Bolton super pac funded by Robert Mercer. TRANSCRIPT: 04/04/2018. The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Joon Kim, Dan Kildee

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: April 4, 2018 Guest: Joon Kim, Dan Kildee

REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER, CO-CHAIR, POOR PEOPLE`S CAMPAIGN: And what I want to say is, we need right now in this home, and this is what we`re going to try to do, a season of non-violent, moral fusion, direct action, not one day, a season of it. We need a season of massive voter mobilization among the most impacted and poor people in this country, and a season of power- building among poor people to first change the narrative.

Chris, one of the most disturbing things is that we`ve had 26 presidential election debates and not one hour on poverty, one hour on voting rights. We cannot survive as a democracy with that kind of narrative.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN: And yet the kind of fusion politics that King was trying to build, that Dr. Barber was talking, have been very hard to make real.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, but -- you know, I`m a journalist. You ask the question, if Dr. King had lived and pursued that, would the black people and the white people who are in the same economic situation today be any closer than they apparently are. And I think that`s a question that us journalists, we journalists, should be trying to pursue, because they do have, as Dr. Barber was saying, so many of the same issues.

HAYES: This has remained the sort of great question in American political life, whether that coalition can be built in a nationwide basis.

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: Dr. Reverend William Barber, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Van (INAUDIBLE), thank you all.

That is "ALL IN" for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.

HAYES: You bet.

MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you with us.

CNBC had two big scoops today. The first one is that there would be first U.S. news outlet to translate the list of American-made products that is about to get smacked by China. This is something I said at this time on last night`s show we were anticipating today. It has now happened.

This is in response to our own president`s apparent efforts to start as much of a trade war as he can with China. President Trump said online today that the U.S. has nothing to lose by picking this kind of fight with China where we try to make it harder for them to export stuff to us and they try to make it harder for us to export stuff to them. The president thinks we cannot lose in a fight like this.

But now, thanks to CNBC translating this list we have a pretty good sense of who in the U.S. does have a lot to lose from this kind of a fight even if the president himself doesn`t see it. Anybody in the U.S. who`s involved in the production of this very long but very specific list of American-made things might beg to differ with the president`s assertion here that there`s nothing to lose.

Now, the Chinese government announced today they`re going to go after effectively people in the United States who were involved in the production and export of this whole big long list of things.

Uncombed cotton, corn, soybeans that are either black or yellow, fresh and cold beef with bones, fresh and cold boneless beef, frozen beef with bones, frozen boneless beef, dried cranberries, frozen orange juice, non-frozen orange juice, tobacco cigars, tobacco cigarettes, hookah tobacco, whoo. Other tobacco for smoking, also whiskeys. And interestingly, there`s no modifier on whiskies. It`s just whiskey`s.

So, if you know of anybody who`s involved in the production of any American whiskey, if their business plan depends on them exporting any amount of that to the Chinese market, today was a very bad news day for your friend in that business.

I mean, this list the Chinese government put out today was also bad news for anybody involved in the production and export of American cars. Cars, SUVs, off-road vehicles, diesel powered vehicles, gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrids, trucks. So, it`s a big, big, big long list. And it`s very specific, liquefied propane, self-adhesive plastic plate sheets films and other materials, non-ionic organics surfactants, aircraft that weigh between 15,000 and 45,000 kilograms when they`re empty, which I think is designed to stick a fork in the eye of Boeing, although I`m not totally sure.

But all of these American products are being singled out by China as of today for punishment, for economic punishment, in response for what President Trump is trying to do to China. And so, CNBC today was first to translate that list. There`s 106 very specific American-made items on that list, but that was their first scoop today.

CNBC`s second scoop today was about the national security adviser, not the outgoing one, H.R. McMaster, although he made news himself in the last 24 hours. H.R. McMaster, the now fired national security advisor is winding down his last few days in office. In what we expect to be his final public remarks as national security advisor, Mr. McMaster contradicted the president directly and criticized the weakness of the American government`s current stance toward Russia.

This farewell speech from General McMaster was fairly blistering. We`ve got a little bit more on that coming up later on in the show. We`ve got the tape of that speech.

But CNBC`s scoop about the national security adviser today wasn`t about H.R. McMaster. It was about the incoming appointee who was set to replace him in the national security adviser job, controversial former U.N. ambassador and high profile Fox News contributor, John Bolton. He`s set to start the national security adviser job on Monday.

