(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They shouldn`t be having public hearings. This is a hoax.
HAYES: Countdown to the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think the President knows the argument that can be made against him and he`s scared.
HAYES: Tonight, new testimony about a central allegation in the Trump extortion plot. The new strategy of the President`s chief of staff to fight his subpoena.
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF, WHITE HOUSE: Get over it.
HAYES: And new reporting that the Ukraine quid pro quo happened earlier than we knew.
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: This all should have stopped when President Trump said I didn`t do anything wrong.
HAYES: Plus --
GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO EUROPEAN UNION: The three amigos are Secretary Perry, again, Ambassador Volker, and myself.
HAYES: A new Ukraine scandal for the third amigo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s the third one there? Let`s see.
HAYES: And a look at the so-called Red accidents as another big name Republican heads for the door. When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. In less than two days, the House will hold public impeachment hearings against the President of the United States for just the fourth time in American history. The hearings will be televised live across the major networks. And our T.V. obsessed president and his cronies are desperately trying to find some sort of counter-narrative or distraction.
It is a freak outborn out of their fundamental impotence in the face of the seemingly inevitable impeachment. The Constitution gives the power of impeachment solely to the House. And it gives them the power to run those proceedings as they see fit. Republicans lost that branch of government in a huge backlash election in 2018. Democrats control the House so there is just about nothing the president or Republicans can do.
Although one thing they could do is attempt to construct arguments that might actually be persuasive to the general public about the President`s behavior or the facts around the case. The facts are really bad. The behavior is inexcusable. And so Republicans are going to extremes including trying to out the whistleblower who is protected by federal law and has already been receiving death threats.
Just this weekend, a slew of Trump surrogates made the rounds including Trump`s former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who tried to argue that if you do not succeed at committing a crime, then the attempt doesn`t count.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think ultimately the President will be impeached and removed from office?
NIKKI HALEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: No. On what? You`re going to impeach a president for asking for a favor that didn`t happen and giving money and it wasn`t withheld? I don`t know what you would impeach him on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Interesting theory. Republican congressman Mac Thornberry tried to say the President does bad things all the time. So really, how is this any different?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX): There`s not really anything that the President said in that phone call that`s different than he says in public all the time. So is there some sort of abuse of power that rises to that threshold that is different than the American people have been hearing for three years? I don`t hear that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You`ve gotten used to it America. You can`t quit now. Senator John Kennedy went out and tried to ascribe motivation to Trump`s request.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): Here are the two possible scenarios. Number one, the President asked for an investigation of a political rival. Number two, the President asked for an investigation of possible corruption by someone who happens to be a political rival. The later would be in the national interest. The former would be in the President`s parochial interest and would be over the line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s of course, Senator John Kennedy. And give Kennedy credit for I guess, at least trying a nuanced argument. But it doesn`t -- it doesn`t really matter what the President`s motivations were. We`ve learned from the most recent impeachment transcript of a Department of Defense official released today, that it was according to multiple entities within the U.S. government itself, within Trump`s government itself, in the interest of U.S. national security to provide military aid to Ukraine.
So the President withholding that money was definitely not done in the best interest of the U.S. The testimony that Defense Department official Laura Cooper also noteworthy because it was delayed for five hours. Do you remember that was the day that House Republicans stormed the secure room where the interview was being held, and they ordered pizza and delayed the hearing demanding to be let in, even though many of them were already allowed to be in there?
I should note, many Republicans who have sat in these depositions have not really taken full advantage. A perfect little microcosm of this phenomenon appears in one of the transcripts. Republican Congressman Mark Meadows has an opportunity to substantively question a witness before him. But instead of actually questioning the witness, he`s been several minutes complaining about not being allowed to ask questions.
Acting Chairman Eric Swalwell tells him he can ask questions over and over and over and over and over. That you see is the Republican approach in a nutshell whining about the process but not engaging on the substance.
Meanwhile, the President`s approach has been to tweet insane disinformation about the transcripts and undermine the Republican messaging of the day. "Republicans, don`t be led into the fool`s trap of saying it was not perfect, the phone call that is, but it`s not impeachable. No, it`s much stronger than that. Nothing was done wrong."
All of these are just attempts, different attempts, to try to find some story, any story that will stick to keep the Trump base in line. I really think the goal here is not to persuade people who are persuadable or in the middle or torn about this as much as it is to give Trump T.V. just something to talk about that is not the President`s completely impeachable behavior when he attempted to extort a foreign leader.
So when the hearings begin Wednesday morning, House Republicans will not be in the business of making arguments to persuade the middle of the country that will be going into this entire undertaking from a sabotage mission.
