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All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/12/2017

Guests: Bernie Sanders, Sean Spicer, Adam Schiff; Chris Murphy; Matthew Miller

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: January 12, 2017 Guest: Bernie Sanders, Sean Spicer, Adam Schiff; Chris Murphy; Matthew Miller


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does President Putin like what he sees so far?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no doubt that yes.

HAYES: New reporting, new denials, and so many more questions about the President-elect, the intelligence community and Russia. Tonight, what we know and what we don`t.

Then, investigating Comey. Breaking news on a Justice Department investigation into the handling of the Clinton e-mail probe.

Plus, Bernie Sanders on the overnight vote to repeal ObamaCare. A time Elizabeth Warren and Ben Carson faced off at a confirmation hearing.

ELIZABETH WARREN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS: Dr. Carson, I`m actually trying to ask a more pointed question.

HAYES: And surprising Joe Biden.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am pleased to award our nation`s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

HAYES: An exit interview with the Vice President when ALL IN starts right now.

Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes, we are now eight days from Donald Trump becoming President of the United States of America. And once again tonight, we are faced with an absolute deluge of major seismic and important news. It is an extraordinary time we begin tonight with the story that is dominating the national conversation, one in which we are finally perhaps starting to get a little more clarity. But remains at this hour, a story that is maddeningly hard to pin down despite the nearly boundless stakes.

Speak, of course, of the saga surrounding the decision to include a two- page summary in briefing materials for President Obama and President-elect Trump of a now infamous, salacious, and unverified 35-page dossier alleging that the Russian government possesses compromising material about the incoming President-elect and that Trump`s team and the Russian government exchanged information during the Presidential campaign.

Multiple sources tell NBC News those materials were not presented to Trump during the formal briefing, but sources say that right afterward, FBI Director James Comey took Trump aside and spoke with him one on one about the existence of the unverified allegations against him and also told him a summary of those claims was included in an addendum to the top-secret report. Today, Vice President Joe Biden said intelligence officials told him they felt obliged to inform the President and Vice President of the materials in part because they were concerned they would become public.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it a mistake for the intelligence community to even include that unverified opposition research, disinformation material, the two-paged addendum even included in the briefing papers.

JOE BIDEN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA VICE-PRESIDENT: We asked that question and their argument was that this is something that the press already had. Not just here in the United States, but other places. That it would be -- they would be -- they didn`t use the word derelict, but it was their obligation to inform not only us, but the President-elect that this was out there. So, that it didn`t come out of the blue and have any impact on the conduct of our foreign policy. They were clear that they just mentioned it, they made no judgment about it, they did not say any of this was substantiated, but they felt it was obliged.


HAYES: We will have much more of that exclusive interview later in the show. We now know the dossier was prepared initially at the behest of anti-Trump republicans by a former British Intelligence officer Christopher David Steele who NBC News partner I-TV reports was posted to Moscow in 1990 and who has now reportedly gone into hiding to avoid attention or possible retribution. Asked by NBC News if Russian intelligence agencies have anything on Trump, a Vladimir Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pleaded ignorance.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have your intelligence agencies got anything on Donald Trump?

DMITRY PESCOV, RUSSIAN SPOKESMAN: I`ve never seen the file.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With respect, that`s not a complete denial.

PESCOV: I do not work in intelligence agencies.


HAYES: At his news conference yesterday, Trump said uncategorically, the information in the dossier was false.


TRUMP: It`s all fake news. It`s phony stuff. It didn`t happen. And it was gotten by opponents of ours as you know because you reported it, and so did many of the other people, it was a group of opponents that got together, sick people, and they put that crap together. Does anyone really believe that story? I`m also very much of a Germophobe, by the way, believe me.


HAYES: Trump spoke on the phone yesterday with James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence who said he expressed his dismay to Trump that the information had been leaked, that he did not believe the leak did not come -- he believed the leak did not come from the Intelligence Community. Trump then tweeted today, quote, "James clapper called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated. Made up phony facts. Too bad." But clapper is telling a different story. He is not deeming the information false as Trump suggested, but rather suggesting the Intelligence Community does not know if it is true or not.

