All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 7/26/2017 The Trump Offensive

Jim Himes, Nick Akerman, Rachael Bade, Tammy Duckworth

Date: July 26, 2017
Guest: Jim Himes, Nick Akerman, Rachael Bade, Tammy Duckworth


HAYES: The President continues his attack on his own Attorney General and
now his Acting FBI Director.

the President is disappointed.

HAYES: Tonight Donald Trump`s latest assault on the rule of law and
growing fears of a slow motion Saturday night massacre. Then did the
President just ban transgender Service Members so he could pay for a wall
with Mexico? Plus, Mitch McConnell`s final push to bait-and-switch his own

TRUMP: I think you`re going to have a great health care.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It is beginning to
look like to borrow a phrase from the Watergate scandal, a slow motion
Saturday night massacre. President Trump is bullying and intimidating the
people in his own administration connected in any way to the Russia
investigation amid the looming threat of the potential firing of Robert
Mueller, the man leading that probe. Now, today in what one Republican
Congressman called an insulting and inappropriate public waterboarding, the
President yet again attacked Jeff Sessions for the third day in a row. As
The White House refused to say when the President still has confidence in
its own Attorney General.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does he fully have confidence in the Attorney General
to carry out his duties from this day forward?

SANDERS: The President wants the Attorney General to focus on his duties
as Attorney General. And I think we`ve both spoken about that pretty
extensively and I don`t have anything else to add.


HAYES: In today`s tweet attack on Sessions, Trump went after his Acting
FBI Director as well, “Why didn`t AG Sessions replace Acting FBI Director
Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of the Clinton
investigation but got big dollars $700,000 for his wife`s political run
from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the swamp.” The
attack on McCabe for the record mangles the timeline and the source of the
money which did not come from Clinton. PolitiFact rates it mostly false.
But it is in line with the President`s other attacks on anyone with ties to
the Russian investigation which boiled down to this. Everyone involve in
the investigation is compromised, and so whatever they eventually tell you,
no matter what evidence they find, it must all be a lie, which is a pretty
astounding claim in light of who he is going after.

Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General, a career Department of Justice
employee, once nominated to the U.S. Department of Appeals by George W.
Bush. Trump questioned his integrity by stating wrongly that Rosenstein is
from Baltimore adding, “there are very few Republicans of Baltimore.”
Former FBI Director James Comey who was of course fired by this President,
attacked repeatedly afterward. Also longtime Republican who served in
three GOP administrations, Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel now leading
the FBI investigation almost universally hailed as man with impeccable
credentials and integrity. Trump says Mueller can`t be trusted because he
interviewed the FBI Director and didn`t get the job.

Then there`s McCabe who Trump accuses of ties to Hillary Clinton event
though McCabe spent his entire career in the FBI, has no known political
affiliation. And of course we come the Jeff Sessions, he was famously the
very first Senator to endorse Trump and became a key member of Trump`s
campaign. These are the people in Trump`s own administration who the
President is bullying and attacking, and they have one thing in common and
only one thing really, other than the fact that they might literally all be
Republicans, is that they`re all tied to the Russia investigation, have in
turn all had their integrity questioned by the President. Sessions of
course, is no longer actively involved in the investigation, having recused
himself in March paving a way for Mueller`s appointment which is precisely
why the President is so furious at him.


TRUMP: 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.


HAYES: Only the President knows whether the political damage from trying
on kill the Russia investigation would be worse than what that
investigation might discover. There`s no question that he is trying to
undermine the credibility of those working the case including Mueller who
the President says would be committing “A violation if he looks into trump
family finances.” On Capitol Hill today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse,
pressed the Assistant Director of the FBI`s Counterintelligence Division
Bill Priestap on whether investigators would need to examine financial
records to make a Russian foreign influence case.


SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Are an individual`s tax returns
potentially very significant indeed often obvious investigative material?

variety of financial records pertaining to any of the individuals, or
entities involved, could be of importance, but -

WHITEHOUSE: Including tax returns?

PRIESTAP: Including tax returns.


HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut,
Member of the House Intelligence Committee which is, of course, one of the
entities investigating the Trump-Russia matter. It struck me today reading
the President`s statements, particularly about Andrew McCabe that in any
other time and any other administration, the President of the United States
actively going after the Acting FBI Director while that FBI Director was
involved in the investigation of this campaign, would be seen as a massive
scandal and possibly have people start talking about impeachment.

I`ve been saying for a while now that if this were all reversed, that if
you know, Hillary Clinton were in the White House and Chelsea Clinton had
had that Trump tower meeting where Chelsea Clinton says I love it around
the possibility of getting from the Russian government, compromising
information on Donald Trump, not only would we be consumed an impeachment
proceedings but we would have right wing militias on the south lawn of the
White House with torches in their hands. It just starting to me where we
are today and the damage is just unbelievable, right?

