CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Our guest is the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential Nomination Donald Trump.
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MATTHEWS: I think he wished he didn`t go through that door. Anyway, be sure to follow HARDBALL on Twitter and enter to win exclusive HARDBALL prizes. And that`s HARDBALL for now. I love the glory years. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say definitively, sir, that there was no quid pro quo?
HAYES: The man running point on Trump`s Ukraine scheme cops to everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you here to salvage your reputation, sir?
GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO EUROPEAN UNION: I don`t have a reputation salvage.
HAYES: Gordon Sondland admits there was a quid pro quo, that he was the one executing it, and that he was acting at the direction of the President`s lawyer.
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: Why am I doing it, Laura? Can`t you figure it out? I`m his defense lawyer.
HAYES: Tonight, inside the explosive admissions in today`s impeachment inquiry transcripts that left Trump defenders dumbfounded. Plus, Republicans keep pushing to out the whistleblower.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The whistleblower statute was never meant to give you anonymity.
HAYES: And as Rudy`s indicted associate considers flipping.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t know those gentlemen.
HAYES: And Trump`s longtime political guru faces trial.
TRUMP: Roger wasn`t on my campaign except way at the beginning.
HAYES: A look back at just who the President surrounds himself with.
TRUMP: I haven`t spoken to Michael in a long time.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
TRUMP: I didn`t know Manafort well. He wasn`t with the campaign long.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Yes, there was a quid pro quo. It has been clear for a while. It is clear as day in the call notes the White House itself released when the President of the United States tells the President of Ukraine who`s asking for military aid I would like you to do us a favor though.
On Friday, on this show, we laid out nine pieces of evidence of the quid pro quo. It is becoming more and more preposterous for anyone to even try and say there wasn`t one. But today, we got the most hilariously definitive answer to the question of whether or not there is a quid pro quo when we got to see U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland`s testimony transcript.
It is over 370 pages in which Sondland skirts around whether or not there was a quid pro quo. But then after a few weeks of oh I don`t know, reading press reports about what other witnesses were saying, Sondland said oh yes, I do remember now. There was actually a quid pro quo that I personally delivered to the Ukrainian government.
Yesterday, the day before his testimony is publicly released Sondland sent a four-page addendum to Congress saying other publicly released depositions "have refreshed my recollection about certain conversations in early September 2019." He then explains and I quote, "I now do recall a conversation on September 1st, 2019 in Warsaw with a top advisor to the Ukrainian President. I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement we had been discussing for many weeks."
Gordon Sondland delivered the quid pro quo. He testified to it in sworn testimony. He put a stake in this heretofore unkillable question of whether there was a quid pro quo, the final one I would hope. There was a quid pro quo. But that is not all we learned. We now know even more about this just bizarre world we live in in which Rudy Giuliani as the president`s private attorney, no actual official U.S. title is wielding the full power of the U.S. state.
Sondland describes a May Oval Office meeting where a President Trump expressed concern about Ukraine. "He just kept saying talk to Rudy. Talk to Rudy. Sondland said Trump was not clear what he meant other than "Ukraine is a problem." Sondland was asked, "did you ever discuss Rudy Giuliani with Secretary Pompeo?" And responded, "Pompeo rolled his eyes and said yes, it`s something we have to deal with."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union yes, I know Rudy Giuliani has no real business doing this but he`s running shadow foreign policy and it`s just something we have to deal with.
Here`s how Sondland describes how people perceive Giuliani in the State Department. "People usually smiled when they heard Rudy`s name because he was always swirling around somewhere." Swirling around somewhere.
The story of Rudy Giuliani`s far-reaching tentacles has -- was a recurring theme in the other transcript that was released today when former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, a guy who has served in the State Department under the last four presidents recounted trying to explain to President Trump that the new Ukrainian president was committed to fighting actual corruption, the real kind. But according to Volker "He just did not believe it. He was skeptical. And he also said that`s not what I hear. I hear you know he`s got terrible people around him. And he referenced that he hears from Mr. Giuliani as part of that.
Now, three weeks before Trump`s infamous call of the Ukrainian President, Volker had his own meeting with the Ukrainian president where he describes something he called the Giuliani factor. "I explained that I thought there is a negative narrative about Ukraine that is counteracting all the good things he is doing and that this is being amplified by Rudy Giuliani."
Rudy Giuliani was running a shadow foreign policy that completely circumvented normal channels and the people that usually operate within the normal channels just had to kind of follow along. Here`s how Trump appointee Gordon Sondland, a man who let`s remember, paid $1 million to be part of Trump`s administration by donating to the inauguration described the downward spiral of the Trump-Giuliani Ukraine policy.
"It started as talk to Rudy, then others talk to Rudy. Corruption was mentioned. Then, let`s get the Ukrainians to give a statement about corruption. And then no, corruption is not enough. We need to talk about the 2016 election and the Burisma investigations."
That`s, of course, Hunter Biden`s firm. It kept getting more insidious as the timeline went on. It`s just become more and more clear every day how rotten and corrupt this whole thing is. This is not just an addendum, it`s not just an ask or demand, it`s not just a bit of impeachable extortion.
This is the entirety of U.S. policy with regard to Ukraine, and the entire geostrategic lay of the land with this occupied country. And it revolves around the President`s personal lawyer and his shadow foreign policy and a whole conspiracy to squeeze this nation, Ukraine, that the president has come to hate because Rudy Giuliani along with Putin and others told him to.
