CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: It`s not the only rule of basic human behavior he`s refused to uphold. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us tonight. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think the President knows the argument that can be made against him and he`s scared.
HAYES: Democrats wield their power to hold the President accountable.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We`re not fooling around here.
HAYES: And the President absolutely melts down.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He couldn`t carry his blanks trap.
HAYES: Tonight, Donald Trump`s sound in fury defense.
TRUMP: Ask the president of Finland a question, please.
HAYES: And why that will not save him from the impeachment inquiry.
JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: The question, sir, was what did you want President Zelensky to do about Vice-President Biden and his son Hunter.
TRUMP: Are you talking to me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you know about those conversations?
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: So you just gave me a report about a whistleblower complaint none of which I`ve seen.
HAYES: Mike Pompeo finally comes clean, kind of.
POMPEO: As for was I on the phone call, I was on the phone call.
HAYES: And just what did Mike Pence know and when did he know it?
TRUMP: I think you should ask for V.P. Pence`s conversation because he had a couple of conversations also.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. The President has been caught covering up an attempt to extort a foreign leader into investigating his political rival. And he is melting down in front of all of us as he tries and fails to explain that away.
Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff laid out their plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: In that phone call, the President undermined our national security because of his -- what he had done a few days earlier.
SCHIFF: We want to make it abundantly clear that any effort by the Secretary, by the President, or anyone else to interfere with the Congress` ability to call before relevant witnesses will be considered as evidence of obstruction of the lawful functions of Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, here`s the thing about Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi`s constitutional position and their political position. It is nothing to do with Donald Trump and his base. They do not depend on him or his followers at all. There is nothing that Donald Trump could do to Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff or say about them. And it is driving the President crazy that he can`t touch them.
So today, the President`s day-long meltdown began as he clearly watched their press conference and live-tweeted. He attempted to use his one genuine skill that has gotten him this far which is she dominate and control news coverage through sheer verbiage to bury the admitted to facts of him committing an impeachable offense to basically insult, and bluster, and bully, and to threaten, and to lie, and to lie, and to lie.
His meltdown then proceeded across an upsetting and cringe-inducing several next hours beginning an Oval Office appearance, the purpose of which was a meeting with the president of Finland who spent most of his day at the White House sitting next to a red-faced, spittle-flecked, enraged bullying man, railing against his enemies spinning conspiracy theories, talking about jockstraps. He seriously did that, calling members of Congress guilty of treason, insisting the entire time that the transcript of his phone with the Ukrainian President, the call notes more specifically, which again has proved crime somehow exonerates him.
Remember, President Zelensky, we are almost ready to buy more javelins from the United States for defense purposes. President Trump immediately, next line, I would like you to do us a favor though. That`s the opposite of exonerating.
The president used American foreign policy and the State Department and his private attorney and his power as president to repeatedly pressure a country into digging up dirt on his political rival. He personally stopped aid to that country constitutionally and congressionally passed and appropriated. And on a phone call that we now have a record of, he then attempted to extort the leader into investigating his political opponent.
He is desperate to obscure all of this. We saw this in the key moment of the day, a simple question from Jeff Mason of Reuters at a press conference later in the afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASON: Mr. President can you just make clear right here what do you or what did you want President Zelensky to do with regard to Joe and Hunter Biden?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: At that point, Trump rambled on for more than a minute and a half, did not come close to responding the question, so Mason dug in and asked again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Go ahead, ask a question now.
MASON: The question, sir, was what did you want President Zelensky to do about Vice-President Biden and his son Hunter?
TRUMP: Are you talking to me?
MASON: Yes. It was just a follow-up of what I just asked you, sir.
TRUMP: Listen, are you ready? We have the President of Finland. Ask him a question.
MASON: I have one for him. I just wanted to follow up on the one that I asked you which was what did you want --
TRUMP: Did you hear me? Did you hear me?
MASON: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: Ask him a question.
MASON: I will, but --
TRUMP: I`ve given you a long answer. Ask this gentleman a question. Don`t be rude.
MASON: No, sir. I don`t want to be rude. I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked you.
TRUMP: I answered everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It goes on for another 30 seconds ranting about the corrupt media and doesn`t answer the question. Think about this for a second. Donald Trump of all people, a man who loves nothing more than the attention of the camera and a microphone nearby, who loves nothing more than to be watched at and listen to, that the whole world listen to his answer in braggadocio, at that moment the ultimate tell is that he walks away from the microphone. He doesn`t want to answer the question.
