All In With Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/16/2017
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: January 16, 2017
Guest: Ted Lieu; Hakeem Jeffries; Debbie Stabenow, Jonathan Chait, Ilan
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He lost. It`s like a spoiled child.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Team Trump rebukes a civil rights icon.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Stand up. Speak up. When you see something
that is not right –
HAYES: Four days from inauguration, the growing crisis of legitimacy as
the Trump boycott grows. Then .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he has to recognize that his words do have
HAYES: Why Donald Trump`s ongoing alignment with Vladimir Putin has
multiple continents on edge. Plus, is the Trump White House actually
planning to kick reporters out?
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC MEET THE PRESS DAILY HOST: There will still be reporters
every day going to work in the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Either – well, that hasn`t been determined, Chuck.
HAYES: And an eruption of ObamaCare support across America.
AMERICAN CROWD (chanting): This is what democracy looks like.
HAYES: As Donald Trump floats a (INAUDIBLE) balloon when ALL IN starts
HAYES: Good evening from New York on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I`m
Chris Hayes. And there are now just four days until Donald Trump is sworn
in as this nation`s 45th President. And right now, he is poised to enter
office amid a swirling and growing tornado of controversy that at least for
any other political figure, would widely be seen as creating a major
legitimacy crisis. Trump, of course, will become President despite Hillary
Clinton having won the popular vote by more than 2.86 million votes – the
widest margin of any losing candidate in American history.
He will take office despite any assessment from the U.S. Intelligence
Community, the Russian government interfered the election to boost his
chances an ongoing questions about what influence the Russian government
may hold over him. While most past Presidents have seen their popularity
hit a high point right before they are sworn in, Trump is at historic lows.
Comparing to Bill Clinton`s favorable rating pre-inauguration of 66 percent
and George W. Bush`s 62 percent and Barack Obama`s nearly 80 percent,
Trump, by contrast, is sitting right now at just 40 percent. More than 20
points less than each of his three predecessors. Trump is viewed
unfavorably by a majority, 55 percent of adults nationwide. A majority
compared to 18 percent unfavorable rating for Barack Obama before his
Meanwhile, even before Trump is sworn in, a resistance movement has taken
shape against what republicans say is their top number one priority under
the new President, that, of course, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act
with thousands pouring into the streets across the country into
congressional offices this weekend to protest efforts to take away their
healthcare. Perhaps the starkest scene was in Colorado. A republican
Congressman, Mike Coffman snuck out of a constituent event early, after
more than 150 people showed up, many of them there to confront him over the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am going to potentially lose my health insurance.
I have – I`ve had a pre-existing condition. I`ve had breast cancer.
What`s going to happen to me? I`m trying to get an answer and I can`t even
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As for Trump, he spent his last weekend before becoming President
engaged in public feuds with the outgoing head of the CIA, the government
of China and the casting crew of “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”. He also lashed out
at John Lewis tweeting, “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on
fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling
apart, not to mention crime-infested, rather than falsely complaining about
the election results. All talk, talk, talk, no actions or results. Sad.”
That, of course, would be this John Lewis the towering civil rights figure
who helped lead the 1963 march on Washington and had his skull fractured by
State Troopers after marching into Selma, Alabama, in 1965, and who on
Friday described Trump as an illegitimate President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEWIS: I don`t see this President-elect as a legitimate President. I
think the Russians participated in having this man get elected and they
have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don`t plan to attend
the inauguration. It would be the first one that I miss since I`ve been in
the congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Lewis` decision not to attend Friday`s inauguration and Trump`s
response has spurred many of Lewis` colleagues to follow suit. There are
as of now at least 31 democratic lawmakers who have announced plans to
boycott, including one, who I will speak to in just a moment. The question
of the Presidential legitimacy is not a new one for Trump, of course, a man
who spent years questioning President Obama`s legitimacy by pushing a false
conspiracy theory known as Birtherism. Yesterday, incoming White House
Chief of Staff Reince Priebus argued that Obama side with Trump over Lewis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It`s irresponsible
for John Lewis, historic as he is, to have done this. And the other piece
of this, Chuck, is that Barack Obama should step up as well and call it
what it is. It`s wrong what is happening. It`s wrong how some of these
democrats are treating President-elect Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Trump marked today`s holiday at a meeting with Martin Luther King
III and told reporters he pressed Trump to make it easier for Americans to
vote. Lewis, for his part, urged young African-American men to stand by
their beliefs at an event honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. in Miami.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEWIS: So I say to you, young men, you must have courage. You must be
bold. And never, ever give up when you know that you`re right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu of California
says he will not attend the inauguration. And Democratic Representative
Hakeem Jeffries of New York a member of the House of Democratic leadership
who says he`s undecided about whether he`ll be there on Friday.
Congressman Lieu, let me start with you. Can you give your reasoning for
REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, thank you, Chris, for that question.
