Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 17, 2016 Guest: Norm Eisen, Harry Reid
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL ANCHOR: And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN ANCHOR: Tonight on ALL IN.
HARRY REID, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM NEVADA: There`s no question in my mind, she would win this election without any problem, if Comey had not been the republican operative that he is. For example --
HAYES: Those are strong words, Senator.
REID: But I believe it.
HAYES: A Harry Reid exclusive on how Trump won, the outbreak of post- election hate, and his concerns for democrats going forward.
REID: If we`re going to just be dancing the -- whatever you dance with Donald Trump, we`re -- we might as well just have the "Trump Party."
HAYES: Plus, the president urges the President-elect to stand up to Russia. The firestorm over using 1940`s internment camps to defend a Muslim registry.
CARL HIGBIE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: We did it during World War II with Japanese.
HAYES: And the executive branch as a family affair.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right, Jared, huh?
HAYES: A growing concerns over Donald Trump`s conflicts of interest, when ALL IN starts right now.
Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. On the final international trip of his presidency, President Obama has been sending a message to at least two very different audiences. Two of our allies around the globe, concerned about the wildcard, Americans just elected as their next president. And to the President-elect, himself, now in the thick of the transition process, ostensibly laying out a vision for his term in office.
In Berlin today, at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Obama specifically urged his successor to stand up to Russia on key points of disagreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My hope is that the President-elect coming in, takes a similarly constructive approach, finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia, where our values and interests align, but that the President-elect also is willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms. That will be something that I think we`ll learn more about as the President- elect puts his team together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As the president implied, we still do not know where Donald Trump stands on many issues, including this one. While his admiration for Vladimir Putin was one of the few things he remained consistent on throughout the campaign, there`s evidence he may be sympathetic to some Kremlin priorities as well. Trump never put forth a Russia strategy, and he`s yet to name his foreign policy team. Meanwhile, the issue couldn`t be more urgent. Earlier this week, not long after Trump held his first post- election phone call with Putin, Russia began a new offensive in Syria, raining down bombs on rebel-held areas of Aleppo, a city that`s already seen the worst of Syria`s crushing five-year war. This comes just as Russia is cutting ties with the International Criminal Court, raising alarms among human rights advocates, though, we should note, the U.S. is not a member of the court either.
At the same time, Russia appears to be expanding its influence elsewhere in the world. U.S. government says, it will monitor a new security agreement between Russia and Nicaragua, its former Cold War ally, under which Russia is delivering a new military equipment including tanks, and building new expanded embassy in the central American nation. So, much right now at stake, and yet, neither the State Department or the Pentagon, had even heard from Trump`s transition team, until today. According to "The New York Times," Trump has been working without official state department briefing materials in his first conversations with foreign leaders. Those calls may not have even taken place on a secure phone line, ironic for a politician, who accused his opponent of playing fast and loose with state secrets.
The Times reports that world leaders, including some of our closest allies, had to scramble to figure out how to contact the President-elect, some of them eventually getting patch through to him in his luxury office building with little warning. The Prime Minister of Australia reportedly had to get Trump`s cell phone number from golfer, Greg Norman. Earlier today, I got a chance to sit down with Senator Harry Reid in his office in Washington, and the outgoing senate democratic leader shared his reaction to Trump`s statecraft so far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID: He knows more than the generals know. He doesn`t need a lot of briefings, does he? So, I assume that`s how he still feels. All you have to do to understand what`s going on in the Trump Tower is to understand that while others are out trying to figure out what should happen in his administration, he stays in his tower.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Much more of my interview with Harry Reid coming up. As ad hoc as Trump`s approach the foreign policy was during the campaign, his transition so far, seems to be even more unfocused. Today, Trump held his first in- person meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a key ally. Just yesterday, with one day to go, Japanese officials told Reuters they have not finalized when or where in New York the meeting would take place who would be invited or in some cases, even who to call for answers. Now, Japan is one of many U.S. allies facing serious existential questions about Trump`s leadership and America`s role in the world. Throughout the campaign, Trump threatened to break with core aspects of our alliance with Japan, only, to contradict himself later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Here`s the thing, with Japan, they have to pay us or we have to let them protect themselves. Wouldn`t you rather, in a certain sense, have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons? All I said is, we have to renegotiate these agreements because our country cannot afford to defend Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and many other places. She took that as saying nuclear weapons. Look, she`s been proven to be a liar on so many different ways. This is just another lie.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I`m just quoting you, when --
TRUMP: There`s no quote. You`re not going to find a quote from me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Adviser to the Japanese Prime Minister told Reuters, he`d spoken to several Trump advisers and lawmakers since arriving in Washington on Monday, and have been told "We don`t have to take each word that Mr. Trump said publicly, literally." Joined now by James Fallows, National Correspondent for "The Atlantic," and Molly O`Toole, Senior Reporter at Foreign Policy. And I want to start with news that just crossed, A.P. reporting that General Michael Flynn was offered a National Security Adviser. Flynn is a fairly controversial figure. I want to put up a tweet from General Flynn. "Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions." Molly, what does this mean? This naming of Flynn?
