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Remembering Rep. Elijah Cummings. TRANSCRIPT 10/17/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Val Demings, Harry Litman, David Fahrenthold, Tammy Duckworth,Sherrilyn Ifill, Barbara Lee



MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF, WHITE HOUSE:  He looked back to what happened in 2016.  Certainly, it was part of the thing that he was worried about.

HAYES:  A White House caught red-handed now cops to a quid pro quo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So let`s be clear, you just described it as a quid pro quo.

MULVANEY:  We do that all the time with foreign policy.

HAYES:  Tonight, the Trump legal team stunned by Mick Mulvaney`s admission as a key impeachment witness points the finger at Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you here to salvage your reputation, sir?

GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO EUROPEAN UNION:  I don`t have a reputation to salvage.

HAYES:  Then, the impeachable offenses keep coming.

MULVANEY:  We`re going to do the 46th G7 Summit at the Trump National Doral.

HAYES:  The mounting backlash to the President`s choice to use the government to prop up his own personal business.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, ANALYST, FOX NEWS:  This is about as direct and profound a violation of the Emoluments Clause as one could create.

HAYES:  Plus, Senator Tammy Duckworth on the President`s head spinning concession to Turkey.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It`s really a great day for civilization.

HAYES:  And remembering the life and legacy of Congressman Elijah Cummings.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD):  Well, we`re dancing with the angels.  The question will be asked.  At 2019, what do we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes.  Having been caught red-handed secretly attempting to corruptly abuse the office the presidency for personal gain, the President has pivoted back to his old mode of operating which is openly abusing the office for personal gain.

One day after the House delivered President Trump an enormous rebuke for his feckless response to the invasion of Northeast Syria by the Turkish government, the same Turkish government that his bagman Rudy Giuliani appears who`ve been possibly working for in some way, and on the day that one of the key figures of the corrupt Ukraine schemes the subject the impeachment inquiry appeared for deposition, Donald Trump set his -- sent his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, also implicated in the corrupt Ukraine scheme, to speak to the press apparently to do two things.

One, to announce the world a new impeachable offense which is that the President of the United States will be requiring the United States federal government and foreign governments around the world to give him money.  President Trump will be hosting the G7 at his own Doral resort at Miami next June.

Doral is not a place that Trump licenses, he owns it.  All of the money that goes into the Doral goes into the Trump Organization and ultimately into the President`s pocket.  On its face, this is a direct violation of the Constitution, even a high crime and misdemeanor.

There will be millions and millions of dollars spent for the event.  There will be incalculable amounts of global publicity for the event.  That was big news.  But then the other thing that Mick Mulvaney decided to do was just go ahead and admit a quid pro quo in the Ukraine scandal.

Remember, we already have the White House notes from Trump`s call with the Ukraine president.  The President is clearly coercing a foreign leader.  Right after the Ukrainian President asks for military assistance to help his currently occupied country, President Trump immediately says I would like you to do us a favor though.

The quid and the quo are basically cuddled up next to each other in that conversation as tight as can be.  That`s already there.  We also have an incredible amount of evidence just floating around that it was a quid pro quo.  The U.S. chief of mission for Ukraine remember wrote a text saying, "I think it`s crazy to withhold security sister for help with a political campaign."

But remember the line from everyone has been no quid pro quo, the President and everyone else.  Well, today, Mick Mulvaney came out to say actually, yes, quid pro quo.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he ordered you to withhold funding to Ukraine?

MULVANEY:  The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation.  And that is absolutely appropriate.  Get over it. 

There`s going to be political influence in foreign policy.

I was involved with the process by which the money was held up temporarily, OK.  Three issues for that, the corruption in the country, whether or not other countries were participating the support of the Ukraine and whether or not they were cooperating in an ongoing investigation with our Department of Justice.  That`s completely legitimate.


HAYES:  Now, let`s be clear here, that`s not how you do to plot diplomacy.  In fact, after Mick Mulvaney said that in front of the cameras in front of the whole world about cooperating with a Justice Department investigation, a senior Justice Department official told NBC News, "If the White House was withholding aid from Ukraine with regard to any investigation by the Justice Department, that is news to us.

Second of all, the claim that the quid pro quo was only about that insane rabbit hole conspiracy theory about the Democratic National Committee somehow hacking itself and then framing Russia is also obviously implausible because we all know the president wanted two things.  He wanted that crazy conspiracy theory investigated and he wanted to investigate the Biden`s again.  You don`t have to look far, it`s all in the call notes that the White House itself released.

