All In With Chris Hayes, Transcript 12/14/2016

Guests: Michael Flynn, Evan McMullin, Ben Houlton, Dick Durbin, Katie Packer

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: December 14, 2016 Guest: Michael Flynn, Evan McMullin, Ben Houlton, Dick Durbin, Katie Packer

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Yes, that`s right, lock her up.

HAYES: Major revelations about Trump`s pick for National Security Adviser, sharing classified information with foreign governments.

FLYNN: If I did a tenth -- a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today.

HAYES: Then stunning new details about Russia`s cyber-attack on the U.S. election.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails.

HAYES: Senator Dick Durbin on how congress in America should respond.

Plus, team Trump`s alleged quid pro quo to lure entertainers to inauguration. How federal workers just stood up to Trump and won, and the bullying -- TRUMP: We`re going to work on the wall, Paul.

HAYES: And the threats. TRUMP: He has been terrific. Now, if he ever goes against me, I`m not going to say that, OK?

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. In 37 days, Donald Trump will become President of these United States. We have breaking news tonight; two senior U.S. intelligence officials tell NBC News that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in efforts to disrupt the U.S. Presidential Election. That conclusion, they say, is based on intelligence arrived from diplomatic sources and others including spies working for America`s allies.

Now, that new report comes on top of widespread growing consensus within the Intelligence Community, in the U.S. that Russia was behind multiple large-scale attacks on democratic institutions and operatives producing fodder for countless embarrassing and politically damaging stories at the height of the Presidential Election.

New York Times just published some pretty amazing reporting on the shear scope of the alleged Russia cyber-attacks which targeted the Democratic National Committee, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and almost a dozen democratic house candidates. Regardless of whether Russia specifically meant to help elect Trump, still a matter of dispute among different intelligence agencies. Vladimir Putin`s government undoubtedly succeeded in influencing the outcome of the U.S. election. President Obama has ordered a full review of Russia`s role in the election. There`s now bipartisan support in the senate for some type of investigation.

Joining me, NBC News National Security reporter Ken Dilanian. And Ken, I guess my first response to this story was, how could they possibly know this, right? So, it seems, you know, explosive to say that Putin was personally supervising this, but this is two intelligence officials off the record. There`s some sort of grain of salt I always attach to anything, you know, anonymous from the Intelligence Community. How could they possibly know this?

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: And that`s certainly a fair question, Chris. Thanks for having me, by the way.

And the -- and the short answer is we don`t exactly know. But we know or we`re told that they are viewing this information with high confidence, which is about as good as judgement that you can make in the Intelligence Community about a piece of information. And we`re told it`s coming from liaisons, from other intelligence sources, from human sources that they have, people presumably with access to Putin or access to the Russian regime. That`s all we really know.

HAYES: And were also -- I mean, part of the -- so, part of the story here, right, there`s a sort of forensic story about who did this, and then there`s a kind of whole chain, right? Who did it, what was their connection to the Russian state, how much were they -- how closely were they directed, there were some beginning theories that maybe this was just a kind of either rogue element or a bunch of people that kind of got out over their skis, and before you know it, they`re inside the DNC. This is all sort of a settling machine, it seems like it`s is the work that the intelligence apparatus is doing right now.

DILANIAN: Exactly, and we`re sort of looking through an opaque glass trying to figure out through bits and pieces in reporting what exactly they know. And what you describe as the forensic case, which a private firm initially made was that, hey, this -- the malware and the -- and the hacks that we`re seeing into the Democratic National Committee can be traced back to these Russian entities.

That doesn`t tell us anything, though, about who was in the Russian government ordered -- if anyone ordered it or, you know, what the Russian government`s ties to the operation were. That`s where the U.S. intelligence gathering apparatus comes in. And apparently, they`ve gotten, you know, a lot more clarity on that. Now, in October, you know, all 17 intelligence agencies signed off on a statement saying, hey, Russia did this, and based on what we understand about how Russia works, you know, people at the highest levels of the Russian government would have had to order that. But that was a sub position, that was a -- that was a judgment. This apparently, this new information is hard and fast intelligence that they`re relying on with high confidence to say, hey, Putin was involved in this.

HAYES: And we don`t -- do we know the level of -- what they are saying the level of Putin`s involvement, like, "Hey, you should go after Podesta" or just it being run up the chain in some memo saying, "Hey, we`re going to do this. Is that cool?"

DILANIAN: I mean, we`re told -- this is fairly general, but we`re told that he was involved in directing how to use the leaked material, which is -- which is fairly specific. HAYES: That is fascinating. Ken Dilanian, thank you very much. I`m joined now by Evan McMullin, independent cabinet for President in 2016, a former CIA Operations Officer. You know, Evan, there`s this sort of crazy subtext that`s happening here in terms of the intelligence agencies and the CIA. A lot of this comes from the CIA, Donald Trump`s people seem to think that the CIA is anti-Donald Trump, that they think he`s a Russian agent, and they basically have it out for him. What do you say to their people that say that?

