All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/24/2017

Guests:
Keith Ellison, Jeff Merkley, Philip Rucker, Brian Schatz
Transcript:

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES

Date: January 24, 2017

Guest: Keith Ellison, Jeff Merkley, Philip Rucker, Brian Schatz

 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Oscar nominees.  That`s good.  What`s really

good are the movies they`re in.  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for

being with us.  “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.

 

(BEGN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight on ALL IN.

 

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  It was a comment that he made on

a longstanding belief.

 

HAYES:  President Trump`s first conspiracy theory.

 

SPICER:  I think he stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting

illegally during the campaign and he continues to maintain that belief

based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.

 

HAYES:  Tonight, why Donald Trump`s voting delusion matters and why, as the

executive orders fly, republicans are cheering.  Democrats keep up the

fight on nominees.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don`t know why you won`t be willing to answer

whether or not you`re in favor of block granting Medicaid.  That`s not

complicated.

 

HAYES:  The latest alternative fact checking from the briefing room.

 

SPICER:  The President`s actions today will create tens of thousands of new

jobs.

 

HAYES:  Are the national parks back to sub-tweeting the President?  And

inside the Washington Post report of fury and tumble already boiling over

inside the Trump White House.

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  And they said

Donald Trump did not draw well.  I said it was almost raining.

 

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Good evening from New York.  I`m Chris Hayes.  We are now five days

into the Presidency of Donald Trump, although we should note the White

House considers this to be only President Trump`s second “working day.” 

And already it`s easy to imagine republican leaders in Washington behind

closed doors rolling their eyes at the new President at his obsession with

the size of his inauguration crowd, his boasting about magazine cover

appearances in front of the CIA memorial wall, his ridiculous and obviously

false claim, which we`ll discuss later on, that he only lost the popular

vote because millions of “illegals” voted for Hillary Clinton. 

 

But you haven`t seen republican leaders speaking out against the new

President for one very simple reason – it has been a great few days for

the Republican Party.  President Trump is giving them just what they always

hoped for.  This was Trump today signing a series of executive orders

designed to revive efforts to build the Dakota access and Keystone XL oil

pipelines, a big priority for Republican Party that receives millions in

donations each year from the oil and gas industry but have never been able

to get it done on their own.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  The regulatory process in this country has become a tangled up mess

and very unfair to people.  That`s a big one.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  That`s a big one right there.  Just the latest example of Trump

doing exactly what you would expect from a republican President.  Yesterday

surrounded entirely by men, President Trump signed an executive order

reinstating a rule barring foreign aid or federal funding for any

international programs that provide abortions or crucially any information

about the procedure.  President Trump has also signed executive orders to

ease the quote, “regulatory burdens of ObamaCare” to freeze hiring for

federal workers, to begin the U.S. withdrawal from the Transpacific

Partnership trade deal.  With the exception of that last one, TPP, all of

this very likely would have happened under a President Rubio or a President

Cruz.  So far at least, Trump has been exactly the sort of President that

republican political activist Grover Norquist called for during his speech

to conservatives four years ago when he said he just wanted a President who

could hold a pen.

 

GROVER NORQUIST, AMERICAN TAX REFORM FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT:  We just need a

President to sign this stuff.  We don`t need someone to think it up or

design it.  We have a house and a senate – the leadership now for the

modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of

the house and the senate, so focus on electing the most conservative

republican who can win in each house seat and the most conservative

republican who can win in each senate seat and then pick a republican with

enough working digits to handle a pen to become President of the United

States.

 

HAYES:  President Trump will be signing more than just executive orders, of

course, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has long sought to – sought to cut

social insurance programs that are widely and wildly popular among

Americans, including the republican base.  During the campaign, Trump said

that he would protect those programs, unlike other republicans.

 

TRUMP:  I`m not going to cut Social Security like every other republican

and I`m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.  Every other republican is

going to cut.  And even if they wouldn`t, they don`t know what to do

because they don`t know where the money is.  I do.

 

HAYES:  Now, that Trump is President, republicans seem to think he`ll come

around.  At the senate confirmation hearing today for Representative Mick

Mulvaney, that`s President Trump`s pick to be the director of the Office of

Management and Budget.  Senator Lindsey Graham asked Mulvaney to get

President Trump to change his mind, and Mulvaney made it clear, he is very

amenable.

 

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA:  Will you tell him that the

promise you made about Medicare and Social Security is going to lead to

their demise if you don`t change that promise?

 

MICK MULVANEY, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET NOMINEE:  Yes, sir.

 

HAYES:  We should note that`s not quite true factually in terms of the

actuarial projections.  Later, Senator Bob Corker said President Trump`s

positions on those programs is quote, “totally unrealistic” and asked if

Mulvaney – asked if Trump understands that.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

MULVANEY:  I have to imagine that the President knew what he was getting

when he asked me to fill this role so I look forward –

 

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE:  So you think he understands that we have

to deal with all of these issues?

 

MULVANEY:  I`d like to think it`s why he hired me.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Trump ran a candidate who would shake up the Republican Party, bend

it to his will but so far, and clearly, it is very early.  We`ve seen the

reverse with Trump channeling the priorities, vision, even the granular

policy obsessions at the core of the contemporary GOP.  The President might

seem different, so far the old Republican Party remains very much intact. 

