All In With Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/13/2017
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: January 13, 2017
Guest: Jeff Merkley, Jess McIntosh, Philip Klein, Tim Walz, Barbara Lee,
Mike Taibbi, Malcolm Nance
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST: Tonight, on ALL IN.
JOHN LEWIS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FOR GEORGIA: I don`t see this
President-elect as a legitimate President.
HAYES: An American icon takes a stand against Trump.
LEWIS: When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you
have a moral obligation to do something.
HAYES: Tonight, the shockwaves from John Lewis and why Democrats are
fuming after another classified briefing with FBI Director Comey.
Plus, new questions about team Trump`s explanation for their phone calls to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only conversation that General Flynn had was one to
wish him a Merry Christmas.
HAYES: Why Republicans are targeting the ethics office that will oversee
The house takes another step to dismantle Obamacare without a replacement
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Repeal and replace is
HAYES: And racial bias, excessive force, and reckless shootings. Today`s
DOJ report on the Chicago Police Department, when ALL IN starts right now.
Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. There is now just one week to
go until Donald Trump becomes the President of the United States. He has
not even taken office yet and already, Trump is historically unpopular.
His transition, arguably clouded by more serious scandals and controversy
than all eight years of the Obama administration combined.
As questions mount about the circumstances of Trump`s election and his
alleged ties to a foreign adversary. Democrats appear to be reaching a
breaking point. In an interview with our own Chuck Todd, Georgia
Congressman, civil rights icon, John Lewis became the first to declare
openly what I believe many lawmakers have until now only suggested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEWIS: I don`t see this President-elect as a legitimate President.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC MEET THE PRESS DAILY HOST: You do not consider him a
legitimate President? Why is that?
LEWIS: I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected
and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don`t plan to
attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss, since I`ve
been in the Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel
that is wrong.
TODD: That`s going to send - that`s going to send a big message to a lot of
people in this country that you don`t believe he`s a legitimate President.
LEWIS: I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and
others to help him get elected. That`s not right. That`s not fair.
That`s not the open democratic process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Those are remarkable words given the moral authority and democratic
witness that John Lewis has bore throughout his life. Late today, the
Senate Intelligence Committee, of course, chaired by a Republican,
announced a bipartisan inquiry into the Intelligence Community`s unanimous
conclusion about Russian`s interference in the election including the
criminal political hacking. And the Committee plans to interview Senior
Officials of both the outgoing and incoming administrations, including the
issuance of subpoenas if necessary to compel testimony.
That is just one of the shadows hanging over Trump`s transition to the
presidency. Until this week, he flatly rejected the findings of America`s
Intelligence Professionals choosing instead, to pick ugly the two bird of
public fight with people he`ll have to lead and rely on as President. As
recently this morning, the President-elect was still attacking the
Intelligence Community while seeming to take Russia at its word. He
tweeted, “totally made up facts by sleaze bag political operatives, both
Democrats and Republicans, fake news. Russia says nothing exists, probably
released by the Intelligence,” in (INAUDIBLE) quotes, “even knowing there
is no proof and never will be. My people - my people will have a full
report on hacking within 90 days.” Trump was referring, of course, to the
unverified dossier summarized in classified briefings to both the President
and the President-elect.
The dossier includes allegations, the Russian government possesses
compromising material about Trump and that Trump`s team and the Russian
government exchanged information during the Presidential campaign. We
should note, there is no evidence the dossier was leaked by the
Intelligence Community. It was floating around a number of places prior to
being published. Trump categorically denies the allegations contained in
the dossier. But according to Director of National Intelligence James
Clapper, the Intelligence Community has not made any judgment, whatsoever,
that the information in that document is reliable.
Then, there`s the controversy surrounding FBI Director, James Comey, and
his decision to publicly disclose information about the bureau`s probe of
Hillary Clinton`s e-mail server including the now infamous letter to
Congress, 11 days before the election. There is mounting evidence that
letter did significant damage to Clinton`s chances and the FBI`s conduct is
now the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Inspector General. And
that comes amid multiple reports that at the same time the FBI was
investigating Clinton, it was also investigating the Trump campaign for
ties to Russia. Those reports have not been independently confirmed by NBC
News. At a Senate hearing earlier this week, Comey was asked repeatedly if
the FBI was examining potential ties between Trump`s team and the Russian
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON WYDEN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FOR OREGON: Has the FBI investigated
these reported relationships and if so, what are the agency`s findings?
JAMES COMEY, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION DIRECTOR: Thank you, Senator.
I would never comment on investigations, whether we have one or not, in an
open forum like this.
ANGUS KING, UNITED STATES SENATOR FOR MAINE: Did you answer Senator
Wyden`s question that there is an investigation underway as to connections
between either of the political campaigns and the Russians?
COMEY: I didn`t say one way or another. It`s – especially in a public
forum, we never confirm or deny a pending investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats` frustration with FBI Director Comey, finally boiled over
this morning after a classified House briefing on Russia`s alleged hacking.
