All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 12/21/2016

Guests: Charlie Dent, Sarah Kliff, Graeme Wood

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: December 21, 2016 Guest: Charlie Dent, Sarah Kliff, Graeme Wood

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight on "ALL IN".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF UNITED STATES: Everything good?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President-Elect .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President-Elect .

TRUMP: How do you like it? Everything fine?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President-elect briefly meets the press.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: What`s going on is terrible right now. In fact, we have intelligence here right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, 74 seconds with the press corps and what we learned about Donald Trump`s proposed Muslim bans and what Trump learned about his own statements about attacks on Christians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Who said that, when did, when was that said?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plus .

NEWT GINGRICH, FMR. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He now says it was cute but he doesn`t want to use it anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How the drain the swamp era just ended before it ever began. Why Donald Trump cannot move on from losing the popular vote. And as the plot to dismantle Obamacare unfolds, a certain doctor returns with his prescription.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAROLD BORNSTEIN, DONALD TRUMP`S DOCTOR: His laboratory tests are astonishingly excellent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When ALL IN starts right now.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. We are now 30 days from Donald Trump becoming President of the United States and 146 days from the day that he last held a press conference, all the way back on July 27th where Trump opened his remarks by attacking Hillary Clinton for, you guessed it, not holding press conferences.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And you as reporters who give her all of these glowing reports should ask yourselves why. And I`ll tell you why, because despite the nice platitudes, she`s been a mess.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Trump did speak briefly twice to reporters today, though it certainly wasn`t a press conference. It was closure of the conversation you might have with the hotel manager if you`re checking in, if you also wanted to quickly get that hotel manager`s views on the issue of the day.

Trump spent the day at his private club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago where he met with among others, his incoming National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Earlier this afternoon, Trump emerged to speak to reporters for all of 74 seconds. And even though we didn`t learn much, it was in its own way illuminating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Everything good?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President-Elect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President-Elect .

TRUMP: How do you like it? Everything fine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The violence in Europe and Turkey on Monday, have you spoken to President Obama since then?

TRUMP: What`s going on is terrible. In fact, we have intelligence right now. What`s going on is terrible. Terrible, terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has it caused you to rethink or reevaluate your plan to create a Muslim registry or ban Muslim immigration in the United States?

TRUMP: Hey. You`ve known my plan all along and it`s, I`ve been proven to be right, 100 percent correct. What`s happening is disgraceful. Anyway, make sure everything`s fine, folks. Nice to have you here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you talked to President Obama at all, sir?

TRUMP: I have not. Two days ago, but not recently. Not since.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your comments about the truck attack in Berlin being against Christians, do you think that this might .

TRUMP: Say it again, what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your -- the attack in Berlin being against -- an attack against Christians?

TRUMP: Who said that? When did -- when was that said?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I believe you said it on a press release.

TRUMP: So go head.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I`m wondering how this might affect relations with Muslims.

TRUMP: It`s an attack on humanity. That`s what it is. It`s an attack on humanity and it`s got to be stopped. Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: OK. So let`s break that down. Trump kicks things off by asking reporters if they`re enjoying his fancy club as they tried to ask him substantive questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: How do you like it? Everything fine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The violence in Europe and Turkey on Monday, have you spoken to President Obama since then?

TRUMP: What`s going on is terrible. In fact, we have intelligence right now. What`s going on is terrible. Terrible, terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has it caused you to rethink or reevaluate your plan to create a Muslim registry or ban Muslim immigration in the United States?

TRUMP: Hey. You`ve known my plan all along and it`s, I`ve been proven to be right, 100 percent correct. What`s happening is disgraceful. Anyway, make sure everything`s fine, folks. Nice to have you here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: So the news there, Trump appears to be suggesting the attacks in Europe prove that his call for Muslim registry and/or a full-out ban on all Muslim immigration are "100 percent correct", which presumably means his administration does plan to register Muslim and/or ban Muslim immigration. Except just yesterday on this network, Trump adviser, Anthony Scaramucci said, "We walked back from the Muslim ban." I guess the question of whether the incoming president plans to ban or register members of an entire religion remains open. We`ll just have to find out.

But we do the man looking over Trump`s shoulder, of course Michael Flynn is incoming National Security Advisor, has repeatedly attacked Muslims and tweeted that fear of Muslims is "rational". Recently reportedly met with a leader of a far-right Austrian political party founded by ex-Nazis.

The next part of the tape, Trump seems to not be familiar with his own statement from Monday on the Berlin attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you talked to President Obama at all, sir?

TRUMP: I have not. Two days ago, but not recently. Not since.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your comments about the truck attack in Berlin being against Christians, do you think that this might .

TRUMP: Say it again, what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your -- the attack in Berlin being against -- an attack against Christians?

TRUMP: Who said that? When did -- when was that said?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I believe you said it on a press release.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: The reporter is right. Trump did in fact say that. Here`s his press release on the Berlin attack. Attributed to "President-Elect Donald J. Trump which state that innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday. ISIS other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship." Reporter appeared to be trying to ask how that rhetoric will impact relations with the Muslim world, here`s Trump`s response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I`m wondering how this might affect relations with Muslims.

