Trump refers to critics as "human scum." TRANSCRIPT: 10/24/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Jimmy Gomez, Mazie Hirono, Lynn Sweet, Chris Lu, Josh Marshall,Angelo Carusone, Jennifer Rubin, Mickey Edwards

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We`re building a beautiful wall in Colorado.  We`re building a beautiful wall.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  In fact, when he suggests this is all a joke, he`s veering very close to describing his presidency.  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Tonight on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The President yesterday called the never-Trumpers scum.  Does he regret that?

VELSHI:  As the President lashes out and his defenders break out the charts.

SEN. LINSEY GRAHAM (R-SC):  After inquiry -- where`s the other chart?

VELSHI:  New reporting that the impeachment inquiry will be televised.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL:  That`s what Congressman Schiff is doing and he`s following the rules.

VELSHI:  Tonight, the Democratic plans to go public, new evidence of corruption as it pertains to Ukraine, and new questions about what the White House was asking China to produce.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You`re asking me what happens in the White House behind closed doors?

VELSHI:  Plus, the growing case that Rudy Giuliani could face indictment.

RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP:  Can`t you figure it out?

VELSHI:  Why the Italian Prime Minister is blowing the whistle on Donald Trump`s Attorney General.

TRUMP:  You`re Italian.  We move fast, right?

VELSHI:  And new data on what may be the one news outlet saving Donald Trump from Richard Nixon`s fate.

GERALDO RIVERA, CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL:  You know, if it wasn`t your show, Sean, they would destroy him absolutely.

VELSHI:  ALL IN starts now.

RIVERA:  You`re the difference between Donald J. Trump and Richard Nixon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI:  Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m Ali Velshi in for Chris Hayes.  Here`s the state of play here in Washington right now.  Republicans cannot defend what Donald Trump did.  They know how bad it is so they`re trying to distract people from the substance of the President`s behavior with complaints about the nature of the investigation.  Chief among them that the hearings are currently being held behind closed doors.

Now, unfortunately for Trump and his allies, it`s probably not going to work for much longer that`s because as the Washington Post reports, Democrats are taking hearings public and soon.  But the facts here have not changed.  Donald Trump withheld desperately needed military aid from Ukraine, aid that had already been approved by Congress in an effort to force Ukrainian officials to manufacture dirt on the Biden`s, and provide ammo for a baseless conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.

And it appears that now that it was not just security assistance withheld.  Just today, the Post reported that the White House`s Trade Representative in late August withdrew a recommendation to restore some of Ukraine`s trade privileges after John Bolton, then-National Security Adviser warned him that President Trump probably would oppose any action that benefited the government in Kiev.

Trump maybe tried to work other countries as well.  Remember how he went before the cameras earlier this month and called on China to investigate the Biden`s.  Marco Rubio dismissed it as a silly joke.  But listen to this nondenial from White House trade adviser Peter Navarro when he was asked directly if the Biden`s had come up during China trade talks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`m asking you a direct question.  Did you bring up investigating the Biden`s as part of your negotiation?

PETER NAVARRO, ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It`s an appropriate question in my judgement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why not?

NAVARRO:  You`re asking me what happens in the White House behind closed doors --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, I`m asking you politics --

NAVARRO:  I`m not going to tell you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  -- the inter -- the sphere of international relations here.

NAVARRO:  Jim, ask (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI:  Now, that may end up being a pretty huge story itself, but remember it was just two days ago that the U.S. Chief of Mission to Ukraine Bill Taylor made abundantly clear in his testimony to Congress both that there was an explicit quid pro quo and that it was directed by Trump himself.  Even Republican Senator John Thune acknowledged just how damning the testimony seemed to be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD):  The picture coming out of it based on the reporting that we`ve seen is -- yes, I would say is not a good one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI:  Thune went on to complain about the closed-door nature of the investigation which seems to now be the official Republican line.  Today, Senator Lindsey Graham held a press conference to unveil a resolution to criticize the impeachment inquiry in the House.  He`s a senator, but as was pointed out on none other than Trump T.V. today, Democrats aren`t actually breaking the rules.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAPOLITANO:  As frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors, the hearings over which Congressman Schiff is presiding, they are consistent with the rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They can make any approvals they want.

NAPOLITANO:  Well, they can`t change the rules.  They follow the rules.  And when were the rules written last, in January of 2015.  And who signed them?  John Boehner.  And who enacted them, a Republican majority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI:  2015, by the way, is when Republicans were holding those Benghazi hearings.  And back then, they were making the case for closed-door hearings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TREY GOWDY, FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM SOUTH CAROLINA:  I could just tell you that of the 50 somewhat interviews we have done thus far, the vast majority of them have been private.  And you don`t see the bickering among the members of Congress and private interviews.  You don`t see any of that.  The private ones always produce better results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI:  So what the Democrats are doing right now according to Trey Gowdy will produce better results.  And in a few weeks according to the Washington Post, Democrats are planning public hearings and hope to have Bill Taylor, former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and even John Bolton tell the world exactly what they saw.

