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Rep. Raskin, discusses next step in impeachment inquiry. TRANSCRIPT: 12/2/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Elizabeth Holtzman, Mickey Edwards, Jamie Raskin

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  If you presumed to be Trump`s strongest challenger, you better well defeat him.  No one wants to hear that you lost in the noble cause.  Because history is already written that cause.  It`s for a country that`s better than Donald Trump to show it.  That is HARDBALL for now.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you going to testify in the independent hearing?

HAYES:  Likely new charges for Rudy Giuliani`s Ukraine crew.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I don`t know those gentlemen.

HAYES:  As the impeachment of Donald J. Trump proceed.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL:  Here`s what I think they will they will advance, one is bribery.

HAYES:  Tonight, what we know about what the Intelligence Committee found.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  There is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes they are above the law.

HAYES:  What the Judiciary Committee is planning for this week.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  No one is above the law.

HAYES:  What it all means for the president and his lawyer.

RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP:  I can`t wait to come back.

HAYES:  Then, are House Democrats about to give the president a political victory on trade?  The indicted House Republican who threw his wife under the bus takes a plea.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA):  Whatever she did, that`ll be -- that`ll be looked at too, I`m sure.  But, I didn`t do it.

HAYES:  And how Trump`s adult son leverages his daddy`s position to gain the New York Times bestsellers list.

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I didn`t do it through my father`s taxpayer-funded office.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes.  The impeachment of President Donald J. Trump is getting closer.  The House Intelligence Committee has begun reviewing at this hour a report on everything they have learned from their investigation so far.

Remember, we`ve seen 12 witnesses give about 35 hours of public testimony.  There was also over 120 hours of testimony behind closed doors.  And even before all those hearings, we knew from the call notes the White House itself released that the president tried to extort foreign country, Ukraine, into helping him win reelection.

Remember the phrase, I would like you to do us a favor though.  So we knew that from the get-go.  But after spending a few weeks watching and reading the hundreds of hours of testimony, it feels overwhelmingly clear that according to the testimony of career civil servants, the President did do just what it looked like he did.  He extorted Ukraine unsuccessfully in the end it appears.

The Committee is expected to vote to approve the report tomorrow evening.  And then that report will head to the House Judiciary Committee for review.  Members of that committee will use the report and deciding whether to draft articles of impeachment.

Now, we`re going to get the first formal hearing from that committee, the Judiciary Committee, on this Wednesday.  They will be holding a public hearing examining the constitutional grounds for the President`s impeachment.

We just learned a few hours ago this evening, the witnesses at the hearing, they will be four law professors, three chosen by Democrats, and one by the Republicans on the committee.  In anticipation of the Democrat`s House Intel report tonight, House Republicans released their own impeachment rebuttal, a 123-page report that alleges President Trump did nothing even slightly improper.

The Washington Post calling the report a series of red herrings that "relies on a series of straw men rebutting allegations that aren`t really being made against Trump."  While this is very much in character, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress has spent weeks and months complaining about the process.

For a while it was, how dare you talk to these witnesses behind closed doors.  And then Democrats started to hold public hearings, and it became this is a ridiculous circus, how come the President can`t send a lawyer to defend himself.  And then, when the Democrats offered the president a chance to send a lawyer to the Judiciary Committee`s hearing on this Wednesday, the White House just refused to participate.

Now, all of this is happening while there are still all sorts of outstanding questions of fact and law that loom over this whole thing.  Like for instance, the court cases that may decide whether Congress gets the President`s tax returns or which witnesses are compelled to appear before them.

Just this evening, a federal judge refused to delay her order from former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with congressional subpoena.  Alongside the litigation over congressional subpoenas, there`s also the criminal case related to all this that continues to wind its way through the Southern District of New York.  That would be, of course, the case of Rudy Giuliani`s indicted associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

Remember, those two men represented themselves to Congress as part of the President`s own legal team.  And according to the indictment furnished by SDNY, they allegedly work to smear and remove that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine from her post.

At a court hearing today, the lawyers for one of the men Lev Parnas said he would like to provide documents over to the House Intelligence Committee.  Parnas would need a judge`s approval to do that.  But today, the judge said he believes it would be in the public interest and it tends to approve that release, another thing to keep your eye on.

At the same hearing, federal prosecutor said it is likely they will also file more charges in this case although they did not say whether we`re not anyone else would be charged.

Joining me now are two people who have been closely following the entirety of the impeachment process Natasha Bertrand, National Security Correspondent for Politico and MSNBC Contributor and Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Congresswoman who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate impeachment hearings of Richard Nixon.  She is author of The Case for Impeaching Trump.

Natasha, let me start with you on the status hearing that we saw in the Southern District today.  You know, there`s sort of two stories that have been going forward over the last month or two, right?  There`s the story of the whistleblower complaint that became the impeachment inquiry that will likely now become the impeachment of the president over the extortion of Ukraine and then the indictment of these two men working with Rudy Giuliani.  And the two intersect their activities in Ukraine and furthering the President`s extortion plot there are part of what at least they`re indicted for.  How much do you see these two roads crossing based on what we learned today at the status here?

