CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
PAMELA KARLAN, PROFESSOR OF LAW, STANFORD LAW SCHOOL: When President Trump invited, indeed demanded foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this a republic to which we pledge allegiance.
HAYES: The case for impeaching Donald Trump.
NOAH FELDMAN, PROFESSOR OF LAW, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: If we cannot impeach a president who abuses his office for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy. We live in a monarchy, or we live under a dictatorship.
HAYES: What we learned from the day-long lesson in constitutional law.
MICHAEL GERHARDT, PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF LAW: If what we`re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable.
HAYES: Tonight, the big takeaways from today`s judiciary hearing.
NORM EISEN, DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: Did President Trump commit the impeachable high crime and misdemeanor of abuse of power?
GERHARDT: We three are unanimous.
HAYES: The weak defense of the president from the Republican witness.
JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: If you prove a quid pro quo, that you might have an impeachable offense.
HAYES: And what happens next in the impeachment process? Plus, new reporting that the President`s lawyer is still meeting with Ukrainian prosecutor. And as the whole world watches impeachment unfold, how the Trump administration just kicked hundreds of thousands of Americans off of food stamps. When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Just over an hour ago, the first impeachment hearings conducted by the House Judiciary Committee ended after nearly nine hours of testimony. Today we got the best most elevated version of the debate about one of the most serious things that Congress is empowered to do next to declarations of war, the possible impeachment of a president.
The Judiciary Committee hosted four legal scholars and experts, three were called by the Democrats, Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina Law Professor Michael Gerhardt. And one was called by Republicans, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley.
They conducted amongst themselves and through the interlocutors of the committee the best version really of the debate about what the Constitution requires, what it means to live in a democratic republic. The three Democratic witnesses agreed that when the person in trust with the most amount of power, the President of the United States has forfeited that trust to such degree by abusing his office, the extraordinary remedy of impeachment is not just available, but necessary. You need to do it.
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FELDMAN: President Trump`s conduct as described in the testimony and evidence clearly constitutes impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors under the Constitution. The words abuse of office are not mystical or magical. They are very clear. The abuse of office occurs when the President uses a feature of his power, the awesome power of his office, not to serve the interests of the American public but to serve his personal, individual, partisan electoral interests. That is what the evidence before the House indicates.
KARLAN: Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that`s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding. What would you think if you live there and your governor asked for a meeting with the President to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided for, what would you think if that President said, I would like to do you -- I would like you to do us a favor. I`ll meet with you, and I`ll send the disaster relief once you brand my opponent a criminal. Wouldn`t you know in your gut that such a president had abused his office, that he betrayed the national interest, and then he was trying to corrupt the electoral process?
GERHARDT: If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning. And along with that, our constitutions carefully crafted safeguards against the savage of a king in American soil and therefore I stand with the constitution and I stand with the Framers who are committed to ensure that no one is above the law.
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HAYES: The hearing today followed a somewhat similar format with the House Intelligence impeachment hearings from last month with the counsels for both parties getting an extended period of questioning with the witnesses ahead of most of the committee members.
The Democrats counsel Norm Eisen minimize who was the former Special Counsel for ethics and government reform in the Obama White House used his time with the witnesses to seemingly lay out the justification for some possible specific articles of impeachment against President Trump.
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EISEN: Is there enough evidence here to charge President Trump with the high crime and misdemeanor of obstruction of Congress?
GERHARDT: I think there`s more than enough.
FELDMAN: If the President of the United States attempts to abuse his office, that is a complete impeachable offense. The possibility that the President might get caught in the process of attempting to abuse his office and then not be able to pull it off does not undercut in any way the impeachability of the act.
EISEN: Do President Trump`s demands on Ukraine also establish the high crime of bribery?
KARLAN: Yes, they do.
EISEN: Have you formed an opinion as to whether President Trump committed the impeachable offense of obstruction of justice?
GERHARDT: Yes, I have. The Mueller report cites a number of facts that indicate the President of the United States obstructed justice, and that`s an impeachable offense.
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HAYES: The other witness who testified today was Jonathan Turley. He was the Republican witness. And he`s a guy who previously testified in favor of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. We`ll talk about his arguments in depth later, but he was there to basically argue that nothing Donald Trump did is impeachable, at least on the facts presented.
I should tell you, he did make some interesting and arguably valid critiques on process grounds mainly that the impeachment inquiry as it stands now is too fast and too narrow.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that timing bother you from a historical perspective, not only in the past, but moving forward as well?
