tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 25, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
growing power of evidence. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. stay with msnbc tonight for continuing coverage of hurricane harvey. all in with chris hayes starts now. tonight on all in. >> russia is fake news. >> mueller ramping up his investigation seeking grand jury testimony from colleagues of paul manafort and new questions about michael flynn. >> if i did a tenth of what she did, i would be in jail. zwl then the latest on hurricane harvey. >> this is right up president trump's alley. >> how the president is dealing with his first national emergency. >> plus, more fallout. >> two of the very fine people protesting with the neo nazis. >> cabinet members compelled to explain why they won't quit! gary's committed to be here and couldn't be more excited about that. >> but the secretary and his
wife really did in kentucky and surprise, there is no plan. >> our tax reform and tax plan is coming along very well. it will be submitted in the not too distant future. >> all in starts right now. good evening from new york. tonight, the gulf coast is bracing for impact from hurricane harvey, which was just upgraded to a major category 4 storm. it's expect ed to make laund in eastern texas sometime in the next two to six hours. mandatory evacuations are in effect. over a dozen counties of what's the most powerful storm to hit the u.s. in over a decade, bringing winds up to 125 miles per hour, possible record setting rainfall and potentially catastrophic flooding. we're keeping an eye on the hurricane as it approaches and will bring you yaup dates throughout the show, but first, breaking news on the russia investigation led by robemuelle. nbc news reporting on the first
public indication that his team is now issuing subpoenas to compel witness testimony bf a grand jury. ken was part of the team that broke the story. what can you tell us? >> what nbc news is rohhing is that robert mueller has issued a series of subpoenas to compel testimony fwr a group of ex executives involved in a lobbying campaign from 2012 to 2014 on behalf of a russian backed ukrainian party. the same party that paid paul some $17 million from his latest logging edition clodisclosure. this campaign was disclosed by soassociated press back during e election in august of 2016. at the time, none of the firms involved had registered as a lobbiest for a foreign power. manafort has as well and now, the mueller team is asking questions about how the money flowed. what was this about, whether it was a legitimate lobbying campaign. but u they're not just asking, they're seeking to compel the
testimony of people before the grand jury and as you know, when you xwo go before a grand jury, if you lie, you are liable to go to jail. >> this is the first indication we have, the first concrete evidence of the reporting of compelled sub penpoenasubpoenas. >> that's right. we reported mueller has been ewing grand jury to subpoena documents. now, he's moving into the testimony mode. there may be other instances of him subpoenaing testimony. this is just the one we know about it. we can expect many months of people being called before grand juries. reporters will find out object about. we'll go to the courthouse and so hopefully, we'll be learning more about what he's up to in this investigation. >> ken, thank you very much. that's not the only breaking story on the russia investigation tonight. according to the "wall street journal," investigators are now look iing at efforts by peter w smith, a republican activist and donor, to obtain hillary clinton's deleted e-mails from
russian hackers. those efforts first reported by the journal back in june and the big question in smith's case at the time and now, is is whether he was freelancing or had the backing of the trump campaign. he presented himself acod cord tog reporting as a campaign afituate, even name dropping senior officials an recruits domes and now, investigators are taking him seriously. they are xalens whether michael flynn, the former national security adviser also key campaign survey fwat, played a role in smith's effort. conducting interviews and collecting information as part of their veinvestigation. jill, let me start with you. the peter smith strand of this is always been sort of interesting loose threat. we've got the e-mail that places the don jr. and paul manafort and jared kushner at meeting, but there's this other thing
that happened with this donor, who said he was close to the campaign, looking for hillary's e-mail from russian hackers and saying he's close to general flynn. what does it say that mueller's team is not looking into that? >> it means they're thot taking it seriously and it will be interesting. the other interesting aspect of this is that mr. smith committed suicide shortly after talking to "the wall street journal" and so we cannot get his testimony under oath. all we have is what we know so far. and that's what he told to the "wall street journal" and it implicated mr. flynn. so, we need to find out from mr. flynn whether he participated with mr. smith. >> yeah, that's an important point on this. it was only a few days, ten days before he committed suicide he talkeded to this "wall street journal" reporter. told him this whole story. was a little cagey about how close to the campaign he was. there's a security analyst who is contacted by peter smith at one point. again, the donor who was a very
connected figure. the sort of center of a lot of anticlinton work in the '90s. knows a lot of people. there was a security analyst who said look, it sounded like he was in the know on the campaign. he was pretty connected to the campaign. what do you make of this part of the story? >> i'm concerned. i'm concerned about it not just because of the potential criminal part of this, but i'm concerned because you know, the russians were able to acquire hillary clinton's e-mails or able to set up a dangle that was able the to get to someone like smith and then by extension to our short-term nsa michael flynn. that's something we should be concerneded about. at the epd of the day, the criminal part of this is incredibly important and the american public needs to know what happened and what crimes if any were convicted, perpetrated, but the other part of this is what did the russians do? clearly, they had deep and wide operation going. that door was open and do date,
