All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/9/2017
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: January 9, 2017
Guest: Chuck Schumer; Cory Booker, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Michael
Steele, Rebecca Traister
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: Jared`s a very successful man from New
York. He`s done a fantastic job.
HAYES: Son-in-law turned Trump senior adviser. Tonight, the implications
of Jared Kushner`s new White House job. Could jamming Trump nominees
through confirmation open them up to criminal exposure?
TRUMP: Confirmation is going great.
HAYES: And the all-night action to save ObamaCare with the leader of the
Democrats. Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Cory Booker.
And is this really why Democrats lost?
MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS AND SINGER: There was one performance this year that
HAYES: The conservative bubble and Meryl Streep when ALL IN starts right
KELLYANNE CONWAY, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Somebody with the part
from like Meryl Streep is also, I think, inciting people`s worst instincts.
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. In 11 days, Donald
Trump will become President of the United States. Now, one of the most
powerful people in his inner circle and a family member is getting a job at
the White House. Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump`s husband, was just named
senior adviser to the President, just about as senior role as you can get.
And it`s a position that does not require Senate confirmation. There is
just one problem, like his father-in-law, Kushner is a businessman with a
lot of potential conflicts. Just this weekend, for example, The New York
Times reported on a deal he`s been pursing with a major insurer from China,
a company whose ownership structure is shrouded on mystery. But unlike his
father, Mark, Kushner`s conflict exposed him to criminal liability if he
fails to adequately disentangle himself.
While the President and Vice President are exempt from conflict of interest
laws. For everyone else in the executive branch in the White House, it is
a federal crime to reap any personal benefits from government work.
Kushner`s lawyer told NBC NEWS his client plans to resign from his real
estate and publishing companies and divest his assets to comply with
federal law. Like Kushner, many of Trump`s cabinet nominees have a mass
fortunes in the private sector. And that poses unique challenges for the
vetting process. According to The Times some of the nominees are so
wealthy, their assets so varied, there are not enough boxes on the standard
form for them.
Now, under a law passed in the wake of the Watergate scandal, in - with the
intention to make sure nothing like that ever happened again, every cabinet
appointee has to by law undergo a thorough ethics review. But according to
the man who oversees that very process, that`s the Director of the Office
of Government Ethics, many are seriously behind schedule. Including
several current nominees from President-elect Trump with confirmation
hearings scheduled this week. Some haven`t even completed FBI background
In November, e-mails to Trump`s transition team obtained by MSNBC, the OGE
director wrote to his office, “Seems to have lost contact with the Trump-
Pence transition since the election.” When asked about concerns over the
vetting process and this week`s jammed-pack hearing schedule, this was the
response from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: All of these little
procedural complaints are related to their frustration. It having not only
lost the White House but having lost the Senate. I understand that.
Papers are still coming in and so I`m optimistic that we`ll be able to get
up to seven nominees on day one, just like we did eight years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What, eight years ago when McConnell was himself, the minority he
expressed some very similar concerns in a letter to then Majority Leader,
Harry Reid. Senator Chuck Schumer now the minority leader to Senate, read
McConnell`s letter aloud today on the Senate floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: These text practices served
the Senate well. And we will insist on their fair and consistent
application. Therefore, prior to considering any time agreements on the
floor of any nominee, we expect the following standards to be met. One,
the FBI background check is complete and submitted to the committee in time
for review and prior to a hearing being noticed. Two, the Office of
Government Ethics letter is complete.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Schumer then sent that exact same letter authored by McConnell back
to McConnell with nothing changed except the names of the sender and the
Joining me now is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senator, the
argument that Mitch McConnell wants to make is they`re just trying to get
on with the people`s business and President Obama when he was elected in
2008 and staffing up in 2009, that there was a bunch of hearings set that
first week. Is this fair? Is this just fair turnabout, or is there
something different happening this time around?
SCHUMER: Oh, way different, Chris. The bottom line is that, Senator
McConnell sent that letter to Harry Reid, the one I read on the floor and
as you probably noted I just crossed out the name Harry Reid and put in
Mitch McConnell and then crossed out the signatory, which was then Mitch
McConnell and put in my name. But the difference, the major difference is
all of the Obama nominees complied with McConnell`s request and that`s how
they got through quickly. A large percentage, the majority of these
nominees has not complied with this request and these nominees demand it
even more so. First, they`re a huge number of billionaires. Second, a
huge number of people with all kinds of complicated business relationships
– DeVos, for instance, it`s estimated has ownership interests in 600
corporations. And third, a whole lot of these nominees have spent their
life campaigning and proposing things the opposite of what Trump said, the
most notorious probably is Price, who said that – who spent his life
trying to destroy Medicare and Trump said he`s not going to change it.
So these cry out for hearings. Not six at once, two hours each, you know,
and then we`re finished. The American people demand to know who these
people are and to take a few extra days for each of them when they could be
in power for four years and have huge power over our lives, it`s not at all
a close question.
