All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 2/13/2017
Show: All in with Chris Hayes
Date: February 13, 2017
Guest: Mark Warner, Cecillia Wang, Bernie Sanders, Matt MacKowiak, Joan Walsh
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: Shouldn`t he be focused on the
mission? That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. “ALL IN”
with Chris Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the National Security adviser right now enjoy the
full confidence of President Trump?
HAYES: General Mike Flynn remains.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP`S COUNSELOR: Yes, General Flynn does enjoy the
full confidence of the President.
Hayes: Tonight, what we now know about the President`s National Security
Adviser after he was apparently caught lying about his conversation with
the Russians. And what we`re learning about the chaotic national security
scene during dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: (INAUDIBLE) say
to the Prime Minister of Japan. I said, come on, Shinzo, let`s go over and
HAYES: Plus, republicans calling on their own to denounce the President`s
adviser Stephen Miller.
STEPHEN MILLER, TRUMP`S SENIOR ADVISOR: The powers of the President to
protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.
HAYES: Then, as the ICE raids continue.
TRUMP: We are going to get the bad ones, the really bad ones. We`re
getting them out.
HAYES: New questions about exactly who President Trump is deporting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With Donald Trump being President, I see no hope for
HAYES: All that, and Senator Bernie Sanders on the surprise cancellation
of our West Virginia Town Hall event, when ALL IN starts right now.
Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It now seems likely that
President Trump`s National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn lied both to the
public and to members of the Trump administration, including Vice President
of the United States, about the nature of his conversations with a foreign
adversary. The White House now says it is, “evaluating” the situation with
Flynn, and amazingly, that item may not even be the most troubling National
Security story we have for you today. The competition, the scene that
played out this weekend at the private club owned by President Trump, Mar-
a-Lago, when President hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in what
amounted to a massive publicity boom for the President`s private business.
A business which recently doubled its initiation fee to $200,000. While
Trump and Abe were having dinner in the club`s ding room, news broke that
North Korea had launched a ballistic missile into the sea, its first
missile test since President Trump took office. It was then that President
Trump, Prime Minister Abe turned their dinner table into what the
Washington Post called an open-air situation room. These pictures were
posted to Facebook by a Mar-a-Lago member. They showed Trump and Abe
reviewing documents and apparently talking strategy in the wake of the
launch. With staffers at times holding up cell phone cameras to illuminate
the documents, all this in full view of the public.
Now, there are a couple of reasons why this is such big deal. Pete Souza,
President Obama`s official White House photographer, today posted this
picture noted that quote “When we were on the road, National Security
discussions and head of state phone calls were conducted in a private,
secure location set up on site.” Souza also noting that everybody had to
leave their smartphones outside while the conversations were going on.
Now, look at these photos again. You have to ask, is everyone in the room
vetted? Have the Mar-a-Lago members and employees all gone through
background checks? How do we know for instance, all those smartphones
staffers are holding up, including the ones that`s being used to illuminate
the documents have not been compromised or hacked?
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told NBC News that at the dinner,
Trump and Abe only discussed the logistics of the press event on the
missile launch. They would hold later that night, and that Trump was
briefed on the launch elsewhere. Though, of course, we have no way to know
if that is true. If the President was in fact being careless with
classified information, he would of course be guilty of the very behavior
he cited during the campaign as a central reason why Hillary Clinton
shouldn`t be President, and instead, should be in jail. In July, House
Speaker Paul Ryan even suggested such carelessness meant Clinton should be
denied access to classified materials altogether.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER: I think the DNI
Clapper should deny Hillary Clinton access to classified information during
this campaign given how she so recklessly handled classified information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, this afternoon, the President held a brief news conference
with Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, in town for his first visit.
And he took two questions both relative softballs from reporters hand-
picked by the White House from outlets they could be confident who aren`t
going to go too hard of it. President Trump was not asked about his
behavior at Mar-a-Lago, or today`s other huge story we mentioned earlier.
The fate of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who the Washington Post
reported citing nine - you heard that right - nine current and former
officials privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that
country`s Ambassador to the United States before President Trump took
office. Now, such communication would be both inappropriate and
potentially illegal. And Flynn initially flatly denied he discussed the
sanctions with the Russian Ambassador. Here`s Sean Spicer last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The only conversation that
General Flynn had was one to wish him a Merry Christmas, two, to express
his sympathies for the loss of life that occurred during that plane crash
that took the lives of their military choir, and then, two, is to
commitment to establishing a call after the inauguration between the two
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. Merry Christmas, condolences, and logistics, those were
the three things they discussed, according to Sean Spicer. Now Vice
President Mike Pence, also claimed that Flynn had not discussed sanctions
with the Russian Ambassador.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, UNITED STATES VICE-PRESIDENT: It was strictly coincidental
that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do
with the United States` decision to expel diplomats or impose a censure
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Flynn now admits he may in fact have spoken about sanctions with
the Russians. He can`t recall, he says. And today, a senior
administration official told NBC News Flynn had called Pence to apologize
for misleading him about his communications with the Russian Ambassador.
