Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: January 5, 2017 Guest: Mo Brooks, Charlie Pierce, Nada Bakos, Evan McMullin
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts right now.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who actually is the benefactor of someone who is about to become commander-in-chief trashing the Intelligence Community.
REID: An intelligence hearing for an audience of one.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I love WikiLeaks.
REID: Intelligence chief, democrats and top republicans send a message to the incoming President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Espionage is an act of war.
REID: Tonight, the unprecedented spectacle on Capitol Hill.
JAMES CLAPPER, UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: But I think there`s a difference between skepticism and disparagement.
REID: Plus, an exclusive inside look into the top-secret report on Russian hacking.
JOHN MCCAIN, UNITED STATES SENATOR: Every American should be alarmed by Russia`s attacks on our nation.
REID: Then the vice President`s harsh words for the President-elect.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Grow up. Time to be an adult. You`re President.
REID: The democratic congresswoman refusing to attend the inauguration, and why the President-elect spent today in a deposition.
TRUMP: I mean, do you want me to read it?
REID: ALL IN starts now.
REID: Good evening from New York, I`m Joy Reid in for Chris Hayes. In 15 days, Donald Trump will become the President of the United States, and tomorrow, he`ll come face to face with a group he seems to choose -- he seems oppose more than anyone since Hillary Clinton, America`s Intelligence Community. A senior U.S. intelligence official tells NBC news that the director of national intelligence and the heads of the NSA, the CIA and the FBI are all scheduled to be at Trump Tower tomorrow to brief the President- elect on their finding that Russia was behind the election hacking of democratic e-mails. President Obama received the same briefing this morning, but it`s a conclusion that Trump still refuses to accept. Appearing to favor the denials by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, delivered most recently in an interview with a very solicitous Sean Hannity on Fox News over the evidence presented by American intelligence professionals.
And it`s leaving Trump increasingly isolated. Today, he turned to his favorite medium, Twitter, to defend himself, tweeting, "The dishonest media like saying that I am in agreement with Julian Assange. Wrong. I simply state what he states. It is for the people to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media likes to make it look like I`m against "Intelligence" when in fact I`m a big fan!" Now, it`s tough to square that claim with Trump`s repeated rejections of the Intelligence Community`s conclusions with his reluctance to receiving his daily classified briefings, citing his own smarts.
And with statements like this one from his transition team, "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction." Well, today, after weeks at the center of the back-and-forth over Russian hacking, working mostly behind the scenes, top intelligence officials finally stepped into the spotlight, putting faces on the faceless Intelligence Community that Trump has been attacking. Appearing on Capitol Hill, the Director of National Intelligence, the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, and the Director of the National Security Agency all testified at the first congressional hearing on the election hack held by the senate Armed Services Committee. The chairman, none other than Senator John McCain.
Now, McCain is no ally of Donald Trump`s but he has remained studiously silent throughout the campaign even as Trump did things like mocking McCain`s time spent as a prisoner of war or insulting a Gold star family. Today, it was finally McCain`s turn to talk, and he went straight for Julian Assange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I believe that he is the one who`s responsible for publishing names of individuals that work for us that put their lives in direct danger. Is that correct?
CLAPPER: Yes, he has.
MCCAIN: And do you think that there`s any credibility we should attach to this individual given his record of --
CLAPPER: Not in my view.
MCCAIN: Not in your view.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Senator Lindsey Graham, McCain`s closest ally, has been a vocal critic of Trump`s stance on Russia and he asked about the upcoming intelligence briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, SENATOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You`re going to be challenged tomorrow by the President-elect. Are you OK with being challenged?
GRAHAM: Do you both welcome that?
CLAPPER: We do.
GRAHAM: Do you think it`s appropriate?
CLAPPER: We do.
GRAHAM: Are you ready for the task?
CLAPPER: I think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: In a pretty remarkable moment, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who he noted, has served every President since Kennedy, actually criticized the President-elect by implication for his attitude towards the Intelligence Community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAPPER: I think there is an important distinction here between healthy scepticism, which policymakers -- to include policymaker number one, should always have for intelligence, but I think there is a difference between skepticism and disparagement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: This comes immediately after the Wall Street Journal reported based on anonymous sources that Trump is planning to revamp the office of the Director of National Intelligence, paring back both that agency and the CIA. Trump`s spokesman strenuously denied that report on a call today with reporters.
SEAN SPICER, TRUMP`S SPOKESMAN: There is no truth to this idea of restructuring the Intelligence Community infrastructure. It`s 100 percent false.
REID: But clearly, someone in Trump`s cabinet -- I mean, in Trump`s orbit thinks that the story is true. Both the associated press and CNN picked it up citing anonymous sources of their own. Now, let`s not forget that Trump has contradicted his team before and he`s claimed to know more about cyber security than the professionals. Here he was at his New Year`s Eve party last weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I know a lot about hacking and hacking is a very hard thing to prove so it could be somebody else and I also know things that other people don`t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you know that other people don`t know?
