All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 7/25/2017 Senate Republicans advance Health Care Bill

Mike Rounds, Sherrod Brown, Sari Horowitz

Date: July 25, 2017
Guest: Mike Rounds, Sherrod Brown, Sari Horowitz



CROWD: Shame! Shame! Shame!

HAYES: Republicans advance health care in the Senate. And the final fight

try to come up with something that`s really spectacular.

HAYES: Tonight the historic Republican jam job and what untold damage it
could cause.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I don`t think that will work in the end and
probably shouldn`t.

HAYES: Then,

TRUMP: I`m very disappointed with the Attorney General but we will see
what happens.

HAYES: Donald Trump starts the clock on his own Attorney General.

TRUMP: Time will tell. Time will tell.

HAYES: The latest on the President`s humiliation of Jeff Sessions and what
it means for the Russia investigation. Plus, what we learned from Jared
Kushner in a second day on the Hill. And did Paul Manafort cut a deal to
get out of testifying in public?

PAUL MANAFORT, That`s what he said. That`s what I said. That`s -
obviously, that`s what our position is.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. At this very moment,
there is a bill on the floor in the United States Senate that would
effectively kill ObamaCare. This after the Republican controlled body
passed by the thinnest possible margin, the motion to proceed to debate the
repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And this was the scene this afternoon
as that motion came to a vote.


PROTESTERS: Kill the Bill, don`t kill us! Kill the bill, don`t kill us!

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the

PROTESTERS: Shame! Shame! Shame!


HAYES: Despite those protests and others, and despite approval numbers in
the low teens, the motion passed today thanks to two men. Vice President
Mike Pence who was once again forced to cast a tie breaking Senate vote and
Senator John McCain, now battling brain cancer and only ten days out of
surgery who returned to Washington today to the Senate to a standing
ovation from his colleagues and then provided the deciding vote to move the
bill to the floor and further President Trump`s agenda. After that, McCain
then gave a speech in which he described the legislative process which he
himself had helped facilitate as bankrupt, later test and called for


MCCAIN: I voted for the motion to proceed to allow the debate to continue
and amendments will be offered. I will not vote for this bill as it is
today. We tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed
doors in consultation with the administration, then springing on it
skeptical members, trying to convince them that it`s better than nothing.
That it`s better than nothing? Asking to us swallow our doubts and force
to pass to unified opposition. I don`t think that`s going to work in the
end and probably shouldn`t. Why don`t we try the old way of legislating in
the Senate, the way our rules and customs encouraged us to act? If this
process ends in failure which seems likely, then let`s return to regular


HAYES: What Senate Republicans have done so far is a process that is
entirely unprecedented. It has violated as Senator McCain had said, every
single norm of the Senate, every single tradition and unlike the Senate
consideration of the Affordable Care Act eight years ago, which had 53
meetings in the Finance Committee alone, 44 hearings and public events, so
far none of that has occurred in the GOP Senate handling of its own Health
care Bill. Now, Senator McCain says he`s a no on this bill in its current
form. So now the question becomes, do Republicans as whole ratify a
process they themselves decry every chance they get? A process that will
permanently alter the mechanisms of American governance and legislation.
One that will produce legislation that would - according to Congressional
Budget Office ultimately reduce the number of Americans insured by as much
as 32 million. Legislation that could very well cause a catastrophic
implosion of every single individual health insurance market in all 50
states while raising premiums and splashing Medicaid that provides vital
care, seniors, the disabled and children. Are they prepared to own what
comes after a yes vote? Earlier I spoke with Republican Senator Mike who
had just voted yes on the motion to proceed.


HAYES: Do you think it is a good idea to restructure a sixth of the
American economy without holding a single hearing?

MIKE ROUNDS (R) SOUTH DAKOTA: What we know is that`s the only option
available to us right now. We`re proceeding from where we are today.
There`s a lot of us that would have thought earlier that hearings would
have been appropriate but became a matter of timing. We`ve got until the
end of - the end of September in which to utilize this particular
reconciliation vehicle. So we can argue about whether or not it`s the
right move now but it is the position that we find ourselves in.

HAYES: But Senator, you - Senator, I don`t have the power to stop it if I
don`t like the process nor do a hundreds of millions of American citizen.
You do. And it`s very strange for me to watch members of the Senate
complain about the process, your colleague John Mccain, incredibly
eloquent. I want to read to you a portion of what he said there. He said
this was a - coming up of a proposal behind closed doors and then springing
it on skeptical members, essentially kind of jam it down the throats of the
Senate. You can stop that. You members of the Senate, you can hold

ROUNDS: I think I lost you.

HAYES: All I`m saying Senator is that you have the power. You and your
colleagues who complain about this process, who don`t like it, you have the
power to stop it. But no one seems to want to stop it.

ROUNDS: Actually we don`t have it right now. We`re stuck with the system
that`s in place now because -

HAYES: That`s not true though. You could have voted no in the motion to
proceed today.

