CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: But I`ve seen this before in my day in the state of Pennsylvania. How many times have Republicans up there tried screwing around with election laws in order to shrink the democratic vote? American citizens should be allowed to vote in this country. It`s that simple.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. "All In" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on a special edition of ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They gave the server to CrowdStrike.
HAYES: A president being impeached for his pursuit of a conspiracy theory will not defend themselves now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?
TRUMP: Well, that`s what the word is.
HAYES: Tonight, how Donald Trump has managed to separate his entire party from reality. And Congressman Ted Lieu and Senator Mazie Hirono on what happens next. Plus, new alarms over Rudy Giuliani`s trip to Ukraine.
HOGAN GIDLEY, PRINCIPAL WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY SECRETARY: That`s a question that you have between Rudy and the president.
HAYES: And former Congresswoman Katie Hill on why she`s speaking out just weeks after her resignation.
KATIE HILL, FORMER REPRESENTATIVE OF CALIFORNIA: Hiding away and disappearing would be the one unforgivable sin.
HAYES: Live from Studio 6A in Rockefeller Plaza, ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Hello, hello. Good evening. Good evening. Thank you for being here. Great to have you here in 30 Rock. Another historic week. We`re doing this thing that the country very, very rarely does impeaching a president. It`s happening kind of in real-time on Tuesday. The House Intelligence Committee dropped a 300-page report detailing the evidence that was collected in the inquiry in that committee into the impeachment of the President.
And in that report which I think we all expected wouldn`t have any new revelations, there was a crazy revelation which for these call logs, you see this, that were obtained by the committee that suggested that the ranking member of the Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, that`s Congressman Devin Nunes, that he maybe was part of the very same scheme to hijack Ukraine policy that`s literally the reason the president is being impeached.
Congressman Nunes had multiple phone calls with not only Rudy Giuliani, but also Rudy`s indicted pal Lev Parnas and he just failed to mention it. Like while he`s sitting there the whole time while they`re all talking about it, which is weird and kind of fishy to say the very least. And so now the Judiciary Committee is preparing articles of impeachment against the President of the United States.
It`s just the fourth time in American history that that`s happened and. And as we sort of head towards that moment, when we get the articles, I think there`s a palpable sense -- and I don`t know if you feel this way, but I do and certainly reading the polling, that we`ve reached a place where public opinions kind of leveled off, right, that the views on impeachment are hardened and polarized.
And that`s not unusual. It`s certainly not unusual in impeachments throughout history, but right now we are more polarized than ever along party lines as a country. Basically every metric we have to measure this, it`s the most polarized time since the Civil War in America.
And when you hear, you know, people talk about polarization, I think it`s really important for me to say this to you, the audience here and at home, that polarization is not just something that that is true of like them, like the other side, right, those bad guys over there, those Trump voters. Like everyone is subject to the same human impulses, the same confirmation bias, tribal loyalties, the impulse to kind of, you know, push away bad news for your side, listen to news that helps your side.
And it`s an impulse that we often fight about. We try to fight it here when we do the show. And it`s also why factions and parties have been part of every democracy from day one, right? This is sort of how human beings agglomerate together, how they fight for things. It`s inescapable.
But the other thing about this is wall polarization is happening both sides, it`s also the case that one side is much worse. And no -- I know, I know. That`s not even -- and there`s no way to say that without yourself sounding biased, obviously, right, to say like, all right, I`m telling you it`s not -- you know, it`s both sides, but also them. But, but I think that -- I really do think that`s true.
And I want to give one example that that was really sort of front of mine today of one side sort of being worse, being less tethered reality. And that was because today was jobs day, right? It`s a big deal in the business press and even in the -- in the media generally, because it`s the day the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases all the jobs stats for the previous month, and it was a good jobs number today.
There`s 266,000 new jobs that beat expectations by quite a bit. The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5 percent. That`s a 50-year low. It`s good that a lot of people are working. Yes, right, exactly. Yes, it`s good that people are working. We`re happy about that, right?
Now, there are a lot of places I think if you look into the data, if you sort of sift through it that show economy is actually a lot weaker for working people in finance huge swathes of Americans than that number suggests. But the data is the data, right? The top-line numbers were good today.
And after the job numbers came out, I saw this tweet from Politico`s chief economic correspondent, a guy by the name of Ben White who`s been covering this for years saying, today I`m thankful I don`t see the kind of Bureau of Labor Statistics truthers that only seem to pop up when Obama had good jobs numbers. Because that was a whole thing, a whole micro-industry back during Barack Obama`s presidency.
Anytime there were good jobs numbers, a bunch of conservatives, a bunch of them would just start yelling like they`re cooking the books, that this is a deep state conspiracy inside the government to mess with the numbers to make Barack Hussein Obama look good when the economy`s bad.
