CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on a special edition of ALL IN.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.
HAYES: Donald Trump gets his trial date.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She doesn`t want to put in the articles. She`s so weak.
HAYES: New signs that there may be impeachment witnesses.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): We need witnesses, ladies and gentlemen.
HAYES: Tonight, what we know about the looming trial of Donald Trump and new reporting that the President`s escalation with Iran was connected to his impeachment fears.
TRUMP: I believe that he will attack Iran sometime prior to the election because he thinks that`s the only way he can get elected.
HAYES: Plus, Trump juror Senator Cory Booker on the trial of Donald Trump and what it means for 2020. And why Facebook`s new decision to allow lies and political ads is putting a thumb on the scale for Donald Trump.
TRUMP: I`m a very honest guy.
HAYES: Live from Studio 6A in Rockefeller Plaza, ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Hello, everybody. Hey there. Hi. Good evening. Thank you for being here. It`s great to be back here in 30 Rock. This is our first live audience show of the New Year of 2020. It`s been great so far. I think we all agree. The big news today sort of came over in my phone alert early this morning, sort of knew what the A block would be today, which is that it looks like we`re going to have an impeachment trial maybe next week. That`s essentially set now.
And in a letter to her colleagues today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced she plans to send those two articles of impeachment of Donald Trump over to the Senate next week. So it seems like for just the third time in the history of the American Republic, we are going to be watching an impeachment trial very soon. It`s finally happening.
And in the wake of -- and amidst all this, the first 10 days of the year have been filled with just an incredible sense I think of unease and anxiety that`s been hanging over everyone who follows American news. I mean, 2020 kicked off with America and Iran appearing to be moving -- and especially for about an hour two one night this week towards a cataclysmic disastrous war, in which the U.S. was going to militarily engaged with a confrontation with a nation of 80 million people, the 14th most powerful military in the world.
And you`ve you probably thought to yourself and you`ve seen people remarketing, like online or Facebook or, you know, over coffee, like how awful is the first 10 days of this year? How dystopic. Impeachment of a president and a military confrontation with Iran all happening at once in a kind of head-spinning fashion. And you kind of wonder yourself, like, how is all this happening at the same time.
But as many people have pointed out, it`s probably the case or certainly possibly the case that these two are not unrelated, right? Today, we have - - we`ve got some new reporting on that. I want to get to that just in a second. But before you do bear with me as we go back to 1997.
There`s a big -- there`s a big Hollywood movie that year. Yes, legendary film. It was called Wag the Dog. You probably heard of it. The whole premise of the movie, the President is caught in a scandal just like 11 days before the election, a sex scandal, and he starts a fake war in order to distract voters from the real scandal so that he can get elected.
So that comes out in December 1997. Basically, exactly one year later, December 1998, President Bill Clinton was about to be impeached. And he came before the nation to announce a bombing campaign against Iraq. Iraq, we`ve been doing this for a long time.
The New York Times wrote at the time, "the first wave of bombs fell in Iraq just minutes before the Republicans began their own closed-door strategy session. That was a closed-door session on impeachment. Here`s how NBC News` Tom Brokaw described the feeling at the time.
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TOM BROKAW, JOURNALIST: None of us can remember at least in recent memory the confluence of these kinds of events in which you have a major military action ordered by the President of the United States who is on the eve of being put in effect in the dock in the United States House of Representative and subjected to articles of impeachment just 15 hours later.
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HAYES: Now, at the time, many of the President`s critics, particularly Republican critics, yelled wag the dog. They accused the president of trying to distract from his impeachment. Here`s what Republican Congressman Gerald Solomon of New York said. "It`s obvious they`re trying to do everything they can to postpone the vote in order to get as much leverage as they can."
So this was the line on Clinton on this bombing strike, right? That this was transparent. This was an attempt to distraction, ripped right under a screenplay from Hollywood. So now, here we are two more decades -- two or more decades later, President Trump is impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his corrupt scheme to extort Ukrainian government into manufacturing during his political opponent. His Senate trial is looming over him. He is clearly very agitated with situation. I don`t think that`s really in dispute. Like he doesn`t -- he communicate -- he lets us know how he feels about that.
And amidst this, while he`s in his Florida palace, he orders this massively escalatory strike that kills an Iranian general Qassem Soleimani as well as in an Iraqi Shia militia head. Soleimani is arguably the number two official in Iran in the whole country. And he kills them while he was traveling in Iraq, which is a sovereign nation where we have troops at their invitation.
Now, the President does not notify Congress at the time. He does not notify Iraq, the country the strike was in an extensible ally of the U.S. government. And the strike is I think the most drastic and reckless military operation this President has ordered so far. In the wake of the strike, remember this, there`s no White House announcement. You remember that?
We get the news reports and the president tweets out the image of an American flag. And then since then, this administration has been all over the place on the justification for the strike. It was to establish deterrence. It was to de-escalate tensions. We bombed them to avoid war.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to say there was an imminent threat. This is another line they`ve used. It was an imminent threat but we do not know where or when, which stretches the meaning of imminent a little bit. And then -- so then, after a week of this, these sort of internally contradictory and conflicting accounts, the President yesterday just blurts out an entirely new justification.