I`m joined now by Democratic Congressman Jimmy Gomez of California.  He is a member of the House Oversight Committee who has been participating in the impeachment hearings.  Congressman, good to see you.

REP. JIMMY GOMEZ (D-CA):  Good to see you.

VELSHI:  If you didn`t know what was going on and you were just getting your input from the White House or Fox News, the impression you would have is that you Democrats alone are holding secret hearings in which there are no Republicans.

GOMEZ:  Yes, correct.  But if we`re only getting our information from Fox News then the White House would believe the world is flat which we all know that that is not true, right?  So what we`re doing is actually following the rules that were established by Republicans in 2015, and we`re following them by the book.

And what you saw yesterday by Matt Gaetz and the Republicans was just a despicable display of political theater that is undermining our national security by taking in electronic devices into a secured facility.  That actually hurts not only just Democrats but it hurts our national interests.

VELSHI:  But there is a narrative developing that there`s something secret going on there.  In that room that you have been in, are there Republicans?

GOMEZ:  There`s a lot of Republicans.  It`s wall to wall.  There`s so many -- remember, we have representatives from three committees.  We have Oversight, Intel, and Foreign Affairs, and the room is packed.  You have people standing along the wall that are members from both parties listening very intently to the witnesses.

VELSHI:  All right, so what happens now?  Is this reporting that we`ve got that these will become public hearings at some point?  Is that what you believe to be true?

GOMEZ:  No, I haven`t been told that specifically, but I always said you got to let the product determine the process, right, and the pace of the process.  So if we had interviews with everybody we have interviews with, make sure that we ask all the questions in an appropriate setting and it determines that we need to move to the next phase, then we should move to the next phase.  But it`s not about politics, it has to be about discovering the truth.  And that`s what we`re doing.

VELSHI:  All right, so what`s the difference?  What happens behind closed doors versus what we are likely to see when something becomes public?

GOMEZ:  Well, one of the things that you see behind closed doors -- this is my time ever participating, it`s actually you get an hour to ask questions.  And it is not like the back-and-forth that you see in a -- in a regular hearing.

No Democrat or Republican is trying to get the next viral moment, you know, try to get more Twitter followers or kiss up to the president.  It is very specific on trying to get information.  And that is actually produces I think better results.

I`m going to agree with Trey Gowdy, I don`t do that often, but it does produce more information, it`s not just for grandstanding purposes.  So that`s -- it`s a very, very, very different process than you see on the outside.

VELSHI:  The impression that Republicans are trying to create is that if you open these hearings up right now, if you let everybody in, if you let cameras in, if you let everybody see what was going on, it would somehow exonerate the President or be good for the president.  And I know you can`t tell me about the testimony you`re hearing, otherwise, you`d have to kill me, but how would you characterize that impression that this would be beneficial to the president somehow?

GOMEZ:  You just can`t change the facts.  The facts are very clearly on that first call that everybody has read that the transcript that was released by the White House that he asked a foreign government to interfere and investigate a political rival in a U.S. election.  That by itself is abuse of power.  That by itself is abuse of power.

VELSHI:  Donald Trump has been complaining.  I want to show you an article from The Daily Beast on Tuesday night.  Trump whines the Senate Republicans are failing him on impeachment and not owning nearly enough libs.  The President and the White House have put a message out there to Republicans, you`re not defending me enough.

And so yesterday you saw what you saw in the House.  Today, you saw Lindsey Graham out there with his presentation.  The message seems to be stick up for me and the argument that Republicans seem to be able to come back with is a process argument as opposed to a substance argument.

GOMEZ:  Yes, because when you can`t argue the facts, then you have to turn to the process.  That`s what you always, always see.  So it shows that they`re desperate and it shows right after the Taylor interview how bad that his testimony actually was.  For me, it really collect -- connected a lot of the dots from people, to motives, to actions.  So people have to pay attention to Taylor.  He`s very key.

VELSHI:  Congressman, good to see you.  Thank you for being with us.

GOMEZ:  Good to see you.

VELSHI:  Congressman Jimmy Gomez of California is a member of the House Oversight Committee.  I want to bring in Senator Mazie Hirono Democrat of Hawaii and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Aloha, Senator.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI):  Aloha.

VELSHI:  I understand that you and a number of other senators have written a letter that is being delivered to the Attorney General asking him to recuse himself from what?  Tell me about the letter and what you`re asking?

HIRONO:  All of the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have signed a letter asking Attorney General Barr who by the way is the President`s lawyer not the people`s lawyer, to recuse themselves from anything having to do with Ukraine.

Because note, his name, the Attorney General Barr`s name was mentioned several times by the President in his infamous chat, telephone call with the Ukrainian president.  So he`s in a major conflict and he should recuse himself.

And I`m glad to know that there are other people of conscience including the New York City Bar Association that sent a letter saying that Bar should recuse himself from these matters.