HAYES: So I want to - I want to separate out two issues here because I`m
fairly astounded by each. But let`s start with the government ethics, the
HAYES: I mean now, this is put in place for a very good reason, after
HAYES: It also seems to me, almost in the interests of the nominees
themselves insofar as they are going to expose themselves to criminal
liability under criminal statutes if they run afoul of these laws.
SCHUMER: Exactly right. And it would be in the interest of the Trump
administration and the Republican leadership to have this done. But
there`s a certain sort of casualness, a certain sort of we can play by
different rules than anybody else that seems to enveloped this
administration, and now it`s seeping in to the Republican leadership. But
you`re exactly right, the one nominee who is similar to some of these
nominees under President Obama, Penny Pritzker, a billionaire, took six
months before she could file all the papers and then you have to file a
plan how you`re going to divest yourself, and if you don`t, the liabilities
you speak about could hold.
HAYES: So there`s – this is the Ethics review, this is the post-Watergate
ethics laws. Then there`s FBI background checks, which is in some ways is
even more astounding to me. And I watched this up close back in 2009 when
I was in D.C. and I watched the transition take place. I mean, you can`t
intern in the US attorney`s office without an FBI background check.
SCHUMER: Of course. This is just –
HAYES: Has this ever happened before? Is any - I mean -
SCHUMER: No. It`s not even close. No - look, in the old days when there
was bipartisanship, they take all of the nominees and just push them all
through but the - but that hasn`t happened in a very long time because
we`re ethically much more aware and serious. And it hasn`t – no
administration has come close to this. And the surprise to me is that my
Republican colleagues are just going right along.
HAYES: So just to be clear, FBI background checks are done in which -
they`re quite thorough and people if you know anyone has ever worked at any
level, fairly high in the federal government happens, it`s intended my
understanding to make sure for instance someone doesn`t have blackmail and
could be a target for an agent. Right?
SCHUMER: Exactly. Exactly.
HAYES: Are they really going to just push people through to some of the
most powerful positions in the U.S. government without an FBI background
check or did they say they`re getting to that?
SCHUMER: Well, they say they are getting to it, but they want to have the
hearings. It`s sort of like Alice in Wonderland. First the verdict, then
the trial. They want to have the hearings before any of these checks are
completed. And they say don`t worry, in due time they`ll be completed.
That`s ridiculous. And the purpose of the hearings is to use these reports
and these checks to ask the nominee questions, not in a - not in a quiet,
dark room where no one else is, but before the American people.
HAYES: Is it standard, again, you – when you`re reading the McConnell
letter, my understanding the process typically the way it goes is, once the
FBI background check is completed and once the vet is completed, the
contents of that reported in private sessions with members of the committee
who could then review it as part of the material they have to enter into
the hearing with.
SCHUMER: That is correct. And, in fact, most administrations want these
reviews done before they even nominate the person so they shouldn`t be
HAYES: OK. So, you`re the Senate - you are the leader of the Democrats in
the Senate. You guys have 48 votes. So you can – you don`t have a
majority of power but the minority in the Senate have some power.
SCHUMER: We do.
HAYES: Other than - other than sort of trolling Mitch McConnell with a
letter under his own name, what can actually do like concretely lead to
hold this up?
SCHUMER: Yeah. Well, we don`t have the power to prevent the hearings from
happening, although again, the Republicans are making a shamble of the
rules. The tradition is not a rule is that you don`t schedule a hearing
until the chair and the ranking member from the minority party agree, and
they trampled all over that.
The one thing we do have is the ability still to demand 30 hours for each
nominee on the floor. And those 30 hours, let`s say there are 15 cabinet
nominees, that`s 450 hours. If you work 24/7, it would still take three
weeks to do it. Now, we don`t want to do that. We would rather have full
and fair hearings where people are questioned once the information is
available. But people know in the backs of their minds, that if we don`t
get that, we have the ability to slow things down as we – and there`s good
reason to do it. Because different bits of information may come out while
this process is unfolding.
HAYES: You refer to the 30 hours. I remember interviewing Harry Reid when
he was Senate majority leader back in 2009, you know, the best kind of
apples to apples comparison. And my understanding is that Mitch McConnell
did exactly do that with quite a number of nominees. And in fact, the sort
of staffing process slowed to a halt, that happened particularly on
judicial nominees –
HAYES: – many who couldn`t get any hearing. But this was - this was not
something they were reticent to use as my understanding back in 2009.
SCHUMER: Absolutely. The process that everyone saw with Merrick Garland
happened with hundreds of nominees and obviously, we have the ability to do
that, not just with the cabinet secretaries, but with all of their deputies
and appointees. We don`t want to do it. But if, you know, they`re forcing
us to do it –
HAYES: So what`s the trigger?
