All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 12/28/2016

Guests: Brad Sherman, Noura Erakat, Matt Duss, Catherine Rampell, Rick Perlstein, Jason Johnson

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: December 28, 2016 Guest: Brad Sherman, Noura Erakat, Matt Duss, Catherine Rampell, Rick Perlstein, Jason Johnson



JOHN KERRY, CURRENT SECRETARY OF THE U.N.ITED STATES: Friends need to tell each other the hard truths.

HAYES: A harsh warning from the U.A. to Israel as the president-elect prematurely enters the fray. Tonight, debating America`s role in Israel and why Donald Trump is officially off the fence.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE U.N.ITED STATES: Let me be sort of a neutral guy.

HAYES: Plus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stock market has stopped rising until what appears to be the Trump rally.

HAYES: Inside the so-called Trump rally and the dangers of a president taking credit for what he inherits, then author Rick Perlstein on the Nixonian grievances of Donald Trump as he lashes out at president Obama.

And from Pizzagate, actual vote tampering by Russian agents, new numbers on the bipartisan trouble with what Americans are willing to believe. And "All In" starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. In 23 days, Donald Trump will become President of the United States. And today in the wake of the United Nations passing a nonbinding resolution demanding that Israel stop building settlements in Palestinian territory, a resolution Trump had tried to kill at the behest of the Israeli government, Trump appeared before reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where he seemed to suggest he could pull the U.S. out of the U.N. entirely if it doesn`t, "live up to its potential".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President-Elect, you`ve been critical of the U.N. lately. Do you want the United States to leave the U.N.? Are you considering that move?

TRUMP: The U.N. has such tremendous potential, not living up to its potential. There`s such tremendous potential, but it is not living up. When do you see the United Nations solving problems? They don`t. They cause problems.

So, if it lives up to the potential, it`s a great thing. And if it doesn`t, it`s a waste of time and money.


HAYES: This morning, Trump criticized President Obama for impeding his transition with inflammatory words and deeds.

In this remarks, reporters, Trump struck a far different tone saying he had spoken today with the president on the phone. Their conversation had been "very, very nice".

Meanwhile, with the Obama era drawing to a close, the outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a remarkable speech in Washington today in which he rebuked Israel in uncharacteristically blunt terms. Kerry arguing Israel had pursued policies that he said undermine its stated commitment to a two-state solution with the Palestinians.


KERRY: The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements. The result is that policies of this government, which the prime minister himself just described as more committed to settlements than any in Israel`s history, are leading in the opposite direction. They`re leading towards one state.


HAYES: Kerry`s speech amounted to a declaration that if the two-state solution is dead, it is to the government of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, not the Obama administration that killed it.


KERRY: Friends need to tell each other the hard truths. And friendships require mutual respect. Despite our best efforts over the years, the two- state solution is now in serious jeopardy.


HAYES: Unsurprisingly Secretary of State, Kerry`s comments generated an outraged response from Netanyahu who has been harshly critical of an Obama administration that in September finalized a deal to give Israel a record of $38 billion of military aid over 10 years.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, CURRENT PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: I must express my deep disappointment with the speech today of John Kerry, a speech that was almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed at the U.N. last week.


HAYES: The U.S. abstained from that resolution, declined to use its veto to block it. The Israeli government subsequently accused the Obama administration of orchestrating resolution, something Kerry strongly denied today.

Israelis have also made clear, their view that in the words of Israeli cultural minister, "Obama is history, we have Trump". Netanyahu tweeting today, "President-Elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel," and he C.C.`d two of Trump`s children for good measure.

That support wasn`t always so clear-cut. Back in February at an MSNBC, Donald Trump had vowed to remain neutral in the Middle East conflict.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: But whose fault do you think it is --.


TRUMP: You know, I don`t want to get into it.

SCARBOROUGH: Israelis or Palestinians?

TRUMP: I don`t want to get into it for a different reason, Joe, because if I do win, you know, there has to be a certain amount of surprise, unpredictability. Our country has no--


TRUMP: --unpredictability. Let me be sort of a neutral guy, let`s see what -- I`m going to give it a shot. It would be so great. I would be so proud if I could do that.


HAYES: Trump didn`t back away from his neutral stance. He no longer seems so concerned about unpredictably. Trump tweeting today "We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal and now this, U.N.! Stay strong, Israel, January 20th is fast approaching."

Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman of California, member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, and congressman, are you on Trump`s side on this?

REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: I don`t think so. I think his appointment of David Friedman to be the next Ambassador to Israel. He is really a step-backwards in our effort to achieve a two-state solution. I think that Obama has been a very pro-Israel president. This resolution is not much different than resolutions that passed under and with the acquiescence of Reagan and Carter and others. And, of course, as you mentioned, you`ve got the largest military aid package by far that Israel has ever received, negotiated by the Obama administration.

HAYES: Do you approve the administration`s decision to o abstain in that vote?

SHERMAN: I think that`s a mistake. I think though that he`s --.

HAYES: Wait. So -- hold on a second. You just said that it essentially reiterated what was longstanding U.S. policy. So if that`s the case, why is abstention a mistake?

SHERMAN: Well, for many years, mostly Obama years, we have prevented the U.N. from passing unbalanced resolutions and this resolution focuses on this -- on settlements as if that`s the major obstacle to peace. The major obstacle to peace is not only the terrorism coming from the Palestinian side but their position sometimes disguised under the slogan two-state solution -- like a right of return, rather, is their phrase.

