The cruelty of the Trump agenda. TRANSCRIPT: 3/27/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: – do the right thing here and back the
Special Olympics. You sir just had a good weekend. How about giving these
kids theirs? That`s HARDBALL for now. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand healthcare now
especially very well. A lot of people don`t understand it.
HAYES: Fresh off the end of the Mueller probe, the President refocuses on
TRUMP: I hate to tell you, Porto Rico, but you`ve thrown our budget a
little out of whack.
HAYES: Attacking Puerto Rico and gutting the American health care system.
TRUMP: We are going to be the Republicans, the party of great health care.
HAYES: My guest tonight, someone who is taking the Trump agenda head on,
2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren. Then –
REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: You have zeroed out Special Olympics
HAYES: Trump`s Education Secretary called out for slashing funding for the
LEE: I still can`t understand why you would go after disabled children in
HAYES: Plus, the man at the center of the President`s possible obstruction
of justice reacts to the Mueller report.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: I can`t quite understand why he didn`t
resolve the question about whether the President was culpable for
HAYES: And Alexandria Ocacio-Cortes rips Republicans on the Green New
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTES (D), NEW YORK: This is not an elitist issue,
this is a quality-of-life issue.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
OCASIO-CORTES: This is serious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. The President is ready
to move on and focus on his agenda now that his hand-picked Attorney
General has temporarily at least blown away the dark cloud of the Mueller
report by issuing an extremely perfunctory letter seemingly designed to get
people to believe that Trump had been fully exonerated. It did not
He hasn`t, but until we can actually see the Mueller`s report, Trump has
something of a window to focus on his agenda so let`s talk about that
One, take healthcare away from more than 20 million people and literally
destroy the nation`s entire health insurance infrastructure. Two,
intervene to limit federal funding for the people of Puerto Rico as they
try to recover from the worst disaster in the island`s history. And three,
stick it to America`s schoolchildren by cutting $7 billion in education
budget and eliminating all $18 million in federal funding for the Special
We`re going to talk to Representative Barbara Lee who grilled Betsy DeVos
yesterday for more on that part of the agenda in just a little bit.
Now we know Donald Trump is not exactly a policy wonk. He`d much rather
sit around during executive time and live tweet Trump T.V. but he has found
an issue he`s apparently extremely passionate about screwing over the
people of Puerto Rico. He doesn`t want another single dollar going to the
island. That is a senior administration official talking to The Washington
Trump has reportedly made up figures about how much money went to Puerto
Rico to suggest the island has gotten too much recovery money. Remember a
thousand people or more died there in the natural disaster – 3000 at least
in the deadliest hurricanes in American history.
The President told Republicans that aid for Puerto Rico is way out of
proportion to what Texas and Florida and others have gotten and explicitly
asked top advisors for ways to limit federal support from going to Puerto
Rico. I wonder could – what it could be about Puerto Rico that has Trump
so laser focused on denying desperately needed funding to its people.
That`s just one plank of the Trump cruelty agenda. There`s also his
decision to have his administration back a GOP lawsuit to completely
eliminate ObamaCare. It`s a decision that has infuriated Congressional
Republicans who are burned over health care in the Midterms. One senior
GOP aide describing Trump`s move as the dumbest thing I have ever heard and
the equivalent of punching yourself in the face repeatedly.
Trump reportedly made the decision over the objections of Health and Human
Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr. And at the
urging of Acting Chief of Staff Nick Mulvaney who helped convince Trump
that his base would love the move. Many Republicans most certainly do not.
Here`s another quote. They are completely tone-deaf how about a few more
victory laps on Mueller while you can get away with it. WTF is wrong with
At this point, Trump and Republicans have no plan to actually replace
ObamaCare though Trump does have a slogan and plenty of empty promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are going to be the Republicans, the party of great healthcare.
And if the Supreme Court rules that ObamaCare is out, we will have a plan
that`s far better than ObamaCare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: He`s been promising that plan for about three years now. You`re
still waiting. If the Trump-back lawsuit succeeds and there is no
replacement bill, here`s what happens. 21 million people could lose health
care coverage between the Medicaid expansion and the exchanges, spending to
fight opioid addiction will be slashed, 133 million Americans with pre-
existing conditions will lose their protections in buying health insurance.