And let me first say it`s an honor to be on your show with the wonderful
Hakeem Jeffries. Based on an information I know, Donald Trump won the
Electoral College, but I`m not going to normalize him. I cannot normalize
his (INAUDIBLE) of behavior, his racists, sexists, and bigoted statements,
he attacked Gold star parents, veterans such as John McCain, Latinos,
Muslim-Americans, and now John Lewis. And for me the decision was do I
stand with Donald Trump or do I stand with John Lewis, I`m standing with
HAYES: Are you doing something that is toxic or destructive to America`s
basic institutional character when you`re doing something like this?
LIEU: What makes America great is that unlike Russia, we don`t make people
watch parades or ceremonies. Keep in mind, nothing is happening at this
inauguration in terms of votes casts or policies being enacted. It`s
pageantry. Now, can a man like Trump who has made a series of racists and
sexes statements, have a good idea? Oh, yes, he can. So when he withdraws
the United States from the transpacific partnership, I will support it.
But if he`s got bad ideas, like creating a Muslim-American registry, or
cutting Social Security Medicare, then I`m going to fight like hell to
HAYES: Congressman Jeffries, since you`re here and you have not announced
how you`ll be – what you`ll be doing on inauguration day. How do you
understand what you are communicating as a member of congress and as a
member of constitutional office by going or not going?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Well, the peaceful transfer of power
is something that I think is an important part of American democracy. It`s
very unique to republic and is something that we should respect. I don`t
think not attending the inauguration for instance would be disrespecting
that principle in this particular situation because John Lewis is
completely right, there`s a cloud of illegitimacy around the election of
Donald Trump. The Russians interfered with his election. James Comey and
the FBI interfered with his election. The fake news industry interfered
with his election. He didn`t win the popular vote. He lost the popular
vote. The majority of the Americans didn`t vote for him, they voted
against him. And so, every member is going to have to work –
HAYES: Why is that different than just whining because you lost?
JEFFRIES: Because, you know, the notion that a foreign power could have
interfered with American democracy in a way that could have altered the
results is a unique threat to the Republic and that`s a serious thing for
each member to have to consider and to weigh. I`m going to spend the next
day or so in the district speaking to people in Brooklyn and Queens, and
then I`ll make my own –
HAYES: Yes. What`s the – what`s the equation here? I mean, what is the
– what are you balancing right now when you think about this?
JEFFRIES: Well, again, you know, the principle of the peaceful transfer of
power and the opportunity, quite frankly, to be in the presence of Barack
Obama for the final time as the 44th President of the United States of
America perhaps is the only good reason that any democrat who chooses to
attend, may attend. But Chris, the nerve – and it`s great to be on with
and Ted he`s a tremendous member of congress. The nerve of that folks on
the other side of the aisle who declared war on Barack Obama on day one to
lecture any democrat about Presidential etiquette is just striking.
HAYES: Congressman, first let me – let me ask you this, Congressman Lieu,
do you agree with John Lewis` assessment. Hakeem Jeffries – Congressman
Jeffries just said there, there`s a cloud of illegitimacy. I`m hoping I`m
quoting that correctly. Congressman Lewis said he does not believe him to
be legitimate. Do you believe him to be illegitimate?
LIEU: There absolutely is a cloud of illegitimacy and Donald Trump can
remove that cloud. He can release his tax returns, so we`ll know if he`s
got special interests in Russia or business holdings in Russia that we need
to know about. On day one, Donald Trump is going to be in violation of the
constitution, article one, section nine, which says you can`t have
conflicts of interest. So if he takes his vast global business holdings
and divest them or put them in blind trusts, he can remove that element of
illegitimacy. He refuses not to. So really, it`s upon Donald Trump to
remove this cloud of illegitimacy.
HAYES: That article, the emoluments clause of course particular to foreign
flows of income. We should be – we should be clear. And Congressman
Jeffries, I want to know how much – as I listen to Congressman Lieu here,
and you talked about how republicans dealt with Barack Obama. There`s that
old drug – anti-drug commercial where the dad asked his son like where did
you learn to do this? He said I learned it from watching you dad. How
much of – how much of how you as democrats of the minority are saying,
“Well, they were implacable opposition to President Obama and it kind of
worked so maybe we should do that.”
JEFFRIES: Well, the role of the majority is to govern. The role of the
minority is to get back into the majority. So, that`s a clear principle of
American politics. That`s said, we`re not going to follow the
irresponsible model that was set forth by the other side. Keep in mind –
HAYES: There`s 30 people who are going to boycott his inauguration.
JEFFRIES: Half of them didn`t attend the inauguration in 2012 when Barack
Obama was not just elected but re-elected. But keep in mind, their
obstruction came in the midst of two failed wars and the worst economy
since the great depression. All we`re saying is, Donald Trump has some
issues that he has to work out. By the way, he was the leader of the
Birther Movement. He perpetrated the racist line that Barack Obama wasn`t
born in the United States of America, so he`s got some things that he`s got
to apologize for and deal with. And then he goes – he had this bromance
with Vladimir Putin and yet he attacks a civil rights icon. And so, he`s
given us every reason to say there are going to be some problems the day
that he`s sworn in.