TURLEY: Yes, fast and narrow is not a good recipe for impeachment. That`s the case with Johnson, narrow was the case with Clinton. They tend not to survive. They tend to collapse in from the Senate. Impeachments are like buildings. There`s a ratio between your foundation and your height. And this is the highest structure you can build under the Constitution.
HAYES: I mean, here`s the thing. There are people in the Democratic Party who actually feel the same way. I mean, I personally feel like there`s a lot more stuff the Democrats can and you should be investigating under the rubric and power of an impeachment inquiry. But it should be noted that while one of Turley`s main arguments here might have some merit, the process is moving quite quickly, were it not moving quickly, can you imagine the complaints from the White House and Congressional Republicans if democrats decided to draw it out and drag their feet for two or three or four months?
Of course, this is consistent with every process complaints we`ve seen from Republicans so far. They don`t like the House Intelligence Committee running the investigation. They don`t like the depositions behind closed doors. They don`t like testimony in public. They don`t like it fast. They don`t like it slow. They don`t like it high and they don`t like it low. They just don`t like it.
Republicans don`t want Democrats to impeach President Trump. The facts are pretty damning so process complaints are basically all they`ve got. Joining me now one of the members of Congress who questioned the witnesses today who was on the committee responsible for drafting and voting on articles impeachment against President, Democratic Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island.
Congressman, do you feel like you got guidance or illumination today on the task of drafting articles from the witnesses you heard from?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RH): Yes, I thought the witnesses today provided very important information to the committee and frankly, to the American people about what the constitutional standards are for bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors, a lot of the history of the articles of impeachment that are included in the Constitution.
Interestingly, our founding fathers were worried about foreign interference. George Washington in his farewell address to the nation warned of it. James Madison said this is the greatest danger to the Republic. The idea that there would be foreign interference in our election is a direct attack on the right of the American people to elect their own political leaders and to decide their own future.
And the idea that a President of the United States asked a foreign leader and attempted to coerce a foreign leader to interfere in an American presidential election, to help him and use taxpayer-funded military aid as leverage to try to make that happen is shocking. And it really does undermine our national security, it undermines our democracy.
And we heard today that although our founders weren`t prophets, they really understood the dangers of foreign interference in our elections. And it was one of the chief worries that led them to include articles of impeachment in the constitution as the only remedy for Congress if a president who engages in this kind of misconduct.
HAYES: What do you understand as the next step now? I mean, obviously, this was -- the sort of facts have been gathered by Intelligence Committee. They`ve reported it out to you in the Judiciary Committee. Today`s hearing was about the law, about the interpretation and understanding of what the threshold is according to the Constitution. What is next? What now for the judiciary committee?
CICILLINE: So the Judiciary Committee has received the report from the Intelligence Committee, the 300-page report that details their findings. I think the Chairman announced today that there will be a formal delivery of that, the contents of that report before the committee in the coming days. So I think we`ll have the committees of jurisdiction communicate the findings in that report to the Judiciary Committee.
And then at some point, we`ll have to take the facts that we now have both in the evidence we`ve collected in our investigation, as well as all the other relevant committees of jurisdiction, apply the law and the constitutional standards that were articulated today, and make a determination as to whether or not we proceed with recommendations of articles of impeachment and if so what they will be.
HAYES: Whether or not you think that the complaints about process are in good faith, whether from Professor Turley or from your colleagues. I`m curious your response to it, because I think there actually are some good faith critiques of it among Democrats, among folks who generally support impeachment or believe the behavior as far as now already presented as impeachable about moving too quickly and focusing too narrowly, and moving before all of the evidence, all the witnesses have been -- have been gathered.
CICILLINE: Well, look, we`ll have to make a judgment at some point whether or not we have sufficient evidence before the committee that warrant moving forward articles of impeachment. Obviously, it`s particularly worrisome because this particular set of events is the President of the United States really compromising the national security of our country by preventing an important ally that`s at the tip of the spear, a spear that`s protecting against Russian aggression from having access to military aid. So this is -- and compromising our elections and the integrity of our elections.
So this is very serious. I think the committee wants to move expeditiously. We all want to be sure we have all the evidence, all the facts we need. I think we`ve now heard from 12 corroborating witnesses who have corroborated every single part of the whistleblower report. So you know, there does come a point where you say is it valuable to get more witnesses that corroborate the same facts.
But look, we`re going to consider the evidence we have. We`re going to determine whether we have sufficient evidence to move forward and that will be the deliberation of the committee. But, you know, our Republican colleagues, it was funny to hear them say complaining about not hearing from fact witnesses. It`s the President of the United States who`s prevented the committee from hearing from many fact witnesses.
