tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 2, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT
>> he weighed in, offered a suggestion like any father would do. >> the white house caught red handed. >> the president weighed in as any father would. >> president trump helped his son mislead the country about >> it is called opposition ref. >> as i sight, they talked about adoption. >> and the incredible new charges. claiming the president and the fox news channel coordinated a conspiracy theory to distract from russian election interference. plus about, those sanctions. >> has the president signed the sanctions bill? >> i'm sorry. has he signed it and the how it fell for a two-bit e-mail prank. >> i'm feeling the hook here. >> when "all in" starts right now. >> good evening from new york. the president stands accused of charges. the infamous meeting with the
russian lawyer and second perks according to a federal lawsuit conspired with fox news on push out a false and cruel conspiracy theory about a dnc staffer to shift blame away from russia and the russia investigation. much more on that latter claim ahead. first, prl it was first reported that he and other trump staffers have met secretly with the russian lawyer during the campaign. donald trump jr. claimed that, i quote, we primary discuss ad bram the adoption of russian children that was active and popular with american families and was since ended by the russian government. trump junior had eagerly set up the meeting. once those facts bail public, president trump's lawyer claim the president had no involvement in drafting the misleading statement.
>> the president was not, did not draft the response. the response came from donald trump jr., i'm sure, in consultation with his lawyer. he was coming back from the g-20. the statement released on saturday was released by donald trump jr. i'm sure in consultation with lawyers. >> last night as we went to air, multiple sources reported, the president had in fact personally dictated his son's misleading statement about the meeting. and after we went off air, he said the characters were misinformed and not pertinent. another said the story was fake news, had inaccurate and not pertinent. then today --
>> he certainly helped. he didn't dictate but he, like i said, he weighed in, offering a suggestion like any father would do. >> let's consider the time line. the statement was drafted as the president was flying home from the g-20 summit. he met twice with vladimir putin. the second meeting where the only a person present was an interpreter. here's how he described the second interview in a meeting with "the new york times." >> actually, it was very interesting. we talked about adoption. russian adoption. i always found interesting. he ended that years ago. i and i actually talked about russian adoption with him which is interesting. that was part of the conversation that don had with
this meeting. >> right. so according to the president, he has a conversation about adoption. and almost immediately afterwards, he helps craft a grossly misleading statement about that don junior meeting claiming it was primarily about adoption. it does make one wonder exactly what they discussed and whether putin played a role in influencing the meeting. joining me now, the chief white house ethics lawyer under george w. bush. so it now seems confirmed, jill, two of his lawyers which seems to happen regularly, someone says something on behalf of the president and is later undercut, that he did often. >> it means a couple things. in terms of donald trump, the
president's participation, it means that he may have committed an overt act in furtherance of a conspiracy to cover up. that could be part of a criminal investigation. so that mr. mueller should be looking at it. it also means the lawyers misled the public, and probably violated their obligations as lawyers. they should have never said anything, other than my client informs me. that's a basic. unless you know for a fact something, you don't assert it. in this case, i will hoping they are misled. that they weren't deliberately part of misleading the public but they should not have said what they said. >> you had this tweet. you said knowingly drafting a false statement for a person who is a witness in a criminal investigation is itself a crime. >> no father in his right mind
would draft or weigh in on a false statement to be made by his son, a false public statement about a matter in which there is an ongoing criminal investigation. once he says something in a public statement, he would be very likely to say the same thing to a special prosecutor. and lying to the special prosecutor a crime feflt lies under oath, it becomes perjury. so this is a common strategy for obstructing justice, to get a witness to make statements torsion present a story that is not true. i can't imagine any father who would want to expose his own son to that to cover up something. except i guess a father who has the power to pardon his son if
his son is convicted of perjury. but this is indeed obstruction of justice. and we've already had obstruction of justice in the firing of james comey. last week we had the attempt to fire jeff sessions to avoid mueller. i would like one week where they don't engage in obstruction of justice. >> it strikes me as fairly reckless. given that behind this deceptive statement was a set of e-mails that is totally wrong. i think it had been discovered saying they were offered dirt directly if, quote, the russian government in their efforts to