TRUMP: It`s an attack on humanity. That`s what it is. It`s an attack on humanity and it`s got to be stopped. Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And that nonanswer was it. He was done. Trump did emerge again a couple hours later for a minute and a half photo op where he briefly answer a few questions about today`s meeting and then asked if, again, everyone was comfortable.

We got nothing on what he plan to do with his conflicts of interest or clarity on whether he`ll follow through on the proposals he put forth during the campaign or really much of anything at all. And yet, in just one month, he`ll be the most powerful person in the world.

Joining me now, MSNBC Political Analyst Joan Walsh, and National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, MSNBC Contributor, Josh Barro, Senior Editor of Business Insider.

And to me, this -- I mean first of all, aside from the fact that I think a press conference would be good and it has been a break with tradition not to have one and there`s a lot of questions and there`s a lot of ambiguity, this sort of summed everything up. But to me, it all remains a black box of what were -- I think it`s a black box.

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: To him, we .

HAYES: That`s sort of what so .

WALSH: That came across in that 74 seconds.

JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I totally agree.

WALSH: We know nothing. And he doesn`t know anything either. He doesn`t know that a press release was sent out saying this was an attack on Christians. He doesn`t know what his Muslim policy is. He can`t restate it. We really don`t know what it is. They`ve walked it back. They`ve walked it forward. There was a softening during the campaign, then there was a hardening. I mean, we don`t know. This guy should be leaving mints on people`s pillows, not leading the world.

BARRO: This is what`s been so maddening about the transition period is that this stuff can`t remain a black box forever. He will soon be president. And .

HAYES: And he will do things.

BARRO: He will do things.

HAYES: Right. That`s right.

BARRO: And then we will know in most cases what the things are that he is doing.

HAYES: Although .

BARRO: In many cases.

HAYES: Yeah. Let`s just be clear because one of the .

BARRO: In most, it would be the case.

HAYES: One of the other thing is aside from the sort of lack of press conferences is like learning about all these things from the foreign press pf like, well, his national security adviser met with a far-right party kind of neo-Nazis and his business partners came. So there`s going to be some stuffs we won`t even know.

BARRO: There`s going to be some stuff. But I mean like if there`s a Muslim registry and we will find out about it.

HAYES: Right.

BARRO: Now, I think, you know, the U.S. sort of did have a Muslim registry back during the Bush administration .

HAYES: Yes.

BARRO: . this program called NCERS (ph). It was not specifically for Muslims but it was for male immigrants of a certain age, mostly from Muslim majority countries.

HAYES: Yes, visa holders.

BARRO: Right, yes. Yeah. So I think it`s likely that they`ll bring that policy back.

HAYES: And we know Kris Kobach who is one -- who`s been handling the transition wants to do that.

BARRO: Yeah. So we can -- now, we can sort of surmise what that might mean. I think it`s unlikely that he will actually like, you know, round up Muslims in the United States and require them to sign up. But if he does that, we will know about it.

HAYES: Well, and part of what I think is happening here is that this sort of black box, right? So this is someone who -- and I don`t think this is being uncharitable and I think it`s pretty clear both by his -- what he says himself and the people around him, he`s not that interested in the details of policy. He`s not a particularly granular person. This is not what he does.

You got two things. One is the sort of like, oh, we`re putting the campaign in the past, right? So here`s Newt Gingrich talking about the drain of the swamp mantra, which I respect the fact they`re being so transparent .

WALSH: Yes.

HAYES: . about the fact that they view the campaign as a con. They just want everyone to know that. Take a look.

RACHEL MARTIN, NPR`S "MORNING EDITION" CO-HOST: You say you`ve been working on these issues, others might say you`ve been working in the swamp, to use Donald Trump`s language.

GINGRICH: Yeah. Although I`m told he now disclaims that. He now says it cute but he doesn`t want to use it anymore.

WALSH: I mean, you know, that really was a moment in the campaign where there was a little bit of coherence, there was a slogan. He was starting to read from the teleprompter. He was calming down. This was a unified, you know, applause line. What does it mean to say it doesn`t matter anymore? Nothing. We just said it because it was cute. But obviously, we`re filling the swamp. All of my cabinet picks are swamp creatures.

HAYES: Right.

WALSH: So that was then and this is now.

BARRO: Yeah. I mean this is a hallmark of Donald Trump`s entire career for four decades. You know, he would say and he was going to do things. I`m going to build the biggest, tallest, most fabulous building and most of the time, he wouldn`t do it and there was no consequence.

HAYES: Right.

BARRO: He writes about this in the "The Art of the Deal" about, you know, the power of truthful exaggeration I believe is the word that he uses. So I think, you know, will he then get away with this as president? I think it depends on whether members of the public are satisfied overall that Donald Trump is making them better off. I don`t think that just the fact that he put all these people from Goldman Sachs in the cabinet, I don`t think that`s going to hurt him on day one. But I think if, you know,18 months out from now .

HAYS: Right.