Joining me now, one of the Congresspeople investigating the President, Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger of Virginia. She`s a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congresswoman, you are one of those freshmen reps who wrote an op-ed when the whistleblower complaint first sort of starting to surface and its contents talking about how troubling it is. It was seen as a kind of watershed moment in breaking the dam and moving House leadership, Nancy Pelosi towards impeachment.
Looking back now, as you`re about to go into public hearings on this, are you glad you did that? And is it better or worse than you thought it might be?
REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D-VA): So I was one of the freshman Democratic members with national security background who wrote an op-ed talking about the allegations, at the time, the new allegations against the President. I served as a CIA case officer for years. And in that capacity, I worked to ensure that we were upholding U.S. national security interest and protecting our country from all threats.
I think it was absolutely the right choice to assert to the American public and most especially to my constituents that the allegations the President was facing at that time and continues to face represent truly unthinkable potential violations, and if they are true, impeachable allegations. And it was necessary and continues to be necessary that the House of Representatives use every authority available to us to get all the facts and evidence related to these allegations and to discern what it is that really happened.
HAYES: You are someone who represents a district that was a Republican district. And I think there are a lot of people in your district to vote for the president or who might be in the habit of voting for Republicans, consider themselves Republicans. How much do you think there`s persuadable room?
I mean, when you`re thinking about going to your constituents and talking about the facts of the case, and what is being presented, how much do you think you can persuade folks? How much do the facts matter in those interactions?
SPANBERGER: Well, I think we`re entering a really important next phase. I am on one of the committees in that jurisdiction so I have been able to attend depositions and read testimony up until this point. But I think that the next phase of this inquiry is going to be vitally important.
And this is the portion of the inquiry where the American public get to participate. The American public gets to hear the testimony, see directly from the witnesses what it is that some of us on those committees of jurisdiction have already been able to see. And I think that that is vitally important.
I think the next step is ensuring that the American people not just understand the allegations of the President, but understand that we have career public servants of backgrounds having worked under Republican and Democratic administrations alike, making these allegations that we have veterans, that we have purple heart recipients, that we have West Point graduates among those who are giving testimony that speaks to deeply disturbing allegations against the president of the United States. Allegations that he sought to leverage foreign aid, foreign aid that is given because it serves our best national security priorities, foreign aid for information and for the public declaration of an investigation to benefit him in a forward-looking future election.
And I think it`s going to be vital that the American people will be part of this next step be able to be witnesses to the testimony that`s given in these future hearings.
HAYES: Your colleagues, Republican colleagues and the Republicans align the media seems very obsessed with the whistleblower, the identity the whistleblower. The President`s son has tweeted out I believe his identity, though I don`t know if it`s true or not.
What do you ascribe to that and what do you make of the way in which members of Congress are talking about this individual who, as far as reporting indicates was at the CIA where you yourself once work?
SPANBERGER: Well, I find it actually rather confusing. It is Congress is the body that created whistleblower protections in the first place. It is some of my colleagues who are still serving who went so far as to put laws into place to protect whistleblowers so that we can ensure that people who see things that are not acceptable within our federal government can step forward and be protected from retaliation that they can ring the bell when there is something to be concerned about.
But I think most importantly, what is really important for your viewers to know is while the whistleblower complaint is what got much of this investigation started, every aspect of what is outlined in that whistleblower complaint, in fact, has been discussed by witness after witness.
So we have seen named witnesses, people who have come forward and testified before the impeachment inquiry hearing and committee to discuss what it is that was initially set forth in this -- in this complaint.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, thank you very much for your time.
SPANBERGER: Thank you. And happy Veterans Day!
HAYES: Yes, to you, thanks a lot. As we approach Wednesday`s hearing, there are still moving parts of the investigation. Democrats have not for closed the possibility of more depositions. And they have these outstanding requests, even subpoenas that have gone out to several witnesses who have declined to come before the committee.
Now, one of them was former National Security Advisor John Bolton`s deputy, who did a sort of interesting thing. He went to court to get a kind of proactive affirmative ruling on whether he should listen to Congress, would spin it in, or the White House who said he couldn`t testify.
Bolton also said he would follow the lead of the court case here. And both Bolton and his deputy subpoenas were then withdrawn by the House because House Democrats do not want a judge to swoop in and say they have no case here and take their subpoena power away effectively.
Well, then today we learned that Trump`s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney who also was subpoenaed and who also declined to testify tried to join that lawsuit and then gave up the effort by the end of the day.
Joining me now is Bob Bauer, former White House Counsel under President Barack Obama who`s got some experience navigating the very rocky shoals and congressional and White House interactions in the law.