Congressman Tim Walz told the Hill, “I was non-judgmental until the last 15
minutes. I no longer have the confidence in him, some of the things that
were revealed in this classified briefing, my confidence has been shook.”
From Congressman Elijah Cummings, “I`m extremely concerned - extremely.”
Congressman Mark Takano, “I`m just - I`m very angry.” Congressman Ted Lieu
tweeted at the meeting, “For members of congress who attended the
classified Intel briefing today, I reiterate my call that you demand Donald
Trump to tell the truth.” Reporters asked Congresswoman Maxine Waters
about what had happened?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congresswoman, can you tell us anything about the
MAXINE WATERS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FOR CALIFORNIA: No, it`s
classified and we can`t tell you anything. All I can tell you is the FBI
Director has no credibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well then, joining me now, Congressman Tim Walz, Democrat from
Minnesota. And Congressman, do you share your colleague`s assessment that
the FBI director has no credibility?
TIM WALZ, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FOR MINNESOTA: Well, I have deep
concerns, Chris. I - as I said, I went in there listening and trying to
find out. This is a serious attack on our democracy. That`s at the heart
of the story. We have a foreign power who`s obviously does not share our
values, and attempted to undermine our most sacred institution of an
election and I wanted to find out what was happening during that time and
during that exchange.
I have a lot of questions that need to be answered in, and I think the
handling first and foremost of what the Russians did, how it influenced our
election, we can find that out. That is - that is absolutely critical. It
doesn`t matter if you`re a Donald Trump supporter or not, you`ll want to
know that, what have they done? The bigger question is, were they handled
- are they handling these investigations equally? Are they doing according
to their operating procedure, and when they talk about it, and when they
don`t? And my frustration came nothing classified about it when it became
very apparent to me that they were not handled the same way, and that is
incredibly frustrating because not just because of the election and the
election results, it undermines the American people`s faith in the non-
partisan nature of our critical intelligence and that`s what came out in
HAYES: OK, I just want to be clear on this and obviously, I`m respectful
the fact you`re dealing with a classified briefing and would not want to
talk about things that are classified and I understand you can`t do that.
But you just said it was not classified, the source of the frustration is
what you believe is a double standard or in - a poorly applied standard
with respect to the different campaigns and how possible investigations are
WALZ: Yes. And I think that`s a possibility meaning, until today, that
wasn`t apparent to me. Now, it`s going to and I think what -
HAYES: So, you learned that today. You felt like that was confirmed to
you today that your fears about a double standard or a poorly applied one
were confirmed today?
WALZ: If they weren`t confirmed, I have serious doubts. As I`ve said, my
confidence was shook. I`ve been asking for more in-depth investigation
into this as my ranking members and Elijah Cummings has. We need to know
that. But, today, yes, coming out of there, I don`t think what should have
been very simple answers were not answered in a simple manner. And the
danger of this, Chris, is again of undermining the public`s credibility in
this. And I know those who say, well, you`re just looking because you`re
upset with the election.
In my district, Chris, Hillary Clinton got 38 percent. She was not going
to win that in there, whether the Russians hacked it or not, but that`s not
the point. The point is that there is no doubt they were involved.
There`s no doubt that we have more to learn on that. But how we as Members
of Congress and how the American public found out about that versus the e-
mail situation, does not seem to me to be consistent. And I think that`s
real trouble and that`s not in a defense of Hillary Clinton`s use of e-mail
which I said all along needed to be looked at.
HAYES: So, let me ask you this. Given everything that you`ve told me, I
wonder how you - whether you share the assessment of your colleague, John
Lewis, who said today on the record to Chuck Todd that he did not feel this
President is legitimate. Would you agree? Do you think this President is
WALZ: No, I don`t agree with that at this time and John Lewis to everyone
is an icon, I respect him greatly. I know he is shook on this, too. I
would say, I need to see more. I respect that next Friday, when we have an
inauguration, we will have - President Trump will be my President. And as
I said yesterday, when he makes a good decision like his V.A. appointment
of Dr. Shulkin, I`ll praise him on that.
When he`s not I`ll work on trying to find common ground, but at stake here
is there`s more to be learned and we can`t be stonewalled on this and my
fear is, is that the person who tells me with that information and I make
my judgments on, I have a deep concern about now and that`s what - that`s
why that was so damaging to me. This is - and since I`ve been up here over
the last decade, this was the most troubling to me in terms of what I had
been led to believe and the expectations and how that turned out. And
that`s why we need more information.
HAYES: All right. Congressman Tim Walz, thank you.
WALZ: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: I`m joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Democrat from California.
And Congressman, my understanding is like John Lewis, you are not going to
the inauguration. I wonder, do you agree with Congressman Lewis? That do
you view this President as “not legitimate”?