171 million would no longer have caps in the cost of expensive treatments
and the entire health insurance system, the whole thing will be thrown into
This is the battleground on which the 2020 election will now be fought
thanks to the president. Joining me now one of the Democrats who wants to
take Trump on in that fight who`s rolling out policy after policy. She
seeks to become her party`s presidential nominee Democratic Massachusetts
Senator Elizabeth Warren. Welcome to the show.
Senator, let`s start on the health care news. What do you make of the
reporting that they tried to convince the president not to do this
including the Attorney General and the head of HHS and he did it anyway?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, it`s been clear
from the beginning that they never intended to repeal and replace right?
All they wanted to do is just burn down the health care system. And I
assume the principal reason is because it helps a lot of people who are not
wealthy and part of the Trump energy.
And so my view on this is we just got to fight them back. We have to
defend healthcare. This is – they have put it in front of us and we said
this is part of what Democrats are about. We defend healthcare. That`s
one of our principle core issues and we will fight this all the way.
HAYES: You know, I`ve followed your writing and your speaking on the
subject of sort of corruption in Washington D.C. and the sort of influence
of corporate America and big industries. And I`m curious what you think of
this move because the health insurance industry does not want this. In
fact, they`ve explicitly come out against it. They have tremendous sway on
This is something that is so destructive, so out past the bounds of what
people want even inside the industry with a lot of money and they`re still
doing it. How do you make sense of that?
WARREN: Well, you know, I think it`s – you have to remember. In
something like the healthcare industry, there are a lot of conflicting
areas. So you may be right. Some of the insurance companies don`t want
it, but the flipside is shoot, a lot of the drug companies, they`re fine,
However, so long as they can just keep charging high drug prices and
nobody`s going after them to negotiate those prices and try to pull them
down, good with the big drug companies. And there`s just a bottom line
ugliness about this. Take away health care from 20 million Americans and
then celebrate afterwards.
You watched it, I watched it. I was – I was in the Senate. I watched the
House after they passed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and gave each
other high-fives. What kind of people give each other high-fives over
taking away health care from 20 million Americans?
HAYES: Is there a way – I saw some reporting about this. Obviously, the
Democrats don`t have the majority in the Senate. It`s very hard to bring
things up when Mitch McConnell runs floor time there. Is there any way to
legislatively get around this in terms of some sort of defunding of the
DOJ`s use of the lawsuit or anything like that?
WARREN: You know, look, there`ll be efforts – we`ll try, we`ll also try
to restore funding as part of the budget negotiations. As you say, there
are a lot of Republicans who don`t want to be here. But ultimately, I see
this is very different. I see this is the war of ideas.
This is about where you think this country ought to go and what you think
the 2020 election ought to be about. Donald Trump thinks what it should be
about is he gets his base all stirred up and he shows how tough and manly
he is by taking away health care for millions of people.
I think there`s another set of ideas that Democrats need to be talking
about. I`ve proposed a wealth tax and out of that universal child care and
cutting the student loan debt burden, and building millions of new housing
units, and attacking racial redlining head-on.
Those are changes that we should be talking about with the American people.
We have this incredible opportunity during a primary to talk about ideas.
And if you think that ideas are important and going to be an important part
of what happens to this country going forward, then look, we`re coming to
the end of the quarter.
And I could use everyone`s help on this. Go to ElizabethWarren.com. Pitch
in some money. Volunteer, sign up, but be part of the notion that we need
to be in a war of ideas, that we need to push our ideas forward. I need
help to keep putting those ideas in the debate. We need our Democratic
ideas to talk about not just being the tail on the dog that Donald Trump
HAYES: You have – you have a new policy proposal about antitrust and
agribusiness which I want to talk about in a second. Before I go and get
to that, I do want to talk about Puerto Rico because the President – this
is part of the budget fight. The president has zero – like really fixated
on this. All the reporting says this is the rare policy issue he`s quite
obsessed with. No more money for Puerto Rico. What`s your response to
WARREN: You know, first of all, we have already allocated money to Puerto
Rico that this administration is held up. And the money we`ve allocated to
Puerto Rico is not nearly enough. So this is ugly piled on ugly.
Donald Trump has done this to Puerto Rico and it is – it is fundamentally
wrong. This is three million American citizens who are held hostage to a
government right now that doesn`t want to make sure that they get basic
health care, that they have decent housing, that they have enough food for
their children to eat.
