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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 12/30/2015

Guests: Joe Cammarata, Jason Bailey, Nancy Giles, Rembert Browne, Noam Scheiber

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: December 30, 2015 Guest: Joe Cammarata, Jason Bailey, Nancy Giles, Rembert Browne, Noam Scheiber


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --

KEVIN STEELE, MONTGOMERY CO. DISTRICT ATTORNEY-ELECT: We are here to announce today charges that have just been filed against William Henry Cosby.

HAYES: A perp walk for an American icon.

REPORTER: Mr. Cosby, how do you feel, sir?

HAYES: Bill Cosby is charged with sexual assault. Why now? Will more charges follow? And why Pennsylvania voters in a brutal local election may have finally sealed Cosby`s fate.

BRUCE CASTOR: Kevin Steele had the power to help victims of Cosby, but he sat on his hands.

HAYES: Plus, the year in billionaires.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh my God, I`ve got to take a shower again. My hair`s all screwed up.

HAYES: How the world underestimated Donald Trump, how Sheldon Adelson found new ways to buy influence, and how the wealthiest Americans continue to tilt the field their ways.

And from Alexander Hamilton to Caitlyn Jenner and everything in between --

That shot alone is awesomer than anything in the last movie.

The year in pop culture when ALL IN starts right now.


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

After decades of rumors, formal accusations, and public denials, America`s most famous iconic accused serial rapist was arraigned today on charges of aggravated indecent assault, a second-degree felony. And even after everything we`ve learned about Bill Cosby over the past year, in which dozens of women came forward to accuse him of wrongful sexual misconduct, including trying to drug and force himself upon them, the image of the man formally regarded as America`s dad taking a perp walk is a stunning one.

The new charges stem from an old case. In 2004, a woman named Andrea Constand accused Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at her home north of Philadelphia. Constand was an employee of Temple University where Cosby had graduated and later sat on the board of trustees.

At the time, a local Montgomery County district attorney declined to bring charges, citing insufficient evidence. And Andrea Constand sued Cosby for damages in civil court, including in her filing, testimony from 13 unidentified women who reported similar experiences with the comedian. Cosby himself was deposed in the course of that proceeding, which was ultimately settled.

This past July, almost a decade later, a judge unsealed some of those deposition documents for the first time. The documents dropped a bombshell. Cosby had admitted to getting prescriptions for Quaaludes, a sedative, in order to give them to women with whom he wanted to have sex. He says the drugs were taken with consent.

The documents apparently prompted the Montgomery County district attorney`s office, now under new leadership, to take another look.


STEELE: When U.S. Federal Judge Eduardo Robreno unsealed legal filings that contained references to the civil deposition and we learned about allegations from other victims under similar circumstances, reopening this case was not a question.


HAYES: At his arraignment today, Cosby posted 10 percent of his $1 million bail and was released on condition of surrendering his passport and having no contact with the victim.

He is scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing on January 14th.

The attorneys for Cosby said in a statement, quote, "Make no mistake, we intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law."

Cosby and his reps have previously denied all the allegations against him. He`s never been charged with anything until today.

Prior to last year, that seemed likely to be the end of the story. Despite the accusations by Andrea Constand and a handful of other women who came forward in the last decade, the public generally seemed to push aside any doubts about Cosby in order to, it appears, to preserve its old image of the comedic icon, genial family man and showbiz groundbreaker.

Until Hannibal Buress did a now famous bit during a show in 2014.


HANNIBAL BURESS, COMEDIAN: Bill Cosby has the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) smuggest old black man male public persona that I hate. He gets on TV, "Pull your pants up, black people, I was on TV in the `80s!" "I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom."

Yes, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple of notches. "I don`t curse on stage!" Well, yes, but you`re a rapist, so!


HAYES: After that clip went viral, a kind of dam seemed to break. And since then, dozens of women have come forward, alleging some type of sexual misconduct by Cosby over a period spanning decades. According to NBC News, the total now stands at 57 women in all. Cosby, his wife, Camille, and his representatives have all continued to deny the allegation and cast doubt on the accusers, including just two weeks ago, filing a defamation suit against seven of the accusers.

The shift in public opinion seems to have passed a point of no return. And perhaps nothing exemplifies that more than the recent election for Montgomery County district attorney, the same office that declined to charge Cosby ten years ago, and arraigned him today. Bruce Castor, the D.A. back then, who said he had insufficient evidence, decided to run for the office again after leaving for a few years, and his opponent made the Cosby case a central issue in the race.


AD NARRATOR: Poor Bruce Castor, a former D.A. who refused to prosecute Bill Cosby. Castor said we don`t charge people for making a mistake or doing something foolish. Many more victims came forward and Castor admitted he could have used as their testimony against Cosby, but Castor didn`t even try.


HAYES: Castor hit back with his own ad, accusing his rival of being the one who let Cosby off.


CASTOR: These women`s identities became available only after I left the D.A.`s office and lost the power to enforce the law. But Kevin Steele could have done something, because he is still a prosecutor who choose to do nothing at all.