And he is trapped, and pinned, and staying in the corner surrounded by the set of facts that he cannot hand wave away no matter how much he tries. He barks again at the reporter to not ask him another question but to ask the Finnish president a question and he steps back from the microphone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: To a large extent it`s corrupt and it`s fake. Ask the president of Finland to question, please.
MASON: OK, I`ll move on now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I should tell you we`re going to speak to that reporter Jeff Mason in just a moment. But the answer to the question, by the way, it`s kind of in the transcript. It`s in the call notes that we have which form the basis the whole thing. Here`s what happens in that phone call.
Again, President Trump says, there`s a lot of talk about Biden`s son, that Biden stops the prosecution, a lot of people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.
Of course, we only found out about that call thanks to the whistleblower. New York Times has new reporting about the whistleblower`s furious attempts to get the warning to anyone who would listen in the CIA until he learns "the White House lawyers who are now helping the CIA investigate the officer`s allegations were the same ones implicated in them."
That`s not going to work. Again, all of this totally belies the President`s claim that everything was perfect, it was a perfect call and there`s nothing to see here because they themselves covered it up. His people put it in the secret system. His people tried to kill the whistleblower complaint. His people tried to make sure the whistleblower couldn`t come to Congress and get the complaint of them.
The president did something wrong. People across his administration tried to cover it up and they all got caught. Here with me now, the White House reporter who dug in with the President today, Jeff Mason of Reuters. Jeff, you`ve been doing this for a while. You`ve asked this President and other presidents questions. Was today different than what you`d experienced in the past?
MASON: Yes, it was. I mean, President Trump has certainly lashed out at reporters in the media before and at other colleagues of mine in the press corps. But he hasn`t lashed out that way against me before so that was new. I don`t take it personally. I think it was a reflection of the fact that he`s angry, and that he`s frustrated, and that he wanted to lash out at the person who was holding the microphone, and that was me. But I do think it`s a sign that he`s really feeling under pressure.
I mean President Trump often uses the media as a scapegoat when he feels under pressure. He uses rhetoric like calling the media the enemy of the American people. Now he`s using the word corrupt and that`s usually a sign that he feels like he needs to hunker down.
HAYES: The question itself I thought was a great one which you had to ask several times. You didn`t get -- he fundamentally did not answer the question, did he?
MASON: No, he didn`t. And I thought it was worth asking because he keeps saying that the transcript shows that his call with President Zelensky was perfect. But he hasn`t really verbally explained aside from what we`ve seen in that transcript as you rightly pointed out what he wanted to achieve from that call.
And if it was or if he wants to suggest it was something other than we see -- than what we`ve seen right there and in that -- in that document, then he should have a chance to say so. And I gave him that chance, and I asked him a couple of different times as you saw, and he declined to answer.
HAYES: Finally, I`m curious about the color of the White House today, just what it was like to be in that room. I don`t know if you were in that pool spray earlier with the Finnish President but it just felt -- you could feel the President`s anger and frustration coming through the screen. Did it feel that way in the room?
MASON: Absolutely, it did. And I think you felt that both in the Oval Office -- I wasn`t in that pool spray, a colleague of mine was. But you saw it both there, you saw it in his Twitter feed and the tweets that he was sending, and then just certainly felt it in that room today for the press conference.
I think he`s just he`s angry and frustrated and it is coming out in virtually every single bit of communication that he does be it on Twitter, online, or in person.
HAYES: All right, Jeff Mason of Reuters, great job today sticking to that question. I would still like to hear an answer, Mr. President, if you`re watching. If you want to come on the show and explain yourself, it`ll be great. Thank you, Jeff.
MASON: Thank you.
HAYES: I`d like to turn now to two Democratic members of Congress on key committees Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida who`s on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees and Congressman Ro Khanna of California who`s on the House Oversight Committee.
Congresswoman Demings, let me begin with you. Where do things stand right now in the showdown between the Congress and the executive in terms of access to witnesses and access to documents?
REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Hi, Chris. Well, it`s good to be with you. And look, it`s been an interesting week watching the President respond to the mess that he`s gotten himself into. Obviously, he`s feeling the pressure. He knows he`s in trouble. He`s threatened everybody who`s either providing oversight, or the whistleblower, or anyone who might have first-hand knowledge about this investigation.
But as Chairman Schiff so clearly stated today that we`re serious about this and we will send whatever subpoenas we need to send. And we`re not going to continue to respond to stonewalling that we have seen from this administration. We are moving forward. And this time the President`s going to have to go with this.