Donald Trump is fundamentally wrong on this and whether you`re Democrat or
Republican and Independent, every one of us should be pushing back. The
people of Puerto Rico are part of all of us. They are American citizens.
They send their sons and daughters to serve in our military in higher
proportions than almost any group in the United States of America.
And right now this is an island with people who are suffering. It is our
responsibility as American citizens and as human beings to step up on
behalf of Puerto Rico. The entire Congress Republican and Democrat should
push back at Donald Trump over this.
HAYES: You do have a new policy today that you rolled out about
agribusiness. And some of it takes on sort of I think using antitrust
tools to go after some of the largest agribusiness concerns. One of them
is a specific policy that is very interesting to me and I`ve read a bit
about before which is called right to repair. Can you explain what that –
what is a national right to repair law?
WARREN: So let me just put it in the context. As you rightly said, I`ve
been talking for a very long time about the importance of enforcing our
antitrust laws. The idea is that these giant corporations begin to just
take over whole markets, they wipe out competition, they squeeze everybody
else`s profits, and that we need a level playing field. And the way we do
that is we simply enforce the antitrust laws or places where they`re
incomplete we need to add to them.
So Right To Repair starts with this problem. A company puts out really
sophisticated equipment and then says if it breaks, the only one who can
repair it is you`ve got to bring it back to the company. That means you
don`t get to repair it at home the way my daddy and my three older brothers
used to do. You don`t get to take it to a shop in town where there are
three competing places. Both of those keep costs down for small farms.
Instead, you got to take it back to the one company that sold it to you and
they can charge whatever they want to charge. Because as long as the thing
is broken you can`t get any use out of it.
So right to repair just basically says hey guys, you got to make the
information and the parts available. You get to sell them. You can make a
profit on it, but you got to make it available to everyone. So once a
small farm has purchased a piece of equipment, they can either try to
repair it themselves if it breaks or they can take it to repair shops in
It`s just one more way to try to level the playing field a little bit we`re
a giant corporation is said no we`re going to scoop up all the profits for
HAYES: Let me ask you – this is a question about your approach here. And
you have rolled out a lot of policy on red line as you said, the wealth
tax, this new policy on sort of agricultural concerns. Do you believe that
policy can win people over particularly a general election?
In a primary when you`ve got a lot of different kind of candidates, I
understand you`re sort of differentiating yourself and is stuff you
actually believe in, I`m not saying you don`t. But do you think in a
general election that policy is what people vote on can you win over
certain voters with stuff like this?
WARREN: So I believe – let me do this in two parts. I believe that in a
primary this is our chance to talk about policy and to be able to explain
to each other and to the rest of the world these are the things we think
are important and worth fighting for.
Understand it`s not policy in the abstract, it`s a statement of our values.
When I say millionaires wealth tax two percent, and that we could pay for
universal childcare and universal pre-k for every one of our children, we
could reduce the student loan debt burden, we can actually build more
housing, we could attack racial redlining head-on with that money, that`s
not just a statement about budgets, it`s a statement about our values.
I think if we keep those ideas in the debate right now, that makes us a
stronger Democratic Party. That`s why I said I could use help on this. Go
to ElizabethWarren.com. It`s not about even at this point who you`re
voting for in a year. It`s about keeping these ideas. The Democrats
should be the party of ideas. We should be the party that`s driving the
debate. And that`s how we do it with tangible ideas that will touch
You know, an example around this. That wealth tax is not only popular
among Democrats and Independents, a majority of Republicans support it.
And then once you see how much money it produces –
HAYES: It`s a lot.
WARREN: Go out and talk to families about what it would mean to have
universal childcare, high-quality childcare available for free for millions
of families, what that would mean. And for low-cost for other families,
what it would mean to reduce the student loan debt burden.
These are things that touch people`s lives every day and this is how the
Democrats show, not tell, show that we really are out there on the side of
working people, that we don`t believe that government should just work for
the rich and powerful. We believe it ought to work for all of us.
HAYES: All right Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you so much for making
some time tonight.
WARREN: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, the sweeping cuts proposed by Education Secretary Betsey
DeVos including all funding for the Special Olympics. Congresswoman
Barbara Lee confronted DeVos about her deep cut. She will join me here in
HAYES: Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration are under firing – under
fire for zeroing out funding for the Special Olympics. The Secretary of
Education issued a defensive and angry statement today which essentially
admitted the administration wanted to zero out funding for the Special
The federal fund – government cannot fund every worthy program.” I got to
say it`s a bizarre thing for the administration to do given that the budget
is fundamentally a messaging document. It`s going to get changed a lot in
Congress. And the amount of money for Special Olympics $18 million is
absolutely minuscule in the terms of the entire federal budget.