EVAN MCMULLIN, INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT AND FORMER CIA OPERATIONS OFFICER: Well, obviously, there`s a natural conflict there. People at the CIA understand what a threat Vladimir Putin in Russia are to global security and to the United States, to our security, to the integrity of our democratic system. And so, they`re opposed to what Donald Trump is trying to impose upon our country, which is a relationship with the very country that is undermining our democracy.

Now, I have to say with regard to whether Putin would have directed this or not, of course, he knew about it, and, of course, he directed it. Nothing like this -- we have to understand that this would be the largest or this is probably the most fantastic, incredible intelligence success Russia has had at least against the United States, if not, in its history. It`s a huge, huge achievement for them to influence an election in the way they have here in the United States. I`m not ready to say that they had the definitive influence, maybe Hillary Clinton and the rest of us would have lost anyway, but the point is, the fact that they were able to get a candidate who they supported as the nominee of a major party and then actually win the election, is such an enormous achievement that there`s just no possible way that Vladimir Putin wouldn`t have known about a sustained multifaceted effort to influence our election. It`s a big, big deal here or not as much as it should be, unfortunately, but I assure you it`s a big, big deal in the Kremlin and they`re celebrating right now.

HAYES: But, are you -- I mean, part of the problem, right, is ascertaining the confidence that all these links in the chain are there, right? I mean, and again, this is what -- you`re shaking your head, you just think it`s so obvious. You think it`s -- MCMULLIN: It`s just so -- look, I understand. I mean, I come from this world, so I understand how these things work and those of us in the Intelligence Community just know these things because we`ve seen them play out in other situations. We know that Russia does this in Europe all of the time. This is not a new strategy or a new playbook. This is what Russia does to undermine democracies in Europe. Now they`re doing it in the United States. It`s the Russian-backed trolls, it`s the hacks, it`s the support for the white nationalist, white supremacist movement. It`s finding a candidate in a country, in a democratic country like ours, that is sympathetic to the Russian or the Putin way of his authoritarianism and his white nationalism and all of this, and promoting them through these other means. I mean, it`s their playbook, and they did it here in the United States.

HAYES: What is this --

MCMULLIN: It`s clear.

HAYES: What is this -- if this is the case, if this is what happened, what does this mean?

MCMULLIN: It means that -- it means that, you know, our fragile democracy -- and it is fragile, and we need to fight hard to keep it. Our founders knew that would be the case. I think we`re a little asleep at the wheel these days or have been as Americans. It means that we as Americans need to stand up and demand that our elected leaders in congress, and we must do the same, hold our system accountable, our elected representatives accountable and oppose Donald Trump`s planned alignment with Russia. There`s a reason why we have opposed Russia on the global stage. It`s not arbitrary. Russia is a -- an adversary, the liberty, and freedom, and basic rights across the globe, and here in the United States, and we have stood up to them with our partners, with our allies, our free allies in Europe, and it`s important that we continue to do that for the cause of liberty here and abroad.

HAYES: Do you think that the President of the United States should say something on the record about all of this?

MCMULLIN: Well, he has said some things and I think certainly at a time when he judges it to be the right time, he should. We need leadership in the country especially on this issue. I imagine that he`s dealing with a lot of very sensitive considerations, very classified considerations, that it`s hard for you and I sitting here to make a judgment about what he should say or shouldn`t say. Certainly, we need leadership. Certainly the American people need information. I`ll say that I think our electors in the Electoral College, they deserve to be briefed on what they can be briefed on with regard to what Russia has done in the election and in related ways since then. So, they need all of the information they can get so that they can perform their constitutional duties.

HAYES: Let me -- let me ask you this. You know, there`s a statement -- this sort of extraordinary statement. I don`t think I`ve ever seen anything like it in the time I`ve been covering politics. After the reporting had broken the basically look, I think it was Friday, late Friday night, right, that the CIA come to this conclusion that this was done and not just done to kind of create mischief but explicitly for this electoral outcome for Donald Trump to beat Hillary Clinton and the President-elect put out a statement saying these are the same people that got Iraq wrong. And I had this -- you`re grimacing even at that statement. I mean, what is -- youwhat is your work for the CIA. What the heck is that relationship going to be like right now? I mean, the President -- incoming President basically declared war of the agency. Straight up, publicly, called them out. What is that going to be like?

MCMULLIN: It`s going to be a very troubled relationship, there`s no doubt about it. But the American people end up being the losers. But, you know, I`m not sure if Donald Trump had the information that the CIA would give him or wants to give him, if he -- that would make him make wise decisions. I`m not sure it would. So I don`t know. Maybe it`s a wash. But look, I`ll tell you, Americans need to understand this. The CIA gives advice to senior policymakers, the President, of course, included chief among them. And does a variety of assessments every day all day long. Hundreds of them. That`s the reality.

And a deal in an uncertain world, the world we live in, and that`s why we have them. We have them to connect the dots. Sometimes they`re not right. Most of the time, they are, because they`re very -- they`re very conscientious and conservative in the assessments they make most of the time. Now, there are -- you know, people talk about mistakes that are made and times when they were wrong, those are the times when things become well known, but assessments that they make every day tend to be correct. And for a President to say I don`t want any of that, is absolutely reckless and just plain stupid.

