All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 2/27/2017
Show: All in with Chris Hayes
Date: February 27, 2017
Guest: Adam Schiff, Dick Durbin, Rick Wilson, Xeni Jardin, Charlie Sykes,
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: Right now we`re going to have lots to
say. That`s why we`ll be there at midnight Eastern time to hear them. So
get a good night sleep tonight and stay up with us tomorrow night for our
HARDBALL late night special. Lots of attitude in that hour. “ALL IN” with
Chris Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you support a Special Prosecutor on
HAYES: Calls for a Special Prosecutor get louder as the White House tries
to kill investigations before they start.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I guess my question would be, a
special prosecutor for what?
HAYES: Tonight, Congressman Adam Schiff and Senator Dick Durbin on the
growing bipartisan push to investigate and the Russians.
GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES FORMER PRESIDENT: I think we all need
HAYES: Plus, at the republican investigators work with the White House,
DEVIN NUNES, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: What I`ve been
told is by many - by many folks is that there`s nothing there.
HAYES: Why others are breaking ranks.
DARRELL ISSA, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: You`re going to
need to use the special prosecutor`s statutes.
HAYES: Then, new reports of a high-stakes ObamaCare repeal as the
President has an ACA epiphany.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Nobody knew that
health care could be so complicated.
HAYES: And protests at a Joint Session. We`ll look at what Democrats
maybe planning for tomorrow`s big address when ALL IN starts right now.
Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. With President Trump set to
deliver his first address to a Joint Session of Congress tomorrow night,
republicans are trying desperately to bury a story that just will not go
away. The ongoing mounting questions over whether there was contact or
coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians during the
Presidential campaign when according to U.S. Intelligence Agencies, Russia
was working to boost Trump`s chances of being elected. To make their case,
Republicans have been doing something remarkable. Effectively clearing the
President and his allies of wrongdoing before the investigations have
really even begun. This is Republican Devin Nunes who leads the House
Intelligence Committee which is currently conducting the House
investigation into Russian influence into the campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NUNES: We still have not seen any evidence of anyone that from the Trump
campaign or any other campaign for that matter that`s communicating with
the Russian government. At this point, here at the committee we still
don`t have any evidence of them talking to Russia. As of right now, the
initial inquiries I`ve made to the appropriate agencies, I don`t have any
evidence. What I`ve been told is by many - by many folks is that there`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Nothing there. Nunes, who is a member of the Trump Transition
Team, made those claims despite the fact that the Intelligence Committee
has yet to review evidence or hear testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NUNES: We can`t have McCarthyism back in this place. We can`t have the
Government – the U.S. Government and or the Congress, legislative branch
of government chasing down American citizens, hauling them before the
Congress as if there`s some secret Russian agents. And that`s what I`m
concerned about here that we don`t go on some witch hunt against American
citizens just because they appear in a press story somewhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Nunes is leading the House Investigation. The Senate Investigation
is being led by Republican Senator Richard Burr, chair of the Senate
Intelligence Committee. Now in Friday, the Washington Post reported that
both Nunes and Burr at the behest of the White House called reporters to
challenge stories alleging contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian
Intelligence Officials. Now, remember, these two gentlemen are the
individuals who are supposed to be leading investigations that Republicans
claimed are impartial. Senator Charles Schumer stated the obvious today,
pointing out that Burr`s conduct quote “Certainly gives the appearance if
not the reality of a lack of impartiality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES SCHUMER: Senator Burr is on notice because what he did was wrong
and this is not the way to conduct a fair, impartial investigation that
goes wherever the facts lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The phone calls to reporters were reportedly orchestrated by White
House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who today falsely suggested that the
investigations were complete and that the Trump campaign has been cleared.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: I mean, Chairman Nunes spoke very clearly today when asked over
and over and over again about all of this and said that, he has seen
nothing that leads him to believe that there`s there. You`ve had the
Intelligence Community look at Russia`s involvement in the election.
You`ve had the House and the Senate both do the same. And so what I`m
trying to ascertain is at what point, how many people have to say that
there`s nothing there before you realize there`s nothing there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Again, no one can credibly claim at this point that there`s nothing
there. Yesterday, former CIA Director John Brennan forcibly rebutted the
White House claim. The FBI (INAUDIBLE) Director James Comey had privately
knocked down stories linking Trump campaign associates to Russian
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA FORMER DIRECTOR: I have tremendous respect for Jim
Comey`s competence and integrity and it`s been my experience working with
Jim that he wouldn`t do anything that was going to in any way compromise
the integrity of an ongoing investigation. And that`s why anybody who
claims that the facts are already known in terms of what did or didn`t
happen between Russian officials and U.S. persons during the election, I
think it`s speaking very prematurely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Late Friday, the GOP effort to (INAUDIBLE) the Russia story had a
bit snag when Republican Congressman Darrell Issa broke with party leaders
and called for a special prosecutor to investigate much - to investigate
much more on his political calculation in a bit. As for President Trump,
he was asked about Russia again today as reporters were being led out of a
meeting with Health Care CEO`s. And as the cameras left the room, the
President offered up a response that was both overly-specific and
essentially - well meaningless.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you support a special prosecutor on Russia?