VELSHI:  Let me ask you just so we understand.  This letter has been signed by the Democratic senators on the committee.  Where is it?  Do you know if it`s been delivered?  Do you know -- is there -- has somebody received it?

HIRONO:  I think your people have received it.  I believe I send a copy of the letter to you folks.  But basically, it`s very simple.  It says Mr. Barr, you are in a major conflict.  Recuse yourself.  That`s what should be happening.  But I have a feeling he`s not going to do it because he`s the President`s lawyer, not the people`s lawyer.

So that`s a whole another sideshow that he`s running around trying to -- base on a conspiracy theory of what happened in 2016.  And so it`s very much on a par with what the President wants.  And meanwhile, you know, I don`t know what the Republicans who by the way they got nothing, that`s why they`re engaging in these antics and what I call the gaggle of goofballs in the House who storm this hearing like what is this, animal house?

And so that`s what they`re left with to try and distract us because the American people know, Ali, that it is not OK for the president of our country to ask the president of another country to get dirt on the president -- on Trump`s opponents.  So it`s obviously for his own political ends.  The American people know that is not OK.

VELSHI:  Senator, the White House sent out a message to Republicans on the Hill that the President would like more defenders, louder defenders.  And the folks from Congress seemed have been saying well, we need some kind of message to fight back on.

So today your colleague Senator Lindsey Graham came out and made a presentation about what these impeachment processes look like in the past.  Tell me what you think Lindsey Graham is up to and how the Senate needs to handle this.

HIRONO:  What Lindsey is up to is defending the President.  And in Lindsey, the President has somebody who`s pretty much going to stand with them no matter what.  What is noteworthy about this latest posture by Lindsey is the seven Republican senators who refused to go along with this.

And as I say, soon enough, the House which is by the way engaged in an orderly process of their impeachment inquiry to get to the facts, unlike the brain that functions in the President`s mind which is chaos.  They`re engaging in all the ordering process and soon enough they`re going to get to public hearings.

And I don`t know what the Republicans are going to do when that happens but I`m sure they`ll manufacture some other argument to confuse the public and distract the public.

VELSHI:  Senator, always good to talk to you.  Thank you for joining us.  Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, thank you for your time tonight.

HIRONO:  Sure.

VELSHI:  All right, for more on the impeachment inquiry, I want to bring in Lynn Sweet, the Washington Bureau Chief of the Chicago Sun-Times who covered the Clinton impeachment hearing so she can tell us what was going on compared to what`s going on now.  And also with me is Chris Lu who we know is a former White House Cabinet Secretary and a Deputy Secretary of Labor.  But here`s the interesting part.  He was also Deputy Chief Counsel to the House Oversight Committee.  So the two of you can shed a great deal of light on what`s going on right now.

Lynn, let`s start with you.  Lindsey Graham came out there and talked about how things looked in the Clinton impeachment and how much -- how much fairer they were apparently according to what Lindsey Graham says.  You remember those days.  Tell me what you think.

LYN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:  Well, there was -- you know, this wasn`t the dawn of the talk right -- what Hillary Clinton called the right-wing conspiracy which was the dawn of the show air.  It was just really coming to be.  And you had a robust -- you had a very robust discussion that Bill Clinton did wrong no matter what, and there was pressure there.

But what you`ve never had from the Clinton White House was a sense of saying that this is an unconstitutional inquiry.  It might have been wrong, it might have been they disputed facts, they fought back, sure.  In a very calculated way, they had a war room.  They had people designed to take inquiries on impeachment.  They had people who every day was trying to you know get reporters to write certain stories or not.  They had document dumps.

But the very essence of the inquiry even though they didn`t like it, they never questioned that it existed.  One other thing to go on at the same time when it came to House Judiciary hearings, Henry Hyde was the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, it did come out that both Henry Hyde, and then Bob Livingston, and Newt Gingrich are all major figures, they all had affairs in their own past while they were in government service.  Henry Hyde when he was a state legislator in Springfield Illinois.

So all this was kind of taken in stride and it was very dramatic because the morning that the House decided to vote to impeach Bill Clinton, by the way, was the morning that speaker designate Robert Livingston said he was - - he was going to quit and then his affair became public, I must say that was one of the most memorable Saturdays in my career to see all those stunning moves.

But Clinton just prepared for the trial.  We kind of knew there weren`t enough votes to convict, but the legitimacy of the process was never questioned in the way it was.  They didn`t like it, they thought that the charges weren`t justified, but it would be like in any other proceeding they griped and went along to defend themselves.

VELSHI:  Chris, this is an interesting story because the President, his effort is entirely about delegitimizing this investigation focused on the process, delegitimizing every part of the process calling it lynching, calling it illegitimate, calling it unconstitutional, anything he can throw at it.  You`ve worked in the process.

