CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: And that`s why what we think of tomorrow`s hearings and those that follow is what truly matters because it locks in our destiny. And that`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Most Americans I don`t believe are tuned in. They will be now.
HAYES: The eve of the first public impeachment hearing into President Trump in Ukraine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President abused his power. And this is coming from the mouth of patriotic diplomats.
HAYES: Tonight, what to expect tomorrow, just who is testifying, and what are they going to reveal.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve got some lawless people in some very high positions. They`re lawless.
HAYES: Then, John Bolton spills the beans on what he thinks motivates Trump`s foreign policy.
TRUMP: John wasn`t in line with what we were doing.
HAYES: Plus, the bipartisan push to prevent an execution in Texas. And new testimony from a former Trump campaign official seems to contradict the President on WikiLeaks.
TRUMP: I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It`s not my thing.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from Chicago, I`m Chris Hayes. And we are now less than 14 hours away from public impeachment hearings of the President of the United States for just the fourth time in all of American history. Those hearings will be broadcast live across every major broadcast and cable news network for Americans to watch. That coverage starts right here on MSNBC at 9:00 the morning.
But even before the hearings, we have known from the get-go, from the very first piece of publicly released evidence, the notes of President Trump`s call with the president of Ukraine that the President tried to coerce the leader of a foreign occupied country to manufacture dirt on a political opponent.
When the Ukrainian president told President Trump he was ready to buy more American weapons, President Trump responded infamously "I would like you to do us a favor though." He then brought up Joe Biden, and his son, and said, "a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do."
Since the release of that document, we have learned from dozens and dozens of hours of closed-door congressional testimony that Trump`s phone call was just one moment in a far-reaching operation involving the President`s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to Giuliani associates who have since been indicted partially for their role in the scheme, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of State, the Vice President of the United States, and of course President Trump himself.
Tomorrow, two opening witnesses are expected to describe the scope of the scheme to extort Ukraine. That includes Bill Taylor who`s the Acting U.S. Ambassador of Ukraine at this very moment. A West Point grad, he was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam. He`s a career diplomat. He`s worked in Republican and Democratic administrations since all the way back in 1985. He served in Afghanistan shortly after the U.S. invaded that country. He oversaw reconstruction in Iraq. He previously served once before as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine under George W. Bush.
Last month, Taylor testified behind closed doors but he was reluctant to go back to Kiev because of what he had heard concerning the role of Giuliani. Taylor also wrote the now legendary text that created a contemporaneous written record of the Trump administration`s attempts to extort Ukraine.
"Are we now saying that security assistance and a White House meeting are conditioned on investigations?" And "I think it`s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign." Taylor also told Congress he believes the origin of the idea to extort Ukrainian President came from Rudy Giuliani to benefit President Trump.
Taylor will be joined at the witness table by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. Kent also a career diplomat who`s been part of the Foreign Service for almost 30 years. He currently right now oversees State Department policy towards Ukraine. He previously served in Kiev is the Deputy Chief of Mission.
Kent testified extensively about Rudy Giuliani`s role in this game in his deposition telling Congress "Mr. Giuliani had been carrying on a campaign for several months full of lies and incorrect information. It was clear that the former mayor had influence on the President in terms of the way the President thought of Ukraine."
The two men will be appearing before the 22 member House Intelligence Committee in the same room where Hillary Clinton testified before the Benghazi committee. Before any of the committee members will be allowed to ask questions, Committee Chair Adam Schiff along with the majority`s attorney Daniel Goldman will get 45 questions -- 45 minutes to question Taylor and Kent. That will then be followed by 45 minutes for ranking member Devin Nunes and the minority`s attorney Steve Castor.
The Democrats Attorney Daniel Goldman is a former federal prosecutor with the Southern District of New York where he prosecuted organized crime syndicates. He`s also former MSNBC Contributor who`s appeared on this very show a whole bunch of times. Republican Attorney Steve Castor spent 14 years as a lawyer for Republicans on the House Oversight Committee.
During the Obama administration, he was part of the Benghazi investigations and the probe into the Justice Department`s Operation Fast Furious. We will get to see them both tomorrow in the highest-profile presentation of evidence that we will have had so far.
It seems worth as we prepare for this pointing something out that`s obvious but can get easily lost in the day-to-day of the news cycle. Impeaching a present is a big deal. The spectacle is likely going to be quite compelling, but it is also really truly a grave undertaking.
It`s not wrong when critics of impeachment talk about how serious it is to attempt to remove a president who was elected, and it does not speak well for the state of our country that we have come to a point where this process seems so urgently exceedingly necessary.