Here with me now, someone who was in the room when Gordon Sondland testified, Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney in New York who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. Your reaction to the addendum from Ambassador Sondland.
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Right. Well, it`s about time. And ambassador Sondland has now aligned his testimony with the testimony of everyone else who spoke to him, who were in these key conversations, and who under oath said something different than he did. And he has now aligned that testimony with them.
So this dilettante turned diplomat has got the message that he needs to deliver the truth and the whole truth to the congressional committee. I`m glad we`ve got the addendum. It clears up the point you made very clearly that there was absolutely a quid pro quo, not necessary, by the way, for a tremendous exercise of presidential abuse of authority and a bunch of other wrongdoing.
But critical to obliterate the Republican talking point that if without a quid pro quo, there was -- there was somehow not enough to be concerned here. There`s a clear quid pro quo. It`s an abuse of power. Sondland now confirms it like everybody else.
HAYES: In terms of everybody else, so walk me through this. One of the justifications made for this portion of the process, closed-door depositions that are not public, right, is that witnesses can`t align their testimony with each other. But of course, we`ve been getting a lot of reports about it. I mean, what does Sondland`s addendum mean for the logic of that process?
MALONEY: Well, it means that it was a good idea, and it means that there`s a reason why professional people do it this way. And normally you`re not treated to all that nonsense that flies around about it but Ambassador Sondland is exhibit A of how important it is to be able to put people in that vice of having no other choice but to tell the truth for fear of a perjury prosecution or contempt of Congress, but also because they don`t have the benefit of knowing whether everybody else is conveniently forgetting something or shading a truth. When they -- getting what`s called that prisoner`s dilemma, they then are forced to come clean. And I think that`s what we`re seeing with Ambassador Sondland. It`s about time.
HAYES: There`s plans to call Mick Mulvaney as well, I believe. Ambassador Bolton I think is awaiting essentially a ruling from the courts on his -- one of his deputies who sort of asked for a kind of proactive ruling. What is your expectation about the rest of the witnesses?
MALONEY: My expectation is that they need to have a very good reason, or a court order, or an invocation of privilege with some real meat on the bones to ignore a lawful congressional subpoena. That`s true, by the way, for the documents the State Department and other agencies are withholding. Because all these witnesses or many of them took notes, by the way, so it`s not just their testimony under oath, it`s the contemporaneous record they made of those conversations. We don`t have a lot of that information.
We do have text messages and some other information. But the point is that we need to make these requests to make clear that they`ve been -- they`ve been instructed lawfully to produce that evidence testimony. Some may refuse to do so, but we`re not going to be slowed down. We`re going to keep moving forward.
HAYES: In terms of the documentary evidence, I believe Sondland`s phone that he was using that was part of this -- was a State Department phone is the State Department has that, right? They`re still sort of documentary evidence the State Department has possession of.
MALONEY: The State Department is sitting on a bunch of evidence that is directly relevant to the testimony these witnesses have given. And bear in mind, that puts the witnesses in a very difficult position because they need to in most cases give sworn testimony without the benefit of ever having --
HAYES: Right, of refreshing memory.
MALONEY: Having to see or having those documents in the possession of the investigator who`s going to walk them through them. So puts them at some risk but more importantly, it keeps the truth from the American public. And we`re okay with the facts. Let me just say that.
I think that if this administration wants to have a fair process as it keeps saying, it should -- it should turn over this information and it should -- it should let the public see it for itself.
HAYES: Final question, Senator Lindsey Graham, there was not a lot of response to this Sondland testimony today, but Senator Lindsey Graham basically said, I don`t care about any of it. I`ve just given up on the whole process.
MALONEY: Yes. I can understand why he`s giving up because the facts are - - the facts are not on his side. The facts are burying this president and those who have tried to excuse it away, whistled past the graveyard, said silly things about you know, character assassinations or the process or denying there was a quid pro quo when there quite clearly was.
So they keep moving this goalpost but they`re now at the point where they`re going to have to say yes it happened, yes it was terrible, but it`s not enough to -- it doesn`t rise to the level of impeachment. That I suppose is a fair argument, but they should cut the nonsense and just stick to the truth because there`s an overwhelming amount of evidence and they should get there.
HAYES: Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, good to have you here in studio. Thank you.
MALONEY: My pleasure.
HAYES: I`d like to turn out two people who have been following the story very closely, investigative reporter Aaron Davis of the Washington Post who wrote today about the revised testimony of Gordon Sondland and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade, also an MSNBC Legal Analyst.
Barbara, let me start with you. How significant is this remarkable addendum from the person who I think at this point it`s fair to say in terms of the people that have testified is one of the key witnesses?
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I think it`s very significant. One of the things that is especially probative about this statement is Gordon Sondland is someone who is allied with President Trump. He can`t be written off as a deep state operative, someone who is a career State Department person. This is a person who was appointed by President Trump to be an ambassador who gave millions of dollars to his campaign.
And so for him to come in and change his story I think is very significant. I also think it`s very significant that he didn`t tell this story the first time, that he now only recalls it after having his memory refreshed by hearing about the testimony of other people.
I think that shows this idea that we`ve talked about before of consciousness of guilt. They knew this was a deal. They knew quid pro quo sounded really awful. And that`s why they tried to conceal that fact. And only after that lie was exposed and he had real concerns about being charged for a crime for lying to Congress has he come back with this now I recall the detailed statement.