NATASHA BERTRAND, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Extensively given that these two men Parnas and Fruman were essentially acting as intermediaries between Rudy Giuliani and the President, and Ukrainian officials or ex-Ukrainian officials, we should say, that we`re trying to oust, for example, the former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, that we`re trying to push this theory that Joe Biden acted improperly with regard to his son`s position on the Ukrainian energy company board.

These were people that were directly at the center of this either acting as intermediaries or translators or fixers.  And now one of them Parnas really wants to tell Congress what he knows.  And that could be exceedingly dangerous for both Rudy Giuliani and the president because this is someone who has told the press through his lawyer that he was directly involved with conversation -- in conversations with the President about going on a so-called secret mission in order to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine and ostensibly oust the Ukrainian Ambassador Yovanovitch.

So, this is someone who has most likely a treasure trove of documents, text messages, e-mails that he is now willing to show Congress and by extension, the public, because he is burned by the fact that the President has tried to distance himself from him, even though they attended numerous events together as private meetings, etcetera.

HAYES:  You know, there`s an interesting linchpin here, nexus, between the criminal case and the congressional impeachment inquiry that recalls Watergate in which my wife was just reminding me of this because she was sort of rereading the history, the error.  The judge in that case of the burglars encouraged cooperation with the impeachment inquiry and impeachment proceedings and even offered favorable terms to those before him if they did, in fact, cooperate with Congress.

ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW YORK:  Well, as I remember, what Judge Sirica did, he smelled a rat from the beginning in the Watergate burglary.

HAYES:  Right.

HOLTZMAN:  And he imposed -- first of all, he did said Senate, House, something smells here.  You got to step in and do something, and that`s triggered the Senate Watergate hearings.  The second thing he did was imposed really tough sentences, the burglars, and one of them broke and came forward.

So that Outside federal judge smells a rat can make a big difference.  And these documents could have a major impact.  There are lots of them.

HAYES:  Let`s also talk about what we`re going to see this week and I`ll stay with you here for a second.  We`re moving now from House Intel to the Judiciary.  What`s the significance of that and how much left is there for Judiciary to do since the factfinding ostensibly has been done by the Intel Committee?

HOLTZMAN:  Well, first, they have to kind of help themselves, the rest of Congress and the American people understand what the constitution means by the impeachment clause, the standards of impeachment, treason, bribery, other high crimes and misdemeanors.  What`s bribery?  Treason doesn`t apply here.  What`s other high crimes and misdemeanors?

We had to do that in the Nixon impeachment.  We did it behind closed doors.  We didn`t have experts.  We had our own committee staff.  We had to do our own homework, but we also studied that.  And I think it`s very important for the American people and Congress to understand the meaning of these terms.

The second thing that`s going to happen is they have to decide what are they going to do with these facts they`ve received?  How did they fit into an article of impeachment -- into the Articles of Impeachment?  Is there enough information for an article?  But secondly, if there is, is it going to be -- is it going to be an article on bribery?

HAYES:  Right.

HOLTZMAN:  Or is it only going to be an abuse of power?  The other thing, is it going to include anything aside from what I call Ukraine gate?  So, these are really three critical issues before Congress.

HAYES:  Natasha, one thing we`ve seen both in the prebuttal released by House Republicans and some of the comments from Senate Republicans is increasingly was sort of faced with the choice of whether to defend the most extreme, insidious, and indefensible statements of the president like the truly insane conspiracy theory he was pursuing on the phone call, or to sort of softly chastise the president and say that he shouldn`t be impeached.

They really gone with the former.  And increasingly, you see Republicans basically saying the President is right about everything.  It was a perfect phone call.  It`s awesome he did this.  We love him.  We love him.  We love him.  You`ve got reporting about the fact that the Senate Intel Committee chaired by Republican looked into this claim that Ukraine somehow was meddling in the election and found essentially there was no there there.

BERTRAND:  Yes, so the Senate Intel Committee began looking into this in 2017, actually, right after a Politico report was published outlining efforts by certain Ukrainian bureaucrats and Ukrainian officials at the embassy to allegedly help a DNC contractor look into Paul Manafort.  And this DNC contractor Allie Chalupa was called and testified before the Senate Intel Committee.

And she really -- it was considered by all accounts to be a complete waste of time, because what the Republicans were looking for was evidence of a top-down conspiracy of the kind that Russia did when they interfered in 2016, complete with a wide-ranging interference campaign influence campaign that may have been comparable to Russia`s election interference.  But they found nothing of the sort.

What they found was kind of scattershot efforts by a few Ukrainian diplomats here and there who obviously did prefer Hillary Clinton because Donald Trump was saying at the time that Crimea would look into allowing Crimea to be recognized as Russian territory and even lift Russian sanctions.