Now, think for a moment about what that means, as President Obama was
sanctioning Russia for what our intelligence agencies say almost
unanimously, was a campaign to intervene an election to boost Donald Trump.
A top official from the incoming Trump administration was discussing those
same sanctions with the Russian official. We don`t know what exactly Flynn
said. It looks like he apparently, though, felt the need to lie about it.
Here`s democratic Representative Adam Schiff today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SCHIFF, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA. Why would he deny
the substance of it if there wasn`t the implicit suggestion, we`re going to
take care of this. You know, that election you just helped us win and the
sanctions that were levied on you for doing so, don`t worry about it.
We`re going to help those go away. If that wasn`t the suggestion of the
call, then why deny the discussions took place?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, said on this network
this afternoon that Flynn still has President Trump`s quote “full
confidence” but she was contradicted just a short time later by Spicer who
told reporter the President is, quote, “evaluating the situation”. I asked
Senator Mark Warner, Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, if he
thought Flynn had to go.
MARK WARNER, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM VIRGINIA: Well, Chris, part of
this is you can`t even believe you`re making this stuff up. I want to find
out what General Flynn did and the nature of his conversations with the
Russian Ambassador both after the election and prior to the election. This
is actually one of the areas of the subject of the senate intelligence
investigation. We`re looking at fake news, we`re looking at the leakage of
select information in favor of Trump against Clinton, and very importantly,
any and all contacts between any campaign and the Russians before the
election. So it`s not my place at this point to call for General Flynn`s
dismissal, but we are going to get to the bottom of all of these
conversations and the subject of these conversations.
HAYES: Given that Vice President Mike Pence went on national television
and said there was no discussion of sanctions, given that Sean Spicer
reiterated the same, do you feel there`s a credibility problem? Can you
trust the pronouncements coming out of the White House about this or any
WARNER: Well Chris, it`s either General Flynn didn`t tell the Vice
President what went on since now he`s walked back the subject of that
conversation, or he did tell him, and I hope that`s not the case, because
then the Vice President may not be laying out all the facts. So, you know,
this is the reason why we`ve got to have this investigation, this is why
we`ve got to follow the Intel to wherever it leads. And this isn`t the
most important thing I`ve ever done in my public life, trying to make sure
we get this investigation right, and we follow it wherever the facts lead.
HAYES: What about this argument. Let`s say that there was a discussion
about the sanctions that were going to effect - sanctions, we should say,
in response to the alleged hacking and the election interference on behalf
of the man that Flynn was advising, who is now the President. If that`s
the case and General Flynn was to say before the President was sworn in,
“Look, calm down, we`ll take care of this when we get into office,” is that
itself a violation or does that strike you as not outside the bounds of
what he could do?
WARNER: Well, listen, Chris, the United States government, we only have
one President at a time. President Obama I think even late said to the
Russians, we`re going to have these sanctions because of the unprecedented
interference in terms of Russian involvement in our elections. Right to
the core of our democratic process, if some figure – while President
Obama`s actions were in place were basically trying to undermine those
sanctions, undermine that signal that we were sending to Russia, that would
be of huge concern.
HAYES: I wonder, I don`t know if you`ve seen the pictures out of Mar-a-
Lago this weekend, the kind of impromptu open-air situation room that was
created amongst the diners and club members there. Have you ever have you
ever seen anything like that in your life?
WARNER: Chris, this is why I`m saying, you can`t make this stuff up.
Anyone who is involved on the intelligence side, all of us, both sides,
both parties, we are counseled and tutored so much about how to make sure
that if you`ve got intelligence information, you keep it covert, you keep
it secret. I mean, the irony here is you have Mr. Trump who made lots of
hay about you know, Secretary Clinton`s server. And now, what appears from
some of these pictures, he may be putting out classified information in a
public setting. I have not seen all of the pictures but I`ve seen some of
the press reports. To me, it`s absolutely flabbergasting.
HAYES: All right. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, thanks for your time
tonight. Appreciate it.
WARNER: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me now, former RNC chairman, MSNBC political analyst
Michael Steele. Michael –
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey.
HAYES: – in any other context with any other administration, I think I
would say just a political observer, Flynn is a dead man walking. He has
to go. Particularly, if he materially misrepresented the Vice President of
the United States something about his contact with the foreign adversary
that the Vice President then repeated on national television. Right?