According to Clapper "The Intelligence Community has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions. However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security." Included in that dossier was the potentially explosive claim the Trump camp had coordinated with the Russians during the campaign. A claim that Trump spokesman Sean Spicer today flatly denied on a phone call with reporters.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY NOMINEE (via telephone): In the Trump campaign and the Russian government and any suggestion otherwise is totally irresponsible. Politics shouldn`t play a role in our intelligence efforts and our intelligence efforts shouldn`t play a role in our politics.

HAYES: And then there is this potential bombshell. The Guardian citing unnamed sources reporting that the FBI applied for a warrant from the secret FISA court over the summer, in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. But that the FISA court, which turns down very few applications, turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. Another report from election night claims the FBI sought and was granted a FISA court warrant in October after narrowing the scope of its request.

NBC News has not confirmed the FISA court claims if that is true, it means while that while it was publicly discussing its politically damaging investigation of Hillary Clinton, the FBI was simultaneously investigating Trump`s team over possible ties to Russia while managing to keep that investigation a total secret. Joining me now, New York Times political reporter and MSNBC contributor Nick Confessore co-author of the new report on "How the sensational dossier became a crisis for Trump". This is such a bizarre story because at the center of it, is a document which has now been made public whose charges are wildly -- you know, they`re massively scandalous, if true, but also whose truth content we have no ability to judge.

NICK CONFESSORE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right and possibly no way of judging in the future. So the important thing to realize is this began with a republican donor who`s still a mystery, by the way, who wants some information on Trump`s business ties in Russia and other matters, commissioned --

HAYES: As a kind of opposition process?

CONFESSORE: Yes, yes. And commissioned a research firm in Washington. And there`s a little sub-world of research firms that do this, people have heard of "Oppo", this is high-end "oppo". This is really good research. But it often goes beyond just public records. It can involve hiring private eyes. And they --

HAYES: This is not - just to be clear, this is not a 26-year-old digging through a Courthouse in Florida. This is retired intelligence officials?

CONFESSORE: Right. It can be. Right. And so, that firm Fusion GPS subcontracted out to Christopher Steele, the former British spy. He then asked his contacts in Russia and elsewhere and assembled what he was told back into this dossier or into these report, which has then made their way back to the client. At some point, some democrats, people who were pro- Clinton were involved in picking up the baton of either funding or seeing the documents.

HAYES: Right.

CONFESSORE: The republican donor backed away because of Trump being the nominee of the party. So from that point on -


HAYES: Stop right there, though. So, you mean Trump said it`s a bunch of sick guys that got together. I mean, this was one individual that basically hired a firm that then subcontracted -- Does that -- how does that baton get passed? Like, hey, you want the Russian dossier? Like --

CONFESSORE: It`s not entirely clear to me. You know, at some point the contents began to be circulated among reporters in Washington. A version of it was actually reported on by a David Corn of Mother Jones in October.


HAYES: We should say, without the most salacious and sensational claims.

CONFESSORE: Yes. Some operative that I`ve talked to had seen - had seen or heard about it in late July, but you know, as you pointed out, it was very hard to verify the contents.

HAYES: Now, just to be clear, Christopher Steele -- I mean, my sense from the reporting I have seen and people that, you know, again, work in intelligence, this is not -- how to put this -- this is not someone considered a kook or a nut or -- you know, anyone can be an ex-spy right and they could completely lose their mind or whatever. This person -- doesn`t mean that anything in there is true, but the person has a degree of credibility among people in intelligence.

CONFESSORE: That`s right. People regard him as real. But the question is, is the intelligence real?

HAYES: Right.

CONFESSORE: And we can`t answer that. He is as good as his sources and we are as good as we know what`s in there. And I think what you saw was that the report kind of make its way around Washington and reporters of various organizations had --


HAYES: Tried to (INAUDIBLE) down

CONFESSORE: -- and they couldn`t.