 

Joining me now, democratic Representative Keith Ellison in Minnesota, Co-

chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus, candidate for Chair of the

Democratic National Committee.  Do you agree, congressman, that you could

have expected everything we`ve seen these first few days with the exception

of TPP from anyone that won that nomination were they to be elected

President for the Republican Party?

 

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA:  Yes, I do.  And as a matter of fact,

you know, they got more in store, Chris.  They got plans – but we`re going

to fight them every step of the way, but we`re also going to remind the

American people, particularly the ones who voted for him, that he`s the one

who said he would not do this.  He`s going to break a promise and we`re

going to expose him as a liar.

 

HAYES:  When you say “break a promise,” you`re – are you speaking

specifically about Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security which are all

entities that he said he would not cut?

 

ELLISON:  Yes.  And I believe we should play the quote back to people

because when he finally gets bent over to Mick Mulvaney`s point of view and

the republicans in the senate, he`s going to have some real explaining to

do.  He will not be able to deny that he made that promise to the American

people.

 

HAYES:  OK.  So, there`s two ways to understand this from the democratic

perspective.  One is that the distance between the President`s stated

position on these big social insurance programs and the core belief of the

Republican Party, something Paul Ryan has been trying to do for literally

decades in his – in his career in public life, which is to cut them or

privatize them.  You – do you view that as a wedge in which you could

partner with the President against his own party or do you view this as

inevitable he will come around to the Mulvaney/Ryan view?

 

ELLISON:  I view it as a situation in which we will demonstrate to the

American people that he is either going to be standing with them as he said

he was or he is going to fail them spectacularly but he will do it all in

front of the watching eyes of the American people.  We`re going to make

sure of it.

 

HAYES:  There`s some reporting tonight about new executive orders happening

tomorrow.  And they concern immigration.  One of them, and again, this is a

Reuters report and this is unconfirmed as of now, but “Trump`s orders

expected to involve restricting access to the U.S. for refugees and some

Visa holders from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. 

Obviously, we will – if it happens tomorrow, get the details on that.  Do

you have a reaction on that?

 

ELLISON:  Well, it looks like this Muslim ban that he inaugurated his

campaign with.  And he started his whole campaign with is something that

he`s sticking to, and that is of great concern to me.  Basically, he`s

trying to use these countries as a surrogate for religion, it appears,

which I believe is unconstitutional.  But I have faith that the civil

rights community is not going to let this stand.  I believe people are

going to step up, sue and make sure that this kind of thing is not going to

go unchallenged.

 

HAYES:  We should note, again, we don`t have the language were it to be the

case that it`s country-based rather than religious based, it also would

have the effect of stopping refugees who are Christians, say, in places

like Syria and Iraq, which is something that the President himself

expressed a great deal of concern over specifically during the campaign.

 

ELLISON:  Well, we share that concern with the Christian community, we

absolutely do.  We think that the terrorists who are harming the people of

the countries that you mentioned are all precious and important no matter

what religion they may have.  If they happen to be of a particular

religious minority, we are in solidarity with them but the answer is not to

shut fleeing people down from running away from the worst that humanity has

to offer.  America has always been a place that helped people who were

refugees fleeing tyranny and now Trump is saying that we`re no longer that

nation, and that`s a shame.  And, again, as you say, the reports may be

unconfirmed, but I`ve been hearing it in so many different places, I got

the feeling that there is something there.

HAYES:  Finally, I want to ask you this.  Are you confident that there is

not a single democratic vote in the house or the senate for cut for

Medicaid block granting, which would be a way of essentially cutting

Medicaid and might be the point of the spear that many people were talking

about was the topic of some hearings that I will play for you in just a

bit.  Are you confident there`s not a single democratic vote for that?  And

if there is a democratic vote, is it your job to call out those democrats?

 

ELLISON:  Yes, I believe that as a member of congress, which I am right

now, and the chair of the – co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, I am going

to stand for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and I am going to urge

each and every one of my colleagues to stand firm with the American people. 

These are critical programs.  You know, the Social Security is a earned

benefit.  It can be changed.  It could be – first of all, it`s fine, it`s

a good program.  But if anybody wants to approve it, let`s just lift the

cap.  I mean, there are – there are plenty of ways to move forward in a

progressive way but to try to take people`s retirement security away, we

simply won`t tolerate it.  We don`t know matter – we don`t care who it is. 

 

HAYES:  All right.

 

ELLISON:  But I want to mention one more thing Chris. 

 

HAYES:  Yes, please.

 

ELLISON:  You know, these two executive orders regarding the pipelines, you

know, we filed and confirmed reports that Trump has a financial interest in

the energy transfer of partners which is the Dakota Access Pipeline and

Trans-Canada.  Financial – and Trans-Canada stock went up when news about

this executive order came out.  So I think that they – here again, the

monetization of the American Presidency is something that everybody in the

United States needs to pay close attention to.

 

HAYES:  I should note that Sean Spicer was asked about that today and

essentially acknowledged it, and said it`s a few thousand dollars for a

billionaire but he made no attempts to deny the fact that actually this

action would probably increase the value of the holdings of the President

of the United States who has not divested as we know well.  Representative

Keith Ellison, thanks for your time tonight.  I appreciate it.

