Russian backdoor overture Transcript 11/16/17 All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: November 16, 2017
Guest: Sabrina Siddiqui, Michelle Goldberg, Natasha Bertrand
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, should Roy Moore step aside?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, should Roy Moore step aside?
HAYES: The President remains silent.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: The President has
put a statement out.
HAYES: As Senator Al Franken apologizes over sexual assault allegations,
Roy Moore follows the Bannon-Trump playbook.
ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, ALABAMA: The Washington Post
has brought some scurrilous, false charges.
HAYES: Then, what did Jared Kushner know?
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I had no improper
HAYES: The Senate says Kushner withheld e-mails about a “Russian backdoor
overture. And House Republicans pass the Trump tax plan.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t benefit. I don`t
HAYES: New analysis finds that the plan saves Trump`s family over $1
TRUMP: I pay as little as possible. I fight like hell to pay as little as
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The same President
who has weighed in on everything from Meryl Streep`s acting to social media
policies of ESPN, tonight has no opinion whatsoever on the veracity of the
allegations that his party`s nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama pursued and
sexually assaulted teenage girls when he was an adult. After the President
ignored reporters` questions yesterday about Roy Moore whom he, of course,
endorsed after Moore won the Republican primary, today his Press Secretary
studiously avoided taking a position on whether the allegations against
Moore are credible or whether he should step aside from the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: The President believes that these allegations are very troubling
and should be taken seriously. And he thinks that the people of Alabama
should make the decision on who their next senator should be. He doesn`t
know any more than you do on this fact other than that these are something
that should be taken very seriously and the people of Alabama should be the
ones to make the decision on whether or not to support Roy Moore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why won`t he weigh in on this? Why won`t he take the
same type of strong position that these other Republican Senators have
taken on Roy Moore?
SANDERS: Look, the President supported the decision by the RNC to withdraw
resources from this race, but feels it`s up to the people of Alabama to
make the decision. I don`t have anything further to add on that front.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That evasion from the White House comes on a day when all of
Washington is being forced to get off the fence on sexual misconduct by
powerful men. As Democratic Senator, Al Franken stands accused of forcibly
kissing and groping a woman on an overseas USO tour in2006. Leeann
Tweeden, a broadcaster in Los Angeles, says Franken wrote a kiss into a
skit the two were performing together and insisted on rehearsing it
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEEANN TWEEDEN, ACCUSER OF AL FRANKEN FOR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: So I was just
like, OK, fine. Just so he would shut up, you know. And he just sort of
came at me, and we did the line, and he came at me, and before you even
know it – I mean, you kind of get close and he put his hand on the back of
my head and he mashed his face against – I mean, it happened so fast, and
he just mashed his lips against my face. And he stuck his tongue in my
mouth so fast. I was violated. I just felt like, you know, he betrayed my
trust, and it – obviously, that is not what I wanted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Weeks later, when she was looking through a C.D. of official photos
from the trip, Tweeden discovered this picture of Franken appearing to
grope her over her flak jacket while she slept on the plane ride home.
After apologizing in a brief statement saying the photo was meant to be
funny but shouldn`t have done it, Franken followed up with a second much
longer, more contrite response which read in part, “There is no excuse.
It`s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And what`s
more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it.
While I don`t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I
understand why we need to listen to and believe women`s experiences. I am
asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken and I will gladly
cooperate.” Franken`s calls for an ethics investigation was echoed by many
of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, some whom are already dumping
his campaign donations, giving them to charity.
The condemnations of Franken`s behavior were nearly universal, no if true,
no he said, she said. Compare that to the reaction from Roy Moore`s GOP
allies in his home state of Alabama who have largely dismissed the
allegations of misconduct by growing list of women who say Moore pursued
and in some cases sexually assaulted them when they were teens or young
women. After considering yesterday whether to disqualify Moore`s
nomination, today the Alabama Republican Party did the exact opposite,
putting out a statement that supports Judge Roy Moore as our nominee. This
afternoon, Moore, who denies the allegations against him, attended an event
with local faith leaders who still back his campaign. According to then, a
man accused of sexually assaulting minors must be elected to Senate to hold
the line against sexual perversion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY SCHLAFLY, SUPPORTER OF ROY MOORE: We need someone in the Senate who`s
got that same meddle, that same strength of character to stand up against
the swamp, to stand up against the establishment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need judge Moore to stand up against the LGBT
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He stands for things that are good and things that are
clean and things that are honorable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As new accusers continue to come forward against Moore almost every
day, it`s tempting to think there is just no way he makes it to that
special election on December 12th. But it was just over a year ago that
the President himself weathered a somewhat similar tide of accusations in
his case from more than a dozen women, plus a tape of him bragging about
grabbing women without their consent. It`s no coincidence that the White
House refusing to take a stand on Roy Moore is the same White House that
claims that every single one of those women, every single one of the
President`s accusers, is lying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, sexual harassment has been in the news, at
least 16 women accused the President of sexually harassing them throughout
the course of the campaign. Last week during a press conference in the
Rose Garden, the President called these accusations fake news. Is the
official White House position that all of these women are lying?