TRUMP: Thank you press. Thank you press. Thank you. Appreciate it. I
haven`t called Russia in ten years.
HAYES: President claimed he hasn`t called Russia in ten years is pretty
odd and led to the fact that he visited Russia a less than four years ago.
There he is right there in the flesh. Meanwhile, in an interview on the
Today`s Show this morning, a previous Republican President George W. Bush
pointedly undercut the White House suggestion the Russia matter has
effectively been resolved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I think we all need answers. Now, whether or not the special
prosecutor is the right way to go tonight, you`re talking at the wrong guy.
I`m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure though, that that
question needs to be answered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff who is the
ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, your
colleague, the Chair of the Committee Devin Nunes said to the press
conference today in which he basically said repeatedly there is nothing to
see here. I have been told that there is nothing here. Is he right?
ADAM SCHIFF, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: I don`t think that
any of us on the Intelligence Committee should reach any conclusions about
the evidence yet because frankly we have heard from no witnesses. We have
only started reviewing documents since the very beginning of the
investigation. So we shouldn`t be reaching any conclusions about what
we`re going to find and it concerns me that you have the White House
talking to the FBI and potentially the CIA and asking them to push back on
stories. It`s appropriate for the White House to reach out to republican
or democratic members of the House but not on the subject of the
investigation and I don`t think that we ought to draw any conclusion before
frankly we`ve seen any of the evidence.
HAYES: Is it irresponsible in your view for the Chair of the Committee to
be as categorical as he was today?
SCHIFF: Well, I don`t think we can be categorical at all. And certainly
not on the basis of any private conversations with Intel Officials. The
Committee is doing the investigation, the Committee has yet to begin its
work in earnest. We`re still in the document-gathering phase and we need
to follow the evidence wherever it leads. Now, we have agreed on a
bipartisan basis to a scope of investigation that includes the issue, a
potential Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. And we can`t start
that if it`s going to be thorough and objective by concluding that there`s
no there, there. First of all, because we don`t know that and second,
because the investigation is only getting underway. So, I am concerned
when I hear statements like that because this needs to be done on a
bipartisan basis where it`s simply not going to have value for the American
HAYES: You said something today about needing the full cooperation of the
FBI, which is a big question mark right now. What did you mean by that?
SCHIFF: What I mean by that is that, we can`t become the FBI ourselves as
a House Committee. We`re going to need to know what has the FBI
investigated, what leads have they chased down, what information have they
obtained, what leads are yet to be investigated so that we can oversee
whether they are doing a thorough job and whether there are other areas
they haven`t explored that we need to. We won`t be able to do that if the
FBI comes back and says we won`t talk to you about that, that`s a pending
matter. That`s unsustainable in my view, and thus far, I don`t know
whether we`ll get the full cooperation of the FBI. I`ve raised this issue
with the Director but we`re going to need it to be able to do our jobs.
HAYES: Chairman Nunes invoked the spectrum of McCarthyism today, basically
saying that there was an air similar to McCarthyism hanging around this,
that people are being tarred as guilty before they have an opportunity to
defend themselves. He says American citizens, “you can`t go running around
calling them Russian agents.” Is there an era - air of hysteria here? Are
people getting out ahead of the facts in a way that`s dangerous?
SCHIFF: Well, first of all, I don`t think there`s any comparison here to
the McCarthy era. We`re conducting - I hope a thorough investigation.
We`re not prejudging the conclusions. We shouldn`t be. In terms of
General Flynn and I think a lot of his comments went to General Flynn, this
is someone who lied to the Vice President and caused the Vice President to
mislead the country. That`s a serious business. That`s not McCarthyism,
in my view, to call him out on it and what`s more, to call out the
President. Because the President of the United States knew Mike Flynn had
misled the Vice President and through that the entire country and what
concerns me more than anything else about that, the President was OK with
that, he was OK with the country being misled until it became public and he
was forced to fire Flynn.
Well, that`s just a lot about this President`s willingness to tolerate
dishonestly in his administration and misleading the public. That ought to
be a very substantial concern and I don`t consider that McCarthyism in any
way, shape or form. In fact, in my view, it`s quite the opposite.