ROUNDS: Actually didn`t we know what the result would have been and the
result would have been a continuation of an ObamaCare product that next
year will go up between 20 and 40 percent premiums and that`s if the
President agrees to continue the subsidies to the insurance company. So,
we recognize that that is the worst-case scenario. It is a failing system.

HAYES: Wait a second -

ROUNDS: But we have an opportunity to do is to actually make change in the
system based upon the amendments that we`re looking out right now. And
what I`ve seen right now, I like the proposals that have come up so far. I
like the idea of having 77,000 more South Dakotans have a chance to have a
stable market that`s going to come down by 30 percent by the year 2020. I
like the idea of having 32,000 more South Dakotans actually have a chance
to get a tax advantage for their health care that they have today. I like
those options.

HAYES: Senator, everything that we`ve seen from the independent analysis
from the CBO of the various options, whether it`s BCRA, whether it`s the
House Bill would mean tens of millions people with less insurance, premiums
going up and deductibles going up. Those are the major complaints people

ROUNDS: No, that`s not - that is incorrect because we actually got - we
actually got -

HAYES: That is true.

ROUNDS: No, sir. We`ve actually got the budget - the CBO report, that
under the original Senate Bill, without even the amendments that we want to
put on it will actually reduce the premiums by 30 percent by the year 2020.

HAYES: Which bill are you talking about?

ROUNDS: This is what they call the BCRA which is the first - the initial
Senate Bill which has already been out. It`s 122 pages in length. I`ve
read it. I hope a lot of other people have as well. There`s also been a
complete CBO report on it as well. You are correct that it suggests that
there will be a decrease in the number of people insured but we already
know that their estimate was off by 5 million because they used the 2016th
instead of the 2017 base. And we already lost 5 million more people in
this - in the last fiscal year that didn`t keep - that didn`t keep their
insurance under ObamaCare.

HAYES: But here`s what is so maddening about this process. I trying to
follow it as journalist, as citizen. I feel like I`m at a - at a sidewalk
in Manhattan playing three card Monty where the bill keeps flashing up and
it keeps changing. So the bill that you just referenced scored by the CBO
will reduce the number of people that have insurance, that we know -

ROUNDS: And it will reduce premiums, we know that.

HAYES: Some people`s premiums will go up and deductibles will go up for
some folks. That`s not disputable, right? There are going to be losers in

ROUNDS: Actually, the deductibles don`t go up but the premiums in some
cases would go up unless we don`t make additional amendments to the bill.

HAYES: And not only that -

ROUNDS: Those amendments are also being provided as well. But the problem
is we don`t have those scores yet.

HAYES: Let`s get to the bottom line, right? The President promised that
he would not cut Medicaid. He promised it multiple times, he distinguished
himself from other Republican in the primary field by saying he wouldn`t
cut Medicaid. Can you look people in the eyes and say the bill we`ll pass
will be signed by the President if that happens will not cut Medicaid?

ROUNDS: I can tell you that the bill that`s under consideration, the
initial bill that`s under consideration right now, Medicaid, would actually
go up - would actually go up by 24 percent between now and the year 2024 -

HAYES: Right, but it would take $800 billion out of the program.

ROUNDS: It would - it would - no, it would take a projection. And
remember, you`re talking D.C. now, let`s talk real world. We`re talking
about a smaller increase and what it would otherwise be -

HAYES: Senator, if you`re - if you`re a baseball player - if you`re a
baseball player inside the three-year contract for $9 million and they come
back to you and say here`s the three-year contract for $7 million, you`ve
taken a $2 million pay cut. Everyone understands that.

ROUNDS: Well - no wait, if you already had it. But in this particular
case, we don`t already have it. What we do know -

HAYES: We do, it`s there.

ROUNDS: - is that if we - if we don`t anything to control costs within
the program, the program very well might not even be sustainable for the
next generation. What we`re trying to do is to actually make Medicaid
sustainable not just for the rest of this generation but the generation to

HAYES: All right, Senator Mike Rounds, thanks for your time tonight. I
really appreciate it.

ROUNDS: Absolutely. You bet.


HAYES: In additional Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins,
Senate Democrats were united in opposition of the motion the proceed.
Democratic leaders are vowing to fight both the bill and the process that
brought it about.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) MINORITY LEADER: We will not stand for the
roosts that they went through today to try and move the bill along and we
are going to fight and fight and fight and fight until this bill is dead.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: Our job is to make sure all Americans
have health care not throw 22 million people off the care they have.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Health Care is a basic human
right and we are here to fight for your basic human right.


HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio who voted against the
motion to proceed along with the other Democrats today. Senator, your
colleague Mike Rounds of South Dakota says it`s the first step towards
lower premiums, lower deductibles, better access. I assume you don`t think
that`s true.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: I don`t know that anybody believes that.
The Congressional Budget Office said to pick the bill, either 18 or 22 or
30 million people lose insurance. Premiums in Ohio for a 60-year-old will
go up over $1,000. Senator Heller from Nevada, Republican from Nevada said
there`s nothing in this bill that would bring costs down. This bill is
primarily a tax cut for the people that helped write the bill. The drug
companies, the insurance companies, Wall Street, it`s a tax cut for them
and it`s an attack on Medicaid. And it means that - I met a man at the
Talbert House in Cincinnati, he said, with his daughter - his 30-year-old
daughter sitting there, if we didn`t have Medicaid, my daughter would be
dead. Because Medicaid has made such a difference in so many people`s
lives in my state.