I want to bring in one of the congressmen who`ll be questioning the witnesses in tomorrow`s public impeachment hearing, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat from New York and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, it`s good to have you. How are you preparing for tomorrow?
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Well, you know, we are big believers in preparation so I`m reviewing the testimony of the key witnesses making sure I`m up to speed on what Ambassador Taylor testified to the first time. And -- but you know, really Chris, the important thing tomorrow is not any of us on the dais. It`s not the staff.
The important thing tomorrow is this witness. It is all of these witnesses and their story and their evidence and facts. And what I hope for tomorrow is that all of us get out of the way and that respectfully includes all of you folks in the media, and we let these dedicated public servants, a guy like Bill Taylor you know, 40 years in the Foreign Service, Vietnam veteran, served as an infantry officer with 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, West Point graduate, a highly credible, knowledgeable experienced public servant appointed by a Republican president, let him tell his story/
Let him tell everything he knows and let the public see it unfiltered. And so I think the best preparation in some ways is going to be to exercise some restraint and let these witnesses tell the story.
HAYES: Restraint can be difficult for members of Congress who are given to talking. You know, no shade there. I am too. I`m a cable news host. But you will have these staff attorneys asking questions which is a sort of break from normal procedure I think it`s fair to say. Take me through why that is the choice that`s been made and why you think that`s important and can help tell -- help the witnesses tell their story.
MALONEY: Well, because of what I just said, because these witnesses really have an important story to tell. And it`s not -- it`s not a happy story. It`s a sad, sad story of the abuse of power at the highest levels of the United States government.
It should break people`s heart that this president, any American president would engage in this kind of shabby and seedy conduct for his own grimy political objectives. And what the staff can do is in a disciplined, extended way guide the witness through the testimony that they have to share and really again, let the witness speak and do so over an extended period of time of 45 minutes or so. So it doesn`t get all chopped up in five-minute bunches.
And the whole goal at least in my mind is to let this witness explain to the American public what they know and let the public judge for themselves.
HAYES: You know, after the full Mueller report or at least the sort of redacted version of the Mueller report was released, there was a split in the Democratic Party caucus in the House about impeachment, about whether what was recounted in that Mueller report and maybe some of the other things the president had done in terms of profiting from the presidency necessitated a formal impeachment inquiry or not.
You, I believe were on the show saying you wanted to take it slow. You were not convinced. Obviously, you`ve changed. Take me through where you were six months ago and where you are now.
MALONEY: Well, you know actually, my position was he deserved it. The question was whether tactically the best way to hold him accountable was to put the country through an impeachment process that was going to be based on a report by a special counsel who found no provable criminal conspiracy though a ton of evidence of obstruction of justice or whether balancing the equities it was better to leave that one to the voters and to hold the president accountable through the election, through continued oversight, through criminal liability down the road.
But you know, this is a totally new ball game. This has nothing to do in the most basic sense with the Mueller probe at all. It`s not a change. It`s an evaluation of a new set of facts that are stark, that are extremely damaging to the president, that paint an unmistakable picture of abuse of authority that violates our national security.
And what the president did here cannot be OK. It cannot be OK for this president, any president, to go out and extort the assistance of a foreign leader for an advantage in an American political election. If we let that happen, we set a devastating precedent. And an election itself won`t even cure it in some sense. The Congress has to take a stand.
This is precisely bribery, foreign interference in the American system, is precisely the kind of offense the Founders contemplated when they drafted the impeachment provisions into the Constitution. This is the way to hold the President accountable under these facts.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, member of the House Intelligence Committee which is holding the first public impeachment hearing tomorrow. Thank you so much for taking a little time tonight.
MALONEY: My pleasure.
HAYES: Joining me now is Danya Perry, a former Federal Prosecutor for the Southern District of New York where she works side by side with Daniel Goldman, the attorney that will lead the questioning for House Democrats tomorrow. Also with me, Jill Wine-Banks, a former Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor and an MSNBC Legal Analyst.
Danya, let me start with you as someone who worked alongside Daniel Goldman. I know him a bit from his appearances on my show. How do you think someone like him approaches this role which is sort of a new one, right? I mean, it is not a court of law, it is the United States Congress, but it is hearing or trial-like.
DANYA PERRY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, it is certainly a new role but it`s one that he`ll be comfortable with. There is good reason why Chairman Schiff brought in a seasoned veteran prosecutor and Danny Goldman I think is among the best of the bunch. He is going to be direct, he`s going to be focused. As congressman Maloney said, he`s going to make it about the witness.