I mean, the President has attacked his own Attorney General. I`m not a
huge fan of Jeff Sessions but you know, here`s a guy who I think is trying
to do a job in the tradition of Attorneys General in terms of keeping the
Justice Department, being an independent arbiter of justice rather than
some sort of praetorian guard for the President of the United States. You
know, Donald Trump has gone to, he went to Clapper, he went to Comey, all
the top national security officials and begged them to say that this is a
sham investigation, even though we know it`s not. So you know, it just a
dumpster fire down here.

HAYES: He - the President also - I mean, do you believe that the President
just in what his public actions are, we don`t know what he is saying behind
the scenes. We don`t know if he re-shouting Andrew McCabe privately, we
may learn that in the future. We know he did it with James Comey but just
in his public statements, the public, on the record statements, actively
trying to influence, curtail or quash an investigation into his campaign.

HIMES: Yes. And he`s been doing this from day one. And the public can
see that from what the public has - had available to it and guys like me
who spend time in a classified environment know that even more. So here -
and the thing that`s remarkable about this, Chris, it`s obviously huge
damage to all sorts of institutions. The dignity of President, the
independence of the FBI, the sense the Justice Department is actually about
justice rather than being a protector of the President.

The thing that is truly shocking about this is that if the President, right
after his inauguration, had come to realize that this could in fact be a
story that would be dragged out for a long period of time, you know, make
him look bad, hurt his agenda, he would have on day two said, hey,
everybody who had any contact whatsoever with Russia, any kind of contact,
any sort of back and forth, it comes out today. If that had happened, guys
like me would be saying, hey, there`s the action of a smart and innocent
individual. Instead he took exactly the opposite tack which anyone knows
is it raises real questions about guilt and what else is being hidden.

HAYES: Well, respectfully Congressman, I would say, we don`t know if it is
true because we don`t know what actually happened. It could be the case
that if he had actually come clean on his second day in office, that would
have been a massive scandal too because the underlying fact may have been
incredibly shocking. We don`t know.

HIMES: That`s a - that`s a fair point. We don`t know. And of course,
none of these investigations have run their course. But look, let`s take -
let`s take the single piece of information we have that is most conducive
to arriving at the conclusion that there might have been some link. And
that, of course, is not some fake news, New York Times, Washington Post,
Amazon, this is the President`s own son releasing his e-mails saying I went
to a meeting with Russian government people to take information that was
compromising - this is the President`s own son. So let`s even take out as
an example. If that had come out on day two, you know, yes, it would have
been pretty compromising but we`d be on to - well again, you point out we
don`t know what else is there and we should stay open minded about that -
but we`d be on to other things by now.

HAYES: All right. Do you worry about what you and your colleagues will do
if this keeps being pressed? I mean, to me, the President appears to be
sending a signal about what he wants done, right? I mean, he wants the
investigation shut down. He appears to want Jeff Sessions out of there.
He could fire him presumably. He appears to want Mueller done. At a
certain point, the Congress are going to be the check.

HIMES: Yes, no, and that`s right. I think you`re seeing something pretty
interesting right now. Like why out of nowhere does the President fire Jim
Comey? He does that because he thinks he can. He can get away with it
politically and perhaps he did. You know, he got away with it politically.
But look the - look at where we are today. You know, just this morning,
the President out of nowhere, without telling the Pentagon, decides he`s
changing policy for 15,000 transgender armed service members. Joni Ernst,
John McCain, Senator Grassley, all come out and say this is not OK. He`s
having all sorts of problems on health care. You know, the Republicans
here are in a different place than they were four months ago. And I think
that the President worries, is at least told to worry, that if he fires
Jeff Sessions, he might not get another Attorney General confirmed by the
Senate. That - you know, this will really push the Republicans over the
edge on Capitol Hill.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Jim Himes, thank you for being here.

HIMES: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: I`m joined now by MSBC Analyst Josh Earnest who is a former White
House Press Secretary under President Obama and Nick Akerman, the former
Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney for the
Southern District of New York. Josh or Joshua Earnest, I was (INAUDIBLE)
Joni for a second. The attacks on Sessions, aside from being humiliating
and unseemly and bizarre, they are also - they strike me as an attempt to
get him to quit so he doesn`t have to fire him. Why - what is your
understanding of why he is doing this?

Chris, I had the same reaction. He is acting like somebody who doesn`t
have the nerve to actually follow through in firing his Attorney General.
So, he`s being as mean as he possibly can in the most passively aggressive
way possible to try to get him to quit. But you know, Chris, what`s
interesting to me is the strategy to the extent that there is one, does not
appear to be the conventional strategy that you would recommend to somebody
in the situation. Ordinarily, what you would try to do is marshal
evidence, find validators on the other side of the aisle who would back up
your side of the story. You go to great lengths to try to demonstrate what
you`re doing the cooperate with the investigation releasing reams of pieces
of e-mail, reams of pages of documents and e-mail, you know, agreeing to
all sorts of questioning and doing it on the public to see you have the
opportunity to tell your story. But that`s not at all what they`re doing.