TRUMP: You`ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Well, today is Thursday and we have yet to hear Trump`s grand revelation. Tonight, however, NBC news reports according to a senior U.S. intelligence official that U.S. intercepts picked up senior Russian officials celebrating Donald Trump`s election victory as beneficial to Russia. The source also said the U.S. has identified Russian actors who turned over stolen democratic materials to WikiLeaks. According to NBC news, intelligence officials are so worried that Trump won`t accept their findings tomorrow, CIA officials actually called the members of congress asking them for public support in anticipation of a public drubbing by the President-elect.
And joining me now is Congressman Mo Brooks, republican from Alabama and a member of the House Armed Services Committee. And Congressman Brooks, I want to start by sort of getting -- taking the temperature of where you stand. Are you a Julian Assange Republican like Sean Hannity or are you a John McCain Republican and with DNI Clapper and the others who say that Russia was behind the hacking?
MO BROOKS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN: Well, I`ve been on the foreign affairs committee for a number of years and also House Armed Services Committee my entire time in the United States Congress. And I think it`s important to note that you do the best you can with the information that the Intelligence Community gives to you, but nonetheless, there is almost always some elements of doubt because the Intelligence Community rarely has perfect information and they have to draw certain inferences from the information that they have.
So I would agree with Mr. Clapper where he says that there is warranted quite often a healthy degree of skepticism and caution, but ultimately, you have to make decisions based on the best intelligence that you have. Usually it is correct, sometimes it is not. Certainly, the decision to enter into the Iraq War as one of those instances where it was questionable resulted in a very significant decision on the part of the United States, which has been questioned many years thereafter.
REID: And I`m not sure that I got an answer to my question. I mean, you sit on the relevant committees. Who do you believe, Julian Assange and Donald Trump or the Intelligence Community when it comes to Russian hacking? Which one do you believe?
BROOKS: Well, I don`t think that is the right question to ask, because sometimes I will agree with Donald Trump and sometimes --
REID: But on this specific thing --
BROOKS: I agree with-
REID: No, not in - not in general. I mean, on this, on whether or not Russia was behind the hacks. Whose side are you on?
BROOKS: It is a pre -- it is a premature question to ask and it`s not fair to try to place a congressman on one side or the other. I need to be given the kind of information from the Intelligence Community that makes me feel comfortable with the conclusions that they have reached. This is a brand new congress that just started this week. We have not yet had in the House Armed Services Committee or the House Foreign Affairs Committee the kinds of hearings that are necessary for me to have the information to reach the kind of conclusion that you want me to make right now with incomplete evidence.
REID: Well, the senate had one of those such hearings today. They had all of the top leaders of the Intelligence Community before them. I`m assuming that you watched at least some of those hearings or were briefed on them by your staff.
BROOKS: I did.
REID: And you have been a pretty big skeptic about Donald Trump. I mean, during the campaign, you were quite, if not a Never-Trumper, you were extremely skeptical. You said that he`s taken every virtual position on everything that if people really knew that he`d been all over every issue that people would be incredibly skeptical.
BROOKS: But if you --
REID: But, hold on a second.
BROOKS: Wait a minute. If you`d look at --
REID: But now you`re saying you are not prepared -- that you are not prepared to decide whether you believe Julian Assange more or whether you believe the Intelligence Community more? You`re not prepared to decide that right now?
BROOKS: The Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today was public hearing. Classified information, the kind of information that you need to look at to reach your own conclusions as to the veracity of the opinions that are given. That`s a different thing. And so, what we heard today were opinions given from the witnesses. I want to look at the primary evidence. I`m an attorney by training. I`ve prosecuted many a case as a District Attorney and as an Assistant District Attorney. I`ve also defended people on the defense side, and you make decisions based on evidence, not based on hearsay or opinions.
REID: I`m not sure that they were giving their opinions. I think they were giving their considered judgment having investigation. You say they were just giving their opinion?
BROOKS: Well, that`s -- a considered judgment is an opinion.
REID: You think - OK. So let me just-- before I let you go, we are out of time. But who would you say on balance is more credible? Who would you tend to believe more? Julian Assange or DNI Clapper?
BROOKS: Well, my default position is going to be to give the Intelligence Community the benefit of the doubt because after all they do have access to information that has not yet been shared with me as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee or House Armed Services Committee.
REID: OK. Well, then we have gotten you closer to believing the Intelligence Community over Assange and Donald Trump, so we will consider that to make our conversation -
BROOKS: But to make -- to make -
BROOKS: To have a final opinion, though, I need to see the evidence.
REID: Interesting. All right, well, Congressman Mo Brooks, thank you very much.
