Deputy AG won’t commit to protecting independence. TRANSCRIPT: 4/10/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests:
Carol Lam, Harry Litman, Richard Blumenthal, David Cay Johnston, Diana DeGette, Norm Ornstein, Wajahat Ali
Transcript:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  I forgot to mention the second thing to

remember about Trump`s visit to Mount Vernon, it was clear to those joining

them that President Macron knew a lot more about the place`s history and

the country`s than the guy hosting him.  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.

 

REP. CHRIS COONS (D-DE):  Has anyone in the White House seen any of the

report?

 

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES:  As I say, I`m landing the

plane right now.

 

HAYES:  The Attorney General throws gasoline on a Trump conspiracy theory

as he keeps the Mueller report under wraps.

 

BARR:  I think there was – a spying did occur.

 

HAYES:  Tonight, the start of a Trump world counter-offensive to

investigate the investigators.

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This was an attempted coup.

 

HAYES:  Plus –

 

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY, UNITED STATES:  We`ve

never had a policy for family separation.

 

HAYES:  Should anyone be able to rehab their image after implementing

Trump`s cruelty agenda?  And what happened today when Democrats faced big

pharma?

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The system is broken.

 

HAYES:  When Democrats face big banks?

 

REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS:  If you believe that your likely successor will

be a woman or a person of color, would you kindly extend a hand into the

air?

 

HAYES:  And when Democrats took on climate deniers in Congress.

 

JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES:  Are you serious?  I

mean, this is really a serious happening here?

 

REP. THOMAS MASSIE (R), KENTUCKY:  You know what, it is – it is serious –

 

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes.  Attorney General

William Barr is attempting what many before him have tried and failed to

do.  He is attempting to serve two masters, the public interest and the

President of the United States.  But when push comes to shove, there is at

this point absolutely no question where Barr`s priorities lie.

 

Today Barr was back on Capitol Hill for the second day in a row appearing

before a Senate Appropriations panel where he tried to restore faith amidst

an information vacuum of his own creation in the Mueller report that no one

has seen because he won`t let them see it.

 

Barr told Congress the report is being redacted with input from Mueller`s

team and he`ll make a good-faith effort to give members the information

they need.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BARR:  And I intend to take up with the House and the Senate Judiciary

Committees, the chair and the ranking members of each what other areas you

know, they feel they have a need to have access to the information and see

if I can work to accommodate that.  As has been correctly said here, the

fact that information is classified does not necessarily – doesn`t mean

that Congress can`t see it.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Of course, that was not the headline from the Attorney General`s

appearance today.  No, no, no.  The big news was that Barr is now

conducting his own review in addition to the one by the Department`s

Inspector General already underway of how the probe into the Trump campaign

got started.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BARR:  I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.  It`s a big

deal.

 

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH):  So you`re not – you`re not suggesting though

that spying occurred?

 

BARR:  I don`t – well, I guess you could – I think there was – a spying

did occur.  Yes, I think spying did occur.

 

SHAHEEN:  Well, let me –

 

BARR:  But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately

predicated.  And I`m not suggesting it wasn`t adequately predicated, but I

need to explore that.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  OK.  It`s clear from the context that Barr meant spying in a sort

of neutral sense as in surveillance.  You can see him sort of puzzle over

that word for a while.  The question he says that whether was adequately

predicated or whether it had a legitimate basis.  Did they undertake the

surveillance because there was a reason to?  And there`s no evidence

suggests it did not have a legitimate basis.

 

Of course, Barr just so happened to use the same sinister sounding word

that`s used by the President and his allies as a shorthand for the

conspiracy theory about so-called efforts to frame the Trump campaign, spy

gate.  Remember the President`s tweet more than two years ago that

President Obama supposedly had his “wires tapped in Trump Tower.”

 

That entirely bogus and unfounded claim was the basis for an ever-expanding

web of conspiracy theories collectively known as spy gate involving Carter

Page and George Papadopoulos and others promoted by Devin Nunes and Trump

TV and the President`s Twitter buddies to undermine the Mueller probe and

attack the president`s political opponents.

 

And so, when the Attorney General, the country`s most senior law

enforcement official used the word spying, well these were the resulting

headlines.  This is what Barr did for his boss today.  Gave him ammunition

for a pitch political battle with the stamp of approval of the U.S.

Department of Justice.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  This was a an attempted coup.  This was an attempted takedown of a

president and we beat them.  We beat them.  What I`m most interested in

it`s getting started hopefully the Attorney General he mentioned it

yesterday is doing a great job getting started on going back to the origins

of exactly where this all started.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took time out of the Democratic retreat

in Virginia to respond to Barr`s Congressional testimony.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Let me just say how very,

very dismaying and disappointing that the chief law enforcement officer of

our country is going off the rails yesterday and today.  He is the Attorney

General of the United States of America not the Attorney General of Donald

Trump.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  I`m joined now by two former federal prosecutors of the deep

understanding of the Justice Department`s non-political role, Harry Litman

former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and a former

Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and Carol Lam.  She`s a former U.S.