Now, CNBC reported exclusively today that ahead of his expected first day on the job John Bolton has been meeting extensively with White House attorneys about potential conflicts of interest for his new national security advisor job. Now, we don`t know exactly what the substance of those discussions has been, but CNBC suggests that the discussions may have had something to do with Bolton`s political operations with his PAC and his super PAC.

Now, we`ve been reporting on this as a potential problem for Bolton as national security adviser since he was first announced as President Trump`s pick for that job. It was clear from the beginning that Bolton`s political action committees were going to be an issue in -- for this kind of an appointment. But the problem appears to be getting more acute as we get closer to what is supposed to be his start date on Monday.

A couple of days ago, we got word that Bolton would be shutting down his PAC and his super PAC. CNBC`s reporting today suggests the process of that wind-down may itself be a problem. These committees that Bolton controls have already been active in this year`s midterm elections. They have already taken in a whole bunch of money for this year`s midterm elections. They are sitting on millions of dollars and so the wind down may be complicated, according to CNBC`s reporting.

But in addition to the way that they`re being wound down, the way that they came into existence in the first place, the origin story of these Bolton organizations may ultimately be an even bigger problem.

Here`s what I mean -- two weeks ago, a whistleblower with pink hair and a very avant-garde fashion sense, he came forward to explain the core operations of the data firm that was hired and used by the Trump campaign in 2016. This is this company Cambridge Analytica which was funded by Trump mega donor Robert Mercer and it was run in part by Trump`s campaign chief Steve Bannon.

This young whistleblower who came forward two weeks ago as the former research director for Cambridge Analytica. He came forward in Britain eventually to parliament but first to British news organizations to lay out for the public how exactly Cambridge Analytica does its work. He has now provided documentation and extensive testimony about how Cambridge Analytica does its work, how it has worked in elections in Africa and in the Caribbean and in the U.K. Brexit vote where they voted to leave the European Union.

Cambridge Analytica supported the leave vote in the Brexit campaign, but also in American elections in support of Republican candidates particularly in 2014. You might remember once this whole scandal really started a couple of weeks ago, the company suspended its CEO Alexander Nix after footage like this was broadcast on Britain`s Channel 4.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDER NIX, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA CEO: I mean, it sounds dreadful thing to say but these are things that don`t necessarily need to be true as long as they`re believed.

MARK TURNBULL, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA MANAGING DIRECTOR: The brand was "Defeat Crooked Hillary". You`ll remember this of course? "Crooked Hillary", I mean, and the zeros, the OO of crooked were a pair of handcuffs and it was all about --

REPORTER: Like prisoner?

TURNBULL: She belongs behind bars.

NIX: Send some girls around to the candidate`s house. We have lots of history of things, just saying we could bring some Ukrainians in on holiday with us, you know what I`m saying. They are beautiful, I find that works very well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Yes, they are very beautiful. I find that works very well. So, among the services apparently being offered by the Trump campaign`s data firm is that they will offer to deposit some lovely Ukrainian girls at the home of your opponent. I mean, in normal circumstances, that might be construed as a nice thing to do for a friend, but Cambridge Analytica is not offering to do that in a nice way.

That undercover footage where they`re making those kinds of offers in terms of what their service menu is like that showed executives from Cambridge Analytica, from the Trump campaign`s data firm, you know pitching these kinds of services and this undercover footage. This was aired two weeks ago by Britain`s Channel 4. Since then Cambridge Analytica has suspended their CEO.

That footage and related reporting also led to a raid on the offices of Cambridge Analytica in London by British authorities. But what has he merged as the bigger scandal involving the firm is that this whistleblower who came forward has provided documents and testimony showing that the core business of Cambridge Analytica, their bread-and-butter work as an organization was based on data that was effectively ripped off from Facebook.

This whistleblower Christopher Wylie testified that 50 million people in the United States had all of their personal data and all of their online behavior on Facebook taken without permission by this company. And then that`s the data that was used to build their business.

Today, Facebook published a new blog post that acknowledged quietly in the eleventh paragraph of a 12-paragraph blog post that in fact, it wasn`t 50 million Americans who had their personal data and all their online behavior on Facebook stolen by Cambridge Analytica. It wasn`t 50 million. It was actually more like 87 million.

Starting on Monday, Facebook says those 87 million people are going to start receiving notifications that Cambridge Analytica improperly took their personal information and the records of their online behavior. I think that`s going to make this scandal less of an abstract story about privacy and it`s going to make it more of a personal affront to tens of millions of Americans who are about to start getting personal notifications within the next few days that, yes, your data was taken by them, your online behavior was monitored forever and all of it was stolen and used for profit by that company, run at the time by Steve Bannon.