HAYES: Bruce Castor went on to lose that election.

I`m joined now by Attorney Joe Cammarata, who represents seven accusers suing Bill Cosby in civil court.

Mr. Cammarata, I guess, first, your client`s reaction to today`s news?

JOE CAMMARATA, ATTORNEY FOR 7 COSBY ACCUSERS: I can`t tell you specifically what my clients` reaction is, because I don`t want to violate the attorney/client privilege, but as members of the public, you can well imagine that they feel a sense of vindication, a sense that there may be justice at the end of this tunnel, and they look forward to the case proceeding, the criminal case proceeding, to its just conclusion.

HAYES: You know, your clients have been counter-sued by Bill Cosby for defamation. And I understand there`s the law on one side and there`s public opinion on the other, right? There`s the law, there`s black letter law and there`s perception.

But the fact of the matter is, those two in the real world are pretty -- play off each other in certain inextricable ways. I mean, does this atmosphere affect the legal proceedings, 57 women now coming forward with their names attached in a criminal proceeding against him. Does that change the legal context of how this plays out?

CAMMARATA: Well, if you put it in context, ultimately, the public that`s going to decide this case will be a jury of some six to eight people up in Springfield, Massachusetts. That`s the only group of people that are important at the end of the day.

We expected that Mr. Cosby would take a play out of the old defense lawyer`s playbook and sue, countersue my clients for defamation. In doing so, he`s now placed directly at issue his own reputation, whether or not he has acted in similar cases to sexually assault or abuse women.

And so, they thought this was a move that was going to scare away or intimidate my clients, but, frankly, they are emboldened, they`re determined to move forward on their case, and they look forward to have their day in court and they expect to be -- to have their name completely restored and satisfied at the end of the day.

HAYES: Legally, do criminal proceedings, these criminal proceedings, you know, will be public, right? Civil proceedings can be sealed. These criminal proceedings will be public. They`ll be a matter of public record.

Will that provide tangible evidence about context or past behavior that would be admissible in the civil trial that you`re undertaking?

CAMMARATA: Not only will that case provide that context and admissible evidence, the words of Mr. Cosby himself, from the Constand deposition that you discussed earlier, where he admitted to obtaining prescriptions for highly sedative controlled substances, Quaaludes, which he never intended to use himself, but rather intended to distribute illegally to women, to have sex, where he admitted that he had sex with one of my seven clients, Therese Serignese, and he couldn`t testify as to whether or not she consented. Miss Serignese did testify or has alleged that she did not consent to any sexual encounter with Mr. Cosby.

But that`s not only case. As you mentioned, there is an excess of 50 women who have come forward. Those two, those cases of claims of sexual assault and abuse will be admitted and investigated and part of our case.

HAYES: All right. Joe Cammarata, thank you very much.

CAMMARATA: Thank you.

HAYES: Joining me now, my MSNBC colleague, Melissa Harris-Perry, who`s also a professor at Wake Forest University, the executive director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center.

Your reaction to today?

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY": Oh, it was quite a day. You know, this is kind of one of those intersectional moments where as a feminist and as a sexual assault survivor, seeing someone actually charged with sexual assault feels like a victory.

On the other hand, it`s hard to feel happy about Bill Cosby perp walking, because I am a kid of the `80s and I am among that whole public who, as you were saying in the beginning, we knew and didn`t know at the same time. We knew and didn`t want to know. So, we shuffled it to the side, as to not know.

HAYES: To me, that is what is so fascinating about this -- because, back in 2004, the accusations were on the "Today" show.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, they knew.

HAYES: This was not -- there was nothing obscure about this, at all. That`s ten years ago. On the "Today" show, right? Doesn`t get anymore like, like in the mainstream media than on the "Today" show.

And then, everyone kind of decided, I don`t want to live in a world in which this guy, in which this revered figure is a monster.


HAYES: And how do you understand what happened in the last year?

HARRIS-PERRY: You know, that`s a tough question. And I think in a lot of different ways -- so, one, my break with Mr. Cosby had come much sooner in that what I disliked about Mr. Cosby was exactly what the actual punch line of Buress` claim is, which is about this kind of respectability politics.

So, for me, it`s the pound cake speech.

HAYES: Right.

HARRIS-PERRY: It`s the young African-American has somehow not earned equality as citizens. They didn`t pull up their pants.

HAYES: Just to give the context, to the speech he gave originally to the NAACP, which was a sordid speech about how young, black Americans, particularly in the inner city, impoverished, has betrayed the civil rights movement by not pulling their pants up and acting the fool, essentially, and it was their own damned fault.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, Michael Eric Dyson`s great -- my colleague both here as well as in the academy, and his book was, "Is Bill Cosby right or has the black middle class lost its mind?" or something of that version.

And this idea that kind of the civil rights generation, black middle class was looking back at a group of young people facing a whole set of structural inequalities and saying to them, well, we got rid of Jim Crow, so there`s no reason that you can`t be everything. And yet, it turns out that the whole time, he`s actually -- or at least, there is a real possibility that the entire time, he is also perpetrating sexual assaults.

