IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/25/2016

Guests: Ken Cuccinelli, Betsy Woodruff, Michael Tomasky, Cecile Richards, Rand Paul

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: January 25, 2016 Guest: Ken Cuccinelli, Betsy Woodruff, Michael Tomasky, Cecile Richards, Rand Paul


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

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In 177 hours and Iowa will speak.

HAYES: With one week until the first votes are cast, Ted Cruz is slipping in the polls.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ted Cruz is from Canada. He`ll run for president and he`ll run for prime minister of Canada.

HAYES: Have Trump`s attacks worked?

Then, Rand Paul joins me to talk about the race and the Republican Party.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People see Ted Cruz and they worry about authenticity.

HAYES: Plus, President Obama weighs in on 2016.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Bernie same in with the luxury of being a complete long shot.

HAYES: And whether he would compare Bernie`s campaign to his own from 2008.

And does the one time GOP front-runner still have a chance? We`ll break down Jeb`s path to victory.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I eat nails before I have breakfast.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


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

For months, Donald Trump has been insisting that any candidate who went on offense against him would pay the price at the polls.


TRUMP: So far -- maybe I have to knock on wood. But so far when people attack me, they get creamed. They go down. It`s true.


HAYES: It happened to Ben Carson who briefly interrupted Trump`s lead last fall before collapsing under the ensuing scrutiny. And now, exactly a week until the Iowa caucuses, an array of new poll suggests it may be exactly what`s happening to Ted Cruz. Cruz started gaining momentum in Iowa in mid-December, reaching a high point of 31.8 percent to Trump`s 27.8 percent in the Real Clear Politics average near the start of January.

And according to "The Wall Street Journal", that`s around the time when Donald Trump started to get worried. His campaign manager told "The Journal" that earlier this month, in route to New Hampshire on board his private jet, Trump announced to staff, quote, "Ted is hanging around the top too long, time to take him down."

The results, Trump`s attacks on the loans Cruz once received from Goldman Sachs, an apparent contradictions in his stand on the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, and perhaps most devastatingly on his Canadian birthplace, and whether it disqualifies him from running for president.

This morning, Trump gave Cruz an ultimatum on Twitter, quote, "It`s time for Ted Cruz to either settle his problem with the fact he was born in Canada and was a citizen in Canada or get out of the race."

In an interview today, he even raised questions about Cruz`s personality.


TRUMP: I think the establishment is against me but really coming online because they see me as opposed to Cruz who is a nasty guy who can`t get along with anybody. You know, look, at a certain point, you have to make deals. We can`t have a guy who stands in the middle of the Senate floor and over other senator thinks he`s a whack job, right?


HAYES: Trump hasn`t been in this alone. While he`s been attacking Cruz head on, members of the Republican Party have been coming at him on all sides. On Saturday, Trump was introduced at a rally by the senior senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley. And while it wasn`t an endorsement, and Grassley he plans to campaign with other candidates, the appearance seemed to send a message.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: We have had this trend going this way away from the basic principles that established our government. And so, we have an opportunity once again to make America great again.


HAYES: Republicans from Bob Dole to Trent Lott have come out of the wood work to warn against nominating Ted Cruz, and with many current and former colleagues apparently eager to talk about how much they just dislike the guy.

And alum of George W. Bush`s campaign in 2000 told "Mother Jones", the quickest way for a meeting to end would be for Ted to come in. People would want out of that meeting. People wouldn`t go to a meeting if he knew he would be there."

The onslaught seems to have had a real impact. New polling from FOX and CBS News shows Trump and Cruz have effectively switched positions over the last month or so, with Cruz dropping several points and Trump back on top.

Just look at the trend in the polling average since the beginning of this month, when Trump decided to go on the attack. The question now is, what Cruz can do to reverse that trend in the next seven days?

This weekend, he campaigned in Iowa with Glenn Beck, a move widely interpreted as an answer to Trump`s endorsement from Sarah Palin. He just won an endorsement from former Texas governor and presidential candidate, Rick Perry, who`s set to campaign with Cruz later this week.

And Cruz has been heavily courting Iowa evangelicals, taking the opportunity today to make fun of Trump`s recent stumble over a bible citation.


CRUZ: You know, we are standing on the promises of Second Chronicle 7:14, if my people --


Well, you know, two Corinthians walk into the bar.



HAYES: A super PAC supporting Cruz released two new attack ads against Trump, including one targeting his former support for reproductive rights.


AD NARRATOR: Does this sound conservative?

TRUMP: I am pro-choice in every respect. I am pro-choice in every respect. I am pro-choice in every respect.

AD NARRATOR: For partial birth abortion, not a conservative.


HAYES: And today, Cruz tried out a new line of attack on Trump over his health policy.


CRUZ: Right now today, Donald supports Bernie Sanders style socialized medicine. He believes that Obamacare didn`t go far enough and we need to expand it to put the government in charge of our health care, in charge of our relationship with our doctors.


