CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: On Wednesday, the Democrats will hold their fifth Presidential debate. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on a special edition of ALL IN.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The beginning of the story is an effort to get you out of the way.
HAYES: Impeachment hearings day two.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: It`s sounded like a threat.
HAYES: Donald Trump cannot help himself.
SCHIFF: As we sit here testifying, the President is attacking you at Twitter.
HAYES: Tonight, the President commits what looks like witness tampering during his impeachment hearing.
YOVANOVITCH: Well, it`s very intimidating.
HAYES: As his former political adviser is found guilty of witness tampering. Plus --
YOVANOVITCH: I do not understand Mr. Giuliani`s motives for attacking me.
HAYES: New reporting on what the President`s lawyer was up to in Ukraine and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on all the President`s mess and the White House official she says needs to resign now. Live from Studio 6A in Rockefeller Plaza, ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Thank you, everybody. Hello, good evening. Good evening. Thank you. Thanks to everybody for being here. It is great to be back here at 30 Rock with all of you here. Good God. Today has been ten days and this week has been ten weeks. And there are a million things happening at once just in the past couple of hours for instance.
We just got this incredibly incriminating and damning behind-closed-doors testimony from a U.S. Foreign Service officer that was supposed to be kind of like the B-story today, the sideshow. It`s a guy who works in the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, a guy named David Holmes.
He testified behind closed doors that he could hear present from talking on the phone to the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who an inaugural donor, gave $1 million to Trump Gordon Sondland, and that they were in a restaurant in Kiev. And the president was shouting so loudly in the phone that Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear because it was hurting his eardrum, so then everyone could hear.
And after he hung up with the President, Sondland told this guy, the guy who testified, David Holmes, that the President does not give, and I`m quoting now so I can say it, "does not give a shit about Ukraine." He only cares about the big stuff and by big stuff he means investigations into the Biden`s.
Right, yes, that`s the right reaction in a restaurant in Kiev shouting through the phone. So that just happened. We`re going to have more on that very crazy testimony later. But this was just week one, keep in mind, in the public televised impeachment hearings of the President of the United States. It`s just the fourth time in American history that we`re all going through this process.
I think it`s fair to say and maybe I`m a bit biased, but I think it`s fair to say he`s not gone really well with the president on the first week. Today, even before that breaking news was an especially busy day in the -- in the criminal chronicles of one President Donald J. Trump.
So the President`s longtime advisor and associate Roger Stone today was convicted on seven counts in a federal courthouse. That`s -- he was convicted unanimous jury of his peers. If you`re keeping track and it`s probably worthwhile to do so like a baseball game with a scorecard, the list of people surrounding the president who have been convicted of, pleaded guilty to a felony that now includes the President`s former personal lawyer, his campaign manager, his deputy campaign manager, another Trump campaign staffer, his first National Security Adviser, and now the man who has been Trump`s political adviser since the Reagan administration.
So that`s the sixth person in the President`s close orbit convicted of crimes committed while in the service, we should mention, to Donald Trump. And I want to be transparent here, I am not including the President`s current lawyer Rudy Giuliani because to be clear he`s just under investigation for a number of federal crimes. He`s not been indicted.
I`m also not including Giuliani`s associates. Our good friends Lev and Igor were arrested last month while trying to flee the country. They`ve just been indicted. Innocent till proven guilty in America. So this morning, Trump`s advisor Roger Stone was convicted.
He was convicted of one count of obstruction, five counts of making false statements, and this is an important one, one count of witness tampering. It`s a federal crime. It`s in the federal statute. He was tried for it. He was convicted today.
The crazy thing about the world in which we live is at the very moment that we learned of that verdict, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was testifying publicly in the impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump. And her name, maybe you saw this today, her name is Marie Yovanovitch. She goes through -- well, an ovation Marie Yovanovitch.
She goes by Masha to her friends. She speaks a bunch of different languages. She spent over three decades in the Foreign Service. You might have heard of her because most recently she was bullied out of her job by the President and his henchman for lack of a better word.
She had assignments all over the world. She was in places like Somalia, and in Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia mostly recently and relevantly she was in Ukraine where she focused especially intently on a kind of anti-corruption program. In fact, she was doing so well there aiding a young democracy trying to root out endemic corruption that had plagued the country, she was asked to stay on for another year. Until one day out of blue to her, out of the blue she gets a call.
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DANIEL GOLDMAN, DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: Ambassador Yovanovitch, on April 24th of this year at approximately 10:00 p.m., you received a telephone call while you were at the Embassy in Kiev from the Director General of the State Department. At the time that this urgent call came in, what were you in the middle of doing?
YOVANOVITCH: I was hosting an event in honor of Kateryna Handziuk who is an anti-corruption activist or was an anti-corruption activist in Ukraine. She very tragically died because she was attacked by acid and several months later died a very, very painful death.
GOLDMAN: After you stepped away from this anti-corruption event to take this call, what did the director-general tell you?