HAYES: Part of what is remarkable about this process is that Mitch
McConnell keeps hiding what is actually happening and getting people to buy
in on these incremental yeses, we`ll fix it later, we`ll fix it later,
we`ll fix it later, so far, it`s working. But at a certain point, you guys
in the Senate are going to have to vote on an actual thing.

BROWN: Well, that`s exactly right. And I - they seem to be avoiding that
day. But you know, it`s - which door? Behind door number one, behind door
number two, behind door number three? Behind which door of the Mitch
McConnell magic trick - magic show, behind each door, higher premiums and
less coverage for Ohioans or for Nevadans or for Kentuckians. It is the
same in every one of his bills. It`s tax cuts for the drug companies, the
insurance companies, the richest families in our country and it`s less
coverage and less service and higher premiums for Ohioans.

HAYES: So then, well, the question is what can Democrats do right now? I
mean, there`s very much all eyes on the country are on this. This is an
incredibly important issue, it`s life or death for a lot of people, you
guys are in the minority, what can you do?

BROWN: Well, what we do is we talk to people and listen to people. And
I`ve talked to literally three or four dozen hospital administrators. If
they`re small hospitals, they tell me their hospitals could very well close
on these Medicaid cuts. It means they`re cutting back on services. It
means, they`re laying off people. It means that people are losing
insurance. I talked to people who treat opioid addiction, I talk to
Children`s Hospital people and they`re all talking to their U.S. Senators
and U.S. House members all over the country. That`s why this bill has
about 15 percent public support.

HAYES: So, but -

BROWN: And I just can`t believe my - well go ahead, Chris.

HAYES: Well, no, I mean, they`re going to vote for it anyway though. At
this point, the public support -

HAYES: I guess my question is will they?

HAYES: Well, I don`t know.

BROWN: Fundamentally you got 15 percent of the public (INAUDIBLE) bill,
you have members of Congress who - all of whom have insurance paid for.
Health insurance paid for by taxpayers that are - that are about to vote to
take away insurance from millions of people who have 10 and 12 and $15 an
hour jobs, people who have jobs but don`t have insurance like we do. And I
can`t believe frankly morally that me and my colleagues, in the end, are
going to step up and vote for tax cuts for the richest contributors and
take insurance away from so many who work hard but simply aren`t lucky
enough to have health insurance.

HAYES: What is the psychology of a Senator in this situation right now
because I think the idea is you`re in for a penny, in for a pound. Is
anyone going to have the wherewithal to back out?

BROWN: I don`t know. I think that they`re listening to their biggest
contributors. A Republican Senate colleague of mine told me that he was
raising money for another Senator and he said all kinds - he called one
person after another who was saying, I`m not going to help that Senator
unless he helps President Trump repeal the Affordable Care Act.

HAYES: Right.

BROWN: So the pressure of money is so great here but the public pressure
is greater. And Democracy has worked so far. I mean, it`s taken them
seven months to do this. You know, Chris, when you and I talk in January,
none of us thought that this bill would be anything but quickly moving
through Senate and the House and the Affordable Care Act would be repealed.
It is because of public pressure in Mansfield, in Youngstown, and Toledo,
and Dayton, and all over my state and all over the country that`s made a
lot of House and Senate members sit back and think, I`m not so sure we
should take insurance away and give a tax cut to the drug companies.

HAYES: Senator Sherrod Brown, thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.

HAYES: Next the President continues publicly berating Jeff Sessions. And
tonight, breaking news in Washington Post, apparently the Attorney General
has no plans of resigning. The latest after the two-minute break.



TRUMP: I am disappointed in the Attorney General. He should not have
recused himself almost immediately after he took office. And if he was
going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office and
I would have quite simply picked somebody else. So I think that`s a bad
thing not for the President but for the Presidency. I think it`s unfair to
the Presidency. And that`s the way I feel. I told you before, I`m very
disappointed with the Attorney General. But we will see what happens.
Time will tell. Time will tell.