SANDERS: Yes, we`ve been clear on that from the beginning and the
President has spoken on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sabrina Siddiqui is a Politics Reporter for the Guardian, Robert
Costa National Political Reporter for the Washington Post and MSNBC
Political Analyst. Sabrina, you wrote today about Al Franken. It seemed
to me like it caught Democrats flat-footed at first. What was the reaction
on Capitol Hill among Democrats?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICS REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: Well, I certainly think
that they were shocked by the initial report when it surfaced but at the
same time, as you noted, they were pretty quick to be unequivocal in their
condemnation, both of his conduct, as well as their support for an
investigation into the allegations that have been made. You mentioned some
of the donations that are already being given toward charity.
I think they recognize this is a pivotal moment for them as a party
because they have certainly positioned themselves as sufficiently more pro-
women than Republicans and they don`t want to be seen as hypocritical on
this key issue of sexual harassment, especially in this watershed moment,
where more and more women are coming forward, regardless of the industry
from entertainment to politics. And when you have someone like Roy Moore,
where Republicans certainly did couch their initial reactions and ifs and
buts, I think Democrats certainly don`t want to be seen as doing the same
from one of their own.
HAYES: Robert, I have to imagine that – can the White House really think,
it`s going to get through the next 20 days without giving an opinion on Roy
ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That is an impossible position.
This race is only going to intensify as Roy Moore continues to stay in the
race. And there`s increasing pressure right now from Capitol Hill. It may
not be the media`s hand that forces the White House to speak out but
Republicans themselves who believe that if Moore is – was elected – were
to be elected later this Winter, that it would be a burden for Republicans
next year running in the midterms. And they want him out and they`re
telling that privately, I know, based on my reporting to the White House
HAYES: You know, that point you make there, I mean, the sort of
catastrophic success of a Moore win is a good point, right? That you can
imagine a situation which basically every Democrat running in the Senate
basically opts to run against Roy Moore as opposed to their actual opponent
because he would be so toxic in so many parts of the country, right?
COSTA: He would. And they believe they would have to have immediate
investigations. You already have the majority leader calling for him to
possibly be expelled from the Senate. And they also know that they have a
52-seat majority now in the Senate. If Doug Jones, the Democrat, wins,
it`s 51-49. You have a lot of seats on the edge right now for Republicans.
Look at Arizona in particular, Nevada. This is a danger zone as one
Republican operative put it to me.
HAYES: The latest polling, we should say this is a really remarkable poll,
this is out of Alabama from Fox News. It has Doug Jones up by eight
points. That`s the Democrat in Alabama, Doug Jones, up by eight points,
50-42. Sabrina, it was a very interesting moment in the presser today when
Huckabee Sanders, she was asked about Roy Moore repeatedly, she was asked
about Al Franken. And the Al Franken question in normal circumstances
would be red meat for the White House to go right after. And you could
tell she wanted no part of it. Why do you think that is?
SIDDIQUI: Well, it`s two-fold. One is because they`re refuse to go take a
position on Roy Moore. How are you going to take a position on Roy Moore,
who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, including
those who are saying that he preyed upon them when they were teenagers. So
how can you not take a position on that, and then in the same breath or the
next breath, I should say, denounce Al Franken and make a big deal of the
one – the story that came out today. The other issue is, as you noted in
your own monologue, this is a President who himself has been accused of
sexual assault by more than a dozen women. Those – Access Hollywood Tapes
heard around the world where he bragged about groping and kissing women
without their consent. And White House and Republicans frankly on Capitol
Hill have been unable to say why Roy Moore`s accusers are somehow more
credible than Donald Trump`s accusers.
What is the distinction between the allegations that are being made? And
just one quick note about Democrats, I think because they`re talking about
potentially Roy Moore being expelled from the Senate. I don`t think that
they`re necessarily going to move to expel Al Franken but they do face a
question here about what their policy is going to be. Are they going to
have a zero tolerance policy? Are they going to now come forward and call
on Al Franken to resign or are they going to create some categories for the
level of sexual assault that I don`t think that`s where they want to be?
HAYES: To that point, Sabrina, and you`ve covered Capitol Hill for a while
and I used to cover Capitol Hill. I mean, the Senate Ethics Committee is
going to be very busy and rightly so, if they start getting referrals for
sexual harassment because that is not something that – that is happening
on Capitol Hill. I think anyone who has worked there will tell you, and
not just staffers, members as well. To Sabrina`s point, Robert, about the
President`s own accusers, I`m really curious, does that factor in the
thinking in this White House? There`s two ways I can see them thinking
about it. We beat it, we beat the charge, I`m the President, it`s never
going to burn us again. Or that was really close, I never want to
relitigate that again. Which of the two is it in that White House?