HAYES: Congressman Khanna, do you understand the arguments -- are they making arguments on the other side? I can`t actually track them. They seem very focused on the process of how the whistleblower came about. But it does seem to me the process a little beside the point since we have most of the facts right before us.
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): You`re absolutely correct, Chris. They are distracting and attacking. But it`s important understood there is no factual dispute here. The President has admitted that he solicited political dirt from a foreign leader. And he said that`s perfect. He`s even bragged about it to the American public. So what is the dispute? It`s not a factual dispute.
The dispute is very simple. Democrats believe that you shouldn`t be allowed to solicit dirt on your political rival from a foreign leader. And the Republicans or the president seems to think that`s OK. That`s not a violation of the Constitution. This is a question of values. Do you think that`s an abuse of power or not. There is really no factual dispute at issue.
HAYES: Congresswoman Demings, does it matter -- let me rephrase this. What is your reaction to the president`s invective against particularly committee -- the chair of your committee Adam Schiff saying repeatedly that he should be arrested or he should be investigated or that he`s committed the capital offense of treason.
DEMINGS: Well, let me say this, Chris. Being a former law enforcement officer, the President`s behavior does not surprise me at all. When you realize -- and remember, the whistleblower`s report was corroborated by the readout of the call summary that was released from the President. When you cannot dispute the facts as Ro indicated, then you attack the investigators.
Remember during the Mueller report, he called those who cooperated with the special counsel snitches. And of course, those of us in Congress who are providing the necessary oversight that is given to us by the Constitution he`s calling -- I believe he referred to Adam as a lowlife.
Well, he can continue with the name-calling. Maybe that distracted the American people during the campaign. It won`t work. This is -- we have the evidence that`s been corroborated from the whistleblower. And as I said earlier, we will do the work that is before us.
HAYES: Congressman, you -- obviously you`ve served in this Congress and watched this President and he has been from the first day obviously in some respects unstable, a demagogue. He likes insults. He gets angry. Today felt to me as someone who watches this every day a little different. Do you have concerns about where the President is at right now and his behavior?
KHANNA: I do. I mean for him to be retweeting a post saying that we could have civil war, for him to be threatening violence against members of Congress, of the chair explicitly, it actually genuinely undermines the American experiment.
I mean, the whole point of liberal democracy is you don`t settle disputes by violence. You have a system that resolves disputes. That`s sort of the foundational principle. And you now have a president who is actually threatening the very foundation of liberal democracy. I never thought I`d live to see that day.
HAYES: How quickly, Congresswoman Demings, how quickly is this going to move?
DEMINGS: Well, what I can tell you is that we`re going to be very thorough. We have to be. The American people deserve that. We`re going to be very methodical. But we also want to be expeditious as well. But we will go where the facts lead us. And as I`ve said, we are not going to tolerate the stonewalling that we`ve seen in the past. So we will move quickly but we will be thorough in this investigation. It`s too important not to be.
HAYES: Final question, Congressman Khanna. There is now I think only about five or six members of the Democratic caucus who are not on record supporting an impeachment inquiry. Max Rose of New York coming up tonight at Town Hall and favor that. How united is the caucus at this moment when it is clear they`re going to be facing increasing attacks verbally at least from the President?
KHANNA: It`s more united than at any point. And I give credit to a lot of our members of Congress in districts that Trump carry. They were very eloquent. In the caucus meeting, some of them stood up and they said we may lose our seats, I don`t care. There`s right and wrong. We`re going to stand up for what is right.
I think this is so beyond the pale what this president has done that the Democratic caucus is united in standing up for the Constitution.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Val Demings and Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you both so much.
DEMINGS: Thank you.
HAYES: I want to bring in two people who have been closely following the store, someone who understands the Department of Justice from the inside out, Matt Miller a former Chief Spokesperson for the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder and MSNBC Justice and National Security Analyst and Jennifer Rubin Opinion Writer at The Washington Post and an MSNBC Contributor.
Well, I guess we should start I think, Jennifer, what I just said to Congressman Khanna. I mean, obviously, the President`s affect has always been strange. He`s a weird guy. He`s an angry guy. He`s a bit of a blowhard. Today`s felt to me like a different level. It was -- it was really unnerving to me. What did you think of what you saw?
JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I`m of two minds. On one hand, I think he`s completely lost it. He`s in some kind of emotional tailspin. And the other is that this is very contrast. He is trapped. He has snared. If tomorrow the Intelligence Committee announced they did not have another fact, there would be plenty of information to impeach him and in my view convict him because it`s in his own words it`s in that transcript.