SCHUMER: – by rolling over the process – the trigger will be, are the -
is the information available? Do the nominees have hearings where there`s
extensive rounds of questioning where there`s time to review what they`ve
said and call them back for another round. These are the kinds of things
we`ve asked for. Ironically, although happily for us, the very same things
McConnell asked for in 2009, that`s why the letter is sort of getting a lot
of attention right now.
HAYES: You tonight will be in the Senate along with your colleagues in the
Democratic Party in the Senate. There`s the cots rolled out all night
talking about the Affordable Care Act and what you and your colleagues
see`s the danger of the Republican plan to repeal possibly with a delay.
I`m going to ask you the same question here, which is, what is the concrete
plan to make sure that the tens of millions of people who are benefiting in
some way or another from the Affordable Care Act aren`t thrown out in the
SCHUMER: Well, we`re working really - first, we`ve told our Republican
colleagues, if you`re going to repeal it, you own it. You come up with the
alternative and our Republican colleagues know there are lots of good
things in the ACA, the 20 million people covered, pre-existing conditions,
a kid has cancer and the insurance company can`t kick the parents off the
insurance roles, or the 21 to 26 year-old who get coverage when they get
out of college, treating women equally, the list goes on and on.
And the Republicans themselves know that to get rid of all of those things
will hurt them so what they are trying to do is come up with a way to both
repeal the ACA and save the good things. It`s virtually impossible. When
they were out of power, they could vote to repeal. I think they did it 49
times. Now, they have responsibility and they don`t know what to do.
They`re like the dog who caught the bus. My prediction here is, there`s a,
right now, a chance – not a majority chance, but a decent chance, a
quarter, a third, that they`re not even going to be able to pass a repeal
of ACA because they don`t – they are going to have enough people who
either don`t want the consequences of repeal or who they believe for budget
deficit reasons they don`t want to do it.
So they`re in real trouble, and they are squirming and squirming. In fact,
tonight, Senator Corker introduced an amendment that said let`s delay
repeal for a few months so we can come up with a replace. But so far, not
a single Republican has come up with a replace that has drawn even a small
consensus on the Republican side. So they`re stuck. And I`ll tell you
something, Chris –
HAYES: And your message is, we`re not going to unstick you, is my
SCHUMER: My – our message is, you break it, you own it. If they want to
keep ACA, we`ll work with them on improvements. Of course, it can be
improved. But if they are going to repeal it, they better figure out what
they`re going to do because we`re not going to come in and help them out of
the mess that they created. And you know, they complained that ACA was
passed by with a partisan vote. Well, repeal is going to be passed with a
partisan vote. Not a single Democrat has voted for it, even the most
So one thing I`d say in conclusion, Chris, if you look at both the
nominations and the ACA, who would have thought after the first week of
Congress the Republicans would be on the defensive and Democrats would be
on offense, but that`s how it is, and we`re feeling, you know, we`re ready
for the fight. We`re strong, we`re united. They are not. And we`re
making a pretty good go of both of these issues.
HAYES: Well, governing is harder than it looks. As everyone finds out at
one point or another. Senator Chuck Schumer, thanks for joining.
SCHUMER: Bye, Chris.
HAYES: Up next, the efforts to free-up some of Donald Trump`s most extreme
policies. Senator Cory Booker on his bill to block any potential Muslim
registry proposed by the Trump administration. That`s right after this
HAYES: 11 days out from Donald Trump`s inauguration, the Democratic
strategy for legislative opposition appears to be, as you just heard from
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, coming into focus. Now tonight they
plan to hold that Senate floor late of the night through protest to repeal
Obamacare and to fire a warning shot that they`re going to make the process
as politically damaging for Republicans as possible.
And earlier today, Democrats introduced legislation led by Senator
Elizabeth Warren that would push Trump to shed any financial investments
that may create conflicts of interest once he takes office, like his son-
in-law as going to have to do as required by law. Last week, Senator Cory
Booker introduced a bill that would block the establishment of a registry
of people based on their religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national
origin or nationality. That`s in response to the fact that back in
November of 2015, Trump said he supported the idea of a Muslim registry in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should there be a database system that tracks Muslims
here in this country?
TRUMP: There should be a lot of systems beyond databases. Who should have
a lot of systems and today you can do it. But right now, we have to have a
border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall and we cannot let
what is happening to this country happen in the –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that`s something your White House would like to
TRUMP: I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Muslims specifically, how do actually get them
registered into a database?
TRUMP: It would be just good management. What you have to do is good
management procedures and we can do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good management. Now since then, the Trump campaign has denied
that President-elect had ever supported a Muslim registry. But after the
terrorist attack in Berlin last month, Trump was again asked about
establishing a registry and a ban on Muslim immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What is going on is terrible. In fact, we have intelligence here
right now. What`s going on is terrible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has it caused you to rethink or re-evaluate your plans
to create a Muslim registry or ban Muslim Immigration in the United States?