What do you make of this situation in which there is a sort of petition for a ruling by the court by this subpoenaed witness, Bolton joined it, the House withdrew it trying to render a mood, and then Mick Mulvaney tried to jump on today?
ROBERT BAUER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Yes. Well, Mulvaney did try to jump on. He wanted to sort of piggyback on to the Bolton and Kupperman complaint or motion rather, and they asked -- they opposed it. They said that Mulvaney didn`t belong with it. Their argument was many fold.
One point they made was that they were hitching much of their argument to the fact that they were involved in national security conversations, and Mulvaney doesn`t have that behind him. He doesn`t have that to draw on. And this national security factor is one that Bolton and Kupperman want the court to weigh carefully and deciding what their obligation to testify might be. That was part of it.
They also noted that Mulvaney may have breached his testimonial privilege anyway because he had that disastrous White House press conference in which he announced that there was, in fact, a present quid pro quo and the American people should get over it. The political influence was typical in foreign relations.
So needless to say Bolton and Kupperman felt that quite frankly Mulvaney`s presence would be a real ball and chain on their case and they didn`t want him part of it. So they opposed it. At which point Mulvaney withdrew and said he was going to file his own separate suit.
HAYES: So you talked about -- this is an interesting idea. So we`ve seen assertions of absolute immunity and sort of vague references to privilege for the White House, but no specific invocations thereof if I understand it.
When you talk about Mulvaney breaching that immunity possibly in discussing it, talk about that concept, which is interesting to me.
BAUER: Yes. Well, the argument that, of course, White House officials make directed by the White House, at least those who won`t testify, others have, is that they cannot testify because what that does is it breaches an absolute immunity that they have, and that immunity rests on a claim that the President has to have the full confidential advice completely protected from exposure of senior aides.
Then, of course, I`ve seen aides go to the White House Press Room and begin to discuss the very subject matter for which they`re claiming privilege, that endangers that claim significantly endangers that claim. And that was the point that Bolton and Kupperman made. They said, we never did anything like that. We remained quite discreet and we don`t want Mulvaney in our action.
By the way, there were other arguments they made, which was that they claim they`re completely neutral. They`ll do what the court directed them to do. Whereas in Mulvaney`s case, he appeared to be, as they put it, roughly pro executive, he had a position in the case, and they didn`t want his position to tar their more neutral position.
HAYES: It`s striking to me that a lot of this -- we`ve talked about this a bit before and as we head into the sort of formal part of this process. These fights between the branches who has to testify and who doesn`t, there`s very little jurisprudence on it. There`s very little guidance by the courts. It`s a kind of almost power struggle between these two branches about who has what power and what scenario, right?
BAUER: Yes. But there are two layers of sort of analysis here. One is in the typical oversight area that is to say non-impeachment oversight. Typically, the executive and the Congress try to work it out. The President has executive claims -- executive privilege claims that he or she may want to make and the Congress wants a testimony. And they try to work out some accommodations so that the President can protect the privilege to some extent, but the Congress receives the information that it wants.
But now we`re in impeachment. And the Congress is making the case and I think it`s obviously a very strong case, that the impeachment power is when Congress has demand for the information is at its apex.
BAUER: It`s when there really isn`t a defense against providing that information except Bolton and Kupperman wants to know, where the conversations between the President and the senior aides implicate sensitive national security matters.
HAYES: Final question for you. You`ve always struck me as a fairly, very careful lawyer. You`re a White House Counsel, one has to be quite careful in that position, I think. Rudy Giuliani who`s the President`s lawyer though, the basis of that is a little unclear. He`s not getting paid for it. There was a headline today that he was -- he`s considering launching an impeachment podcast. This is over -- an overheard conversation. You think it`s a good idea from a legal perspective, like go and record your conversations and thoughts on the case all the time?
BAUER: I would have to say no. I can`t imagine that the President`s personal legal team or the White House Counsel would be thrilled that Giuliani is podcasting his views on impeachment. He is apparently the subject, possibly the target of grand jury proceedings. His involvement in Ukraine is the subject of all of this testimony. His business dealings in Ukraine are the subject of this testimony. He was in regular communication with Donald Trump.
So why he would decide that he`s going to have his own sort of, if you will, public communications channel on this subject is completely beyond me. I`ve never heard anything like it.
HAYES: Right, Bob Bauer, thank you so much.
HAYES: Up next, new reporting that changes what we know about when the Ukraine scheme all began and what we`re learning straight from the lawyer of Rudy`s indicted buddy in two minutes.
