tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC May 21, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
confidence and added so nobly to the history. rest in peace. thank god your words will survive you. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. tonight on "all in" -- >> i'm very disappointed in my justice department. i have decided that i won't be involved. >> the president demands an investigation. >> i may change my mind at some point because what's going on is a disgrace. >> tonight the fallout from trump's meeting with rosenstein and wray. how the president is attempting to eviscerate the rule of law, and what it means for the mueller probe and beyond. >> the department of justice is not going to be extorted. then -- people are trying to reach out all the time with this. >> fallout from the explosive news of a second trump tower meeting with foreign powers the looking to help the trump campaign. >> listen, i think politics is a dirty game. and the democrats find a rallying cry to take back the government.
>> the most compromised, corrupt administrations in history. >> when "all in" starts right now. >> good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. the president has now crossed one of the brightest red lines in the american rule of law, demanding the department of justice open a politically motivated investigation designed to sabotage the criminal and counterintelligence probably into the president's own campaign, into his family and close associates, and of course into the president himself. it's a straight forward as that. the president is now in front of all of us, as we're all watching, attempting to use federal law enforcement as a political weapon to get himself out of very serious legal jeopardy. and in a certain perverse way, it kind of makes sense since no president in history arguably has faced this much legal peril on this many fronts. his former deputy campaign chairman and national security adviser both plead guilty to felonies and have been cooperating with investigators
for months. his long-time lawyer, business associate, one of the men he is closest to is under investigation, has been braid the fbi, and could be indicted at any moment. and we just learned his own son held multiple meetings with agents of foreign governments offering help in the 2016 campaign. that's just the tip of the iceberg. now, it also turns out that the fbi back in 2016 was so alarmed by the trump campaign's various suspicious contacts with russia, it reportedly sent an informant to meet with three different campaign aides starting the summer before the election. and now the president, his lawyer, and his allies in congress are trying to use that incriminating fact in a kind of weird jujitsu move to discredit the investigation itself. just a few weeks ago, the president warned us this moment might come. >> i've taken the position, and i don't have to take this position, and maybe i'll change, that i will not be involved with is the justice department. i have decided that i won't be involved.
i may change my mind at some point, because what's going on is a disgrace. and hour justice department, which try and stay away from, but at some point, i won't. there. >> you go. at some point i won't. and that point seems to have arrived. the president tweeting yesterday, "i hereby demand and will do so officially tomorrow. the department of justice look into whether or not the fbi/doj infiltrated or surveilled the trump campaign for political purposes and if any such demands or requests were made by people in the obama administration. for now, the justice department has asked its inspector general to review the issue instead of opening a full-blown criminal investigation. rosenstein saying in a carefully worded statement, quote, if anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, key wording there, we need to know about it and take appropriate action. but this is not over, no, no,
no, no. far from it. the president and his allies are going to keep escalating until they meet hard resistance or until they succeed in derailing the mueller probe. they've already signaled they won't accept the inspector general's findings. >> it will not be enough to have rod rosenstein and others of the department of justice investigate themselves. we got enough investigations where the justice department is investigating themselves. more than almost anything we've discussed in the past, this is a basis to appoint a second special counsel. >> for weeks the president's congressional allies led by house intelligence chairman devin nunes have been pushing to expose the fbi's confidential source over the strenuous objections of the justice department. today with the president's backing, they won what could be another major concession. according to the white house it was agreed that chief of staff john kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the fbi, doj and dni together with congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested. joining me now is the national security reporter for the waste
post for more on what happened in the meeting with the president and justice department officials. what do we know what happened in that meeting today? >> i think one point about what happened in the meeting today is president trump personally wanted these guy there's to answer these questions. i think that's particularly significant. so what happened? rod rosenstein, chris wray, dan coates go over to the white house there is some talk about this document request. congress has been beating the drum for the justice department to turn over documents about this confidential source who brushed up against the trump campaign, as part of the russia investigation. they come to an agreement, which is pretty surprising. the justice department had seemed to draw a red line over turning over documents about this source. but the agreement doesn't exactly make them do that. they agree to come back for another meet which john kelly will apparently spearhead, and they'll provide information to some lawmakers, i guess, about this source that does seem to be the justice department going a little farther than maybe they