HAYES: And that is the craziest thing about this. Is that not only is this someone who if the charges -- again, these are all alleged, right? If the 50 plus women. Let`s put up the "Daily News" cover just to give us a sense of what that looks like, it`s "The Daily News" tomorrow, that`s a numerical recounting, right, an empirical fact about the accusations, not any determination about which side of that is accurate.

HARRIS-PERRY: But let me say this. If it turns out that we come as a country to decide that it is true or if the justice system comes to decide that he, in fact, assaulted these women, the kind of guilt that you feel as an early assault survivor, when you see that there was not one or five or ten, but fifty more people.


HARRIS-PERRY: And so I think part of the reason that Mr. Cosby could be both Mr. Respectability and potentially -- or at least have at the same time these allegations existing, right? So whether or not he actually committed these crimes, these allegations existed at the same time.

HAYES: And he knew they did.

HARRIS-PERRY: He knew they did. And yet, somehow, it takes 57 women to be one she said against the he said. And I think, for me, maybe more than anything else, that is the most painful part of this, is the idea that a single he said/she said doesn`t get prosecuted. It takes 50 "she saids".

HAYES: I`m also reminded of the reporting, this idea of an open secret. My did a lot of reporting on the Catholic Church and the child rape scandal in the Catholic Church. And you have a situation where people knew, right? And they didn`t do anything, for a whole variety of reasons. Some completely vicious and some, the kind of amoral structural cowardice that any of us might be a party to, frankly.

You wonder if this is a kind of reckoning moment in some deeper sense.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. You ask Hanna about what it means to be a participant in evil in that particular kind of way. Not actually perpetrating the evil yourself, but willingly -- and willingly looking the other way.

HAYES: All right. Melissa Harris-Perry, who will be hosting tonight --

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, in like a minute.

HAYES: In like a minute. So, stick around.

Thanks for coming on.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks. Of course.

HAYES: It`s always great to see you.


HAYES: Even before Bill Cosby was charged today, the mounting accusations made him undoubtedly one of the biggest stories of 2015.

Still ahead, we`ll look at the presidential race no one saw coming, to behind the curtain dealings of the billionaire class to our favorite moments in pop culture. All that and more, ahead.



TRUMP: I shouldn`t even talk about it. He`s down to two or three. But it bothers me when I see a guy spending, you know, $60 million on ads against me, a lot of it, right? I say, why is he doing this? Doesn`t he have something better? He should go home, just relax.

No, honestly, he should go home and relax. He shouldn`t be wasting his time.


HAYES: That was Donald Trump at a rally in South Carolina today, mocking Jeb Bush`s current standing in the polls. And it came just hours before a sign the Bush campaign is starting to scramble with just month to go until the first primary. Their team today announced it is canceling $3 million in TV ads in Iowa and South Carolina and 60 staffers, mainly from the campaign headquarters in Miami, will be redeployed to help with persuasion and get-out-the-vote efforts in the early nominating states.

The campaign defended the changes, saying the decision to pull the TV ads was due to the ad buy from the super PAC supporting Bush, Right to Rise, which recently secured $19 million of ad spending in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Coming up, as 2015 comes to a close, we`ll look at the state of the presidential field and the updated standings in the ALL IN fantasy candidate draft.



GEORGE PATAKI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, tonight is the end of my journey for the White House as I suspend my campaign for president. I`m confident we can elect the right person, someone who will bring us together.


HAYES: I just want to say, I can look at a fire burning in a fireplace for hours. Just how I feel.

Last night, we had the latest casualty in the 2016 presidential race. Former New York Governor George Pataki, who joins Republicans Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Scott Walker, as well as Democrat Jim Webb in the growing 2016 presidential hopeful scrap heap.

With Pataki out, it`s time to re-visit our all in fantasy draft show from back in January of this year where Joy Reid`s got to make the day`s first pick.


JOY REID: I`m going to go with number 22.

HAYES: Number 22!

Feeling lucky on the big board. Here it is, first pick of 2016 ALL IN fantasy candidate draft.

ANNOUNCER: George Pataki. That`s P-A-T-A-K-I. Look it up. He`s the former governor of New York. George Pataki.

HAYES: Here`s the benefit to George Pataki.


HAYES: Living human being.

REID: He`s alive.

HAYES: American citizen.

REID: Yes.

HAYES: Over the age of 35. Could actually run for president.


HAYES: He`s also very tall.

So I think you`re looking at least between 0 and 100 points.


HAYES: Pataki actually somehow ended up being worth 900 points and 100 points for getting into the race, which he actually did, and 800 more for making it to the four sanctioned GOP debates, though they were each undercard debates.

Each of our five participants drafted five candidates, some of whom have since dropped out. Some of whom never even got in. The current standings, Michael Steele leads with 4,500 points, followed closely by Jess McIntosh, and comes Joy Reid and Sam Seder down there in the basement, and Josh Barro with 2,200 points.