BROOKS: Thank you.
REID: I`m joined now by Charlie Pierce, writer at large for Esquire and MSNBC Contributor Charlie Sykes editor of Right Wisconsin. So guys, I don`t know if you are as surprised as I am that when you hear a republican member of congress who sits on the relevant committee, that means on armed services and foreign affairs, that he was not willing to definitively say, Charlie Sykes, that he believes DNI Clapper more than he believes Julian Assange. That is how far the Republican Party has gone. They are willing to just come right out and say "No, I don`t believe Julian Assange over our own Intelligence Community."
CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, that was extraordinary and somewhat cringe worthy because you, you asked him the easiest question of the year: who do you believe, Julian Assange, who is an anti-American activist who`s hiding out in an embassy or do you believe -- or tend to believe U.S. intelligence agencies? And he really was struggling to give you a straight answer. Look, I am old enough to remember when republicans actually trusted and respected, you know, the U.S. military and our intelligence agencies and actually were not willing to give the benefit of the doubt to either to Vladimir Putin, Russia, or to toadies like Julian Assange.
REID: Yeah, and Charlie Pierce, what`s interesting is if it wasn`t a question of do you believe Donald Trump more or the Intelligence Community because that would have put them in an -- sort of in an intractable bind, right, because he is the guy who`s their President, he`s their guy. But this is Julian Assange. This is not saying do you believe Trump more. It`s saying Julian Assange or the Intelligence Community. He didn`t want to answer.
CHARLIE PIERCE, WRITER AT LARGE FOR ESQUIRE: No, and I mean, unlike my colleague from Milwaukee, I expect nothing from modern republicans, so I wasn`t -- I wasn`t, you know, I wasn`t disappointed or not. I`ll tell you, my favorite moment of the day, though, was Thom Tillis, the senator from North Carolina, making the U.S. lives in a glass house therefore we - therefore - and therefore the - virtually coming right up to the edge of saying we can expect this because it`s karma because what we do -- because of what we do overseas. If any democrat had ever made that argument they`ve have been barbecued on the White House lawn.
REID: It`s incredible --
PIERCE: Frank Church must have been just laughing his head off in senate heaven after that.
REID: I feel that I have to - at that point, I think it`s a perfect point to play this little montage that the great producers here at ALL IN have put together, because it shows where it`s coming from. I mean, these are republicans who are in fear that Trump voters are in their district, they don`t want to walk away from Donald Trump who is with Julian Assange on this, and who has said the following things bout Russia and Putin over lo these many years. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST OF MORNING JOE: He kills journalists that don`t agree with him.
TRUMP: Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe.
They say it wasn`t them, it may have been their weapon, but they didn`t use it, they didn`t fire it, it was probably Russia, it was probably people involved with on the pro-Russian side, but I think we have to straighten our own problems out right now, Katy.
Look at it. Bu, you know, the people of Crimea from what I`ve heard would rather be with Russia than where they were, and you have to look at that also.
MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK MORNINGS WITH MARIA HOST: If Putin said, "We`re going to murder somebody in America" then there`s all this radioactive stuff all over America and you`re President--
TRUMP: Well, if he did it, fine. But I don`t know that he did it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Charlie Sykes. I mean, we kill plenty of people as the reaction to Vladimir Putin has had journalists killed is extraordinary for a -- someone who`s going to be President of the United States.
SYKES: It is - it is extraordinary on so many different levels including the moral equivalency that republicans used to dislike. Look, you know one of the things that happened in that really rather remarkable hearing today was there was kind of a bipartisan consensus that we`re not going to let this go. That we`re not going to, you know, just roll over for Donald Trump. I mean, you truly did get some strong rhetoric from John McCain, who`s a Republican. You did get some strong rhetoric from Lindsey Graham.
So I do think that they`re trying to send a signal to him. Look, I know that Donald Trump wants to live in his post-truth alternative reality world but now that he`s going to become President, you know, there are some reality checks here and, you know, the United States Senate, I think -- I thought that hearing did a good job in exposing exactly how thin his position is and how outrageous it is for the President of the United States to be carrying water for Vladimir Putin and the Russians.
REID: Yeah, I have to play this a little piece of sound from Joe Biden today, Vice President Joe Biden, who had some advice for Donald Trump. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said -- he said just like -- "Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition - NOT!"
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Grow up, Donald. Grow up. Time to be an adult. You`re President. You`ve got to do something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And Charlie Pierce, you know, I wonder if, you know, we laugh about that and Joe Biden is always delightful to listen to, but there is a sense that Donald Trump has the potential to become pretty isolated here, because there is still a part of the Republican Party that`s with John McCain. That still exists. We don`t know how large it is. The intelligence community is not now some amorphous blob that Donald Trump is tweeting about. It`s those guys with all those bars on their chest that now even Trump supporters can look at those guys and say, wait, they`re not more credible than Julian Assange? Does Donald Trump risk becoming more isolated now?