He`s going to -- he will direct the witness. He will -- I don`t want to say lead the witness but he will allow the witness and the witnesses to tell their stories in a shape and in a form that makes sense, that is impactful, that has emotional appeal, and that is unburdened by distraction or irrelevant detail. So I think he`s a great pic for this and I think he will allow the stories to be told.
HAYES: Jill, I saw some reporting about -- there`s some polling about how Democrats and Donald Trump are handling impeachment and Democrats are -- 52 percent say they`re bad at handling impeachment, 48 percent good. The number is worse for President Trump.
It strikes me here that there`s an asymmetry which that Democrats want this to be grave and serious and focused and Republicans I think want people to come away concluding well, this is a circus, this is crazy. And they may have the wherewithal ability to do that. How do you see the control of the flow of the day going tomorrow?
JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I fear that the Republicans will do as you`ve suggested which is to try to make this a circus. I hope that Americans will see that for what it is which is a diversion from what the facts are and a diversion from what they should be hearing.
I cannot but imagine that the questions asked will be very limited and that the answers will be where the focus is. We know already from what we`ve heard about the testimony in behind closed doors that there is a very compelling storyline. And I think that`s what we need to focus on is that the story needs to be told.
The best thing that`s happened is getting rid of the five-minute rule which was a real impediment to America hearing a narrative. This way you can ask a question and let the witness tell the story and let us know who, and what, and when, and why, and how they felt about it. And that we can understand the danger that was posed in their minds to what the president was doing, a danger to our national security that really threatens democracy and that`s why tomorrow is so important and I hope everyone will tune in and listen.
HAYES: Danya, one thing that`s interesting here and this I think relates to what is kind of courtroom and trial practice. These are all folks who have given extensive testimony already. They`ve already given sworn testimony. Some of that has been -- a lot of it has been released. How does that -- what is the sort of approach for someone who is in Danny Goldman`s role where you have this testimony before and what you`re trying to do with it when you`re now in this sort of public setting?
PERRY: Look, he and the other questioners have laid the groundwork here. They have set the foundation, they have asked all of the painstaking methodical questions of the witnesses. They`ve established the facts. And there`s thousands of pages of transcripts as you`ve said.
Their task tomorrow is to whittle it down, to pare it down the important facts, and to make sure that those get out and that they are told in a linear an impactful way. And so they have done a lot of the work and then tomorrow will be the presentation.
It`s said that you can lose a jury in 20 minutes. And hopefully, the American public will have longer attention span than that. But the narrative does need to come out quickly. And so rather than I think a lot of the questioning that we saw that was sort of, you know, had to establish this fact, and that fact, and go along, you know, in a particular way.
Tomorrow, I think we can probably expect some right out-of-the-box, you know, some very -- some hard-hitting questions that go right to it that capture the attention and that, you know, will also tell the story but will tell it in, you know, a more attention-grabbing way.
HAYES: Jill, there`s -- just in the last ten minutes, I think, the House Intelligence Committee has released a witness schedule past this week. I`m just going to read. Marie Yovanovitch on Friday, and then Jennifer Williams, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Kurt Volker, and Tim Morrison next week, along with Gordon Sondland, Laura Cooper, David Hale. On Thursday, Bolton`s Russia deputy Fiona Hill.
It sounds like three of those witnesses, I believe, were requested by the minority and granted, but that`s quite a bit of testimony we`re going to get over the next week and a half.
WINE-BANKS: It is a lot but if handled properly, let`s look at what happens in any trial in an organized crime case which this very much resembles, I`m afraid to say. Whoever thought my organized-crime experience would be as relevant as my Watergate experience but it is.
And I think it`s not that hard for a jury to stay focused on what the questions are and what the answers are. And so far just from what you`ve read over the summary of the witnesses, it`s very clear what the story is and how the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
And so what I think will happen is the Democrats are going to put forward each part of the bricks, you know, brick one that says this is the fact, and then the second witness who corroborates one of those facts, and a third witness who corroborates. And altogether you`re going to see a very impenetrable storyline that is going to be very hard for the Republicans to undo. And they just have to pay attention to the facts and stop the nonsense that`s been going on with things like taking over the skiff.
HAYES: Danya Perry and Jill Wine-Banks, thank you both for sharing your expertise tonight.
PERRY: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, John Bolton is yet to testify over the House but it appears he`ll tell you just about anything you want to know if you`re paying the right price. Carol Lee joins us with an NBC News exclusive in just two minutes.