i have not heard neil spent one dollar and that leaves the door open. >> you've been sort of talking about this. i want to follow up on this and get back to you for a second, jill. but you followed up. i mean, there's so much focus on the possible connection with the trump campaign and the possibility of collusion. what they were doing. but your point you're hammering home, just based on what we've seen, the party part of the iceberg above the surface, the russians were up to quite a bit here. there was a lot of different avenues of entry and what you're saying is it's unclear whether they've been rooted out, chronicled and shut down. >> that's right and look to kind of bring it home, even if donald trump pled guilty to a crime, that does not close the counterintelligence door that the russians were able to wuk through and the only way we can do that and this is the frustrating part for people in the intelligence community is that you need to spend
resources. admit this was a counterintelligence failure. the russians were successful, this was a fail ewe and there should be something akin to a 9/11 commission to understand what happened and more importantly, how to fix it. >> jill, on the earlier story we started this block with ken saying mueller is now compelling testimony, subpoenaing actual testimony before the grand jury of associates, how big a step is that? >> it's the next logical step. it's what would normally happen in an investigation. but i do want to go back to your last question. because i really do feel and have felt from the beginning, that the underlying crime here skipping ahead to the obstruction, but really just looking at the underlying crime, could potentially be so much more serious than the break in at the watergate. this is something that threatens our democracy at its very core. there were serious attempts and apparently, some successes in hacking into our electoral
system and that threatens democracy in a way that a break in at the dnc never did, so i think we have to really spend time i agree completely. you need to investigate that. even if no one in the trump campaign was involved at all. it's serious thing that needs to be investigated. >> i'm going to ask you guys to hold on. we're just getting breaking news. extremely busy news night with a hurricane barrelling towards texas, about to make landfall. first category 4 in 12 years. first one in texas since 1961. president has done two things. wurks he's issued it appears a memo about trans gender military service. essentially directing james mattis to have the ability to close the service off from trans gender members who want to serve and leaving the fate of those in the military up in the air. that happened a new hours ago and now in the midst of this moment with that category bearing down with the president at camp david, we get this.
this is the president of the united states issuing b i believe his first pardon in office and the first pardon in office using his power to pardon goes to none other than sheriff joe, the extremely controversial figure in maricopa county in arizona who was convicted for refusing to stop detaining latinos for violation of their civil rights. the president tonight granting a presidential pardon. the former sheriff, talking about his self-less public service after serving in the army, his bio, clearing him of that charge. we know that was something he essentially promised the other night when in phoenix and incredibly, incredibly controversial decision that will be faced with tremendous backlash. he just lost re-election by ten points in an area despite the fact that it was quite republican. because of u the fact largely he was perceived as being a lawless
dogged pursuer of bigoted policies directed against latinos, a court finding him criminally in contempt and him being convicted, which is quite rare to get to, and after that, the president of the united states using his first pardon to come in and say this man who a court of the united states found to be in law uless violation of the law of this country, to be, to be pardoned. jill, this is -- you know, the pardon power sort of always lurked over nixon. and when it's applied in this way, i think lawyers have some pretty strong feelings. what do you make of it? >> i am appalled and shocked. this is so much worse than anything i could have possibly envisioned. point out that president nixon did not use his pardon power and that president ford did pardon nixon and lost the election when
he ran for rele-election largel because he used that power, so despite all warnings to president trump that there might be political koconsequences fro this, i would consider a lawless act, his pardoning someone who violated civil rights at every opportunity. this is every time i think that president trump cannot go any lower or do anything worse, he surprises me and does. >> i believe we have our own justice correspondent, pete williams on the phone right now to give us more information. about this. what do we know about when this happened and why? >> well, the white house hasn't said yet what the thinking was behind it, but the president himself laid it out pretty clearly, chris. of course, the president as pointed out, the president has the total constitutional authority to pardon anybody he
likes. president can pardon people at any point. after they've been charged with a crime. while the trial's going on, after they've been convicted. the normal pattern though is for presidents to pardon people after the justice department makes a recommendation to a president typically the justice department won't recommend anyone for a pardon unless they've served at least five years of a sentence and have perhaps more significantly, expressed some remorse and of course, there's none of that here. he has insisted he never did anything wrong. he was convicted of criminal contempt after he was found in civil contempt for disobeying court orders to have his deputies stop the practice of stopping people on the street if they suspected they might be here illegally and they have nothing more than to go on than that. so no show of remorse. his lawyers said they would appeal the criminal contempt
conviction and that process is still going on. but undoubtly, the president had complete authority to do this, so this falls in the category of what you've just been talking about. a political pardons. rather than the normal pattern of following the advice of the office of pardon, attorney at the justice department. nothing can be done about this. it's the president's complete authority to do it. there's no undoing it. it's simple that's that. >> pete, i want you to stay with us for a second. i believe we have richard painter, who served under george w. bush in the ethics department particularly and richard, to pete's point about the normal process for this, coming through the pardon attorney, at the department of justice, what do you make of the president's actions tonight? >> well, i don't see how this would have made it through any normal process. this serve has been known for lawless acts for many years. i don't think he would have lasted one week as a sheriff in my home state of minnesota.