 

ELLISON:  Thank you, sir.

 

HAYES:  Joining me now, MSNBC Contributor Sam Seder host of the “MAJORITY

REPORT”, MSNBC Contributor Katie Packer, former Deputy Campaign Manager for

Mitt Romney`s 2012 Presidential Campaign.  And Katie, I want to start with

you.  Because I remember Mitt Romney saying he was going to build keystone

with his bare hands, I believe were the line, if that`s what it took.  And

it does strike me, but do you agree the first few days when you take away

the behavior of the President of the United States, which we`ll talk about

in a bit, the thing that he is putting pen to paper on are all things you

could have imagined in another republican presidency?

 

KATIE PACKER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Absolutely.  I mean, there have been some

moments that are a little bit cringe worthy, no doubt, but the official

things that President Trump has done in these last couple days are things

that conservatives and republicans are very, very enthusiastic about and

feel like have been a long-time coming.  And so, these are things that are

only going to serve to sort of energize and excite the republican base and

conservatives all across the country, and the folks that will vote for

Trump. 

HAYES:  Yes, this is a thesis that you have had from the very beginning,

Sam.  Which is – and there`s been different views on this.  Trump is

aberrant or his taking over the Republican Party or he is distinct from it

or he is the apotheosis of it.  He is the Republican Party, the Republican

Party is him.  The first four days to me seem to lend credence five days of

– to that theory.

 

SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes.  Oh, he is – I mean, everything he is

doing is purely republican and conservative in terms of the actual actions,

there`s this other sideshow, the fact his own advisors think that he might

be stark raving mad, which is very possible.  But the other thing I would

add, just to correct Katie to a certain extent, there`s no evidence that

there`s broad-based support for any of this because remember, during the

election –

 

PACKER:  Not so sure about that.

 

SEDER:  Well, I know you wouldn`t be.  But during the election, Donald

Trump was not running on nearly half of this stuff.  He wasn`t talking

about cutting Social Security, he wasn`t talking about cutting Medicare, he

wasn`t talking about a whole litany of shutting down the EPA.  I mean,

there is no indication that the average republican voter cares about any of

this stuff.

 

PACKER:  Well, I`ve seen – I`ve seen plenty of research that tells me

otherwise.

 

SEDER:  No.  I mean, but –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

SEDER:  – wait a second – hold on for one second, Kate.  Let me ask you

this.  Then when you started your PAC, our principles, which ostensibly

were to defend republican principles, why was it against Donald Trump the

person who ended up winning your primary?  It was because you thought there

was a difference in what he was running on and what you stood for, and so

did the people who made him the republican primary winner.

 

PACKER:  Well, I mean, these two things – these two things have nothing to

do with each other.  What I`m telling you is after many, many years of

researching republican primary voters, that there`s very, very broad

support for the Keystone Pipeline.  There`s very, very broad support for

eliminating funding to foreign agencies that support abortion.  There`s

very broad support for many of these things that President Trump has done

in the last 48 hours, and I can tell you if you – if you look at my

Facebook feed, republicans are enthusiastic about these actions.

 

HAYES:  Right.  And the point is that this is – this is the Republican

Party, right?  So, what we`re seeing right now is the idea that Donald

Trump is something – this is – the Republican Party is Donald Trump,

Donald Trump is the Republican Party, they are married, they are wedded,

and I think indissolubly.  I mean, meaning – what I mean by that is, there

is to me – there is no going back from that.  Right? 

 

So the question then becomes if he starts to move out towards things that

aren`t in the things that Pence would do or even Mitt Romney, I mean, I

think Mitt Romney in 2012 would have signed something on the Dakota Access

Pipeline, Katie, and would have reinstated the global gag rule though we

should say this is even more sort of sweeping than George W. Bush.  The

question, though is, was that – are you confident that`s what the election

was litigated on?

 

PACKER:  No, absolutely not.  I don`t think that that`s what it was

litigated on.  I`m not sure that these issues that he has delved into these

last 48 hours are even things that he personally feels very, very strongly

about.  I don`t think we`ve gotten to that point.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

HAYES:  A total three of that.  I do not think that Donald Trump thought to

himself “I want to be the President of the United States so I can sign that

global gag rule back into effect.”  I mean, there are people in republican

politics who would feel that way, genuinely and down into their cell

structure that they want to do that.  Donald Trump I think –

 

PACKER:  But republicans don`t care.  They`re just happy he`s signing them.

 

HAYES:  That`s right.

 

SEDER:  Yes.  I mean, I think I would – I`m in total agreement.  I don`t

think that he could go three minutes into a conversation with what was

actually in half the things he signed over the past few days.

 

HAYES:  So, here comes – here comes Katie the question then, and because

of that, right?  Because of the sort of working hand, it seems to me that

the political incentive and political lesson learned from that “Access

Hollywood” moment when people started to run away from Donald Trump and

also the way that senate candidates tried to manage him was that you just -

- you were yoked to him whether you want to or not which means they just

need to overlook whatever he does otherwise.  No, seriously, because the

political incentives are whatever he says, whatever comes out of Sean

Spicer`s mouth or the President`s mouth or whatever story comes out about

the fact they can`t pull him away from the cable news that`s on in his

office, you`re married to this guy, you overlook everything to get more

stuff signed.