HAYES: Former National Security Adviser John Bolton has been playing an interesting game with regard to the impeachment inquiry. His deputies and people loyal to him, associated with him have testified before the committee including former National Security Senior Director Fiona Hill who offered Bolton`s damning assessment of the entire Ukraine scheme including the legendary phrase that he did not want to be part of "whatever drug deal U.S. Ambassador to E.U. Gordon Sondland and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney are cooking up on this."
But Bolton was a no-show last week for a deposition before the impeachment committee itself. One of his former deputies went to court to get a ruling on whether or not he can testify, and Bolton says that he is willing to testify if the court clears the way in that case.
Just last week, Bolton`s own lawyer teased that he was -- has a story to tell saying Bolton was "personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed.
But what John Bolton does seem focused on is making sure he can turn that information into money. He landed a book deal worth reportedly $2 million, and he went down to Miami last week to give a private speech to a bunch of investment bankers and had some very interesting things to say according to exclusive reporting by my colleagues Carol Lee and Stephanie Ruhle.
Joining me now is NBC News National Political Reporter Carol Lee. Carol, set the scene here. What were the context in which Bolton was talking to this group?
CAROL LEE, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: So he was talking to a bunch of hedge fund managers. It was a Morgan Stanley event in Miami last Wednesday night. He was basically the keynote speaker. And what he was told was this is off the record, those were the ground rules, and you know we want you to be able to speak candidly. And Bolton did.
And he said a number of things that even people that were in attendance of his speech said they found surprising. There was -- there was some shock in the room particularly when Bolton mentioned President Trump`s son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka in a somewhat disparaging way to basically say, you know, that if Trump were to win another term that would try to get him to recast his legacy in a way that makes him tilt towards the Liberal end of the spectrum.
Specifically, he said, according to people in the room, that they would convince him to nominate a Liberal like Lawrence Tribe to the Supreme Court. And so -- and it was described as him kind of talking about them with an eye-rolling kind of way. Meaning it suggests that he doesn`t -- didn`t think much of them and their positions in the White House.
HAYES: I mean, I don`t think that`s a very good prediction on the part of Mr. Bolton but he was working in the White House. What I found really striking was his characterization of the -- of the president`s record particularly as relates to Turkey.
I mean, he had -- Turkey is one of these sort of foreign policy areas where the president has done a lot of things that are incredibly amenable to Turkish strongman Recep Erdogan who`s coming tomorrow. He obviously gave him the green light for that evasion of northwestern -- northeastern Syria. What did he have to say about the Turkey relationship?
LEE: So what he said, Chris, was that you know, basically he suggested that there`s some sort -- something else driving the President`s policy towards Turkey. He said that it was -- Turkey was the most frustrating thing that Trump would do in terms of policymaking.
And you know, that comes of it a lot of frustrations that John Bolton had. I mean, let`s not forget he was vehemently opposed to the president sitting down and doing diplomacy with Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea.
And so what Bolton suggested was you know, perhaps there`s some sort of business or personal motivation behind the way the President has approached Turkey. And that`s a striking comment obviously for former national security adviser to say.
HAYES: Yes. I want to read from the piece. Bolton said he believes there is a personal or business relationship as you just said dictating Trump`s position on Turkey because none of his advisers are aligned with him on the issue.
This comes on the same day that we have this reporting from the New York Times about all the back channels this White House has more Turkey including with a person that Trump essentially was in business with, who`s been tasked by the Erdogan government as one of the main points of contact who throws conferences at the Trump Hotel and then gets invited to the Oval Office to work the President over on sanctions.
LEE: Yes. There`s -- I mean, the questions about this Trump administration in Turkey look every administration that`s had to deal with President Erdogan has struggled. That`s a fact in terms of the policy. But this administration particularly has had a cloud over it really from the start when it comes to Turkey.
If you`ll remember Michael Flynn, the first National Security Adviser of President Trump`s, you know, he was doing some lobbying on behalf of Turkey. Things that are taking actions that were designed to benefit the Turkish government.
And so there`s been a swirl of sort of questions about the relationship between Trump White House and Turkey. And it`s hard to know because the policy issues and Turkey is such a difficult ally for the U.S. to kind of navigate given its strategic position.
It`s hard to know where President Trump`s decisions are aligned in terms of just that his views are aligned with Erdogan, that he wants to get out of Syria for instance. And so Erdogan is offering him a solution and he`s ready to take it or if there`s something a little more nefarious there.
HAYES: All right, Carol Lee, great reporting. Thank you so much.
LEE: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, the hits keep on coming from the Roger Stone trial testimony today that indicates a President Trump may have lied to Robert Mueller. That`s next.