Now alongside the scandal, there appears to be some serious potential legal jeopardy for Cambridge Analytica, particularly in Britain were there very strong privacy laws, but also for Facebook. Seven years ago, back in 2011, the Federal Trade Commission told Facebook that they had deceived American consumers when Facebook said, hey, if you want to you can keep your information on Facebook private, when in fact nobody was keeping their information on Facebook private. Facebook was not protecting that information at all.

Facebook already got in trouble for that. They came to a settlement with the FTC about that in 2011, making all sorts of new promises about the fact that they would stop giving away people`s data, they would -- the records of people`s online behavior wouldn`t be given away or wouldn`t be left for the taking unless they got people`s individual permission to make it available anymore.

But clearly, this kept on happening. And so, there`s potential legal liability for Facebook here in the United States as well, which could be a significant financial matter. We can all look forward to congressional testimony in the next couple of weeks by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and lots of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will pound into their chest about this issue and inveigh about how noxious it is for Facebook to have done this to Americans and violated everybody`s privacy in the process.

I will say even though we know that`s going to continue to unfold for at least the next few weeks, if this still evolving scandal is going to be helpful, if it`s going to be more than just huffing and puffing, if it`s going to help us understand and fix these problems, there are some really provocative unanswered questions about how this heist happened, and why, including some questions that affect the incoming national security advisor.

The professor whose software program was used by Cambridge Analytica to grab all this data, he has a joint appointment at Cambridge University in the U.K., which is how Cambridge Analytica got its name. He`s also though attached to a university in St. Petersburg in Russia where he lectures in Russia and where he has received Russian government grants for his work.

Does that at all mean that this Cambridge Analytica data theft scandal is connected to the Russian influence in our election in 2016? The whistleblower from Cambridge Analytica has also raised questions about why company executives repeatedly met with top-level officials from a Kremlin- connected Russian oil company explaining their methods and their data sources and their intentions and methods for influencing American voters. Why would a Russian oil company be interested in that in advance of the presidential election?

In terms of the use of the data, it`s clear that Cambridge analytical was at least advertising itself as having and utilizing this type of data in the midterm 2014 elections when the company was operating on behalf of multiple Republican candidates, including North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis. The implication from this whistleblowers testimony is that this would be the same dataset that the Trump campaign benefited from in 2016 when they hired Cambridge Analytica to do their data operations for the presidential race that year.

Those allegations about this data stolen from Facebook being used by the Trump campaign in the 2016 election, those are allegations that Cambridge Analytica is vehemently denying today. But we`ve got more information to go on more than just what they say. Thanks to these documents that this whistleblower`s handed over, we`ve got some concrete evidence about the operations of Cambridge Analytica. We`ve got some concrete information, for example, about who was definitely using this stolen data happily, at least according to these leaked and now -- stolen and now leaked Cambridge Analytica internal documents.

We may not know whether or not the Trump campaign ended up using the stolen Facebook data in 2016. There are implications that they did, but the company denies it. But we do know about people who happily used it before then. Quote: hi, Jeff, hope this finds you well. I`m just wondering what the status is on the Bolton data, i.e. data for North Carolina, Arkansas and New Hampshire. How much of it have you received and to what extent is it loaded into the platform?

There`s another email to a whole bunch of redacted names and Cambridge Analytic CEO Alexander Nix. Importance: high, subject: Bolton data. Quote, I`ve been in communication with Ambassador Bolton`s chief of staff and she confirmed a meeting to present some information to the ambassador tomorrow 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

A chief of staff also confirmed a meeting on Tuesday August 26th at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, with all the major media partners the Bolton PAC is using. This will determine the first round of strategic communications` content targets timing et cetera that will be pushed out on the 1st of September. They expect to see what we have for the three target states, North Carolina, Arkansas, New Hampshire.

Please advise exactly what`s currently available for those states. My understanding is that the following has been done and is slash should be available. P and T scores for Arkansas and North Carolina.

I don`t know what P and T scores are. Quote: personality cluster information for the target voter segments for all three states modeled for all voters of interest, not just the Kogan samples/cedars.

Kogan there is a reference to that professor with the joint appointment at the Russian university and at Cambridge, the one who designed the program that stole all of these tens of millions of American records off of Facebook. So, among the internal Cambridge Analytica documents that were taken by this whistleblower and handed over to the British parliament, among those documents is a whole big section of communications, internal communications at Cambridge Analytica about the Bolton project and the Bolton data and meetings with the Bolton people. That`s all about John Bolton, who`s super PAC was mega funded to the tune of multi-million dollar donations from Trump donor Robert Mercer.