CHRIS LU, FORMER CABINET SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE:  Yes.  Well, that`s what you do.  When the facts are not on your side, you complain about process.  I was the Deputy Chief Counsel of the House Oversight Committee.  I took dozens of depositions.  A cardinal rule is that noncommittee members were not allowed to attend deposition.  That`s a rule.  And so the Republicans complaining about it, it`s crocodile tears at this point.

Go back and look at the Clinton impeachment.  The difference there was that you had a special counsel the same way that you had during the Nixon impeachment that we`re gathering the facts.  And that essentially is what Chairman Schiff`s committee`s doing right now.  You do it in private then you put it out there.  It`s important to understand.

I mean, Lindsey Graham knows this better than anyone.  He was one of the impeachment managers back in 1998.  When the Starr report showed up in the House Judiciary Committee`s desk, they didn`t call additional witnesses, they moved straight to an impeachment vote right after the November 1998 election.

All this due process they`re talking about happens in the Senate trial.  And so the fact that Lindsey Graham is complaining about it --

VELSHI:  That`s what he said.  That was his argument.

SWEET:  By the way, in Watergate, there was a Senate investigation before there was a House Judiciary Committee hearing, right?  I mean, so the investigation had taken place.

LU:  Yes.  So there`ll be a chance for all this and Lindsey Graham will have a chance to shape that when it gets to the U.S. Senate.

VELSHI:  So Lynn, at some point this runs out of steam for a couple of reasons.  One is it runs out of steam because people explain as you have both done and others explain how it works.  And the other one is it`s going to move into a public phase soon enough.  So maybe they`ve got two or three weeks of being able to gripe, but this will become a real hearing in which facts will overtake process.

SWEET:  Well, right.  This secret intelligence is not secret anymore.

VELSHI:  Correct.

SWEET:  And you know, talk about secrecy, there`s a lot of things that are private and it doesn`t mean it`s secret.  And I think this is the point of education.

VELSHI:  That`s a very important point.  A closed-door hearing is private, not secret.

SWEET:  Yes.  And there are depositions that will probably be made public.  And of course, we all want to know if it`s going to be heavily redacted or not.  These are fights that even Democrats may have among themselves over what could be put out.  But the thrust of what these people said will be known.

And by the way, the tactic that some of these witnesses have use of releasing their own testimony as they walked in the door, what part of that is secret?

VELSHI:  Yes.  And it is interesting because they`ve all received letters or warnings not to do this.  And we`ve now seen a few instances where people have said, I got a subpoena, I`m going.

LU:  And I notice this.  I think the White House needs to be careful about asking for transparency.  If you`re going to put Bill Taylor up there, a West Point graduate, a Vietnam War veteran, 50-year foreign service, Marie Yovanovitch 35-year foreign service, Fiona Hill served under three administrations, boy those people have a lot of credibility.  And so these people very -- need to be careful about not wanting these people up there.

VELSHI:  Last word to you.

SWEET:  The last word is we have two audiences and President Trump may be - - he`s a very good persuader.  He could maybe plant some seeds that this process isn`t on the up-and-up.  The most important person in this nation on this is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as to how he gets these Senate trial going.  And if he believes there`s something wrong, that`s when Trump has a problem.

VELSHI:  Thanks to both of you for joining me tonight, Lynn Sweet and Chris Lu.  All right, coming up, Rudy Giuliani feeling the squeeze shopping for a new lawyer as the investigation into his shadow Ukraine operation intensifies.  The latest on his legal jeopardy in two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI:  With daily revelations about the quid pro quo being pushed on Ukraine by President Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani appears to have his very own serious legal exposure.  First, his associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were indicted on campaign finance violations and conspiracy to use foreign money to buy political influence.  They pled not guilty yesterday.

Then, multiple sources including the New York Times and Bloomberg reported that federal prosecutors are investigating Giuliani himself.  Then came further reporting that there is also a counterintelligence component of the investigation into Giuliani.

But despite all that, last week Giuliani parted ways with his lawyer John Sale, a former Watergate prosecutor announcing that it would be "silly to have a lawyer when I don`t need one."  Adding, `if they take me to court, I would have to get another lawyer."

Well, maybe something`s changed because now Rudy Giuliani is apparently shopping for counsel. Sources telling CNN that Giuliani`s been reaching out to defense attorneys about possible representation.

To assess just how much trouble Rudy Giuliani is in, I want to bring in Glenn Kirschner, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and an MSNBC Legal Analyst.  Glenn, good to see you.

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Good to see you.  Rudy Giuliani whether he`s in trouble or not, he talks about it a lot.  He talks a lot about the fact that he`s done nothing illegal.  In fact, he tweeted out last night.  "With all the fake news, let me make it clear that everything I did was to discover evidence to defend my client against false charges.  Dems would be horrified by the attacks on me if my client was a terrorist.  But they don`t believe Donald Trump has rights.  Justice will prevail."

I just think it`s important for people to understand and be reminded.  We went through this with Michael Cohen that a lawyer acting on behalf of their client is not protected if the underlying work is against the law, nor are they protect if they have a side hustle going.  Both of those applied to Michael Cohen by the way.  He was doing things that were illegal and he had side hustles going on.