BARBARA LEE, UNITED STATES SENATOR FOR CALIFORNIA: Chris, well, let me
say, first of all, I believe in the peaceful transfer of power and the
office of the presidency. But when you look at the flawed process and
Russian interference in our election and when you look at what has taken
place in terms of our democratic ideals, our processes. You know, I have
to applaud Congressman John Lewis, because once John Lewis says, you know,
they are flawed or illegitimate - the elections were illegitimate or this
is an illegitimate President, people have to really pause, and really think
about this because Congressman Lewis is a moral leader, he`s a civil and
human rights icon and he did not make that decision lightly.
And so, I think the facts need to be laid out. We have a bipartisan
commission, legislation led by Congressman Swalwell and Cummings to really
set up, commission to investigate this. And so, when you look at what has
taken place, you know, I have to just say, John Lewis is right on target,
you know, in terms of how this President-elect was elected and the
interference and what took place as a result of these elections.
HAYES: But what are the -
LEE: Even the FBI in terms of their bias and how they conducted these
investigations, what was made public, what was not made public. You know,
people can decide for themselves, but there are so many problems with what
took place until once again, Congressman John Lewis needs to be applauded.
HAYES: Were you in that briefing today, Congresswoman?
LEE: Yes, I was.
HAYES: Did you share the - I mean, it was - it was sort of a fascinating
scene afterwards just democrat after democrat coming out saying in very
strong words how frustrated, angered, you know, how many questions they
had. Was that your feeling coming out of that as well?
LEE: Chris, I was angry. I wasn`t frustrated because, you know, the facts
leading up to today were very clear to me, but, you know, when you`d - are
in a classified briefing, of course, we can`t disclose what we learned, but
my reaction was one of anger. I was very - I would say upset with the fact
that the American people need to have the facts made public. We need some
transparency and we need this investigation so the public will know exactly
what took place.
HAYES: So, you feel there are important - there are important things for
the public to know that they cannot or do not know at this moment?
LEE: I think it`s important for an investigation to be conducted that is
public and, of course, there are going to be some issues that will be
classified that cannot be disclosed. But I think for the most part, we
need the bipartisan commission, which the house is - which I think all
democrats are on the legislation. We need that so the public will know
exactly what took place and make their own decisions about the outcome of
HAYES: All right, Congressman Barbara Lee, thanks for joining me. I
Up next, the Trump transition is now admitting to NBC News that Michael
Flynn spoke to Russia`s ambassador on the day the Obama administration
sanctioned Russia for interfering in our election. The latest after this
HAYES: Amid mounting questions about potential leaks between Donald Trump,
his inner circle, and the Russian government came this column from
Washington Post, David Ignatius with what at first glance seemed to be a
pretty remarkable revelation. According to a Senior U.S. Government
Official, Trump`s pick for National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, phoned
the Russian ambassador several times in December 29th. That, of course, be
the very same day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35
Russian officials, as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking
during the election.
Now, that report was followed up today by another from the Associated
Press, again citing contact on that day, the 29th, again sourced to a
single Senior Official who may or may not have been the same person. We
don`t know. On a routine call with reporters this morning, transition
Spokesperson, Sean Spicer, offered a very simple explanation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY NOMINEE: On Christmas day,
General Flynn reached out to the Ambassador and sent him a text and it
said, you know, “I want to wish you and - Merry Christmas and a Happy New
Year.” The Ambassador texted him back wishing him a Merry Christmas as
well, and then subsequently on the 28th of December texted him and said,
“I`d like to give you a call, may I?” He then took the call on the 28th
and the call centered around the logistics of setting up a call with the
President of Russia and the President-elect after he was sworn in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. This all seems completely innocent, above bored. But there
was something a bit peculiar I noticed about Spicer`s account. You note
that he cited two dates when Flynn supposedly had contact with the Russian
ambassador, December 25th, Christmas Day, and December 28th. But the White
House announced new sanctions in response to Russia`s election interference
the day after that, December 29th. That`s the crucial day that was alleged
in the column. So, did Flynn and the ambassador talk that day or not?
This morning team Trump told The Post`s David Ignatius that the only call
that happened were on the 25th and 28th. The latter, to offer condolences
for a plane crash that killed the Russian Military Choir. But then, this
afternoon NBC News producer Vaughan Hilliard, caught up with Spicer again
and he admitted there actually was, in fact, a phone call on December 29th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGHAN HILLYARD, NBC NEWS PRODUCER: On the 29th, that was the same day
that the U.S. expelled 35 Russian diplomats that were in the county. Now,
it was the day later in which Vladimir Putin said he would not retaliate,
we would not push out American diplomats that were in Russia. Did General
Flynn have any conversations to indicate to the Russian Ambassador that the
U.S. Trump administration would either ease or roll back sanctions?
SPICER: The only conversation General Flynn had was; one, to wish him
Merry Christmas; two, to express his sympathies for the loss of life that
occurred during that plane crash, that took the lives of their military
choir; and the two, is to commit to establishing a call after the
inauguration between the two leaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Obviously, that choir plane crash was tragic and we know the Trump
team loves to say Merry Christmas, but how many times can you call and text
the same Russian Ambassador?