And then what John Bolton`s PAC did with Robert Mercer`s donations is that he turned around and in large part he spent those dollars with Robert Mercer`s company, with Cambridge Analytica, which was at the time testing out its new techniques, about how they were going to use all these tens of millions of stolen data files from American Facebook users and turn them around and use them in an American election, on behalf of Republican candidates.

And you can see in these documents from the whistleblower, Cambridge Analytica, you know, hustling to get John Bolton exactly what he needs. At one point, they say they`re worried that he, quote, seemed a little bit pissed off, which does fit with John Bolton`s reputation as a national security adviser is pretty well-documented history of screaming its lungs out at people and chasing them down hallways.

So, John Bolton is now, according to CNBC today, reportedly in conversations with White House lawyers about potential conflicts of interests about whether his PAC and his super PAC might be a problem with him taking up the national security adviser job race he is expected to start on Monday.

Well, one of the things to know about his super PAC is that it got in on the ground floor with Cambridge Analytica in the U.S. midterm elections in 2014, paying hand-over-fist hundreds of thousands of dollars for the company`s services to help Republican candidates in Arkansas, in North Carolina and New Hampshire, paying for what they could do with this data that we now know was stolen from Facebook and for which both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are starting to get into a lot of trouble, including potentially legal trouble.

And one of the things we know about the current legal woes for Cambridge Analytica on this matter is that the special counsel`s office, the prosecutors overseen by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, they are reportedly looking at Cambridge Analytica, and its work for the Trump campaign in 2016, as part of their investigation into Russia`s interference in our election and whether or not the Trump campaign helped with that.

John Bolton`s PAC and super PAC are a central part of the story. They are the center of the story of Cambridge Analytica operating in the United States.

John Bolton, as we previously reported, he has also turned up in the middle of another report area of focus for Mueller`s investigators. That question about whether the NRA might have been used as a vehicle to funnel Russian money into the U.S. election on Trump`s behalf.

NPR was first to report on this video that John Bolton made for a Russian gun rights group that`s at the center of that investigation. Now, today, Tim Dickinson from "Rolling Stone" magazine has published these additional pictures of Bolton stumping for this Russian gun rights group that`s reportedly under investigation for potentially funneling Russian money into pro-Trump efforts. You`ll notice -- I think we can show this here.

Yes, see at the bottom of the screen there the poll in the space is at the screen in the back, but then all the place cards at the table marking everybody seats that`s all in the Cyrillic alphabet because this is a Russian event John Bolton is appearing on the screen. This is that Russian gun rights group.

You know, it was a big freaking deal when Mike Flynn came to the White House as Trump`s first national security adviser and it turned out he was in the middle of an active counterintelligence investigation by the FBI, right? That`s a very awkward thing. That`s a -- turned out to be an unsustainable thing for somebody in as sensitive a job as national security adviser.

John Bolton with the Bolton project at Cambridge analytic ah and the Bolton data at Cambridge Analytica and his involvement in the link between the NRA and Russian politicians, John Bolton is right in the middle of this stuff too and maybe that`s what he`s talking with the White House lawyers about ahead of his start date on Monday.

But this is starting to get weird. I mean, H.R. McMaster is apparently on his way out. As we will report later on this hour, he is going out with a bang. John Bolton does appear to be on his way in but I think that that is becoming a more complicated prospect than might be broadly appreciated.

All right. We got lots more to get to tonight including. I`m very happy to tell you, we`ve got an exclusive interview tonight with someone who has made no public comments since leaving government service months ago. He`s going to give his first exclusive TV interview to us tonight. It`s a surprise.

That`s next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: In March of last year, President Trump abruptly fired all the U.S. attorneys in the country, including the head of a very powerful prosecutor`s office in the southern district of New York, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in that Manhattan jurisdiction had been told by the president before then that he`d be keeping him on on that job. But unexpectedly, he fired Preet Bharara as well, and this all happened as I say abruptly with no notice.

Well, in the southern district of New York, a man named Joon Kim had been Preet Bharara`s deputy and when Preet Bharara got unexpectedly fired, Joon Kim took over that office on an acting basis. He ran that office in that capacity for 10 months until the first week in January when President Trump`s new nominee to be the new U.S. attorney in Manhattan came on in.

Joon Kim has not done any TV interviews since leaving the southern district of New York but he joins us here tonight for the interview.