we're a law and order state. many places are. we favor law and order in the united states, but when a judge tells a shefr to do something, the sheriff does it. that's what law and order is all about. if you're in contempt of court and you're a law enforcement official, you're abusing your power. you should not be pardoned by the president of the united states. and the message is clear. the president likes sheriff joe because he was going after immigrants. he was going after minorities. and that's the clear message here. and i think it's really reprehensible. we've got to think seriously about whether donald trump is fit to be president of the united states. i've been a republican for 30 years and we've got a lot of great people in the are republican party. who can serve honor bly in the united states government and can serve as president of the united states, but this is just one more stick in the eye to minority community and those who have been victimized by the very few people in law enforcement
like sheriff joe who choose to use their power abusively and choose to ignore the orders of the judiciary and that's, that is lawlessness and should not be tolerated in the united states. >> i want to just say the statements richard's point being about the sheriff's performance in office. where he was an extremely polarizing figure. particularly reviled by latino hispan hispanic community there that had to challenge him and voted out. the president of the united states is essentially a tribute to his career. it talks about his service in 1992, the problems facing the community pulled him out of retirement to return to law enforcement. throughout his time, he continued his life's work of protecting the the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration. he's now 85 years old. after more than 50 years of admirable service, he's a worthy candidate for a presidential
pardon, so this is essentially an after informatifirmation of career if choosing to grant his first presidential pardon. naveed, i want to ask you a question, but there's an interesting subplot here, the information that the president gets. info wars t the notorious conspiracy site, was running a cover image saying that michelle obama is a man just a day ago. we know the president reads things from that site. he's appeared with alex jones, who said sandy hook was a hoax. alex jones has been campaigning for sheriff joe, joe said that he thought that it was alex jones' campaign and his ability to get his issues in front of the president that had cued up the sheriff joe pardon. what do you make of that as someone who had to deal fwh the world of intelligence and information that that's getting
the president of the united states? >> look, i've said it a thousand times. i guess 1,001 won't hurt. it's the goal of intelligence to give analyze information to a decision maker. in an unbiased fashion and the reality is that our intelligence community does that. they look at information and they present it to decision makers so that he or she can make that informed decision. when you're looking at news sources, you're getting whatever the opposite of that is and it's unfortunate, but the president has become someone who's sequestered in an ivory tower who has frankly made enemies with the intelligence community. i think the article in the about pompeo lead iing the cia's counterintelligence unit is endemic of the presidency and sort of what the intelligence community thinks about and how they're going to think about the president. this has got to drif how they present information and look, you know, you want someone who's going to look truth to power.
who's going to look at this information and see a value. see if these are people that are, have career people who have dedicated their lives to help a president make an informed decision. if he's cutting those people out and ewing alex jones, i don't know what to say other than that is incredibly worrisome. >> i want to bring in former acting director of the cia. we had booked you earlier today to talk about mike at cia and i want to get to that, but you've been a fairly outspoken critic of this president, the way he makes decisions, his interactions with the rest of the other branches of government. so i'd like your reaction to the news we just have of this pardon. >> well, you know spend most of my life analyzing foreign countries and here i've found myself here by virtue of the mess our own country is in, doing analysis of the united states as well. in this case, my sense here on
these things, both the trans gender ban and the pardon is that i think foolishly, he is working overtime to consolidate his base, which is increasingly narrow. these are are both things that will appeal to the 35 million or whatever the current number is, of people who are avidly in his corner. and one of the regrettable thing about this president is that he hasn't learned to speak to the rest of the united states. in fact, i was thinking the other day, i can't remember a time when tell me if you think this is an overstatement, when i can't identify a single individual in our government who speaks for all of the american people. >> i think that's right. it's clearly, the president often talks about his voters.
