All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 9/21/17 Search for survivors in Mexico
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: September 21, 2017
Guest: Gillian White, Tom Reed, Chris Murphy
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: – Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
MIKE PENCE, UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT: All these percolations are
breathtaking to me.
HAYES: As Mueller closes in on Manafort.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: By the way,
respected man – he`s a respected man.
HAYES: Trump world finds a fall guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think (INAUDIBLE) he`ll last.
HAYES: Tonight the White House fallout over Paul Manafort.
Then, as Sean Spicer re-emerges –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever lied to the American people?
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don`t think so.
HAYES: New intrigue over his copious White House notes.
HAYES: Plus –
JIMMY KIMMEL, ABC HOST: He either doesn`t understand his own bill or he
lied to me, it`s as simple as that.
HAYES: The untold reason Republicans are pushing a wildly unpopular health
And as rescue missions start in Puerto Rico, a look at the disaster that
hit the island before the hurricane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were desperate. I have lived here 35 years and
this is too much.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from Austin, I`m Chris Hayes. As Special Counsel
Robert Mueller closes in on Paul Manafort, the president`s allies appear
ready to throw his one-time campaign chairman under the bus. Responding to
the latest revelations about Manafort`s Russia connections, one of the
President`s own lawyers Ty Cobb told Bloomberg`s Margaret Talev, I quote
here, “it would be truly shocking if it`s true that Paul Manafort tried to
monetize his relationship with the President.” But no one in Trump world
should be shocked that Manafort has landed them in hot water.
This was just one headline all the way back in April 2016 when he first
joined the Trump campaign as a Strategist. Trump just hired his next
scandal. Manafort`s ties to Russian interests in Ukraine were well known
and well documented at the time. But we didn`t learn till yesterday that
he may have tried to exploit those ties during the election as Campaign
Chair to make a buck. The Washington Post reporting Manafort offered
private briefings on the campaign to a Russian billionaire with Kremlin
connections and recall how he responded at the time when asked about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So to be clear Mr. Trump has no financial
relationships with any Russian oligarchs?
PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: If that`s what he said,
that`s what I said, that`s obviously what our position is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Obviously what our position is. According to the Post, one e-mail
exchange between Manafort and a Ukrainian intermediary includes a reference
to Black Caviar, what investigators believe is a veiled reference to
payments that Manafort hoped to receive from former clients. And in
another exchange just days after Manafort was named to the campaign, he
referred to his positive press and growing reputation and asked, how do we
use to get whole? Politico reports that Manafort used his Trump campaign
e-mail account to send those messages. Manafort`s spokesperson told the
Post the e-mails reflected an “innocuous effort to collect money” he was
owed by past clients.
The Special Counsel has been stepping up pressure on Manafort compelling
testimony from his lawyer and other associates, conducting an aggressive
search at his home, and reportedly warning him to expect an indictment.
Now, keep in mind, those are just the activities we know about. And now
it`s not just the President`s lawyer who`s keeping his distance. Anonymous
former campaign officials told the Post they privately shared concerns
about whether Manafort was always putting the candidate`s interests first.
On Tuesday, former Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski who Manafort replaced
weighed in before an audience at George Washington University.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look, I think if
anybody, and I`ve said this, Paul Manna Port, Roger Stone, Rick Gates or
Carter Page, or anybody else, attempted to influence the outcome of the
U.S. election, by any means that`s inappropriate, through collusion,
coordination, or cooperation, I hope they go to jail for the rest of their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Asked this morning about Manafort, Vice President Mike Pence who
was picked for that job thanks largely to Manafort`s efforts downplayed the
former Campaign Chairman`s role.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paul Manafort was your campaign chairman for both you
and Mr. Trump and he was reportedly offering briefings to a top Russian
oligarch who has close ties with Vladimir Putin about what was going on.
Was that appropriate?
PENCE: I – you know, I`ve read those accounts in the newspaper and, you
know, Paul Manafort was on the campaign for – at the same time I was, for
about a month. And so, you know, look, we`re just going to let this
process go forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now by two journalists who have been following the story
very closely, two that I read every day on this story. Natasha Bertrand,
Political Correspondent for Business Insider and Betsy Woodruff, Politics
Reporter for the Daily Beast. Betsy, let me start with you on this sort of
the story taking shape, I thought it was so fascinating in the Washington
Post article that anonymous sources, we`re talking about Hope Hicks, who`s
very close to the President, very loyal and trusted, was already a little
worried about Manafort back even when they were doing this. You can see
them starting to prepare the story about how Manafort was a rogue agent and
they didn`t know what he was up to.
BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICS REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Right. There are
clearly plenty of folks close to the President that are delighted to
anonymously criticize Manafort to reporters. The fact that Manafort has
taken so much heat at this particular moment is itself interesting.