MOLLY O`TOOLE, SENIOR REPORTER AT FOREIGN POLICY: It`s not surprising and Flynn`s name has been at the top of that list for National Security Adviser for some time. In part, because he would require a waiver in order to potentially be considered for Secretary of Defense, because he hasn`t been a civilian for seven years. He was a very well-respected figure when he was the Pentagon`s Top Spy Chief for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Since then, people who have worked with him have been very concerned about some of the rhetoric that he`s used throughout the campaign.
We saw him speak at the republican convention this summer, when the crowd sort of started up chants of "Lock her up," sort of encouraging on that front. Used really heated language about the U.S. -- sort of framing the fight against ISIS, sort of this battle of civilizations between the west and between Islam, suggesting that they`re coming for us in his book using really heated language, So, some people are very concerned with some of the language that he`s used throughout the campaign, and that he`s made quite an abrupt turn from when he was a fairly well-respected intelligence officer for the Pentagon before being pushed out by the Obama administration in 2014.
HAYES: Yeah, I should note, he co-wrote the book that Molly`s indicating with Michael Ledeen. Ledeen is an infamous figure, he`s sort of from the most, let`s say, marginal fever swamps of anti-Islamic thought. James, you know, you just have this -- you got this big cover story out about China, and what applies to China applies to a lot of players in the world, which is -- the question now is, you know, American foreign policy has a certain continuity baked into the structure. And that can be frustrating sometimes, because there are lot of parts of American Foreign Policy are bad, and they get passed one present to the other. But the continuity is an important part in a world as uncertain as ours of not precipitating an international crisis. And I wonder what you think about what you`re seeing develop here.
JAMES FALLOWS, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE ATLANTIC: I think we can`t underscore, often enough, how extraordinary, how anomalous, how unprecedented is, what we`re seeing practically every hour, in these past nine days or so, of what the President-elect is proposing for the world. Then you have to think about, we`ve heard about, you know, ISIS, in that part of the world. To think about Japan and China, this loose talk about nuclear rearmament for Japan, the foundation of Japan`s sense of itself and the presentation of the world, is the fact that it was the only nation that was ever attacked by nuclear weapons by the United States, of course, in1945.
And so, just to kind of roll that off, as something we might consider is quite alarming for Japan, and also, for the rest of that part of the world, which includes the nation most - nation -- the world`s most populous nation, China, the most - the fastest growing economies, a lot of areas of real tension in the South China Sea. And so, I think the Chinese were expecting one more sort of subtle evolution of U.S. policy if Hillary Clinton came in. And now, no one there knows what to expect at all.
HAYES: And I want to just be clear here, I mean, Barack Obama`s going to pass off U.S. Military involvement in at least five, I believe, conflicts, in the Middle East at the moment. Also Afghanistan, there are American Special Forces in parts of Africa, as well. I mean, Molly, this -- I`m haunted a little bit by this "Don`t take the president`s words literally" because it`s one thing in a domestic contents -- context where he tweets something and people can deal with it or whatever, but word -- the words chosen by international leaders on an international stage have just tremendous and profound ramifications to the point where countries can misinterpret that a country is going to go to war with them, if they do not feel like they can trust the pronouncements.
MOLLY O`TOOLE, FOREIGN POLICY SENIOR REPORTER: Absolutely, and I think this is why we saw concerns from world leaders even before Donald Trump was elected, that some of the language he`d used throughout the campaign was damaging enough. The suggestions that he may pull the U.S. military out of Japan, out of South Korea, encouraging them to develop their own nuclear weapons as a sort of deterrent, suggesting that allies from NATO, to Japan and South Korea, that he may need to weigh whether they paid up enough to determine whether the U.S. will continue to support them or be part of the security alliances.