otherwise would have. but they have briefed lawmakers in the past. so maybe this is the department sort of playing bureaucratic, just making a bureaucratic move to get the white house off its back, fleece temporarily. that is how it's being widely interpreted, i think. to circle back to the first point you make. this is the president of the united states whose own campaign is the subject of a counterintelligence investigation. it's well established. we've known that for over a year. summoning two of the people supervising that investigation to intervene in that investigation in the white house, right? >> it's really interesting. look, the president is the chief executive. the justice department is a part of the executive branch. so he's got to meet with these guys. but in this context, it's pretty weird. he is meeting with them a day after he has essentially ordered an investigation of the investigation of his campaign. that's pretty weird. >> and it's also fairly unusual for the president to have any kind of interaction about
specific investigations. even if it didn't have to be the president, right? in terms of my understanding of the protocol, if barack obama were to summon the head of the fbi and the attorney general of the white house to talk about the robert menendez, bob menendez investigation, democratic senator, that would be viewed as highly unusual, correct? >> yeah. so there are protocols in the justice department. while the justice department is part of the executive branch, the president exerts his authority over it usually on big policy questions, you know, on immigration, on our policy for charging all sorts of suspects, getting involved in individual investigations is sort of frowned upon. if he thought there was great fraud or waste and abuse at the justice department, sure, i guess you would want the president to get involved. but when it touches him, that makes it pretty unique. and others would point out, look, there isn't quite the evidence to back up the charge that he is making, at least not yet about this informant. he is saying, well, this guy was embedded in my campaign and spied on my campaign. we don't quite see the evidence
for that yet. so he is asking for an investigation of the investigation of him, and does he even really have the predicate to do that? i think those are two interesting points. >> right. investigations can't be launched for no reason. they have to have a factual predicate. one more point that seems worth noting here, i just wanted to see where you are on this, we understand nbc's reporting the fbi did warn the president in 2016 that summer that the russians were trying to infiltrate his campaign. this is not -- the idea that we're concerned there are people trying to get to you was not kept from him as far as we understand. >> sure. now that said, i do think there are some interesting questions that still have to be answered about this source, how the fbi used him, what the fbi directed him to do. but i would also say that the fbi using confidential sources, that's what they do when they're running investigations. that's a lot less intrusive than put aguirre up on somebody or kicking in the door to somebody's house. this is what they do. while i agree that i would love to know more information about this guy, this is the fbi does.
and it doesn't necessarily mean there is anything untoward what they did. >> "washington post" matt zabatosky. i'm joined by chris murphy of connecticut. lots of talk about words like constitutional crisis and things like that and saturday night massacre. where are we today after what the president did today? >> we're getting really close. i worry that the justice department is starting to become complicit in the erosion of our democracy. they very clearly buckled here. whether it's to save individuals' jobs, we don't know. but listen, the president is not to be afforded under the constitution any greater protection from investigation or prosecution than you or i, if there was an investigation occurring into either of us, and we had not been charged, we couldn't go to the fbi or to the law enforcement agency that was in charge of that investigation and ask for information about their sources and methods and information because that would be helpful to us in covering up
our tracks, as it will potentially be to the president as he starts to get information about a pending investigation into his wrongdoing. so i'm very worried about what happened today. clearly the justice department still has to go through this internal investigation, but the very fact that they are beginning to crack greatly worries me. >> the president saying this about handing over documents, to your point. if fbi or doj was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that's a really big deal. only release or review documents the house intelligence committee, or the senate judiciaries can give conclusive answers. drain the swamp. do you fear the president is trying to get the documents for his own defense? >> first of all a, there is absolutely no credible evidence that the allegations the president is making is true. so if the precedent gets set that the president can make a wild allegation and thus becomes -- and thus the department of justice is required to give him and all of his friends evidence and information about their investigation, then there is no
evidence. the president will get everything. and ultimately, be much more successful in stymieing the investigation. i really worry that once this precedent gets set, wh once the justice department starts to share investigatory information, we'll never be able to stop it. >> you're up for reelection this year, aren't you, senator murphy? >> i am. >> you were nominated a few days ago in the convention there in connecticut. what happens if the president tweets i demand the doj investigate chris murphy? >> right. listen, that's why there is a reference, there has been this very clear separation between the president and his justice department. and democracy starts to crumble when the executive can start to use his enforcement agency for political reasons. and if he can demand that they change an investigation into himself and into his friends, what's to stop him from using that power of the justice