TRUMP: Hey, you`ve known my plans all along and it`s, they`ve proven to be
right. 100 percent correct. What`s happening is disgraceful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And joining me now, Senator Cory Booker, Democrat from New Jersey,
who just today was named a Chief Deputy Whip on that Democratic leadership
team. And Senator, let me start with the legislation you propose as sort
of a preemptive block on this idea. Is this politics? Is this something
you want to sort of put a stake in the ground from a symbolic standpoint or
do you genuinely fear that something like this could come to pass?
SEN> CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: Well I`m genuinely concerned. You -
when somebody tells you what they are going to do, you got to believe them.
You know, President Obama came into office and he took the mechanism that
was established in the Bush administration to register people by their
national origin. There was 25 countries there, all Muslim countries, that
had to register entrance, had to register with NCS programs, what was
called, that mechanism is still there even though Obama did not use it.
And so I want to get rid of that mechanism. We cannot go back to a country
that discriminates against people because of their race, their religion,
their country of origin or what have you. And listening to Trump`s
rhetoric, I`m going to believe him when he tells us what he wants to do.
HAYES: There seems to be a philosophy, there`s sort of these two forces,
sort of, you know, bearing towards each other right now. On one side, you
have the incoming Trump administration which is approaching things with a
kind of blitzkrieg approach, the talk about repeal very quick, all these
nominees scheduled before they have FBI background checks, Democrats trying
to sort of concretely show what they stand for. What is your personal
philosophy on how to conduct yourself as a member of the U.S. Senate in
terms of being in the opposition?
BOOKER: Well, look, at the end of the day, right now, I am in a state of
grave concern. President Trump was elected and, sure, there might have
been some hopes I had that he was going to come to the presidency with a
willingness to work, to moderate, to reach across the aisle, but if you
look at his actions and his rhetoric since he`s been elected, they all
represent further right, sort of radical views, far beyond that than we`ve
seen in our political spectrum in a long time and the appointment he`s
making from – to the EPA, someone who wants to destroy the very agency, to
even the Jeff Sessions nomination and all that he`s done and stand for on
LGBT issues, civil rights issues, police accountability issues, it puts me
into a posture where I`m just ready to fight and resist anything that the
Trump administration ultimately does to try to hurt people. So –
HAYES: Concretely, now let me just – let me just interject there, because
concretely, does that mean for instance voting against Jeff Sessions, your
former colleague? Does that mean pushing the Democratic leadership team to
demand these 30 hours to try to extend the process? What does it mean
BOOKER: Well, concretely, I`m breaking a pretty long Senate tradition by
actually being a sitting Senator testifying tomorrow against another
sitting Senator. So please understand, I think these are extraordinary
times and they call for extraordinary measures.
HAYES: You`ll be testifying against your former colleague Jeff Sessions
tomorrow in that hearing?
BOOKER: I`ll be testifying against my current colleague either tomorrow or
HAYES: And what - and what provoked you to do that, given the fact that
that is a violation of what had been a kind of long-standing tradition?
BOOKER: Well, look, I mean, we`ve seen already in this country that we are
at a strike point around issues of policing, around issues of civil rights,
around issues of being lesbian equality within our country. And we`ve seen
consistently Jeff Sessions as Senator Jeff Sessions, voting against
everything from the Matthew Shepherd Act, voting against – or speaking out
against keep ideals around the voting rights act, taking measures to try to
block criminal justice reform. He has a posture and a positioning that I
think represent a real danger to our country. And even nations, let`s take
those libertarians out there who are happy that states are doing things
with marijuana reform. Please understand that every state that has medical
marijuana or even just looking to legalize, is in violation of federal law.
The Obama administration chose not to enforce that and the next
administration could change their position and literally drag people to
federal court who are participating in those state legal activities.
There`s a whole spectrum of things of Jeff Sessions own words representing
a real threat to vulnerable populations in this country and it`s something
that I feel necessary to do everything I can to speak out against.
HAYES: All right, Senator Cory Booker, thanks for your time tonight.
Really appreciate it.
BOOKER: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, the hypocrisy of Mitch McConnell and how tearing down
political norms has been his ace in the hole during his recent career.
I`ll talk with Michael Steele and Rebecca Traister about that, coming up.
HAYES: Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell spent nearly ten months
last year refusing to consider President Obama`s nomination of Merrick
Garland to the Supreme Court to fill a vacancy. An unprecedented stonewall
in over presidential supreme court nominee, yet when Chuck Schumer
suggested last week, Democrats can take a strong stand against Donald
Trump`s nominee for that supreme court seat, a seat that is only opened
because of McConnell`s remarkable refusal to even consider President
Obama`s nominee, McConnell had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: Apparently, there`s yet a new standard now which is to not
confirm a supreme court nominee at all. I think that`s something the
American people simply will not tolerate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is Mitch McConnell in a nutshell. When President Obama was
entering office, it be known earlier, McConnell demanded there be no
hearings for his cabinet nominees until their background checks in the FBI
were complete. Now, McConnell is, as we mentioned, scheduling hearings for
Trump`s nominees before their FBI background checks are done. Distinctly,
dismissing the same sort of arguments he himself in writing used to make.