Joon Kim, former acting U.S. attorney -- thank you very much for being here.

JOON KIM, FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY FOR SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: Thanks, Rachel. Happy to be here.

MADDOW: Yes.

First of all, let me say that I am appreciative of the fact that you haven`t done other TV interviews since you left and I know you`re not going to discuss ongoing cases. I`m not going to ask you to do that.

I do want to ask you to help us understand a little bit about what happened last March. And if you don`t mind, I also ask -- like to ask your help in understanding a little bit about some of the legal stuff going on with the Mueller investigation.

KIM: Sure.

MADDOWW: It`s like comfortable territory?

KIM: So far.

MADDOW: All right. Do you know why Preet Bharara was fired along with all the other us attorneys despite that assurance that he got that he could keep the job?

KIM: I don`t know.

MADDOW: At the time, it was a surprise to everybody in the office.

KIM: Yes, it was -- it was sudden and it was a surprise.

MADDOW: It seemed from the outside looking in last March that although previous president, some of them had decided to get rid of all us attorneys, it seems like it had never happened quite like that so abruptly. A, no notice, B, you`re all fired, and C, get out now.

It felt like it was at least -- I don`t know if it was an impulsive decision but it felt like it was one that was executed without much time for a clean hand over. Does it feel like that`s inside the office too?

KIM: You know, so, I`m not -- you know, I`m not a historian of how you know U.S. attorneys have changed over the years and certainly, it`s -- and Preet has said, this it`s the president`s right to put in the U.S. attorney of his choice and that was our expectation when after the election. But as you pointed out, Preet was asked to stay by the president.

So when he was asked to leave again on that day in March, that did come as a bit of a surprise and it was somewhat sudden.

MADDOW: And was he told to leave so quickly that there was a compromise in terms of handing over ongoing investigations oversight management responsibilities. One of the things that I think regular Americans looking at that process worried about was that some stuff might get either handed over awkwardly or that there might be glitches in terms of things continuing in U.S. attorneys` offices around the country, particularly big ones like southern district that handles so many big and high-profile cases?

KIM: I mean, I believe it`s been reported that the decision was made and then, the U.S. attorneys were asked to leave pretty soon after that decision. And you reference our office and the need to make sure that the ongoing cases are handled properly. We were lucky enough that we have an office full of incredibly, dedicated, capable career prosecutors who are really driving the cases and the investigations.

And we had a leadership team that had been working closely with the (INAUDIBLE) and with Preet throughout that process. So, we were able to ensure that, you know, the good work of the prosecutors in the southern district of New York continued in the manner that it had and I think it did.

MADDOW: The nature of those firings across the country and the unusual nature of Mr. Bharara being fired after he got that assurance from the president, led to a lot of -- if not conspiracy theories, at least a lot of speculation that there might have been something going on in some prosecutor`s office somewhere, maybe specifically in the southern district that the White House was looking to either pressure or interfere with.

Has your -- in your time in southern district, have you ever felt pressured by the White House, by any administration in terms of any ongoing cases of prosecutions?

KIM: I don`t know the reason why Preet was asked to leave and the other U.S. attorney`s up were asked to leave. I can say in the southern district of New York, as I said earlier, we were lucky enough the cases continued, the career prosecutors continued to do the cases and during the time I was there, I personally did not experience any inappropriate or political pressure.

MADDOW: Can I ask you for a little help in understanding some of what`s going on in the Mueller investigation?

KIM: Sure. I mean, I have no -- I have no personal insights --

MADDOW: Right.

KIM: -- to the specifics of anything there but, you know, in terms of giving you a perspective of, you know, what certain terms mean or how investigations generally are conducted, happy to do that.

MADDOW: Well, let me ask you did anybody go from -- did anybody go from the southern district of New York on to the Mueller team? Did -- I know in some cases prosecutors were brought from other offices around the country to go join the special counselor`s office.

KIM: There was one.

MADDOW: OK.

And in terms of the makeup of that team and the way that we`ve been able to view as members of the public, they`ve been operating, do you feel like they`re proceeding along a path and in by means that you recognize as good practice, as a prosecutor?

KIM: Yes. I mean, the one prosecutor that did go from our office was a -- is a terrific prosecutor --

MADDOW: Who`s that?

KIM: A lawyer, Andrew Goldstein. A lawyer and a person of great integrity, as someone who is -- that will follow the facts and the evidence and follow the law wherever that leads, and that will be -- that has been his only concern and I expect that`s the way he will conduct himself.