department to come after the rest of us? so, again, there are really important walls being torn down today between the president of the united states and the justice department. and once they get torn down, i worry that you can't put them back up again. >> one of your colleagues, republican colleagues southern cornyn, he is the number two senate republican, had this to say. i think the special counsel needs to wrap things up as soon as he can consistent with accomplishing the job he has been given. i would think so that he would finish before the midterm, saying miller's team should avoid what happened with the clinton probe. this seems to be an emerging consens consensus, more and more republicans calling for this to wrap up. >> mueller has to go until he has found the truth. and the fact of the matter is, as he continues to get more guilty pleas, as he continues to get more individuals close to the president who are willing to cooperate with him, he is likely finding new avenues of investigation that he has to pursue. so i think mueller has to
continue this investigation into it reaches its logical end. i understand republicans want it to go away. i understand the president wants to it go away as more of his friends are being rolled up. but that's not the job that he was given by deputy attorney general rosenstein. his job was to find out whether there was any collusion between the president and the russian government. and i have a feeling he is not close to the end. >> i want to ask you also before i let you go, ten americans, ten people murdered on friday with a gun in a school three months or so after parkland. this is an issue that you have been incredibly forthright on and focused on. is congress any closer to doing anything now than in the days after the parkland massacre? >> i think a shooter could walk into a school and kill 100 people and republicans wouldn't bring a debate on gun violence before the house of representatives or the senate. i think republicans have made it very clear that they have no intention to debate the issue of
gun violence in the senate or the house before the mid terms because they don't want to expose their members to votes that would make them very unpopular as they head to the polls. what i do know is that congress's silence is giving an effective green light to these shooters. i really do believe that these troubled young men who are contemplating acts of violence have noticed that the highest levels of government have offer nod meaningful condemnation to the acts of previous shooters, and in their minds that pervert that silence into permission. so i do believe that there is blood on all of our hands if we don't step forward and pass meaningful legislation to try to stop this. these are copycat killings, and these killers are taking some very strange and unintentional signal from our silence. >> senator chris murphy, thanks for your time tonight. >> thanks. all right. here to break down what all the of the day's news, nancy gertner and paul butler, a former
federal prosecutor. i've seen debate in legal circles about rosenstein's reaction from the president's demand to this action. i want to get your reaction. paul, i'll start with you. what do you think of kind of saying yes but shunting it over to the ig in a punt? >> the president has ignored all of the ethical and procedural guidelines of the department and hereby demands an investigation? i know rod rosenstein. he knows better than this. this is not how the system is supposed to work. so in the worst case scenario, rod rosenstein is being played by president trump just like president trump played him to get him to write that memo justifying the firing of james comey. the best case is that he's trying to appease the president to avoid a saturday night massacre. but chris, you can't apiece a
tyrant. you can't mollify a despot. all you do is embolden him. >> nancy, what do you think? >> well, i think he is trying to do by indirection what he knows and has been told he shouldn't do by direction. in other words, what he wants to do is fire rosenstein. what he wants to do is fire mueller. so i think what he is doing is setting up trip wires, you know, that if you don't do this, then that provides the justification to take action against ros rosenste rosenstein. i agree with paul that it's unfortunate that rosenstein complied, although it is a sort of half-baked compliance, as you said at the top of the hour that looking for inappropriate influences through an informant rather than appropriate inferences. so it's a little bit of a weasel, and sending it to the ig is also not having -- not distorting the department of justice to do this kind of investigation. but it really is sort of
manipulating it by indirection and accomplishing the same task. >> again, i'm not a lawyer. i'm following this very closely and talking to a lot of people both sort of anonymously and who work in government. i think we're watching the president rattle the cage. and it's a question about whether it's going to break at this point. paul, you worked in the public corruption unit, right? >> i did. i worked with rod rosenstein. and again, that's why i understand that he gets it. you know, he said that the department of justice will not be extorted. today we got pretty close. and the concern, chris is rod rosenstein and bob mueller are all we have to ensure that the rule of law continues in the united states. rod, please protect us. save us from the despot you are working for. >> nancy? >> when you step back from this, again, you have to sort of keep on thinking about what the usual response should have been.