The hair-splitting Mulvaney is doing here doesn`t pass the smell test.  And third of all, again, no, this is not how it works.  No one does this.  This is how a corrupt administration works.  That press conference apparently detonated like a bomb in the middle of the deposition of this guy, our good friend Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.  Sondland, you`ll remember, the key figure in all this.  One of the three amigos Trump had running point on Ukraine policy.

He was allegedly consulting with Rudy Giuliani.  He had no expertise in Ukraine.  He got his job likely because he gave $1 million to the Trump inaugural committee.  And he is also currently embroiled in his own separate scandal where he`s spending public money to refurbish his official residence in Brussels including over $33,000 on wooden household furniture and over $200,000 on a professional kitchen remodel.

That`s a textbook scandal that public officials resign over, textbook.  So that guy, Sondland today came before the House Committee to essentially attempt to save his hide and point the finger to Rudy Guiliani.  He just finished his deposition less than an hour ago after nearly ten hours before the investigating committees.

In his opening statement, Sondland said Rudy Giuliani told him President Donald Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate both the 2016 election and the Biden`s.  Whatever Sondland tried to say to get himself off the hook, there are already a lot of other people saying he is at the core of this entire corrupt and lawless enterprise.

We know he is the guy who relayed the President`s no quid pro quo cover story in a text message after he told to talk to the President.  He is also the guy Gordon Sondland who our own Josh Lederman reports, after the end of the meeting with Ukrainian officials took them to another room to quietly talk about the Biden investigation.

We know that because John Bolton was apparently so suspicious he sent his deputy to listen in and she heard them talking about the Ukrainian energy company that Hunter Biden was a part of.  New York Times report Bolton was so disturbed by both Sondland and Mulvaney`s behavior that he told that aide to tell White House lawyers, and I quote, I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.

Joining me now, one of the congresspeople who`s in the room for Gordon Sondland`s deposition today Democratic Congressman Val Demings of Florida, a member both the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committee.  Congresswoman, how would you characterize the testimony of Mr. Swan was today?

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL):  Well, Chris, it`s good to be here.  Let me just first of all just do a tribute to our friend and colleague Elijah Cummings.  I know you have been talking about him pretty much all day but he was just a great man and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

What a time we`re having.  You know, I used to serve in law enforcement.  I spent 27 years there.  I thought I was changing careers.  But since I have been in Congress, I tell you, the work that I have been charged with doing on the Intelligence Committee and through Judiciary reminds me quite a bit of the work that I did as a police chief and a career law enforcement officer.

Today`s testimony as you said was long.  And as you know, I can`t get into the details of it.  But the Ambassador wanted to be sure that everybody understood that he willingly came in to appear before Congress even though he had been basically ordered not to.  But we know that Ambassador Sondland`s name came up in the whistleblower`s complaint that the whistleblower and the I.G. found to be credible and urgent.

And so, while we had a long day of testimony today, I do believe that the Ambassador is very much intertwined in the impeachment inquiry that we are conducting and there`s more to follow.

HAYES:  Mick Mulvaney`s appearance today happened I think while your deposition was happening.  You have a background in law enforcement.  Is it -- is it common for people to confess they did the thing in front of a microphone in cameras?

DEMINGS:  Well, I think this president has proven and obviously those around him believe that if you break the law in public site, then somehow you`re not breaking the law.  Look, we have a president who has been engaged in lawless behavior time after time after time.

And today, Mr. Mulvaney very boldly and as it`s been reported, very brazenly admitted that the President has been engaged in lawless behavior.  It`s just every day they seem to top themselves.

HAYES:  Do you feel -- and I know you can`t speak about specific testimony -- but my understanding of the theory of the investigating committees and leadership is that the call notes themselves constitute on their face a possible impeachable offense because of the coercion, because the President`s ask.

The president maintains their there`s no quid pro quo and I know that leadership feels that a quid pro quo does not have to be demonstrated in order to reach a possible impeachable offense.  That said, do you feel like there is sufficient evidence or growing evidence of a quid pro quo both in public confession and in the testimony you`re hearing?

DEMINGS:  Well, you`re absolutely right leadership has said it.  I agree that quid pro quo is not necessary.  The President obviously when you read the readout report that was released by the White House, that he obviously tried to coerce a foreign power into helping him politically.

But let`s look at Mr. Mulvaney`s very bold statement today.  I think the President`s chief of staff more than anyone has confirmed that there was indeed a quid pro quo.  And it just amazes me that they would continue to deny that when the chief of staff has very boldly come out and said yes there was.

HAYES:  All right, Congresswoman Val Demings, thank you so much your time tonight.

DEMINGS:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Joining me now are two people who have been following this Ukraine scandal from the very beginning, Harry Litman former Deputy Assistant Attorney General and former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and David Jolly former Republican Congressman from Florida who left the GOP last year, now an MSNBC Political Analyst.