Joining me now is the aforementioned Josh Barro, MSNBC contributor and correspondent for "The Upshot" at "The New York Times", who somehow managed to draft three people who never got in the race, now hanging his hopes on Ted Cruz, which is not a fad person he`s hanging on, and Carly Fiorina.

Also joining me, MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid, who just poured one out for George Pataki. Three of Joy`s candidates have not dropped out, leaving her with just Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, still in it.

All right. We were going back and looking at -- it`s kind of funny. I want to play this because this gives you a sense of just how surprising things have been this year. Donald Trump did play a role in our draft as one of the whammy candidates.

So, we had two candidates that were jokes, OK? It was like, hilarious punch line! One of which was Sarah Palin and the other was Donald Trump.

Here was the reaction to Donald Trump.


HAYES: Jess, I`ll start with you. You have Donald Trump.


HAYES: Very, very special snowflake, Donald Trump.


HAYES: Very, very special snowflake.


HAYES: You can trade him for any other person in the world who is not on the board. Who do you want to clean off waivers?

MCINTOSH: I think the only way I can do this is picking a person who could be guaranteed the presidency should they run. And so I`m going to go for the woman who is already running the country, Oprah.


HAYES: Here`s the thing, that`s actually not a bad pick. Oprah would, I think, do quite well if she ran for president.

REID: Indeed.

HAYES: So, I had -- as the commissioner of the league, Josh, I had to go back in and give that whammy back to Jess McIntosh, which has benefited her hugely. But it was amazing a year ago what a preposterous notion this whole thing was.

BARRO: First of all, you didn`t have to do that as the commissioner, you chose to do that.

HAYES: I chose to do that, that`s true.

BARRO: It shows that there is no rule of law in this fantasy candidate draft.

HAYES: No, there is not. Nope. A monarchy of one.

BARRO: Yes. But I think that -- I sort of have a theory of this, Donald Trump has pretended to run for president so many times, he even flirted with the idea all the way back in 1988 and no one believed it anymore. And the only way Donald Trump could get people to believe that he was going to run for president was to actually run for president.

And so, I think it`s possible this whole thing started off as a publicity stunt. Obviously, it`s not that anymore. And I also think Donald Trump because of always have been happy to take the presidency were it handed to him.

HAYES: Right.

BARRO: But it`s really gone beyond the expectations of almost everybody, and I have to wonder if it`s gone way beyond the expectations of Donald Trump himself.

HAYES: I tend to think that might be the case.

The other thing to think about is you have people, you know, Robert Draper has a piece in "The New York Times" magazine this weekend about how basically having -- having a resume has been a problem for the candidates. Like, the ones who actually have resumes, Governor Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, you know, you could say they were bad governors or good governors or you don`t like their politics, but, you know, they actually govern states, right?

This is us discussing Scott Walker, you and I, back in January. Take a listen.


HAYES: Who`s the most undervalued candidate? Money ball, you can get them for the cheapest amount with the biggest upside. Tremendous upside in draft terminology -- Joy Reid.

REID: I would say it`s Scott Walker. He`s an evangelical. People don`t know how evangelical he is. He`s got the Koch money as well as the Bradley --

HAYES: Notice that prices are starting to bid up to the actual value.

REID: Yes, it`s getting close --

HAYES: He`s still undervalued?

REID: Yes.


HAYES: So just to note there, I was in with that on you. I see the price getting bid up. But walker did look, going into this year, Walker did look like -- the guy had won three elections in four years, and, you know, blue state, he looked like a totally plausible candidate.

REID: Well, first of all, Chris, I would like to invoke the Bill Kristol rule, where there is no penalty for me to being completely and utterly wrong.

HAYES: That is a good rule to invoke.

REID: Yes, I`m doing that right. And good-bye to the Patak-ster, I had big hopes for you in my draft card pick.

Right. And this year is the year of the anti-resume. And I think if you looked at this race going in, I think you and I were perfectly logical for saying that an evangelical governor, because, you know, there is a negative premium to being a United States senator. It`s very hard to be a United States senator, unless they have almost no time in the Senate, meaning no votes you can hold against them, whereas the governor is an executive and is an attractive prospect.

And there was this thing called the Koch brothers, and Koch money and the big Wisco mafia, what they call this big entity of endless cash that has financed successful Wisconsin candidates. Not to mention the fact that Reince Priebus comes out of that same stable. Not to mention the fact that Paul Ryan comes out of that same sort of political miasma.

So, I don`t think it was illogical, but I don`t think anyone really calculated just how enraged the Republican base really was and how serious they were this time about holding their political party accountable for failure.

HAYES: Josh, you know, one of the -- all of those points are excellent. One of the things, you know, there`s this Twitter account that I follow that I think "The Washington Post" runs it where they run the polls four years ago, and it`s like eight years ago and Dean is up 15 points at this point. It`s sort of a good check, right? Like today is not tomorrow, nor is it a month from now.