HAYES: Congressman Lieu, as soon as I saw John Lewis`s comments, my
colleague, Chuck Todd, I thought to myself, “Well, there`s some tweets that
are going to come from the President-elect.” Were you – were you
surprised or not by what he said?
LIEU: But the tweets from Donald Trump were completely inappropriate, and
it shows one of the weaknesses of Trump. Instead of addressing the very
real issues about legitimacy, he attacks the messenger.
LIEU: He attacks John Lewis and his district, which is false, his district
is doing great. And by attacking the messenger, it shows a sign of
weakness and he has not addressing the very real legitimacy issues that he
needs to clear up.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Ted Lieu and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries,
thanks to you both for your time. We`ll check back with you, Congressman
Jeffries, to see if we will see you there on Friday.
Joining me now, MSNBC Political Analyst Michael Steele, former Chair of the
Republican National Committee. And Michael, you know, this is a thing
that`s struck out to me about the Lewis thing – aside from the fact that
anyone else probably would have just taken a pass. Right? You don`t need
to – you don`t need to engage.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Just don`t –
HAYES: But this – the tweets about – he should spend more time fixing
and helping his district which is in horrible shape, falling apart, not to
mention crime-infested, like, Lewis represents buck head, he listens –
(INAUDIBLE) like the downtown Atlanta. There`s this great Atlanta the
Atlanta Journal constitution, front page as “Atlanta to Trump: Wrong.” I
got to say that there`s an interpretation of those tweets that basically
are like, he thinks John Lewis is black, he associates blackness with,
like, falling apart inner cities and attacked him for a fictional district.
STEELE: You are right on the head. That`s it. I mean, it`s the
stereotype of the black congressman representing a black district that`s
got to be poor, highly uneducated, urban, et cetera, et cetera. And it
just – it just speaks to this sort of stereotype narrative that some have
about black officials, black politicians, black leaders that they represent
not you know, prosperity and opportunity.
STEELE: And a way forward, but rather represent the (INAUDIBLE) the
forgotten and the misaligned. And just – it is such a bogus piece of B.S.
that it just drives me up the wall. When I hear this, not just from – not
just with Donald Trump`s tweets, but just in politics, generally, I hear it
from the right, I hear it from the left. These assumptions about black
people, the black community as a whole whenever there`s a tragic event
it`s, you know, the first thing you know, you hear about the, you know, the
person who was shot or killed was whether or not they had a criminal
record. So it`s just this constant stereotyping of a people that just
after a while just becomes too much.
HAYES: I hear you on that. That`s something that I –
STEELE: Sorry. I ate some of my soapbox. Sorry.
HAYES: No, it`s something – no, it`s something that I think is very
consistent frustratingly. I want to ask you about your reaction to
watching this, you know, John Lewis, his comments, Trump attacking him. I
think Trump attacking him ended up pushing a lot of members of congress to
sort of side with Lewis.
HAYES: Because they feel like, “Well, if I`m choosing – if I`m a democrat
choosing between John Lewis and Donald Trump, this is not a tough one.
What do you think of the 30-plus members who are – who are sort of,
boycotting the inauguration?
STEELE: Well, I think, you know, look, I`m not going to second guess their
individual choice. They can make it for personal, political or whatever
reason. That`s fine. But I do – I do think that it is a bit much. I
think that there`s a lot more drama around this. This was really
unfortunate. I think Donald Trump should have handled it better. As
President of the United States, you never punch down. You know, the
congressman expressed his own personal view. That`s John Lewis` choice.
So you live with that. If I were in his shoes, what I would have advised
the President to do is say, look, let me call them up and say hey John, I`m
sorry you feel that way. I`d like to you come to the inauguration as my
guest and if that`s too much, let`s you and I get together in the Oval
Office after the inauguration and sit down and talk.
HAYES: But Michael, you are – that is – that is a – that is a normal
and gracious set of actions that one can take. But I mean, at this point,
we know that`s just not the way he rolls. Like there`s –
STEELE: It`s not like how he rolls. Right.
HAYES: He punching down, feuds, he thrives on beef. The guy thrives on
beef. That`s going to be – it`s going to be that on Friday, it`s going to
be that on Saturday, on Sunday and on Monday.
STEELE: Well, you know, you raise an interesting question then, going
forward. And that is, how much does the office of the presidency change
the man or does the man change the office of the presidency?
HAYES: That`s a great question. Yes.
STEELE: And I really think that that`s something that we will get a very
strong inclination of over these first 100 days when he has to deal with
the congress that will turn less friendlier as the process unfold with the
Supreme Court nomination, with the citizenry that`s on edge. Not just
those who are against him but those who are – have an expectation level
STEELE: So there`s going to be a lot of things that the office of the
presidency helps the man deal with. And the question is whether Donald
Trump will allow the office to do that or will he try to control it as
we`ve seen so far.
HAYES: That`s very well put. Michael Steele, thanks for your thoughts,
and I appreciate it.
STEELE: You got it, buddy.