Clearly, this criticism is important. It`s significant. These stories are
important. But behind the scenes, it`s also key to remember, there are a
lot of other folks who also have major legal liabilities over the course of
the Mueller investigation, particularly Jared Kushner. We don`t hear as
much about him because folks don`t seem to be quite as chatty about his
situation vis-a-vis the Mueller investigation.
But based on the conversations that I`ve been having over and over, what I
hear is that the top concern for people in the White House and for the
President`s outside allies is what Mueller is going to learn about Jared.
Everyone has kind of already assumed that Manafort is going to take a
significant beating from the Mueller team. These new revelations are
important. But that said, they`re kind of baked in. The big wild card is
what if anything, does Mueller find about the role Kushner played on the
campaign transition in early days of the Presidency, and that`s something
where silence itself is honestly almost telling.
HAYES: That is a fascinating point because Kushner obviously is still
there. Manafort they can try sort of to cordon themselves off from.
However, Natasha you`ve been writing about in sort of timeline of, you
know, when you lay out the timeline, I want to walk through it and Natasha,
maybe you can talk about what was going on. So June 9th is the famous
Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer that Manafort is at, that was
taking notes at on his iPhone. It`s almost a month later that Carter Page
gives a speech in Moscow which he gets a green light from the campaign to
do. That same day, that`s what Manafort is offering the private briefing
to a Russian oligarch. And then just a few days later, the crazy
intervention by the Trump campaign to change a platform item in the RNC
over armed aid to Ukraine, sort of fighting the Russians and then, of
course, the hack happened. So that was a very active period, it seems to
me, Natasha, that he was on that campaign.
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Right. And
intelligence experts that I`ve been speaking to about this for the better
part of a year have always wondered whether or not Paul Manafort himself
was kind of a Russian plant in the campaign from the very beginning. He
was in debt to pro-Russian interests by as much as $17 million by the time
that he joined the Trump campaign. And the first e-mail that he wrote
asking his long-time employee, this Russian-Ukrainian you know, operative
who has ties to Russian military intelligence, the first e-mail he wrote to
him was asking, well, how can I use my newfound role in the Trump campaign
to get whole? Which is a very common expression for, how can I clear my
The second e-mail that was disclosed yesterday in The Washington Post was
an e-mail he sent, you know, offering these private briefings to a Russian
billionaire and close Putin ally Oleg Deripaska. And what was really
interesting about that to me was Oleg Deripaska and Manafort actually had a
falling-out in 2014 when Deripaska accused Manafort of stealing,
essentially, $19 million from him. So the idea that Manafort is now
offering to give him private briefings in 2016 about the campaign indicates
that Deripaska, you know was somehow, he had forgiven that debt or he was
willing to hear him out in exchange for whatever information that Manafort
HAYES: I want to be really clear to hang a light on something you said
there because the Manafort story is he was trying to collect debts owed to
him. Your point is that the reporting indicates that he himself owed lots
of money and that this oligarch had apparently initiated legal proceedings
in the Cayman Islands that he essentially have stolen $19 million from him.
So it`s important that folks keep the balance of that in their heads
because the thing makes a lot more sense if he`s working off a debt as
opposed to trying to collect it. Betsy, the other thing I wanted to ask
about the sort of scope of these document asks that are coming from
Mueller, I mean, obviously you`ve got Manafort, but how worried are the
folks in the White House about getting all of these documents together and
what they themselves might learn when they start going through them?
WOODRUFF: One challenge, of course, is that Manafort – or Mueller is
asking for a significant number, a significant breadth of documents and it
just takes time to find all those documents. And to make sure that you`ve
gotten them all in one place and you`ve correctly delivered them. So
that`s a pretty – that`s something of a lift for the White House. And
remember, the President`s legal team specifically working on this for the
White House as a whole is not huge, right? It`s just a couple of people
compared to at least more than as do that are working on the Mueller probe.
So my understanding is that they`re hustling. Part of the issue though is
it`s a big ask. And of course the content of those documents is clearly
key remains to be seen what`s in them but without a doubt, it`s something
folks have significant anxiety over.
HAYES: All right, Natasha Bertrand and Betsy Woodruff, thank you both.
Joyce Vance is a former U.S. Attorney who retired just before the President
took office and Nick Akerman, a former Watergate Prosecutor. Nick, I want
to ask you about one detail here which is how to think about Manafort`s
relationship to this enterprise. So Manafort worked for free first of all
for the campaign which is itself somewhat odd, particularly as he appears
to have been – his people say he was owed money or had some sort of
financial straits that he was trying to work his way out of. But he also
continued to talk to Donald Trump as an adviser. And I wonder that – and
they kept talking to each other even though lawyers had to get them to
stop. What kind of message do you think he`s getting from the Trump White
House as he`s thinking about what he`s going to do and whether he`s going
to talk to Mueller.