Joining me now, MSNBC`s Terrorism Analyst Malcolm Nance, author of the
“Plot Hack America”, and Rolling Stone Contributor, Matt Taibbi, author of
the forth-coming book “Insane Clown President”. And Matt also wrote a
really good piece on all this yesterday. So, let me start with you Matt
and then go to you, Malcolm. So, you basically - so here`s a perfect
example of the kind of thing that we`re dealing with here, right?
MATT TAIBBI, NBC TELEVISION REPORTER AND JOURNALIST: Right.
HAYES: So, the facts are unclear and in dispute, they seem to move back
HAYES: There is at one level a totally innocent explanation. I mean,
there`s some business that has to happen between the incoming transition
and the Russian Ambassador.
HAYES: But then there`s some weird dodginess around it.
HAYES: And you wrote this piece yesterday being - saying some line about
how we ever known less about something more important than what we`re
flying through right now?
TAIBBI: Right, yeah, because there`s – there are two completely different
narratives. There`s one where basically the Russians, let`s just say - I
mean, the people that I talked to have a high degree of confidence that
they were involved with the hacking of the DNC e-mails. Perhaps, passing
onto WikiLeaks as well, but there`s a version where they do that and Trump
is basically the, you know, idiotic, moronic beneficiary of that and wasn`t
involved in any kind of conspiracy with the Russians.
TAIBBI: We don`t have any hard evidence that there`s anything more than
HAYES: Right, the thing of which there`s the most evidence is that - is
the first order thing that they hacked it for whatever reason to sow
discontent because they like Trump, they hated Hillary Clinton as a
TAIBBI: Because they want to sow the division in the United States, which
all the great power countries do. We do it. I mean, of course, this would
be an extraordinary episode but certainly there`s no evidence that I`ve
seen, that there`s this other element where it`s a Manchurian candidate,
there`s a plot and that would be an order of magnitude much larger.
HAYES: In fact, as you said, and Malcolm, this is why I want to bring you
in because I believe you are a - you worked obviously in the Intelligence
Community for years. You wrote a book about Russia`s involvement in this
election, and you are I think a believer large in the, in the, in the
second theory. That there was coalition, or there`s evidence of that, but
what is - what is the evidence there is aside we have this dossier but we,
you know, we can`t verify any of it?
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: You know, I like to say this
because Matt`s a great journalist and I love his work, but Matt`s a
journalist. I`m an Intelligence Officer. And so, I look at things
differently. There is no such thing as coincidence in my world.
Coincidence takes a lot of planning.
Everything that happened with regards to that hack, took place in an
organized bubble that indicated that there was a very large information
warfare management cell being run by Russian intelligence. All of the
leaks came out precisely to support everything Donald Trump said within 24
to 48 hours. You know, he talks about Pennsylvania; every Pennsylvania
dossier comes out. He talks about Florida; every Florida dossier comes
out. When that wasn`t flowing fast enough, D.C. leaks came out. All of
this was on the basis of the systematic release of intelligence, and that`s
what Intelligence Agencies do.
HAYES: But here`s the issue to me, Malcolm. Is that, and I hear you on
this right? And I`ve - I`ve talked to intelligence people who keep saying
the same thing to me, which is that you have not been trained in an
intelligence, you are not seeing the puzzle pieces fit together the way we
have and I respect that. But, the standard - part of the problem we`re
dealing with right, is that standards are different, right? So, standard
of public domain to basically say to someone, you know, Matt, that you`re -
this person is a foreign agent.
HAYES: Essentially or colluding, like, that is a very heavy thing to say
about a person, particularly the incoming President of the United States of
what should the journalistic standards be there?
TAIBBI: Well, right now all we can really say is there are people who
believe that. All right, I mean, that`s what we can report is that there
are people in the Intelligence Community who have - apparently, have
indications that they - that lead them to believe that. But we haven`t
seen anything that allows us to say unequivocally that x and y happened
last year. All we can really say is that there is - there are analyses
that show that they were probably behind the hack.
HAYES: And so, then the question Malcolm, to you becomes, can you imagine
a world in which an unclassified version of evidence could be produced
through a bipartisan investigation of some kind. That could be entered
into the public record that could make some determination that meets a sort
of standards for amateurs? Essentially for citizens? For democratic
citizens in a nation -
HAYES: – Who want to know what the heck is going on?
NANCE: Sure. So long as we`re not talking about the original hacking of
the DNC. That evidence is unequivocal it`s on the internet. A company
called CrowdStrike, actually did the analysis and saw the data being
stolen. The question is about these links possibly with the Trump team,
the Trump administration. That data, I think you`re probably never going
to see the CIA`s report which was parallel written to mine, published on
the same day I published, and had came out with the exact same conclusions.
You`re not going to see that certainly, after next week you`ll going to
never see that.
HAYES: But how can we not -
NANCE: But our allied nations and other media, believe me I`m sure
there`ll be a lot of leaking about this.
TAIBBI: Well -
NANCE: Which evidence that you`ll be looking for.