BARRO: . unemployment`s up, wages are not aren`t going well .

HAYES: Yes.

BARRO: Then you`ll be -- in reality .

HAYES: Yes.

BARRO: I think again, this is a think where the maddening thing of the transitions, we`re watching them get away with all these things.

WALSH: Right.

BARRO: There are only some circumstances under which he`ll get away with them as president.

HAYES: There`s also, when you watch him there, right, so there`s this question about this very important piece of policy, right? You called for this thing that was really quite I think abhorrent, to editorialize for a moment, banning .

WALSH: Right.

HAYES: . an entire religion, right? And .

WALSH: It`s a Republican thought (ph).

HAYES: Right. And I say that as someone who shared a view of a huge number or people across political and ideological spectrum, you can`t do that. You`re answering a question on that over your shoulder is Michael Flynn. And this is where I think, you know, personnel`s policy, right? So because if you don`t -- if it doesn`t matter to you, there going to be someone somewhere down the chain to whom it does matter. They have a stake in it ideologically or they have a stake in it institutionally and there`s stake. So, you know, and today we have Pete Navarro, he`s been named to head the National Trade Council, who is hardest of hardcore China hawks.

WALSH: Right.

HAYES: And to me, it`s like, well, whatever you were saying on the campaign, like, it`s going to matter to that guy.

WALSH: Right. That`s why they`re taking these jobs. And .

HAYES: Right. That`s -- exactly. Because you know they`re going to have lots.

WALSH: They know they`re going to have plenty of latitude. He is not interested. Someone is making these picks. They`re based on past performance and they are based on their views. I mean I think it also can matter. Maybe I`m too much of an optimist, but I think Democrats do and some Republicans do have a chance in these confirmation hearings to really grill these people and really get -- and get out what they intend to do and hold up conflicts between what he said and what he`s now promising. I mean I think Goldman Sachs people can be made to look like the members of the elite that he was railing against. I think that there are going to be opportunities to hold that up. Whether it ultimately matters to people, we don`t know.

But I guess what I worry about from a holdover from the campaign is that, well, none of this mattered to his voters, so why care? I mean I know that you were not saying that but I hear that a little bit in the media. Well, duh, this is really going to matter. No, it really -- eventually, I promise you it`s going to matter and they need to start now.

HAYES: Well, and people should also -- I mean from my perspective, people should make distinction between substantive objections and political ones.

WALSH: Right.

HAYES: And there are things that for instance, I don`t think calling to ban Muslims was actually politically deleterious to him. I know I think .

WALSH: In the end.

HAYES: . it`s possible that`s actually quite popular. Certainly it was in the primary.

WALSH: Right.

HAYES: It`s still wrong, right?

WALSH: Right.

HAYES: So you have to just always be clear about that distinction.

BARRO: Yeah. And I think, you know, in terms of the -- this will come out in the confirmation hearings except for Mike Flynn who won`t have to have a confirmation hearing which is part of why he ended up with that job because he`s .

HAYES: Because he`s clearly unconfirmable.

BARRO: Yeah. He`s considered wacky by all sorts of people.

WALSH: Like Steve Bannon.

BARRO: Right. But on the other hand, in several of these areas, we have all these different people being put in the administration that disagree about all sorts of things. I mean James Madden is not just like Mike Flynn on trade and on economics. You have all these other people going in the administration who are free traders. And similarly on immigration, you have some hard liners and you have some people like Andy Puzder, the new -- and who will be the Commerce Secretary who has been very pro-immigration reform. So I don`t -- in a lot of these cases, I don`t think we know who`s going to win out in those fights.

HAYES: And part of the team rivals that`s been going from Washington Post is Donald Trump holding a government casting call. He`s seeking the look. Would you think about how like he`s sizing people up. And again, this is not like I`m not like being uncharitable. There are people on the record saying this. This is him sizing up John Bolton, right?

BARRO: Yeah.

HAYES: Who is , you know, is an Iraq war hawk, is from a school of sort of foreign policy that would seem at odds. But Donald was not going to like that mustache said one associate who spoke on the condition of anonymity speak frankly. I can`t think of anyone that`s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes. I should Jason miller, his press person has a goatee. I don`t know what that says about that relationship. But part of Josh`s point about this sort of weird like what is this administration believe in is maybe this is what`s been guiding the choices.

WALSH: Wait. I`m sure it`s one thing that has been guiding the choices, although it does make me wonder why he didn`t pick Mitt Romney because he looks like such a good .

HAYES: But I think that`s why he interviewed him. People said at the time they said he likes the look. And tomorrow, by the way, viewer if you`re watching, if Bolton shows up in Trump Tower with a mustache, he thinks (inaudible).

Joan Walsh and Josh Barro. Thanks to you both.

BARRO: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, the extraordinary lengths President Obama is going to in order to protect the planet from his successor. But first, the impressive contortions from conservatives seeking to spin the president- elect`s minority victory by claiming he did win the popular vote if you ignore the results from two of the most populous states in the union. That story coming up in just few minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: It`s official, the election results were formally certified yesterday. Donald Trump won the Electoral College and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a healthy margin of 2.1 percent, finishing with a vote total only about 70,000 vote shy of President Obama`s 2012 total.