HAYES: Testimony wrapped up today in the trial of Roger Stone, the President`s longtime associate and political advisor. Stone is charged with lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks as well as witness tampering and obstruction of a congressional proceeding.
You`ll recall, of course, that WikiLeaks is the organization that published the Democratic campaign e-mails that were stolen by the Russians during the 2016 presidential election and were then exploited by the Trump campaign. According to an indictment from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Stone effectively acted as a liaison between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.
"Stone informed senior Trump campaign officials that he had information indicating organization one, AKA WikiLeaks, had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton campaign."
In his written responses to Mueller, Trump claimed he had no memory of ever talking to Roger Stone about WikiLeaks and the e-mails that were hacked by the Russians. "I spoke by telephone with Roger Stone from time to time during the campaign. I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign."
Today brought some amazing testimony from Trump`s own deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, who told a very different story than the one that Trump told in his sworn written testimony.
Joining me now is Dan Friedman, a reporter for Mother Jones, who has been covering Stone`s trial and was in the courtroom today. His new piece is headlined "Stone trial reveals Trump likely lied to Mueller."
The Gates testimony today was sort of the big draw drop moment. Dan, what happened?
DAN FRIEDMAN, MOTHER JONES: Well, Gates, of course, was a senior advisor to the Trump campaign, a senior aide. He said that on July 31, he was in a car with Trump and he heard Trump on the phone with Roger Stone. And when Trump got off that phone call, Trump said he had WikiLeaks, which had just released a bunch of Democratic National Committee emails that disrupted the Democratic National Convention, Trump told Gates there would be more information coming from WikiLeaks.
So, of course that means that Trump was talking to Stone, according to Gates, and other testimony during the trial, about WikiLeaks and what emails WikiLeaks would be releasing. We don`t know for sure that what Trump recalled or didn`t recall when he answered those written questions to Mueller.
FRIEDMAN: But, you know, it`s -- we can use our faculties, and it really looks like he lied in that written answer to Mueller, which is pretty astonishing.
HAYES: Yeah, I mean, -- there`s a reason that people who have lawyers and are careful say I do not recall a lot when they`re on sworn deposition. And Trump actually, we know, is familiar with depositions, and he says I do not recall a lot. But clearly this moment was striking enough to Gates himself that he both recalls it and tells investigators and now the jury.
FRIEDMAN: Yeah. Gates, it was sort of a dramatic reveal in Gates` testimony. And it wasn`t the only one. Gates also said just before that that Paul Manafort, the chairman of the campaign, told -- asked Gates to keep in touch with Stone about what WikiLeaks had coming, and Gates did that. And Manafort told Gates that he was briefing Trump on what he was learning about WikiLeaks.
So there`s a bunch of evidence that shows that Trump, despite what he says, knew a lot about what WikiLeaks was doing, and that their entire campaign was paying close attention to what Stone was saying.
HAYES: So, here`s the question, the mystery at the heart of this for me. It does seem like, from what I`ve seen the testimony, that Stone`s in some trouble in terms of the case that he did actually lie in congressional testimony, that he tried to obstruct this investigation. But what doesn`t seem clear is -- answer the mystery of did Stone have some actual secret knowledge? Did he have some back door? Was he just a BS artist who so addicted to BSing, that he is now going to go to jail for it?
FRIEDMAN: A really frustrating thing about this case, Chris, is that it`s not going to resolve that question. The Mueller report had this -- all this redacted stuff about Stone, but this is very narrow case, it`s about Stone, as you mentioned, lying to congress primarily. So they`re not revealing a lot of information. We know that Stone was telling the campaign that he had information about what WikiLeaks knew, and it came out today, also according to Gates, that he was saying that WikiLeaks was going to be releasing emails damaging to Hillary Clinton as early as April.
So, it sure suggests that Stone had some, as yet, unrevealed source of information, but we don`t know what it is.
HAYES: That is the big question mark that hangs over this whole trial. Dan thank you for your time tonight.
FRIEDMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, there`s padding your resume, and then there`s padding your resume. The amazing story of the Mina Chang, the Trump administration official who was definitely not on the cover of "Time "magazine. That`s next.
HAYES: Allow me to introduce you to Mina Chang, she`s a deputy assistant secretary in the State Department in the bureau of conflict and stabilization operations, where he earns a six figure salary for her work helping to prevent conflicts in politically unstable countries. Important and serious work. It`s a senior post, one that usually requires a top secret security clearance.
Now, Chang was originally being considered for an even more senior job: overseeing the U.S. Agency for International Developments work in Asia with a budget of over $1 billion. But back in September her nomination for that position was just abruptly withdrawn without explanation, and now I think we know why.