HAYES: Right.

SHERMAN: Their use of the term "right of return" to put forward a position to really look at it calls for the expulsion of all Jews or virtually all Jews from the Middle East. So it is the extreme position of the Palestinian state, not just Hamas.

HAYES: But just one question for you, congressman. It seems to be conflated today. There`s two separate issues. There`s a question of, the settlement expansion, is that the obstacle to two-state solution or the obstacle to please peace? That`s one question. And the other is, is settlement expansion justified? Forget whether it`s an obstacle to peace or not. Maybe you`re correct that the real obstacle lies in Palestinian extremism, but on the question of whether it`s justified or not, you agree with the president of the united states, secretary of state, longstanding U.S. policy, correct, that it is not justified, right?

SHERMAN: I don`t agree with every settlement. I don`t agree with everything that anyone else does. And you can argue that this settlement is in the wrong place. The Israeli Supreme Court has called for the abolition and destruction of certain outposts. But that isn`t the major issue. The major issue is the terrorism, the incitement, the teaching of terrorism.

HAYES: So then what is your -- Let me ask you this. Then what is your position on the charge by the Israeli government? Is it a very serious charge? Benjamin Netanyahu has made this, Ron Dermer, the ambassador has made this.

That not only the U.S. government sort of conspired with folks on the U.N. Security Council to bring about this resolution and steer it through, but that John Kerry and the administration are now lying about having done so. Do you agree with them that John Kerry is lying and the administration is lying?

SHERMAN: The secretary`s speech certainly didn`t deny that there were discussions with the proponents of this resolution, and had there not been, the resolution would have been much worse. Though, whoever crafted the resolution, whether there was an American diplomat sitting next to them or not, knew what the Obama administration`s positions were, knew how to draft it so that it wouldn`t get vetoed in this lame duck situation. And if the authors of the resolution had not taken Obama`s considering beliefs into account, it would have been a much, much worse resolution. It might have been so bad that it would have been vetoed and then perhaps that into have be would have been a better outcome. But it`s clear that the authors of this resolution were aware of Obama`s thinking.

HAYES: So are you hopeful now? I mean you basically -- do you think it is appropriate for the Israeli culture minister to basically say, "Good-bye, President Obama, we have Trump now"? For the prime minister of Israel to be interacting with the president-elect, lobbying him to come out in opposition to this, the president-elect coming out, is that an appropriate thing for a president-elect to do during the transition?

SHERMAN: Well, we do have a first amendment and even presidents-elect are allowed to express their opinion. So there`s been a certainty --.

HAYES: The first amendment doesn`t touch appropriateness.

SHERMAN: Right. And I think that this whole country has gotten more and more partisan and the rules of appropriateness have eroded and continue to erode. So I think it would be more appropriate if President Trump focus only on putting together his new team rather than trying to effect public policy during this transition period. That would be more consistent with the tradition of this country and yet at the same time I see all the traditions fraying as the country becomes more partisan.

HAYES: All right. Congressman Brad Sherman, thanks for your time tonight. Happy holidays and happy Hanukkah.

SHERMAN: Good to be with you.

HAYES: All right. Joining me out, Human Rights Attorney, Noura Erakat, Assistant Professor at George Mason University. And what was your reaction to Kerry`s speech today?

NOURA ERAKAT, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I thought it was remarkable. I didn`t expect that to come out of his mouth. I think that`s what the U.S. administration, this administration has thought. I think it`s the thinking behind closed doors of every U.S. administration up until this point.

And what was remarkable is that they basically made it clear to everyone as well and intersubjectively acknowledged it. Here is the problem however. The Obama administration is basically sharing this speech 23 days left in office. They can do little now to nothing in order to make it meaningful with marshaling its political pressure.

HAYES: How do you make sense of the timing here? Because I think there`s a lot of sort of head-scratching about this timing. There`s a head scratching on the timing of both of these things that happen in quick succession. That essentially the critic of the Obama administration say you`re a coward, that you made sure to sign the aid deal in the run-up to the election because you knew that would be politically popular then after the election, the lame duck session, you allowed this to come forward to the security council and give this speech. What`s your read on the timing?

ERAKAT: Look, the Obama administration is incredibly pragmatic. They`re not doing this because of moral reasons. They`re doing this because it`s not that costly and because the Obama administration has an interest to disassociate itself from what`s to come. The Trump administration is going to consolidate Israel`s apartheid project, cement it, accelerate it in a reckless way and the Obama administration has laid the groundwork for that to happen.

It had the opportunity to do this in 2011, 2012 during the statehood bid. It had the opportunity to do this in 2015, to set a timetable to end the occupation. It had the opportunity not to increase military aid from $3.0 to $3.8 billion over the next 10 years. Everything the Obama administration has done has set the stage for what Trump wants to do and so this is an effort to wash their hands and to change the legacy that they`re not associated with what Trump is about to do.

HAYES: Let me ask you this. You mentioned -- You`ve said Israel`s apartheid project. I mean, one of the messages I think of the speech today, John Kerry, who I think would very strongly disagree with that language specifically, is that essentially that it`s on some road, Israel, given current settlement growth to the two-state solution being no longer achievable.

It seems likely to me that that is kind of dawning awareness. And I have to say, you know, things that I`ve read of you, other folks in this sort of Palestinian rights community, it seems to me the folks that I read primarily have basically given up on the two-state solution. Are we moving towards some moment where people just sort of officially throw on the towel on that?