We have held the 56 presidential elections over the course of this nation`s history and this marks only the fourth time of those 56 the winner of the Electoral College lost the popular vote. The winner`s popular vote deficit hasn`t been this big in over 140 years, since 1876.

Now, these are all true facts about the outcome of the 2016 election, but it seems to make conservatives just crazy whenever you bring them up, driving them up to mental contortions like cutting California and New York out of the united states altogether. Trump`s margin would indeed be huge if you threw out all the votes in our two most populist states.

The electoral mismatch has also quite clearly gotten under the skin of the man who lost the popular vote. Donald Trump turned to Twitter this morning to vent, "Campaigning to win the Electoral College is much more difficult and sophisticated than the popular vote. Hillary focused on the wrong states. I would have done even better if that is possible if the winner was based on popular vote but would campaign differently. I have in the heard any of the pundits or commentators discussing the fact that I spent far less money on the win than Hillary on the loss."

Now let me tell you, descriptively he is not wrong. Basically, Trump`s campaign and the strategy used are what won the electoral college. But what this shows on a deeper level is that Donald Trump`s most consistent, seemingly core characteristics during the campaign that keeping score, the petty vendettas, the inability to let stuff go, those aren`t going anywhere. You`ve already seen it in Trump`s consideration of Mitt Romney for Secretary of State which long time Trump ally, Roger Stone said was only meant to torture and toy Romney who had blasted him during the campaign.

There were Trump`s tweets to his 17 million followers slamming Chuck Jones, a private citizen, the president of a local steelworkers union in Indiana. Jones had criticized the president-elect for inflating the number of jobs saved by the carrier deal. Then there was Trump`s performative (ph) domination of Paul Ryan at a rally in Wisconsin last week, the first stage the two of them shared after being repeatedly at odds during the campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Speaker Paul Ryan, I`ve really come to -- oh, no, I`ve come to appreciate him. He`s like a fine wine. Everyday 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?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: As far as Trump`s personality is concerned, this is it. It will be his defining characteristic for the four years of his presidency. And now we`re seeing the first signs of how that could affect politics and policy making in Washington. Politico reports today, Texas Congressman Bill Flores made some pretty innocuous and frankly obvious comments earlier this month about Trump`s relationship with House Republicans.

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BILL FLORES, TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: And I think we`d all agree that some of President Trump`s proposed policies are not going to line up very well with our conservative policies. What I would do is I would try to say what are those areas where we have good alignment with what -- where President Trump wants to go and where we want to go and then just tell him, "Hey, we`ll take the lead on this."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: That prompted an onslaught of harassment on Twitter, misleading an inflammatory headlines, the (inaudible) and right-wing populist blog, TruthFeed. Even an indignant name check by Trump`s ostentatious (ph) ally on air, Fox News Host, Sean Hannity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I was a little surprised at comments by Congressman Flores and I`ll get to that in a minute. So Congressman Flores, he recently gave a speech, seemingly he was kind of speaking with you. Well, let`s go for the things, the issues that the House Republicans agree with and Donald Trump agree with and then we`ll deal with the other issues later.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: I`m joined by Congressman Charlie Dent, Republican, from Pennsylvania. Congressman, can you hear me?

CHARLIE DENT, (R) PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSMAN: I can hear you loud and clear, Chris. How are you?

HAYES: Excellent. I`m good. I`m good. It`s good to have you on. I guess my first question is, are you going to allow Donald Trump to dominate you?

DENT: Oh, my goodness. Look. We`re going to work with the president when he`s on the right track. I think we`ll support him when he`s on the right track. But if he goes in a direction that`s probably where we might disagree, we might have to check him from time to time. And I think that`s pretty basic. You know, we have a separation of powers system. Congress, you know, we`re not a bunch of potted plants. You know, we will work in partnership with the administration when they`re on the right track and there might be times where we disagree and there might be times we might be able help them fashion policy and make it better.

HAYES: So, here`s an interesting place where I think some of this comes to a head. There`s been a lot of discussion about a possible infrastructure/stimulus bill, trillion dollars over ten years. A lot of money. You know, your colleagues in the House sort of famously threaten both default on the U.S. government`s debt and also a shutdown over the national debt and its size. That was the putative reason. We`re now hearing that several members are saying if there is such a .bill, it would only be 50 percent paid for. I mean it would expand the deficit quite sizably. Is that the kind of thing that you`re just be willing to go along with or is that -- would you have to object out of principle and consistency?

DENT: Well, I do support the need for an infrastructure bill. I think it`s important. But I also believe we should pay for it substantially. And I`m prepared to, you know, make some serious suggestions about sustainable reforms or revenue that President-Elect Donald Trump has talked about tax credits and public/private partnerships which I think are valuable. But I don`t believe that would be the entire bill. So bottom line is, I believe we`re going to have to probably pay for a substantial part of this bill, yes.

HAYES: Substantial part of the bill but not all of it?