NANCE: But, this is the super bowl of intelligence crisis. I mean, if
there`s ever a time where they have to break the rules and release
everything they have, this is it.
HAYES: Well, I`m not part of the problem too, in terms of the leaking,
Malcolm. Is that it also seems to me that if - that this sort of attrition
through leak - I mean, do you think the leaks we are getting are coming
from the Intelligence Community?
NANCE: No, I don`t think a lot of them are coming from the Intelligence
Community. Especially with regards to that dossier, that dossier had been
out there for months. I spoke to David Corn.
HAYES: Yes, right. That I heard. Right.
NANCE: But you have to understand, my book came out four months ago, and
it was unclassified.
NANCE: It didn`t have anything to do with it. So, the media takes a
little longer to catch up because you have that, you know, two rule
verification and things like that. And information is just leaking out now
about what we can see sort of nefarious, may have parameters leading
towards sinister and certainly, questionable enough to demand investigation
to determine if any of these people have links to Moscow.
HAYES: The only thing I feel definitive about is there has to be some sort
of, official commission in which things are -
HAYES: Systematically declassified, investigated, and presented in some
sort of fashion that we are not essentially, making democratic
determinations - immediate determinations based on leaks and counter-leaks.
Malcolm Nance and Matt Taibbi, good to have you both. Thank you.
NANCE: Thanks guys.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, as the ethical concerns pile up around Trump
and his Cabinet nominees, how are the Republicans responding? That story
HAYES: One of the very first things House Republicans did when they came
to work last week was to vote to gut the independent ethics office that
polices their conduct. It seemed like a weird foot to get off on, for a
party that had just won the National Election with a promise - from its
nominee to drain the swamp. And after a public uproar, the House GOP beat
a tactical retreat and promised to revisit the matter later in the term.
But it turns out the Republican war on ethics was just getting started.
First, despite warnings from ethics watchdogs, despite past practice.
Republicans scheduled Senate hearings for Donald Trump`s Cabinet picks even
though several were yet to complete the background checks and ethics
clearances that are customarily required. Then there`s Trump`s pick to
head the Department of Health and Human Services, Representative Tom Price,
who the Wall Street Journal reports traded more than $300,000 in shares of
health-related companies over the past four years, while sponsoring and
advocating legislation that could potentially affect those company stocks.
Today came a report, that Price got a sweetheart deal from a foreign
biotech firm that could earn him a million dollars. Trump, meanwhile, held
a press conference on Wednesday, where he defied calls by bipartisan ethics
watchdogs to divest or place his assets in a blind trust saying instead he
would hand his business over to his sons, a relatively meaningless step
that he nonetheless presented as a benevolent gesture.
TRUMP: Actually, run my business. I could actually run my business and
run government at the same time. I don`t like the way that looks, but I
would be able to do that if I wanted to.
HAYES: Trump`s stance did not sit well with the Director of the Office of
Government Ethics, Walter Shaub. And now, Republicans are responding to
Shaub`s objections with a not so vailed threat, not against the President-
elect to poise to potentially violate the constitution, no, no. Rather
against the ethics watchdog trying to ensure that he doesn`t - Jason
Chaffetz and then GOP`s ethical bullying on ethics next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER SHAUB, OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS: I wish circumstances were
different and I didn`t feel the need to make public remarks today. You
don`t hear about ethics when things are going well. You`ve been hearing a
lot about ethics lately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After Walter Shaub, the director of the U.S. office of government
a speech decrying the steps Donald Trump has taken – or not taken, to
address his conflicts of interest as meaningless.
He got a letter from GOP representative Jason Chaffetz, chair of the house
oversight and government reform chairman, who earlier this week had vowed
to continue his investigation into
Hillary Clinton`s emails.
Now Chaffetz`s letter was not a show of support to a fellow ethics
watchdog, not an attaboy, it was instead a threat. Chaffetz accusing Shaub
of blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance
and hinting he may investigate Shaub for speaking out about Trump`s
conflict of interest.
Chaffetz, who demanded Shaub appear for a closed-door interview cited an
OGE tweet storm
from November in which Shaub told Trump, quote, OGE is delighted you`ve
decided to divest your
businesses, right decision.
Trump, of course, has done nothing of the sort, but he`s apparently done
enough for Chaffetz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) CALIFORNIA: It seems to me that Donald Trump is
bending over backwards to do everything he can, but he has to abide by the
law. and he`s exempt from most of these conflicts of interest, so I thought
it was very premature of the Office of Government Ethics to essentially be
in the spin room saying hey, I hate this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded
to Chaffetz`s letter with outright, quote, “Mr. Chaffetz`s attempt to bully
Mr. Shaub out of doing his job
are absolutely despicable.”
Joining me now, Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat of Oregon. And, Senator,
do you share Chuck Schumer`s assessment?