So obviously the Ukrainians had a preference for Hillary Clinton at that point.  But the Senate Intel Committee looked into this, did not find -- they looked into this thoroughly, did not find any evidence that there was a wide-ranging top-down conspiracy by Ukraine.

So the idea that Republicans now -- or on the Senate now or going out and saying that the Ukrainians interfered in the same way that Russia did in 2016 is really disingenuous, considering all of the work the Senate Intel Committee did to debunk that.

HAYES:  All right, Natasha Bertrand and Elizabeth Holtzman, thank you both.

HOLTZMAN:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Joining me now for more on what we got from Congressional Republicans today, what we expect to get going forward, Michael Steele former RNC Chairman, now an MSNBC Political Analyst, and Mickey Edwards former Republican Congressman from Oklahoma.

Mickey, sincere here, I`ll go to you first.  I mean, there`s always the question, right?  I mean, I never thought it would be the case that you see any kind of overwhelming break with the President that he should be impeached.  In fact, the history of impeachment has always been quite partisan with the exception of Nixon, right?

But they could have -- there`s a variety of paths they could have taken.  And it seems to me like they are choosing in both the report they issued today, the noises being made from the front Senate, the maximalist path, the path of it was perfect.

MICKEY EDWARDS, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM OKLAHOMA:  Yes, it was perfect.  And you saw what Senator Kennedy from Louisiana is doing.  He`s making up stuff.  You know, he is -- he`s pretending that what he`s going to do is he`s going to be a great champion for this guy in the White House who`s lying.  And he forgot that the President just went down to his state of Louisiana and urged people there, you know, to vote against the --

HAYES:  Democrat for governor.

EDWARDS:  Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, who won.  And I think -- and I think Kennedy is making a big mistake.  And I think the democrats have the Republicans in a box because they are in a position now whether instead of just saying it`s not impeachable, it`s not removable, what they`re saying is they`re denying the facts that everybody knows that the committee has keep coming out with, and you know, there have no sand.

HAYES:  You know, part of what Mickey is referring to is John Kennedy`s appearance on "MEET THE PRESS" this weekend.  Mike, I want to play that for you.  And just for the context here, of course, the President is essentially attempting to extort two investigations out of President Zelensky, right?  One is to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, and the other is this truly -- I mean, 9/11 truth or level conspiracy theory about the servers, right?  That essentially Ukraine -- the DNC hacked itself and the Ukraine helped the DNC frame Russia for it.

So this is -- this is Kennedy attempting to sort of, I guess, bolster some factual predicate for the President`s theory of the case.  Take a listen.


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA):  Russia was very aggressive, and they`re much more sophisticated.  But the fact that Russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko actively work for Secretary Clinton.  Now, if I`m wrong and if all these journalists --

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  Actively worked for secretary -- I mean, my goodness, wait a minute, Senator Kennedy, you now have a president of Ukraine saying he actively worked for the Democratic nominee for President.  I mean, now, come on.  I mean, I got to put up -- you realize, the only other person selling this argument outside the United States is this man, Vladimir Putin.


HAYES:  This is where we`re sort of at, Michael.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  No, it`s exactly where we are.  And it`s amazing to me that to watch the evolution sort of move out of the -- out of the house, and now into the Senate space, it`s been my contention all along.  And Senator Kennedy is a precursor of what`s going to come when this all gets to the Senate, that this whole effort has been about two things.  Gum it up as much as possible, Chris.  Make sure that nothing makes sense to anyone.

HAYES:  Right.

STEELE:  I mean, it just you -- just sit there, scratch your head and go, is that really true?  You know, that`s number one.  And number two when it comes to the Senate, that Mitch McConnell will then be in the best position possible to say, you know, there`s no there there.  I don`t even think we`re really going to take this matter up, or, yes, we`ll take it up but it`s already baked in what the results going to be.  Because you`ve had folks like, you know, the good senator from South Carolina, Mr. Graham saying, well, I`m not even going to read the material that comes over from the House.

So this is all sort of a precursor to make sure that Donald Trump has maximum Republican protection.  And the question I have is for what.  Because at the end of the day, what would you get out of it?

HAYES:  Well, and also you can put -- I mean, the other thing about it is you could protect him in the way that, say, Will Hurd did.  I mean, there are ways to basically say he shouldn`t be impeached for what happened that are not essentially repeating this bright crazy theory that is essentially being both disseminated by Russian disinformation aside from just being factually wrong or highly misleading at least in the --

EDWARDS:  But what they`re trying to do, Chris, is the same thing that Trump does himself all the time which is sure, but some people say this.  I mean, they`re trying --

HAYES:  That right.  Yes.  People are saying.

EDWARDS:  So that the public says, well, there`s two sides here.

HAYES:  Right.  Or at least, enough of the public and enough, Michael, particularly the Presidents can sort of point to a bunch of things that sort of feels like it lets them off the hook, this is a witch hunt, and yada, yada.