YOVANOVITCH: She said that there was a great concern on the seventh floor of the State Department. That`s where the leadership at the State Department sits.
GOLDMAN: What happened next?
YOVANOVITCH: Around 1:00 in the morning, she called me again and she said that there were great concerns. There were concerns up the street. And she said I need to get home -- come home immediately, get on the next plane to the U.S. And I asked her why. And she said she wasn`t sure but there were concerns about my security.
I asked her, my physical security because sometimes Washington knows more than we do about these things. And she said no, she hadn`t gotten that impression that it was a physical security issue, but they were concerned about my security and I needed to come home right away. You know, I argued this is extremely irregular and no reason given. But in the end, I did get on the next plane home.
GOLDMAN: You said you -- there were concerns up the street. What did you understand that to mean?
YOVANOVITCH: The White House.
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HAYES: She was at an event highlighting a Ukrainian anti-corruption activist who was murdered for her work. She was attacked with acid and she died. And Marie Yovanovitch gets a call and was told come home immediately. Like literally, get on the next plane because there were concerns up the street about her.
And what became exceedingly clear is that Marie Yovanovitch got in Donald Trump`s way. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent put it on Wednesday, you cannot promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.
There is an ongoing active smear campaign that was waged against Marie Yovanovitch. It included the President`s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, his two indicted associates Lev and Igor whose indictment includes a section in the indictment in the Southern District about them trying to get Yovanovitch fired.
That`s part of what they`re indicted for doing and the illegal contributions they`ve been doing. And also, we should note, the President`s son who weighed in on this, and ultimately and most importantly the president.
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GOLDMAN: Now, you testified in your opening statement that you had left Ukraine by the time of the July 25th call between President Trump and President Zelensky. When was the first time that you saw the call record for this phone call?
YOVANOVITCH: When it was released publicly at the end of September I believe.
GOLDMAN: And prior to reading that call record, were you aware that President Trump had specifically made reference to you in that call?
GOLDMAN: What was your reaction to learning that?
YOVANOVITCH: I was shocked, absolutely shocked, and devastated, frankly.
GOLDMAN: What do you mean by devastated?
YOVANOVITCH: I was shocked and devastated that I would feature in a phone call between two heads of state in such a manner where President Trump said that I was bad news to another world leader, and that I would be going through some things.
So I was -- it was -- it was a terrible moment. A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face -- I think I even had a physical reaction. I think you know, even now, words can`t fill me.
GOLDMAN: What did you think when President Trump told President Zelensky and you read that you were going to go through some things?
YOVANOVITCH: I didn`t know what you think, but I was very concerned.
GOLDMAN: What were you concerned about?
YOVANOVITCH: She`s going to go through some things. It didn`t sound good. It sounded like a threat.
GOLDMAN: Did you feel threatened?
YOVANOVITCH: I did.
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HAYES: So the ousted former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, she goes before Congress today to testify in the context, of course, of an impeachment inquiry into the President`s high crimes and misdemeanors.
And she`s talking about this really bizarre campaign, irregular she puts it, to smear her and to threaten her that is carried out by a bunch of people but ultimately if the direction, at the behest of the President of the United States himself. And she`s talking about how she felt threatened by the president.
And while this is playing out, two huge things happened, OK. One, in the middle of her testimony, the President`s longtime adviser gets convicted by a jury in a federal courthouse on seven counts including witness tampering. That`s one thing that happens.
And number two, in real-time, the President himself attempts to tamper with the witness. He attacks Marie Yovanovitch while she`s in the middle of testifying. I mean, you cannot make this up.
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SCHIFF: As we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you at Twitter. And I`d like to give you a chance to respond. I`ll read part of one of his tweets. "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia. How did that go?"
Ambassador, you`ve shown the courage to come forward today and testify notwithstanding the fact you`re urged by the White House or State Department not to, notwithstanding the fact that as you testified earlier, the President implicitly threatened you in that call record. And now, the President real-time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses` willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?
YOVANOVITCH: Well, it`s very intimidating.
SCHIFF: It`s designed to intimidate, is it not?
YOVANOVITCH: I mean, I can`t speak to what the President is trying to do but I think the effect is to be intimidating.
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HAYES: So the President of the United States attacks a 33-year veteran in the Foreign Service, currently employed at the State Department, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine on Twitter in front of everyone. He tampers with the witness. He`s insulting and intimidating witness during his impeachment inquiry, and he does this while his political adviser is about to be found guilty of witness tampering.
Now, if you cover as a reporter, political corruption outside of this context, if you cover mayor`s or corrupt governors, there`s kind of a similar pattern that happens, right? You learn the way they go down is first they`re lower level and associates get indicted in its front-page news.
And then those associates start cooperating, it`s front-page news, and then their associates start cooperating and it`s a big deal. And then before you know it, a lot of the people are going to jail. And then ultimately like the last flack in a large tree, down comes the person in the middle, the corrupt person at the top, right?