But, you know, there`s some people that say, well, like it`s all going to shake out and this will all look preposterous. But my -- you know, this year has meant, even when you go back and look at the Howard Dean phenomenon, that meant a lot in that moment and for the future of the Democratic Party, arguably, laid the foundation for Barack Obama in 2008, in the same way that however this shakes out in a Republican Party, you can`t undo this year.

Like whatever the results are, the things that have happened are things that have absolutely, fundamentally, I think, changed the institutional nature of the party.

BARRO: Yes, I think that`s turned a couple of ways. One, it`s really clear that Republican voters as a whole do not want comprehensive immigration reform. They do not want the loose immigration policy.

HAYES: Yes, I think that is clear.


BARRO: And I think the party is finally admitting that to itself. Because Republican elites in Washington want that both on substantive matters and because they think it will help them appeal to Hispanic voters. And I think that`s been soundly rejected and we`ll see a change in the way Republican candidates handle that issue in the future -- which will create problems for the party in the future, splitting them between appealing to their base and appealing to a majority of the general election electorate.

But I also think there`s a question that we don`t know the answer yet to, which is, how special is Donald Trump really? People usually talk about and you can look back at those poll averages, these candidates, they end up fading. But Trump has had so much exposure, the usual theory is, you know, they don`t -- once voters pay attention, they change their mind, but we`ve had record ratings in debates, we`ve had saturation coverage of Trump and people are not turning away from him yet.

So, I still think he`s going to win the New Hampshire primary.

REID: And not only that, but there has been this theory in Republican circles, in conservative circles, the vanishing white voter theory.


REID: That you could if get a million more white working class voters to vote, you could win elections without diversifying the party. That theory will be tested regardless of who the nominee is in 2016.

HAYES: All right. Josh Barro and Joy Reid, thank you and thank you for playing.

Coming up, what`s black and white and green all over? I`ll share my favorite story of the year, if only for how cartoonishly villainous it is. That`s next.


HAYES: One of my favorite stories of 2015, definitely my favorite caper, is what Encyclopedia Brown might call the case of the billionaire and his newspapers.

A few weeks, the Las Vegas Review-Journal in Las Vegas, Nevada, the state`s largest newspaper, was purchased by owners who did not make themselves known. The employees of the paper started to wonder exactly who had purchased them, who they were working for, because usually people who buy papers are public about it.

There was a lot of speculation, a lot of hiding of the ball, cloaked legal entities and such. And so people began to think, perhaps some billionaire who bought it as a play thing to get their message out.

Reporters for the paper were upset about it. Jeb Bush even tweeted about it, as he went to talk to the editorial board. The Koch Brothers denied they bought it. One person who didn`t exactly deny he bought it was Sheldon Adelson, who happens to be a billionaire who is from Nevada, who owns these big casino businesses and lo and behold, you`ll never guess what happened next. It turned out it was, in fact, Sheldon Adelson who bought the paper through a front group with his son-in-law.

A bit after, we learned that Adelson had, in fact, secretly purchased the paper. We also learned that -- surprise, surprise -- shortly before the paper was purchased, a group of reporters were assigned to go out and basically dig up dirt on this judge, Elizabeth Gonzalez, who just happens to be a local county judge, who just happens to be presiding over a big case in none under Sheldon Adelson is being sued.

So as Josh Marshall from TPM put is all of this is your standard soprt of cartoonishly villainous stuff. Like if this was a Batman comic, this is how the bad guy billionaire in Gotham would act.

The plot thickened even more when two newspapers in Connecticut seemingly randomly decided to run a story on business courts, part of which was critical of, you guessed it, that very same judge in Nevada.

Keep in mind, these are very local papers in Connecticut, papers that cover school board elections and zoning fights in Bristol.

So, a screed against a Nevada judge raised some eyebrows. And lo and behold, it turns out the publisher of those small Connecticut papers is connected to the front group that bought the Sheldon Adelson paper.

Those pieces, by the way, ran under a byline that was almost certainly fabricated and which also happens to incorporate the middle name and the mother`s maiden name of, yes you guessed it, the paper`s publisher, the guy who`s connected to Adelson.

We got a chance to talk to a reporter for the Bristol Press who resigned in protest at the subterfuge of his paper basically being turned into a mouthpiece for a billionaire with, as he put it, a penchant for politics.

And I asked him why he quit.


STEVEN MAJERUS-COLLINS, FRM. REPORTER, THE BRISTOL PRESS: So, I was dismayed and disgusted by the actions of my boss, the publisher of the newspaper where I work -- worked. He violated every -- every tenant of journalism in running a story that was fake in every way and I just couldn`t, in good conscience, continue to work for him.


HAYES: There`s a lot of talk this year about how billionaires haven`t been able to purchase the candidate of their choice in the Republican primary, but the way that money influences politics and power is so, so, so much larger than which candidate wins a primary.

In this case, it`s a reminder of journalist A.J. Liveling`s (ph) famous line that freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.

When we come back, a retrospective of the year in billionaires. I`s been a wild and wacky one.