Attorney for the Southern District California, also a former Superior Court

Judge in San Diego.

 

Carol, I`ll start with you.  I mean, a lot of people heard that word and

you can see Barr wrestling with himself in the moment.  But the idea that

he is going to undertake a review of the origins of the probe which has

been a point of partisan contention for a while, what does that say to you

about the Independence of the Department of Justice under his watch?

 

CAROL LAM, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  I have to say that the one thing that did

surprise me is that Attorney General Barr seemed sort of surprised that

people were taken aback by the word spy.  It didn`t seem to register with

him that that was a very hot button type of word to use, and he did

eventually sort of change that into surveillance, and then he said his

concern was whether this surveillance was adequately predicated.

 

But you know, I think that it doesn`t actually surprise me given what Barr

has written in the past about the role of the president.  It doesn`t really

surprise me that he would say well, if the president wants me to open an

investigation or at least take a look into whether something improper

happened, I will do that.

 

And the question then is whether he`ll you know call balls and strikes

appropriately when he looks at what`s actually there.  So he did say I`m

going to wait for the I.G., the Inspector General report to come out next

week and see what it says and then we`ll take it from there.  None of that

is really that unusual but he seemed not to appreciate what the word spy

really suggested there.

 

HAYES:  Here is what it`s unusual to me, Harry.  It`s not necessarily the

actions of the Department of Justice, it`s the contexts are embedded in

which is the president berating, bullying, lobbying, and insulting his

former attorney general because he didn`t do what he wanted both on Twitter

and behind the scenes, and Barr knowing that this is one of several things

the President wants.

 

The President wants to be exonerated in the public mind with respect with

the Mueller report.  He gave him something that allowed him to say that. 

The President wants to think – people to think there`s a deep safe

conspiracy out to get him.  He gave him that headline today.  It`s a

question of whether you can trust Barr at this point as an independent

arbor given the forces acting on him from 1600 Pennsylvania.

 

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  It really is.  Look, it is unusual and

it is disconcerting.  You can take it from the point of view of what he

said or what he`s doing.  In terms of what he said, there would have been

20 ways to put it better including how about this, nothing at all.  No

comment other than perhaps I will look at it.  It`s a charged word.  He

knows it`s a charged word it lobbed a grenade into a political minefield.

 

In terms of what he`s doing, I take Carol`s point.  There`s a way of seeing

it as possibly bland and straightforward just looking at procedures, but

that`s not what the Attorney General would normally do.  You would – if he

wants the I.G. report, that suggests he wants the facts.  It suggests a

whole re-examination of the bogus charges involving McCabe and the like.

 

And that can only inflame a political squabble that the DOJ really has no

business being in and it is out of – it`s not in Barr`s interest to be in.

 

HAYES:  Well, and here`s the thing, Carol.  I mean, again there – I think

there are good-faith interpretations of Barr`s actions in bad faith ones. 

Although the bad faith from the White House is a sort of given, right, in

some ways, right?  I mean, the pressure from the White House is given.  We

know what the White House wants.  We know the White House does not respect

the independence of the department.

 

What – I want to get your reaction what he said today again when asked

whether the White House had seen the report which if it had would not

necessarily be improper because privilege review is something that would be

fairly standard but he gave a weird squirrely answer yesterday and another

weird one today.  Take a listen.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

COONS:  Has anyone in the White House seen any of the report?

 

BARR:  You know, I`m not going to – I`m not going to – you know, as I

said, I`m landing the plane right now and you know, I`ve been willing to

discuss my letters and the process going forward but the reports going to

be out next week and I`m just not going to get into the details of the

process until the planes on the ground.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  What do you think, Carol?

 

LAM:  Yes, you know, one thing is perfectly clear here and that`s that

politics and criminal law enforcement make really terrible bedfellows. 

That`s always been true.  It`s true now.  It was really hard for me to tell

whether Bill Barr was at that point just saying you know, I`m not going

down this rabbit hole, I`m just going to stop this dialogue now or you

know, it seems like it would have been easy to say no, they haven`t seen it

particularly since he had said that he was not going to submit the report

to them for executive privilege review.

 

He decided not just not to talk any further on it.  I don`t know what to

conclude from that.  I don`t – you know, if they`re not going to review it

for executive privilege, then I don`t really know if it`s that much concern

frankly because they`re not going to hold up the process anymore of getting

what they can to Congress.

 

HAYES:  Oh it does seem to me, Harry, that you should just answer it.  I

mean, again, like if you say yes, actually they decided they want a

privilege review and that seems something they`re entitled to.  You could

say that.

 

LITMAN:  You certainly could.  Now, it could be in the context of the

hearing.  He had just come in with stage directions that at some point he

was going to hold – you know, stonewall them and that was the point as

Carol says and it`s – it isn`t necessarily sinister.  But all these

questions will await – will be so much more illuminated as soon as we have

the report.

 

The bigger stuff about the Mueller report that came out to me though was

the revelation that Mueller from the time he told Barr that he wasn`t going

to bottom line has been completely out of the process.  Barr takes it on

himself to do this and doesn`t even consult with him, says, and this was

astonishing, he doesn`t know how Mueller feels about that.