Instead, what you see President Trump doing is throwing elbows and trying
to basically incite a melee to try to cause mass confusion and to call into
question just who is telling the truth and that`s why it`s so important.
What you`re hearing from Democrats is not that Bob Mueller should really
put the screws to the Trump administration. What Democrats are saying is,
let`s just - let`s just have a fair and impartial investigation and get to
the bottom of what`s actually going on here. Let`s have one place that can
actually be our true north here in determining what exactly happened.

HAYES: You know, there` two issues here to Josh`s point, right? There`s
the sort of status of the investigation and what that will do, but there`s
- I feel like we`re just getting closer every day to some very fundamental,
constitutional and institutional questions about the nature of American
governance and democracy and executive power which is, can the President
basically do whatever the heck he wants and the law be damned?

NICK AKERMAN: And he can`t because that`s not the way the law is. I mean

HAYES: What is it though? I mean, I guess my question is, is it just
restrained under both the sort of practical realities of the moment were in
time, were in politically end the Constitution by impeachment as the
ultimate check?

AKERMAN: No. But there`s all those things. There`s also institutional
checks. The Department of Justice for years has been in a sense, an
independent agency. The President doesn`t tell the Attorney General
whether or not to prosecute Hillary Clinton, for example, or whether to
bring charges or what kind of charges to bring. That`s not his job. He
doesn`t do that. No one has ever done that.

HAYES: OK. But you said - well, first of all, no one has ever done a lot
of things.


HAYES: You say that now. I mean, the - that to me that`s the question.
He is essentially on Twitter instructing Jeff Sessions to open a criminal
case into Hillary Clinton.

AKERMAN: That`s right. And he`s also telling Jeff Sessions that even
though he took ethical path that was correct in recusing himself, that he
shouldn`t have done that. I mean, not only does he instruct the Attorney
General on what to do ethically, which is unethical, but he instructs the
Attorney General as to who to prosecute, and then he also instructs the
Attorney General as to who should be fired and who shouldn`t be fired. All
of those things are not the job of the President of the United States. And
there is going to be pushback. There will be pushback within the
Department of Justice, there`s going to be pushback within the Congress and
I think if he actually takes the ultimate step of firing Sessions, you`re
going to see a lot of people in Congress and a lot of people on the other
side being the conservative Republicans, really starting to turn against
him. And I think -

HAYES: You think that would be the Archibald Cox moment? That would be
the Saturday Night Massacre?

AKERMAN: That would be the Archibald Cox moment. It will also be the
Frank Delano Roosevelt moment when he tried to pack the Supreme Court. I
mean, there are certain elements of fairness that people will not put up
for if somebody comes in and tries to put the screws to it.

HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) is a great example, right? Because that was also a
test of something which is that - you know, the Constitution doesn`t say,
right? You put in 40 people if you can get to confirm them. And Josh,
this goes to my point too about pressure, right? I mean, you`re saying he
is doing this by the play book but he`s doing it by his playbook, which is
pressure. Which is to get people to knuckle under, which is attempt to
dominate and insult and so, you got Jeff Sessions announcing - Axios
reporting this that he`s going to announce leak investigations. I mean, at
a certain level, right, maybe this is effective.

EARNEST: Maybe it is effective. And Chris, I just keep going back to this
because I think this really is the core of the whole thing. The strategy,
again, to the extent that there is one, it is all rooted in the idea that
Trump can sow so much chaos and confusion, that he can start - you know,
essentially a melee in the bar at 2:00 a.m. such that people are breaking
beer bottles over each other`s heads. And in Trump`s world, even if a
couple of his own guys get hurt it`s worth it as long as there`s enough
chaos to call into question exactly what the ground truth is.

And look, I hope that Nick is right that there is the intestinal fortitude
among Republicans on Capitol Hill that if we do see President Trump take
the extraordinary step of firing Bob Mueller or even firing his Attorney
General so he can fire Bob Mueller, that there will be a check on that
power in the legislative branch. Because thus far, we`ve seen President
Trump take – engage in a litany of unprecedented actions that sort of bump
up against these norms and we have not seen Republicans do that thus far
but I hope they have the will to do it.

HAYES: All right, Josh Earnest and Nick Akerman, thank you both.

Next, the President announces a new ban in the military on transgender
service members in a series of tweets, a move coming as a surprise to many
including the Pentagon. Why it might have been a tradeoff to help fund his
border wall after the two-minutes break.