So, I don`t know everyone on that team the people I do know are people of that mold, who are -- who are in the business of prosecuting for the right reasons. They are public servants who could be out in the private sector making a ton more money, but who believe in the mission of justice. So, no, again, I`m an outsider. I don`t know everyone there, and when I see -- I have confidence in the people that I know that are part of that team.

MADDOW: There are -- if you -- if you wouldn`t mind staying with us, there are two matters that have arisen recently in reporting about Mueller investigation. One about telling the president that he is a subject but not a target of the investigation reportedly. Also some news today about Mueller`s prosecutors and FBI agents stopping subjects in airports and searching their electronic devices, I`d like to ask you about both of those things if you can stick with us.

KIM: I`ll stick around.

MADDOW: All right. Joon Kim is former acting Manhattan U.S. attorney. He`ll be right back with us after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Joining us once again for his first TV interview since leaving government services, Joon Kim. He was acting U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York. He took over when Preet Bharara was unexpectedly fired by President Trump last year.

Mr. Kim, thank you again for sticking with us.

KIM: Sure.

MADDOW: We learned from "The Washington Post" recently that the president`s lawyers have been advised by Mueller`s prosecutors that the president is a -- at least as of last month was a subject but not a target of the investigation. Now, everybody`s doing amateur law school trying to figure out what that means.

My question is, did they have to tell the president`s lawyers that? Why would you tell somebody that they`re a subject?

KIM: And again, I don`t have any personal insight into, you know, the status of any individuals in the special counsel`s investigation. But to answer your question, it -- if someone asks, you know, is my client in a federal investigation a target, subject or witness, you do need to tell them.

MADDOW: Oh, OK.

KIM: They should know and have a right to know.

In terms of what those terms mean, there they are a bit of a term of art that is used in federal criminal investigations. It`s not a mystery or secret among people who practice in the area. It`s actually pretty clearly set forth and defined in a U.S. attorney manual that is available to the public.

MADDOW: OK.

KIM: And it`s one of the things that a junior prosecutor will learn very early on because someone will ask them -- well, you want to talk to my client, what is he? And so, you know, people -- prosecutors -- experienced prosecutors are very familiar with the concept, but it`s pretty simple.

I mean, you know, someone who a prosecutor wants to talk to will fit in a - - in a wide range of categories. On one extreme will be a pure witness, a witness and that`s someone who has relevant information about the investigation, but to the best of the prosecutor and investigator`s knowledge, they have no criminal exposure.

MADDOW: OK.

KIM: So, an example would be someone`s walking down the street, they see someone gets shot. Obviously, they`re relevant -- they have relevant information about the investigation, the prosecutors going to want to talk to him or her. But to the best of the prosecutor`s knowledge, he or she has no relation with the shooter or the victim. She just happened to be there. That`s a pure witness.

On the other extreme is a target, and the U.S. attorney manual defines a target as someone who where there`s substantial evidence linking that person to the commission of an offense. Another way the U.S. attorney manual describes the target category is a, quote, putative defendant, close quote, and you know that means basically your defendant that means you basically about to be charged.

So, and everyone else in the middle is a subject.

MADDOW: OK.

KIM: And so, you can be a subject who is closer to a witness, you can be a subject that`s closer to a target and it`s a fluid thing obviously because the gathering of evidence is a fluid thing. You`re learning more and more. Some evidence will lead you to believe that`s almost more of it on the target side of that spectrum, then you might learn something more that excavates them.

And so --

MADDOW: Once a person -- if a person moves from subject to target, you would then have to advise the person`s attorneys that changes happen?

KIM: Not necessarily. I mean, you know, it sort of depends on when they inquire. And if you`re not communicating at all at any point with it -- with a subject and they`re not asking, you don`t have to call up and say, by the way, they just crossed that line.

MADDOW: Very sober and the way you describe these very exciting things. Joon Kim, former acting U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York -- thank you very much for coming in tonight. It`s a pleasure to meet you.

KIM: Happy to be here. Nice to meet you.

MADDOW: All right. Much more to get to tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: It was like an Airbnb situation. When I was not there, the landlord -- they had access to the entirety of the facility. When I was there, I only had access to a room. There were common areas. They used the facility at the same time that I was there.

REPORTER: So, you only pay for the nights you rent you were there?

PRUITT: That`s exactly right.

REPORTER: So, if I pay rent in Washington over $2,000 a month for a one- bedroom apartment, that`s the average, according to various Websites and just common sense around --

PRUITT: You know, there were comps, Ed, there were comps done, but --

REPORTER: But I got to pay for a whole lot.