 

PACKER:  Yes.  Well, and I think that if you – if you were to – you know,

climb inside the hearts and minds of voters on election day, many, many

republicans would say, look, I`m not really crazy about and in spited about

this guy but he`s going to do things that I know Hillary Clinton will never

do, and these are some examples of those things.  So, they`re very happy

with what they`ve gotten so far.

 

HAYES:  This is a thing that – but this is the – this is the thing that

got lost in the election.  And it`s – is that you are electing a – not a

person – you`re electing person but a coalition and a group of pictures to

be in power of the country.

 

SEDER:  Yes.  And look.  And I bemoan the fact that Hillary Clinton during

the election never tied Donald Trump to Paul Ryan and vice versa.  And I`ll

tell you something –

 

HAYES:  In fact, they have strategic decision –

 

SEDER:  The democrats are not doing that now.

 

HAYES:  Right.  This is true.

 

SEDER:  And they are not doing that now.  They`re talking about how, you

know, Trump – this Trump that.  They should be looking at what Paul Ryan

is doing, because Paul Ryan is deciding the agenda of this Presidency as

much as any other individual in the entire country.  And that`s where they

should start criticizing and they should start understanding they are

running against republicans not Donald Trump. 

 

HAYES:  This is a really key point.  I think the fundamental gravity of

things is that party politics and party coalition still matter.  We`ll see

how long that endures, Sam Seder, Katie Packer, thanks for you both. 

Appreciate it.

 

Still to come, a President who holds his beliefs over facts and what his

leadership might look like when faced with a national crisis.  We`ll talk

about that after this break.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  The President Trump met with congressional leaders last night.  He

reportedly spent about the first 10 minutes reliving the election – as

he`s want to do.  According to multiple sources in the room, Trump asserted

that the votes of three to five million, quote – and I`m quoting here

“illegals” deprived him of the popular vote.  It is a preposterous and

baseless claim Trump has made before.  White House Press Secretary Sean

Spicer was down to get a question on this today and he was ready.  Spicer,

having been burned Saturday attempting in vain to defend Trump`s false

claim about the inauguration attendance, took a very different approach

today.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Does the President believe that millions voted

illegally in this election and what evidence do you have of widespread

voter fraud in this election if that`s the case?

 

SPICER:  The President does believe that.  He has stated that before.  I

think he`s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally

during the campaign.  He continues to maintain that belief based on studies

and evidence that people have presented to him.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  But exactly what evidence?  Speaker Ryan today said

there`s no evidence.  The National Association of Secretaries of State say

that they don`t agree with the President`s assessment.  What evidence do

you have?

 

SPICER:  As I said, I think the President has believed that for a while

based on studies and information he has.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  See what he did there?  The President believes it.  Not what the

President believes is true.  Spicer used that again and again and again.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SPICER:  Which has been a long standing belief that he`s maintained.  It`s

a belief he maintains.  He`s believed this for a long time.  It was a

comment that he made on a long standing belief.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you believe there was widespread voter fraud?

 

SPICER:  Listen, my job is not – look – this –

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How can he be comfortable with his win if he believes -

-

 

SPICER:  He`s very comfortable with his win. He believes what he believes

based on the information he`s provided.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  He believes, he believes, he believes.  Now, this is what happens

when the President`s staff try to adapt to a President who hold beliefs

that are not simply untrue but manifestly ludicrous and widely under suit

by people across the entire ideological and political spectrum as such. 

Eventually, Spicer was hounded about Trump`s so-called “evidence”, finally

offering this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SPICER:  I think there`s been studies that modern day came out of pew in

2008 that showed 14 percent of people who voted were non-citizens.  There`s

other studies that have been presented to him.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  First of all, think about that stat for a second.  14 percent of

people who voted were non-citizens.  Of course, I mean, that`s ridiculous. 

The pew study found no such thing.  The author of the study tweeting today

“zero evidence of fraud in this election,” but Spicer`s strategy leads to

other problems.  Namely, if the President believes it, should he take

action?

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I`m asking you why not investigate something that –

 

SPICER:  Maybe we will.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The biggest scandal in American electoral history,

three to five million people voting illegally?

 

SPICER:  I – and I think – we`ll see where we go from here.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Joining me now, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.  Senator, what do

you make of the fact the President adheres to this false conspiracy theory

and that he wanted to share it with members of congress?  What does that

say to you about how the President forms beliefs about the world?

 

JEFF MERKLEY, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM OREGON:  Well, it`s really

profoundly disturbing because what we see is that the President wants

something to be true and so he decides it must be true and his staff isn`t

able to even talk to him about the fact that his fantasy land is not

reality.  And so that`s extremely troubling for decisions that the

President will be making over time.

 

HAYES:  You had an interesting exchange with Mick Mulvaney who was before

you today in confirmation hearings who wants to be head of OMB, he`s

nominated for that, about the importance of – this is sort of simple

reality.  I couldn`t tell if you – well, I`ll play the clip and then ask

you about it.  Take a listen.

 

MERKLEY:  All right.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

MERKLEY:  I have behind me two pictures that were taken at about the same

time of day in 2009 and 2017.  Which crowd is larger, the 2009 crowd or the

2017 crowd?