HAYES: All right, Evan McMullin, former CIA and an Independent Presidential Candidate. Thanks for your time. Much more ahead on this and other stuff. Dont go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: All right. Today, we also got some big news of the man who will be running the National Security apparatus in the White House. Retired Army General Michael Flynn, who Donald Trump has named as his National Security Adviser. Now, that`s not a position that requires Senate confirmation unless Trump rescinds the offer, Flynn will be Trump`s National Security whisperer in the White House. And today`s news, puts what Flynn said on the campaign trail, and particularly at the National -- Republican National Convention, In a different light. You might remember Flynn`s RNC speech, his big moment in the spotlight where he called on Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race, because she, quote, "put our nation`s security at extremely high risk".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLYNN: Lock her up, lock her up.

CROWD CHANTING: "Lock her up."

FLYNN: You guys are good. Damn right. Exactly right. There`s nothing wrong with that.

CROWD CHANTING: "Lock her up."

FLYNN: And you know why? And you know why? You know why we`re saying that? We`re saying that because if I, a guy who knows this business, if i did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: This was, of course, the Trump campaign`s main attack on Clinton, particularly in the campaign`s final days. This idea that she belonged in jail because she used private e-mail servers as Secretary of State potentially compromising classified information and putting national security at risk. Didn`t matter, the FBI investigated the matter, concluded no charges should be filed. Trump threatened to jail Clinton if elected. And those lock her up chants became a staple of this campaign events. The chant even broke up last night, long past Election Day at Trump`s victory rally in Wisconsin. That brings us to what we learned today. The Washington Post reporting that Michael Flynn, who again, helped lead those "locker up" chants, was the subject in a secret U.S. military investigation 2010 that determined that Flynn inappropriately shared classified information with foreign military officers in Afghanistan.

Flynn was not disciplined because investigators concluded he didn`t act knowingly and ultimately didn`t damage National Security. Of course, the FBI came to a not dissimilar determination about Hillary Clinton. And Flynn, knowing what he knew, still called for her to be thrown in jail. We reached out today to the House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Jason Chaffetz to see if he would investigate Flynn for risking classified information as vigorously as he did Clinton. We did not hear back. This is not the first red flag concerning Flynn who`s repeatedly expressed Islamophobic views, traffic and fake and non-credible news.

Just today, we learned Flynn had deleted a fake news tweet about Clinton`s supposed involvement in a sex crimes involving children. Now, two democratic senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Richard Blumenthal requested an official review of Flynn`s Security Clearance, citing both today`s report and a separate instance in which Flynn allegedly disclosed sensitive information to Pakistan along with the fact that Flynn reportedly, and I`m quoting here, "had technicians secretly installed internet connection in his Pentagon office, even though it was forbidden." Despite all that, Flynn is set to become the main funnel for National Security Information to a President who you`ll recall has been skipping his intelligence briefings because, as Trump said, "I`m, like, a smart person."

Joining me now, MSNBC Political Analyst Michael Steele, former Chair of the Republican National Committee. Michael, the lock her up thing, I mean, it`s amazing the parallels, right?

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah.

HAYES: So Hillary Clinton does this thing that violates protocol. She`s investigated. The finding is that, yeah, she violated protocol, but she didn`t knowingly compromise anything. She didn`t compromise National Security, she`s OK.

STEELE: Yeah, but the -- but the argument was that she knowingly violated that protocol because the --

HAYES: Right, and General Flynn did the same thing.

STEELE: No, they said -- no, they said he did not know he had violated that protocol. And that`s the difference.

HAYES: Right. So, you think it`s perfectly fine that the one-tenth rule here that he leads lock her up chants at the RNC for a woman who`s been cleared by the FBI.

STEELE: Right.

HAYES: Who says even after being cleared by the FBI, the political opponent should be put in prison despite the fact that he did this and he also had a secret internet connection installed in his Pentagon office.

STEELE: Yeah. Well, look, you know, I can`t speak to all of that in terms of what he did while he was in the office, but I can speak to the politics of being at a National Convention and getting in that fired-up space and using that chant. We all know that that chant was not one of the best chants out there, because it doesn`t speak to who we are as Americans. We don`t lock people up as political prisoners, per se. But, you know, again --

HAYES: Well, who knows, right?

STEELE: No, and we`re not. And we`re not. Come on, stop it.

HAYES: Wait -- but Michael, let me ask you this, is it -- if I had -- if I had -- if you had to bet after Election Day that you would still hear "lock her up" after election, after Trump had won, at a rally in Wisconsin, doesn`t that surprise you?

STEELE: No, it doesn`t. No, it doesn`t. It doesn`t because the carryover from this election again goes beyond what we`ve seen in the past. The voters in this -- in this election cycle have been more fervent than we have seen in a generation in terms of their passion to make their decision stick. And they feel strongly about this.

HAYES: And to imprison their political enemies.