So whatever he does now is simply more fodder for an obstruction charge or for a witness intimidation charge. They have the goods. And I think at some level he understands that and that`s why he`s going nuts. That`s why he is trying so hard to threaten and to bluster.
But I think as you said earlier, Chris, Congress don`t care. They know the facts are on their side. They`ve got him red-handed. And they have no reason to back off at this point in every reason to push forward. And frankly, after today, I think they`re going to be even more determined because I think the speed of the investigation, the speed of the disclosures is part of what it has nerved him.
It`s not like the Russia investigation that went on for two years and everybody except those of us who followed this every day for a living lost track of what the facts were and kind of wandered off into other things. I think it was the sheer speed and intensity of this that has him completely baffled.
HAYES: Matt, I wonder what we`re going to see happen in the sort of counter attempts here or the attempts to counter this story. We`re already seeing the kind of investigate the investigators. We`re seeing this sort of attempt to like call Schiff into question.
And today the President at one point very menacingly kind of referenced William Barr`s investigation that he`s overseeing in the Department of Justice about the origins of the Mueller report. What do you think about the status of the Department of Justice at this key moment as an independent entity was some kind of integrity removed from the President`s meltdown?
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Look, I don`t think you can count them to be independent at all. But there are still structures that would prevent them from say, launching an investigation into Adam Schiff the way they were able to against employees who worked at the Justice Department.
The President was very effective in a political sense of going after some of the people who were at the FBI, who are at the Justice Department at the beginning of the Russian investigation, and we still continue to talk about them. There -- you know, obviously Andy McCabe still has a legal cloud hanging over his head. He may be indicted.
There`s another Inspector General report that`s going to come out probably in the next few weeks about portions of that investigation. And there`s this thing Barr flying around the world drumming up interest in.
So he`s been able to -- he was always able to do that. But that was largely because there were people inside the Justice Department. That`s (INAUDIBLE) we could look at them you know, based on kind of internal authorities.
They can`t just go launch a criminal investigation into Adam Schiff without a gross violation of you know, kind of Department Justice rules and an abuse of power that I think you would see people you know, career servants at the Justice Department completely reject and kind of walk away from.
HAYES: You know, it occurs to me too, Jennifer, that the arguments to the extent that he is making or that his allies are making aren`t really meant to persuade persuadable folks. They understand the math here which is they have to hold -- they have to hold a minority of the Senate to essentially survive this and to target the most kind of committed members of his base to keep together and not break up.
RUBIN: Right. I mean, I think there`s a difference in goals here. If his goal is merely to survive impeachment and the Senate trial, he will probably do that but he could have accomplished that a week ago or two weeks ago.
If however, the goal is to prevent this from being seen as a bipartisan indictment and I used the word in the colloquial sense, not in the legal sense of his beyond the pale behavior, he is failing in spades and he is making it worse. He is making it very hard for those at-risk senators to simply go along with.
This this is why frankly Susan Collins is hiding under her desk and saying she will not comment on any of this. Good luck talking that way to her constituents. Think of the senators who are really in very swing district, of very swing States next election, and the pressure on them will be intense to defend this craziness.
So on one hand, as crazy as he seems, he certainly gets his base all a flutter and gives the Sean Hannity`s of the world plenty of material. On the other hand, I think it makes the overall projection worse for him and that`s why you see the polls moving.
There is now a remarkable speed at which the polls are moving. I did not think you would have over 50 percent of the American public already believing that inquiry and impeachment are an appropriate remedy. And that`s I think largely because the way he`s behaved.
HAYES: Matt, are you confident that as the President gets more desperate, the kind of system here can hold both in terms of the civil servants at places like justice and state, in terms of the constitutional balance between the executive and Congress?
MILLER: You know, there`s a real question I think for the people who work inside the executive branch who are witnesses to the President`s misconduct, what they`re going to do right now. Because you can see why for years -- you know, there are a lot of people who just want to keep their heads down and do their job and they might see something that they`re uncomfortable with but they`re real costs to coming forward. You know, it`s a risk. You might see yourself fired, you might see yourself demoted or passed over for future promotion. And so the easiest thing to do is to just be quiet.
Now, look, we had one courageous person who came forward. There`s now going to be a question of whether others will assume -- presumably that whistleblower is going to come talk you know to Congress eventually and he`ll give the names of all the people who he listed in an unnamed fashion in the complaint.