help donald trump get elected. >> well, either he was acting in totally reckless disregard of the truth or he deliberately lied by knowing the truth. either one is not a good option. i can remember as a child, my mother would not have written a note saying i was sick if i didn't want to go to school unless i was really sick. and i think this is same thing. the president is writing for his son, making an excuse that isn't true. if my mother were his mother, that wouldn't have happened. >> part of this, it seems, relates to the key question about this, it is whether the president knew about it at the time. whether he was briefed about it afterwards. what we have been told by his lawyers who just told us something false a day ago, the president had no idea. do you think given that we now know the president wrote this,
or helped craft this statement, it is credible, the president didn't know about that meeting at the time? >> well, i don't know. they just can't tell the truth about anything having to do with the russians. and i has been going on for six months, going back to general flynn lying about his contacts with the russians. lie after lie after lie. how much the president knew during the campaign about the collaboration with the russians, how many he sxuktd let epeople do the dirty work. we don't know. we'll find that out. just as with president nixon was forced to resign over obstruction of justice, it is not the question of whether the president actually ordered the break-in, or whether the president collaborated with the russians. people close to him, that meeting was obviously collaboration. i have to say so in far more
instances than i recall with nixon and this is very troubling. he won't let it go. that's what nixon should have done with watergate. let it go. don't talk about it. don't try to obstruct justice. let he it take its course. the president is making the same mistake, although i think in many more ways. it is quite egregious. >> thank you. i'm joined by the author, i think even in the minds of people that are, view themselves politically opposed to the president, they don't imagine him as a micromanager. i think there's this idea that he is the center of this maelstrom and checks in and checks out. this puts him for the first
times squarely in the center of managing all of this. which strikes me as significant. >> when donald feels threatened by anything, a news story which will make him look bad, a lot lower level of concern than. this he will yell at associates about what he wants done. he will accuse people of misconduct when they behave perfectly properly. it is not the least bit surprising and it is exerting control over his sons. >> where there's one lie, there are many lies. a good way to think of the white house. we're starting to pull the thread.
and we've seen it before. there's no reason after we've had people look us in the eyes about things to think that we know the full story now. people are still getting used to donald trump's very bizarre mixture of extreme candor in some situations. because he will admit to things and brazen it out and say, you know -- who wouldn't have taken meeting? i was thinking about the russia investigation when i fired james comey. he'll do these things and it makes him think as if we can expect a level of frankness. then it takes people off guard. that he will lie completely lie with kind of similar panache and seamlessness. as will his attorneys. that's not something we see.
>> that attorney generals hedge in a sense. >> right. >> and reporters, you're trained to do that. so i think people gregt used to the fun house mirror way these went back. >> i think it puts the beginning of the causal chain that has brought us to all of this and mueller. it is flynn talking to kislyak on sanctions day and not telling the truth about it. the lits were being financed by flynn. it seems worth while to ask. donald trump will jettyson anybody.
he put his sons here with these actions. i can't imagine there was a lawyer in the room, who, stay away. keep your hands off. and donald buys people. he controls them. the moment he's per off without, he'll dump you. >> the next question is, the shape of the defense is taking place. it was warned, don't leak this and then they leaked it. kushner's account, and i think the one that we will see is that we were essentially in over our heads. >> too incompetent. >> we are so bad at this. we have no business being in the
white house. it is an astonishing defense but it has a purpose. it is to suggest that this was really innocent. no matter what you find thfrgs really innocent. and that will fly with a segment of the american population. >> i think, it is so -- the thing is, we're not talking about high level plotting on. >> that's what is so shocking to me about it. >> you're talking about a bunch of goons offering the trade favors. it just happens that one of the favors is swing the election of the united states of america. this didn't take, at least trump's part, as opposed to the russians' part, a huge level of sophisticated -- >> subterfuge. exactly. it was just him accepting the offer of them in exchange for political guarantees which he is now doing everything he can to fulfill.