STEELE: Well, no, it`s not about -- no, I don`t think there`s -- I don`t think they`re talking literally at this point. I mean, Donald Trump himself has said that`s not going to happen. You know, he`s not going to do that. So I think that that is sort of rehashing some of that passion and that fervor and that spirit. And now, you know, again, we`re still waiting, I think a lot of people are, to see how Donald Trump does message that transition that he`s talked about wanting to do with the American people on these subjects.

And whether or not he does that at the inauguration, whether he does that between now and then or immediately afterwards, remains to be seen. But that`s going to be up to him whether or not that chant has any more legs beyond this moment.

HAYES: Let me ask you about Leon Panetta because Flynn`s got obviously the guy who going to, has seems to have Trump`s ear on intelligence. Trump saying he doesn`t -- he`s not taking these intelligence briefings, he`s a smart guy, he doesn`t want to hear the same thing every day. This is what Leon Panetta said ex-CIA chief, "If we endure another attack and the Intelligence Official had indications or information regarding that attack, the President did not want to listen to that, for whatever reason, the responsibility for that attack would fall on the President." Fair?

STEELE: I think that`s fair. And I think that -- I think Donald Trump needs to revisit that line of thinking. No one is questioning your smarts here, Sir. No one is questioning your ability to digest the information. Yes, you know what, being President is boring as hell, because you got to sit down and do the hard work. I mean, it`s hard. I mean no one appreciates that unless you`ve been in that space and understand that what those individuals go through. Those briefings are there for a reason.

And I would really hope that the President-elect would take to heart the sincerity and the importance of doing that because stuff happens. Minutia happens. Little things happen in the spate of hours while you rest that make a difference on the decisions you make the next day. And it`s important that you understand what that minutia is, so that you can make the right decisions.

HAYES: It`s funny you say it. It almost sounds like you`re saying details matter, which is something that one of the Presidential candidates said. Michael Steele, thanks for being with me. I appreciate it.

STEELE: You got it, buddy.

HAYES: Much more on this, "BREAKING NEWS" ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Aleppo, Syria, has become synonymous recently with war-torn misery, particularly over the last several months. It was once a bustling metropolis. So much so that 1999 travel piece, New York Times described, "In Aleppo (INAUDIBLE) we discovered old homes newly transformed into small hotels or restaurants with the cuisine, where some of the most memorable I have tasted in the Middle East." These are images of Syria`s largest city a few years before the start of the Syrian civil war with its open air markets and bustling town squares and ancient landmarks, it`s a mix of east and west, as people lived together in relative peace, though, under the thumb of the Assad Regime.

In fact, Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. And this is what Aleppo looks like today. Described by France`s U.S. -- U.N. Ambassadors, as quote, "The worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century." Fighters loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad plus support of Russian airstrikes and Iranian-backed militias, have all but crushed anti-government rebels. The U.N. Human rights office has cited accounts of women and children being burned alive and families choosing suicide over surrender. We should note, independent verification of all of these accounts is essentially impossible at this moment.

Earlier today, rebel fighters and civilians were due to leave Aleppo as part of a ceasefire agreement. However, airstrikes over rebell-held territory continued trapping tens of thousands of civilians. Late this afternoon, several news outlets began reporting the ceasefire agreement was back on. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power addressed the crisis in Aleppo yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMANTHA POWER, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: To the Assad regime, Russia and Iran, your forces and proxies are carrying out these crimes. Your barrel bombs and mortars and airstrikes have allowed the militia in Aleppo to encircle tens of thousands of civilians in your ever-tightening noose. It is your noose. Three member states of the U.N. contributing to a noose around civilians. Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Joining me now, Ayman Mohyeldin our correspondent for NBC News. All right, everything that I`ve seen out of Aleppo is just horrifying in the extreme. You have civilians, it`s been under siege for a long time, they`re now trapped. There`s fear that there will be retributions that rape will be used as a tool of war, that people will be burned, that they will be slaughtered and killed. Is there anything that can be done in the micro sense to ensure the safety of those individuals there?

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, CORRESPONDENT FOR NBC: Wow, I mean, that`s a million dollar question. I think Samantha Power and others would probably be better suited to answer that question from a diplomatic perspective. Anything short of an international intervention on humanitarian grounds whether it be from neighboring countries or the United Nations if they can come to some kind of consensus, I don`t see anything slowing down the Syrian government or its Russian allies or its proxy fighters through the Iranians and others. They`ve made very clear they`re going to continue with this assault until they have, in their eyes, liberated the city from what they describe as terrorists. Obviously, the opposition groups and the rebel groups are saying this is going to amount to a genocide, because the reports that are coming out of there based on these activists` account is what you describe. Nothing short of massacres, nothing short of, you know, what they`re saying is genocide.

HAYES: Yeah, and I have to say that the reporters that I trust in that part of the world, who I don`t think are propagandists, who are closest and most proximate to what`s happening there, what is coming out there does really genuinely seemed horrendous.

MOHYELDIN: And if you follow the -- if you follow international organization very closely, they don`t just put it out there very quickly. They try to verify it. I`ve been in touch with a lot of people at Amnesty International, who through their own work on the ground, are trying to verify these accounts, speaking to people, a lot of them are actually making their way out in some cases to Turkey. So, they`re getting these first -- like first-person accounts of what is happening and what they`re seeing.