An NBC News investigation reveals that Chang embellished her resume and made misleading claims about her professional background.
This is her official bio on the State Department website. It says Chang has addressed the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. But videos and documents reviewed by NBC News shows she actually spoke at separate events held in the cities in Philadelphia and Cleveland during the same time as the conventions.
Her bio also claims she addressed the United Nations. There is no record of that. Chang claimed her group testified before congress. No record of that ever happening either.
Then there`s her education. According to her bio, she`s an alumna of Harvard Business School, technically true, but she doesn`t actually have a degree, she just attended a seven week executive education program. She`s listed as a graduate of the Army War College National Security Seminar, an event that lasts all of four days.
As far as an undergraduate degree -- her LinkedIn page mentions the University of the Nations, an unaccredited Christian school with volunteer teachers.
Now, Chang`s major work history is at a non-profit called Linking the World, where she was the CEO. She touted the organization as operating in dozens of countries, building schools and impacting thousands of people. But a review of their tax filings showed no concrete information about overseas projects, just a handful of U.S.-based staff and a budget of less than $300,000.
Perhaps Chang`s most egregious moment came in 2017 when she showed up to an interview with a fake Time magazine cover, featuring her face as an example of her work.
But I mean, honestly, can you blame her? Her boss is Donald Trump. And she`s just as qualified for her job as he is for the presidency.
HAYES: Rodney Reed is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas next Wednesday, but a growing chorus of people across the ideological and cultural spectrum are calling on Governor Greg Abbot to step in and save the life of a man many believe may be innocent. Celebrities, like Oprah, Rihannna, and Beyonce, are all calling for a halt to Reed`s execution.
A group of Texas law enforcement officers filed a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. State lawmakers, very polarized state of Texas, both Democrat and Republican, have written to the governor about the case. Even Republican Senator Ted Cruz is calling for the state to stop and take a harder look at the evidence.
We`ve been covering the Rodney Reed case for years, ever since his last scheduled execution back in early 2015. Even back then, there were serious issues surrounding his conviction.
HAYES: In 1998 Rodney Reed was convicted of the murder and rape of 19- year-old Stacey Stites, a crime he says he did not commit. I traveled to the prison in Livingston, Texas where Reed was being held weeks before his scheduled execution in 2015. By then, he had spent nearly half his life behind bars.
RODNEY REED, CONVICTED OF STACEY STITES MURDER: I had nothing to do with this case.
HAYES: You did not kill Stacey Stites?
REED: I had nothing to do with this case, nothing at all. Absolutely nothing at all.
HAYES: Stacey Stites was found dead on the side of a country road in the small town of Bastrop, Texas in April 1996. A medical examiner ruled she`d died as a result of asphyxia due to ligature strangulation associated with sexual assault. And a DNA sample was obtained from semen found inside the body.
Investigators initially suspected Stites` fiance, Jimmy Finnell, a police officer in a neighboring town. Finnell was the last person to see Stites alive at home in their apartment the night of her death. And his truck was found down the road from Stites` body.
Finnell said Stites was driving it to work at a supermarket in the early morning hours, as she normally did.
Finnell was eventually cleared when the DNA was not a match, and investigators concluded he couldn`t have killed Stites based on the timeline he provided.
A year later, investigators looked into a man with multiple accusations of sexual assault, Rodney Reed. The DNA was a match. The brought him in for questioning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The girl is Stacey Stites.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever seen her before?
REED: No, I haven`t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never dated her?
REED: No, I haven`t. I don`t know who this person is.
HAYES: After first denying knowing the victim, Reed later said he and Stites were engaged in a secret sexual relationship, which would explain the presence of his DNA. His lawyer said they found witnesses who knew about his relationship with Stacey Stites, but could not bring anyone forward in trial.
I asked Reed why he initially told investigators he didn`t know Stites.
REED: I didn`t want to incriminate myself, you know, try to, you know, I didn`t want to be questioned about it, you know what I`m saying. (inaudible) I`m a black man in a small town and it`s not about me pulling the race card or anything like that, it`s not nothing about that, but it`s the nature of the small city that I lived in, you know what I`m saying?
HAYES: It took just hours for an all white jury to convict Rodney Reed and then sentence him to death.
When you found out that you were getting the death penalty, did it feel real to you? Did it feel distant?
REED: It was the numb feeling. It was the numb feeling. It was like, you know -- really it was unbelievable. I just -- it felt like I was in a dream. It felt like this wasn`t real, it wasn`t real. It was a non -- this can`t be happening.