And all might have escaped notice but for Democratic Congresswoman Barbara
Lee who called out Secretary DeVos when she testified about the budget
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: Your cuts here specifically target students of color, it`s
unbelievable low-income students, and I just have to say, Madam Secretary,
you have zeroed out Special Olympics. Once again, I still can`t understand
why you would go after disabled children in your budget. You zeroed that
out. It`s appalling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Congresswoman Barbra Lee of California, senior
member of the Committee that has the power to fort some of the Trump
administration`s worst instincts, the House Appropriations Committee.
Congressman, what flag this for you and what is your understanding of the
rationale of cutting the $18 million that currently goes to Special
LEE: Chris, I`m glad to be with you tonight. Let me tell you, this isn`t
the first year that this administration proposed to eliminate federal
funding for Special Olympics. This is the third time we have seen this
very unbelievably appalling proposal. And we, of course, did not go along
with it and Congress rejected it.
And so I don`t know when the secretary and the Trump administration will
understand that we`re not going to allow them to take away federal support
for children with special needs. This support gives them a real chance to
shine, Chris. And it`s no way that we`re going to let them do that.
HAYES: I literally don`t understand. Is there some staffer at OMB who
just really has it out for the Special Olympics and every year keeps
zeroing out their funding? Like what – of all the things in the universe,
what is – why?
LEE: I don`t know why they would do this. Because remember, Chris, a
budget reflects our values, it`s a moral document. And you know when you
look at this, is this what the values of this administration speak to.
We know that they presented a budget that really decimates public education
and I suspect this is a continuation of their effort to privatize public
education and they`re just taking federal support and the federal role out
of the public sector and trying to as Steve Bannon ta reminded us they want
to deconstruct the administrative state. They wanted dismantle government.
HAYES: You had another exchange on an issue that you`re quite passionate
about in terms of reporting requirements if I understand them correctly,
the Department of Education about school discipline. I want to play that
exchange and how do you explain what it was about. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: Students of color are suspended three times more than white students.
We put into place some requirements that would begin to turn this around.
You rescinded those requirements.
DEVOS: The letter amounted to quotas. Children are individuals, they`re
LEE: Madam Secretary, this didn`t – this didn`t involve quotas. This
gave direction on how to correct this horrible problem that we have
throughout the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What happened there, Congresswoman.
LEE: Well, under President Obama, the Department of Education began to
look at our urging the disciplinary issues as it relates to black and brown
kids and the huge numbers of expulsion and suspensions of young people.
Actually, I remember one report that showed that 40 percent of African-
American babies, preschool children were being expelled from preschool.
And so we wanted to wrap our hands around this and figure out what was
And so the Obama administration issued some direction to how to begin to
address the issues around school suspensions and expulsion so that children
could have a shot at receiving a quality public education without being
expelled or suspended. So we gave direction as to how the schools should
And so what happens under Donald Trump, they come in and they rescind all
of those efforts to begin to close these gaps on suspensions and
expulsions. And the secretary for the life of me doesn`t seem to get why
all children deserve civil rights protections in our schools. And she just
sidesteps all of the answers when we asked the hard questions about low-
income children, children with special needs, children of color, children
who are poor. It`s amazing that their agenda becomes very evident when it
comes to their education agenda.
HAYES: Final question. The chair of the Senate Appropriations
Subcommittee Roy Blunt today said that the Special Olympics zeroing out was
dead on arrival which has happened in the past as well and I`m not
surprised here. Is generally the entirety of the cuts that the – that are
proposed by the Department Education DOA to your mind?
LEE: I believe so. When you look at the draconian cuts to public
education, it`s very – they`re very sinister and they really do show that
this administration wants to privatize public education. When you look at
– there are at least 30 programs that address low-income children,
children of color, special-needs children that they totally eliminated.
And so yes, this is dead on arrival and I wish this administration would
step up and really present a budget that reflects a moral document which
puts children first.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, thank you very much.
LEE: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, fired FBI Director James Comey`s first interview
since the release of the Barr letter about the Mueller report, his reaction
to Special Counsel`s non-decision on obstruction next.