Under President Obama, McConnell was exceedingly concerned where the
executive branch difference the Senate complaining about overreach by the
man he called quote “the imperial President Obama”. Now, that same man,
Senator Mitch McConnell, he`s using his power to limit Senate consideration
of the executive branch nominees, packing the hearings schedule and
structuring the hearings to keep them briefer than usual. “Simultaneous
hearings on cabinet nominees make it physically impossible for most of us
on multiple committees to advise and consent.” tweeted, Hawaii Democratic
Senator, Brian Schatz. Yesterday, according to that, “the lack of a full
disclosure of the standard ethics information and we are being asked to
rubber stamp a cabinet.” The constitution was explicitly designed, of
course, to prevent that sort of rubberstamp government. These days, the
phrase advise and consent doesn`t carry quite the same power, and once did,
oh, I don`t know, just a few weeks ago. Mitch McConnell in the Senate in
the age of Trump. That`s up next.
HAYES: To understand for a second just why the vetting process for cabinet
nominees matter so much, consider what happened eight years ago when
President Obama turned to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to lead
his effort to pass health care law, nominating Daschle to run the
Department of Health and Human Services.
It did not go well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man who was supposed to tackle health care, Tom
SEN. TOM DASCHLE, (D) SOUTH DAKOTA: And I deeply apologize.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Took himself out of the running for secretary of Health
and Human Services. For the former Senate majority leader, it`s an
enormous fall from grace. To the man from South Dakota who bragged in a
campaign commercial years ago that he still drove his old broken down car
was caught not paying taxes on the use of a chauffeur a driven car that he
used to get around Washington for the past few years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tom Daschle was brought down for not reporting some free rides as
income. It was, at least in the context of 2017, a relatively minor
infraction. But many believed had massive implications for how the health
care law turned out.
Now Mitch McConnell and his GOP Senate colleagues are working to short
change the vetting process for Donald Trump`s nominees, including holding
confirmation hearings before some background checks are complete.
Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele, former chair of the
Republican National Committee, and Rebecca Traister, writer at-large for
New York Magazine.
Michael, there is no first order defense, it seems to me, of having
hearings before a background check by the FBI is completed, right.
MICHAEL STEELE, FRM. RNC CHAIRMAN: No, there isn`t. There just isn`t.
The process is the process. It is designed for a reason. Every
administration, regardless of party, ideology and all of
that has subscribed to this, because it`s an orderly way to complete the
process and get through the transition.
HAYES: And it`s also – I`m glad you said that, because also, one of the
things that is strange to me about watching this unfold is it`s partly for
the protection of the administration that`s doing the nominating.
HAYES: It really is because you don`t want to find out two weeks in that
like they are really
blackmailable because they like to do some sort of unsavory enterprise when
they go abroad or whatever the heck it is. I mean, it is, in some ways,
STEELE: It is very much that. And it is – the vetting process in
government is designed for a very particular purpose, and you just hit it
right on the head, to protect the principal, whether it`s the
president, the Senator, whomever is, you know, the head of that office, to
protect that individual as they work with these other actors, largely
No matter how close your friends are, everybody has got a little skeleton
HAYES: That`s exactly right.
STEELE: And so this process is designed to get at that. And if you`re
comfortable with knowing that this person`s cabinet secretary has a
relationship with this person or this country or this group, then, fine.
You prepare for that. You know it`s going to come up in the hearing and
you deal with it.
But if you`re blind-sided, because you`ve ignored the process and then six
weeks in, the press doing what the press will do, its due diligence that
you didn`t do, exposes that, then what do you do? You have got cabinet
secretaries that resign and then you`re in a whole other world.
HAYES: And this – it seems to me that you`re making this face that says
what is that face?
REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: The face is, what could possibly be
an embarrassment here? What`s a skeleton hidden in the closet of a Trump
administration? Every conflict of interest, people working for him, who we
already have ties to countries that may or may not have taken part in
hacking, you know, in trying to influence our election.
