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All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/9/2017

Guests: Chuck Schumer; Cory Booker, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Michael Steele, Rebecca Traister

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: January 9, 2017 Guest: Chuck Schumer; Cory Booker, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Michael Steele, Rebecca Traister

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: Jared`s a very successful man from New York. He`s done a fantastic job.

HAYES: Son-in-law turned Trump senior adviser. Tonight, the implications of Jared Kushner`s new White House job. Could jamming Trump nominees through confirmation open them up to criminal exposure?

TRUMP: Confirmation is going great.

HAYES: And the all-night action to save ObamaCare with the leader of the Democrats. Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Cory Booker.

And is this really why Democrats lost?

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS AND SINGER: There was one performance this year that stunned me.

HAYES: The conservative bubble and Meryl Streep when ALL IN starts right now.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Somebody with the part from like Meryl Streep is also, I think, inciting people`s worst instincts.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. In 11 days, Donald Trump will become President of the United States. Now, one of the most powerful people in his inner circle and a family member is getting a job at the White House. Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump`s husband, was just named senior adviser to the President, just about as senior role as you can get. And it`s a position that does not require Senate confirmation. There is just one problem, like his father-in-law, Kushner is a businessman with a lot of potential conflicts. Just this weekend, for example, The New York Times reported on a deal he`s been pursing with a major insurer from China, a company whose ownership structure is shrouded on mystery. But unlike his father, Mark, Kushner`s conflict exposed him to criminal liability if he fails to adequately disentangle himself.

While the President and Vice President are exempt from conflict of interest laws. For everyone else in the executive branch in the White House, it is a federal crime to reap any personal benefits from government work. Kushner`s lawyer told NBC NEWS his client plans to resign from his real estate and publishing companies and divest his assets to comply with federal law. Like Kushner, many of Trump`s cabinet nominees have a mass fortunes in the private sector. And that poses unique challenges for the vetting process. According to The Times some of the nominees are so wealthy, their assets so varied, there are not enough boxes on the standard form for them.

Now, under a law passed in the wake of the Watergate scandal, in - with the intention to make sure nothing like that ever happened again, every cabinet appointee has to by law undergo a thorough ethics review. But according to the man who oversees that very process, that`s the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, many are seriously behind schedule. Including several current nominees from President-elect Trump with confirmation hearings scheduled this week. Some haven`t even completed FBI background checks.

In November, e-mails to Trump`s transition team obtained by MSNBC, the OGE director wrote to his office, "Seems to have lost contact with the Trump- Pence transition since the election." When asked about concerns over the vetting process and this week`s jammed-pack hearing schedule, this was the response from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: All of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration. It having not only lost the White House but having lost the Senate. I understand that. Papers are still coming in and so I`m optimistic that we`ll be able to get up to seven nominees on day one, just like we did eight years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: What, eight years ago when McConnell was himself, the minority he expressed some very similar concerns in a letter to then Majority Leader, Harry Reid. Senator Chuck Schumer now the minority leader to Senate, read McConnell`s letter aloud today on the Senate floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: These text practices served the Senate well. And we will insist on their fair and consistent application. Therefore, prior to considering any time agreements on the floor of any nominee, we expect the following standards to be met. One, the FBI background check is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a hearing being noticed. Two, the Office of Government Ethics letter is complete.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Schumer then sent that exact same letter authored by McConnell back to McConnell with nothing changed except the names of the sender and the recipient.

Joining me now is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senator, the argument that Mitch McConnell wants to make is they`re just trying to get on with the people`s business and President Obama when he was elected in 2008 and staffing up in 2009, that there was a bunch of hearings set that first week. Is this fair? Is this just fair turnabout, or is there something different happening this time around?

SCHUMER: Oh, way different, Chris. The bottom line is that, Senator McConnell sent that letter to Harry Reid, the one I read on the floor and as you probably noted I just crossed out the name Harry Reid and put in Mitch McConnell and then crossed out the signatory, which was then Mitch McConnell and put in my name. But the difference, the major difference is all of the Obama nominees complied with McConnell`s request and that`s how they got through quickly. A large percentage, the majority of these nominees has not complied with this request and these nominees demand it even more so. First, they`re a huge number of billionaires. Second, a huge number of people with all kinds of complicated business relationships -- DeVos, for instance, it`s estimated has ownership interests in 600 corporations. And third, a whole lot of these nominees have spent their life campaigning and proposing things the opposite of what Trump said, the most notorious probably is Price, who said that -- who spent his life trying to destroy Medicare and Trump said he`s not going to change it.

So these cry out for hearings. Not six at once, two hours each, you know, and then we`re finished. The American people demand to know who these people are and to take a few extra days for each of them when they could be in power for four years and have huge power over our lives, it`s not at all a close question.

