STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: He says he`s pressing ahead but even before this, there were already doubts about his path to the nomination. Fortunes change fast in politics. This race seems stable right now but for all we know, we could be on the cusp of a major shakeup.
That is HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s lucky that I`m the president because I guess I don`t know what. A lot of people said very few people could handle it.
HAYES: New subpoenas and a new whistleblower.
TRUMP: You can`t impeach a president for doing a great job.
HAYES: Tonight, as the case for impeachment keeps getting worse for the president, new reporting on Trump allies trying to profit in Ukraine, and why Donald Trump is warming up the buzz for Rick Perry.
TRUMP: He put glasses on so people will think he`s smart.
HAYES: Plus, today`s court ruling that found the President is not immune from criminal investigation. Why the president`s surprise Syria move is angering potential impeachment jurors.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I like President Trump. I`ve tried to help. This to me is just unnerving to its core.
HAYES: And my exclusive interview with the Cambridge Analytical whistleblower on what he calls the plot to break America.
CHRISTOPHER WYLIE, CANADIAN DATA CONSULTANT: Cambridge Analytica is specialized in misinformation, spreading rumors, kompromat, and propaganda.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. We already know the basics of President Trump`s Ukraine`s scandal thanks to the actual call record that the White House itself released. Remember, I would like you to do us a favor though. And thanks to a bunch of things that have been admitted to by the President or just things that have been done publicly and established in the record, not subject to public dispute.
What it all amounts to is a corrupt abuse of power worthy of high crimes and misdemeanors. But, but it doesn`t mean we know everything. You see, we keep learning more and more. And every new thing we learned does make the whole scandal look worse.
Last week we got text that showed the extent to which officials in the State Department like the President`s hand-picked ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland was operating behind the scenes. And how he seemed to recognize that what the President was doing was a corrupt quid pro quo was trying to get his cover story together.
A man who regurgitated this totally not at all rehearsed very natural text about the lack of quid pro quo that Trump appointed Gordon Sondland -- that Trump appointed Gordon Sunland is scheduled to be deposed by the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs Committee tomorrow.
There are also more people to talk to get a clearer sense of just how wide the scope of this scandal was including Marie Yovanovitch former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who you might remember was apparently fired, pushed out of the way, because she just refused to go along with Trump and Giuliani scheme. Well, she`s going to be deposed on Friday.
And then yesterday we found out there is a second whistleblower. This one is being represented by the same law firm as the first. But unlike the first whistleblower who says they collected information from people with direct knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Trump`s Ukraine call, the newest whistleblower apparently has first-hand knowledge.
The White House wants this to be one little phone call that was perfect but it`s just not. The scope of the scandal just gets bigger and bigger every day because here`s what`s becoming more and more clear. The sum total of American foreign policy toward Ukraine was and is about the President`s fixation with getting them to investigate his political enemies.
And now a new person has been dragged into this. Axios reports that Trump told House Republicans that his perfect phone call was actually not even his idea, it was Energy Secretary Rick Perry`s idea. According to Axios, Trump said something the effect of "Not a lot of people know this but I didn`t even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to, something about a natural gas plant."
Remember that bid about the Ukrainian natural gas, we`re going to get to that in a few minutes. And today in a press conference in Lithuania, Perry said it was true. He pressed Trump to call it Ukraine`s president although he did not really say why.
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RICK PERRY, ENERGY SECRETARY, UNITED STATES: Absolutely, I asked the president multiple times, Mr. President, we think it is in the United States and in Ukraine`s best interest that you and the president of Ukraine have conversations that you discuss the options that are there, so absolutely, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The options, what were the options? I`m sure House Democrats look forward to hearing more about the origin of that call with the impeachment inquiry now in full swing. Just today, in fact, the House Intelligence Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committee subpoenaed the Secretary of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget Acting Director for documents and communications about the President`s decision to halt military aid to Ukraine. They now have until next Tuesday, October 15th, to turn over those documents.
Joining me now, a member of two of those committees are investigating the President, Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois who sits on both the House Intelligence and Oversight Committees. We`ll start with what`s scheduled now with Gordon Sondland tomorrow, as well as, Marie Yovanovitch later in the week. Do you anticipate any problems or are you going to be able to speak to those people and get what you need from them?
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Well, with the Trump administration, you never know until they actually show up. But as of now, it appears that these depositions should proceed and it`s going to be staffed led. So hopefully a very detailed questioning will come about.