You know, what is the embarrassment of Donald Trump? He`s open about
everything he hasn`t done. He`s open and proud about setting norms on fire
and not just Jonald Trump, Mitch McConnell has already shown us that
obstructionist bullying works, that simply not operating according to past
norms and according to past ethical ideas of what we`re supposed to do as a
government works. We don`t have a Supreme Court justice because Mitch
HAYES: And it worked. It was a brazen play and it was completely
And right, Michael, this to me – this is what is the most interesting part
of this story, it`s not that the Trump folks are doing this, because of
what Rebecca said, right. I think they believe they kind of operate in a
post scandal atmosphere, there essentially is no such thing as a scandal
What is at some level fascinating to me that McConnell is doing this,
although in some ways if you look at his career, particularly in his
opposition years in Barack Obama, not that surprising, because it does seem
that he sees Senate norms as no longer binding.
STEELE: Well, yeah. And I don`t know if that`s wholly true, but it does
come off that way and it`s disappointing. I`ve known Mitch for a long
time, and he`s really about the institution at the end of the day. He
respects it. He expects these – respects these processes, which is why
this sort of backsliding, if you will, in allowing this process to go
through without the complete vetting of the candidates – now, again,
Chris, you know, this is driven by the administration that`s coming in the
door. They want this to happen.
STEELE: I guess McConnell could say, no, we won`t allow this to happen,
but that`s just not how you want to get off in the relationship with the
HAYES: That`s clearly going to be the case.
And to me, I guess, the question, Rebecca, is like, at some level, process
complaints are always hypocritical, right. I mean, there`s a certain
level in which people end up on either sides of the filibuster debate, you
know, depending on where they sit.
Although, I will say consistently I think it`s a good thing the Democrats
can`t filibuster these nominees. I think that`s a good thing. I was a
principled supporter of the, quote, nuclear option. I think it`s a good
thing now. I carry that through.
TRAISTER: I agree with you.
HAYES: You agree with that?
TRAISTER: Yes, I do.
HAYES: But at a certain level, right, the political argument has to be
deeper than just hypocrisy and process, right, because I think that
fundamentally it`s got to be about what the stuff is.
TRAISTER: Yeah, what the issues are at stake.
HAYES: Yeah, what is going to happen.
TRAISTER: So the issue that I`ve been particularly immersed in – and this
is true, Cory
Booker just said look at the EPA nominee who is a climate change denier,
right. These are going to have very really very real consequences very
soon and the area that I`ve just been looking at is the area of
reproductive health care, reproductive rights and access.
And what`s going to happen, you have somebody like Tom Price who is one of
the most vociferous opponents of not only of abortion access, but of
contraceptive care and certainly contraceptive coverage, he`s going to be
running Health and Human Services, because he`s going to jammed down
through this confirmation process….
HAYES: We should also note that he`s someone who probably has passed all
of these checks. He`s a sitting member of Congress.
TRAISTER: Right. But the actual…
HAYES: Hold on a second, Michael.
TRAISTER: The implication of that, he`s going to be able – even without
the full repeal of ACA, he`s going to be able to reverse the contraception
mandate. He`s going to put somebody in charge of title 10, which is public
funding for family planning. And that`s going to have consequences. You
know, when they cut Planned Parenthood funding in Texas, the maternal
mortality rate doubled between 2010 and now.
This has real-life consequences and they are going to happen soon.
HAYES: And that`s where – and Michael, I know you want to get in there,
but that is where the substance of these hearings always ends up, right.
HAYES: I mean, there`s the qualifications of the nominee and then there`s
straight up what the agenda is.
STEELE: Yeah, well, that one has nothing to do with the other, because
everything that Rebecca just described while I understand and appreciate
it, will have no bearing on the outcome. What could have a bearing on the
HAYES: You`re saying on whether he is…
Tom Price will be the next secretary of Health and Human Services, OK, that
has no bearing on the outcome. I understand how you feel, but that`s the
But the other truth – and this gets to the heart of the segment is, why
would you risk Tom Price
using him as an example, you say he`s already been vetted so he`ll probably
be cleared. But why would you risk these other nominees because of
something in their background that you did not take the time to go through
HAYES: That`s exactly.
STEELE: …to get an answer for and get ahead of before the hearing.
HAYES: Although here – and here I think is the unifying theory here,
right, which is that if you go back to the Tom Daschle example that we
started with, and I`ve got to imagine Tom is watching this being like, how
did I – how did that happen? How did I – this guy hasn`t released his
taxes. I took a few car rides.
But I think the point there, right, is remember what happened there.
Daschle was shamed into
STEELE: That`s right.
HAYES: If he hadn`t been ashamed, if the administration said, we don`t
care, maybe he gets confirmed and ultimately that – if you take that
approach, we`re going to see how far that gets you. So far it`s gotten
them quite far. Michael Steele and Rebecca Traister, thanks for being with
me tonight. Appreciate it.
Coming up the outsized and, well, I think misplaced pushback to Meryl
Streep`s Golden Globe speech last night.
And former Obama speechwriter`s Lovett and Mavro. There they are side by
side, their new
venture, voicing dissent in the Trump era ahead.