Harry, I`m going to start with you on the legal matter and then come to you, David.  Harry, Mick Mulvaney tried very lamely to erase -- mind erase everyone who watched him say there was a quid pro quo with a statement saying he didn`t say the thing that we also saw him say.  I`m not even going to quote it because it`s not really worth it.  But we heard from the president`s legal team distancing himself from the statements and the Department of Justice.  Did he create legal problems with his admission today?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL:  Completely, I mean think for a prosecutor, we should emphasize, you know, we`re -- it`s an impeachment inquiry and not a criminal trial, but what a gift if you`re a prosecutor.  Mr. Mulvaney, is it your testimony that one of the reasons that the exchange was made was in order to get dirt, you know, for the Biden`s, the thing he said, get over it about?

Yes.  No further questions.  You know, was it also within the jurisdiction of the -- it`s like an admission in the crime.  An admission, by the way, is technically the term.  He would be a co-conspirator and it would be admissible.

Look, we have a -- this really get taking on a different character now.  We have a charging document in the whistleblower complaint.  And unlike with Mueller, you have witnesses coming forward either to do the right thing or to point at others and try to minimize their culpability.

And every day Congress is really putting together a substantiation of the original charging document.  As you say, it won`t even be a quid pro quo but come on, what -- you know, what else is it?  As a -- as a member of the press said that no one`s ever answered this, have you ever asked about corruption except in the context of getting dirt on an opponent?  No one would credibly believe that it`s -- that it`s about -- you know, corruption is just code word now for Biden`s and Burisma.

HAYES:  Well, of course, and we also.  I mean, let`s talk about the context here, David.  Mick Mulvaney comes out to talk about the fact they were so concerned with corruption in Ukraine specifically, laser-focused on it that they were holding up the money, and also to announce that the president has awarded himself a contract.


HAYES:  Which as a beat reporter in Chicago, if you were the mayor of Rockford, Illinois and you did that, you would be gone the next day.

JOLLY:  That`s exactly right.  And very quickly, to your conversation with Demings and to Litman`s point, a quid pro quo is not required.

HAYES:  No, it`s not.

JOLLY:  The impeachable offense, the central impeachable offense was saying to the president of Ukraine investigate the Biden`s.  The only two Americans Donald Trump mentioned on that phone call by name are Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.  That`s it.  That`s impeachable.

HAYES:  Well, Bill Barr and Rudy Giuliani.

JOLLY:  Well, go work with Bill Barr and Rudy Giuliani.  But to your point, Chris, I truly believe in whether or not it`s the downfall of the President or not, we are witnessing the weakest moment of his presidency.  We -- the president is going to be impeached and he knows that.

He`s going to be impeached for abusing the office of the presidency to try to investigate his political opponent to benefit himself in the 2020 election.  On top of that, we saw in the last week, the depravity of the man in a way that everybody understands what the Syria decision, a man who out of his sheer heart and ignorant and depravity knew that he would be allowing the murder of allies of ours that we`re protecting them from ISIS.

It put onto the world stage the searing confluence of a betrayal of American integrity and a betrayal of human life.  And today, on top of that, he throws in plain language a third impeachable offense which is the Emoluments Clause.

Understand when they visit at Doral, he is awarding himself a contract.  I believe you said that in the open.  That is the President of the United States awarding his own company a contract for foreign leaders to spend money and for our own government agencies, the Secret Service and others, to spend money on his own self as well.

HAYES:  Harry, there`s -- you`ve made this point before about how this is an impeachment inquiry and it`s not -- it`s not a legal prosecution.  But one thing that crops up and I can`t wait till we see the Sondland testimony because of the reporting of my colleague Josh Lederman, a great story, people around this are constantly calling the lawyers.

I mean, Bolton wants the NSC counsel to know about it.  The Department of Defense conducts an internal review whether it`s lawful to uphold the funding and find it`s not there for numerous break -- it appears the law is broken multiple times independent of the President as an impeachable offensives.

LITMAN:  Yes.  Look, it`s the modern government.  Lawyers are everywhere.  So when something funky begins, call in the lawyers.  And they did it here and the warning signs were continual.  And, of course, the main way they avoided it was by outsourcing it to our -- to our closet Secretary of State Rudy Giuliani who just said I`m here, I`m speaking for the president, you listen to me.  Don`t worry about legal inquiries.

You know, short of that, I wish -- I wish David were still in Congress.  He puts the points, you know, beautifully and laser-focus.  That`s it and it`s in plain view.  What are you going to say?