Even Jack Welch, OK, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric, which used to own this network tweeted this back in 2012. "Unbelievable jobs numbers. These Chicago guys will do anything, can`t debate so change the numbers. That`s Jack Welch. And he was always a conservative guy, but you know, for a respected business leader, to accuse like the President`s agents inside the BLS of fudging jobs numbers to help his re-election, that`s pretty wild.
And he was not the only one by any means. This was a widespread view on the right. 2014 Trump T.V. host Sean Hannity called the unemployment rate a lie. There were lots of others. There were whole Web sites devoted to this, like the alternate facts of the jobs numbers.
But the number one jobs number truther during the Obama administration was Donald Trump. Yes, OK. He tweeted -- he tweeted about it all the time. And I mean, all the time, it was an obsession. And when he was out on the campaign trail, he was saying absolutely crazy stuff.
TRUMP: The job numbers that come back are total nonsense. They compile the numbers so that politicians look good.
We`re losing jobs. We have a phony jobs number.
And you hear about that phony jobs number where it`s five percent, five percent, it`s not five percent. Don`t believe the five percent stuff we don`t have five percent. It`s 25 percent.
Our real unemployment rate is probably 30 percent. I actually think it could be as high as 30 to 35 percent.
As high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent.
It of phony set of numbers. They cook the books. Have you heard about the expression, right? They cook the books.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: 42 percent. Worse than the great depression. Half of the country is unemployed. Yes. I mean, it`s funny, but it`s not because the result of hearing things like that over and over and over is that people actually started to believe that the unemployment rate went up under President Barack Obama. OK, it did not. It did not.
But according to a poll from December 2016, fairly recent, 67 percent of Trump voters say the unemployment increase during the Obama administration to only 20 percent. Now, unemployment went down a lot under Barack Obama. If you look at this chart, that`s the reality. But Trump got his people thinking the opposite of the truth.
Now, then-candidate Trump becomes President Donald Trump, and the first jobs report comes out and it`s actually pretty good. And White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer goes out back when they still have press conferences, remember that? And he set out to go do a victory lap and reporters asked him about all of Trump`s old comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, I talked to the President prior to this, and he said -- to quote him very clearly, they may have been phony in the past but it`s very real now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Everyone laughs. Isn`t that so funny? Yes, it was all B.S. wink, wink, nudge, nudge. We were lying before. It was all just bad faith. And even though Donald Trump was literally a jobs number of truther right up until he got into office, that`s what you see happen on the first day.
So there are two things though, to understand about that moment. One is, what I`m describing here is totally asymmetric, OK. There is only one side doing this, Conservatives and the now Republican president. No one on this network is going to come to you today on this job day and say that Trump is cooking the books. It`s not true.
I`m telling you right now, the jobs numbers are the jobs numbers. Because one side is attached to facts in a way that the other side just is not anymore. And the second thing is that Donald Trump brought that same delusional madness into the White House. It did not die with the Obama birth certificate and the fictional video of Muslims celebrating 9/11 that he wrongly and offensively said existed, and the not actually inflated job numbers.
No, it didn`t die, it continues, because Donald Trump right now is being impeached for using the full force of the state, the most powerful position in all of the human world to pursue an equally insane conspiracy theory like the ridiculous CrowdStrike thing that he keeps going on about, that he asked Ukrainian president investigate. The idea that, get this, Democrats hack themselves with the help of Ukraine to leak their own e-mails and frame Russia.
And right now, Trump`s own Justice Department is pursuing another conspiracy theory, two investigations, two, of another conspiracy theory that the deep state entrapped the Trump campaign into appearing to encourage Russian help in the election. This is -- the president is doing this right now.
And then we have this new reporting just in the last few days that the actual fact finders in this matter, right, the I.G.`s report and this other report that`s happening through a U.S. Attorney have found no evidence to back up that claim. Big surprise. Is that going to stop the present from saying it?
Just today, Rudy Giuliani wrapped up a trip in Ukraine where he is continuing to do the equivalent of jobs number truthing on a much larger, more dangerous international scale. Giuliani is trying to find someone, anyone, no matter how shady, or duplicitous, or deceptive, or corrupt, who will tell them they were cooking the books essentially in Ukraine. That they had it out for Donald Trump.
And this is -- it`s phenomenally dangerous. But the most dangerous part is that President Donald Trump is as much a symptom of this as he is the cause. I mean, the man is first and foremost a Fox News viewer. That`s his central identity. He`s -- I mean, that`s what`s going on in the brain. And there`s an entire ecosystem built around the alternate reality that is untethered from fact, the same one that tells them the jobs numbers are made up.