STEELE: Right, right. Yes. No, exactly. And the Chief of Staff as well.
They were both up that weekend shoring up that particular part of the
conversation. The fact of the matter is, that despite, I think, what the
White House is saying about evaluating the situation, everything I`m
understanding right now is that Mr. Flynn is OK, that there is not a real
push inside, particularly within certain corners of the west wing, to get
Flynn off the table. And the reason for that is Mike Flynn was there for
this President. He was there when he was a candidate. He was there when
he was the nominee and he was there now as President. So, that sense of
loyalty and commitment to him is very important to Donald Trump.
The other part of it, though, it`s looking at evaluating exactly how you
get past this. As you saw today, you mentioned at the top of the show at
the press conference with the Prime Minister from Canada, there was the
downplay. You weren`t going to throw that bone to the Washington Press
Corps, for sure, to lead those kind of questions. So clearly, the
administration wants to pivot, move in to a new space on this, let it play
itself out, but with as little visual and auditory noise as possible.
HAYES: Well, you know, it`s funny you mentioned that. Because it struck
me watching these two hand-picked reporters, Sinclair reporter and the
Daily Caller reporter that were chosen by the President. You know,
whatever you say about Donald Trump, by and large, generally it has been
the case when he`s in front of reporters, he`s kind of can`t help himself
and he does tends to take a lot of questions, he took them the other day
impromptu from our own Kelly O`Donnell, Hallie Jackson. It struck me as a
- as a sort of communication sub textually about lack of confidence that
they did not want to risk essentially a question about Flynn in that
STEELE: Well, yes, I think that`s very true. And I - and I would submit
to you that it was probably Donald more than anything else who contained
himself, if you will, who very much disciplined himself not to go down that
road. Once they said, look, these are the first two questions, we`ll go
with that, if anything afterwards comes up, you know, pivot or, more
importantly, when it`s over, don`t take the - you know, the question that`s
thrown at the end. And he - which he usually does.
HAYES: That`s right.
STEELE: So there was - there was a great deal of discipline by the
President in this case not to make this more of a story. He has not
tweeted about this in any incessant way, which is a little bit unusual as
well. I mean, because, well, he`s in - he`s in the conversation.
HAYES: OK. So here, I want to communicate to you what other people are
saying, which is that they think that it`s essentially incriminating the
President, that one of the things we learned from that Washington Post
article, which is a real kind of amazing piece, just because basically
Flynn says, “No, I didn`t talk about it,” and then calls back to say, “Well
I might have, I don`t remember.”
STEELE: Right. Well, maybe.
HAYES: Which is actually amazing. Is it - there were communications prior
to the election. Now, we`re starting to get into some territory that
starts to edge towards some real big unanswered questions about the role
this individual was playing for that campaign.
STEELE: Yes. That`s a very, very important point and should not be missed
by anyone. And to be honest and fair about it, it`s not a partisan point
you`re making. It really is one that goes to the nature of what the
campaign knew and when did it know it and what role did some of these
individuals like a General Flynn played in that process. If there were
communications with the Russian government during the course of this
campaign, that is very problematic for the administration, which is again
why I think inside that inside the tent, they want to bring it down a
little bit. They want to get their hands around this because they know how
explosive it potentially could be.
HAYES: That is a - it`s very interesting to hear that. It`s interesting
to hear what the thinking is inside the White House as far as you`re
hearing right now. Michael Steele, thanks for joining me. I appreciate
STEELE: You got it, bud.
HAYES: All right. Still to come, Senator Bernie Sanders on the sudden,
and frankly, surprise cancellation of our West Virginia Town Hall, which is
going to happen tonight. And the growing call to the President to fire his
National Security Adviser and the mounting backlash at republican town
halls on Obamacare.
And next, big protests in Milwaukee today, as a backlash to President
Trump`s immigration rage grows, democrats demand answers about the people
he is targeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I said we will get the criminals out, the drug lords, the gang
members, we`re getting them out. And I said at the beginning, we are going
to get the bad ones, the really bad ones. We`re getting them out and
that`s exactly what we`re doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Trump talked about the bad ones today and apparent
reference to recent federal raids of undocumented immigrants nationwide.
Trump tweeted yesterday, “Gang members, drug dealers and other are being
removed.” The question of course is who exactly are the others? New York
Times reports that in one week, federal immigration officials arrested more
than 600 people across at least 11 states.
Department of Homeland Security provided some limited information including
photos, like these from Los Angeles, and a statement would reads in part,
“ICE Officers in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York
City, arrested more than 680 individuals. Of those arrested, approximately
75 percent were criminal aliens consistent with the routine, targeted
arrest carried out by ICE`s Fugitive Operations daily - teams on a daily
basis.” It listed criminal categories from motor vehicle offenses to more
serious including homicide.