We never heard a peep from the Republicans in any effort to try to persuade the President not to obstruct Congress or obstruct justice and let these witnesses come forward, let these documents be produced. So it was sort of laughable to hear Republicans complaining about that, when they never bothered to, you know, place a phone call to the president and tell him to knock it off.
All right, Congressman David Cicilline of the Judiciary Committee, thank you very much.
HAYES: Joining me now for more on what we learned at today`s hearing, the host of MSNBC`s "A.M. JOY" and author of The Man Who Sold America, Joy Reid. Joy, what do you think of today?
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: You know, I watched it all day as we all did. I thought it was very instructive. On the Democrats side, I would say they did a good job of laying out the history of impeachment for those who are not familiar with it and laying out the reasons why what Donald Trump has done were impeachable. I thought that was smart. I thought it was well done. And I thought they were good witnesses.
On the Republican side, it was interesting. I think he had two sets of arguments, right, that I saw today. There was -- the Republican argument from the day is there`s kind of the monarchical argument that these three witnesses are mean. They don`t like Donald Trump. They didn`t vote for Donald Trump. And unless you had some previous fealty to him, you can`t impeach him because you`re too mean, right?
REID: Which is a weird argument against impeachment because it`s not an argument. They didn`t do anything wrong. And then you had the Jonathan Turley argument, which is also not an argument that he didn`t do anything wrong. Did you notice, Chris, the point at which Turley tried to expound upon what he thinks, which is that no, no, you can investigate him, but I think you should call all these other witnesses what you were just talking about with the Congressman.
You should call all these other people, and then it will be fine to keep investigating him, at which point Republicans cut them off. Because they were like, wait, wait, that`s not actually the argument we want to hear.
HAYES: That`s right. It was interesting -- it`s a great point that the Republican witness, one of the arguments he made was that this should be a more thorough, long-lasting process in which every last witness is dragged out from hiding where they currently reside with claims of essentially absolute immunity.
The court has already struck down in the case of Don McGahn so we already know how courts feel about the claim that`s being made on behalf of these witnesses being blocked, and that was the Republican witness` argument.
REID: Yes. And the weird thing about Jonathan Turley -- I`m old enough to have remembered the impeachment hearings against Bill Clinton which he was for impeaching Bill Clinton. But people should remember that Jonathan Turley wanted to have Clinton Secret Service agents testify in the impeachment. He wanted them subpoenaed. But at the same time, this is the same guy who said today -- first of all, he said he`s friends with William Barr which may be a little suspicious. Then he said that he was opposed to the article three of the impeachment against Nixon.
What`s article three? That`s the one where Nixon got impeached for refusing to turn over items in response subpoenas.
REID: So he`s not for Republican presidents having to turn things over, he just wants the Democrats like everyone who ever knew him to be to be dragged in front. It`s weird and disingenuous, but what it`s not is saying Trump is innocent. He never said that what Trump did is not impeachable, he just said investigate it more.
HAYES: Right. And there`s a question here about all of this, right, when you take a step back. I mean, it`s very clear to me that the members of the committee in the House Democratic caucus views themselves as engaged in a sort of process of persuasion of the public. And I think that`s right and correct. And public opinion matters and making your case matters. But it also escapes my grasp a little bit of like, who the -- who they`re modeling as the person who`s been sitting on this question, when you have impeachment essentially converging near what approval or disapproval is for the President. How do you think of it in terms of the politics of this and Democrat`s approach?
REID: You know, it is -- that`s a very good question because it`s not clear to me who Republicans think they`re trying to convert. I feel like - -
HAYES: No, they`re not trying to convert anyone.
REID: They`re trying to hold their base.
HAYES: That`s right. Yes.
REID: They`re just telling people, those people are mean. They don`t like Donald Trump, and they`re trying to take away 63 million people`s votes. On the Democratic side, it`s not clear who they think the person on the fence is who thinks that -- you know, in their gut, they realize that the Louisiana case is actually true.
I thought that was a brilliant analogy that if the Louisiana -- State of Louisiana had a flood, and the governor went to the president said give us aid, and he said no, not unless you declare my political opponent a criminal, that makes sense I think to a lot of people. I`m not sure who the person is who says, yes, but they`re mean. You know what I mean? I don`t really know who is the person that can`t decide that once they hear that, that it isn`t impeachable.
So I`m not sure -- I think both of these two sides already have their base, they already have the people convinced that are going to be convinced. I don`t think either side thinks they`re going to convert anyone else. I think the Democrats are just trying to make a case that the Senators that are going to vote right this get to take home and say this is why we did it. I don`t think it`s a conversion argument because I don`t think they believe there`s anyone who can be converted.