HAYES: And we should be clear that this would mean the Assad regime is sort of reuniting the kind of spine of the most populated cities in Syria. And the war really had turned around when Russian intervention became more muscular. I mean, I think it`s a fair thing to say about Syria.

MOHYELDIN: Well, you can actually make the argument that the war turned around when the United States didn`t pursue its "Red Line Policy". It was at that point that Russia decided to intervene, when the United States had drawn the Red Line and there was that chemical attack by the Syrian Government and on some of the rebel positions. At that point, the Russians, backed by Hezbollah Fighters on the ground, the Iranians started sending their cash and other resource. The dynamic changed extremely overnight. And you could literally see that unfolding on the ground.

HAYES: And people -- I mean, in the video I`ve been watching coming out of Aleppo, people are addressing them to Putin, to Russia. They see themselves as much under siege by Russia. In fact, it was Russia announcing, today, their Ambassador to the U.N., was saying that we -- essentially we have taken back Aleppo.

MOHYELDIN: And we will be ceasing military operations. Look this war was won and lost in the air. And there`s only one major superpower in the air right now and that is the Russian Air Force. The Americans and all the Arab countries that fought were bombing ISIS held territories to the east of the country. The Russians and the Syrian Air Force barrel bombed and attacked various rebel areas held by the opposition.

HAYES: And the Russian complicity in what have been described as war crimes and massacres. Huge amounts of civilian deaths. I mean, you have the Russian Ambassador to the U.N. quoted the saying "Young kids are being covered in dust in order to be presented as victims of bombings. They have been waging this sort of propaganda campaign that everything that you`re seeing out of there is really just the propaganda of anti-Assad forces or ISIS or terrorists.

MOHYELDIN: Yeah, and if you monitor Syrian State Television, which I do, you`ll see that they`re presenting a different picture. They`re showing that as the Syrian army moves in to some of these areas, they`re greeted by the local --

HAYES: As liberators.

MOHYELDIN: -- as liberators. Local residents saying, "Thank you, you saved us from these terrorists." So, there`s no doubt that propaganda is an element in this war, winning the hearts and minds of people around the world. But I think what you`re seeing, and even the images that are being put out by the Russian various news agencies that are working, the Syrian military footage, it shows a complete destruction of the eastern part of the Aleppo. It is something apocalyptic.

HAYES: Annihilation.

MOHYELDIN: Annihilation, look at that.

HAYES: Quickly, why does Russia care so much?

MOHYELDIN: Well, I think for two reasons. One, they have the naval base. But I don`t think that`s enough for them to get involved in this. I think this is also geopolitics, I think this is Russians saying to the Americans, you cannot just run shot in the Middle East. We have a country that was at one point a very close ally to ours.

HAYES: That we have a proxy.

MOHYELDIN: That is our proxy. We are going to intervene and fight in there. Russia in the run also have a vested interest in keeping the regime of President Assad, particularly, Iran because they want that conduit through Syria to get to Hezbollah for regional -- creating that regional umbrella between them and Israel if they were ever to have a confederation of military activities. That`s one of the reasons why Iran is invested in preserving the regime of Bashad al-Assad, and one of the reasons why Russia wants to protect him as well.

HAYES: Lot of terrified, desperate, hungry, embattled people in Aleppo at this moment. Ayman Mohyeldin, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. All right, much more still ahead, we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: We`re reporting breaking news tonight. Two senior U.S. intelligence officials telling NBC News that president -- Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in efforts to disrupt the U.S. presidential election. That conclusion, they say, is based on intelligence derived from diplomatic sources and others, including spies working for America`s allies.

Now, just before this story broke, I talked about the Russian cyber attacks with Illinois Senator Dick Durban, one of the top Democrats in the Senate, where bipartisan efforts are under way to investigate what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONELL, (R) KENTUCKY: I agree with Senator Schumer, Chairman McCain, Burr (ph) and others, this simply cannot be a partisan issue.

Let me remind all of you the Senate intelligence committee on which I and the chairman of the armed services committee sit are ex-officio members is more than capable of conducting a complete review of this matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: I`m joined by Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat from Illinois. And senator, let me start by asking what you want to see done, what are you calling for in response to what we now know about what appears to be a Russian government-backed hackers interfering in the election?

SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: Let`s not minimize the gravity of this charge. To think that a foreign country tried to some way influence the election in the United States of America is serious business. If we discovered that some foreign country had spent million of doors secretly in the campaign, we`d be outraged. It turns out what the Russians are accused of doing is even worse, trying to disclose information from emails and other sources and influencing the outcome of the campaign.

What we need is a bipartisan select committee that takes this charge as seriously as it should.

HAYES: Bipartisan select committee. Your colleague Ben Cardin called for something modeled on the 9/11 committee.

There`s been resistance from Republican colleagues who wanted to just go through the regular intelligence committee in the Senate or the House. Why is a regular committee investigation of this not sufficient?

DURBIN: I can just tell you that that doesn`t reach the level of seriousness, and I think the dedication of our government to getting to the bottom of this is critically important.