today, tom had an interesting comment. the homeland security add virz. said the president's worried about everyone in his path, those who didn't vote for him, a distinction that's front of mind for this president. since i have you here, i want to ask you about the cia right now. there was a "washington post" story about its leadership under mike pompeo, who is quite close to the president. viewed as a partisan republican. and there is concern that has leaked out at the agency. about his closeness to the president and whether that will mean that the russia investigation that's happening will be manipulated in any way because he is directly overseeing it. what do you make of that report ing? >> well, first, i think it's important to say that mike pompeo is a smart person, a person with a law degree who severed on the oversight committee and therefore understands the relationship between intelligence and
oversight and of course has a distinguished military record. i think it's important also to say that this is a director who is got an extraordinary set of circumstances and is probably walking a finer line than almost any previous director. think about it for a moment. the cia thinks of itself i think rightly as your previous guest said, as the fact witness in the u.s. government. the group that comes in and says look, you heard all the noise. here's what's really true. about what's going on. and yet, he's serving a president who clearly believes in things that are false and says them. whether it's you know u, thousands of people cheer iing r 9/11 or the list is endless. second, the cia deals often in complexity. they're the ones who will come in and say here's what's going on in the middle east, here's how to make sense of it, but they're dealing with a person
who thinks largely in 140 characters. and finally of course, the cia will have an important role in this russia investigation. inevitably through their counterintelligence shop and there's nothing the president hates more than this russia investigation. in terms of how the cia will do its business on that, i don't have frankly, i don't have great concerns. the people who work in counterintelligence and ultimately, the director, has to be, has aligned with the facts as they emerge here. it is not an agency that would i think operate in any other way. in the face of demonstrable facts that emerge in this investigation. >> i want to ask richard painter a question if we still have richard if if you're there. >> oh, yeah. zpl to what former acting director mcloughlin just said, speaking to the base.
as someone who worked in a white house that had to make decisions about when to release things at certain times. all of this coming, this news coming right now as the coun country's focus looking at a hurricane bearing down on texas. what do you make of the timing of this decision, in terms of what it says about how much they want this to be covered? >> well, they obviously put things into the friday evening news dump when they don't want massive coverage of it. i guess hurricane helps, but i don't know what kind of base they're playing to because after charlottesville, it was neo fascist alt-right and ku klux klan. that's not the base of the republican party. those kind of people we ignoreded in the bush administration. we made it clear we condemn racism. all of that stuff that trump's playing to. it is offensive and i've got to say back to sheriff joe, that he
conducted himself in a lawless way over many years and sheriff down there and a lot of people didn't like him. and he disobeyed the orders of a judge. that's just lawlessness, i am very much concerned about this, but i'm not surprised. because last novr, december, ne newt gingrich was mouthing off about how president trump could pardon anybody he wanted to who would engage in unethical behavior. i guess police brutality, obstruction of justice, contempt of court, all of that is going to get pardoned if the president thinks you're on his side. but we're talk iing about a smaller and smaller base wean wher win nowing down to the alt-right and ku klux klan. that's really very troubling for a president who is supposed to be leading the entire country. there are a loft republicans and i'm one of them, who are very k
very serious concerns. about his able thety and his abtty to continue to lead. >> i should note i feel obligated to note that the president bush racism and home phobia, did favor a constitutional amendment that would have banned marriage equality. in 2004. >> that was in the republican platform. the language that's coming out of this administration, not policy. we're talking about language that's coming out of this administration. the attacks on people. right and left. we're not discussing the policies. that are implemented, but that what said about people. not policy positions. it is really very, very extreme and this 2017, too. a lot has happened. the supreme court has ruled on gay rights and what the president is doing is clearly in
many areas contrary to the law and i don't think people going back to george w. or anything else and he's going to be doing that. he's going back to every previous president to try to justify what he's doing and he's picking the worst examples from throughout american history. and he is reaching into the confederacy and i find it very, very troubling. >> i have joe banks with us and john and jill, i want to ask you this. as something that richard mentioned. do you think a signal is being sent with this? i ask you for thissen are. this is someone who's a political, a prominent political endorser of the president. he appealed ed early rallies. he violated court orders. is that sending a signal in your mind to other people particularly with the possibility of criminal
conviction hang iing over the heads of the people involved in the russia investigation? >> it would except i think by now, the president is aware that if he pardons these people, preempi preempively, they can then be forced to testify to test against him. who knows anything about his role in obstruction of justice or in working with the russians. they will no longer have a fifth ament and can be compelled to testify. then have them either refuse to testify, be held in contempt and do what he did with the sheriff, which is then he'll pardon them again. it is really so contrary to everything that our constitution stands for and is honestly, i maybe polly anna, but i don't think his base is as vile as he is making it out to be. because the only thing he's pandering to i think richard is