And you know, if you`re one of those people, this might be the moment that you say look, the institution is crashing around me, there`s a lot of pressure on me. But look, the President has got to find out some way or the other that I`m the person that talked to this whistleblower. You know he`s after it. He`s talked about trying to find out who those people are.
Maybe the only way not just to save my country but to save myself is to actually come forward and tell what I know and hope that the Congress can put a stop to this one way or the other. You know kind of in some ways, transparency is the best defense for a lot of these people who are going to be put under enormous pressure by the president.
HAYES: Great point. Matt Miller and Jennifer Rubin, thank you both. Next, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admits he was on the call where President Trump asked for a foreign government to dig up dirt on his political opponent. Now, new concerns that Pompeo is running interference for the President at the State Department. All the details in two minutes.
HAYES: All right, so if you`ve been following along last night, we got this bit of news that the State Department Inspector General had reached out to the Congressional committees with an urgent request to brief them today. That`s strange. It doesn`t happen that often. We had no idea what was going to be about.
There are a bunch of theories circulating on Twitter on what it could be. Was it related to his efforts to reportedly -- or Mike Pompeo`s efforts to reportedly run interference for Trump? Was related to his participation in the Ukraine call?
Then this morning, Mike Pompeo came out and announced that yes, indeed he was on the call with Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: As for was I on the phone call, I was on the phone call. It was about helping the Ukrainians to get graft out and corruption outside of their government and to help now this new government in the Ukraine build a successful thriving economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Mike, we have seen the call notes. That`s not what the call was about. You can say it into the microphone but it doesn`t make it true because that`s not what the call was about. Then this afternoon, the State Department Inspector General still went up to Capitol Hill by himself to brief staffers there. And what he briefed them about in this closed-door meeting was this bizarre story.
One of the people who attended that briefing was congressman Jamie Raskin. He came out of the briefing and said that the Inspector General of the State Department had turned over an envelope that had been delivered to Mike Pompeo back in May.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): But it`s essentially a packet of propaganda and disinformation spreading conspiracy theories. Those conspiracy theories have been widely debunked and discredited. Why was Secretary of State Pompeo in possession of this packet of this information? Why did he distributed and circulated it? To whom else did he distributed and circulated? And why was his staff involved in that process?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tonight, the House investigating committees released a statement on that briefing from the State I.G. saying that these documents "reinforce the concern the President and his ally sought to use the machinery of the State Department to further the President`s political -- personal political interest."
Joining me now, the only member of Congress who was at today`s meeting with the Inspector General of the State Department, Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. All right, I think it was not classified, if I`m not mistaken. It`s an unclassified briefing. You can tell us what happened. What happened?
RASKIN: Well, essentially, he distributed this packet of information which looked immediately to me like a bunch of propaganda and disinformation, the kind that Rudy Giuliani has been passing around recently.
But the most curious thing about it was the packaging that it was in, because it was -- it came in a Manila envelope that was addressed to Secretary Pompeo attention roots as if they knew you know, who his staff was, and then it was written the White House up in the left-hand corner, but it didn`t look like an official White House stationery.
And then there were a series of sub dividers which were Trump hotel folders on the inside. This package was then given by Secretary Pompeo to his counsel who then gave it to the Inspector General. And apparently the counsel said something to the effect of -- that the Secretary reported this "came over," presumably that it came over from the White House.
HAYES: So do you -- so what`s in there? And I know you don`t want to sort of talk about the contents, because a lot of it as you said is debunk conspiracy theories. But my sense is from the tweets of Rudy Giuliani, the tweets of Don Jr., and the reporting of, if you can call it that, John Solomon at The Hill, there`s a whole right-wing narrative about this sort of Ukrainian efforts to entrap the President and to block him, and it includes the former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Is she the subject of the kind of scurrilous innuendo in the packet?
RASKIN: Yes, I would say that Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was a principal target of it. I think Hunter Biden and Joe Biden are also the targets of it. So it basically stitches together the entire either right-wing conspiracy theory meant to debunk the Mueller report, and the idea that there was you know, a comprehensive and sweeping and systematic campaign by the Russians to interfere in our election.
You know, in terms of just trying to keep all of this clear. It`s an absolute distraction from what actually happened here, which was the President shaking down Ukraine for a smear on the Biden`s and then covering that whole thing up and betraying our values in the process.
But it is interesting, it`s kind of this subsidiary story of the propaganda campaign meant to derail the truth from coming out. And it is curious how involved Secretary of State Pompeo may or may not have been in that.