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TRUMP: We caught a total monster, and we took them out. And that should have happened a long time ago. We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy. We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious.
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HAYES: Other reasons that are very obvious. We should have done it a long time ago. And oh, by the way, they`re planning to attack the embassy. Do you really think they held on to that for seven days? Do you think that they knew that they were planning to attack the U.S. embassy and they didn`t say anything about it until seven days yesterday?
And then yesterday morning, when he said that it was -- it was one embassy bombing, by night, the President said it was four embassies that they were going to attack. But here`s the thing. When they actually had to go to Congress and brief Congress in a classified setting about why they carried out the strike -- and they can`t -- in that setting, they can`t hide behind "well, it`s classified, I can tell you." They`re in a skiff, right? They`re in a classified setting with members of Congress. The briefing was such a disaster, members of both parties left saying it was an embarrassment. Here`s Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah.
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SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): Probably the worst briefing I`ve seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I`ve served in the United States Senate. And they had to leave after 75 minutes while they`re in the -- in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public. I find that absolutely insane.
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HAYES: Secretary Pompeo came back out today and said that they did tell the senators that the embassies were targeted in some way, but not one senator will tell you that actually happened inside the briefing. So they appear to just be straight-up lying about that.
And the most cynical interpretation of all this, and I`m not saying it`s actually the correct one. But the most cynical interpretation is this is Wag the Dog right in front of our faces, right? That the President wanted to distract from his impending impeachment with a military strike taking on a "bad guy" in the Middle East.
But the thing about that theory is that it would only really work if that were the case that Donald Trump himself thought that a war on Iran would be politically beneficial to a leader who is attempting to resuscitate his political image. Is there any evidence at all to support that?
Imagine if we had a video place in a time capsule of Donald Trump talking about what a future president might do?
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TRUMP: Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He`s weak and he`s ineffective. So the only way he figures that he`s going to get reelected and assures you sitting there is to start a war with Iran.
Now, I`m more militant and more militaristic than the President. I believe in strength, but to start a war in order to get elected, and I believe that`s going to happen would be an outrage.
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HAYES: OK, now, to be fair, 100 percent fair, Donald Trump had a lot of tapes floating around before he got into the White House.
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TRUMP: They`re remaking Indiana Jones without Harrison Ford. You can`t do that. And now they`re making Ghostbusters with only women What`s going on?
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HAYES: Which all the takes at that time were offered in the exact, same format, like Ghostbusters takes, war with Iran takes, and then we made in president. But in -- I know. But in 2011, the idea that President Obama I might start with a war with Iran. It was a constant theme in Donald Trump`s comments and his tweets.
So one thing that is definitively established whether or not this is the situation now is that it is the case that Donald Trump thought that one way an American president could turn things around politically would be to start a war with Iran. That is his own words. Essentially, that is what he thought. That`s what he said on the record.
Now, three days ago, the New York Times reported this. "Mr. Trump pointed out to one person who spoke to him on the phone last week that he had been pressured to take a harder line on Iran by some Republican senators who support he needs now more than ever a made an impeachment battle."
And then last night, Wall Street Journal reported this. Quoting again. "Mr. Trump after the strike told associates he was under -- that`s plural. He was under pressure to deal with General Soleimani from Republican senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.
Think about that for a second. Two different news sources reporting that in a matter of days, the President is literally telling people he almost started a war with Iran to shore up Republican votes in the Senate for his impeachment trial. What a damning admission by the man himself.
I mean, even if he is B.S.-ing to these people, right, even if it`s not the rationale, he is telling people that he takes war so lightly. He is so appallingly glib about his own duty that he will order up an airstrike that might lead to all-out war in order to secure a few more votes for his impeachment trial. That`s what he`s saying about himself.
So when you look at all the facts that led up to the strike and the moment, there are two main possibilities. One is this. That this was a good faith action taken by the president with a national interest in mind. The other is that this was done for the President`s political survival. And you get to decide which one it is. Ask yourself what you believe.
Joining me now former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and author of The Education of An Idealist Samantha Power. Samantha, let me start on just this basic credibility question which is someone who has obviously received classified briefings, worked on the National Security Council, was ambassador to the U.N., your assessment of the credibility of the public case, this White House is made about the Soleimani strike.
SAMANTHA POWER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: It`s hard to know which case you have in mind, Chris, because so many cases have been made. And so right there, I think is your answer. It`s still not clear what justification this administration is bringing forward for the strike.
The Trump administration actually submitted a letter to the United Nations this week, which is an important show of recognition that international law exists notwithstanding the President`s threats to Iranian cultural sites earlier. But in the letter, another justification existed. You know, something that just talked about self-defense generally, almost a retrospective self-defense after the attack, the storming of the embassy or the siege of the embassy that it occurred a couple of days before.