This even never explains whether the other 25 percent have no criminal
record and were arrested simply because they are undocumented immigrants.
There are powerful anecdotal examples like the mother of two children in
Arizona who was deported even though her nine-year-old offense of using a
false Social Security number had not resulted in deportation under the
Obama administration, and of course she has two U.S. citizens` children.
Today, thousands protested in Milwaukee in response to these ICE raids as
well, to protest against Sheriff David Clarke`s plan to deploy deputies
from his department to act as immigration agents. At the heart of all of
this is President Trump`s January 25th executive order. The least noticed
than the other one which expand the list of priorities for deportation.
Immigration activists across the country are gearing up and wondering if
this is just the first wave of a massive new push by the Trump
administration. Joining me now Cecillia Wang, she`s deputy at legal
director of the ACLU, an immigration rights advocate. Good to have you
CECILLIA WANG, ACLU DEPUTY LEGAL DIRECTOR: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. These - it`s very hard to tell whether - when they talk
about routine, how routine is this and the context of that is the Obama
administration deported a ton of people in a way that I think folks
sometimes just – were not aware of. And a lot of times, got mothers of
two and things like that, who had no criminal records. So how routine is
WANG: Well, I think it`s pretty clear already. All of the story is
unfolding that this is not routine. The Obama administration was extremely
tough on immigrant communities. President Obama deported over 2.5 million
people, far more than any predecessor. But what President Trump has done
is categorically different. His January 25th exectutive order that you
mentioned, explicitly unleashes federal agents to go after whomever they
choose. Whereas the Obama administration, at least as of November of 2014,
had said they were going to prioritize the deportation of people with
serious or multiple criminal convictions. Now, the Guadalupe Garcia
example you gave -
HAYES: That`s the mother in Arizona who was deported.
WANG: That`s the mother in Arizona. She`s lived in the U.S. since she was
a teenager. She has two U.S. citizen children. She did have a criminal
conviction, but I want to point out, Chris, that conviction was obtained by
the notorious racial profiler and rights violator Sheriff Joe Arpaio - ex
sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County.
HAYES: We should also be clear about that criminal conviction. Because I
think this gets to something sort of the bedrock of what happens here,
right? Which is that the criminal conviction was the use of a false Social
Security number which who - she was using to work without documentation.
It was not like an assault or sort of unrelated offense. It was precisely
offense that allowed her to work in the country.
WANG: That`s right. It was essentially a status conviction. And as you
said, the ICE - the Secretary of Homeland Security said that they arrested
people and put people in deportation proceedings, 75 percent of whom have
some kind of criminal conviction. The other 25 percent presumably have no
HAYES: So what do you say to folks who say, “Look, this is the law. These
people are here against the law. It is 100 percent within the purview and
power of the federal government to go and find those people who have broken
the law and to deport them?”
WANG: Well, I think there are two questions. First is, that in a country
where you have an estimated 11 million people who are undocumented, you`ve
got to make priorities in how you enforce. The second point, Chris, is
that President Trump`s executive order of January 25th, explicitly
unleashes not only federal agents, but also local police officers, sheriff
deputies, people like ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio, who are interested in finding
undocumented immigrants through a drag net of racial profiling. What we`ve
seen happen, when you do that across the country and in the interior of the
country or at the border, is a pattern of racial profiling of Latinos,
including U.S. citizens. That is a big concern.
HAYES: There`s been – so, there`s been some anecdotal reports about how
this was done, if citizens are being stopped and checked essentially.
Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says, “I`m troubled by the lack of
transparency and potential due process violations surrounding ICE`S most
recent enforcement actions. That is why I`m calling on ICE to release
information about the location of the raids and details of the people who
were arrested.” We should note that information was made - was only sort
of made available after these initial reports. What is the - of the folks
that you talked to in these communities, right? Because you have lawyers
and there`s a sort of spider web of representation that goes out from the
ACLU. I mean, has this freaked people out?
WANG: President Trump, I think, is trying to sew fear among immigrant
communities. I think he did that over this weekend. But I also think, as
you pointed out, there`s a mass mobilization of American people, including
our immigrant neighbors, family members and friends and colleagues who are
out there protesting what has happened here.
HAYES: I want to be clear, though, because I want to distinguish this from
the travel ban, which I think is on some fairly shaky legal footing at
least according to the U.S. courts. This seems to me like this is not a
legal issue. They can – they can do this legally if they want to.
WANG: Well, it will be a legal issue depending on the tactics they use,
and I think what we saw over the weekend, with reports that ICE.