HAYES: So I want to - I want to separate out two issues here because I`m fairly astounded by each. But let`s start with the government ethics, the OGE review.

SCHUMER: Yes.

HAYES: I mean now, this is put in place for a very good reason, after Watergate.

SCHUMER: Yes.

HAYES: It also seems to me, almost in the interests of the nominees themselves insofar as they are going to expose themselves to criminal liability under criminal statutes if they run afoul of these laws.

SCHUMER: Exactly right. And it would be in the interest of the Trump administration and the Republican leadership to have this done. But there`s a certain sort of casualness, a certain sort of we can play by different rules than anybody else that seems to enveloped this administration, and now it`s seeping in to the Republican leadership. But you`re exactly right, the one nominee who is similar to some of these nominees under President Obama, Penny Pritzker, a billionaire, took six months before she could file all the papers and then you have to file a plan how you`re going to divest yourself, and if you don`t, the liabilities you speak about could hold.

HAYES: So there`s -- this is the Ethics review, this is the post-Watergate ethics laws. Then there`s FBI background checks, which is in some ways is even more astounding to me. And I watched this up close back in 2009 when I was in D.C. and I watched the transition take place. I mean, you can`t intern in the US attorney`s office without an FBI background check.

SCHUMER: Of course. This is just --

HAYES: Has this ever happened before? Is any - I mean -

SCHUMER: No. It`s not even close. No - look, in the old days when there was bipartisanship, they take all of the nominees and just push them all through but the - but that hasn`t happened in a very long time because we`re ethically much more aware and serious. And it hasn`t -- no administration has come close to this. And the surprise to me is that my Republican colleagues are just going right along.

HAYES: So just to be clear, FBI background checks are done in which - they`re quite thorough and people if you know anyone has ever worked at any level, fairly high in the federal government happens, it`s intended my understanding to make sure for instance someone doesn`t have blackmail and could be a target for an agent. Right?

SCHUMER: Exactly. Exactly.

HAYES: Are they really going to just push people through to some of the most powerful positions in the U.S. government without an FBI background check or did they say they`re getting to that?

SCHUMER: Well, they say they are getting to it, but they want to have the hearings. It`s sort of like Alice in Wonderland. First the verdict, then the trial. They want to have the hearings before any of these checks are completed. And they say don`t worry, in due time they`ll be completed. That`s ridiculous. And the purpose of the hearings is to use these reports and these checks to ask the nominee questions, not in a - not in a quiet, dark room where no one else is, but before the American people.

HAYES: Is it standard, again, you -- when you`re reading the McConnell letter, my understanding the process typically the way it goes is, once the FBI background check is completed and once the vet is completed, the contents of that reported in private sessions with members of the committee who could then review it as part of the material they have to enter into the hearing with.

SCHUMER: That is correct. And, in fact, most administrations want these reviews done before they even nominate the person so they shouldn`t be embarrassed.

HAYES: OK. So, you`re the Senate - you are the leader of the Democrats in the Senate. You guys have 48 votes. So you can -- you don`t have a majority of power but the minority in the Senate have some power.

SCHUMER: We do.

HAYES: Other than - other than sort of trolling Mitch McConnell with a letter under his own name, what can actually do like concretely lead to hold this up?

SCHUMER: Yeah. Well, we don`t have the power to prevent the hearings from happening, although again, the Republicans are making a shamble of the rules. The tradition is not a rule is that you don`t schedule a hearing until the chair and the ranking member from the minority party agree, and they trampled all over that.

The one thing we do have is the ability still to demand 30 hours for each nominee on the floor. And those 30 hours, let`s say there are 15 cabinet nominees, that`s 450 hours. If you work 24/7, it would still take three weeks to do it. Now, we don`t want to do that. We would rather have full and fair hearings where people are questioned once the information is available. But people know in the backs of their minds, that if we don`t get that, we have the ability to slow things down as we -- and there`s good reason to do it. Because different bits of information may come out while this process is unfolding.

HAYES: You refer to the 30 hours. I remember interviewing Harry Reid when he was Senate majority leader back in 2009, you know, the best kind of apples to apples comparison. And my understanding is that Mitch McConnell did exactly do that with quite a number of nominees. And in fact, the sort of staffing process slowed to a halt, that happened particularly on judicial nominees --

SCHUMER: Absolutely.

HAYES: -- many who couldn`t get any hearing. But this was - this was not something they were reticent to use as my understanding back in 2009.

SCHUMER: Absolutely. The process that everyone saw with Merrick Garland happened with hundreds of nominees and obviously, we have the ability to do that, not just with the cabinet secretaries, but with all of their deputies and appointees. We don`t want to do it. But if, you know, they`re forcing us to do it --

HAYES: So what`s the trigger?