HAYES: I`m joined now by Republican Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia, who has endorsed Ted Cruz for president.

Mr. Cuccinelli, thank you very much.


HAYES: Is this Republican Party stabbing Ted Cruz in the back as we watch this unfold?

CUCCINELLI: Well, certainly, when the immigration fight heated up last month, you had Jeff Sessions coming to the defense of Ted Cruz, yet not endorsing him. You have Mike Lee working with him. Ben Sass saying some good things.

There has been some back and forth and there`s a little of this as a narrative. But the fact of the matter is that where Ted Cruz was at the beginning of this race in March, when he got in, and his favorable ratings then compared to now, no one has moved as favorably among ordinarily Americans as they`ve gotten to know him as Ted Cruz.

So, it may be that people in Washington don`t like him. You named Trent Lott and Bob Dole, you know, appropriators. They may not get along with him so well because he stands for principles. But ordinary Americans seem to like him as they get to know him.

HAYES: Well, a lot of people who aren`t just appropriators seem not to like him. I mean, there has been a -- I mean, I`m not saying they`re right or not. I`m just saying just to be clear, it`s not just Bob Dole and Trent Lott.

I mean, there`s a bevy of quotes from his college roommate to everyone else saying they don`t like. Maybe they`re wrong. But just to be clear, it`s not just people who are trying to move money around budget reconciliation.

CUCCINELLI: Right. But you also heard Trump saying, hey, look, I make deals. They make deals. So, they like people who make deals. And Ted`s running against that.

So, you know, people in D.C. who want to make more deals and that`s their modus operandi, like the leadership of the Republican Party and, by the way, the Democrat Party right now in Washington. Of course, that`s the name of the game in the Republican nomination contest. So, I mean, that`s the name of the game in the Republican nomination contest and Ted`s been doing it pretty effectively.

HAYES: So, it`s interesting to me that he`s focusing on the comments that Donald Trump made in this latest ad. I think, obviously, you`re a --

CUCCINELLI: You mean the one about abortion?

HAYES: That`s right. You`re an opponent of abortion. Ted Cruz is opponent of abortion. I think that it`s interesting to me to go with this thing, that everyone knows has been out there. Let`s you and I agree for a moment that Donald Trump has either flip-flopped enormously or just being entirely disingenuous now, either of which are possible. But that`s pretty clearly, right? It`s established what he was before and what he is now.

What does it mean about the Republican Party and the salience of this issue if Ted Cruz runs these ads and campaigns on this and then loses to Donald Trump in Iowa, of all places? What does that mean about the abortion politics of the GOP?

CUCCINELLI: Well, I`m not sure. I think it will have to play out beyond Iowa. Iowa`s only the first of 50, 51 votes here in then when we get to the convention then the territory vote.

HAYES: Shouldn`t that be a dagger in Iowa? In the Iowa caucuses, where Mike Huckabee prevailed, shouldn`t that be a danger to watch Donald Trump get up there and say five times "I`m pro-choice"?

CUCCINELLI: Understand that when Huckabee prevailed and when Santorum prevailed, they were filling of the conservative hole in the market. This year, we have a spectacular field of candidates. There`s a lot more opportunity to see that support spread around. So, that plays a role that we haven`t seen before.

We will see how the abortion issue, as people become educated on it in Iowa, plays. I think it is important in Iowa. Perhaps more so than in some other states. So, that -- how that plays out, I think will play a significant role in the outcome next Monday night.

HAYES: I want to ask you one more question about abortion. Ted Cruz led the fight or wanted to lead the fight to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of those videos that were released. Today, a grand jury in Houston, which was empanelled to I vest gait wrong doing by Planned Parenthood came back and cleared Planned Parenthood of wrong doing, instead indicting the film makers who put the videos together.

Ted Cruz is on the record of saying that they were, quote, "selling body parts". That`s shown to be not true by this grand jury. Are we going to see Republicans who champion these videos change their tune on this now that the people who created them have been indicted for felonies?

CUCCINELLI: I think what you`re going to see out of videos more important than who crossed whatever legal lines is the fact that this is understood to go on as an accepted practice.

And that is -- and in some circumstances is legal. The question is, was it legal in the circumstances at issue in these videos? But the bigger problem that most of the Republicans are getting at, the Ted Cruz is getting at, is what does this say about us as a country? Is this OK? Are people comfortable with selling aborted babies?

HAYES: Not selling, not selling.

CUCCINELLI: Well, call it what you want.

HAYES: Well, that`s the key point. That was the word used that was definitely found by a grand jury empanelled to investigate that not to be the case. I mean, I just want to make clear of that --


CUCCINELLI: Then explain -- so then you don`t want your question answered. You want me to say yes to your declaration. I`m not going to do that.