STEELE:  Yes.  That`s exactly right.  So you have Trump himself who takes everything to the maximum extreme, all right, and just makes it, you know, from witch hunt to, you know, this and that.  And then everyone who`s followed behind him have to go that far as well.

HAYES:  That`s right.  Yes.  They all become everyone -- you know, it is wild to watch.  You know, I just saw this --

STEELE:  You can`t struggle.

HAYES:  I saw this happen -- you know, what happened this weekend is there`s this fight happening in which there`s -- Johnny Isakson is retiring in the Georgia Senate.  And so the governor gets a replacement.  There`s this bizarre battle that`s brewed in which the President wants him to name Doug Collins who`s a sort of strong kind of like blocking back for the president, right?  One of the kind of basement boys who goes in there and rails against the Liberal media.  And Kemp wants to appoint this businesswoman from the state who he thinks has broader appeal.

And what you see is just this kind of cult of personality.  I mean, it`s not a novel insight but just a total one that`s revolved around the president where Matt Gaetz is chastising the Republican governor because he`s second-guessing the President`s judgment.  He wants people that are essentially like a Leninist cadre around him.

EDWARDS:  You know, that`s the -- that`s the scariest part, Chris.  And that is Trump whether he stays or goes, is leaving us where we have to rebuild, you know, civil society.  We have to rebuild the whole idea of a democratic society that we had because he`s eroding all the values, all the norms that is a cult as you said, you know, that everybody out there in the states thinks, but we have to go along with what he wants.  He`ll tell us who he wants to be in the Senate.

HAYES:  Exactly.  He`s going to -- he`s going to tell the governor of Georgia who he should appoint.

EDWARDS:  Right.  Absolutely.

HAYES:  And Michel, that it is -- it is essentially ipso facto on its face illegitimate for anyone to contest or disagree with the President on that.  That there`s no space for anyone to have just an independent view on any matter.

STEELE:  No, you know, there is only one view and that and that`s Trump`s view.  and to Mickey`s point, that`s what makes this also very dangerous, because as Mickey note, we will have to do some serious rebuilding, not just the Republican Party, which at this point is somewhat irrelevant in the overall scheme of democracy because we`ve taken ourselves so far outside of studying mainstream, and we`re not even near stream.  We`re just kind of standing in the middle of nowhere with Donald Trump screaming at us.

But that`s the problem for the rest of us as we try to put in place, back in place those institutions that have safeguarded not just our domestic security, but our foreign security as well.  And it makes it much harder to do when you second guess and doubt everything that you hear, see, and read.

HAYES:  Yes.  And that`s sort of the idea behind it all.  Michael Steele and Mickey Edwards, thank you both, gentlemen.  That was good.  Next, a new phase of the impeachment inquiry, a whole new committee.  Congressman Jamie Raskin of the Judiciary Committee joins me here at the table to talk about what exactly are we going to see this week and why it will be different from the Intel hearings.


HAYES:  So this week starts the next big phase in the impeachment inquiry where we go from questions of fact to questions of law.  The House Intelligence Committee did the fact-finding portion of this.  It will be a question for the Judiciary Committee to wrestle with what counts as treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors, and whether the President with the facts as have been established, has met that standard.

One of the leading theorists and thinkers on this subject in Congress who was on the House Judiciary Committee is Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, former law professor who taught constitutional law and who`s been providing guidance on how to navigate this and he joins me now.  Good to have you here.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD):  Delighted to be with you.

HAYES:  What do you see -- I mean, there was complaints about this from the Republicans and there was a ghost of a point within it which is that the Intelligence Committee doing this sort of fact-finding part of this inquiry was a little different than how has been handled in the past when the Judiciary Committee did that part.  Given that, it`s now being passed from Intel to the Judicial Committee.  What do you view as your committee`s role?

RASKIN:  We`re going to look at what the founders meant by having impeachment in the Constitution.  We know the Electoral College meets every four years.  So why did the framers decide to have impeachment in there.  And I think they wanted the people to have a last instrument of constitutional self-defense against a president who acts like a king and tramples the rule of law.

Our Constitution is an anti-monarchical constitution.  It`s all about getting rid of the kings.  Remember, before America, it was all kings, and queens, and corruption, and treasury and war by the kingdoms for power.  Our founders wanted to create government on a different principle.

And that`s why in the old days, it was the king, and the queen, and then the nobility, and the clergy, and the state, and then the very bottom was the people.  And our founders flipped it upside down and said, we the people in order for a more perfect union.  And we started it that way, and the framers put in every conceivable safeguard to make sure the President would not become like the king.

HAYES:  You`re using this sort of originalist framework which is interesting to me as a sort of selection of legal theory.  I mean, what do you say to someone who says, I don`t really care what the Founders thought, or like, what you and your law professor think, like, why does it matter to me?  Like, why should I care?  I`m a nurse or a real estate professional, and I don`t like Donald Trump, but like, what is the bite of what he has done in the life of the Republican and my life a citizen.