ERAKAT: I think this is a great learning moment for U.S. audiences to check out a map. If you can`t make it to the region, and many people can`t because Israel denies entry to those who aren`t interested in human rights specifically, this is a great moment to show a map and let people decide for themselves.

The occupied territories are 22 percent of mandatory Palestine. Israel has never declared its borders and has expanded them. The settlements that we`re talking about aren`t part of what -- on the perimeter of the West Bank to expand Israel`s defensible borders. The settlements are built in the middle. They bisect the West Bank. They --.

HAYES: No, I understand that. But that`s -- Noura, let me just say, you are citing the facts on the ground and that`s something that gets cited --

ERAKAT: So that speaks for itself, Chris. You`re saying that --

HAYES: Right, definitely.


HAYES: What you`re saying is -- I mean, what you`re saying without saying is, yes, I do think that the ship has sailed on a two-state solution. It just seems to me --

ERAKAT: But -- no, it`s not without saying it. I was just trying to illustrate for those who don`t already see it for themselves, the ship has sailed a long time ago. This threat, this idea that we are going to get to an apartheid situation is actually not true because we`re already there. We`ve been there.

The settlers and Palestinians are inextricably, they`re not separated. They`re inextricably populated. The only thing that separates them is the vast difference in treatment, the different set of laws that apply to Jewish Israelis and to Palestinians even if they live side by side.

HAYES: Right.

ERAKAT: That is an apartheid reality.

HAYES: So then do you think there`s anything that the U.S. could do at this point? I mean, it seems to me that here`s what we`re looking down the barrel of from your perspective, a kind of a Leninist heightening of the contradictions. I mean, should it be the case that essentially your position is that essentially the Israeli government and the U.S. government say they`re for a two-state solution and they`re not really and basically the whole thing is a big -- is sort of a bad faith farce while things are change on the ground, that what you`re going to get now is something that looks more like just an honest, you know, we will support Israel in whatever they do and we support the settlement?

ERAKAT: I think that the United States has unfortunately spoken one thing about law and policy and their support for a Palestinian state but has done a different thing altogether on the ground and has made this apartheid reality very possible.

Really, it should strike everyone as quite odd and strange that there is this hoopla and reaction to condemning settlements. Settlements are settler colonies. They are a war crime under international law. This should not be controversial. If you are not against settlements then you are for apartheid explicitly.

The questions we should be asking is not whether you`re for this, but what are you going to do when it is on the ground nothing else but the apartheid reality? What are you going to do then?

HAYES: Noura Erakat, thanks for being with me. Appreciate it.

ERAKAT: Thank you.

HAYES: Joining me now, Matt Duss, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. And, Matt, I wanted to get your read on what is sort of a remarkable trajectory here from Trump, which I think is a little under appreciated.

Part of the kind of factions in the republican-conservative coalition that cotton to Trump earliest were the kind of what Paleoconservatives, the kind of Pat Buchanan lineage, and that lineage is skeptical to trade deals, it was skeptical of the Iraq war and foreign wars and hates, loathes the neocons and sometimes tinged with more than a little anti-Semitism about the Jewish influence and the Zionists running foreign policy for the Republican Party and is very skeptical of a kind of in-line pro-Israel stance from the sort of Republican Party. That`s where things seem to have started and they have now ended up in the -- very far from that. How do you explain that?

MATT DUSS, FOU.N.DATION FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE: Well, I think it`s worth noting. I mean, you`re right about where Trump`s started of the clip that was shown earlier about Trump`s claim that he wants to be kind of a neutral guy, he wants to make this big deal. He said that early in the primaries.

And I do think it`s very much worth noting that when he said that and that was seen as kind of heresy against, you know, Republican Party positions to say that I`m just going to be neutral and not take sides, not only did he continue to win republican primaries, he won among Christian evangelicals which are seen as some of the most pro-Israel constituencies in the Republican Party.

So I think that -- You know, let`s leave that aside for the moment even though I think it says that there`s a lot more political space to run on these issues than many would have us believe.

I think eventually when he came around eventually to give his big APAC speech, you know, he seemed to adopt some of the more traditional very right-wing pro-Israel positions. And now we see with the nomination of Friedman, the Ambassador to Israel, he seems to have completely go on all- in with a very -- I mean, even to the right of Netanyahu.

HAYES: And in terms of the coalition what`s been fascinating to me is that some of the voices, people like Bill Kristol or Jennifer Rubin, and sort of folks on the Podhoretz, the folks on the right who are very critical of Trump who sort of formed a real core of the never-Trump universe, they are now completely aligned with him on this specific issue. There`s a sort of interesting kind of coalition management that`s happening through his performance of opposition on this issue.

DUSS: Right. No, I think that`s a great point, because, you know, he`s gotten, you know, right on the Israel issue, but he still maintains a very vigorous critique of a whole set of other positions. He`s critical of the Iraq war.

HAYES: Right.

DUSS: He`s critical of nation building. He`s hugging up to C.C. He seems to have completely dispensed with this whole idea of democracy promotion something that the Iraq war was in part sold upon. So it seems -- So, for a lot of this faction that as long as you`re correct on Israel in backing Netanyahu, then everything else we can just put aside.