 

HAYES:  Right.

 

LITMAN:  That makes it seem like a complete you know, sua sponte move to

use the legal term by Barr.  That`s strange and I`m not sure that will be

explained on Tuesday because it doesn`t look as if Barr is going to talk

about his own decision.  We should know a lot about Mueller`s decision,

however.

 

HAYES:  All right, Harry Litman and Carol Lam, thank you both for joining

me.  My next guest sits on the Senate committee with direct oversight of

the Justice Department, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of

Connecticut, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

You know, an e-mail went out today, Senator, that I thought was interesting

after Barr`s comments.  The RNC sent an e-mail out that says the hunters

become the hunted.  An RNC e-mail highlighting bar spying comment, the

hunters become the hunted.  What do you – what does that say do you think

about what happened today?

 

SEN. BLUMENTHAL (D-CT):  What it says, Chris, very clearly is that the Barr

initiative and it was his doing on his own using the word spying was a dog

whistle.  In fact, it was a screaming shout out to the far right ecosystem

to the false Trump narrative about his being the victim not the perpetrator

and the Republican National Committee is going to use this clip in ads.

 

It`s hard to see how this could not have been a calculated step by William

Barr because this term is so incendiary, so loaded.  No professional would

ever use it.  Remember, the person who authorized those warrants sits down

the hall from him, Rod Rosenstein.

 

And he depends on Rosenstein mentions him frequently as having concurred

with his four-page summary of the Mueller report.  So this kind of feeding

the narrative I think was a calculated decision.

 

HAYES:  You hadn`t exchanged today with a someone before your committee,

Deputy Attorney General Nominee Jeffrey Rosen about sort of ensuring the

independence of the Department of Justice even where he to be confirmed.  I

want to play that and ask what you came away from that exchange with.  Take

a listen.

 

BLUMENTHAL:  Will you commit to this committee and the United States

Congress that you will protect the ongoing investigations in the Southern

District of New York and the Eastern District of New York from any and

interference by the White House either to fire or discipline members of

those United States Attorney`s offices.

 

JEFFREY ROSEN, NOMINEE, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES:  So I think

what I would say about that is what I`ve said before which is I see and I

think the chair – Mr. – Chairman Graham alluded to this.  There`s

different functions in the department and the function with regard to law

enforcement investigations and prosecutions is one that needs to be free of

improper political influences, by the way from any source.  That includes

Congress as well as any other source.

 

BLUMENTHAL:  I agree.  And will you commit that you will protect against

any attempt to interfere in those ongoing investigations to fire a United

States attorney, to discipline anyone in those offices, to remove anyone

from those investigations, otherwise interfere with investigations of the

President United States who has been named in fact as an unindicted co-

conspirator Individual Number one?

 

ROSEN:  So I don`t think I can do better than what I just said before.  I

think that what I said before is accurate.  You embedded some additional

things that I`m not addressing.

 

BLUMENTHAL:  Well, I`m not inventing anything Mr. Rosen, I`m stating what

the facts are and the need for the independence and integrity of the

Department of Justice.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Was that lawyerly carefulness in Mr. Rosen`s part or something

other than that?

 

BLUMENTHAL:  It left me with less than full confidence in his backbone, his

determination to stand up to the President of the United States.  And as

you said at the very outset of the show, the question here really is about

law enforcement, the independence of our justice system.

 

And Mr. Rosen has a long and varied career, that`s what he has called it,

representing corporate clients, some in public service but none of it as a

prosecutor, none of it making decisions about how to defend his line

prosecutors.  So I`m left with the impression that the Department of

Justice is going to serve as the Roy Cohn for this administration and that

the Attorney General and his deputy are consiglieres more than

representative people of the United States.

 

HAYES:  Senator Richard Blumenthal of the Senate Judiciary Committee, thank

you very much for your time.

 

BLUMENTHAL:  Thank you.

 

HAYES:  Breaking news tonight on House Democrats requests for the

President`s tax returns.  Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin isn`t quite

ready to comply with the law.  He informed just about an hour ago the House

Ways and Means Committee tonight that the Treasury Department will not meet

their deadline in turn over the last six years of the President`s tax

returns by today`s deadline.

 

Mnuchin told Democrats he was still consulting the Justice Department on a

request he called unprecedented adding that it raises serious issues

concerning constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority,

legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose, and the constitutional

rights of American citizens.

 

The legal implications of this request could affect protections for all

Americans against politically motivated disclosures of personal tax

information regardless of which power – parties and power. 

 

Joining me now Pulitzer Prize Winning investigative journalist David Cay

Johnston who`s been reporting on Trump`s taxes for years and published part

of the president`s 2005 federal tax return on DCReport.org, the new site he

founded.  What do you make of the response from Mnuchin, David?

 

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, FOUNDER, DCREPORT.ORG:  Well, this is totally what we

expected and it`s completely false.  The law here is crystal clear and the

reasons that Richie Neal has set forward for requesting the returns

absolutely fall under the oversight functions of Congress.  And I think we

should look at this as part of something Donald Trump said today.  He said

there`s an attempted coup.  Well there isn`t attempted coup in this country

and it`s by Donald Trump.