Immigration officers and perhaps local police were waiting outside schools,
lurking while U.S. citizen children were being picked up by their parents,
targeting predominantly Latino schools, using traffic stops as a way of
trying to find immigrants. This - we`ve seen this before. This was the
failed immigration enforcement experiment that ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio and
others in Arizona tried to carry out. And again, you see a pattern of
racial profiling of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are
Latino or people of color.
HAYES: All right. Cecillia Wang of the ACLU, thank you for your time
tonight. I appreciate it.
WANG: Thanks very much.
HAYES: Still to come, republicans calling on their own to denounce
President Trump`s senior adviser, who said the powers to the President will
not be questioned when it comes to his executive order banning travel. The
firestorm over Stephen Miller is ahead. And Senator Bernie Sanders joins
HAYES: We are live from New York City tonight, which is not unusual except
for the fact we were supposed to be in West Virginia today, holding a town
hall with Senator Bernie Sanders and local residents of McDowell County.
The show is going to be taped at the National Guard Armory in Welch. We`ve
been planning it for weeks, but late on Friday night, the West Virginia
National Guard told us, “No, you cannot hold your town hall at our armory”.
We were forced to postpone the event. Joining me now is Senator Bernie
Sanders. Senator, it`s nice to see you over satellite, it would be more
fun to be in McDowell County with you. You had some strong words in
reaction to this?
BERNIE SANDERS, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM VERMONT: Look, I don`t know
exactly what happened, but you know, and MSNBC knows, and I know, that this
was not a political meeting. No one was asking anybody for a vote. The
purpose of that meeting was to discuss poverty in McDowell County, one of
the poorest counties in this country. To raise the issue of poverty to a
national level because McDowell County, obviously, is not the only place in
America where we have poverty. We have 43 million people living in poverty
in America today and it`s high time we started discussing those issues,
hearing from the people themselves, and then going forward with some
serious solutions to address this crisis.
HAYES: Yes. The official statement from the West Virginia National Guard
says, “The Department of Defense Policy does not permit the use of military
facilities for political and election events.” It`s obviously not an
election event and specifically includes town hall meeting as example to
such activities. The event was not scheduled to be political in any way
other than it would inherently involve politics but that seems like a very
broad reading of the restrictions and obviously this was - we`re going to
talk to people. It was essentially a big interview.
SANDERS: Right. Look, people in America are hurting. And they are really
hurting in McDowell County. 70 percent of the children live in poverty,
unemployment is extraordinarily high. They are suffering a terrible opiate
epidemic. It`s true all over this country but especially true down there.
And I think, Chris, and the reason I know that you and I wanted to do this
town meeting, is we want to hear from the people themselves.
SANDERS: What they`re going through and what they see as sensible
solutions to their problems.
HAYES: You know, and the other thing I would say here, is a - it`s a
county event from a sort of national political level, it went I think 75
percent for Trump, there`s a lot of places in the country that voted for
this President and I think with the hope that things would change, that
have a whole set of challenges on the ground that they are facing and I`m
really curious to talk to people about how they feel about the direction of
the country. It`s a very polarized nation we live in and it`s important to
sort of get out and talk to people. So we`re going to
SANDERS: It is.
SANDERS: And one of the ironies, Chris, is that one of the states that has
benefited the most from Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, is West
Virginia. Before the Affordable Care Act, their uninsured rate for people
64 to 19 was 29 percent. Today, it is 9 percent.
SANDERS: And I wanted to hear from people there about how they feel about
repealing ObamaCare under President Trump.
HAYES: Well, we`re going to get down to McDowell County. We`re trying to
find another venue. I want to ask you, Senator, if you`ll stay with us.
Because there`s a lot more to talk about including - there`s breaking news
tonight on the President`s National Security Adviser. There`s town hall
fights happening where the tables have turn and republicans are now sitting
on the legs. I wonder how you - how you`re enjoying the view of that.
We`ll be right back.
HAYES: We`re back with Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. And, senator,
I want to ask you some news today and some breaking news literally just
minutes ago from The Washington Post about the Justice Department
apparently warning the White House that General Flynn could be vulnerable
to Russian blackmail, officials say, and this has to do with material
misrepresentations that he made about the content of phone calls to the
Russian ambassador. You have your colleague Nancy Pelosi in the house has
called on him to resign, others have called for his security clearance to
Do you believe that General Flynn can continue to serve as national
SANDERS: Well, I think he has damaged himself in a very, very serious way.
I think it has to be investigated.
I think the bottom line here, as I understand it, he talked, negotiated
with the Russian government as a private citizen before he had an official
position, which is in violation of the Logan Act.
So, you know, I think this guy is somebody who might want to think twice
about whether he stays in the position that he has.
HAYES: That`s very diplomatic of you.