PIERCE: I have no idea. I think for all intense and purposes in the Republican Party as is presently constituted, John McCain and Lindsey Graham might as well be lawn jockeys. I mean, they have no power. Nobody listens to John McCain. I mean a lot -- a lot of pundits do and some democrats do, but not I mean, the real fire in that committee came from Thom Tillis and Joni Ernst and Deb Fischer and Tom Cotton to an extent, who are the future, and they were not quite -- I mean Lindsey Graham was incredibly amped up today, it was interesting to see. But those were the people who were trying to make the serious argument that, among other things, the current president hasn`t kept us, hasn`t kept our cyber security the way he should have. That having -- that having been said, I think the Republican Party is Donald Trump`s right now.
REID: Charlie Pierce, last word.
PEIRCE: I don`t think he`s isolated at all.
REID: Charlie Sykes, last word to you.
SYKES: Yeah, well, I think that do not underestimate the fact that, that Donald Trump only has a two-vote margin in the United States Senate, so it is not true to say that John McCain and Lindsey Graham do not have a lot of power. I do think that, you know, once you no longer have Barack Obama to kick around anymore, he`s going to own this. And this is going to be -- he`s very, very off message. You know, a guy says, you know, I`m going to fight for America, I want to make America great again. And what is he doing? He`s had this self-inflicted problem again of appeasing Russia.
REID: Yeah. The Charlies, great tonight. Charlie Pierce and Charlie Sykes, thank you guys both for being here, appreciate it.
All right, and coming up, the fight over Trump`s cabinet. Why top democrats are demanding an ethics investigation into his pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
But first, NBC has exclusive new details from the top-secret report on Russia`s hacking. Evan McMullin will be here to break down the intelligence findings that Donald Trump refuses to accept. That`s just after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAPPER: The Russians have a long history of interfering in elections, theirs and other peoples. But I don`t think that we`ve ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process than we`ve seen in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: What exactly did Russia do to interfere with the U.S. election? NBC`s Hallie Jackson has exclusive details.
HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, an exclusive inside look at a top secret report on Russia, one that went directly to President Obama today. So, what does it reveal? Two top intelligence officials with direct knowledge of the report tell NBC news, a detailed Russian cyber- attacks against not just the Democratic National Committee, but the White House, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, even American companies. Some hacks successful, others thwarted. The report explains Moscow`s motives, partly to disrupt the democratic process and partly as payback. The intelligence analysts conclude, for the Obama administration`s questioning of Vladimir Putin`s legitimacy as President. It`s not just last year`s Presidential campaign either. The report tracks Russian cyber activity back to 2008 and 2012. It does not speculate on whether Russia`s interference affected the outcome of 2016.
While President Obama says today, he has full faith in the conclusions of that report. President-elect Trump, who will get the same briefing tomorrow, has seemed skeptical of the intelligence community so far.
The president of NBC Chicago`s Carol Marin --
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When the President-elect receives his own briefings and is able to examine the intelligence as his team is put together and they see how professional and effective these agencies are that some of those current tensions will be reduced.
JACKSON: Hallie Jackson, NBC News, the White House.
REID: And Donald Trump has apparently, has already responded to that NBC news report, tweeting "How did NBC get `an exclusive look into the top secret report he, Obama, was presented?` Who gave them this report and why. Politics."
Joining me now to talk about what we`re learning in white manors is Nada Bakos, a former CIA Analyst and author of the upcoming book "The Targeter", and Evan McMullin, former CIA Operations Officer and former Independent Presidential Candidate. Thank you both for being here. And Nada, I`m going to start with you on that, putting aside Donald Trump still questioning, now questioning where NBC got the report rather than responding to what`s in it. I was really interested in one piece of what we just heard. The idea that part of this was payback by Vladimir Putin for the Obama administration questioning his legitimacy as president. Is it just me who sees constant mirrors in the things Vladimir Putin thinks and the things that Donald Trump obsesses about?
NADA BAKOS, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Look, Russia has been playing this game with the United States for close to 70 years, at this point, so most of what Russia does should not surprise us. The spying game is what it is, it`s true. But on the same hand, accepting that a foreign government could possibly be, not only in the United States, within our election system, is unfathomable to me. And to essentially pick the side of a foreign government and a possible international criminal, Julian Assange, over the men and women who work hard to keep this country safe. That to me, I would not have expected.
REID: And Evan McMullin, I do have to throw it back to you because, you know, in our previous segment we did speak with a republican member of congress who was -- he was never a pro-Trump republican during the primary but he seemed to find it really difficult not even just to say he doesn`t believe the intelligence services, which is shocking in and of itself, but to even put distance between himself and Julian Assange, how we got into the point where now the indemnified individuals include Vladimir Putin and Julian Assange when it comes to republicans?