RASKIN:  And the whole point of our Constitution is that it`s about the common people.  It`s about all of us.  The government has got to be an instrument of the common good for everybody.  It`s not a money-making operation for one guy and his royal family.  It`s not an opportunity for a president to expand his business empire and to work with tyrants and despots around the world to promote his financial and political interests.

It`s supposed to be an instrument of the common good.  That it`s supposed to be to advance the common good, to provide for the common defense, to promote the general welfare, to preserve to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty.  That`s in the preamble of our Constitution.  And all of that flows right into article one which says the legislative power is vested in Congress.

It`s up to Congress to be the representatives of the people.  And we are vested with the whole lawmaking power, everything, commerce, war, naturalization, copyright.  And then you get to Article two, and it`s four short sections, and one of them is about impeaching a president who forgets what his job is.  And what`s his real job?  To take care that the laws are faithfully executed.

HAYES:  So you just -- I mean, you`ve just outlined a broad case against this President obviously in the -- in the sort of abstract theoretical terms, but about the sort of difference between the presidency as a public trust or the promotion of the general welfare, right, which is our sort of joint constitutional conception and I think our conception of good government versus the president using it as a sort of a private get rich quick operation or a private means of machine power --

RASKIN:  That`s right.

HAYES:  -- like we`ve seen like corrupt ward bosses, right?


HAYES:  Is that the case that you anticipate making?  Because that`s a broader case than what I understand his coming down the pipe from Intel which is about Ukraine.

RASKIN:  Well, I haven`t -- well, I haven`t even mentioned the facts yet.  I`m talking about the facts related to the framers of the Constitution.

HAYES:  Right.

RASKIN:  What they had in mind, we`ve got to recover that, Chris.  In other words, we need a national civics lesson into what our Constitution is about.  The Congress was charged with the power of promoting the general welfare.  It`s Congress that passes all of the laws.  The president`s job is to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.  He`s the agent of the popular will as expressed through Congress.

Why do we have the power to impeach the president and he doesn`t have the power to impeach us?  It`s because the framers of the Constitution wanted to put the people and their representatives in charge.  What we`re about to embark on, is not about crime and punishment.

Donald Trump would not go to jail for one day under an impeachment.  It`s about making sure that the government is working for the people and not for the private interests of the president or anyone else.

HAYES:  Here`s my sociological diagnosis of the way in which the House Democratic caucus has responded to new facts vis-a-vis impeachment of the president.  It`s the following.  I want to hear your response.  Basically, they thought the Mueller report was very bad.  They thought that it showed that the President did obstruct justice, and that that`s an impeachable offense.  But they were also wary that it was essentially a difficult case to make to the public and that there`s a political will that has to happen.  And the break glass moment for the members of your caucus was seeing him use his presidential powers to attempt to rig the next election.


HAYES:  That was the break glass moment.  And how much does that figure in the case that you think that you have to make the American people about why a cross is such an important one?

RASKIN:  I think it`s essential.  And I think you`re also right about the Mueller report.  The Mueller report was about what happened in 2016 in that election.  And remember, Attorney General Barr essentially kidnapped the report for three and a half weeks, misstated the contents, misled the public, prompting special counsel Mueller to write not one, but two letters of protest about confusion of the public.

But this was very different with the Ukraine shakedown because it was happening in real-time.  And the president wasn`t delegating it to Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., He was doing it himself.  He was the one on that July 25. phone call.  He was the one who sent Rudy Giuliani and his team of operatives over there in order to shake down the Ukrainian government.

So all of this happened in real-time.  Attorney General Barr was not able to cover it up.  And so this is the most vivid demonstration of how they`re doing business in the Trump White House.

HAYES:  OK, but that is the question that I-- that haunts me personally as a journalist who covers this day in day out, which is, is this the only time they did this?  Is it plausible that it is, and it isn`t, I would like to have the facts in evidence about what the backchannel with Turkey is like, and what the backchannel with Saudi Arabia is like, and a variety of other foreign policy moves specifically the President has made through those back channels that have been incredibly friendly to states that have left people scratching their head?

The President`s own national security advisor John Bolton told a private group of people he thinks financial interests are driving the President`s Turkey policy.  That`s John Bolton.  That`s what he said in a private dinner.

RASKIN:  Yes.  And, you know, the Emoluments Clause is obviously central to understanding the Framer`s conception of our Constitution.  It`s not the President`s job to be running off selling his influence to foreign powers in order to get himself rich, and nor is it the President`s job to channel the taxpayer`s money into his own private businesses.  All that is --

HAYES:  Right.  But that`s a legal response to a factual question.


HAYES:  My point is, I do not feel like I know fully as just a U.S. citizen and also as a journalist who covers this, the full facts of the matter of what those regular channels look like.

