HUD Sec. struggles to answer questions on his agenda Transcript 10/24/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests:
Sheldon White House, Gordon Humphrey, Mickey Edwards, Michelle Goldberg
Transcript:

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: October 24, 2017

Guest: Sheldon White House, Gordon Humphrey, Mickey Edwards, Michelle
Goldberg



CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: And that`s HARDBALL for now, thanks for being
with us. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think the basement of our nation will be
what he will be remembered most for.

HAYES: Retiring Republicans light up their own party`s president.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I have children and grandchildren to answer
to. And so Mr. President, I will not be complicit or silent.

HAYES: All the fallout from today`s remarkable rebuke of Donald Trump and
what if anything happens next?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Congress should pursuing every avenue to
get President Trump out of office?

HAYES: Then Democrats break out the ObamaCare playbook on taxes.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: The President said this is not
a plan for the rich, blatantly untrue.

HAYES: New questions about why the Trump White House won`t implement
Russia sanctions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is treason! Trump is treason!

HAYES: And new concerns over a trump-connected company hired to fix power
in Puerto Rico.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Puerto Rico.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It was an
extraordinary day in Washington. Two sitting Republican Senators went
before the American people to denounce the President of the United States,
the head of their own party as an unstable and unfit leader who endangers
the country and debases our democracy. And after deciding to retire at the
end of this term, Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake gave a dramatic
tribute to not just the President but crucially to their own Republican
colleagues. The day started with Corker, who`s been vocal about his
concerns since announcing his retirement last month talking to just about
every T.V. camera he could find about the man in the Oval Office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORKER: For young people to be watching not only here in our country, but
around the world, someone of this mentality, or as President of the United
States is something that is I think debasing to our country.

The President has great difficulty with the truth on many issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you regret supporting him in the election?

CORKER: Let`s just put it this way, I would not do that again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you wouldn`t support him again?

CORKER: No way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Those comments were the backdrop for a highly anticipated
appearance by the President today at the weekly Senate Republican lunch
where he and Corker would come face to face. Now by all accounts, that
meeting came and went without fireworks, the President focusing instead on
what he described as his administration`s list of accomplishments. GOP
leadership emerged for the launch proclaiming party unity and a common
vision for their upcoming tax plan. So no one was expecting what happened
just minutes later when news broke that Jeff Flake, like Corker, had
decided not to run for re-election. And Flake took to the Senate floor to
condemn the President`s conduct and to confront his own colleagues for
their own complicity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLAKE: There are times when we must risk our own careers in favor of our
principles, now is such a time. Reckless, outrageous and undignified
behavior has become excused and countenanced as telling it like it is when
it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified. And when such
behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It
is dangerous to a democracy. With respect and humility, I must say that we
have fooled ourselves long enough that a pivot to governing is right around
the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it. We know
better than that. By now we all know better than that. The notion that
one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are
undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of
the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes
into 140 characters, the notion that we should say or do nothing in the
face of such mercurial behavior, is ahistoric, and I believe profoundly
misguided. I have children and grandchildren to answer to.

And so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit. It is also clear to me for
the moment that we have given in or given up on the core principles in
favor of a more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment. The impulse to
scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-
looking people. In the case of the Republican Party, those things also
threaten to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking minority party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: A number of Republican Senators were there in the chamber for that
speech from Jeff Flake, and they all reportedly stood and clapped with the
exception of Rand Paul. And John McCain, Flake`s colleague from Arizona
and a fellow critic to the President offered a tribute to Flake`s character
and his service to the country. As for Senate Majority Leader, Mitch
McConnell who`s been struggling to stay on the President`s good side since
they squabbled openly over the summer, it`s not real clear he got Flake`s
message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I`m grateful that the
Senator from Arizona will be here for another year and a half. We have big
things to try to accomplish for the American people. But from my
perspective, the Senator from Arizona has been a great team player.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is a Democrat from Rhode Island.
Senator, did you know this was all happening today?

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND: No, the Flake announcement came
as a bolt from the blue, and we knew that Senator Corker had been boiling
with distaste for President Trump for a while, but I for one did not see
the various statements that were made today coming. I think that when you
have Senators of a President`s party talking about the President debasing
the nation and degrading the country, that is unprecedented stuff.

HAYES: It felt that way to me watching and I`m curious if it felt to you
like something shifted today.

WHITEHOUSE: I think so. You have to understand how highly regarded both
Bob Corker and Jeff Flake are on both sides of the aisle in the Senate.
These are known as principled, thoughtful, respectful people. And so,
particularly coming from them, I think this has broad impact and it forces
other Republicans to confront the question will I now start to say more
publicly what I`ve been thinking for a while or will I continue to be
complicit in going along with this President.