SCHUMER: -- by rolling over the process -- the trigger will be, are the - is the information available? Do the nominees have hearings where there`s extensive rounds of questioning where there`s time to review what they`ve said and call them back for another round. These are the kinds of things we`ve asked for. Ironically, although happily for us, the very same things McConnell asked for in 2009, that`s why the letter is sort of getting a lot of attention right now.

HAYES: You tonight will be in the Senate along with your colleagues in the Democratic Party in the Senate. There`s the cots rolled out all night talking about the Affordable Care Act and what you and your colleagues see`s the danger of the Republican plan to repeal possibly with a delay. I`m going to ask you the same question here, which is, what is the concrete plan to make sure that the tens of millions of people who are benefiting in some way or another from the Affordable Care Act aren`t thrown out in the cold?

SCHUMER: Well, we`re working really - first, we`ve told our Republican colleagues, if you`re going to repeal it, you own it. You come up with the alternative and our Republican colleagues know there are lots of good things in the ACA, the 20 million people covered, pre-existing conditions, a kid has cancer and the insurance company can`t kick the parents off the insurance roles, or the 21 to 26 year-old who get coverage when they get out of college, treating women equally, the list goes on and on.

And the Republicans themselves know that to get rid of all of those things will hurt them so what they are trying to do is come up with a way to both repeal the ACA and save the good things. It`s virtually impossible. When they were out of power, they could vote to repeal. I think they did it 49 times. Now, they have responsibility and they don`t know what to do. They`re like the dog who caught the bus. My prediction here is, there`s a, right now, a chance -- not a majority chance, but a decent chance, a quarter, a third, that they`re not even going to be able to pass a repeal of ACA because they don`t -- they are going to have enough people who either don`t want the consequences of repeal or who they believe for budget deficit reasons they don`t want to do it.

So they`re in real trouble, and they are squirming and squirming. In fact, tonight, Senator Corker introduced an amendment that said let`s delay repeal for a few months so we can come up with a replace. But so far, not a single Republican has come up with a replace that has drawn even a small consensus on the Republican side. So they`re stuck. And I`ll tell you something, Chris --

HAYES: And your message is, we`re not going to unstick you, is my understanding?

SCHUMER: My -- our message is, you break it, you own it. If they want to keep ACA, we`ll work with them on improvements. Of course, it can be improved. But if they are going to repeal it, they better figure out what they`re going to do because we`re not going to come in and help them out of the mess that they created. And you know, they complained that ACA was passed by with a partisan vote. Well, repeal is going to be passed with a partisan vote. Not a single Democrat has voted for it, even the most conservative.

So one thing I`d say in conclusion, Chris, if you look at both the nominations and the ACA, who would have thought after the first week of Congress the Republicans would be on the defensive and Democrats would be on offense, but that`s how it is, and we`re feeling, you know, we`re ready for the fight. We`re strong, we`re united. They are not. And we`re making a pretty good go of both of these issues.

HAYES: Well, governing is harder than it looks. As everyone finds out at one point or another. Senator Chuck Schumer, thanks for joining. Appreciate it.

SCHUMER: Bye, Chris.

HAYES: Up next, the efforts to free-up some of Donald Trump`s most extreme policies. Senator Cory Booker on his bill to block any potential Muslim registry proposed by the Trump administration. That`s right after this two-minute break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: 11 days out from Donald Trump`s inauguration, the Democratic strategy for legislative opposition appears to be, as you just heard from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, coming into focus. Now tonight they plan to hold that Senate floor late of the night through protest to repeal Obamacare and to fire a warning shot that they`re going to make the process as politically damaging for Republicans as possible.

And earlier today, Democrats introduced legislation led by Senator Elizabeth Warren that would push Trump to shed any financial investments that may create conflicts of interest once he takes office, like his son- in-law as going to have to do as required by law. Last week, Senator Cory Booker introduced a bill that would block the establishment of a registry of people based on their religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin or nationality. That`s in response to the fact that back in November of 2015, Trump said he supported the idea of a Muslim registry in America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should there be a database system that tracks Muslims here in this country?

TRUMP: There should be a lot of systems beyond databases. Who should have a lot of systems and today you can do it. But right now, we have to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall and we cannot let what is happening to this country happen in the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that`s something your White House would like to implement?

TRUMP: I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Muslims specifically, how do actually get them registered into a database?

TRUMP: It would be just good management. What you have to do is good management procedures and we can do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good management. Now since then, the Trump campaign has denied that President-elect had ever supported a Muslim registry. But after the terrorist attack in Berlin last month, Trump was again asked about establishing a registry and a ban on Muslim immigration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has it caused you to rethink or re-evaluate your plans to create a Muslim registry or ban Muslim Immigration in the United States?