So I think it`s very significant and I think it explains why Republicans in recent days have been saying that they`re changing their strategy about whether there was a quid pro quo, and now have this theory that well a quid pro quo isn`t that big of a deal and not impeachable.
HAYES: Aaron, what do we know about how Sondland got to this point with this testimony?
AARON DAVIS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Well, we do know that this has not happened just overnight. That in fact, it`s kind of been a process here that obviously we saw Bill Taylor come in and directly contradict Gordon Sondland who was one of the first witnesses to come in for the impeachment inquiry.
Then there was Morrison, and there been other national security officials, Vindman who have come in. And as this is -- now we`ve had four versus one really, and Sondland`s recollection versus everyone since then. We know that -- one detail we know specifically was that this supplemental declaration was brought to the committee yesterday afternoon and over the course of last night and today. They`ve added footnotes to his testimony, and we`ve got the product, we got today.
And it really is a reversal on a very important point as to whether or not Gordon Sondland knew about the involvement of money or it`s suspicions about the involvement of money, how he can -- how that was communicated to him isn`t always necessarily cleared up in the supplemental.
But what is very clear now is that he was delivering the message to the Ukrainians almost a very threatening message that if President Trump`s goals were not met, it was very unlikely he said that the $400 million -- nearly $400 million in security assistance to fend off Russian aggression would not be released.
HAYES: You know, Barbara, you talked about consciousness of guilt obviously in the reversal here of the memory being refreshed here in Gordon Sondland. I think you can arguably say there`s some evidence of that. But also in all of the behavior that`s described here, all this kind of cloak- and-dagger stuff and the skullduggery, and the fact we`re speaking in code. And the President says, talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy, because he wants to outsource it through Rudy.
They`re all it seems from what we know of the record acting in ways where they realize there`s something at the core they`re trying to get that is inappropriate and not acceptable to simply come out and try to do.
MCQUADE: Yes. I think that`s absolutely right, Chris. And all of those things can be circumstantial evidence about what`s really going on here. You know, with regard to Gordon Sondland who said at one point that he never realized that Burisma equaled Biden. You know, at some point it`s just not credible when you look at all of these things.
One of the things that a jury is typically instructed to consider is because you cannot read another person`s mind, what you are permitted however to draw reasonable inferences about what was going on based on the totality of the circumstances, everything the person said and everything the person did.
And so all of this cloak-and-dagger stuff that you`re referring to does suggest that people knew what they were doing was illegal. And that certainly contributes to this idea that not only was there a quid pro quo but that they knew it was an abuse of power and potentially impeachable offense.
HAYES: In fact, in his testimony, Sondland said he`s not a lawyer but he assumed that`s such a direct bid an extortion would be a legal. Aaron, one of the striking things about all this, right, is that many of these folks Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, Bill Taylor, Gordon Sondland, they work in the administration.
I mean Gordon Sondland is the E.U. Ambassador at this very moment. I can only imagine the kind of pressure he might be under, the sort of calls he might be getting from various folks. Like what do you think this means for him and his future?
DAVIS: Well, I do think you know, you have someone here as a very successful hotelier, really was a self-made millionaire on the west coast. There is a point -- I`ve spoken with family members, friends of his over the last few weeks. I don`t think a lot of them believe this will be the way that he wants to be remembered.
And so there`s a question obviously of what`s life like for him to go back to work tomorrow as the ambassador to the European Union, but beyond that, what will be his final chapter in all of this. We`ve already seen three acts here of Gordon Sondland. You know, he was the one who wrote the text message that said no quid pro quos of any kind, that Trump doesn`t want any of those. And that was held up for a while as the you know, the defense.
DAVIS: And then secondly, we had, you know, in his first round of testimony, he did break with the President and say you know actually I wrote that after I had a direct conversation with President Trump. So those were his words, and I don`t know if they were true or not when in fact he didn`t know that he was working on one quid pro quo as far as the meeting that the Ukrainians wanted at the White House in exchange for these investigations.
And now we`re seeing the other half of this, the one that kind of line of defense he had and so far saying that I didn`t know anything about the money. It now says, in fact, he delivered that message to Ukrainians. It couches a little bit saying that was my presumption, I don`t know exactly before that meeting in September.
But he says subsequently in this supplemental declaration that the terms of the quid pro quo were even made clearer to him that it would specifically have to be Zelensky who went before the public and said that this would have to be an investigation in Burisma and to the 2016 election specifically.
HAYES: You got to go on T.V. where the president will see it, I believe were the words in some of the testimony released today. Barbara McQuade, Aaron Davis, thank you both. It`s election night in America right now, and there is something very interesting happening in the deep red state of Kentucky, a state that Donald Trump won by, if I`m not mistaken, 30 points, a gubernatorial race that right now is looking neck and neck. We`re going to get the latest from Steve Kornacki right after the break. Do not go anywhere.
HAYES: It is election night around the country. And there are two big marked statewide races in deep-red Trump territory, the governor`s races in Mississippi which Trump carried by 18 points in 2016 and Kentucky which Trump won by a whopping 30 points.
Amazingly, polls suggest the governor`s races in both those states are actually competitive. It`s also worth keeping that in Virginia tonight where Democrats are hoping to flip both the Senate and the House of Delegates and take full control of the government in that state for the first time in early 90s.