HAYES: What did you make of – I thought Mitch McConnell`s response was
sort of fascinating because he said basically, you`re a good man and a team
player, right? Which seemed to me – seemed to me a kind of check-in, like
we still got a yes from you on tax stuff, right?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, that`s their next big immediate goal as they walk into
another back box canyon and can`t get their billionaire-friendly tax reform
done, then big donors are going to go ape and they`re going to have a real
problem on their hands holding things together. So the tax reform for them
has a little to do with tax reform, a lot to do with donor maintenance and
even more to do with trying to put some kind of win on the board, however
ugly it may be.

HAYES: And that`s why today felt a little bit like – it feels like – it
feels like a twig right before it snaps a little bit. There`s a sort of
tension in it.

WHITEHOUSE: Yes, but –

HAYES: Yes, go ahead.

WHITEHOUSE: I was going to say the door kind of cracked open. And now
we`re going to see how far it swings. You know the famous song, freedom is
just another word for nothing left to lose? When you have Bob Corker and
Jeff Flake who aren`t running again and others who may not be running
again, they`re now free to speak their minds. And the traditional
political pressure is that a majority leader or a president can bring to
bear to silence them and line them up simply don`t work any longer. And I
think again, both Corker and Flake are senators of real conscience, so good
luck pushing them around. It didn`t work when you could hold election
strategies over their heads, it certainly isn`t going to work now.

HAYES: It`s also striking to me about Flake`s age. I mean, he`s only 54-
years old. In the – in the gerontocratic world of the United States
Senate, that`s just quite a young pup, and this is someone with probably
very bright political future, years and years of elected office ahead of
him. Although he`s going to have a hard time in that primary fight if he
stuck it out. What do you make of this decision?

WHITEHOUSE: I think this generally was a decision on principle. I think
Jeff is a very committed principled conservative who has a considerable
distaste for the way the President is handling himself. I think he was
sincere, about referring to his children and grandchildren. And who knows,
in another six months or another 18 months, we could be in a situation
where the President has degraded the country so badly and degraded himself
so badly that to Republicans Jeff Flake will look like a hero, and not
somebody who has just first to flee a sinking ship.

HAYES: I think that is a very (INAUDIBLE). Senator Whitehouse himself is
62, it doesn`t look like he`s over 60, also a young pup in this United
State Senate. Thank you for making time tonight.

I`m joined now by former Republican Congressman, Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma
and former Republican Senator Gordon Murphy of New Hampshire, now an
Independent. And I`ll start – I`ll start with you, Senator Murphy, what
did you make of that – what we saw on Capitol Hill today?

GORDON HUMPHREY, FORMER SENATOR, NEW HAMPSHIRE: Thank you. Chris, the
name is Humphrey.

HAYES: Humphrey, sorry, I`m sorry. I had Chris Murphy on the program so
much, the name is tripping off my lips.

HUMPHREY: Well, it doesn`t matter that much. Listen, I think the story is
as much about Donald Trump as it is about Jeff Flake and Bob Corker. This
is a vivid example of the bad driving out the good. And I think it`s high
time that a majority of Republicans join with Bob Corker and Jeff Flake and
denounce the President as a man who is reckless, so reckless and careless
and cruel in the conduct of his office as to be vile and corrupting of the
American system. And it`s high time that Congress with the encouragement
of former members of Congress may I say, and former presidents especially
invoke the 25th amendment to remove this man from office because he is
simply unfit to discharge the powers and duties of that office. Those are
the words of the constitution. The President doesn`t have to be stark
raving mad, if he`s vile, if he`s vicious, if he`s reckless, if he`s
dangerous, that makes him unfit. And that is the description of Donald
Trump.

HAYES: Mr. Edwards, is that where you`re at as well and your thinking
about both what we saw today from Corker and Flake and your judgment of
where this President is at?

MICKEY EDWARDS, FORMER CONGRESSMAN, OKLAHOMA: Well, Chris, it does. But
I`m bothered by the correct term you used at the beginning of the show when
you referred to this as extraordinary. So by my count, we have three
members of the Republican Party and the U.S. Senate. Corker and McCain and
now Jeff Flake who have done this. You have three more, Rand Paul, Lisa
Murkowski, and Susan Collins, who are willing to sometimes vote against the
President. Where are the other 46 Republican Senators? You know, it is a
shame that it takes somebody who is leaving office –

HAYES: Right.

EDWARDS: – who is not going to face the voters again to do this. The
other 46, running again or not running again have an obligation to do just
what Gordon Humphrey just said, what Flake has said, what Corker have said.
The President really needs to be – the constitution says that it is the
job of the Congress to serve as a check on the executive. And the members
of Congress need to take that seriously. They take an oath. We all took -
- Gordon took it, I took it. You take an oath to defend and protect the
constitution, which means independent judiciary, it means free press, it
means those kinds of principles that are at the heart of our government.
And these Republican members of Congress need to stand up to the President
and do their job.

HAYES: I want to play for you a moment because it pertains to what you
both just said about the constitutional duties of the Congress. Senator
Flake talked about article one, reclaiming the article one power, take a
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLAKE: Here today I stand to say that we would be better served, we would
better serve the country by better fulfilling our obligations under the
constitution by adhering to our article one, old normal, Mr. Madison`s
Doctrine of Separation of Powers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Mr. Humphrey, short of the 25th amendment and invocation of that,
is there – what do you think can be done by Corker, Flake and others who
feel this way?

HUMPHREY: Look, we need to be rid – the nation needs to be rid of this
vile President whose vileness is so great as to personify evil. We need to
be rid of this man and Congress has the power to do that under the
constitution by invoking Section 4 Article of the 25th Amendment to the
Constitution which would transfer – strip the President of his powers and
transfer them to the Vice president.

HAYES: I just want to be –

HUMPHREY: This need to be done. There isn`t a moment to lose. Members of
Congress need to stand up and show some courage and some principle and put
the country and its future and our hopes ahead of their selfish personal
political ambitions.

HAYES: Mr. Edwards, do you – can you imagine a scenario in which there
were members of the Republican Party and the United States Congress who
were not retiring saying things like this given what the political
incentives are?

EDWARDS: Well –

HUMPHREY: I`m hoping Senator – I beg your pardon.

HAYES: Sorry, Mr. Edwards first.

HUMPHREY: I`m hoping that –

EDWARDS: Part of this –

HAYES: Go ahead, Mr. Edwards.

EDWARDS: Part of it is that we have a system through our primaries and the
parties that give extra voice and extra strength to the more extreme
elements in the party. So there are going to be people who are hesitant,
who care more about their re-election than they do about the good of the
country who are not going to do what they need to do. But impeachment or
you know, the 25th amendment, whatever we do here, it really isn`t the only
other option, because the members of the Senate and the members of the U.S.
House can say to the President when he – when he says we`re going to do
this, can say no, we`re not doing that. We`re not, we will pass the laws,
we will determine the policies, we will tell you what they are, if you veto
them we`ll override you.

You know, we`re going to make you irrelevant as you deserve to be because
nobody who lacks the intelligence, the competence, and the decency that
this President has ought to be able to call the shots. The members of
Congress need to stand up and say we`re the first branch of the government,
it`s our constitutional obligation to decide what the country`s laws are
and we`re going to do it.

HAYES: I can`t wait for this conversation, gentleman, wondering if you
took an anonymous survey of former members of Congress in the Senate and
the House, Republican Party members, how many would be with you? And my
instinct is that quite a bit more than what it matters. I see you nodding
your heads. Former Congressman Mickey Edwards and former Gordon Humphrey,
gentleman thank you very much for your time.

HUMPHREY: Thank you.

EDWARDS: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Next, Jeff Flake says he can`t win a Republican Primary without
compromising his values and decency. What does that say about the currency
of the GOP and its future, that`s next in two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Shortly after Jeff Flake`s Senate speech excoriating the President
and fellow Republicans for abetting Trump`s behavior, the front page of
Breitbart focusing on Flake`s other message today he won`t seek re-
election. They celebrated with a headline winning Flake out and featured
Steve Bannon`s threat to establishment Republicans our movement will defeat
you in primaries or force you to retire. Jeff Flake, it seems agrees with
Bannon`s assertion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did that cross your mind that you`re basically laying
down your – if this is a civil war inside your party, that you`re handing
them a victory by walking away?

FLAKE: Yes, that was very difficult. But, the prospect of going through
the next year and like I said, the path to victory in a Republican Primary
these days is to agree with the President, not just his policies, but the
behavior as well and not to speak out and I can`t do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Flake`s belief that he can`t win a Republican Primary without
supporting Trump in what he calls reckless, outrageous, and undignified
behavior, he can`t win without sacrificing his own decency and morality, is
a pretty stunning assessment of the party and the Republican electorate.
And while establishment Trump critics like Flake, Bob Corker and Charlie
Dent exit, candidate such as Roy Moore in Alabama who openly espouse
beliefs like Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress – a
violation of the Constitution – those folks are winning GOP primaries and
being embraced by the Republican Party.

Joining me now, New York Times` Op-Ed Columnist Michelle Goldberg and Glenn
Thrush also from a little outfit called the New York Times, where he`s a
White House Correspondent and an MSNBC Political Analyst. Here`s what – I
mean, at one level, there`s like, what he did today was remarkable, it`s
also it is – he is paving the way. The person that was going to primary
him who he was not – he was going to have a very hard time defeating was
Kelly Ward.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: (INAUDIBLE)

HAYES: Right. Who uniquely not by lefties and rebel`s (INAUDIBLE) by –
by McConnell`s own pack, and – who said today, Steve Bannon`s handpick
candidate conspiracy theorist Kelli Ward will not be a Republican nominee
for the Senate Seat in 2018. I`m not so sure.

GOLDBERG: Well, I think – I guess the idea is that now it opens the way
for somebody more palatable to run in his place.

HAYES: Right, to save off (INAUDIBLE)

HAYES: But I think you know, I was talking to Republican – another Trump
republican the other day and I asked him as I ask every Republican I talk
to, you know, how do the members of the House that you know live with
themselves? And he said that one of the ways they justify their own
quiescence in the face of Trump is by saying that they would just be
replaced by someone worse, right?

HAYES: Almost 100 percent likely.

GOLDBERG: Right, it is likely, but I also would say that it`s no excuse,
you know.

HAYES: Right.

GOLDBERG: And so I think that – I feel like Jeff Flake is to some extent
getting a bad rap, that people were saying oh, he was going to lose his
primary anyway. The reason he was going to loses primary is because he`s
been standing up to Trump fairly consistently. That`s what takes his
numbers.

HAYES: Right. That`s the cause and the effect. Glenn, there`s this thing
that Bannon does, and I think is – I find kind of amusing which is he
loves to claim credit for everything. Like, he swooped into the Roy Moore
race like seven hours before Election Day, and it was like oh, Steve Bannon
propelled Roy Moore. I wonder whether like, is the – is the threat
actually felt on Capitol Hill about these –about those primary challenges?

GLENN THRUSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Bannon was responsible for picking
out your nifty tie tonight. I don`t know if you`re aware of that.

HAYES: He`s claiming credit for that, too.

THRUSH: That will be on Breitbart. No, he`s like – he`s out-trumping
Trump. You know, Bannon is trumping trump. He`s like the next derivative.
You know, he used to traffic in derivatives when he was at Goldman Sachs.
He is derivative of Trump. He puts the – he`s putting the Bannon brand on
all of this stuff. It`s you know, it`s brilliant, out-trumping Trump. Of
course, it`s not necessarily true. I think Congressman Massie after Luther
Strange went down and Judge Moore won put it best. He essentially said I`m
paraphrasing, the craziest SOB is going to win in these primaries.

HAYES: Right.

THRUSH: There is – there`s no going back. You can`t get away in any of
these primaries without saying the most extreme thing. Anything less than
that people won`t accept. It`s like once you have had the hard stuff, you
know, you`re not going for the wine coolers.

HAYES: That is – that`s exactly right. And then you got – so you got
this situation – I was struck today thinking about watching Flake. Today
is the day that the RNC and the Senate Committee signed a joint fundraising
agreement with Roy Moore. Now Roy Moore is – I`ve run out of the ways to
describe Roy Moore`s unfitness.

GOLDBERG: Right, and we`ve all become so desanctified.

HAYES: And here`s – this is – this is Ted Cruz, you know. Judge Roy
Moore for Alabama. Judge Roy Moore has a lifelong passion for the
Constitutional Bill of rights. So here – the establishment Republican
Party is rallying behind Roy Moore while Jeff Flake is giving this speech
today.

GOLDBERG: Right. Which is why I think Jeff Flake is correct when he says
that there is no place for somebody like him whose views were you know,
four years ago Jeff Flake was considered a very conservative Republican.

HAYES: He was with the hard right caucus in the House, their version of
tea partiers, was who Jeff Flake was.

GOLDBERG: Right, and so I think that you know, every single person who is
now you know reaping the benefits of Trumpism has to realize that
eventually, the revolution is going to come for you. But you know, for
now, Jeff Flake is the one who has fallen afoul of the kind of like you
know, far right insurgents.

HAYES: That`s – Glenn, that`s a great point. Like if it does feel like a
little bit of a reign of terror moment here too, where – it`s like what
you said, like everyone`s – the ideology is so thriving on conflict on the
right and sort of establishing for its outsider that there`s this kind of
permanent revolution dynamic that starts to set in.

THRUSH: Well, remember, Robus Pierre is not on the French money right now.

HAYES: Right. That`s right.

THRUSH: I guess there – I guess there actually isn`t any French money
right now so it`s a (INAUDIBLE) point. But I mean, look, I think the real
danger here for the Republicans is we have this thing called the general
election. And Arizona went by 3.7 percent for Donald Trump in 2016, with
seven or eight percent going for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. That was a
tight election.

HAYES: Yes, that`s a good point.

THRUSH: The State is moving in a blue direction. The question here is can
the Democrats get the candidate that they want to capitalize on this
division? We`ve seen independents melt away from Donald Trump, really,
really quickly. We`re starting to see Republican women again in a lot of
these polls, he`s upside down with them. You know Trump – the name of
Trump`s game is always bringing the negatives up, of his opponent, whether
it`s the press, whether it`s Mitch McConnell, whether it`s Hillary Clinton,
we`ll see if sort of the Trumpettes, you know, these group candidates that
Bannon is going to be supporting or as successful at doing the same or if
we`re going to see new coalitions.

HAYES: Right. Yes, it`s a good – it`s a good question. Michelle
Goldberg and Glenn Thrush, thank you for being with me.

THRUSH: Thank you.

HAYES: Next, the unbelievable moment in which HUD Secretary Ben Carson
struggles to answer very basic questions about what he`s doing at HUD. You
want to see this. It`s really remarkable, after this quick break

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: With all the recent focus on taxes, (INAUDIBLE) attention has been
given to the actual GOP budget which is perhaps why an extraordinary
exchange with Congressman Al Green of Texas and HUD Secretary Ben Carson is
now getting so much attention. The Congressman simply wanted to know what
exactly will be cut from HUD`s budget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. AL GREEN (R), TEXAS: How much from public housing, Mr. Carson?

BEN CARSON, SECRETARY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Probably in the
neighborhood of – if you combine all the programs, 2 to 3 billion.

GREEN: 2 to 3 billion. How much from housing vouchers, Mr. Carson?

CARSON: Rather than go through a quiz on all the numbers –

GREEN: It`s not a quiz, Mr. Carson, I have the time to ask you questions
about things that you should have some knowledge of. If you have no
knowledge of them you can simply say so.

Why would the Secretary of HUD not give the number, the amount that you`re
cutting from housing vouchers, Mr. Carson? You`re the Secretary of HUD.
You`re making the cut.

CARSON: Because we`ve already talked about the total amount of the cuts.

GREEN: Well, the total amount does not help me when it comes to the
housing vouchers. I have people who use housing vouchers and I need to be
able to explain to them, Mr. Carson, how much the cut portends for them.
How much, Mr. Carson?

CARSON: Let`s hear your number.

GREEN: Well, Mr. Carson, you`re the witness testifying today and if you
want a moment to ask someone behind you, I would gladly accord you that
moment.

CARSON: I don`t want to look at the book and look at the numbers.

GREEN: I see. But you choose not say how much you`re cutting from housing
vouchers. All right, how much you`re cutting from community block grants,
Mr. Carson.

CARSON: I want to talk about –

GREEN: Mr. Carson, you don`t get to talk about what you want to today, you
get to talk about what I want you to talk about. You get to answer the
questions that I pose Mr. Carson.

CARSON: Yes, but I also get to answer the question the way I want to.

GREEN: Well, you can answer them the way you want, but if you want to show
of lack of knowledge, you can do this. It`s quite all right Mr. Carson.
So now, how much from community development block grants, Mr. Secretary?

CARSON: Again, I`m not willing to sit there –

GREEN: So you don`t know how much from community development block grants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And when it comes to Republican tax cut plans, Senator Chuck
Schumer believes that President Trump`s knowledge is about the same. It`s
plausible. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: As everyone knows, President Trump put
down his phone for an hour to come to the Senate Republican luncheon to
talk tax reform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The president in desperate need of passing the only legislation he
really cares about went up to the Hill today and tried to charm his own
party to work with him on tax cuts. But if you`re a Republican rooting
for this to succeed, the problem is his effort is starting to look a lot
like the failed attempts at repealing Obamacare. You have got dissention
within the Republican caucus, a president who doesn`t fully grasp the
issues, and a whole lot for Democrats to rail against.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHUMER: What the president says and what the Republican plan does are
polar opposites. So for instance, the president said this is not a plan
for the rich. Blatantly untrue. Then he said at the heart of our plan is
a tax cut for everyday working Americans. Untruth number two. When they
talk about getting rid of state and local deductability, when they talk
about limiting 401(k)s, when they talk about limiting the mortgage
deduction, those are all aimed at making the middle class pay more so the
rich can get a bigger tax break.

This plan is a disaster for America. It`s no wonder our Republican
colleagues want to rush it through in the dark of night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Republican congressman Matt Gates of Florida joins me now.

Congressman, here is my question, it doesn`t seem like there is yet the
consensus necessary within your caucus in the House and the Senate to
actually have a plan. Is that correct?

REP. MATT GATES, (R) FLORIDA: Well, we have a blueprint, Chris, and that
blueprint will make a tax code that is a lot simpler, a lot more fair for
the American people, it will bring back more
than a trillion dollars in cash that`s housed overseas and it`ll lead to
rising wages and more opportunity for the American people to prosper.

HAYES: Here is my question about that. We tax of wages. There`s all
sorts of ways that we directly tax wages. The argument that I`m getting
from the White House and others is that we have to
cut the corporate rate, which is actually paid at the level of capital to
get the wages up, but that seems like a weird Rube Goldberg Machine. You
guys could just cut taxes on wages if you wanted to cut taxes on wages.

GATES: Well, we`re going to cut taxes for all Americans. We`re going to
cut taxes for individuals. But Chris, one of the main things that throws a
wet blanket over our economy is that we have one of the highest corporate
tax rates in the world that drives jobs overseas and limits our ability to
be competitive.

HAYES: I get that`s the argument. But here`s the thing, you just said you
are going to cut taxes for all Americans, but here is the Rubix Cube I
can`t solve. You have got to raise taxes for someone somewhere unless
you`re going to expand the deficit. So, there is two ways this can
happen. You can get reform, which is deficit neutral, which means some
taxes go down, some taxes go up, or you can get a deficit financed tax cut
that`s going to blow up the deficit, but you have to choose between those
two and it`s unclear which of those two you are all pursuing.

GATES: Well, we don`t have to have more taxes and higher taxes, we need
more taxpayers. And we`ll have more compliance with a system that is fair.
So, actually by lowering rates we can increase revenue for the government
because right now we have got a lot of people who don`t make any
contribution and when nine out of every ten Americans can fill out their
taxes on a post card, we think we`ll get more compliance, more revenue for
the government, and ultimately we`ll have the opportunity to lower rates
for Americans to achieve their dreams.

HAYES: That is not an answer to the question.

GATES: Well, sure it is.

HAYES: Well, some rates are going to go up, right. So, there is some talk
about getting rid of the state and local tax deduction.

GATES: No. There`s loopholes that need to go away.

There is a lot of special interests…

HAYES: Congressman, respectfully, loophole is in the eye of the beholder.
You should tell the people watching right now that the mortgage interest
deduction is a loophole.

GATES: Pro sports leagues have a loophole. Do you really think that pro
sports league…

HAYES: No. Oh, no, no – get rid of that. But you`re not going to – but
congressman, you and I both know…

GATES: Of something that the president has supported. But you believe
that we`re going to get rid of the loopholes that are enjoyed by
professional sports leagues and a lot of other loopholes that are in the
tax code, because we`ve got a 70,000 page tax code that doesn`t benefit
most Americans, it benefits the special interests.

HAYES: Right, like people that say pay the estate tax, which is .2 percent
of households who have more than $5 million in assets, whose taxes are
going to be cut by what you`re proposing while someone that maybe lives in
a city that has fairly high taxes is going to see their taxes go up if you
get rid of the state and local deduction.

You see the problem here is that there`s going to be someone…

GATES: In high tax states, and in high tax municipalities, yeah, things
are worse. You know what, states that have really high taxes should cut
them and that will even super charge and greater leverage the tax reform
that we`re doing here in Washington.

HAYES: Although, California is doing OK economically with fairly high
taxes.

But explain to me why do – why is it – I mean, you`re going to go out
there, and I`m just telling you what Democrats are going to say, like Chuck
Schumer, right, so the plan is going to drop and
they`re going to say out of the 487 – out of 487 people that die, one
person is going to pay the estate tax, right, it`s about .2 percent who
have $5 million in assets. You are going to cut taxes for them and to
make it deficit neutral, someone`s taxes are going to go up.

Why should taxes go up on anyone to pay for a person who has got $5 million
in assets who just died?

GATES: Well, I would be perfectly OK raising taxes on pro sports leagues
if it didn`t mean we were double taxing people who they die. I think it is
terribly unfair that we take money that people have already paid taxes on
and then tax them again at death. That`s ludicrous.

HAYES: But congressman, that`s the craxy thing, you can`t double tax a
person who doesn`t exist. And when they die, definitionally they`re not a
person any more. Do you see the problem there?

GATES: Well, but the money that somebody makes in a family business or on
a family farm, often times they want to be able to pass on the next
generation. That is kind of one of the essentially elements of the
American dream, is ensuring that the to make sure the next generation is
better off. And if we do what the liberal want, we impair the next
generation.

HAYES: I want to be clear. You think a crucial part of the American dream
is for people with more than $5 million in assets, the .2 percent to pass
on the full total of the amount of money they make to their heirs. That`s
the American dream?

GATES: You cast it so incorrectly. Family farms, small businesses…

HAYES: No, they`re not family farms.

GATES: Are often passed throughs that are individual in nature and so –
well, that is a prime
example.

Look, the death tax has really killed family farms in this country. You
want to know why we`ve gone away from family farms and more towards
corporate farming that you and other liberals have railed against, is
because we have the death tax.

HAYES: It is not because of the estate tax.

Here`s the thing, though, fundamentally, here is what I want to know on the
record, when all is said and done, I know you guys have a blueprint, it`s
going to come out., is it going to be deficit neutral? Like is that the
idea? That like whatever goes up on one side of the ledger comes down on
the other and vice versa, a la `86?

GATES: Well, that depends on how much spending we cut. The House of
Representatives passed a budget that cuts more entitlement spending than
any congress since Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton worked out welfare
reform.

HAYES: I`m going to make a prediction now – wait, I`m going to make a
prediction now and I want you back on the program when the prediction comes
true or doesn`t come true so you can lord it over me – that won`t happen.
The deficit will go up. And when you…

GATES: Well, I`m going to be fighting for it. I`m going to be fighting
for conservative spending cuts and conservative tax reform.

HAYES: You come back and we`ll see who is right about this. Congressman
Matt Gates, thanks for taking time.

GATES: Thank you, Chris.

Still to come, why did a two-person company in White Fish, Montana get the
massive contract
to rebuild Puerto Rico`s devastated power grid. That amazing new reporting
and that company`s connections to the Trump administration ahead.

Plus, Bill O`Reilly blames god in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, after The New York Times reported over the
weekend that former Fox News host Bill O`Reilly personally agreed to pay
$32 million to a colleague to settle new sexual harassment allegations, the
Hollywood Reporter broke the news today that O`Reilly has been dropped
by his talent agency, UTA – ouch – saying it would no longer be
representing him when his agreement with the company expires at the end of
the year.

Now, to O`Reilly this appears to be another example of being unfairly
attacked by people who
want to hurt him, as evidenced by the most recent commentary on his
website.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: My enemies, who want to silence me,
have made my life extremely difficult, hurt me in the marketplace. Whether
that will be forever, I don`t know, but they have damaged. And it`s me
and my ace investigative team, really good, good people, good
investigators, against this cabal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: But then Bill O`Reilly, a devout Catholic, said he feels personally
victimized by a higher power.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: Am I mad at god? Yeah, I`m mad at him. I wish I had more
protection. I wish this stuff didn`t happen. I can`t explain it to you.
Yeah, I`m mad at him. If I die tomorrow, and I get an
opportunity I`ll say what did you guys work me over like that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Or maybe god is a woman and that conversation will go a different
direction.

Either way there is a great little video clip about personal responsibility
that Bill might want to watch, and that is Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: Am I mad at god? Yeah, I`m mad at him. I wish I had more
protection. I wish this stuff didn`t happen. I can`t explain it to you.
Yeah, I`m mad at him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: After the New York Times reported that Bill O`Reilly settled new
sexual harassment
allegations by personally forking over $32 million, he`s placed the blame
on everyone, from the media to the almighty, anyone but himself. Don`t you
think it`s time for a little personal responsibility?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`REILLY: We`re living in a time of denial. Our culture is cluttered
with excuses for bad behavior. It`s always somebody else`s fault, not the
individual screwing up.

All of us make mistakes, but how many of us own up?

Talk to teenagers today, you`ll hear a litany of excuse making for just
about everything. And while those immature minds can be understood, we
often don`t challenge the dodge.

Our schools and courts are chalk full of people and authority who allow
excuses to mitigate awful behavior.

Celebrities like Lindsay Lohan have an excuse for everything. And you know
what is likely to happen to Miss Lohan? A grizzly end, that`s what.

Substance abuse, rampant in America, cyber violence an epidemic,
irresponsibility off the chart, and what are we doing about it? What are
we doing about it? Making excuses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And that`s the memo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: A bizarre scene at the Capitol today as President Trump and Mitch
McConnell were walking into a lunch with Senate Republicans, a protester
inside the Capitol Building, hold Russian
flags at the president and accused him of treason.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is treason. Trump is treason. Trump is treason.
Trump is treason.

Why are you talking about tax cuts when you should be talking about
treason? Why is congress talking about tax cuts when they should be
talking about treason.

This president (inaudible), we should be talking about treason not about
tax cuts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The president did not appear to notice the Russian flags, providing
a handy literal
illustration of a figurative comment from Lindsey Graham.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDSEY GRAHAM, REP SENATOR SOUTH CAROLINA: I think the Trump
administration is slow when it comes to Russia. They have a blind spot on
Russia I still can`t figure out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: You might remember a big story from July when President Trump was
forced seemingly against his will to sign a bill that had been passed
overwhelmingly, veto-proof majorities in congress to place tough new
sanctions on Russia.

The Trump administration was supposed to implement the sanctions by October
1st, but they didn`t do it. Nothing. The Daily Beast reports that lawmakers
feel that they`re being stonewalled and can`t do much about it. Aside from
procedural tactics, congress is essentially powerless and compelling the
executive branch to follow through on the law. Though, I`m sure they can
think of some things.
It certainly doesn`t help when members of congress are instead chasing
conspiracy theories at the bidding of the White House. Today, Devin Nunes,
the powerful chair of the House Intelligence
Committee, announced a new propose seemingly designed to expose the links
between Russia and President Hillary Clinton.

You see, Clinton is potentially implicated in the Obama administration`s
2010 decision to approve the sale of American uranium mines to a Russian-
backed company, at least according to President Trump, who tweeted
Thursday, “Uranium deal to Russia with Clinton helping Obama Administration
knowledge is the biggest story that fake media doesn`t want to follow”.

The seven year old deal has become an obsession of the conservative media
as it seeks to distract from Trump and Russia and all other things. Sean
Hannity calls it one of the biggest scandals in American history, and the
White House couldn`t be happier that Nunes is once again carrying its
water.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I certainly think it
is a move in the right direction and something that we`ve spoken about
several times here that if there was any collusion whatsoever during the
campaigns of any point, our – or any collusion at any point with another
country, that they should look at the Clintons. And so I think that`s the
right thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: House Republicans announced a new probe into, I kid you not, the
FBI`s handling of Hillary Clinton`s e-mails. Who know, if Republicans play
their cards right, they might actually be able to impeach Hillary Clinton.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: The lack of power in Puerto Rico remains the single biggest
obstacle to recovering from Hurricane Maria. Three out of four people there
remain without electricity more than a month after the hurricane devastated
the island.

Tonight, there are questions about how a $300 million contract to restore
energy to Puerto Rico was awarded to a tiny energy company with just two
employees. Yes, Whitefish Energy, based nowhere near Puerto Rico. It`s from
the town of, maybe you guessed it, Whitefish, Montana. More than 3,000
miles away near the Canadian border, which also have happens to be the
hometown of Ryan Zinke, that`s Trump`s Secretary to the Interior.

The Washington Post are reporting one of Zinke`s sons even worked for
Whitefish one summer as a, quote, “flagger”, but before this massive deal
with Puerto Rico, Whitefish`s biggest federal contract was a $1.3 million
job replacing and upgrading parts of a 4.8 mile stretch of a transmission
line in Arizona. The company now says it`s hired 280 workers who are now in
Puerto Rico, mostly subcontractors, and that it continues to increase that
number.

For context, the day after Hurricane Irma hit Florida, nearly 20,000
workers were already helping to restore power there.

Jack Gillum, one of The Washington Post reporters who broke this story.
Jack, there is a lot that is head scratching about this contract. Let`s
start with this, how did Whitefish get the contract?

JACK GILLUM, THE WASHINGTON POST: So, Chris, this is an interesting and
curious case that you referenced in terms of Texas and Florida. Normally in
these cases some of these power companies use what are called mutual aid
agreements where they work together to restore power.

Why Puerto Rico went directly to Whitefish is the source of our reporting
and the source of many questions. In fact, when we asked power officials in
Puerto Rico about this, they declined to answer specifics on it. In fact,
the governor going as far as saying that this is really just rumors of
people who just didn`t get the contracts and missed out on better work.

HAYES: Okay. I want to be clear here. When you talk about this mutually
aid model. So, in places like Texas or Florida, what you`re saying is other
utilities band together and send a lot of people.
So you`ve got sufficient boots on the ground to restore power? That`s how
it works?

GILLUM: That`s effectively it, yes.

HAYES: And in this case, you`ve got the utility in Puerto Rico, it`s
called PREPA, it`s a basket case, it`s in debt, it`s notoriously had a very
hard time. They sign a contract for $300 million, with really high prices,
with this tiny little outfit in Whitefish, Montana, with two employees and
no one knows how that contract came about?

GILLUM: So when we spoke to the company about this, they were spinning up
dozens of people if not a week or a month. As you mentioned, they have
almost 300 people there. The prices are particularly – could be high, too,
at least on paper, although, for $300 an hour for a supervisor, a few
hundred dollars an hour for a lineman, the company also says in fairness,
these aren`t exactly a guy in a bucket truck on the street in Manhattan or
in Washington. These are very dangerous high power lines, accessible
sometimes by helicopter and really a lot of work ahead.

But it is, indeed, a very large contract. The last one you mentioned about
$1.3 million to restore some power lines in Arizona. This is by far the
biggest contract this company has ever gotten in its
two-year existence.

HAYES: Right, by a factor of 200 basically. It`s a much, much bigger
contract.

You`ve also got, I mean, you`ve got a situation where it just seems to me
that the capacity of
these folks who are now the primary people trying to get this back up, this
grid, and what`s needed is just a total mismatch.

GILLUM: So this company, it was small. I mean, they had two employees as
of the latest federal contract that they have to write information about
their company in which they said at the time
they had $1 million in revenues. They had pulled in subcontractors. They
say that`s part of their
business model, is to bring in people for temporary work when they need it,
such as a case like this.

I think the bigger question, Chris, though, is why this company was chosen,
given the fact that normally these utilities band together, and there`s
questions about how much money FEMA, which is the Federal Emergency
Management Agency will reimburse in this process.

HAYES: Did Zinke – it`s hometown. His son worked for them for a summer.
Do we know any possible other connection there?

GILLUM: Well, when we had spoken to the company about it, we had asked the
CEO of
Whitefish whether they knew each other. They said, yes, they knew each
other. We asked directly, was interior or Secretary Zinke involved in this?

But meanwhile, they have received help through the interior department. A
local NBC affiliate in Montana in fact had asked the CEO a few weeks ago
if, indeed, you know, they had reached out
for help and they said, yes, they had contacted the office to get supplies
to the island.

HAYES: Alright. I feel like we`re going to learn more about this. There
are a lot of unanswered
questions. Great reporting from Jack Gillum. Thanks for your times.

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

Good evening, Rachel.


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