HAYES: What do you say the people say look, what exactly more do we need to know here? I mean we have the call notes, we have Giuliani being very public saying I`m meddling an investigation, we now have texts from Volker and some on the people at the State Department. What more do you want to know, think we need to know in coming to some conclusion about what the facts indicate about the President`s possible commission of high crimes and misdemeanors?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Sure. Well, I think that one of the basic allegations within the whistleblower complaint was that this was not just one call but it was an alleged scheme over many months. And so I think one of the central questions is you know, what`s the parameters of this scheme, who was involved, who was directing it, and what are the other pieces of evidence that could back up or support the allegations in the whistleblower complaint.
HAYES: There`s some question now -- I know that Rudy Giuliani, I believe, and some of his associates have been subpoenaed. I believe Giuliani has said that he just telling the Daily Beast, I think they`re totally illegitimate speaking about the oversight committees. I`m going to go in front of a committee with a chairman who`s a liar. I think it`s a reference to Chairman Adam Schiff.
What do you think about this idea that Giuliani and others will simply balk at the requests and subpoenas being issued?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think that was initially what was thought. The outcome would be when we first asked for the whistleblower complaint as well as the I.G. report and so forth, they ended up coughing it up in part because of incredible public pressure, and these whistleblowers who are coming forward to tell their side of the story.
They`re to be commended for doing so but I think that creates a lot of pressure, Chris, on folks like Giuliani and others to basically rebut the presumption that something was very wrong in the way that they were talking to the Ukrainians, exerting a pressure campaign on them to basically meddle in our 2020 elections.
HAYES: Final question. Do you know who the second whistleblower is?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I do not.
HAYES: Does your committee -- do any of the committees?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: To my knowledge, nobody knows except for potentially the Inspector General and of course the attorney for the whistleblower. One thing I just want to say, Chris, very briefly is that we are in an extremely unusual situation right now where the President is trying to actively identify the first whistleblower.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: And he`s trying to do so for one purpose which is to somehow potentially retaliate against him or discourage him or her from coming forward and telling their story. That`s why in part we`re doing everything in our power to prevent this whistleblower`s identity from being disclosed. And we also want to commend the whistleblower and invite others to come forward with evidence of wrongdoing if they`re watching right now.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, thank you very much.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: As the president runs around barking the word corruption in every open microphone, we get this jaw-dropping story from The Associated Press that shows that Rudy Giuliani and a bunch of his business associates were, and I quote here, trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine`s massive state gas company.
Their plan was then stir lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies. Basically, a much more acute and corrupt version of the kind of corruption Trump has been accusing his political opponents of.
And remember how Trump reportedly said Rick Perry wanted him to call the Ukrainian President about a natural gas plant? The A.P. also reports that Perry was also urging Ukraine`s president to remove members of the Ukrainian state gas company`s advisory board and replace them with other candidates including a former campaign donor.
Joining me now, one of the reporters on this story Desmond Butler, Journalist of AP`s international investigation team and Julia Ioffe Correspondent for G.Q. Her latest piece is titled "Here`s why Ukraine pops up in so many Ukraine -- U.S. scandals.
Desmond, let me begin with you. It was a great piece of reporting. What were you able to learn about what Giuliani and his associates were up to from a business standpoint in Ukraine?
DESMOND BUTLER, JOURNALIST, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, I don`t know what we`re going to learn but what we did learn is that Giuliani was pushing for a removal of people at the national gas company at the very time that he was also you know, trying to keep them -- get them to investigate Biden.
HAYES: Right. But my understanding too is that the reporting indicated that there was essentially a pecuniary interest here, that there were people that were hoping that their connections could get them in a position in which they could acquire lucrative contracts and perhaps the wheels would be greased by their association with the President or Giuliani.
BUTLER: That`s right. There was a meeting in Houston attended by Giuliani and two of his associates where they met with an executive at the gas company and they were -- they were -- they basically told him look we`re going to -- we`re going to get your boss removed. We want you to take over and you know, the obvious implication is you`re going to -- you`re going to help us with some business.
HAYES: Julia, your piece is sort of about the kind of money sloshing around Ukraine, the various foreign interests from the West, the E.U., Russia who are attempting to play factions off each other. What`s your understanding of how we got to this point? JULIA IOFFE, CORRESPONDENT, G.Q.: Well, the way we got to this point was started in the fall of 2013 when Ukraine became caught again in this tug of war between Russia and the West in terms of who Ukraine signed up with in terms of an economic cooperation agreement.
Fast forward, you know, the demonstrators force out a pro-Moscow President, Russia invades the country, that`s all in our news cycle, and you know, the tug of war kind of accelerates and the stakes get higher. And there`s a lot of American aid flowing in, a lot of Russian aid flowing in.