HAYES: That`s interesting. Yes, that`s an interesting point. I`m curious to see how this plays out on that -- on that score. Joy Reid, thank you so much for your time.
REID: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, the Republican defense and the double standard of their soul witness. Former acting solicitors General Walter Dellinger and Neal Katyal whose latest book was misquoted at the hearing today join me in two minutes.
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TURLEY: If you prove a quid pro quo, that you might have an impeachable offense. There`s a difference between requesting investigations and a quid pro quo. You need to stick the landing on the quid pro quo. You need to get the evidence to support it.
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HAYES: George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley was the lone Republican witness today. His argument against impeaching the President was essentially this. The facts as currently presented in the Intelligence Committee`s report do not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.
The other three witnesses very strongly disagreed from the outset. And many pointed out that the evidence of Professor Turley says would be necessary for the impeachment is currently being actively blocked by the White House, which is refusing to turn over any records or allow any witnesses to testify. Oh, and also, you know, there`s Mick Mulvaney appearing in the White House briefing room announcing there was indeed a quid pro quo.
It`s also striking back in 2014 when some Republicans were grumbling about possibly impeaching President Obama that Turley reminded readers in the Washington Post that a president doesn`t need to commit a crime to be impeached. "Serious misconduct or a violation of public trust is enough." He also testified before our House Judiciary hearing in 1998, in favor of Bill Clinton`s impeachment over his lie about a sexual affair.
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TURLEY: No matter how you feel about President Clinton, and I don`t dislike President Clinton, I voted for President Clinton. No matter how you feel about President Clinton, no matter how you feel about the independent counsel, by his own conduct, he has deprived himself of the perceived legitimacy to govern. You need both political and legal legitimacy to govern this nation because the president must be able to demand an absolute sacrifice from the public at a moment`s notice.
HAYES: For more about this, I`m joined by two former acting solicitor generals and among their many other things they`ve done, Walter Dellinger who served under President Clinton, Neal Katyal, who served under President Obama whose latest book Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump was invoked today by Republicans in the hearing. I want to talk about that exchange in a minute.
But first, I just want to get your reaction to the arguments presented contra impeachment today, both from the day and from the witness. I`ll start first with you, Walter, and then go to you, Neal. Walter, what do you think?
WALTER DELLINGER, FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL: Well, I thought that you know, the most striking was the failure to engage and say here is why there is a factual dispute about whether the President actually committed these acts. I mean, you either have to say the facts didn`t happen, or you`ve got to say the facts happen, but it doesn`t constitute an impeachable offense.
I was more concerned after today, Chris and Neal, than ever that I think we could come out of this with a real blow to our democratic republican form of government if President can simply get away with refusing to accept any congressional oversight. And the job of the chief executive was to execute the laws passed by Congress.
I don`t see why any future president would turn around and say, I`m going to defer from Trump and I`m going to submit to congressional oversight. It`s a very worrisome moment, in my view.
HAYES: That`s interesting. That`s sort of the breath and audaciousness of the immunity the President has claimed and that he is acting upon right now to you is -- has a sort of specific danger to it, which I don`t think -- I think I put that lower list of risks here, but it`s interesting you say that. What do you think Neal?
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, I agree with Walter. I mean, as a -- as a defense attorney watching all of this today, I was kind of embarrassed for defense attorneys because I didn`t see an actual substantive defense of Trump`s conduct.
And I think it really came to the fore when Professor Turley was asked the question has a question, has the President ever gag all of these witnesses and stonewalled Congress from any documents, e-mails, etcetera, and he couldn`t answer that question. But we know the answer to that. No president has done that before, which is why Walter`s point is so important.
If the you know -- if the Republicans allow this behavior to go unchecked, a President Warren or a President Sanders can just say, hey, you know, I`m not going to bother cooperating with impeachment. And impeachment is kind of -- the book goes into this, the central thing our Founders put in the constitution protect -- to protect you and me from a president who puts his interests above those of the American people. You can`t just read it out of the Constitution because you don`t like it.
HAYES: And, Neal, I want to -- I want to follow up on something you just mentioned, your book. Today, your book was invoked by Republicans actually in a sort of hilariously, clumsy bad faith way. I want to play the sound of a portion of a Republican reading a quote, and then I can show the entire quote. Here`s a -- here`s a listen of the quote as invoked by a Republican member today. Take a listen.
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PAUL TAYLOR, REPUBLICAN COUNSEL: The American media for years has been asking questions about former Vice President Biden`s son and his paid involvement with a corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Even Neal Katyal, the former Acting Solicitor General under President Obama in his recent book entitled Impeach says the following.
