Deputy AG won’t commit to protecting independence. TRANSCRIPT: 4/10/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
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
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
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
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
(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
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It`s a big
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
(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
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 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.
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,
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
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.
(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
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
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
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
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.
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.”
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?
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
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
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
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
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.
(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
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
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
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
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
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)
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.
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
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,
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
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.
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
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
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prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
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