HAYES: All right still ahead, I`ll talk with Jonathan Chait about his new
book on the Obama legacy and the massive protest across the country to save
ObamaCare. Really remarkable images from this weekend as President-elect
Trump suggests his first concrete idea on what healthcare should look like
under his administration. What he said after this two-minute break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: So what do the republicans want
to do? they want to repeal and run away. You know what I think? I think
repeal and run is for cowards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren estimated 6,000 people showed up in Boston
yesterday. 6,000 people in support of the Affordable Care Act on just a
winter Sunday. Lawmakers and citizens alike rallied across the country
this weekend in an attempt to pressure republicans against fully repealing
ObamaCare, a move that could throw state health care systems into chaos and
strip coverage for millions of Americans. And as uncertainty reigns and
patients who have coverage, the ACA including some who are cancer patients
who credit the ACA with saving their life as they wonder about this fight,
the President-elect steps forward to highlight the core principles by which
he would like to be judged for the success or failure of his version of
In an interview with The Washington Post yesterday, Trump was quoted as
saying, “We are going to have insurance for everybody.” Also promised to
do so with, quote, “much lower deductibles” and also, “don`t worry about
paying for it”, according to Trump. “There was a philosophy in some
circles that if you can`t pay for it, you don`t get it. That`s not going
to happen with us.” Now, these new healthcare promises from Trump actually
sound a lot like his old ones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Everybody`s got to be covered. This is an unrepublican thing for
me to say because a lot of times they say, no, no, the lower 25 percent,
they can`t afford private but –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Universal health care?
TRUMP: I am going to take care of everybody. I don`t care if it cost me
votes or not. Everybody is going to be taken care of, much better than
they are taken care of now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. Everybody`s going to be taken care of. Now, what Trump is
saying sounds a lot like universal coverage, which we should note is wildly
inconsistent and at odds with any republican alternative on the table and
also important to note (INAUDIBLE) in the face of Trump`s own actual plan,
that`s a thing that they published and put on their website during the
campaign, “health reform to make America great again”, which is still up on
the website. And which according to one study would cause almost 21
million people to lose their insurance coverage.
Perhaps this is why it didn`t take long for Trump`s spokesman, Sean Spicer,
to come out today and clarify things Trump`s goal he said, is quote “to get
insurance for everybody through marketplace solutions.” In other words,
access to healthcare, not necessarily to make sure everyone has insurance.
Which brings us back to this weekend`s rallies and the fight to defend
ObamaCare, something that has seemed to unify all the various wings of the
Democratic Party and indeed, the broader center-left.
Case of point yesterday being the rally in Michigan with Bernie Sanders
there appearing alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator
Gary Peters and Senator Debbie Stabenow.
And joining me now is Senator Debbie Stabenow, democrat from Michigan.
Senator, there are – the politics of this are fascinating because we all
saw what happened in reverse seven years ago, eight years ago during the
Affordable Care Act. Is the goal of democrats to essentially reverse
engineer their own version of that kind of citizen pressure?
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Well, first, Chris, we missed you
yesterday. It was bright sunshine and we had more than 8,000 people. We
beat Boston. I just want that to be on the record.
HAYES: Oh, I`m glad. And we will let the record reflect that.
STABENOW: Please that, yes. The truth of the matter is, I`ve always felt
that once we put in place affordable healthcare, additional ability for
people to see their doctor, take away the protection, or give protections
from insurance companies dropping you, and so on, that it would be very
difficult to go backwards on that, that we would only go forward. There`s
more we need to do. I strongly supported a public option for more
competition. There`s a lot more to do. But it`s very difficult to go back
because it`s not political. For the 8,000 people in Macomb County – let
me just stress, Macomb County that voted for Donald Trump, we had people
there that voted for him. That said, wait a minute, I didn`t mean that you
are going to take away my healthcare for my family. So it`s very personal
for them. And I think republican are finally seeing what happens when you
have to get beyond the rhetoric and actually do something that doesn`t hurt
HAYES: Macomb County sort of famously is sworn to Trump is one of the
counties in Michigan that sort of – was one of the things that provided
HAYES: So you`re saying, you had Trump voters at the rally?
STABENOW: We – and what was interesting to me is that we were in Warren,
Michigan, and outside, as I said, and we not only didn`t have one
protester, which we thought we might –
STABENOW: But we had people that came out to me and said I`m in a minimum
wage job, I finally have health insurance. You know, I thought Donald
Trump was going to make things better but I didn`t think he was going to
take away my ability to see my doctor. So this is really personal. It`s
not political for people. And I think the republicans are in a very
dangerous spot right now.
HAYES: Senator, how do you understand – I want to get to Donald Trump`s
comments in a second. But to follow up on this, how do you understand the
fact this law has been so complicated, it has been so battle – embattled
from the beginning, suddenly now on the precipice of it probably –
possibly going away, there`s a constituency that we haven`t seen over the
last eight years.