HAYES: The President of the United States continues to publicly humiliate
his Attorney General. In addition to those comments next to the Lebanese
Prime Minister in the Rose Garden today, the President tweeted this
morning, “The Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a very weak position
on Hillary Clinton crimes - where are E-mails and DNC server - and Intel
leakers. The President also unloaded in the interview at the Wall Street
Journal saying he`s “very disappointed in Sessions” and is “looking at
firing him.” Now, Sessions was the very first Senator to endorse Donald
Trump (INAUDIBLE) the MAGA cap at a rally in his home state of Alabama all
the way back in February. But Trump is playing that down that endorsement
telling the Journal “He was a Senator from Alabama, I won the state by a
lot, massive numbers. A lot of the states I won by massive numbers, but he
was a Senator, he looks at 40,000 people, he probably says, what do I have
to lose and he endorsed me. So it`s not like a great loyal thing about the
endorsement.” Sessions recused himself from the Russian investigation in
March after it was revealed he had met twice with the Russian Ambassador
while working on Trump`s campaign, meetings that Sessions did not disclose
during his confirmation hearings even though he was asked about them under
oath. That recusal eventually led to the appointment of Special Counsel
Robert Mueller, a development that now appears to threaten Trump`s
Presidency and now has turned the President against his own Attorney
General. Joining me now, Pulitzer Price Winning Reporter, Sari Horowitz
who covers the Justice Department for the Washington Post. You have a
story that just went out with some of the latest developments. What is
happening now?

just said, this is just an extraordinary spectacle playing out in
Washington over the last couple days and especially the day when the
President tweeted about his Attorney General`s weakness and then went out
in the Rose Garden and again made disparaging remarks as if Jeff Sessions
doesn`t know already that he`s disappointed in him, really keeping him
twisting in the wind. But back at the Justice Department, I was at the
Justice Department all day today. No indication that the Attorney General
will resign. In fact, quite the opposite. I asked him last week when the
first disparaging comments were made by the President whether he was going
to resign and he said no. I love this job. We are doing the work of the
Department. We`re moving forward and it felt the same way at the Justice
Department today. He`s moving forward on this conservative agenda and at
the end of the day today, in fact, the Attorney General announced a
crackdown on so called sanctuary cities. The Justice Department is going
to withhold some funding from cities who don`t cooperate with Federal
Immigration Officials. And tomorrow we`re hearing, either tomorrow or the
next day, Sessions is going to announce leak investigations. Exactly what
Trump was complaining about that he hadn`t been doing.

HAYES: You know, Jeff Sessions is a sort of a hero, I would say, to the
kind of Breitbart set - the publication that was published by Steve Bannon
and works in the White House. So he called it was said it was a platform
for the alt right. Breitbart and that part of the right, the alt right and
other parts of the right have rushed to Sessions` defense in quite a
spirited manner. It seems to me it`s perhaps not coincidental this
announcement about crackdown in so called sanctuary cities as he is in the
bunker taking incoming from the President of the United States.

HOROWITZ: Yes, except, I got to tell you, of all the cabinet heads, Jeff
Sessions is the one who has done the most since he came in on February 9th
until now, to push forward the conservative agenda of President Trump. I
mean, he, in terms of criminal justice, civil asset forfeiture cracking
down on immigration, he has been moving forward methodically undoing the
policies of President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder and
putting in his own. So it`s not really a surprise if Breitbart or Rush
Limbaugh or conservative or conservative Senators would come to his defense
because he represents the base.

HAYES: Yes, exactly. Going back to the sort of model of the war on drugs,
escalating sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, civil assets
forfeiture, in which your property can be taken even before you`re
convicted of a crime. He sort of pursued all those agendas. What is
remarkable also here is that all of the President`s interview with Lester
Holt in which he was very open about the fact that he was explicitly
thinking about Russia when he fires his FBI Director after telling him to
basically back off Flynn. The President is telegraphing here, he doesn`t
like Jeff Sessions because Jeff Sessions recused himself in such a fashion
that he could not control, direct or manipulate an investigation into the

HOROWITZ: And what is so interesting here is he complain that Jeff
Sessions didn`t tell him about this ahead of time. But Jeff Sessions
really wouldn`t know ahead of time that there was this kind of Russia
investigation going on before he came in and that he would have to recuse
himself. Career Justice Department Lawyers came to him when he first got
there and said, look, this would be a violation because you were on the
campaign. You can`t oversee this investigation. And seriously, all
lawyers would agree that this would have been the right thing to do and it
was the right thing for him to recuse himself. And ironically that is the
thing that the President is criticizing him about.

HAYES: We should also note that part of that recusal is the President -
that Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, when a Senator and a nominee
under oath said he didn`t have any dealings with Russians, he then had to
revise that statement. He met twice with Kislyak. He then had said that
he didn`t talk about the campaign. There`s reporting indicating that
intelligence intercepts indicate that Kislyak said he did talk about the
campaign with Jeff Sessions. So Sessions sort of has his own issues in
terms of the veracity of the statements on this particular matter.

HOROWITZ: Yes, exactly Chris. The Washington Post reported last week that
according to intercepts and information from Kislyak to his Russian
superiors, he said he had substantive conversations with Jeff Sessions.
And Jeff Sessions has said publicly and testified before the Senate
Intelligence Committee that he doesn`t recall those conversations. That is
a problem. It is a cloud hanging over him. And let me point out that this
issue about the recusal happen in March. I think he recused himself, I
think it was March 3rd. So since then, the President has been basically
freezing him out. He`s been disappointed, annoyed with Jeff Sessions all
these months. We are just hearing about it publically but this has been an
issue for the Attorney General all this time.