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY, (D) OREGON: Oh, absolutely. This is really a crazy
First, the House tries to eliminate its own independent office of
congressional ethics on Day One. And then they proceed to attack the
office, the independent Office of Government Ethics that is charged with
making sure that the conflicts of interests are eliminated for the
president and for people who are nominated for cabinet posts.
And, boy, the president himself held a press conference to say how much he
was doing and it turned out his plan was as phony as his photo props. He
had all these folders piled up saying these are the contracts I`m going to
divest, and then it turns out that they wouldn`t let the reporters look at
them because apparently they just had blank paper in them. And the plan
was simply to put his sons in control of the business. It does not
eliminate the conflicts of interest.
HAYES: So, here`s my question for you at a real basic brass tacks level.
The office of government ethics is an independent body. It is affixed I
believe five year term, the head of that, Walter
Shaub. What does the senate or the congress do when day one Donald Trump
MERKLEY: Well, he can`t fire him on day one, because of it being a five-
year term, but I must say it will be very, very disturbing for a president
to put someone into that office who isn`t a professional committed to
enforcing ethics laws and will make — certainly make a lot of noise about
it and consider whether there`s some kind of legislation we can pass that
would put some boundaries in
place to back it up.
HAYES: What do you make of – Congressman Chaffetz has carved out a role
for himself in the House, the oversight committee. The idea behind the
oversight commit, sort of deep constitutional idea that the tension between
Article one and Article two branches of the United States government that
congress oversees the executive. Do you feel that he is – does he sound
faithful to that role as he talks about what`s going on now?
MERKLEY: You know, the best way to get the House Republicans to attack
something is put the label “ethics” on it. So it`s not really – it`s
oversight to try to destroy oversight, it`s really unfortunate that they`re
not taking ethics seriously. And it`s happening on the Senate side where
trying to ram through nominees without getting the standard ethics report
that Mitch McConnell himself demanded for President Obama`s nominees in
HAYES: Are you confident that all of those ethics clearances will actually
happen either before – I know some of the hearings have been postponed.
It did seem that that was a mini battle the Democrats in some senses won
insofar as a bunch of those hearings have been postponed?
MERKLEY: It seems like we`ve made some progress, but I wouldn`t declare
victory yet because the challenge, for example, with DeVos is a vast empire
that has so much – so many challenges she hasn`t even submitted the
So, is the Senate leadership going to eventually say well she hasn`t
submitted the paperwork and we don`t have the ethics report, and we don`t
have the divestment plan, but still we want her in the job and try to push
it through? They may well do so. And we`ll try to stop it.
HAYES: DeVos, of course, nominated for secretary of education who is a
billionaire, comes from a fantastically wealthy family, huge amounts of
holdings and would have to go through a process – she would have to go
through a process that`s insisted upon by law in a way Donald Trump
wouldn`t, which is that she won`t have any option, right, to pass over the
family business to her kids or something, she actually has to divest and
put it in a blind trust?
MERKLEY: This is – that is the standard, absolutely. and by the way,
this should be the standard for the president and it`s – when we are
pushing him to divest, we`re really doing him a big
favor because when you own a lot of property it`s very easy to be in
violation of the constitution`s emolument clause, because all someone has
to do is give you a sweetheart deal and there`s thousands of deals his
corporation is doing, and you`re in violation.
HAYES: Asll right, Senator Jeff Merkley, thanks for your time tonight.
MERKLEY: You`re welcome.
HAYES: Still ahead, the growing questions about the Republican plans to
gut Obamacare as repeal advances in the House, plus a quick check in on
Rudy Giuliani is tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, and that starts right
after this break.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani`s hard work
for the Trump campaign has finally paid off with a brand new job. As you
are sure to recall during the campaign, Rudy was the man. He was Trump`s
number two, it seemed. He was everywhere – the rallies, wearing the hats,
speaking super, super emphatically at the Republican National Convention,
even vociferously defending Trump after release of that infamous Access
Hollywood tape in which Trump boasted of routine sexual assault.
Giuliani and Trump were bosom buddies from way back. And so after Trump`s
surprise win, Giuliani was well positioned. The only question was which
top cabinet post was he going to get?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The choice for secretary of state in a Trump
is down to Rudolph Giuliani and John Bolton.
RUDY GIULIANI, FRM. MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: John would be a very good
UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Is there anybody better?
GIULIANI: Maybe me, I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: He was reported to be a top candidate for secretary of state until
he got passed over, claiming he had taken his own name out of contention,
and then attorney general. There`s probably nobody that knows the Justice
Department better than me, Giuliani said at the time. But he didn`t get
that job, either.