exactly right. is to the clue clux clan and the neonazis, the total fascists that are rearing their head now. the issue with the trans gender is exactly the same. i've recently served on a pentagon committee and had a lot of contact with generals. who care whether there is a transgender member. one u of them even told me one of his best soldiers was a transgender soldier. they don't care. so this is an unnecessary step. i watched as general consult of the army, as much enthusiasm at that time as possibly he is now feeling about integrated transgenders. >> good point. >> it went splendidly. the women performed admirably and have now risen to very high rank. we now have a number of four star, three star, two star generals who happen to have have been women. and the same will happen with
transgenders if we allow it to happen and we should. >> john, there's a question here about the constitutions holding and rule of law and i think that's both when we talk about the pardon, the russia investigation and firing of james comey and with mike pompeo, the terms to which political interfeens to manipulate processes and manipulation will mean that the sort of basic institutional nature of the government falls apart. i want to return to something you said, which you're confident that's not the case here. explain more about what you've seen in these first seven months that makes you confident about that. >> i think in a way one could say that to a degree, important degree, the rails are holding against a lot of the things that trump has tried to do. whether it's the congress or intelligence committee but to
stick with the intelligence community for a moment, there's nothing more sacred in the intelligence business than its objectivity. nothing more sacred than the belief they are there to look at events in the world dispassionately. almost klinely and come in and give their best assessment of things. i believe they are doing that. i'm not in the room. but i know my former colleagues and i know that at any time in the past, when that has been challen challenged, when that has been in any way jeopardize ejeopardis close to a rebellion within the ranks. there are times within my past when i would say to someone who was pushing us to say something or do something that we believed to be incorrect or false, i would say to them, if we were to do that, there would be a revolution in this building.
the assurance we can have is very strong. if trump was elected, i said to a number of people, look, the institutions that are going to be most important in our country at this time are the intelligence community. the judiciary. the media. the congress. and to a certain degree, institutions beyond those. but those kind of core institutions that represent respect for fact, that represent rule of law, separation of powers. although we could wish for more spine being shown in some parts of the republican party, i think they are holding. >> imt to take moment to reset for folks that may just be joining us because there's a tremendous amount happening.
as a massive hurricane is just hours from making landfall in texas with potentially catastrophic and life threatening flooding, president trump has just pardoned the sheriff and the white house issued guidance to the pentagon that bans transgenders in the military up in the air. that comes as we have new -- from the top of the hour. from former colleagues of paul manafort. get this. reports that the controversy depu deputy gor ga has resigned from the white house. he mostly appeared to go on
television, performance former brit bart contributor, appears to have resigned. multiple reports are saying that. still with me. i don't know if you have strong feelings about him. just say a flamboyant in a certain way. what do you make of that news? >> i think it's an insult. look, first of all, it should be noted there are two gorkas in the white house. his wife is still very much in the administration and i am concerned she stays on sebastian, from his add virz, he's not a terrorism expert. he was involved in the white house. it's unclear he did anything. his ability to come in and influence policy while that might have been there on the tv
side, not so sure what he did. he was a polarizing figure in the sense there's an appeal to this fringe element of white supremacists and nazis and clearly, he had an appeal to them. he was someone caught wearing if i recall correctly, a symbol that heart attacked back to the sort of hungarian nazi connection. these are not the people we need in the white house to represent our government. >> talking about this sort of importance of information getting the president, what do you make of what do you make of gorka being in the white house apparently advising on national? >> i saw him as a disruptive force almost in some respects. not quite a comic figure, but i think this is a victory for john
kelly and mcmaster. to have that particular point of view not front and center in the white house. k i think most of what he had to say was easily challenged and way over the top. and often just flat wrong. >> getting a sense john of how you communicate information to the presidents you served. pointed, but diplomatic. i want to back to do we have charlie now? crazy night for a friday in august. we're going to get to that many a moment which is about to make landfall. a lot to be worried about. but i want to talk to you about these two bits of news, the ar
pie o pardon and gorka resigning. what do you make of that and what do you make f the timing of that and issue on transgender guidance as a hurricane barrels down on texas. >> no, both those questions are interesting because clearly, when people talked about steve bannon leaving the white house, how it would change the presidency. obviously, it has not changed the presidency fundamentally. these are signals to the base to the bannon base that the president is still there. to bury on a friday night in august now with hurricane coming sends a different signal, but look. the pardon is an extraordinary thing. you've touched on every aspect of this, including what a big victory this is for people roik alex jones and the fever swamp.