HAYES:  Well, I mean, the big question now is -- you said he`s at his weakest moment.  It feels like to me and the people I`ve talked to and sources and people that are in the government or political observers, it always feels like he`s unraveling, always -- you know, Trump unraveling headline 100 or 400 times in my life.  The last two weeks do feel different to me.  Do they feel different to you, David?

JOLLY:  They do because of the depravity and because of the absolute abject corruption.  This is getting harder and harder for Republican senators because they`re terrified of what comes next.  Look at the people around them.  Sondland has said hey, I didn`t do anything wrong.  Mulvaney was saying yes, quid pro quo over there but not over here.  I didn`t do anything wrong.  Mike Pence won`t answer the questions.  Mike Pompeo won`t answer the questions if he was working with Giuliani.

Everybody is saying hey, I didn`t have anything to do with this because they know the President is guilty and so does every Republican Senator.

HAYES:  Harry Litman and David Jolly, thank you, gentlemen, both.  That was great.

JOLLY:  Thank you, Chris.

LITMAN:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Next, widespread shock as the White House announces they will hold the 2020 G7 Summit at a struggling Trump property.  Reporter David Fahrenthold on the decision to direct federal funding back to the President`s business after this.


HAYES:  There was widespread shock today.  Well, Mick Mulvaney announced that Donald Trump was, in fact, going to force the U.S. government and other major governments around the world to pay him money by hosting the G7 in his own Doral Golf Resort next year.  The Washington Post puts it, "That decision is without precedent in modern American history."  The President used his public office to direct a massive contract to himself."

But here`s the thing, Doral could really use it.  We`re bringing someone who knows more about Doral and Trump`s other business interests than just about anyone.  He`s been reporting on all of it the past four years, won a Pulitzer for his investigative work into the President, David Fahrenthold.  It is great to have you here.

David, let`s start with the significance of Doral which unlike some other properties, it`s not licensed, it`s real directly part of the President`s main business holdings, correct?

DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST:  It is basically the keystone of Donald Trump`s entire hospitality golf hotel business.  It produces more revenue for him every year than any hotel or golf course and he has one of its biggest loans on it.  If you were to pick one property that Donald Trump`s financial health depended on, this would be it.

HAYES:  So it`s very levered.  I mean, he`s got -- he owes people money on it.  He owes Deutsche Bank.  The original loan was for $125 million to Deutsche Bank.  It`s one of his biggest loans.

HAYES:  Now, you tweeted about how it`s been doing and the vacancy rate typically in the summer.  You said, the summit will be held in June when Miami is hot.  Doral is usually empty.  In 2017, only 38 percent of Doral`s rooms were occupied.

FAHRENTHOLD:  This is one of Doral`s worst months.  So you`re bringing a huge amount of business to a resort at a time -- you know, the resort that is overall not doing very well financially.  But you`re bringing it to this resort at a time when it needs that money the most.

As you saw, Doral -- June is the second slowest month for Doral.  Only August is worse.  Their occupancy rate is under 40 percent.  So even if Trump just charged the cost which we have no idea if he`s going to, but even if you didn`t try to make a profit on each individual room, he`s filling the resort at a time it would be mostly empty.

HAYES:  That`s a great point.  You also noted that it has not been doing well recently, that this is not -- this is not a facility that is on the upswing.

FAHRENTHOLD:  No, the opposite.  We got some data that the Trump organization itself provided to Miami-Dade County which shows that between 2015 and 2017, so a span of just two years, net operating income dropped 70 percent at that resort.  That`s a huge drop at a time when every other resort in Miami is basically doing the same.

And the reason -- we actually -- we saw a video where a representative from the Trump Organization was talking to the county about why it was doing poorly.  And she laid the blame directly on Trump.  She said the brand is doing poorly that`s why this place is severely underperforming.

HAYES:  So you`ve -- OK, so you`ve got the crown -- the crown jewel of his enterprise that brings in the most revenue at a time when its vacancy rate is under 40 percent and at a time when the revenue and use of the place, the profit is going down because of the negative brand impacts of his presidency.  And what does this -- I mean, G7 is a big deal, right?  Like a lot of money is going to get spent there.

FAHRENTHOLD:  Yes.  Just to give you a sense of the scale of this thing.  I talked to somebody who helped plan the last G7 that the U.S. had at a private event which was in 2004 in Georgia.  They serve 45,000 meals during that week.

They took over this resort for ten days, they paid the resort $3 million in 2004 money.  It`s hundreds of people, thousands of people.  They can`t even all stay at Doral.  They`ll have to stay at other places.  But you`re talking about an enormous event between security, diplomats, journalists, and the leaders themselves.

HAYES:  There`s also -- there`s also been some health code problems at Doral.  There`s a Daily Beast story from 2019 about a rat infestation problem and a roach situation.  It has -- it has had some challenges.