AKERMAN: We have no idea what kind of message he`s going to get but
certainly Donald Trump doesn`t want him talking. I think that they realize
that he is a key person in this entire enterprise. And if you look at the
context again, how did he get to be the Campaign Manager for Donald Trump?
He was brought into the campaign by Donald Trump`s own dirty trickster,
Roger Stone. That`s the person who put him in place there. Roger Stone
has admitted having conversations with the Russian hacker as well as with
Julian Assange who wound up publishing all these e-mails that were stolen
from the Democratic Headquarters. You`ve got him dealing with people in
that June 9th meeting, he knows what Jared Kushner knows, he knows what
Donald Jr. knows. He`s about as important as Flynn is in terms of the kind
of information that they could use against not only the President but his
entire family, including Don Jr., Kushner, Ivanka. So he is somebody that
they really want to keep on a short leash and keep in the ballpark if they
HAYES: Joyce, there`s some more reporting tonight and I`d love you to walk
us through this from a legal perspective if you can about the nature of the
surveillance Paul Manafort was under. So we learned there was a FISA
warrant. There actually been two FISA warrants for some period where he
was under FISA warrant, it lapsed, there was a new one. Today we got more
information. I want to read you this from the Wall Street Journal and sort
of get your reaction to this information. The U.S. monitored Manafort
after he left the Trump campaign, the surveillance did not involve
listening to phone communications in real time but investigators still
could have conducted clandestine surveillance of Mr. Manafort, possibly by
obtaining copies of his e-mails and other electronically stored
communications or by having agents follow him or conduct physical searches
of his property. What`s that – what do you think that says?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY: So we know that Manafort at
different points in time had been subjected to surveillance, both under a
FISA warrant as you`ve indicated, part of a national security-type process
for investigating people who are suspected of being foreign agents and
having ties to foreign governments. We also know, though that Manafort was
under criminal investigation, at least by Mueller. That there was a search
warrant obtained using an Article Three judge, a federal trial judge, who
authorized that process. This reporting sounds a lot more like what you
would expect to see if there was FISA coverage of Mr. Manafort. It sounds
like they were perhaps obtaining stored electronic communications. And
that would indicate that there were ongoing concerns that he was playing a
role involving a foreign government that was adverse to the interests of
the United States.
HAYES: And that`s even – I mean, what`s sort of remarkable here, this is
after the election, right? So the – and I want to ask you as someone who
worked for the Justice Department, and that is an institution that`s always
fascinating to me. Just what is your sense – I mean, can you imagine the
conversations that were had and the application that was put together when
people inside the Justice Department are considering a FISA warrant on a
man who`s advising the person who is now the incoming President of the
VANCE: So no FISA applications are routine. But in a typical FISA case,
there`s still a very intense level of scrutiny of these papers. They take,
you know, weeks, not days, to compile absent an emergency situation.
Prosecutors and the U.S. Attorney`s office work with their counterparts in
the National Security Division in Washington, D.C., the FBI engages in
high-level conversations. The whole goal here is never to take an
application to a judge on the FISA court that they reject. The Justice
Department works really hard to ensure the integrity of these proceedings.
Really, I don`t think you can overstate the scrutiny that would have
occurred for a FISA request of this nature. It would have certainly gone
to the highest levels at both the Justice Department and the FBI.
HAYES: Nick, given your experience in Watergate, does it surprise you at
all or is it what you would expect to hear from Manafort`s spokesperson
that they`re alleging this was essentially a political witch hunt?
AKERMAN: Well, they say it`s essentially a political witch hunt. Manafort
himself made a statement about the fact that there had been a publicity
over these FISA warrants but interestingly enough what he didn`t say and
what he didn`t deny was that he was told by Mueller`s team that he is a
target of the Justice Department`s investigation. That means, under the
Justice Department rules, that they have enough evidence to indict him,
such that he is a putative defendant. Right now, as best I can tell on all
these public announcements and even the little bits of pieces that we get
here and there, what they`re doing now is buttoning down their case.
They`re making sure that the case is solid. And they`re making sure that
it will be easy to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.
HAYES: Joyce Vance and Nick Akerman, thanks for your time tonight.
Coming up, an update on the private jet travel of President Trump`s. HHS
Secretary. The tab for Tom Price`s private planes is ten times larger than
we first knew. That story ahead.
Next, why Sean Spicer is getting very testy about what secrets may lie in
the many notes he took in the White House after this two-minute break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration,
period. Both in person and around the globe. These attempts to lessen the
enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer back in
January. Remember that? Claiming that Donald Trump`s inauguration had the
largest audience ever which, as was very evident, painfully, crushingly
evident from the photos that anyone could see, was clearly not true. But
in an interview that aired today, Spicer told ABC News he never “knowingly”
told a lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever lied to the American people?
SPICER: I don`t think so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t think so?
SPICER: Nope. I don`t cheat on my taxes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unequivocally you can say no?
SPICER: Look, again, you want to find – I have not knowingly done
anything to do that, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What Sean Spicer did knowingly do, according to Axios, is take
extensive notes, reportedly filling notebook after notebook during meetings
with Donald Trump both before and after the 2016 election. And these
notebooks could be of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller who
according to the Washington Post has alerted the White House his team will
probably seek to interview the former Press Secretary. Josh Dawsey covered
Sean Spicer extensively for Politico while he was still Press Secretary.
He joins me now. There seems to be some consternation about the existence
of these notes and that they are distinct among the folks that worked in
that White House.
JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: Right, well, Sean Spicer was
present at almost every meeting for the first six, seven months of the
administration and was known to take copious notes. And you know, Bob
Mueller, the Special Counsel has already made it clear that he wants to
interview Mr. Spicer and he wants all documentary evident of you know, 13
or so disparate places. In many of those places, you know, Sean Spicer was
there and likely had notes or was privy to the conversations of the
meetings. So it`s kind of understood that all of his notes, all of his e-
mails, all the things he was present for is going to be, you know, of
witness of interest to the Special Counsel.
HAYES: What`s your reaction to him saying he never knowingly lied?
DAWSEY: Oh, I don`t know. I think all press secretaries have a very
difficult job. I think Sean said some things that clearly were not true or
did not square with what the public record eventually showed. I think it`s
hard to know if someone knowingly lied or not. I can`t speak into his soul
but I do know that there were a number of statements that Mr. Spicer made
that did not prove to be true.
HAYES: There`s the sort of bizarre exchange with Mike Allen that he had.
So Allen is texting Spicer, we texted Spicer for comment on his note-taking
practices. He replied, Mike, please stop texting, e-mailing me unsolicited
anymore. And then when Mike followed up, from a legal standpoint, I want
to be clear, do not e-mail me or text me again. Should you do again, I
will report to the appropriate authorities. Does that sound like the
person that you interacted with?
DAWSEY: Sean could be combative at times. Sean is in a lot of ways
mercurial. I`ve had Sean be very pleasant. He often actually was more
pleasant than the cameras showed. But at times he could be very angry.
And when I mean angry, I mean volcanic and angry. And that note was not
you know, entirely surprising to me. It`s interesting because Mike and
Sean have known each other for more than a decade as Mike pointed out
today. And I think it would maybe, you know – took him very much by
surprise to get a note like that back, when he simply asked for comment on
a question. But I`ve certainly had Sean and I think other reporters in
town have too, get really frustrated on a story or a line of inquiry.
HAYES: All right, Josh Dawsey, thanks for making time.
DAWSEY: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Coming up. Why over 3 million Americans could be without power for
months in the wake of Hurricane Maria. And later, could Senator Cassidy
and his fellow Republicans have ulterior motives pushing their wildly
unpopular health care bill?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIMMEL: He proposed a bill that would allow states to do all the things he
said he would not let them do. He made a total about-face which means he
either doesn`t understand his own bill or he lied to me, it`s as simple as
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The horrific aftermath of a devastating earthquake in Mexico
unfolded today as search and rescue efforts continued, including at a
collapsed school in the capital, where 19 children and six adults, had
already been confirmed dead but with 11 other children rescued and being
treated in local hospitals. Hours of reporting centered on another child
supposedly still in that rubble. But later today Mexican officials said
all children had been accounted for at that collapsed school but they were
still picking up signs of life. So the search continued. And then there`s
the disaster, we`re getting our first look today in Puerto Rico. Hurricane
Maria`s impact is expected to leave the island`s over 3 million U.S.
citizens without power for months. We`ll explain why that is, and it`s a
crucial story, next.
HAYES: Today Puerto Rico faces a long, slow recovery after Hurricane
Maria. People are returning to homes without power and officials there are
saying it could be months before power is returned. NBC News Gadi Schwartz
GADI SCHWARTZ, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Dark days in Puerto Rico expected to
last months after Hurricane Maria ripped apart the island`s entire power
grid. Nearly all its 3.5 million residents without electricity tonight.
Cell phone service is so unreliable that people like Angelica Rosario still
haven`t heard from their family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, we`re desperate. I have lived here 35 years and
this is too much to handle.
SCHWARTZ: She`s desperate for any news of her mother.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven`t talked to my mom either. I`m trying to go
to my mom`s house. It`s sad.
SCHWARTZ: The streets are littered with downed power lines. The storm
even cracking concrete in half, damaging an infrastructure that was already
crumbling. Officials say help is on the way but a full recovery could take
half a year.
Which is going to be worse, the storm or work comes after the storm?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the storm.
SCHWARTZ: Terrifying for those standing in line for hours to get gas to
power their generator.
She said she`s scared of what the next six months are going to bring to
her. She`s a single mother, she`s got to take care of her daughter and she
doesn`t know what`s going to happen.
Now, families across the island trying to prepare for the humid darkness of
life off the grid.
HAYES: That was Gadi Schwartz reporting. Now, Puerto Rico faces a
particularly brutal challenge because even before Hurricane Maria hit as a
powerful category 4 storm, Puerto Rico`s power company, the ones that have
to attend and refix the grid, PREPA was bankrupt, $9 billion in debt. And
the territory has been in the throes of an extended financial crisis. Now,
it will almost certainly need lots of resources and aid from an American
congress where it has no voting members.
For more on why this crisis has been magnitude by troubles that predated
the storm, I`m joined
by Gillian White who`s reported and written extensively on Puerto Rico`s
financial crisis as a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.
Gillian, tell me about what the financial condition of Puerto Rico was
before the storm hit broadly?.
GILLIAN WHITE, THE ATLANTIC: Right, so if you remember around this time
last year, the conversation that we were shaving was about PROMESA. And
that was an attempt to have the government on the mainland deal with the
massive fiscal crisis that Puerto Rico was facing, which is about $70
billion of debt that they cannot repay. Because Puerto Rico is a
territory, they do not have the right to file bankruptcy the way a place
like Detroit might. So they were kind of stuck between a rock and a hard
place where you have all these debtors who want their money back on their
investments, and a commonwealth that had absolutely no way to repay them.
Among those, among some of the utilities that were stuck between a rock and
a hard place,
were as you said PREPA, their electric utility.
HAYES: So the electric utility, you`ve got a situation which there`s
essentially there`s this unelected board that is sort of overseeing an
austerity regime where they make decisions about
where the money flows and now you`re just going to need a lot more money
and it`s going to – I mean, I can`t imagine them saying the bondholders
have to get paid off rather than the lights coming back on in San Juan, but
am I wrong that that`s the choice that`s going to be before them?
WHITE: So the choice is one that truly I don`t think we`ve seen before.
So you have bondholders who still want their money. PREPA filed for
bankruptcy, and that negotiation didn`t go
particularly well. But now you are starting at this space where the
electric grid and even kind of the
non-functioning utility that they had is now essentially gone as was
mentioned in the clip
before, the electric grid there has been wiped out. There is no power.
So, this isn`t just a case really of trying to rebuild slowly, it`s a case
having to completely build everything from scratch.
HAYES: It seems inevitable to me that there is going to have to be
significant federal aid from
the United States congress appropriated to aid Puerto Rico. I mean, we`ve
seen it with Harvey. We`ll see it with Irma. Is that your anticipation as
well? And what do you think the politics of that will be like?
WHITE: Yeah, absolutely.
So as of late Wednesday night, early Thursday morning, President Trump had
signed an executive order saying that all of Puerto Rico was an emergency
disaster zone, which means that FEMA can give aid.
As you mentioned, there are already two other pretty big storms before
Maria, so FEMA is stretched pretty thin. And when it comes to disaster
relief, a lot of people think that you see the devastation on television
and it`s just a foregone conclusion that congress will pony up as much
money as they can to get things done.
But even when it came to the big relief package for Harvey, there were
still House Republicans who dissented, who didn`t want to give, or didn`t
want to give as much. So, it`s still very much a political calculation.
And then when you think about the fact that there was so much strife when
it came to passing PROMESA and figuring out how to help Puerto Rico in the
first place, their debt struggles have been very, very long-term and it
really took a long time to push that through. So, it`s unclear how much
they`ll actually get, especially given that what they`ll need to do is so
much more vast than what needs to happen in Texas or even Florida.
HAYES: And they don`t have any home state senators that can push it at
Gillian White, thanks for your time tonight.
WHITE: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Still to come, why are Republicans so eager to pass a health care
bill that would hurt their own constituents? The dark money at work behind
the scenes coming up.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, we brought you the mind-blowing story about HHS
Secretary Tom Price`s private jet problem last night. Politico reporting,
again, last night that Price spent $60,000 on
charter jets in just three days last week, including having this 30-seat
plane ferry him and Kellyanne
Conway just 135 miles between D.C. and Philadelphia at a cost of $25,000.
Now, Politico`s report also had a really interesting nugget, a bread crumb
trail that I noticed, it quoted current and former staffers that said,
speaking on condition of anonymity say Price has been taking private jets
to travel domestically for months.
So, if Tom Price spent $60,000 of taxpayer dollars on private planes in
three days what`s the
price tag for the last several months? We have an answer to that. And
that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So HHS Secretary Tom Price reportedly spent 60 grand on private
jets in three days last week. But how frequent is that habit? Well,
tonight Politico following up with another blockbuster piece of reporting
that says Price`s travel by private plane at least 24 times since May,
since May. The cost of the trips identify Politico exceeds $300,000,
according to review of federal contracts and similar trip itineraries:
$300,000, far more than Price`s annual salary, spent on private jets in
just four months.
Put it in perspective just how abnormal this is, Kathleen Sebelius, who
served as HHS secretary under Obama for five years, told Politico she took
a charter flight only to reach remote areas in Alaska that were otherwise
But Tom Price it appears to have defaulted to private planes instead of
commercial flights at
similar times such as a June 6 trip from D.C. to Nashville. According to
Politico, sample round trip fares for those flights were as low as $202.
Price`s charter, according to HHS contract with the Classic Air Charter,
Now, HHS would not say how many charter trips Price has taken. But they
cited the recent hurricanes as justification. “Price has used charter
aircraft for official business in order to accommodate his demanding
schedule. The week of September 13 was one of those times the secretary
was director in the recovery effort for Irma while simultaneously directing
the ongoing recovery for Hurricane Harvey.”
Politico, however, found 17 charter flights Price took before the first
storm hit in late August, including this trip in June.
Price took a Leer Jet 60 from San Diego to the Aspen Ideas Festival, a
glamorous conference at the Colorado Resort Town had arrived at 3:33 p.m.
on Saturday afternoon June 14 nearly 19 hours before his scheduled panel.
That flight likely cost more than $7,100.
HAYES: As Republicans senators huddle in backroom negotiations and prepare
to vote next week on their last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare, the list
of groups who oppose the bill keeps getting longer. Among the groups that
have rejected it, are the American Medical Association, the AARP, the
American Hospital Association, and a whole host of others. And now, the
industry itself has come out forcefully against it, saying the bill would
increase costs, destabilize the market, and undermine safeguards for people
with pre-existing conditions.
Keep in mind, the American people, including much of the GOP base as far as
we can tell, are not fans of the GOP repeal and replace effort either.
Every bill Republicans have put forth has polled abysmally, even among
Republican voters. And last month, the majority of the public, 60 percent,
said it was a good thing the Senate did not pass
the GOP health care bill last time around.
All of which raises the question, why are Republican lawmakers trying so
hard to pass this thing? We got a clue a few months ago when the
Associated Press reported that a GOP donor at a Koch Brothers retreat
warned Republican lawmakers that his, quote, “Dallas piggy bank” was closed
until Obamacare was repealed and he got his tax cut.
We`ve got another clue in June when Nevada Republican Dean Heller denounced
a GOP health
care bill and then faced serious immediate blowback from GOP megadonor
Sheldon Adelson and fellow billionaire casino magnate Steve Wynn.
These are the people Republican lawmakers are probably at this point most
worried about: the wealthy donors who hate Obamacare and who fund their re-
election campaigns. Remember, the GOP base has rejected the repeal and
replace bills, and yet Republican Senator Pat Roberts told Vox, quote, “if
we do nothing I think it has a tremendous impact on the 2018 elections.
And whether or not Republicans still maintain control and we have the
Chuck Grassley, another GOP senator, told reporters, “they just have to
pass something.” I`m quoting him here. “You know, I can maybe give you 10
reasons why this bill shouldn`t be considered,” that`s what he opens with -
- Grassley said. “But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you
have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That`s
pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.”
When we come back, I`m going to ask a Republican lawmaker why his party is
so eager to foist this on the American people. And whether he is willing
to vote for a bill that would cut more than $2,000 per person in health
care funding for his own state. That`s next.
HAYES: One of the most remarkable aspects of the Senate GOP`s Graham-
Cassidy GOP health care bill is that it cuts billions of funding to the
mostly blue states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and gives money
to the mostly red states that refused to do so.
And the biggest cuts per person, according to the Center on Budget and
Policy Priorities and the New York Times are in the blue states of Oregon,
Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, and Delaware. While the biggest gains to
the red states of Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas, South Dakota, and Texas.
Six blue states are poised to see funding cuts of over $2,000 per person,
among them the state
of New York.
And I`m joined now by Republican lawmaker from the state of New York,
representative Tom REED.
Representative REED, I wanted to show you what Chris Christie and your
regional neighbor and
a Republican and an ally to the president had to say about this bill. Take
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I opposed the bill for the
significant reason that it`s bad for my state. I`m the governor of New
Jersey. This bill will cut $4 billion in Medicaid funding to the people of
my state. I can`t be in favor of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And here is what your colleague in New York Peter King said.
“Right now, I don`t see how I could vote for it. It`s extremely damaging
to New York.”
How would you be able to vote for it if that math pertains?
REP. TOM REED, (R) NEW YORK: Well, obviously, I share that concern by
Governor Christie and Pete King. But at the end of the day, when we look
at the issue of Obamacare and the premiums going up, deductibles going up,
people are suffering. And so what I`m hoping we can do is maybe – if this
doesn`t go forward, which I don`t think it will in the Senate, we can maybe
take a bipartisan and work across the aisle in sincere faith to get to the
issue of health care costs in America. I believe that is going to be the
outcome and that`s where I`d like to see this debate go.
HAYES: So, I just want to be clear here. I mean, if this were to happen,
and I just want to make it clear this isn`t some sort of panic among the
media class, I mean, Lindsey Graham said into a
microphone, Paul Ryan told me we pass it, if the Senate passes it, the
House will pass it. You may have to vote for this in like a few days.
You know, obviously, I don`t take a position until I`ve actually had a
chance to read the final bill. I think that`s very important when you
legislate. But at the end of the day, I don`t think that is going to
happen. I think what we`re seeing here is a lot of politics.
I`m about trying to get to solutions for the people back home. When I talk
to people, and they`re losing health care, they`re losing access to care
under Obamacare. We can`t do nothing.
So, if this fails – if and when it fails, which I think it will, now there
is the opportunity for us to say, you know what, let`s put the politics
aside and let`s start solving problems for the American people.
HAYES: But here is the problem, right, there was the Senate had started
this bipartisan undertaking. They restored regular order and you had Lamar
Alexander and Patty Murray and together on their committee, they were
having witnesses come forward to talk about the things you`re talking
about: how can we attach fixes to the insurance marketplace to keep
premiums down, et cetera.
And Lamar Alexander unilaterally pulled the plug on that process as a means
of forcing Republicans to vote on Cassidy-Graham. Should he have not done
REED: I think what he did – and you know, we in the problem solvers
caucus, our bipartisan group I co-chair on the Republican side with Josh
Gottheimer on the Democratic side, we put together a proposal where we
united as 43 members that said we would support these proposals to
stabilize the individual marketplace. We talked to Senator Alexander
personally multiple times. And I appreciate the work he was doing.
And I think what he`s doing is clearing the deck saying look it, we have
until September 30 on
this partisan approach that our leadership wants to go. And when that
fails, I don`t think a senator like Senator Alexander or Senator Murray are
going to just allow people to suffer. And that is my hope is the outcome
of this ultimately will come down, because then we can focus on the people
back home, rather than the politics that have gotten us into this partisan
divide we see today.
HAYES: Can you explain to me why you seem so – I feel like you have
information I don`t have. You`re an actual Republican member of congress.
This is obviously this is your work and this is very important. It`s
important to you and your constituents. You seem far more confident this
thing is going to fail in the Senate than the people that I`ve been talking
Why do you have that confidence?
REED: Well, I`ve been in congress since 2010 and I`ve seen this partisan
path before just blow up. And it doesn`t work. You look at the Affordable
Care Act itself and the flaws that a partisan bill it was created to the
When you do things on a partisan basis, to me that`s not the best way to
approach this. And that`s why I look forward to working with good faith
legislators on both sides of the aisle, and given where we are right now
and given where the health care debacle was just a few months ago, I just
don`t see the votes being there to have this go forward and get signed into
HAYES: But correct me if I`m wrong, you did vote yes on the AHCA, which
was an entirely partisan vote, right?
REED: Well, I did, because that moved the ball for our people back home.
In that bill that I supported in the House, for example, we were going to
alleviate about 70 percent of our local people`s tax bills that they pay
each and every day. And I`ll tell you…
HAYES: Right, but…
REED: We`re a struggling district. Our average income is about $28,000.
And to have that type of tax relief is significant on top of the other
reforms we were advocating for.
HAYES: That is – that was my favorite feature of the AHCA, so-called
Buffalo buyout in which Medicaid payments were shifted to New York City,
actually, where I happen to live, away from districts like your own, which
good for you you delivered for your people. But isn`t that now happening
to you on the wrong end with this?
I mean, what we`re seeing is something that looks like that but instead of
being on the right end of it, which is fighting for the people in your
district to make sure they are paying less for the property taxes to fund
the state`s Medicaid, what you`re looking at is a net outflow of money from
the people you represent to people that live in Texas and Alabama.
REED: Well, absolutely. And that is a significant concern. And that`s
why I share that concern
like Governor Christie and Peter King in regards to how that`s going to
impact our people back home statewide and also in our district.
So, I”m very concerned about that. And that`s where we`ve got to look at
the final bill, because you`re going to have all these amendments, but
right now I think we`re not going to have to face that in the House.
HAYES: We`ll see. Representative Tom Reed, thanks for making time
tonight. I really appreciate it.
REED: I appreciate being on, Chris.
HAYES: With me now, one of the leading voices against the GOP health care
bill, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, am I – he seemed to think this
thing is not happening. You`re in the senate, what do you think?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, (D) CONNECTICUT: I am buoyed by Tom Reed`s optimism
that this bill is failing, but that`s not reality. The reality is, is that
this bill is one vote away from passing, and the folks who voted against it
last time have not come out in opposition like Lisa Murkowski and Susan
Collins. And Republicans are working really hard to arrange things so that
they change their votes. And I don`t know, I mean, Tom Reed says he`s a
problem solver. Well, the problem is, is that this bill
is days away from passing and you solve that problem as a so-called
moderate Republican by coming out and speaking loudly against a bill that
is going to uninsured 32 million Americans and transfer vast amounts of
money from states like Connecticut and New York to states that didn`t
engage in Medicaid expansion.
So, there is a problem. And the only way that you can solve it if you`re
in his position is to
actually come out and speak against it.
HAYES: One of the things that is happening right now, and I just think
this is remarkable, just even from a sort of dramatic irony standpoint,
Lisa Murkowski is a holdout. She`s one of the three no votes the first
time around. Alaska has particular challenges as a very high cost state
for health care.
They are trying to get her to support the bill by essentially letting
Alaska keep Obamacare. I`ll read this to you. The financial projections
produced by Senator Bill Cassidy`s office show that in 2026 his health care
proposal would award each state almost precisely $4,400 in federal subsidy
for each eligible beneficiary except Alaska which would receive $6,500, or
48 percent more than everybody else.
What do you think of that?
MURPHY: Well, listen, I think that there is an easy way to solve this
problem, just give every state the deal that Alaska may be getting, the
ability to keep Obamacare, and this is an open and shut case.
Yeah, I mean, listen, this is going to be I hope an easy call for Senator
Murkowski. She said on the record very clearly back in the spring that she
was not going to be bought off by an Alaska specific
provision. And she made a very good point. She said listen, you give us
some short-term relief, but you set up an overall health care system that
is doomed for failure, and that`s what the Graham-Cassidy bill would do, by
cutting funds so badly for states getting rid of the individual mandate,
protections for people with preexisting conditions and ultimately it would
land in Alaska`s lap, as well.
So, I`m going to hold her to what she said back in the spring and I expect
that she`ll end up opposing this legislation, too.
HAYES: You know, you raised a point which I think has gone under noticed
and Margot Sanger-Katz of The Times had a good piece on this today about,
OK, well let`s say this thing passes, all of a sudden you`ve got 50 states
that have to erect from scratch in two years a health care system with less
funding than they have now.
This is the Mississippi state insurance commissioner, a Republican, Mike
Cheney. He said he was wary about the change – which evil do you like
better, the one you know or the one you don`t know? There are better ways
to do this.
So, that`s someone who is in the heart of Mississippi who would benefit as
much as anyone from this. He`s a Republicans. He`s obviously doesn`t love
Obamacare. He sounds pretty nervous about what would happen if they
actually this law.
MURPHY: So I think this is a really important point. Because lost in this
is the fact that this bill would end the insurance exchanges set up under
the Affordable Care Act. Now, in Connecticut, we have our own state based
Now, we couldn`t make it work with the amount of money that we would get,
it would fall apart but at least if we wanted to, we could put state
dollars behind our existing exchange. In states that didn`t set up a
state-based exchange, that rely on the federal exchange, if they want to
continue subsidizing people`s insurance through the individual market, they
would have to set up an exchange from whole cloth. And they simply could
not do it, because the only way we did it in Connecticut was that we were
funded by the federal government in the first couple years to get it up and
running. States that don`t have those, largely red states, couldn`t do it
on their own.
So these subsides that people are getting in the red states would
absolutely disappear. They are not coming back. And I think we have to be
very clear about what that means in those states.
HAYES: I just want to be clear here, so people track this, the subsides
that exist in Obamacare, they – you only get them if you purchase on the
exchange, but if this were to happen, the odds of the state that you live
in not having exchange, ergo no subsides, is high meaning the money goes
away. You – it doesn`t happen.
MURPHY: Right. It doesn`t happen. Now, what Cassidy-Graham will say is
that they`re going to package all that money and hand it to the states.
Over time that money gets less and less, but the mechanism by which you got
the money, the federal exchange and a credit on your federal income tax,
disappears. And so the state-based flexibility that they talk about is
achieved by robbing money that currently goes to individuals and handing it
at a lesser amount to state-based politicians. That`s not a good deal for
people in those red states.
HAYES: Senator Chris Murphy, thank you for your time tonight.
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