And you know, in some ways, Ukraine is a lot like Russia in the sense that once these big state enterprises that inherited from the Soviet Union got privatized, they went to a very small amount of people that developed these clans around them and they have a ton of money concentrated in a very small number of hands and -- but it`s a lot freer, it`s a lot more competitive than Russia. It doesn`t have the same kind of state apparatus of intimidation by force that Russia does.
So it`s a lot easier for outside powers to come in and get -- or outside players to come in and get rich and demand crazy contracts like by the way Bernie Sanders former 2016 campaign chief strategist who demanded $10,000 a day plus travel back in 2014, or Hunter Biden who was getting paid as much as $50,000 a month, or Trump`s campaign manager, let`s not forget, Paul Manafort who made nearly $13 million in cash in just five years.
I mean these are -- these people are not people who would get paid this much in the U.S. or Europe. They`re not people who are qualified. They`re often people who don`t have the same kind of let`s say rigorous moral requirements which is why they go to work in a place like Ukraine to begin with.
HAYES: So what doesn`t -- to Rick Perry who`s one person who is unlike a sort of freelancing Giuliani or these business associates who were trying to maybe get their way to some Ukrainian contracts, what is Perry`s role who`s obviously an actual cabinet official who`s actually having -- representing the U.S. government?
BUTLER: Yes, I mean, he was representing the U.S. government at the inauguration of the new Ukrainian president. And he took the time in -- during a meeting with the president to hand him a list of people that he thought would be good to advise the gas company. And he later made clear that he`d like some of those people to be on the supervisory board.
HAYES: I just want to be clear. Rick Perry representing the U.S. government at the inauguration of President Zelensky gives him a written list of names of who should be on the state gas company board including people that had contributed to Rick Perry?
BUTLER: Yes, that`s true. At least one of them is somebody who he appointed to a board when he was governor of Texas.
HAYES: This seems wild to me. Desmond Butler, Julia Ioffe, thank you both. Next, a federal judge says President Trump can be investigated and is obligated to turn over eight years of tax returns to the Manhattan D.A. The court ruling that found the president is not immune from criminal investigations in two minutes.
HAYES: A federal judge today is issued a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump lawyers who are seeking to keep his tax returns out of the hands of the Manhattan D.A. who has subpoenaed them in a criminal investigation. Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance subpoenaed eight years of returns last month.
Trump`s lawyers sued to block the subpoena arguing essentially that not only can a present not be indicted while in office but he cannot be even criminally investigated at all which includes subpoenas for documents. The Justice Department also sued to block the subpoena citing "significant constitutional issues raised by the President`s lawyers."
Today District Judge Victor Marrero and a 75-page opinion says the idea that a president can be shielded from any criminal investigation is absurd, "because this court finds aspects of such a doctrine repugnant to the nation`s governmental structure and constitutional values."
Trump`s lawyers quickly sought and obtained a temporary stay which means he won`t have to turn over tax returns while they appeal up to the circuit court. But as the President finds himself in more than half a dozen legal battles with Congress and others about what he can keep secret, this ruling is as bad an omen as it gets about how judges will interpret his above the law arguments.
To talk more about the implications here, I`m joined by Maya Wiley former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and an MSNBC Legal Analyst and Harry Litman former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
Maya, let me start with you. The language in the opinion is striking. The President asserts an extraordinary claim the person who serves as president while in office enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind. This court cannot endure such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process as being countenanced by the nation`s constitutional plan.
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, I think that`s a direct reflection on the nature of the arguments that Donald Trump`s attorneys made because the only conclusion you can come to in reading their arguments is Donald Trump is in fact above the law. So the judge is literally addressing the arguments that they have made.
Now he doesn`t say this in his opinion, but remember the Donald Trump -- his lawyers have made the same argument that Congress can`t see his tax returns. So they`re essentially saying no one can. No one can. So at least it would have been a more constitutionally grounded argument -- I would have disagreed with it, but it would be more grounded if you would at least that this isn`t the role of the courts, this is the role of Congress.
But really what they`re saying is nobody gets to do this. And one other thing just to underscore, it`s a small nuanced difference from the way you`re opening described it but I think legally it`s an important one. Donald Trump has not been subpoenaed. He`s filing a lawsuit to prevent --
HAYES: I`m sorry, that`s a good point.
WILEY: -- to prevent third parties from complying --
HAYES: Third parties from handing over the documents. Great point.
WILEY: So one of the constitutional arguments about investigating a sitting president is that it will somehow disrupt his ability to do his job. Well, he doesn`t have to do anything because these are subpoenas to third parties. All he needs to do is sit back and watch the news.