HAYES: All right. Congressman Adam Schiff, thanks for joining me.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
HAYES: Just moments ago, on Capitol Hill, our cameras caught up with
Republican Senator Richard Burr, the Chairman of Senate Intelligence
Committee and asked him about his coordination with the White House ahead
of an investigation of the Trump campaign`s alleged ties with Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your reaction to the concerns of the Vice Chair
of the Intelligence Committee?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it appropriate for you to talk to reporters about
RICHARD BURR, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM NORTH CAROLINA: You just have
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois who`s
member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And since your colleague
wouldn`t answer the question, maybe I`ll pose it to you. Was it
appropriate for him to talk to reporters on background, it appears, to
knock down stories when he is the person charged with leading the
DICK DURBIN, UNITED STATE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS: Absolutely not. You
wouldn`t expect that of a judge, would you, or an investigator who`s trying
to be impartial. And what Congressman Nunes said disqualifies himself -
disqualifies him from heading up an investigation in this area. He`s
already reached a conclusion and his conclusion is nothing wrong at all.
The - center of crime was the leak itself. Let`s get to the beginning
here. Why did they choose the Intelligence Committees? Why did the
Republicans choose the Intelligence Committee for this investigation?
There`s a lot of reasons but one of the reasons is, they meet behind closed
doors, the public can`t see what is happening, you don`t know what
witnesses are being called, there`s no effort or opportunity to test
credibility and if they ever produce a report in some distant time, it`s
going to be classified. How do you declassify such a report? With the
permission of White House, which is not going to happen. So I am really
skeptical as to this being the venue for an investigation.
HAYES: So I`ve heard of a - there`s a sort of variety of different
alternatives to the two standing investigations happening in the Committee
is their chaired by this two individuals, Devin Nunes and Richard Burr.
One of which floated somewhat surprisingly - I would say by Darrell Issa,
Friday night, Republican Congressman in the House from California, a
special prosecutor. Your thoughts on that?
DURBIN: Isn`t it interesting that Darrell Issa who couldn`t hold himself
back from having weeks and months and years of public investigations of the
Obama administration now doesn`t believe in Congressional Investigations
but wants to have a special prosecutor. Well, certainly we don`t want to
see Attorney General Sessions who should recuse himself being the
prosecutor. A special prosecutor may be in order, but why have the
Republicans, who couldn`t quit on e-mails in Benghazi decided now that no
public hearing on this Russian involvement in our election is really
warranted. What a hoot.
HAYES: Let me ask you of - the follow-up to the special prosecutor
because, you know, .my sense was there was a kind of consensus in the wake
of Ken Starr when the - when that statute to empower the special prosecutor
was allowed to lapse. A bipartisan consensus that essentially that had
created a fundamentally dangerously unaccountable office. Is that still
the position of you and your colleagues or is this something that is being
kicked around by folks on Capitol Hill?
DURBIN: We`re trying to get to an independent transparent investigation.
I`m co-sponsoring a bill with the number of my colleagues for an
independent commission. I`ve suggested General Colin Powell, a Justice
from the Supreme Court, former Justice to the Supreme Court that would be
part of this. And that`s the way to go. But in the alternative, if we`re
going to look to the Department of Justice, I think we ought to have
someone independent. Clearly, Jeff Sessions is not that person.
HAYES: I want to ask you about something Jeff Sessions said today. He was
asked to be - if he knew about contacts in advance. He said no at a brief
walk-in session. He said the FBI and the Justice Department have to remain
independent and they will do so but not every contact is improper. What do
you make of that?
DURBIN: Well, I may commit that General Flynn took a trip to Moscow and
got paid another (INAUDIBLE), I understand it, and have some contacts with
the Russians prior to the inauguration of this new President that could
have been perfectly innocent. I don`t know. I think, let`s follow the
facts wherever they take us without fair or favorites -
HAYES: We should be clear Senator, my understanding is that actual trip
happened in 2015, if I`m not mistaken. I just want to make sure people
understand the timeline there.
DURBIN: Yes, of course. That`s far in advance of any aspirations of
Donald Trump to be President perhaps. But the point I`m getting to is
this. The contact in and of itself is not damning or criminal but it`s
worth asking questions during the basic investigation. Of course, you`d do
that about a person who ends up residing as National Security Adviser to
the President of the United States.
HAYES: Is there a - it seems to me that part of the issue here is just
there`s a sort of breakdown in some basic levels of credibility to you and
your colleagues with respect to things that emanate from the White House.
It seems to me the Flynn moment was sort of a watershed in that respect in
which you know, numerous people say on the record, including the Vice
President of the United States, a sort of categorical denial that`s
revealed to be not true. Have they repaired that breach of credibility, to
DURBIN: No. And I think the problem we have is that less than six weeks
into this Presidency - I ought to repeat that - less than six weeks into
this Presidency, this President and this White House have set out to
discredit the Judiciary, the Intelligence Agencies of the United States of
America, the media, I don`t know where to go next. The long list of people
that they`ve attacked just in the first 5 1/2 weeks is an indication that
anyone who raises a question about their conduct is in for a tough tweet.