Joining me now on the big board with the latest on tonight`s races is MSNBC`s National Political Correspondent Steve Kornacki. Things in Kentucky are looking interesting, Steve.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, they`ve taken a pretty big - we were here about half an hour ago saying look, Matt Bevin, the Republican Governor was ahead by about five points. But it was going to get closer because Lexington and Louisville, those areas, Democratic areas were going to come in. They`ve come in mostly. And look at the difference. Bevin now trails this thing by nearly 30,000 votes.
When we -- when I was on the air a little bit ago, his lead was 40,000. This thing has turned around completely. I can show you all of Fayette County. This is Lexington University of Kentucky, high population area. Look at this, nearly 37,000 vote plurality. Andy Beshear, the Democrat ran up here. To give you some comparison, in the last gubernatorial election in Kentucky in 2015, the Democratic candidate won this county by 10,000 votes, so a major difference there but this the biggest by far.
Jefferson County, Louisville, biggest county, biggest city in the state, still counting votes there. But look at that. In 85,000 vote plurality for Andy Beshear may still add a little bit to that. That is what has been coming in in the last 30 minutes or so. That is the biggest reason. I`m just seeing it changed. He now has a 23,000 vote lead statewide.
What is left? Where is the suspense in this race? The suspense is in Western Kentucky. And the question is in the rural areas of Western Kentucky where Bevin is going to get some big numbers, but there aren`t always a lot of votes in these counties. The question is can he make up 23,000 or so pretty much in Western Kentucky.
I`m just saying it switched to 22,000. It can give you some -- just give you some sense this. I`m looking here to see what`s in. This is close to 100 percent. We got about 81 percent here. Just to give you some comparison. Bevin is leading here. This is coal country. This is coal country of Western Kentucky 51 percent for Bevin. I just want to give you the number here.
The last time around in this county, Bevin won it with 55 percent. He`s running at 51 percent right now. So those are the kinds of comparisons we`re looking for. But again, he`s playing from behind right now. More votes just came in. You can see Beshear actually built -- that might be Louisville coming in 100 percent. Yes, more of Louisville just came in, more of Jefferson County.
And again, just on the strength of that one county and how big it is in comparison to the rest of the state. With that going from 90 to 96 percent in in Jefferson County, you just saw Beshear increase the lead back over 30,000 statewide. I got to be honest, that`s a lot of ground for Bevin to make up here. You had the strength in Louisville for Democrats, the strength in Lexington.
And by the way, we mentioned this earlier. These three counties up here geographically small, this is about ten percent of the state by population. This is the Cincinnati suburbs and just massive, massive over performance here compared to the recent past for Andy Beshear.
KORNACKI: One of the stories we`ve talked about nationally, suburban areas in the age of Trump, but this is a county -- just quickly, I don`t mean to take too much time.
HAYES: No, please.
KORNACKI: But this is a county -- this is Kenton County. Donald Trump got nearly 60 percent of the vote here in 2016. Matt Bevins lost it tonight next door. Donald Trump got well over 50 percent of the vote here. Matt Bevin got about 55 percent of the vote here, 45 percent. He`s losing this thing in the landside.
The Republicans should be getting a pretty big tens of thousands of vote plurality out of here. These three counties combined, I think Bevin is going to win by about 3,000 tonight. That`s a huge shift. That`s the biggest shift on the board I`ve seen tonight.
HAYES: You know, it`s a really good point because as I was watching this come in, it seemed like a few things going on. You got big margins in metropolis, suburban swings. You did see Bevin I think outperform his last election in some rural areas which again has been part of the trend we`ve seen the era of Trump, but underperforming in coal country on the whole as far as I could sort of tell from the returns which I thought was interesting.
KORNACKI: Yes, it depends. I`m picking -- I was just looking at random there to see what was in. I can certainly show you counties, this is coal country on the eastern part of the state, two different regions here. Here`s a -- here`s a small county, Harlan County, famous County --
HAYES: Yes, famous.
KORNACKI: Bevin here 62 percent for him in 2015, 69 percent tonight. There are a few -- quite a few counties where Bevin did that. But again, they are smaller population too. And if you`re the Democrat and you`re making the kind of gains that Beshear made in the Cincinnati suburbs and you`re just getting the sheer numbers that he`s getting out of Jefferson -- I`ve just seen if anything more came in there out of Jefferson, out of Fayette County there, Lexington. That`s going to take you a long way. And there it is 32,000 votes right now still with that lead. I`m just looking to see if anything more came in.
HAYES: Final question here. We haven`t -- we haven`t gotten much in from Mississippi yet, although there are some Virginia races, right? I mean, it does look like those State House and State Senate at least Democrats are well-positioned to possibly flip that.
KORNACKI: Yes. I got to be a little careful here because NBC News doesn`t do State Legislative races. So we`re not making any care calculation of what`s happening. We are relying on or at least taking our cues from The Associated Press which right now hasn`t called it. But I`ve certainly have seen what you`ve seen, Democrats encouraged -- say they`re encouraged by what they`re seeing out of Virginia.
HAYES: And final just point here on turnout. You know, one of the things we`re seeing is just very high levels in pollsters talking people but how much that are tuned in and how much they`re going to turn out. My read of these numbers is these are very high numbers, and we have sort of apples to apples comparison because there was a 2015 race, obviously, so sort of similar place in the cycle.
KORNACKI: Yes. So we`re expecting and let`s see what it finishes up. But right now we`re thinking about 1.4 million, something like that, maybe a little bit less, 1.3, 1.4 million. You can see it`s well over 1.2 right now. That will be about what the final turnout here is in Kentucky. The last time they had a gubernatorial election 2015, the number was 975,000.