I want to ask you about the town halls that we`ve seen happening. And the
reason I think they`re so interesting is we saw a lot of Democrats facing
angry crowds in 2009 around the passage of the Affordable Care Act. We`re
now seeing Republicans facing angry towns, and allegations that there`s
paid protesters, people were being bused in, it`s outside provocateurs,
what is your reaction of watching your Republican colleagues face some of
the things that you and your Democratic colleagues faced back in 2009?
SANDERS: Well, I didn`t face it. We had meetings and we brought out in
Vermont a whole lot of folks. They were very, very large meetings from
Vermont`s standards and most of the people who came out not only supported
the Affordable Care Act, in fact they wanted to go for a Medicare for all,
And those people who disagreed, we treated with respect. They got up, made
their statements. They were civil in meetings, intelligent meetings, and
they came off just fine. But where we are right now I think, Chris, is
throughout this country, not only in terms of the repeal of the ACA, but in
terms of Trump`s movement toward authoritarianism, when one man ruled, his
appointments of Wall Street billionaires to be running the financial
direction of this country, a lot of people and – by the way, not just
Democrats and not just progressives are getting very nervous about this
And I think what people all over the country want to do is talk to their
members of congress.
SANDERS: And say, if you`re going to repeal the ACA, what happens to 20
million people who lose their insurance? What happens to me if I have a
pre-existing condition? What happens to me if I can`t afford higher
prescription drug prices?
So I think it`s absolutely appropriate - and by the way, on February 25th,
I think you`re going to see meetings all over this country where the
citizens of the United States of America are going to look, demand to see
their Republican representatives ask some hard questions about what they
proposed to do if they repeal the ACA.
HAYES: There`s going to be a recess that that will fall into. And I guess
– you called the
president and you were sort of talking about how they were going to answer
these questions. You call the president a pathological liar with my
colleague Chuck Todd this weekend.
And I guess my question to you is this you know, all politicians spin the
truth. There`s a certain amount of disassembling and evasiveness that
comes with the territory. You`ve been in politics for a while. You`ve
sort of had a bunch of different experiences. You`ve run against
Democrats, you`ve run against Republicans. Why is this different? Is this
a difference in kind?
SANDERS: Yes. This is qualitatively…
HAYES: How? How is it different?
SANDERS: Look, you`re right, every politician in the history of the world
always stretches the truth. Democrats do it, Republicans do it,
progressives do it, conservatives do it. OK. That takes place. This is
And when I use the word pathological liar, that is very harsh. I am not
comfortable using that term. But I think it is simply stating the truth.
When a president of the United States comes forward and tells the American
people, look, I
Donald Trump, I would have won the popular vote but 3 to 5 million illegals
voted in the election, that is a pathological lie. That is delusional.
When Trump begins his campaign by saying I saw on television, I saw on
celebrating on a rooftop in New Jersey the destruction of the Twin Towers,
nobody else in America saw that TV clip. That is a blatant lie.
Whether he understands the difference between truth and lies, I don`t know.
But time after time after time, he is saying stuff that is blatantly untrue
and it makes it very hard to deal with this administration under that
situation – in that way.
HAYES: Speaking of dealing with the administration, there`s two votes
tonight, and I think they`re really interesting study in contrast. Two
people have been confirmed to his cabinet. David Shulkin as Veteran
Affairs secretary, voted for unanimously, 00-0. Steven Mnuchin,
essentially a party line vote, Goldman Sachs - ex-Goldman Sachs banker
turned Hollywood producers, 53-47. Only Joe Manchin, your Democratic
colleague, the only one to switch over and vote with the Republicans.
What do those two votes say to you about how Democrats are approaching -
approach this presidency?
SANDERS: Well, I don`t want to speak for all Democrats, but Shulkin is
somebody I talked to at some length. He is now - he was in the VA. He was
appointed by Obama. Is he a sensible guy. He`s a real world guy and I
think he`s going to try to do his best for the Veterans Administration and
for the veterans of this country. He is certainly within the mainstream of
Mnuchin, on the other hand – and the interesting thing about Mnuchin, is
this, again, we talked about Trump being a liar. You will recall, Trump
went before the American people in the campaign and said, I`m going to take
on Wall Street. We`re going to clean the swamp.
Well, the swamp has now overrun Washington, D.C., because you have all of
these guys from
Goldman Sachs, the same old crew of Wall Street people, the people whose
greed and recklessness and illegal behavior nearly destroyed our economy.
These are the guys in Trump`s administration, after he told people that he
would take them on.
So I think that`s what you`re seeing with Mnuchin, not any different than
Gary Cohn, former president of the Goldman Sachs received $250 million
severance package in order to come into the
government. Boy, that is really taking on the establishment and draining
HAYES: It`s a noble act of self-sacrifice. Senator Bernie Sanders, thank
you for your time tonight. Appreciate it.