That is what happened. I watched this happen as a young reporter in Chicago. It`s what happened to George Ryan who`s the former governor of Illinois. It`s what happened to Kwame Kilpatrick who`s a former mayor of Detroit, right, one a Republican, one a Democrat. Obviously, corruption is not confined to one party. You see this around the country in local setting all the time.
People around the corrupt politicians, they start falling. And then usually the politician, in turn, ends up in trouble and falling himself. And the reason they fall in the end in these contexts is because if you are a governor or you are a mayor, you can actually be indicted by a federal prosecutor.
I mean, that`s like a badge of honor for a federal prosecutor. That`s not happening in this case. Day after day, the guys around the president are being convicted of crimes including today with Roger Stone. Crimes done seemingly on behalf of the president and his campaign, but not the president, not the president.
Because the Department of Justice has concluded and I think they`re probably right about this, that a sitting president cannot be indicted while in office. So this is all we get, impeachment, literally. That is the way to stop a corrupt president. That`s the remedy. The only way to rein in his criminality is through this process we were watching play out, impeachment.
Joining me now, one of the members of Congress who will be considered whether to recommend Impeachment charges against the President, Democratic congressman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. She`s also a member of the House Judiciary Committee where those articles will likely be drafted.
Congresswoman, I want to ask you about what the President tweeting about the witness today. I saw some people defending him saying, oh come on, he`s just letting off steam. It wasn`t so bad. You`re crazy if you think that`s witness tampering. What do you say to people who say that?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Chris, it`s good to be with you today and your audience. Let me say that what we witness today was an abuse of power, a mountain of abuse of power. Contributing to that of course was the most devastating and seemingly senseless tweet attacking the witness as she was testifying. That happens to be a federal crime.
I was reading the statute that says that any attempt to stop a witness from testifying in a corrupt and intimidating manner is illegal if they are testifying in a legal proceeding or a proceeding that is official. This was an official proceeding. And so whatever argument our friends on the other side of the isle -- and let me be very clear, Democrats want this to be a process where they put their nation and the people of the United States over themselves and the party.
We`re hoping that a light will turn on, that they will look at the facts. I don`t know how anyone could not see that a witness that has been sworn to testify and is in the midst of her testimony and a tweet or a statement comes out that smears her and suggests that she is "no good" obviously could in that moment intimidate the witness.
So I don`t think that it is in any way a question. I do think that adds to the facts of this whole umbrella of abuse of power and all the elements that I heard you discussed really play into what the Founding Fathers established as the one -- the one barrier or the one wall, if I might use that terminology, that protects the American people against an abusive leader who is using the power of the office not for himself -- excuse me -- not for the American people, but for himself.
HAYES: There`s more news tonight on the testimony. Of course, we got the testimony, the opening statement was acquired by CNN that we have looked at of the political officer in the embassy in Ukraine who gave an opening statement in which he describes a phone call he was present for the day after the president presses Ukrainian President Zelensky to open investigations to investigations of the Biden`s in which he can hear him talking to Gordon Sondland.
On the phone, here`s the president himself saying, so he`s going to start the investigation. What do you think the significance of that is?
LEE: Enormously significant. They`re building blocks going on right now with what is the investigatory process, what the American people are seeing now is the substitute or instead of an independent council, independent prosecutor, we don`t have that. So the Intelligence Committee is doing an excellent job in laying the building blocks.
Here we have an innocent, professional Foreign Service staff person who took an oath to defend the nation and defend the Constitution coming forward and saying, the President said I don`t give a blank about the American people, Ukraine, the jeopardy of Russia, invading Ukraine, the war that is going on which by the way the Ambassador Yovanovitch went to the front lines more than ten times, subjecting herself to violence, I don`t care about that in fact, I don`t give a blank about it, I only care about dirt on my opponent from a foreign entity, absolutely against the law.
Here is someone totally out of the stream of witnesses coming forward because of their commitment to the American people, the oath that they take, and they`re saying outright that the President`s own words loudly in a restaurant in a non-secured phone, stunning, speaks about I don`t give a blank. It is all about me. That is clearly bribery as well. It adds to that because it is rendering something to yourself that is not really yours for something that you have to give or expect to give to someone else.
So it is just another brick in the pathway for the Committee on the Judiciary to move -- if the decision is made, to move forward in that process of articles of impeachment all based upon a report that is not yet given, but that report has to be given. And once it`s given, it`ll have all these elements in it.
HAYES: I should just --
LEE: And should be given to the Judiciary Committee.
HAYES: One note of clarification of the "I don`t give an ass" was Gordon Sondland`s characterization of the President`s view. The testimony from the witness was that he heard the president asking about investigations. Just so people are clear on that.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you so much for giving us some time on this Friday night. Have a great one.
LEE: Thank you. Good to be with you.
HAYES: So again, we`ve got breaking news tonight, damning new closed-door testimony against President Trump, remember earlier this week in public testimony. The Acting Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, right? That was on the first day of the impeachment proceedings. He told of an incident he had heard from one of his staffers that hadn`t previously been introduced to the record.