HAYES: 10 years after Reed was convicted, another trial brought his case back into the headlines. Jimmy Finnell, Stacey Stites fiance when she died, pled guilty to kidnapping and improper sexual activity with a woman in his custody while he was on duty as a policy officer. Reporter Dave Harmon covered Reed`s trial.
You hear about Jimmy Finnell`s plea years later. What went through your mind then?
DAVE HARMON, TEXAS REPORTER: We had no idea what Jimmy Finnell was capable of back in `98. And I wonder what a jury would have done if they had known about that at the time. It makes you think a lot harder about whether Jimmy Finnell could have done it.
HAYES: Tonight, just over a week before Rodney Reed is once again scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas, there`s even more significant new evidence that casts further doubt on his conviction. Trymaine Lee has the latest reporting on that next. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: In eight days, the State of Texas planned to execute Rodney Reed for a crime he says he did not commit.
Tonight, the Innocence Project, which has helped exonerate more than 200 wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing, says they have compelling new evidence that casts doubt on Reed`s conviction. And they are battling it out in the courts while Rodney Reed`s family fights to keep him alive. Trymaine Lee has the latest on the case.
RODRICK REED, RODNEY REED`S BROTHER: Free Rodney Reed.
CROWD: Free Rodney Reed.
RODDRICK REED: I believe we have a very good chance of getting justice not just for Rodney but for Stacey Stites as well, because I know she is not resting well in the grave knowing that an innocent man is going to be charged and murdered for a crime he didn`t commit.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When Rodney Reed was convicted 21 years ago of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites, the prosecution`s entire case rested on two main pillars: first, a timeline provided by her fiance, Jimmy Finnell, second, the traces of Rodney Reed`s semen that were found in her body.
Reed was sentenced to death. He is now scheduled for execution November 20. But Reed`s family and his legal team say he`s innocent and that they have the compelling evidence and witnesses to prove it.
BRYCE BENJET, INNOCENCE PROJECT: Every aspect of this case has been disproven. And new evidence continues to come out.
LEE: The Innocence Project took up Rodney Reed`s case in 2012, and successfully won a stay of execution three years later.
Among the evidence they presented: new witnesses who said Rodney Reed and Stacey Stites were in a consensual, albeit secret, relationship. The legal team also poked holes in the fiance`s timeline, presenting forensic evidence that she died when Jimmy Finnell said they were both at home.
And now, a new witness further muddies Finnell`s time line. Police Officer Curtis Davis was with Jimmy Finnell after Stacey Stites went missing.
BENJET: What Jimmy told Curtis was very different from what he testified to at the trial or told the police. He claimed that he had been out late that night drinking and didn`t get home until late and that Stacey must have left without him, because he would have been drinking.
Whereas when he was at trial, he testified that he had been at home with Stacey the whole night.
LEE: Another new witness, a sheriff`s deputy signed an affidavit saying that he heard Finnell at his fiancee`s funeral standing over her body saying you got what you deserved.
Then there was the fact Finnell later served a 10 year sentence for kidnapping after a woman gave testimony saying he forced her to have sex at gunpoint while he was on duty as a police officer. And one of Finnell`s fellow inmates has now come forward saying he admitted killing Stacey Stites.
BENJET: New witnesses are coming forward with information that shows that Jimmy Finnell may be the culprit here and that Rodney Reed did not commit this crime.
RODRICK REED: An innocent man on death row.
LEE: Reed`s legal team has filed an appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court and made a direct plea to the Texas governor for clemency. A legion of supporters, including police officers, state lawmakers, death penalty abolitionists, and celebrities, are also calling for Rodney Reed`s exoneration.
So far the governor has shown no indication that he`ll grant clemency,
But Reed`s family say they`ll keep fighting to the end.
RODRICK REED: Our family is not whole. And justice and corruption and racism has played a huge part in all of this.
LEE: What was so polarizing about this case?
WANA AKPAN, RODNEY REED`S SISTER-IN-LAW: The racism was a huge polarizing factor. You have a black male who is convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering a woman who`s white, who also is the fiance of a member of law enforcement. He was convicted right out the gate like in the court of public opinion, you know, like, he must have done it.
LEE: What role does race continue to play in this case? You have Texas justice is one thing, but Texas justice for a black man in a small town, that`s a whole different animal altogether.
BENJET: Rodney`s guilt is medically and scientifically impossible. We have credible witnesses about the relationship. We have mounting evidence pointing toward Jimmy Finnell. What`s left to believe that Rodney Reed is actually guilty?
To go forward with this execution, absent real evidence of guilt, you`ve got to wonder why would they do that?