HAYES: You remember back in May when Rudy Giuliani, the President`s personal lawyer announced he was going to Ukraine to try and get the incoming government to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden. At the time he literally said, "we are not meddling in election, we are meddling in an investigation which we have the right to do. There`s nothing illegal about it. Somebody could say it`s improper." That was his defense.
House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff responded to him, yes, it`s improper as well as immoral, unethical, and unpatriotic. And then two days later, Giuliani canceled that trip. Well, now we`re finding out that a version of that mission appears to have still happened.
Giuliani`s now-indicted associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman delivered the message instead, according to Parnas. He`s the guy on the left. He told The New York Times through his new lawyer on the record that he "told the representative of the incoming Ukrainian government it had to announce an investigation to Mr. Trump`s political rival Joseph Biden and his son, or else Vice President Mike Pence would not attend the swearing-in of the new president and the United States would freeze aid." Parnas also says this message was delivered at the direction of Mr. Giuliani.
Now, both Igor Fruman, the other indicted guy and Giuliani deny Parnas` account of that May meeting. Giuliani is saying "categorically, I did not tell him to say that." I should tell you neither of these guys actually dispute that the meeting Kiev actually occurred.
So if what Lev Parnas is saying is true, this could be the first explicit attempt to just openly extort the Ukrainian government in the way that we have now seen in the call and the testimony. Remember exactly a week ago that Parnas broke ranks with his former associate Giuliani, he got himself a new lawyer, announced he`s open to talking with impeachment investigators, which strongly suggest he`s cooperating and is prepared to fill in that timeline.
For more on that, I`m joined by Erin Banco, National Security Reporter for The Daily Beast and Natasha Bertrand National Security Correspondent for Politico and an MSNBC Contributor. And Erin, this claim Lev Parnas make some sense of another part of the timeline that you`ve written about and others which is that we know that all the way back in May, the incoming Zelensky administration was freaked out about the fact that the aid was maybe being upheld and maybe they had to investigate Biden in order to get it on upheld.
ERIN BANCO, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, that`s right. So we talked to several sources about the story we worked on. And what we found out was that top Ukrainian officials actually reached out to Washington to current and former U.S. officials about their concerns inquiring, hey, listen, you know, we got the Trump`s personal lawyer on T.V. talking about how he wants to go to Ukraine and talking about investigations into the Biden`s. How is this going to affect, you know, the military aid that we`re expecting and, you know, possibly a White House visit between Zelensky and Trump?
You have to remember, at this time, you know, Trump has signed a letter May 29th, you know, and delivers it to Ukraine, inviting Zelensky to the White House. But even still, Ukrainian top officials are still very wary about what`s going on here especially because Rudy Giuliani and his associates were so active in Ukraine talking to Ukrainian officials at that time about the Biden`s and Burisma.
HAYES: There`s another story here too, Natasha, of notable significance, which is that Parnas making this claim through his lawyer to a reporter strikes me as a huge break from where he was a week or two ago. I mean, Parnas and Fruman at first said they wouldn`t be cooperating with the impeach investigation. They were part of the President`s legal team, then they got indicted, then they -- Parnas ditch his lawyer for new one. Where -- what do you read as the implications of his behavior in the last week or so?
NATASHA BERTRAND, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. So it could be that he`s just trying to send a signal to the president who has of course, tried to distance himself in a big way from Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman in the past couple weeks saying that he never knew them, he never work with them, even though there are photos of them together, and even though they were pictured together at galas, etcetera, fundraisers.
So I think right now he`s telling impeachment investigators that he`s willing to cooperate with very, you know, a few caveats. And his lawyer, it`s not usually recommended that a client speak to impeachment investigators and House investigators when they are currently undergoing a criminal inquiry in another district.
So it remains to be seen whether his lawyers are actually going to allow him to cooperate with impeachment investigators, but I think we also have to remember why what he`s saying is so significant here and why the timeline is so significant.
The reason is that it blows up the argument by Trump and his allies that the Ukrainians did not know that the military aid was being withheld.
BERTRAND: And one thing that really struck me from Alexander Vindman`s testimony earlier this week that was released was he said that he actually started hearing about aid being withheld as early as June which would fit with the timeline of Parnas telling Ukrainians that aid may be withheld, and with Erin`s reporting that, you know, certain Ukrainian officials were concerned that it may not be released. So that is really the reason why the timeline here is so important.
HAYES: Yes, that`s a key point, Erin. I mean, one of the defenses and I think it`s not a particularly powerful one but it is at least sort of rooted in some engagement with the facts, is the idea that, you know, they couldn`t really put the squeeze on because Ukrainians were unaware that this hold have been ordered on the aid, but they`re being communicated through other channels explicitly about this, then that falls apart.