COSTA: The calculation, based on numerous conversations I had, is more
political than about weighing in on this harassment – the broader debate
about harassment and sexual misconduct in the country. My point is this,
that they don`t want to be embarrassed again in Alabama. He got behind
Luther Strange, the incumbent Senator. They feel if they move against
Moore now, and he somehow wins that Senate seat, that`s a political
disaster for President Trump, with his own base, and in a state that he
considers his own political base. So I`m sure there is some calculation,
Chris, inside the White House about not wanting to wade into an unfriendly
territory for the President, to say the least. But at the same time, it`s
more politics, politics, politics, in the conversations I`m having.
HAYES: I just want to note how remarkable it is that the President`s
people are thinking, well, this person stands accused of sexual assault
against a 14-year-old that she rolled out of the car afterwards. He stands
accused of calling up a teenager in her trig class to try to get her to go
out with him. But, you know, if we come out against him, we might lose –
and well, we might look – end up looking bad. Sabrina Siddiqui and Robert
Costa, great to have you both.
SIDDIQUI: Thank you.
HAYES: Michelle Goldberg, a Columnist for the New York Times who`s on this
stuff has been phenomenal if you don`t mind my saying. What`s the proper -
- Sabrina brought this up and this morning I saw – you saw the Al Franken
– there`s a question of well, is he going to resign? Like, what is the –
see it feels like as the society, we`re figuring out what`s the proper
punishment for the – for the particular crime or misconduct. What do you
think it is in the case of Franken?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think the Franken case
is really complicated. I mean, I have a column out now that says he should
resign. And I don`t say that really lightly or happily and I see the
argument against him resigning. I think is also very strong, right? This
thing that he has – accused is the wrong word – this thing that he did
does not rise to the level of, you know, sexually assaulting 14-year-olds,
it doesn`t rise to the level of what Donald Trump does.
I still think that just having this – even though it`s a false
equivalency, you know, kind of having now this thing hanging over the
Democrats, even though I think that Al Franken has been such a good
Senator, I thought he should run for President before this. But I just –
this idea of kind of slogging it out in an ethics investigation and then
waiting to see what kind of penalty they`re able to concoct and also what
kind of investigation. I mean, does the Senate now do an investigation
into his pre-Senate sex life?
GOLDBERG: I mean, what does that even – we don`t even know what that
HAYES: Well, it also strikes me that part of the issue here, and we keep
seeing this, it`s like, where there`s two, there`s 20. I mean, that it has
been the case that one allegation, it has not been often that there is
simply one allegation.
GOLDBERG: Right. So my – what I – I mean, I can`t – and I don`t say
this lightly, and I`m not convinced that I`m right. But I do –
HAYES: I can hear you working –
GOLDBERG: But I do think that maybe the best thing he could do is just
say, I`m resigning. We have to have a zero tolerance policy for this, you
know. And draw a real clear distinction between how the Republicans
handled this, rather than letting it trickle out and trickle out and
trickle out and then resigning after that and forcing everybody to take a
stand and decide whether or not to defend him. I mean, it`s just – it`s
such a painful process.
HAYES: The other option is just the bowl through. And we have seen Roy
Moore do it. I mean, that –I don`t know if you saw that press conference
today. It was remarkable. It seemed disassociative and totally detached
from reality. I want to play what Bannon said last week about how he
counseled the President to get through the Access Hollywood week because I
think it`s quite illuminating in terms of the Roy Moore playbook. Take a
STEVE BANNON, CHIEF STRATEGIST, WHITE HOUSE: The Bezos-Amazon, Washington
Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos-Amazon,
Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore.
Now, is that a coincidence? But when Billy Bush Saturday, we got you know
kind of the high command and the war council and everybody went around the
room. They were telling him some guy`s gotta go on 60 Minutes and cry on
Ivanka`s shoulder, and other people do this and do that and apologize, and
apologize, apologize. I said we doubled down now, right? You`re Donald
Trump and they`re not, right? I said, (INAUDIBLE) I said, let`s go have a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s what Roy Moore is doing.
GOLDBERG: Right. And I think you can get away with that as a Republican
in part because there`s not a consensus, I think, around gender equality on
the right. I mean, I don`t think there`s a consensus among a lot of the
people in Alabama that it`s really so wrong for a 30-something-year-old to
pursue teenagers, at least as long as he asks their parents` permission,
you know. And if something untoward happened, well, whose fault was it
really? You know, you have such a different set of ethics that people are
trying to uphold, even if imperfectly and hypocritically among Democrats,
that I think just kind of – he probably can.