So I don`t think if you surveyed heads of state around the world, or if you surveyed really politically conscious Americans and asked what the justification that President Trump is putting forward, I don`t think anybody would give you the same answer. It`s all over the place.
And, you know, we in the Obama administration, were in office in the wake of the Iraq War, the invasion of Iraq, and all of the credibility challenges and the credibility deficit that existed in the wake of the flawed premises for that war. And it was a shadow even with a new president taking over when Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in a massive attack in August of 2013.
We went to the U.N. as you remember and describe the attack - I brought us intelligence experts up to the U.S. Mission at the U.N. and got them to present all the evidence that we had, and it was overwhelming extensive evidence. And yet, you could just see in everybody`s mind, yes, we`ve heard this before.
POWER: You know, we`ve heard -- we heard a very, very flawed premise for a much broader outright invasion of Iraq. But how do we know exactly that what you`re saying is, is true? And so, it really took extensive briefings to overcome that, those doubts that people carry with them.
And now you know, I mean, we have a president who`s lied, what`s the latest count, 15,000 times, you know, on small issues, really small issues and the big issues. And there`s a knowledge that his obsession is with just doing the opposite of whatever Obama has done and his obsession is with his own self-advancement, rather than that of the country`s security. And So there`d be a huge amount of suspicion.
Again, you wouldn`t want to be reading the thought bubbles of fellow heads of state who were receiving calls from him or fellow diplomats who the U.S. Ambassador now at the U.N. is briefing.
HAYES: There was a story -- I mean, part of what made this week so dangerous is obviously the U.S. has no formal diplomatic relationship with Iran. There was a diplomatic channel that was set up under the Obama administration for the six-party joint agreement on the nuclear deal. It allowed for there to be actual face to face talks between American diplomats and Iranian diplomats. That has gone away. The only thing we have now is essentially a backchannel for the Swiss.
And there was a story just broke about a bit about basically that that was the backchannel that messages were being passed in the wake of those strikes. Hours after us strike killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, Trump administration sends an urgent back-channel message to Tehran, don`t escalate.
And I just thought of you and your second book which is about a diplomat about just the primacy and importance of diplomacy even at this grave moment where there`s no channel left, that it`s possible this single backchannel that existed is the thing that essentially saved us from what could have been genuine catastrophe.
POWER: These channels are essential and of course, both the existence of the channel and the trust and the credibility of the people using the channels that they go together. And it`s extremely important that those channels exist, but also that the people who are employing them can be taken seriously by the other side.
I mean, one of the problems with there being no process, no credible process really within the Trump administration, you know, these decisions that are made so impetuously or decisions that are made through you know, what some kind of feeble process and then that get overtaken by a tweet by President Trump is that unless it`s Trump himself maintaining that channel, there`s not a lot of trust in the rest of the world.
That what comes out of a U.S. diplomats mouth, even that of Secretary Pompeo was known to be so close to the president and to channel the President`s hardline instincts, and certainly is anti-Iran animus, but even someone like that there would be a recognition that Trump could just change his mind, and that the whims of one man are going to dictate what comes out of this government.
So -- but I agree with your premise. I mean, it is just essential that people be talking to each other, that those red phones exist. But it`s all the more essential that within the Trump administration as a whole, that there be, you know, careful planning and a much more consequentialist approach to the decisions that are taken rather than just this chest- thumping and punishment for punishments sake and, and thinking you know, so much about the moment and not about not only the morning after, but the week and the year after.
And so that`s where having people in the room who are willing to challenge the president become so important or even just having a room. I mean, this was done at the -- at the dinner table at Mar-a-Lago, I guess, but --
HAYE: Right. But let me ask you -- let me --
POWER: But these guardrails are key.
HAYES: Let me -- let me ask you about process. I mean, you were in administration that inherited the kind of legal architecture of the war on terror, the 2001 and 2002 authorization to use of military force. Under the Obama administration, targeted killing by drone and by other means was sort of enshrine both legal architecture, policy architecture, and a technical capability that now means the American president can basically kill anyone anywhere in the world anytime. And I wonder what you think about handing that off to this individual who now wields that power?
POWER: Well, I think there`s a huge vulnerability to the system that we have right now. I mean, first of all, we don`t have a domestic authorization or haven`t had a domestic debate since 2002. You know, we have an authorization after 9/11, 2001, and then the congressional debate in 2002 over the Iraq war, and so many of the operations that U.S. forces are involved in not only in a place like Iraq where, you know, at least it`s connected to the war in Iraq or sort of an inheritance of that disastrous war, but in places like Libya, or Somalia, or Yemen.
Never a debate, never the public engaged, never members of Congress required, you know, to state their position on these wars. So you have the absence of domestic debate, and then -- and this was always a concern that President Obama had as well. But inevitably, when something is so in the hands of a small number of individuals within the executive branch, you have a situation where you`re kind of judge, jury, and executioner all at once.