TRUMP: Hey, you`ve known my plans all along and it`s, they`ve proven to be right. 100 percent correct. What`s happening is disgraceful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And joining me now, Senator Cory Booker, Democrat from New Jersey, who just today was named a Chief Deputy Whip on that Democratic leadership team. And Senator, let me start with the legislation you propose as sort of a preemptive block on this idea. Is this politics? Is this something you want to sort of put a stake in the ground from a symbolic standpoint or do you genuinely fear that something like this could come to pass?

SEN> CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: Well I`m genuinely concerned. You - when somebody tells you what they are going to do, you got to believe them. You know, President Obama came into office and he took the mechanism that was established in the Bush administration to register people by their national origin. There was 25 countries there, all Muslim countries, that had to register entrance, had to register with NCS programs, what was called, that mechanism is still there even though Obama did not use it. And so I want to get rid of that mechanism. We cannot go back to a country that discriminates against people because of their race, their religion, their country of origin or what have you. And listening to Trump`s rhetoric, I`m going to believe him when he tells us what he wants to do.

HAYES: There seems to be a philosophy, there`s sort of these two forces, sort of, you know, bearing towards each other right now. On one side, you have the incoming Trump administration which is approaching things with a kind of blitzkrieg approach, the talk about repeal very quick, all these nominees scheduled before they have FBI background checks, Democrats trying to sort of concretely show what they stand for. What is your personal philosophy on how to conduct yourself as a member of the U.S. Senate in terms of being in the opposition?

BOOKER: Well, look, at the end of the day, right now, I am in a state of grave concern. President Trump was elected and, sure, there might have been some hopes I had that he was going to come to the presidency with a willingness to work, to moderate, to reach across the aisle, but if you look at his actions and his rhetoric since he`s been elected, they all represent further right, sort of radical views, far beyond that than we`ve seen in our political spectrum in a long time and the appointment he`s making from -- to the EPA, someone who wants to destroy the very agency, to even the Jeff Sessions nomination and all that he`s done and stand for on LGBT issues, civil rights issues, police accountability issues, it puts me into a posture where I`m just ready to fight and resist anything that the Trump administration ultimately does to try to hurt people. So --

HAYES: Concretely, now let me just -- let me just interject there, because concretely, does that mean for instance voting against Jeff Sessions, your former colleague? Does that mean pushing the Democratic leadership team to demand these 30 hours to try to extend the process? What does it mean concretely?

BOOKER: Well, concretely, I`m breaking a pretty long Senate tradition by actually being a sitting Senator testifying tomorrow against another sitting Senator. So please understand, I think these are extraordinary times and they call for extraordinary measures.

HAYES: You`ll be testifying against your former colleague Jeff Sessions tomorrow in that hearing?

BOOKER: I`ll be testifying against my current colleague either tomorrow or Wednesday.

HAYES: And what - and what provoked you to do that, given the fact that that is a violation of what had been a kind of long-standing tradition?

BOOKER: Well, look, I mean, we`ve seen already in this country that we are at a strike point around issues of policing, around issues of civil rights, around issues of being lesbian equality within our country. And we`ve seen consistently Jeff Sessions as Senator Jeff Sessions, voting against everything from the Matthew Shepherd Act, voting against -- or speaking out against keep ideals around the voting rights act, taking measures to try to block criminal justice reform. He has a posture and a positioning that I think represent a real danger to our country. And even nations, let`s take those libertarians out there who are happy that states are doing things with marijuana reform. Please understand that every state that has medical marijuana or even just looking to legalize, is in violation of federal law. The Obama administration chose not to enforce that and the next administration could change their position and literally drag people to federal court who are participating in those state legal activities. There`s a whole spectrum of things of Jeff Sessions own words representing a real threat to vulnerable populations in this country and it`s something that I feel necessary to do everything I can to speak out against.

HAYES: All right, Senator Cory Booker, thanks for your time tonight. Really appreciate it.

BOOKER: Thank you.