HAYES: This - what`s so strange about this, the sort of titanic levels of
passive aggressiveness. I mean, the President has the power to fire the
Attorney General. If he doesn`t like the job he`s doing, he can do that.
It seems that Jeff Sessions recognizes that despite the fact his catch
phrase was you`re fired, the cold truth about the president is, he doesn`t
actually like firing people.

HOROWITZ: Correct. And what we`ve been told is that people at the Justice
Department close to Jeff Sessions made it clear to the White House that
he`s not resigning. And so it`s sort of a situation where he`s kind of if
the President wants to fire him, I mean, he`s going to have to fire him.
And when the President was asked today by a reporter in the Rose Garden,
are you going to fire him, he said, you know, we`ll see. Time will tell.
Time will tell.

HAYES: All right, Sari Horowitz, thanks for being with me.

HOROWITZ: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Coming up, Paul Manafort cuts a deal to avoid public hearing. Is
Jared Kushner is on Capitol Hill once again? The latest on the Russia
investigations after this quick break.


HAYES: Some late breaking news in the ongoing Russia investigations of
Trump campaign, former Trump Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort, narrowly
avoided publicly testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Russia
interference in the 2016 election. Manafort is making plans to speak with
Senate Investigators in the future leaving the Committee to drop the
subpoena they had issued him this week. Earlier in the day, both Manafort
and Jared Kushner, President son-in-law, Senior Adviser, spoke to
Congressional Investigators on that same issue. Manafort spoke to the
Staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kushner to the Members of the
House Intelligence Committee where he was questioned for nearly three
hours. On Monday, Kushner made a public statement denying collusion with
any foreign governments during the campaign before himself speaking with
Senate Staffers. Crucially, none of those conversations of neither of
those two men have been public even as questions pile up about a meeting in
June 2016 between Manafort, Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer
in hopes of finding dirt on Hillary Clinton supplied by the Russian
government ahead of the November election. The meeting was set up by Trump
Jr. who was offered shifting explanations behind who was present and what
exactly went on. President Trump today again called the investigation a
“witch hunt” and said Kushner “did very well yesterday.” Why the people in
Trump`s orbit are so eager to avoid public testimony is next.

HAYES: Congressional investigators this week are pressing Trump associates
about Russian interference in the presidential election, including any
potential ties with the Trump campaign. Three separate congressional
committees are in touch with associates to the president. There`s also, of
course, the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller even as
speculation has swirled. The president could try to remove Mueller
somehow, perhaps by first removing the attorney general.

As we mentioned earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions currently appears
to be in peril, precisely because the president is upset he recused himself
from the Russian investigation is making
it harder for the president to try to quash or control Mueller`s efforts.

So far, however, despite all the president`s efforts, investigations
continue to peel back the layers of Russia`s role in the election.

Joining me now, former Watergate prosecutor and MSNBC contributor Jill
Wine-Banks and Bob Bauer, former White House counsel to the president.

Bob, let me start with you, because I`m kind of confused about the back and
forth that`s happening about the subpoenas. I mean, congress can issue
subpoenas to whoever they want. Those people have to come before or
essentially take the fifth is my understanding. What is the substance of
these negotiations whereby they cut these deals where they don`t have to

BOB BAUER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Congress is primarily interested in
getting the information. And the counsel to the witnesses are often,
depending on the witnesses, primarily interested in doing so in terms of
their most favorable to their clients.

So, there`s often a negotiation that leads to accommodation. And as you
point out, sometimes the information is preliminarily obtained in closed
door settings without scrutiny.

There`s an advantage to that, by the way, also from the investigation`s
point of view and that is that witnesses are not observing what others
witnesses are saying out loud in public on television.

HAYES: Yeah, Jill, I`ve heard other folks say the same thing that from
obviously from a journalistic perspective, I like people to testify in open
hearing so we that can report on it and talk about it, but from an
investigative perspective, it is actually better if they`re not doing that.
Do you agree?

as a citizen, I like you as a journalist want to hear what`s going on. I
want to know what`s happened
in our country so that I know how to vote and what to do.

So that`s one side of it.

In terms of as an investigator, as a lawyer in a prosecution, it doesn`t
matter one way or the
other. You`re getting the information that you need. And if a witness is
more comfortable in a secret setting, that`s okay too. Eventually, the
congress may want to have this public so that the American people know.
The prosecutor will always do it in a private setting, in grand jury, where
it wn`t ever be

HAYES: Bob, it appears that we are sort of in a kind of slow Saturday
night massacre in this
respectful. I mean, James Comey was fired. He was fired in the
president`s own words while the president was thinking about Russia. That
led to the appointment of the special counsel precisely I think for those
reasons, right, we had evidence the president was essentially trying to
squash this.

He`s now ruminating about removing the attorney general precisely because
of the fact that he recused himself.