DENT: Well, we`ll see. We`ll see what -- you know, we`re talking about a tax reform as well, talking about using some repatriated funds, perhaps revenues from drilling offshore and perhaps, you know, I think even the user fee could be on the table.

HAYES: How important .

DENT: So I mean there are a lot of things that can be on the table.

HAYES; Yeah. You`re talking about different revenue streams, user fees and repatriated taxes. I mean how important to you, how central do you for yourself is making sure this debt doesn`t grow going to be? Because it was -- I think it`s fair to say the central, in many ways, defining feature of the how that House Republican caucus, I remember covering that 2010 election, the fight over the Budget Control Act. It was the central ideological plank. There`s too much debt, we can`t let there be more debt. Is that going to continue with Donald Trump as president and Republicans in the congress?

DENT: Well, I think that`s a fair question, Chris, I mean because if you look at President-Elect Trump`s agenda, he`s talking about obviously the infrastructure bill. He`s talking about a defense buildup, a tax reform that could bring in less revenue. That`s all true. And so, this could obviously add to the deficit. And I think that we`re going to have to have serious conversations between the administration and Congress about seeing how we can reconcile all these issues. Mick Mulvaney, a friend of mine, he`s been nominated to be the head of OMB and he was a real deficit hawk.

HAYES: I know.

DENT: And so he`s going to have to reconcile some this stuff. So I -- yeah.

HAYES: So what`s -- but I mean, here`s my -- let me give you my prediction and you tell me whether I`m wrong or not. When you and I have a conversation like this a year from now, you know, and we`re getting ready to celebrate the holidays in 2017, the debt will be significantly larger and there will be several pieces of legislation passed by you and your colleagues and signed by the president that will have expanded the deficit. Is that a fair prediction?

DENT: I think it`s quite possible. But before we do anything in Congress, Chris, I think we have to focus on one issue. There`s an assumption that somehow Congress is going to function better. You know, we have to get the basics right. We have to make sure we can fund the government, not lurch from crisis to crisis and make sure the country doesn`t default on its obligations.

If we wind up in the usual, you know, navel gazing episodes that ultimately lead to some kind of circular firing squad, that`s not going to be a good thing. It`s going to make it very difficult for us to deal with issues like an infrastructure bill, tax reform or whatever the issue at the moment is. I think that`s something we have to have a conversation about. And also, you know, obviously President-Elect Trump has said that he hasn`t wanted to move forward on, say, entitlement changes, whether Medicare or social security. And, you know, we might have to have that conversation, too, if we`re going to have, you know, the spending discussion that`s already been discussed on front.

HAYES: Yeah, yeah. How important are Medicare and social security to you, in terms of reforming them?

DENT: They`re very important. Well, I think -- well, first, I`ll tell you that the federal health care problems are the driver of our debt in this country.

HAYES: Right.

DENT: Far and away more than anything else. Social security has challenges, to be sure, but I think they`re smaller in comparison than the health care program. So at some point, we`re going to have to address Medicare and so we can protect it for those who are currently on the program and those who are nearly on the program, but we know that changes are going to be made for the next generation. I think that`s a given. And I think at some point, we need to have that conversation particularly if we`re talking about defense buildups and infrastructure bills and tax reform. We`re going to have to probably need to establish some kind of a Simpson-Bowles commission again or -- you know, I thought that was a good start, by the way. I think President Trump may have to move in that direction at some point.

HAYES: I would know the projections for social security trust solvency head out numerous decades. The biggest growth driver, you`re right, is the cost of medical coverage broadly although that`s come down a bit post- Obamacare. A final question to you, just a yes or no, are you intimidated by President-Elect Trump?

DENT: No, I`m not intimidated. And I intend to work with him when he`s right. And if he`s on the wrong track, you know, we might have to check him. But, no, I`m not intimidated.

HAYES: All right. Congressman Charlie Dent. Always a pleasure. Thank you very much.

DENT: Thank you. Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Still ahead, he once said that Trump would be the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency". What Donald Trump`s doctor says now next.

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BORNSTEIN,: I thought about it all day, and in the end, I get rushed and I get anxious when I get rushed. So I try to get four or five lines done as fast as possible so that they would be happy. I sat right at this desk and write that letter while the driver waited for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: One of the short lived side shows of 2016 campaign, perhaps the most absurd was the back and forth over the candidate`s health records after Hillary Clinton came down with pneumonia. Up to that point, Dr. Harold Bornstein, Trump`s doctor for decades have provided the only documentation about the health of Donald Trump, who will be the oldest president-elect the first time in American history.

And this was it, a brief letter with a typo or two written in a hurry while members of Trump`s team were waiting on a black car outside his office. It contains some distinctly Trumpian language I recall, describing the patient`s blood pressure and lab tests as astonishingly excellent and stating that if elected, Trump will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency, a tough claim to back up.

Trump eventually released a bit more medical information, still not complete records, but that letter in a subsequent interview was the last we heard of Dr. Bornstein until now. In an interview with STAT, an online publication about science and medicine, the good doctor reflected on his famous patient`s new role, noting, "It never occurred to me he was the oldest president, not for a second." Bornstein said, "There`s nothing to share on a regular basis about the president`s health. Ronald Reagan had pre-senile dementia. I mean seriously, did they share that one with you or did Nancy just cover it up?" Fair question.