That same ecosystem is now telling people that the deep state is out to get Donald Trump. That Ukraine actually meddled in the election, not Russia. That there are imaginary server somewhere in a vault in Kiev that will blow the whole thing open. And all this is being told the high would really happen. And those people and that ecosystem that is almost hermetically sealed off from this sort of touch to reality has a purchase on 40 percent of the country.
And in the real world in which the rest of the country resides, the jobs numbers are the jobs numbers, and Russia sabotage our election, not Ukraine. But Trump world has completely in some cases, cut themselves off from these facts and knowledge of. That is the danger of having this guy as president. The danger of the ecosystem that produced him, and it`s the danger of this political moment because this is where we are. And this is the world in which the impeachment and trial of President Donald Trump is going to take place.
The question is, can there be any persuasion on impeachment in this ecosystem that has been totally detached from the intrusions of reality? And if the answer to that is no, what does that mean? Joining me now a House member, a member of the House Judiciary Committee which will be responsible for drafting and voting on articles of impeachment against the President, Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California.
So my first -- my first question to you, Congressman, is that. Is persuasion on this question possible? And if so, who are you as a member of this committee that`s going to be drafting these articles, who are you trying to persuade?
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Chris. for that question. Let me reiterate again, that impeachment is one of the greatest powers of Congress, second only to have power to declare war, and this will always be your last option reserved for those rare times where we can`t wait for next election.
I think we may be at one of those rare times because the facts show that Donald Trump repeatedly solicited foreign interference in our elections. That`s a threat to our core of our democracy. And I think the case is particularly powerful because some of the most damning evidence came from Trump`s own people. People like Ambassador Gordon Sondland who gave $1 million to Trump Inaugural Committee. And I think it`s those facts from people who are Trump`s people that make this case compelling --
HAYES: OK, but --
LIEU: Wouldn`t be targeting the U.S. Senators and seeing if they could see the facts in this case through.
HAYES: So you`re -- but you`re -- OK, so you represent a fairly Democratic district. It`s not like a swing or frontline district. But obviously, when you`ve got hundreds of thousands of people in your district, you got people with all sorts of politics. Like do you feel like just even your own district there`s some set of people who are on the fence that with enough evidence and properly displayed to them, you can bring over to thinking this is the right thing to do who aren`t yet convinced?
LIEU: I think there are some. There are on the fence. I think we also have to convince the American public that Democrats have a good case. Whether or not you agree with our ultimate conclusion, if the American public can at least come to the view that the Democrats had a good case to proceed, that I think we have victory there.
And the impeachment is like an indictment. I`m a former prosecutor. This is not the trial. This is their indictment phase. We just have to have probable cause that we believe the President engage in this misconduct. And I think the evidence is overwhelming that he did.
HAYES: You know, it seems to be that part of the strategy from the beginning, right, is to essentially call the process itself illegitimate, right? That has been the argument from both the White House and from your colleagues, the Republican Party. Just a few hours ago, the President`s White House Council sent a kind of, I don`t know the right word, snitty two-paragraph letter saying -- appearing to indicate that none of the President`s representation will show up the committee hearing despite the fact they banged on about wanting that. Do you -- do you see them as essentially attempting to delegitimize fundamentally the process you`re undertaking in the House?
LIEU: That`s exactly what they`re trying to do because they don`t have the facts. They have not been able to rebut their main facts in this case which is that Donald Trump solicited the Ukrainian leader to publicly announce an investigation into the DNC server and the Biden`s.
And then he conditioned that public announcement, military aid and the critical White House meeting. The White House has not been able to say that any of those facts are wrong, were improper. We invited the White House to participate. As a foreign prosecutor, I know that if they had exculpatory evidence, the defense would present it. In this case, the exact thing that`s happening.
HAYES: So the most interesting member of the House to me on this question right now is Justin Amash. And the reason is that he is -- he`s a Republican -- he was a Republican. He came out for impeachment after the Mueller report because of the compelling case for obstruction in the Mueller report before Ukraine, but he has since embraced impeachment.
He tweeted today that he could view himself or I think he told people he viewed himself voting for three articles of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice, abuse of power. How much is Amash`s view on this significant important to the way your caucus thinks about it since he`s been kicked out of the Republican Party, but he`s not a Democrat?
LIEU: Representative Amash is someone with high integrity. He was also very conservative.
LIEU: He was a member of the Tea Party. And he looked at the facts and he made a determination based on these principles, and applying a lot of facts and concluded that this is impeachable conduct. I wish more people on the Republican Party would do what Justin Amash did. And what we`re going to try to do is really present the facts in a sober, deliberate matter, using Trump`s own people to make the case against him.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Ted Lieu of California on the House Judiciary Committee. Thank you so much for your time tonight, sir.