HAYES: Out of nowhere, today President Trump announced a new military
policy on Twitter banning transgender people from serving in the U.S.
Military. He wrote, “After consultation with my Generals and military
experts, please be advised the United States government will not accept or
allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S.
Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming
victory, cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical cost and disruption
that transgender in the Military would entail. Thank you.”

The Department of Defense was so blindsided by the President`s tweets that
Pentagon officials eventually release a statement admitting the Defense
Department has no plan to deal with the policy reversal and will provide
revised guidance to the Department in the near future. The new policy drew
strong opposition from civil rights groups, from Veterans, from Democratic
lawmakers, and also Republicans like Senator Joni Ernst, Senator John
McCain, and Senator Orrin Hatch.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: People who are transgender, they don`t choose
to be transgender. They`re born that way. And why should we hold that
against them? They`re human beings. And many of them are extremely
talented human beings. So you know, we should be open to everybody.


HAYES: Just to be clear, that is the 83-year-old Republican Senator from
Utah. So why did the President decide to reverse this policy? According
to Politico, a Congressional fight over gender reassignment surgery
threatens funding for his border wall. They report that Republicans wanted
President Trump to settle the issue since the disagreement was holding up
the Republican budget that included funding for his cherished wall. That`s
the one that he said hundreds of times Mexico would pay for. But President
Trump went farther than was being asked of him, deciding apparently to
entirely ban transgender people from the military. One Senior White - one
Senior House Republican aide telling Politico, “This is like someone told
the White House to light a candle on the table and the White House set the
whole table on fire.

Joining me now, Rachael Bade, the Political Reporter Covering Congress who
co-authored Inside Trump`s Snap Decision to Ban Transgender Troops. So, my
understanding from your reporting is, there`s a - there`s a fight in the
budget bill about whether the Pentagon will pay for gender reassignment
surgery which is a considerably narrower issue than whether transgender
individuals can serve at all. They asked the President to do something and
out of the blue, he just announces this entire ban.

want to pass this bill this week and they`re having trouble getting it
through. Basically, House Republicans have the suspending package that`s
supposed to be sort of like a messaging bill for Trump. It includes money
for the wall, it includes the Pentagon close-up, it includes money for
veterans but there are a bunch of Republicans who threaten to derail the
bill as you said unless they inserted a provision that banned the Pentagon
from using medical insurances that pay for transgender health care services
such as sex changes, hormone therapy treatments.

And they couldn`t get this passed in the House because moderate Democrats -
or I`m sorry, Democrats and Moderate Republicans have basically banded
together to block this on the floor. However, they went to the White House
and said, listen, if you can`t help us with this, this could potentially
tank, which would be another headline of something that had failed when
repeal has already stuck in the Senate and you know they`re dealing with
the Russia scandal right now as well, so they wanted this to pass.

HAYES: Wait, so - OK, so, but this is a sticking issue, right? It`s like
whether the Pentagon essentially - by the way, this - the Pentagon is
already going to pay for this, right? This is the sort of side that`s
picking a fight here, the people that want to put a provision and to stop
them from doing that. And President responds without consulting his
generals or the DOD, right, and then just announces this. so when he said
I`ve consulted the generals, that was not true?

BADE: That`s exactly right. He went around (INAUDIBLE) this one, our
sources are telling us. So, I am told by a number of House Republicans
that`s they had been trying to get Mattis on this issue for a while.
They`ve been calling him, he hadn`t been calling back, and when he finally
called back last week, he said give me space to maneuver on this. It
affects between 2,000 to 15,000 active military personnel. He wanted to
think about this for a time and figure out the best policy the move
forward. But Trump went around him when lawmakers came to Trump, never won
for political correctness, right, Trump. So he basically overrode Mattis
on this.

HAYES: Right. But he also just - he didn`t just override him, I mean, he
was not truthful. Like he said this was - this was the product of
consultation when it was not the product of consultation according to your

BADE: So, we are told that Mattis sort of took himself out of this, sort
of seeing where it was going. So, it`s not that he didn`t really know that
it was coming but he obviously didn`t agree with it and he was going to let
the White House do what they were going to do.

HAYES: All right, Rachael Bade, thank you.

BADE: Thank you.

HAYES: Joining me now, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth. Senator, the
President said in his statement this morning that this was an issue of cost
and readiness and distraction. Do you think that`s true?

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: No. It`s baloney, Chris. If you want
to talk about it being an issue of cost, studies have shown that in 2016,
the DOD spent with $5.6 million on health care for transgender service
members. In 2015, the DOD spent $41 million on Viagra alone, 84 million
for erectile dysfunction medication and treatment. So if they want to cut
costs, I don`t think the 5.6 million in health care for transgender service
men and women is place to look.

HAYES: What about this idea of readiness, that this is - somehow this is
an issue of readiness and that it emanated from consultation with the folks
over at DOD?