HAYES: So now we stand with you know, is the incoming President a turned foreign asset or is he being libeled essentially in one of the most egregious fashions ever? Shrug.

CONFESSORE: And if - and it`s possible - and it`s possible that if it`s fictive, that it is also the -


HAYES: That`s a good one. All right. Nick Confessore, thank you for your time tonight. Really appreciate it.

CONFESSORE: Of course.

HAYES: And joining me now, Congressman Adam Schiff, who is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. And Congressman, thank you for joining me. The reason I wanted to talk to you, is that you are one of only about a dozen people due to your position on that Intelligence Committee who gets to access the most highly-classified briefings and obviously, you can never talk at all about what you see in there, but I would love your guidance as we on the outside of this, attempt to figure out what is going on. Donald Trump saying that there is a determination made about the intelligence contained in that dossier, Director of National Intelligence saying there was none. What should we think?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, I would go with the Director of National Intelligence. Unfortunately, the President-elect has demonstrated that you really can`t rely on what he says in his tweets and you can`t rely on what he says in his press statements either and the best illustration of that was when the Intelligence Community released a public report about the Russian hacking, the Trump organization put out a statement from President- elect saying that it showed that there was no effect on the outcome of the election.

But, of course, that`s not at all what the report said. In fact, that would be well beyond the scope of what the Intelligence Community can assess. Instead, it said merely that there was no tampering with the vote- counting machines, but plainly, the daily dumping of documents targeting Secretary Clinton had an effect. We may never know whether it was determinative or not, but plainly had an effect. So, you couldn`t rely on what the President-elect said about the report. I don`t think you can rely on what the President-elect said about his conversation with Director Clapper and the Director`s statement made it very clear that they have made no judgment on the reliability of those documents from that private security firm.

HAYES: One of the things Director Clapper did say in the beginning of that statement was expressing his frustration, regret, anger, even I believe, about the leaks. And I have to say, wouldn`t you agree that it is fundamentally in some senses unfair to the reputation of the individual who`s about to take the oath of office that there`s now this kind of cloud of suspicion that hangs over him due in part to this leak?

SCHIFF: I think the director was exactly right. Not only to point out in his statement that these leaks are corrosive in effect but to call the President-elect and say that he does not believe this is the Intelligence Community that was responsible for the leak, and that this is very damaging. It`s obviously not only damaging in terms of the President-elect and his reputation, but also its damaging just to the trust between the President-elect and Intelligence Community, which started out at a low ebb but, you know, what - you know, what concerns me the most, frankly, beyond reputation and beyond anything else frankly is what are the facts here? And who is going to investigate all of the aspects of Russian interference in our political affairs?

Because I think frankly, the investigation ought to follow the facts wherever they lead and the Russians have used a whole variety of tactics, everything from blackmail to extortion to the funding of extremist parties to Europe to hacking, to dumping, to dumping of forged documents. I put nothing past the Russians and we ought to have a bipartisan, non-partisan commission like 9/11 investigate this.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Adam Schiff, as I said, ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee. Thanks for your time tonight, I appreciate it.

SCHIFF: You bet. Thank you.

HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And Senator, I guess I just first want to get your reaction to this sort of series of stories we have, the latest being that it was James Comey, we have sources saying, actually, told the President-elect about to contents of this two-page summary.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, (D) CONNECTICUT: So I think it is appropriate for the FBI or intelligence to tell him about it given the fact that it was likely going to be leaked. I think here going to be accessed by the media. I agree with Congressman Schiff that these leaks are damaging. But let`s be honest, you know, everyone`s looking for a why here. Donald Trump has invited much of this speculation upon himself because of this bizarre isolationism of his positioning on Russia so far outside of the American mainstream, this constant apology for Vladimir Putin and his allies, and his nominees who in these confirmation hearings are basically lining up to withdraw the sanctions that have been put on Russia over the last few years. So, I --

HAYES: Let me -- can I stop you there, though, Senator?