LIEU: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: So, if that`s what it looks like in the House, then the big question is, is there any hope for the Senate? Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii is here in studio talk about that next. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold its second impeachment inquiry hearing where you can expect a kind of trial-like atmosphere. There`s going to be presentations from both the majority and minority council for both the Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee. So there will be four lawyers up there.
And it now appears likely there will be a full House vote on impeachment before the end of the year. And assuming the vote goes as expected, and it looks like -- well, if Trump is impeached, that`s when the real trial will start. And that`s when the Republican-led Senate deliberating whether Trump should be removed from office will happen, which will require a two- thirds vote.
You know, this week, the Senate put out its 2020 schedule, and you might notice that January is just missing from the document. The Senate leadership citing "uncertainty on the floor is scheduled for the start of the year." And in their defense, there`s a lot of uncertainty about what to expect.
Joining me now is a member of the Senate who`s going to play a part in that historic process and likely ultimately have to vote on whether to remove the president from office. Please welcome Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii.
How are you? Good to see you.
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Thank you.
HAYES: I want to -- I`m going to talk about impeachment. I want to start with something that happened, some awful thing that happened today in Florida in Pensacola where three people were shot and killed. The shooter was then killed. It seemed -- appear to be at Saudi national on a naval air station. And the reason I want to bring it up with you specifically is that on Wednesday in our state at Pearl Harbor, another naval base, there was another shooting, in which a Navy sailor shot and killed two people before killing himself.
You have been in session now. There are gun -- pieces of gun legislation sitting. And I should know that the service weapon was used on the naval station in Pearl Harbor so it doesn`t actually affect him on the policy level. But what it is -- is it like to sort of watch this happen knowing that there is legislation that might even pass the Senate if Mitch McConnell will bring it up for a vote.
HIRONO: Well, I`m glad you mentioned that. It`s Mitch McConnell who can bring the House-passed gun safety law to the floor and he won`t do it because he`s listening to the NRA. And when you think about it, there are 100 people who die from gun violence every single day in our country, every single day added up.
And so it`s inexplicable. Explainable if you realize how strong the NRA is. And so there`s no excuse. And of course, my heart and our thoughts go out to the families of the people who were killed in Pensacola and in Hawaii. But at the same time, once again, we are reminded that we have to do something. There`s no magic bullet on you know, stopping gun violence in our country, but we can do some basic things.
HAYES: Do you think -- I mean, I know McConnell won`t bring this up for a vote. Do you think it`s because it would pass? Like if there was a world in which it were brought up for a vote, like do you think you`d get the 51 votes?
HIRONO: Even if it -- even if we don`t get the 51 votes, I don`t think he wants his members to come out and kind of act like they`re all with the NRA. I think that`s damaging.
HAYES: So he`s protecting them.
HIRONO: I think so. Yes.
HAYES: Impeachment is now most likely going to be coming to your body in the Senate. And I asked Jim manly this last night. Now, he was a longtime staffer for Harry Reid. There`s a certain contingent in the House and the White House who want the Senate trial to be turned into an absolute circus, like a Matt Gaetz style counter investigation where they subpoena Hunter Biden, etcetera. Do you think that will happen?
HIRONO: I think the Republicans might try it because they`ve been stymieing everything. They`ve been, you know, putting roadblocks they were everywhere. And then here`s what -- how I explain it. You know, they can`t focus on the this. The this is the President shook down the president of another country, basically trying to bribe the president of Ukraine saying I`ll give you $400 million if you do this thing for me politically.
They can`t focus on that, so they want to focus on what about that, what about that. They don`t focus on the this. But when they do focus on the this, if and when maybe they`re going to say so what, get over it. We shouldn`t get over it. That`s not -- you know, that`s not OK.
HAYES: The way that I understand impeachments working in the past is that the Chief Justice presides, but really the procedure rules are set by a majority whatever they get 51 votes for. Do you think there will be any restraint? Do you think it`ll be hard for McConnell to get 51 votes to say like subpoena Hunter Biden?
HIRONO: I don`t know. You see, it`s really hard to predict because these are not normal times. On the normal times, you would think that an impeachment proceeding is serious business that would need the seriousness that it deserves, but these are not normal times. And they`re going to try all kinds of things and who knows what.
But I`m hopeful that recognizing that this is our constitutional responsibility, that there`s going to be some element of recognition of that on both sides and that we`ll be able to have a proceeding that will for most people, they will say, OK, you know, we`re going to get on with it and we`ll take a vote. But the Republicans could turn it into a circus because they`re already trying to get all these other people and you have the Giuliani still running around like he`s a mad person.