HAYES: Do you think -- I want to ask a question that I was asking Noura, in which seems floating in the air and is the subtext of care. I mean, can you imagine just basically Trump administration saying, "Yeah, we don`t -- we no longer -- it`s no longer U.S. policy that we object to settlement expansion and we no longer view the two-state solution as the preferred goal." Can you imagine an American administration saying that and what its effects would be?

DUSS: I can`t imagine it just because, you know, personally I have no real idea of the policy formulation that will exist in a Trump administration knowing how he chooses to make various decisions. But there is one thing I would point out here.

You know, I mentioned the Friedman nomination, Friedman a very pro- settlement right-wing, you know, supportive of Israel`s right-wing, but there`s also the Mattis nomination as Secretary of Defense.

Mattis, the former head of CentCom, General James Mattis who said at various times in a specific interview, I think it was 2013, where he talked about his experienced as head of U.S. Central Command in the Middle East and understanding the negative impact of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict on U.S. interests in the region supporting Secretary Kerry`s negotiations process, a very realist analysis of the way that this conflict undermines U.S. relationships in the region. I`m interested to find out how that conversation`s going to go to go --


DUSS: -- and what that impact will be.

HAYES: That is a really excellent point. Matt Duss, thanks for being here tonight. I appreciate it.

DUSS: Thank you.

HAYES: Moments ago, Donald Trump emerged from Mar-a-Lago with Don King. He`s started taking a few questions from reporters and what turned into the closest thing to a press conference we`ve seen from the president-elect in months, here, that is in full.


TRUMP: Hello, everybody, everybody okay? You all know Don King.


TRUMP: Who doesn`t know the Don King?

DON KING, AMERICAN BOXING PROMOTER: Yes, great to be an American. And now with our leader, we`re going to make new days, make America great again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is your Israeli flag a message for the president?

KING: Pardon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is your Israeli flag a message for Obama?

KING: This Israeli flag is about peace, you know, peace in the Middle East. Shimon Peres (inaudible) Peace Ambassador. And so we want everyone to come together as what you want (ph) and make things happen. And he`s the leader that can make it happen.

TRUMP: Are you guys okay? Everything fine?


TRUMP: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wondered do you have any further comments about Kerry`s speech, you know, you have no--?


TRUMP: Yeah, it speaks for itself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he said that friends need to like set friends straight and that`s one of the things.

TRUMP: We have different views and we have to have peace. I think it`s getting back. But we`ll see what happens after January 20th, right? I think you`re going to be very impressed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President-Elect.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The 5,000 jobs that you announced today were part of the 50,000--



TRUMP: Sprint will give you additional (inaudible) -- He said the because of me they`re doing 5,000 jobs in this country. They just put a release out. Hope has it. You`ll see it. And that`s that. And they`re also doing -- Masa is doing 3,000 jobs with, as you know, one web.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So those 5,000 jobs --.


TRUMP: 5,000 to Sprint. No, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they not part of the 50,000?

TRUMP: I`ll give you their statement, okay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President-elect, there`s a lawsuit where journalists are trying to get the records that congress saw for an alleged Russian intervention in the election. Do you think any records from Russian intervention?

TRUMP: I think what they should do is do the best they can, figure it all out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, do you think there should be a public option for records to get health care in the United States?

TRUMP: Well, I had three of the greatest in the world today, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, the three top people from the best in the world, and they were amazing and they have some really good ideas.

And we have to get it fixed. I`ve been saying we`re going to take care of our vets and we`re going to take care of our vets.

So I had the three greatest people in the world. If you look at those institutions, I think you`d all agree. And they were all in a room together with myself and some others, and we`re working on something to make it great for the veterans because the veterans have been treated very, very unfairly.


TRUMP: Well, I don`t want to see veterans waiting in line for two weeks and, you know, in many cases they have a minor illness and it takes so long to see to it turns that to be a major illness and beyond that, and I don`t want to see that in you. So we`ll see what happens.

So if you look at my website, I pretty much called it. But they want to see fast service. The doctors were explaining to me today things that can be taken care of quickly when you wait too long. It`s life threatening. And that`s what`s been happening. People are dying. So we`re going to have -- We`re going to fix it properly not like it`s been done over the past, okay?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How close are you able --.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said that you wanted to resolve the New York A.G.`s Office says you cannot do that until they finish their investigation. How is that going to --.

TRUMP: Well, actually I have a foundation that has given millions and millions of dollars to people over the years. And it`s been, you know, very well thought of. And we`ll see what happens. I mean we`re going to see what happens.

But it`s given millions and millions of dollars. Zero expense. Zero. Nobody has that and I know of. But zero expense. So that`s working out very nicely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How close are you to showing off the plans for your business? And are we going to hear from you?

TRUMP: Yeah, that`s very routine. Honestly, it`s a very routine thing. It`s not a big deal. You people are making that a big deal, that this business because, look, number one, when I won, they all I had a big business all over the place. In fact, I reported it with the, as you know, with the federal elections.

It`s a much bigger business than anybody thought. It`s a great business, but I`m going to have nothing to do with it. I`m going to give -- I don`t have to because, as you know, I wouldn`t have to do that by law. But I want to do that because I want to focus on the country. But when I ran, people know I have a very big business.

So I mean did elect me -- They elected me I guess partially for that reason. So I think that`s going to work out very easily. It`s very -- It`s actually a very simple situation. It`s not a big deal and we`ll be having a press conference some time in early January.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little bit more of your conversation with Obama today. Is the transition of power going as smoothly as you would have hoped?