HAYES: Do you think that`s the motivation - there some I`ve seen that`s
essentially have speculated that these attacks and the series of attacks at
the various institutions that you just listed have to do with producing
doubt against those institutions that might be the ones that produce
evidence vis-…-vis the Russia story.
DURBIN: And add to that, an effort to intimidate, try to put pressure on
these agencies, trying to put pressure on the media, exclude them from the
press conferences. All of this is part of a calculated strategy. Put that
pressure and intimidation on them in the hopes that they will lay off.
HAYES: All right. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Thank you sir. I
DURBIN: Good to be with you.
HAYES: Coming up, top Republican Darrell Issa`s real time moment going
further than just about any other republican calling for a special
prosecutor to investigate possible contacts between the Trump campaign and
Russian officials. Why he`s going out on that limb and will anyone else
join him, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISSA: We`re going to ask the Intelligence Committees of the House and
Senate to investigate within the special areas that -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we need independent prosecutor.
ISSA: You cannot have somebody, a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions, who was
on the campaign and who was an appointee. You`re going to need to use the
special prosecutor`s statute and office to take - not just to recuse,
that`s - you can`t just give it to your deputy that`s another political
appointee. You do have to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Speaking of remarkable moment Friday night, when California
Republican Darrell Issa, yes that Darren Issa called for a special
prosecutor to investigate possible ties between President Trump`s campaign
and the Russian government. Tonight he`s softening his language a bit
saying in a statement that he recommended a quote “independent review.”
The Congressman is still going further on this issue than most republicans
right now, which to anyone familiar with Darrell Issa is pretty shocking.
I mean, Issa has earned his reputation as a hard-right partisan warrior.
Coming to national attention back 2003 for spearheading the recall of
Democratic Governor of California Gray Davis and during his four-year reign
as Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Issa launched a slew of
investigations into right-wing conspiracy theories about the Obama
administration. But if you take a look at how Congressman Issa`s district
voted last year, his new found willingness to cross party lines isn`t quite
a surprising. After all, he eked out a win in his race for re-election
beating his opponent by just over 1,600 votes and crucially he`s one of 23
house republicans whose districts went for Hillary Clinton. During last
week`s recess, the first since the President Trump took office, the
congressman avoided meeting with his constituents, skipping a Town Hall
organized by voters who wanted to talk about ObamaCare. But he won`t be
able to dodge them forever. And he knows he`ll be facing an even tougher
race for re-election next year. Joining me now, Rick Wilson. Republican
Political and Media Strategist. And Rick, I thought that moment was
fascinating for Issa. I mean, he`s a fascinating figure. I find him
actually quite dynamic -
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL AND MEDIA STRATEGIST: Sure.
HAYES: - and compelling in his own way. This is a guy who six years ago,
eight years ago, even four years ago, you would think of is the kind of
hardest of a hardcore. And here he is sounding not the way I thought or
expected him to sound.
WILSON: Well, I like Darrell Issa a lot. I think he`s one of the
brightest guys in congress and I think he is not - I don`t think this was
simply him reading the tea leaves. I think this reflects what`s going on
in the minds of a lot of members that won`t come out and say it. They are
petrified right now that leadership is going to lose their minds if they
upset the apple cart on the most important thing on the universe, which is
the tax cut bill. And if they - if they - if they cross that line, they`re
afraid that a lot of the check list items they`ve wanted to accomplish for
a very long time will go away. But - you know, I think Darrell Issa was
probably having a little more historical memory than a lot of the guys
right now in congress who look back at 1974 and realize that a lot of
republicans, over 40 of them, I think almost 49, I think it was, lost their
seats because the perception was they were defending Nixon`s corruption.
There were democrats in 1994 who were whistling past the graveyard where -
no, don`t worry about this White House, on this house check scandal.
Nothing is wrong, it`s OK, it`s cool. And then you know, when republicans
in `06 and `08, with Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff, they ignored these
things until it was too late. They placed a big bet that the - that the
public had a higher tolerance for corruption and the public does. And if
these things go south, a lot of these guys are going to be holding the
dirty end of the stick and Darrell Issa was doing - I think he was walking
toward doing the right thing on this, although I`m sure it sounds at awful
at like somebody from leadership got a hold of him and said, hey, now.
HAYES: Well that - it`s funny you say that because I thought to myself, we
were - we were having a debate about was this - did he go out with this is
a sort of - he wanted to say this strategically. Did he end up kind of
saying this and then wanting it back and the sort of partial walk-back
strikes me as part of what you`re saying. And I like you to elaborate on
that thinking. Because my sense is exactly - it`s exactly the way you lay
it out, which is the thinking around the House republican leadership is,
we`ve got a once in a generation chance to go through this punch list,
particularly on taxes, which frankly I think is the real priority here.