SANDERS: Thank you.
HAYES: Sll right, still to come, bipartisan alarm bells being raised over
Donald Trump`s running over white house adviser, and his claim that, quote,
“presidential powers will not be questioned.” We`ll talk about Stephen
Miller`s power grab on behalf of the president ahead.
And Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau in a very grabby Thing One, Thing Two is
HAYES: Thing one tonight, from the department of reading way too much into
handshakes, which can always, frankly, be a little awkward, today Canadian
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was greeted by President Trump at the White
House and while the handshake wasn`t
particularly weird, Trudeau grabs Trump`s arm pretty forcefully, appears to
be clenching his jaw, why did the Canadian prime minister sternly grab
Trumps arm when he shook hands for the first time? Perhaps he`s done some
research on the art of the Trump handshake, and that is Thing Two in 60
HAYES: In the short time since President Doanld Trump`s election, it`s
become abundantly clear he has an abnormally aggressive handshake. It
tends to include an unsettling tug of the other person`s arm that can send
them physically lurching forward as you see there with Mr. Pence.
At Secretary Tillerson`s swearing in, here is that strong pull followed by
a forceful sawing motion just keeping that going.
And this is just a portion of a 19 second shake with Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe that included equal parts tugging and patting, ending
with an interesting expression from the prime
minister seen right there.
We`ll let you judge for yourself what that look indicates, but the most
bizarre exchange so far as after Trump`s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch
for the Supreme Court in which the accompanying handshake looked more like
pulling the starter cord on a lawnmower.
So, it is in this context that might explain the power move by Prime
Minister Trudeau today.
As for the dynamic when they got inside the White House, well, that - I
don`t know what to tell you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
I think they might want a handshake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Before Stephen Miller became the president`s senior policy adviser,
and began playing a key role in drafting and rolling out the executive
order on immigration, he was the warmup act
addressing crowds at Donald Trump`s campaign rallies. But in some ways,
Miller had been preparing for his role in the spotlight since high school,
a profile of Miller last year in Politico noted that as a junior at Santa
Monica High School, Miller wrote an essay for the school paper titled
“political correctness out of control” in which he bemoaned announcements
written in both Spanish and English as providing a crutch, preventing
Spanish speakers from standing on their own.
While a student at Duke, Miller,according to The New York Times, was
briefly friendly with Richard Spencer who later became a prominent white
From there on, Miller wound up on Capitol Hill landing a job with Alabama
Senator Jeff Sessions, now the U.S. attorney general.
Which brings us to this weekend and Miller making the rounds on the Sunday
talk shows defending the president`s false accusations about widespread
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: I have actually having worked before on a campaign in New
Hampshire I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New
Hampshire is widely known by anyone who has worked in New Hampshire
politics. It`s very real. It`s very serious.
This morning on this show is not the venue for me to lay out all of the
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, NBC NEWS: I`m asking you as the White House senior
- hold on a second, I`m asking you as the White House senior policy
adviser, the president made a statement saying he`s a victim of voter
MILLER: And the president was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: do you have any evidence?
MILLER: If this is an issue that interests you, then we can talk about it
more in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This just isn`t the right venue, you know, when I`m talking on
national television, huge, widespread, insane conspiracy theories.
Right after that exchange, Fergus Cullen, chairman of the New Hampshire
Republican Party for the 2008 election sent this tweet, “Mmiller makes
false #magicbus claim . Offers no proof. Delusional. There are no bussed
In the middle of those baseless claims about voter fraud, Miller went on to
say something perhaps far more chilling.
We`ll play that for you next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire
country. I mean, this is just crazy, John. The idea that you`re going to
have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an
effective right to enter the United States is beyond anything that we`ve
ever seen before.
The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media, and the
whole world will soon
see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president
to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Stephen Miller earned a slap in the back from the president for his
Sunday show performance this week as fellow Republicans worry the current
White House doesn`t quite get how government works.
Joining me now, Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation,
MSNBC political analyst Matt MacKowiak, Repubican strategist.
Matt, I`ll start with you. This is Steve Schmidt responding to the powers
of the president will not be questioned. “Do GOP members of congress
really lack the guts to push back against this dime authoritarian? Media
must ask Trump.”
That`s, I mean, is that the conservative view that the powers of the
president will not be questioned?
MATT MACKOWIAK, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No. I think he was not precise in
what he said. It`s not something I would support saying the president
cannot be questioned.
I think as it relates to the case law and to the constitution, the power of
the executive, the power of the president is pretty clear as it relates to
national security issues. And so I think that`s probably the point he was
trying to make.
But he made it a little bit clumsily. I would have liked to have seen them
clean that up today. I`m not aware that they did.