DUCKWORTH: My understanding is that this tweet caught the four service
chiefs completely off guard. In fact, the DOD has come out in the past and
say they can certainly work this issue. We have had transgender Americans
serving with honor in the military. It did not affect unit readiness. And
in fact, this is completely not the issue. This is an issue of the
President appealing to his base or a handful of people. My understanding
is they reached out to him through Steve Bannon and not - because they
couldn`t get through to the Pentagon leadership who oppose this. Bottom
line, the tweet from the Commander in Chief, the United States Military, is
disruptive. And if somebody is averting readiness, it`s President Trump in
tweets like this.

HAYES: What do you think is going through the minds of active service
members, particularly those deployed overseas today?

DUCKWORTH: Well, I`m sure they`re wondering who the heck is their
Commander in Chief. A guy who nerve served in uniform, a guy who obviously
doesn`t understand the military. What you need to improve readiness is to
spend money on more training for our service men and women, it`s to make
sure they have all the equipment that they need to do their jobs, it`s to
pass the defense budget and make sure that our men and women have all the
support that they need to do their jobs. And instead, we have a Commander
in Chief who instead of working on things like an authorization for the use
of military force in the Middle East, is talking about transgender issues.
It`s simply boggles the mind that this is what he`s spending his time on at
a time when he should be coming up with a strategy on how to defeat ISIS.

HAYES: You know, there are - there are interesting responses this morning
from a number of Senators, your colleagues, Republicans, Senator John
McCain who came out against it. “No reason to force service members who
are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military regardless of
their gender identity. Senator Joni Ernst herself like you, a veteran
says, “As a veteran, she served alongside fellow service members from all
different backgrounds, parts of the country. She believes taxpayers should
not cover the cost associated with gender reassignment surgery but all
Americans qualified, can meet the standards to serve should be afforded
that opportunity.” Were you - were you surprised by these responses? Is
this what you would have expected to hear from your colleagues across the

DUCKWORTH: I think this is what I would have expected to hear. I mean, I
think that if anyone who served in uniform understands the preciousness of
Americans who are willing to lay down their lives to defend the
Constitution and the values that we hold dear. And those men and women are
the true national treasure he of this country. And if you want to serve
this country and you want to risk your life to preserve our democracy, then
you should be allowed to serve. In fact, diversity is what makes our
military the greatest military on the face of the earth. It`s the fact
that we have female service members that they were able to have female
engagement teams in Afghanistan and collect intelligence from Afghani

The fact that we have Arab-Americans serving means that we have language
abilities in the Middle East and having transgendered servicemen and women
who are willing to share the load and the dangers, it`s just as important
as anybody else. And at a time when less than one-half of one percent of
our nations serves in uniform, we can`t afford to lose a single patriot
who`s willing to wear that uniform. And to have a President who never
served but instead got what, four, five deferments to avoid service in
Vietnam, be a guy to question someone else`s patriotism because of their
gender identity is sickening.

HAYES: Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, thank you for making time tonight

DUCKWORTH: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, even with the Republican President, Republican Congress,
and seven years to prepare, Republicans are still unable to agree on the
basics of the health care bill. Where repeal and replace goes from here,


HAYES: One day after Republicans voted to bring a health care bill to the
floor, Senators are now trying to figure out what the bill actually looks
like. Remember, Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
have made repealing and replacing ObamaCare an absolutely existential
central issue for years.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We believe it`s really
important to do an office what you said you would do. We said we would
have a straight up or down vote to repeal this health care law.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) MAJORITY LEADER: There`s only one way to truly
fix ObamaCare, only one way, and that`s a full repeal.

What I can tell you, that we`re 100 percent committed to - as a team - is
to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

RYAN: ObamaCare will be gone.

TRUMP: We`re preparing to repeal and replace the disaster known as
ObamaCare. We`re going to save Americans from this crisis.

MCCONNELL: It`s a pretty hot item on our agenda as you know.

TRUMP: You`re going to have such great health care at a tiny fraction of
the cost and it`s going to so easy.


HAYES: For all the talk, however, they never apparently bothered to come
one a workable plan. Instead, they are now at this very moment, debating
what the basic framework for their health care bill should be. Already,
two proposals have failed – a repeal and replace strategy, voted down, a
repeal only option, voted down, putting off the question of replacement for
the time being. Even Republicans are
confused about what the heck they are doing.

Here`s Senator John McCain today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: is there a sense of how this thing resolves itself?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: No. Not that I know of. You`re a smarter
guy than I
am, maybe you`ve detected a path forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you think of any other major bill that you`ve
worked on tha has been so uncertain as to what its trajectory is?

MCCAIN: No. Nope.


HAYES: Coming up next, the Republican end game on health care just after
this break.