BANCO: That`s right. That`s what`s super interesting for me here is that Washington, according to our sources, knew what Ukrainians were worried about and feeling at that time. And, you know, questions that arise for me here is, you know, how was the State Department handling some of these concerns by, you know, these top Ukrainian officials.
Their -- you know, most likely their jobs were made that much harder given that Ukrainians were so on edge, and given that there was a lack of communication from Nick Mulvaney from the White House and with the State Department about exactly A, who was really involved with Ukraine portfolio, who was taking the lead, and you know what was coming next.
There`s also another hold here that we got today from the testimony I think of Laura Cooper that was released. Natasha, you tweeted about this. So, we know there is a hold on aid that was placed by OMB at the President`s direction. That`s been established. But OMB put a separate earlier hold on Javelin missiles to Ukraine because Mick Mulvaney was concerned Russia would react negatively.
That`s -- oh, that`s according -- I`m sorry -- to the State Department official Catherine Croft. And OMB was a lone objector. So the rest of government said we can do this. That`s striking to me too, Natasha, because that`s actually the issue that Zelensky mentions that triggers the President to say, I want you to do us a favor, though.
BERTRAND: Right. And the Javelins, of course, are extremely important to the Ukrainians because they help them fend off Russian aggression in the East where they are currently fighting a war against Russia. So this was really fascinating too because apparently, the reason why Mick Mulvaney was so hesitant to release these Javelins was because of how the Russians might respond.
But another interesting thing is that this is one of two things the President points to show that he`s tough on Russia. The fact that they provide military aid to the Ukrainians and the fact that they did actually eventually, you know, give the Javelins to the Ukrainians.
Well, it turns out, you know, the military aid was withheld in order to get the president his own personal political favors and the Javelins were almost not sold to the Ukrainians again, because they were worried about how the Russians might react here.
So everything seems to be a calculation on this White House`s part about how these things might affect Russia, about how it will affect the President`s personal political interest. And we have to remember that through the Ukraine story is a direct through-line from Russia and Mueller in 2016 to what`s happening now with the Ukrainian scandal.
HAYES: Right. I should note, for full context, the Obama administration actually also objected to those Javelins sales and along somewhat similar lines right, that it would be essentially needlessly provocative to Russia. But this administration came in and said they were going to turn the page here and interior to the government, all the agencies were on board, except for this hold by OMB. Erin Banco and Natasha Bertrand, thank you both.
Next, Energy Secretary Rick Perry lands lucrative deals for his political donors in an apparently brand new Ukraine scheme. No seriously. The reporter who broke that story joins me after this.
HAYES: With just a few weeks left on the job, Energy Secretary Rick Perry is trying desperately to get out the door of the Trump administration untouched by serious scandal, but, unfortunately, he is up to his neck in all this Ukraine stuff.
Do you remember when Gordon Sondland volunteered that the White House`s Ukraine policy was being run by the Three Amigos?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDAN SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EU: We have what are called the Three Amigos. And the Three Amigos are Secretary Perry, again Ambassador Volker and myself. And we have been tasked with sort of overseeing the Ukraine/U.S. relationship between our contacts at the highest levels of the U.S. government and now the highest levels of the Ukrainian government.
HAYES: So Kurt Volker, former special envoy to Ukraine, UN Ambassador Gordon Sondland, and Rick Perry are the Three Amigos.
Now, two of those Amigos have already been deposed by investigators in the impeachment inquiry. Volker even handed over those infamous text messages that detailed the extortion scheme. Sondland testified and then revised his testimony to all but admit to the same scheme. Perry is denying in the press he knows anything about all that. But as of now he isn`t willing to say that under oath before the impeachment inquiry.
So, what does Rick Perry know about the Ukraine extortion plot? That is just one question for him. Another one is what was Rick Perry doing helping to essentially land a lucrative deal for his own donors at the Ukrainian oil and gas company?
According to a really wild new report from the Associated Press, quote, "Ukraine awarded the contract to Perry`s supporters a little more than a month after the U.S. Energy Secretary attended Zelenskiy`s May inauguration."
Also, a document shows the only competing bidder, known by acronym UGV, offered more than $60 million for the first phase of the project, compared with $53 million, that would be less, from Perry`s supporters.
With more how much more weight this adds to Perry`s role in the Ukraine scandal by joined by Desmond Butler, one of the reporters who broke that AP story.
All right, Desmond, so we know that Perry goes and he`s part of the official delegation in May to the inauguration of Zelenskiy, and he meets with Zelenskiy, and it`s established by everyone that they talk energy policy, right?