>> and how comfortable the russian government was. this was from the russian government. can you imagine the russian government having gone to john mccain saying we want supply of information? they were confident, they had somebody here who wanted to hear their message. >> that's a good point. thank you for being with me. next, a new federal lawsuit alleging the trump administration worked fox news to spread a conspiracy theory about a murdered dnc staffer. that the president himself may have had a hand. hi. i'm the one clocking in... when you're clocking out. sensing your every move and automatically adjusting to help you stay effortlessly comfortable.
the president of the united states stands accused in a federal lawsuit of conspiring with fox news to promote a fringe conspiracy theory about a murdered dnc staffer in order to invalidate the russia scandal. for months, the conspiracy theorists on the right have been pushing an investigation for the hack during election but wasn't russia that stole it. it was really a young dnc
operative who was killed last summer. that murder was what d.c. police say was likely a botched robbery, but according to this conspiracy theory that has been percolating, it was a retaliatory hit job who wanted to shut seth rich up. that story was written up at fox news.com and it got air time for days on the network over the strong objections of the grieving rich family. and fox news was eventually forced to retract that very same report which is something they do not very often do. according to this new lawsuit filed by rod wheeler, a fox news contributor and source for the article, the seth rich conspiracy theory didn't come out of nowhere. it was promoted allegedly by a wealthy trump supporter named ed butowsky. he hired someone to investigate. he isn't just connected to fox. he has connections to the white house where he visit in the
april with wheeler in tow to share their findings with then press secretary sean spicer. according to the lawsuit, he claimed the president himself was directly involved, sending a text to wheeler days before the false and later retracted fox news report was published saying this. not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. he wants the article out immediately. >> first, i'll thinking why would the story have to review a statement are involving a murder in d.c. why would the president be involved? it was rather obvious to me that they lured me into this investigation. they meaning this fox news reporter and ed butowsky to debunk the narrative when they told me i was really getting involved just to solve a murder.
>> i'm joined now by gabe sherman, special correspondent for "vanity fair." gabe, let me start with you. i want to be cautious. anyone can file a lawsuit. it doesn't 19 claims are true. and there are some reasons to be skeptical about the credibility of all the figures involved. that said, this is a shockingly explosive set of allegations. >> on multiple levels. it is shocking and fascinating. what i find interesting, on one level it is an autopsy on how a fake news story gets created and how the trump white house worked in favor, that there is any other explanation other than the ties to the hacking operation that led to the clinton e-mails. >> here's one thing that's key to zoom in on. this is spicer on may 16th being
asked about the seth rich story. >> i don't, i'm not aware of, i generally i don't get updates on dnc, former dnc staffers. i'm not aware of that. it turns pout statement was made after he had this meeting in the white house about precisely this story. spicer confirming that yesterday. ed has been a long time supporter of the president and asked to meet to catch up. they were just informing me this fox story. >> that's what sarah huckabee sanders argued today during the white house briefing. she said it is not unusual for anyone in the press office to take a meeting with a media figure. but i interviewed ed butowsky and he started vaguely threatening me because i
character icesed the meeting as an interview. he was very clear that it was not an interview. he was not there in his capacity as someone who appears on fox news. he was there to inform sean spicer, to inform the white house more broadly that what he felt was compelling information about something that could help them. so for them on argue that this is typical. the press off always meets with media figures to learn about what they're working on. you said it yourself. that everyone is unreliable. but regardless, no one is really, the white house is saying the same thing. >> the first page of the plaintiff's complaint contain as text in which he's read it. butowsky confirms the text was sent.
>> he said it was said in jest. i really don't. i don't think many of us have text messages that the president is aware of what we're up to. he claims he said in it jest because wheeler wanted a job so badly. it doesn't really make any sense. he he said he could make the case for getting a job himself. i'm paraphrasing, that's not something you do the first time that you meet somebody. >> there are some people. to give people a sense, there conspiracy theory is massively hurtful to the rich family. they have a family member who was murdered. it is still unsolved.
the idea that people have in this sort of as a result you are like way, peace of turn coat against dnc because it suits their purposes. to promote that night after night, like sean hannity, it was hell for that family and attracted quite a bit of attention when fox was pushing this story. >> and inside fox, there were certain pockets of deep consternation that this story was being, that the rich tragedy was being political football to help trump and to what length it is kind of sick. to what length would fox news to go prop up the trump white house that they would use the death of seth rich in that effort. now, sean hannity said he was not facing pressure to lay off the rich story. but he is not covered it since all the back lash. and they retracted report that this is based on.