so if there was a concern that people that he has described as lesser functionaries in his campaign, he didn't know carter page, he didn't know papadopoulos very much, if that were true, then why shouldn't this matter? why wouldn't you say yee gee, let's goat to the bottom of this that some peripheral character was talking to the russians and i'm glad you got to the bottom of this. that's not the way he is doing this and he is creating more smoke. >> yes, this is not about national security or the integrity of our justice system. this is about the president's criminal defense. rudy giuliani said today that any secret documents that are turned over to congress, the president's defense team should also get them. again, that's unconscionable. it's impossible to imagine this happening in any other administration except the trump administration. >> i just feel like the red line here, nancy, is very clear to me. if it is the case the president of the united states can order,
can hereby demand the department of justice, the fbi to open investigations with no factual predicate, even with a factual predicate, he shouldn't be initiating it, but without anything just because he watched a knocks news segment, that's it. that's the whole ball game. the president could go out tomorrow and say there are six democrats running for senate in the reelection in red states, and i want investigations on joe donnelly and claire mccaskill and every other one. and then we've got essentially a nonfunctional rule of law. >> well, no, if you remember, a couple of years ago during the obama administration, there was a great brouhaha, appropriate, about whether the irs was manipulating its investigations for political purpose. >> yes. >> investigating not for profits. this is so much more than that. the president can say i think you should look into this. the president, as any citizen can, refer something to the doj for investigation. this criminality came to my attention and therefore you should look at it. but what he can't do is direct
them to investigation. he directs them to consider, brings it to their attention. >> yeah. >> frames the outer limits of what he is interested in. but he can't say you must investigate. the other thing is his language is so chilling. my department of justice? mr. president, it's not your department of justice. >> his pray torrian guard. nancy gertner and paul butler, great to have you both. next, should anybody believe rudy giuliani when he claims what robert mueller tells him? another source blows up that rudy giuliani claim in two minutes. feel the clarity of non-drowsy claritin and relief from symptoms caused by over 200 allergens. like those from buddy. because stuffed animals are clearly no substitute for real ones. feel the clarity. and live claritin clear. i'm your phone,istle text alert. stuck down here between your seat and your console, playing a little hide-n-seek.