HAYES: No, no, I just don`t want that word used when that was the thing that was the point of debate in this whole thing. That`s all. I understand where you`re coming from, and your point about people need to wrestle with the moral ramifications, which I totally understand, and I understand people who have your view on this matter, I just think that the use of that word --

CUCCINELLI: And that is a bigger question in the context of a presidential race --

HAYES: Right.

CUCCINELLI: -- than one case.

HAYES: Understood.

Ken Cuccinelli, great to have you. I`m going to reserve the right to go -- have a conversation with you about the phrase what legal line was crossed in the future when we`re talking about other stuff like abortion.

CUCCINELLI: Those kinds of conversations I like that have.

HAYES: Immigration.

Thank you very much.

All right. Joining me now, Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter at "The Daily Beast".

Well, Betsy, this polling to me is really interesting because I think it was totally an open question when the guns turned on Ted Cruz from Donald Trump, is this going to work or not? I don`t know. No one knew, right? I mean, is it going to work or not? Is it this -- all this Canada smoke blowing and mud -- the data seems to indicate it`s working.

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: It`s pretty unequivocal. You can`t make an argument that it`s not working based on the other polls numbers that we`re seeing.

People love Donald Trump when he goes on the attack. Angry Donald Trump, you know, mad Donald Trump, attacking Donald Trump is Republican primary voters` favorite version of him. Now, the attack line he uses that I think is the most interesting and unusual, is this idea that nobody likes Ted Cruz. That Ted Cruz loses the Washington cocktail party popularity contest, because number one, it`s right. But number two, it`s a weird argument to make. However, it seems to resonate really effectively.

And I was talking about this with an operative from a rival earlier this week. He said part of the reason that this particular argument is so hard for Cruz to combat is because there`s a difference between being a martyr and being a pariah. And he thinks that perhaps voters can tell. It`s not that Cruz, it`s not necessarily that Cruz is standing on principle, it`s that he`s annoying. Voters have to sass that out and at least based on Trump`s arguments, they might be putting Cruz in the pariah category, which is a problem.

HAYES: That is an excellent turn of phrase, the difference between martyr and pariah, because it is true that Trump has now been attacking him in this way. You saw Ken Cuccinelli and other folks who are supporting Cruz turning that around, and saying, yes, he`s not there to make deals. Ted Cruz is saying, well, if you want to go there and get along and make deals, then I`m not your guy, Trump is your guy. But we`ll see whether that continues to play out.

My other question about the way this is closing in Iowa is whether basically Cruz has ended up on the wrong side of the expectations game, which is that he was polling ahead. And, you know, your polls are sort of like a golf handicap. He may come in three points behind Trump. Everyone`s going to declare that a big loss for him at this point.

WOODRUFF: Yes, without a doubt. I know in the Cruz campaign there were slight jitters that surfaced couple weeks ago, when people started saying, Cruz is the favorite to win Iowa. Cruz has Iowa on lock, if he doesn`t win by at least three points, that`s a lot.

The expectations went really high really fast and now, Cruz has to somehow rally and get enthusiasm back. That might plug as his numbers go down. Now, one big thing Cruz has going for him that`s going to be uniquely effective in Iowa is his Iowa task force or Iowa strike force. It`s about 800 volunteers all from outside Iowa who`ve travelled to Iowa on their own dime, are staying in these dorm type facilities and just making phone calls and canvassing and block walking.

I mean, having that many people take time out of work, take time off school because they like a candidate so much, that`s the kind of thing polls don`t show. And I think if Cruz does win, people are going to be talking about that as part of the reason. But, of course, he wins, that`s very much TBD.

HAYES: Well, that reminds me, when you describe that, I`m reminded of the Dean campaign in 2004 which famously did that, where everyone had their orange hats, and the sort of mythology is that upset Iowans and they felt invaded by that whole thing.

I mean, the question here to me is, does this attack that Ted Cruz is selling now, which others have tried, the guy is not a real conservative look at him talking about being pro-choice and not being from Iowa, does that gain traction?

WOODRUFF: I think probably, yes. I mean, if anything that we think we know about Iowa is true, that attack has to work.


WOODRUFF: If Ted Cruz can`t run an ad of Donald Trump saying, "I`m very pro-choice, I support partial birth abortion," if that ad doesn`t work in Iowa, then up is down, left is right.


WOODRUFF: We don`t know anything. If that doesn`t work, nothing will work.

HAYES: All right. Betsy Woodruff, thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: Sure thing. Thanks.

HAYES: Still to come, is Bernie Sanders to 2016 what President Obama was to 2008? People have been making the analogy. Now, the president himself weighs in. A fascinating answer.

And later, more on the shocking update in the investigation of Planned Parenthood I mentioned earlier. Cecil Richards will join me live.

Plus, my interview with presidential candidate Rand Paul, from the 2016 race and what people think of Ted Cruz.


PAUL: Ted has made it very personal. When he made it personal to call individuals liars, people don`t like that.