The former mayor receded back into whatever he was doing before he jumped
on the Trump
bandwagon, but now Rudy Giuliani has been given a job – kind of – in the
Trump administration. What`s he going to do? Well, I`d tell you to check
out his web site for a hint during the break, but that`s part of the
problem. Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So Rudy Giuliani, one of the earliest, biggest, most stalwart
supporters of candidate Trump who then seemed to be shoveled aside by
President-elect Trump has now finally been given an
assignment. If you missed the big announcement at Trump Tower yesterday
we`ll play it for you now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: So, basically I`ll read you a little of the press release:
“President-elect Trump is very pleased to announce former Mayor Rudy
Giuliani will be sharing his expertise and insight as a trusted friend
coordinating private sector cyber security problems and emerging solutions
developing in the private sector.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So some cyber stuff. That`s a role so diminished as The New York
Times described it,
Giuliani will from time to time assemble meets between Mr. Trump and
corporate executives who face cyber threats. Giuliani, afterall, has his
own security consulting firm, so this job appears to be a nice opportunity
to have the president of the United States help impress corporate
executives who may be looking for, I don`t know, a security consulting
It`s certainly an upgrade from the current situation. If any executives
went looking for Giulianis firm today, this is what they find. His web
sites have down all day. This after a report from Gizmodo today that
Rudy`s security site is “insecure as hell.” I`m quoting there. Was using
outdated free Joomla software. I`m also quoting there. I don`t know what
that is. And failed to follow even the most basic of security precautions
that would be obvious to the most casual student of cyber security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Department of Justice has
concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Chicago police
department engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force in
violation of the Fourth Amendment to the constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch this morning announced the
results of an exhaustive report by the Department of Justice on the Chicago
Police Department. The findings are simply put horrifying. I want to give
just some examples. Here`s one.
A man had been found walking down a residential street with a friend when
officers drove up, shined a light on him and ordered him to freeze because
he had been fidgeting with his waistband. The man ran. The officers fired
45 rounds, including 28 rifle rounds, several rounds struck the man,
Officers found no gun on the man, however officers reported recovering a
handgun nearly one block away. The gun recovered in the vicinity,
however, was later determined to be fully loaded and inoperable and
forensic testing determined there was no gunshot residue on the man`s
Chicago`s independent police review authority, or IPRA, which we have
talked about on the show before, found the officers – the actions of the
And this was not uncommon, according to the report. In many of these
generally accepted the officers` versions of events, which were later
undercut by video evidence.
Another one, in one case officers justified using force by claiming a woman
had attacked them but in the video officers can be seen aggressively
grabbing the woman, throwing her to the ground and surrounding her. After
she`s handcuffed, one officer tells another to “tase her ten effing times.”
Officers call her an animal, threaten to kill her and her family and scream
“I`ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the “f” you came
from while hitting the women who was handcuffed and on her knees. Officers
can then be seen discovering a recording device and discussing whether they
can take it.”
Those officers didn`t face any discipline until after the woman came
forward with the surveillance video.
Justice Department investigation also found “routinely abusive behavior
within the CPD, especially towards black and Latino residents of Chicago`s
most challenged neighborhoods. One officer interviewed said he had
personally had heard co-workers and supervisors refer to black individuals
as monkeys, animals, savages and pieces of excrement.”
What we have here is a 13-month investigation by the United State Justice
Department, the living document more than 160 pages long, in which the
federal government corroborates what people and reporters, frankly, in the
most marginalized neighborhoods of Chicago have been saying for years. And
now, because of that report, the city of Chicago has promised to reform the
Police Department. We`ll see how that goes.
But all this comes because this Justice Department, under this president,
has aggressively pushed for reform and investigated city departments.
The man Donald Trump wants to put in charge of the Justice Department has a
take. Jeff Sessions has criticized government lawsuits that force police
reforms. So the question before us now is whether will the next report
into the next department like Chicago ever even happen?
HAYES: Over the past 24 hours, House Speaker Paul Ryan has been working
around the clock to try and repeal the Affordable Care Act as soon as
possible. He led a successful vote, mostly on party lines in the House of
Representatives on the first step toward repealing the health care law
through the budget process. He defended Republican plans for repealing the
ACA to a man whose life was saved by the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was a Republican and I worked for the Reagan and Bush
campaigns. At 49, I was given six weeks to live with a very curable type
of cancer. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I`m standing here today
Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: Obviously, I would encourage you to go to
our web site and take a look at our plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ryan went on to talk about a number of policy ideas from high-risk
pools to greater
reliance on health savings accounts, but if you took him up on that
invitation to go to the House Speaker`s web site and take a look at their
plan, you`d find, four bullet points promising to increase choice, reduce
costs, shore up Medicare with a link to a three page snapshot PDF that
basically just restates those same abstract and vague promises.
After seven years of Obamacare, more than 60 attempts to repeal it,
thousands of campaign run against it across the country, that is the
cutting edge of the Republican alternative right now – four bullet points
So, what are the millions of people who`ve gained coverage thanks to the
Act supposed to do while they watch all this unfold?
Joining me now, Democratic strategist, former director of communications of
outreach for Hillary for America, Jess McIntosh and Philip Klein, managing
editor the Washington Examiner, author of “Overcoming Obamacare: Three
Approaches to Reversing the Government Takeover of Health Care.”