 

He has to bring in law enforcement to its heel.  He has to get people who

have loyalty to him, the thing Jim Comey would not give him, so that he can

run roughshod over the law and he can evade responsibility and impose his

personal will everywhere in this government.

 

HAYES:  There`s a sort of interesting thing happening here which is that

the president has been pretty clear he`s not going to give this over and he

mentions an audit.  There is no mention of an audit in the Mnuchin letter. 

What do you make of that?

 

JOHNSTON:  Well, first of all, there`s no evidence there`s an audit.  Trump

won`t even provide an – the anodyne audit notice, and an audit could be of

a gift tax return that he`s gained a gift or one of his grandchildren.  So

first of all, there`s no reason to think there`s anything there.

 

But the statute has nothing to do with audits.  And once you signed your

tax return under penalty of perjury, you can`t change it.  You have to live

with what you sign.  Donald Trump who you were twice lost civil tax fraud

trials confessed to being a sales tax cheat and the New York Times showed

engaged in a great deal tax cheating late in the last century knows that if

his tax returns get examined outside of the IRS, he`s got serious problems. 

That`s why he`s so desperate to cover up.

 

And part of his effort to extend his lawlessness to the government and all

of us and our liberties are really seriously at risk here, Chris.

 

HAYES:  There was a very sort of diplomatic statement from – by the chair

or a Representative Neal concluding that I will consult with counsel

determine the appropriate response commissioner in the coming days.  I

think that`s because he`s preparing himself for a litigation.

 

There is something else that`s sort of preposterous about this whole thing. 

Mulvaney already said you`re never going to see the taxes.  We all know

that the position the government.  Mnuchin is effectively pretending to

consult when we all know what the consultation is.

 

JOHNSTON:  Well, they`re trying to delay, delay, delay, and fabricate and

mislead the public.  You know, millions of Americans out there believe that

Donald Trump is under siege by all sorts of horrible people and they have

good reasons to be upset and concerned because of the horrible things going

on in our economy that we`re not giving nearly enough attention to people

who have a high school education or work in factories and things like that.

 

But their policy here is to mislead and confuse the public about rather

arcane, obtuse, subtle but critically important to our country issues and

that`s all they`re trying to do here.  Ritchie Neal who knows economics is

a former high school economics teacher is being very judicious and cautious

because he wants to be able to go in front of the very first federal judge

no matter who they get and not have any lint on his case.

 

HAYES:  David Cay Johnston, a legendary tax reporter, thank you very much. 

Up next House Democrats confront drug company execs about the spike in

insulin prices as Americans ration medicine to stay alive.  Don`t go away.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  26 year-olds are not supposed to die because they don`t

have insulin, but without insurance Alex Smith couldn`t afford the $1,300 a

month to control his diabetes so he tried rationing his insulin.  Empty

vials found near his body.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Across the country, more than seven million people suffering from

diabetes depend on insulin to survive, and many have been taking desperate

measures to get the life-saving medicine as costs have skyrocketed.  Some

even traveling to Mexico to buy insulin at a far lower cost than they can

get here in the U.S.

 

U.S. insulin cost per patient nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016 to an

average annual cost of more than $5,700.  Some pay far more and many who

depend on the drug have reported a big price spike in just the last two

years.  One in four patients say they`ve skimped on insulin because of high

cost.  It`s an acute crisis one that Donald Trump has done a little about

despite his lofty promises otherwise.

 

Meanwhile, House Republicans are actually warning drug companies not to

cooperate with a House Democrat-led investigation into U.S. drug prices

which are the highest in the world.  And it`s against this backdrop the

Democrats on the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

convened a second hearing today on the rising cost of insulin with

executives from the three U.S. manufacturers of insulin, the nation`s three

largest pharmacy benefit managers.

 

The chair of the committee is Democrat Diana DeGette of Colorado and

Congressman to get joins me now to share what she learned.  What did you

learn at the hearing today?

 

REP. DIANA DEGETTE (D-CO), CHAIRWOMAN, HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND

INVESTIGATIONS:  Well, what we learned is that insulin prices have been

going up and everybody in the entire supply system is to blame.  The

pharmaceutical companies are setting the list price is really high.  I mean

it doubled in the last few years, but before – in the ten years before

that it tripled before that.  And so these list prices are going up higher

and higher.

 

But everybody in the distribute – in the distribution system takes a cut

of the list price so the pharmacy benefit managers who are negotiating with

the – with the insurance companies take a cut, the insurance companies

take a cut, the wholesalers take a cut.  Everybody takes a cut and that`s

what`s pressuring the price of insulin to go up and up.

 

HAYES:  So I don`t really understand because this is not – you know,

sometimes you`ll see famously the Martin Shkreli who had an AIDS drug right

that was – it was under patent and only one manufacturer and so he could

jack the prices up and there was no competitor.

 

Insulin is a fairly straightforward thing to make.  It`s been around since

the 1920s.  I don`t understand what mechanism is failing here to constrain

the prices.