president trump's confrontation with the justice department is just one part of the broad effort to fight the mueller investigation in public. rudy giuliani is even trying to pass along tidbits about what robert mueller supposedly told him, and clearly trying to jam muler into a corner by doing so. the executive editor of the
legal blog the law and joyce vance is a former legal prosecutor and professor. i'll start with you, ellie. robert s. mueller shared his timeline over negotiations whether mr. trump will be questioned by investigators, adding mr. mueller's office said the date, which is september 1 according to this reporting was contingent on mr. trump sitting for questioning. do you buy it? >> it's sad where we live in the world where we have to treat these fever dreams as if they're possible realities, right? giuliani is trying to force a timeline on this thing as if we're playing basketball, but it's not basketball, it's baseball. >> right. >> you're going to have to get seven men out before this is over. the investigation will be over when the investigation is over and not a moment before. >> what do you think, joyce? >> i tend to agree. i think it's unfortunate that we we've reached a point in this
investigation where when rudy giuliani comes forward and claims that he is channeling what the mueller investigation is going to do, we have to qualify that as that by saying giuliani says, because over and over he has been proven to be wrong. in this case, this investigation will be done when bob mueller has decided who to indict, who not to indict and what to include in his report. and it won't be any time before that. >> and yet the strategy here to me is clear. ty cobb who has been fired. >> and was actually good at his job. >> ty cobb's whole thing was look, we're cooperating because the president didn't do anything wrong. obviously we don't love being investigating, bev but we want to wrap it up. we're cooperating. this is giuliani on offense against mueller and he is trying to sabotage and jam him up. >> "saturday night live" literally got it right this weekend when giuliani's strategy seems to be even if we did obstruct justice, even if we did collude with russia, so what. that seems to be the strategy right now. no matter what happens, so what because the president magically
makes everything okay. >> he is contending the president can't be subpoenaed. experts bash giuliani claim mueller can't subpoena trump. there are a few outliers, but most people seem to think that yes, robert mueller can subpoena the president. >> you know, he likely can be subpoenaed. and even aside if that technical legal question, chris, what giuliani is doing is running the strategy that defendants who are guilty run. he is trying the investigators, trying to prosecutors. he's using technical legal arguments you can't subpoena me as opposed i have done nothing wrong. and over time this increasingly gives the impression there is something to hide, and that that something is serious and significant. >> there is also this thing he is doing we want to cooperate, but. things just keep coming up. we'll cooperate but first we have to learn more about this informant. >> this most recent informant red herring, right? i'm sure many crime bosses would love to know who the snitch, right? but it kind of doesn't work that
way. look, if trump wants to know what information they have on him, if he gets indicted, that's when he will be entitled to discovery, and not a moment before. the critical thing, though, and i totally agree with professor butler in your last segment, the critical thing is at what point will the justice department itself, will the institutions themselves start to stand up to trump as opposed to their current posture, which is rosenstein tends to roll over on his belly, roll over on his back and show trump his belly and say please don't hurt me, i'm so innocuous. at some point the institutions have to stand up and tell these trump people no, you can't visit, just because you asked for it. >> what do you think of, that joyce? >> so i disagree that deputy attorney general rosenstein is rolling over and showing the white house his belly. i think that he and chris wray, the director of the fbi are trying to walk a very narrow tightrope. it's a difficult time to be in the justice department. i don't think that we can make
any pretense that it isn't. they are trying to permit a very important investigation to continue while at the same time upholding the traditions of the justice department. the issue that they'll ultimately have to confront is how far those traditions can bend before they break. it's not an easy job, but it's two fine men trying to do the right thing in a difficult time. >> and i think we're already broken. i think the part where the institution have broken are behind us. and now we need to be in the phase where we have to figure out what to do now that they're gone. and how we're going to fight now that trump has, as you put it in your last segment, crossed every red line imaginable. >> the question becomes what he does next, right? if this is a sort of incentive for -- sorry, incentive for him to keep going with ask and what that next ask might be. joyce vance and eli mystal, thank you. previously not reported, but
perhaps the biggest news story from this weekend is the revelation of a second trump tower meeting in 2016 with, lo and behold, don trump jr., where this time a representative of two middle eastern countries offered to help out his father's campaign, according to a superb piece of reporting from "the new york times," trump jr. met in august of 2016 with none other than erik prince, former head of black water, george nader, an emissary for saudi arabia and the united arab emirates and a israeli social media expert joel