Let`s put aside who won the election, how they won the election, let`s understand what happened here. We have credible information from our top intelligence agencies that the government of Russia tried to influence the outcome of the United States election. That is a serious charge. And it shouldn`t be routine business in the intelligence committees of the Senate and the House.

HAYES: Do you think the intelligence committees have come to a consensus conclusion on the motivation as of now? It seems like the CIA believes it was actively trying to help Donald Trump become elected. There`s some dissension on whether that was the motivation. What is your belief?

DURBIN: I don`t know anything more than reported in the papers, and that`s the reason why we need this serious inquiry.

I had eight other senators join me in a letter to Mr. Clapper the other day asking to disclose as much as possible unclassified information before January 20th, calling on the attorney general to initiate an investigation in the Department of Justice as well with professional, longtime employees at the Department of Justice.

I think it`s reached that level of seriousness. And I hope that the new president, as well as the new leaders in congress, both Republicans, will take it as seriously themselves.

HAYES: What is the president-elect`s responsibility on this issue in your mind?

DURBIN: You have to understand our relationship with Russia. It`s a mixed relationship. When it came to the Iran nuclear agreement, Russia played a positive role. When it comes to what they`re doing in Ukraine, we are resisting them and imposing sanctions.

So this is a country and a leader that we have to watch very carefully. And the fact that they would try to interject themselves into an election where Mr. Trump during the course of the election was saying positive things about Mr. Putin is worrisome to everyone, at least it should be.

Let`s get to the bottom of it. This kind of cyber warfare in the political realm is unacceptable in a democracy. And the United States has to get to the bottom of it.

HAYES: Based on the reporting that you`ve read, and there`s that long New York Times piece which is quite revealing, do you think that the current president, President Obama did enough to sort of sound the alarms about this while it was happening during the election?

DURBIN: Well, you have to take care. With the exception of Jim Comey`s statement 11 days before the election, you really tried to take care of the last month of the election not to tip the balance one way or the other. That isn`t fair to the candidates who were involved in the race here.

I`m sure what President Obama felt is they get to the bottom of this, they bring the information together and that a serious investigation would follow.

So, I don`t know all the moves made by this administration, but I can understand why they didn`t want to try to tip the scales on this presidential race.

HAYES: Do you think the alleged Russian interference which is the consensus view that it was Russia of the various intelligence agencies, there seems to be pretty good evidence of that, do you think that tips the scales, do you think that would be decisive in the outcome of this election?

DURBIN: I can`t honestly answer that. No one can. We don`t know what they did. But apparently they were selective in the emails that they had hacked into and were disclosing to the public trying to put out as much bad information as they could about Hillary Clinton and her campaign. they knew who they wanted to elect and it wasn`t Hillary Clinton.

So there was an effort under way. How much did it influence in an election decided by 80,000 voters in three states, who can tell out of the millions of votes cast? But we should still ask these hard questions and get credible answers.

HAYES: All right, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, thanks for joining me. Appreciate it.

DURBIN: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, Donald Trump puts Paul Ryan on notice. His threat to the speaker of the house in his home state.

We`ll play you that moment ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Last night in his home state of Wisconsin, House Speaker Paul Ryan was met with boos when he took the stage, a rally with President-elect Donald Trump in front of some Christmas trees.

When Trump himself got on stage a few minutes later and mentioned Ryan, the crowd booed again. Trump tried to stop it mostly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Speaker Paul Ryan, I`ve really come to a -- oh, no, I`ve come to appreciate him. Speaker Paul Ryan. Where is the speaker? Where is he? He has been -- I`ll tell you, he has been terrific.

And you know, honestly? He`s like a fine wine. Every day goes by, I get to appreciate his genius more and more.

Now, if he ever goes against me, I`m not going to say that, okay? He`s a great guy. And we have some amazing things in store. And we`re going to work on taxes, we`re going to work on Obamacare. We`re going to work on things, and he`s going to lead the way. So thank you.

We`re going to work on the wall, Paul.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Joining me now, Katy Packer, former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney and an MSNBC contributor.

That was kind of an amazing moment. It felt like a kind of ritual humiliation. I mean, it felt like Donald Trump being like let`s just be clear who is calling the shots here.

KATIE PACKER, FRM. DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR MITT ROMNEY: Yeah, it did sort of feel like that. But make no mistake, Paul Ryan is very, very popular in Wisconsin. He might not be particularly popular with the people that show up for a big Trump rally, but he wins overwhelmingly in his district and has very high approval ratings in the state of Wisconsin.

It`s just sort of a strange dynamic that goes on there with the people that attend a Trump rally.

HAYES: But he doesn`t -- I totally agree with you, right. So, this is a self-selecting crowd. But I think the broader question is what is the political calculus for Republicans if and when they go against Donald Trump? And this applies to a million different things, whether Donald Trump does something that flagrantly violates the constitution or just does something that they don`t like from a policy perspective, what political price will they pay?