 

DEGETTE:  Insulin has been around for almost 100 years.  And for example,

one of the short-acting insulins Humalog that`s been around – it`s been

around for over 20 years, it costs $35 in 2001 and now it costs over $200,

$270.  And the only reason for that is because of the pricing system that

we have right now.

 

HAYES:  Well so – I mean, whatever is doing this to insulin is probably

doing the other drugs too.  Like shouldn`t there be some bigger solution

here –

 

DEGETTE:  That`s right.

 

HAYES:  – or do you just mandate drug caps like they do in basically every

other OECD country?

 

DEGETTE:  Well, one of the reasons why we did this insulin investigation is

because it really is a case study.  It`s a drug that many people like the

person Alex that you – that you focused on, they need it to live.  If they

don`t have it they will die.  They need it every second, every minute, of

every hour, of every day of their lives.  And so if it`s too expensive to

pay for they will die.

 

And what`s happened is – so what`s happened is there are so many pressures

from the whole distribution system that the insulin price just keeps going

up and up.  And if you`re on an insurance plan, maybe you`ll get a good

copay, but if you don`t have insurance or if you`re in the doughnut hole,

or if the insulin is not listed on your drug formulary, you`re out of luck. 

So this is why we need –

 

HAYES:  So then, what`s the solution here?

 

DEGETTE:  There`s a lot of things.  Well, number one more transparency in

the system.  Number two, we need to look at regulations that make essential

drugs like insulin at a very low base price.  And there are a number of

other things that we can do too but the industry is going to have to work

with us.  And I think the first thing we need to do is transparency.

 

HAYES:  They`re not going to work with you though because they`re making a

lot of money off it and they`re donating to everyone`s coffers on Capitol

Hill.

 

DEGETTE:  Well, if they don`t work with us, then we`ll make him do it.  I

mean, one of the things that struck me in the hearing today was we had

tremendous bipartisan agreement about how serious this problem is and what

we need to do.

 

I`m the co-chair of the diabetes caucus along with Congressman Tom Reed of

New York, a Republican.  And last year we actually did our own

investigation.  We came up with a study where we recommended a number of

legislative fixes.  And I believe that the Republicans will work with us on

this because it`s just – you know, our constituents – I had a woman come

in Denver Colorado and she said, she`s working three jobs and she`s paying

$760 a month in insulin.  She`s been in the hospital four times because she

can`t manage her diabetes.

 

HAYES:  Well, a product that you need to buy to stay alive is not a normal

market product in any way and I don`t think we should treat it as such.

 

DEGETTE:  That`s correct.

 

HAYES:  Congresswoman Diana DeGette, thank you for your time tonight. 

Coming up the Republican Congressman who`s climate denialism leads John

Kerry speechless.  We`ll play you that exchange next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Less than two weeks ago, we did a special on the Green New Deal

with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  And there is a roiling debate

in the Democratic Party about how to deal with climate change.  But on the

other side of the aisle, there is just astonishing levels of bad faith,

trolling and outright idiocy.

 

The one exchange from yesterday`s House Oversight hearing that`s getting

the most attention was between  former Secretary of State John Kerry and

Congressman Thomas Massey of Kentucky who is, let me be clear, a smart guy. 

He has a bachelor`s degree in electrical engineering and a masters degree

in mechanical engineering, both from MIT.  According to his alma mater,

quote, “the phantom, Massey`s most notable invention, is a haptic computer

interface that enables users to feel physical objects in cyberspace.” 

Pretty cool.

 

He personally rebuilt a Tesla car battery to fuel his fully solar powered

home.  And he is also an object lesson in what happens to smart people in

the wrong informational environment.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. THOMAS MASSEY, (R) KENTUCKY:  Secretary Kerry, I want to read your

statement back to you.  Instead of convening a kangaroo court, the

president might want to talk with the educated adults he once trusted to

fill his top national security positions.”  It sounds like you are

questioning the credentials of the president`s advisers currently.  But I

don`t think we should question your credentials today.  Isn`t it true you

have a science degree from Yale?

 

What`s that?

 

KERRY:  Bachelor of arts degree.

 

MASSEY:  Is it political science?

 

KERRY:  Yes, political science.

 

MASSEY:  How do you get the bachelor of arts in a science.

 

KERRY:  Well, it`s liberal arts education and degree.  It`s a bachelor.

 

MASSEY:  OK, so it`s not really science.  So, I think it`s somewhat

appropriate that someone with a pseudoscience degree is here pushing

pseudoscience in front of our committee today.  I want to ask you…

 

KERRY:  You serious?  I mean, this is really seriously happening here?

 

MASSEY:  You know what, it is serious you are calling the president`s

cabinet a kangaroo court, is that serious? 

 

KERRY:  I`m not calling the calling his cabinet a kangaroo court, I`m

calling this committee that he`s putting together a kangaroo committee.

 

MASSEY:  Are you saying he doesn`t have educated adults there now?

 

KERRY:  I don`t know who it has yet, because it`s secret.