RASKIN:  I got you.  Well, look, I share your passion for finding out the answers to every single one of those particular leads.  There`s no doubt that that`s something that we have got to do in terms of conducting our oversight responsibility.

On the other hand, Donald Trump, I would say, not here in the context of the impeachment process but as a political observer who`s watched him now for several years in Congress, he is a one-man crime wave.  This guy has more than 3,000 lawsuits that he`s embroiled in.  And he -- when he was in private business, he didn`t pay the contractors, and he didn`t pay the plumbers, and he didn`t pay the carpenters.  He didn`t pay anybody.  And there`s lots of litigation there, there`s litigation with unions, and on and on.  We`re not going to be able to do all of that.

HAYES:  Right, yes, right.

RASKIN:  You know, we`re not going to be able to do.  But what we can do is to determine whether there were high crimes and misdemeanors.  Now, the Constitution talks about treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.  Those are offenses against the state, their betrayals of the essential duties of the office.

Treason betrays the national security, bribery betrays the public interest, and the other high  crimes and misdemeanors are essentially substituting your private interests and ambitions for the national interests and for the public interest.

And I think the Ukraine episode captures all of them, but it also leads into the other kinds of abuses of power, the sorts of obstruction of justice, that we`ve seen from the very beginning as the president has to tried to blockade witnesses, he`s tried to withhold evidence, he`s tried to frustrate our investigation at every turn.

And everybody should be concerned about that.  Whatever you think about the shakedown itself, whether you think it was bribery, extortion, or something else, whatever you think about that, everybody should be opposed to the president being able to obstruct justice, because what it means is we have a president who can operate with impunity and immunity, because he is able to cover up all the evidence of his crimes, that`s a very dangerous precedent for us to set.

HAYES:  All right.  Congressman Jamie Raskin, we`ll be seeing you Wednesday at that hearing.  Come by any time as we  go through this process.

RASKIN:  Thank you for having me, Chris.

HAYES:  Thank you.

Next, the Trump administration is feeling the pressure to pass their signature agenda item this year.  Why it looks like some House Democrats are prepared to help them out after this.


HAYES:  There are eight legislative days left on the congressional calendar this year, and the number one priority right now in that little bit of time for Donald Trump and his Republican allies is getting the House of Representatives to pass NAFTA 2.0, or the USMCA -- United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement.

Somewhat remarkably, given the situation we`re in, a significant number of House Democrats representing swing districts seem eager to do the same, largely because would it give them a kind of tangible deliverable, something they can go back to their districts with and they say, look, we got something done.  We worked across the aisle, you should vote to send us back to congress.

But at the same time, labor unions, incredibly important constituency in all this, are still opposed to many of the features of the agreement, especially on the enforcement side.  And there`s a real open political question about whether ratifying one of the president`s biggest agenda items and handing him a victory is the best way for Democrats to use their control of the House while they are also impeaching him.

Joining me, the executive editor for The American Prospect Magazine, David Dayen, who recently wrote a piece on the USMCA agreement titled a bad trade.

David, I`ve been reading you on this and you`ve been doing reporting on it.  So, first let me get your sense, as someone who is very plugged in, who is covering this very, very closely, where things actually stand right now with the possibility of it being ratified.

DAVID DAYEN, AMERICAN PROSPECT MAGAZINE:  Well, the last thing that Nancy Pelosi said was, she was hopeful that there could be something that she could put on the floor by the end of the year.  If you really dig into all these stories and look at the names of who is pushing for this deal, it is really the same dozen, maybe 15 House Democrats from marginal districts, led by Cheri Bustos, who is the head of the DCCC, the campaign arm for Democrats, and Richie Neil, who is the head of the Weighs and Means Committee, who is sort of a corporate avatar in some ways.  Those are who are pushing for this deal for the reasons that you describe.

Our sources say that unless Rich Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO actually signs off on this thing, it is very unlikely to pass.  Now we`ve heard that from members.  We`ll see if that holds.

And Pelosi is sort of in the middle of this, kind of working between the dozen odd House Democrats who seem to be wanting to get something done in order to say they can get something done, and the vast majority of the caucus and the labor movement who are opposed to it.

HAYES:  You know, it seemed to me, you know, before this sort of drafting was more finalized and these questions were ironed out,it always seemed to me that it would be a genuinely difficult cross pressured situation if you believed wholeheartedly it was a good agreement, but also you would be handing a political victory to Donald Trump, right.  And you would have to say to yourself, do I just say, look, I believe in the agreement, we should sign it, and if Donald Trump gets some credit, that`s just the way it is, that`s what I`m here to do is legislate.

But in this case, it`s just the case that the biggest constituency, labor, is still not on board yet, right?