And if you go back to the logic of the founding, and the logic of checks and balances, or even the logic of how our legal systems work domestically, you always want to have something more adversarial than that. And so President Obama tried to construct a system where you built in a kind of adversarial process within where you, you know, heightened the standard where there had to be near certainty of no harm to civilians, where you had to satisfy the test that there was no reasonable alternative. And that capture, for example, was not available for so-called high-value targets.
So you could build in those mechanisms, try to be as transparent as possible, but still, those vulnerabilities exist. Then you get Trump coming along, you know, throwing the rulebook out, doing away with that imperative as it related to civilian casualties, and drastically expanding the number of strikes that are taken in theaters that most Americans don`t even know that we`re active in.
So it`s a very dangerous situation and not sustainable and it also places the burden on one tiny slice of our society that is where all the moral hazard sort of lives in one very small community of the people who are involved in taking those strikes.
HAYES: It`s well said. Samantha Power, former Ambassador to the U.N., thank you so much. I appreciate it.
POWER: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: So, the next step in the impeachment process, Nancy Pelosi has to name the House members who will act as the impeachment managers in the Senate trial. They`re going to basically try the case. They`re the lawyers. My next guest could be one of them. We`ll see. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: So next week -- next week, America could begin its third-ever impeachment trial of the President. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today that she plans to send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate as soon as next week. Democrats will discuss the matter at their caucus meeting next Tuesday with the impeachment managers selected soon.
Those managers, in turn, will be the ones that lay out the case for impeachment, the Senate. They`ll be in the well of the Senate every day at the trial. And the trial could start the day after the articles impeachment are actually transmitted over the Senate.
And Mitch McConnell seems very gung-ho on the whole thing. When asked by a reporter today, any reaction to Speaker Pelosi sending the articles over. He replied, about time. When that reporter followed up with, you`re looking forward to just getting on with it all? Mitch McConnell replied with silence.
Here to fill in the silence on what this could all look like, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. So, Congressman, I know -- I know, you`ve been sort of intimately involved in thinking through this entire process from the beginning. And I guess I just have kind of a technical question about like, what -- lay out for us what happens over the next say, five to seven days?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): OK, thank you for having me, Chris. I should say that no, of impeachment managers have been chosen. And so -- and I don`t know anything about the process. So that`s up to the Speaker. Let me just say where we are. The role of the House of Representatives is to bring these indictments. And we brought to charges as you know, abuse of power and obstruction of the Congress. So now it goes to a trial in the Senate.
And the Speaker withheld sending the articles over precisely because Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, the chair of the Senate Judicial Committee, were essentially saying they were working with the defendant in the case. And Lindsey Graham was saying, I don`t care about the facts. I don`t care about the evidence.
And so, for the last several weeks, what we`ve had to do is to focus national attention on the fact that the Senate was prepared not to do its job. They were talking about a motion to dismiss before any evidence had even been introduced. And so, I think at least the country now understands how wrong that is.
This is the most important trial in the country. And so why would we dispense with having evidence and facts? You know, if you got up in a jury pool and afford your process in any courtroom in America, and you said you were going to disregard the facts and disregard the evidence, as Lindsey Graham said, you would be dismissed immediately.
So, we need 100 senators, Republicans and Democrats who are going to take their oath of office and mean it. And they`ve got to swear to do impartial justice. And that means the Republicans have got to listen to all of the evidence of guilt, and the Democrats have got to listen to any alibi evidence that the President comes forward with where if he says it`s a case of mistaken identity, or somebody else really perpetrated the scheme, the Democratic senators also have to be open to voting, not guilty if there`s evidence of innocence that`s brought forward.
So far at least as to the House process, we didn`t see any. All the evidence that the 17 witnesses sworn under oath tell the truth brought us pointed to the guilt of one man, President Donald Trump for committing an abuse of power by trying to drag a foreign government into our election in order to sabotage his opponent, and then blockading a whole series of witnesses and refusing to turn over a single subpoenaed documents.
So at this point, the House case is completely unrefuted and contradicted, and that`s why we need to see a real trial in the Senate, which is what the Constitution calls.
HAYES: Right, OK. Let me let me sort of repeat back to you one of the things I heard there may be in blunt our terms, which is that look, the Speaker upheld the articles knowing that there was no actual leverage over what Mitch McConnell was going to do. He`s going to run the Senate, and he`s probably going to be able to get 51 votes for what he wants to do.
But what that pause did was highlight the fact that there -- that the Senate majority leader and Republicans are essentially trying to block witnesses from coming forward, including John Bolton who says -- he comes forward and that interregnum period to say, I will come to the Senate if I`m subpoenaed, and you count that essentially as a win.
RASKIN: That`s right. Well, it`s a huge win, because, look, they were prepared to deal with this on a motion to dismiss, as they kept saying, in two hours before the Christmas recess. And so Speaker Pelosi basically saved the integrity of the impeachment process and really, the integrity of the Senate. They`ve got the opportunity now. It remains to be seen whether they will seize it, but they`ve got the opportunity now to live up to their constitutional oath.