HAYES: Jimmy Finnell`s lawyer maintains that his client is innocent and that it was Rodney Reed that killed Stacey Stites.
All In reached out to the Texas governor`s office and to the Bastrop County District Attorney and received no response.
The Texas attorney general office told NBC News that after reviews by more than 20 judges it`s time, quote, to see that justice is done at last.
I want to bring in Trymaine Lee for the latest.
Trymaine, I understand Reed`s lawyers have appeals and motions filed and pending on at least seven legal tracts right now.
LEE: That`s right. So, they have appeals in state, federal and the Supreme Court, including one in a state court that seeks to invalidate the judge who signed the order trying to invalidate that order because the judge was temporary. Now, if that order is granted, then he would get a new trial.
Now, there`s a lot of pressure being put on Governor Greg Abbot, right, but the only thing that Greg Abbot can do unilaterally is give a 30-day reprieve.
Now, the state also requires, with that reprieve, 90-day notice, which would essentially give Rodney Reed 120 day reprieve. Now, the body that actually has all the power is the board of pardons and paroles. So, they can make a decision and say, hey, we recommend that you commute his death sentence to a life sentence. At that point, Governor Abbot can either accept or reject it. That`s the only thing he can do.
HAYES: I`ve got to say, you know, when I covered this story back in 2015, the only thing that first drew us in was the conviction of Jimmy Finnell, right. 10 years after this guy is convicted by an all-white jury in this town, it turns out the fiance had sexually assaulted a woman in his custody. The new evidence here about police officers coming forward, I mean, these are sworn affidavits of things they say they`re willing to testify to.
LEE: There are multiple police officers. Three police officers that have come forward and give some variation of his implication of guilt, including one guy named Jim Clampett (ph), who was at the viewing for Stacey Stites, standing in the doorway with Jimmy Finnell, and he recalls seeing Stacey Stites` body dressed in all white like a wedding dress and he overhears Jim Finnell say you got what you deserved.
Now, this officer has nothing to gain, nothing to lose. He`s a man of the law, a respected police officer, who says he remembered hearing him say that.
HAYES: It`s also striking to me to see what Ted Cruz said and that there are Republicans who have petitioned Greg Abbott. This is a very polarized state, obviously issues of criminal justice in that state tend to be very polarized. It does seem like there`s something happening here a little bit.
LEE: Oh, without question. Think about it. You know, Greg Abbot was the law and order attorney general of this state, and the state of Texas executes more people than any other state in the country. And to have a bipartisan effort, and the, you know, by all the Ted Cruz`s of the world and also all the pressure put on by entertainers and you know well-known people across the country, this is a little different.
But yet and still, this is Texas and Texas justice is what it is.
HAYES: I know the Stites family is divided in terms of how they feel about Reed`s guilt and innocence.
LEE: That`s right. There`s a cousin of Stacey Stites who, you know, around the time she was killed, you know, recalls hearing that they were involved in this secret relationship. Now, she believes that Rodney Reed is innocent. But the mother and other siblings of Stacey Stites still believe that Rodney Reed is the killer and he`s a rapist, and that it`s time for him to be executed.
HAYES: It`s a remarkable case. The deadline, I guess the execution is set eight days from now, is that right?
LEE: That`s right, November 20. Now, at any moment, any day before then we could have any of those things trigger some sort of reprieve. Again, there`s no indication now that Greg Abbott has any plans of offering that rebuke.
HAYES: Trymaine Lee, thank you for that reporting. It`s a really important case.
Thanks for joining me here in Chicago. The reason I`m here in Chicago tonight is because we`re doing another live taping of our podcast tonight right around the corner from here. I`ll be joined by author and historian Ibram Kendi, author of most recently "How to be an Anti-Racist," and MacArthur "Genius" Grant recipient Nikole Hannah-Jones, who conceived the 1619 Project about the legacy of slavery from The New York Times magazine. We`re going to be talking about race and slavery and anti-racism in the Trump era, all very relevant to the conversation we just had.
Tickets are sold out for tonight, but if you`re in New York next month, come join us at the last stop for our WITH pod tour this year where I`ll be talking to the legendary playwright Tony Kushner about politics and spectacle and theater, that`s at the town hall in New York City on December 8. Tickets are available on our website right now -- they`re not going to last forever. NBC.com/withpodtour next week Tuesday.
There`s also a brand new episode of WITH Pod with author Linda Hirshman her new book tracing 50 years of brave women, crucial court battles and social awakenings that built up to the #metoo movement. It`s a fascinating conversation. Check it out where you get your podcasts.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END