HAYES: That`s a -- that is a great point. There`s also -- to Maya`s point, Harry about you know, maybe Congress can do this, they`ve been running this sort of three-card Monte where when they go to court to fight congressional subpoenas, they say Congress isn`t a law enforcement body, it`s not an investigative body, it has to have some legislative purpose.
And then when actual law enforcement body like the Manhattan D.A. goes, and they goes no, no, they can`t do this. This isn`t a criminal problem. Maybe Congress can do it. They`re trying to basically get it both ways in both tellings (ph) of the argument.
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: That really is a perfect analogy. And today, the music stops and behold, in fact, they don`t -- they`re not holding the card and it matters. Their thinking to date has been what the heck will run these meritless arguments and we`ll stall for time. And so what if we get a rebuke?
But this shows it`s not cost-free. Congress is wisely pursuing a second article of impeachment about the -- about Trump and the administration actually stonewalling Congress` investigation. And if you collect a series of court arguments calling it repugnant, limitless, against what the framers had in mind, that is just fodder for that second count and they have to think about it seriously. And I think other district courts may weigh in likewise.
HAYES: We should also say from a time perspective that this is going to be heard on appeal in an expedited way on the merits not just the sort of preliminary injunction that was granted. So there`s another thing a judge did that I want to talk about which is also really striking. This is Judge Amy Berman Jackson, all right.
HAYES: A fascinating thing happens last week, a long-running lawsuit about the Trump White House preserving records of calls with foreign leaders suddenly incredibly relevant preceded to Zelensky stuff but suddenly very relevant. They tell DOJ you got to save these records. Are you going to do it? And DOJ goes silent for 24 hours. And then they come back and they go, yes, we will.
Now, it usually went in there, right? The judge would trust them to. But the judge actually ordered them even after they said we`re going to save these records, order the White House to preserve records of Trump`s dealings with foreign leaders. Is that as an extraordinary a condemnation of the level of trust she has in them and I feel like it is?
WILEY: Yes. It`s extraordinary. Because normally the government believes the government.
WILEY: I mean, remember these are both federal -- this is both federal -- these are two federal entities, right? And normally you have full expectation that there will be some honor, some -- and some deep abiding of the law --
HAYES: If the tell you something --
WILEY: If they tell you something, they are putting their word on the table and you can accept it. So what the judge is saying is I don`t trust you. And that`s a sounded statement.
LITMAN: Which is amazing.
WILEY: That`s a sounded statement.
LITMAN: Yes, and it shows, in fact, the real cost of the kind of a solid rule. One other point to add, Chris, the order rant expressly to the president, so he`s under personal order not to do anything. That is a stunning vote of no-confidence from a district court.
HAYES: They would normally not do that you`re saying?
LITMAN: It would have nothing to do with the -- right it would be the administration.
WILEY: I don`t know that they`ve ever done that --
LITMAN: To not only not take their word but to single out the President personally, that`s a statement.
HAYES: The President of the United States better not be like running things through the shredder. Maya Wiley and Harry Litman, thank you both for joining us.
LITMAN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Ahead, Trump`s abrupt announcement to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria is alienating Republican senators who might one day be his impeachment jurors. That`s next.
HAYES: For five years, the U.S. has been at the head of international coalition to defeat ISIS. They`ve had a bunch of partners including the Iraqi government, opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and perhaps most important allies, armed Kurdish forces at the border of Turkey in Syria who are an unbelievably ferocious fighting force, and many believe had done more than just about anyone else to roll back ISIS. And those Kurdish forces currently control a big swath of land in Syria on the Turkish border.
Now, here`s the problem. There is almost nothing in the world that the president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan is more worried about than the prospect of Kurdish independence. The Kurds, of course, have long wanted independence and Erdogan doesn`t want them to have it. And he and his government have been threatening basically forever, that as soon as this whole ISIS fight is over, they`re just going to roll right through and clean out those Kurdish forces.
And now for five years across two different administrations, U.S. policy has been no, those are our allies. We`re not going to let that happen. We won`t let you Turkey massacre them until last night, out of nowhere, with no formal process.
Surprising everyone, the White House releases a statement saying, "Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria. U.S. Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation. The U.S. forces having defeated the ISIS territorial Caliphate will no longer be in the immediate area. In other words, have at it, Turkey, I`ll get out of the way.
Now, this blindsided pretty much everyone, particularly those on the ground fighting there. Trump made the decision after a phone call yesterday with Erdogan himself which NBC News reported was held to try to ease the Turkish leader`s fury that he didn`t get a one on one meeting with Trump last month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
He was really slighted, one former U.S. officials said, so Trump tried to smooth it over. And so that I guess here we are. I should be clear. Nobody knows what the actual policy is. Defense Secretary Mark Esper tweeted the U.S. does not endorse a Turkish operation in northern Syria and pointed to a statement, but then he deleted the tweet.