HAYES: I want your response to this. Because that sounds dangerously close to saying the following: the ideological positions of this - of the person who`s going to be the President of the United States are such that they invite questions about his loyalty and they invite questions about whether he is essentially a compromised asset of a foreign power.

MURPHY: No, that`s certainly not what I`m saying. I say they invite questions as to the motive, when someone is this far outside of the mainstream, when there`s really no good explanation for why you would be seeking to cozy up to a vicious dictator who wishes us nothing but ill will. People are searching for an explanation. Now, this is incredibly thinly sourced and there`s nothing in it today that would give us confidence that this, in fact, is the reason. But I think you can understand why people are searching today because there`s a -- there`s a -- it`s hard to draw a line from his position on Russia to a motive that we see out in the open today.

HAYES: It does seem to me that something must be done in terms of further fact-finding and some definitive accounting, because at this point the current status quo seems completely untenable. People, you know, these things out there and we`re all just sort of shrugging our shoulders. What can you and the senate do, what can members of congress do, to provide some sort of definitive judgment so that the public can know where things stand?

MURPHY: Well, I think this is made more difficult by the questions that were asked of Director Comey earlier in the week. He has not been able to disclose whether he is conducting an investigation. That would certainly give people some confidence that the truth to the extent we can know what will eventually be made known. But, frankly, congress over the years has been pretty good at doing investigations. We haven`t done many recently but this would certainly be something that the Intelligence Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, a bipartisan multi-committee, effort could look into. So, somebody has got to do this work. If we`re not going to know if it`s the FBI, then I would counsel the chairs of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Intelligence Committee to convene their own panel.

HAYES: All right, Senator Chris Murphy, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it.

MURPHY: Thanks a lot.

HAYES: Still to come, Senator Bernie Sanders joins me tonight. So, make sure to stick around for that.

And next, the huge news today, a new investigation into the actions of the Justice Department, the FBI and James Comey, for their handling of the Clinton e- mail probe leading up to the Presidential election. That`s right after this break.


HAYES: A bombshell announcement today from the U.S. Inspector General as his office, an independent entity, will investigate wide-ranging allegations of misconduct related to the FBI`S probe into Hillary Clinton`s e-mails. According to the Inspector General, including allegations the Justice Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information, perhaps at the center of this investigation are the actions of FBI Director James Comey, specifically his decision to hold a press conference in July, recommending no charges for Clinton while castigating at length her conduct, particularly for being quote "extremely careless". Comey`s now infamous letter to Congress on October 28, saying that he was looking into new e-mails discovered on a laptop shared by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband Anthony Weiner. Comey then sent a second letter to congress, this one two days before the election, saying that nothing new had been found.

In a statement today, Comey said in part quote "I am grateful to the Department of Justice`s I.G. for taking on this review. Everyone will benefit from thoughtful evaluation and transparency regarding this matter." Now this investigation comes on the context of two things. One, the mounting evidence that Comey`s letter politically damaged Clinton quite a bit and did it less than two weeks before the election. As Princeton neuroscientist Sam Wang who runs an election blog pointed out, last month after the Comey letter, opinions swung toward Trump by four percentage points and about half of this was a lasting change. And two, BBC reporting, the FBI was part of a joint task force formed last April, investigating allegations the Russians may have sent money to Mr. Trump`s organization or his election campaign. Something that, rightly, never leaked during the campaign. Joining me now, Matthew Miller former aide to Attorney General Eric Holder, former Justice Department Spokesperson. Your reaction to the announcement from the I.G. today Matt?

MATTHEW MILLER, FORMER AIDE TO ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: I`m glad they`re doing it. I, in a lot of ways, wish they would have done it back in July. One of the things, you know, hindsight is always 20/20, but it was obvious in July that Director Comey`s press conference which really kicked off the series of events, I think, led to him sending that October letter. It`s obvious that press conference was completely inappropriate, it violated several written Department of Justice rules and I just have to wonder, had the Inspector General opened this type of investigation back in July and started to look at Comey`s conduct, then whether it might have given him pause before he sent that letter in October. That said, you know, it`s -- I`m glad he`s looking at it now if nothing else, you know, hopefully what comes of this is you know, when he makes his findings, future FBI directors, attorneys general, others in the Justice Department, know that they cannot behave the way Comey did over the last six months.

HAYES: Yes, you were vocal in your -- we had you on the show actually, I believe the day of that press conference and you were vocal in saying it violated rules, procedure and norms in terms of, you know, when an investigation is closed without a finding that you are going to indict, you just -- that`s what you do. You don`t then essentially write an op-ed about how you think the person at issue was -- were conducting themselves.

MILLER: Right. You just be quiet. I mean, that`s your job and FBI agents and prosecutors are always trained to do that and, you know, Director Comey has come out and said that, "Well, this was a special case." and you know, he said that again in October, but these rules that are supposed to prohibit you from talking are designed for special cases. You know, no one cares if you just close an investigation down quietly of low-profile cases. It`s written for these big important cases and, you know, you hear Comey say, "Well I would have been criticized one way or the other." And he especially said that to FBI employees after the October letter. And, you know, your job in these positions is to make the hard calls and if you get criticized, well so what? I mean, that`s just what comes with the territory.

HAYES: Now, there`s another sort of -- there`s a related issue here and one that you and I have spoken about before and one that I was - I particularly was exorcized about, just seven weeks before the election, which is not just specifically Comey`s conduct. But the leaks that appeared to be coming around the investigation. We don`t know if they actually emanated from within the FBI but there were folks, Rudy Giuliani and then other folks on Fox saying all sorts of things, an indictment is coming, there`s in the -- this investigation, there`s that investigation, they tried to shut down our investigation. Do you think we can get to the bottom of what happened there? Does the office of the Inspector General have the - have the ability to nail down what happened?

MILLER: So, those types of - you know, certainly they have the authority to interview anyone inside the Justice Department they want to. They can`t subpoena Rudy Giuliani and make him come testify, but they can talk to any FBI agent, any prosecutor. But a leak and, you know, finding out who leaked that information is very hard to do. Even if you can show that an FBI agent talked to a reporter at a given time because you subpoenaed the FBI agent`s phone records. You don`t know what they talked about. So, I think we`re going to have a hard time proving that.

And you`re right, there was -- you know, it`s clear that there was something deeply wrong inside the FBI both with Comey`s behavior and with the leaks that are coming out. And I think honestly, it`s one of the reasons why, going forward -- you know, the FBI is continuing to probe Donald Trump over his ties with Russia, purported ties with Russia, we know that`s been reported a number of times, and it`s hard to know - it`s hard to have confidence that the FBI after you saw how they leaked concerned -- time after time about Clinton and now that Comey is under investigation, how they can fairly investigate Trump with all this swirling around them.

HAYES: All right, Matthew Miller, thanks for joining us, appreciate it.

Coming up, republicans stage an overnight offensive to start the repeal of Obamacare. Will it work? I will ask Senator Bernie Sanders ahead.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I)VERMONT: Up to 30 million Americans will lose their health care with many thousands dying as a result. Because you have no health insurance and you can`t go to a doctor or a hospital, you die.


HAYES: Buried in the avalanche of news to cover yesterday was a significant development on what is most certainly the biggest policy fight currently brewing in Washington, the on-going effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. During his long awaited press conference, President- elect Trump had this to say.


TRUMP: We`re going to be submitting, as soon as our secretary is approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan. It will be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously. It will be various segments you understand but will mostly likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day, could be the same hour.


HAYES: Not only the President-elect Trump commit his administration to introducing their own replace plans, he also wants a new plan implemented almost simultaneously, perhaps the same hour, to repeal of Obamacare, which is already under way. But that is much harder to pull off than it may look. And one of the people who`ll be fighting to make sure republicans don`t succeed is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who joins me next.