"Is what Hunter Biden did wrong? Absolutely. Hunter Biden had no real experience in the energy sector which made him wholly unqualified to sit on the board of Burisma. The only logical reason the company could have had for appointing him was his ties to Vice President Biden. This kind of nepotism isn`t only wrong, it is a potential danger to our country, since it makes it easier for foreign powers to buy influence. No politician from either party should allow a foreign power to conduct this kind of influence peddling with their family members."
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HAYES: All right, now you notice the ellipses there. And I just want to read what was in the ellipses and was cut out. This is you saying, the thing is it`s not illegal. That`s why Hunter Biden didn`t hide his involvement with Burisma. It`s why President Trump`s children Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric continue to conduct business around the world with impunity, as does President Trump`s son in law, Jared Kushner, who works in the White House. What did you think when they -- when they took that quote the way they did?
KATYAL: Well, you know, honestly, Chris, it`s very similar to a lot of other things they`ve been doing to try and defend the president. This isn`t a one-off. This is the defense. It`s so bad, it`s so pathetic, and it`s based on ultimately lies. And you know, here, they just ellipsoid out all the damning stuff to Trump and his family and everything and to undercut.
You know, the whole thing that they`re saying here is Biden committed crimes, and therefore he should have been investigated against, which has always been ludicrous, you know, for many reasons, including the fact that he`s been investigated and cleared.
But here, they ellipsed out all this stuff which said Biden didn`t commit crimes, and this justification makes no sense. So they`re just striving to try and come up with whatever they can to defend this indefensible conduct by Donald Trump.
DELLINGER: Chris, Neal may have --
HAYES: Go ahead.
DELLINGER: Neal may have been misquoted. Neal may have been misquoted, but I think he thinks it may lead more Republicans to buy his book so you know, altogether not a bad day.
HAYES: Yes, exactly. There was -- there was a book plug for you.
DELLINGER: I rarely get to ask your question, but I am -- to me the hardest strategic question is whether to go back and bring in the obstruction of justice recounted in detail in the Mueller report. The members were sort of dancing around the edges of that. And to me, it`s a tough question, but I think it`s essential that they, at least in some form in the pre-ambulatory parts of any article of impeachment discussed the fact that the President`s a serious, relentless obstruction of justice that attempt to interfere with that, you know, with that investigation.
And Russia -- you know, Ukraine is small enough to be a province of Russia. And this is really all about, you know all about Russia and the president welcoming Russian interference of that presidential election. I think they just can`t leave that behind.
HAYES: That`s a great -- that`s a great point and a great question. Neal, what is your thought on this same question?
KATYAL: Yes. So I answered this in the book. I think that right now we have sufficient evidence for articles of impeachment with Ukraine, with the quid pro quo, and with obstruction of justice with respect to Ukraine. And I think those should be the three articles that the Congress votes on.
But I think Walter is right, the model here is Nixon, in which is part of the preambles to these articles you say and discuss some of this other conduct. And the reason for that is I think we may find more information particularly after Judge Jackson`s ruling on Monday about Mueller and the like.
And so that information can be later upended into Senate proceedings or indeed the start of another House proceeding.
HAYES: That is a great point. And Walter, I`m sort of -- the thing I keep thinking about is that, you know, Nixon is the only successful example of an impeachment ruling of a president. They never actually got to the impeachment, right? He quits because the GOP senators say you`re going to lose the trial.
And then after he leaves, for years, we learned more, and more, and more, and more criminal activity he was up to, a shocking, shocking amount of criminal activity. And it sort of hunts one`s mind as one looks at this fact pattern to think of that Nixon example.
DELLINGER: You know, I think it is very unlikely that Ukraine is the only country that the President attempted to leverage and is attempting to leverage to interfere in the 2020 election. The North Koreans have the capacity to take out the leadership of Sony, the Saudis have a boundless billions of dollars. I am -- I am very concerned that if we walk away from this, it`s a green light.
HAYES: Yes, that is a huge concern particularly because we are heading full speed ahead to 2020 right now as we speak. Neal Katyal, Walter Dellinger, thank you, gentlemen, both for joining us.
DELLINGER: Thank you, Chris.
KATYAL: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, is the President`s lawyer in the midst of ongoing impeachment hearings actually holding meetings with Ukrainian prosecutors? The reporter who has the Giuliani beat covered better than anyone else joins me next.
HAYES: Right now as impeachment proceedings are happening over the rogue foreign policy that was run with the goal of extorting Ukraine into announcing bogus investigations,the guy at the center of all of it, Rudy Giuliani, a guy who is currently under criminal investigation by the Southern District of New York, according to numerous reports, a guy whose close associates are also part of this scheme, have been indicted, a guy who has been identified as one of the key drivers, if not the key driver next to the president, of President Trump`s Ukraine scheme, that guy is currently continuing the plot over in Ukraine where he`s meeting with discredited former foreign officials as part of a continuing effort to do what he`s been doing all along -- to push false narratives about the Bidens and corruption in Ukraine.
There`s also new questions about who he was talking to at the White House and, crucially, at the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB. They`re the ones who up held the military aid. And yesterday, we learned about these phone records with the release of the House Intelligence Trump Ukraine impeachment inquiry report showing a series of calls between Rudy Giuliani and OMB, including this one, what appears to be a nearly 14-minute call from OMB to Rudy Giuliani back in April, a nearly 13-minute call also from OMB to Giuliani in August, all of which is surprising and strange.
Why is the Office of Management and Budget calling the president`s personal attorney?
For more on that I`m joined by Rebecca Ballhaus, a Wall Street Journal covering the White House. She has been on the forefront of this coverage. Her latest piece focusing on those call logs.
So Rebecca, what do we know about these calls between Rudy and OMB?
REBECCA BALLHAUS, THE WALLSTREET JOURNAL: Still very little. What we learned yesterday, as you said, is that these calls existed. Previously, nobody had said that Rudy had been in contact with OMB. And Rudy who this whole time has denied knowing that the aid was frozen over the summer has never mentioned speaking to anyone from OMB.
And what we learned today is that OMB, after conducting a review of their officials` call records, didn`t find anybody in their agency who spoke to Giuliani. So that, of course, begs the question of how are they categorizing these calls? And is there someone else who might qualify for that?
And one clear question is whether it could be Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff who is also the OPB director.
HAYES: Right, you can imagine a very sort of like sort of finely parsed answer to this, well, no one in OMB spoke to Rudy Giuliani, but Mick Mulvaney, because he wears two hats, maybe did.
BALLHAUS: Right. So we posed that question to various White House official and to Rudy. And while Rudy acknowledged speaking with Mick and said their friends and that they`ve spoken a number of times, a White House official told us that they reviewed Mick`s cellphone records and that they don`t match up with the records in the call logs.
HAYES: Yes, so as of now the official line from the White House is that there was a mystery person from other line, or maybe no one, for the 13 and 14 minute calls respectively, with the president`s personal attorney.
BALLHAUS: That`s right.
And it`s pretty remarkable given how many officials we`ve now seen linked to Rudy in one way or another, that whoever this person is is still not coming out and I guess saying that it was them.
HAYES: You know, it does strike me that the call records took a lot of people by surprise. I mean, it took all of us by surprise. I think it probably took you -- I mean, it took all of us who report on this were taken by surprise. We didn`t know they had these call records. And Devin Nunes, who also shows in the call records and crucially, in calls with Lev Parnas, someone you`ve covered extensively, one of the Fraud Guarantee associates of Rudy Giuliani who is under federal indictment, Nunes was asked last night by Sean Hannity about the call records. I want to play what he had to say. Take a listen.
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SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Did you ever talk to this guy, Les Parnas, or whatever his name is?
REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R) CALIFORNIA: You know, it`s possible, but I haven`t gone through all my phone records. I don`t really recall that name. You know, I remember the name now, because he`s been indicted.
You know, and I`ll go back and check all my records, but it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I mean, it does seem unlikely he`d be taking calls from random people. He probably would talk to someone that he knew.
BALLHAUS: That is what you would expect. And I mean, one immediate answer I would add to that is that we don`t have any reason to believe that Parnas to him was a random person, because we know that Parnas was actually setting up meetings for Nunes` investigators back in 2018. One of those investigators was Derek Harvey (ph). And these meetings were in Europe.
So, given that I think it`s hard to believe that Nunes just would have no idea who this person is, never mind that he was arrested very publicly in October.
HAYES: IT also finally seems to me -- Rudy Giuliani we know now has an attorney, which I think makes sense because he`s under apparently criminal investigation. I mean, that he`s got Lev Parnas, and perhaps Fruman, but definitely Parnas, hanging over his head and is still sort of pursuing the project he`s been pursuing that appears to have landed in some hot legal water.
BALLHAUS: Yeah. I mean, it`s certainly interesting. And if anything, I think, he`s escalated it, because this is the first time, as The New York Times is reporting, he`s in Ukraine right now. That`s the first time he`s been there since I believe before he became the president`s lawyer. He of course planned to go there in May to meet with the new Ukrainian president but ended up canceling that trip. So, if anything, he`s ramping up his push for investigations, not quieting down.