Senators from both parties including many staunch Trump allies are freaking out condemning the move. Marco Rubio, for one, calling it a grave mistake amid merging reports that Turkey has already begun attacking the Kurds in that area as the U.S. withdraws.
And then there`s the fact the President himself seem to kind of maybe walk back his announcement though, who knows what to make of this completely deranged tweet, in which he claimed, "If Turkey does anything that I in my great and unmatched wisdom, considered to be off-limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey. I`ve done before."
Joining me now to help sort this all out is Ben Rhodes. He served as Deputy National Security Advisor under President Obama. He`s also an MSNBC Political Analyst. Also with me George Mason University Law Professor Jamil Jaffer, former Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Ben, let me start with you. First, I guess, what does -- what does all this mean? I mean, what does it mean, what the President said last night?
BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it means that we`re selling out our closest allies. And look, the turning point in the counter-ISIS campaign was in 2014 you will recall there was a battle of the Syrian Kurdish town called Kabani.
HAYES: Kabani, yes.
RHODES: Yes. We started airdropping weapons to the Kurds, and then we started flowing weapons into the Kurds. They`re the ones who fought on the ground with U.S. air support all the way to Raqqa. Thousands of records were killed to root out and take back territory from ISIS beginning under Obama, then under Trump.
We also very carefully put U.S. advisors both to help them but also frankly, it`s a bit of a tripwire to prevent the Kurds from coming in and - - the Turks from coming in potentially massacring the Kurds. So it was U.S. policy to protect our allies. And what Donald Trump is done is against the council of his entire administration, this entire counter-ISIS campaign that we put together.
He has sold these people out and put their lives at risk just because one authoritarian leader called him up and said he wanted a favor. It`s a terrific way to make foreign policy.
HAYES: Jamil, you were I believe a Republican staffer on that Senate Foreign Relations Committee. These are the GOP center so far opposing the move, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Romney, Rubio, Ted Cruz, Susan Collins, Ben Sasse, Joni Ernst, Marsha Blackburn John Cornyn, Pat Toomey. I think a lot of people are looking at this and saying Kurdish territorial integrity turns out to be the Republican trip wire for breaking with Donald Trump, not the other stuff? Like to what do you ascribe this strong rebuke from GOP senators?
JAMIL JAFFER, FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Look, I mean it`s basic common sense. These are the people who actually defeated ISIS -- the territorial caliphate on the ground. We didn`t do it without them, they -- we did it on their backs, and so for the president to walk away from them after we spent all this time and effort defeating ISIS and them helping us, them losing lives, as Ben said correctly, is completely outrageous.
The only Republican senator to defend Donald Trump is Rand Paul, and he`s saying the same line the president is, frankly a Barack Obama line, which is end these endless wars, which is ridiculous. I mean, this is a war we didn`t choose, it was a war that was brought to us. And we owe it to our allies to stand by them.
HAYES: OK. I want to -- just to momentarily take up the Rand Paul devil`s advocate here to both of you, you know, any U.S. withdrawal, even if done thoughtfully and with allies, managed with (inaudible) particularly in Afghanistan for instance, Ben, would be at some level betraying our allies, right. I mean, there are people that we`ve worked with on the ground in Afghanistan that if U.S. forces were to leave would be in a tough position.
I guess my worry is that like the dangers is that that argument applies in all places of current U.S. military activity and ergo no withdrawal from anywhere is ever OK. What say you, Ben and then Jamil?
RHODES: Yes, you know, you know Chris, I`m sympathetic to that point except here`s the reality, it`s not like we`re losing service members in Syria. We`ve cleared out this territory. The main function of having people there is to maintain relations with those Kurds on the ground and frankly to prevent Turkey from coming in and massacring them, which could give ISIS, by the way, another opening to reestablish itself in Syria. This is a small number of U.S. troops that is having an out-sized role in terms of protecting these Kurds.
I do agree with you at the same time, though, the Republicans have stood by and done nothing while Trump has repeatedly broken international agreements, repeatedly picked fights with our allies. They should not be surprised, somehow, that this is the approach he would take on this particular issue.
If you want to end that presence, you can manage it over time, negotiate it over time and try to do so in a way that protects the livelihoods of those Kurds who fought with us. What he`s doing is a rash and impetuous way of essentially going after -- going against the advice of his entire government and all of our coalition here and leaving these people hung out to dry. That`s not how you end wars, you have to end wars responsibly.