 

MASSEY:  Well, you said it in your testimony.

 

KERRY:  Why would he have to have a secret analysis of climate change?  Why

does…

 

MASSEY:  Let`s get back to the science of it. 

 

KERRY:  But it`s not science.  You are not quoting science.

 

MASSEY:  Well, you are the science expert.  You have got the political

science degree.  Look, let me ask you this, what is the consensus on parts

per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.

 

KERRY:  406, 406 today.

 

MASSEY:  406.  Are you aware…

 

KERRY:  350 being the level that scientists have said is dangerous.

 

MASSEY:  OK, are you aware – 350 is dangerous?  Wow, are you aware that

since mammals have walked the planet, the average has been over 1,000 parts

per million.

 

KERRY:  Yeah, but we were not walking the planet.  It`s – let me just

share with you that

we now know that definitively at no point during the least 800,000 years

has atmospheric C02 been as high as it is today.

 

MASSEY:  The reason you chose 800,000 years ago is because for 200 million

years before that, it is greater than it is today.  And I`m going to – for

the record.

 

KERRY:  Yeah, but there were not human beings.  I mean, it was a different

world, folks.  We didn`t have 7 billion people.

 

MASSEY:  So, how did it get to 2,000 parts per billion if we humans weren`t

here?

 

KERRY:  Because there were all kinds of geological events happening on

Earth, which spewed up…

 

MASSEY:  Did geology stop when we got on the planet?

 

KERRY:  Mr. Chairman, I – this is just not a serious conversation.

 

MASSEY:  Your testimony is not serious.

 

I agree.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Oh, man.

 

I would love to talk to Congressman Thomas Massey on this show about why

carbon of 1,000  parts per million is probably not great for humans on this

planet.  Congressman, if you`d like to come on, this is an open

invitational.  I`m no scientist, but I`ll give it a go.

 

Still to come, Kirstjen Nielsen is the face of the Trump administration`s

child separation policy.  And now that she`s on her way out her allies are

already trying to rehabilitate her reputation.  We`ll talk about that.

 

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.

 

And Thing One, Thing Two starts next

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

.

HAYES:  Thing One tonight, it`s a new era in congress with the Democrats in

control of the

House, which means the hearings are getting a lot more interesting.  Today,

the financial services committee, chaired by Maxine Waters, brought in the

CEOs of seven of the country`s biggest banks for

questioning.  And, well, take a listen at how that went.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. AL GREEN, (D) TEXAS:  I would perceive that the seven of you have

something in common.  You appear to be white men.  I may be mistaken.  If

among you happens to be something other than a white male, would you kindly

extend a hand into the air. 

 

Kindly let the record reflect that there are no hands in the air and that

the panel is made up of white men.

 

This is not a pejorative.  You`ve sermonized, to a certain extent, about

diversity.  If you believe that your likely successor will be a woman or a

person of color, would you kindly extend a hand into the air.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  No hands raised.

 

And then the bankers had to face Congresswoman Katie Porter, the freshman

from California who has proven herself unafraid to take Wall Street to

task.  And let`s just say Jamie Dimon had some trouble with her questions,

specifically about the ones about numbers.  And that`s Thing Two in 60

seconds.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Freshman Congressman Katie Porter of California literally wrote the

textbook on consumer law.  So it comes as no surprise that she was ready to

school JPMorgan Chase`s CEO Jamie Dimon today on The Hill.

 

She used a real job listing for a teller at one of his own bank branches

offering $16.50 an hour and asked Dimon how a single mom could make ends

meet on that salary.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. KATIE PORTER, (D) CALIFORNIA:  She had $2,245 a month.  She rents out

a one bedroom apartment.  She and her daughter sleep together in the same

room in Irvine, California.  That average one bedroom apartment is going to

be $1,600.  She spends $100 on utilities.  Take away the $1,700 and she has

net $725.

 

She`s like me, she drives a 2008 minivan and has gas.  $400 for a car and

expenses and gas, net $325.  The Department of Agriculture says a low cost

food budget, that is Ramen noodles, a low  food budget is $400, that her

$77 in the red.  She has a cricket cellphone, the cheapest cell phone she

can get  for $40.  She is in the red $117 a month.  She has after school

child care because the bank is open during normal business hours.  That`s

$450 a month, that takes her down to negative $567 per month.

 

My question for you, Mr. Dimon, is how should she manage this budget

shortfall while working full-time at your bank?

 

JAMIE DIMON, JPMORGANCHASE CEO:  I don`t know that all your numbers are

accurate.  That number is a start, is a generally a starter job.

 

PORTER:  She is a starting employee.  She has a 6-year-old child.  This is

her first job

 

DIMON:  And you get those jobs out of high school and she may have my job

one day.

 

PORTER:  She may.  But Mr. Dimon, she doesn`t have the ability right now to

spend your $31 million.  She is short $567, what would you suggest she do?

 

DIMON:  I don`t know, I`d have to think about that.

 

PORTER:  Would you recommend that she take out a JPMorgan Chase credit card

and run a deficit?

 

DIMON:  I don`t know.  I would have to think about it.