HAYES: It`s worth remembering the reason there is a Mueller report is
because Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel nearly two years ago
after the president abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey and claimed at
the time it was because of Comey`s handling of the investigation into
Hillary Clinton`s use of a private e-mail server, namely that he was too
tough and disparaging on her.
But then two days later in an interview with Lester Holt, Trump confessed
the firing was actually about Russia instead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: But regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey knowing
there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it,
I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia
is a made-up story, it`s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an
election that they should have won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today Lester Holt sat down with James Comey for a Comey`s first
interview since Robert Mueller submitted his report and asked him about
Mueller`s decision not to reach a conclusion about whether or not the
president obstructed justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS HOST: Mr. Mueller decides not to make a judgment on
that particular issue. Does that alone surprise you?
COMEY: It does. The purpose of a special counsel is to make sure that the
politicals, in this case, the Attorney General, doesn`t make the ultimate
call on whether the subject of the investigation, the President of the
United States, should be held criminally liable for activities that were
And so the idea that a special counsel wouldn`t reach the question and hand
it to the political leadership doesn`t make sense. I don`t – I don`t –
prejudging and I`m just saying it doesn`t make sense on its face, and so I
have a lot of questions.
HOLT: But do you think –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now are two MSNBC Analyst, people who know the former
FBI Director well. Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney, and Senior FBI
official. He was counseled to then FBI Director Robert Mueller and Chief
of Staff, and Senior Counselor to then FBI Director James Comey. And Ben
Wittes, Editor-in-Chief of the Lawfare Blog and a personal friend of James
Chuck let me start with you. Do you share that same reaction that Comey
has to what is described in the Barr letter about Mueller declining to
reach a decision on that question?
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER SENIOR FBI OFFICIAL: I`m certainly curious, Chris.
So, yes, I do share Jim`s curiosity and his concern. But let me add – and
let me hasten to add, I don`t attribute anything nefarious to Bob Mueller.
I had the privilege of working for Bob and for Jim, both men of tremendous
integrity, and so I assume, I presume, that there`s a perfectly good reason
why he didn`t reach a conclusion.
We have to read the report in order to understand what that reason is.
So, curious? Absolutely. But I want to reserve judgment until I see why
he did what he did.
HAYES: I mean, Ben, one possible explanation, which seems like the obvious
one to me, and maybe I`m not getting this right, is that if the president
can`t be indicted, it`s unclear what the point of reaching some decision
about a crime is, because you can`t charge him anyway, so what does that
mean in the context of a sitting president of the United States, which
seems like an obvious — I mean, that that`s something clearly that was
front of mind for Mueller.
WITTES: So I share that. My – one of the reasons I`ve spent a lot of
time this past year trying to get the Jaworski Watergate road map released
was that I was interested in it as a model for Bob Mueller, that is what
Jaworski did is he presents to congress just a kind of set of facts about
President Nixon had done. And I thought that`s an interesting model for
And so when I read this letter, my first reaction to it was, wow, it seems
not like he was deferring to Barr, although Barr appears to have
interpreted it that way, but that he was trying to lay this out potentially
for congress, at least that`s my working hypothesis. And in that case, if
that`s the case, my instinct is it may be a very reasonable and defensible
set of judgments. And so my instincts here are, to the extent that Jim
Comey is potentially criticizing Mueller for this, my instincts may be a
little bit closer to Chuck`s, that I really want why he did what he did,
and I`m not averse to the idea that it may have been a very smart and
reasonable thing for him to do under the circumstances.
HAYES: So Chuck, George Conway wrote a piece today. He says Trump is
guilty of being unfit for office. And he cites one – again, very few –
we don`t know how long the report is, although it appears to be quite long,
and there`s 42 words quoted in the letter. One of the things quoted is the
idea that it does not exonerate the president.
And Conway says, “the report does not exonerate the president? That`s a
stunning thing for a
prosecutor to say. Mueller didn`t have to say that.”
I should note, also, that Barr presumably didn`t have to include that in
the letter. Do you agree with Conway?
ROSENBERG: Well, I agree that it`s an unusual thing a prosecutor to say.