Plus, Thing One, Thing Two, your favorite starts right after this break.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, the final jobs report for this presidential
administration is out. And we can now say officially the Obama legacy on
jobs is one of unprecedented growth. For the first time on record, the
United States experienced 75 straight months of job growth. The
unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, less than half of what it was at the peak
of the great recession. Wage growth is at a seven-year high, but all of
that change apparently couldn`t come fast enough for the president-elect of
the United States who tweeted today, “it`s finally happening. Fiat
Chrysler just announced plans to invest $1 billion in Michigan and Ohio
Now, anyone who isn`t familiar with the history of this move by
Fiat/Chrysler may have assumed thanks to the crafty way that tweet was
worded, that Trump himself had something to do
with the Fiat jobs. It turns out those jobs have been in the works for
quite some time. The real reason those jobs are staying is much more
interesting. And that`s Thing 2 in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Some news outlets made the mistake of crediting Donald Trump for
Fiat/Chrysler`s big announcement they would be adding 2,000 new jobs and
investing $1 billion in producing new Jeep vehicles at their Michigan and
In reality, this announcement is the final stage of a plan that was first
announced long ago. As
Fiat/Chrysler spokesperson Jody Tinson told Think Progress, this plan was
in the works back in 2015. This announcement was just final confirmation.
And while Trump himself doesn`t deserve any credit, Fiat/Chrysler did not
make the decision on their own. Part of the reason these new jobs would go
to workers in Michigan and Ohio is that the United Autoworkers Union, or
UAW, made these jobs a specific part of their contract negotiations in
the previous year. That`s right, unions, union, not Donald Trump`s tweets,
are responsible for these new jobs in America.
Donald Trump thanked Fiat in his tweet, but to paraphrase an old saying, if
you like those jobs, thank the union.
HAYES: Ever since Donald Trump won the election, there`s a kind of running
joke that`s developed that every liberal access, every example of big-city
condescension or coastal cluelessness is., quote, why Trump won.
Last night, Fox News host Meghan McCain tweeted, apparently ironically,
“this Meryl Streep is why Trump won. People in Hollywood don`t start
recognizing why and how, you will help him get reelected.”
And, yes, what she was tweeting about was a very famous actress giving a
political speech at an award show, but this is what Meryl Streep actually
said about President-elect Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: But there was one performance this year that
stunned me, it sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good, it was
– there was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did its
job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was
that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our
country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege,
power and the capacity to fight back. It – it kind of broke my heart
When I saw it – and I still can`t get it out of my head because it wasn`t
in a movie, it was real life. And this instinct to humiliate when it`s
modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone
powerful, it filters down into everybody`s life because it kind of gives
permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites
disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their
position to bully others, we all lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In calling out Trump`s behavior, Streep was saying people should be
treated with empathy and dignity and respect. The great thing about our
constitution, one of the many great things in a free Democracy like ours,
is that you don`t have to shut up when your candidate loses. And that goes
for everyone, even when the candidate you don`t like wins, you still get
speak up and defend what you think is right. And we`ll talk to two people
who have a lot to say on that Obama`s speechwriter, Jon Favreau and Jon
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR TRUMP ADVISER: They lost. And I really wish he
would have stood up last night and said, look, I didn`t like the election
results, but he`s our president
and we`re going to support him.
I`m concerned that somebody with a platform like Meryl Streep is also, I
think, inciting people`s
worst instincts when she won`t get up there and say, I didn`t like it, but
let`s try to support him and see where we can find some common ground with
him, which he actually has done from moment one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway accusing Meryl Streep of
inciting, quote, people`s worst instincts.
Joining me now, former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett who
just launched their new website Crooked Media and their new podcast Pod
Very well done, gentlemen.
So, I basically am 90 percent in agreement that like this is why Trump won
thing is ridiculous.
JON LOVETT, FMR. OBAMA SPEECHWRITER: Sure. That`s a good amount.
HAYES: But let`s talk about the 10 percent, you L.A…
JON FAVREAU, FRM. OBAMA SPEECHWRITER: Elitist liberal…
HAYES: …elitist liberal bubble dwellers.
Do you think there is like – I don`t know, is there some sort of out of
touch problem, or is there
something to that critique? Tell me from Los Angeles.
FAVREAU: There may be an out of touch problem but someone calling out
Donald Trump for attacking a disabled reporter, like, I don`t see that as
LOVETT: We were just talking about this at our (inaudible) house and…
HAYES: That joke is so elitist that literally one-tenth of 1 percent of
people will get it, just to be clear.
FAVREAU: I know. I hate him for telling it.
LOVETT: I`m out of touch and I don`t care. I live in L.S., it`s
fantastic. But no – but look, the thing that is ridiculous is there`s all
of these people – it`s lke we had this conversation before.
HAYES: A million times.
LOVETT: A million times. And there`s a certain kind of person who thinks
it`s really smart little moment for them to, like, I don`t know, be a
tribune for the working man and be like when will these out of touch
Hollywood liberals get it.