KORNACKI: When you had the 2016 presidential election, Trump versus Clinton in the state, the number was 1.9 million. You`re going to be halfway between the last governor`s race and a presidential election in an off-year gubernatorial election.
HAYES: It`s something else. Steve Kornacki, we`re going to check back with you later. That was fascinating. All right, as we said before, no quid pro quo is dead. It`s done, gone. Now, after today`s transcripts, Republicans can no longer use it as an argument, so rest in peace.
So now the tiny extremely thin read the President`s defenders will argue is OK yes, it was a quid pro quo, and that`s fine because it was about corruption. The thing the Trump administration was trying to get was a commitment from Ukraine to look into corruption.
Now, generally, that would be fine if it was generally corruption and it`s the last minor plausible argument they could conceivably make. But that argument is totally bolide by the documentary evidence we now have before us. We know this from the text messages produced by U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. Here`s how the House impeachment committee characterized it.
On August 12th, 2019, a top aide to the President of Ukraine sent a draft statement to Ambassador Volker announcing an investigation without mentioning specifically Burisma, the company that Hunter Biden was on the board of for the 2016 elections. That actual statement reason part "we intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes."
That was not going to cut it. So the next day, on August 13th, 2019, Ambassadors Volker and Gordon Sondland proposed the top Ukrainian made the statement also include two key items Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections. Here`s their proposed rewrite. We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes including those involving Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections.
That proposed change, Burisma, the company that Hunter Biden had worked for was going to get Trump and Giuliani what they really wanted, the ammunition of a public declaration by the President of Ukraine that would then drive news coverage, end up on the front page of all the big papers and being big red breaking news banners on cable news, Ukraine to investigate the Biden`s. That is what they were after.
They were after that material aid to their own campaign. That is the tangible thing of value they were soliciting and extorting a foreign government for. Joining me now for more on that Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a member the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, who sat in on both of the hearings whose transcripts were released today.
Do you think that proposed language from Sondland and Volker specifically citing those two instances and the public commitment are significant?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, sure. I mean, what we`re getting here is a shift in the Republican position before they were saying no quid pro quo. Another position is there was a quid pro quo and was perfectly valid and legitimate and that`s in effect their defense.
We know that this was much bigger than a quid pro quo which implies something kind of consensual. It was a shakedown against the Ukrainian government. It was totally coercive pressure brought to bear on them in order to make them cough up the two things that they wanted from President Zelensky. They wanted confirmation of their paranoid discredited conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, and then they wanted information about Burisma and the Biden`s.
And of course, no legitimate law enforcement inquiry or investigation had come anywhere near to verifying any of these things. And that`s why they had to apply this coercive pressure to try to get a foreign government involved in our election, this election, the one we`re having right now.
HAYES: I want to read you more from the Kurt Volker transcript and Rudy`s involvement. Rudy says, "well, if it doesn`t say Burisma and if it doesn`t say 2016, what does it mean? You know, it`s not credible. You know, they`re hiding something.
"And so we talked and I said so what you`re saying is just at the end of the same statement just insert Burisma and 2016, you think that would be more credible? And he said yes."
So this is coming directly from Rudy Giuliani, the president`s lawyer, saying you have to cite these two things. and not only that, they had to do it on television. Is that your understanding of what the plan was?
RASKIN: Yes, the suggestion was -- it was all made for TV. Really what the president wanted was to say that the Ukrainian government is investigating the Bidens because of x, y or z just like the Ukrainian government is validating our theory that Russia did not conduct a sweeping and systematic campaign to disrupt our election in 2016, Ukraine did.
But, you know, what`s so interesting about it is the Trump/Giuliani and Fruman/Parnas access was waging war against our Ambassador Yovanovitch who was a real anti-corruption crusader. They wanted to bring her down precisely because she was really fighting corruption. They never raised corruption with Zelensky. They never raised any other episode of corruption, all they wanted to do was to go after the Bidens and it`s perfectly clear from the record there. And if they use the word "corruption" all they meant meant by it was Burisma and the Bidens.
HAYES: OK, so I have to admit, there`s some confirmation bias on my part, as I`ve been navigating all of this, looking at the evidence. I thought the call was quite damning. I thought that alone showed a kind of abuse of power arguably on behalf of the president. But it does seem to me like, particularly with Sondland`s reversal today, like the main facts feel fairly established.
I mean, you haven`t even started public hearings. There`s a lot of witnesses out. There`s a lot of witnesses out. There`s still more documentary evidence the State Department isn`t turning over.
Where do you feel in terms of the completeness of the picture that you have as someone who`s been sitting in these depositions?
RASKIN: The evidence is absolutely overwhelming. There is no contrary hypothesis about what happened. And our Republican colleagues are just shocked into silence. I mean, sometimes they`ll go back to the conspiracy theory, which has been debunked numerous times about 2016, but they don`t have any other way to explain what happened.
And you know, we have officials in the Trump administration like Chief of Staff Mulvaney who have essentially confessed to it and bragged about it. I mean, you know, in a lapse of candor, he decided to go on TV and say yes, of course this is how we operate with the quid pro quos.
The problem with this quid pro quo was that it was a shakedown to get another government involved in our campaign. That`s precisely what the Mueller investigation was about, but apparently the president felt as if he had gotten off Scot-free there. Remember he was chanting that he had been exonerated and there was no collusion and no obstruction, which is not what is in the real Mueller report.