TRUMP: Yeah, he called me. He called me. We had a very, very good talk about generally about things. He was in Hawaii. And it was a very, very nice call. And I actually thought we covered a lot of territory, a lot of good territory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you satisfied with the transition thus far?

TRUMP: Well, our staffs are getting along very well. And I`m getting along very well with him. Other than a couple of statements. And I responded to. And we talked about it and smiled about it. And nobody`s ever going to know because we`re never going to be going against each other in that way. So but he -- It was a great conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President-elect, Senator Graham today said that they`re putting together a sanction to go after Putin personally. Will you back that?

TRUMP: I don`t know what he`s doing. I haven`t spoken to Senator Graham. I don`t know. I haven`t spoken to him. As, you know, he ran against me. And I haven`t spoken to him.

KING: You have to admit he shocked the world. Nothing else to say, he shocked the world.

TRUMP: Senator Graham ran against me. I haven`t spoken to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think generally about sanction is a good threat (ph)?

TRUMP: I think we`re going to get on with our lives. I think the computers have complicated lives very great. The whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what`s going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I`m not sure you have the kind of security that you need. But I have not spoken with the senators, and I certainly will be over a period of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, do you believe --.


TRUMP: I guess I think you know what I believe. I`m very, very strong with Israel. I think Israel`s been treated very, very unfairly by a lot of different people. You look at resolutions in the United Nations, you take a look at what`s happened, they`re up for 20 reprimands and other nations that are horrible places, horrible places that treat people horribly, haven`t even been reprimanded.

So there`s something going on and I think it`s very unfair to Israel. Thank you very much. Thank you.




HAYES: All right. That was President-Elect Donald Trump with Don King holding a U.S., Israeli and I think a few other flags in his sort of signature denim coat. A man who was going to speak to the RNC until reporting indicates that they told him that having a convicted murderer who had stomped a man to death at the RNC would -- a manslaughter would be sort of a weird look, but there he was, the president-elect down at Mar-a-Lago the famous and legendary Don King and the president-elect taken more questions that he`s taken since winning the election.

Joining me now, "Washington Post" Columnist, Catherine Rampell. So that seemed like a sort of typical Trump performance. Not a ton of answers.


HAYES: A lot of deflection. What stuck out to me was this sort of back and forth on Sprint today.

So the president-elect says basically I talked to Sprint, they`re bringing back 5,000 jobs. Sprint says that was part of a thing that we`d already agreed to and arranged. He seemed to go back on that. It shows you how slippery it can be to cover this president-elect`s claims.

RAMPELL: Yes, I mean, his claims should be taken seriously but not literally or whatever the expression du jour is.

HAYES: Right.

RAMPELL: Because it`s very hard to take them literally because they would contradict each other at every turn, which makes it very challenging. In the case of the Sprint back and forth, they had announced or their parent company anyway had announced 50,000 jobs being created here in the U.S. a few weeks ago.

HAYES: Right.

RAMPELL: Actually, post election. But prior to that, their owner had also announced that they were going to be investing something like 50 --

HAYES: Billion dollars, that`s right.

RAMPELL: -- billion dollars, yes, in the US.

HAYES: That`s right.


HAYES: So their owner is the Masa Bank, which based out of Japan. They had made this announcement of a huge invest in the U.S. prior to the election during the campaign season.

RAMPELL: Right. And it was very likely even then that a lot of that would go to the United States.

HAYES: Right.

RAMPELL: And beyond that, I mean, one wonders what Trump may have said to Sprints, you know, they have a merger that`s being considered right now.

HAYES: Right.

RAMPELL: So we don`t know what the tradeoffs were. We don`t know if this would have happened either way. I mean, I think in Sprint`s perspective, the best thing they can hope for is that Trump believes that they`re doing this solely because of something persuasive that he said.

HAYES: Yeah, and I think, you know, you got -- look, it`s interesting, they have not -- you know, they`ve not had him do a press conference, a real press conference. And that wasn`t really a press conference. Call it availability. But that was he took a number of questions and he answered them.

They haven`t had since July 27, which was the day after the RNC, the day that the last press conference he had where he somewhat infamously looked in the camera and told the foreign government to commit espionage against his political opponent when he told Russia that --.

RAMPELL: Cyber espionage.

HAYES: Cyber espionage when he told him to hack Clinton`s (ph) e-mails, he later said it was a joke, he`s being sarcastic. But they have kept him away from it and it`s been a while since we`ve seen this sort of classic Trump be in deflection. But it`s the same stuff we saw in the campaign and I think what we can expect in the administration.

RAMPELL: Yeah, I mean, why bother answering any questions, right? Nobody`s really holding him to it. His voters don`t seem to care. He can change his positions on any given issue and he`s forgiven. So, I mean, why bother participating in the process of democracy if he doesn`t have to essentially?

HAYES: And we should note that in somebody is keeping away from press conferences was tactically paid his benefits particularly down the scratch of the campaign. I think his handlers and his staff recognized that he tended to do things in the press conferences like calling on the Russians to hack his opponents` emails...

RAMPBELL: Well, but he was erratic in other ways as well. I mean, they didn`t keep him away from Twitter. So, I don`t know that really it made or broke the election.

HAYES: Although, as a reporter, I have to say, it is nice to be able to ask questions and even if you don`t get answers have some back and forth as opposed to everyone waiting around until the next tweet and run those and then just analyzing those.