HAYES: It is a staggering and unprecedented political machine: The Koch Brothers, industrialists Charles and David Kkoch, whose combined net worth has been estimated at $100 billion, have assembled what Politico calls a privatized political and policy advocacy operation like no other in American history, one that in key areas eclipses even the Republican Party. And their network includes hundreds of donors and employees 1,200 full-time year-round staffers in 107 offices nationwide.

The network reportedly plans to spend $889 million a cycle, more than double what the RNC spent in the last presidential cycle.

Now, with Jeb Bush struggling to gain traction in the GOP presidential race, it`s become somewhat trendy to claim that money somehow doesn`t matter in politics. Yet evidence disproving that claim is all around us.

As The New York Times details in a great piece today, the very richest have been able to quietly shape tax policy that have allow themed to shield billions in income. As the Times shows, the ultra wealthy paid a 27 percent tax rate two decades. Yet by 2012, thanks to a combination of creative accounting and financial influence, the ultra wealthy brought their tax rate down to less than 17 percent, that meant the top 400 earners who made an average of $336 million in 2012 were paying nearly the same tax rate as a family that makes $100,000 per year.

Joining me now to talk about the year in billionaires, the co-author of that Times piece, Noam Scheiber, labor and workplace reporter at The New York Times.

Noam, it`s a great piece of reporting. I mean, i guess the question is, what is the answer to the question, how did they get their rates so low?

NOAM SCHEIBER, NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, it`s really two key things. One is, there was the change in policy. Bill Clinton lowered -- signed a decrease in the capital gains tax rate in the late `90s, George Bush lowered the rate again in the early 2000s. Unquestionably, the case of that benefits the very wealthy, since a lot of their income comes in the form of capital gains.

But that isn`t the whole story, that`s kind of the foundation for something else, which is something we really try to get at in the piece, which is it`s the foundation for a lot of gaming of the system. And basically, if you look at many of the loopholes, if not most that the ultra wealthy exploit, it`s all about converting ordinary income, which is taxed at a very high rate, about 40 percent for the very wealthy, into capital gains, which is taxed at about half that rate.

And so all these scams that we talk, it`s all based on that -- not all, but largely based on that principle. And that principle is made possible by the fact that capital gains is taxed at such a lower rate.

HAYES: and yet, somewhat remarkably,right, the sort of counter to that in talking about money and influence is the fact that actually in 2013, a lot of those rates went up, right? The latest data we have shows that it went up, that Barack Obama basically ran in 2012 on raising taxes on the wealthy, did raise taxes on the wealthy, and those taxes did go up, although they`re still far below what they would be if all their income was being taxed at the highest marginal rate.

SCHEIBER: No question.

Yeah, I think there are a couple of key points here to make. One is, a lot of this, you have to look with any given set of rates, right? So, there was a single tax regime that essentially prevailed from 2004 to 2012. Over that period of time, what you see is, even very affluent people, their rates tend to stay about the same. The 1 percent just kind of hovered right around 24 percent.

But what you see for the ultra wealthy, the 0.001 percent, the top 400 taxpayers, their rates gradually come down, as they figure out how to game the system, because they figure out how to turn ordinary income into capital gains. You know, we describe a strategy of sending the money to an insurance company in Bermuda, which then invests in a hedge fund, which about cuts your rate in half relative to had you invested in that hedge fund directly.

So over time, the ultra wealthy are just very, very good at gradually whittling down their rates and everyone else tends to stay roughly in the same spot.

The second thing is, if you look across the percentiles, if you go from the 1 percent to the 0.1 to the 0.01, to the 0.001, you see the rates gradually come down. Again, within any given year, any given tax regime, it`s sometimes the case that the 0.001 always manages to pay a lower rate than the 0.01, and the .01 lower than the 0.1 and on down the list.

So the higher up you go, the more extreme the wealth, actually, you get reverse progressivity to the system, right. The rates come down the higher up you go.

Noam Scheiber, great piece of reporting. Thank you so much.

SCHEIBER: Thanks for having me, Chris.

HAYES: All right, coming up we`ll relive some of the best moments of 2015. A look at this year`s cultural phenomenon ahead. You don`t want to miss it.


HAYES: This year, a hip hop musical about the Founding Fathers completely remade Broadway and arguably American music. I spoke with the creator of Hamilton, my friend Lin-Manuel Miranda in March. I spoke with him on Up three years ago when his work of genius was still very, very early in the making.


LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, CREATOR, HAMILTON: OK, so this is a song, this is a verse from a song, Imagine Hamilton. He`s age 17. He`s in New York. He`s going to Kings` College and he`s getting swept up in the revolutionary fervor of the elite 1700s.

I am not throwing away my shot. I am not throwing away my shot. And yo I`m just like my country, I`m young, scrappy and hungry and I`m not throwing away my shot. I imagine death so much, it feels more like a memory when it`s going to get me in my sleep, seven feet ahead of me.