Rudy Giuliani`s in trouble for things that would be outside of the law and things that he might have been doing on his own.

KIRSCHNER:  If you`re representing a client and during the course of that representation you`re engaged in committing crimes, whether it`s to benefit the client or not, then we apply the crime-fraud exception.  So your privilege evaporates and you can be charged.

Not only can you be charged, you can be charged as a co-conspirator with your client.  We`ve already seen a number of Giuliani associates indicted.  And you know, there`s a great piece that was done by Barb McQuade and Joyce Vance where they kind of drafted up a mock indictment based on the public reporting alone.

And you know, I`ve reviewed hundreds of indictments in my 30 years as a federal prosecutor, this one looks pretty good.  I mean, they come up with charges that seem to fit what we now know Giuliani has done.  They say listen, he`s in contempt of Congress for basically when subpoenaed saying I do not recognize Congress`s authority to conduct this investigation, to issue subpoenas.  That`s not --

VELSHI:  You can fight -- you can fight the basis on which the subpoenas issued but he`s just not -- I`m not interested.

KIRSCHNER:  All day long.  That`s not a thing, Ali.  You can`t say, for instance, if you`re hauled into court as a criminal defendant, you can say I don`t recognize your authority or jurisdiction, I`m going home, and the judge will say marshals step him right because he`s not going home Giuliani is doing that to Congress.

So one, he`s plainly in contempt of Congress.  Two, it looks like he`s involved in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by soliciting a thing of value from a foreign national in connection with the U.S. election.  That basically just describes what he and Trump have been up to with that dirty deal they were trying to do with Ukraine.

And is an investigation of Joe Biden and his son a thing of value, everybody talks about that?  Here`s why the President and by extension Giuliani wants to be able to say Ukraine is investigating Joe Biden.  They don`t care if it`s a legitimate investigation.

The President wants to go out on the campaign trail and say American voters, Joe Biden is being investigated by Ukraine.  It doesn`t matter if they`re investigating legitimate wrongdoing by Biden and his son, it is the fact of the investigation that Trump will try to --

VELSHI:  Does anything there change the idea that soliciting that information, it would be I think easy to determine that that`s a thing of value right, because opposition research is something you pay for.  It`s a thing of value that influences voters and potentially the outcome of an election.

KIRSCHNER:  Absolutely.

VELSHI:  So there`s clearly a thing of value involved in digging up going overseas, going to Ukraine, and trying to -- or the President getting on a phone call with the president of Ukraine trying to get dirt on Joe Biden.

KIRSCHNER:  No doubt about it.  And that`s why Giuliani I think is on the hook for conspiring to -- conspiring to defraud the United States.  The third charge that they put in this mock indictment and it`s a mock indictment, no charge --

VELSHI:  But it`s a good read.

KIRSCHNER:  It`s a great read both legally and factually.  The third charge is conspiracy to commit bribery.  And that also seems to apply based on, you know, Trump withholding congressionally appropriated funds.  He`s holding them hostage.  Virtually, he`s kind of willing to walk over the body of dead Ukrainians to get what he wants which is unfair advantage in the election.

He`s holding that money hostage.  I don`t know why Congress isn`t more upset about that because they`re the ones who have the right to spend that money.  The President doesn`t get to now rein that money in and use it for his political advantage but that`s what he was doing.  Those are the three charges that they lay out in this flawed experiment as you say mock indictment.  But I`ll tell you based on what we`ve seen reported, all three seem to be supported by the facts.

VELSHI:  I recommend people to look it up.  Joyce Vance and Barbara McQuade have written this and they have described their -- what the experiment is.  It`s worth reading.  Glenn, always good to see you.  Thank you, my friend.

KIRSCHNER:  Thank you.

VELSHI:  All right, still ahead, the incredible attempt by Trump`s attorney general to try and prove conspiracy theories about the 2016 election.  That story next.

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VELSHI:  Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation as a fixer for Donald Trump.  In the Ukraine scandal, Trump specifically told the Ukrainian president to work with Barr to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

Barr has also tried to claim the Mueller report cleared the president of obstruction of justice, which is untrue.  The report makes no such claim. 

And Barr launched a sprawling probe into various conspiracy theories about the origins of the Russia investigation, including one parroted by the president, that somehow the guy who told a Trump campaign aide back in March of 2016 that Russia had dirt on Clinton was actually a western intelligence plant working as part of a ploy by Democrats.

Now, there`s absolutely zero evidence to support that theory, but it didn`t stop Barr from traveling to Italy last month and secretly meeting with Italian intelligence officials.  The Italian prime minister acknowledged those meetings publicly for the first time yesterday and succinctly knocked down any involvement at all, quote, "our intelligence is completely unrelated to the so-called Russiagate and that has been made clear."

As Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo puts it, quote, "Barr has told foreign intelligence leaders that he does not believe his own country`s intelligence officials and had gone to Italy to ask if U.S. intelligence officials are telling the truth."