HAYES: Rebecca Ballhaus, who has been doing phenomenal first rate reporting on all of this day after day after day. Thank you so much for making time tonight.
BALLHAUS: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, as impeachment rages and Christmas approaches, the Trump administration announces plans to kick hundreds of thousands of Americans off of food stamps.
Plus, imagine getting laughed off an entire continent? That`s Thing One, Thing Two starting next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, have you ever been watching Donald Trump on a stage with liberal leaders just doing the Trump thing and had that reaction like it is just so crazy this guy is the president? Well, now we know that some of those other world leaders basically feel the same way. We saw in a video captured in a NATO reception captured at Buckingham Palace last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM (subtitles): Is that why -- is that why you were late?
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA (subtitles): He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference off the top.
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. He announced (inaudible).
You just watched his team`s jaw drop to the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That video of Trump being laughed at by Trudeau and Macron and even Boris Johnson has been seen around the world today. And if you thought Donald Trump would be bothered by that, you`d be right. He was. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Today, as impeachment hearings were taking place in Washington, the president was boarding Air Force One in London early. Trump had originally had a press conference scheduled, but he canceled it. It probably had nothing to do with the video of the world leaders mocking his last one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Is that why -- is that why you were late?
TRUDEAU: He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference off the top.
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. He announced (inaudible)
You just watched his team`s jaws drop to the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So Trump saw that video and then he canceled the press conference and slinked out of the country, but not before getting in a quick dig Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, he`s two-faced. And honestly with Trudeau, he`s a nice guy. I find him to be a very nice guy, but, you know, the truth is I called him out on the fact he`s not paying 2 percent and I guess he`s not very happy about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For his part, nice guy Trudeau didn`t deny anything when he was asked about it at his own press conference today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUDEAU: Last night I made a reference to the fact there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump and I was happy to take part in it, but it was certainly notable.
We were all surprised and I think pleased to learn that the next G7 will be at Camp David. I think that was an unscheduled announcement, and I think everyone`s team -- every different leader has teams who ever now and then have their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises like that video itself, for example.
The relationship between Canada and the United States is extremely strong. And I have very good relationship with President Trump and his team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right, well, we`ll see how that relationship goes. It`s not like Donald Trump has a hang up about being laughed at or anything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People are laughing at us, all over the world they`re laughing at us.
The whole world is laughing at us.
Everybody`s laughing at us.
Believe me, folks, the world is laughing at us.
They`re laughing at us.
They`re laughing at us.
The world is laughing at us, folks.
They are laughing at us. They are laughing at us, believe me.
The world laughs at us. They won`t be laughing if I`m president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There are plenty of lackeys and zealots that populate the Trump administration, but Attorney General William Barr has truly distinguished himself by being both. Barr has done everything he can to do the president`s bidding, and greatly imperiled the Justice Department`s independence in doing so.
And that includes fragrantly misleading the public about the Mueller report. It includes refusing to recuse himself from anything connected to the whistle-blower report or the impeachment inquiry even though Trump, when he was trying to extort the Ukrainian president, literally told President Zelensky to talk to two people, Rudy Giuliani and his buddy Attorney General William Barr who he sees as his right hand man.
But Barr is not just a lackey, he is also a zealot. He`s given a series of speeches this year that are wildly partisan and truly unnerving, espousing what appears to be a deeply held belief that Christian conservatives and their ilk are under savage relentless attack by evil liberals and they need to fight back to keep the barbarians at bay.
And then yesterday during an awards ceremony for distinguished service in policing, Attorney General Barr said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: But I think today American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers. And they have to start showing more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves. And if communities don`t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We asked the Department of Justice to clarify what the attorney general said, and they declined to respond on the record.
But what Barr appears to be suggesting there is that if communities don`t give police the, quote, respect and support that he feels they should, well then maybe the police won`t protect them at all.
And if that`s what he`s saying, it is a disgusting, despicable view. Every single American, whether they show due deference to police or not, whatever their political views, or feelings about law enforcement, every American deserves the protections and safety of our representative democracy and state. That`s bedrock. We don`t pick and choose. We are not feudal serfs who have to be nice to the lord for protection. That`s not the way America works.
And for the chief law enforcement officer of the entire country to suggest otherwise is a kind of veiled threat to those he feels are insufficiently thankful, that is absolutely unacceptable.
HAYES: Trump administration announced today it is going forward with a plan to kick nearly 700,000 people off of food stamps. The administration formalizing a rule that makes it harder for states to waive federal standards around who can qualify for the food stamp program, which is now known as SNAP.