HAYES: Ahead, the hypocrisy of Mitch McConnell and how tearing down political norms has been his ace in the hole during his recent career. I`ll talk with Michael Steele and Rebecca Traister about that, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell spent nearly ten months last year refusing to consider President Obama`s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to fill a vacancy. An unprecedented stonewall in over presidential supreme court nominee, yet when Chuck Schumer suggested last week, Democrats can take a strong stand against Donald Trump`s nominee for that supreme court seat, a seat that is only opened because of McConnell`s remarkable refusal to even consider President Obama`s nominee, McConnell had this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: Apparently, there`s yet a new standard now which is to not confirm a supreme court nominee at all. I think that`s something the American people simply will not tolerate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That is Mitch McConnell in a nutshell. When President Obama was entering office, it be known earlier, McConnell demanded there be no hearings for his cabinet nominees until their background checks in the FBI were complete. Now, McConnell is, as we mentioned, scheduling hearings for Trump`s nominees before their FBI background checks are done. Distinctly, dismissing the same sort of arguments he himself in writing used to make. Under President Obama, McConnell was exceedingly concerned where the executive branch difference the Senate complaining about overreach by the man he called quote "the imperial President Obama". Now, that same man, Senator Mitch McConnell, he`s using his power to limit Senate consideration of the executive branch nominees, packing the hearings schedule and structuring the hearings to keep them briefer than usual. "Simultaneous hearings on cabinet nominees make it physically impossible for most of us on multiple committees to advise and consent." tweeted, Hawaii Democratic Senator, Brian Schatz. Yesterday, according to that, "the lack of a full disclosure of the standard ethics information and we are being asked to rubber stamp a cabinet." The constitution was explicitly designed, of course, to prevent that sort of rubberstamp government. These days, the phrase advise and consent doesn`t carry quite the same power, and once did, oh, I don`t know, just a few weeks ago. Mitch McConnell in the Senate in the age of Trump. That`s up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: To understand for a second just why the vetting process for cabinet nominees matter so much, consider what happened eight years ago when President Obama turned to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to lead his effort to pass health care law, nominating Daschle to run the Department of Health and Human Services.

It did not go well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man who was supposed to tackle health care, Tom Daschle.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE, (D) SOUTH DAKOTA: And I deeply apologize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Took himself out of the running for secretary of Health and Human Services. For the former Senate majority leader, it`s an enormous fall from grace. To the man from South Dakota who bragged in a campaign commercial years ago that he still drove his old broken down car was caught not paying taxes on the use of a chauffeur a driven car that he used to get around Washington for the past few years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Tom Daschle was brought down for not reporting some free rides as income. It was, at least in the context of 2017, a relatively minor infraction. But many believed had massive implications for how the health care law turned out.

Now Mitch McConnell and his GOP Senate colleagues are working to short change the vetting process for Donald Trump`s nominees, including holding confirmation hearings before some background checks are complete.

Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee, and Rebecca Traister, writer at-large for New York Magazine.

Michael, there is no first order defense, it seems to me, of having hearings before a background check by the FBI is completed, right.

MICHAEL STEELE, FRM. RNC CHAIRMAN: No, there isn`t. There just isn`t. The process is the process. It is designed for a reason. Every administration, regardless of party, ideology and all of that has subscribed to this, because it`s an orderly way to complete the process and get through the transition.

HAYES: And it`s also -- I`m glad you said that, because also, one of the things that is strange to me about watching this unfold is it`s partly for the protection of the administration that`s doing the nominating.

STEELE: Yeah.

HAYES: It really is because you don`t want to find out two weeks in that like they are really blackmailable because they like to do some sort of unsavory enterprise when they go abroad or whatever the heck it is. I mean, it is, in some ways, self-protective.

STEELE: It is very much that. And it is -- the vetting process in government is designed for a very particular purpose, and you just hit it right on the head, to protect the principal, whether it`s the president, the Senator, whomever is, you know, the head of that office, to protect that individual as they work with these other actors, largely unknown.

No matter how close your friends are, everybody has got a little skeleton somewhere.

HAYES: That`s exactly right.

STEELE: And so this process is designed to get at that. And if you`re comfortable with knowing that this person`s cabinet secretary has a relationship with this person or this country or this group, then, fine. You prepare for that. You know it`s going to come up in the hearing and you deal with it.

But if you`re blind-sided, because you`ve ignored the process and then six weeks in, the press doing what the press will do, its due diligence that you didn`t do, exposes that, then what do you do? You have got cabinet secretaries that resign and then you`re in a whole other world.

HAYES: And this -- it seems to me that you`re making this face that says what is that face?

REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: The face is, what could possibly be an embarrassment here? What`s a skeleton hidden in the closet of a Trump administration? Every conflict of interest, people working for him, who we already have ties to countries that may or may not have taken part in hacking, you know, in trying to influence our election.

You know, what is the embarrassment of Donald Trump? He`s open about everything he hasn`t done. He`s open and proud about setting norms on fire and not just Jonald Trump, Mitch McConnell has already shown us that obstructionist bullying works, that simply not operating according to past norms and according to past ethical ideas of what we`re supposed to do as a government works. We don`t have a Supreme Court justice because Mitch McConnell...

HAYES: And it worked. It was a brazen play and it was completely effective.