FAHRENTHOLD:  Well, this year has been a good year for them.  They haven`t had any health code violations this year.

HAYES:  Well, that`s good.  That`s good news for the G7 world leaders who will be staying there and hopefully not end up with the norovirus.

FAHRENTHOLD:  But they have had in years past, not that long ago they`ve had problems with the health code called euphemistically small live flying insects and other kinds of cleanliness issues in a number of the kitchens at Doral.

HAYES:  Is there any -- I mean, how is this legal, I guess, I want to say. I mean, honestly, if anyone who`s ever out there watching has ever interacted with federal contracting, you know that it is one of the most -- I mean, that`s just complicated a legal thicket, an incredibly complex process.  There are thousands of people throughout the government who work.  This seems to fly in the face of every single policy there is for federal contracting.

FAHRENTHOLD:  That`s right.  That`s what`s interesting about this.  This is one of the few things which sort of by tradition the president gets to sort of circumvent the entire contracting process.  They don`t put out a request for proposal and evaluate bids.  The President sort of does this in secret and then the White House just chooses a place.

The system was never designed with the idea that the President might choose his own place.  So this is a case where Trump has sort of unfettered, unrestricted power to give the contract to whoever he wants and lo and behold, he gave it to himself.  We`ll see now in the next few weeks.  Hopefully, there`ll be a little more transparency about what it looks like.  But there didn`t seem to be any scrutiny on the front end.

HAYES:  My favorite press release today was a press release I believe quoting Eric Trump from the Trump Org. saying they were honored that they were selected for this which is a really an incredible piece -- the use of language.  David Fahrenthold, thank you as always for your fantastic reporting.

FAHRENTHOLD:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Ahead, as president Trump attempts a victory lap after selling out Kurdish allies to Turkey, Senator Tammy Duckworth says things are much worse than you know.  She`s here to explain next.


HAYES:  President Trump gave Turkish strongman President Erdogan a green light to invade Northern Syria over a week ago.  And then as reporting continued to bolster the case that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has been working on behalf of Turkish interest, the president followed up that decision with an impossible to summarize set of wildly contradictory,. often racist, pronouncements about the situation in northeastern Syria, that as the U.S. was forced to evacuate its troops and bomb its own bases while Kurdish civilians were fleeing, civilians were being killed, and  the Turks, and Syria`s President Assad, basically carved up that strip of earth.

That was the reality when Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Turkey to meet with Erdogan and emerged today with a deal quote-unquote that gives Turkey everything they want.

President Trump said Turkey has been trying to get this deal for years, and in a way he`s right, for years Erdogan has wanted to ethnically cleanse northeastern Syria of Kurds.  That`s what he wanted, and that was the ultimate point of this mission.

The deal struck today is that for five days, Turkey will pause to allow the Kurds to leave the area, thereby ethnically cleansing themselves so that Turkey can go and get the rest of that territory.

And in exchange the U.S. agreed to remove economic sanctions imposed earlier this week as  well as the threat of other sanctions, meaning the sum total of this is that Turkey has gotten what it wanted, the Kurdish allies who lost 11,000 of their own people fighting side by side with American soldiers to defeat ISIS, have now been repaid with U.S. approved removal from the land.

Joining me now, Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, Purple Heart recipient, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Senator, the vice president, the president, and Mike Pompeo, saying this is a whole deal struck in Turkey today, but the facts appear to essentially to allow the Turks to kind of campaign of ethnically cleansing the area of  Kurds and the U.S. withdrawal of sanctions, how do you see the deal?

SEN. TAMMY  DUCKWORTH, (D) ILLINOIS:  How is this a huge deal to have essentially 120-hour pause on a situation created by the White House?  We are absolutely far worse off today than we were roughly 10 days ago with they started this whole process, so I`m not quite sure they might be congratulated, or they should be patting themselves on the back, for getting a pause to a situation that they initiated themselves.

HAYES:  You obviously fought in Iraq, and I know a lot of U.S. service members have been expressing their feelings about Kurdish folks that they had fought with or talked to.  Obviously Kurds in Iraq are different than those in Syria, although they occupy a large part in that part of the world.

Do you have reflections or feelings as you watch this unfold based on that experience?

DUCKWORTH:  The Kurdish fighters have stood shoulder to shoulder with American troops in this fight against ISIS.  They have lost 11,000 of their fighters in order to help us defeat ISIS.  They did everything we asked them to do to go after and get rid of ISIS and to take the remnants of ISIS to put them into the prisoner camps that they were in.  And what have we done?  We`ve abandoned our allies. 