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OPERATIONS OFFICER AND FORMER INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yeah, it`s truly unfortunate, I mean in the earlier segment when you asked a similar question to Charlie Sykes, I thought he gave the excellent answer. I mean, it`s the easiest possible question that you could have given the representative, and he botched it, but it shows you just how unrecognizable elements of the Republican Party are these days. It`s absolutely unfathomable to me that we have a -- even a question about whether we trust our intelligence professionals over an anti-American activist supported by Russia.
REID: And Nada, I want to talk now about some of the things that we actually heard today in that hearing. Some of which was actually quite frightening, the idea of what could happen, what could go wrong. Let`s start by playing DNI Clapper, who talked about what the response to such cyber warfare could in theory be. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAPPER: When something major happens in cyberspace, our automatic default policy position should not be exclusively to counter cyber with cyber. We should consider all instruments of national power. Unlike nuclear weapons, cyber capabilities are difficult to see and evaluate and are ephemeral.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And Nada, is there anything that the U.S. has in its arsenal, sort of in its kit bag, to respond to what has happened during our elections right now that Russia would now already know about or be prepared for?
BAKOS: I think that`s a very good question. One that I would not want to answer on live TV. However, I do think -- and I agree with Senator Graham today, he said in the Armed Services Committee hearing that there are other things the United States should be doing besides the sanctions and declaring the diplomats persona non grata. Someone like, you know, place like Russia, Putin, authoritarian regimes don`t find that to be very intimidating. I think there is more that we should be doing.
REID: And Evan, you know, one of the other pieces that`s come out of NBC, you know, this is what journalists do, they, they obtain some advanced word on what`s in this report, and one of the striking things is that they said they`ve identified Russian actors who were involved in turning this information over to WikiLeaks. Does it get more definitive than that or is there still reason to consider that as Congressman Brooks said, just an opinion?
MCMULLIN: No, that`s pretty damming information, I mean, without seeing the specifics. But I will say that it`s interesting that Julian Assange in his interview with Fox News the other day when he was asked "did you receive the information from the Russian government?" He was very careful to answer the question in a particular way. He denied receiving the information from the Russian government but did not say that he didn`t receive it from a third party who could have been working for the Russian government. If you go back and watch that interview, it`s -- he`s very careful in how he talks. So you know, I think the question that was posed to him, you know, wasn`t - where was one that let him off the hook but it seemed clear that there was a cut out, and it was interesting to hear that from this report tonight.
REID: And you know, Nada, having been in the position of dealing with an administration that was putting pressure on analysts to come to a politically desirous conclusion, something they wanted, in your case during the run up to the Iraq War, give us a preview of how difficult it could be for analysts if they`re already hearing that the incoming administration wants to somewhat, you know, take apart the CIA and other agencies. It sounds like as punishment for coming to a conclusion they don`t like.
BAKOS: Well, it does sounds like that on the surface. Certainly, I am - what Trump is saying in his tweets and what we`re reading in media. But the difference between what we dealt with, with the Bush administration and the questioning of our analysis, I think, is very different than what the analysts are going to say to the Trump administration. Under George W. Bush, there was a mutual respect, there`s a respect for the office in addition from the intelligence work and there was an understanding of how hard the intelligence analyst work. So I think facing a situation where your job itself is diminished, is entirely different than what we had to deal with questioning our analysis.
REID: Yeah, absolutely. Evan, I`ll give you the last word because you ran for President. Did you ever thought you`d live to see the day when an incoming President of the United States essentially set aside the joint findings of all of our intelligence agencies in favor of you know, a guy hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
MCMULLEN: No, but even more importantly, I never thought I would see a President-elect in the United States or a President that would align himself or herself with the very adversary that is attacking our democracy. That`s the underlying source for the tension between the CIA and Donald Trump. It`s his general threat to this country through his policies and through his alignment with Vladimir Putin. That`s the deeper issue here. It`s not you know, the capability of our intelligence analysts or anything else really. It is -- that`s the deeper issue. Donald Trump will blame it on the Iraq War and a range of other things that he can point to, but that is the deeper issue.
REID: Yeah, indeed. Nada Bakos and Evan McMullen, thank you both for being here, appreciate it.
And coming up, flooding the zone, republicans staff hearings for six of Trump`s cabinet picks on a single day -- the same day Trump claims he`ll hold his first press conference in over five months. That`s ahead.
REID: According to the New York Post, Donald Trump recently told the new Senate Minority leader, Charles Schumer, that he likes Schumer more than he likes republican leaders in Congress, but it sure didn`t seem that way this morning when Trump unleashed a tweet storm that started off like this. "The democrats led by head clown Chuck Schumer know how bad Obamacare is and what a mess they`re in. Instead of working to fix it, they do the typical political thing and blame." Shortly after Trump`s tweets, Schumer made the news regarding Trump`s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
Representative Tom Price, who the Wall Street Journal reports, traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-related companies over the past four years while sponsoring and advocating legislation that could potentially affect those companies` stocks. Trading stocks in companies while pushing legislation affecting those companies, is not exactly draining the swamp stuff. And this morning, Schumer, called for the non-partisan office of congressional ethics, the group that the GOP recently tried and failed to dismantle, to investigate. The senate hearing on Price isn`t scheduled yet, but a bunch of hearings have been scheduled for next week on Trump`s Cabinet picks and the schedule suggests team Trump is doing everything it can to make sure the news that comes out of those hearings gets buried. I`ll explain, next.
REID: The confirmation hearings for Trump`s cabinet picks kick off next week, and while some hearings are yet to be scheduled. Have a look at this, there are hearings for six different Cabinet members all scheduled for the same day, next Wednesday. Including what would be day two of hearings for Attorney General pick Jeff Sessions, who civil rights groups oppose due to his past and allegations of racism. Wednesday will also be the day for hearings for Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson, the ExxonMobil CEO with close ties to Russia; and Education Secretary pick Betsy DeVos, who has long favored charter schools and vouchers over public schools. Also, that day, Trump has claimed via Twitter, that he`ll hold his first press conference since July, on Wednesday. Though it remains to be seen whether he`ll actually do that, since he`s claimed he`d have press conferences in the past and it never happened.
The packed schedule could ensure that the headlines from the hearings will get buried, which may be the point. We should note that back in January of 2009, four of President Obama`s picks had hearings on the same day, those picks were far less controversial. There were two fewer candidates and the President-elect, hadn`t claimed he was holding a press conference. By the way, it`s not just about what the hearing - when the hearings take place but the kind of scrutiny that candidates will receive and there`s actually more. And one of our next guests has broken some news on that front and we will explain next.
And joining me now is MSNCB Contributor -- next is now -- Joan Walsh; National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation and Professor Jason Johnson, Politics Editor at the Root. Magic.
REID: All right, Joan.
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT FOR THE NATION: Wow!
REID: You have a scoop on, not just the what and the when, but the mechanics of this upcoming hearings for Jeff Sessions.
WALSH: Yes. I mean, advocates - not just advocates -- Senator Feinstein, who`s now the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Leahy, he was the past chair. They have asked for more time, because Jeff Sessions has not completed his judiciary questionnaire. It`s woefully incomplete. And there`s a lot to get through. I mean, the man had three days of hearings when he was rejected for a Federal Judgeship.
WALSH: It`s great that he got himself elected from the state of Alabama, but that`s not the same as being prepared to be the top law enforcement officer. So, they`ve been asking for more time, they`ve been asking for more witnesses but Chairman Grassley has said no. Yesterday, came out with a schedule. The democrats will get four witnesses.
REID: Only four witnesses?
WALSH: Only four witnesses, and it will be only two days and there will be no delay despite the woefully inadequate disclosures that he`s made.
REID: And that Jason, that seems, first of all, shocking that you could - could possibly limit the democrats to only four people, four witnesses that can testify. Does that sound like it`s feasible to get through all of the past that baggage, that Jeff Sessions is dragging with him to Washington?
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR AT THE ROOT: It`s - it takes a long time to lay out how much of a bigot he is. And, you know, and so, I think that - and here`s the thing that I think is important. Given the fact that, again, this guy was rejected, you know, 30 years ago, he has statements today. And I think that one of the things that any witness would want to do is say; look, it`s not just that he may be a bigot. But there are consequences to that attitude being in this position and that requires time, that requires witnesses, that`s clearly not something the republican congress wants to do, and there will be bad consequences for rushing this through when he has to actually adjudicate on behalf of this nation.
REID: And Joan, do you have reporting on - now that it`s going to be a scramble, the Civil Rights Groups and others that oppose Sessions are going to have to choose, right? Because you got criminal justice reform issues with him; you`ve got obviously direct race issues, but you also have voting rights.
WALSH: You`ve got voting rights, you`ve got banking. You know, there`s just - there`s so much. It`s going to be very hard to choose those four witnesses. But you know, what people have told me, which is kind of interesting, they`re very upset about this truncated hearing, but they`re also saying they will push senators to bring some of this stuff up on the floor. When this goes to a vote, assuming he`s going to get out of committee, which he will. There is a lot of push for progressive democratic senators to oppose him, to talk about his record and we`ll see what they can get away with under Mitch McConnell, but the battle does not end what the haring ends next Wednesday.