That instability, that uncertainty, alone, has already done damage, and we saw President Obama today, encourage Trump to be careful about his language and about his approach to Russia. On Monday, there was a readout of a call, in which he said he`s looking forward to a wonderful relationship. On Tuesday, Russia announces sort of a renew - renewed air assault on rebel-aired - rebel-held parts of Syria. So, we can already see, there are consequences to the words that Donald Trump is using, even before inauguration day. HAYES: And James, if there`s a through line in Trump`s thought about international relations, it`s the sense of the U.S. being humiliated, right, of the U.S. being -- it`s all zero sum, and you really wonder about if and when other power attempts to test, essentially, the U.S. How that plays into the decision-making process?
FALLOWS: Exactly, because with Russia and Putin, of course, we have one kind of provocation that`s very obvious. In East Asia, with China, and Japan, the both Koreas, and the ASEAN nations, there`s been a balance for the last, you know, three or four decades, that`s been - that`s been based on the presumption of U.S. continuity of policy. So, who knows where the challenge will come there, but it will be some sort of challenge in that region, too.
HAYES: All right. James Fallows and Molly O`toole, thanks for your time, and I really appreciate it.
FALLOWS: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, Senator Harry Reid is warning democrats about working too closely with Donald Trump. He also told me that FBI Director James Comey is a, quote, "Republican Operative." That exclusive interview is ahead, but first, invoking Japanese internment camps as a precedent for a possible Muslim registry, that shocking moment, after this two-minute break.
HAYES: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach renowned in some circles for crafting harsh immigration laws and attempting to roll back voting rights, is now advising President-elect Donald Trump, and is reportedly part of his transition team. In a recent interview with Reuters, Kobach talked about implementing Trump`s call for extreme vetting of some Muslim immigrants, and suggested the immigration policy group could recommend the reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors who enter the U.S. on VISAs from countries where extremist organizations are active.
And if anyone knows what he`s talking about, in this regard, it`s Kris Kobach, because under the Bush administration, he put together that national registry which applied to men over the age of 16 from nations that were considered, quote, "Havens for terrorists." Obama suspended the program in 2011 after sustained legal action by civil rights groups. And now, Kris Kobach is suggesting Trump brings it back. His proposition was bolstered last night by another Trump supporter who went on Fox News and said such a registry would, quote, "Pass constitutional muster, citing Japanese internment camps as precedent."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HIGBIE: We`ve done it with Iran. In fact, back a while ago, we did it during World War II with Japanese, which, you know, call what you will, maybe it was wrong but -
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Come on, you`re not - you`re not proposing we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope.
HIGBIE: No, no, no. I`m not proposing that at all, Megyn. But what I am saying is that we need to protect America.
KELLY: You know better than to suggest that. I mean, that`s the kind of stuff that gets people scared, Carl.
HIGBIE: Right. But it`s - I`m just saying there is precedent for it, and I`m not saying I agree with it, but in this case, I absolutely believe that a regional base -
KELLY: You can`t be citing Japanese internment camps as precedent for anything the President-elect is going to do.
HIGBIE: Look, the president needs to protect America first, and if that means having people that are not protected under our constitution, have some sort of registry, so we can understand, until we can identify the true threat and where it`s coming from, I support it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That prompted this reaction from Senator Harry Reid when I sat down with him today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I saw that. I saw that. I don`t - I don`t know what to say. I mean, I don`t know what to say. These are not outliers. These are people who are Trump big-time supporters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, emigrated here from Fukushima, Japan, when she was seven years old. And senator, I want to read - start with a statement from the president-elect`s office, from Jason Miller saying "President-elect Trump has never advocated for any registry or system that tracks individuals based on their religion. To imply otherwise is completely false. The national registry of foreign visitors from county -- countries with high terrorism activity that was in place during Bush and Obama administration gave intelligence and law enforcement communities additional tools to keep our country safe. Our President-elect plans on releasing his own vetting policies after he is sworn in." What`s your reaction?
MAZIE HIRONO, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR OF HAWAII: There are people who are very close to President-elect Trump, the most recent being the person that you just featured, saying things such as the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II is a precedent for a registry. Targeting of minorities, of ethnic -- on the basis of ethnic and religious backgrounds is not OK in our country. And the fact that they (INAUDIBLE) world war - of Japanese- Americans during World War II, it was a very, very dark part of our country`s history and it should not serve as a precedent for anything other than, it should never happen again.
HAYES: What are your -- how are you interpreting the signals that have come from this administration or next administration that as it gets together, in terms of the ways that it`s thinking about, quote, "keeping the country safe." You saw in that quote, he said he has to do whatever to keep the country safe. And I think about what that might look like at particularly in times of crisis, after a terrorist attack abroad that then- candidate Trump called for ban on all Muslims. He`s since walked that back. What is that - what does that say to you?
HIRONO: It says that we haven`t learned what happened in World War II, where Japanese-Americans were targeted again on the basis of this will keep our country safe. And that was wrong. It was wrong, wrong, wrong. Have we not learned anything? So, we still have the constitutional protections that should apply to all of us. This is not -- our constitution is not contingent on what race or ethnic background or religious background you have, it applies to all of us. And so, to cite the World War II internment as a basis on which we should start registering Muslims is frightening.
HAYES: I just want to clarify here. I mean, they`re saying this is - this registry existed, it was brought under George W. Bush. It`s for non-U.S. citizens, VISA holders who are coming to the country. He was citing Korematsu, which is the famous Supreme Court decision that allowed for the internment camps as legal precedent, and which still, we should note, is still good law which gives -
HIRONO: It is not. And actually, it`s not good law because Korematsu has been overturned.
HIRONO: I know the attorneys who worked on that case.
HAYES: So, let me ask you this, Senator. Your colleagues are making different sounds right now about how they`re going to encounter a President Trump. And the thrust has been on the stuff we agree we`ll work with him, on the stuff that is bigoted or that we disagree, we`ll fight him tooth and nail. And I guess my question to you is, can you really separate those? If you think this is a person capable of doing something truly offensive to our most basic and cherished constitutional liberties, could you work with him on an infrastructure bill if he then turns around the next day and proposes the Muslim registry bill?
HIRONO: Well, that means when he comes up with things such as a Muslim Registry, then we`re going to fight him. But if he wants to work with us against Paul Ryan`s plans to privatize Medicare and Social Security not being far behind, we can certainly work together on that, because that has been a bedrock of the democratic position. So, as much as possible, I personally am going to make sure that on those areas where we are totally against what we need to be against, Donald Trump, then we`re going to be against it. And my concern is that we should not be chipping away at the values that we hold dear, just so that we can get certain things passed that we hold near and dear.
And that may be one of the ways that some people would want to proceed, the old divide and conquer, and let`s just put in some really horrible things to get our support on those things that we do agree on. I think that is a very dangerous, slippery slope. And as far as I`m concerned, where the xenophobia and racism and white supremacy and those kinds of notions rear their ugly heads, I will be fighting those kinds of initiatives tooth and nail.
TAPPER: Yeah. All right. Senator Mazie Hirono, thanks for joining us, appreciate it.
HIRONO: Thank you.
TAPPER: Still to come, my exclusive interview with Senate democratic leader Harry Reid, why he says Donald Trump`s most extreme rhetoric can be traced back to the republican congress. That and more, next.
HAYES: Minority leader Harry Reid will retire at the end of his term after 30 years in the senate, but he`s not limping out the door. Reid took to the senate floor today for the third time since last week`s election to speak against the President-elect. This time demanding Donald Trump do something about the spike in bigoted incidents and alleged hate crime over the past week. Today, I sat down with Harry Reid in his senate office. I began by asking him, what responsibility President-elect Trump holds in regards to those incidents.
REID: Southern Poverty Law Center two days after the election, 347 instances of terrible stuff. Two days later, it`s increased 40 percent, so I had to say something. And I said this morning, "There`s only one person that can put a stop to this, and that`s Donald Trump." Stop it. He had a chance on "60 Minutes," he didn`t do it. So, I mean, I - this is - this is -
HAYES: Well, he did look into the camera and say "stop it," right?
REID: Well, you say he did?
HAYES: Yes. I mean, at the prompting of Lesley Stahl, he was -
REID: Oh, I saw that, but that - I saw that. That wasn`t - that wasn`t - that wasn`t - you know, you can say things that you mean and you can say things, you`re not trying to mean anything. No, he didn`t say anything. Here`s this -- why doesn`t he say something to the American people? More than once. More than once. These are issues that people are quoting him. These are awful things.
One of my senators sent me something, you got to see this, and it was a Martin Luther King Center, because I had given a speech earlier that day, Martin Luther King Center in Spokane, graffiti, the "N" word all over that facility. Big -- not that big, all over. It`s - now, I put in the record today, I only mentioned four things. I could have mentioned hundreds of things. So what I did, I said, I have 17 pages covering hundreds of things that happened the last few days. So, no, I think -- I think he has to say something.
HAYES: What about -- I mean, there`s his responsibility to your mind to say something, but it also strikes me that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, your senate colleagues here in this building, it seems that -- and we should note that there are some examples, reported examples of violence against Trump supporters that have happened. It seems to me that it should be easy for political leaders of any party to be quite strenuous in condemning anything like this.
REID: But, again, I`ve said this for a long time, Donald Trump was created by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. I gave a major speech, at least in my -- I thought it was major, where I talked about the fact that I went over item by item that all this birtherism and all of the stuff at the - on immigration, all the stuff dealing with Muslims, that all came from this congress. And Trump just picked up on it.
HAYES: Here`s the deeper question. When you have these incidents of harassment, sometimes violence, you have some very ugly rhetoric from the candidate, himself, now President-elect has used. You`ve been in politics a long time. Do you view President-elect Trump as someone who you think is going to be a bad president, or do you view him as a fundamental threat to the republic?
REID: I hope, my first few days of going through the trauma of the election, an election where Hillary Clinton got 2 million more votes than he did. And I understand the electoral system. A system where she lost four states by less than 100,000 votes combined, took me a while to accept that the next -- 24 hours after the election, but then I was concerned, is the world going to be destroyed? I mean, he`s talked openly about getting rid of the Iran nuclear agreement, getting rid of our NATO allies or making them pay more. The same with Japan, who I understand he`s meeting with soon without any preparation whatsoever. So, I spent a day or two worrying, is the world going to be blown up? He`s in bed with the Russians. Russians just now have a deal, I learned today, with Nicaragua where they sent 50 tanks to Nicaragua, next door to Costa Rica who doesn`t even have an army.
But now, I`ve been concentrating after having well, maybe not going to blow it up right away. I`m worried about things -- Nevada is a state that has 87 percent of the land is owned by the federal government. We have people now that are talking about pushing a bill through the house to turn all this over to the -- so rich guys can buy this land. Not all of it, big chunks of it. That land -- I`m from Nevada, but that land is just as much yours, as is mine. And to think that something like this happen -- so I -- so do I think he`s going to be a good president? I hope so, but on the way the campaign was engineered, and what he`s done after the campaign, I have grave doubts for our country.
I mean, and I`m disappointed, Chris, for a couple things. I think we, not just senators, house members, should be saying something about these people that are being considered for cabinet posts. Giuliani to be Secretary of State? I mean, where`s he been, to Canada? I mean, what is this all about? He`s a lobbyist. He was mayor of New York City. Or how about Bolton? This guy, there`s nobody in America that`s more to the right than he is. Sarah Palin, Secretary of Interior, 87 percent of the land in State of Nevada is federally owned, Sectary of Interior. To have Kurt Kobach to be Attorney General? Now, that name might not mean much to everybody but your viewers should understand -
HAYES: Kris Kobach.
REID: What did I call him, Kurt?
REID: Yes, Kris. Yes, Kris. I`m sorry. Long-time Secretary of State of Kansas who doesn`t believe in people voting. He wants just the elite to vote. And he`s proven that with all of these craziness and stopping people from voting, not only in Kansas but around the country. He thinks all -
HAYES: He would - he would say -- I should just say that he would say that, of course, he wants to make sure it`s only citizens voting. The law that he passed in Kansas (INAUDIBLE)
REID: OK. Chris, fine. We`ll go - we`ll dance that -
HAYES: In the interest of fairness.
REID: We`ll dance that tone again. And I appreciate you`re trying to be fair. But he or no one else can find any fraud. Over 2 million people they looked at who voted, there were three or four instances of people who shouldn`t have been voting. I don`t know what that percentage is, but pretty low.
HAYES: So, the names that are being circulated for the cabinet, obviously make you worried.
REID: And you know, I get up and read The Hill papers today, who`s complaining? Not a democrat, but Rand Paul.
HAYES: What do you mean by that?
REID: What I mean is I am -- I would like so my democratic colleagues in the house and in the senate to talk about some of these -- I mean, I -- look, I want to do -- I think I`m going to be gone next year, I won`t be leading the senate, and I think -- I hope we can get some stuff done.
HAYES: After the break, what Harry Reid believes the democratic strategy should be next year. Stay with us.
HAYES: The pressing question right now for Democrats as the minority party in both chambers of congress, what should their strategy be under a Trump administration?
When I spoke with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in his Capitol Hill office today, I asked him about his headline which caught a lot of people`s eyes in The New York Times today: "Senate Democrats` surprising strategy trying to align with Trump."
Reporting incoming minority leader Chuck Schumer and Democrats` plan to announce populist economic and ethics initiatives they think Mr. Trump might like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA: First of all, Chuck Schumer is my friend. And he`s been a tremendous help to me and to the Democratic caucus all the time I`ve led the caucus. I have great admiration for Senator Schumer, his political skills, his ability to understand strategically what the press is all about. And I`m confident that he`ll do a good job leading the senate.
But I do say, that we as Democrats have to stand for something to show the difference between Trump and us. If we`re going to just be dancing the, whatever you dance with Donald Trump, we`re -- we might as well just have the Trump party.
HAYES: What is your lesson, and what`s the lesson of the Democratic Party from the McConnell strategy which I think we can all say was in many ways historically unprecedented, right, the idea was from the very beginning we will deny our consent as a party caucus. We won`t work with him on things because that would lend him political capital, it would send the signal that we approve of this. The Merrick Garland obstruction in the last 300 days.
Was that a winning strategy? And is there a strategic lesson, if not a moral or substantive one, for Democrats?
REID: It was a winning strategy for him. And I`m sorry it was, but it turned out OK for him. But for us, we can`t do that. I think that we have to speak out.
HAYES: There are a lot of people -- there are a lot of Democrats that want Democrats to do that.
REID: They did not -- the Republicans didn`t speak out. They just stopped us procedurally. I mean, they just did what they did. I believe that we have a different obligation. I think we have to be talking all the time. If we don`t like something, tell everybody why, don`t just block things as they did. They stopped things they agreed to.
Chris, during the six years that Lyndon Johnson was majority leader, it`s debatable how many filibusters they had, one, two, but that`s about it. Six years, that`s how long Johnson was my predecessor. My first six years, over 500 filibusters that we had to try to overcome.
So my point is, no, we don`t want to be like them.
HAYES: But why not? I mean, look -- let me just say this, if the president of the United States says, we are now introducing legislation that will require mandatory registration by all people of a certain faith, Muslim Americans, and we`re going to pass this through the Senate. For the love of god, shouldn`t the senate Democrats slow down the mechanism of government?
REID: Chris, you`re missing my point. Of course. Of course. But also let American people know what we`re doing. Why are we opposing this registry? Why? Why is it a horrible idea for our republic? It`s a two- step deal. You can`t just oppose things. Why are we doing it? We have to have a message out I there.
HAYES: I want to talk about Nevada, because it was a rare bright light on election night for the Democratic Party.
But I want to hear more about what you understand about went wrong. I hear the critique of the sort of, the kind of model for campaign architecture, but there`s a very spirited debate happening in the Democratic Party in the left, among liberals, about what went wrong on Tuesday night.
REID: A lot of things went wrong.
HAYES: What`s your understanding?
REID: But not very wrong, Chris.
You take Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and there are just a handful of votes...
HAYES: That`s about 107,000 votes across those 3 states.
So, sure, didn`t work out the way we wanted but just a little bit wrong.
I talked to Bob Casey this morning. In Pennsylvania, I think he told me there`s less than a percent vote difference in that race for president. So, sure, things didn`t work out the way we wanted and there`s a lot of new things we need to do, but I don`t think there`s any one thing we can look at, although my consultants that would help what we had done.
There`s no question that we need to do more in rural America.
HAYES: Did that happen? Did the Clinton campaign not pay enough attention to rural America?
REID: You know, it`s easy to second guess what Hillary did. I love Hillary Clinton. I`m sorry she lost. I did everything I could to help. And, you know, I can go through a litany of things.
There`s no question in my mind, she would have won this election without any problem if Comey had not been the Republican operative that he is. For example...
HAYES: Those are strong words, senator.
REID: But I believe it.
He came out against what the attorney general had recommended, against what common sense dictates. He is the reason she lost the election. So if you want one reason, that`s it. Comey, he can be fat and happy in his office there for seven more years after having thrown an election to Donald Trump. If he feels good about that, that`s nice.
HAYES: There are reports about the sort of somewhat chaotic scene happening in Trump Tower as the president-elect talks to foreign leaders. He has been talking to them without guidance from the State Department or diplomatic protocol or even, we don`t know about access to secure channels, which somewhat ironic given the role that played in the campaign. Do you have concerns about that?
REID: Well, but in you have to understand him, he knows more than the generals know. He doesn`t need a lot of briefings, does he? So I assume that`s how he still feels.
All you have to do to understand what`s going on in the Trump Tower is to understand that while others are out trying to figure out what should happen in his administration, he stays in his Tower and I`m -- I read, I assume it`s valid, that one of the things he did in the last few days is give a tour of his mansion in Trump Tower, so he could show all the gold in the ceilings and all that kind of stuff on a reality TV show.
So that`s what they`re doing there. And I think he should be more concerned about how does he figure out a way to get rid of Giuliani, how does he figure a way to get rid of Bolton, how does he figure a way to get rid of Sarah Palin, how does he figure a way to get rid of the secretary of state of Kansas?
HAYES: Are there people that you would like to see in those positions that you think would be...
REID: I hope this doesn`t stop him from ever getting anything, I think Bob Corker is a wonderful man, Senator from Tennessee, chairman of the foreign relations committee. What a fine man he has always been fair in everything I`ve known him to deal with, and as far as we, Democrats, I think we all feel that way. A very, very fair man.
So he is the hallmark of kind of people that I think we should hold our arms out to.
HAYES: Final question here, what do the Democrats stand for? In some ways I think when you go back and you look at the postmortems and you read the interviews with folks particularly in that -- those states in the industrial Midwest that Hillary Clinton lost, there was a sense that they stood for the status quo or they stood for some kind of cosmopolitan vision, which obviously is very racially loaded its in own way. What do the Democrats stand for? What do they stand for?
REID: You know, I came from a place that wasn`t much. My parents were uneducated. My dad didn`t graduate from the eighth grade, my mom didn`t graduate from high school. We lived in a house I thought it was good at the time, but I look back at pictures, it wasn`t so great. One teacher taught all eight grades. No -- there was never a church service in Searchlight (ph) when I was growing up. We had 13 brothels.
Now, my point is this, that`s who I think we Democrats are. I think we recognize that there are a lot of Harry Reids in the world and I`ve always said, I`m leaving here. And people have asked me the last year, what message do you want to leave with people? And here`s the message: I want everyone in America to understand if Harry Reid can make it in America, anyone can. And I want those young men and women out there who are looking for a way out to realize if Harry Reid can make it, anybody can. That`s what America`s all about.
Anymore, it doesn`t matter what your race is, it used to, but it shouldn`t anymore. It doesn`t matter what your religion is, shouldn`t. And so I believe America is a great country. And I believe we temporarily have lost our way. And I believe that way can be found. I`m sorry I`m not going to be here to be more engaged, but I have five or six more week where I`m going to be engaged, do the best I can.
HAYES: Senator Harry Reid, it`s a real pleasure. Thank you very much.
Still to come, the latest evidence that Donald Trump is trying to make the executive branch a family affair.
But first, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One, today Senator Ben Sass has some questions for the media about why they aren`t reporting on a vital issue. Why don`t we have more reporting on paid rioting? Who pays for it? how much? Why? Through what orgs? Who are the workers? Who recruits?
A bunch of fun questions, Senator Sasse.
President-elect Donald Trump has made a similar claim about professional protesters. Turns out the Philip Bump of The Washington Post was happy to answer all the senator`s questions starting with the first, why don`t we have more reporting on paid rioting?
Well, it`s probably important we take a step back and point out there isn`t any good evidence the people who are protesting and who shouldn`t be called rioters, say the crew of self-described anarchists in Portland, Oregon, are actually being paid to do so. Bump goes on to explain how impracticable and prohibitive it would be for any organization to pay tens of thousands of people to protest Donald Trump. He zips through the rest of the senator`s questions, who pays for it? No one. How much? Nothing. Why? Like asking why the moon wants to invade. Through what orgs? None. We`re the workers. They are regular people. Who recruits? The internet mostly based on what I heard when I talked to people at the protest I covered last week.
So, you might wonder where could Senator Sassee had gotten the idea of paid protesters in the first place? That is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So, Senator Ben Sasse wonders why the media isn`t reporting on paid protesters. The answer, no good evidence of paid protesters. Where might senator have gotten such an idea? He didn`t say it in his tweet, he might have gotten it from the notoriously unreliable James O`Keefe and the videos that he had push porting to show Democratic operatives bragging about getting people to disrupt Trump rallies, or perhaps he got it from something like this, an ABC News website, Donald Trump protester speaks out, "I was paid $3,500 to protest Trump`s rally." It is a attributed to the AP, the Associated Press, except no, it`s neither from the real ABC News, nor the real Associated Press, it`s fake news, period.
The guy behind the paid protester story is Paul Horner who boasted perhaps not seriously "I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me." And in that interview with The Washington Post, he bragged about his long run of viral news hoaxes including fake news on Facebook.
Fake news is proliferating. The truth is having, well, a much harder time keeping up.
HAYES: Donald trump will enter the White House with conflicts of interest unparalleled in the modern era, although since he never released his tax returns, we don`t know just how bad those conflicts might be.
But we know is the president-elect runs a privately held sprawling business empire with holdings around the globe, creating the potential for Trump to use the full force of the U.S. government to enrich himself and his family, or just to use the bully pulpit and the office to do the same. And instead of putting his holdings in a blind trust in order to avoid conflicts of interest, as other presidents have, Trump is simply handing the business over to three of his kids.
But Trump will still be in contact, of course, with his children as he runs the country. And even if he does not discuss government business with them, although that seems unlikely, he will still be well aware of many of his holdings. Such a situation inherently creates the potential for corruption on a massive scale.
And now, a source tells NBC News that Jared Kushner is mulling a significant formal role in the Trump White House. Kushner, of course, is married to Trump`s daughter, Ivanka, and his presence in the White House would further blur the line between the U.S. government and the Trump family business.
Kushner is now reportedly consulting with lawyers to see if he could take a White House job, despite federal anti-nepotism laws designed to prevent corruption.
This is unchartered territory for this country. And when we come back, I`ll be joined by Norm Eisen who was chief White House ethics lawyer under President Obama to talk about just what`s at stake. That`s next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Joining me now to discuss Donald Trump`s conflicts of interest as he enters the White House, former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic Norm Eisen, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer under President Obama from 2009 to 2011.
Ambassador, let me ask you this. Let`s start first with this I think important technical question, which is Jared Kushner, son-in-law, can he get a job in the West Wing given that there are anti-nepotism laws essentially, we think, to prevent just sort of this thing?
NORM EISEN, FRM. WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, Chris, it`s arguably illegal, but definitely wrong. There`s a law on the books, was passed in 1967, the anti-nepotism law. It`s also known as the Bobby Kennedy law. And it was enacted into law precisely because the experience between Bobby and Jack Kennedy, as fantastic as both of them were, raised concerns that public officials, when they`re faced with critical decision making, might be influenced by their familial ties to each other, rather than giving the tough, candid advice that our oath to the constitution requires.
So the law passed and it`s pretty straightforward. It says that a public official, and the president is certainly a public official, cannot employ a relative and it defines relatives to include sons-in-law, in an executive agency.
Now, that might seem pretty straight forward, right?
EISEN: But here in Washington, things are never as simple as they seem. And the reason that Jared Kushner is reportedly huddled with high-priced lawyers today, examining this statute, is because there`s a dispute about,as strange as it may seem, whether the White House is an executive agency. To me, it`s common sense. The White House is the definition of an executive agency, Chris.
But there have been some cases that have questioned whether it is or it`s not. There hasn`t been a direct ruling on point. There`s what we call dick duck (ph) courts that speculated it might not be. And the statute itself is murky. In some places, executive agency means, the White House. In some places, it excludes the White House.
So we`re wading into a thicket.
HAYES: OK, let`s -- so there`s -- that doesn`t even include the business part of it, right? But so let`s combine these two. Because this seems to me the kind of nightmare scenario from an ethics standpoint. Kushner`s in the West Wing. The family enterprise, privately held, which has very little disclosure, it has to do, is being managed by, among others, Kushner`s wife, and the president`s daughter. The potential for corruption and enrichment seems to be just essentially boundless.
Who would watchdog that? How would we even know it was happening?
EISEN: It`s -- that`s why I say, it`s arguably illegal, but definitely wrong. You know, there`s a pattern that Mr. Trump has established, the president-elect, his whole career, of pushing boundaries. And that`s happening now with his own extraordinary business conflicts. We`ve never seen anything like this in a president many modern times. And now with having his kids manage the business, that`s just wrong. It should go into a true blind trust and neither his children nor his -- their spouses, should be talking to him about official business.
If you have Mr. Trump`s daughter, the president-elect`s daughter managing his businesses and the son-in-law receiving top-secret briefings from the intelligence agencies, it turns the CIA into a management consultant for the Trump enterprises, Chris.
HAYES: That`s exactly right.
EISEN: It`s not right.
Now, legally, Mr. Trump could say, OK, it`s too much of a headache. That`s what he should do. Who wants to start the administration with this mess? But we know, it doesn`t always work that way in Trump world.
HAYES: Ambassador Norm Eisen, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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