DESMOND BUTLER, REPORTER: Yeah, that`s right. I mean, it is a strange thing, he`s the top representative for the Trump administration at the inauguration, but he takes the time to meet with Zelenskiy and hand him a list of people he thinks should be American advisers on energy policy.
HAYES: Including people that he thinks should be on the board of their natural gas company, or as just advisers? I have seen it sort of phrased both ways.
BUTLER: Well, there is a supervisory board that really came from western pressure to clean up the gas company.
HAYES: Ah, I see.
BUTLER: And he`s -- he was apparently suggesting that the whole board should be replaced. He`s suggesting some people who should be on it. And at one point he apparently indicated that -- that, you know, there should be a representative who is good in Republican circles.
HAYES: And these are people, some of those names, these are people that Perry has known for a long time or sort of long-time supporters of his.
BUTLER: Well, at least one of them on the list of four for sure. And that is the guy who just weeks after he handed in that list got a big contract.
HAYES: So this guy, so Perry identifies this -- he`s on the list. Perry says you should think about these people. By the way, we should note that an American sitting on the board of a natural gas Ukrainian company is precisely the thing that Perry, Trump and the Republicans have said is corrupt about Hunter Biden, but that aside for a second, this guy is on the list. Rick Perry says this guy is a supporter of mine, he might be good on your board. And then he gets an official government contract with the Ukrainian government.
BUTLER: Right. And according to Perry`s office, he was promoting American business, not anyone in particular, and had no role in that contract awarding.
HAYES: We should say that Perry -- Perry we know, was very involved in Ukraine policy. That`s not contested, obviously. He has very much denied that he played any specific role in enunciating the terms of what we`ve seen in the phone call. I want to just play his denial of that. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK PERRY, U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY: Not once, as god as my witness, not once was a Biden name -- not the former vice president, not his son -- ever mentioned. You know, corruption was talked about in the country, but it was always a relatively vague term of the oligarchs and this and that and what have you.
But I`m quite comfortable. I mean, as a matter of fact, I`m extremely comfortable that not did the president of the United States or any of his administration or his team ever talk about with the intent of there was some quid pro quo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That may be not -- that was October 7, so he hasn`t had time to revise that. But what do we know about the extensiveness of Perry`s communications with folks on the Ukrainian side?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUTLER: Well, I mean, you know, that`s his story that he never heard the word Burisma. Vindman`s testimony contradicted that, as I understand it.
HAYES: That Vindman says that Perry actually was involved in specifically citing Burisma?
BUTLER: That he -- no, that he was in a meeting in which it was discussed at the White House. That`s how I read it.
HAYES: And Perry`s presence in that meeting is part of a larger involvement obviously in Ukraine policy, which has been accounted for under oath by the two other people that had similar roles but not by Perry, obviously.
HAYES: Right, correct, because he hasn`t agreed to testify.
BUTLER: All right, Desmond Butler, thank you so much for joining us.
HAYES: Thank you.
BUTLER: The red exodus from congress in the age of Trump continues. The latest big name Republican to call it quits and what that trend means for 2020 ahead.
Plus, the triumphant return of Thing One, Thing Two is next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, the president`s Twitter account has been like the Trump Book Club over the past few days. Pretty much any book that flatters him gets a glowing Twitter review, like Nikki Haley`s new memoir, quote, "make sure you order your copy today or stop by one of her book tour stops to get a copy and say hello. Good luck, Nikki."
He called Lee Smith`s "The Plot Against the President," "a great new book. Check it out."
He called Rich Lowry`s "The Case for Nationalism," "great and very important."
But then his son Donald Trump Jr.`s book, "it is really good." Wow, what an endorsement. "I just finished reading it." I`m sure that`s true.
Yes, Donald Trump Jr. is p0wning the libs with a new book called "Triggered," or if you went to this bookstore where some rascals changed all the book covers, it`s called "Daddy, Please Love Me."
Now, nobody is saying the book isn`t really good, well, except maybe the part where he wrote about how a visit to Arlington National Cemetery reminded him of his family`s sacrifices. But over the weekend, Don Jr. faced another great hardship, the author of "Triggered" got heckled off the stage at a book event by his own fans. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Donald Trump Jr. has not done any interviews on MSNBC about his new book. And that`s because of the author of "Triggered" won`t come on MSNBC, but he has been making the rounds everywhere else from Trump TV and Friends to Shawn Hannity to Judge Jeanine to Laura Ingram, to a full hour with Mark Levine. Don Jr. did go on The View, which turned into a legacy case battle royal. But even that couldn`t compare to what happened at his own book event in California yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So what you just saw there was the author of "Triggered" walking off the stage at his own book event because of hecklers. But that was not a bunch of angry liberals, mind you, no, the event was supposed to have been a safe space for Don Jr. That circus was the result of rival factions of MAGA people beefing over who has more alt-right street cred or something, and whether they could ask questions, which they couldn`t.