What would happen, what it precipitate in a sort of technical sense were
the attorney general to be removed?

BAUER: At that point, it is not clear which of the scenarios the president
would pursue. But he would be looking, of course, for some leadership in
the department, either a new attorney general or an acting attorney
general, conceivably he would pursue both at the same time, because a new
attorney would require confirmation by the Senate, and that might, to his
mind, clear the way for him to not just – and I heard you make this
comment earlier, and I think it`s correct, not necessarily only to
terminate Mr. Sessions so he may have that in mind, but to put himself in
a position where he believes there are people who are answerable to him who
will do more to control the Mueller investigation, to oversee the Mueller
investigation, to, for example, arbiter some of these conflicts that have
alleged – that have been alleged against the Mueller team, or to pay
attention to whether they`re somehow some expansion that alarms the
president in Mr. Mueller`s mandate.

HAYES: Jill, I keep thinking that were I Robert Mueller or were I employed
by Robert Mueller in this investigation, you would have to be sort of
conducting yourself as if every day might be your last, sort of
constructing some kind of dead man switch, a time capsule that can be
preserved in the event that the thing that the president has quite clearly
signaled, which is that he does – if he can find a way to get your out of
your job, get your out of your job, that the – whatever findings you`ve
had would be preserved, right?

WINE-BANKS: Yes. And I have two things to say about that. One is during
Watergate, we actually faced this. When we had the press conference on
what was the morning of the Saturday night massacre. We didn`t know what
President Nixon was going to do, and we were worried that what
happened would happen, which is the FBI seized our offices and barred us
from taking any documents out.

But we had done something with very careful consideration, we had already
removed copies of every single important document and purloined them in a
way to our own homes where luckily we never had to face the ethical dilemma
of what we would have done if we had to disclose information. That would
have been a horrible ethical dilemma, but it was something we felt we had
to do to protect America at that point.

And so that is something that maybe he`s thinking of now to order to
protect the investigtion and the integrity of out government.

HAYES: Bob, you were the White House counsel for President Obama. And I
believe you were there while there was at least a Republican House, if I`m
not mistaken, and perhaps a Republican Senate as well. But this sort of
thought experiment I think can get worn out, but I think it is useful in
this circumstance. Can you imagine if the president fired the FBI director
because he was investigating President Obama, if he mused about firing his
attorney general, because he didn`t recuse himself, how a Republican
congress would have reacted to that?

BAUER: I don`t think it would have reacted favorably. I don`t think
there`s anything in the history of that period that suggests that`s the
case and I – again, it`s awfully hard to put ourselves into what can that
thought experiment because no president that I remember, and I did live
through Watergate, went about, shall we say, the business of dealing with
the Department of Justice in the way that this president has. And, so
beginning with early in his tenure, firing the FBI director, now the drama
with Sessions, any number of issues that you mentioned previously, all of
them represent, shall we say precedenting behavior by the chief executive.

HAYES: Carefully worded, as always. bob Bauer and Jill Wine-Banks, thank
you for joining me. I appreciate it.

Coming up, why are Republicans desperately trying to pass a bill that no
one seems to want? Sam Seder and Charlie Sykes are here to talk about the
baffling Republican strategy and what Senators talk about when they think
no one is listening, an incredible hot mic moment. Thing One, Thing Two
starts next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight. We played a clip from Texas. Congressman Blake
Farenthold last night speaking about Senate Republicans who do not agree
with him on repealing Obamacare.


REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD, (R) TEXAS: Some of the people that are opposed to
this, there are some female senators from the northeast. If it was a guy
from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron
Burr style.


HAYES: One of the three female Republican Senators he seemed to be
implying, just one of them is actually from the northeast, that would be
Maine Senator Susan Collins. And today, Collins was overheard on a hot mic
following a budget hearing saying this to Democratic Jack Reed.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R) MAINE: Did you see the one who challenged me to a

SEN. JACK REED, (D) RHODE ISLAND: I know. Trust me. Do you know why he
challenged you to a duel? Because you could beat the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
out of him.

COLLINS: He`s huge. And he is so – I don`t mean to be unkind, but he`s
so unattractive it is unbelievable.

REED: I saw the – you know…

COLLINS: Did you see the picutre of him in his pajamas next to this bunny
– Playboy bunny?


HAYES: OK, this is the, by now, infamous photo that Senator Collins is
referencing. It`s taken back in 2009. And the individual in the duck
pajamas, that`s the congressman currently threatening a duel.

Now, this afternoon Collins said she received an apology from Farenthold
and that she offered her own apology.

But Collins didn`t only talk about Farenthold on that hot mic, she talked
about the Trump administration. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: Republican Senator Susan Collins was caught on a hot mic today
talking to Democratic Senator Jack Reed. Collins reportedly calling the
White House budget proposal incredibly irresponsible. But then the two
seemed to discuss President Trump. At one point referencing the
president`s speech Saturday at the commissioning of the USS Ford.


REED: I think he`s crazy.

COLLINS: I`m worried.