PACKER: It`s a very, very high price to pay because Trump and his hardcore supporters tend to bring a gun to a knife fight. And a lot of politicians aren`t really prepared for that kind of battle. So they`re going to look at this very, very carefully. They`re not going to just casually walk into a big battle with Donald Trump. And it can be a little bit hard to predict what the battles that he decides to wage.

And so there`s going to be a lot of walking on egg shells come 2017.

HAYES: I think that`s well said. It was interesting he said three things. He said, we`re working on Obamacare. Clearly that`s -- Mitch McConnell is champing at the bit for that as is Paul Ryan, some sort of Obamacare repeal. We`re going to cut taxes, which I think Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are very excited about as well. And then the wall, Paul, we`re going to work on the wall. And yeah right, well that`s going to be where it`s going to be very interesting to see how these different things get ordered and what moves through that congress first and how much it`s Paul Ryan and how much it`s Donald Trump.

PACKER: Well, and also, and what does that mean? Because even Donald Trump in some of his officials have walked back a little bit from their comments during the campaign about a wall. There`s been talk about well, maybe it`s not a physical wall, maybe it`s a virtual wall. What we`ve seen is that there are a lot of issues where Donald Trump feels very comfortable kind of walking back from the really heated rhetoric of the campaign and saying, well, that`s not exactly what I meant. You take me too literally. And so we`ll see if what he ultimately proposes is a giant physical structure between the U.S. and Mexico.

HAYES: Can you imagine a scenario in which there is actually an out in the open fight? I mean, I`m really curious about how long this sort of we`re all on the same team is going to last, for two reasons. One is I think there are different policy preferences. I think there are different political objectives. And I also wonder at what point the normal rules of political gravity start to apply. Donald Trump right now is the least popular president-elect in the history of recent polling. He has defied political gravity for the entirety of this campaign. So, maybe he will just continue to do that forever. Maybe. I don`t know. No one knows.

But you wonder whether marginal House members start to worry if that continues.

PACKER: Well, and the challenge that he`s going to face come January is that he`s used to being a CEO that just calls the shots. And he did that during the campaign. He was able to trust his gut during the campaign. But that`s not how our government is set up. Our government is set up to have a system of checks and balances. He`s going to have to win the approval from a majority in the House and the Senate. And, you know, it`s not always going to be easy sailing as you mention on all of these issues.

HAYES: And the first time like you said, gun to a knife fight. The first time he doesn`t get his way he`s going to be on Twitter calling whoever blocked him out publicly and that`s when, you know, that`s when we`ll see how this all shakes out.

PACKER: Well, and as I know as somebody that opposed Trump in the primaries, his supporters can be very vitriolic and very threatening. And there will be stories about that as they rise to his defense.

HAYES: Katie Packer, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

Still to come, the agency that stood up to the Trump administration and won. More on that ahead.

Plus, inauguration planning reaches new levels of desperation. This is an amazing story. And it is tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Bonus Thing One, Thing Two tonight without the break in between. For the first time in decades not a single D.C. public school marching band will perform in the presidential inaugural parade. According to NBC, at least one D.C. Public School marching band has participated in the past five inaugural parades, but none applied for consideration this year.

Also, many school bands in the surrounding counties opted not to apply to participate in Trump`s inauguration. Local universities also did not apply.

And it`s not just local bands, the Trump inaugural committee is also reportedly having trouble finding A-list celebrities to perform at any of the inaugural events and parties. As of today there`s only one entertainer who is definitely booked to perform. That`s singer Jackie Evancho, who rose to prominence competing on America`s Got Talent six years ago. She announced her upcoming performance on the Today Show this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACKIE EVANCHO, SINGER: I have recently been asked bythe president-elect to perform the National Anthem for the swearing-in ceremony at the inauguration. And I`m so excited. It`s going to be awesome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Incredibly exciting.

That is so far Jackie Evancho, the only performer who is definitely playing a Trump inauguration gig.

And with just 37 days until the inauguration to go, the committee in charge of finding more performers is reportedly getting pretty desperate.

Which brings us to Thing Two tonight, according to the rap, President-elect Donald Trump`s team is struggling so hard to book A-list performers for his inaugural festivities, it offered ambassadorships to at least two talent bookers if they could deliver marquee names.

The first insider said he was shocked at the proposal, never in a million years have I heard something so crazy, he said. That was the moment I almost dropped the phone.

The second insider said he was offered a government post, including an ambassadorship if he could wrangle a top artist.

They said they were in the process of figuring out posts, ambassadorships and commissions if that was of any interest, the manager said.

Trump`s team, which should be clear, denied the report. "There is no truth to this insinuation," said committee spokesman Boris Epstein. "First class entertainers are eager to participate in the inaugural events. The inauguration as a whole will be an exciting and uniting celebration of freedom and democracy. We will be releasing further details at the appropriate time."

Also keep an eye on those ambassador announcements.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: One of the most chilling stories about President-elect Donald Trump`s transition team was a transition team request to the Energy Department to answer 74 questions including this one: question number 13, "can you provide a list of all Department of Energy employees or contractors who have attended any interagency working group on the social cost of carbon meetings?"

That was only one of several requests for names of employees or contractors who participated in anything related to climate change.