And right, Michael, this to me -- this is what is the most interesting part of this story, it`s not that the Trump folks are doing this, because of what Rebecca said, right. I think they believe they kind of operate in a post scandal atmosphere, there essentially is no such thing as a scandal for them.

What is at some level fascinating to me that McConnell is doing this, although in some ways if you look at his career, particularly in his opposition years in Barack Obama, not that surprising, because it does seem that he sees Senate norms as no longer binding.

STEELE: Well, yeah. And I don`t know if that`s wholly true, but it does come off that way and it`s disappointing. I`ve known Mitch for a long time, and he`s really about the institution at the end of the day. He respects it. He expects these -- respects these processes, which is why this sort of backsliding, if you will, in allowing this process to go through without the complete vetting of the candidates -- now, again, Chris, you know, this is driven by the administration that`s coming in the door. They want this to happen.

HAYES: Right.

STEELE: I guess McConnell could say, no, we won`t allow this to happen, but that`s just not how you want to get off in the relationship with the president.

HAYES: That`s clearly going to be the case.

And to me, I guess, the question, Rebecca, is like, at some level, process complaints are always hypocritical, right. I mean, there`s a certain level in which people end up on either sides of the filibuster debate, you know, depending on where they sit.

Although, I will say consistently I think it`s a good thing the Democrats can`t filibuster these nominees. I think that`s a good thing. I was a principled supporter of the, quote, nuclear option. I think it`s a good thing now. I carry that through.

TRAISTER: I agree with you.

HAYES: You agree with that?

TRAISTER: Yes, I do.

HAYES: But at a certain level, right, the political argument has to be deeper than just hypocrisy and process, right, because I think that fundamentally it`s got to be about what the stuff is.

TRAISTER: Yeah, what the issues are at stake.

HAYES: Yeah, what is going to happen.

TRAISTER: So the issue that I`ve been particularly immersed in -- and this is true, Cory Booker just said look at the EPA nominee who is a climate change denier, right. These are going to have very really very real consequences very soon and the area that I`ve just been looking at is the area of reproductive health care, reproductive rights and access.

And what`s going to happen, you have somebody like Tom Price who is one of the most vociferous opponents of not only of abortion access, but of contraceptive care and certainly contraceptive coverage, he`s going to be running Health and Human Services, because he`s going to jammed down through this confirmation process....

HAYES: We should also note that he`s someone who probably has passed all of these checks. He`s a sitting member of Congress.

TRAISTER: Right. But the actual...

HAYES: Hold on a second, Michael.

TRAISTER: The implication of that, he`s going to be able -- even without the full repeal of ACA, he`s going to be able to reverse the contraception mandate. He`s going to put somebody in charge of title 10, which is public funding for family planning. And that`s going to have consequences. You know, when they cut Planned Parenthood funding in Texas, the maternal mortality rate doubled between 2010 and now.

This has real-life consequences and they are going to happen soon.

HAYES: And that`s where -- and Michael, I know you want to get in there, but that is where the substance of these hearings always ends up, right.

STEELE: Yeah.

HAYES: I mean, there`s the qualifications of the nominee and then there`s straight up what the agenda is.

STEELE: Yeah, well, that one has nothing to do with the other, because everything that Rebecca just described while I understand and appreciate it, will have no bearing on the outcome. What could have a bearing on the outcome.

HAYES: You`re saying on whether he is...

STEELE: Right.

Tom Price will be the next secretary of Health and Human Services, OK, that has no bearing on the outcome. I understand how you feel, but that`s the reality.

But the other truth -- and this gets to the heart of the segment is, why would you risk Tom Price using him as an example, you say he`s already been vetted so he`ll probably be cleared. But why would you risk these other nominees because of something in their background that you did not take the time to go through and get...

HAYES: That`s exactly.

STEELE: ...to get an answer for and get ahead of before the hearing.

HAYES: Although here -- and here I think is the unifying theory here, right, which is that if you go back to the Tom Daschle example that we started with, and I`ve got to imagine Tom is watching this being like, how did I -- how did that happen? How did I -- this guy hasn`t released his taxes. I took a few car rides.

But I think the point there, right, is remember what happened there. Daschle was shamed into withdrawing.

STEELE: That`s right.

HAYES: If he hadn`t been ashamed, if the administration said, we don`t care, maybe he gets confirmed and ultimately that -- if you take that approach, we`re going to see how far that gets you. So far it`s gotten them quite far. Michael Steele and Rebecca Traister, thanks for being with me tonight. Appreciate it.

Coming up the outsized and, well, I think misplaced pushback to Meryl Streep`s Golden Globe speech last night.

And former Obama speechwriter`s Lovett and Mavro. There they are side by side, their new venture, voicing dissent in the Trump era ahead.