PRUITT: Ethics officials here, there were comps done. You could go on Craigslist today and it`s been done the last week --

REPORTER: But a cabinet secretary`s going to go on Craigslist --

(CROSSTALK)

PRUITT: -- shows rentals for one-bedroom of less than a thousand dollars, on Capitol Hill near.

REPORTER: I never heard of an apartment like that. I`ve lived in Washington over 25 years.

PRUITT: Well --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Yes. Well.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency and a Fox News reporter Ed Henry getting into an on-air scuffle tonight about what the rent is really like in Washington, D.C. This is just the kind of week it has been for Scott Pruitt, a drumbeat of reports starting Thursday when ABC News reported that as head of the EPA, he`d been living in a energy lobbyists condo near the U.S. capitol for 50 bucks a night, and he was only paying for the nights he was actually sleeping there.

Then over the weekend, "The Washington Post" and ABC News reported on a strange incident that took place at that lobbyist`s condo in which Scott Pruitt`s security detail -- he has a security detail -- thinking that Scott Pruitt was at home unconscious and in need of rescue, they broke down the front door of the lobbyists town house to rescue him. Turned out Scott Pruitt was reportedly inside that apartment, but he was just there taken a nap.

And then he decided he would charge the EPA to fix the door that his security team broke down through his nap.

Then on Monday, there was the report in "The Post" that Pruitt`s staffers made plans to spend $100,000 a month, taxpayer money, to lease a private jet just for Scott Pruitt`s travel use. That is not a normal thing that anybody gets when they run the EPA, but apparently his staff looked into it for him. That was on Monday.

But on Monday night, "The New York Times" published a new report about an energy company called Enbridge. In July 2016, EPA under President Obama had fined Enbridge more than $60 million for a pipeline spill that poured hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. It`s the second largest fine in the history of the Clean Water Act, second only to the Deepwater Horizon spill.

But less than a year later, March 2017, two months after Scott Pruitt took over at the EPA, his agency signed off on a major pipeline expansion by Enbridge, an expansion allowing hundreds of thousands more barrels of oil to flow into the U.S. from Canadian tar sands. "The New York Times" points out that when Enbridge got its big pipeline expansion approved by the EPA, its Washington lobbyist was -- say with me now -- the guy whose condo Scott Pruitt was living in for 50 bucks a night.

But the hits just keep coming. "The Atlantic Magazine" now reports that Pruitt gave huge raises to two staffers he brought with him from Oklahoma using an obscure provision in the Safe Drinking Water Act to get them the money out of the EPA budget even though the White House -- this White House -- wouldn`t approve it.

Now, "The Washington Post" adds that one of those staffers who got a nearly $30,000 pay bump from Scott Pruitt part of her duties were -- was a helping Scott Pruitt shop for housing in D.C.

And now, we`ve just learned about another way in which Pruitt used power granted to him through these Safe Drinking Water Act to get around the rules. That`s next, including its particular resonance for people for whom the Safe Drinking Water Act is life and death.

Stay with us.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: If you`re committed to the Trumpet agenda, why did you go around the president in the White House to give pay raises to two staffers?

PRUITT: I did not. My staff did and I found out about that yesterday and I changed it.

REPORTER: Was somebody being fired for that?

PRUITT: That it should not have been done.

REPORTER: Who did it?

PRUITT: Maybe -- there would be some accountability.

REPORTER: A career person or political person?

PRUITT: I don`t know. I don`t know.

REPORTER: You don`t know. You run the agency, you don`t know who did it?

PRUITT: I found out about this yesterday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: You run the agency. You don`t know who did this? I`m sure it was terrible people. I don`t know, I just.

There`s been this onslaught of reporting for the past week about the head of the EPA Scott Pruitt, including reporting that he used a provision in these Safe Drinking Water Act to give really big raises like $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 raises to two staffers who he brought to D.C. with him from Oklahoma.

Now, "The Washington Post" reports that that law was originally designed to allow the EPA to quickly hire senior management and scientific personnel during times of critical need. Pruitt instead appears to have used his hiring power differently not only relying on that provision to give people raises also relying on it to bring former lobbyists and schedulers and spokesmen into the organization.

So, Scott Pruitt has been using this law which is meant to help the EPA hire scientists in times of crisis related to drinking water and instead, he`s using it to give raises to his Oklahoma peeps and also to staff up his own obvious with lobbyists and schedulers and flex, which is fine because - - I mean, it`s not like there`s any critical needs related to safe drinking water anywhere in the country now, right?