HAYES: In the past hour, the CBO just released a score for the latest
Republican attempt to scrap Obamacare. You`d be forgiven if you`ve lost
track of him by now. This one, the so-called skinny repeal, the scaled
down version, it would leave 16 million more Americans uninsured by 2026
crucially, also increase premiums by 20 percent more on average.

And it is far from a comprehensive health plan. This partial repeal bill,
that`s the one that`s designed to get Republicans just something to pass, a
piece of legislation, essentially just kind of a placeholder that then they
can take to a conference committee with the House where the real work of
crafting a bill would happen.

But here`s the thing, as Democratic Senator Chris Murphy points out, quote,
a scaled back repeal bill just so Senate GOP can get to conference equals
unconditional surrender of Senate GOP to the House bill. Since Senate
would go to conference without a bill, effectively, the House bill would
act as default for any negotiations, and negotiations would be minimal,
because Senate GOP would have lost all bargaining power by their inability
to produce a bill.

Now, we know what the House bill does. It`s already been scored by the
CBO, which said it would increase the number of uninsured people compared
to current law by 19 million in 2020, 23 million in 2026. And Trump
celebrated the passage of the House version back in May before later
calling it mean, mean, mean.

But, if the Senate in the next day truly abdicates its responsibility to
come up with its own bill, if Senators pass a bill for show and then pass
the buck to the House, that version, the mean one, might be very close to
what becomes law.

With me now, Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

OK. The repeal and replace failed, clean repeal failed. They`re going to
just basically – here`s how I understand it, and tell me if I`m wrong, it
seems like Mitch McConnell is going to the people in his caucus and saying
just sign this check and I promise I won`t deposit it until you tell me
it`s OK.

SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ, (D) HAWAII: I think that`s right. I think he has no
idea how to cobble together 51 votes, and so he`s telling different members
different things and asking them to believe that the final product will be
whatever they want.

If you`re coming from a Medicaid expansion state, you`re being reassured
that Medicaid won`t be harmed. If you`re Mike Lee or Ted Cruz or Rand
Paul, you`re being reassured that this is going to be closer to a
conservative version with massive Medicaid cuts and with the possibility of
repealing most of the taxes in the Affordable Care Act.

And so where they end up is what they`re calling skinny repeal. But I`m
worried that what`s going to end up happening is that they will get 51
votes, then they will go to conference committee, fail, and then the House
will swallow this so-called skinny repeal. And so we can`t treat it just
as a weigh station on the way to the conference committee, we have to treat
this seriously as something that might become federal law.

And when CBO tells you that your backup plan actually takes 16 million
people out of health care, maybe it`s time to start over, have some
hearings and work through a bipartisan process.

HAYES: That`s a really excellent point, right. So, what you`re saying is,
I was sort of saying
well, this is a place holder to get a conference, but what your fear is,
no, this actually becomes law, because this is far – this is where the
train stops. This is basically what they can get to. They then force the
House to vote it, and now you have an actual policy. And it would raise
premiums 20 percent.

My understanding is, are you concerned, it would also, I think, blow up
insurance markets, or at least there`s a chance would it do that.

SCHATZ: Oh, I think it is a certainty. It would eviscerate the individual
market to the extent that people sort of recognize that there is a real
problem with the Affordable Care Act in that we have these, what they call
exchange deserts. There are parts of the country, counties and even some
states that have zero, one or two insurers and it is very expensive. And
there`s a way to solve that
problem pretty straightforwardly with premium subsidies, but that is a real
problem in the Affordable Care Act.

But if you`re worried about that, then you should be really worried about
the thing that they`re trying to enact this week, because that would just
essentially light the individual market on fire.

And there are not sort of two public policy sides to this argument.
There`s nobody credible in
health care that thinks that if you just repeal the mandate, that anything
positive will happen to the individual market.

So this is a reckless policy all on its own. And I`m worried that people
are sort of characterizing it as a sort of moderate weigh station. It`s
really not that. 16 million people losing their insurance almost
instantaneously. Insurance rates going up by 20 percent and insurance
deserts all across the country and that`s their back-up plan.

I mean, this thing is in a bad way.

HAYES: That is – that is very well said.

So, what you`re saying is fall back that they`ve ended on, which is the
small, slimmed down thing, is basically the solution if it were to become
law, is just to blow up the individual health insurance markets across the
country starting immediately if it passed.

SCHATZ: Right. And go home for their congressional delegation trips and
their family vacations. I mean, it is really bad. And I think the only
reason that it hasn`t totally sunk in is that
this is a new proposal. I mean, we have a new awful proposal every 24 or
48 or 72 hours. This is the latest. So, it takes some time for policy
people and CBO and others to kind of analyze it and get the word out. This
is a very frightening plan.

Now, I guess it is true that it is not as bad as 23 million people losing
their health care, but 16 million is unacceptable.