HAYES: There was something else that happened in the House today that I thought was pretty interesting and somewhat disturbing. The Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, which laid out the formula for which states, localities, and districts had to go to the Justice Department for what`s called preclearance when they were making changes, right?
The Supreme Court said that that formula was bad and that if Congress wanted one, they have to call it one. Congress came up with one and passed it today. Every Republican voted against that except for one.
HIRONO: Who is the one, the guy that`s retiring?
HAYES: No, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania who I think actually is up for reelection.
HIRONO: That`s hopeful.
HAYES: That`s hopeful, you say. We got one. But I mean it used to be a totally bipartisan bill.
HIRONO: I know that.
HAYES: Your (INAUDIBLE) under George W. Bush was totally bipartisan. Like, what does that say to you right now about the nature of the politics of the country that there was one vote for restoring that part of --
HIRONO: It`s very sad that there`s only one vote to try and protect voting rights which is a really sacred right as far as I`m concerned. And then it all started, of course, with the Shelby County decision that took away a major part of the Voting Rights Act. And then you have Attorney General Barr, who is not particularly interested in going after voter fraud and all of that voter suppression. He`s not interested in and all that. And so you can see the kind of divisiveness that`s occurred.
And I really loved your piece coming in, you know, about the divided country. But some of us actually listen to facts. We pay attention to facts. And there`s a whole group of people in our country sadly, who watch Fox News, and we`re not going to be able to change their mind apparently.
HAYES: Right. But do you have colleagues -- I mean, there used to be -- it used to be the case that you had colleagues that listen to facts. It used to be the case that like they`re -- like again, I`m not making this up. There was bipartisan reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act that wasn`t even a partisan. It wasn`t --
HIRONO: Yes, that`s right.
HAYES: It was Jim Sensenbrenner who was a very conservative man from Wisconsin was the kind of chief architect of it. Like does that still exist, other issues that you talk to your colleagues across the aisle and say, let`s work together on this, you know, here`s what the facts say?
HIRONO: There are a couple of issues in which we can actually have bipartisan support. One is the National Defense Authorization Act which I think will be able to do on a bipartisan basis. But anytime Trump gets his fingers into a situation like that all the appropriation bills and he wants his money for the wall, it all gets like this. Anytime he puts his finger anywhere, it all goes haywire. It`s chaos.
HAYES: Right. That`s interesting.
HIRONO: I`ve come to that conclusion.
HAYES: And he`s -- yes, right.
HIRONO: As long as he stays out of it, we get something done.
HAYES: Then there`s a possibility. That`s very interesting. Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, it`s great to have you here.
HIRONO: Thank you. Aloha.
HAYES: You would think that now Trump is being impeached for Ukraine extortion at the very least that his bag man would stop doing the very thing that got him impeached, but no. Rudy Giuliani was just in Ukraine still doing it.
I`m to explain all that next.
HAYES: A question that`s making the rounds today from almost everyone across the political spectrum is what is Rudy Giuliani doing? He was just in Ukraine meeting with a variety of extremely shady characters and tweeting out precisely the kinds of threats towards Ukraine that President Trump is currently being impeached over.
Even Republican defenders of Trump have not exactly been jumping to defend Rudy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I can`t speak for Mr. Giuliani. He`s wild as a March Hare. I do not speak for Mr. Giuliani.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I think it`s a little weird that Rudy Giuliani is over in Ukraine right now. And I`m not here to defend Rudy Giuliani.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the president aware of what Rudy Giuliani is doing in Ukraine?
HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: That`s a question between Rudy and the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, yeah it`s between Rudy and the president, because he`s doing the president`s bidding, that`s what he`s doing over there.
For more on the latest trip, I`m joined by two reporters who have been tracking the Rudy Giuliani saga, Hayes Brown, senior world news editor and reporter at Buzzfeed News; and Asawin Suebsaeng, White House reporter for the Daily Beast. Good to have you guys both here.
HAYES: Asawin, let me start with you. You reported today that basically no one had any idea he say showing up in Ukraine in the U.S. government or the White House and they are desperately trying to track his movements?
ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE DAILY BEAST": Well, many senior officials both in the State Department and elsewhere in the national security apparatus early this week, several days before "The New York Times" story broke that revealed what Giuliani was doing overseas in multiple European countries, started getting word that Giuliani had made his way overseas. And they frantically tried to figure out what he was doing. And they were freaking out that he was going to do something that would potentially damage U.S. foreign policy or potentially bring more heat on the administration or the president even as he has obviously done before these various Ukraine-related shenanigans.
So for days they tried to figure out what the hell was going on, couldn`t figure out what he was doing, but started to create sort of a road map of which countries and which cities he was visiting in Western Europe, or Europe, I should say. And were trying to do this right up until the moment "The New York Times" story broke on Wednesday revealing what he was doing.