I mean, what Al Franken has done here is not so terrible but he probably
can`t just, like, gut it out if there are no other accusations. But he
does so at the risk of kind of derailing this conversation that we`re now
having about sexual harassment and assault and accountability and just sort
of, you know, kind of putting this cultural moment, this really remarkable
cultural moment to an end, possibly discouraging other women who have had
bad experiences with members of Congress from coming forward. I think it
just – it`s a really – again, it becomes then this sort of just like ugly
– you know, thing in which you know, this ugly –
HAYES: This mutual finger-pointing. And there`s also – at your point to,
I mean, the moment about politicians, I feel like is – we`re at the
forefront of that and that there`s probably more to come on that front.
Michelle Goldberg, thank you so much.
GOLDBERG: Thank you so much.
HAYES: Tonight the Senate calls on Jared Kushner to come clean, alleging
he withheld e-mails that they know exist about WikiLeaks and, and I quote
here, a backdoor Russia overture. That in two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KUSHNER: – were raised in March, I have been consistent in saying that I
was eager to share any information I have with the investigating bodies,
and I have done so today. The record and documents I have voluntarily
provided will show that all of my actions were proper and occurred in the
normal course of events of a very unique campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Jared Kushner, the President`s son-in-law, and Senior
Adviser after meeting with Senate investigators this summer. Well, today
Senators Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, each from each party, the
bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Kushner did not
provide all of the documents they asked for. In fact, in a letter to
Kushner`s lawyer, they write, “We appreciate your voluntary cooperation
with the committee`s investigation but the production appears to have been
incomplete.” These are documents the committee says are known to exist,
and they include but are not limited to documents concerning what the
committee calls, “a Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite, a
September 2016 e-mail communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks,
and communications with Sergei Millian copied to Mr. Kushner.
Now, Millian is a founder of a trade group called the Russia America
Chamber of Commerce. Grassley and Feinstein say Kushner has until the 27th
of this month to comply with their request. Kushner`s lawyer released a
statement saying in part, “Mr. Kushner and we have been responsive to all
requests. We also informed the committee we will be open to responding to
any additional requests.” With me now, Natasha Bertrand, Political
Correspondent with Business Insider who has written extensively about the
Trumps` campaigns alleged ties to Russia. First, you got to start with the
context was that Jared Kushner, man, just seems to be leaving a lot of
stuff out of a lot of stuff as we – as we go through this year.
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Yes. I mean,
he`s had to update his security clearance form at least twice, and the
second time he had to add at least 100 foreign contacts he just
accidentally left out the first time.
HAYES: 100 foreign contacts?
BERTRAND: 100 contacts. He had a private e-mail address that he did not
disclose to investigators which they then, of course, wanted more
information about because he had testified and he hadn`t mention anything
about that. And now we`re learning he did not disclose these e-mails about
WikiLeaks, about alleged Russian backdoor overture and about this guy,
Sergey Millian, who is alleged to have played a really big role in this
HAYES: Yes, what is – who is Millian? What`s his deal?
BERTRAND: So he is a Belarusian-American and founded this organization
called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. He has alleged – he has
said that he has a close business ties with Donald Trump. But who knows
whether or not that`s actually true. He might have just been inflating
himself for his own publicity. But he has worked for the Trump
organization in the past. There are pictures of Millian and Trump
together. And essentially reports have suggested that Millian is a source
in that Trump-Russia dossier, the Steele Dossier. That he is source D.E. -
- they`re interchangeable – that he essentially told an associate that the
Kremlin was feeding damaging information about Hillary Clinton to Donald
Trump. He was also the alleged source of the prostitute information, the
alleged sex scandal that Donald Trump, you know, participated in when he
was in Moscow.
HAYES: So you`ve got – Millian now sort of tied in writing, right?
They`re asking about this. What does it say about what they know? It`s
sort of an interesting letter, right? Because they`re saying like, you`re
busted. Presumably, because they have e-mails from other people knowing
that he was copied on it.
BERTRAND: Well, I think that Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley were
frustrated, right? This is the reason why they released this letter to the
public. They don`t normally blast out letters like this. It was in every
reporter`s inbox. It was clearly an indication that they are sick and
tired of Jared Kushner omitting this very important information. And it`s
also important to note that in terms of what the campaign knew, the contact
with Millian is interesting, because Millian was actually telling people
that he was in contact with George Papadopoulos throughout the entire
campaign and through the transition. And George Papadopoulos, of course,
is the one who had said that he received information from a Kremlin-linked
professor saying that they had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
HAYES: Including her e-mails.
BERTRAND: Including her e-mails. Which then Papadopoulos may have told
Millian, which he then may have told the source who told Christopher
Steele. So it`s all very convoluted, that big you know, web of connections
but the pieces are starting to come together.
HAYES: So here`s the other thing that really perked up my ears when I read
this piece, was that we sort of have forgotten about this moment I think.
But the Washington Post reported that Kushner tried to set up a back-
channel communication in the Russian Embassy. Remember this crazy thing
that he sneaks Kislyak into Trump Tower. He – they have a conversation in
which apparently he proposes like, can we go to the embassy where we can
have a back-channel communication with Russia. If there`s earlier
intrigues about that before that happens, that would seem to maybe link
BERTRAND: Exactly. So it`s unclear what these back channels were actually
about in the e-mails. But what is – what was my first instinct was that
Kushner had essentially followed up somehow to talk about this plan to
create this back channel with Russia via the Russian embassy using Russian
diplomatic facilities in the U.S. Kushner says that it was to discuss
Syria but the Washington Post –
HAYES: Bring a piece to Syria. He was so intent and so focused on
bringing peace to Syria. So concerned that normal diplomatic channels
wouldn`t do it, that he thought of the extraordinary step of doing this so
that Syria could be at peace.
BERTRAND: That he felt that he had to bypass the U.S. intelligence
committee in order to get this information –
HAYES: To bring peace to Syria.
BERTRAND: For an administration that wasn`t even in power yet. He wanted
to go around the intelligence community, he wanted to use Russian
diplomatic facilities. He said he did not want to use the diplomatic
facilities. But, of course, the Washington Post reported that that was
what happened. He said I want to know if there is a back channel already
in place at the Russian Embassy that we can use to discuss this privately.
HAYES: So we could imagine that there might be some – it sounds like
there is an e-mail out there somewhere that someone has in which the idea
of a backchannel is floated by someone to Jared Kushner?
BERTRAND: Which means that more people knew about this meeting than just
Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn and Sergey Kislyak. This e-mail was
apparently produced by several people to the Judiciary Committee which is
something that Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley wanted to make very
clear in their letter.
HAYES: That`s one of the things about this letter. It`s like, we have
this stuff, you just didn`t just give it to us. We know you have it
because we have other copies of it. Natasha Bertrand, excellent as always,
BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Next, Republicans claim their tax bill helps put money back in the
pockets of average middle-class Americans. Well, today we found one lucky
family that could see savings of over $1 billion. Guess which family?
After this quick break.
HAYES: President Trump has long insisted the GOP`s massive tax bill won`t
help him one bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does your plan help the wealthy too much?
TRUMP: My plan is for the working people and my plan is for jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you wouldn`t benefit under your tax plan.
TRUMP: No, I don`t benefit. I don`t benefit. In fact – in fact, very,
very strongly, as you see, there`s no – I think there`s very little
benefit for people of wealth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The President even told Senate Democrats last week in a phone call
while trying to sell the plan, “My accountant called me and said you`re
going to get killed in this bill.” Now I`m guessing you might have been
skeptical of that claim and with good reason. NBC News commission did an
analysis of the tax bill passed today by the House, and it found that Trump
and his heirs potentially could save more than$1 billion if the bill
becomes law. The analysis based on two things. The first is Trump`s 2005
tax return first revealed by Rachel Maddow. If the tax bill had been law
that year, Trump would have saved more than $20million himself thanks to
the repeal of the alternative minimum tax. The analysis also based on the
assumption that Trump is, as he claims, a billionaire. Because the House
bill repeals the estate tax, Trump`s heirs would be able to inherit their
father`s wealth tax-free.
Now, because Trump won`t release his tax returns, any estimates of his net
worth is an inexact science. It is definitely possible that his heirs
don`t stand to inherit nearly so much. This week, the magazine Cranes
reported the Trump organization had fallen steeply in its list of the
largest privately held companies from number three all the way down to
number 40. Following the President`s disclosures to federal regulators, it
revealed the organization`s revenue is a less than a tenth of what the firm
had reported since at least 2010. So Mr. President, if you`re watching, we
are happy to redo the analysis. It definitely seems very possible you
aren`t worth anywhere near what you claim. So if you can just go ahead and
send over your tax returns, I promise we`ll get right on it.
HAYES: Today the house voted to pass the GOP`s $1.5 trillion tax bill.
House Republicans breaking into cheers as the bill crossed the threshold
needed for passage without a single Democratic
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: This is about giving hard-working taxpayers
bigger paychecks, more take home pay. This is about giving those families
who are struggling peace of mind. It`s about getting this economy to grow
faster so we get bigger wages, more jobs, and we put America in the
driver`s seat and the global economy once again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What the bill is actually about is giving a massive tax cut to
corporations, once in a generation, and wealthy individuals like Donald
Trump. Everyone else either gets a relatively small tax cut or somewhat
amazingly, actually sees their taxes go up. The last time House
Republicans passed a bill this big was of course in May when they voted to
repeal Obamacare and the president held a
big wildly premature party in the Rose Garden. Remember that? We all know
how that turned out.
There was wisely no Rose Garden party this time around. The tax bill now
must pass the Senate, where Republicans have crafted their own version
which, if passed, would then need to be reconciled with the House bill.
And we should say, passage is not a sure thing. Eight GOP Senators have
expressed reservations about the bill and Republicans can, of course, only
lose two votes and still pass it.
And then there`s this: today the Joint Committee on Taxation, the official
nonpartisan analysis of congress, reported over the next decade the Senate
bill would give large tax cuts to millionaires while raising taxes on
American families earning $10,000 to $75,000.
With me now is former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, star of the new
Netflix documentary, “Saving Capitalism,” which comes out next week and is
based on his book of the same name.
I am almost amazed that they have been able to pull off a huge tax cut that
manages to raise taxes on some people. I`m still scratching my head about
how that`s possible.
ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: Chris, it`s the big lie. I mean,
you know, if you say the same thing over and over again, and you have a con
man like Donald Trump who says lies, you know, like he eats, like he
breathes, well, then people eventually are going to believe it, because
they`re not hearing the other side very clearly.
And the other side comes out in the Joint Tax Committee, or the – or other
organizations that are policy wonks, that are actually looking at the data,
but when you have these big voices just saying over and over again, you`re
going to get a tax cut, people begin to believe it.
It is one of the biggest lies of the generation. And hopefully people will
catch on before there`s a final vote.
HAYES: Well, you know, you say that – it is polling relatively poorly,
particularly for a tax
cut which usually has the wind at its back. There are a bunch of yes votes
from California Republicans. I think only three no votes from that
And it`s remarkable, because if you look at California and New York and New
Jersey, you look at the places that are represented by Republicans, folks
in high housing cost areas, folks that pay local and state taxes, there`s
going to be people in those districts who have Republican representatives
whose taxes are going to go up. And they`re going to realize it then if
the thing becomes law, won`t they?
REICH: Well, they will.
But remember, this entire escapade, this entire tax cut, is pay back for
the Republican donor class. This is what it`s all about. I mean,
Republicans are not really looking at the polls right now. They are very
aware of the fact that the donor class – I`m talking about, you know, the
Mercers and the Rickettes and the Koch brothers and all of the people that
have invested so much in the GOP. What they want is, they look at this as
any other kind of investment. They want to return on that investment, and
the return on the investment was going to be a huge tax cut.
The stock market has been going up in anticipation of a corporate tax cut.
It has nothing to do with the real economy. It has nothing to do with
what`s happening to average people. It`s just a big pay back for the major
HAYES: You know, this return on investment concept is useful when you talk
about major donors. Here`s – these are – the GOP heirs and donors that
stand to gain from this. My favorite is Sheldon Miriam Adelson. They`ve
contributed $82.5 million in 2016 alone to Republicans. That`s a lot of
money. But they`re looking at an estate tax cut of almost $15 billion.
That is an incredible return on investment, and it goes on and on and on.
You can understand why the donor class is so motivated by this.
REICH: They`re not only motivated right now, but look at over the next 30
years. The really rich billionaire and semi-billionaire Baby Boomers are
going to be transferring about $30 trillion to their children. I mean,
you`re going to have the biggest inter-generational transfer of wealth in
history. And if they can eliminate the estate tax and if they can actually
wrangle things that there is no capital gains tax, think of – we are
creating a dynastic class in America as fast as we possibly can.
It shouldn`t be called the estate tax, certainly it is not the death tax,
we should call it the dynastic tax.
HAYES: Yeah, that`s a good point that we are enshrining a dynastic class.
On the loser side of the ledger, and I think you would have something to
say about this, because you`re an academic. You`ve worked in academia.
You teach at Berkley. Grad students.
I mean, so here you have billionaire donors who – the Adelson`s are going
to stand to gain about $15 billion. Meanwhile, grad students who are not
living high on the hog, if you know any grad students, if there are any
grad students watching, are looking at a 400 percent tax increase because
essentially the full value of their tuition and stipend are going to be
counted as income. They`re now going to be paying taxes, if they`re making
$10,000 a year, paying taxes on $70,000. They are hosed.
REICH: Well, they`re hosed. Graduate students are hosed. The people who
are really sicker
and older and depending on the Affordable Care Act, they are getting hosed,
because it`s going to be $300 billion taken from them and given to
corporations and the rich in terms of tax cuts.
I mean, what this Republican bill – and you look at both bills, what you
see is just an extraordinary amount of money that is being redistributed
upward from people who don`t have very much or have almost nothing to
people who have everything, people who have never had in the history of
America more. And corporations – corporations who are flush with cash.
American corporations, are right now pulling in half of the profits of all
corporations in the entire world, even though we are one-fifth the size of
the world economy.
And what are these corporations doing? What they do with all this money is
they buy back their shares of stock in order to raise the price of the
share of stock. And by raising the price of the share of stock, they`re
not helping all Americans, because the top 1 percent owns about 40 percent
of the value of the shares of stock, and the top 10 percent owns 80 percent
of the entire stock market.
So once again, Chris, however you look at this, this is a redistribution
upward from the average working person and the poor to people who have
never had it so good.
HAYES: Robert Reich`s new documentary Saving Capitalism is out next week.
being with me tonight.
REICH: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, embarrassing, unpresidential, childish – we`ll play
what Trump voters in
North Carolina are saying now, and how Democrats are looking to leverage
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, hing two starts after this.
HAYES: Thing One tonight. By now you`ve seen plenty about the water
bottle-gate, the highlight of President Trump`s Asia travel log address
yesterday in the two mid speech Fiji polls, triggering memories, of course,
of Senator Marco Rubio`s infamous episode of dry mouth and Trump`s
skewering of didn`t have an opportunity to update President Trump`s
skewering of Rubio for it during the primaries.
But in all that uproar, we here at All In didn`t have an opportunity to
update President Trump`s teleprompter moments, those times when he misreads
or mispronounces a word and then rifts his way out of it.
All in all, the president managed to get through a 25 minute speech fairly
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Until it stops its dangerous provocation on – and this is the
total key to what we`re doing – on denuclearization.
And join the United States in sanctioning additional rogue actors whose
fund and funds have
helped North Korea and North Korea`s nuclear and ballistic missile
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Far from terrible, but the Trump teleprompter greatest hits, oh,
that`s Thing Two in
HAYES: Giving lots of speeches is not easy, and even the best of us, as I
just illustrated, teleprompter readers have stumbles. But we`ve noticed
there`s one little trick the president uses frequently. If you make a
mistake, just pretend you meant to do it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They sacrifice every day for the furniture, future of their
Authority and authoritarian powers.
Through their lives, and though their lives were cut short.
And very importantly, air traffic controllers will highly – and this will
be highly valued – these are highly valued people. These are amazing
Our hope is a word and world of proud, independent nations.
Another historic step toward future development and future – with a future
– a real future. And I have to say, that`s a real future.
What standard, and really, if you think of it, when you talk about the
great sailors and the great sailors of the world, we have them, but what
stranded sailor doesn`t feel relief?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ, (D) NEW JERSEY: I`ve made my share of mistakes, but my
mistakes were never a crime. I`ve learned through this process a lot about
our system of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Congressional Democrats dodged a bullet today with the corruption
trial of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez declared a mistrial. Jurors were
unable to reach a verdict after nine weeks of testimony and seven days of
The Democrat was accused of acting as a, quote, personal senator for a
Florida doctor, Salomon Melgen. The prosecutor said Menendez accepted
luxury travel and campaign contributions from the doctor and said the
senator, in turn, intervened on behalf of Melgen business interests and
helped arrange visas for Melgen`s girlfriends.
Now, if he had been found guilty, Menendez could have faced pressure to
Governor Chris Christie to potentially appoint a Republican in his place
and add to the GOP`s narrow majority in the Senate during this crucial time
in which they`re trying to get tax reform passed.
Menendez is up for reelection next year. New Jersey voters in a Quinnipiac
poll last month
overwhelmingly said Menendez does not deserve re-election by 59 percent
to19 percent. But if you`re a Democrat, even a very unpopular one, next
year might be your best time to run.
What recent Democratic victories mean for possible blue wave in 2018,
coming up next.
HAYES: Trump voters in North Carolina expressed buyer`s remorse over their
choice last year speaking at a focus group last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like he told the people that he had all of
these big ideas and big plans and it just seems to kind of roll to
something else. It`s like nothing is ever really accomplished.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While I thought his ideas appeal to me, since he`s
been in there, he`s embarrassed me by his behavior.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He hasn`t acted presidential at all. The tweets
bother me. They might be enlightening to some people. I`m not a tweeter,
but to me it`s like firing off these tweets. It`s just childish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats are already capitalizing on that dissatisfaction, racking
up electoral victories across the country. The latest, a win on Tuesday in
a state and a district that has been unmistakably red. That is what
Oklahoma`s state senate district 37 looked like last year when Donald Trump
won by about 40 points, Clinton pulling 27 percent.
Here`s the same district Tuesday night, when a Democrat won the district
senate seat in a
And I have to notice, not just any Democrat, Allison Ikley Freeman is a 26-
year-old lesbian. She won by just 31 votes in a campaign heavy on turning
out progressive voters, which ones there are. And while the special
election turnout was low, this is still a striking flip.
And it`s hardly the only piece of good news for statehouse Democrats this
year. The list of seats flipped in state legislatures includes 15 seats in
Virginia, four seats in New Jersey, four seats in Oklahoma, two in Georgia,
four in New Hampshire, and one each in Washington, Florida, and New
Tara Dowdell is a Democratic strategist, Cornell Belcher is an MSNBC
political analyst to discuss whether this looks like the beginning of a
As a pollster, what are you looking at right now?
CORNELL BELCHER, MSNBC: Well, you know, it`s – and I was deemed pollster
back in –
back in his run for the state strategy, going into 2006, and there are some
things that look similar. We – George Bush`s approval was in the mid-30s.
We forget that now, right?
HAYES: That`s a good point.
BELCHER: Congressional job approval was in the 20s, right? You had the big
wave of voters
looking for change and Democrats had a slight advantage on the favorability
over Republicans. It`s a lot tighter now, but one of the things that you
also saw was the energy, right? But there was also, from an
issue standpoint, George Bush killed us with terrorism and security, you
know that, right?
And then there was a values consideration. On the values, there was two big
issues in 2004, where Republicans had a huge advantage. There was terrorism
and values. We said going in 2006, if we
could cut those down from 30 and 20-point advantages, we may have a shot in
Going into October of 2006, we had cut their advantages down to single
digits around those two
important issues. And I think that`s, from an issue standpoint and from a
structural standpoint, we were able to sort of take advantage of the wave
that was coming.
HAYES: Tara, you work with different politicians. You`ve – your firm
represents actually someone who`s challenging in New Jersey seven, which
Leonard Lance`s district, and that`s like exactly the kind of seat, right,
that Democrats should be able to win, if they`re going to win a lot of
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right.
HAYES: What do you think about the dynamics in those kinds of most
vulnerable Republican house seats, those top 20, 30 target races?
DOWDELL: Well, what we`re seeing right now is really strong favorables for
Democrats. So, number one, women, the energy and the activism that we`re
seeing in these districts is overwhelmingly coming from women. So that`s
why women candidates have an inherent advantage that sense.
I know people will say, well, it didn`t work for Hillary, but that`s a
different example. And, this activism is actually, a lot of it is a result
of Hillary having lost. So she won the seven district where my candidate,
Linda Weber is running, she won that district by one point, despite the
fact that the incumbent congressman stayed and got re-elected.
The other dynamic that we`re seeing is, if you look at what people are
saying, a lot of people are saying, Democrats don`t have any issues. Where
are the issues? That`s not really true. Maybe nationally there`s not a
clear bumper sticker message, but locally, these locally, these Democrats
are running on strong support for public education, they`re running on
criminal justice reform. They`re running on fixing the issues and many of
these state legislatures, like Oklahoma, where they`ve had budget
shortfall after budget shortfall and scandal after scandal, they`re running
on very specific issues, with very specific messages, all politics is
local, and Democrats are digging in.
BELCHER: To that point, I want to – one of the things that you saw, I
think, last – this past
election was organic, right? You saw the grassroots bubbling up. If you go
back, Chris, and look at, what were their top 30 or so DCCC targets in `06,
you would see, quite frankly, we didn`t do very well in that top 30 that
the status quo recruited.
What you`re seeing right now is people saying, you know what? I`m going to
run. You see a lot more organic and a lot more grassroots. And to that
point, you have people that actually represent that district a lot more,
and from a grassroots and an organic standpoint, as opposed to the national
parties coming in and saying, you know what, Chris, you look like someone
who should represent this district.
And people like us will never look like someone –
HAYES: That is a great point. The difference of the big thing is like do
you have candidates?
And one of the things in Virginia was, they just fielded challengers. And
the question of like who
those candidates are, where do they come from? The difference between
whoever is the head of the d trip getting on the phone and being like, you
used to play football in that district, as opposed to, I`m an activist in
this district, I`m a mom, a schoolteacher, I`m a firefighter, and I`m
frustrated and angry about what`s going on. I`m going to run.
BELCHER: Right. And the other piece of this is also the turnout from –
and look, I think we had great candidates in Virginia, but that was also a
lot Democratic, right? You had parts of identification for Dems were better
than ten points than it was last time, it was a lot more liberal. It was a
lot browner than what it usually is. And that`s been our problem in
HAYES: Well, that`s the question, right? For your candidate in New Jersey
seven, and for candidates all across the country in that similar situation
is what that electorate looks like.
HAYES: And how much that`s a question of persuasion versus motivation.
That Oklahoma state Senate seat, that was getting out the base in a very
low turnout election, because it`s a special election
in a state Senate, not even in a midterm year. It`s going to be a bigger
challenge, I think, in the midterms, don`t you think?
DOWDELL: Well, I think the midterms are going to be more difficult because
of the gerrymandering, because of these voter I.D. laws. But I`ll point out
some examples. In New Hampshire, where we picked up seats, we picked up
seats in the state legislature, in New Hampshire, after a voter I.D. law
had been passed. And, this is the 33rd – this seat last night was the
33rd seat that Democrats have flipped since Trump became elected. The seat
before that, Democrats won that other seat before that ruby red seat by
So, yes, there are some challenges, but Democrats are energized. And also,
I want to point out
one thing. It`s women and people of color that are running, too.
HAYES: Specifically in Virginia. Tara Dowdell and Cornell Belcher, thanks
for joining me.
That`s All In for this evening.
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