STABENOW: Yes. Well, first of all, you know, republicans wanted to make
sure there were no republican votes when they passed it. Chris, I was in
the room. I was involved with this on the finance committee extensively
and worked and worked and worked, and they wanted to make sure they could
have a talking point that it was not supported by republicans, and then
they`ve done everything to confuse people and rip it down. But the truth
of the matter is now, folks are seeing a difference. I`ve talk to folks
who can now get minimal healthcare without having high co-pays or a breast
cancer survivor, who spoke yesterday, pre-existing condition now, no caps
on the amount of services that she can get treatments. I`ve talked to a
doctor treating children, literally saving their lives because he can
really treat them and give them the care they need and people are finally
saying, “Oh, wait a minute. That`s not what we meant. We didn`t realize
that was part of the Affordable Care Act.”
HAYES: So then, my question to you is, do you hold Donald Trump to his
stated goals of essentially which sounds like universal coverage, lower
deductibles, like, are those the promises that you, the democrats, are
going to hold the President-elect to?
STABENOW: Well, I think the people are going to hold him to that. I mean,
what`s interesting, and you said it, that his nominee for health and human
services put forward a plan to rip apart Medicare, cut a trillion dollars
from Medicare over 10 years, rip apart Medicaid and the most conservative
replacement for the Affordable Care Act so Donald Trump is going to be held
accountable by people. Are we going to make sure that we are explaining
that to people? You bet. But he`s going to be held accountable by people
when they lose the help that they`re getting right now.
HAYE: Tom Price, of course, the nominee for HSS, and you, senator, will be
in that hearing room on that committee that will be looking into him some
interesting reporting on him that we`ll be getting to I think on tomorrow`s
show. Thanks for your time tonight, senator. Appreciate it.
HAYES: Coming up, Donald Trump once again on the side of Vladimir Putin.
His shocking statements that left American allies reeling, ahead.
HAYES: An important update tonight on the odd story of the back and forth
over incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn`s phone contact with
Russia`s Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. Initially ,the Washington
Post`s David Ignatius wrote a column, citing senior U.S. officials that
said Flynn had spoken on the phone with the Russian ambassador on December
29th. That was the day that President Obama announced a new round of U.S.
sanctions against Russia in response the Intelligence Community`s finding
that Russia hacked the DNC. Incoming press secretary Sean Spicer had an
explanation with the call that he said happened on the 28th. And that was
strange because at the time, no one had been talking about the call on the
28th, they were talking about a call on the 29th, the day that the
sanctions were announced in several diplomats were kicked out of the
country. Spicer then had to come out again and revise his dates and it
turns out the call did take place on the day sanctions were announced, but
according to Spicer, they didn`t talk about sanctions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, INCOMING WHTIE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That call took place on
the 29th of December in which time General Flynn was asked whether or not
he would help set up a call after the inauguration with President Putin and
then President Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So the message from the Trump transition was essentially nothing to
see here, this is just pleasantries and logistics not a flurry of calls
about the U.S. government`s contemporaneous decision to punish Russia over
what appeared to be a pretty blatant violation of international norms.
That was where we left it on Friday. But shortly after we discussed that
story on air, another report came out. This one saying that there had
actually been not one, not two but five calls, five calls between Flynn and
the Ambassador all on the same day that the sanctions were announced. Now,
we don`t know what was discussed in those five separate calls, but the
least charitable view of the situation does not look good for the Trump
administration or the country. And a new interview with the President-
elect this week gives you every reason to take the least charitable view
and that is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: I don`t think he has a full and appreciation
of Russian capabilities, Russian`s intentions and actions that they are
undertaking in many parts of the world.
I think he has to be mindful that he does not yet, I think, have a full
appreciation and understanding of what the implications are of going down
that road as well as making sure he understands what Russia is doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One of the reasons CIA Director John Brennan may think that Donald
Trump doesn`t appreciate or understand the current threat posed by Russia
is that when you look at Trump`s foreign policy stances, many of them align
perfectly with Russian interests, particularly Vladimir Putin`s interests.
That was on full display this weekend in an interview Trump gave to the
Times of London and the German publication Bild.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you stand up there among Eastern Europeans, there is a lot of
fear of Putin in his Russia?
TRUMP: Sure. And I said a long time ago that NATO had problems. Number
one, it was obsolete because it was designed many, many years ago. Number
two, the country`s weren`t paying what they were supposed to pay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president-elect response to Eastern European fears about Russia
was to label the very organization that now is expected to protect those
countries from Russia as obsolete, a position the Kremlin was very happy to
support, releasing an official statement reading, quote, “NATO is, indeed,
a vestige of the past and we agree with that.”
Trump also appeared to support Putin`s goal of undermining the European
Union, praising Britain`s decision to leave the EU, saying that countries
want their own identity and directly criticizing Germany`s leader Angela
Merkel, calling her refugee policy a, quote catastrophic mistake.
Her response was swift. Europe`s fate is in, quote, “their own hands.”
Joining me now, Ilan Goldenberg at the Center for a New American Security.
And Ilan, these – put into context what it means to have the president-
elect say this about the EU and about NATO particularly in this context.
ILAN GOLDENBERG, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: Thanks, Chris, for
having me. Yeah, I think these are some relatively terrifying statements.