And all that Trump has done with this move is allow us to basically put our allies in a position where they`re being slaughtered by the Turks.  And now we`re sending a message to the rest of the world don`t work with the United States, you can`t trust us to stand by you.

HAYES:  There are concerns I`ve seen from certain quarters about the president`s temperament, behavior and actions in the last few weeks, particularly.  There are always concerns about that, but particularly the last few weeks.  Do you have particular acute concerns over the last few weeks, do you feel like his conduct is appreciably different in a concerning way?

DUCKWORTH:  Well, he`s managed to create much more damage than I ever thought that he would possibly be able to commit.  This situation with the Kurds, and with the president, what concerns me is less the president than the people around him.  You know, he`s got General Milley, he`s got Secretary Esper, he`s got military leaders around him who, what, they don`t have a say in this?  Because he moved forward with this decision without talking to them, and now they`re not stepping up.

You saw that picture that the president tweeted and Speaker Pelosi made her cover photo.  Those men are hanging their heads through the presidents left and right, because they know that he`s wrong and that he has no strategy for defeating ISIS, he has no strategy for Syria.  And it`s taking  Speaker Pelosi to confront him on it.  And what are they doing?  Nothing. 

That`s my concern is that the advisers around him and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are enabling this man to do the kind of damage that he`s done to our national security.

HAYES:  There was a House vote yesterday with an overwhelming bipartisan majority to condemn the president`s policy in this area.  Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, has called for Mitch McConnell to bring up the same piece of legislation, or resolution, in the Senate.  Would you like to see that as well?

DUCKWORTH:  I would love to see that.  I`d like to see that vote come down, because I think the message would be clear to the White House that there`s bipartisan opposition to this decision the president has made.

HAYES:  The president also through his chief of staff today announced that the United States government will be hosting a global summit at the president`s own personal property, which is essentially awarding a contract to himself.  It will force the federal government to spend money that  will go into the president`s pocket.  It will force foreign governments to spend money that will go into the president`s pocket.  Do you think that`s appropriate?  Do you think that`s lawful?

DUCKWORTH:  It`s not at all appropriate, and it`s not at all lawful.  I`m actually part of the  emoluments lawsuit that has its basis in this very same thing happening with foreign governments booking stays in the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C. and in various places to try to curry favor with this president.

Time and again this president has shown he`s consist on a couple of things.  One, he`s consist when it comes to lining his own pockets and his family`s pockets with whatever he needs to do in order to further Trump properties.  And the other is that -- boy, does he sure love his dictators, as he has cozied up to North Korea and now to Erdogan in Turkey.

HAYES:  All right, Senator Duckworth, of Illinois, always good to talk to you.  Thank you very much.

DUCKWORTH:  Thanks for having me on.

HAYES:  Still to come, the incomparable legacy Congressman Elijah Cummings leaves behind.  Two of his close friends, Sherrilyn Ifill and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, discuss the position h will hold in history ahead.


HAYES:  Adam McKay has been working on movies for over 15 years.  He`s made some absolutely hilarious classic films starring comedians like Will Ferrell and Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, movies like Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Stepbrothers, The Campaign, and so many more. 

And through the years, his work has gotten a little more serious but just as fantastic.  Remember The Big Short?  McKay managed to take on the extremely complicated and devastating financial crisis and turn it into an amazing film based on Michael Lewis` book.  It was entertaining as hell, also easy to understand, but it also hit home in a clear and tangible way.

And I`ve been fortunate to get to know Adam over the years.  We talk.  And like me he is really passionate about climate change.  And now he`s trying to figure out how to do the same thing he did in The Big Short, take something so monumental, and challenging and make it into a movie that can communicate the scope of the crisis, how to bring those issues alive and front of mind.

It`s also the project that Omar El Akkad tackled in his American War, that`s a novel, a work of fiction, set in a post-climate change Apocalyptic world, amidst a second American civil war.  It`s a fascinating and fantastic book.  I absolutely loved it.  It sticks with me every day.

And the three of us -- Adam McKay, Omar El Akkad, and I -- are going to talk about all of that in a special live recording of our podcast Why is This Happening, that`s coming up on October 21.  We`re doing it in L.A. at the theater at the Ace Hotel.  There`s still some tickets available, believe it or not, and you can get them at 

I cannot wait for this.  I`ve been waiting for it for a long time.  I hope if you`re anywhere near Los Angeles, you can make it.  Go online and get tickets now because it`s going to be amazing.

And then there`s the next stop for the WITH pod tour.  We are coming to Chicago next month.  What`s up Chicago?  Details on that are dropping tomorrow on the podcast, so go, right now, subscribe right now to find out what we`ve got cooked up for the  Windy City.



REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) MARYLAND:  There`s a poem and Karen Mitchell said many, many years ago that I say sometimes 20 times a day, and it`s a very simple poem, but it`s one that I live by.  It says, "I only have a minute, 60 seconds in it, forced upon me I did not choose it, but I know that I must use it, give account if I abuse it, suffer if I lose it.  Only a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it."

And so I join you as we move forward to uplift not only the nation, but the world.


HAYES:  23 years ago, a 45-year-old Elijah Cummings took the House floor to give his first floor speech as the newest member of congress.  And his appeal to make the most of one`s time in congress was a pledge he lived up to every day.

I got to interact with and interview a wide variety of politicians and members of congress, and Cummings was among the most impressive and special, a truly rare combination of laser intellect, grace, forbearance, empathy, righteousness and equanimity. 

His staff was notoriously excellent.  The work of his committee was notoriously diligent.  He was deeply beloved, not just by his Democratic colleagues, but by his Republican ideological opponents as well.  And one of his guiding principles in his day-to-day work in congress was to fight tirelessly for everyone`s  rights.


CUMMINGS:  One year ago today, on my mother dying bed at 92 years old, a former sharecropper, her last words were do not let them take our votes away from us.  They had fought -- she had fought -- and seen people harmed, beaten trying to vote. 

Talk about inalienable rights.  Voting is crucial.  And I don`t give a damn how you look at it, there are efforts to stop people from voting.  That`s not right.  This is not Russia, this is the United States of America.  And I will fight until the death to make sure every citizen, whether they`re a Green Party, whether they`re a Freedom Party, whether they`re a Democrat, whether they`re Republican, whoever, has that right to vote, because it is the essence of our democracy.


HAYES:  Cummings was also the son of sharecroppers and a native son of Baltimore, a city he loved with every breath.  I spoke to him months after the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man, who died from injuries sustained in police custody about what growing up in Baltimore was like.


CUMMINGS:  From the age of 5-years-old, in my neighborhood in south Baltimore, police would come -- my first experience with the police and seeing the police in action was on Saturday mornings, men would play crap - - they play with dice and gamble in the alleys.  The police would drive up, beat them up, take the money and leave.  That`s what I saw at 5-years-old.


HAYES:  Recently, Cummings had been a key player in the oversight of the Trump administration from his perch as chair of the oversight committee.  He spoke frequently about what he felt the stakes of this particular moment meant.


CUMMINGS:  When we`re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked in 2019 what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?  Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?


HAYES:  Today, Congressman Cummings is dancing with the angels.  He passed from health  complications at the age of 68.  He is so deeply and profoundly missed by everyone who cares  about this country.  And we`re going to discuss his remarkable legacy next.



CUMMINGS:  When I came in to get sworn, I got my hand up...

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Do you solemnly wear that you will support...

CUMMINGS:  Newt Gingrich was swearing me in.  It was a special election, and I seen my father.  And my father is just wiping away the tears, just wiping away.   And I`ve never seen my father  cry.

I said, why are you crying?  Are you crying because your son became a member of congress?  He said, no.  He said, I am very pleased  that you`ve done this.  This is great, don`t get me wrong.  He said, but I kept looking at your hand.  He said, I realize that the same blood that runs in your hand  runs in mine.

He said, isn`t this the place where they used to call us slaves?

I said, yes, sir.

He said isn`t this the place they called us 3/5 of a man?

I said, yes, sir.

And isn`t this the place that they used to call us chattel? 

And I said,  yes, sir.

He said, you know -- and he said these words, Steve, and I`ll never forget -- he said, when I think about you being sworn in today, he said now I see what I could have been if I had had an opportunity.


HAYES:  Elijah Cummings was the child of two former sharecroppers.  He eventually went to Howard University where he served as student government president, then on to law school.  He worked his way up through state politics, serving in the Maryland House of Delegates, and  ultimately the halls of congress.

Cummings was a public servant for most of his life with a remarkable record to show for it.  To talk about Cummings`s life and legacy, I`m joined by two people close to him, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Democrat from California, who served alongside Cummings for more than 20 years in the House; and Sherrilyn Ifill, president director counsel of the NAACP legal defense fund who worked in Baltimore on local and national issues with Congressman Cummings for over 30 years.

Congresswoman, maybe I`ll start with you.  And first, obviously, my deepest condolences for his loss.  What was he like as a colleague?

BARBARA LEE, (D-CA) FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN:  Well first, Chris, let me just  offer my condolences to his wife, Maya, and his family, and the entire community, and of course Baltimore, because our heart is heavy tonight.  This has been a very sad, difficult day.

Elijah Cummings was a great, great statesman.  He was a fighter.  He did not pull any punches, but he was a kind and gentle human being.  He encouraged me when I first came to congress.  He inspired me. 