HAYES: There`s now just one week until the Iowa caucus. If you`re watching the polls, the picture on the Democratic side is pretty confusing. But it`s been clarified in part by Nate Cohn of "The New York Times" who explains that there are basically two kinds of polls. There are polls that rely on people who have previously caucused. Those are voter file sample.

As you can see in those polls, Hillary Clinton is ahead by as much as a whopping 29 points, on others, just a few points up. But up in all of them.

Now, in polls using random digit dialing, that`s where you call a random sample of registered Democrats in Iowa, many of whom have never caucused before, Senator Bernie Sanders is ahead in three of the four polls.

Judging by all these polls, if Sanders is going to win, he needs the votes of first-time caucus-goers. It`s a group that Barack Obama turned out in 2008 essentially, splitting those voters of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

But Obama`s real strength in Iowa was young voters, pulling in 57 percent of 17 to 29-year-olds. That is a group that Sanders has been counting on, in a grassroots campaign that has drawn comparisons to Obama`s 2008 run.

Now, the president himself was asked about what he thinks of that comparison. He had a fascinating answer. We`ll bring it to you straight ahead.


HAYES: A long, unpredictable, frightening and hilarious race to determine who will be the next president has put the current president in a bit of a tricky situation. And that was obvious in an interview President Obama gave to "Politico`s" Glenn Thrush. It`s clear that Barack Obama, who understands literally better than anyone what it takes to win the Democratic nomination, would love nothing more than to expound at length on the topic.

There is just one problem. He has to play neutral arbiter. Listen as he attempts to tip toe through the mine field of the Sanders/Clinton race.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What Hillary presents is a recognition that translating values into governance and delivering the goods is ultimately the job of politics.

GLENN THRUSH, POLITICO: It sounds like you`re not buying -- you`re not buying the sort of easy poplar dichotomy people are talking about he`s an analog for you and she is herself?

OBAMA: No. No.

THRUSH: You don`t buy that, right?

OBAMA: No, I don`t think that`s true. I think Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot, and just letting loose.

THRUSH: Right.

OBAMA: I think Hillary came in with the both privilege and burden of being perceived as the frontrunner. I think if Bernie won Iowa or won New Hampshire, then you guys are going to do your jobs and, you know, you`re going to dig into his proposals and how much the cost and what does it mean and, you know, how does the tax policy work. He`s subjected then to a rigor that hasn`t happened yet --

THRUSH: Right.

OBAMA: -- but that Hillary is well familiar with.


HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Michael Tomasky, columnist for "The Daily Beast."

And, Michael, that last quote to me was such a tell. I mean, you will do your jobs. You`re going to look at Bernie Sanders` proposals, how much it will cost, and he will be subjected to a rigor he hasn`t been yet that Hillary is familiar with.

I mean, you don`t have to read through the lines.

MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: No, you don`t. And, you know, there`s truth to what Obama said there. And, you know, to be perfectly honest, Chris, you know as well as I do, the reason Sanders hasn`t been subjected to the rigor yet is that I don`t know a journalist, frankly, who thinks he`s going to be the nominee.

Now, you know, I don`t know everybody, so I may be wrong. But generally speaking, people think that his candidacy is going to win one or two races, and then fade out and she is probably going to be the nominee. So, for that reason, he`s not being subjected to the scrutiny that a, quote/unquote, "more serious" candidate would be subjected to.

HAYES: Well, let me respond to that and also talk about the interview, because they sync up. I mean, look, I think if you poll journalists, where would Bernie Sanders be now on the doorstep of New Hampshire six or eight months ago. I think people thought it would be closer Martin O`Malley than Barack Obama. I mean, I think people thought it was a symbolic thing. Maybe he`ll go around and rally the 10 or 15 percent of hardcore lefties in the party.

Everything that happened so far I think has -- I mean, wouldn`t you agree surprised expectations?

TOMASKY: Without question. Without question. You get 20,000 or 30,000 people showing up at the Staples Center and showing up at many other places. You`re doing something and you`re connecting with people. There`s no question he`s connecting with people in a big way.

It gets down votes. He has to win not just New Hampshire, I think, right, because --

HAYES: Yes. Yes.

TOMASKY: -- people expect he`s going to win New Hampshire. So, he has to perform beyond that, and the little bit you had in the segment before I came on about Nate Cohn`s analysis of those polls and about the need that Sanders has to get these new voters out to caucus, which is a hard thing to do in most circumstances, is going to be one that he`s going to have to deliver on to, you know, to get to that next level in his candidacy.

HAYES: And I thought it was fascinating to listen to the president talk about. You talked about in Iowa the interview, and how it was basically the greatest political time of his life. Like that campaigning about how amazing that organization was and essentially there`s no parallel to it, which I don`t think he meant as a swipe to Sanders. I think he was just saying people talk about getting new people out and don`t understand what it means on the ground.

But he also said this thing which I think is true of Sanders, which is, when you win a state, all of a sudden, everything changes in terms of a level of scrutiny. We don`t have any votes cast, and the world after Donald Trump wins a state, Bernie Sanders wins a state, or Ted Cruz wins a state, or Hillary Clinton wins a state, looks different than it does before anyone has won anything.

TOMASKY: Absolutely. You`ve got a lot of momentum, but then you get a lot of questions, too. Now, of course, Sanders would rather have the win and get the questions because --

HAYES: That`s right.

TOMASKY: -- it brings some momentum with it.

You know, my sense of things, Chris, right now is that if he does not win Iowa, the press, fairly or not, is going to kind of start writing goodbye stories -- even if he does win New Hampshire, which everyone expects him to do. Sop, it`s really pivotal for him and it`s really pivotal to Clinton, too, because if Clinton loses two in a row, everybody still sort of thinks she`s going to stabilize in the long run, but if she loses two in a row --

HAYES: It`s a different universe.

TOMASKY: -- boy, she`s going to have a long couple of weeks.

HAYES: Yes. Michael, Tomasky, thank you very much.

TOMASKY: Thanks.

HAYES: Up next, a special new ALL IN series this week will look at five candidates, break down what it would take for each of them to win the nomination. Tonight, Jeb Bush.


HAYES: Voting in the 2016 presidential race begins in just sevens days, and everyday this week, we are going to sit down with MSNBC political correspondent Steve Kornacki to break down the potential path to victory for five of the candidates in the race.

Today, we are starting with Jeb Bush, the one time front-runner who has nose dived in national polls, who still has a massive war chest behind him, finds a wife in New Hampshire, a powerful family name and, of course, the love of his mother.


HAYES: Walk me through, if one of the great second acts of president of politics were to be written, and Jeb Bush were to come back somehow, how would that look?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Given what I think is the most plausible way Jeb Bush could actually pull this out, what he needs to do is thin this field as much as he can while surviving himself.

So, the first thing he needs is for Ted Cruz to lose in Iowa, and lose to Donald Trump presumibly.

Ted Cruz has to win Iowa. His whole strategy revolves around it. If you can eliminate Cruz out of Iowa, that`d be a good first step for Jeb.

HAYES: And that`s a key point because actually the same rooting interest applies to not just Jeb, but Kasich, Marco and Chris Christie. They are all rooting against Cruz even though none of them have super, super great chances of winning.

KORNACKI: I mean, if Cruz does not win Iowa, what it does is it opens up a lot of those states after New Hampshire. A lot of those southern states that have a similar demographic profile to Iowa. That opens them up.

HAYES: Okay, so then, let`s say that Trump wins Iowa or pounds Cruz, which, it`s possible. Polling right now shows Cruz on a downward projectory. What next?

KORNACKI: Then you get to New Hampshire. Okay, Trump right now is blowing out the field in New Hampshire. Now, if you Jeb, obviously you`d love to rise up and win New Hampshire.

More realistically, though, you look for is Trump wins New Hampshire, but Bush breaks out of that crowded establishment lane. A clear, strong second place showing clearly ahead of Rubio and Christie and Kasich, and giving Trump a little bit of a scare. Maybe losing five or 10 points, somewhere in that range.

So, you`re coming out of New Hampshire, then. Cruz is eliminated. All those other establishment candidates, they didn`t pass the test in New Hampshire, now you`re Bush and you get a shot at Trump in the next contest.

HAYES: Basically barrel toward South Carolina with it essentially being you and Trump.

KORNACKI: That`s it. Then you go down to South Carolina --

HAYES: I should say that we`re -- all those other people will probably be around and have the money too.

KORNACKI: Are they marginalized by not -- do people just abandon them? That`s what we see a lot.

So, if you go down to South Carolina and Trump has won the first two and Cruz is out of it, and the establishment guys are either out of sort of marginalized at that point, does the media then say, does the political world say this is it, South Carolina is the referendum Republicans. Do you really want Trump or are you going to go with Bush?

And the Bush family has a history in South Carolina. They have saved political careers there. The father, brother, saved their political careers in South Carolina. Could it work for Jeb too?

HAYES: In 2000, of course, McCain was coming off that New Hampshire win. He and Bush were head to head in South Carolina, and the W folks just killed him. Some say it was a lot of dirty politics.

KORNACKI: A lot of stuff happened.

HAYES: A lot of stuff happened. But they do know that state, the Bush family, they have worked it over before.

KORNACKI: That is the tradition of South Carolina. Lindsey Graham said it when he dropped out an endorsed Bush. He said it usually goes with the most electable conservative candidate.

That`s true except in 2012 when they went with Gingrich. So, which South Carolina would show up to vote? That would be the big question.

HAYES: Alright. Steve Kornacki, thanks a lot.


HAYES: Pretty stunning news tonight out of Texas. What started as an investigation into allegations of possibly criminal misconduct by Planned Parenthood, ended in criminal charges for the two anti-abortion activists who made a series of undercover videos of the organization. Those that kicked off a political fire storm last year.

A grand jury in Houston has indicted be David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the videographers behind a series of secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials, each on a felony charge of tampering with a government record which carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

Mr. Daleiden was also indicted on a second charge, a misdemeanor account related to purchasing human organs.

Meanwhile, the Houston based Planned Parenthood facility at the center of this investigation has been cleared out of any wrong doing.

The videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress and anti abortion group surfaced last year and purported to show Planned Parenthood officials across the country discussing the costs of preserving fetal tissue donated for medical research.

Those videos kicked off a national controversy leading the calls for defunding the organization and prompting allegations that the organization was essentially selling fetal tissue for profit.

As the Texas Tribune reports, among the undercover videos were recordings of staff of the Houston based Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, where both Deleiden and Merritt misrepresented themselves as research executives.

Harris country district attorney, Devon Anderson, launched a criminal investigation into that Planned Parenthood facility last year at the urging of state Republican leaders, including Texas governor Greg Abbott.

Earlier, Anderson issued a statement that reads, in part, "we were called upon to investigation allegation of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us."

Meanwhile, as the Houston Chronicle reports, the reaction from the governor`s office was one of resistance with Abbott vowing that the state attorney general and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will continue to investigate the videos.

Nothing about today`s announcement in Harris County impacts the state`s ongoing investigation, Abbott said. The state of Texas will continue to protect life and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue.

Joining me now, the president of national Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Cecile Richards. Ms. Richards, thank you for making the time. I know you`re out in Iowa in the gold doing some campaigning and door knocking.

This is a stunning turnaround. I mean, Grand Jury gets impaneled to investigate the Planned Parenthood offices there. They come back and say no wrongdoing there, but we are going to criminally feloniously indict these two people who made the videos. Your reaction. CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, NATINOAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND: Well, you`re right, Chris. And actually what we have seen in state after state is that there have been no findings of wrongdoing. In fact, the only wrongdoing has been by the folks who perpetrated this scam.

At Planned Parenthood, our most important focus is on the safety and well being of our patients and we have been continuing to see patients in Houston and around the state of Texas ever since this started. We`re really grateful to the Houston district attorney, a Republican district attorney if I might add, who in fact cleared us of wrongdoing and has indicted these two perpetrators of this scam.

HAYES: You know, this -- obviously, people have their opinions and beliefs about abortion, right. And we know where the Republican Party is as a party and where the Democratic Party is. But these videos were the proximate cause of tremendous amount of outrage. I mean, you were hauled before congress for hearings. There was a motion to defund. There were actual amendments that got passed in the budget bill.

I mean, a lot got done on these underlying videos when you have this finding of no wrongdoing. LIke, what do you want to hear from the politicians that ran with these videos?

RICHARDS: Well, I think what`s really important to remember, Chris, is that actually even though some of the Republican leaders opposed access to reproductive health care and safe, legal abortions, that`s not where most mainstream Republicans are. And I think it`s really time that those that leading in this race for presidency address the fact that women in this country have had the right to safe and legal abortion for more than 40 years. And it`s something that the American people support. and that`s why I am out here in Iowa in the wind and snow campaigning as part of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund for Hillary Clinton. She`s been a long standing supporter of Planned Parenthood and of access to safe and legal abortion and reproductive health care in America.

HAYES: Do you think -- do you see Democrats in 2016, it seems to me, being somewhat less defensive about the issue of abortion and reproductive rights than they have been this the past?

RICHARDS: I think that we are seeing every Democrat running for office, both nationally and most of the state level, being full-throated supporters of Planned Parenthood, of the health care that we provide.

I have to remind you that one in five women in this country have been to Planned Parenthood for health care. That`s a lot of people. And I think what we see when these political attacks made against the organization or against the health care we provide, that people rise up.

I`ve been overwhelmed by the support for Planned Parenthood all across the country and especially by young people who never thought that these rights would be at risk.

HAYES: You know, I also have to take a moment to recognize the fact there were actual, a shooting. I mean, people were shot and killed in a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado. The perpetrator of that cited, essentially, the videos that were produced and sort of found to be -- their origins found to be possibly criminal today.

What`s your feeling when you reflect on that?

RICHARDS: Well, look, all of these videos have been thoroughly discredited. And as we saw today in Houston, the perpetrators have been indicted.

And I think what we have said continually at Planned Parenthood is that words have meaning. And people should think long and hard when they stigmatize women, health care providers, doctors. There`s nothing more tragic than what happened in Colorado Springs. And it`s important that all women be able to access health care in this country safely and without fear. And that`s what we`re about at Planned Parenthood.

HAYES: All right, Cecile Richards, thank you for braving the cold and wind for us. I appreciate it.