Whatever it was, it ruined what should have been a lovely night of book club.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re not making your parents proud by being rude and disruptive and discourteous. We are happy to answer a question. Respect the people around you so that they can hear.
I bet you engage and go in online dating, because you are impressing no one here to get a date in person.
How many people have you cat fished?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Republicans seem to think their secret weapon in the impeachment inquiry is Ohio Congressman and Trump TV regular Jim Jordan who has been moved on to the House Intelligence Committee so that he can play a role in public impeachment hearings.
This is who Republicans seem to think is their best guy to run interference for Trump. But their best guy is also at the center of an enormous scandal that continues to dog him to this day.
Jordan was a wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the `80s and `90s. While the university employed a team doctor by the name of Richard Strauss, who killed himself back in 2005.
An independent investigation later found that Strauss sexually abused 177 male students and that coaches and administrators knew what he was doing and turned a blind eye to what was an open secret.
Now, Jim Jordan vehemently denies he knew what Strauss was up to, but three former wrestlers told NBC News that it was common knowledge, and that it would have been impossible for Jordan not to know. And one wrestler said he told Jordan directly what was going on.
And then last week some news, a second person came forward to say he also talked to Jordan, a referee saying in a lawsuit that he told Jordan that the doctor had performed a sex act in front of him in a shower. The referee says that when he complained to Jordan directly and the then head wrestling coach, they simply replied, yeah, that`s Strauss and that was pretty much it.
The lawsuit claims that in addition to college students, Strauss also preyed on underage victims, including a boy who was sexually abused while attending a wrestling camp.
One of the collegiate wrestlers who says he was victimized dismissed Jordan`s claim that he had no idea what Strauss was up to. Mike DeSebato (ph) saying, quote, "I considered Jim Jordan a friend, but at the end of the day he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn`t know what was going on."
And part of the reason that Jim Jordan is the Republican point person on impeachment, despite the scandal, is that he has shown he will defend Trump no matter what. Jordan is a kind of figurehead in the new Republican Party, because he puts loyalty to the president basically above all else. Unless you are willing to do that, unless you`re willing to act like a Jim Jordan or a Mark Meadows or Matt Gaetz or Louie Gohmert, there is not room for you in the modern GOP.
Today, Congressman Peter King became the 20th House Republican to announce he would not seek re-election next year. We are going to talk about the GOP exodus and just what it means right after this.
HAYES: 14-term Congressman Peter King of New York announced today that he`s retiring and won`t seek re-election in 2020. The 75-year-old Republican saying he wants to spend more time with his family.
King`s suburban Long Island district is the kind of district the GOP has recently been struggling to hold. Even though it was carried by Trump, King won re-election by just six points last year, which is the closest race he has had since he was first elected back in 1992.
Now, King is widely described in the press as a rare moderate Republican, but I don`t think that really characterized him accurately. He was one of the most notorious anti-Muslim bigots in all of congress. He said there are, quote, "too many mosques in this country." He led hearings on what he claimed was the, quote, "radicalization of the American Muslim community," and called for nationwide surveillance program directed at Muslim- Americans.
King`s departure is part of an amazing story that has played out before our eyes since Trump`s election. He is the 20th House Republican to decline to seek re-election in 2020, which is part of a broader trend. Cook Political Report editor Dave Wasserman notes that when Trump took office in January 2017, there were 241 Republicans in the House, since then, 101 have either been defeated, retired or otherwise left office or are retiring in 2020. That`s more than 40 percent. And the Republicans who stay are mostly the Trump diehards.
Like the party in general, the elected GOP is becoming Trumpier in every way. But what does that mean for 2020? To help answer that I want to bring in two Democratic pollsters and strategists Cornell Belcher and Margie Omero.
Margie, this is an interesting district, because Peter King`s district, suburban Long Island, it went for Obama over Romney by four points, but it swung big for Trump, plus nine over Hillary Clinton, and then Peter King won by six points, but he had a contested race.
What do you see here as the decision-making of King who is old enough that it`s not crazy he`s retiring?
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, Obama won this district twice, too, so this is a district that has been on the map, as we say, for a while, as one that could be potentially a pickup opportunity for Democrats. And last time around, he had a strong candidate, woman candidate, Liuba Gretchen Shirley who had this incredible video as a mom of young kids, she had shown her young kids and talked about being a mom in her video and had this very contentious debate where Peter King got very testy with her.