In the meantime, only more evidence implicating the President has come out, including very specific documentary and testimonial evidence, or at least spoken evidence of the fact that 90 minutes after the infamous phone call with President Zelensky, the orders were given to OMB to hold up the money, the payment of the several hundred million dollars that we had voted to send to Ukraine to defend themselves against Russia and, you know, Russia`s continuing attack on their country.
HAYES: There is -- there`s a small item in the Bangor Daily News today that caught a lot of people`s attention. So right now, my understanding is the trial will start with what`s called the Clinton rules, which means there`s no commitment ahead of time to call witnesses. There will be opening arguments and then the Democrats can force votes on witnesses. And there`s a question about can they get three Republican senators to join them to force witnesses.
Susan Collins in Maine says she is working with a small group of GOP senators to allow impeachment witnesses. I`m not quite sure how seriously to take that, honestly, based on some of the record here, how seriously do you take it?
RASKIN: Well, we`ve got to take it seriously. And we`ve got to hope that every Republican will want to see every relevant witness who has material evidence.
HAYES: Wait, Congressman, let me cut you up there. They don`t want to. I mean, I understand --
RASKIN: Well, I got to, but --
HAYES: -- I understand you`re articulating a principle but I`m just as a descriptive matter, you`re not going to get the whole Republican caucus voting for witnesses.
RASKIN: I`d settle -- I`d settled for five or six of them at this point, OK.
RASKIN: But here`s why it`s so essential, because they`re calling these the Clinton rules, but in fact, in Clinton`s impeachment, all of the relevant witnesses had already testified. Now, of course, they came back and testified again on videotape and all the senators could go and view it, but remember what`s taking place here. The witnesses who came forward, this 17 brave witnesses who came forward, you know, like Fiona Hill, and like Ambassador Yovanovitch and so on-- came forward over the protest and the attempts by the president to block them, and then he perpetrated a blockade of other witnesses, including Secretary Mike Pompeo and Secretary Perry (ph), and Ambassador Bolton and so on, those people did not come forward. So, we still need to hear from those people.
The president is running around saying this is a hoax. This is a fraud. Great, Mr. President, come forward and prove why it was a hoax and a fraud, because we have 17 witnesses who are saying you did it.
RASKIN: And that`s what he`s up against right now.
HAYES: And it is particularly ironic the Clinton rules, because in the case of the Clinton impeachment, aside from this enormous record that was compiled by Kenneth Starr in sworn depositions from everyone, the president himself in that case gave a sworn deposition. In fact, that`s why he was being impeached. And it seem to me, why don`t we have the president give a sworn deposition and then we don`t have to call any witnesses?
RASKIN: Well, that`s absolutely right, you know. And I mean, the other thing that we need to see here is that they tried to stop the witnesses from testifying, then they`re saying we don`t need to see any evidence.
America knows what a trial is. A trial is the presentation of evidence and facts and fact witnesses. And so the president just has to let them come and testify. They just need to be subpoenaed and they will all be able to testify, if not, essentially, what we`re going on is the House presentation, which was absolutely overwhelming and uncontradicted and unrefuted. And if they`re somehow going to try to challenge that and dismiss it, they`re going to have to say that abuse of power is not a crime, is not a high crime and misdemeanor within the meaning of our constitution, which means it is going to be settled as a matter of law, rather than as a matter of fact. And they can try to move to dismiss on that basis and then they will have to argue to the American people why the president is entitled to abuse the powers of his office in this way by dragging foreign powers into our elections.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Jamie Raskin, thank you very much for joining us.
RASKIN: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Coming up, so we`re talking about the impeachment trial -- it is a trial of sorts, but it is a trial -- and someone who is going to be a juror in the impeachment trial while also running for president, Senator Cory Booker will be right here in studio after this.
HAYES: The first votes of the Democratic 2020 primary season are on February 3, that`s just 24 days away. And between now and then would normally be the most intense period of campaigning for the presidential candidates, particularly in the state of Iowa. Five of them, however, are sitting U.S. Senators who will be in Washington, maybe as such as six days a week, away from the campaign trail, frozen in place by a historic impeachment trial. So, what does this mean for such a critical moment for the campaign? To help answer the question, someone who will be living through that, please welcome Senator Cory Booker, Democrat from New Jersey and candidate for president of the United States.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So before we jump in -- before we jump in, this is -- I love Friday night you.
HAYES: Oh, thank you.
BOOKER: And you got an amazing, very Jersey influenced audience here.
HAYES: This is someone fresh off the campaign trail, who is just pandering to voters all the time, so it is just automatic.
BOOKER: I`m just happy that Chris Hayes got me to be able to sleep in my own bed tonight in Newark. This is really awesome.
HAYES: Well, that`s -- this is -- I mean, look, given the stakes of the country and the trial, like your travel schedule is like low on the list of priorities. That said, it is a real question for the six of you or the five of you, I guess, what this means.