REED: I don`t say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy.

Oof, and you know, this thing – if we don`t a budget deal…

COLLINS: I know.

REED: We`re going to be paralyzed. DoD is going to be paralyzed,
everybody is going to be paralyzed.

COLLINS; I know.

REED: And he hasn`t one word – one word.

COLLINS; I don`t even think he knows that there is a BCA or anything. I
really don`t.

REED: no, he was down at the Ford commissioning saying, “I want them to
pass my budget.


HAYES: Afterwards, Senator Collins office sought to clarify the I`m
worried comment writing in part, “Senator Collins is worried that the
elimination of transportation and housing programs in the president`s
budget request.


HAYES: That applause was for Senator John McCain who flew 2,300 miles less
than two weeks after brain surgery to help his colleagues move one step
closer to passing a health care bill that is polling at 17 percent.

And if the bill passes, McCain`s vote will also help the man who once
criticized his military service by saying, quote, I like people who weren`t
captured. He will help him score a big legislative victory.

Now, all 48 Democratic Senators voted against that procedural motion today,
meaning just three Republican votes could have stopped it, but only Senator
Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against the

There were others, like Senators Dean Heller and Ron Johnson, Rob Portman,
Shelley Moore-Capito who heading into today`s vote had raised serious
concerns about the Senate`s health care plan. Heller, for instance,
perhaps realizing the Senate Bill would have a very significant and
effect on the working poor in his state said last month, quote, I cannot
support legislation that takes away insurance from hundreds of thousands of
Nevadans. Senator Capito of West Virignia said as recently as last week
she continues to have serious concerns about the Medicaid provisions, which
leads to the question why are these Republicans now moving towards
embracing something that is so unpopular, something that could jeopardize
health coverage for millions of Americans and their constituents and that
perhaps could also cost some of these senators their careers.

We`ll try to answer that questions next.



TRUMP: We ended up with 51 votes, 51 to whatever. I don`t know what it
is. Yeah, 51-50. So we had two Republicans that went against us, which is
very sad, I think. It`s very, very sad for them.

But I`m very, very happy with the result. I believe now we will, over the
next week or two, come up with a plan that`s going to be really, really
wonderful for the American people.


HAYES: Joining me now Charlie Sykes, MSNBC contributor, editor Right
Wisconsin; Sam Seder, MSNBC contributor, host of The Majority Report.

Charlie, let me start with you. So, you know, the argument here, and you
saw Mitch McConnell and everyone makes it, it`s never an affirmative
argument for the law. It`s basically that we promised we`d do this.
Something must be done. This is something. Ergo this must be done, right?

But at some level, that is – I guess my question is, why are they doing
it? Are they just essentially doing it because they said they would and
now they have to do something?

CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR, RIGHT WISCONSIN: Yes. I think largely that`s the
dynamic. I mean, obviously there are principled objections here. But the
vote today was really the easy vote. Everything gets harder and it gets
uglier going forward. And Mitch McConnell did come up with a pretty good
talking point on this which is if you voted against this move to – this
procedural motion, then basically you were voting for the status quo. You
clearly did not want to do anything. So for a lot of the senators who I
think are going to vote against the Senate bill, vote against the House
bill, against
the repeal bill, this was the easy vote to at least show that they want to
do something, that they want to actually have some kind of a debate.

But, yeah, I think we`re in a Kabuki dance right now. By the way, Chris,
you`ve done a
really good job in pointing out that all the obituaries have been
premature. But here it goes, repeal is dead. Repeal and replace is dead.
And now we`re looking at this skinny bill, whatever the hell that is.

HAYES: So I think you read this differently.


HAYES: And here is how – someone had this great. I think it was Peter
Sederman said today that McConnell has actually got a short of ingenious
strategy, which is borne of weakness, let`s be clear. Like he`s working
with a razor thin margin, which is you just get people to take little “yes”
steps and then you build up a chain of “yeses and then after you voted yes
enough and you turn around to Dean Heller and say, buddy, I`m sorry, man,
you have already got all these yeses. They`re going to hammer you either
way. You`ve got to vote for the final thing.

SEDER: Yeah. It`s like if you`ve ever bought a used car or this is how it
works. You add on 50 bucks here, $75 bucks there. All of a sudden you`re
paying $500, $600, $700 more than you thought you were going to pay at the
beginning of the process. And that`s what is happening.

I mean, look, it – this was an easier vote than they will be in the
future, but the calculation is still the same. Mitch McConnell can still
say after a bill comes out of conference and say, hey, it`s
either this for you`re basically voting for Obamacare and folks have to
remember, Donald Trump is still above 50 percent approval rating in 17
states around the country and when it comes to Republicans, the reason they
exist is to get tax cuts, and if this doesn`t happen, the permanent tax
cuts that they want, everything else becomes a lot harder to do because the
momentum is against the tide. Then people have shown you can buck
President Trump and there`s no problems.

I mean, that`s why he went to West Virginia to talk to those Boy Scouts, it
was because if Capito votes against this…

HAYES: It`s dead.