REID: Yeah. And we know there were - there were civil disobedience in Alabama about Jeff Sessions. Have you got any reporting Jason, that there`s going to be similar civil disobedience actually in Washington?
JOHNSON: There will be - there will be people that are talking about it now. The issue is going to be this. It`s just like we saw with the phone calls earlier this week, you`ve got to put pressure on these senators. You`ve got to make that clear, because you know, Heidi Heitkamp, you know, you got democrats where in red states, who were going to say, "I can`t oppose Trump." They need to get phone calls, otherwise, pretty much all these nominees, all these confirmations are going to go.
REID: Yeah. Because Heidi Heitkamp mentioned some of those (INAUDIBLE). Let`s talk about those six people all at one time. How are democrats deciding how to apportion their time, if they`ve got to deal with Tillerson, and DeVos, and Sessions, et cetera, all at the same time?
WALSH: They`re scrambling. I mean, you know, Senator Feinstein wants to be able to grill Mike Pompeo as the CIA Director. She may have to choose between her own hearing and going to talking to him about torture. I mean, this is just unprecedented it`s given - as you made the point earlier, Barack Obama`s Cabinet was, by and large, a lot of senators, lot of known quantities -- Eric Holder had just been confirmed for a job two years before, so he`d been vetted already.
There are lots of people with a lot of years and years of vetting. These people are brand new to the jobs they`re going to do, and in fact, a lot of them want to dismantle the agencies they`re supposed to lead and protect. So, there are a lot of questions, there`s a lot that remains unknown, nobody to my knowledge has completed their Senate disclosures.
JOHNSON: Right, right.
WALSH: So, you know, you`re supposed to have time to look at it, have your staff look at it, talk it over, think about what you`re going to ask. They`re going to get this stuff the night before, so, you know, democrats are scrambling. They`re angry, but they`re hanging pretty tough. I`m kind of impressed.
JOHNSON: Joy, you know, how many times can you apply for a job of importance without filling out the application? Because half of these people, they haven`t filled out the application. So, the democrats, you know, they have to play whack-a-mole with all these different people who are going through. And I`ll give you one example, you know - you know, the education pick, right? This is some of their so many different issues connected because now we have Criminal Justice with education. Now we have, you know, school violence in education. She doesn`t have any history on these issues and I know that some school choice advocates think that you`re always going to end up in dead poets` society, and it going to be nice, but this requires work. And I hope that the democrats can lay out a plan where even if a lot of these people get through, they at least can put out the message, "Hey, we stood tough, when some of these people didn`t know the job.
REID: Yeah, yeah, then tough and fast. Because it`s going to be in two days - two days` work. Joan Walsh and Jason Johnson, thank you.
JOHNSON AND WALSH: Thank you.
REID: All right, and coming up, another democrat announces plans to boycott Trump`s inauguration, and she`s here to tell me why. But first, tonight`s cocktail-themed: Thing 1, Thing 2 starts just after this break. Stay with us.
REID: Thing 1, news today that Donald Trump is scheduled to meet tomorrow with the editors of the Conde Nast media empire. Surprisingly, one of the people who`s expected to be included in that meeting is Vanity Fair Editor, Graydon Carter, a man long considered one of Trump`s oldest rivals. Trump and Carter have openly feuded with one another since the 1980s, when a young Carter writing for Spy Magazine, first dubbed the real estate mogul, "a short-fingered Vulgarian."
You may remember that rivalry was reunited -- reignited recently, when a writer for Vanity Fair gave a scathing review of Trump`s midtown Manhattan restaurant, the Trump Grill. That prompted Trump to tweet, quote, "Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of Vanity Fair Magazine way down, big trouble, dead. Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out."
Despite Trump`s attempt to discredit the magazine, other journalists showed up at Trump Grill to confirm that the quality of the food and drink was indeed horrible. Which is how we got this photo from The Daily Beast, Olivia Nuzzi, of a Trump Grill martini. Apparently, served extra, extra, extra dirty on the rocks and in a wine glass. Now, that doesn`t look appetizing to you, maybe that you`d prefer this slightly less disgusting looking drink from Trump`s cocktail bar in D.C. That is, until you hear what it costs, and that, is Thing 2, in 60 seconds.
REID: Today, with just two weeks to go before he becomes President, Donald Trump spent his day testifying in a lawsuit against a celebrity chef. Trump, brought the lawsuit himself after chef Jose Andres backed out of a deal to open a restaurant in Trump`s D.C. Hotel. Citing objections to Trump`s anti-immigrant rhetoric. But not to worry, you can still eat and drink at Trump`s D.C. Hotel, that is, if you can afford it.