But in any event, then the very next day after Mueller`s appearance before the judiciary committee, he decides to go down this other road and to bring Ukraine into the 2020 election.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Jamie Raskin, thank you.
RASKIN: Thank you for having me, Chris.
HAYES: Next, despite the mounting primary testimonies the president engaged in extortion, Republicans are obsessed with outing the whistle- blower. The dangerous sideshow they`re leading after this.
HAYES: The worse things get for the president, the more the facts are revealed, the more the president and his defenders obsess over the whistle-blower, that the whistle-blower is somehow biased. But it doesn`t matter who the whistle- blower is. As TIME columnist David French tweeted, at this point the whistle-blower could be Hunter Biden himself and it wouldn`t change one syllable of the transcript nor would it change one syllable of sworn testimony establishing the president`s demand that an ally investigate a conspiracy theory and a political opponent.
The whistle-blower`s identity is of course protected by federal law. Last night, at President Trump`s rally in Kentucky, Senator Rand Paul, Mr. Limited Government himself, was urging the press to out him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: I say tonight to the media, do your job and print his name!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, the attorney for the whistle-blower tweeted about, quote, "the importance of protecting my client`s identity. I urge all of our government leaders, notably all members of congress," to step back and reflect on the important roll whistle-blowers play in our constitutional republic`s ability to oversee itself."
Joining me now is Senator Gary Peters of Michigan. He`s a member of the Senate whistle-blower protection caucus, and ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee.
The whistle-blower protection caucus in my time reporting in Washington, D.C., is a fairly bipartisan affair. There`s lots of Republicans and conservatives who think that the government is shot through with waste, fraud and abuse and that it`s important for whistle-blowers so that they can forward to expose that. Are you surprised to hear this from Rand Paul?
SEN. GARY PETERS, (D) MICHIGAN: I am surprised because it goes against everything associated with a whistle-blower, which are individuals that see fraud and abuse, waste in government, they want to come forward, but they`re also very fearful for their jobs, for their career, they`re afraid of retribution from their bosses. And so we have a law to protect that. Allow them to come forward, to talk to an IG if they want to remain anonymous, and then we go and actually look to see if what they are claiming is indeed true.
But it is absolutely essential for us to do the oversight. As you mentioned, I`m ranking member, homeland security and government affairs. We are the top oversight committee here in the United States Senate. We are constantly relying on whistle-blowers to come forward and say, you know, you need to check this out. This doesn`t look right. And when we check it out, if it doesn`t look right, then we can do our job in congress to make sure that we provide the kind of oversight necessary to make sure that taxpayers are getting what they want from government.
HAYES: Yeah, if I`m not mistaken, I believe a lot of the VA wait-time scandal was driven by people within the VA who used whistle-blower protections and went to the IG to do that.
I want to play you something that Senator Lindsey Graham today said about the whistle-blower and get your reaction. Here`s what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: The whistle-blower statute was never meant to give you anonymity, it was meant to allow you to come forward without being fired. You can`t use anonymity in a criminal process. You can`t use anonymity in a civil process, and you shouldn`t be able to -- this is a misuse of the statute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What do you think of that?
PETERS: I think it`s a complete misread. The intent is very clear to protect whistle-blowers so that they can come forward. And again, I think it`s important to put this into perspective, whistle-blowers just puts out allegations, or puts out observations they have, but then you go and collect the facts. It`s the facts that drive the situation. And that`s what we`re seeing here, the whistle-blower came forward, outlined a number of things that he or she thought was not correct. And now you have witnesses that are coming forward and actually in a -- providing testimony that actually show that the facts or the incidents that the whistle-blower put forward are indeed true based on their testimony. That is what we`ll act on is the testimony of people that have come forward.
The whistle-blower, in many respects, is really not relevant right now, it just simply -- he or she just put us on path and then folks went out to see whether or not that path was accurate, whether or not it is indeed factual.
HAYES: What are the stakes here? I mean, it seems to me that the conservator media has really obsessed over the whistle-blower. Sean Hannity says he knows the name, but he`s going to restrain himself for now. That at some point someone will publish the name, that they will make the identity public. What are the stakes in that?
PETERS: The stakes are huge, because this is about how we provide oversight to the federal government and make sure that we can ferret out waste, fraud and abuse. And I would think conservative commentators want to support that.
The chilling effect of this, if a whistle-blower believes that if they come forward that their identity will be revealed, and there could be serious repercussions to them, they will simply not come forward. And if they don`t come forward, we`re not going to be able to hold government accountable.
And I know the people in the state of Michigan, and I know taxpayers in the state of Michigan, want to hold the federal government accountable to make sure their money is being used correctly, make sure that government is not wasting it or engaged in any kind of abusive behavior, that`s what we expect in terms of oversight.
Whistle-blowers provide an incredibly valuable function, not just in the federal government but in corporate America and other places. We need to encourage whistle-blowers if we`re going to hold folks accountable and make sure we`re doing right by the American people and the taxpayers.
HAYES: Final question for you, senator. You`re the ranking member on the DHS committee. Are you confident that that agency has someone at the head right now in this period of tumult?
PETERS: No, we don`t. That`s -- we had a hearing today on threats and we brought this issue up is that you don`t have permanent leadership. What I would argue is one of the most important agencies in federal government, which is to keep us safe, to keep the homeland safe. There are 18 key positions that require Senate appointments. We don`t have Senate appointments in 11 of those. There is not permanent leadership.