Like first of all.
FAVREAU: It`s D.C. Republicans that do that.
LOVETT: It`s absurd because, by the way, they don`t want these people to
be more in touch. It`s not like they`re on the same side here, so just
like, what are you complaining about? What are you – it`s ridiculous. It
was a fine speech. Come on.
HAYES: It was a call for a decency, empathy and respect. And I do think
like I guess the broader question here right is, there is this really, to
me, interesting conversation I`ve watched take shape among the sort of
broad center-left across the ideological range about what`s the most
effective means of sort of opposing Donald Trump. And what worked and what
didn`t in the campaign and I think those conversations get a little screwy
because sometimes people are conflating their first order of
commitments with their tactical assessments.
That said, what do you guys think? What have you learned? What have you
learned from the election about that?
FAVREAU: I don`t think – yeah, I don`t think Meryl Streep`s speech, or
any celebrity`s speech is like winning us any elections, but I mean, what I
learned from the election is at the end of the day, there were a large
group of voters who didn`t like Donald Trump and didn`t like Hillary
said, you know what, I think that Donald Trump is new and might be
different and he might change my life and improve it in some small way and
she seems like she`s been there a while so even though he says crazy
things, I`ll go with him.
And that seems to be the calculation that was made. And that wasn`t like,
oh, I`m really pissed that, you know, Lena Dunham and Katy Perry were
giving speeches for Hillary Clinton, you know, like – I think all of these
things we sort of impugn on voters we just are sort of guessing.
LOVETT: And I would say, also, one of the lessons is let`s worry a little
bit less about these
kind of signals and worry a bit more about policies, and nuts and bolts
about like the ways the federal
government are affecting actual people in their actual lives and focus on
But like, look, Donald Trump is appealing to people for a lot of atavistic
and a lot of…
FAVREAU: Atavistic, there you go.
HAYES: Straight from holly weird. Keep going.
LOVETT: But on top of that, he did have a message about economic issues
that resonated with people. He`s making it up as he goes, but it did.
HAYES: OK, but this point – this is an interesting point, because to me
it`s always been – it really was a kind of – to me, you guys both work
for our current president, President Obama as speechwriters and it always
seemed like a kind of to be a bedrock principle of that place, and the
president himself has said this while I was in the room that basically, you
get the substance right and the politics flow from that, right. Like, if
you get it right on the ground, then the politics flow from that.
And I think that was kind of the bed of this election in some ways, right,
like he`s got a high approval rating. The unemployment rate is half of
what it was. The wages are growing. He`s going to give this big speech
tomorrow, this farewell address. Like, what do you say about what has
happened substantively and what happened in the election and how those two
connect to each other?
HAYES: I don`t think he will cover too much of that ground just because
it`s looking backwards. I think the tradition of a farewell addresses is
the president usually gives some sort of a warning, right, or tries talk
about the challenges that the nation faces ahead.
I think for President Obama, one of the topics he`ll be talking about is
what he covered in the
convention speech in 2016 and this last summer, which is what Democracy
requires, what citizenship
requires, and it requires us to live in the same reality, believe the same
set of facts, argue about things intensely but still sort of somehow find a
way forward together, right.
So I think that`s – that will be his focus in this speech tomorrow night.
FAVREAU: And, of course, making clear that he`s not leaving.
HAYES: Well, that`s – I`m just not moving out. But actually on that
score. I mean, Jon, can you imagine – like, can you imagine him – there
is a norm, there is a tradition that you show a lot
of deference and George W. Bush refrained himself from criticizing Barack
Obama a lot and he sort of kind of disappeared off the public scene. Can
you imagine Barack Obama, who seems pretty invested in those kinds of norms
to violate that and be an outspoken critic?
FAVREAU: I don`t think Barack Obama will be out there every day
criticizing Donald Trump, but I think – and he said this, too, if, you
know, really serious norms and principles and values are violated, then
he`s be a citizen and probably will say something, you know.
And so I don`t think he`ll be out there every day on cable shows hitting
Donald Trump, but I think if things – you know, if – I think he`ll speak
out if something serious happens.
HAYES: We`ve got him penciled in as the A-block guest for the whole week.
FAVREAU: Yeah, we`re trying to…
LOVETT: MSNBC computer – MSNBC contributor.
HAYES: Friend of the Pod. He`ll be on Crooked Media.
Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett of the newly formed Crooked Media, thanks for
being here. Appreciate it.
LOVETT: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right, that is All In for this evening. Tomorrow night, we
have a special edition of the show leading up to that aforementioned
President Obama`s farewell address. MSNBC will carry that speech live.
So, stay tuned for that and for special coverage on The Rachel Maddow Show,
which of course picks up right after.
And speaking of the very same Rachel Maddow, that show starts right now.
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