DAYEN:  Yeah.  I mean, the biggest problem is, as you mentioned, enforcement.  I mean, we have a situation in Mexico where trade unionists are still being killed, kidnapped, disappeared.  And we`re going to potentially pass a trade deal that allows them to operate and assumes that they`re going to enforce the labor sections of the agreement, which was supposed to be better for workers within Mexico in terms of their wages and their conditions, which in turn the theory goes, will improve -- limit outsourcing and improve the industrial base in the United States.  It just doesn`t make a lot of sense that that would be the case.

And there are other things in the agreement that are positive.  It is definitely a mixed bag.  But an agreement that the enforcement is sketchy on isn`t really worth the paper it`s printed on if the whole point is to improve labor conditions, and have that rising tide lift all boats for all workers throughout North America.

HAYES:  All right, Dave Dayen, who is the executive editor of the American Prospect.  Great to have you on, Dave.  Thanks.

DAYEN:  Thanks.

HAYES:  Still ahead, Donald Trump Jr. gets a boost in book sales from people trying to get on the good side of old dad.  The bulk orders by Republican groups coming up.  Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, it`s a doozy, starts next.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, if you remember back to the early days of 2016, the very first members of congress to publicly endorse the campaign of Donald Trump for the president were these two men: Chris Collins, a Republican from New York, and Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California.  Both of these men have since been indicted, not for endorsing Donald Trump, obviously. 

For Chris Collins, it was insider trading.  He pleaded guilty, resigned his seat, and is currently awaiting sentencing.

Duncan Hunter, on the other hand, was charged with 60 counts related to misuse of campaign funds, but he didn`t do it.  No, the vaping congressman told us his wife did it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You also said yesterday that your wife handled a lot of the family expenses and the campaign finances.  So are you saying that it is more her fault than your fault?

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, (R) CALIFORNIA:  Well, I`m saying, when I went to Iraq in 2003 the first time, I gave her power of attorney and she handled my finances throughout my entire military  career and that continued on when I got into congress, because I`m gone five days a week, I`m home  for two.  And she was also the campaign manager.

So, whatever she did, that will be looked at, too, I`m sure.  But I didn`t do it.


HAYES:  Whatever she did, that will be looked at, I`m sure.  Husband of the year, Duncan Hunter, is now changing his tune.  That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  Duncan Hunter, the Republican congressman representing California`s 50th district, was indicted along with his wife for allegedly misusing campaign funds on a truly impressive variety of inappropriate items, like, say, they apparently spent $1,300 on video games, $800 on an oral surgeon, $14,000 for a family vacation to Italy, more than $600 to fly  the family`s pet rabbit, named Eggbert (ph), across the country, $462 for 30 shots of tequila and a steak at a bachelor party, and nearly $900 stay at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel with a woman who is not his wife.  Kind of on the nose there.

For awhile, Hunter was blaming his family, saying his son used the wrong credit card for the video games and his wife was in charge of the finances.  He even took a page out of the president`s book and called the whole thing a witch hunt. 

Alas, but now Duncan Hunter is taking it all back.  Tomorrow morning, he says he`s taking a deal, pleading guilty.  He`s taking full responsibility for his actions, sort of.


HUNTER:  The plea that I accepted was misuse of my own campaign funds of which I pled guilty to only one count.  I think it is important that people know that I did make mistakes.  I did not properly monitor or account for my campaign money.  I justified that plea with the understanding that I am responsible for my campaign and what happens to my campaign money.



HAYES:  It`s a new month out there, folks, you know what that means we can finally announce the dates for our Friday audience shows in studio 6A in 30 Rock.  We`ve got some really great guests in the works.  And I`m excited to share with you to make sure you tune in.  And also, right now, there are two dates on the calendar -- this Friday, December 6, and next Friday the 13th, tickets are available right now, as in right this second.  If you head to our web site,, and come join us.

Then, if you`re looking for more of that patent Hayes content while I`m in New York, this weekend is the very last stop of our podcast tour.  My guests are each amazingly talented thinkers, creators, conversationalists, and having them together is going to make for a really, really special night.  These events have been astounding.  The energy at them, the sort of vibe.

I`ll be joined by Tony Kushner, who is not only one of my intellectual heroes, he`s also a Pulitzer, Tony and Emmy Award-winning playwright, most well known for his shows Angels in America and a Bright Room Called Day, just to name a few.  Bright Room Called Day is being remounted.   

Plus, I`m going to be talking with Jeremy O. Harris whose debut Broadway Show Slave Play is absolutely blowing up right now.  All three of us is going to be in New York at Townhall  this Sunday, December 8.  Come be with us for a wide ranging conversation about politics and spectacle and storytelling during these truly surreal times. 

You can get tickets on our website, or just search Chris Hayes on Ticketmaster.  Cannot wait to see you there.


HAYES:  Donald Trump Jr., the president`s son, has literally spent his entire adult life trading on his dad`s name.  That has continued into the presidency where he wrote a book marketed to MAGA heads everywhere, and the book was published last month and it debuted at number one on The New York Times nonfiction best seller list. 

But it appeared with this weird little dagger symbol next to it.  And that dagger indicates that the book is on the best seller list, not necessarily because a lot of people are out there buying copies, but also because some entities are buying the book in bulk.

The New York Times has a story of just how bulk sales helped propel Donald Trump Jr.`s new book to number one.  Over a hundred thousand dollars spent by the Republican Party and ideologically friendly outfits.

Political and investigative reporter Nick Confessore got the scoop and he joins me now.

So, what`s the story on bulk purchases and this book?

NICK CONFESSORE, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  The story is that we found at least nine organizations and GOP party committees, candidates, conservative groups, who are either selling the book to donors or promoting stops on Trump`s book tour.  And either way, it adds up to a massive promotional effort for a first time author who doesn`t hold office and hasn`t held office.  And for all his talents, is still best known as his father`s son.

HAYES:  Here`s just the line, the National Republican Congressional Committee spent $75,000 on the copies of the book.  The RNC, through October, $94,000.  And then Turning Point USA had bought about 2,000 copies.  And the National Republican Senatorial Committee about 2,500 copies.

Just so folks know, like, for the first few weeks of a book, that`s an enormous amount of sales.  Like, if you did that to any book, you would be pushing it up the list.

CONFESSORE:  Yeah, look, it`s not question -- he`s a Trump.  And it`s a large book for the imprint, so I think he probably on the bestseller list.  He`s got a book tour, right.  But the question is where would he be, and that`s not so clear to me.  His people say, look, it would be at number one no matter what.

But the point is, look, I, you know, found 36 million emails sent out to people who were part of these different groups promoting the book.

HAYES:  That is a lot of publicity.

CONFESSORE:  In bulk political email, that`s not that much, but it`s a great thing for a first time author.  And you put pretty much any book in 36 million emails, it`s going to have a pretty good  chance.

HAYES:  My favorite detail, which is in the lede of the article is that the books are stockpiled at Talking Point USA in the office in boxes.  I think we have the photo.  And it`s underneath a poster that says if you read it there, capitalism, not cronyism.

CONFESSORE:  So that picture was sent to me by a person who works there.  And there was evidently some confusion in the office as to what the purpose of the book is for.  I was later told by Turning Point they planned to hand out copies of the book to VIP ticket holders at their upcoming conference where Donald Trump Jr. is a headliner and will be signing books.

HAYES:  Now this is -- I mean, I think this is hilarious just because it`s the world`s most famous legacy case getting a bunch of help from daddy, but it`s also interesting because there`s been a kind of cultural transformation among the Republican Party, Republican campaign operations, and ideologically affiliated groups, which is they are spending more and more money at Trump properties.  And it`s become almost -- I mean, a thing that I think at one time you would see is like ripping off your own donors has become a sort of habitual part of the culture that everyone just cuts in the Trumps when you`re having a big fundraising event for a conservative cause of Republican candidate.

CONFESSORE:  Absolutely.  From the Trump Hotel in Washington, to Trump Doral in Florida, to any number of resorts, people who are special interests know if they have business before the administration, hold your event at a Trump property.  If you`re a foreign country, hold your national independence day celebration at a Trump property, hold your annual holiday party at a Trump property.  Everyone understands this is a helpful way to get ahead in Trump`s Washington.

HAYES:  We also were told, and I guess it`s just worth reminding people of this, there was the big press conference with a bunch of stacks of paper and his lawyer, turned out later the paper was blank, it was a prop, that the president wasn`t divesting from his businesses but would sort of erect this kind of conceptual barrier between himself and his businesses, and his large adult sons would be the ones running the business while he just took time away if them.

But it`s very clear to anyone who watches, these two are obviously intermingled in every possible way.

CONFESSORE:  I mean, it`s hard to keep track, right.  So, Donald Jr. if he`s attacking impeachment witnesses, says I`m a private citizen.

HAYES:  Right.  I just run the business.

CONFESSORE:  If he`s getting his book sold by the RNC, he`s a valued surrogate and political figure for the president.

So they seem to inhabit both roles as convenient for them.

HAYES:  Do you think there is any pushback among donors on this arrangement?  I mean, it seems to me like that`s part of what`s so interesting here, most of the places where you are seeing this sort of -- what I would call kind of soft corruption, or not even soft corruption, just pay-to-play corruption, is with donor`s money.  It is with the world of people that are -- having money raised from them in these circles are fine with the president and/or his family getting a cut?

CONFESSORE:  I will say they`re fine with it, because almost everyone who`s getting one of these books through one of these party committees actually clicked on an email saying, yes, IO will give you money for a copy of this book.  So, I don`t think any donors are being harmed in the making of this book sale. 

And it`s just a fact, I think there is demand for this book   And donors do want it.  And they enjoy what he brings to the table as a Trump surrogate, this whole idea of triggering.  He ticks off the right people and they love that.

HAYES:  That is what conservatism is in 2019.  Nick Confessore, thank you so much for joining us.

CONFESSORE:  That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.