HAYES: Last night, while most people on the eastern sea board were asleep, members of the Senate were up past 1:00 in the morning voting in what they referred to as a vote-a-rama, which would be cute, but for the substance of it. Republicans passed a budget resolution to begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Along the way, Senate Democrats forced them to take a series of roll call votes on amendment after amendment designed to get their opponents on the record opposing widely popular features of the ACA, and to that extent their protest worked. One by one, Republicans voted on the record to repeal some of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act, provisions we should note, that they previously vowed not to do away with, things like being able to stay on your parents` insurance until you`re 26, pre-existing condition coverage, preserving funding for rural hospitals. The Senate also voted down some other popular health care provisions like an amendment that would protect access to birth control and preventative for women, and another that protected the children`s health insurance program.

They even killed an amendment aimed at reducing the cost of prescription drugs that had enough Republican support to pass, but died because too many Democrats defected. In the end, the budget resolution paving the way for the repeal of Obamacare passed 51-48 without a single Democratic vote and only one Republican, Rand Paul, abstaining. All this sets up for the big fight ahead.

And one of the people who will be elbow deep in that fight, Senator Bernie Sanders who joins me now.

So, Senator, can you explain to me what last night was about? My understanding is this is them setting up a budget process, essentially, so they can do this without having to clear the filibuster and go through what`s known as reconciliation?

SANDERS: Exactly. This is the -- this is precursor for them to come back in a certain period of time and then repeal completely the Affordable Care Act and that`s what last night was about.

And the point that many of us made last night is that doing that, repealing the Affordable Care Act, without having any alternative will be an absolute disaster for working families and the middle-class. What that will mean is that 20 million plus people will lose their health insurance. They will now have the option of privatizing Medicare, making it to a voucher program, devastating cuts in Medicaid, which will impact not only low income families, but middle income families who use Medicaid to pay nursing home care for their parents and, by the way, it will raise the price of prescription drugs for senior citizens.

And on top of all that, repealing the Affordable Care Act will provide a $300 billion tax break for the top 2 percent.

HAYES: Yeah, people -- one of the things John Harwood wrote about this today, people don`t recognize how much of the actual act is funded by taxes on the rich and those will be repealed under any repeal plan.

Here`s my question for you, so Democrats learned the hard way how difficult it is to wade into this policy area with a lot of different vested interests, a lot of people`s lives on the line, a lot of fear about change. They learned, we watched, how difficult it was to put that thing together. Do the same political laws of gravity operate here against the Republicans? If they start taking away poor children`s health, young people on their parents, I mean, are they going to start running into walls of opposition?

SANDERS: Well, Chris, I don`t think it works quite like that because the Democrats had a different goal.

What many of us believe is that we should guarantee health care to all people like every other major country on Earth. And how you get there and do it in a cost effective way and how you take on the insurance companies and the drug companies, that`s tough stuff, but that is not where the Republicans are coming from, that`s not their goal at all. In fact, their goal is to protect the interest of the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry.

So if it happens that many millions more people lose their health insurance, well, those are by and large poor people, they don`t vote or if they do vote they`re not going to vote for Republicans. Not a great concern. They`re not going to make as many campaign contributions. Children don`t vote. What`s there to worry about?

HAYES: So, you think this? I mean, it`s interesting, because I`ve been tracking these votes, right, and one of the things we`ve seen is Dean Heller, who is a kind of key vote in all of this, obviously this is a small majority, they only have three votes they can lose and on some amendments they`ve lost Dean Heller, who is the Republican from Nevada. He`s up in two years in a state that Hillary Clinton won. Collins has defected. You don`t think they start saying we`re going to kick 25-year-olds off their insurance and you might be banned for pre-existing condition that there`s not hell to pay when they go home for recess?

SANDERS: Yes, I think some of them are beginning to catch on that the problem might be more complicated than just saying we are repealing Affordable Care Act, wow, aren`t we great.