RAMPBELL: Obviously. Obviously, but my point being that I`m not sure that his erratic behavior was necessarily curbed by his not having these press conferences, so maybe it helped his campaign, maybe it didn`t. At the very least you could argue that, yes, this is bad for democracy, to not having the press hold his feet to the fire.

HAYES: We`ll talk a little bit more also that he said one last thing about saying his business conflicts were no big deal. That doesn`t seem to be the case, according to most experts I`ve talked to on this. It actually it is a pretty big deal and actually divesting is difficult and actually fairly complicated.

So, that`s something that is going to continue to dog him I think until some concrete details are given.

Catherine Rampell, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

HAYES: All right, coming up, the uncharted territory of having a president-elect air his personal grievances on social media. I`ll talk with a historian about who might be the closest comparison in presidential history just ahead.



TRUMP: He called me. He called me. We had a very, very goo talk about, generally about things. He was in Hawaii. And it was a very, very nice call. And I actually thought we covered a lot of territory, a lot of good territory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you satisfied with the transition thus far?

TRUMP: Well, our staffs are getting along very well. And I`m getting along very well with him other than a couple of statements that I responded to. And we talked about it and smiled about it. And nobody`s ever going to know, because we`re never going to be going against each other in that way.


HAYES: That was Donald Trump moments ago fielding a question about a brush back tweet he sent to the current president of the United States this morning saying doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition, not.

It was the first real grievance Donald Trump has aired about President Obama but a look at the Twitter feed will tell you all you need to know about his attitude toward people who criticize him in any way. After the United Steel Workers president of a local at Carrier said that Trump had inflated the number of jobs being kept in Indiana, tweeted Chuck Jones has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee the country.

After Alec Baldwin made fun of Trujp`s tweeting on Saturday Night Live this month, Trump responded , tweeting his disdain for the same show he hosted months before. Just tried watching Saturday Night Live, unwatchable. Totally biased. Not funny.

Trump`s biographer appeared to explain this behavior in a New York Times reporter rejected by parents who sent him away at 13, he became a bottomless pit of need.

This is not the first time we`ve elected a president consumed by this particular emotion. With no such thing as Twitter back then, type writers were used to draft vindictive notes on how to treat reporters like, quote, this bears out my theory that treating them with considerably more contempt is in a long run a more productive policy.

We`ll tell you who wrote that memo next.



RICHARD NIXON, 37TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rather is just a son of a bitch, don`t you think?

He`s always been a son of a bitch. He`s a bastard period.

He`s sure rather gets a few nasty notes on this reporting. I don`t know whether it helps or not. He`s really sensitive to that.

Have you arranged that?


NIXON: I`d hit him hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: One of the defining features of Richard Nixon`s presidency was his distrust, even contempt, for the press and his attempts to keep reporters at arm`s length. And it was through this carefully constructed effort to shape his public image that led to the activities that eventually cost Nixon his public support and led to his resignation, something author Rick Pearlsteen does an amazing job of chronicling in his book Nixonland.

And joining me now is Rick Perlstein. Rick, I wanted to talk to you today, because I -- you know, one of the things that comes through in this incredible book is how central to all of Nixon`s personality and leadership style, political style was grievance, pettiness, vindictiveness, getting back, a chip on his shoulder that people didn`t take him seriously and he would show them.

How much do you see -- how much Nixon do you see in Trump?

RICK PERLSTEIN, AUTHOR: On that basic core question, that bottomless pit of need that kind of absence where a soul should be that has to be filled with domination and control, it`s absolutely a Nixonian.

But I would, like so much of Trump, you know, kind of turn it up to 11.

Different was Nixon was very shrewd and tactical, sedulous, careful, so you know he wouldn`t have been tweeting. He would have been saying, let`s take away The Washington Post`s broadcast licenses that they rely on for their revenue, which Trump may be doing soon when he`s granted the power of the executive office of the presidency.

HAYES: There`s two things to follow up on. The Nixon was. I mean, what`s striking to me here isn`t just that this sort of need to kind of always get back at people that he feels slighted him in the case of Donald Trump but also the publicness of it. I mean, Nixon would not have taken to the podium and said, I don`t like this person, this person and Dan Rather. He was self-controlled enough to channel that. This is different in so far as it`s all just out there in the public.

PERLSTEIN: But this is the pre-January 20th Trump, Chris. I mean, think about it. You know, William Benny, the whistleblower at the NSA has called basically the spying apparatus that a president has at his disposal created by Bush, but continued by Obama, turnkey totalitarianism.

So, basically once Trump can find out anything his enemies are up to and find out where their vulnerabilities are, maybe find embarrassing things about them, leak them to Breitbart and soon it`s on CNN, god forbid, MSNBC, then we`re talking about a different ball game here.

HAYES: So, that`s -- I mean, look, that`s where the sort of real impeachable offense is for Nixon came in. And it was a bunch of things he did. But one of the things he did obviously was he had this group of folks that broke into Watergate and did a whole lot of other things directed at enemies they discussed.

You know, they tried to break into a therapist`s office I believe of Daniel Elsberg.

PERLSTEIN: Oh, they succeeded.

HAYES: They succeeded, right, which is a crazy thing to happen.

I mean, what is your sense of how strong the civil service was in resisting Nixon`s attempts to essentially it as a tool to pursue vendettas.