 

PORTER:  Would you recommend that she overdraft at your bank and be charged

overdraft fees?

 

DIMON:  I don`t know.  I would have to think about it.

 

PORTER:  So,  I know you have a lot…

 

DIMON:  I would love to call her up and have a conversation about her

financial affairs and see if we can be helpful.

 

PORTER:  See if you can find a way for her to live on less than the minimum

that I have described?

 

DIMON:  Just be helpful.

 

PORTER:  Well, I appreciate your desire to be helpful, but I would like you

to provide a way for families to make ends meet.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Today is Kirstjen Nielsen`s last day as homeland security

secretary.  And Nielsen and her defenders are already undertaking a

reputational rehab project, as Politico puts it, one that casts her not as

an enabler of the president`s most controversial immigration policies, but

as a guardrail against even more extreme action.

 

Ah, yes, but for me, things would have gotten really bad.  Good thing I was

there on the inside to restrain the president`s worst impulses, it is as

risible as it is pathetic.  Nielsen not only signed off on

child separation, but signed off on it knowing what it would do because she

herself had reservations about it if the reporting is to be believed.

 

And then she is the who went went out and not only implemented, but lied to

the American people over and over again.  She lied to us about what was

happening in the first place.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  The children

are not being used as a pawn.  We are trying to protect the children, which

is why I am asking congress to act.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  She lied about the rationale that it was a deterrent.  And she

attempted to have us all believe what was plainly happening in front of our

faces was not happening in front of our  faces.  And then she got snide and

defensive and condescending and angry when anyone challenged her on it.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you intending for this to play out as it is playing

out?  Are you intending for parents to be separated from their children? 

And are you intending to send a message?

 

NIELSEN:  I find that offensive.  No.  Because why would I ever create a

policy that purposely does that?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Perhaps as a deterrent?

 

NIELSEN:  No.  It`s – the way that it works…

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You said that it was a deterrent, didn`t you?

 

NIESEN:  That`s not the question that you asked me.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  No one made her do that.  She could have walked away and resigned

in protest, but she chose to stay and do all of that.

 

So, if her reputation is in tatters,well, that`s on her.  She made those

choices.  She is a grown up, and now she has to go out into the world.  And

the question is how will the world receive her? 

 

That`s really an open question.  Because we have lived through a George W.

Bush administration in which someone like John Yoo wrote a legal memo that

facilitated the U.S. implementing torture, which is a war crime.  John Yoo

mote a memo saying that certain kinds of torture didn`t actually legally

count as torture.  And he gave it to Jay Bybee who signed off on it and

then our country tortured people.

 

According to the Senate`s CIA torture report, waterboarding as a series of

near drownings, sleep deprivation for up to a week, unnecessary rectal

feeding and death threats.

 

And Bybee and Yoo became infamous in the moment for their torture advocacy,

but guess where they are now.  John Yoo has a nice tenured perch at

Berkeley Law School, of all places.  John Yoo, torture architect, dodging

through drum circles on his way to class.

 

And Jay Bybee?  What happened to him?  Oh, he`s a federal judge for life. 

No recrimination.  They paid no price for their complicity in war crimes. 

The question now becomes will Nielsen pay a reputational, social,

professional price for ripping thousands of children from their parents`

arms with no plan to track and reunite them, for imposing this cruelty and

trauma on thousands of blameless children?  Or is everyone in polite

society and establishment Washington just going to welcome her back with

open arms because she was doing her best? 

 

Now, to be clear, I don`t think she should necessarily heckled in every

Mexican restaurant she goes to for the rest of her life, but she should

face some sanction, opprobrium, because if elite institutions and corporate

America simply welcomes her back, then in the same way that I`m not so sure

we won`t torture again, I`m not so sure we won`t rip children from their

mother`s arms again.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  There are people actively working to make sure that Kirstjen

Nielsen does not get a chance to rehab her image.  For example, on the day

she resigned, a professor at George Washington University drew up a

petition of sort to ensure she would not benefit from some kind of soft

landing among the intellectual circles in Washington, quote, “if she gets a

position at a think tank, university center or similar, I will not

participate nor will I associate myself in any way that reasonably be seen

as providing active support for that institution.”

 

A senior fellow at the libertarian CATO Institute, who signed on the letter

said, quote, “if someone caged children as a hobby, they would rightly be

treated as a goddamn pariah by everyone.  If you make it a vocation, you

can look forward to a Kennedy School Chair.  It`s diseased and I don`t want

the play along.”

 

To talk more about what a possible Nielsen backlash would look like, I`m

joined by Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise

Institute, contributing editor for The Atlantic; and

Wajahat Ali, contributor editor, op-ed writer for The New York Times.

 

Norm, you`ve been in Washington for a bit.  You move in the circles of

think tanks and such.  What do you think about this idea, about some line

for sort of moral conduct by public officials that should be over the line?

 

NORM ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE:  So, Chris, I believe in a 

decent society.  You said corridors of acceptable behavior.  And when

people go outside those corridors, there should be a sense broadly of shame

and they should not be legitimized and made whole again.