the network is saying we put this out there and we can't stand behind it. >> olivia, do you think, what i said before. where there's one lie, we suspect there may be many. if we heard the last of the fact pattern here fwhaerms the white house knew about this story. >> everything that has happened in this administration since day one, since during campaign, in fact, has suggested that this is not the last that we'll hear about it. and they will likely be change their story on it. it is anyone's guess, what is in the lawsuit is completely accurate. they're not really getting their story straight and it is very early. we can expect, i'm sure, if they'll be changing things as they go along and get new information. >> thank you. coming up, the administration ran on cyber security got caught by a dude with an iphone. the e-mails between anthony scaramucci and who he thought was reince priebus.
a day after reince priebus resigned, a hackster pretending to be scaramucci. he vowed to get priebus fired. you can imagine his sblis the fake priebus e-mailed him the following. i had promised myself i would leave my hands mud-free. the way in which that transition has come about has been diabolical and hurtful. i don't expect apply. the very real scaramucci responded. you know what you did. we all do. even today. rest assured we were prepared. a man would apologize. it continued with, i can't believe you're questioning my ethics.
the so-called mooch who can't even manage his first being in the white house without leaving upset in the wake. i have nothing to apologize. again, the very real scaramucci. read shakespeare. particularly othello. you are right there. i know what you did. not only did this expose some very real flaws but he posted to twitter for all to see. the white house officials acknowledged it and said they know whatted happen. scaramucci wasn't the only white house official. we'll tell you who else got played. next.
the e-mail prankster who was able to convince anthony scaramucci that he was reince priebus, whose head should roll first? maybe i can help things along somewhat. the real scaramucci wrote back, both of them. while toying with the mooch may be mostly harmless, he was also able to convince tom bossert in charge of cyber security to voluntarily offer up his own personal e-mail address to a person he thought it was president's son-in-law, jared kushner. inviting him to a fancy dinner. to that, we are arranging a pit of a soiree toward the end of all. he wrote back, thanks, jarrod. with a promise like that, i can't refuse. my personal e-mail is --
redacted. and i won't be pranking you any longer. point made. i am just a dude with an iphone. you need the tighten up i.t. policy. love xx. >> here's the thing that i find amazing about this. just remember that they, the trump campaign managed to make a central issue before the republic in the last campaign, e-mail security. >> 33,000 e-mails. if she can't protect her e-mail server, how can she frequent country? now that we know the president still uses his regular phone and you can reach him on his number. it is and not just one person who is pranked. we have high level people with security clearance who are e-mailing and talking about, right now in this case, wasn't incredibly sensitive. we're talking about soiree and inside baseball, if you will.
but this is a fundamental crisis. and it shows that not only this president is unqualified and unprepared and unorganized, and disorganized as well, as are the people around him. if we're not worried about this, they're trying to make russia kind of nothing. they're trying to say, there isn't the same as hillary bleaching her server. we have elections next year. and more god willing in 2020. >> two things. this is a prankster, right? what if they were batting around policy. if you e-mail someone and the president says it is a go on north korea. you want to make sure of had a you're talking to. with this president so erratic and who does not read, right? we know if someone says, he's all in. >> on x policy. >> okay. because we know that he doesn't follow any play book. he goes by whatever the
shinlyest stoi in front of his face or the last story that he heard. so that's what is really dangerous. we're not just talking about domestic policy which he is all over the place and not really success envelop certain ways. but international policy. our end ms. are watching all of this. and they're seeing that when the leader of a free nation does not have control of his own camp, or his own self-that is a time where we as citizens are incredibly weak. >> this was the thing i thought. wow, if you just jammed a crowbar on some major issue on international affairs. the other thing i keep thinking about, i obsess over this. there is always something like prurent and fun about reading someone else's e-mail. you get a kick out of it. and that powered the campaign. we were constantly reading e-mails leaked weeflt only seen one trump e-mail. and watching what they put in here, who knows what is in e-mail?