On a call with reporters today, Agricultural Secretary Sonny Purdue said the change was designed to both save money and, quote, restore the dignity of work to Food Stamp recipients.
What it boils down to is the government saying that in many areas if you cannot find a job then you just cannot get food stamps. The USDA says the work requirement rule would save the government $5.5 billion over five years. That is a bit more than a billion dollars a year.
Just for context here, the Trump administration has authorized $16 billion this year alone to make welfare payments to agribusiness affected by Trump`s trade war.
The rule announced today represents just one phase of Trump`s planned cuts for the nation`s 36.4 million Food Stamp recipients. If and when two other initiatives take effect, the Urban Institute, which studies this sort of thing, estimates the measures would together cut 3.7 million beneficiaries from the SNAP program.
Critics say this is a completely unnecessary attack on the poorest Americans and their ability to feed themselves. And joining me now is one of those critics, Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate agriculture committee.
Senator, why do you oppose this move by the administration?
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW, (D) MICHIGAN: Well, Chris, first I want to thank you for lifting this up. It`s a busy day, a lot going on. I think they hoped it might slide by without a lot of attention, so thank you.
Our analysis today actually shows why they say it`s 700,000, it`s really close to a million people. And what they are targeting are folks that are seasonal workers, part-time folks, somebody that goes out to the mall during the holidays and gets a job, but then the job goes away in January, or a waitress or waiter that can`t control their own wages, or somebody in northern Michigan who is working part time during the summer season or during the winter season. So it`s people in and out of the economy. And they`re tightening things up.
And I have to say that they`re rejecting what we did in the Farm Bill. On a bipartisan basis, we voted this policy down. And there are 47 of us that with a letter with Lisa Murkowski and myself, who sent a letter to the USDA saying don`t do this. And yet they are proceeding anyway.
HAYES: OK, so that -- that was going to be my next question. My understanding was this was litigated in the farm bill. There was a plan to write this into law, and it failed. It didn`t have political support. And in fact what did have bipartisan political support for the farm bill that passed, that is what authorizes SNAP by the first branch of the United States Government, Article 1 of congress, was not to do this. How can they then do it?
STABENOW: Well, it`s like everything else they`re doing, you know, we have to look for a way now to push back.
You`re right, in the Senate it was totally rejected on a bipartisan basis. The final farm bill did not have this in it.
But you know what it did have it in, by the way, is job training programs, which I really wish that they would implement, because if we want to help lift people up, it`s not by punishing them, by taking away what is an average of $161 a month. And so instead of doing that, we can lift people up and help them with job training.
So what we`re figuring out now, since they proceeded even though we had all kinds of advocates, all of us that sent in letters saying don`t do this, then we have to determine if there`s some other way we can stop this. There is a mechanism to block a rule that we`re now looking at.
HAYES: Just in terms of the politics of this, I mean there are some things that they do that they seem to be catering to a political base or they think -- there`s no constituency, or no mass constituency on the Hill, for this as far as I can tell, correct?
Well, this is just the welfare politics. I mean, that`s all it is the old, you know, people don`t want to work, and they`re getting all this money for food. They`re buying steaks at the grocery store, you know, it`s that old story of the woman who`s coming in with 13 kids and a Cadillac and buying steaks. And I wish I could find her. I`ve looked for her all over the country and I can`t find her, by the way.
But it`s just going to that, you know, this bias that people have that somehow we shouldn`t help folks.
HAYES: Well, here`s the thing that I can`t quite get my head around. So, you know, people should have to work, they shouldn`t get something for nothing. I mean, the president is writing 18, $16 billion checks to farmers. And we should be sure when we way farmers, largely big agribusiness concerns are getting the biggest chunk of that, to make up for the trade war that he himself started. And there`s money for that somehow. Where did that money come from?
STABENOW: Well, this is incredibly frustrating. First of all, we have more accountability in the nutrition program in SNAP than they are now using for these farm payments.
We put in the farm bill payment limits that you can -- we want to support farmers. I support farmers strongly in Michigan. It`s our second largest industry, but we put parameters around accountability, payment limes of which they`re completely blowing through. They`re not even following the farm bill accountability on these payments.
STABENOW: Right. And I just put out a report with the Senate Democrats on the agriculture and nutrition committee, showing a majority of payments aren`t even going to the folks that are hurt the most. The majority of the payments are going to the south, they`re going to folks that commodities -- big, big commodities that have not been impacted, not the Midwest that are losing their markets. So this whole thing, it`s not fair. It boggles the mind.
HAYES: Sure doesn`t sound fair to me. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, thank you for being with me tonight.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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