What Trump is doing is
essentially starting to question the basic international western-led order
that`s existed since 1945. I mean, NATO and this whole western alliance
system is absolutely essential. We learned what happens when these things
don`t exist. That was the first half of the 20th Century and we had two
The problem is, he says, well, I want these countries to spend more money
on their own defense. They used to spend a lot of money on their own
defense and we didn`t spend anything. And
what happened? They all build up arms against each other and the end
result is they go to war. It`s terrifying.
So, if you look at a situation, such as the Germans. I can see the Germans
or some of the other Eastern European states that are perfectly capable of
building their own nuclear weapons if they didn`t believe the U.S. would be
there to protect them from Russia. Well, now they start to take steps to
think that way and maybe one of them builds nuclear weapons and another and
before you know it you`re just in a different world that`s a lot scarier
than the world we have today.
You know, I know Trump thinks NATO is obsolete, but I would argue I don`t
want the experiment of finding out what happens when we don`t have NATO,
because we`ve seen that show before.
HAYES: You know, the point you`re making here also – I mean, what – you
know, whatever you believe about Trump`s campaign and the Russians and the
Russian`s hacking of the DNC server, what is very clear and sort of
transparent is, Trump`s views on these things do align perfectly with what
Putin`s views are. Putin thinks the NATO is obsolete. He thinks the EU is
essentially a bad idea. He would like to undermine a whole set of these
institutions that he believes, from the perspective of Russia, threaten
Russian interests, or create kind of western hegemony.
So they are on the same page. I mean, whether through good faith or bad
GOLDENBERG: Yeah, that`s true. They are on the same page. I will say,
the one thing that gives me some hope, but also some trepidation is that
it`s not clear that any of Trump`s nominees are
necessarily on the same page with him. You saw last week, we had Rex
Tillerson, Jim Mattis, Mike Pompeo all testifying, all of them came out
with very strong anti-Russian position, reaffirming, though,
the importance of NATO and things like that.
So, they are not necessarily all on the same page. What that does sort of
tell you is that we have an incoherence in the foreign policy team that`s
coming in. It`s OK to have different positions and views and to have
different actors with those positions, but then you need a strong president
who can actually take the time to sit down and give direction and move a
vision. And it doesn`t seem like he`s going to have that patience to do
that at all.
HAYES: What does that incoherent – the U.S. is the cornerstone of this
sort of post-World War II international order for good or bad. And there`s
lots of things to critique about it, we should be
very clear. What does it mean to have incoherence at the highest levels in
the government that is essentially that cornerstone?
GOLDENBERG: Well, I think what we`re going to see is essentially an NSC
working on its own, sort of White House staff, really very ideological
right wing, as we saw with some of these calls that Mike Flynn was making
to the Russian ambassador. Then you`re going to see at the same time, a
Pentagon that`s probably acting very independently. A State Department
that`s incredibly weak. And an
intelligence community that`s trying to leak things to essentially halt the
craziness of the NSC, and it`s going to be chaos.
I think that that`s what we are most likely going to see.
I think if you look at the track record at the White House, Trump`s team
has put a whole bunch of people around who are very ideological. Obviously
Flynn and some of the things he`s tweeted on. Mattis, he`s got a lot of
ability to do things on his own as a secretary of defense. He can move a
lot of assets around. So, unless Trump tells him differently, I think what
you`re going to have with Mattis is
somebody who`s essentially at the same time we`re pulling away from NATO
via Trump, maybe pulling closer via our defense commitments.
HAYES: All right, Ilan Goldenberg, thank you for you time tonight.
Coming up, why finding out something so simple as the president-elect`s
plans for the holiday turned out to be a trail of confusion. That`s coming
Plus, performer anxiety, a key update on the inauguration lineup. That`s
tonight`s Thing One, thing Two starting right after this break.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, days away from not only the peaceful transfer of
power, but also the biggest show in Washington, D.C. Much like the opening
ceremony`s of the Olympics, inauguration festivities come just once every
four years and planning has been underway for months.
Tom Barrack, Donald Trump`s good friend and the man in charge of the
inauguration committee has repeatedly promised a sensual affair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BARRACK, INAUGURATION COMMITTEE: You don`t need celebrities. You
don`t need a dialogue. You just need to sit and inhale it. So, I
encourage everybody show up and inhale it. I promise you, it`s spiritual
and it`s sensual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Inhale. That`s quite a preview.