Dr. Bornstein also considered the risks associated with the president of advanced age. "If something happens to him, then it happens to him. It`s like all the rest of us, no?" He went on, "That`s why we have a Vice President and a Speaker of the House and a whole line of people. They can just keep dying."

You think that`s sounded medical analysis, you`re going to love the advice from one Republican Congressman who`s got a hand in the future of Obamacare. That`s next.

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HAYES: Well, a central question after Trump`s election is still what exactly will happen to the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. There are already indications of a division in the Republican ranks about what repeal or repeal and replace really means. Meanwhile, another 6.4 million people have signed up for Obamacare since November 1st according to government data through federally run health care changes in 39 states, outpacing last year.

About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act. So, it might be useful to know from Republicans what the vision for a non-Obamacare world. Luckily, Congressman Bill Huizenga of Michigan spells it out when he describes how we, the health care consumer, can take more responsibility so that we don`t keep squeezing health care providers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BILL HUIZENGA, (R) MICHIGAN: There`s definitely going to be changes in the health care delivery system. We can`t just continue to squeeze providers to say, OK, well, this is how we`re going to save money. At some point or another, Shondra (ph) we have to be responsible, or have a part of the responsibility, of what`s going on. I just had it. My youngest son went racing out the front door on his way to go to jump on the trampoline. I thought he was going to get injured going to the trampoline. He got injured on the driveway to the trampoline, fell, broke his arm. And we weren`t sure what was going on.

It was in the evening, and so I splinted it up and we wrapped it up and the decision was, OK, do we go to the ER? We thought it was a sprain, but weren`t sure, took every precaution, and decided to go in the next morning. I mean, the cost difference, you know, certainly if he had been more seriously injured, we would have taken him in.

If you don`t have any cost difference, you know, you kind of -- you will make different decisions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Joining me now Sarah Kliff, a senior editor at Vox who writes about health care.

And Sarah I thought this was an admirably honest look at what happens if you sort of take the idea of consumers having, quote, skin in the game in a literal sense, the skin that might be a little wounded when your son breaks his arm as the way to squeeze costs out of the system. Is this going to be a central part of how Republicans envision the health care system?

SARAH KLIFF, VOX NEWS: I think it will be. You really already heard leading up to this fight Republicans talking a lot about consumers having more skin in the game, about deciding when to use health care, being responsible. And I think you`ve already heard from Paul Ryan that his focus, he is less concerned with universal coverage, he is more concerned with the idea of universal access.

As long as everyone has a chance to buy a plan, the Republicans at this point seem less concerned with keeping up with the coverage numbers we`ve seen under the Affordable Care Act.

HAYES: I mean, part of the problem here, right -- and it`s a problem for the Affordable Care Act as well, right, is that it`s just not a normal market good. The whole point when your son breaks his arm is that you don`t know how bad it is because you`re not a doctor. And that`s true of a whole lot of things about whether you`re going to get the best cancer treatment or anything that`s happening in that doctor`s office. It just seems like what is the evidence that treating it like a normal market good is actually going to get us to where we need to be?

KLIFF: Yeah, and most countries they don`t treat health care like a normal market good, they treat it like a regulated good, like something everyone needs so you regulate the prices.

So, if you look at other countries and how they use emergency care, the governments typically set the prices for what emergency rooms can charge so, you know, I recently wrote about a girl who went to the emergency room because her finger was cut. Her family ends up with a $780 charge. In most other countries that can`t happen. The government says health care is important enough that we`re going to regulate the price of it so people don`t get those surprise bills, but here in the United States you know we`ve made the conscious decision not to regulate prices and that leads to some of the really high prices you see in emergency rooms.

HAYES: So you did amazing reporting where you went down and you talked to folks in Kentucky, people who are essentially Trump supporters, voted for Trump and also in some ways beneficiaries of Obamacare. And in some ways they`re a tough constituency for Republicans right because changes are going to maybe hurt those people. What have you learned from talking to them?

KLIFF: I learned that a lot of these people really didn`t expect Obamacare to be repealed. They heard the rhetoric. They listened to the debates. They knew what Donald Trump thought, but they just thought at the end of the day, well, you don`t take away someone`s health insurance. Health insurance is so important, why would you take it away?

Even one of the Obamacare enrollment workers I was shadowing had supported Trump. And when I asked her about it, she would say there are problems with Obamacare, some of the plans are pretty unaffordable for the people I sign up. And Trump promised change. And I don`t think he`ll repeal it, I think he`ll just make it better.

HAYES: And now we`re going to have some sort of rubber hitting the road moment, right. I mean, they`re either going to -- people are going to either continue to have health coverage or not. And one of the things that seems possible to me is the GOP, if they`re smart in some ways, just call something repeal that makes sure that those people still have health insurance.