We had a recent hearing in New York around the time of 9/11 with former secretaries of homeland security, both Democrats and Republicans. They said without permanent leadership, it is incredibly difficult to manage that department.
This department is essential. We need that management. And the Trump administration simply isn`t putting nominees forward. They`re really abdicating their management of an incredibly important agency.
HAYES: Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, thank you very much.
Let`s get back to election night results. Back with us at the big board is MSNBC`s national political correspondent Steve Kornacki. Steve, what`s going on?
KORNACKI: OK, we said that Beshear got the lead thanks to those big numbers out of Lexington and the Louisville areas. And then the question is could he hang on as the rural parts came in. I think when we last left you Beshear`s lead was about 31,000. You can see Bevin has eaten into it. It`s down to less than 13,000. It`s going to drop further we think because, look, you can see just count the gray here -- one, two, three, four, five. Five counties. These are basically rural counties. These are Republican counties, that haven`t reported anything yet so you can expect just from those five when they come in that number is going to drop.
Just seeing, we got a little more in, trying to figure out where it came from -- when those five come in this will shrink further, probably inside of 10,000, maybe more. There are also some other counties. Let me just see here. You can see there`s bits and pieces still to come in. I`m just kind of looking around here. I don`t have my computer in front of me. But bits and pieces coming from some of these other Republican counties.
So chances here for Bevin to eat into it. The one other piece of outstanding -- there`s a sliver, a sliver of Jefferson County left. This could ending up being crucial. You see 96 percent of Jefferson County, not much left, 4 percent in a county as big as Jefferson could potentially offset one or more of these rural counties.
So again now, Jefferson County is more than just Louisville. We`re not sure exactly which precincts in Jefferson these represent, but if these are Democratic, strongly Democratic precincts, Beshear could still squeeze a couple thousands more votes and plurality out of Jefferson. If he does that, it just changed again. And it just did. You can see, now down to 11,500 coming in here. Beshear`s lead is 11,500.
We have four counties that have no vote in. So this is -- Beshear got the lead. He`s trying to hang on for dear life. That`s the story right now.
HAYES: And do we have anything out of Virginia so far?
KORNACKI: Yeah. So, we said the Associated Press, we`re kind of deferring to them what they call here, the Associated Press now says that they have so far called -- and there`s more to come, but so far they have called one state Senate seat flipping from Republicans to Democrats. Democrats need to end the night with a net gain of at least one to get control of the state senate. The tie, they`d be able to break with lieutenant governor.
And on the House of Delegates side, AP has called one flip from Republicans to Democrats. So far, Democrats would need to net two there to get control of the House of Delegates. Again, if they get the senate, if they get the House of Delegates, they already have the governorship, that would give them that executive legislative control.
A lot that haven`t been called there, so the fact that anything has gone Democrats way, I think that`s why they`re feeling so encouraged right now.
HAYES: All right, Steve Kornacki, thank you so much for that update.
Coming up, the president usually claims to barely know the guy whenever one of his associates is, oh, say, facing a criminal indictment. Well, this time one of his buddies might have taken it personally. The newest crony to say he`ll cooperate with impeachment investigators ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What conversations have you had with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman?
TRUMP: I don`t know those gentlemen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were in pictures with them.
TRUMP: It`s possible I have a picture with everybody. I have a picture with everybody here. But somebody said there may be a picture or something at a fund-raiser or somewhere. But I have pictures with everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you talked with them?
TRUMP: I don`t know if there`s anybody I don`t have pictures with.
I don`t know them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It is true, Donald Trump takes pictures with lots of people, but he sure did take a lot of pictures with indicted Ukraine connected businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. And they were extremely close with Trump`s personal lawyer and friend, Rudy Giuliani. They also represented themselves as part of the president`s only legal team in an official letter to congress.
And now one of them, Lev Parnas`, seems offended the president says he doesn`t know them. That seems to be what tipped them over to cooperating with impeachment investigators.
Lev Parnas`s new attorney, he ditched the old one who was also the president`s former lawyer, told Reuters that Parnas, quote, is now prepared to comply with requests for records and testimony from congressional impeachment investigators.
Keep in mind it can be hard to keep the president`s indicted associates clear. In fact, one of his oldest political associates and closest confidants went on trial today. And that`s coming up, next.
HAYES: It`s always helpful to take a step back and look at the number of Trump`s associates and advisers who are either in jail or on their way or facing trial.
To name just a few, there`s the president`s long-time personal lawyer and bag man Michael Cohen, who is doing three years in prison right now, Trump`s former campaign manager Paul Manafort is doing 7 1/2 years for conspiracy and fraud, the president`s first national security advisor has pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI, but is now, somewhat insanely, asking the judge to dismiss the case, because of, quote, egregious government misconduct and in the interest of justice, but which can only be read as a desperate attempt at a presidential pardon.
Then there`s Trump`s former deputy campaign chair Rick Gates who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and to conspiracy, but who is still awaiting sentencing because he is expected to testify in a trial that began today for one of the president`s oldest confidants, advisers and associates, the one and only Roger Stone, who`s been charged with lying to congress and trying to obstruct a congressional inquiry.
Joining me now to talk more about the president`s circle of criminals, Aram Roston, a reporter for Reuters who broke the story last night that one Rudy Giuliani`s indicted associates of Parnas, a guy who regularly ended up in photos with President Trump, had a change of heart, and will now comply with the impeachment inquiry, and Cynthia Alksne, a former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst.
And Aram, since you broke that story, let`s start with you. What is going on with Lev Parnas and his legal team?
ARAM ROSTON, REUTERS: Well, his legal team said he was disappointed. He used the word disappointed. He used the word disappointed. He used the word upset that the president had sort of disavowed any knowledge of Parnas. And he said -- no, he didn`t say that Parnas had changed his mind, and he didn`t say what Parnas would be willing to testify to, but he said he would be willing to comply with these congressional requests for testimony and for documents, which are probably just as important perhaps.
And he said he`d be willing to comply with those, and that is a shift, you know, a very important shift from the prior position that both Parnas and Fruman seemed to have had.
HAYES: Yeah, that document request and request for testimony came prior to the indictment. They said they wouldn`t be complying, and then they were both arrested at Dulles with one way tickets.
Cynthia, today was the first day I believe jury selection for Roger Stone`s trial. It`s sort of striking when you stop and think about the fact that one of the president`s long time associates and advisers of his throughout the campaign is on trial, and it`s not in the top 10 stories of the president right now.
CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: We were just talking about that in the greenroom. It is shocking this is sort of the last story of the day. But it could turn out to be -- it could move its way up because the trial will be interesting. We may have an answer to the question, you know, did Trump really know about the WikiLeaks exposure in advance and the e-mail messages? And that`s a pretty important thing to know for the American public. And it could be answered in this trial.
HAYES: Do you think that`s possible? Because it`s something of a strange case because it`s getting Stone for lying. And it`s never been quite clear why he was lying if he was lying and what the motive is.
So I guess presenting the case has to show what the facts actually are and you think that might bring some new information to light about the president knew.
ALKSNE: You know, here`s what I think may bring out some of the most new and different facts is that in a normal criminal case you would say, oh, the defendant is never going to testify, not really in this one. This is a guy who loves the limelight, the idea that everybody would be looking at him is too good to be true. And he`s likely to take the stand, in my opinion.
If he does that, the cross-exam will be the most illuminating thing we will have seen in the Roger Stone case, I would guess.
HAYES: Aram, there`s another case in the Southern District of New York that multiple people have reported that Rudy Giuliani is the subject of some investigation there. That wouldn`t be surprising given Parnas and Fruman.
I wonder if there`s anything to glean about the orientation of that investigation or Parnas or Fruman`s relationship to Rudy at this moment based on Parnas` legal representation and his willingness to cooperate with congressional investigators.
ROSTON: I don`t know that you can infer -- if you are that he`s you somehow cooperate with federal investigators, that wasn`t something the attorney said. We don`t know what comes with that investigation.
We do know that the indictment of Lev Parnas doesn`t specifically address his relationship with Giuliani who his company had paid a substantial amount of money to. And there`s a lot of holes in that indictment in terms of what`s happened in 2019 with Lev Parnas so -- and with Giuliani.
HAYES: Well, one thing I wanted to ask you about. Michelle Goldberg had this interesting column the other day about sort of trying to sort out where the origin of some of these stories about Ukraine is coming from, right. Is it top down to the president, down to Giuliani and down to Parnas and Fruman or go the other way around, that Parnas and Fruman are sort of trying to get business deals done and they`re representing themselves as representing the president`s interests. They`re whispering in Rudy`s ear. Rudy is whispering in the president`s ear?
Like what do we know about who`s kind of running whom in this operation?
ROSTON: We don`t know. We know that Fruman has said -- or Parnas has said he functioned as a kind of intermediary setting up meetings and that`s what Giuliani said he`s functioned as. Giuliani has insisted it was his investigation rather than Parnas` investigation or Fruman`s investigation.
But who was it -- would Giuliani have been be able to come up with these witnesses on his own that were -- you know, Victor Shokin, or these others, or did Parnas come up on his own? We really don`t know. And that`s kind of the questions you kind of want an insider to start answering.
HAYES: Cynthia, there`s also the strange case -- Roger Stone is now on trial starting as of today. Michael Cohen behind bars, Paul Manafort behind bars, Rick Gates awaiting sentencing, because he didn`t testify, then there`s the case of Michael Flynn. And I`ve been sort of watching defense attorneys kind of tear their hair out as they`ve watched Flynn who has entered into a plea already. He`s been in the system for a while, his sentencing almost happened, then it was delayed, and now essentially I think has a new lawyer, done a U-turn and is basically saying he should throw the whole case out and I want to withdraw the plea. What does that mean for what his fate is likely to look like?
ALKSNE: Well, I don`t think he`ll be able to withdraw the plea. And what he`s done is made the judge really mad, because from the beginning he started to say that he was entrapped. And that just made the judge mad. And now in a series of these -- with the new lawyer also making allegations, I don`t think that`s very helpful.
But your gut level comment at the beginning is probably what`s true. Everything that his new lawyer is doing is trying to get him a pardon, and that`s the goal. And it may very well be successful.
HAYES: Yeah, the legal filings that I`ve seen seem more like performance for an audience of one that is not the judge than things you`d be filing if you were trying to win over a judge who has you in a very precarious position.
ALKSNE: And whose not happy with you already.
HAYES: Not happy.
Aram Roston and Cynthia Alksne, thank you both for joining us.
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That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
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