And while I`m not quite sure what he means by inhaling the sensual, I do
know what he means when he says you don`t need celebrities. It means,
they`re having a really hard time getting any. Today, an announcement from
a band that looks like Bruce Springsteen, sounds like Bruce Springsteen,
and just like Bruce Springsteen won`t be playing the inauguration. That`s
Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: A Bruce Springsteen tribute group, the B Street Band, are the
latest musicians to cancel their performance at Trump`s inauguration
celebrations. They were scheduled to play at the Garden State Presidential
Inaugural Gala this Thursday, a gig, we should be clear, they booked back
in 2013. But today, three days before the party, they canceled out of
respect for Bruce Springsteen. And the E Street Band, that`s the real one,
that decision coming just days after singer Jennifer Holiday apologized to
the LGBT community and dropped out of the big Trump inauguration concert at
the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday, which leaves just a few notable
celebrities still performing is at the Make America Great Against welcome
celebration. Actor Jon Voight, singer Toby Keith, Country musician Lee
Greenwood, whose big hit “God Bless the USA,” proceeded Trump at his
campaign rallies, and the rock band 3 Doors Down, whose big hit was
Kryptonite, and whose tour schedule has this week`s inaugural concert
listed at the very top, January 19, Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.,
right before March 4, Strawberry Festival, Plant City, Florida.
The Strawberry Festival that right now boasts considerably more
recognizable names in the lineup than Donald Trump`s big D.C. concert, but
will it be sensual?
HAYES: OK. A small story from this weekend that highlighted one of the
problems of covering the Trump administration. As a reporter, you should
be skeptical always of anyone in power, but there are basic logistical
facts, like scheduling, for instance, when and where will the president be
tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. you generally come to trust. That is not the case
with the Trump administration. Story one in wake of Trump`s Twitter
attacks on Congressman and civil rights legend John Lewis on Saturday, ABC
News reported, citing multiple senior sources in the Trump transition team
the president-elect would visit the African-American History and Cultural
Museum at the Smithsonian D.C., today in observance of Martin Luther King
And that, you know, would make sense, some good PR. But here`s story two,
Buzzfeed then reaches out to the Smithsonian Museum later that day, who
said there was no plans for Trump to visit the museum. The Smithsonian
spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas told Buzzfeed News Saturday that “while
someone from Trump`s office had been in touch with the museum, at one
point, I just know that there isn`t a visit. Other spokespeople for the
museum also told BuzzFeed News there was no scheduled visit said there was
no scheduled visit by the president-elect as of Saturday evening.”
Then on Sunday, ABC amended its report on Trump`s schedule saying, “senior
initially said Trump would visit the museum, but ABC has learned the visit
was removed from his calendar due to scheduling issues and was not fully
Now, it may just be that a few senior level members of the Trump team got
out ahead of their skis, but as BuzzFeed found here, just relying on basic
scheduling details is not a given. And that`s just a microcosm of the
challenge of discerning the most basic, even mundane facts in the Trump
administration. Those difficulties, though, are just the beginning.
Now, Team Trump is floating the possibility of kicking reporters out of the
White House. We`ll talk more about that, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Whether you want to
go 50 feet to the EOB and have for the first few weeks or the first month
or so the press conferences where you can fit three to four times the
amount of people, it`s about more access.
CHUCK TODD, HOST, MEET THE PRESS: So this is not about the office space or
any of that business?
PRIEBUS: This is about quadrupling the amount of reporters that can cover
our press conferences.
TODD: But there will still be reporters every day going to work in the
PRIEBUS: Well, that hasn`t been determined, Chuck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, interesting, there. Trump`s incoming chief of staff Reince
Priebus could not say if the press would retain office space in the White
House, as has been customary for decades. That exchange was sparked by a
report by Esquire that according to three senior officials on the
transition team, again, who knows, as I`ve just cited, a plan to evict the
press corps from the White House is under serious consideration, quote,
“they are the opposition party,” a senior official says. “I want them out
of the building. We are taking back the press room.”
We`ll wait and see what the Trump White House announces, but last week, at
Trump`s first news
conference in nearly six months, we did get a preview of the upcoming
dynamic between the president-elect and the press, giving access to
friendly organizations like Breitbart over publications who print an
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN: Since you`re attacking us, can you give us a question?
TRUMP: Go ahead.
ACOSTA: Since you are attacking our news organization.
TRUMP: Not you. Not you. Your organization is terrible. I`m not going
to give you a question.
ACOSTA: Can you state categorically…
TRUMP: You are fake news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With CNN`s decision to publish fake news all of the
we`ve seen throughout the media over the course of the election, what
reforms do you recommend for this industry here?
TRUMP: Well, I don`t recommend reforms, I recommend people that are –
have some moral compass.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, New York Magazine columnist Jonathan Chait who is
author of the brand-new book out tomorrow, I believe, “Audacity,” how
Barack Obama defied his critics and created a legacy that will prevail,
which we`ll talk about that in a moment.
I want to get to the book. First, this idea of this sort of war on the
JONATHAN CHAIT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Right.
HAYES: I think it sort of psychs some people in the press out. And I
thought Josh Marshall wrote a good piece about this, just basically like,
what you do is you do your job and you just keep doing your job on a first
order level and let the chips may fall where they may.
CHAIT: Trump keeps doing things that you don`t know how it`s going to play
out. You don`t know if we`re going to look back at this in three or four
years, say this was the first step towards some Putin-esque strong man move
where the world is totally transformed, or if it`s just an incremental
update on the old Nixonian war on the press that the Republicans have been
doing for decades.