JAFFER: Well, look, Ben likes to talk about ending wars responsibility, but the reality is President Trump was rightly critical of President Obama for pulling out of of Iraq, creating that vacuum for ISIS to walk into. He is now repeating the exact same mistake in Syria. It was a mistake then in Iraq, it`s a mistake now. The president is rightly being castigated by Republicans and Democrats for this error.
HAYES: Wait a second. Let me just ask you this, since you seem passionate about this. I`m just so struck like the president was, like, talking about members of congress should go back to where they came from even though they were Americans. He had a crowd chanting send her back. He the other he was like soliciting Chinese secret police investigations, I guess, of the Bidens. I don`t know who would do it, if you`re asking the Chinese state.
Like what is it that now all of a sudden this, this thing is the thing that makes everyone feel emboldened to come out and be passionate about , like this is where Donald Trump lost them?
JAFFER: Look, it`s a fair point. There are reasons to be rightly critical of the president for a variety of other things, whether it`s Ukraine or other stuff. But this is a huge moment. Republicans have always thought national security is our thing, right. We defend our allies. We make our enemies afraid of us. And this is a great example of Donald Trump doing something that is emboldening our enemies and making our allies not trust us.
HAYES: I`m really curious to see how this goes in the next few days both for the people on the ground and people under bombing and also here in the U.S. Ben Rhodes and Jamil Jaffer, thank you both for being with me tonight.
Still ahead, remember the Trump campaign`s data mining firm, Cambridge Analytica? Te whistle-blower from that company joins me for an exclusive interview. But first tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, there are two places where you can see the total and complete breakdown our president appears to be having right before our eyes happening right now. One of them is on Twitter where this weekend`s barrage of crazy including a demand that Mitt Romney be impeached, video clips from the Sunday shows and Trump TV and plenty of all caps Internet shouting.
The other place is, of course, every single public appearance he makes. Today was a press event to announce trade deals with Japan where all the invited guests got to stand there for an hour while the president rants and raves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is a scam. And the people are wise to it. And that`s why my polls went up I think they said 17 points in the last two or three days. I`ve never had that one.
Digital is becoming a very big factor in the world. They even have signs, make China great again, make Hong Kong great again. I`m saying get those signs.
A lot of American flags. A lot of Trump signs.
It`s a very powerful wall. It`s got everything you can have.
We had mountain climbers literally come in, which is the hardest one to climb.
You can`t impeach a president for doing a great job.
(BEGIN VIDEO LCIP)
HAYES: Brief fact check there, his polls did not go up 17 points in the last few days.
But don`t feel bad for those people standing there, they`ve got a front row seat to history. Much like the group who got to witness and Trump teleprompter apocalypse on Friday. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: We`ve documented the Trump teleprompter trick many times here on Thing One, Thing Two where the president stumbles over a thing and then pretends he meant to say it that way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She goes by DJ and CJ. He said call me either one.
We will arrive at a peace and a place.
They sacrifice every day for the furniture and future of their children.
Authority and authoritarian powers.
Through their lives, and though their lives were cut short.
Tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But with the impeachment inquiry swirling, the pressure on the president had an all-time high, it`s like he`s not even concerned with the script.
At an event on Friday, we`re not sure he got any part of it right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: My administration is fighting with everyone and all our heart to reverse the pain inflicted by Democrat leaders and to deliver hope and opportunity and prosperity for all Americans, but for African-American communities all throughout our land. Together, we will express the corruption, we will defeat the socialists, we will defraud -- and I`ll tell you what, we will do what we have to do, but we will stop defrauding all of the people in our country, because they`ve defrauded the people in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tomorrow is a big day in the life of one Gordon Sondland, a man who has basically, well, nationally anonymous before last week and is now about to be extremely famous. Maybe, if things go really sideways, John Mitchell indicted in Watergate famous. Who knows.
If the name is ringing a bell it is because Sondland is the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who is neck deep in the Ukraine scandal, even though Ukraine isn`t even in the European Union.
Last week, we got to read Sondland`s texts in which he was desperately trying to keep things out of writing and cover for the president. When confronted with a text from a career diplomat named Bill Taylor, U.S. chief of mission Ukraine reading, quote, "I think it`s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign." It was Sondland who went quiet for five hours during which he reportedly spoke to Trump and then wrote back with this very lawyer to text message claiming that, "the president has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind. And by the way, I suggest we stop the back and forth by text."
Now, we later found out that despite what he wrote there -- oh, there`s no quid pro quos -- for everyone to eventually see, Sondland later told Republican Senator Ron Johnson that, yeah, there was a quid pro quo. Sondland indicating that the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine was contingent on an investigation desired by Trump, that`s according to Ron Johnson himself."
OK, so Sondland is right in the middle of all this, and he appears to have been the president`s point person running this entire Ukraine operation. Here he is on Ukraine on International Public Broadcasting on the day after the infamous phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDAN SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: I actually spoke with President Trump just a few minutes before he placed the call. We have what are called the three amigos, and the three amigos are Secretary Perry, again Ambassador Volker, and myself. And we`ve been tasked with sort of overseeing the Ukraine/U.S. relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. Three amigos.
If you`re wondering why was this guy the guy? The answer, he was a big donor and close to the president. That appears to be about it. He`s not a diplomat. He`s a Portland hotel developer who supported the president after initially backing Jeb Bush and gave $1 million to Trump`s inaugural committee anonymously through four different LLCs. As a thank you, it appears he ended up with this, you know, running the Ukraine portfolio.
In a profile on Sondland in The Washington Post, some White House and State Department staff were reportedly troubled by Sondland`s his role in Ukraine, they tried to block him from getting so involved, but, quote, "he rebuffed their demands to know who had granted him such authority with two words: the president."
So Gordon Sondland was doing Trump`s dirty work in Ukraine. And tomorrow Gordon Sondland is going to be deposed under oath in an impeachment inquiry. It`s a safe bet it won`t be the last that we hear of him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A whistle-blower is sounding the alarm on a data analytics firm that harvested information from millions of Americans without their permission. The firm is called Cambridge Analytica.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Facebook has banned Cambridge Analytica, a firm that ran the Trump administration`s data operations after reports emerged that the firm accessed the private information of more than 50 million users without permission.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Enabling the cynical manipulation of American citizens for the purpose of influencing an election is deeply offensive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HYAES: In the long line of bad news for Facebook, one of the first blows struck against them was by a whistle-blower from the firm Cambridge Analytica who came forward to say his firm was using all kinds of user data that people were not giving their explicit consent to share and using the information to create profiles to, among other things, help get Donald Trump elected president.
Now, since then, it feels like every week brings a new story about the insane lack of privacy and for-sale nature of Facebook`s digital behemoth. And while Cambridge Analytica closed down operations after the scandal, several of its former executives had now founded their own data firms.
That Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower Christopher Wylie has a new book out tomorrow. It`s called "Mind F*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America" and he joins me now for his first TV good to have you here.
CHRISTOPHER WYLIE, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA WHISTLE-BLOWER: Serious, thanks for having me.
HAYES: So, let`s start first with what it was, the sort of moment of conscience, what did you see that made you want to go public?
WYLIE: Yeah. Well, you know, it was a bit of a journey for me. After an outright billionaire took over the company and Steve Bannon was put in charge, you know, seeing the work that I had created at the company be inverted and essentially used to facilitate radicalization of people in the United States.
And I think, you know, one of the sort of more vivid moments is actually looking at video footage of people in focus groups or at events, and these were people who were targets of the company who had gone from just regular Americans to, you know, being so filled with rage and looking at what they looked like when, you know, they were talking about conspiracy theories and just highly racialized thinking and just -- it, you know, I took a step back and just said, you know, what am I working on? This is not right.
HAYES: So, Mercer, who is the billionaire, right -- a billionaire and Steve Bannon who had sort of both worked on Cambridge Analytica in tandem with the Trump campaign. Do you -- I guess one question I had as I was going through the book was, do you really think it works? Like you clearly do, but make the case to me as someone who thinks like wasn`t this sort of a little bit of digital snake oil they were selling?
WYLIE: Yeah, so imagine for a moment that you`re on a blind date. And you go and you sit down you and talk to a person, and it so happens they like all the same music that you do, they like all the same TV shows, they hang out with some of the same people that you do, and they seem like they just get you.
And, you know, you know, take a step back and look at, you know, well actually the reason why was because they spent two years stalking you and they were looking through your photos, they were looking through your messages. They figured out everything about you to better understand exactly how to target you. And that`s, you know, at scale what Cambridge Analytica did and that`s what Facebook allows you to do.
HAYES: Right, it`s like, oh, we share the same sensibility. I can trust you. It`s like, right, because I figured out every last detail of you.
WYLIE: I speak like you. I seem like you. I talk about the things that you`re interested in. And it develops a level of comfort and it opens up people to receiving information that they might otherwise be skeptical of.
HAYES: It`s very well said.
I want to read this except of the book about just an example of what this looks like in practice, because this really blew me away.