Maybe, Phil, I want to start with you. You know, obviously there are plans
out there. Lamar Alexander has talked about plans, Tom Price, who has been
nominated at HHS, but it`s somewhat striking to me that all this time they
didn`t – they knew this was coming. The fact there`s not a plan
saying, no, this is what we`re going to do, and not only that it was
totally absent from the campaign.
I mean, if you go back to `08, you can say Obamacare you don`t like it, you
don`t like the principles, it hasn`t work, but it was intensely litigated.
You had a good sense of what the contours were going to be. I have no
PHILIP KLEIN, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yeah, I mean, the problem always has
been not that there aren`t any Republican plans, there have been many. Paul
Ryan himself when he wasn`t in leadership released one, Tom Price had one,
there`s a number of different plans, but Republicans have never been able
to agree on a single one and now that`s coming back to haunt them.
HAYES: There`s also the problem, it strikes me, Jess, that not only do
they not agree in congress, Donald Trump has made a lot of promises. He`s
talked about out-of-pocket costs. He`s talked about taking care of
everybody. He wrote a book awhile back essentially calling for single
Do you think they can square all the promises they`ve made?
JESS MCINTOSH, COMM. DIR. HILLARY FOR AMERICA: I don`t think they`re going
to be able to do that. I think that the Republicans in the House and
Senate have made repealing Obamacare a huge part of their agenda for years
now. Donald Trump is new to this game. He doesn`t understand the issue.
He clearly doesn`t understand the contours and what will be the
controversial pieces of it. And he seems to have no interest in working
with the congressional Republicans that are going to have to do the heavy
I hope that they remember we started – President Obama`s presidency by
picking up this health care fight. It was not easy. The president spent
enormous political capital getting this done because he believed not just
in a set of principles but in how to do it and he worked with Senate
Democrats to get it
HAYES: And part of the reason it wasn`t easy, Philip, is a kind of status
quo bias, which is to say people don`t like the current health care system.
They didn`t like it then, and there`s a lot of people dissatisfied now, I
think it`s fair to say, although I think a lot of people do like the
Affordable Care Act that have gotten care, but change is scary.
And so, you know, you`ve written about the fact Republicans are not being
particularly honest right now about what even their principles are, which
is, yes, some people are going to lose their coverage.
KLEIN: Yeah, absolutely.
And one argument I`ve made is that Republicans should avoid the same
mistake as Obama, President Obama. When he was selling the health care
law, as you said one of the problems was this status quo bias. People were
worried about how it would disrupt their health insurance. So he over and
over again repeated the infamous talking point about if you like your plan
you can keep it and you`re not going to lose your doctors even though you
know that – and any intellectually honest liberal health care expert at
the time would say look, if you`re making major changes to the health care
system it will disrupt some people`s care, some people are going to lose
coverage, and he could have made the argument, but ultimately the overall
system will be better.
But he made these big promises and when the obvious happened and people
lost their coverage and doctor networks got narrowed on all these changes
disrupted a lot of people, it was a huge problem for him and that`s one of
the big reasons why Republicans have been able to capitalize. And I`d
argue now control the congress and perhaps the presidency as a result of
Obamacare and these broken promises.
And now Republicans are also, I think, boxing themselves in the corner by
making a lot of contradictory promises that won`t actually bear out. And
I think that they should just be more honest and actually defend, which I
think is a defensible position of, repealing Obamacare and replacing it
with a market-based system.
HAYES: That gentleman that spoke to Paul Ryan last night, it strikes me –
he`s a particular cancer and he was a former Republican whatever, but
there`s millions of people that are going to kind of discover that they`re
in the crosshairs who may not have been activated for this fight before the
election, but may get activated afterwards.
MCINTOSH: For sure. We`re starting with only 18 percent wanting to repeal
Obamacare. You don`t get to 18 percent with Republican unity by any
stretch of the imagination.
There are a number of people. We`ve seen it all over the internet as
they`ve picked up this fight, people saying well, I`m on the ACA, so go
ahead and repeal Obamacare, that`s terrible, my health care will be fine.
They don`t realize that the ACA and Obamacare and whether that`s the
media`s fault, or the president`s fault, or whoever`s fault, these people
are going to know real fast that Obamacare is the ACA and that is how they
get their coverage.
So, if we`re starting at a number that low that even want them to pick up
this fight, and Republicans are not offering people anything. They are
simply saying repeal as if there is a mandate to repeal, as if people see
repeal as something being done for them.
HAYES: Right, there`s a repeal to change, there definitely is…
MCINTOSH: As opposed to being done to them. They need to – you know,
Obama made it through this because he was offering more health care to
people. I don`t know what Trump or the congressional Republicans are going
to be offering.
HAYES: That`s a very good point.
Philip Klein and Jess McIntosh, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate
Before we go, one last very special segment to do. Both of my kids are
here, and we have a house rule whenever that happens. We have a little
tradition. They get to request any animal video they want. So, first up,
for my daughter Ryan, here`s that black panther that you asked for. It`s -
- wow, that a very cute black panther.
And for David, I present the tiger hanging out with her three cubs at
theSan Diego Zoo.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY