All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 9/18/17 St. Louis protests
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: September 18, 2017
Guest: Sharon LaFraniere, Natasha Bertrand Carrie Cordero Olivia Nuzzi,
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from Seattle, I’m Chris Hayes.
Breaking news tonight on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against Paul
Manafort, the President’s one-time Campaign Chairman. According to the New
York Times when federal agents executed a search warrant on Manafort’s
Virginia home, two months ago, which was reported more recently, the
Special Counsel followed up with a warning. His prosecutors told Manafort
they plan to indict him, said two people close to the investigation. And
that’s just one of the aggressive tactics employed by Mueller and his team
in pursuit of the Russia probe according to the Times which report that
agents picked the locks on Manafort’s front door, they took binders stuffed
with documents and copies computer files, even photographed the expensive
suits in the closet.
Meanwhile, according to another new report tonight, Manafort was already
under government surveillance before and crucially after the election. CNN
reporting, he was wiretapped under secret FISA warrants which requires
convincing a judge of probable cause. According to that report, the
government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when
Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump. Sharon LaFraniere is
an Investigative Reporter at New York Times who broke the Manafort story
tonight. And she joins me now by phone. Your reporting indicates that
Mueller’s people communicated to Manafort that they plan to indict him.
How common is something like that?
SHARON LAFRANIERE, NEW YORK TIMES INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (via telephone):
That’s actually is not that uncommon that a prosecutor would say you know,
we don’t believe your story, you know, you’re not really cooperating with
us. We’re going to indict you. The difference here, I think, might be, as
my colleagues Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman found out is that they
threatened an imminent indictment. Of course, this was in the summer and
we haven’t seen it.
HAYES: One of the themes of the piece is the approach of Mueller and how
it differs in some ways from the normal course of things particularly in
white color criminal investigations. The reporting says it’s more like a
mafia investigation. Explain what that means.
LAFRANIERE: Well, I think what we’re seeing that they’re trying to create
a kind of sense of fear, right, that look, we’re a bunch of SOB’s and don’t
try to play the usual white-collar game with us and stretch this out
because we’re not – we’re not playing by those rules. And typically, in a
white-collar case, the attorney would – the defense attorneys would say,
OK, let’s spell this out, you know, is my client a witness? Is my client a
subject, who might be – might, in the future, face charges? And there’s
this kind of song and dance that might goes on. The attorneys might agree
to talk to the prosecutors privately.
There’s all kinds of ways you can write these proffers but it seems that –
it seems that in a number of cases, Mueller’s team is skipping that kind of
preliminary back and forth and just saying, you know, here’s your client’s
subpoena, bring him to the grand jury. And like one person who got one of
these subpoenas said, you know, I didn’t need a subpoena. They could have
given me an e-vite and I would have showed up. I didn’t need to be ordered
to show up. But it’s part of what (INAUDIBLE) who was the former Deputy
Counsel under Ken Starr said is it’s setting a – it’s setting a tone, like
striking terror in the heart of Washington. And like, we’re just not going
to – we’re not being nice about this.
And they actually don’t have – you know, you think they have all these
resources right there. They have 17 prosecutors, but they don’t – time is
really not on their side because if they carry on and they don’t produce
results like an indictment of Manafort or – that would take the pressure
off. But if they go on – go on for some period of time, then people don’t
see results, then they’re going to start asking like, why are we spending
all this money? And you know, they’re all over the place, money
laundering, obstruction of justice, what do they have? You know, is this
just a fishing expedition?
HAYES: All right, Sharon LaFraniere of the New York Times, thank you.
LAFRANIERE: OK, thank you. Bye.
HAYES: Natasha Bertrand is a Senior Reporter for Business Insider who has
been very closely following the Russia investigation with particular
attention to Paul Manafort, and she joins me now. First Natasha, your
reaction to the Times report that he’s – he had been informed by Mueller’s
people they plan to indict him?
NATASHA BERTRAND, BUSINESS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That’s huge news. I
mean, to be honest, I’m a little bit more surprised by the CNN report that
Paul Manafort was actually wiretapped because that implies that the FBI was
able to get a FISA warrant, which is extremely difficult for them to do.
They are multiple layers on that process. They had to prove to the
Department of Justice and then to a you know, a federal court that they
thought there was reason to believe that Paul Manafort was working on
behalf of a foreign agent. And Paul Manafort is not the only person on the
Trump campaign that they did this with, right? They also got a warrant for
Carter Page, who if you remember in the infamous Trump-Russia Steele
Dossier, it said that Carter Page was actually working as a liaison, being
managed by Paul Manafort as kind of a go-between. So these pieces are all
starting to come together and it’s really alarming.
HAYES: The FISA warrant, which is – which CNN is reporting, my
understanding – and this is a sort of key part of this and one of the more
fascinating aspects is that it may or may not pertain to the fact that
there’s investigation before the Trump-Russia investigation opens up in the
FBI. There’s actually a Manafort investigation that precedes that, right?
Is that correct?
BERTRAND: Right. So, the FBI actually opened an investigation into Paul
Manafort’s lobbying activities in 2014. He was lobbying on behalf of a
Ukrainian oligarch – the Ukrainian President at the time, Viktor
Yanukovych, and the FBI thought that you know, some of his activities that
he was doing in Washington D.C. were a little bit suspect. Paul Manafort’s
lobbying activities overseas have been kind of subject to a lot of
scrutiny. It’s not really clear who he was paid by, you know, where his
funds came from and then what he did with them. He’s been known to put a
lot of his money in shell companies and then you know, buy real estate
across the United States using those shell companies.
So it’s really trying to mask the source of his funds allegedly. So this
is something the FBI was looking into in 2014, and then according to CNN,
they closed their investigation in early 2016 because they just couldn’t
find any more reason to continue looking into him. And then all of this
Russia you know, stuff started to happen and hen said, well, maybe we
should start to take another look because we know that Paul Manafort has
these deep ties to Russian oligarchs to pro-Russian entities in the
Ukraine, and he was, of course, Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager.
HAYES: And to reiterate what you said before, just to zoom in on it
because it seems important. FISA warrants, we know FISA courts give them
out almost 100 percent of the time, so they’re not difficult in the sense
of getting the court to agree to it. But in terms of the standards you
have to meet, it’s particularly not just that there’s a crime being
committed, but that you are a foreign agent is the probable cause bar that
would have to be clear to get that FISA warrant.
BERTRAND: Right. So according to experts that I’ve spoken to, the reason
why these FISA warrants are usually granted almost 100 percent at the time
is because of the process leading up to actually getting to the court and
presenting the evidence that you have that would – that would then allow
them to give you – to grant you a FISA warrant, it’s a very, very
difficult process. So once you actually get to the final stage, which is
presenting the evidence before these nine judges – these nine federal
judges, it’s pretty much already managed to pass all these phases where
you’ve proven you have enough evidence to show that you might be able to
find evidence that a crime was committed or that this person had you know,
conspired with a foreign entity.
HAYES: And in terms of Manafort, he and Flynn – Michael Flynn – we got
some news today, is starting a fund – a legal defense fund essentially to
raise money for his criminal defense. Is there anything in the reporting
of the last 24 hours to suggest that these two people – I mean, it seems
that these two people are the biggest targets. Is that your understanding
from what we’ve learned in the last 24 hours?
BERTRAND: Definitely. Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort have always been at
the center of this Russia investigation. Michael Flynn, of course, drew
scrutiny when it came to light that he was communicating with the Russian
Ambassador and telling him that they look at lifting sanctions after Trump
came into office. Now, Michael Flynn is extremely vulnerable in other
senses because he did not register as a foreign agent for a lobbying work
that he did last year. He registered belatedly but there are of course
questions surrounding you know, who he was working for, where those funds
came from, and why he didn’t register as a foreign agent immediately with
the Justice Department. And I have a feeling that Mueller is really going
to try to hone in on these vulnerabilities that both Manafort and Flynn
have, in terms of their financial histories in order to get them to talk
more about what they know about the Russia interference in the election.
HAYES: All right, Natasha Bertrand, thank you.
BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Let’s turn now to Carrie Cordero, a former Attorney who is Justice
Department’s former National Security Division and Matt Miller, former
Chief Spokesman at Justice Department and now and MSNBC Justice and
Security Analyst. And Carrie, let me start with you to sort of jump off of
what Natasha was just saying about the significance of this FISA warrant
news if it, in fact, bears out.
CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT NATIONAL SECURITY LAWYER: Right.
So first, I have to say, Chris, the release of FISA information, this is
really highly sensitive national security information. And so I think it
looks like we’re in another situation where classified information has been
leaked. And leaks of FISA information if in fact, this reporting is
originating from current or former government officials, it’s a significant
fact that that information is out there now and this is some of the most
lye highly sensitive type of information. So I just have to the start off
noting that fact and this probably will trigger another l – yet another
leak investigation. That being said, if this reporting is correct, it
gives us another window into the investigation that the FBI and now the
Special Counsel’s Office have been conducting of Manafort.
The standard to get FISA is higher for an American or a U.S. person. The
standard, as you mentioned, is probable cause that the individual is an
agent of a foreign power. That could be a foreign government for example.
And when it’s an American or a U.S. person, as the statute calls Americans,
and other individuals resident and aliens. The surveillance has to be
necessary to protect the national security of the United States. So the
court has to make a number of findings and there is an extensive process as
Natasha obviously has some good sources described, that the government has
to go to both at the FBI and at the Justice Department and ultimately to an
independent federal judge to get the surveillance or search approved.
HAYES: And Matt, it’s somewhat mind-blowing to conceive of the fact that
the President of the United States, as president-elect, possibly was part
of communications that were being intercepted by the U.S. government as
part of its FISA warrant as a U.S. person who was in communication with the
target of that surveillance.
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: It shows an incredible
amount of recklessness and carelessness on the President-elect and maybe
the President’s part. We don’t know when those conversations of Paul
Manafort actually stopped. I think the thing that’s interesting about this
FISA warrant, is that there actually were two of them. There’s one that
expired – that began the night in August in 2014 and was pulled down in
early 2016. And it was pulled down because the Justice Department had
found – had found no evidence that Paul Manafort committed a crime.
Something changed them for them to go back and get another FISA warrant
late in 2016 after he had left the campaign.
Clearly, they saw evidence – new evidence that led them to believe that he
was acting as an agent of a foreign power. We don’t know what that is,
there have been reports that they overheard intercepts of Russian officials
talking to each about Paul Manafort and Paul Manafort cooperating with
them. And so they found new evidence that led them to go back and get
another FISA warrant that continues you know, probably until this day or
until very recently.
CORDERO: Just to have a little bit different take on that though, Chris,
the purpose of the FISA surveillance is to collect foreign intelligence
information. So the fact that the ongoing surveillance wouldn’t
necessarily produce evidence of a crime, would not necessarily be the
reason that the surveillance would have to be shut down. There would have
to be continued demonstration of probable cause that the target is an agent
of a foreign power and as long as that standard is met, the surveillance
can continue, but it would have to be re-approved by the court every 90
HAYES: Carrie, can I ask you about the sort of takeaway from the Times
reporting of the sort of posture of Mueller. I think it’s fascinating
because it’s sort of you know, contrasted against the way these normally
work at high-level white-collar investigations which is that white collar
lawyers – criminal defense lawyers are very good at sort of selling
themselves as allies, essentially, the prosecutors, right? We’re all on
the same team here. What can we help you with? We’re going to be very
cooperative. And Mueller is taking this very kind of hard and fast
approach. What do you – what do you make of that?
CORDERO: Well, so, there’s two possibilities at least. One is that in the
early stages of the Special Counsel investigation or maybe even earlier in
the FBI investigation before there was a Special Counsel, we don’t know,
that prosecutors or FBI agents tried to work with Manafort, tried to have
him be a cooperator and he rebuffed any of those efforts. We just don’t
know, but I think that that is a possibility. And so then if they passed
that transom, now he’s in a very adversarial position. The second piece I
know some other observers think the execution of the search warrant was
extraordinary for example in a white collar case, I think there’s a lot of
aspects in the Manafort angle of this investigation that feel quite similar
to a very large public corruption investigation, a very large criminal
enterprise investigation. And so, I don’t think that the tactics that are
being used feel that unusual for big enterprise criminal white-collar
HAYES: How much, Matt, do you think the psychology here is – matters in
terms of how all the various players throughout both the Trump campaign in
its previous iterations, the current administration are making calculations
about how to act.
MILLER: I think it’s a big part of it. I think Bob Mueller has been
sending clear messages to everyone involved which is I’m going to – I’m
coming as aggressively as I possibly can and you better cooperate or you’re
going to find yourself in a grand jury, you may find my agents in your
house. One thing that was interesting about the raid on Paul Manafort’s
house, you know, usually those things, they’re very public events and you
know, oftentimes neighbors will call reporters and you’ll see them you
know, show up instantly.
I’m sure Muller’s team expected that to become news quickly as it did. It
sends a very clear signal to everyone else involved that look, I am
conducting one of the most serious investigations in the history of the
Justice Department. If you want – if you have any legal jeopardy at all,
if you’re Paul Manafort, if you’re Mike Flynn, sure, but if you’re anyone
else who for example has been talking to Paul Manafort over the last year
and now knows that your conversation has been intercepted, you need to talk
to the Special Counsel and you might cut a deal.
HAYES: Right. Carrie, finally, I want you just to weigh in on this
somewhat bizarre story that was published earlier today by the New York
Times in which White House Attorney Ty Cobb, who is an outside lawyer who
is brought it is talking about John Dowd which is an outside attorney for
the President, in which the two of them are arguing and wrestling over the
fight that he’s having with White House Counsel Don McGahn over basically
how cooperative to be and how to navigate this legal thicket and they’re
having this conversation loudly in a restaurant with a reporter listening
CORDERO: Yes. It’s pretty unbelievable for any Washington lawyer to think
that that type of conversation when your client is the President of the
United States and you’re discussing it at a D.C. steakhouse. So that
aspect aside, I think what the results of that conversation as they’ve been
reported reveal, is that this is a broken legal team. And the difficulty
is that lawyering requires trust. It requires trust between the client and
the lawyers. It requires trust amongst the lawyers and the team
themselves. And if there is not trust between those different components,
the legal team can’t function effectively.
HAYES: That’s a great point. Carrie Cordero and Matt Miller, thank you,
MILLER: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, more on that story we’re just talking about. Is someone
inside the White House wearing a wire for Robert Mueller? Tonight, we know
the President’s lawyers are worried about just that. More on that
incredible story in just two minutes.
HAYES: We are following two late-breaking stories tonight on the Russia
investigation. A report that prosecutors told Paul Manafort they plan to
indict him, according to two people close to the investigation. And a
report that U.S. investigators obtained court orders to wiretap Manafort
before and after the election under the FISA statute. As Special Counsel
Robert Mueller’s investigation continues to pick up steam, the President’s
lawyers are feeling the pressure and it is apparently making them paranoid
Last week, the President’s personal attorney John Dowd, picture on the left
and Ty Cobb, the outside counsel hired to work within the White House met
for lunch in at a Washington D.C. steakhouse and openly discussed the
internal response to the probe, a conversation that was overheard by New
York Times Reporter Ken Vogel. What Vogel overheard was Cobb’s account of
a contentious behind the scenes feud with White House Counsel Don McGahn
over how much to cooperate with the Special Counsel. “The White House
Counsel’s Office is being conservative with this stuff,” Cobb told Dowd.
“Our view is we’re not hiding anything.” Referring to McGahn, Cobb asked,
“He’s got a couple of documents locked in a safe.”
As that last quote suggests, the conversation also revealed how little the
President’s staff have come to trust each other as the investigation
progresses. Discussing the White House legal team, Cobb reportedly told
Dowd, “I’ve got some reservations about one of them. I think he’s like a
McGahn spy.” According to the Times, the uncertainty has grown to the
point that White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may
be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mueller.
I’m joined now by two reporters who are well sourced inside this White
House. Olivia Nuzzi, she’s a Washington Correspondent from New York
Magazine and Asawin Suebsaeng who’s the Politics Reporter at the Daily
Beast. Olivia, have you heard – I mean, as someone who reports on these
folks every day, are you getting the sort of palpable paranoia off the
folks there as well?
OLIVIA NUZZI, NEW YORK MAGAZINE WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Certainly. And
that’s been there since the very beginning. It was there during the
campaign. Obviously with now what was a different group of people. But I
cannot overstate the level of incompetence here for members of the
President’s legal team to very loudly discuss these things near the New
York Times at a restaurant a few doors down from the New York Times in
Washington or any restaurant in Washington very loudly. I mean, that’s
just something that if you’re familiar with how things work here, you don’t
do. You don’t want to be overheard saying anything sensitive. So it’s
very difficult to overstate how incompetent this entire operation seems to
be right now and then a really difficult time for the President, right? I
mean, it couldn’t going worse when it comes to this story right now for
this White House.
HAYES: Asawin, I can’t quite put my head around the incompetence here
because I mean, these are people that in other contexts are very high
powered and a very highly compensated attorneys, John Dowd and Ty Cobb.
Don McGahn who’s sort of specialty is election law from a sort of
conservative think tank perspective. But I don’t quite get if there’s some
kind of like vortex of incompetence that when you get within an orbit of it
in the White House and you start acting like that.
ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, THE DAILY BEAST POLITICS REPORTER: Well, there might
actually be something to that theory. The senior Trump aids in the White
House who I’ve been talking with and messaging with earlier today and e
yesterday regarding the New York Times story what Mr. Dowd and Mr. Cobb
were doing. One of the White House officials likened it to me to having
the President being represented by a side of the highway mall lawyer.
Having said that, this White House staff or anybody working in the White
House right now, accusing this legal team of being rather JV might want to
the look in the mirror as you were pointing out earlier. Like people and
senior officials around President Trump being incompetent isn’t exactly
HAYES: Yes. And there’s also the added layer, Olivia, of the fact that
now everybody – everyone is lawyered up, including White House Counsel,
Don McGahn who has his own lawyer for this – for this inquest. You’ve got
sort of layers of legal representation. And there is this kind of you
know, prisoner’s dilemma kind of dynamic one has to imagine in which people
have both the interest of the President of the United States, who they work
for, the executive branch in a constitutional sense but also their own
interest in terms of how they’re going to come out in all this.
NUZZI: Certainly. And I think the latter probably matters a lot to most
of the people in this White House, more than any other point. I mean,
there’s a certain type of person who tends to work for Donald Trump, they
tend to I think, be you know, out for themselves, be trying to further
their own careers, further their own reputations. And I think, you know,
we can expect that that’s one of the main concerns right now for most of
the people surrounding the President. But I mean, you can’t – I cannot
think of something you know, less attractive to Donald Trump than having to
deal with more of this story this week.
You know, they’re trying so hard to try to get something, anything done
that he can tell as some kind of accomplishment. And instead never being
sidetracked again by Russia and by news that perhaps indictments are going
to be coming. This is not how they wanted to spend the first year,
certainly, and the first couple months of this administration, but they
are. And it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. And you know,
Paul Manafort, as Austin and I reported back in November I believe at the
Daily Beast, was still advising Donald Trump during the transition. You
know, he fires people. They don’t tend to go away. They tend to stick
around his orbit.
NUZZI: And I think that’s going to continue to be a problem. You know, as
we get deeper into this investigation, as we learn more as it continues to
broaden its scope, I think we’re going to see that that kind of habit that
Donald Trump has of keeping people around who do have problematic things
about them is really going to be detrimental.
HAYES: Asawin, what is – the posture of the folks that you talk to in the
White House around this investigation, I can see it going sort of a number
of different ways. One is that, OK, this is a witch hunt and there’s
nothing there, we’re all going to be fine and it will blow over. And the
other – at the other end of the spectrum is, the shoe is going to drop any
day and someone is going to show up at my condo and pick the locks. I
mean, which – how are folks thinking about this inside the White House?
SUEBSAENG: Well, in terms of public posturing, it’s very much the former.
In terms of what’s going on in their own individual heads and hearts is
very much the latter. And Olivia was bringing up Paul Manafort earlier.
He’s a very interesting case within Trump’s inner circle and in terms of
Senior White House officials who are currently working there because they
greatly resent Mr. Manafort and many of them actually blame, whether fairly
or unfairly Paul Manafort for the widening scope of the current
investigations into the finances of the President and his family. They
kind of consider Mr. Manafort a patient zero in that sense.
And at the same time, even though he headed the campaign for several
months, there was never a feeling within Trump’s family and inner circle
and closest advisors, that Paul Manafort was really one of them. So they
would throw him under the bus even harder than they are right now if they
could and if they knew exactly what he knew. But there is the prevailing
notion that what if Manafort snitches? And the problem is they don’t know
what he would be snitching about.
HAYES: Well, that is a great point, Asawin, that they’re ready – they’re
ready to deliver him up or to throw him under the bus, they don’t know what
he knows. And to Olivia, to your point, the other problem is maybe the
case that people around Trump never, you know, thought of him as in the
inner circle but like you said, the President himself kept talking to the
guy, and lord knows what they talked about and what is on the transcripts
of the intercepts that apparently they were being surveilled by the U.S.
NUZZI: Right. I mean, the fact is that no matter how his family or close
advisors feel about any individual, Donald Trump is going to do what Donald
Trump wants to do. And so he will continue to speak to people who have
been a problem for him. He will continue to call them late at night and
ask you know, what do you think of this or what do you think of this
person? And you know, I think that’s going to be a problem with Paul
Manafort. It might be a problem with other people who are implicated in
this investigation as well.
HAYES: All right, Olivia Nuzzi and Asawin Suebsaeng, thank you, both.
NUZZI: Thank you.
SUEBSAENG: Thank you so much.
HAYES: Tonight Senate Republicans again trying to push repeal and replace
while no one is paying attention, and this time they might be able to do
it. Senator Brian Schatz says that the new bill is even worse than the one
that failed and he joins me ahead.
HAYES: Tonight, protesters are back out in the streets of St. Louis for
the fourth state night following the acquittal on murder charges of white
former Police Officer Jason Stockley who killed Black motorist Anthony
Lamar Smith following a high-speed chase in 2011. Prosecutors alleged
Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after killing him. Yesterday,
protests were peaceful throughout the day but after organizers announced
the daytime protest has ended, a group that the Mayor Lyda Krewson
described as agitators. Destroyed properties, broke windows and sprayed
chemicals at officers according to police, leading police to make 123
The Associated Press reporting that officers in riot gear gathered
alongside a city boulevard were chanting, whose street? our street after
clearing the street of demonstrators and onlookers.
This morning, peaceful protesters were back on the streets in St. Louis,
walking out of at least two high schools as protesters locked arms and
marched silently to city hall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as we’re still dying in the streets, as long as
the system disproportionately affects people of color and minorities, we’ll
be out here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, some business owners were boarding up business out of fears
of more property destruction tonight. At this hour, protests on the street
are peaceful. We will continue to monitor the scene throughout the hour.
HAYES: Republicans are right now mounting one last sneak attack against
Obamacare. And this time they could actually succeed. Mitch McConnell and
other Senate Republicans are now attempting to rush through a bill that
would overhaul one-sixth of the nation’s economy in less than two weeks.
Even the Congressional Budget Office says it won’t have enough time to
figure out what would
happen if the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill were put into law, how it would
affect Americans and their health care coverage in time for the expected
vote next week.
Republicans need to hit that September 30 deadline in order to pass the law
on a straight majority vote without a filibuster. And nowhere near enough
time for substantive discussion or hearings.
Nevertheless, the bill is already showing signs of momentum among
Republicans. Senator John McCain, who of course provided the dramatic
thumbs down back in July that helped kill the last Republican attempt to
repeal the Affordable Care Act said that the support of his state’s
governor would be key to his vote on this legislation.
Well, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey today might have given McCain the cover
he needs to vote for the bill, tweeting that he’s in favor of it.
Democrats are sounding the alarm, saying the new bill would gut Medicaid
and hurt people with preexisting medical conditions.
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii tweeting today, “what’s crazy is this bill
is much more radical and harmful than skinny repeal.”
Senator Schatz was the leading voice in that last Obamacare fight, the
skinny repeal fight. And he’s been ringing the alarm bell for Democrats on
this new repeal attempt. He joins me now.
Explain what you mean when you say this was worse than the so-called skinny
repeal, which was what they were trying to pass when John McCain gave that
thumbs down along with Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins?
SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ, (D) HAWAII: So, there were two or three or four bills
over the last seven months and all of them did awful things, but not all of
them did all of the awful things in one piece of legislation, and that’s
what we have in Graham-Cassidy.
It eliminates protections for people with preexisting conditions, it
eliminates all of the essential health benefits that are part of the
Affordable Care Act, it, again, lifts the prohibition on charging people
more as they get older. It lifts the prohibition on charging more than 15
percent as an administrative expense as opposed to for health care. And it
also guts Medicaid as we know it and it eliminates Medicaid expansion, oh,
and it also defunds Planned Parenthood.
Most of the bills that we looked at did about two-thirds of that in various
sort of iterations, this is a bill that has decided to do all of that in
one radical piece of legislation.
And what is really scary is they are pretty close. They are at – you
know, it depends who you ask, but they’re certainly very, very close to
enacting this into law. And we are going to need people who were with us
in this fight over the last six to eight months to fire up those phone
lines, to get online, to knock on doors at district offices and make sure
that we kill this thing again.
But I have to say, I was trying not to sound the alarm until it was
absolutely necessary. And now we are really in an extreme situation. We
have got to try to kill this bill in the next 10 days.
HAYES: There’s just something sort of bonkers going on, which has been the
case every time they try to do this. And it’s the case in the House and
the Senate where there’s no regular order. There’s no deliberative
process, there’s no committee hearings with – you know, there’s none of
that, it’s just like keep it closely held and then break in like it’s a
heist of a bank and see if you can get in and get out.
They don’t have enough time – am I correct on this, they’ve given it to
the CBO to score, for basics about like would premiums go up, would people
to lose coverage? And there’s not enough time for the CBO to actually give
a full score in time to get the vote. Is that correct?
SCHATZ: That’s right, CBO just got back to us and said the only thing they
can do is assess the fiscal impact of this legislation. So they will know
whether or not there’s any, quote, unquote savings. Now, remember savings
usually comes out of the hide of the American people, so let’s be careful
using the word savings when we’re talking about harm to individuals. But
basically said, look, they need a another couple of weeks to analyze the
impact that this bill will have on coverage in everyone’s home state.
And so we are heading towards is people are going to vote yes or no on a
piece of legislation to restructure one-fifth to one-sixth of the American
economy to probably throw 20 to 30 million people off of their health care,
but we’re not going to know the impacts until after we vote.
What is so shocking to me is so many people talk about the regular order.
And all that means is that the Senate acts like a Senate. It has hearings.
It hears from experts. We have a proper debate. But now we’re not even
going to be able to listen to expert analysis on what the impact is.
But here’s what we know, because it has all of the elements of the previous
bills, which have awful CBO reports, 23 million off coverage, 26 million,
32 million, this will be as bad if not worse of that.
The final point, I saw you making it on Twitter. I think we will have
anywhere from literally by rule 90 seconds to two 2 minutes of debate on
this legislation. Now that is an abomination. That is legislative
HAYES: I want people to be clear on this, and Senate procedure can be
arcane and it is arcane in this case because you’re dealing with
reconciliation. But, by rule, I want people to understand this, there are
essentially 90 seconds, seconds, everyone just clock that in your head,
there’s 90 seconds of debate left for this entire legislation before the
Senate. Is that accurate?
SCHATZ: That’s accurate. And this is just, there’s no reason to do it this
I think the really encouraging thing that happened over the last month,
which was as a result of John McCain’s heroic moment on the Senate floor is
that Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Health Education Labor and
Pensions Committee and Patty Murray, the top Democrat on that committee
have been working together in a bi partisan process. That’s what people
want to see all along.
Democrats, Republicans and Independents, they are blowing this thing up so
they can shove it down the American people’s throat, and it is all because
they have no political wins this year so they’re going to inflict pain on
their constituents just to notch a win for Donald Trump.
HAYES: 90 seconds of debate, America. Senator Brian Schatz, thanks for
SCHATZ: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, while candidate Trump labeled the United Nations as
weak and incompetent, how did President Trump handle his first appearance
at the U.N. headquarters today.
Plus, tonight’s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, former White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer
made a surprise
appearance at last nights Emmy Awards, where he joked about presenting to
the largest Emmy’s audience ever, and almost word for word recounting of
the comments, well, lies about Donald Trump’s inauguration crowds.
Today Spicer told the New York Times he regrets those remarks over the
inauguration crowds, but although the crowd size at this years presidential
inauguration was not unprecedented, the $107 million dollars raised for the
ceremony, double what Barack Obama’s then record, $53 million dollars in
donations in 2009.
President Trump’s inaugural committee, the folks that raised all that
money, had committed to give whatever was left over at the end of it to
charity. But according to investigation by the Associated Press, nearly
eight months later, the group has helped to pay for redecorating of the
White House and the vice president’s residence in Washington, but nothing
has yet gone to charity.
So where did the rest of the money go? That’s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So President Donald Trump inaugural committee raised a record $107
the festivities surrounding his swearing in ceremony way back in January
and they promised that the money left over after everything was paid for
would go to charity, but the charitable donations would, quote, “would
surely exceed any previous inauguration”.
Yet, eight months later nothing has gone to charity, according to the
Meanwhile leaders of previous inaugurations started giving money away
within three months of inauguration day. So where all the money go? The
answer seems to be part mystery and part mismanagement.
For instance, Donald Trump’s pre-inaugural concert at Lincoln Memorial came
with a $25 million price tag. Compare that to Obama’s 2009 concert that
cost less than $5 million.
And for that price Obama was able to get Beyonce, Garth Brooks, Bruce
Springsteen and U2.
For a stunning five times that amount, President Trump was able to headline
the show with Toby Keith and Three Doors Down, and feature a cover of the
song by One Direction performed by this group of YouTube fame, The Piano
HAYES: Yet another extremely dangerous hurricane, Maria, is now on path to
make a direct hit
on areas battered by Hurricane Irma, and this new storm just became a
category 5 according to the
National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Maria just recently upgraded to a dangerous category 5 storm only
hours after becoming a category 4, is currently approaching Martinique and
is expected to remain a major hurricane for the next five days on a
trajectory that makes a direct hit possible for both Puerto Rico and the
Now, if Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico, it would be the first category
4 or 5 hurricane to do so in more than 80 years. High winds, excessive rain
and storm surge could be all be an issue, especially if Maria remains a
category 5 when it makes landfall.
Puerto Rico is preparing. It was a little more than a week ago that it was
spared the worst from Irma, which past just north of the island, but still
managed to cause widespread power outages.
The Virgin Islands, both the U.S. Virgin Islands and British and Turks and
Caicos have the greatest chance of being hit hard by both Irma and now
Maria, according to the NBC News Weather Unit.
Many Caribbean Islands, including the Virgin Islands, were absolutely
devastated by Hurricane Irma and hardly in a position at this point to
sustain another direct hit.
We’ll watch the storm in the days to come.
Next, President Trump talks North Korea following another missile launch by
Kim Jong Un. We’ll discuss this administrations escalating threats with
Ambassador Wendy Sherman, one of the highest ranking members with Obama’s
State Department, just after this break.
HAYES: President Trump today made his first appearance at the United
Nations headquarters in New York where he criticized the U.N. for excessive
bureaucracy and mismanagement. Albeit in far less harsh tones than he spoke
about the group on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Which brings me to my next
point, the utter weakness and incompetence of the United Nations. The
United Nations is is not a
friend of democracy. It’s not a friend of freedom. It’s not a friend even
to the United States of America whereas you know, it has it’s home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Over the weekend, the president taunted the leader of nuclear armed
North Korea, Kim Jong Un, tweeting, “I spoke with President Moon of South
Korea last night. Asked him how rocket man is doing. Long gas lines forming
in North Korea. Too bad.”
That was followed by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley suggesting that U.S. had
run out of diplomatic options for dealing with the rogue nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR: We have pretty much exhausted all the things
we could do with the security counsel at this point. I said yesterday, I’m
perfectly happy taking this to General
Mattis because he has plenty of military options.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tomorrow the president will make his first ever remarks to the U.N.
general assembly, with North Korean diplomats sitting front and center for
With me now, someone who knows a lot about both diplomacy and North Korea,
Ambassador Wendy Sherman who’s served as Undersecretary of State for
Political Fairs, the State Department under President Obama, and crucially,
Special Adviser to President Clinton and Policy Coordinator on North Korea.
I want to start on North Korea.
WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: Sure.
HAYES: Let’s – well, let’s start with the tweet which was strange for a
variety of reasons, but one of the most concerning things to me was that it
seemed to show the president’s mental model of the
North Korean society was completely wrong.
The idea that there would be long gas lines just seemed bizarre. What did
you make of that?
SHERMAN: Well, you know, I think it’s very typical of the kinds of things
we hear from the
president unfortunately, which is really to sort of be dismissive of the
seriousness of what is going on in the world.
I don’t think there are long gas lines forming in North Korea because quite
frankly they aren’t thousands and millions of cars traveling the streets of
Yeah. Here is the dynamic that I’d like you to sort of illuminate because
you were there – the closest the U.S. came to real sustained diplomatic
engagement, you were there for that. You were with the, I believe if I’m
not mistaken, with Madeleine Albright.
HAYES: The only U.S. Secretary of State to actually visit. There was the
possibility the president might actually come, President Clinton before the
election happened in 2000.
Right now you have this sort of threat and counter threat ratcheting up
between the two nations.
What is your read on where this is headed and what we should be doing to
move it maybe in
SHERMAN: Well, I certainly think there is a strategy here at the United
Nations General Assembly to say to everybody that we might move to military
action so they should do more.
This is a little difficult because neither President Putin nor President Xi
Jinping of China are at the U.N. General Assembly, but their delegations
are. I think some of the orchestration we’re hearing in this language is to
say we’re tough, we’re serious.
The Senate just increased the Defense Department tremendously. Secretary
Mattis has been quoted as saying we have some military options that
wouldn’t devastate Seoul.
So I think this is all to ratchet up pressure. I’m all for ratcheting up
pressure, but in a very
disciplined whole of government way. It’s not clear to me that we have that
whole of government
strategy, which uses the threat of force and service of diplomacy.
Quite frankly, as you have discussed on this program before, Chris, we
don’t have a lot of diplomacy going on because we don’t have ambassadors in
positions. We don’t have a team at the State Department, and Secretary
Tillerson is sometimes in the picture and sometimes out of the picture. And
that is very concerning when you have to do something that is this complex
and this difficult.
HAYES: So here is the question I feel like I don’t understand as someone
watching all this play
out, which is can North Korea successfully be co-horsed through pressure
into abandoning the nuclear weapons program?
It seems that’s the fundamental question, right? At one level to them they
view it as essentially a matter of the regime’s survival they hold on to
them and pressure won’t help. Or maybe they will make
some calculations at a certain point, the pressure is great enough and
hurts them enough they can move on to a different track.
Which of those do you think it is?
SHERMAN: Well, what I think everybody needs to understand is that
sanctions never stop a country from their bad behavior. What sanctions are
meant to do is to force a choice about coming to the negotiating table in
When we began negotiations with Iran and when Europeans did in 2006, they
By the time the Obama administration got into deep negotiations, they had
19,000 centrifuges and we had on some of the strictest, toughest, including
economic secondary sanctions on Iran.
So these sanctions, which should be ratcheted up, need a team to enforce
them all over the world. It will take a little time. They will not stop
Iran’s program – sorry, they are not stop – they didn’t stop Iran’s
program. They won’t stop North Korea’s program. The idea is to put pressure
on them to come to the negotiating table in seriousness, but this is a
much, much tougher problem than even Iran was.
HAYES: Alright. Excellent point.
Ambassador Wendy Sherman, who has been working on these issues for quite
Thanks for being with me tonight, I appreciate it.
SHERMAN: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening.
The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good Evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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