to push back against the overreach. this is about the rule of law and donald trump is testing the limit of presidential power and what he did tonight was to flex his muscles and to say look, there are people who are above the law. there are things for which we have no checks and balances, no going back on this. i think that the people need to realize this is a president who i think is completely capable of using this kind of pardon power u to eck tra kate himself from the russia investigation, so i think the it's legitimate to raise those questions that really what you're having here is laying out the template. i am the president. i can do this, no one is stop me. this is kind of a revelation to a lot of americans who think that our system of checks and balances actually is more than just a metaphor.
it's only for federal crimes so, the president can't pardon state krips. in the past or preeffortively, the president has pardon power and only check on it is essentially political. that's the key part here. you wouldn't say pard aen mass murders, because that would hurt you politically and you're a political creature. there's a political calculation with every pardon and with one here is obvious. >> yes we have 35% of americans who basically have decided whatever donald trump does, they're going back. this is what a cult of personally looks like. we ha
we are in difficult moment here. we're going to go along with this stuff. turns out mexico paying for the wall has a scam. wooir going to draw the line at pardoning people who have broken the law. that is not going to be the red line for a lot of the trump base and once again, it's going to be interesting to see what will the reaction be of congressal republicans to the transgender ban. remember when he tweeted it out, he got a lot of push back, a lot of people in congress said this is a bad idea, this sepulvedas the wrong message. what will the push back be from the law enforcement community and from congress to the joe arpio, which is a pretty dramatic, pretty gross statement by the president on this friday night. sfwl yeah. i just want to be clear. jill, because ooiz like you to respond. what he was doing was essentially sending his officers to roam the streets and say
demabd the papers of anyone they viewed as possibly here in an undocument it had fashion, which was people with a skin color. the court said you can't do that. it's a violation of our constitutional protections and he kept doing that. then the court had to convict him to get him to stop. that is quite a message to send. >> that is a very, very big deal. and it is his crime really a violation of her institution. of what this country means that it is horrible that you would pardon it, but it is exactly consistent with everything else that president trump has done. trz he has no respect for the constitution. he acts in a way where he speaks when he speaks honestly so say what he means. and again, i have to say i feel better having heard richard
painter and director mcloughlin. i would add to the list of institutions that i have great faith ultimately in the american people. and although there are a certain percentage who will stick with mr. trump, who even half of all republicans in a poll said they would agree to postpone the 2020 election if president trump asked them to. that's fascism. no longer a democracy fchl you like him, vote for him. but don't cancel the election. people would be more honest. >> what american citizens are willing to assent to when asked. if you're just cruising around trying to figure out what's going on this friday in august, our lower third gives you a sense of what is happening as that massive hurricane is hitting in texas. gar kai has resigned. a lot of people had no business work ng the white house.
the first presidential pardon comes for a man who's criminally quicked of contempt of court for pursuing unconstitutional racial profiling. new subpoenas being issued by robert mueller, the first time we have evidence of compelled the testimony, all that happening at this hour as that hurricane set to make landfall. we have the great columnist here from "the washington post." >> slow news night. >> i have so say there was all this stuff about the pardon going into the phoenix rally. and all this reporting then sarah huckabee sanders said no, we're not going to do anything on it. i think i came to believe they weren't then he sort of promised to do it. he sort of had a kind of almost ponto pontous pilate. are you surprised he did it? >> no. if there was any doubt in
anyone's mind that law and order was code for make iing it easieo harass people of color k this is confirmation. i would also point out that this is is a direct attack on our institution. and on the independence of our federal judiciary. there was a lot of concern during the campaign about the fact that he attacked a judge of mexican decescent. this is so much worse. because the crime that he is being pardoned for is effectively not following the constitution because a judge determined what his officers were doing was harassment, discrimination. he refused to court order. this is trump saying to the public, agri, we shouldn't listen to what judges say. >> what do you think lawyers in the white house should do about this? >quit. >> i wouldn't want to be a lawyer for this president.
and you know, sheriff joe was engaged in lawless law enforcement. 99% of cops in america. 99% of sheriffs do their job. and risk their live every day for our safety. and we have a very small number of bad cops and bad sheriffs. very small number. less than 1% and he's one of them. he should have never have gotten that pardon. we should not tolerate that in the united states and i now e i see what's going on here. to get rid of gor qka was a rea clown ch didn't know anything b about terrorism other than trying to condemn a billion muslims in the world and call them all terrorists. in order to get rid of him. president trump needs to throw a bone to the you know, the neo fascist right. that is not a basic 35% of american people. that's a base that's maybe 3.5% or 5% of american people. unfortunately, that's a base that may make a difference in
republican primaries because so few people are showing up to vote in the primaries. and that's what happened here. these are people that he used to defeat a whole bunch of other candidates. never even got the majority of the votes. just a plurty. went in there and used these people. to get the republican nomination. but it was a very small percentage of american people who would sympathize with someone like sheriff joe and think he ought to get a pardon. at least we got rid of gorka because showing up on the tv in front of the white house making a clown of himself all the time. and didn't know anything about what's going on in the middle east. then he was wearing the medal that nazi sympathizer organizational the inaugural ball. there are a bunch more people in the white house we need to get rid of. a lot of them came in through the so-called alt-right breitbart affiliation. >> thank you so much.