HAYES: Here`s where the to link up to me. The Ambassador to Ukraine Yovanovitch was actually recalled after coming in for criticism from Giuliani and from these sorts of right-wing voices. And there`s a question there, did Pompeo do that and was that done because she was not cooperating with the shadow foreign policy being run by Giuliani with the President`s approval to coerce Ukraine into digging up dirt on Joe Biden?
RASKIN: And I`ll add to that, that the documents that we saw apparently surfaced at the Department of State at the end of April, early May, about a week or ten days before she was recalled from her job.
So that would support your theory that there was all part of a propaganda hit on the ambassador to get her out of the way so they could use the State Department, the U.S. Embassy over there for their own purposes, which were the political purposes of the President.
HAYES: I should just say as sort of close the loop on this. I think Rudy Giuliani has now told CNN that he gave Pompeo those documents. You mentioned they looked like -- Giuliani tells Michael Warren that he provided State with some of the docs the State I.G. gave to Congress today.
So your guess at the beginning of the segment that this looks like the kind of thing Rudy Giuliani was circulating was a good guess. It looks like he, in fact, was doing that.
RASKIN: Yeah, it was completely congruent with everything that Giuliani has been saying, so if it wasn`t Giuliani somebody was plagiarizing him.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Jamie Raskin, thank you very much.
Ahead, brand new reporting tonight that Donald trump used his vice president in his efforts to shakedown the Ukrainian president. What we know about what Mike Pence knew next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think you should ask for VP 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: Like Mike Pompeo, Bill Barr and of course Donald Trump, the vice president of the United States Mike Pence is absolutely up to his eyeballs in this scandal, yet somehow he hadn`t exactly been making the rounds. You know that Pence was something of a point person in communicating with Ukrainian President Zelensky. He`s has acknowledged that during an in-person meeting last month, he discussed, quote unquote, corruption with Zelensky, which has been Trump`s code word for investigating the Bidens.
And according to the whistleblower complaint, as Trump was pressuring Ukraine in may to do his political dirty work, Trump instructed Pence to cancel his planned travel to Ukraine to attend Zelensky`s inauguration. Now The Washington Post tonight said current and former U.S. officials reports this: Trump repeatedly involved Pence in efforts to exert pressure on the leader of Ukraine and used Pence to tell Zelensky that the U.S. aid was still being withheld while demanding more aggressive action on corruption.
Plus, according The Post one of Pence`s top advisers was on the July 25 call with the Ukrainian president.
I`m joined now by McKay Coppins, staff writer at The Atlantic who has written extensively about the vice president, including the profile "Gods plan for Mike Pence," which is maybe what we`re seeing come to fruit here.
What are people on Capitol Hill in Republican circles and in VP circles saying about Donald Trump absolutely doing his best to pull Mike Pence into this whole scandal?
MCKAY COPPINS, THE ATLANTIC: Well, it`s interesting, I spoke to a senior Republican Senate aid this week who said, you know, it has always been the case for the vast majority of Republican Senators that if they could magically snap their fingers and Vice President Mike Pence President Mike Pence and get rid of Donald Trump, they would do it, right? Of course that option has not been available to them and there would be certain political realities they`d have to deal with namely the severe blowback from Trump`s base.
But, you know, it has always been the case that on Capitol Hill and throughout the Republican Party, Mike Pence is seen as a safer figure, someone who`s been on their team for a longer time, somebody who is more politically aligned with them. And that dynamic is kind of the backdrop to this whole impeachment battle that we`re seeing come, because the vice- presidency in any kind of White House that`s under siege is always a radioactive subject, right? But especially when impeachment is being raised the relationship between the president and vice president becomes a lot more tense, a lot more high stakes.
And you see Trump now pulling Vice President Pence into this story in what seems like a very deliberate attempt to remind Republicans that, you know, I`m not going to go down alone if you guys decide to abandon me.
HAYES: Not only pulling in the story after the fact, but in weaving him into the fabric of the actual impeachable offenses. So you have a Pence staffer who`s on the call. You have Pence goes and talks to Zelensky and The Washington Post reporting that that call would have almost certainly been in his briefing book, and then Pence is the one who delivers -- he actually delivers the explicit quid pro quo. Pence is the one who says the aid is being held up until you crack down on corruption, which at that point Zelensky knows exactly what he`s talking about because he already talked to the president.
COPPINS: I have to say, though, that Washington Post story is really fascinating, both for the text which you just laid out, this idea that Pence is, you know, was involved wittingly or unwittingly in this effort to pressure the Ukrainian government, but also for the subtext. There`s a really fascinating political subtext to the story, which is that I don`t know who these reporters spoke to, they`re very good reporters, I have no reason to question the story.