I was a prosecutor, Chris, for a long time and I`ve never said that. Then
again I`ve never had a case involving a sitting president of the United
I think your instincts are precisely right. The notion that you can`t
charge a sitting president, might mean that you ought not to recommend that
you charge a sitting president, and that makes sense to me. You know, as I
try to puzzle through why Bob Mueller did what he did or didn`t do what he
didn`t do, that strikes me as a very plausible explanation.
And so, look, I don`t want to get into Conway`s, you know, political
leanings or his political diatribe. I have my own views on this
president, and I`ll keep them private. But it is strange, I do agree with
that, to say that, you know, our findings neither implicate or inculpate
him on one hand or exonerate him on the other. Curious.
HAYES: I want to play for you, Ben, Jerry Nadler had a conversation with
Barr tonight, and some developments in the back and forth between congress
– that congressional chair on the Judiciary Committee, and Barr about the
delivery of that report. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERROLD NADLER, (D) NEW YORK: I had a phone call with the attorney
general and I asked him about the length and breadth of the Mueller report.
He told me it was a very substantial report, a very substantial report,
one, that in my judgment, a four-page summary cannot begin to do justice
I asked him when we would see it. And he couldn`t get specific. He said
weeks not months, as we have heard before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do we learn anything there, Ben?
WITTES: Well, so I – you know, we had heard the word comprehensive
before, very substantial is a slight advance over comprehensive. I don`t
know how think – look, my working
assumption has been that we are dealing with many hundreds of pages, and I
think it tends to
support that. I don`t know that – and I also think week, not months, is a
reasonable – it`s not a precise
time frame, but it does say that Barr is committing himself to this not
dragging out in a protracted sort of way.
And so I do think we can reasonably expect based on the letter, based on
what Justice has said and based on this, that in a relatively brief period
of time, we are going to have a capacious set of disclosures about the
substance of what Bill – of what Bob Mueller found. And I think that will
be a very salutary thing whether or not the results of that make us admire
the four page summary that Barr issued or be annoyed by it.
HAYES: I agree with everything you just said there.
Chuck Rosenberg and Ben Wittes, thank you both.
Still ahead, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rips apart a Republican argument on
the Green New Deal in a tight two minutes. Watch ahead.
Plus, the lengths President Trump will go to for Kim Jung-un in tonight`s
Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, we all know how Donald Trump feels about the
Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I got along very well with Kim Jong-un, really well.
We get along.
We`ve developed a good relationship, very good.
He`s quite a guy and quite a character and I think our relationship is very
You know, there`s a warmth that we have.
Our relationship is a very special relationship.
I like him, he likes me.
You know, we have a good chemistry together.
I think we have a very good relationship. We understand each other.
We have a very good relationship.
He likes me, I like him, we get along. He wrote me two of the most
We go back and forth, and then we fell in love, OK. No, really. He wrote
me beautiful letters. And they`re great letters. We fell in love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: They fell in love. It`s deranged. Which may seem to explain why
the president tweeted last Friday he would be withdrawing new sanctions on
North Korea which were, quote, announced today, except there had not
actually been any new sanctions announced that day.
The White House later explained, and I`m quoting here, President Trump
likes Chairman Kim and he doesn`t think these sanctions will be necessary.
Well, wait, what sanctions and likes? I thought it was love.
Administration officials later tried another explanation, which said that
Trump was referring to a
future round of previously unknown sanctions scheduled for the coming days,
and if that all sounds confusing and sketchy, it is because it is. The
truth is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So President Trump sparked massive confusion last week with this
tweet. It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional
largescale capital “S” sanctions would be added to those already existing
capital “S” sanctions on North Korea. I had today ordered the withdrawal
of those additional capital “S” sanctions.
Despite the obvious weirdness of the president tweeting a policy change
that totally undermined his own Treasury, the other problem was there
weren`t any new sanctions announced that day. The Treasury had announced
some sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies for trading with North
Korea the previous day. So maybe that`s what he meant?
At first Press Secretary Sarah Sanders seemed to validate that theory with
a vague statement, noting how much the president likes Chairman Kim, but
soon the typically leaky White House started leaking out a different line
saying that Trump was actually talking about a future as yet unannounced
round of sanctions against North Korea.
Well, today Bloomberg news reports that story was actually just an
attempted cover-up to hide that the president in fact intended to remove
those penalties Treasury had announced the day before against two Chinese
shipping companies. According to Bloomberg, officials in his
administration persuaded him to back off, but Trump stunned current and
former government officials by tweeting that he ordered their withdrawal
Now, why would he do a thing like that?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We would go back and forth and then we fell in love, OK. No,
He wrote me beautiful letters and they`re great letters.