And anything you do to distract from that -
WILSON: It`s the only priority, Chris.
HAYES: It`s the only priority. Exactly. Anything you do from that will
take away the political capital we need to get that done.
WILSON: That is exactly what I`m hearing from folks inside the
organization. And they are petrified that Trump will collapse before this
- before this is accomplished. They really look at this as a singular
moment. They dread the ObamaCare question right now, that the dog is
caught in the bumper of the car and is being dragged pretty hard by that
WILSON: And so, they`re looking at the tax - the tax bill as a single
moment where republicans can have a giant take home and say, we did this
and it set the economy - you know, in the right direction, et cetera. We
can argue about that all day but that`s certainly what they believe inside.
And the fear of crossing this White House is another element here. They
don`t want the proverbial - you know, capital M, capital T, mean tweet from
HAYES: Well, and here`s the part about the political calculation I`m
fascinated by. One - on one side you`ve got the class of 23 House
republicans that I have like a file on my desk that I`m always looking at,
right? Because they are - they are in some ways, the most fascinating
political creatures in Washington right now. That - who`s districts won by
Hillary Clinton. But then you`ve also got the lesson of 2016 which was the
people that tried to distance themselves from Donald Trump by and large ,
fell by the wayside, the ones that stuck with them did OK and you`ve got to
think they`re torn between those two impulses as they`re navigating the
politics of it right now.
WILSON: You know, I`ve used this analogy before. It`s kind of a grizzly
one. But you know, when IRA try to blow up Margaret Thatcher, she said,
you know, we were very lucky today. And that their response essentially
was you know, you have to be lucky every time. We only have to be lucky
once. These guys have to be lucky every time but if it turns out that the
Intelligence Community does know things about Trump`s contacts with Russia,
does know things about the communications between his staff and Russia,
these things are going to end up redounding to the - to the detriment of a
lot these members of congress right now who have really breezily say,
“don`t worry about that, no big deal, it`s cool,
WILSON: We`re good. It`s fine. No Russia. Less of it.
HAYES: And they`re - and they`re also - they`re also hanging themselves on
stuff they can`t possibly know which seems to be the larger danger here of
WILSON: Yes. If you want to make a bet against the Intelligence Community
right now on this, it may not be the - it may now be the wisest political
play because at any moment there are things that have yet to come to light,
there are elements of the Trump people - the Trump team`s communications
and relationships with the Russians that - not just in the intelligence
side but also in the business relationships, et cetera, that could come out
in ways that with more granularity than they have so far and these guys are
going to be stuck holding the stick on it. But, you know, they`ve made
that decision, they`ve made that calculus right now. They`re going to try
to ride the lightning on this thing up through and until the moment that
transcripts are coming out.
HAYES: Rick Wilson. All right. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
WILSON: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Up next, the GOP is considering drastic measures to make good on
their year`s long promise to repeal ObamaCare but is President Trump on
board? That`s right after this quick break.
HAYES: Lawmakers are back in Washington today after getting an earful from
their constituents in Town Halls last week. House Speaker Paul Ryan had
said this would be the week republicans introduce legislation to repeal
ObamaCare. But there is still, somewhat remarkably, no sign of a consensus
plan for what comes next. One draft proposal leaked to Politico last week
would shrink insurance subsidies and the Medicaid expansion making health
care less accessible and more expensive for poor, sicker and crucially
And here`s the thing, House Conservatives have already come out against
that bill for not going far enough. According to an analysis to republican
proposals obtained by Vox, millions of people could lose their coverage.
And things are getting so desperate for the GOP according to Wall Street
Journal that republican leaders are betting the only way for congress to
actually repeal the Affordable Care Act is to set a bill in motion and
gamble the fellow GOP lawmakers won`t dare to block it. But if they`re
looking to the White House for support, they may not have much luck.
On Friday, the President met with his one-time primary rival John Kasich
who expanded Medicaid as Governor of Ohio, and opposes the drastic changes
favored by hard liners in his party. Kasich views on health care
apparently made an impression on President Trump. According to the
Washington Post, the governor made his pitch while the President eagerly
called in several top aides and then got Health and Human Services
Secretary Tom Price on the phone. At one point, Senior Adviser Jared
Kushner reminded his father-in-law that House Republicans are sketching out
a different approach to providing access to coverage quote “Well, I like
this better,” Trump replied, according to a Kasich adviser.
A month into his term, the President is still climbing a very steep
learning curve. As he revealed himself in remarks this morning, he`s just
now discovering what everyone knows who knows anything about health care
already takes for granted. The policy is hard. The politics are even
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have come up with a solution that`s really, really, I think,
very good. Now, I have to tell you, it`s an unbelievably complex subject.
Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated. The biggest
obstacle of a republican seeking to repeal ObamaCare are the millions of
Americans continuing to benefit from the law. As we saw last week, they`re
not going to let it go quietly. And one of them joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could tell you three members of my family,
including me, that would be dead, dead and homeless if it was not for ACA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One of many angry constituents who confronted their lawmaker last
week over Republican plans to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. That was
at a town hall with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton.
Today, President Trump dismissed the people who say they`ve benefited from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People hate it. But now they see that the end is coming and
they`re saying, oh, maybe we love it. There`s nothing to love. It`s a
disaster, folks. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now by Xeni Jardins. She`s co-editor of Boing Boing and
a survive of
breast cancer. And Jenny, I thought of you when I saw that clip. I follow
your writing about surviving breast cancer and about the role the ACA has
played. And I wanted to know when he says, oh, maybe they love it, there`s
nothing to love, what do you say?
XENI JARDIN, BOING BOING: There`s nothing to love about cancer and the
experience of going through cancer, if we`re lucky to survive it, it`s
But the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, for me meant that I was able to
get the life-saving
treatment that I needed.
You know, it`s funny. I actually - here`s where I just got a blood draw
today at my oncologist. I actually came from my cancer doctor to talk to
you about this. And before leaving, I asked my wonderful cancer doctor,
who was an NIH researcher and chose to go into clinical practice what she
would say if she could talk to President Trump right now. This woman who
has saved so many men and women`s lives in the clinic. And she said two
things. It`s really important that, for instance, Planned Parenthood,
other kinds of clinics that offer low cost and no cost cancer screening.
If that gets wiped away, we`re going to see a lot of people who don`t get
diagnosed until much later stage when the
treatment options are brutal and limited.
The second thing she said, and it was so funny, I remember this vividly:
drug costs. When I was receiving cancer treatment, I remember there was
one very important drug that kept me from vomiting. And when you`re going
through cancer, if you aren`t able to keep down food, it`s not a good
thing. That drug costs 800 bucks a pill before the Affordable Care Act,
and right now those kinds of prescriptions cost something that I can
Look, the bottom line is this: this is an imperfect system, the Affordable
Care Act was a
compromise, as everything in politics is. But this is better than no
protections at all. I know men and women who died early, who died bankrupt
and whose quality of life was destroyed by the fact that they
did not have access to affordable care.
When you have to choose between your rent, your food, your children`s food
and your cancer
treatment, you`re not living in a civilized nation.
I remember in America where we cared about the lives of our people. It`s
not OK to turn cancer
into a political football.
HAYES: Do you think – two things. One is, do you feel that – I feel
like I`ve watched an activation happen among the folks who have interfaced
with the law who, before this election in some ways, didn`t have reason to
mobilize. I mean, the law was the law and they had to navigate it and they
might have found it frustrating, because lord knows dealing with health
care is always frustrating.
Do you feel like there`s a change in the posture folks like yourself have
towards their political engagement on this?
JARDIN: You know, what President Trump said about, well, nobody knew,
nobody knew that health care was so complicated, I don`t want to mock him
for that, because frankly I felt the same way before I was diagnosed
December 1, 2011. I was tweeting the whole experience to the world like I
do with everything. Don`t be afraid, I`m a little bit too young for a
mammogram, but I thought I would go ahead and do this since two of my other
friends, you know, in their late 30s, early 40s were diagnosed
around right that same time. And I was diagnosed that same day.
I had no idea how complicated it was. I had no idea how brutal the costs
before the Affordable Care Act would be, but I learned.
So, I`ve had the experience of cancer before and after ACA and there`s a
very big difference.
I no longer wonder when I show up to the clinic if somebody is going to
have to come out and
say from billing, and say, you know what, your insurance company thinks
that you might be engaged in fraud, that maybe you had a pre-existing
condition that you didn`t tell us about because guess what they did that
within the first couple of months after my diagnosis.
I just had no idea that somebody like me, a good, clean living vegetarian
yoga doing health nut
could get cancer. But that`s part of why it`s so important that everybody
have equal access to health care. It is dehumanizing. The idea of taking
away to access to health care. And it doesn`t just affect
people with cancer now, many of your viewers will be affected by it. Some
of the people watching now who thinks that this will never touch them will
be diagnosed with cancer.
I want there to be care for them, too, not just me.
HAYES: This is, I think, such a key point to think about, because part of
what I find really worrisome but on moral and political levels, this idea
that, well, if we can just put the sick people into their own sort of
system, the high risk pools or whatever, then all the rest of us, the
healthy ones, or the relatively healthy ones, we can pay lower premiums,
but of course, those are not fixed categories. People move between them
which is the entire point.
JARDIN: Yes, it certainly is.
I mean, I don`t know what they want to do, have leper colonies for people
who are too poor to afford chemo? We`re not going back. We`re just not
And I`m so grateful that because - you know, thanks, Obama, for helping me
live. Thank you to all of the politician who is decided that political
expediency was less valuable than American lives. I believe in America.