My guess is the latter, because they need the mainstream press. They are
at or under 40 percent now. They can`t just talk to people who like
Breitbart and Fox News and get anything like the support that they need.
That`s my guess.
But it`s creepy enough that you have to be on your toes, too.
HAYES: Well, and what you saw there – I mean, so one of the phenomena
that existed before Trump and that has intensified, and I think he`s
intensified, which is a big sort of subtext of the book “Audacity” is the
sort of polarization, right, the sort of deep structure of American
politics at this moment.
So you write this book. And here`s my own feeling. I`ve gone through
periods of feeling different ways about Barack Obama, but I think over the
course of the past year a lot of Americans were like, you know, this guy is
pretty good. Approval rating is up. You look back and you start listing
out all of the things that he got done – the Affordable Care Act, the Iran
deal, you know, whetheryou like them or not, very consequential.
And then Trump happens and then there`s this sort of like well was that all
– were the critics right all along about the politics of Barack Obama? Is
this all going to be undone? Is he going to be this historical footnote
because Donald Trump is going to come and erase it all?
You don`t think that`s the case. Why not?
CHAIT: I don`t think that`s the case. So, the argument of this book is
that Barack Obama did much more than most people think, but the flip side
of that is most people don`t know much he did. So people think he did much
less than he did. So Trump wins. And the response is it`s all going to be
gone. And I think the reason they think that is because they don`t know
how much he did, how broad and how deep it is and how hard it will be to
And I go through every issue and say this is what`s going to happen I think
going forward. Some will be easy to reverse. But a lot of them of them
will be really hard. The taxes on the rich, he raised taxes on the rich.
People forget that. But he did more than Bill Clinton. He mostly canceled
out the Reagan effect and I admit in the book that`s going to swing back
the other way.
HAYES: They will get their taxes.
CHAIT: They are going to get that done. Obamacare, they are finding out
already, very, very hard to undo. I mean, we don`t know what`s going to
If they do undo it, they are going to face a huge backlash. But I don`t
think they are going to be able to do that.
HAYES: So there`s an interesting argument you make in the book that I
hadn`t quite thought of in these terms, which is basically you say he rises
to prominence and people say he`s all flash and
style over substance.
HAYES: He`s young. He`s this sort of meteoric rise, very good at giving
speeches, and you
basically said that in some ways the eight years of his presidency has been
the reverse, that it`s actually been sort of like grinding and workmanlike
and very good on the substance on not as good on the style.
CHAIT: I`m glad you pointed that out, that`s one of the biggest ironies is
that everyone accused him about being about flash and appearance and
communication and inspiration, but it was really the opposite. He was the
substance guy. He was in there working on the issues and often getting no
credit for leveraging huge political change.
He was – there was so much going on behind the scenes and out of sight
than you realize. And that`s the case I try to make.
HAYES: What do you stay to people – there are critics both the right and
left that say, you
know, the election of Trump and particularly the idea that there are places
in the country, huge
swaths of the country that really haven`t seen the recovery up close, that
have – that even when the
recovery happened, these vast inequities, the annihilation of home wealth
through the foreclosure process, which I think was sort of poorly managed,
that this was ultimately was a kind of verdict on
some core part of the president`s ability to sort of recreate middle class
CHAIT: I couldn`t disagree with you more. First of all, the economy was
worse four years ago, a lot worse four years ago.
HAYES: In 2012 you`re saying?
CHAIT: In 2012, and Obama wins clearly. His approval ratings are higher
than they were then.
This was a personal verdict on Hillary Clinton. She lost despite, not
because of her association. It was all about – it was the damage she had
from the Clinton post-presidency, the damage she had from the campaign
against Bernie Sanders, her own mistakes. and people out there just
thinking she was a crook.
I mean, I don`t think it was about Obama at all.
HAYES: Do you think – do you think Democrats – I talked to someone the
other day who made this really interesting point to me. Actually it was my
colleague Chris Matthews made this point. He said the Reagan legacy
project started after Reagan.
HAYES: So during the years of Reagan, people were, like, yeah, Reagan was
good – you know, Republicans thought he was a good president, but people
were frustrated about a bunch of different things. It was afterwards they
decided we needed to name every last structure in America after Reagan and
talk about how he`s the greatest thing since, you know, in the 20th
Do you think Democrats will do the same with Barack Obama?
CHAIT: The Reagan cult is creepy and dangerous. And you had years and
years and years in which Republicans settled every question by saying what
would Reagan do? Let`s find some minor writing that Reagan might have said
in some off-hand conversation.
HAYES: Reagan hadith.
CHAIT: Right, what was right in 1980 is right forever. That`s bad.
But they should value Obama`s presidency. They should see it as a model to
emulate and defend.
HAYES: Jonathan Chait, the book is called Audacity: How Barack Obama
Defied his Critics and Created a Legacy that Will Prevail. And whether you
agree or disagree with the argument, it really is a fascinating and
provocative. You should check it out.
Thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it.
CHAIT: Thank you so much, Chris.
HAYES: All right, that is All In for this evening.
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