for your time tonight. i understand we have to let you go now. i want to go to john because we do have now nbc news confirmation of the reports about gorka resigning. we assume he was pushed out. and this appears to be part of a larger effort that's been undertaken by mcmaster and it appears john kelly to sort of exile and push out some of the more fringe elementing who have been brought in. is that how you read it? >> i do, chris. i sat in the situation room in what they call deputiy and principals meetings. these are the most serious meetings that take place in united states. there's no place no room for ideology coming to the floor.
they have to be focused on fact. conducted by people in this case, mcmaster. john kelly, i hope is present. who have some eck appearanxperi the world works, what war is. what geo politics amounts to in a practical sense i think what's going on is an attempt to shape that process to a process that's more conventional. not open to novel ideas and so forth, but more serious would be another way to put it. these are all enormously comb plex things that are interconnected and you can't deal with them in slogans, bumper stickers or tweets for that matter. in fact, it's counterproductive
to do so. so that's how i read this. there there's an effort underway by adults in white house to be responsible and to make sure we are shepherds our national security decisions in an effective way. that's my hope. >> to the point of tweets. one more piece of new, north korea apparently launched some ballistic missile tests, i believe three missiles. they appear to have all failed. at least early reports indicating that. some successes we've seen with recent tests launch. when you said it can't be haneled in a tweet, i was taken back to just two weeks ago when we were watching nuclear brinks manship via 140 characters. on this swirls night of news on a friday night in august, i want to bring in -- who is the democratic congressman from arizona. who has tangled politically and
publicly with joe for years and get your reaction to this pardon news. >> it's, there's a level of sadness to it. to it. it was anticipated from his rally on tuesday, trump kind of indicated to the crowd, wink wink, nod nod, don't worry about it, i'll take care of it. so it was anticipated. but the sadness comes from not only is he pardoning arpaio who was convicted of racial profiling, selective prosecution of individuals, primary latinos in maricopa county and the state, he's not just pardoning an individual because he deserves a pardon, if you follow the rule of law. what we're doing here is pardoning his actions and his acts, which is more than a profound whistle to the extremists that support trump, the people, many of them at the
rallies, that see this kind of action as part of being presidential. i think it's bad for the country, it further divides and undermines it, it further marginalizes people because of who they are and what the color of their skin is. >> congressman, thank you for joining us for that reaction. this late-breaking news. catherine, there was something you wanted to say. >> about gorka. we should bear in mind it's not only that he didn't add value in his role in the white house because he didn't actually know anything about islam. he was actually creating harm. there was recently a terrorist attack, i think it was a mosque or an islamic center, he said the white house couldn't come out against it and call it an act of terrorism because it mike a fake hate crime. >> this was in minnesota, a week and a half ago. >> it feels like so much longer.
yes, recently. so he was clearly passing along that advice within the white house and projecting it out to the rest of the world. it's not only that he didn't know anything. but he was, you know, polluting the water, basically. and encouraging people to second-guess actual discrimination, actual acts of terrorism that were occurring. >> the reporting indicated that part of the reason he had managed to hang on as long as he was able to is because he went on tv a lot. >> that seemed to have been his only job. >> his only job. charlie, to me this is in some ways one of the most disturbing commonalities across a range of issues is what comes into the president's purview, where he gets his information from. we've read articles saying john kelly is trying to say it, and the president starting his day clearly watching cable news and tweeting it, and joe arpaio thinking that alex jones is the one that made the difference,
and that don junior is going to pass him the infowars article. that seems to me a central challenge right now. >> it's a central challenge and it's an unsolvable dilemma. you have the adults in the room, yes, they got rid of a goof like sebastian gorka, but let's talk about what's happening tonight. we have the adults in the room, hopefully they're handling the hurricane. but where were the adults when he issues the order on the transgender ban in the military? where were the adults when he, you know, pardons joe arpaio and sending the dog whistle that he did there. you know, where were they during the rally in phoenix, the unhinged rant? this is the problem. you can change, you can rearrange the deck chairs, but this presidency is about donald trump. and donald trump is going to get his news from "fox and friends," he's going to read the drudge report, he's going to read alex jones, he's going to watch sean
hannity. i don't know how we're going to stop or change that. >> can we bring up the hurricane image again? the hour draws near for that hurricane to make landfall. it's worth taking a moment to sort of reset that. that is a category 4 hurricane that's bearing down. it's going to make landfall a little northeast of corpus christi, which is good news. the first little bit of good news we've gotten about that hurricane. there's a large evacuation area, i think it's a dozen counties, if i'm not mistaken at this point. the wind speeds are 130 miles per hour. the forecasts that are happening for that hurricane right now are shocking in the amount of rain that's going to dumped on that region of the country. we're looking at up to 35 inches of rain. in 2015, you had 11 inches of rain in houston and it caused massive flooding. houston looking to get two to three times that amount in the city of houston over the next three or four days, because that storm is going to sit there. so this is a very big storm.