And we just don`t have to do this to ourselves. We don`t have to do this
to the American people. I understand that they have an imperative to
fulfill their promise, but I will tell you that people across the country
are terrified about what`s going to happen. And even people who thought
they wanted the Affordable Care Act repealed are terrified of what`s going
to actually happen now that we are on the precipice.

HAYES: All right, Senator Brian Schatz, thank you for joining me.

SCHATZ: Thank you.

HAYES: Ahead, following a bruising a cycle for the president, he retreats
back to his base, ramping up ugly rhetoric, leaning in to the cultrue wars.

And it is payday in Thing One, Thing Two next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, five times on a Friday when he took job as White
House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci stated that he loves this
president. And that from what he has seen the American people feel that
way too.

Today, in the first televised press briefing since Friday, Press Secretary
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, began with a tribute of her own to President Trump.


time around the president over the last year and I know exactly why he`s
here. He`s tough. He`s a fighter. He`s a strong leader. And he is
somebody who deeply loves this country. And he loves its people and he
wants to make America great again.


HAYES: But if her praise for the president was not enough, she announced
that every once in a while they will be starting the briefings with a
letter or an email beginning today.


SANDERS: My name is Dylan Harbin (ph), but everybody calls me Pickle. I`m
9-years-old and you`re my favorite president. I like you so much that I
had birthday about you. My cake was the shape of your head.


HAYES: But the odes to the president were not the only thing that happened
in today`s briefing before the press could ask questions. It is the end of
the quarter, means means, of course, it`s time for a novelty check.

And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: Today, the president once again donated his salary, this for the
second time of 2017 and the lucky recipient was…


SANDERS: Secretary DeVos, it`s my pleasure on behalf of the president of
the United States to present a check for $100,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s all there is to it. That`s all there is to it.
A winner!


HAYES; We`ve added some sound effects there.

As NBC`s Peter Alexander pointed out, there is a pretty stark contradiction
to this public spectacle.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you just announced, the president is donating second
quarter salary of $100,000 to the Department of Education, so clearly he
must care about education. Why, then, is he calling for $9.2 billion in
spending cuts to the Department of Education in the next budget?

SANERS: Look, I think that oftentimes you have a lot of duplicative
efforts and they want to
streamline the process.



HAYES: Conservative commentator and writer Ann Coulter met weeks ago with
Donald Trump, according to a story published yesterday in The Times, quote,
Bannon brought Ann Coulter
to see Mr. Trump. Ms. Coulter railed at the president that he needed to
focus more on his core supporters.

But Coulter has long defended Donald Trump, occasionally warmed up crowds
at his rallies, even wrote a book called “In Trump We Trust.”

It is another book of hers, however, that the president has called a great
read. That one titled, “Adios, America: the Left`s Plan to Turn our
Country Into a Third World Hellhole.”

With that one, exploits fears about Latina immigrants as violent, and
recently with the arrival of the new White House communications director
Anthony Scaramucci, the president appears to have
rediscovered a kind of rhetoric that electrified his core supporters on the
campaign trail.

Speaking in Ohio last night, the president talked about need to crack down
on so-called sanctuary cities, specifically because of foreign criminals.
He appeared to reference a recent crime in which MS-13 gang members used
machetes to kill four men from a rival gang.


TRUMP: You`ve seen the stories about some of these animals. They don`t
want to use guns because it is too fast and it is not painful enough, so
they`ll take a young beautiful girl, 16, 15, and others, and they slice
them and dice them with a knife, because they want them to go through
excruciating pain before they die.

And these are the animals that we`ve been protecting for so long. Well,
they`re not being protected any longer, folks.


HAYES: Animals.

What can we expect from a president who is increasingly under siege?
That`s next.



TRUMP: You people were vicious, violent, screaming, where`s the wall. We
want the wall. Screaming, prison, prison, lock her up. I mean, you were
going crazy. I mean, you were nasty and mean and vicious, and you wanted
to win, right?

But now you`re mellow and you`re cool and you`re not nearly as vicious or
violent, right? Because we won, right?


HAYES: The president last December, part of his so-called thank you tour
talking to his base.

Joining me now, Betsy Woodruff, reporter for the Daily Beast. Josh Barro,
MSNBC contributor, and senior editor at Business Insider.

It does seem – I mean, I don`t – the president`s entire political
strategy is to cater to his base. It seems in the last little bit that
he`s been doing that with renewed intensity.

JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, yeah, also, I think this trans thing
is a little bit weird, because when you talk about catering to his base, it
was very different from traditional social conservatives, very different
from what the Republican Party was doing in 2004. It was very focused on
immigration and policing and sort of issues that appealed to relatively
non-religious northern white
voters with whom the president had big improvements over past Republican

It`s not clear to me that this issue is a winner with him. I mean, we saw
in North Carolina a governor`s race was basically about this and the
Republican governor who had made this a signature issue ran behind Donald

Quinnipiac did a poll a few months ago, they asked people do you think that
increasing acceptance of transgender people has been good for the country,
and 41 percent of Americans said yes, 42 percent said they didn`t think it
mattered either way.