The Washingtonian has discovered that the bar in Trump`s D.C. Hotel, has raised its drink prices twice since opening last September. So that now, the cheapest drink on the menu costs a whopping $24. Now, if you`re wondering what`s the most expensive drink on the menu, well, that distinction belongs to what is essentially a vodka oyster shooter, with caviar that clocks in at $100 even. Very Russian. Not a cocktail fan? Maybe you`d like to try a bit of their finest Hungarian wine, which they serve by the crystal spoonful. Literally, by the spoonful. It prices ranging from $15 to $140, not for a glass, but a spoonful of wine. Hard to imagine anyone spending that much money at any bar but with inauguration day just around the corner, I`ll bet there are a few people in Washington who are badly in need of a drink.
REID: In 15 days, Donald J. Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. And politicians are refusing to attend his inauguration, risk flouting years of precedent. So, just this week, Bill and Hillary Clinton announced that they would be going. The Clintons, will join George W. Bush and his wife Laura, who cited the chance to, quote, "witness the peaceful transfer of power, a hallmark of American democracy."
And Jimmy Carter, with his announcement last month, was the first former president to RSVP for the inaugural. But there are few prominent politicians who are making other plans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve been to, let me see, two Clinton inaugurations. I`ve been to two of them for Bush, been two of them for Obama. I`m not going to this inauguration. I can`t go to this inauguration because he continues to spew hatred, bigotry, and prejudice. Even after he said he was going to bring us all together, he was going to unify us, but he`s not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Well now, today, a lawmaker from Massachusetts, with a history of being a bit of a rebel, announced that she would also boycott the inauguration. And she`ll be here to tell us why after the break.
REID: One member of congress won`t be attending Donald Trump`s inauguration in 15 days. Massachusetts Congresswoman, Katherine Clark, and she joins me now. Congresswoman Clark, thank you for being here tonight. Explain to us why you are going to abrogate this tradition of both parties showing up for the inauguration of the President no matter what party he`s in?
KATHERINE CLARK, REPRESENTATIVE FOR MASSACHUSETTS`S 5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: Thank you, Joy, for having me. And let me tell you what my thinking is on this. Since the election, Donald Trump announced, on election night, that he was going to be a President for all Americans. And over the past few weeks, we have continued to see him building on hateful rhetoric of the campaign and I am hearing from my constituents, whether I meet them in the supermarket, in their living rooms, at large gatherings we`ve had at churches and universities, true fear about what is coming from this administration.
So, for this inauguration, I believe in the peaceful transition of power. I believe and respect the Office of the President, but the fear that I`m seeing, the rise in hate crimes, and the really continuation of the divisive rhetoric coming out of the President-elect, has led me to believe that my place is not with the pageantry and it is not right at this time to normalize this Presidency.
REID: And you joined on John Lewis in leading that civil disobedience on the house floor for which the house speaker wants to fine you all nick time. Do you expect that there`ll be more civil disobedience in -- as Trump takes office, and including from lawmakers?
CLARK: I think we are going to do whatever we can to fight for the American people. I think, when we are looking at people losing healthcare, when we are looking at their -- the rise of hate crimes in our communities, when we are seeing nominees who are diametrically opposed to the mission of their agencies, there is so much fear and foreboding that I think we will do what we can in the minority to make the American people`s voices heard here in the Capitol.
REID: And what do you say to potentially -- or have any of your colleagues on the other side, I should just say, had any comment for you about not coming to the inauguration.
CLARK: No. I think that people understand this is a personal decision for me, that I think reflects what I`m hearing from my constituents. And I, you know, I know that many of my colleagues across the aisle did not attend Barack Obama`s. But I see this as very different because this is a continuation of the divisive and hateful rhetoric, and I know that many of us are concerned about what we`re seeing from the President-elect. Whether it`s his unwillingness to divest from his business interests and put America`s interest first, or whether it`s his critique of our intelligence agencies and the public servants. The men and women who work for us so hard and choosing foreign powers over our own intelligence agencies. These are the issues that have led to my decision and it`s one that I have great support from my district on.
REID: And very quickly, a lot of people have been, you know, saying to me, I`m sure same to you, that they want to know what to do. Some action items, things they can do for their own personal resistance that will make them feel they`re at least doing something rather than just being sad about the election. What would you advise them? Very quickly.
CLARK: This is the number one thing that I hear, and I think it`s remain vigilant, remain engaged. Just this week, with the thousands of phone calls that Americans put into the republican majority in the House saying, "Do not do away with the independent ethics oversight." The republican`s changed course because of that public pressure.
CLARK: And that`s what I`m urging all Americans to watch, remain vigilant, and remain engaged.
REID: All right.
CLARK: This is your government.
REID: Indeed. Indeed. Congresswoman, Katherine Clark, thank you so much for joining us and kudos on that great civics lesson for us. Thank you very much
CLARK: Thank you, Joy.
REID: And that is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW", starts right now. Rachel, it`s a little bit of a tongue-twister at the end. Katherine Clark was great.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END