He knew that I had come in a special election and had being shoes to fill.  I actually followed my predecessor, who I had worked for, Congressman Ron Dellums, who was a statesman, a warrior, and a close friend of Elijah`s.  Well, Elijah told me, hey, now you`ve got to step up, you know, carve your own agenda, you know, and get out there.  He actually offered to help, and so he came to my district. 

This is Elijah in terms of how he inspired others and how he supported us all.  He came to my district early on in, I believe it was `98 or `99, held a town meeting on gun safety, on mass incarceration, and on criminal justice reform.  And it was an amazing moment.  And he lifted me up in ways that no one else had.  He was the first member of congress to come to my district to help me. 

And he constantly supported me over and over and over again in everything that -- every campaign I mounted, every effort I was engaged in.

HAYES:  Sherrilyn, I know you worked with the congressman.  You`re also connected to Baltimore, a city that he deeply, deeply loved and lived his whole life, more or less.  What was his relationship like to that city?

SHERRILYN IFILL, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND:  I think of Elijah Cummings as the quintessential Baltimorean.  He really passionately loved the city and really walked the city with a sense of pride and dignity.  He felt tremendous compassion for people who were living at the margins, but most of all he felt respect from the city and he demanded respect for the city.  He was proud to represent the city.

And one of the things I loved so much about him was the way he listened to his constituents.  I first met him when I was teaching at the University of Maryland Law School, which was the law school he had graduated from several decades before.  And I had clients whose children were lead poisoned.  And I remember we invited him -- at that time he was in the legislature -- the general assembly, excuse me -- to a community meeting with some of the mothers of lead-poisoned children. 

And what I remember so much was sitting in this room, this very small room with Cummings and the way he listened to those moms.  And that was throughout all of the years that I knew him, this engagement.  We all talk about his eloquence and his speaking, but he listened to people.  He liked to listen to people. 

And he did it around policing reform.  More recently, we co-hosted a forum, a town hall together, emotions running high, passion, screaming, anger, understandable anger.  And I think you just showed that picture of him just listening, just listening to people`s pain.

It was just a rare way that he chose to present his leadership in the city.  He was strong.  He was nobody`s fool, and he was nobody`s wimp.  He was uncompromising.  He believed in justice.  But he always let you see his heart and he always let you know that he saw yours.  That`s a rare ability in an elected leader, and it was just quite extraordinary.

HAYES:  Yeah, congresswoman, what Sherrilyn just said and what you said about how his colleagues felt about him, it`s been striking to me to listen to Republicans talk about him today, because he is -- Congressman Cummings had a very strong vision.  He fought very hard for things he believed in.  He was a very strong voice for those.  He was not a mealy-mouthed kind of play it both ways kind of individual in his politics, but he also really did have deep bonds of affection and mutual respect with other folks in the congress who did not share his ideological vision.

LEE:  Absolutely.  Elijah Cummings crossed the aisle many times on many issues and had many friends, Democrats and Republicans.  And even though he disagreed with many of their policies, he was respectful and he respected their dignity and he respected their perspective. 

And I had an experience with Elijah once when I was struggling with my vote against the authorization to use force after the horrific events of 9/11.  And I was in the cloak room -- to show you how Elijah really respected different points of view -- I would talk to Elijah and he was the last member of congress I talked to about how I would vote, understanding that I was struggling with giving any president a blank check to go to war.  And Elijah told me, and you know, both of his parents were pastors.  And he was a man of deep faith.  And he told me, he said, Barbara, look, you`ve got to  follow your conscience, and you`ve got to follow what you believe the constitution says with regard to casting that vote.  He said, so whatever you do, I`m going to respect what you do. 

And it was at that moment, Chris, that I decided to go to the memorial service.  And he was the last person who gave me that advice.  And I`ll always respect and love him and thank him for that.

HAYES:  Quickly, Sherrilyn, his legacy on democracy, voting rights, and the census seems to me incredibly important.

IFILL:  At this moment in this country, it couldn`t be more important.  And that`s why I think so many of us are putting out his speeches and his words and the leadership that he demonstrated on the House Oversight Committee.

I feel it is a sacred pledge that for this man, but also for this country, because he saw something in this country that maybe we often don`t see or maybe we believed doesn`t exist anymore.  And I think it`s incumbent upon us to really lift that up, and that means fighting for voting rights, that means fighting for our democracy, fighting for the truth in his name.  And if you loved this man, if you admired this man, then fight.  Don`t just, you know, shed tears, fight.

HAYES:  Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Sherrilyn Ifill, thank you so much for doing that.  Thank you.

LEE:  But -- thank you, Chris.

HAYES:  That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.