PERLSTEIN: Well, I think that the civil service, you know, has and had strong protections right and that drove him crazy, too. I mean, most famously the bureau of labor statistics -- I mean, what happens when they start saying the unemployment rate is 9 percent. You know, Trump cannot take that laying down, certainly Richard Nixon didn`t. He ordered one of his aides, Fred Malik, who is still involved in the Republican Party and the conservative moment, to count the number of Jews in the Bureau of Labor statistics so he could basically know who to cut off at the knees.

You know, he knew that the IRA was a very powerful tool, so he basically ordered the IRS to create an operation in the basement in a locked room devoted to trying to take away the tax exemptions of anti-war groups and liberal groups. That was what the enemy list was for.

HAYES: This is a key point when you sort of merge this with the tools of the state. I had forgotten that the Malik, the famous Malik example, was about the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Rick Perlstein, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

PERLSTEIN: Thanks, Chris, cheers.

HAYES: Still to come from widespread voter fraud to the internet conspiracy theory known as Pizza-gate, stunning new polling on what Americans believe to be true. You don`t want to miss it.

Plus, tonight`s Thing one, Thing two which starts right after this break. Stick around.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, Sam Brownback, the Republican governor from Kansas has some advice for the president-elect telling The Wall Street Journal that Trump should mimic his Kansas tax plan. Brownback`s signature idea, eliminating the 4.6 percent state individual income tax for partnerships, limited liability corporations and similar businesses.

Now, when Brownback passed his steep income tax cuts in 2012, he called it a real life experiment.


GOV. SAM BROWNBACK, (R) KANSAS: But on taxes, you need to get your overall rates down and you need to get your social manipulation out of it, in my estimation, to create growth. And we`ll see how it works. We`ll have a real live experiment. We`re right next to some other states that haven`t lowered taxes. You`ll get a chance to see how this impacts a particular experimental area and I think Kansas is going to do well.


HAYES: All right, so that`s the benchmark. It`s now been three years since Brownback`s plan took effect. And the governor is now recommending Trump adopt that same economic model for the nation, it would seem logical to take the governor up on his offer, to assume the experiment the working out great for Kansas, right.

We`ll take a look at the results in Thing Two in just 60 seconds.


HAYES: Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback is so proud of his tax plan he`s publicly advising Donald Trump adopt it for the nation, but as economists have reported for years, that economic vision appears to be failing spectacularly in Kansas.

The massive tax cut blew a massive hole in the state budget, and now $350 million deficit is expected to grow. The state`s credit rating has been downgraded twice, and following cuts to higher education he used $2 billion designated for highway funding to cover the budget holes. Meanwhile, the tax cuts have done little to jump-start Kansas` economy overall. Growth for this year projected to be flat compared with 2 percent GDP growth nationally.

Today, we got one more economic indicator out of the region, Brownback claimed in 2012 you can measure his Kansas experiment against neighboring states, which did not enact the same type of drastic income tax cuts like Nebraska. Justin Fox from Bloomberg has been tracking employment growth between Kansas and Nebraska, today found the gap has only grown this year.

Kansas is that blue line that`s been stagnant, flat, for two years while Nebraska`s pulling away.

So why would Donald Trump follow the advice of a governor whose policies created massive budget deficists, credit downgrades, slowed economic growth and hiring? One possible selling point, the plan would probably be pretty good for people like Donald Trump.

As The Washington Post reported on Kansas earlier this year, the poorest 20 percent of households are now paying an average of about $200 more in state taxes according to analysis on the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy meanwhile the wealthiest 1 percent of households are saving an average of $25,000.


HAYES: One of the many fake news stories that circulated during the campaign.

Stories like Denzel Washington endorses Donald Trump, which didn`t happen, or the infamous Pizza-gate conspiracy theory, which ultimately drove one credulous fake news consumer to enter a family restaurant in Washington, D.C. armed with an AR-15 rifle.

It`s a disturbing trend that has continued even after the election. And new polling out from economist and YouGov reveals exactly how deep the problem really is.

According to their post-election survey, 49 percent, almost half of self- identify Republicans, believe that it is definitely true or probably true that, quote, leaked email from some of Clinton`s campaign staffers contained code words for pedophilia, human trafficking and satanic ritual abuse. That`s the basis of the aforementioned Pizza-gate conspiracy.

Similarly, on health insurance, only one in four Republicans believe that the number of people without health insurance has gone down during the Obama administration, a thing that is both demonstrably true and also one of the signature achievements of this administration.

52 percent of Republicans believe that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, a conspiracy theory Trump baselessly pushed himself on Twitter after winning the election.

And, and this is important, it`s not just Republicans. That same poll found that more than half of self-identified Democrats think that Russia went so far as to tamper with the actual vote tallies in order to get Trump elected, something for which there is no evidence.

Now, instances of voter misinformation based on partisan from 9/11 truthers to WMD in Iraq to the Obama birther conspiracy, there are plenty of examples of myths that have pervaded one part of the electorate over another over the past few years.

But what does seem new and troubling is the extent to which these kinds of lies seem to be increasing in both frequency and reach thanks in part to the increasingly vulcanized and polarized ways we live and consumer information. And given that the current president-elect has made a habit of stretching or making things up that are demonstrably not true, how exactly will this epidemic of misinformation affect the way a Trump administration carries out his agenda?

Joining me now, Jason Johnson, politics editor at the root and professor of politics and communication at Morgan State University. Josh Barro, senior editor for Business Insider and MSNBC contributor.