>> they are clearly not, they don't understand. >> they're not careful. you have not just the president but the people he sounded himself with. so many of them don't understand separation of powers, checks and balances. they've never been public servants, either. so there's a lack of respect for it. when we are seeing these e-mails, this is why he's concerned, this is why he fired comey. we don't know, loose lips sink ships. we can only imagine that they have a pretty low level of discipline. >> i think people in my profession never put anything in an e-mail. okay. i see you. you're being very careful here. >> if we ever need to discuss it, i'll tell you that does not
seem to be the m.o. of these folks. great to see you. >> great to see you too. >> congress voted overwhelming troy pass a bill on russian sanctions. the changing stories ahead in thing one, thing two. starts next. do you really use head & shoulders? no, not really. i knew that not the one you think you know the tri action formula cleans removing up to 100% of flakes protects
the white house continues to claim the president was joking when he encouraged and condoned police brutality on friday. >> when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you see them thrown in rough. i said please don't be too nice. like when you put somebody on the car and you're protecting their head, the way you put their hand, don't hit their hand and they just killed somebody. i said you can take hand away, okay? >> police across the country
condemned the market. and we learned the dea chief didn't think it was so funny. writing to his force, the president could not don't police misconduct to individuals placed under arrest, i write because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong. in light of that, the white house once again downplayed the president's comments. >> was he making a joke about police brutality? >> not at all. i think you're trying to make something out of nothing. he was making a comment, a joke, it was nothing more than that. >> this is not the first time the team trump has tried to pass off disturbing comments as a joke.
>> the white house claiming it was a joke which we've come to learn is a great tactic when would you rather not just apologize. >> if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. although the second amendment people, maybe there is. i don't know. >> i heard about this second amendment quote. it sounds like a joke gone bad. i don't know. >> if you look at his wife, she was standing there. she had nothing to say. maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. you tell me. plenty of people have written that. >> i thought he was joking about it. i don't think that he was really trying to insult anyone. >> russia, if you're listening. i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails. >> when i'm being sarcastic -- >> were you being sarcastic? >> can you say that whenever the president says something, we can trust it. >> if he's not joking, of course.
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putin says very nice things about me. i think it is very nice. it has no effect on me other than i think it is very nice. if we get along with russia, that's very good. >> it was consistent they'll of president trump's campaign. helped along by flattery from russian president vladimir putin. now president trump has found his efforts to smooth over relations with russia constrained, by an investigation by robert mueller and the possible of trump campaign collusion with those efforts. last week, congress overwhelmingly voted to sanction russia for that election interference. the sanction bill passing the house by 419-3. and the senate by 98-2. in response, putin ordered the united states to cut its diplomatic staff in russia by 755 employees. president trump hasn't made a people about retaliation. here's the thingest hasn't yet signed the sanctions bill.
yesterday, sarah sanders said it hadn't been received. today they did acknowledge they have the bill. the reporters tried to find out why they haven't signed. what's the delay? you've had this since friday. what's holding him back? >> there's nothing holding him back. there's a review process. he'll sign the bill and we'll let you know. >> why the white house is dragging its feet on russia, next.
speaking in georgia earlier today, vice president pence said donald trump would sign a russians sanctions bill quote very soon. but like others in the administration mike pence doesn't get any more specific than that even though the president has had the bill in hand since friday. joining me now, staff writer at the atlantic. julia, let me start with you. there's a fascinating dynamic happening here. it's complicated terrain. but you've got two things. you've got the fact that it looks like russia took brazen matter to criminally interfere in the election to get donald trump elected and then you've got the question of what the u.s.-russia relationship should be like and then you've got the politicking rippling out now boxing the president into calls
for escalation with russia because of what they did to get him elected in the first place. is that basically the dynamic? >> basically. and you have the russians playing this interesting game. they basically retaliated 20 times harder than what the obama administration did because this is just retaliation for the sanctions that haven't yet been signed, that aren't that bad, and then it's also retaliation for what the obama administration did as they were leaving the white house, they kicked out 35 diplomatic russian staff who were allegedly intelligence and blocked access to two compounds also allegedly used mostly for intelligence gathering. and vladimir putin kicks out 20 times that many people diplomatic staff out of russia. but he gives the americans a month to implement this and the bill hasn't yet been signed by the president. so the question is, is this a
signal to president trump saying, you know, this is what would happen. on the other hand, when official russians, you know, putin's spokesman has been saying, look, we understand how this works in the u.s. it's a veto proof majority. even if the president doesn't sign it, it's going to become law and we have to put our foot down. putin said in an interview on sunday night, he said, you can't just keep using your power all over the world. you have to stop disrespecting us. we're putting our foot down. >> it's been interesting to me to note, the president -- they've been strange about the whole sanctions bill from the beginning. they were noncommittal about whether they were going to sign it. they said they haven't had it, now they've had the bill. there's a weirdness about it and the president hasn't responded in any public way to putin kicking out these personnel. what do you make of the silence there?