KLIFF: Yeah, so I think this will be a big question that I have covering the health care fight is are these people in Kentucky going to be proved right? Is it going to be the case that Republicans just get too skittish because there are so many people like this? Like one of the people I talked to who uses Obamacare, her husband is waiting for a liver transplant right now. Like they really need health insurance. And I think it`s still an open question like you said, Chris, if they just take away small parts of it and call it repeal because they might be worried about the backlash from people -- like these I met in Kentucky

HAYES: Who don`t get the liver transplant they`re waiting for?

KLIFF: Who don`t get the liver transplant, who all of a sudden find that they`re out of coverage when they really didn`t expect that`s what this election would lead to.

HAYES: All right, Sarah Kliff, thank you very much.

KLIFF: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, the push to protect hundreds of thousands of immigrants from soon-to-be President Trump, but first, a jaw-dropping possible replacement for Senator Jeff Sessions. Thing One, Thing Two is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, we return to Alabama, but not for an update on the decision to the mayor`s office of Mobile to hack down a 50 foot old growth cedar tree from a public park to use as a backdrop for Donald Trump`s rally over the weekend. Instead, we`re looking at a decision Alabama`s governor is preparing to make if Donald Trump`s pick for Attorney General, currently Alabama Sentaor Jeff Sessions is, in fact, confirmed. Governor Robert Bentley would get to appoint a senator to that seat until a special election is held.

This week, Governor Bentley met with a handful of candidates to appoint. And just today, we learned about one on the candidates on that short list: the chief justice of Alabama supreme court who was suspended for the remainder of his term, for among other things, bringing the judicial office into disrepute.

The disgraced chief justice who could now be a U.S. senator is Thing Two in 60 seconds.

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HAYES: Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is preparing to appoint a senator to fill Jeff Sessions` seat if in fact Sessions is confirmed as Trump`s attorney general. We just learned that one candidate in the running is Roy Moore who until recently served as chief justice of Alabama`s Supreme Court. As first reported by the Montgomery advertiser.

Governor Bentley interviewed Moore for the potential senate seat this week.

Now, Roy Moore has quite the resume: part judge, part right wing crusader. In 1997, he violated a federal court order to stop opening court sessions with Christian prayer. In 2003, he was removed as chief justice for refusing to remove a 5,300 pound statue of the ten commandments he installed in the state judicial building, that`s it right there. It`s very heavy. You can see it.

Most recently, after winning re-election as Alabama`s chief justice, Moore defied a federal order and refused to allow same-sex marriages in his state, eventually arguing the Supreme Court`s decision was immoral and tyrannical. This past September, He was once again removed from the bench, suspended without pay for the remainder of his term by Alabama`s court of the judiciary since he wasn`t, you know, doing his job.

They found he failed to uphold the integrity of the court, failed to perform the duties of his office impartially, and his conduct brings the judicial office into disrepute. And now that guy, disgraced judge, who brought his judicial office into disrepute could be a U.S. senator.

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HAYES: President Obama has banned off shore drilling in huge swaths of the Arctic and the Atlantic, announcing yesterday these areas would be indefinitely offlimits to offshore oil and gas leases.

The move affects 98 percent of federally owned Arctic waters or about 115 million acres, pristine region home to endangered species as well as 3.8 million acres stretching from Norfolk, Virginia, to the Canadian border, which includes Atlantic coast Coral Canyons.

President Obama did this through a power given to the president through a 1953 law, which has been used by many presidents of both parties and yet legal challenges are expected.

Despite that, the president`s action will, at the very least, keep these waters safe from drilling for years to come, producing headlines like this one, "how Barack Obama threw a wrench into Donald Trump`s energy plans."

It highlights the fact that Barack Obama, that gentleman you see there, is president of the United States and will be until January 20th and there are still things he can do.

For instance, 100 advocacy groups are calling on President Obama to use his pardon power to shield up to 200,000 legal immigrants with minor criminal records from deportation. This would be squarely within his legal and constitutional authority to give them a kind of pardon and take that away, though it would also be pretty unprecedented.

But if there`s one thing we`ve learned from Donald Trump, it is don`t allow yourself to be too penned in by what has or hasn`t been done before.

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HAYES: Two U.S. intelligence officials have confirmed to NBC News that German authorities have opened a Europe-wide manhunt for Anis Amri the man they believe was at the wheel when a truck drove through Berlin`s Christmas market leaving 12 dead and 48 injured. ISIS was quick to claim responsibility saying through its news agency the suspect is, quote, a soldier of the Islamic State.

So far this year, ISIS has claimed responsible for at least42 attacks outside of Syria and Iraq, according to The New York Times. And these attacks come amid reports that ISIS continues to lose territory that seems to indicate that despite being squeezed out of places it once controlled, ISIS will find ways to continue to terrorize signaling a real dilemma for counterterrorism officials in the west.

My next guest has spent years interviewing ISIS members has a new book based on those interviews called The Way of the Strangers. Graeme Wood, national correspondent for That Atlantic magazine, joins me now. Great to have you here.