BOOKER: For me it is more of a blow to my campaign, because we are winning on the ground in Iowa. Our whole strategy is we`re not going to have Tom Steyer or Bloomberg money. We`re going to run this campaign in the grassroots. We`ve done it. The Des Moines Register said me and Elizabeth Warren are the best organizing teams. We have endorsements, we`re now in the top two or three. Our net favorability has popped up to the top as well by converting people on the ground.
And we have townhalls, the same crowds as other people are polling higher than us, but the challenge we have is that our persuasion depends upon me being in Iowa. And we have high -- up to a third of the people coming to our townhalls with signed commitment to caucus cards. Being off the field for a week, two weeks, is literally thousands of people that I won`t be able to...
HAYES: Right, but world`s smallest violin, right? Like, you are a U.S. Senator.
BOOKER: Hold on. Let me retract what I said before that I liked Friday night you. You have never been that confrontational with me before. I`m feeling some kind of way about this.
HAYES: What I`m saying is I take that, and if I were in your position, I would feel the same way. Like there is this...
BOOKER: Thank you very much.
HAYES: But also you are a U.S. Senator and you signed up to do both the things, right.
BOOKER: I am -- no, literally, I have said from the very beginning of all this, I am going to do my job. I swore an oath to do my job. I hear some of the my colleagues saying that they are not do their job, saying I will not abide by the oath that I will swear to be an independent juror. I`m going to do my job.
I`m just saying that, this is a time where as a campaign where some of the flaws, you know, we`re seeing in a democratic process are -- I want you to jump on me, man. I want Friday night you. If I come on your show, I want Friday night you. If I come on your show on a Monday night, I want Friday night you.
HAYES: I`m going to follow up -- I`m going to follow up on the flaws.
HAYES: I want to ask you this question, which I think this I think other people pointed this as a flaw, and you just mentioned Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg -- money. Here is the spending that`s happening on the air right now.
BOOKER: Yeah, yeah.
HAYES: This is a wild graphic.
Whatever your politics are, whoever you favor.
HAYES: Right? Wherever you are on the ideological spectrum, where is our senator from New Jersey. That`s you over there.
BOOKER: Wow, wow.
HAYES: And that up there that`s $153 million from Michael Bloomberg, and $116 million. They have lapped the entire field, you know, 20 times I think, something like that. And, you know, there is a poll out yesterday, Steyer was at 15 or 16 percent in South Carolina, like as someone who has spent $292,000 on the air, what kind of way do you feel about that?
BOOKER: I feel, again, some kind of way. This is the ridiculousness, because I started this campaign saying, you know, I was the fifth senator to take the anti-Citizens United pledge. No super PAC money, no corporate finance, no corporate PAC money, no pharmaceutical money, oil company. We cleaned our campaign and said we`re going to run it. And then we`re seeing folks come in with ungodly amounts of money that have helped them to buy their way on to debate stages.
I`m confident that if I was spending that kind of money that I would be on the debate stages. So it`s frustrating to my team that we set out to win an election how I won most of my elections -- we beat a machine in Newark. No polling showed we were going to win that, but we beat them on the ground in the grassroots.
So this is frustrating to us that now at midnight tonight I will not make the debate stage and this is very frustrating. I love the groan from your crowd tonight. This is what I need for solace. And the next debate will be in Iowa, and that wasn`t decided by the people of Iowa. Literally, the local media there has said that this is an outrage. This is wrong. The Democratic Party of Iowa, the Democratic Party of New Hampshire, unanimous resolution, saying this is one of the most competitive elections in the campaign, why shouldn`t he be on the debate stage?
So, this has been a lot of blows to our campaign, but we are not deterred. We know that Iowa -- remember, the last -- 2003 there were two people one month before the Iowa caucuses polling at number four, 4 percent and 2 percent, sixth and seventh, and they went on to finish one and two in the Iowa caucuses.
So, look, no matter what it is, I am going to do my job as a United States Senator. We are, as I said, one of the top campaigns, been endorsed by local leaders. We`re going to have a lot of surrogates out there for us. And we`re going to do everything we can to win.
HAYES: In terms of doing your job, in terms of the impeachment process, so obviously there has been this back and forth. They`re now going to come over. It is probably start next week, it looks like.
HAYES: I want to get your read on the Susan Collins statement, because I have heard a lot -- there was like audible groins here. Well, Susan Collins is thinking about -- how seriously do you take the idea that there are colleagues of yours who are Republicans, who would buck Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell to vote with Democrats for witnesses and testimony?
BOOKER: I had seen -- I had hope before that has been dashed. I think one of the best examples of this was the Kavanaugh hearing. You know, I mean, his behavior in that when he turns to -- I think he yelled at our side, and he is pretty close -- I went to Yale. And I`m thinking to myself, you privileged, entitled person. But that`s not behavior, person, person, person.
HAYES: Make some real news here.
BOOKER: Yes, yes, yes -- that your behavior. Now, Lisa Murkowski said I`m not voting for him for Supreme Court Justice because one of the things we want from jurors -- a justice is demeanor, and he violated that and she did the right thing, but Susan Collins voted for Kavanaugh.