But what`s interesting is it seems that they spoke to two different camps of U.S. officials, because they quote officials close to Pence who are insisting anonymously, but insisting to The Washington Post that Pence did not know that he was being -- that Trump was trying to investigate Joe Biden, that they didn`t know what was actually going on here, and then you have other officials who say that`s absurd, of course he would have known for all the reasons you just laid out.
But the subtext here is that there seems to be at least some rift between a Pence loyal camp and a Trump loyal camp. And that rift might just be small and it might be just on the margins, but that could become very important in the weeks and months ahead.
HAYES: I read the article the exact same way you did, which is there are sources on both sides, and the Pence people being like, well, he didn`t read his briefing book, and of course he didn`t know, and sources on the other side being like well it was in the briefing book and he probably, a staffer was on the call, and he delivered the message to Zelensky. And he was up in his ears, so good luck with that.
McKay Coppins, thanks for being with me.
Still ahead the president`s barbaric border wall machinations. A reporter tracked down the story ahead. Plus, Finland`s president held hostage during a grow man`s temper tantrum. That`s tonight`s Thing One, Thing two, which you do not want to miss starting next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, Trump and the president of Finland have a bit of a complicated relationship. We got our first window into that relationship last November when Trump made these infamous comments following the devastating wildfires in California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Got to take care of the floors, you know, the floors of the forest, very important. You look at other countries where they do it differently and it`s a whole different story. I was with the president of Finland and he said we have a much different -- we`re a forest nation. He called it a forest nation. And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don`t have any problem, and when it is it`s a very small problem.
So I know everybody`s looking at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Nope, no one was looking at that. The president was roundly mocked for that in both this country and Finland where Finns took their rakes and even vacuums out to the forest to troll him.
The Finnish president denied ever even having a discussion with Trump about raking the forests. So when the president of Finland arrived at the White House for a visit, we were expecting things might get a little awkward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Ask this gentleman a question, don`t be rude. Ask the president of Finland a question, please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was a long day at the White House for the president of Finland. And that`s Thing two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So many world leaders have had to sit awkwardly next to President Trump as he railed against the gathered media for one thing or another. Today it was the president of Finland who got to visit on the day that Donald Trump`s whole world was coming apart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We don`t call him Shifty Schiff for nothing. He`s a shifty, dishonest guy.
You know, there`s an expression, he couldn`t carry his blank strap. I won`t say it, because they`ll say it was so terrible to say. But that guy couldn`t carry his blank strap. Do you understand that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I think we understand. I think so.
The body language of the Finnish president was a sight to behold as Trump ranted, raved and then went in for a knee touch -- no, no, no thank you. Take your tiny hands off me.
As the photo op dragged on, the Finnish president`s disconcerted looks prompted comparisons to Jim from The Office.
Later in the afternoon, the two presidents moved to East Room for a joint press conference and things did not get any better.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think somebody who`s really nice, a really nice person -- I think they`re all nice in Finland.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For President Niinisto, because this is the biggest issue here at the moment I have to ask what kind of favors has Mr. Trump asked from you?
TRUMP: Or the other way around, you mean?
SAULI NIINISTO, PRESIDENT OF FINLAND: What favors I ask...
TRUMP: I think you mean the other way around.
NIINISTO: Both ways, OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, all in all, probably not quite what he expected from his White House visit, but he did leave us with some words of wisdom before the day was over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIINISTO: Mr. president, you here have a great democracy. Keep it going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is recovering in a Las Vegas hospital this evening after he had a non-surgical procedure to have two stents successfully inserted to open a blocked artery. He is conversing and in good spirits, according to the campaign. Just hours ago, tweeted out none of us know when a medical emergency might effect us, and no one should fear going bankrupt if it occurs. Medicare for all.
The 78-year-old Sanders expected to be off the trail for just the coming few days. His campaign says they are canceling several events until further notice.
It`s worth noting here just how grindingly fatiguing the schedule of most presidential candidates is, including Bernie Sanders, up to 10 events a day sometimes. Sanders, for instance, was in Vegas for our own MSNBC forum on gun violence where candidates offered their policy visions two years after the deadliest mass shooting in post-war America which killed 58 people and injured hundreds of others.
Now, the next big campaign event is a debate on October 15, which will officially feature 12 Democrats on the stage, that`s a lot. Tulsi Gabbard and tom Steyer have now qualified for that debate. And right now, the polling landscape looks fairly similar to what it has been -- Biden, Warren, Sanders at the top. Biden holding fairly steady, Warren making significant gains. In fact, in the latest national opinion poll from Monmouth University, Warren actually leads the Democratic primary field by three points nationally followed by Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
Still at this early stage, voters have plenty of time to decide. The Iowa caucus, the first contest, still four months away.
HAYES: As of tonight, multiple outlets have now confirmed reporting in The New York Times yesterday that was part of a new forthcoming book about the president and immigration. The key parts to the story are the president`s discussion of an insane wall system with, quote, a water filled trench stocked with snakes or alligators, president urging American border patrol to commit atrocities, such as shooting migrants in the legs.
Also, as is broken first by Jake Tapper at CNN and subsequently confirmed, the president instructing acting secretary of Homeland Secretary Kevin McAleenan to break the law, offering him a pardon in exchange.
Today, the president on a long and typically unhinged rant attempted to deny the story by attacking the paper he thought published it, The Washington Post. He went on for like several minutes, even though it was actually published by The New York Times.
Here with me now one of the writers of that piece, Michael Shear of The New York Times, co-author of "Border Wars: Inside Trump`s Assault on Immigration."
Michael, I want to talk about the context of shoot them in the legs, because that`s the thing that has stuck with me the most. It`s such a violent, grim, and lawless instruction. What was the context?
MICHAEL SHEAR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: So the context actually started out in the public. If you will remember, this is the time when the president is very concerned about caravans coming up from Central America to the border. The caravans were -- some people in the caravans were caught throwing rocks at members of the military and the president mused aloud publicly whether or not the military could just shoot them in response and said they throw rocks, we`ll use rifles.
The officials in his administration raced to get to him and say, Mr. President, you can`t do that. The use of force guidelines don`t allow you to respond, don`t allow the military to respond lethally with rifles in order to rappel some folks that are throwing rocks. In a meeting a few days later, after he finally sort of relented and said OK I understand that, you can`t do that, he said but I have an idea. What if we just shoot them in the legs to slow them down? And our reporting for the book suggested that the aides sat stunned silently and said, no, Mr. President, that`s not allowed either. You can`t do that either.
And that was sort of the context. He never -- obviously never went through with it, but the aides that we talked to suggested to us that it felt like a serious at least idea or suggestion from him.
HAYES: And then there is the also the offer of a pardon to McAleenan where he tells them to sort of break the law. What`s the context for that?
SHEAR: You know, that`s -- this is all happening -- this happens in this week in which the president starts the week by suggesting that he wants to shut the border down at noon the next day. His administration officials rush to try to stop him from doing that, knowing that such a thing would be catastrophic on a human level, trapping people on both sides of the border, 2,000-mile border, one of the most heavily traveled and $200 billion worth of goods goes back and forth.
He finally relents on that, says, OK, I won`t close the border down, but as he is traveling to a photo op at the wall turns to McAleenan and says, you know, we`ll just, you know, keep people out. We just won`t let them in, we won`t let the asylum seekers in, we won`t let any of the people that are trying to get in come in, just turn them away, the country is full. And he says to McAleenan, if you return into any legal problems, I will pardon you.
I mean, it was all a part of this effort that he did for much of the last three years to kind of reach for extreme ideas to keep people out of the country.
HAYES: More than that, I mean, there are multiple incidents as reported in your book of the president essentially not viewing the law as a binding constraint. I mean, time and time again he says do a thing that is against the law and people say that`s not lawful and he basically doesn`t care.
I mean, they pushed back against him when things weren`t legal, when they thought things weren`t moral or ethical and also when they thought things weren`t practical when they just couldn`t do them. I mean, closing the 2,000 mile border just isn`t practical, whether it would be legal or moral in the first place. And the president sometimes could be talked out of things and sometimes pushed forward.
One of the things that everybody told us as we interviewed folks for the book was they would talk him out of something, they would think that he had sort of let it go, and then he would come back to it again and again, the idea of an electrified fence, the idea of spikes on the top of a wall that could pierce human flesh so if people tried to climb over it, they would be maimed and hurt. That didn`t just happen once, that was a conversation that he would have and people would sort of talk him out of it and he would come back to it again.
HAYES: All right, Michael Shear, the co-author of "Border Wars: Inside Trump`s Assault on Immigration," that comes on the scoop from yesterday. Thank you so much for all of that reporting.
SHEAR: Thank you very much, Chris.
HAYES: That does it for us on ALL IN this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END