And it was the kind of race where, you know, a lot of women in a lot of districts around the country won that race. She came up a little bit short. But it just highlighted, I think, the opportunity here for progressives to -- and for Democrats -- to really make a real clear contrast.
HAYES: You know, Cornell, what I see here in the thinking of these folks are you`re going to have to raise a lot of money. You`re going to have to run a tough race. The sort of demographics on the ground in the Trump era makes it harder to win these places. And then you`ve got to defend the president all the time, which I just feel like is a kind of -- I`m serious -- like who wants it, honestly?
And I think, you know, you see 20 exoduses, I can understand the decision- making.
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, I don`t see this story and what you`re seeing with King and some other Republicans and them losing the suburbs disconnected from the story you just ran about Jim Jordan. And where you do have, to your point, you have a Republican Party that`s almost cultist now, a Republican Party where defending Donald Trump is the first and foremost priority, defending him around things that a lot of these college-educated voters, especially college-educated women in the suburbs, find indefensible.
And so, you know, the -- made a bargain with Republicans, moderate Republicans, you keep our taxes low and keep us safe, and we`ll give you your votes.
BELCHER: You know, that is not -- that is beginning to sort of erode especially with the Republican Party turned first and foremost to defending Trump, also, Chris, I think this is important, too, there is a price to pay for such a narrow focus on rural issues and sort of the rural culture and supporting rural voters, because you did also begin to sort of turn off suburban voters. And I think nowhere is that a bigger problem for Republicans, which you see with the issue of guns and how that`s turning in the suburbs versus how it`s not turning in the rural areas.
HAYES: Margie, it`s also case -- so, if you`re on the front line as a Republican, you`ve got to sort of negotiate the fact that a lot of your voters probably have some frustrated feelings about the president, to be delicate at most. You have a sort of energized opposition that`s going to raise money.
But then if you`re on the other side, right, you`ve also got to watch the primary flank. I thought this piece from the Texas Tribune about Kay Granger was fascinating. She`s the most senior Republican woman in the U.S. House, but she`s basically drawn -- she`s drawing a primary challenger and she`s going to have to run, you know, this contested race, because she`s sort of, I guess, insufficiently pro-Trump.
OMERO: Well, I`m not sure if that was a part of the calculation for Peter King, but it is, I think, sometimes a calculation for Republicans in other districts. And, you know, I think when you look at these retirements, you have obviously a lot more retirements on the Republican side than on the Democratic side, that gap is even larger if you`re just looking at the most tossup districts. And I think that what the next step is is who is now running...
OMERO: ...for those seats? And if a seat looks tough, then the folks who have always wanted to run for congress are thinking maybe this is not my year and so in a tough time where you have a lot of Republicans who are retiring, because they have polling or they`ve decided it`s tough for them, they`re not necessarily going to be replaced by three, four, five, different strong challengers, or strong folks who run for that contested primary on the Republican side.
Like we saw in `18 on the Democratic side, where we had lots of contested primaries because we had lots of Democrats in these -- trying to challenge Republicans who are excited to run for office.
HAYES: Margie makes a great point here, too, Cornell, as we`re watching the sort of transformation of the party, when you think about those 101 members, which is that when you think about who`s going to run for a Republican seat, for an open seat? Who`s motivated? Who is going to be able to sort of electrify the grassroots on the Republican side, it`s going to be a pro-Trump Republican. I mean, just unavoidably, you know, that`s the kind of person who`s going to want to run in this environment, who`s going to have a beat on an open Republican primary if that`s what you`re facing. You`re going to select for those kinds of candidates and then those kinds of legislators.
BELCHER: Well, and this is, Chris, and I`m going to reach, but I`m not thinking I`m reaching very far, but this is where the chickens come home to roost around gerrymandering, right. So, you`ve gerrymandered these districts where often times the only competition, or the most competition you have, is in the primary. And so you get the -- so you`re going to get the most radicalized, most far right sort of Trump Republican is going to probably win that primary, and in this age and time where the suburbs are particularly sort of college educated white voters are beginning to sort of turn against these voters, I think it makes it a lot harder for them to in fact hold on and win these competitive seats.
But the gerrymandering here does very much matter.
HAYES: All right. Cornell Belcher and Margie Omero, thank you both.
OMERO: Thank you.
HAYES: Before we go, a reminder the last stop on the WITH Pod tour this year is coming up. You should join me and legendary playwright Tony Kushner, the great Tony Kushner, on December 8, at the town hall right here in New York City. It`ll be a conversation about theater and politics and storytelling and spectacle in this insane moment in time. It`s going to be a blast.
For tickets go to our Web site right now, MSNBC.com/WITHpod. That is ALL IN for this evening. Have a great veterans day. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END