 

MULVANEY:  Senator, if you allow me to give the disclaimer that I`m not

really sure how this ties to OMB.  I`ll be happy to answer your question

which was from that picture it does appear that the crowd on the left-hand

side is bigger than the crowd on the right-hand side.

 

MERKLEY:  Thank you.  The President disagreed about this in his news

report.  He said “it`s a lie.  We caught them.  We caught them in a beauty. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  What was the – what – was the point of that exercise to humiliate

the man who wants to be the head of the OMB or the President or what was

the point you were making?

 

MERKLEY:  No.  There`s a very important point here and this has been kind

of, one of the most prominent examples of the President`s detachment from

reality.  So much so that Kellyanne Conway had to – had to say, well, it`s

not a falsehood, it`s an alternate truth or an alternate fact and that is

just a big problem.  And my point here is as budget director you are going

to have to be able to put the President`s feet on the ground of reality and

say we`re not going to fill our budget full of what are referred to as

magical asterisks and false assumptions, it has to be grounded reality. 

Are you going to be able to do that?  That was the question I was putting

forward.

 

HAYES:  Are you confident there are people right now who are able to say

that to the President of the United States, “You`re wrong about this.  That

belief, sir, is not true, that is not grounded in reality.”  Are there

people around him – are there people that he`s nominated that you`re

confident can say that – those very important words for President of the

United States “That`s not true, sir.”

 

MERKLEY:  Well, I`m not confident that`s going to be the case with Mick

Mulvaney but I do feel that “Mad Dog” Mattis is probably able to do that. 

And I must say when the sanest member of the cabinet is nicknamed “Mad Dog”

you know you have some kind of significant problem.

 

HAYES:  I want to ask one final question and I`m going to ask this of

another colleague of yours later in the show, when I ask him.  Do you think

democrats should be voting for any nominee from this President given what

he represents to democratic priorities, to Democratic Party, and given the

mood right now of the base of the Democratic Party?

 

MERKLEY:  Well, I do believe that we are given the responsibility under the

constitution to determine if we feel someone is of fit character.  That was

the – that was kind of the standard put forward by Hamilton.  Are they of

fit character?  Are they unfit?  And, you know, it`s a – it`s challenging

to apply that.  I do not feel it should be a situation where even before we

have a hearing, before we have testimony, we have a floor debate that we`re

just going to say we`re going to vote against everyone.  I think that is

unfair.  I think we have to take each nominee and ask if they are in

reasonable experience, reasonably grounded in reality to be able to take on

this the specific job.

 

HAYES:  All right.  Senator Jeff Merkley, thanks for articulating that. 

Appreciate it.

 

MERKLEY:  You`re welcome.

 

HAYES:  Still to come, Tom Price, Trump`s nominee to lead HHS faces new

questions about ethics as he`s grilled by senate democrats.  We will play

that tape after this short break.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

RON WYDEN, UNITED STATE SENATOR FROM OREGON:  Your stake in the nape it`s

more than five times larger than the figure you reported to ethics

officials when you became a nominee.

 

TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICE DIRECTOR NOMINEE:  Our belief is that

that was a clerical error at the time that the 278-E was filed?

 

WYDEN:  Congressman, you also reported it in the questionnaire to the

committee and you had to revise it yesterday because it was wrong.

 

PRICE:  And the reason for that is because I – when I asked about the

value, I thought it meant the value at the time that I purchased the stock.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Democratic Senator Ron Wyden pressing Health and Human Services

nominee Tom Price over the revelation that he misrepresented his holdings

in an Australian biotech company on ethics disclosure form.  Price

initially reported the value of his stake to be up to $50,000.  It turns

out to be closer to 250,000 which is, well, a lot more.

 

This is the latest story to raise questions about whether Price may have

been using his position as a U.S. congressman, writing legislation on

health care to benefit directly financially from the health care industry. 

Keiser Health News reported recently Price brought shares in that same

Australian firm, Innate Immunotherapeutics, at a steep discount offered

only to quote “sophisticated U.S. investors.”  It turns out Price`s

colleague Congressman Chris Collins just so happens to sit on the company`s

board.  While Price insists he never received a direct stock tip from

Collins, he`s admitted to discussing the company with Collins before making

the purchase. 

 

Add to that, a growing number of reports, it seems we get on every day or

so, indicating that Price repeatedly invested in health-related companies

then pushed bills that could benefit those companies directly.  Price

insists it was all on the up and up. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PRICE:  Everything that I did was ethical, above board, legal and

transparent.  The reason that you know about these things is because we

have made that information available in real time.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Now, he may or may not have broken the law which bars lawmakers

from trading on information not available to the public, but Richard

Painter, who is Chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush told The

Washington Post, quote, “I haven`t seen anything like this before and I`ve

been practicing and teaching about securities law for 30 years.”  Price has

also received a disproportionate number of campaign donations from

individuals, companies, and other entities involved in health care.  Over

$670,000 during his 2016 campaign, according to the center for responsive

politics.  Just today Kaiser Health News reported that in 2013, Price

lobbied Medicare against changing its pricing for a specific medical

product. Six months after that, the company started contributing to the

congressman`s campaign, the fund-raising committee, more than $40,000 in

the years since Price directed the letter to Medicare officials.