 

And we`ve seen this happen over and over again in this administration.  The

Cory Lewandowskis, the Sean Spicers, people who lie or the people who do

really bad things – the Steve  Bannons either get (inaudible) at the

institute of politics at Harvard and/or get regular gigs on prime

television shows. 

 

And when they get on these shows, and the excuse often is, well, they have

a point of view, we deserve to hear it.  We need to hear from people with

those perspectives, they are legitimized.  It`s like a wink and a nod.  Oh,

they`re just like all the others who have been through here, only a little

bit different.  And that, to me, is fundamentally morally reprehensible. 

 

HAYES:  Well, to play devil`s advocate against that argument, because I

suspect you agree,

Waj, I mean, there is an argument that says, look, civil society breaks

down if everyone starts to sort of  hold everyone`s politics, particularly,

or the administration they served in against them, and people don`t ever

talk to each other and they don`t go to university events, and they don`t

sit on panels, and all of that is sort of the glue that makes things

operate.  What do you make of that argument?

 

WAJAHAT ALI, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Yeah, society also break down if you

celebrate an individual who put babies in cages.  If you let them fail up

with a cushy six-figure salary in corporate America where they become a

fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government following in the foot

steps of Sean Spicer and Corey Lewandowski – let`s just call out Harvard

Kennedy School of

Government, for a second, like the lowest bar of any college on Earth. 

It`s like the side entrance for all failed Trump administration members,

right.

 

And you know, society also fails if you celebrate a person who put babies

in cages and give

them a speaking gig, a book deal, and have them replace Meghan McCain on

The View in five years.

 

Society fails because it shows society that we don`t care if you put babies

in cages, you will be rewarded because that`s a revolving door of D.C.

politics.  So guys, come on now, I scratch my back, I scratch yours.

 

And instead, what should happen is she should be shamed, mocked, ridiculed

and made uncomfortable for as long as possible until, Chris, she actually

does apologize for it and engage in rehabilitation.  And that requires

proactive work.

 

HAYES:  Yeah, I think that`s a good point, Norm, there, about the sort of,

the idea here being that you have to sort of be called to account for what

you did, right?  There has to be some public

reckoning, and not just sort of slide past what happened.  It`s not a

permanent idea.  But just the idea of social opprobrium extending until you

say what you did and you`re forthright and honest, and also

show some contrition about what you did.

 

ORNSTEIN:  And just as important is you don`t normalize abnormal behavior. 

And as you pointed out, with Kirstjen Nielsen, it wasn`t just that she

followed the policy of child separation, even if her friends and supporters

argue that she didn`t do as much as they wanted her to do, she not only

lied to the American public, she lied to congress and did it repeatedly.

 

HAYES:  Yep.

 

ORNSTEIN:  And she unleashed the ICE people and the others in Homeland

Security to do things that were sadistic and put no boundaries around them. 

 

You know, I believe what Daniel Patrick Moynihan said so powerfully about

defining deviancy down, if we let stuff like this slide and treat them like

they`re normal, then the next time around, it

gets worse and it gets worse after that.

 

HAYES:  And it`s interesting, too, this bit of reporting, Maggie Haberman

said this, Waj, which I thought was interesting, because this was playing

in her mind apparently, according to this reporting.  People close to her

say one reason that she didn`t leave sooner, perhaps not only one, is that

she was aware of how awful life will be for her on the outside after

defending his policies for a long time.  Which is to say she knew what she

was doing.

 

ALI:  Exactly.  And you know who`s life is awful, the kids who were

kidnapped by the United States government.  I say that again, kidnapped.

 

HAYES:  Dozens of whom are still not reunited, I should note.

 

ALI:  Yeah, thousands of kids who are not reunited.  So, she is going to

fail up and she`ll live in a gilded prison, if you will.  She is going to

have a high cushy six-figure salary.  And, yes, she`ll be shamed, and yes,

at some Mexican restaurant someone is going to go, hey, weren`t you the

person who put Mexican babies in cages.  And then she is going to complain

on Fox News and Tucker Carlson is going to say look at these politically

incorrect vicious demons on the left who are mocking Kirstjen Nielsen.

 

I just want to say this, I want every date of Kirstjen Nielsen to be as

uncomfortable as possible until she apologizes.  So, you know, she is not

going to be awful.  Her life will be fine.  She`ll fail up. 

 

George W. Bush now, by the way, is known as an eccentric painter who gives

candy to Michelle Obama, OK.  So that`s how D.C. works.  But that`s not how

it should work, based on what Norm was

saying, because there has to be a penalty, Chris.  There has to be some

sort of social punishment

so that there is good behavior moving forward. 

 

And some people left in the Trump administration might say you know what,

I`m not going to compromise my ethics and my values.  I might do what Sally

Yates did, acting attorney general, I`ll actually resist, or I`ll do with

Chuck Rosenberg did and resist and I`ll fail up with dignity.

 

HAYES:  All right, Norm Ornstein, and Wajahat Ali, thanks for joining us. 

 

That is ALL IN for this evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right

now.  Good evening, Rachel.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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