And when we asked Rudy Giuliani if he cared that these Trump lieutenants were frantically concerned about what he was doing he simply told us I hoped they would have better use of their time.
HAYES: So, we should say that -- Rudy is tweeting yesterday that basically the fundamental element of the extortion is president the is being impeached over, saying the Bidens and to the 2016 investigations, that has not been resolved and until it is, it would be a major obstacle to the U.S. assisting Ukraine with its anti-corruption reforms.
Like, in real-time yesterday in Ukraine, he is making exactly the quid pro quo extortionary claim the president did.
HAYES BROWN, BUZZFEED NEWS: Now, I`m not a lawyer, but that seems like a really bad defense for your client, especially if your client is the president who is currently being impeached.
Now, if I were the president`s lawyer and I wanted to go and create an iron clad defense case for saying that the impeachment narrative is false, that they`re getting it entirely wrong, then I would go and meet with basically the opposite of everyone that Rudy Giuliani has met with and tweet the exact opposite of the things that he`s tweeted is the thing.
HAYES: So on that point, I`ll come back to you in a second, Asawin, but on that point, I mean, I`ve been sort of reading into some of the characters he`s meeting. And these are some pretty sketchy figures in Ukrainian politics.
BROWN: Absolutely. So one of the people he spoke with is Victor Shokin, who was the prosecutor general in Ukraine who, when he was in charge with - - supposed to be running anti-corruption efforts, but was actually pretty corrupt himself. And it wasn`t just former Vice President Joe Biden who said that, it was the rest of the U.S. government, it was international institutions, it was our allies who all said this guy is really bad at fighting corruption and he needs to go.
Now, in Joe Biden`s telling after he left office, he really kind of elevated himself. And that`s become the base level of this conspiracy theory that Shokin had promoted saying that, you know, Biden got me fired.
HAYES: Right, but Shokin -- I mean, what`s key to me here you have basically a bunch of figures who are basically unknown to the American public, but in Ukraine have pretty shady reputations that Giuliani seems dead set on essentially elevating as the means of defending his client the president.
BROWN: Absolutely. I mean, you can go from Shokin to his successor, Yuriy Lutsenko, who Giuliani met with in Budapest before he got to Ukraine. He`s the one who spun a bunch of tales about what the former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch had given him a do not prosecute list that she was bad-mouthing Trump, and those lies got spread through Giuliani, through John Solomon at The Hill. And he recanted them. He said, by the way, guys, I was making that up.
And by now, Giuliani went back to him to try to prove somehow that the president is being impeached unfairly. It makes absolutely no sense.
HAYES: Asawin, the only thing I can conclude here from Hogan Gidley is that you have the president`s lieutenants saying where`s Rudy, the Republicans refusing to defend him. But I think he`s doing this at the president`s bidding, like he`s still doing this for Donald Trump.
SUEBSAENG: Well, as Rudy Giuliani was going about this for months before this exploded in the form of the Ukraine scandal and the impeachment inquiry, he would repeatedly tell me and numerous other reporters on the record that he was keeping President Trump updated and briefed on his Ukraine related investigations. Virtually every step of the way, he would tell him this is what I am planning to do, this is what I want to do, and President Trump of course approved of all of it.
And it`s unclear if Giuliani gave the president a heads up that he was headed to Europe on this latest jaunt this week, but it stands to reason that if he kept him updated step by step in the past, perhaps he`s doing that now.
Sources in and out of the administration who we`ve been talking to, who we are familiar with the ongoing relationship, say that Giuliani and Trump still continue to talk fairly regularly.
So you can`t let a little thing like impeachment get in the way of a good friendship.
HAYES: Right, or in this case -- or in this case, to keep your eyes on the central plot he`s being impeached for. I mean that is what`s so remarkable here is this attempt to actually continue to solicit foreign interference in the election as he`s being impeached for attempting to get foreign interference in the election.
BROWN: Absolutely. And one of the things that Rudy has been tweeting about is how all of this is completely within the president`s rights to do. I think it was earlier today he tweeted that.
Well, if you look at Article 2, section 3 of the constitution, the president has to do this. Now if you look at that, there`s a clause in there that says the president must, you know, make sure that the laws are being faithfully executed, which I think is a pretty bad defense of Donald Trump if you look at the arc of history when it comes to taking the laws that congress has passed, including providing almost $400 million of military aid to Ukraine, and completely ignoring that.
HAYES: Asawin Suebsaeng in D.C., Hayes Brown here in the studio, great to have you both. Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you.
HAYES: Don`t go anywhere, there`s an interview I`ve actually been looking forward to all week, actually for longer than that. I`ve been wanting to speak to this person, former Congresswoman Katie Hill is going to join me here in the studio next.