>> he's between a rock and a hard place. the president on the sanctions bill. on one hand if he signs it, it's acknowledging that russia did meddle in the election on his behalf, something that he's tried to misdirect in the minds of the american people since it happened. so if he signs that, he's acknowledging that it happened. that puts him in a difficult situation. if he doesn't sign it within it solidifies that he need for reality of that. so he's in a really tough place. i think he'll probably go ahead and sign it. one way or another this will become law, i believe. i think there was some republican leadership resistance in the house, not among the rank and file members but among the leaders, republican leaders to try to weaken the bill. i think we're past that. so this will become law, i'm optimistic. the question then will be how it's implemented.
how does the trump administration implement the sanctions which i do think are significant and we're going to have to watch and see how the republicans hold him to account on that. >> part of the dynamic i'm seeing here is the president is in denial about what happened. he is being investigated, his campaign is being investigated into possibly colluding with what happened. there's an e-mail in which he campaign top people met with russians who said the government wants to help you and give you dirt. at the same time it seems various parts of the republican party and the government are trying to box the president in. so you have mike pence saying this today in georgia. take a listen. >> along with all of our nato allies, the united states is contributing to the substantial package for georgia, to strengthen georgia's resilience and to bring georgia ever closer to your goal of membership in nato. >> evan, i wore we that we're
going to get the worse of both worlds, denial from the white house, a sabotage of the investigation. and then a compensatory move by russian hawks locking the two countries into a cycle of recrimination back and forth. >> well, that's certainly possible. i mean, look, i think vice president pence has been brought on since the beginning to be the normalizer in chief. that's what he's doing in georgia. he's doing the right things. but he's been trying to say the right things since he joined the team, the trump team. i don't know that there's a lot that we can take at face value from his comments other than he's trying to provide some normalcy to a very abnormal administration. >> julia, do you believe that the reverberations that russian officials understand the way that what happened in the election is reverberating?
you see people say people are interested in avoiding a new cold war, which is a good idea. you kind of have to put that behind us. rex tillerson saying we didn't talk about that. but it seems to me that's a nonstarter. everything has to run through that at a certain level because there has to be some accountability. >> i think russia is in deep denial. they have not acknowledged on an official level that they've done this and they kind of tend to drink their own kool-aid. therefore they're going to be in denial and insulted by counter measures. the other thing i want to say is it's not necessarily weird for a white house to be against sanctions imposed by congress. the obama administration tried to block the magnitsky act which americans have become familiar with because of the donald trump jr. e-mails. but they didn't want congress getting in the way of them trying to work out a relationship with moscow, of
them working out a foreign policy. it's an awkward dance between congress and the executive branch who makes foreign policy. it's not weird and unusual for this white house. there are many other things weird and unusual but this may not be it. and georgia is not going to join nato. they have a territorial dispute on their border, inside their borders created by russia in order to not allow them to join nato. it's just talk, then donald trump can pull the rug out from under. >> if i could just say, of course the executive branch and the legislative branch, they have tensions between them whenever new sanctions are on the table of obviously any president, executive branch wants the legislative branch to interfere as little as possible. this is not a normal situation. this is a president who obviously has an unhealthy relationship with russia. that's the real motivation for his resistance and attempt to weaken these oppositions. >> it isn't the only time a white house has tried to interfere with --
>> no. >> but this is not like those situations. >> agreed. >> thanks for joining me. that is all in for this evening. >> the tonight no denial in fact the white house says the president was doing what was doing what any faert would do. also special robert mueller expands the team of investigators reportedly hiring an expert in foreign bribery. one of the top political strategists in modern american politics weighs in upon a white house in crisis. he was with us on election night now back to review where we've been. james carville with us tonight as the 11th hour begins. on a tuesday night good evening once again from nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 194 of the trump administration. and this day came with an important reminder. important to rememe