HAYES: By the way, Lin-Manuel was also part of another huge pop cultural phenomenon in 2015 since he co-wrote the song for the Cantina scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

More on the big moments of 2015, next.



HAYES: All right. We`re here in our Mystery Science Theater viewing -- viewing area.


HAYES: First off, okay, okay, okay. We can stop right there.

Actually, keep going. Roll a little further. Roll -- this shot. This shot. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it right there.

Okay, first of all, that shot, that shot alone, which appeals to be some massive imperial vessel in the background.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: A star destroyer.

HAYES: Star destroyer, of course.

That shot alone is awesomer than anything in the last three movies. That single shot is awesomer than three movies so far.


HAYES: This year, Star Wars Episode 7 was so anticipated, we did a whole segment on the first trailer.

When I said that shot was awesomer than the last three movies so far, I was, of course, referring to those dreadful prequels.

Last night, I finally saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I am now part of the capital "C" conversation. The movie is arguably the biggest cultural phenomenon in 2015, on track to be the highest grossing movie of all time, but there are a lot of other big cultural moments from this year. Everything from Drake to Caitlyn Jenner to the reinvention of TV. We`ll talk about this year`s highlights in culture, pop and otherwise, when we come back.


HAYES: Joining me now, Jason Bailey film editor at FlavorWire, Nancy Giles Emmy Award-winning contributor at CBS Sunday Morning and rembert Browne writer-at-large at New York Magazine. Rem does my favorite year end pop culture roundup, which is called who won the year. He has these great brackets. Sample brackets. This year, for instance, Theti Whap (ph) for Stephen Colbert, which is a tough one.

Bernie Sanders versus Steph Curry, which seems -- those are -- that`s a tough bracket. Obviously, no one is going to beat Steph Curry, but you did the seeding there, and I feel bad for Bernie Sanders, because that`s a tough draw.

So, I want to talk about, let`s talk about movies first. Since I saw Star Wars last night, which I thought -- my Twitter review was -- it was I enjoyed immensely, it was like an excellent cover of a song I love.


HAYES: It was an excellent cover of a song I love, which I really tremendously enjoyed. It was not a new song.


HAYES: It that generally your feeling?

BAILEY: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there was a certain feeling and a certain tone that fans of that series were looking for that they hadn`t gotten from the prequels. There was a way that they wanted to feel from a Star Wars movie that they hadn`t felt in a long time. And frankly I think it took another filmmaker to come in who understood that feeling better than George Lucas had in order to make that film the way people...

HAYES: Yeah, someone said to me there`s a lot of fan service in it. Which I thought was -- well...

BAILEY: Fan -- you know what, fan service, that`s what sequels are. That`s what...

NANCY GILES, CBS SUNDAY MORNING: I can`t lie. I haven`t seen it yet. I guess I`m keeping my money so that it`ll may be under a billion dollars.

But I have a couple of questions and comments about the women in the movie. For starters, I don`t know exactly where Lupita Nyongo`o is. I know she`s in it.

HAYES: So, Rem, this was one of my -- I think the boldest choices of 2015, which was Lupita Nyong`o who I think objectively is one of the five most beautiful human beings on planet Earth is the voice of a figure whose face you never see.

I mean, you see just animatronic figure.

I thought that was a -- have you seen it, Rem?

REMBERT BROWNE, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: I am -- I`m waiting until January 2/when my direct deposit comes in about three hours. But then I promise I will see it. I`m going to, I promise.

HAYES: And I thought that was an incredibly bold call.

But I think parts, Rem, one of the things that you have in your brackets is, quote, identity as one of the -- but which I thought like there is something about -- there was all this sort of cultural conversation about the fact that it was -- it`s a woman and a black man who are the leads in Star Wars and of course this sort of backlash on Reddit and stuff like that.

But it was this year of a kind of new conversation around identity and identity politics, particularly in pop culture, Rem. Do you feel that way?

BROWN: Yes, I think. And I think it`s because we`ve kind of gotten to the place where people are comfortable just talking about not only who they are, but they feel like when they talk about who they are they have kind of the masses of who they are behind them. So they`re more comfortable, they`re more confident, which I don`t know if that was three years ago. So, I think like the idea of identity has been there for a long time, but you know, be it in person, be it -- you know, if you have this identity at a protest or you have this identity online, there`s more of a chance now that you can find people who have that same identity as you and you`re confident to say that out loud and proud.

HAYES: I totally...

GILES: I will say this kind of -- it kind of connects with what Rem is saying and also the Star Wars and with women. I`m throwing it all in the same pot. I didn`t appreciate all the kind of smack talk I was reading online about how old Carrie Fisher looked. That seemed really, really mean.

And to...

HAYES: She had an amazing tweet about it. Did you see that tweet?

GILES: Good for her.

HAYES: That was a late entrance for tweet of the year where she was like, please stop talking about it, you`re hurting my feelings.

GILES: I know, I mean, she`s a human being.

HAYES: Also, basically, go "F" yourself.

Like, it was so raw and real and also strong and dope.