zamel. it certainly got the president's attention yesterday when he quoted the time's piece was a, quote, long and boring story. ryan goodman, general counsel from the department of defendant and co-editor of the chief of the just security blog which is a great read you should be checking out. and jonathan chafe. >> there are a couple of implications to it. the first one would be this is another indication of a campaign violation. you're not supposed to take any support from a foreign national. and "the new york times" report says that don jr. responded approvingly. so everybody at that meeting's got a serious legal issue if the reporting is correct. the second item is that erik prince actually testified to congress and seemed to omit this particular meeting. we could call that a concealment of a material fact. in other words, it's a federal violation. it's a perjury if in fact the meeting took place and he decided to not tell congress than an instead to tell congress
another story about a lack of connections to the campaign. >> yeah, in fact this is questioning with congressman rooney. he says to erik prince, aside from writing these papers, donating supporting. >> a yard sign in my yard. >> there was no other formal communications with the campaign? >> correct thinking would seem to debev lie that. >> it would seem to directly belie it. and i think erik prince is in deep trouble because he also interviewed with mueller's team, and mueller knows everything about this meeting. >> jonathan, you wrote about this story and you wrote about what you think it triggered in donald trump. i want to read a great line. trump has no poker face, no chill. the closer the investigation gets to incriminating evidence, the more intensely he rages. he resembles a suspect at a crime scene screaming at the police not to go into the attic. now that attic is meaning awfully interesting. what do you mean? >> this aspect of the mueller investigation is the most mysterious, even to though of us who have been following it pretty closely from the beginning. we don't really know what the gulf angle means. we don't really know what relationship these figures had
with russia and how important it was. we know about the seychelles meeting there are some internations that they had some financial role in possibly transferring some of the money around, but it's pretty mysterious and the fact that donald trump responded to vehemently, first on twit. >> and also with this extraordinary demand that you discuss to have had department of justice suggests that he is really upset, really worried about this in particular. so maybe there really is a lot in this room. >> we should note, right, one of the arguments that the president tried to make in that tweet and other defenders, there is no collusion with russia, but there is tremendous overlap two. of the people in the meeting are erik prince and george neighborhooder who is a bizarre figure who has a child pornography plea that he plead to in the united states and a child molestation charge in prague who is a fixer for various sort of strange interests in the middle east. it's george nader who show up
the transition with the head of the united arab emirates and it's george nader that shows up in the seychelles meeting with erik prince in this very mysterious meeting. >> right. there seems to be quite a bit of potential overlap. i don't think it's disconnected from the russia collusion story, and it makes sense as to why mueller has spoken with mr. nader, apparently seven times, seven times, including four times mr. nader has appeared before a grand jury. i think that there is a lot of overlap in the very fact that mueller himself is interested in nader's connection to the seychelles and the seychelles based on the "washington post's" reporting is trying to set up back channel between erik prince as the surrogate for the trump campaign and the russians. so why are they trying to set up back channel? they're actually going to be the administration unless there is something a little more nefarious going on. >> when you take a step back, one other thing emerges is the america first campaign has michael flynn working as an unregistered foreign agent for the erdogan government in turkey writing an op-ed on their and a
half on election day. paul manafort working for the campaign declared an agent for russian and ukrainian interests, and then a whole bunch of other foreign interests thinking they could essentially bribe the campaign? get what they want out of going to them? >> yeah, absolutely. the irony here of like you say of the ultranationalist, the demonization of foreigners and the refusal to work with them in normal rationale ways that help them as well as helping them, the demonization of treaties and international institutions and agreements not to mention the fact that donald trump promised to get rid of not anyone working for his administration, and then going to work as a foreign lobbyist. even the fact that he would be a president. and then subsequently go lobby for a foreign government was scandalizing to donald trump the candidate. but now people have been working for donald trump while simultaneously working for foreign interests in one capacity or another. the irony is really staggering. >> the question that hangs over all this to me is a lot of foreign governments appear to think these are easily bribable
folks. whether they're right or not is sort of the question. but everyone's acting, the more we learn, they think that. >> they do. and i think they have good reason to think that. according to "the new york times" report, after this august 3rd meeting, the trump campaign embraced mr. nader and they met frequently with jared kushner and michael flynn. >> i will note one thing. the president broke with tradition by making saudi arabia, of all places as his first trip as setting president. it was year ago that he posed in front of the orb. how did that meeting come about? why did he break with tradition and go to saudi arabia first? we may learn more than as we learn moring these meetings. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. a campaign message to take back government and it's all about donald trump and corruption. plus, bill gates returns to the show in tonight's thing 1, thing 2, next. little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats differently.