Josh Marshall joins me now.

Josh, good to see you. 

This is very strange situation, to have the attorney general of the United States flying around the world trying to dig up something to -- it`s almost reverse engineering -- various conspiracy theories.

JOSH MARSHALL, TALKING POINTS MEMO:  It`s pretty bizarre.  I mean, generally speaking you think of the people in one government are kind of on the same team and, you know, trust each other and aren`t investigating each other.  And you have this very weird case where he`s going to these foreign intelligence services that have long-standing ties with U.S. intelligence services, as you would expect, Italy and the U.S., the U.S. and the UK, and basically going to them and saying we think that our intelligence agencies were plotting against our president.  Is that what you think?  Do you know anything about that that can confirm that?  And, you know, presumably they don`t know anything about it, because as far as we know it`s not true. 

But it creates this -- these foreign intelligence leaders seem to be baffled and uncomfortable and not know what to make of it.  And as you can see with Prime Minister Conte, it also creates these weird internal dynamics for these foreign governments, because people in the Italy and the UK are saying are you plotting with Trump here?  What`s going on?  So he had to come forward and  make this statement.

VELSHI:  So you`ve got Barr going out there questioning U.S. intelligence officials.  Now we have new reporting by The New York Times, by Katie Benner (ph) and Adam Goldman (ph) tonight.  The headline is "Justice Department has said to open criminal inquiry into its own Russia investigation."  So now the Justice Department is investigating itself.

I`m just going to read you a piece of this, "Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry according to two people familiar with the matter.  The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury, and to file criminal charges."

We are unclear as to what this investigation is about in the first place, Josh.  Who is investigating whom about what?  But now it has been kicked up a notch, which gives one the feeling that William Barr is doing this all over the world.  He`s doing it America, he`s doing it overseas.  He`s investigating America to try to come up with something to justify Donald Trump`s allegations.

MARSHALL:  It`s all sort of a black box.  And I think that`s the point.  It is not -- it doesn`t really change anything.  It`s not that hard to say, OK, we were just kind of taking a look and now we`re going to make it a criminal investigation.  That is a decision that someone like Bill Barr can just make.    We don`t know when it was made.  It is notable that it`s being announced now when the president has had a few bad press days. 

I think one thing that is really important to keep in mind about this news is that in practice it means that the Mueller investigators and Bob Mueller were part of some sort of criminal conspiracy targeting President Trump.  They will say that, well, we`re not talking about the Mueller probe, we`re talking about the origins of the probe.

But what`s really important to remember is that Bob Mueller and his investigators in the nature of things had to look at every little -- you know, every little part of this investigation.  And if there was criminal conduct, they would have seen it.  And since they didn`t mention it, that must mean they`re part  of it. 

So it`s really important to take stock of and understand and to absorb just how broad a conspiracy they are alleging against President Trump.

And, you know, as you`ve said in your intro, we`ve seen Bill Barr will do almost anything to cover for the president.  He`s made that clear.

VELSHI:  Josh, good to talk you as always.  Thank you for joining me.  Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo.

Up next, the one thing keeping Donald Trump from Richard Nixon`s fate and just how effect -- incredibly effective its been in radicalizing his supporters.  That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS:  They`re out to destroy this man.  They have been from day one and they will lie again to accomplish this.

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS:  You know, if it wasn`t your show, Sean, they would destroy him absolutely.  You`re the difference between Donald J. Trump and Richard Nixon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI:  It`s becoming increasingly clear as the impeachment inquiry continues, that Fox News is playing a major role in the president`s defense.  As Greg Sargent lays out in The Washington Post, quote, "rank and file Republicans who watch Fox News are far more loyal to Trump than those who do not."

A recent poll from the Public Religion Research Institute finds that of Republicans who cite Fox News as their primary news source a whopping 98 percent oppose impeaching and removing Trump opposed to just 90 percent of non-Fox-citing Republicans.

And 55 percent of primarily Fox watching Republicans  say there is almost nothing the president could do lose their approval, while only 29 percent of non-Fox-citing Republicans feel the same way.

Of course, Fox News makes no secret of where it`s loyalties lie.  Listen to this exchange from Fox & Friends from this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Lindsey Graham, who is going to be over to the White House today I think says this: "what`s missing in the impeachment push is a coordinated effort to put somebody in charge of developing a message and delivering it.  I think that has to be corrected."

You`re doing the best you can, Hogan and others are doing the best you can, but could you use  some help?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You know, I think we could use some help from the Democrats, and if we could see what it is we are trying to fight, we will be able to message it a better.  It`s hard to fight something going on behind closed doors and in secret.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI:  OK, as we discussed it`s not actually happening in secret.

Joining me now is someone who watches all of this very closely.  Angelo Carusone is the president and CEO of Media Matters.

Angelo, it`s not going on in secret.  I think we have to correct that every time it happens.  It`s a closed door hearing, exactly the same kind Republicans had on Benghazi, with Republicans in the room alongside Democrats.