The chief technology officer typed in a query and a list of links popped up. He clicked on online of the many people who went by that name -- it`s just random name in Nebraska, and there was everything about her right up on the screen. Here`s her photo. Here`s where she works. Here`s her house. Here are her kids. This where they go to school. This is the car she drives. She voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. She loves Katy Perry. She drives an Audi. Not only do we have all her Facebook data, we were merging it all with commercial and state bureau data we bought as well. And imputations made from the U.S. Census. We have have data about her mortgage applications. We knew how much money she made, whether she owned a gun. We had information from her airline mileage programs, so we knew how often she flew. We could see if she was married (she wasn`t). And we had a satellite photo of her house easily obtained by Google Earth."
Do you -- is everyone`s information now down to that granular level?
WYLIE: And more so. You know, this was what Cambridge Analytica was able to procure in a couple of months, but, you know, if you look at what Google has on you, what Amazon has on you, what Facebook has on you, it`s a lot more than a lot of people realize.
You travel around with a tracking device on your phone. And if you`re able to access that, you can access a lot of information about people.
HAYES: How distinct, I guess, was what Cambridge Analytica, which has since has been shut down amidst the controversy here in which seems to have been sort of exploiting Facebook loopholes, which it`s unclear whether Facebook sort of knew or didn`t know about, how distinct or unique was what they were doing compared to other firms in the same space?
WYLIE: I think they, you know, pushed a lot of ethical boundaries. And that was in large part Steve Bannon`s doing. You know, a typical campaign doesn`t set out to identify people who are more prone to paranoid ideation, for example. This is what this firm did. If you look at the alt-right, the alt-right is a movement based on conspiratorial and paranoid ideation, people who don`t think in a normal way. And that is not a normal aspect of campaigning.
And secondly, you know, this is a company that was engaging with all kinds of things people with, you know, who were working in Russia, who were academics in Russia, who, you know, with Russian oil companies, people who have now been indicted by the Mueller investigation who are working with, you know, business partners who used to be Russian intelligence operatives.
You had a company also that was very much interfacing with lots of different Russian officials all throughout the time that they were modeling this data. And that`s not -- well, at least I would hope that`s not what a normal thing that a campaign does.
HAYES: It`s funny, you had this -- there`s a mention of Rudy Giuliani who shows up in the book. And his law firm basically warning about this back in 2014, where you were copied on a confidential memo in which he`s actually warning about U.S. law and registration of foreign agents. You say you were copied on a confidential memo by Gracewell & Giuliani, the law firm of Rudy Giuliani. The memo was emphatically clear, foreign nationals are strictly prohibited from managing or influencing an American campaign or PAC.
WYLIE: Yeah, thanks, Rudy.
HAYES: Yeah, memo recommended that Nix, who is the UK national who of course is the head of it, immediately recuse himself until the loopholes could be explored.
WYLIE: Yeah. So, but that was sent to Steve Bannon, that was sent to Alexander Nix, all the people running the company. And they just ignored it.
So they said, you know, thanks, but we`re just going to, you know, ignore this piece of advice.
HAYES: So, this was a lawyerly red flag that you guys are skirting close to the law?
WYLIE: Well, I mean, it is unlawful in the United States to have, you know, non-U.S. nationals running or influencing in a significant way American campaigns. And that`s literally what Cambridge Analytica was, it was -- there were very few Americans that were actually running it day to day. I mean, the head of it was not American and most of the executives weren`t American.
HAYES: And yet they were...
WYLIE: Steve Bannon was American, but that was about it.
HAYES: And they were essentially the kind of -- you make the argument the kind of analytic engine of the Trump campaign?
WYLIE: Yeah, but not just the Trump campaign. You know, Steve Bannon is a believer in the Breitbart doctrine, so he believes that politics, you know, flows downstream from culture, so, you know, it wasn`t just a particular moment or particular election that he wanted the company to work on, it was to really change the nature and the fabric of how people in America see themselves and see what the country is.
So when you look at, for example, this notion of build the wall, you know, in German they have an expression, (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) I probably said that wrong, but, you know, where after the reunification of the country and the wall came down, people in the West still overestimated how far away the East was. And the idea that even if you take down a physical structure, as long as that mental barrier is there, you can still have a sense of distance, psychological distancing.
And so, you know, one of the things that Bannon wanted to work on was actually changing how Americans see themselves, what America is, and also the relationships that America has with the rest of the world.
The whole point of walling it off, whether literally or just mentally walling it off, is so that you can buy time to remake the inside of it.
HAYES: The book again is "Mind F*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America." It is out tomorrow. Christopher Wylie, thank you so much.
WYLIE: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Before we go, a quick reminder, all you west coast viewers, I am personally inviting you to come join me and director Adam McKay and author Omar El Akkad for a very special stop on our Why is This Happening? world tour in Los Angeles October 21. It`s going to be gas. Go to our website and get tickets now.
That is ALL IN for 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