And that staffer was sitting at a table in a restaurant in Ukraine with that U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, inaugural donor, probably how he got the job. And this was one day, one day after the infamous phone call that we have the notes of, right, with the President saying I`d like you to do us a favor though.
And Sondland is talking to the president on his cell phone and the staffer overheard both sides of the conversation. Today, that staffer David Holmes gave sworn testimony behind closed doors about what he heard. Here are some of the excerpts from that opening statement. I`m quoting here.
"Well, ambassador Sondland`s phone was not on speakerphone. I could hear the President`s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The President`s voice was very loud and recognizable, and ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time presumably because of the loud volume."
"I heard an ambassador Sondland greet the president and explained that he was calling from Kiev. I heard President Trump then clarify Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state President Zelensky loves your ass."
"I then heard President Trump ask, so he`s going to do the investigation? Ambassador Sondland replied that he`s going to do it, adding that President Zelensky will do anything you ask him to."
I continue with the statement here. "Even though -- this is now Holmes talking. Even though I did not take notes of these statements, I have a clear recollection these statements were made. I believe that my colleagues who were sitting at the table also knew that Ambassador Sondland was speaking with the president, maybe more witnesses."
"Ambassador Sondland agreed the president did not give a shit about Ukraine. I asked, why not. Ambassador Sondland stated, the president only cares about "big stuff." I noted there was big stuff going on in Ukraine like a war with Russia. And Ambassador Sondland replies that he meant big stuff that benefits the President like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.
I want to bring an NBC News Correspondent Leigh Ann Caldwell who covers Congress, who`s also been going through this. Leigh Ann, well, you first just set up who is David Holmes, this individual who gave his testimony today.
LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: David Holmes is someone who has a career at the State Department and he`s someone who has come out as being someone outspoken within different administration`s as well. He actually won an award for speaking out for something he disagreed within the Obama administration.
So he`s the by part nonpartisan, he`s a straight shooter, and he does what he thinks is right according to what our sources are telling us. Now, what he said today really substantiated this new bombshell detail that Ambassador Taylor said on his public testimony on Wednesday.
I think the most important thing out of this is what Holmes said that the President is interested in the big stuff. And that is not investigations into corruption in Ukraine, but that`s investigations that impact him. And the reason that`s important is because we`ve heard testimony over testimony and read transcripts from all of these people with the same theme, that people were concerned that the President put aside national security and America`s foreign policy for the President`s own benefit, Chris.
HAYES: There`s also some details in there that I thought were interesting in terms of how they fit with other themes we`ve heard as you said. At one point he talks about trying to go to a meeting with Gordon Sondland and an advisor to President Zelensky, that would be Andriy Yermak.
And he gets there and he`s supposed to go in and take notes. And he`s told not -- he can`t go in because Sondland and Yermak don`t want a note-taker. They only want the two of them in there. How does that fit with the rest of the picture we`ve gotten about what Bill Taylor called the irregular channel of policy?
CALDWELL: Yes. That`s exactly what the irregular channel was, the actual official channel of the State Department had no idea what was happening in the irregular channel. I mean, Bill Taylor was kind of the connection between the two, but obviously, he wasn`t involved in every single conversation that was had. So the fact that there was this meeting with Sondland and Yermak with no note-taker, who knows what they discussed.
But what we do know is that Sondland who is going to come before Congressional -- for the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, that his testimony is going to take on a whole new level of importance. He has been -- become this very critical player in this entire inquiry.
HAYES: All right Leigh Ann Caldwell, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it. I want to bring in Neal Katyal, he`s the former Acting Solicitor General of the United States. He teaches Constitutional law at Georgetown University. He`s the author of a new book Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump. It`s great to have you here.
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
HAYES: Thank you very much. So let`s sort of start with the small -- the sort of incremental news then work our way out to the big picture. This testimony that we just got our hands-on, in the testimony, it`s very interesting, Mr. Holmes says, the reason he came forward is because he saw people saying that no one actually heard from the president, it was all hearsay. And that prompted to be like well, I`ve heard from the president. He probably go talk to the committee. How important do you think this testimony we just got is?
KATYAL: I think it`s significant. I don`t think that it`s the hugest bombshell ever. And the reason for that is because we already have the president`s transcript on July 25th of the phone call with the president where he`s essentially extorting Ukraine. So this is just further confirmation of what we already know.
And yes, the President has been saying, his defenders are all saying, oh this is hearsay, it`s secondhand, its thirdhand. But the reason why its second and third hand is one simple thing. The president has issued a gag order that prevents anyone in the executive branch from going and testifying to the Hill.
And when we heard Ambassador Yovanovitch today testify, and before that we heard Ambassador Taylor and Mr. Kent, they are only there because they defied the president and said, our commitment is to the truth and to the Constitution, and we`re going to tell the truth to Congress. And that`s one of the -- you know, so when we think about what the President is doing here, he did something horrible in Ukraine, but he`s now doing something horrible in trying to cover it up.