And I beelieve there are enough sane, compassionate people around - ACA is
not about a handout for lazy people. I work hard. And I worked hard to
survive this. And I didn`t go through chemo to have this all taken away.
HAYES: Xeni Jardin, thanks for your time tonight. I really appreciate it.
JARDIN: Thank you, Chris.
All right, still to come, what will it be like in the room during President
Trump`s first joint address to congress? What we can expect from the
president. How Democrats might react in real-time. That`s ahead.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two with some fantastic photography starts
right after this break.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, President Trump clearly still smarting over the
sheer number of people who keep turning out to protest his presidency,
tweeting out over the weekend, “maybe the
millions of people who voted to make America great again should have their
own rally. It would be the biggest of them all.”
To which Senator Bernie Sanders reply, somewhat icily, “they did. It
wasn`t,” pointing out side-by-side pictures of Trump`s and Obama`s
But today, Trump fans had a do-over called the spirit of America. It was
billed by its leaders as massive, pro-Trump demonstrations nationwide.
So just how massive were they? Looking at some of the footage, it turns
out, maybe not so much.
That`s Thing Two is in 60 seconds.
HAYES: It was meant to be a rallies nationwide organized by conservative
groups and billed as a massive show of support from fans of President
But as documented by Daniel Dale (ph) of the Toronto Star and others on
Twitter, the rallies may have been nationwide but massive? Not so much.
These are photos from sunny Stewart, Florida, and a wet Bellingham,
Washington, and a
cloudy Atlanta, from South Carolina to North Carolina to Illinois, none of
which appeared to show that many people.
Organizers say a couple hundred people did show up in Denver. The New York
Times puts the
total number of rally goers across the country in the quote, hundreds.
To put that in context, the day after Donald Trump took office, an
estimated 3 million plus people took to the streets across the country.
HAYES: Tomorrow night, the president will go before congress not with a
State of the Union Address, he won`t actually make another one of those for
another year, but with a joint address to congress. Such an address is
sometimes made in special circumstances as when President Barack Obama, not
yet eight months into his term after the town hall craziness of that
summer, went before congress to present his health care plan and this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They`re also those who claim that our reform efforts would ensure
illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms I`m proposing would
not apply to those who here illegally.
REP JOE WILSON, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: You lie.
OBAMA: It`s not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Not only was Congressman Joe Wilson wrong on the substance, in
other words, the president was telling the truth, and Wilson, was, well,
lying, that moment was widely condemned by both parties as an unprecedented
breach of decorum.
Congressman Wilson issued an apology to the president. But the House,
controlled by Democrats at the time, approved a resolution of disapproval
after Wilson refused to apologize to his
colleagues from the House floor.
But here`s the thing, that moment also made Wilson a star on the right. He
ended up fundraising off that uncivil act.
Now, in a sense, Democrats are facing a somewhat similar situation to
Republicans in the fall
of 2009. But it`s fair to say this president is unlike any in modern
history as is the grassroots opposition to him.
How Democrats deal with that reality, and a constituency strongly opposed
to this president next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you know, more than 60 Democrats either boycotted or
skipped the president`s inauguration. What kind of reception do you think
the president will get tomorrow evening from Democrats in the House and the
Senate when he gives this joint address?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I hope a very robust and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Trump`s address to congress tomorrow night is being
billed by the
White House as optimistic, but the president`s dark inauguration speech is
still fresh in everyone`s mind.
Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Charlie Sykes, edidtor of Right
Wisconsin, and Jason Johnson ,politics editor of The Root, author of
Political Consultatnts and Campaigns.
Jason, let me start with you, you know, I forgot who said this. Someone
said that there`s going to be a huge amount of actual political incentive
for some house Democrat to have their own Joe Wilson moment tomorrow night,
because fevers are very pitched. There is tremendous desire on the part of
the Democratic base for outward signs of resistance. What are you
JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT: Well, here`s the thing, Chris, if someone on the
side decides they`re going to go at Trump, this is not Barack Obama. This
is not George Bush. Trump is likely to respond and go all Remy Ma (ph) on
them and just like attack the person for seven minutes, like you have got
to be really careful if you go after Donald Trump. He can spit.
So, I think the Democrats will be wiser to just make sure that they boo
when necessary, that they don`t stand when he says certain things, and
leave their comments to afterwards, because I don`t think you want to get
into a battle with Trump when he`s in his element on national television.