So what I`m saying is I`m not pinning my hopes on that. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I`m not one of these people, I may have skepticism, sometimes cynicism, but one of my colleagues, you know, who -- look, you had Jaime Harrison was -- excuse me -- on Hardball before this. I went to college, one of the greatest people I have ever met in my life is Jaime Harrison, and he`s run against somebody, I`m going to everything I can to support in the South Carolina senate race to support Jaime. I hope people go online tonight and make contributions to corybooker.com and Jaime Harrison`s website.
HAYES: Well, that is a first, double URLs.
BOOKER: Double URL. But Lindsey Graham on one time -- I`m battling with him in the Kavanaugh hearings, and the next day we`re working together to get criminal justice reform passed.
So, I`m not going to sit here and judge Susan Collins, who has s too up at times and done the right thing, I am going to be a prisoner of hope and see what folks do in the actual moment. Because the long arc of history will look back at this moment. We are speaking to future presidents. We have already seen, and I think that you had an incredible, one of the great heroes on earlier just talked about this drift of power. We now have presidents, plural, and Obama was a part of this, where the power has drifted from the Article I branch of government to the Article II branch of government, on war powers. We are seeing things happening right now that are eroding our constitutional principles. This is one of those moments. Future presidents are going to look back on this and say what will the accountable going to be, as long as I have 50 votes in the Senate, what`s the accountability when I do something that -- god, some of my senate colleagues can`t you at least say the behavior was wrong, dead wrong. Maybe you don`t think it`s impeachable. But really? Come on.
And that`s the frustrating thing for me is let`s have an argument about whether it is impeachable or not, but these are things we do not want presidents to do. And what we saw the first 10 days of this year with the Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times. It`s probably the most interesting 10 days to start a year that we`ve seen, and where people can`t even say out front that this man has no strategy for the Middle East. They`re breaking out towards a nuclear weapon. If they get to 20 percent enrichment, their breakout comes a lot shorter.
We are less stable in our ability to stop ISIS to try to resurge in Iraq. The Iraqis are less stable in our ability to get there. Our allies from Israel with Hezbollah and Hamas are in more of a vulnerable position. I can go through the entire region and show you how this president by any objective measure has made that region less stable, made our personnel there less safe, and undermined what I think is the most important thing that when I travel to Afghanistan and to Baghdad and I meet with our military leaders they say to me these problems will not be solve -- this is Afghanistan now -- with military intervention, it must diplomacy. And we have a president that has turned his back on diplomacy.
And even our allies -- has a better relationship with Putin than he does with Merkel and Macron.
HAYES: In fact, the State Department today just sent a letter to Iraq being like -- basically saying, not in so many words, but we know you want us to leave, but we`re not going to. I mean, it didn`t quite say that, but it looks like we`re essentially now alienating the Iraqis as well.
HAYES: Cory Booker, Senator from New Jersey, who will be splitting his time between Iowa and Washington, D.C.
BOOKER: You want my frequent flyer miles.
HAYES: Yes. Great to have you here. Thank you very much.
BOOKER: Thank you. Thank you.
HAYES: Here`s a question: is Facebook incapable or just plain unwilling to deal with the crisis of misinformation on their platform.
HAYES: It is a tease, senator.
BOOKER: Unwilling. unwilling.
HAYES: We have a reporter who has been digging into that very issue. Don`t go away.
BOOKER: I`m sorry.
HAYES: It was a big week for Facebook this week, perhaps the biggest and most important media platform in the world, and certainly in the 2020 campaign. They announced this week that they would not take down ads with lies put up by politicians. And that follows an internal memo that suggested that policing lies in political ads as the country prepares for an election would essentially, quote, "use the tools available to us to change the outcome."
Now, the subtext of this entire memo being that the president, President Trump, and his notorious penchant for constant falsehoods, and the executive who author the memo, discusses the social giant`s political ad policy saying it occurs to me it very may well lead to the same result as in 2016, meaning Trump gets elected. As a committed liberal, the executive continues, I find myself desperately wanting to pull any lever at my disposal to avoid the same result, and then he plays out the argument for avoiding that urge.
The reasoning behind this is simple: if Facebook were to reign in disinformation, that would unfairly disadvantage Donald Trump. That`s the argument.
And then on top of that, in just the past 48 hours, we`ve seen a stunning saga involving Facebook, disinformation in Teen Vogue. That story is wild. And I want to bring in to discuss it, NBC News reporter Ben Collins who spends much of his time sifting through the world of online disinformation.
Good to see you, Ben.
So I want to talk about the ad policy. Before we get to that a perfect microcosm of where Facebook is at. An article appears on Teen Vogue on January 8, and we`ll put up the headline, it reads like propaganda "How Facebook is helping to ensure the integrity of the 2020 election." And then subhead "with the company`s huge platform comes huge responsibility."
And this is a sort of soft focus glossy interview with people in their disinformation desk. And it reads like propaganda. What happens next?
BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS: So, what happens next is that people start to realize that this might not be a real article. There`s no byline on it. The question are like how can you both be so beautiful and so great at your job?
So everyone has started to realize that this may not be a standard article on Teenvogue.com.
HAYES: Right, because it reads like a press release or propaganda. It`s this very soft focus interview with a bunch of people who are on this sort of -- a bunch of women who are on this disinformation team, and there`s no byline on it, and everyone is like, this doesn`t really read like an actual article.
COLLINS: Right, so while this is happening, Sheryl Sandberg, who is the COO of Facebook, posts this on her Facebook page, saying great article, look at this article that we have from this reporter who doesn`t exist, about how Facebook is doing a great job combating disinformation.
And, again, I want to stress again, this article`s point is that Facebook is combating disinformation, and yet they will not admit that they paid for this article.
HAYES: So it turns out that it was a paid article by Facebook. Later on, long after it was posted, a line appeared "editors note: this is sponsored editorial content." They paid for this article. Their COO, Sheryl Sandberg, posts it on her Facebook page, and they don`t admit that their paying for propaganda of an article about how they`re combating propaganda.
COLLINS: That is exactly right.
HAYES: I mean, to me there is -- I can`t tell what is going on over there. It seems to me that there`s two options. There`s a bunch of incompetent people at the top. There`s a bunch of venal people at the top with bad ideas about the world, or c, which seems most likely, this is a platform that`s gotten too big and has too much power and is being asked to essentially play a role that is impossible role for anyone to do.
COLLINS: I think it`s a cocktail of all of those things.
You know, I think part of it is that people don`t -- people who make a good thing, and they think that they`ve made a good thing, and for the first few years it is a good thing, they don`t want to go talk to their psychiatrist or their guru, or whatever, and have them say, actually, you know what this might be a disaster. That psychiatrist is not going to tell you that. And they`re not going to learn from this, right.
They have to come to grips with the fact they`ve unleashed a lot of harm on the world, and it`s a hard thing for personal executives who make -- by the way, I would say dictatorial decisions across the board. Mark Zuckerberg has just decided this and that`s what it is, it`s very hard for them to come to these realizations all the time.
HAYES: So, the debate inside Facebook is about this question about policing political ads. Should they essentially -- and this is something like local news stations do -- like if you took out -- if you tried to run an ad on a local station saying my opponent killed this person, just totally fabricated, the station just wouldn`t run the ad. And what my understanding now is that Donald Trump could take an ad out saying that Joe Biden murdered this person and that would be fine and they would run the ad, is that correct?
COLLINS: I think we`re going to -- yes.
HAYES: I mean, that`s nuts. Is that actually true?
COLLINS: Yes, it is. We`re going to come up to a red line at some point where this is going to be tested. And as you know I think you probably have realized the president doesn`t mind testing things like this.
HAYES: Of course.
COLLINS: So I think in the next 9 months or so, we`re going to see what happens. And the other thing is, we might not find out until it is too late. It is basically, they always say -- they have these measures. They say they have this ad archive, which is you can view every ad Donald Trump has ever put out, but it`s absolutely unsearchable. Every researcher, every academic is like how do we use this thing, it`s pretty much impossible. And these people spent their lives looking into data about this stuff.
So it`s intentionally hard to use. And everyone is trying to figure out, like, is this on purpose? Like, why is everything such a struggle with only this company? We don`t know.
HAYES: There was, of course, the news that Donald Trump hosted Zuckerberg for an undisclosed dinner at the White House in October. You`re one of the people who broke that story. The president then touting him to Rush Limbaugh. What is that relationship like? What do we know?
COLLINS: With Mark Zuckerberg?
COLLINS: Very quiet and secret, that`s what we know about it.
And the thing is, we -- when we reported out that story, we had people go behind the scenes and ask like, look, did this happen? And for a week, all of our reporters at NBC News, they were also like I don`t think so. And even people in the company did not know this took place, or they were just not telling the truth. And we found out at the very end that this actually took place.
And this was a meeting, by the way -- and we don`t know everybody who was there, but we do know Mark Zuckerberg, Melania Trump, Donald Trump, and Peter Thiel. And Peter Thiel, as we know -- there`s a lot more stuff going on with Peter Thiel, which runs Palantir, which is one of the largest contractors with ICE in the United States...
HAYES: Facebook board member and also huge Trump supporter.
Ben Collins, you`ve been doing great reporting on this. Thanks for making some time tonight.
COLLINS: Thanks so much.
HAYES: Don`t go anywhere, Rachel Maddow is coming next.
HAYES: Thank you all so much for joining us for our very first live audience show of 2020. We actually were just going through the calendar and we have a whole lot planned for the next few months as we head into 2020. We`ll be doing more shows here. We`ll be doing more shows like this on the road in some of the early states it looks like. So, as always, thanks to you at home as well as the audience here in 6A. We`ll be back here next week. Make sure you tune into that.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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