Plus, Thing One, Thing Two, your favorite starts right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, the final jobs report for this presidential administration is out. And we can now say officially the Obama legacy on jobs is one of unprecedented growth. For the first time on record, the United States experienced 75 straight months of job growth. The unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, less than half of what it was at the peak of the great recession. Wage growth is at a seven-year high, but all of that change apparently couldn`t come fast enough for the president-elect of the United States who tweeted today, "it`s finally happening. Fiat Chrysler just announced plans to invest $1 billion in Michigan and Ohio plants."

Now, anyone who isn`t familiar with the history of this move by Fiat/Chrysler may have assumed thanks to the crafty way that tweet was worded, that Trump himself had something to do with the Fiat jobs. It turns out those jobs have been in the works for quite some time. The real reason those jobs are staying is much more interesting. And that`s Thing 2 in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Some news outlets made the mistake of crediting Donald Trump for Fiat/Chrysler`s big announcement they would be adding 2,000 new jobs and investing $1 billion in producing new Jeep vehicles at their Michigan and Ohio plants.

In reality, this announcement is the final stage of a plan that was first announced long ago. As Fiat/Chrysler spokesperson Jody Tinson told Think Progress, this plan was in the works back in 2015. This announcement was just final confirmation.

And while Trump himself doesn`t deserve any credit, Fiat/Chrysler did not make the decision on their own. Part of the reason these new jobs would go to workers in Michigan and Ohio is that the United Autoworkers Union, or UAW, made these jobs a specific part of their contract negotiations in the previous year. That`s right, unions, union, not Donald Trump`s tweets, are responsible for these new jobs in America.

Donald Trump thanked Fiat in his tweet, but to paraphrase an old saying, if you like those jobs, thank the union.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Ever since Donald Trump won the election, there`s a kind of running joke that`s developed that every liberal access, every example of big-city condescension or coastal cluelessness is., quote, why Trump won.

Last night, Fox News host Meghan McCain tweeted, apparently ironically, "this Meryl Streep is why Trump won. People in Hollywood don`t start recognizing why and how, you will help him get reelected."

And, yes, what she was tweeting about was a very famous actress giving a political speech at an award show, but this is what Meryl Streep actually said about President-elect Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: But there was one performance this year that stunned me, it sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good, it was -- there was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It -- it kind of broke my heart When I saw it -- and I still can`t get it out of my head because it wasn`t in a movie, it was real life. And this instinct to humiliate when it`s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody`s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: In calling out Trump`s behavior, Streep was saying people should be treated with empathy and dignity and respect. The great thing about our constitution, one of the many great things in a free Democracy like ours, is that you don`t have to shut up when your candidate loses. And that goes for everyone, even when the candidate you don`t like wins, you still get speak up and defend what you think is right. And we`ll talk to two people who have a lot to say on that Obama`s speechwriter, Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR TRUMP ADVISER: They lost. And I really wish he would have stood up last night and said, look, I didn`t like the election results, but he`s our president and we`re going to support him.

I`m concerned that somebody with a platform like Meryl Streep is also, I think, inciting people`s worst instincts when she won`t get up there and say, I didn`t like it, but let`s try to support him and see where we can find some common ground with him, which he actually has done from moment one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway accusing Meryl Streep of inciting, quote, people`s worst instincts.

Joining me now, former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett who just launched their new website Crooked Media and their new podcast Pod Save America.

Very well done, gentlemen.

So, I basically am 90 percent in agreement that like this is why Trump won thing is ridiculous.

JON LOVETT, FMR. OBAMA SPEECHWRITER: Sure. That`s a good amount.

HAYES: But let`s talk about the 10 percent, you L.A...

JON FAVREAU, FRM. OBAMA SPEECHWRITER: Elitist liberal...

HAYES: ...elitist liberal bubble dwellers.

Do you think there is like -- I don`t know, is there some sort of out of touch problem, or is there something to that critique? Tell me from Los Angeles.

FAVREAU: There may be an out of touch problem but someone calling out Donald Trump for attacking a disabled reporter, like, I don`t see that as elitist.

LOVETT: We were just talking about this at our (inaudible) house and...

HAYES: That joke is so elitist that literally one-tenth of 1 percent of people will get it, just to be clear.

FAVREAU: I know. I hate him for telling it.

LOVETT: I`m out of touch and I don`t care. I live in L.S., it`s fantastic. But no -- but look, the thing that is ridiculous is there`s all of these people -- it`s lke we had this conversation before.

HAYES: A million times.

LOVETT: A million times. And there`s a certain kind of person who thinks it`s really smart little moment for them to, like, I don`t know, be a tribune for the working man and be like when will these out of touch Hollywood liberals get it.