HAYES: Charlie, this is going to be a speech - I continue to be fascinated
by the weird hybrid of sort of Paul Ryan, Mike Pence Republicanism and the
Bannon, Steven Miller stuff. What ratio are you expecting in this speech
CHARLIE SYKES, RIGHT WISCONSIN: I don`t know. By the way, your first
question, Steven Bannon right now is hanging upside down in a close
somewhere hoping that some Democrat is going to go too far, because Trump
feeds on overreaction. I remember about a year ago talking to some members
of congress who had met with then nominee Donald Trump and they were amazed
by how little he understood the whole concept of Article 1 of the
Constitution and the specific powers of
congress. I think a lot of them are going to be sitting there wanting to
know, OK, is Donald Trump actually going to be talking to us, is he going
to be working with us, is he looking to provide us guidance, is he going to
cut our tires, is he going to kneecap us on all of this? Because right now
we`re in this very interesting moment where, you know, the president is
going to try to showcase all the things he`s done, except there`s no
legislation. There`s no Obamacare repeal. There`s no infrastructure
package. There is no tax reform. Not just not passed, not even propose.
And you can really sense the uneasy…
HAYES: We should just be clear, there`s not a one-sheeter. There`s not an
index card. There`s not three bullets to put on a full screen on my show
to say this is what the White House is proposing.
And as a result, all of these congressional Republicans are kind of holding
their fire. Now, they`re being pounded at the town hall meetings but they
can`t turn around and say, well, this is what we plan to do because
apparently they haven`t gotten the call from the White House yet.
HAYES: Yeah, and that, Jason, so there`s two things I wonder about here,
right. Is how programmatic this is. Do they have the wherewithal. I
mean, there`s something sort of vaguely comical about the idea of a - you
know, Bill Clinton was obviously famous for these sort of long and involved
granular wonky speeches, like some Donald Trump version of that about risk
high-risk pools, and I mean, that just seems like completely off the table,
JOHNSON: Yeah. Yeah. It`s not likely.
Look, Trump is at sort of a school house rock level whereas Clinton and
Obama were sort of
at a dissertation level.
I mean, I believe the 11 points that the Republicans have put out now, he`s
going to talk about
America. He`s going to talk about making the nation safe. He`s going to
talk about, you know, revitalizing jobs and infrastructure. I think it`s
going to be a general campaign speech.
Because as of right now, it doesn`t appear that Donald Trump can give
anything other than a
campaign speech. And I think at some point, maybe not tomorrow night,
maybe not in a week, but at some point, congress is going to get tired of
that, Republicans and Democrats, because they need an actual plan, not
just more commercials.
HAYES: well, that`s the point.
SYKES: But nobody knew. This is hard, right? I mean…
HAYES: Here`s the things, Charlie, right. Like, there`s - most speeches
are performance. They`re not really acts, right? So usually it`s
rhetoric. So, even when President Obama got up in that speech back in
2009, he was defending a legislative process that had been ongoing for six
months. There`s actually some thing that has to be done tomorrow night it
seems programmatically from me from the president if he wants to kickstart
any kind of legislative agenda.
SYKES: Yes. And he wants to kick start it but the problem is there`s no
indication that he`s
about to roll something out. I mean, the fact that today he`s saying
nobody had any idea how complicated health care. Really? Nobody? Here`s
a guy who has been saying how easy it was going to be and any minute now.
Well, you can imagine how that played with the Mike Pences and the
Paul Ryans on this date to hear the president saying, whoa, who knew this
was going to be this complicated?
So, he`s got to make up his mind on all of this because, again, the theme
is going to be the time for rhetoric is done. We now need to act. OK,
Mr. President, where is the beef? Where are the details? Have you
actually made up your mind? And there are these reports that Steve Bannon
is now somewhat reluctant, concerned about the political price of actually
doing something meaningful with
Obamacare, which has got to really, you know, wrap up the anxiety among
House and Senate Republicans.
HAYESa: Plus I want to play this clip of Richard Burr. We played it
earlier in the show, but I think it`s so indicative of a certain kind of
thing that`s happening in congress. Take a look at Richard Burr not
answering questions about the Russia investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your reaction to the concerns from the vice
chair of the intelligence committee?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it appropriate for me to talk to reporters about
SEN. RICHARD BURR, (R) NORTH CAROLINA: You guys have a great night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Jason, they are taking politically bullets for him right now and
that`s the other subtext of tomorrow night.
JOHNSON: Yeah. And I think a lot of this – you know, look, every
Republican member of congress right now is saying nothing to see here, like
the Naked Gun where there`s fireworks and e everything going on in the
background when it comes to Russia. And what they really need tomorrow, if
there`s one thing the president can do, he can say I will have your back.
I will not take advantage of
you. I won`t attack you and I will understand this process because they`re
defending him on the wall.
JOHNSON: They`re defending him on the immigration. They`re defending him
on Russia. And at some point they`re the ones facing the consequences.
They are not hiding out in Washington. He needs to show Republicans he
HAYES: Because he`s figured out how to be successful while 40 percent of
people like him. That`s not true for anyone else.
Charlie Sykes and Jason Johnson, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
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