it's the first category 4 to make landfall in 12 years, the first category 4 to hit texas since 1961. there's going to be a lot of folks who will have to do their jobs. one of the things we've been talking about is the president's information and the ability of the civil service to function independent of the dysfunction the white house. that's a big question. this question has not faced a crisis or emergency so far, except those of his own making, really in the first period of this administration. right now everyone's crossing their fingers that the civil servants up and down the bureaucracies, federal, can do what they need to do. >> right. and it's not that we've had such great history with fema even in previous administrations. when there are these big crises, it's always difficult. one underappreciated aspect of what could potentially happen is texas or that part of the country has the highest number of oil refineries in the
country, right? and so there's enormous potential for an environmental disaster, beyond the usual people being displaced from their homes and that sort of thing. you don't have the people in place that you need at the e.p.a. either. again, it's not as if trump is committed particularly to putting resources there. so there are a lot of things that can go wrong. >> john, let me ask you this. how much does the operational level of a government that's operating, and obviously intelligence is different than, say, disaster response, but there's a commonality in the sense that you have bureaucracies that function with 99% of them are nonpoliticals, right? there's folks that are career folks who have jobs, and they go and they do them every day. and there's people at the cap of the snow top mountain who are there as appointees. how much does it matter, ultimately? is it the case that the sort of functioning of that machinery can happen even if there's chaos
at the top? >> the short answer, countrihri yes, mostly. that's one reason i hate the concept that came out of the trump administration or was ballyhoo'd by it of the deep state and the swamp, all of that. essentially they're talking here about some of the most dedicated, committed people in the united states. public servants get a really bad rap. and in most of these institutions that we call departments and agencies, there are below the political level, people who come in every day, are dedicated to what they're doing, do it because they believe it's meaningful, care deeply about their work. if you go to a federal retirement ceremony somewhere, probably the most frequent thing said is, i'm going to miss the people here because they care so deeply about what they do. now, of course, are there bureaucrats who are bureaucrats? of course.
but fundamentally, let me put this a different way, one of the things i worry about here is that in many ways, the trump administration, the president in particular, has carried out a kind of assault on our institutions. whether it's the judiciary or the media or some other institution. at the end of the day, having looked at democracies and authoritarian societies around the world, democracies succeed in large part because of the health and strength of their institutions. it's the way countries are organized, it's the way they function. our country, at the institutional level, the government level, the level you asked about, functions rather well on a comparative basis, looking at the rest of the world. so this doesn't mean we shouldn't worry about the president, and some of the things that he does that bother us. but there is a certain elasticity and resiliency in the government that we can be
thankful for. >> jill, what is your sense of, given the news that we started this hour with as we get down to the final stretch here, how close are they on the mueller side of this? because you've got a midnight raid or early dawn raid of paul manafort, you've got business associates of him, part of that $60 million contract, coming before a grand jury. it seems like it's closing in in that respect. >> it's hard to predict, even when you're the prosecutor with all the knowledge, how fast you'll be able to wrap up an investigation. and none of us knows what information they actually have. witnesses can come out of the grand jury and tell the public what they said. but no one in the prosecution for us can tell us, and no one has. so we don't really know. but clearly there is a focus on at least some of the connections to russia and ukraine, some of the financial wrongdoing.
and we don't know what documents they already have, so we don't know what kind of questions will be asked of those witnesses. but it certainly is possible that they're wrapping -- that they will wrap this up quickly. >> jill wine-banks, john mclaughlin, thanks for bearing with us through this somewhat insane news hour. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts with ari melber who is pulling a double shift for rachel, you've got a lot in store, ari. >> thank you, chris. a lot of the news has changed as well. have a good weekend. thanks to you at home for joining us. rachel does have the night off. this is not just an incredibly busy night. it is getting to be a wild night. we continue to watch this life-threatening category 4 hurricane that is