We fell in love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This Friday, we`re hosting our special on the Green New Deal with
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx. And the reason we`re
doing it in the Bronx isn`t just because the Congresswoman and I are both
from there, though that is part of it, it`s because climate in the abstract
is too often treated as either some remote problem or an environmental
issue divorced from its affects on human beings.
But the climate is quite literally everywhere, and will quite literally
effect each and every one of us, particularly those already struggling the
most, which is why it`s patently absurd to call the issue elitist as
Republican Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin did yesterday during a
hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SEAN DUFFY, (R) WISCONSIN: We should not focus on the rich, wealthy
elite who look at this and go I love it, because I`ve got big money in the
It`s kind of like saying I`ll sign on to the Green New Deal, but I`ll take
a private jet from D.C. to
California. A private jet? Or I`ll take my uber SUV, I won`t take the
train, or I`ll go to Davos and fly my private jet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the co-sponsor of The Green
New Deal, was sitting right there listening to Congressman Duffy and had
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D) NEW YORK: Now, when we talk about the
concern of the environment as in elitist concern, one year ago I was
waitressing in a taco shop in downtown Manhattan. I just got health
insurance for the first time a month ago. This is not an elitist issue,
this is a quality of life issue. You want to tell people that their
concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell
that to the kids in the South Bronx, which are suffering from the highest
rates of childhood asthma in the country, tell that the families in Flint
whose kids have their blood is ascending in lead levels, their brains are
damaged for the rest of their lives, call them elitist. You`re telling
them that those kids are trying to get on a plane to Davos?
People are dying, they are dying. They are dying. And the response across
the other side of the aisle is to introduce an amendment five minutes
before a hearing and a markup? This is serious.
This should not be a partisan issue. This is about our constituents and
all of our lives – Iowa, Nebraska, broad swaths of the Midwest are
drowning right now, underwater. Farms, towns that will never be recovered
and never come back, and we`re hear and people are more concerned about
helping oil companies their own families? I don`t think so. I don`t think
This is about our lives. This is about American lives. And it should not
be partisan. Science should not be partisan. This – we are facing a
national crisis, and if we do not ascend to that crisis, if we do not
ascend to the levels in which we were threatened at the Great Depression,
when we were threatened in World War II, if we do not ascend to those
levels, if we tell the American public that we are more willing to invest
and bail out big banks than we are willing to invest in our farmers and our
urban families, then I don`t know what we`re here doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, the entire Green New Deal debate has revealed is that for
whatever real policy
divisions there are on the Democratic side, and they are there, the other
side basically has nothing. We`ll discuss, ahead.
HAYES: One of the many problems for Republicans in rejecting, or outright
mocking, efforts to combat climate change with the Green New Deal is the
fact that people quite like the Green New Deal, at least right now.
The New York Times points to recent surveys showing support for the Green
New Deal in three states where Republican senators are up for reelection in
2020. In Colorado, Cory Gardner`s state, 60 percent of likely voters
supported the Green New Deal. In North Carolina Thom Tillis` state, 56
percent did. And in Maine, where Susan Collins is likely to face a pretty
tough reelection battle, 57 percent of likely voters supported the Green
And climate change isn`t the only issue Republicans are increasingly having
a hard time coming up with any affirmative policy of their own.
I want to bring in two veteran reporters on Republicans, conservative
movement and their policies, Jane Costin, who covers conservatism in the
GOP as a senior politics reporter for Vox, and
McKay Coppins, who is on the same beat as a staff writer for The Atlantic.
Jane, I`ll start with you, I think the Green New Deal attacks have been
interesting, because there a lot of ridicule, but there is very little
desire to substantively engage.
JANE COSTIN, VOX: Right, right. When you have Senator Mike Lee making the
point that what needs to happen is more people need to have children in
order to combat climate change, I think that that`s a particular challenge,
but I think it does go back to the basic issue that the Republicans are
having right now which is that they are acting as if they are not in power
while in fact being in power.
And so obviously, you know, Republicans don`t have control of the House,
but they do have control of the White House. And I think it`s interesting
that the Green New Deal has not – has being rejected, but there isn`t an
effort by either in the Senate or in the House to say, OK, here is what we
would propose doing.