Like first of all.

FAVREAU: It`s D.C. Republicans that do that.

LOVETT: It`s absurd because, by the way, they don`t want these people to be more in touch. It`s not like they`re on the same side here, so just like, what are you complaining about? What are you -- it`s ridiculous. It was a fine speech. Come on.

HAYES: It was a call for a decency, empathy and respect. And I do think like I guess the broader question here right is, there is this really, to me, interesting conversation I`ve watched take shape among the sort of broad center-left across the ideological range about what`s the most effective means of sort of opposing Donald Trump. And what worked and what didn`t in the campaign and I think those conversations get a little screwy because sometimes people are conflating their first order of commitments with their tactical assessments.

That said, what do you guys think? What have you learned? What have you learned from the election about that?

FAVREAU: I don`t think -- yeah, I don`t think Meryl Streep`s speech, or any celebrity`s speech is like winning us any elections, but I mean, what I learned from the election is at the end of the day, there were a large group of voters who didn`t like Donald Trump and didn`t like Hillary Clinton, but said, you know what, I think that Donald Trump is new and might be different and he might change my life and improve it in some small way and she seems like she`s been there a while so even though he says crazy things, I`ll go with him.

And that seems to be the calculation that was made. And that wasn`t like, oh, I`m really pissed that, you know, Lena Dunham and Katy Perry were giving speeches for Hillary Clinton, you know, like -- I think all of these things we sort of impugn on voters we just are sort of guessing.

LOVETT: And I would say, also, one of the lessons is let`s worry a little bit less about these kind of signals and worry a bit more about policies, and nuts and bolts about like the ways the federal government are affecting actual people in their actual lives and focus on that.

But like, look, Donald Trump is appealing to people for a lot of atavistic and a lot of...

FAVREAU: Atavistic, there you go.

LOVETT: Again...

HAYES: Straight from holly weird. Keep going.

LOVETT: But on top of that, he did have a message about economic issues that resonated with people. He`s making it up as he goes, but it did.

HAYES: OK, but this point -- this is an interesting point, because to me it`s always been -- it really was a kind of -- to me, you guys both work for our current president, President Obama as speechwriters and it always seemed like a kind of to be a bedrock principle of that place, and the president himself has said this while I was in the room that basically, you get the substance right and the politics flow from that, right. Like, if you get it right on the ground, then the politics flow from that.

And I think that was kind of the bed of this election in some ways, right, like he`s got a high approval rating. The unemployment rate is half of what it was. The wages are growing. He`s going to give this big speech tomorrow, this farewell address. Like, what do you say about what has happened substantively and what happened in the election and how those two connect to each other?

HAYES: I don`t think he will cover too much of that ground just because it`s looking backwards. I think the tradition of a farewell addresses is the president usually gives some sort of a warning, right, or tries talk about the challenges that the nation faces ahead.

I think for President Obama, one of the topics he`ll be talking about is what he covered in the convention speech in 2016 and this last summer, which is what Democracy requires, what citizenship requires, and it requires us to live in the same reality, believe the same set of facts, argue about things intensely but still sort of somehow find a way forward together, right.

So I think that`s -- that will be his focus in this speech tomorrow night.

FAVREAU: And, of course, making clear that he`s not leaving.

HAYES: Well, that`s -- I`m just not moving out. But actually on that score. I mean, Jon, can you imagine -- like, can you imagine him -- there is a norm, there is a tradition that you show a lot of deference and George W. Bush refrained himself from criticizing Barack Obama a lot and he sort of kind of disappeared off the public scene. Can you imagine Barack Obama, who seems pretty invested in those kinds of norms to violate that and be an outspoken critic?

FAVREAU: I don`t think Barack Obama will be out there every day criticizing Donald Trump, but I think -- and he said this, too, if, you know, really serious norms and principles and values are violated, then he`s be a citizen and probably will say something, you know.

And so I don`t think he`ll be out there every day on cable shows hitting Donald Trump, but I think if things -- you know, if -- I think he`ll speak out if something serious happens.

HAYES: We`ve got him penciled in as the A-block guest for the whole week.

FAVREAU: Yeah, we`re trying to...

LOVETT: MSNBC computer -- MSNBC contributor.

HAYES: Friend of the Pod. He`ll be on Crooked Media.

Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett of the newly formed Crooked Media, thanks for being here. Appreciate it.

LOVETT: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: All right, that is All In for this evening. Tomorrow night, we have a special edition of the show leading up to that aforementioned President Obama`s farewell address. MSNBC will carry that speech live. So, stay tuned for that and for special coverage on The Rachel Maddow Show, which of course picks up right after.

And speaking of the very same Rachel Maddow, that show starts right now.

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