GILES: And here`s the connection I see between her and one of my favorite movies of the year, which is Trainwreck, because I think Amy Schumer just took identity politics and what it means to be a woman and what it means to be funny and just blew it up.

HAYES: I thought it was a great year I think for women in film. Mad Max, which I`ve had you on to talk about also felt like this. And now I see -- like I just got invited to some, Eve Elser is doing a Q&A for Mad Max, in which it seems to me like the movie as it gears up for the Oscars is embracing this sort of explicitly feminist core, that I don`t think was in the marketing of the film so much, but is definitely in the film.

BAILEY: And definitely became a thing that people were talking about as the film was getting seen.

I think what`s really interesting about this year in film in general is how much -- you know, every year we see the sort of studies about the depressing representation of women in films. And this year, there have been so many amazing films that are telling stories about women.

When you`re talking about Carol or Brooklyn or Room or Girlhood or Diary of a Teenage Girl, or even bigger films like Mad Max or Inside Out or Trainwreck.

GILES: Right. There could be more women of color.

HAYES: For sure. Absolutely.

GILES: Like me.

HAYES: Always.

BAILEY: Absolutely. And there could also be far more women telling those stories.

GILES: And directing them and writing them and producing them.

BAILEY: But it is a step.

GILES: It is a huge step.

HAYES: There`s also -- Rem, there`s also this situation happening in which there`s more scripts in television now than ever happening. One of the brackets that you have is streaming TV.


HAYES: Which just felt like it hit this -- it hit this point this year where it was no longer a curiosity or a niche, it`s just part of now what we consume culturally.

BROWNE: Yeah, I mean, and I said this in the bracket, where, you know, when I go to other people`s homes, more and more, they just have these TV boxes that are purely there to show Netflix.

HAYES: Right.

BROWNE; You know, it`s like -- this is how you consume television. You don`t wait for every Thursday anymore. You either binge watch or you`ve given up on the world of even paying for cable. You know, a couple years ago, I remember...

GILES: I know.

BROWNE: I`m sorry, I`m sorry.

HAYES: It`s cool, it`s cool. No, it`s fine. It doesn`t matter to me if people are watching me with the Nielsen boxes turned on.

BROWNE; I thought this show was on Crackle. I thought this show was on Crackle, I`m sorry.

But yeah, I mean, it`s just, it`s not only -- I remember a couple of years ago talking about Netflix, thinking Netflix would -- was kind of this unicorn.


BROWNE: But the fact is, it`s not, it`s kind of amazing.

HAYES: I was thinking of the fact when House of Cards came out, our show was quite new. It was in 2013, it was like -- I think it was that year. And we had the creator of that show. And this was like this big experiment. It was like, it was like if Blockbuster decided they were going to make a Hollywood movie.

You`re like, oh, Netflix? Like the people that send you the DVDs are now going to make a thing. Maybe that`ll -- and now it`s like, well yeah, obviously Netflix and Amazon and all these people are going to do streaming. It is...

GILES: Forget about it. There are 409 scripted television shows. My head is about to explode. I haven`t even finished deleting emails. There`s no way I will catch up with this.

BAILEY: But that`s what`s great about, that there are so many avenues for content.

GILES: That is good.

BAILEY: There are so many opportunities for different voices, for different kinds of storytelling, and for the kind of stories we wouldn`t see on basic cable.

HAYES: All right, so I want to talk about who did win 2015, which is one of my favorite questions Rem poses every year.

Do you have a favorite in the brackets, Rem, or do you not want to tip the scales here?

BROWNE: I mean, so I still stand by what I said in the bracket, which was, unfortunately, that hate won the year. But, if -- the whole bracket was kind of built to build Donald Trump up and then destroy him at the end, which I`m very proud that I found a way to do.

But it is kind of undeniable that he, I think -- I mean, I said this, that if I didn`t think that he was a complete fraud and he wasn`t making it all up and playing maybe the greatest reality television character of all time, that he actually would have won. But it is undeniable that he did kind of pull a fast one on all of us for about 12 straight months.

HAYES: Winner of 2015?

BAILEY: We talked about her already. Amy Schumer. You know, between Trainwreck.

HAYES: She`s in the brackets, too.

BAILEY; Between Inside Amy Schumer, and frankly just that one clip that we both liked of her saying, I`m 160 and I can catch -- whenever I want. She won the year for that alone.

HAYES: Nancy?

GILES: Well see, I was confused. I picked as winner, not a cultural winner, per se, but these four women called The Peacemakers that were the women who were -- their loved ones were murdered in Charleston: Bethane Middleton, Nadine Collier, Alana Simmons (ph), Paulie Shepard (ph) and Felicia Sanders. That they could go into court and look at that murderer and say I forgive you was stunning.

HAYES: My winners Lin-Manuel Miranda who made Hamilton and Steph Curry who I just -- every time that I get bummed I`m like at the very least, the Earth is going to melt, but we have got Steph Curry.

Jason Bailey, Nancy Giles, Rembert Browne, thank you all.

That is All In for this evening.