 

Now, in any other political environment Price probably, probably, would

already have withdrawn his nomination, but we`re in a brave new world. 

Republicans have a president who

ethics lawyers say is violating the most basic norms of conflict of

interest and they seem prepared to vote for literally any nominee the

president puts forward.

 

So what can democrats do and are they doing enough?  That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  If we learned anything from Mitch McConnell during the eight years

of Barack Obama`s presidency it`s that obstruction works.  Total opposition

under our current polarized electorate

often makes for very good politics.  The shoe, now on the other foot,

Democrats are stopping short of

that kind of rigid strategy.

 

The full Senate has now confirmed four of Donald Trump`s nominees, all with

some Democratic votes – Mike Pompeo, his pick for CIA director, won

support from 15 Democrats, almost a third of the

caucus, including my next guest.

 

I`m joined by Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat from Hawaii.  And senator,

there`s a lot of

consternation about Pompeo, particularly because they felt that he

essentially left the door open to reinstating torture during the CIA.  Why

did you vote for him?

 

SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ, (D) HAWAII:  Well, I find his views objectionable, but

my criteria

specifically for the national security team is different than for any of

these other cabinet positions because of the unique position we are in as a

country in terms of having such an inexperienced commander-in-chief.  My

goal is to get as many sane, rational, lawful people in the room

surrounding him as possible. That`s why I voted for Mattis and Kelly and

Pompeo, even though especially with Pompeo I had a tough time, because I

disagree with him incredibly strongly, not just on torture, but on his

views regarding metadata.

 

But in the end, he doesn`t make policy, the United States congress makes

policy and I was

persuaded by Adam Schiff`s support for him and other Democrats` support for

him in terms of him discharging his duties and following the law.

 

I would never vote for him as a lawmaker, but in the end I came down on the

side of making sure we had sane lawful rational people surrounding the

commander-in-chief.

 

HAYES:  So the possibility of entertaining – the possibility of returning

to a torture regime in some form is not disqualifying for you?

 

SCHATZ:  Well, I don`t think he gets to decide that.  I think that`s the

important thing.  This is a matter for the United States Congress to

decide.  The executive branch doesn`t decide that.

 

HAYES:  It wasn`t the first time around.

 

SCHATZ:  Well, that`s a fair enough point, Chris.

 

HAYES:  I mean, OLC decided, John Yew decided, and then executive branch

began to implement it, there was hardly a congressional vote on that

implementation, and the people that were in that administration making the

decisions that it was legal and not a violation of Geneva convention or

U.s. law were responsible ultimately.

 

SCHATZ:  Right. And we talked a lot about that among my staff and among my

colleagues, the John Yew memo, and all of that.  In the end we now have a

statutory ban on torture and I can`t tell

you that I`m totally comfortable, but I was even more uncomfortable leaving

these key national security positions unfilled.  So, the same went with

Kelly.  I didn`t think he went far enough on DACA, and you know even

General Mattis, who`s an extraordinary public servant, would not have been

my first choice for secretary of defense.  But I wanted to make sure we had

rational human beings around a person who has occasionally, not even

occasionally, frequently shown himself to be unstable and unaware of what

the law even says.

 

HAYES:  I want to ask you a political question, and it has to do with the

Democratic base.  I`ll show you some pictures.  There`s been people

visiting offices of senators urging them to block nominees, to make sure

that they block the Trump agenda.

 

There is a very significant part of the Democratic base that – a la I

think the Tea Party in 2009, the Republican base wants total obstruction. 

They want no, absolutely no collaboration or collusion.  They don`t want

anyone on the Democratic side to work with anything this new administration

does even if that means voting for nominees.  Why are they wrong?

 

SCHATZ:  Well, I think the important thing – and you were talking about

Mitch McConnell`s total obstruction.  But, remember, even Mitch McConnell

gave Barack Obama his cabinet. And so as Jeff Merkley said earlier in the

show, you know, it`s just not reasonable to vote against people like Elaine

Chao who was the CEO of the United Way and ran the Peace Corps and was the

deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation.  And so we`re going

to have to get to yes on some of the more moderate, sane, and competent

nominees.

 

But on Pudzer, on Mnuchin, on Pruitt, on many, many others, on DeVos, on

Tom Price, there are going to be plenty of opportunities for us to try to

block these nominations.

 

We`re going to need a few Republicans to recognize that these people aren`t

qualified for the

job and in many cases they are exactly the wrong fit.  They want to destroy

the agency that they`re being charged to run.

 

HAYES:  And I ask you for a prediction now, will there be a single

Republican vote against any  single Trump nominee?

 

SCHATZ:  Oh, I think we`ll get several no votes.  I don`t know whether any

nominee will go down.

 

HAYES:  You do think there will be at least one no vote from at least one

Republican on at least one nominee?

 

SCHATZ:  Oh, yeah.  I`m quite confident in that.  And I also think that

we`re going to have historic levels of no votes for instance on the nominee

for EPA, whether or not we`ll be able to block his nomination totally, the

highest no vote total for any EPA nominee ever was 40.  I think we will

exceed that, which is an important marker.

 

But you know to your point about the base, I mean, I was as inspired as

anybody.  My wife was out there marching on the island of Oahu and there

were 5,000 or 10,000 people out there, people on every island.  People in

Antarctica.  We are feeling strength.  We like the pressure.  We want our

base to demand action.