HAYES: Well, expand on that because I think that there`s some sense people have that like oh it`s sort of Trump being Trump or that this is the normal thrust and parry and push and pull of the two different branches. And you`re saying there`s something actually aberrant here. Like that`s not the case.
KATYAL: Like fundamentally, like this is worse than Nixon.
KATYAL: Even -- I mean, seriously, Nixon tried to --
HAYES: Take me to school here.
KATYAL: March 12th, my birthday, 1973, Nixon says something that Trump tried to say which is I`m not going to let the executive branch witnesses testify in this fake impeachment proceeding. And Congress then says well, we`re going to start jailing those witnesses if they don`t testify. And what is Nixon do? He backs down and lets them testify.
HAYES: So you think this sort of full bar that they have issued that no witnesses can go forward. They tried to stop everyone. All these people are appearing under subpoena and they`re defying a White House order, you think that`s even more severe, more egregious and abuse of the of his office and the cover-up than what Nixon did?
KATYAL: Oh yes, absolutely. No question about it. I think what is going on right now is a fundamental betrayal of everything the Constitution is about. What the president is saying is I can`t be indicted like you were saying in your monologue, I can`t even be investigated, and now he`s saying I can`t even be impeached because that`s a coup and it`s all hearsay and blah, blah, blah.
So, I mean, you know, maybe he`s trying to rival King George III you know, but at least in this country. I mean, you know, we don`t have anything like that. Putin may be like that but nothing in this country.
HAYES: It`s funny you say it, because one thing I`ve noticed in the theme of the Republican arguments it`s these arguments that prove too much, right? So they say, well, impeachment undoes the election. It`s like, well, that`s true in a certain sense, although it doesn`t you know, make Hillary Clinton president, it makes Mike Pence president.
But that`s also true of any impeachment, and if you think that`s wrong then it shouldn`t be in the Constitution, right?
KATYAL: Exactly. You know, when I wrote the book, I just used this very simple thing called the yardstick rule which is just how I try to live my life and it`s how we teach law students which is just flip the parties and ask yourself if this were President Obama who done this stuff, who would stonewall Congress, or if this were President Obama who tried to do a secret deal with the foreign government to get information on his rival, would you be clamoring for impeachment? I don`t know how they can look in the mirror and say anything else.
HAYES: I guess the final question is what is the evidentiary burden here? I mean, it`s sort of a strange process right, because the way I always describe it is like it`s a murder mystery in which like the murder happens in the first page and we see the person who did it, and they`re like standing over the body and the rest is just told in flashback of, like, oh, how did we get here.
Like evidentiary burden here has been met at a certain level, like how do you understand the case that`s being built here in that context?
KATYAL: I mean, it`s more than met, it`s like it`s conceded already...
HAYES: It`s conceded, right.
KATYAL: I mean, at this point Trump has tried so many different defenses, all of them have completely fallen apart. So, I think really the only question is OK I did it, is it enough to remove me from office. And that`s where I go back to founders, because the founders didn`t believe in impeachment -- they weren`t sure about putting impeachment in the constitution. People like Elbridge Gerry and Bouverneur Morris, and what they said -- what Ben Franklin said in response was imagine a circumstance in which a president, a sitting president, goes and gets help from a foreign government to win his re-election, that`s their example.
HAYES: That`s a Franklin example in the Constitutional Convention.
KATYAL: And then they changed the constitution`s draft and put it in.
HAYES: Imagine if some -- there`s a guy named Zelensky and there`s a thing called a telephone and...
KATYAL: I mean, it is remarkable, both the wisdom of our Founders, but also just the corrupt lawlessness of this president who`s done something so fundamentally that betrays everything our founders thought the president was about, that`s what this impeachment proceeding is about, ultimately, is restoring dignity and respect for the constitution.
HAYES: All right, Neal Katyal...
HAYES: All right, up next -- so this was not going to be what we called the C block in the show, this is going to be higher on the show, but here we are on this day. So we`re going to talk about what just happened with Roger Stone.
And also Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is here. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: Roger Stone, one of the legendary political dirt men of our time. Nixon is tattooed on his back. He`s guilty.
Today, the president`s long-time confidant, adviser on his campaign, was convicted by a federal jury on all seven counts, including lying to congress, obstructing a congressional investigation and witness tampering, all tied to his lying about his communications with the Trump campaign in his unofficial role for that campaign as an intermediary with WikiLeaks, and of course the outlet that published the emails that Russian intelligence illegally hacked.
Now he`s the sixth associate of the president who has either pleaded guilty or been convicted just since Trump took office. Here for more what happened in the courthouse today and the implications are Mimi Rocah, she`s a former prosecutor for the southern district of New York, and Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, who was in the court room for every day of the trial.