And so what all I think that adds up to is that like the median voter just
sort of doesn`t want a big fuss about this stuff. And if you kick
thousands of people out of the military, you are making a big fuss about
it. I don`t think this is a win in the way that he proved that some of
these other cultural issues were a win for him.

HAYES: What do you think about, Betsy, the Coulter visit, and Bannon
bringing Coulter in to
be like, remember your base. And these last two events – there`s the Boy
Scout event, and then last night really felt – that riff about the animals
who are slicing and dicing people people, that was pretty intense
demagoguery. We`ve seen it from him before, it was as intense as I`ve seen
it from him as the president of the United States.

BETSY WOODRUFF, DAILY BEAST: Exactly. I think you can`t understand the
immigration comment that he made last night without putting them in the
context of the fact that he`s been going after his attorney general who has
been the heart and soul of his immigration policy.

It`s no coincidence, in my view, that the president has presented himself
over the last 24, 48
hours as hawkish as ever on immigration, when the one member of his cabinet
who really genuinely in his heart of hearts agrees with the president on
immigration is also the member the president has been
threatening to fire over Twitter for the last couple of days. Those two
pieces are very much connected. And I think part of this is probably the
president trying to compensate for the fact that a lot of folks in his base
are pretty concerned.

I spoke to Chris Crane, who is the president of the union that represents
ICE agents responsible for detaining, arresting and deporting undocumented
immigrants. You don`t get closer to Trump`s base than Chis Crane. And
when I talked to them a couple of days ago, he said he was hesitant to
criticize the president. He didn`t do that. But he said, look, Sessions
is the best friend law enforcement agents have right now. We don`t want
there to be any daylight between Sessions and Trump. We`re here for
Sessions. We want him.

So when Trump starts demogoguing about gangs, I think that`s an important
piece and that just vital context.

HAYES: Yeah, the Sessions thing is the one thing he`s doing right now,
which is entirely out of line, right?

BARRO: Right.

HAYES: So, at one level there`s a sort of bunker mentality, right. So,
he`s having trouble on Capitol Hill right now. He`s got this swirling
investigation that keeps growing. You know, his approval rating is still
around 39 percent or whatever. So, the sort of double down go to the base.

But at the same time he`s fighting with the guy who is like the troop
(inaudible) of the base.

BARRO: Yeah, it was so explicit this morning. It`s like you get the
tweets announcing out of the blue, this transgender ban in the military,
and then minutes later you get more complaints about Jeff Sessions and the
Justice Department basically almost making explicit that the trade is the
wing is going to get to make policy and the Kushner wing is going to get to
subvert the rule of law to keep themselves out of prison, which I don`t
obviously think is a great trade for the country.

HAYES: Bad trade, yeah.

BARRO: For the country. But the other question is, can he sell that to
his base? And what has he really delivered on immigration? I mean, he`s
had ICE be nastier, which I guess is an important

HAYES: Yes. Yes.

BARRO: But I mean, there haven`t been significant broader policy changes
in terms of legal
immigration. We`ve had the – they`ve issued extra guest worker visas,
that will be used, for example, at Mar-a-Lago. So, he`s delivered on
stepping up enforcement on illegal immigration, he hasn`t delivered on
changing changing broad immigration policies.

HAYES: Yes, although, what I would say, Betsy, and I wonder what you think
of this is that it`s always been the case that it would be easier for him
to hurt the people that he said he would hurt than to help the people he
said he would help. And the stories that have come out about deportation
and, you know, arrests at wedding ceremonies and things like that are
examples of concrete tangible deliverables in that sense.

WOODRUFF: And additionally, a number of those deliverables are due to the
policies and the changes that Jeff Sessions has made at the Justice
Department. He has had every single U.S. attorney`s office in the United
States, including offices and districts that are completely landlocked,
pick one person to be the border security liaison, every U.S. attorney`s

He`s encouraged federal prosecutors to prioritize prosecuting people for
just illegally reentering the country maybe twice. Federal prosecutors who
have spoken to us anonymously have said this is not why they decided to
become federal prosecutors. That`s a change that Sessions has made. And
additionally, of course, a lot of the enforcement stuff, that`s coming from
the DHS, that`s coming from Kelly. These are changes that are happening
from his administration, from these two cabinet officials. There hasn`t
been the public tension, with Trump and Kelly, but in terms of Trump and
Sessions, if you`re talking about immigration, you have to talk about
Sessions, it`s just key.

HAYES: All right, Betsy Woodruff and Josh Barro, thanks for joining us.

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


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