HAYES: In October, freshman Democrat Katie Hill, who had just flipped a Republican seat just last year, announced that she was stepping down from congress after acknowledging a romantic relationship with a campaign staffer and being accused of a relationship with a congressional staffer, which she denied.
But the real driver of her exit from congress so quickly were the images of revenge porn that was reportedly shopped around to various places before being published by several conservative media outlets clearly with the intent of shaming and bullying her out of Congress.
And in her farewell, Katie Hill expressed remorse and frustration and anger at what she called the double standard for how men and women in the public eye are treated. And joining me now to talk about her experience in this political moment is the former Congresswoman from California`s Orange County, Katie Hill.
HAYES: Hey, how are you? Have a seat.
I feel like I want to just start at a human level of how are you doing?
HILL: Thank you. I appreciate that.
Listen, I`m not going to lie it`s been hard. It`s been really hard. You have something that you and so many people that you care about and love worked so hard for such a long time, and then within an instant it`s totally gone, right? And you have to take stock and regroup about what your life is going to be like moving forward. And I don`t just feel that for myself, I feel that for a lot of people.
So, but, you know, and I feel like it`s really important for me on behalf of the people who worked so hard for me to stand back up and make sure I continue to fight.
HAYES: Do you regret stepping down?
HILL: I don`t regret it. I think it was the right thing to do for a number of different reasons, one of which I think there was no way for me to continue working as well as I could with the amount of distraction that this was going to continue to provide. This was fodder for, you know, right wing operatives. And as we were literally the day I took my last vote was on impeachment and moving forward with the impeachment inquiry.
And I knew that I was going to be basically baited or some kind of distraction against, you know, what was really important. And, you know, the -- my ex had made it clear that there were hundreds of other images and text messages, and I didn`t even know what those were, right, I didn`t know that they existed, but the amount of stress it was putting onto my family, onto my supporters, onto my staff -- and even on to -- I was supposed to be the freshman representative to leadership. How could I be the freshman representative to a lot of these people who were in tough seats when they were going to have to go home and answer questions about who is this person that you were working with?
HAYES: I think what happened to you in terms of what those images were despicable. But there was an accusation of an unethical breach which is that there was an inappropriate relationship with a congressional aide, which would have been subject to ethical jurisdiction, and I think there is a reason that those ethical lines exist. Did that happen?
HILL: Well, no. And I have said many times that the entire ethics investigation started because of a claim from my estranged husband, and that was it. There was no report from my office.
HAYES: That`s what initiated it.
HILL: That was what initiated it. And I actually have, and I said this to the chair of the ethics committee, I have a real problem with this. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, I don`t think some random person making accusations should launch an ethics investigation, because it`s incredibly invasive. It`s something that`s a big, big deal for not just you, but for your staff as well, that there should be some kind of an actual basis for it, that a vengeful ex of some kind, or just a random, you know, political operative can`t be the one who instigates it in an investigation like that.
So, yeah, I think it`s highly problematic. And -- but they`re able to start that for whatever reason. And they said that, well, they`re publicly made accusations and so we have to launch this.
But that was a huge, huge -- it was an interference in the work, and it was something that was highly, you know, stressful, and we didn`t know what all could happen with that, especially if there were going to continue to be images and claims, and if there was no boundary, apparently, on what they could be -- I mean, you`re literally opening yourself and your staff up to every single text message, every single photo, every single everything thing that you`ve ever said by going through an investigation like that.
HAYES: I think one thing that struck me that when this happened was how old are you?
HILL: I am 32.
HAYES: You`re 32. That there is a generation of people that use smart phones differently. There are generations of people who have millions of texts and images of them in environments with partners, intimate partners or not, whatever, that now are going to enter into public life where this will hang like a sort of Damocles. Do you think that it`s the kind of thing we will evolve over, or will it be used as essentially this kind of like gendered means of shaming women?
HILL: Well, that was my biggest concern of coming out of this is that, you know, the pictures that were used against me were not even ones that I knew and were taken. They weren`t even selfies that I took and sent to somebody else, right, they were ones I didn`t even know existed. And you can tell that from looking at the images.
But I have taken images like that, right. And I`m not even ashamed to say I`ve taken images and sent images like that. And so have -- I think the numbers show regardless of your age I think over 80 percent of people have done that.
So let`s not pretend that this is some taboo thing that people aren`t doing. But what we do need to say is that who is it being used against? And it`s overwhelmingly women. This whole concept of cyber exploitation and revenge porn, but mine is the first real example where it`s been used against a public figure, especially a political figure, and the images are published by a mainstream publication, by a significant publication. And that`s the reason that I think the legal action that we`re pursuing is going to be so, so important.