 

And I think they want to see the ferocity from us.  And I think over the

last couple of weeks many of us have found that sort of fighting spirit.

 

HAYES:  If you like pressure, I can tell you, senator, you`re going to be

getting a lot of it.  I appreciate your time tonight.

 

SCHATZ:  Thank you.

 

HAYES:  Still, new behind the scenes reporting on Trump`s tumultuous White

House.  What got the president visibly enraged coming up.

 

Plus, resisting the president in 140 characters.  That`s tonight`s Thing

One, Thing Two.  It`s a good one, starting right after this break.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Thing One tonight.  When the National Park Service`s Twitter

account went rogue on inauguration day, retweeting a photo showing the

noticeably smaller crowds at Trump`s inauguration in 2009.  As well as an

article claiming civil rights, climate change, and health care were all

scrubbed from the White House website.

 

Well, the new president was not please.  And the perfuctory retweets do not

equal endorsements in the Twitter bio wasn`t going to cut it this time.

 

A short time after those messages appeared online, park employees got an

email ordering all Department of Interior bureaus to immediately cease use

of government Twitter accounts until further notice.

 

To be clear, the expectation is that there will be absolutely no posts to

Twitter.

 

The National Park Service deleted those and a spokesperson for the

Department of the Interior said “it was important to stand down Twitter

activity across the department temporarily.”

 

On Saturday morning, it was back with an apology for mistaken retweets from

our account.  And since then, all accounts appeared to have fallen in line,

until today.  For an all too brief moment, a  tweet of resistance.  That`s

Thing Two in 60 seconds.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  The Twitter account for Badlands National Park in South Dakota

isn`t one for subversion.  Typically, the tweets highlight local wildlife

like turkey vultures or a big goat standing on a small goat.

 

But today, the Badlands National Park Twitter account started tweeting a

series of messages that are, well, decidedly political, because facts are

political under an alternative facts administration.

 

The first few tweets were direct quotes from the National Wildlife

Federation`s guide on

climate change pointing out there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

now than in any time in the last 650,000 years, and the level has risen

sharply since the industrial revolution.

 

The next two tweets pointed out the rise in ocean acidity, and the amount

of carbon dioxide one gallon of gas adds to the atmosphere.

 

Just actual established facts.

 

For some reason, those tweet have now all been deleted.

 

Then, a short time later, NASA`s climate Twitter account appeared to pick

up the baton, tweeting out details on the historic levels of carbon

dioxide.  This is all happening on the same day reports surfaced of

multiple federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency,

clamping down on public information and social media, limiting employees`

ability to issue news releases, tweet or otherwise communicate with the

outside world.

 

Rachel Maddow will have much more on this story up next, but until then,

the resistance may

be alive.  Look for the tweet of two goats.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  The president started by signing

a memorandum fulfilling a major promise to secure swift approval for the

Keystone Pipeline.  The president`s actions today will create tens of

thousands of new jobs for the American workers and move us greater towards

energy independence.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  On his first day on the job, Press Secretary Sean Spicer put us on

full alert that not  everything he says from that podium is going to be

true.  And that caution has remained necessary throughout the week.  Take

what Spicer said today on the Keystone pipeline, the divisive

infrastructure project that would transport dirty carbon pollution laden

tar sands oil from Canada across the U.S.  It is a well-worn talking point

that building Keystone XL will create tens of thousands of new jobs.

 

Important to note, a State Department analysis from 2014 found that while

building the pipeline will require bringing in more than 10,000 workers,

the total number of permanent jobs created by

Keystone would be about 35 permanent employees.

 

It turns out, once you build the pipeline it doesn`t require a lot of

people to make it work.

 

Also worth pointing out that assisting a foreign oil company in

transporting foreign oil on to a global market does not, as Sean Spicer

said, move our country closer to energy independence. 

 

Now, Keystone is just one of many alternative facts that may have gone

mostly unchallenged amid the myriad distractions.  Take what he said about

President Trump`s federal hiring freeze at the beginning of yesterday`s

press conference.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SPICER:  The president issued a memorandum outlining executive branch

hiring.  This memorandum counters the dramatic expansion of the federal

workforce in recent years.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  The dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years. 

It is actually widely held belief I think among liberals, conservatives,

Democrats, Republicans that the federal workforce expanded through Barack

Obama`s presidency and even before that. 

 

It`s just not true.  The number of federal employees today is basically the

same as it was when Barack Obama took office, and has actually stayed the

same around the same place since the mid-1960s.

 

The number of federal employees as a percentage of the total workforce has

decreased dramatically over the past 70 years.  See the title of that

graph, a shrinking Federal workforce.  It would be wrong to title this

graph dramatic expansion of the federal workforce, unless, perhaps, you

believe in alternative facts.

 

As we learned on the campaign trail and are now acclimating to in this

administration, the fact that these things are wrong does not mean that we

won`t hear them again and again, nor does it mean the president of the

United States, the powerful man in the world will bother to integrate any

new knowledge into his worldview.