Great to have you both here. Glenn, let me start with you, because you were in that room. What was it like when that jury came back?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, first of all, Chris, I think it was fully expected given the strength of the evidence. Roger Stone, he really seemed deflated and defeated throughout the trial, and that was especially so when the jury started announcing its guilty verdicts.
But I`ll tell you it really does seem like today is witness tampering day in Trump world. We -- as you mentioned, the jury convicted Stone of five counts of lying to congress, one count of obstructing an official proceeding, and one count of witness tampering for basically trying to convince congress that Randy Credico, a long time friend of his, was his go-between to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange when Roger Stone`s own email traffic and text messages prove that Randy Credico wasn`t the go-between.
So, it was an uphill battle for the defense attorneys to prove that Roger Stone was telling the truth to congress.
Now, mind you the way he tampered with Randy Credico was pretty serious, because he said things like prepare to die, go in and lie to congress or forget that you know anything, and if you don`t I`m going to take your dog away from you.
And then I thought the really cutest line of the entire defense closing argument, Chris, was he said to the jury, ladies and gentlemen, Roger Stone and Randy Credico have been tampering with each other for 20 years. That was a cute line, but it didn`t seem to resonate with the jury, because pretty promptly the jury banged him out for seven felony convictions.
So Roger Stone will be sentenced in February. And we`ll see what Judge Jackson is going to do.
HAYES: Here`s the thing that`s so weird about this to me. All these guys, everyone around the president, like they really think that they`re tough guys. They talk like mobsters. And they talk about the Godfather and Goodfellas, and then this is the first time they`re actually being treated like it, right. Like, all of a sudden it`s like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, now we`re actually in a federal court, now we`re actually being tried. And I`m not even clear what the stakes were here for Roger Stone. It`s almost like they`re so compulsive about being lawless that now here you are and now you`re looking at a prison sentence.
MIMI ROCAH, FORMER UNITED STATES ASSISTANT ATTORNEY: But that`s what`s so satisfying, frankly, about this.
HAYES: I will say I don`t wish prison on really anyone, just to be clear.
ROCAH: No, but this isn`t about -- it`s not just about Roger Stone, right, that`s the point. Like, to me, when I saw that I wasn`t, yay, Roger Stone is going to jail, it was exactly what the prosecutor said in his rebuttal to Roger Stone. He said -- at the trial to the jury. He said why should you care? Why should you convict? Because truth still matters. Facts matter. And the jury`s verdict by coming back the way they did with the conviction on every count so quickly was their way of saying,yeah, it does.
And that`s an impartial, non-political jury that represents us, America. So it was a good day.
HAYES: Glenn, how much time is he looking at now?
KIRSCHNER: Well, statutorily the max is 50 years; however, the sentencing guidelines, there will be some complex calculations that will have to go into what his final range is. If I had the hazard to guess, Chris, I would say he`s looking at somewhere between maybe 5 and 6 on the bottom, maybe 10 and 11 years on the top. So he is facing a number of years in prison.
HAYES: There`s one bit of testimony that happened, Glenn and I talked about it last week in this very chair about the deputy campaign manager Rick Gates saying that he actually saw Stone talk to Trump about the WikiLeaks release and its imminence before it happened, which is -- defies the sworn testimony of the president to Robert Mueller in which he says he didn`t recall it. Now, of course, you can square those two if he didn`t remember it.
Do you feel, based on that and based on this trial that like we got to the bottom of everything in the Mueller...
ROCAH: Well, look, I mean, that fact about Trump and Stone talking on the phone, and Gates hearing it, and basically Trump and other people on the campaign knowing about, you know, the release of the emails ahead of time and planning their campaign strategy in part around it, that was in the Mueller report, right. I mean, every time we hear something we`re like, wait, that`s great. Oh, that was in the Mueller report, but it gets lost.
I think having it highlighted here, you know, it brings it home -- no, is the short answer. I still don`t think we`ve gotten to everything.
I think there`s going to be some parts of that report now that will be unredacted, which will be interesting to see. You know, we might get some more facts.
I think we know more now, though. We know the fuller picture. We know how much -- you know, it was mentioned in the Mueller Report, but now we have a clearer picture, of how they were getting this information knowing it had been hacked, stolen by the Russians, and they weren`t part of the hack, necessarily, but they were using it as part of their campaign. And it just shows just like now, Trump will do anything to help his political campaign.
HAYES: Mimi Rocah and Glenn Kirschner, thank you both so much.
All right, so we come back Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the Bronx, my favorite borough, is here. Don`t go away.
HAYES: Midway through today`s impeachment inquiry hearing, the president was accused of witness tampering on Twitter after sending out a tweet attacking Marie Yovanovitch, of course, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, whilst she was testifying to congress. One of the sharpest rejoinders came from one of the sharpest tweeters of the Democratic House Caucus Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, maybe you`ve heard of her, quote, "Trump himself is clearly not satisfied with only one article of impeachment. His choice to publicly broadcast his own personally authored witness intimidation means he wants to sign-up for another article on obstruction of justice, too."
Please join me in welcoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
How are you? Good to see you. Have a seat.
I guess, it`s not surprising the president did that.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D) NEW YORK: No, not surprising at all. I`m sure, and it certainly seemed my Republican colleagues were scrambling after he sent out those tweets, trying to provide some kind of cover. I mean, it`s -- they`re really beclowning themselves at this point trying to find a way to somehow find a way to both preserve their careers and futures while protecting this president, and they`re not possible, and they`re going with the latter.
HAYES: You`re someone who I think you came to congress with a very strong vision and agenda. You were clear about that when you ran in your primary that you won. And I think there`s an interesting sort of debate about this impeachment and about the president that has to do with, you know, is this the best use of legislative time? You`ve seen some Republicans saying it`s not.
As someone who has an agenda that you want to pass, right, that you want to see happen, how do you view impeachment in that context?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I`m not very concerned about it because we`re able to legislate while this is happening. Just yesterday, I introduced our first piece of green new deal legislation, which was around public housing and decarbonizing our entire public housing stock in the United States.
And so it`s not coming at the cost of legislating. Some may say mass media may cover our proposals a little bit less. But they don`t do a great job of that in the first place.
So, it`s -- no offense...
HAYES: I`m sitting right here.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I love you. I love you. But I don`t think I`m going to get like a decarbonization like 8:00 p.m. time slot, so it`s OK.
I think we`re legislating, we`re working for people, and we`re holding the president accountable and it`s all possible.
HAYES: Do you.
HAYES: ..what do you view the stakes as here? I think that some people think he`s bad in a normal way, some people think he`s bad in an abnormal way, some think he genuinely represents an actual real existential constitutional threat to the order of the republic, where are you on that scale?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah, it`s bad. It`s really bad. It`s not normal bad. It is threat to the republic and to the order of American society bad. And if we don`t hold this accountable, then we really erode rule of law in the United States of America. And really what makes America different, when people say I want to do business here, I want to write books here, I want to take my family here, I want to raise and be around American ideals, a lot of it has to do with the reliability that people, the right people, will be held to account, that there are consequences for doing wrong, for hurting people, and also that this is a fair country where everyone is treated equally.
HAYES: But isn`t that as often uttered in the breach as not? I mean, one of the things that I think helps him is there`s so much cynicism about that exact thing.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: That`s exactly right, isn`t it because there is a lot of corruption in our society. Big money and big pharma and big oil and big gas have taken over our entire political system, and there are a lot of systemic threats, but that doesn`t mean just because some things are broken you throw out our entire country and set it on fire.
And at its core, the most sacred document in our society is the constitution of the United States. Everything else is very easily amenable, but this is not. And once we erode the general respect for the constitution, then we essentially erode respect for the United States of America, and that`s what this president has done.
HAYES: You -- there`s a report this week about Stephen Miller who is the president`s point person on immigration. In fact, to the extent that he is -- he`s kind of run roughshod over DHS as an independent agency or an agency that functions, he -- there are about 700 emails of his leaked in which he`s cultivating Breitbart reporter and pushing white nationalist themes that immigrants are criminal and he`s recommending racist books. You`ve called for him to resign. You started a petition. Why?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: If we have a white nationalist at the helm of U.S. immigration policy, it means that U.S. immigration policy will become increasingly more fascistic, and we cannot allow us to be us. And so long as Stephen Miller is in charge of U.S. immigration policy, hundreds of thousands of people`s lives are going to be in danger. Over 70, or around 70,000 migrant children have been detained and including child separation, including horrific conditions, including young children who have died in U.S. custody. This is not normal.
And when we have -- I mean, it`s nuts because earlier this year when I echoed the consensus of experts of historians, of experts, of political scientists, in saying that the conditions on our border, the mass expansion of detention camps qualifies as a concentration camp, everybody thought it was nuts, right? Until we realized this week that Stephen Miller is no joke die hard white nationalist. This is what our policy has become. And in order for us to rectify and begin to heal as a country, he has got to go.
HAYES: I feel duty bound to note that Miller`s defenders, I think Miller himself, would say I`m Jewish myself. I come from a Jewish family it`s. And offensive for you to invoke that word, particularly in regard to someone who is Jewish.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I`m sure that`s also the way he`s weaponized his identity, right. Like, you know, they say -- and there`s this -- the color of your skin and the identity you are born with does not absolve you of moral wrong. You know, it doesn`t.
And the perfect person -- the perfect looking person to advance horrifically inhumane immigration policy would be someone that looks like me or someone that looks like someone in this audience, right, because that`s what provides the cover for these incredibly damaging and dangerous policies.
So I`m not here to weaponize my identity. And I don`t think any public servant should weaponize their identity in order to advance white nationalist ideas. Period. Punto. I don`t care who you are.
HAYES: You recently endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders and you were just in Iowa. So, I saw on Instagram it was your first trip to Iowa.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: It was. It was.
HAYES: The Bronx goes to Iowa.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: It was. It was a clash of cultures in a beautiful way.
HAYES: It was -- here`s my question, and I don`t -- there you go. You know, this is not a question about your choice to endorse Sanders or -- it`s more a broader question about these two ways in which people are talking about the primary debate. One is like you`ve got to be realistic. This is crazy. We can`t do Medicare for All. We can`t do a green new deal. You guys are out of your minds. Like, we`ve got to make these marginal improvements. And the other is go big or go home. Bold solutions. You stake out your position and you fight for it.
I`m sympathetic to that latter one, but I do feel like there`s some overcorrection sometimes where it`s like there is a political reality here. And it seems to me the debate sometimes have a little bit of angels dancing on the head of a pin quality, which is like, well, which Medicare for All are we going to do? It`s like, do we have the votes in the House right now? Like how do you square the sort of politically possible and the bold vision in your head as a sitting member?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, for me and my personal political strategy, and this is what I`ve practiced, is to come in with the boldest vision possible, because the political reality hits the fan on the floor of the House. So let that happen down the road. We need to come in strong.
HAYES: Don`t do it ahead of time is what you`re saying.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah, don`t show -- like don`t bargain with and negotiate with yourself ahead of time. And don`t kind of be overly cynical about this political moment, because what we have right now, frankly, with Donald Trump in the White House is a moment to create -- a unique moment to push a mass movement of Americans to push for everything that we want and all that we deserve. So we don`t need to negotiate with ourselves before we do that.
HAYES: You said this thing when you were endorsing Sanders that has really stuck with me, and I feel like you`ve been very honest about this, about the pressure to conform, that you show up in congress and there`s just pressure to conform. What does that pressure feel like? How does it manifest yourself. What do you mean by that?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, that pressure is like a vice. And there are so many different mechanisms in congress that create that pressure.
One, for example, is the fact that any bill and legislation that is being voted on is not really debuted to members until about 48 hours before the vote. And so sometimes these bills they go through markup, they go through individual committees, and we all sit on different committees so there`s no way we can all be at every markup at the same time. But they move through markup, but we often don`t know if a vote is coming until, according to House rules, 48 hours ahead of time, which is an improvement on Paul Ryan`s congress in which it was 24 hours ahead of time.
And so, we`re talking about sometimes pieces of legislation that are thousands of pages long. And then you say, wait, wait, this is really big problem, that`s a really big problem. And they say, well, are you on our side or not? And there`s all this, like, lobbyist, you know, authored provisions that are slipped inside. Sometimes we`re able to catch them and take them out. We did that a few times in appropriations where we found a couple fossil fuel amendments, but it -- there`s a real intense pressure to conform, yes.
HAYES: Do you feel like that intense pressure to conform -- there`s also - - how due you balance like I`ve entered this institution that I ran against in some ways, that I viewed as corrupt from the outside. Now I`m inside it, and I don`t want to sellout, and I don`t want to be sanded down to conform, but also I want to learn how the place works. And those seem to me like those can be impulses that are in tension with each other. Do you feel that way?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think -- well, they are naturally in tension, but that`s where kind of just an individual`s personality comes through. So if you just think that a person`s politics defines who they are and you see every person that is on the other side of you as almost a personal enemy, that creates a huge amount of problems for you. But when you see the result of our political process and the things that come out of our congress is the natural result of pressures on our system, then you can treat the individuals inside that system as human.
But also -- it also almost -- I don`t like using the word civility in politics, because I think it`s a term to police how people talk...
HAYES: Yeah, you`re going to get dragged on Twitter now.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah, exactly.
But I do think that there is an element where if I respect you -- you know, like people know that my political positions when I walk in there. And what`s great is that they know exactly how I feel and who I am, and so they know not to come to me with certain things. And they also know...
HAYES: It probably saves you some conversations.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: It saves me a ton of time, a ton of time. But they also -- you know, they also are willing to reach out to me on unusual things, but they feel like would fit in the consistency of my values.
HAYES: Do you like being a member of congress?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I do. I do like being a member of congress. I think being a public servant is the greatest honor of my life.
HAYES: Congresswoman, the Bronx`s own Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. Thank you so much.
HAYES: Thank you all for joining us tonight. And we will be back here in 6A next Friday following another week of public impeachment hearings, also a debate hosted on this network on Wednesday night.
If it`s anything like this week, there`ll be a lot to talk about. Make sure you tune in for that. Plus, we have big news about the final stop of our fall tour of Why is This Happening? We can now announce a second guest, Jeremy Harris who is the young actor and playwrite currently taking Broadway by storm with a show titled Slave Play, which is mindblowing. He will join the acclaimed theater giant Tony Kushner on Sunday, December 8 right her in New York City. It`s going to be a phenomenal night. You do not want to miss that. Get those tickets now. They`re available on ticketmaster.com. You can search for my name.
And that does it for All In tonight. I think the Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. You`re there, good.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END