The Trump transition team virtually knocking on doors at the Department of Energy to find out who in the civil service did something they are duty- bound to do as part of their jobs -- go to meetings and work on issues as directed by the Obama administration.

But then something amazing happened: the bureaucrats at the Energy Department said no. On the question of providing names, energy officials resolutely rejected the request while reassuring workers.

And here`s the most amazing thing, it looks like they won for now. The Trump transition team saying in a statement, "the questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled."

This is stunning considering the only other real backtrack from the Trump transition team was firing General Michael Flynn`s son, Michael G. Flynn, for tweeting fake news about Pizzagate on the day a man with a gun showed up to the pizzeria in question.

And now the transition team has backed off demanding names of Energy Department employees involved in climate change work. A request that appeared to be a prelude to some kind of purge.

Climate science is already so threatened by the incoming administration that scientists are literally copying U.S. climate data fearing it might vanish under President Trump.

One of those scientists trying to protect vital data is Ben Houlton. He`s a professor at University of California at Davis, director of the John Muir Institute and the Environment, and he joins me now.

All right, Ben, I saw this story today and it really sort of struck me. So first, I want you to tell me what exactly you are doing?

BEN HOULTON, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS: It`s a great question. And I don`t think there`s any way the sugarcoat it that the climate science community is hurt and feeling rejected by the president-elect Trump`s moves. And it`s almost as if Trump is cooking up this amazing Thanksgiving meal and we`re over at the kid table.

We want to be at the adult table. And why do we want to be there? We want to be there to share the good news that climate change is a job creator. Responding with climate solutions gives rise to all sorts of economic opportunities for people in this country. And we don`t want to miss out on that.

And so as a community we`re coming together to develop new cooperative ways to get that message out to the public, to make sure that they understand that this is about them, this is about their future, and it`s about the here and now.

HAYES: OK. I get the positive message here, but what you`re doing, I understand, is copying data that you`re afraid that an incoming administration would either manipulate or delete?

HOULTON: I can`t speak to that general issue since I myself am not involved in copying those data, but I am trying to make sure that we protect climate science in every way possible.

And being in California, we have this tremendous opportunity to work with our local government here, with Governor Brown and in the University of California system we`re seeing this ground level up-swell of climate scientists coming together and basically recognizing that we need to be empowered. And this is a call to arms. This is a call to action for us to develop new ways to make sure that we`re protecting climate research for people on the planet. And that`s what we care most about.

HAYES: How important is the federal government and people in the civil service to the things that we know about the climate? I mean, how much of that is coming from a federal government that will now be run by someone who has said that it`s all a Chinese hoax?

HOULTON: I mean, it`s true that the federal government plays a huge role, especially when you look at the Paris agreement but also in the sort of knowledge of climate change...

HAYES: Yeah, that`s what I mean, like the data. Like how much...

HOULTON: Absolutely.

HAYES: How much are we dependent on just different people in the federal government, whether it`s the stuff we have at NOAA, whether it`s the observatory we have in Hawaii, whether it`s the stuff that NASA does, how much of that depends on the federal government?

HOULTON: A tremendous amount of it does. And that`s under threat right now.

So if you look at NASA or NOAA, or these other organizations like the U.S. Geological Survey, they are providing all sorts of climate data that then can help us develop solutions so that we can climate proof our society, grow food without those crops failing because of climate change, so on and so forth. And so it is under threat.

And we do this as a super important message that we hope President-elect Trump understands: climate science is vital to national security.

HAYES: How under threat is it? Can you -- I guess we haven`t been in these territories before. But I mean, like, how much could it be the case that a new administration would just say to the Department of Energy or the EPA, like, yeah, we`re just going to get rid of all of these parts of the government that do all these readings that produce this, what we believe is a hoax?

HOULTON: I mean, it`s certainly hard to quantify exactly what that would look like and to the extent that the executive can kind of come in and determine these things. But you know, this isn`t without precedent when Bush II came to office. There was certainly an assault on climate change at that time. We were able to get through that time period by local, state action. And we`re hoping that we can do the same now.

But certainly, the federal issues -- this is a national treasure. And I would hope everyone in your audience understands that climate science is a treasure for our kids, for our planet and for our future.

HAYES: You have colleagues at UC Davis who are actually doing this sort of copying of data. To folks that hear that, how under the gun do the people in your community -- and I know a lot of climate scientists who already feel under the gun, frankly, because they spent their life working on this. How under the gun do you feel right now?

HOULTON: Well, look, I`ve had more conversations with climate scientists - - and what are climate scientists -- they`re lawyers, they`re doctors, they`re veterinarians, every aspect of our society has stake in this challenge of climate change. So, we`re all coming together in new ways.

At UC Davis in particular we`re developing a new initiative to connect people across all disciplines.

HAYES: all right.

HOULTON: But climate change doesn`t know politics. And when the sea level rises, it doesn`t decide to go to a Democrat or a Republican house.

HAYES: Right.

HOULTON: So, we need to really make sure that this is understood by the broader public.

HAYES: All right. Ben Houlton, thank you very much.

That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

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