Joining us now is Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan. His district includes the great city of Flint, Michigan, which of course has been struggling with a water crisis for quite some time now.

Congressman Kildee, it`s nice to see you. Thank you for being with us.

REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Thank you very much, Rachel.

MADDOW: I wanted to talk to you because you put out a fairly outraged statement criticizing the EPA`s use of the drinking water protection laws in order to do this at the EPA. Let me ask, what`s your main criticism of Scott Pruitt here? How do you feel about this scandal?

KILDEE: Well, this is just outrageous. I know something -- as you know, something about what the Safe Drinking Water Act is supposed to be used for to hire scientists and health professionals to go into places like my hometown of Flint to bring resources and expertise to help deal with problems with drinking water, not to add basically bonuses to the payroll of top people that he brings in that are essentially his political friends and allies. This is really frustrating.

You know, I have a lot of difficulties with what Mr. Pruitt has done. You know, his ethical lapses notwithstanding, the fact that his priorities for the EPA are to roll back protections for people like the people in my hometown of Flint to actually increase the likelihood that there will be more drinking water problems in this country and in the meantime take money that could be used for those purposes and give and $25,000, $30,000, pay raises over the policy objections of the White House -- I mean, if you can breach the ethical standards of the Trump White House, you have set a new record for breaching ethical standards. And he ought to go.

MADDOW: Is there anything that Congress can do? It`s been remarkable to see this rising tide, forgive me, of bad press and ethical revelations about Scott Pruitt while the White House at least thus far seems to be standing by him. We`ve seen other cabinet officials pushed out for less. Scott Pruitt is still there.

Do you think that there`s any appetite in Congress for taking this on or trying to at least make him answer questions about this stuff?

KILDEE: I think that`s a really legitimate question and I think the way I look at it is, this is -- this gives us a really tangible evidence of the extent to which this White House and for that matter almost all the Republicans in Congress are willing to overlook unethical behavior in order to accommodate the anti-environmental, pro-polluter policies of Scott Pruitt.

The reason they overlook his ethical lapses is because they like what he`s doing. He`s putting profits ahead of that public health and it`s that same philosophy that led to the Flint water crisis and water problems all over the country.

I`ve got a community in the northern part of my district, Oscoda, Michigan, that has contaminated water, they can`t drink their water. One of the residents just yesterday asked me, where is the EPA? And the answer is, this is where the EPA sits right now. It`s pathetic.

MADDOW: Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan, really appreciate your time tonight, sir. Thank you. Appreciate you being here.

KILDEE: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.

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MADDOW: When you leave a job, especially one with a public profile, it`s normal to give a farewell signoff, say goodbye to your colleagues, tell everybody it was a pleasure to work together, lah, lah, lah.

There`s also another way to go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONA SECURITY ADVISOR: Russia has used old and new forms of aggression to undermine our open societies and the foundations of international peace and stability.

We must recognize the need for all of us to do more, to respond to and deter Russian aggression. For too long, some nations have looked the other way in the face of these threats. Russia brazenly and implausibly denies its actions, and we have failed to impose sufficient costs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Outgoing national security advisor H.R. McMaster giving what you believe to be his final remarks as national security advisor. Come Monday morning, he`s supposed to be replaced by John Bolton. We`ll see.

But McMaster`s outgoing message is that the U.S. -- I shouldn`t say the U.S., some countries have looked the other way in the face of Russia while Russia has brazenly and implausibly denied their actions and we have failed to impose sufficient costs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCMASTER: Mr. Putin may believe that he is winning in this new form of warfare, he may believe his aggression actions in the parks of Salisbury, in cyber space, in the air and on the high seas can undermine our confidence, our institutions and our values. Perhaps he believes that our free nations are weak and will not respond -- will not respond to his provocations. He is wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: H.R. McMaster made similarly strident remarks criticizing Russia as his last public remarks before the president fired him. We then subsequently found out his last acts as national security advisor before he got word he was being fired were to recommend at a national security meeting that the United States take further action against Russia.

He has now taken the opportunity for his last public remarks before leaving office to again pretty stridently criticize Russia. There`s a theme.

We are supposed to get a new national security advisor Monday morning, CNBC however is reporting today that John Bolton is involved in extensive discussion with White House lawyers about possible conflict of interest related to that new job.

We shall see. In the meantime, the national security adviser we still got is showing that he`s not quite done yet.

We`ll see you again tomorrow.

Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."

Good evening, Lawrence.

END

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