I guess let`s start, Jason, with this. I don`t want to think that this is so new, right? I mean, we all have confirmation bias across the ideological spectrum.


HAYES: We all partake of information in very selective ways. So what is new and to your mind here?

JOHNSON: Well, what is new is this, Chris. Look, we`ve always had conspiracies, right. There are people who don`t think we landed on the moon. There are plenty of polls that show that people really do believe the X-files and that we`ve got hidden aliens. But what it comes from is a mixture of cynicism about the government and the fact that people aren`t getting their information from the same place.

And when you have a President-elect Donald Trump who basically says the government is full of liars and fools and you can`t trust anything they say and there`s people who believe that, they`re willing to believe that the government will do anything, and therefore a crazy story about pedophilia or Denzel Washington actually endorsing Donald Trump is the kind of thing that people will believe, because they think the entire system is corrupt.

HAYES: There`s a certain basic level which like even fairly basic policy details are just not known, right? So, if you look at health insurance. I mean, this is the basic goal of the ACA, right if it did one thing, more people got insured. You know, 40 percent of Republicans believe that people without insurance has increased, but 24 percent of Democrats think that, and 26 percent think it stays the same.

So at some level it`s like the basic facts of the matter are not penetrating to anyone.

JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, although I think they may be somewhat better known than some of the surveys indicate. There`s this really interesting study that a political scientist named John Bollock (ph) at the University of Texas did where they did surveys like this and one was just a regular survey and they did another one where they said if you get the questions right, we`ll enter you into a drawing for a $200 Amazon gift card. And sure enough, when you do that, the answers get more accurate and the partisan gap in the answers declines.

Now, it doesn`t become perfect, there`s still a lot of misinformation out there, but a lot of what this is I think is sort these expressive responses where basically someone is taking the poll. They really don`t like Barack Obama and they give whatever they think the negative answer is about Barack Obama.

HAYES: Right, so the question between like an expressive response and an actual belief, right?


HAYES: Which I agree. Like, there`s something -- but Jason, then I go back to the birther thing, right. So, you`ve got -- it`s like, you know, Obama born in Kenya? You got 52 percent of the Republicans saying definitely probably true. And I think Josh is right, like there`s some level at which this is just a I don`t like Barack Obama answer, but then there`s also like I`ve talked to a lot of people, I`ve interviewed who really do think the guy was born in Kenya. That`s a fact -- that`s definitely a think they believe. And the person who is most associated with that ridiculous theory is going to be the next president of the United States.

JOHNSON: Yes. And that`s the crazy thing.

Chris, I`ve said this all along about birthers. This is like Scooby-Doo logic that somehow Obama fooled everybody, except for these plucky kids and their dog that figured out he`s from Kenya. It doesn`t make any sense.

But here`s the thing about conspiracies also that lead to people believing them and believing this nonsense over time, because we`ve seen things that were at one point conspiracies turn out to be true, right.

You and I will remember when we were kids, the idea that the U.S. government had any involvement with drugs in the inner cities seemed crazy then we had Iran/Contra, then we found out hat they actually did, so people it`s going to be true one day.

HAYES: Yeah, there`s this sort mass skepticism that tends to curdle itself.

Jason Johnson, Josh Barro, thanks for joining me. I`m going to say good- bye to you guys, because right now we have breaking news.

NBC News has confirmed that actress Debbie Reynolds has died at the age of 84, one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher.

And joinng me now with more is NBC`s Gadi Schwartz. And Gadi, what have you learned?

GADI SCHWARTZ, NBC NEWS: Well, we heard she was hospitalized after possibly reporting symptoms of a shortness of breath. We now know that she has died at the hospital. Her son confirming that to NBC news.

Now obviously Debbie Reynolds, one of the most popular actresses of her time, the mother of Carrie Fisher, she has been in mourning since Carrie Fisher`s hospitalization and subsequent death. And now mother and daughter seeming to die within a few days of each other, just after the holidays, very heartbreaking here in Hollywood. A lot of people coming forward, a lot of people expressing their condolences, but that`s the latest that we have right now. She was hospitalized for shortness of breath and we understand that she has now passed away.

HAYES: Thank you, Gadi.

Debbie Reynolds, of course, legendarily married to Eddie Fisher with whom she had Carrie Fisher. In fact, Carrie Fisher was on the front page of the The L.A. Times before she was even born, just when she was essentially conceived she was on that front page down at the bottom.

Debbie, Eddie expect baby in November.

Debbie Reynolds who was in a number of films and her marriage was a sort of Brangelina of its day, Eddie Fisher leaving her for Elizabeth Taylor, of course, was a huge scandal at the time. And the incredible relationship that Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher had, which Carrie Fisher just was talking about in a Fresh Air interview that aired recently, was the sort of grist for postcards from the edge, a relationship of tremendous love and devotion between Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, one that was reflected in Carrie Fisher`s amazing work in her writing, in the interviews she gave, in the work that she would publish throughout the years. And just an unbelievably heartbreaking turn of events at the end of this year.

Carrie Fisher dying just a few days ago at the age of 60, and now we`ve received news that her mother, Debbie Reynolds, and her lifelong friend in the sort of most profound way that a parent and child can be a friend, dying just a few days later, that being confirmed at this hour. Breaking news by NBC news.

More now with Ari Melber in for Rachel Maddow.