Obviously, we have three branches of government. They are all co-equal
branches, and they all checked the others.. And so the balances of the
other, which is the beauty of the system.
HAYES: I should note one thing, just to - the whole thing of that district
court judge, actually, isn`t about people in Libya, it`s about people in
the U.S. That`s the key part of that Ninth Circuit opinion is that
constitutional due process affects everyone in the country, whether they
are citizens or not. This is a very well settled precedent. So, it`s not
about the person in Libya, it`s about the people here in the country and
whether they have to go or not.
What is your sense of Stephen Miller after watching him this weekend?
JOAN WALSH, THE NATION: I think he`s lived his whole life for this. I
think he`s never been happier. I think he`s been waiting for the day that
he would be called to stand up in defense of authoritarianism. He`s
perfect for it.
And I think - you know, the White House did not walk this back or clean
this up today, let`s be clear on that, because I don`t think they want to.
An I think - you know, I don`t think he was merely imprecise, I think he
was stating what they believe the president`s powers are. I think they
really - they don`t understand - I don`t think they understand the role of
congress or the role of the judiciary. And I think he was someone who went
out there to represent the president`s point of view and he got an attaboy
So, you know, there`s no question in my mind that the president is happy…
HAYES: I mean, the president expressed that on Twitter.
Matt, there`s news right now that Mike Kaufman, who is an interesting -
he`s a really interesting weather vain. He represents a suburban district
outside of Denver, near Aurora, Colorado that was - it`s a Democratic
district. He`s a republican. He`s now saying that if Flynn lied, that he
should be fired. Are we going to see more – let me read this. “As
national security adviser, Michael Flynn is responsible to the president,
vice president and the American people. It is his duty to be fully
transparent and forthright in his actions. Anything less is unacceptable.
If, in fact, he purposefully
misled the president, he should step down immediately.”
Are we going to see more of that?
MACKOWIAK: I think we are. I don`t think it`s going to become a huge
drumbeat, but keep in mind, this Flynn situation is pretty troubling I
think if you analyze it sort of coldly. And that is, that he knew he lied
to the vice president the moment he did it. He didn`t apologize to him
until today, several months later. That`s a problem.
And when the vice president and the White House chief of staff went out
there and repeated what Flynn told them, that`s a real problem. I mean,
that`s a character question. That`s what is so troubling here. When you
add to that some of the legitimate questions being asked about how the
national security council is being run and being managed right now, look,
no one is indispensable in government. You learn that if you`ve ever
worked in government. Anyone can be replaced at any time. And if the cost
of your - of you being in that position becomes greater than your value to
you`re serving, principal P-A-L, not P-L-E, to the principal you`re
serving, it`s time for you to go.
And Flynn, ought to be - honestly, I think he ought to go ahead and leave
and do it on his
own terms rather than wait several days. Politico has a story up tonight
that the White House is interviewing candidates later this week. I looks
like Steve Hadley who looks like he may be an interview would be an
outstanding choice. He served in the same role for Bush 43.
So, the cost here to me, the cost/benefit analysis of Flynn staying as
national security adviser is upside down.
HAYES: Just a few moments ago, I want to get this in here, but just a few
moments ago the
president swearing in Steve Mnuchin as treasury secretary. Let`s take a
TRUMP: A lot of very successful people. But I`ve known you for a long
time and I know how smart you are and how great you will be for our
country. So congratulations to you, to Louise, and to your whole family.
Americans should know that Steven, our nation`s financial system is truly
in great hands. With him, we`re going to have no problem, believe me.
Once again, with this support that I am following through on my promise to
appoint only the very best and the very brightest. Steven is a financial
legend with an incredible track record of success. I`ve watched this over
the years. He`s been my friend for many, many years. Everything he
touches turns to gold. He`s done an amazing job. And that`s what we want
for our country.
He`s distinguished himself through…
HAYES: All right, that`s the president and Steve Mnuchin 53-47 being
To Matt`s point there, it strikes me that the Flynn question, and Matt said
it wel about sort of serving the principal, the big Flynn question now is
we know he talked to the Russian ambassador. We know they talked about
sanctions. We know they talked before the election. Did the president of
the United States know?
WALSH: That`s the question. And I think the longer he stays on, the more
that question is valid and pressing, because the president should be saying
to him, you lied to my vice president, you lied to me, this is
unacceptable. You`ve got to go.
But the longer he hangs on to him, I mean, people talk about loyalty or he
doesn`t want a big mess his first month in office. I mean, I think that
the question has to be raised did the president know something about this
HAYES: We should probably also get some sort of the record statement from
the president of the United States.
Joan Walsh, Matt MacKowiak, thanks for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY