Corker flips his vote on tax bill Transcript 12/18/19 All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: December 18, 2017
Guest: Barbara McQuade, Nick Akerman, Eric Swalwell, Bernie Sanders
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: – The Journal are doing the same with the
Russia probe. In the end, it will be the quiet men and women who work in
the city of Washington who despite the all the brickbats thrown against
them will end up protecting this republic. They do so not as participants
in a coup, as a Trump ally just argued, but as people doing their jobs.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s no collusion. There
is no collusion whatsoever.
HAYES: The FBI`s warning to candidate Trump about Russia.
TRUMP: Russia, if you`re listening –
HAYES: Why the Trump campaign didn`t report Russia`s advances.
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: The pretext of the meeting was
hey, have I have information about your opponent.
HAYES: Plus, a big piece of evidence obtained by the Special Counsel.
TRUMP: Can you imagine what was on those e-mails?
HAYES: Then, the plot to stop Mueller.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: This is a hatchet job, plain
HAYES: Congressman Eric Swalwell on protecting the investigation, Bernie
Sanders on the tax bill and the new tax cuts for specific Republicans.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: What we tried to do is cobble together the
votes we needed to get this bill passed.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight we know that
the President of the United States was warned in the summer of 2016 that
Russia would try to infiltrate his campaign. And despite multiple
confirmed contacts between campaign aides and Russian agents, he never
informed the FBI. According to exclusive reporting from MSNBC News, then
Candidate Trump received the warning in a briefing from senior
counterintelligence officials at the FBI who urged him to alert the bureau
about any suspicious overtures of the campaign. We don`t know exactly when
that briefing took place, just that it happened after July 19th which is
when Trump officially became the Republican nominee and sometime around
August 17th when he received his first intelligence briefing. And yet
despite being briefed on Russia`s role on the DNC hack, despite being
warned that Russia was actively trying to infiltrate his campaign, the
President kept on publicly denying Russia did anything wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don`t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC.
She`s saying Russia, Russia, Russia but I don`t – maybe it was. I mean it
could be Russia but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other
people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ah, yes, the 400-pound bed hacker. A similar briefing on the risk
of Russian infiltration was given to Hillary Clinton around the same time
but unlike her campaign, Trump`s campaign at that point was already under
FBI investigation for its ties to Russia. That probe which we know began
in July 2016 according to former FBI Director James Comey. By the time the
President sat down with those FBI counterintelligence agents, seven of his
campaign aides had been in contact with Russian nationals or Russian
agents. One of them, Carter Page, was already being surveilled under a
FISA warrant. Three of them including the candidate`s own son had already
taken a meeting with Russians at least a month earlier, hoping to obtain,
and I quote here, “official documents and information that would
incriminate Hillary Clinton, part of Russia and its government support for
The man who sent that e-mail to Donald Trump Jr., a British music publicist
Rod Goldstone was spotted on Capitol Hill today heading into an interview
with the House Intelligence Committee. And the President maintains he was
unaware of his aides` Russia contacts, including the Trump Tower meeting
but we know he wasn`t totally in the dark. Because remember, in March
2016, he attended a meeting with that guy right there, George Papadopoulos,
who of course is now cooperating with the Special Counsel. We know that
Papadopoulos talked about using his connections in that meeting to arrange
a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin. It`s not clear if then-
candidate Trump shared the FBI`s warning December 2016 with any other
campaign officials but we do know the Russia contacts didn`t stop there.
Remember Jeff Session meeting with the Russian Ambassador in September?
Later that month Don Jr.`s correspondence with WikiLeaks which U.S.
intelligence officials regard as a Russian cutout. After the election,
when the full extent of the Russian sabotage was becoming clear, the
contacts between Russia and Trump world only seem to have accelerated.
They included multiple conversations between Michael Flynn and Russian
Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about new U.S. sanctions. Of course, Flynn lied
about those conversations to investigators. And after pleading guilty to a
felony, Flynn is now cooperating with the Special Counsel. We just learned
that Mueller has obtained tens of thousands of e-mails from the Trump
transition, which could help piece together what exactly was going on
during that key period. Already, the President and his allies attempting
to discredit Mueller are claiming those e-mails with their dot gov
addresses taken from government servers were somehow improperly obtained.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It`s not looking good. It`s not looking good. It`s quite sad to
see that so my people were very upset about it. I can`t imagine there`s
anything on them frankly because as we said, there`s no collusion. There
is no collusion whatsoever. But a lot of lawyers thought that was pretty
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We already know there is something in those e-mails. According to
the New York Times, they include correspondence among top Trump transition
advisers, planning Flynn`s outreach to the Russian Ambassador. Julia
Ainsley is a National Security and Justice Reporter for NBC News who broke
the story today on Trump`s warning from the FBI. First, give us the
context for this warning.
JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY AND JUSTICE REPORTER: So it`s
important to remember that when someone becomes a major party candidate,
it`s pretty much pro forma for them to be given counterintelligence
briefings by the FBI and other members of the intelligence community. So
we know that this briefing was given to the Clinton campaign as well as the
Trump campaign after the two had become the nominees, in part because when
you become the nominee, you are privy to intelligence information that can
make a target for foreign adversaries. We know that Russia was a specific
part of this warning. They know that he was brief and warned.
And what this does it is sort of changes the prism through which we see the
Trump campaign`s relations with Russians during this time. Clinton, of
course, was someone who had been through briefings like this in the past.
And Trump has always said he was somewhat of a political novice, that he
didn`t really know all of these rules. They wouldn`t have known not to
take some of these meetings. Now that becomes a little harder for him to
stand behind when he was given the specific warning.
HAYES: Now, one of the items in your story is that they specifically said,
you know, let us know essentially if any of this is happening. You know,
you would imagine that that would also apply retroactively, right? So if
the President were particularly affirmative, if he did know that this was
happening, that maybe he would put two and two together. But we have no
evidence as of now that at any point the president, the now president
reached back out to the FBI to talk about any of this.
AINSLEY: That`s true, Chris. There have been no public records of and the
White House has never said it actually did approach the FBI to report on
anything, either before that briefing or afterward. Really, what this does
it is kind of gives them a consciousness of guilt. If for example Trump or
someone else in that briefing had known than June meeting that you just
cited with Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer to get that dirt on Hillary
Clinton, they then would have been in a position where they needed to
report that to the FBI. And the same goes forward. That would be Trump
Jr. – Donald Trump Jr.`s interaction was WikiLeaks in September. That was
just a month after the briefing.
Also that September was Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a Senator
meeting with Sergey Kislyak in his office. Those things were not reported.
And now that we know that they were given the specific briefing, it
definitely places them in sort of a different prism in the way we look at
whether or not this was just a campaign that didn`t know any better, when
it maybe looks like they did know better and should have reported it.
HAYES: Do we know who other than then Candidate Trump was in that
AINSLEY: All we know is it would have been a very small circle.
AINSLEY: This is not something where they want to spread it widely. They
don`t want to go to a middleman. They go to the candidate himself or
herself and just a small number of very senior advisers.
HAYES: All right, NBC`s Julia Ainsley with great some great reporting.
Great to have you, thank you.
HAYES: For more on this latest twist on the Russia investigation, let`s
bring in former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade and Nick Akerman, former
Special Assistant Watergate Prosecutor. Barbara, let me start with you. I
mean, it`s always struck me as odd that at no point during the course of
this year in which this was a front page top of line story that Russia`s
possible responsibility for the DNC hacks, the Podesta hacks, that anyone
from the Trump campaign ever picks up the phone or writes e-mail and says,
wait a second, what`s going on here. How does this information add to your
picture of what they were up to?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes, I think it`s a very
significant piece of reporting because, you know, it`s not illegal per se
to fail to tell the FBI about these overtures but it`s certainly a threat
to our national security and it`s a failure to be vigilant in protecting
our national security. But as Julia said, it also is this concept known by
prosecutors as consciousness of guilt. Why would you not share this
information with the FBI when they specifically asked you to? Well, one
reason might be that they had something to hide. And so that is a kind of
category of evidence that is very significant to prosecutors.
HAYES: Yes, this is something done – I want to play what Don Jr. said to
Hannity after that Trump Tower meeting. A similar question keeps pop up.
I keep imagining in my mind the sort of movie version of this where after
the Trump Tower meeting they start reporting publicly that Russia is behind
the DNC hacks and wondering even if they had the best of intentions, had no
idea they weren`t colluding with Russia, like, what light bulb is going off
in Don Jr.`s head at that point, right? Is he is watching this? Here`s
what he had to say to Hannity. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: At any point in your mind, did Don
Jr. have a siren say OK, they`re talking – again, guy back to the first e-
mail about Russia, Russian government, meeting with this person. You`re
going talk on the phone. Did you ever think maybe this might not be –
TRUMP JR.: Listen, I think – like I said, in retrospect, I probably would
have done things a little differently. Again, this is before the Russia
mania. This is before they were building it up in the press. For me, this
was opposition research. They had something you know, maybe a concrete
evidence to all the stories I`ve been hearing about that were probably
underreported for you know, years, not just during the campaign. So I
think I wanted to hear it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: This wasn`t just
opposition research. I mean, this was an e-mail that said the government
of Russia is backing your father for President, number one.
HAYES: Which let me just say, stop right there. Let`s say he didn`t
realize then at some point down the road, it always has bugged me. Like
doesn`t someone say wow, that was kind of weird that we took that meeting
when they offered us the Russian government`s help.
AKERMAN: Not only offered the Russian government help, but that they were
going to give them all these documents and dirt on Hillary Clinton, that
they were going to give to it Trump`s secretary. But then they decided
better to bring it in person. And these are the same probably the stolen
e-mails from the Democratic National Committee that the campaign knew about
in April through Papadopoulos.
HAYES: This is your theory. This is the Nick Akerman theory of the case.
I have to be clear here.
AKERMAN: It is true but I tell you, this is – this is all making sense
because it`s all coming together this way. I mean, if there`s one surety
here is that there was a criminal act breaking into the Democratic National
HAYES: Yes. And to Podesta`s e-mail.
AKERMAN: That`s right. And the only real question is, was the campaign
and conspiracy with the Russians with respect to the ultimate goal to help
the Trump campaign?
HAYES: Barbara, I want to ask about this e-mail issue which was a very
strange thing. The Trumps` lawyers write an e-mail complaining about how
Robert Mueller acquired the transition e-mails, which are government e-
mails, how he did it. But they don`t write to it Mueller and they don`t
write to it a judge, they write it to Congress. Do they have any case
MCQUADE: No, I don`t think so at all. And I think the fact that they
wrote it to Congress indicates that they even know they don`t have any
MCQUADE: As you said, it`s on a government computer. When you fire up a
government computer, it says right at the first part you get a ban or that
says warning, this computer is owned by the United States Government, users
have no expectation of privacy.
HAYES: That`s pretty clear.
MCQUADE: And Mueller`s spokesman has said we obtained the e-mails either
by the consent of the user or through legal process. And there is a number
of ways the legal process you can get e-mails. I`ve gotten them in public
corruption cases before. You can get them with a search warrant, with a
court order, with a subpoena, or because this is a counterintelligence
investigation, with a national security letter. So I take Peter Carr, the
spokesman at his word when he said they used legal process to get these and
I think this argument is nonsense.
HAYES: This line jumped out at me. Mueller issued a statement, which is
extremely rare. We basically never hear anything from him, from his
office. As far as I can tell and the reporters I know, they`re not even
leaking. I mean, that`s a very (INAUDIBLE) but you would dig with at this
and it caught my eye. “When we have obtained e-mails in the course of our
ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner`s
consent or appropriate criminal process.” Really got that adjective
criminal in there twice in that sense.
AKERMAN: That`s what this is all about. This is a criminal investigation.
I mean, if you look at this seven-page letter which is a bunch of
(INAUDIBLE). I mean, this is unbelievable. They threw around all these
legal terms, this is privilege, that is privilege. But what they don`t
acknowledge is there`s no executive privilege because Trump is not –
HAYES: Is not the President yet.
AKERMAN: And there`s no attorney-client privilege because there wouldn`t
even explain how attorneys had anything to do with these e-mails.
HAYES: Why are every – lawyers that I know across the political and
ideological spectrum seem to not be particularly enthusiastic about the job
that the President`s lawyers are doing. Do you share that assessment?
AKERMAN: I tell you, I wouldn`t hire them to get an ant out of my house.
I mean, I really would not rely on them for anything.
HAYES: Is that your assessment as well, Barbara?
MCQUADE: I don`t know about that. I mean, I think the things that they`ve
been saying publicly is we encourage cooperation and you know, suggesting
an era of confidence that the President and others will be exonerated. I
think that strategy is probably sound.
HAYES: Yes, it is in the short-term at least. We`ll see where it ends up
in the long-term. Barbara McQuade and Nick Akerman, thanks for being here.
AKERMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Up next, are House Republicans planning on ending the
investigations into Russian meddling? I`ll talk to House Intel Committee
Member Eric Swalwell who says doing so would be an abdication of duty. He
joins me in just two minutes.
HAYES: – protecting the Robert Mueller investigation continues, Democrats
are warning that the investigation by the House Intelligence Committee
appears to be in danger of being shut down by the Republican majority.
Congressman Trey Gowdy, a Republican on that Committee told NBC News that
it is in the public`s interest to finish this quickly as possible so that
they can issue a final report. He accused Democrats of wanting to prolong
their work for political reasons. “There is not a single soul with an open
mind who is waiting on the House of Representatives Russia investigation to
unlock the mysteries of the world for them. There are people who have
already made up their minds waiting to see whether or not the previously
held conviction will be validated. But I think most people are waiting on
As Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Congressman Gowdy
presided over one of the longest running special committees in the history
of the United States Congress. It was longer than investigations into
Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, and the 9/11 attacks.
And his committee also followed several other Congressional Committees on
Benghazi. Congressman Eric Swalwell of California is a Member of the House
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. One thing did jump out to me
about what Gowdy said, which is people are really keyed in on Mueller`s
findings ultimately. If that`s the case, why does it matter when your
investigation wraps up?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Good evening, Chris. I`m more
optimistic than my colleague, Mr. Gowdy about the role Congress can play
and the impact we can have, because first, Mr. Mueller, he`s not charged
with making political reforms so that this never happens again. For
example, I think one reform that`s going have to be put in place is a law
that if you are approached by a foreign national offering information about
your political opponent, there should be a duty to report. Right now
there`s no duty to report and we saw that there was no report the big
Trump family or the Trump campaign. And then also what role does social
media play going forward if they see attacks happening on their platforms,
or if coordination is occurring with campaigns. So there is a lot we could
learn if we were to run a thorough investigation. So I`m more optimistic
about what we could do if we actually were curious and wanted to make a
HAYES: You know, your colleague Adam Schiff, who is the Ranking Member on
that Committee, has shared his concerns that essentially the fix is in,
that the Republican majority is going to wrap this up. He has also become
a real lightning rod for criticism, particularly from the President`s
allies over at Trump T.V. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that allies of President Trump are now turning
up the heat on Schiff may help explain why today the top Democrat on the
House Intel Committee tried to point the finger elsewhere. They`re
demanding the Justice Department investigate whether it was Adam Schiff
himself or other top Democrats that did the leaking. And they think that`s
why Schiff came out today, Laura, and started trying to shift the blame and
say the Republicans are trying to shut down this investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do you think that`s right?
SWALWELL: No. It`s because he`s effective. He has – he has led us in a
quite a unified way on the committee. And, Chris, if you just think back
to March, that opening statement that he gave before James Comey testified
about just you know, what we believe we knew the Russians had done, how
much of that has proved to be true and how much more we`ve learned. We
didn`t know about the June 9th e-mails when Mr. Schiff gave that opening
statement. We didn`t know that Felix Sater and Michael Cohen were talking
about how they could engineer a victory for the President. We didn`t know
about all the outreach that WikiLeaks had done with Don Jr. or with
Alexander Nix from Cambridge Analytica as was reported by Julian Assange.
So we have learned so much and there are so many more witnesses we should
hear from if my Republican colleagues want to understand just exactly what
HAYES: Can you solve the mystery for me. What exactly is the role of
Devin Nunes? I remain confused on this. Because at one level, he`s
recused from the investigation but he sort of popped in there every once in
a while to maybe mess around with it a little bit. Like is he recused or
isn`t he? Is he calling the shots on this committee or is he not?
SWALWELL: Well, he stated that he`s recused of course, but he still signs
the subpoena as they relate to this investigation, which I believe defies,
you know, being recused. But you know, this isn`t – this is an
investigation bigger than one person. Our – at least on our side, we try
and just focus on the witnesses. I think when the public transcripts are
made available, you will see the deep interest and the thoroughness that
our side has put into this in a quite an objective way. And if we were
given you know, subpoena power to you know, corroborate or repudiate these
stories that are being told us to, I believe we would learn a lot more. So
thankfully, Robert Mueller`s investigation will go on because he has access
to the records, he has been able to get guilty pleas because he has
confronted people who at first wanted to tell lies and then told you know,
a different story once they were confronted with outside research and
HAYES: Quickly, do you in the minority, the Democratic Party in this
Committee have recourse, any recourse the majority just wants to shut this
down at some artificial deadline?
SWALWELL: The public sentiment, Chris. The public deeply cares about
where this investigation goes and that we protect our freedom to choose.
And so, I still hope we pass legislation to have an independent commission
harkening back to September 11th. That`s what he did after that and I hope
you know, the public sentiment stays with us because this is about our
freedom at the polls.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Eric Swalwell, thankyou.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
HAYES: Still ahead, the President`s response to questions about firing
Robert Mueller. Plus, new reporting about who the President sees as a
threat to his administration. That story coming up.
HAYES: There is perhaps nothing we take more for granted in our modern
life than access to electricity. This weekend an underground fire led to a
nearly 11-hour power outage at Atlanta`s Hartsfield-Jackson International
Airport, prompting more than 1,500 flight cancellations, more than 700
delays and countless headaches across the country as the entire flight
patterns were disrupted. It was a reminder of how much we depend on power,
on having access to power, and how acutely we feel its absence when it`s
gone. Now imagine that instead of 11 hours, you had to go without power
for three months with no end in sight. And that is the situation for many
of the more than 3 million American citizens in Puerto Rico, which still,
still has less than 70 percent of its power back a full three months after
At this very moment, as you`re watching this, hundreds of neighborhoods
remain in the dark. And this has ramifications for nearly every aspect of
people`s life there of course. Portable generators have helped a bit on
the margins but the staggering impact of the outage is now coming into
stark relief. Today Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello ordered a review
of the official death count from the hurricane which currently stands at
just 64 people. And the move comes after media outlets compared year to
year death rates and found in the case of the New York Times that 1,052
more people than usual had died across the island in the 42 days after
We don`t know exactly how many deaths are a result of the extended
widespread lack of power, but its impact is pretty clear. It`s contributed
to spread of disease with many lacking access to clean water. It`s meant
that hospitals have been severely limited in the care they can provide. It
has made the day to day tasks of everyday life in Puerto Rico fraught and
exhausting. In October, President Trump boasted about the low death toll
number in Puerto Rico saying it was a sign that Maria was not “a real
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between one and 10, how would you create the White
House respond so far?
TRUMP: I`d say it was 10. There`s never been anything like that. I`d
give ourselves a 10.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you considering firing Robert Mueller?
TRUMP: No I`m not. No. What else? What, are you surprised?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The question everyone has been asking is whether President Trump
will fire the man investigating him, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a move
that would almost certainly precipitate a full-blown constitutional crisis
and pretty much cause all hell to be break lose in Washington. But the
President doesn`t necessarily need to fire Mueller in order to contain him.
The President`s allies are working overtime to delegitimize the Special
Counsel with Trump T.V. going into overdrive to characterize Mueller and
his team as biased, corrupt and even plotting, “a coup in America.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation into Donald Trump`s campaign has been
crooked from the jump. But the scary part is we may now have proof the
investigation was weaponized to destroy his Presidency for partisan
political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters. Now
if that`s true, we have a coup on our hands in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: He said, if that`s true. And then there`s like a question mark,
coup in America? He`s not saying it, he`s just asking a question. At the
same time, Trump may move to box Mueller and by far his boss in replacing
him with someone more pliable. The man who oversees Mueller is Deputy
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who has that role because Attorney General
Jeff Session had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
Now Trump has long cast aspersions on Rosenstein, and now advisers tell The
Washington Post that on recent discussions Trump has complained that
Rosenstein has showed insufficient accountability on the special counsel`s
work. Trump also reportedly also mocked Rosenstein`s recent testimony on
Capitol Hill, ranted about Rosenstein, who is a Republican, as, quote, a
Democrat, and characterized him as a threat to his presidency.
With me now MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele, former chair of the
Republican National Committee and MSNBC Sam Seder, host of the Majority
And Michael, I`ll start with you. There`s you know, it`s not to notice the
kind of crescendo building in the president`s favored media outlets about
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Right.
HAYES: There is one theory that I thought was interesting, and Josh Barro
and a bunch of other people said this is that it`s not a move to fire him,
it`s a substitute for firing him, it`s an attempt to delegitimize whatever
he comes up with.
STEELE: Yep, that`s right.
HAYES: Because they still learned the lesson from firing Comey exploding
in their face. Do you buy that?
STEELE: I do. And that is very much a part of the effort here at this
stage, because they know the political consequences of firing him, Mueller,
is the nuclear option. And they don`t want to do that, so let`s just do
sort of a land-based attack here.
STEELE: And we`ll just go after him every day through the various media
outlets that toot our
particular horn, and we will just create this narrative and keep saying it
over and over and over again. And so now we`ve sort of layered on top of
that sort of some kind of icing around this idea of coup that Mueller is
about a coup – and keep in mind, folks, this is the same Mueller that just
a few years ago Republicans were patting on the back and lauding as a great
American, you know, public servant and war hero. And, you know, a straight
arrow – and, you know, someone that we could trust.
STEELE: Just in a matter of a few weeks now, we can`t seem to do that
STEELE: And he is none of those things.
So, yeah, this is a concerted ongoing effort to delegitimize the special
HAYES: So I thought The Washington Post reporting on Rosenstein was
fascinating for exactly this reason, which is that any – first of all,
firing Mueller would have to go through Rosenstein, because he is the
person who could fire Mueller. He directly supervises him, a; and b,
firing Murller would be the nuclear option. Rosenstein is a more
interesting figure. Like, how would you game out what the reaction would
be if Rosenstein were fired?
SAM SEDER, HOST, MAJORITY REPORT: If Rosenstein was fired and then
theoretically someone was brought in to replace him?
HAYES: Yeah, exactly.
SEDER: I mean, I think there would be a lot of suspicion as to why
Rosenstein was fired.
I think – let me just go back for a moment. I don`t think they`re
HAYES: You`re saying like delegitimize versus firing?
SEDER: Yes. I mean, I think it`s quite possible that what we saw was some
– and I don`t want to overstate the calculation involved here, because I
think it`s quite possible that Donald Trump wakes
up in the morning and is like I`m going do it today. And then other people
say no, don`t do it today. And so it`s quite possible that what we see is
some form of a trial balloon. And maybe as soon as there is this pushback
like we`ve seen over the past week, it causes people to cause him to calm
SEDER: I mean, I don`t think – incompetence and complete whim cannot be
underestimated as a plan here. Broadly speaking, though, the idea is
delegitimize him, create this alternate narrative that
goes on through the right wing media so that when something comes up, if
something comes up, it is
already DOA in their minds.
We should also note that the president – there is some idea when you think
the Trump TV is doing the president`s bidding. But the sort of flow of
information goes the other way too, like he is just watching it all the
time. And they`re planting ideas in his head. And this is why I think the
Rosenstein piece of this is significant, Michael. Because Mueller has
allies on Capitol Hill. He has got an outsized reputation for all the
reasons you note. He served in all these different administrations. He`s
is the one running the special investigation.
Rosenstein is a fairly anonymous figure. He has already somewhat
compromised by the role he played in the Comey firing, which has him –
earned him a lot of skepticism among Democrats. He clearly has some
skepticism among Republicans. I worry about him not having a necessary
political base to be protected should the president move against him first.
And I wonder what you think
Republicans would do.
STEELE: Well, I think that`s very good question. But I also say that he
has a little bit more juice among some base members, meaning the Senate and
the House Republicans, than you would think. I mean, he, again, is not
someone who is a gadfly, a sort of we don`t know who he is. He was also
lauded and hailed in his appointments to Justice and even being elevated
here. He was considered as someone who was a safe bet despite all the
other politics around Sessions.
STEELE: But here is the other thing that I find very interesting about
this whole idea that the president wants to fire Mueller. For what?
Because here is – here is the reality, you`ve got at least four people
now, two of whom have actually plead guilty.
STEELE: To, you know, to crimes. So clearly this investigation is not a
whole lot of noise about nothing, there is a something here. And so this
idea whether it`s Mueller or Rosenstein, either one of them going away
does not solve your underlying problem.
SEDER: Well, I mean, I think – I happened to catch a little bit of Rush
Limbaugh today. And as far as Rush Limbaugh was concerned, it`s like 50
percent of the country already thinks that Mueller is just completely
crooked and this is going nowhere and this is a joke. And that he
shouldn`t – it`s almost as if they shouldn`t even fire Mueller because
what he is doing is such a joke anyways, it`s not going to make a
And I think that is sort of where they`re mutating into.
But if they fire Rosenstein, they`re going to have to go down. They`re
going have to find some
U.S. attorney who is out there in the country who is going to be brought
in. And there is going to be – you know, they`re going to have to get
very lucky that they get the right one the first time or there is just
going to be this trail of people.
HAYES: See, that`s the problem.
SEDER: Who will be brought in. Will you fire Mueller? No. And then to
the next person.
HAYES: Slow motion. And I think you have people whispering in the
president`s ear, remember what happened when you fired Comey. Remember what
happened, remember what happened.
Michael Steele and Sam Seder, thank you both.
Still to come, a new provision in the tax bill that could mean cash back in
the pocket of the president and members of Congress, including Senator Bob
Corker, who just went from a no vote to a yes. I`ll talk to the reporter
who broke that story, ahead.
Plus, the truth is out there. Specifically, it`s in tonight`s Thing 1,
Thing 2, next.
HAYES: Thing 1 tonight, the U.S. military has been investigating UFOs,
unidentified flying objects, and weirdly, no one seems to be too worked up
about it. The remarkable admission by the
Pentagon came as a result of reporting by The New York Times, pretty august
publication, which published a story of the mysterious UFO program over the
In response to questions from The Times, Pentagon officials this month
existence of the program, insisting that the effort had ended after five
years back in 2012. But the former head of the program, Luis Elizondo, told
The Times the UFO program never shut down, and a successor was appointed
after he resigned in October.
So what did they find? Quote, the program collected video and audio
recordings of reported UFO incidents, including footage from a navy F-A-18
Super Hornet showing an aircraft surrounded by some kind of glowing aura
traveling at high speeds and rotating as it moves. The navy pilots can be
heard trying to understand what they`re seeing. There is a whole fleet of
them, one exclaims.
So, if you think it`s nuts that we held the news of an official UFO
investigation all the way to
Thing 1, you`re going to love that we have the official video of a UFO in
Thing 2 in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So no big deal, but the Pentagon has confirmed the existence of the
advanced aerospace threat identification program, a $22 million initiative
that studied UFOs for at least five
years beginning in 2007, and they released video, including a 2004
encounter when two fighter jets chased an oval-shaped white object near San
Diego. They also released a second video with cockpit audio as pilots
describe what they`re seeing.
The Pentagon declined to give a date or location.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a whole fleet of them. Look on the ASA. Oh my
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re going against the wind. The wind is 120 knots
to the west. Look at that thing, dude. That`s not an SOS, is it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s rotating.
HAYES: Last week Senator Bob Corker flipped to a yes vote on the
Republican tax bill, puzzling a lot of people because he was the only
Republican senator to vote no the first time around citing concerns about
the deficit. The bill that ultimately came back out of conference did
nothing to allay those concerns, and yet still, there he was, he switched
to a yes.
Now over the weekend The International Business Times dug up a provision in
the bill that
would seem to have a direct bearing on Corker`s own finances. Quote,
leaders and real estate moguls could be personally enriched by a real
estate-related provision GOP lawmakers slipped into the final tax bill.
That inserted tax provision could help investors with large real estate
holdings much like Corker himself. And so the phrase Corker kickback
entered the lexicon. You may have seen it trending on Twitter.
But we should say Republicans pushed back very hard on this. Senator Orrin
Hatch, the head of
the Senate`s tax running committee, wrote in a letter today the provision
had already been in the house bill and that Corker had not pushed for it.
Corker himself said he didn`t know about the provision because he didn`t
even read the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB CORKER, SENATOR: Obviously, I didn`t finish reading the bill until
this weekend. It`s a 503-page bill and obviously was never aware of it.
Certainly it had nothing to do with me deciding on wanting to vote for the
bill, and when I don`t even know the provision existed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, the process that led to Corker`s flip is still a bit unclear.
What isn`t in dispute is that the GOP tax bill will benefit directly and
handsomely many of the same people voting on it.
David Sirota, the IBT Times senior editor for investigation, the one who
first spotted the tax break in the final bill. David, my understanding is
this was not in either the house or the Senate, but it was some kind of
version blending of two ideas that had been in both the bills.
DAVID SIROTA, IBT TIMES: That`s right. The house bill included a broad
sweeping tax cut for the so-called pass-through entities. And the Senate
had restrictions on the kinds of tax cuts that could go to these entities,
basically trying to target the tax cuts to LLCs that actually hire people
and create jobs. The conference committee goes in, Corker hasn`t voted
against the Senate bill that included the restrictions, against the bill
that would include restrictions to basically prevent enriching the kind of
LLCs he owns.
They go into conference. They come out of conference. And what do you know,
provision that wasn`t in either of the bills basically looks like there is
restrictions on the kinds of tax cuts that go to these LLCs, but there is
one special provision inserted in there which tax experts say are
designed specifically primarily for LLCs that have depreciatable property.
That`s like buildings and real
estate. And LLCs that don`t have workers.
So it`s a provision as tax experts say for basically people who put their
real estate holdings in LLCs, namely, a good example Bob Corker, but not
only Bob Corker. We have a new report up at IBT
tonight, IBTimes.com, which shows all 14 U.S. Senators on the Republican
side who have these kinds of LLC shell holdings.
HAYES: One of the things you`re reporting over the course of this has
really illustrated for me is that just in general, Senators and members of
Congress have weird finances. They don`t have finances that look like the
rest of America`s because, a, they`re almost all wealthy enough that they
able to run in the first place. And b, that wealth doesn`t come from mostly
their wage income. We know what they make every year from their salary.
It`s a good amount, but it doesn`t make them super rich.
So you have all these weird provisions that are knocking around this tax
bill that do seem to
directly benefit a lot of people in Congress in ways they don`t your
average wage earner.
SIROTA: That`s absolutely, absolutely true. Look at Corker. This is a
person who his federal
financial filings show he made up to $7 million in outside passive income
last year alone. So that`s the kind of tax cut that we were talking about
that would benefit him. John Cornyn slipped a midnight
amendment into the bill that benefits people who invest in master limited
partnerships, a somewhat obscure kind of investment in the oil and gas
pipeline sector. Guess what? A number of congressional
lawmakers on the Republican side own those, people like Ted Cruz. They
would be enriched by the
provision that Cornyn slipped into the bill.
So you`re absolutely right. A lot of these different provisions would
absolutely enrich the very members of Congress who are voting on them.
HAYES: I think this is a part of this tax bill is going to come back to
haunt a lot of members who voted for this when all is said and done in
2018. David Sirota has been doing great reporting on this. Thanks for
SIROTA: Thank you.
HAYES: After the break, Senator Bernie Sanders on whether he thinks
there`s still a chance
to stop the GOP tax bill. Stick around.
HAYES: Republicans look close to passing the tax overhaul this week after
two more senators say they will vote yes. Senator Mike Lee of Utah tweeted
today quote, I will proudly vote for it, and Susan Collins of Maine said
she will vote yes, as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN COLLINS, SENATOR: I will cast my vote in support of the conference
agreement on the tax cuts and jobs set. While it is by no means perfect,
unbalanced this reform bill will provide much-needed tax relief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont calls the tax bill a gift to wealthy
Republican donors and joins me now. Senator, there is one thing that`s
clear, the messaging against the bill has been very effective. Monomoth has
reported 26%, basically unheard of for what is being sold as a tax cut
But here is an interesting polling I want you to respond to, half of
people, 50% of people think their taxes will rise under this bill, and
that`s true in the out years in 2027, but next year the majority of filers
are going to see a tax cut, maybe small but a tax cut. Do Democrats run the
risk of people getting to next year and saying oh, it wasn`t as bad as they
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VERMONT: No, I don`t think so. There is a new report
by the tax policy center, Chris, that says by the end of ten years, 83% of
the tax benefits go to the top 1%, 60% go to the top one-tenth of 1%.
Everybody would like to get a few hundred dollars in tax breaks and by the
way, next year there will be millions of people that will see an increase
in taxes. But your point is here, there are a lot of people who will see a
tax break, but people aren`t stupid. They understand when the deficit goes
up by 1.4 trillion, when the lion share of the benefits go to the people
that need it the least, no, they won`t be sympathetic to this very
disastrous and unfair tax plan.
HAYES: You know, it occurred to me as I was going through a lot of
provisions, we talked about some of the provisions that Bob Corker might be
implicated in in terms of real estate holdings,
and the president, your callings in the Senate aren`t typical filers. Most
of people you`re in the Senate with have a lot of money, wealth and income
from non-waged sources, not just the paycheck they get in the Senate.
Do you think that ultimately affects the way a tax bill like this is
written and passed?
SANDERS: You want the short answer to that question?
SANDERS: It is yes. Look, I just saw a list a few minutes ago of members
of Congress who have, who are in the real estate business and many of them
have real estate LCCs and they are going to
benefit very substantially from this legislation.
But of course, it`s not just that. So to answer your question, I think what
we have seen in the
last couple of months culminating this week is incredible greed on the part
of multinational corporations that will get huge tax reductions and on the
part of many wealthy people including
members of the Congress who have written legislation, which will benefit
HAYES: Is there any way to stop this train at this point?
SANDERS: Very difficult. I mean, they got 52 votes. We have 48 votes. I
don`t think there is anybody in the Democratic caucus who will be voting
for this piece of legislation but I think at the
end of the day, the Republicans will pay a very, very heavy price for
having passed this. Not only is this enormously unpopular, but with a $1.4
trillion deficit, there is no question in my mind because this
is what was in the budget they already passed. No question in my mind. They
will come back and ask for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,
education and other programs of vital importance to the middle class.
HAYES: I want to ask you about one aspect that has not got as much
attention as it should, which is the individual mandate repeal. I remember
when the constitutionality of the individual mandate went up to the Supreme
Court and all that was at issue was the individual mandate. It wasn`t
Obamacare or medicaid expansion it was just the individual mandate. That
was the lead top story in
the country, and when it was found to be constitutional, it was Obamacare
is saved. Now you have among other things, the individual mandate being
repealed in front of everyone. What does that mean?
What are the stakes of that part of this tax bill?
SANDERS: Well, what it means, Chris, getting to the question you first
asked me how people will respond to this bill, one of the ways they will be
responding is if – is they will be finding in many cases that their
premiums are going to significantly increase.
Now, I happen to believe, as you know, the United States should join the
rest of the industrialized world and do Medicare for all guaranteeing
healthcare to everybody. The individual mandate, though, said that if you
are young and healthy, you have to be part of the overall pool. If 13
million people drop out of that pool, there is no question that the pool
will be older and sicker, premiums will go up. People will not be happy
HAYES: One of the promises, also, in the beginning was this would simplify
the tax code. There is lots of props with the postcard-sized, you know, tax
filing and they did double standard deductions to make things easier for
folks but have they made good on that promise?
SANDERS: Not that I understand. As I understand it, this bill is going to
add a lot of
complicated provisions. I think the tax preparers of America are probably
feeling pretty good or they are going to be making a lot of money. So, no,
I do not think this bill ends the complexity of the
HAYES: Do you have a real estate LLC, Senator? Have you looked over or e-
mailed with your accountant on how this will hit you, Bernie Sanders?
SANDERS: No, I do not have a real estate LLC.
HAYES: Well, you`re one of the unlucky ones. Senator Bernie Sanders,
thanks for your time.
SANDERS: Thank you.
HAYES: Before we go a reminder, there is now an All In with Chris Hayes
podcast, something that might come in handy if you have some traveling to
do coming up. You can listen to our entire show for free wherever you get
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now.
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