Let`s talk about the truck attack. I mean, part of what`s so horrifying about it to me is the simplicity here. Explosives can go wrong. Acquiring them is relatively easy for counterterrorism officials to monitor. A truck is just a truck. And this just seems like a very difficult dilemma for counterterrorism officials.

GRAEME WOOD, THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE: It`s impossible. And this has two purposes. One is that it tells ISIS supporters to use the tools at their disposal, just what they have at hand. You can`t stop people from hijacking trucks, it`s just impossible to do that.

And then psychologically, it tells their victims that every truck is a potential terrorist vehicle, as a potential weapon that could kill dozens of people. So, they really do want to sow the fear of every little thing around you including, you know, vehicles, stones, knives that you would get at a kitchen store, all these things can be used and will be.

HAYES: Part of what I think everyone has a hard time getting their head around is when you see such sort of evil, sociopathic evil of driving a truck into people.

It`s like how could a person get to a place where they can do that? And in some ways that`s part of the project about what this book has been. What have you learned about that?

WOOD: Yeah, so the people who are urging others to do this, and in some cases doing this themselves, are people that I have been eating pizza with, playing soccer with, going to their study groups and talking with. And you find that they have a very intense process of indoctrination.

They have to be taught to twist their morals into a way that is just -- it`s just not consistent with the way they`ve been taught growing up in, say, Australia...

HAYES: No one is taught it`s OK to drive a truck into...

WOOD: You have to learn that. It is a period of brainwashing that ISIS has really perfected. I mean, the propaganda apparatus, it exists both to get people to do things who already believe it, and people who are already on the fence, just to slowly turn them into moral zombies who are willing to do things that just, you know, in some cases weeks before they first encounter this propaganda they would have thought was disgusting.

HAYES: And that`s part of what`s given this organization the sort of potency it has is that they don`t have to do anything operational. If they can indoctrinate from afar and inspire enough, if they can sort of brainwash and create these moral zombies who then take it upon themselves to do these things, they don`t have to go through the much riskier set of transactions needed to pull off some sort of operational attack.

WOOD: And they even tell their soldiers don`t even try doing those complicated things, you`re going to get caught along the way. Instead, they have these horrible ghastly manuals of killing like when they discuss what type of truck to use, they talk about how much clearance you want to get so that you get the right amount of bodies that will pile up underneath and the right ways of crushing enough people and not having the truck actually stop because of the number of dead it has harvested.

HAYES: There`s a profile you have of someone who has become quite a top official in ISIS who is an American, and you sort of -- you unmasked him, I think it`s fair to say, son of a Republican Dallas-based affluent West Point graduate dad.

WOOD: Yes. That`s right. And this guy is -- it`s a good example of how a lot of these ISIS recruits, they are not from backgrounds of poverty. They have all sorts of options available to them.

This is a kid who, frankly, he had some daddy issues. His father was a distinguished soldier for some time and a high school quarterback. And then this kid shows up, he never really was able to succeed in his dad`s eyes. And now...

HAYES: Sickly as a kid, pot smoking ne`er-do-well drug addled dropout kind of.

WOOD: Yeah, he`s a typical kind of basement dwelling neck bearded computer geek who -- he was never going to be able to succeed in the eyes of his teachers or his family, but he`s achieved a certain kind of leadership role in the Islamic State now.

HAYES: And he is now, in this bizarre way, right, he has become a soldier and sort of revered soldier in this death cult.

What do you know about how this organization can be dismantled or fought or countered?

WOOD: There`s some bad news, first of all, it can`t be fully countered from an ideological perspective. They have people working overtime to explain what ISIS is all about and to plant that kind of mental virus in people everywhere, that includes Americans, it includes British, it includes Australians, Japanese even I found. So that is not going to be, by itself, successful.

What seems to have some success, though, is to demonstrate to these potential recruits that even if they believe these things, the likelihood of their actually achieving the kind of alternate glory that they think they might be able to get in the Islamic State itself, that that might be a far-fetched dream, that ISIS is just losing. It is not a cool thing to do. It`s not something that`s going to succeed. You`re going to die and everybody will forget you. They won`t remember you as a hero or a martyr.

HAYES: So, this is interesting, so rather than ideological countering that says, no it`s obviuosly not OK to murder a bunch of people in a Christmas market, rather to focus on this is actually a group that`s not potent, it`s not impotent, it`s not growing, it`s shrinking, it`s on the losing side, that actually is more powerful.

WOOD: Yeah, in a way loss begets loss in this case.

These are people are, as I say, they`re coming from a background where things have not worked out very well for them in their lives, maybe not because they`re poor but maybe just because they haven`t achieved any kind of recognition from people.

If you say by going to ISIS you will even be an embarrassment even further, then that will be much more meaningful thing to say than you will be doing something that`s immoral, that`s a message that they`ve received and have rejected, but the idea that the prestige won`t be there, that`s a much more potent kind of de-radicalization.

HAYES: Graeme Wood`s feature is in The Atlantic this month. He`s a writer I have long admired, sought out, read everything he writes always. The book is called The Way of the Strangers. Graeme Wood, thanks for joining us. appreciate it.

WOOD: Thank you.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

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