 

In fact, a new report out from The Washington Post suggests the president

might not even be willing to walk up a flight of stairs to meet with his

closest advisers.  That story, along with some other shocking new

revelations about life inside the White House is next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SPICER:  This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration

period both in person and around the globe.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Sean Spicer`s rant about crowd sizes at Trump`s inauguration

sparked a lot of intrigue about how this administration is going to conduct

itself over the next four years.  Thanks to a new report from The

Washington Post based on interviews with nearly a dozen senior Trump

officials we now have some insight into exactly what led up to that unusual

moment.  They write, “over the objections of his aides and advisers the

president issued a decree he wanted a fiery public response and he wanted

it to come from his press secretary.”

 

Now, to most observer`s, Spicer`s performance in that moment had been

clearly detatched from reality and over the top but as The Post reports

that Trump thought Spicer`s performance was, and I

quote “not forceful enough.”  And he was upset that his press secretary had

to read from a printed  statement.

 

The report also details a number of internal feuds between top-level Trump

staffers.  Joining me is one of the authors of that report, Philip Rucker,

White House bureau chief for The Washington Post.

 

Philip, what I got in that was that there isn`t anyone right now, as of

now, who can tell the president no, that`s a bad idea.

 

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST:  I think that`s pretty much right.  The

president, as our reporting shows, was furious over the weekend with the

media reports about his crowd size, with the Twitter images with that

National Park Service tweet that you mentioned in your earlier segment and

he demanded this sort of response.

 

A lot of his advisers said, look, why don`t you just issue a tweet about

the crowd sizes?  Why don`t you put out a simple statement?  You don`t need

to make a big deal out of this.  But the president said no, I want my press

secretary, I want Sean Spicer to get out there and excoriate the media.

 

HAYES:  What – one of the things that comes across in your account and

comes across in numerous behind-the-scenes account – there`s an AP account

out that`s also sort of behind the scenes look, the president is obsessed

with media coverage of himself, obsessed with criticism and feels slighted

and insecure despite having become the most powerful person in the world.

 

RUCKER:  That`s right.  And this is no different than how he was in the

course of his campaign and even during his business career before that. 

He`s obsessed with how he`s portrayed in the public with his image, with

his brand.  He`s a brander.  And, you know, he`s taken it really personally

that there are people out there, critics in the Democratic Party and some

in the media who are suggesting that  he`s somehow illegitimate, because he

didn`t win the popular vote or because of other issues and he just – he

wants to feel respected and he wants people to admire the size of his

crowds and admire how big his numbers are and how many people voted for

him.  And a lot of his advisers feel like, look, he

needs to move past that and focus on the really kind of serious substantive

issues that he wants to define the opening days of his presidency.

 

HAYES:  Do you – from your reporting, one of the things that appeared to

me is that the president thought that part of becoming the president is

once you – if you win the presidency then everyone has to stop criticizing

you.  It`s like you win and you get to tell everyone, like, I won.

 

RUCKER:  We`re not that kind of country.

 

HAYES:  No, in fact, it`s the opposite.  Even the most popular presidents

in any time or place are loathed by tens of millions of people at any

particular moment no matter how good a job they`re doing.

 

RUCKER:  That`s right.  And you know, this is not to take away from the

huge momentum and enthusiasm Trump has within his support base.

 

HAYES:  No, that`s the point.  It doesn`t matter, you could be beloved by

tens of millions of people, tens of millions of people are also going to

loathe you.  It doesn`t matter.

 

RUCKER:  And he is historically unpopular right now.  I mean, the polls

show a majority of

Americans do not approve of his performance in this transition period and

right as he took office he was at the lowest point in his approval ratings

for four decades.  So, you know, he needs to build more support, not try to

push people away.

 

HAYES:  Well, but here`s the thing, why is that the case?  And here`s what

I will say, these

obsessions with slights, pursuing feuds, we saw him pursue it with the

federal judge who he said was unqualified to stand in judgment of him

because of his Mexican heritage.  We saw him go after the gold

star mother because he said she didn`t speak, a sort of veiled reference to

her Islamic faith.

 

He`s done all these things, he`s pursued these kind of vendettas, he`s also

had staff shakeups and staff running and leaking to the press and he became

president of the United States.  Why should he stop now?

 

RUCKER:  Well, that may be what he`s asking himself.  Clearly he`s still

thinking about these issues.  He`s tweeting about them from time to time.

He`s certainly talking to his friends and some of his advisers about them. 

And the White House team right now, they just need to try to move him past

this.  They`re trying to get him to focus.

 

HAYES:  Who are his friends?

 

RUCKER:  You know, he has a lot of friends that he talks to.  He has family

members certainly, but there are people in his businesses.  There are

people that he worked on at television with.  There are figures like Roger

Stone who have been political advisers to him for many, many years who are

not in

the White House, but have a line into him who are talking to him.

 

HAYES:  Is he in contact with Roger Stone?

 

RUCKER:  He had been before coming – before the inauguration.

 

HAYES:  That`s very interesting.  Roger Stone, one of the people who in one

of the reports about the target of the counterintelligence investigation

happening into contacts between the Trump

campaign and Russia, Stone was one of three people named in that one report

along with Carter Page (ph) and Paul Manafort, so that`s interesting.

 

Thank you, Philip Rucker, appreciate it.

 

RUCKER:  Thank you.

 

HAYES:  All right, that is ALL IN for this evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW

SHOW” starts right now.

 

 

 

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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