the phone call to the secure server so that people can`t see it. It also indicates that have happened in other calls. CNN then reports it happened with Russian and Saudi calls. Washington Post an hour later reports, oh, here`s it wasn`t a phone call, it was an in-person meeting where he said it`s totally fine that you interfered in the election and that got moved to a secure server. That has to be unbelievably ominous to Trump (inaudible) to everyone in that White House that now it`s coming out.
SUEBSAENG: No, absolutely. And at this point we`re starting to get the sense it`s not just about this Ukraine-related call, it`s about a whole host of phone calls and not just calls, but policy-making and international diplomatic maneuverings by this president, and not just this president, but senior officials around him.
But I got to tell you, based on people I`ve spoken to in and outside of the White House, who are close to the president, it`s not clicking at all with him right now the severity of what is currently engulfing Trump world and the scandal that could very well threaten to bring down his administration.
As we reported at The Daily Beast yesterday when he arrived back at the White House after his days-long swing through New York City and the United Nations, he told senior officials in his White House that there was absolutely no need to start any special effort or war room effort to combat the impeachment fever burgeoning right now among the Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill. And also when I spoke to Jay Sekulow, who`s one of President Trump`s personal attorneys, earlier this week, he straight up told me on the record that he thinks what Nancy Pelosi is doing right now is a bluff and that they`re not actually going to do it and they`re not doing anything the Democrats haven`t been doing weeks if not months earlier.
So there are a lot of people in the White House around the White House, including the president of the United States himself, who are not 100 percent grasping exactly the severity of what`s going on here.
HAYES: Yeah, well, things can go down very quickly. Asawin Suebsaeng and Lynn Sweet, thank you for being with me.
Before we go, a few announcements. I`m here in Austin because our fall live WITHpod tour kicks off tomorrow. It`ll be at the Texas Tribune Festival with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. We`ll bring that you podcast on Tuesday.
Plus, and this is important, tickets for our next stop, which I`m extremely excited about in L.A. on October 21 with director Adam McKay and author Omar El Akkad, we`re going to be talking about climate change and art and culture are available to the general public for the very first time today. We have a link in our website, MSNBC.com/withpod tour.
And, on All In this Monday, I`ll be back in New York with a very special guest. Joining me to talk about her brand-new book, "Blowout," all about the oil and gas industry, the threat it poses globally to democracy, the one and only Rachel Maddow.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now with the aforementioned Rachel Maddow.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END