RICHARDS: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Still to come, my interview with Senator Rand Paul. Stay with us.


HAYES: Although residents of Flint, Michigan are unable to drink or even bathe in the city`s water due to lead contamination, they are still being asked to pay for that water. According to one resident, quote, it feels like a slap in the face after she received a bill for about $99. More on the crisis in Flint next.


HAYES: Tonight Michigan Governor Rick Snyder continues to fight for his political life as the magnitude of the catastrophe in Flint becomes more and more apparent by the day. The state`s attorney general this morning promising to hold local and state officials accountable if any laws were broken while urging people not to bathe their newborn children or young infants in Flint`s bad water.

Meanwhile, residents are calling for more than an investigation. Some protested over water bills and over 1,000 people have joined three class action lawsuits naming a litany of state officials including the governor. Schneider with his entire governorship and political career in jeopardy is engaged in a counter offensive of sorts. On Friday, he suspended two state workers saying they are the blame for testing failures. This morning he continued attempting to shift blame to, quote, civil servants for ignoring outside experts` warnings about lead levels in flint.


RICK SNYDER, GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN: The point is our government people, the civil service people, didn`t agree with their conclusions and didn`t understand until a month or so later. And that delayed our action plan. And I feel terrible about that. I mean, that`s what drives you crazy about this.

Most state employees are fabulous people, working hard, but in this particular case there was a serious cultural problem where they were far too technical and not using enough common sense.


HAYES: That interview comes less than 24 hours after Jeb Bush went past defending his fellow Republican, praising Snyder for his response to the crisis.


JEB BUSH, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, I think it`s pretty clear that when you have local, state and federal agencies not talking to each other, blaming each other, no one being held accountable, you get this result. And it is a tragedy.

I admire Rick Snyder for stepping up right now. He`s going to the challenge. And he`s fired people and accepted responsibility to fix this.


HAYES: The problem for Rick Snyder and others who are attempting to shift blame for Flint`s water crisis is the more this story is reported out, the deeper it goes. Over the weekend, a bombshell report from the ACLU`s Kurt Gayette (ph) who has been at the forefront of reporting this out, reveals that a Snyder appointed emergency management team originally rejected using the Flint River as water source in 2012 according to a deposition obtained by the ACLU.

Quote, "the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality that indicated they would not be supportive of the use of the Flint River on a long-term basis as a primary source of water."

Just 16 months later, apparently, that same water source was deemed suitable for consumption. And it is now up to the governor to answer for what happened in those months.

Rachel Maddow will be hosting in Flint a town hall on Wednseday. You`re going to want to tune in for that at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.


HAYES: Before voting begins next week, candidates on the Republican side will gather on Thursday for the final debate before the Iowa caususes. And like the last time around, Senator Rand Paul may not be invited to the main stage based on poll numbers.

The Kentucky got into this race with a vision to broaden the Republican Pary`s appeal. And he helped lead a bipartisan coalition that coalesced around criminal justice reform.

So far, however, that hasn`t seemed to catch fire with a Republican base cheering on the authoritarian pronouncements of Donald Trump. I sat down with Paul and talked to him about criminal justice, what it means to be part of the Republican establishment. And whether that so-called establishment wants to stop the momentum of Ted Cruz.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There may be some truth to it. I think also people see Ted Cruz and they worry about authenticity. And the question is some people get annoyed if you`re part of a group that say most Republicans were against Obamacare. And if Ted Cruz makes it out like, oh, the establishment is the reason we have Obamacare is because the establishment Republicans. So, it`s not an honest attack, it`s sort of demagoguing something to make it out as if I`m the hero against Obamacare and every other Republican is really secretly for Obamacare. People don`t like that because it`s not true. And it`s a way of using something that`s not true to elevate yourself.

HAYES: So you think -- do you think he`s an inauthentic demagogue?

PAUL: I think there`s some inauthenticities about him, is a better way to put it.

For example, like on the NSA, he said he voted for a bill to curb the government`s collection of all of our phone records.

HAYES: That you pushed for quite hard.

PAUL: But then when Rubio challenged him he said, oh, no, no, no, I really voted for it because it allows the government now to collect 100 percent of the your cell phone records. And my question is he wants it both ways kind of thing. And that does concern me.

On regime change he kind of sounds like me, sometimes on we shouldn`t topple Assad and we have to be careful about intervention. Then he says he`s going to make the sand glow. And so, a lot of us in the liberty movement are like, well, indiscriminate bombing, or carpet bombing or making the sand glow, which sort of implies we`re going to blow up the whole place, will that create more terrorists than it actually kills?

HAYES: Why do -- I mean, he`s a colleague of yours. And you`ve worked iwth him. And there`s all this sort of raft of articles about basically people`s contempt for the guy, how much they hate the guy. I mean, what is your feeling about Ted Cruz as a fellow human being and a colleague?

PAUL: I try to treat things a little bit differently. So, if I go to the floor of the Senate, I`ve been there for 13 hours and not called anyone a name. I might have in general said who is this for this and who is for that, but I don`t call anyone specifically a liar or call them an individual name or impugn their motives. I`m as hard core as anybody else about calling out saying what the facts are.

Ted`s made it very personal. And when he`s made it very personal to call individuals liars, people don`t like that. And people don`t like making it real personal. It`s okay for you and I to have an argument, but if I call you a name or something, then it gets too personal. We can have all kind of disagreement until we make it really personal and that makes it a bad situation to go to.

HAYES: We`ve used this term establishment. And I guess I wonder as some - - does the word make sense to you? Does that describe some coherent concept? Can you tell me what that means or is this sloppiness on our part using this?

PAUL: Well, I think there`s inside Washington and outside Washington. And I do think there`s a disconnect. I think sometimes people elected like in 1976, they still think they are speaking to the same people who elected them in 1976 and they don`t realize it`s been a long time, people have changed over time.

But also, like in Washington, for example, when we raised the debt ceiling an unspecified amount, and for the right we gave more military spending, for the left we gave more welfare spending, and we also took some of the money from Social Security, nobody outside Washington is for that. And what I told them at 3:00 in the morning when I was standing up opposing do you know what, drive outside the Beltway, stop at the first convenient store, talk to a Republican, Democratic, Independent, whoever is working at the convenient store and ask is a good idea to borrow more money.

And I think nobody thinks it`s a good idea to keep borrowing money without any reforms.

HAYES: OK, but then, here`s my question to you in some ways you have the best anti-establishment lineage of anyone. I mean, your father in some ways really kind of plowed this terrain of anti-establishment Republican. I mean, he took on the party and its positions.

Did you end up getting your identity too enmeshed in the establishment? Has that been a problem for you?

PAUL: I don`t think so, not really. I think what has made this race an unusual race is that`s it`s been shaped a lot by celebrity. I don`t think we`ve ever had race where one candidate got 25 times what all the rest the candidates got combined. And I think having celebrity in the race definitely has skewed the coverage of the race.

And then I think we have been led by polls. I think the media early on said, oh, there`s too many candidates. We couldn`t possibly cover this many candidates. So, we`re going to cover whoever the polling tells us they should cover.

The problems is, is that polling has been wildly erratic. And also when the media made that decision to do it, they didn`t know a lot about statistics or probability and that polls have a margin of error and the people within the margin essentially are equivalent.

HAYES: Particularly when you`re down 3 or 4 percent. You know, these fine-grained distinctions.

One of the things that you have worked on in the senate is criminal justice reform. And you see -- I was looking actually at gaps of Republicans and Democrats on a bunch of stuff. And one of the places where the gaps were narrowest on criminal justice reform, right. So, it does seem there`s some bipartisan help there.

Tom Cotton just basically has come out against the bill that you co- sponsored with Cory Booker, essentially saying we`re going to let a lot of violent felons out on the street. We`re the party of law and order, and really channeling a kind of politics about law and order that was really the mainstream of both parties for a very long time, particular the Republican Party.

Does that still have teeth?

PAUL: You know, I think he`s making a mistake here, because I think the country`s moving in the other direction. A lot of us believe in second chances. You know, when I saw Peyton Manning giving the ball to Demaryius Thomas and saying this is for your mom, I had a great deal of sympathy for his mom. She`s been in jail for 15 years for a non-violent crime. I don`t mean what she was doing was correct or right, but the thing is 15 years is a long time for a non-violent crime. His grandmother is in jail for two life sentences, 40 years apiece. The minimum she can get out is 40 years for dealing drugs. And yet you can shoot somebody in Kentucky and be eligible for parole in 12 years.

HAYES: So then my question to you is do you make that case -- when you`re in a townhall in Iowa among Republicans do you talk about that? And what is the reception of that? And do people -- is this something that people are going to vote for that are in your base?

PAUL: You know, we`ll see. I`ve been ending my speech with the story of Kalief Browder, who committed suicide after being kept in prison for three years with no trial, two years in solitary confinement.

HAYES: Here in New York.

PAUL: Yeah, and it`s a very emotional story. And I think it should unite all of us to say this shouldn`t happen anymore. And in the bill I have with Cory Booker, we try to get rid of -- this was Cory`s idea really -- to get rid of solitary confinement for juveniles. And I think it`s a great idea.

HAYES: Well, if there`s one thing I would hope America could come together and agree on is getting rid of solitary confinement for juveniles.

PAUL: Absolutely.

HAYES: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, great pleasure. Thank you very much.

PAUL: Thank you.


HAYES; We actually have a late breaking update on that last point Senator Paul addressed, solitary confinement. In an op-ed posted this hour and appearing in tomorrow`s Washington Post, President Obama announced several executive actions including banning the use of solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons citing the devastating psychological consequences.

That is all in for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.