You know, we`re seeing more and more Republicans agreeing that climate
change is an issue, and that humans have been impacting climate change, but
there is no real effort to come up with a policy solution because I think
that for a lot of Republicans in congress, the idea of finding a policy
solution at the government level is anathema.
HAYES: I think – what you just said there, Jane, I think is a really
smart point that they`re acting like the opposition party as opposed to the
party in control.
And McKay, you know, I remember Newt Gingrich and the contract with
America. I remember Tommy Thompson`s governorship in Wisconsin, even the
Reagan administration. It was like we`ve got all these ideas, we`re going
cut back the welfare state. We`re going to change the way government
works. We`re going to do this, we`re going to do that. What does the
Republican Party want to do? It`s just completely unclear what the actual
affirmative agenda is.
MCKAY COPPINS, THE ATLANTIC: It`s strange. I read a news story today, and
I`m not going to name the publication of the reporters, because it`s not
necessarily their fault that there is so much ambiguity here, but it was
about how President Trump had met with Senate Republicans at a
private lunch today to discuss a sweeping ambitious new legislative agenda.
And it took until the fifth or sixth paragraph before it actually got at
any of the policy items on the agenda. It basically amounted to a couple
of trade deals, get a couple of nominees confirmed, and then a fairly far-
fetched proposal to create a new Republican health care plan to replace
Obamacare with, which I think they`ve already been down this road and it
didn`t go so well.
I mean, it is actually quite strange how few new ideas we see coming out of
the Republican Party at a time when they`re actually positioned to
HAYES: And Jane, I would say at a time when, you know, for the third year
in a row, 2015, 2016, 2017, U.S. life expectancy declined for the first
time since the flu pandemic in World War I. It`s been 100 years.
Something is going on in the country. And you can imagine a Republican
Party that felt a fidelity to the, quote, so-called Trump base, coming up
with some ideas for something to do about that, and yet there just doesn`t
seem to be much.
COSTIN: Right. And you`re starting to hear kind of ideas percolating,
especially along with members of congress who are interested in
conservative populism specifically. You`re starting to hear
representatives talking about expanding Earned Income Tax Credits and just
kind of taking on this idea
of, like, OK, government should be involved in some means, but then again,
you know, you also have – they have to reckon with House Freedom Caucus.
They have to reckon with the conservative members of their own party for
whom the problem here is government intervention in the first place.
And so I think that there is a sense that, you know, a real difference of
opinion in what is the government supposed to be doing. We are in charge
of the government, what are we supposed to be doing? And they`re not
really getting much leadership from the White House when the White House is
saying we`re going to become the party of health care when that`s clearly
not been the case over the last couple of years.
HAYES: And one of the things, McKay, is that the White House never
actually called the shots on the two big domestic policy priorities, which
was health care repeal and the tax cut, those were both things that
President Marco Rubio would have pursued probably in that order. That was
Paul Ryan and McConnell and the establishment, and sort of now that that`s
done, you can feel this kind of nihilistic listlessness, aside from
confirming nominees in the Senate, emanating from congressional
COPPINS: Yeah, I mean, something Jane said is true, which is that from the
very beginning, the Republican control of government has really been more
like a coalitional government that you would see in British parliament
where you had various factions with distinct ideologies that were working
together sort of, especially on the tax cut, like you mentioned. But other
than that, they just frankly disagreed on a lot of issues.
The one issue, the one area where the Trump administration has been quite
successful is in appointing federal judges. And they`ve been moving at a
rapid pace compared to past presidents. And this is in keeping with the
Republican strategy that the party has been pursuing for decades, which
they realized frankly earlier than a lot of Democrats and liberals that
shaping the judiciary was a way to implement their agenda on social issues,
regulatory issues, economic issues, and that`s where I think that you see a
lot of the movement.
But even that is not really coming from President Trump, it`s being led by
Mitch McConnell and a very kind of ambitious, aggressive way of confirming
HAYES: Yeah, I`m reminded – there`s a Grover Norquist line – I think it
was back in 2012 – when he was trying to rally the faithful around Mitt
Romney who – and the said faithful were not particularly excited about
Mitt Romney, that said all we need is someone with a hand to sign stuff,
right. And like it`s sort of like that with the judges at this point.
Jane Costin and McCay Coppins, thanks so much for joining us.
COSTIN: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the