SEDER: It`s basically the most popular place in the country, you`re voting
against the president.

HAYES: That point, Charlie, it strikes me as important is that this would
be seen as Waterloo, right. I mean, the idea of anything, of them doing
anything would die if this thing dies is how they understand it and
probably they understand it properly that way.

SYKES: Yeah. But understand this, to vote no today is to vote against
this blank. But you`re
going to have a series of votes on some very specific pieces of policy.
And I think a lot of those senators are going to look at this and go, OK,
this is a crap sandwich. I`m not going to eat this. This is not on the
menu for me.

And so I do think, by the way, the analysis that you and Sam gave is
something to pay attention to. But understand that a lot of these
senators, when they have to vote on the substance, when they have to vote
on the cuts. When they have to vote on the subsidies, the slush funds, all
of the games and – this thing has really become a mess. Not to mention
the fact that the procedure right now, the procedure, the policy is almost
literally indefensible.

And I think you saw that from John McCain who voted to advance it, but then
basically called out his colleagues that this is just – this is
legislative malpractice.

HAYES: Yeah, I mean, the procedure is literally indefensible in the sense
that even John Cornyn today – I mean, no one defends the procedure. Mitch
McConnell, I think to his credit, doesn`t pretend to couch it in
sanctimony. He just…

SEDER: They didn`t hold hearings for a Supreme Court justice. I mean,
this is simply the next step. This is exactly that same…

HAYES: This is the next step. That is correct.

SEDER: We`ll move ever incrementally and pretty soon all these procedures
go away, all of these processes. And, look, Charlie is right in so far as
they`re going to vote against the next series of bills, because there`s
other things on the menu. But at one point there ends up being just one
thing on the menu…

HAYES: That`s the big question.

SEDER: And the other thing is, you…

HAYES: You support Obamacare.

SEDER: So, here`s my question to you, Charlie. Charlie, you`re someone
who – conservative radio host and a Never Trumper, but someone who is part
of the group of conservatives who said we want to repeal the ACA and we`re
sort of on board of that agenda. And it seems to me that what is happening
right now in the Senate has nothing really to do with Donald Trump, this is
basically what we would be getting if we had President Marco Rubio, if we
had president – like, this is the core of the
Republican Party and their agenda playing out right now in the Senate.
It`s not some Trumpian breaking of norms.

SYKES: Well, that`s true. I mean, obviously Donald Trump has put his own
signature, his lack of leadership and interesting in the actual substance
of the policy on all of this, but, yeah, and part of the problem is that
after seven years, what became very obvious was that the Republicans and
conservatives did not have a coherent governing alternative. They were
talking about this. It was easy to vote against it when it was a straight
repeal, but once it`s become the part of the fabric, they are unable to
come up with a legislation that can plausibly say this will actually solve
the health care problem.

Now, maybe it will solve certain fiscal issues. It will lead to the tax
cuts. But will it actually improve health care? That`s almost not even
on the table and I think this – this would reflect a significant flaw in
Republican and conservative thinking over the last decade.

HAYES: Well, that to me is what is so crazy, is the mismatch between you
can say – and the thing is that lots of the critiques in our sense are
correct, like there are lots of high deductible plans on those insurance
exchanges that people don`t like. Premiums are going up. Those are true.
But the bill doesn`t solve any of those.

SEDER: No. Because the problem is all the critiques are from the left.
All the critiques are from the left. And, look…

HAYES: It costs too much. People – right.

SEDER: It is the caricature that supposedly liberals have had of
Republicans for a long time. They don`t care about health care. And they
don`t. They are proving it now because they never came up with a plan.

HAYES: Do you think, Charlie that when it comes down to it, can you
imagine anyone not knuckling under? I mean, you know, ultimately to Sam`s
point, right, you`re going to get a lot of things that you get to vote “no”
on until you get to the thing where Mitch says, this is it, Dean. This is
it, Shelley Moore. We need you on this.

Can you imagine them saying no?

SYKES: Yes, I can. Although, you know, history is a guide here. A lot of
these folks have knuckled under in the past. A lot of people, you know,
think that if you can just give a speech and everything then you roll over.
On the other hand, look, this is the most important piece of legislation,
affects people`s lives. This has real world consequences. This is not
some esoteric budget bill. And I think this makes it harder. Every single
day that this goes on, it makes it harder to pass, you get more information
about this legislation.

And if you get to the skinny repeal, which seems to be the skinny bill that
they`re talking about. I think that you`re going to be looking at, and
people are going to go, OK, how does that actually fix any problem? OK, it
scratches our ideological itch, but what will the effect, will it unravel
the exchanges? Will it create more chaos? And will we, in fact, own all
of that?

So, we`ll find out relatively shortly.

HAYES: Scratching the ideological itch is a good phrase.

And if it goes to conference, there`s a whole other chapter we`re going to
get to as we watch this play out.

Charlie Sykes and Sam Seder, thanks for joining us.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.


Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the