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thing 1 tonight, you may have seen or heard about the exclusive video of bill gates we aired on this show just last week. if you haven't, oh you must check it out tonight on our facebook page. it's bill gates talking about meetings with president trump. and there the part where trump ogles gates' daughter has gotten fair share of attention. only to return to the same event in the helicopter so he can make a grand entrance there is one anecdote that seemed to get more attention than all the rest. hi, asked me if vaccines weren't
a bad thing because he was considering a commission to look into ill effects of vaccines, and somebody -- his name was robert kennedy jr. was advising him that vaccines were causing him bad things. and i said no, that's a dead-end. that would be a bad thing. don't do that. both times he wanted to know if there was a difference between hiv and hpv. so i was able to explain that those are rarely confused with each other. >> that's right. the president asked bill gates on two separate occasions if there was a difference between hiv and hpv. well, now he is getting schooled on sexual health from an unexpected source. that's thing 2 in 60 seconds. 00 ...think again... ...and...again.
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you have a situation with qatar where allegedly they didn't go through with the transaction with the trump family, and then they got punished by the u.s. government. you have the situation with china where the president originally said he was going to revisit one china policy. and when he decided not to, ivanka gets trademarks. he decided through his treasury department sanction the chinese firm zte. he reverses course when china makes a $500 million investment in a trump branded property in indonesia. >> there is so much evidence of corruption by president trump and his alleys just a fraction was detailed by adam schiff. we could do a whole show on corruption every single night. just look at what is going on in washington tonight there is a big fundraiser for mitch mcconnell's superpac with featured speaker mike pence at where? president trump's hotel which
made $40 million last year. it's one of his best performing properties and that is because lobbyists and republican officials and power brokers all want to curry favor with the president. so they spend money there, money that guess right into the pockets of the president and his family. whether it's michael cohen selling influence in exchange for millions of dollars in secret payments into his secret mistress hush money county or scott pruitt flying first class on the public dime, getting a sweetheart deal on a condo from a lobbyist or a $670 million income windfall to sheldon ad e adelson and adelson rewarding them with a check for the mid terms. the biggist line has been a manifest corruption unseen since at least the nixon administration, and quite possibly long, long before that. an abuse of the public trust that is unprecedented in both its breadth and it's brazenness. and now congressional democrats are betting that americans' outrage over that corruption will help sweep them back into power this november.
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you. you have been doing a lot of reporting on the ground in special elections with people working to get democrats elected and volunteers, and there's been some th kiis kind of idea that cable news talks about the russia investigation but on the ground they're talking about health care. i wonder where you think this corruption message fits into that. >> so my sense is that, well, part of the confusion is -- or part of the difficulty is these have been kind of unique districts often. often districts with strong republican lean. so you're trying to convince people who might be republicans but dislike trump why they should come over. so it's been less in the places i've been about how this administration is so appalling than sort of relying on people's underlying disaffection and also on the fact you have these cadres of hyperengaged women in general who, you know, you don't need to tell them why trump is despicable, it's what they think about from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. >> you have to message that. >> the candidates can talk about stuff that is super specific to their districts. at least that's what i've seen.
>> what do you think, jason? >> well, i think that you can't just address the problem. it's interesting what's happening here. the democrats aren't saying we're going to tell people that the trump administration is corrupt. people know that. what the democrats are saying here is they're saying we're going to put our money where our mouth is, we've got ideas on what to do about it. and that's a pretty important distinction. and awful these other policy issues, whether you're talking about health care or anything else, people look at these debates and they see for instance on the tax bill that president trump is getting a bunch of money for himself. they see what sheldon adelson is doing. people can see that corruption is at the heart of this. and what this is is they're saying we have some ideas about what to do about it. frankly, as democrats people like me, we've been talking about ideas like this for a long time. we've wanted to do them. and president trump just -- he is an illustration. he is a personal demonstration of why this is needed and that presents an opportunity to get some positive things done like make it easier to vote for
eligible voters, do something about the problem with money and politics. that sort of thing. >> adam serwer i thought had a really smart piece in the atlantic where he said there is only one trump scandal. that's what unites it all. the thing with the russia investigation where they're essentially trying to benefit themselves by possibly clueding with a foreign entity and the tax cut where both the president, his family, and the republican donor class are benefiting from the policies, is that they're trying to get theirs at your expense. >> and people are always really down on the democratic party and talking about how they're doing it wrong but i think this is a pretty smart frame for exactly that reason, because rather than having to explain a bunch of extraordinary complex interlocking scandals you can kind of put this one umbrella and then also target individual congresspeople. because there's going to be all these districts and different congresspeople are implicated in this kind of unprecedented corruption in different ways. >> yeah. and i think it also relates back, you just said this, jason, to the big signature domestic
policy accomplishment of the republican congress, which is independent from trump, which is the tax cut, which is hundreds of billions of dollars to the richest people in society. >> yeah. everybody gets that what's happening here is that president trump and the republicans are just trying to get theirs. that's not something we need to convince people of. i used o'tell my soldiers when i was a platoon trainer in officer candidate school, i would say don't just come to me with a problem unless you're also coming to me way solution. this is not democrats around the country -- you know, i've been in 40 states campaigning for democrats since president trump took office. and what i see candidates doing is not just saying, boy, isn't trump and the republican congress bad, they're saying here's what we would do instead. and that's really important in any situation. don't just say what the problem is. everybody knows what the problem is. say what you would do differently. and that's what this is. >> there's a supreme court decision today that made me think of, this right? there's a 5-4 decision with gorsuch, right? gorsuch, the seat was held open for gorsuch, he wrote the opinion basically saying it's fine for employers to make you
waive your right to sue as a sort of condition of your employment. basically what it is. and i want to connect that to there's a million-dollar mystery gift to the inaugural fund, right? to the trump inaugural fund that turns out to have been from a conservative legal group. and it's like when you start looking at the quid and the quo everywhere you start seeing it everywhere. >> oh, yeah. and in some cases it's blatant self-enrichment. it's not just that trump protects his friends and cronies, he also protects himself from -- he's somebody who's been sued many, many times. >> of course. >> by his own employees. >> right. and this is where the point of the spear-s jason, in terms of what the republicans broader than trump are doing right now. we have seen a real concerted effort on behalf of the republican donor class to get what they can get before the cops show up at the scene. >> yeah, that's right. they know that there's an expiration date on this deal or they at least strongly suspect it.
what we have to do is deliver on the expiration date, on them controlling government up and down in every direction, and the surest way to do that is it's not enough for people to say look, if you just change the party in power everything will be different. people know that that's not necessarily the case in every situation. and frankly, democrats in the past i think have made the mistake of saying just the other side is bad and not here's what we're going to do differently. this is concrete stuff. this is here are some changes to government that we want to make that it's not just a response to president trump, it uses president trump as the example of what's wrong but it says these are changes that desperately need to be made and people know that if we don't actually try to do them they're going to know we weren't being real with them. and i think you'll see we'll take the house and i think take the senate too very possibly and then try to do these things. >> michelle goldberg and jason kander, thank you both for being with me. we have two podcasts. you can listen to this show "all in" as a podcast. and make sure to check out our
other brand new podcast. it's called "why is this happening?" it features deep dive conversations about the big ideas and themes driving this moment in history. i've had a lot of fun doing it. on the next episode which drops hours from now, kate shaw, truly remarkable legal mind and my wife, joins me to discuss the unprecedented legal quagmire the president finds himself in. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> you're allowed to book your wife? >> i am. i am. isn't that great? it was so fun. it's really, really -- it's been a dream of mine for a while, and now people can listen to it. >> you know, susan has long threatened that if i ever really start taking this show for granted, if i start taking this job for granted, if i stop appreciating it, she's going to come in one day and bigfoot it and she's going to teak a burner cell phone, put it here on the desk and she's going to take on-air gardening calls for an hour to make me appreciate how good it is to have this job. >> that's good of her. you can lose sight sometimes. i'm happy to