ANGELO CARUSONE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, MEDIA MATTERS:  That`s right.  Thank you for doing that.

VELSHI:  It`s no secret about this at all.

CARUSONE:  It`s not secret at all.

VELSHI:  However, Fox should be able to clarify that as well, but you heard the Fox anchors saying that to the president`s press secretary.  So, they are reinforcing the stuff the White House is putting out there.

CARUSONE:  Absolutely.  And they`re also creating the larger conditions, and I think some of that was referenced in that piece where 50 percent say there`s nothing he can do.  If you take that one step deeper, what they`re really saying is that the ends justify the means, right.  So you make the process illegitimate, so that no matter what happens there can`t really be any consequences for it.

And it`s important to keep in mind that this is actually the reason why Fox News was built.  I mean, when Roger Ailes was beginning it, the whole idea was that it would prevent what happened to Richard Nixon from ever happening again to a Republican president.

VELSHI:  So what Geraldo said to Sean Hannity is actually kind of true?

CARUSONE:  That`s exactly right.  And it`s in plain sight, because it`s not actually a secret for Fox News, this was actually their mission statement or founding document, the way that any organization would start from a core principle or a core critique, this was actually the product, right after Nixon resigned from the threats of impeachment, Roger Ailes put together the original memo that later became Fox News.

VELSHI:  So, let be ask you this, in two or three weeks when this becomes public and the process falls into the  background because the substance now is all we`re going to be discussing, will those Fox viewers, the people who primarily cite Fox as their main source of news, will they know that has happened? 

CARUSONE:  No, they won`t.  And if they do, they won`t really believe any of the outcomes or any of the conclusions.  And there will actually be a larger effect of that, but when we talk about the Fox audience, we really have to talk about the larger political and information landscape, because now those lies are out there.  And there`s a reason why Donald Trump has more support  right now to remain the -- or be the Republican nominee than he did two years ago and even last year.  It`s actually increasing, because those people then go out and evangelize the lies as well as the support for Trump and the larger umbrella policies.

VELSHI:  I`ve got a number of articles from Media Matters in front of me.  Bill Taylor testified the other day, the head of the U.S. mission in Ukraine.  It says following Bill Taylor`s damning testimony, right wing media worked to defend Trump and discredit Taylor.

Now, you would think it`s hard to discredit Taylor, or Marie Yovanovitch, or Laura Cooper,  these are lifers.  They are what some people call the deep state, they`re not political people.

CARUSONE:  That`s right.

And I would point out that in a way -- let me give you the mechanics of what this looks like.  Since all this impeachment stuff first started the second week of September, Trump has sent 837 tweets about it.  50 percent of them have been Fox News related,  OK.  I mean, that`s...

VELSHI:  Meaning he`s quoting Fox News or he`s retweeting...

CARUSONE:  That`s right.  So, 400 of them have been about impeachment and 50 percent of them have been Fox News related.  So, it is the engine that`s driving the misinformation.

So, to your point about Bill Taylor, many of those tweets were undermining the credibility there, right.  So that is how you then take that kernel of misinformation, amplify it, recycle it and then it becomes conventional wisdom or the norms.

VELSHI:  Angelo, good to see you.  Thank you for joining us.  Angelo Carusone of Media Matters.

All right, still ahead, the choice facing Republicans right now, join Trump in return for lavish presidential praise or face a full on attack from the leader of your party.  We`re going to talk about that  straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI:  A solemn day on the Capitol today as people gathered to honor the life and legacy of the late Congressman Elijah Cummings.  His casket laid in state at the Capitol throughout the day.  Cummings, the son of former sharecroppers, was the first African-American lawmaker to be given that honor.  His casket was resting on the Lincoln catafalque, the platform built in 1865 after the president`s assassination.

The capital was busy all day with members of the public coming to pay their respects to the late congressman who died last week at the age of 68.  His fellow members of congress held a celebration of of life ceremony this morning.  Former presidents Obama and Clinton will both speak at Cummings` funeral tomorrow in his hometown of Baltimore that he loved so much.

This morning, morning we heard from Congressman Emanuel Cleaver about the lessons we can learn from the life of his friend and colleague.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER, (D) MARYLAND:  We have now passed an appropriate review of a man who even as the king of terrors drew nigh, he continued his work to continue our democracy.  As Elijah is beginning his hallelujah dance with the angels, may we we look at his life and work as dance lessons for our future entry into the silent halls of death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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VELSHI:  It`s been one whole month since Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, and Republicans have basically fallen into one of two positions: there are the dyed in the wool Trumpists, like the House Republicans who barged into a closed-door deposition yesterday earning a thank you for being tough from the president on Twitter, and Senator Lindsey Graham who responded to the president`s call to get tough by announcing a resolution condemning Democrats.

Then there are Republicans who are either desperately trying to stay out of it or have been openly criticizing the president, earning themselves this response from the leader of their party.  He called them human scum.