Because I don`t think that this is an acceptable precedent that can be set. You know, I am all for the first amendment. That is something that I don`t think that we can question in any way, shape or form. But there is a line, and it comes down to fundamental human decency. And are you enabling or empowering somebody who is literally using this to abuse you and to take you down and putting that out for the world to see. And in the most vulnerable state that you could possibly be in that in and of itself is going to discourage people from running if we don`t do something to stop it.
And so we are pursuing everything we can against Red State and against the Daily Mail, and that`s going to be a fight.
HAYES: I want to talk about some other stuff, too. You -- so one thing that was really interesting and you and I have had a number of conversations on the show is that you are a very young freshman member of class in a district that was pretty Republican, that you flipped. And you were in one of those kind of front line 40 seats or so, 40, 45 seats, where the kind of weather vane of the caucus. What do you think about the politics as you think about your district, what you would be doing, as you thought about impeachment particularly, where do you think this shakes out?
Do you think those front line numbers are sweating this? Do you that feel pretty confident about this?
HILL: I can`t speak for everybody, but I have spoken to a lot of my former colleagues, and I think that we were -- we were expecting it to get to this point one way or another, right. The grievances were so severe, and the breaches of conduct were so severe and it was just getting worse and worse and worse, and so finally when the Ukraine phone call happened. It was like, look, we thought it was going to come to this point, and we didn`t want it to, but like we can`t let this go any further, because at a certain point what are we there for? If we can`t provide a check and balance, then what are we there for?
And so I think you had a lot of people, and Elaine Luria did an incredible video about this that was -- that said, you know, we weren`t politicians who went there to say I need to be in power, I need to become a member of congress. Most of us weren`t even considering running for office until after Donald Trump became elected. So the notion that we have to do something just to stay in office is totally off base. So the decisions that are being made are like is this -- is this consistent with the oath of office that I took? Is this consistent with my values? And is this consistent with what I think is right for our country and the precedent that is being set for generations to come?
So I don`t think for most people it is a hard decision at this point. I think it`s -- what`s harder is making sure that the narrative, the false narrative, that the Republicans are trying to make and are very effective, unfortunately, at making doesn`t overwhelm what we know are the facts. And, you know, that`s going to continue to be a challenge.
HAYES: You know, it`s interesting to hear you say that, because I think there`s an idea on the right -- and I understand it to a certain point, which is like the Democrats wanted this from day one. And it`s true, there were some members of the caucus that did. But my experience from talking to folks like yourself and talking to leadership is that basically wanted to do anything but impeach the president.
HILL: 100 percent.
HAYES: Really wanted to avoid doing it. And ultimately found themselves in a position of like we cannot let this -- we can`t let them essentially help rig the next election.
HILL: Right. And what I`ll tell you is that most of us -- we wanted him to go away, right, like I don`t think there was any one there that was like, gee, let`s get Donald Trump elected for another four years. But I think that -- and we ran on because of that in large part, because we felt like there needed to be a check on the president and we needed to get rid of him in 2020.
But I don`t -- you know, for the most part we didn`t feel like impeaching him was, a, going to work, b was necessarily something that we wanted to put the country through and that we wanted to focus our time on, because we thought it was important to prove to the people who elected us that we were going to work on the issues they cared about, which was not overwhelmingly impeachment, it was overwhelmingly the cost of prescription drugs, the cost of housing, the day to day struggles that people are dealing with.
And so when you`re -- when we were trying to -- we were trying to maintain or conduct congressional oversight and fulfill our oath of office and do what we were sent there to do, but also at the same time actually legislate. And so for a long, long time -- and the leadership, despite the pressure that they were getting from the left, and the speaker was getting from the left, of like, oh, my god this guy is a freaking criminal, we have to impeach him -- which is not wrong, but balancing that with the 40 people who did come from these swing states and who are trying to -- you know, who are trying to say, yeah, but like also how are we going to move forward as a country?
And then finally you hit a point where there`s just no option anymore. And I think with the exception of one or two people, that`s where we`ve all kind of -- everyone on the Democratic side has come to terms with. And what I`ve been so shocked by and disappointed by is that I know Republicans on -- my former colleagues that are Republicans also know that they are completely hypocritical to think that this is something they would allow from a Democratic president, and that they even remotely suggesting that this is something okay or right or normal in any shape or form, but they are willing to just completely brush that aside because of the cult that is Donald Trump and that has become the Republican Party.
HAYES: Katie Hill, former congresswoman, it`s such a great pleasure to talk to you and I really appreciate you coming through today.
HILL: Thank you so much.
HAYES: Do not go anywhere. Rachel Maddow is next.
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