I want to bring in Jennifer Rubin, columnist for The Washington Post who used to be a Republican, now identifies as an independent and a never Trumper, along with Mickey Edwards, a former Republican Congressman from Oklahoma who is still a registered Republican.

So which one is the scum?  Who`s he talking about?

JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST:  I`ll take it -- I`ll take it as a badge of honor.

You know, you do think that at some point someone is going to say this just sounds bad coming  from the president.  It lowers you.  But he doesn`t.  And I think this is part of what we`ve seen which is this gradual disintegration.  Things are not going well for him.  There is no excuse for this behavior.  There are no good facts.  Whatever procedural arguments they come up with are going to disappear as fast as they concoct them.

So, he does these sorts of things.  He uses racially inflammatory words like lynching in order to create a brouhaha, which he thinks will get him through another 24 hours.  And then the next day they have to do something else to get through the next 24 hours.

But he`s living on borrowed time.  At some point, the House is going vote to impeach, and it`s going to be laid out for the American people.  And then we`ll see what the Senate does.

VELSHI:  But if you look back to Watergate, Mickey, what happened was that over time Republicans saw evidence and decided to act on it.  Is that happening here?  Because this looks like the  opposite is happening.

MICHKEY EDWARDS, (R-OK) FORMER CONGRESSMAN:  No.  You have members of congress now who are painting themselves in a position, Republican members, that they are staining their legacy in a way that will never be washed away, because there is so much that has come out, that it`s not just what he did in dealing with foreigners and with public policy that undermines our alliances, it`s all of the things he does every day.  And you`re now complicit if you`re unwilling to say you need to have an investigation, you need to see whether he has violated the emoluments clause.

If you can`t do that, you are now part of the story, you are as responsible as he is.

VELSHI:  So for doctrinaire conservatives, the idea that he may have violated the emoluments, the idea that he`s pulling out of Syria and creating insecurity, that he`s handing it over to the Russians, the idea withheld money approved for Ukraine, which, you know, members of congress have always been fighting the president is trying to take that authority away too much.

It can`t sit well.  Your ideology can`t match with the man you`re defending.

RUBIN:  Right.  So their argument is, well, if not for him, Hillary Clinton would be president.  No, she wouldn`t be.  Actually Mike Pence, a very good, from their perspective, conservative would be.

So they tell them these things to get them through, that this is just the media, that if they let them win on this one, they`ll take down any president, that if the president shows weakness, then Elizabeth Warren will become president.  So they come up with all of these excuses, these justifications.  They look at the Supreme Court and they say, but Gorsuch, but Kavanaugh.  And at some point they do have to look themselves in the mirror, at some point they have to decide what`s that one line in history they`re going to get, stooge or statesman?

VELSHI:  But Mickey, again, unlike Watergate, there`s a feedback loop here that we were just discussing, right.  People who use Fox as their only source of information are getting a source of information are getting a series of messages, so these Republicans who might be on the wrong side of history, are not feeling it as much from their constituents, because their constituents are seeing a different story.

EDWARDS:  Well, it`s not just because of Fox, because a lot of those people represent states where the people are not reading The New York Times, they`re not reading The Washington Post, they`re not watching MSNBC.  And so we know things about what this president has done that they don`t know and what they read says differently.  And so it requires -- these members of congress can`t depend on their constituents knowing what they know.  And they have to step up and say I am willing to lose. 

The people who wrote the constitution and the Declaration of Independence knew they were  committing treason, they would have paid with their lives.  These guys aren`t willing to pay with their job and so...

VELSHI:  Because it may cost them.  I mean, that`s the issue.

EDWARDS:  Right.

VELSHI:  Because being called human scum is one thing, but it may change people`s livelihoods.

RUBIN:  It may.  And apparently these people think they are never employable any place else, this is the only good job they`ll ever get.

Maybe they`re right because they`re behaving in a fashion that private sector employers would think twice about hiring these people, but this is the totality of their lives.  They never would consider, hey, I would be richer in the private sector.  I would have a whole new chapter in my career.  I would go teach at Princeton like Mickey.  They don`t think that way. 

They are so attached to their position of power and influence, it`s like death for them.  So they do whatever they need to to stay in power and they rationalize what they do and they tell them there`s some rationale for the greater good and then they just keep doing it.

So I think two things have to happen.  One, I think the folks, Democrats, independents, Republicans of good will have to go out to those parts of America and begin a campaign just the way they did on the ACA or on any other issue.  They have to educate and they have to reach, go beyond the Fox media directly to voters out there.

And I think the second thing that has to happen is at least in these campaigns, there has to be a concerted effort by their Democratic opponents to basically make these people say on the nose, do you think it`s OK to involve a foreign government in our elections or not?  That`s simple.

EDWARDS:  I completely agree with that.

VELSHI:  Thank you to both of you for joining me tonight.

Jennifer Rubin and Mickey Edwards, that is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now. 

Good evening, Rachel.

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END