Then it will occur to some of them that when 20 or 30 million people lose their health insurance and you raise the price of prescription drugs for seniors, they may have to start answering some questions.

HAYES: It also strikes me, they`ve made a bunch of promises that they can`t all keep, right? So part of last night was sort of exposing that a lot of popular things they said they won`t touch. They`re willing to vote against. You have the incoming president-elect who says we`re going to take care of everyone, and no one is going to lose their coverage and we`re going to reduce drug prices. And then you look at the kinds of plans that say Representative Price, who is going to run HHS, you know, would violate all of that. I mean, can they square their promises with what they want to do?

SANDERS: Chris, you`re suggesting that there may be some contradictions in what is unfolding.

HAYES: Yeah.

SANDERS: Well, we eagerly await Mr. Trump`s magical plan by which he`s going to provide cost-effective health care to every American. I eagerly await the presentation of that plan. And I eagerly await how they`re going to return insurance control to the states and maintain patient protection policies like preexisting conditions and making sure there is not a cap on what insurance companies can reimburse people for who have expensive medical needs. I eagerly await all of those details.

But, you know what, these guys have had six years to work on that plan. They detested the Affordable Care Act from day one. Do you think they really have been working on a plan that will improve the Affordable Care Act? I think not.

HAYES: All right, Senator Bernie Sanders, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much.

SANDERS: Thanks you.

HAYES: Still to come, more from that interview with Vice President Joe Biden. Hear his candid thoughts on the businessmen turned President-elect just ahead.

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts right after this break.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, Dr. Ben Carson testified before the senate today as Donald Trump`s nominee for secretary of housing and urban development.

Now, Dr. Carson was not asked the question that I would have asked, which is the following -- Dr. Carson if I had spent 30 years setting housing policy and showed up in your operating room, would you let me operate?

But Carson did face a variety of questions. And in the aftermath of the president-elect`s announcement of toothless measures regarding his innumerable potential conflicts of interest, Carson got this pointed question from Senator Elizabeth Warren.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: It`s not about your good faith, that`s not my concern, my concern is whether or not among the billions of dollars that you will be responsible for handing out in grants and loans, can you just assure us that not one dollar will go to benefit either the president-elect or his family?


HAYES: Carson`s answer is Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: So Ben Carson, nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development asked today if he could assure the public that billions of dollars in HUD money would never benefit the business interests of real estate developer Donald Trump or Trump`s children. Carson answered with this.


DR. BEN CARSON, HUD SECRETARY NOMINEE: I will manage things in a way that benefits the American people, that is going to be the goal.

WARREN: To the best you understand that.

CARSON: If there happens to be an extraordinarily good program that`s working for millions of people and it turns out that someone that you`re targeting is going to gain $10 from it, am I going to say no, the rest of you Americans can`t have it? I think logic and common sense probably would be the best way.


HAYES: In other words, no guarantee from Ben Carson.

Senator Warren pointed out why, in the case of a president-elect who still refuses to release his tax returns and still refuses to divest, Carson cannot possibly answer her question.


WARREN: The problem is that you can`t assure us that HUD money -- not of $10 varieties, but of multimillion dollar varieties, will not end up in the president-elect`s pockets.

He knows, he, the president-elect, knows, what will benefit him and his family financially, but the public doesn`t, which means he can divert taxpayer money into his own pockets without anyone knowing about it.




JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY : There are important rules and regulations that are on the books, but what`s also important is that standard that`s set at the very top and that`s why President Obama did undertake the extraordinary step of essentially liquidating all his assets, plowing them into Treasuries. That wasn`t a smart financial decision, because that coincided with a dramatic reduction in interest rates, which hurt his return, but ultimately that was a good decision for the country because there was no question about whether or not he had a financial motive to make a particular decision. He didn`t.


HAYES: The White House today reiterating the stark difference between what President Obama did coming into office and what President-elect Trump is doing coming into office.

President Obama divested his financial interests, as did hundreds of people who joined the administration, some of them with far, far more wealth than the president. And they did that, we should be clear, at great personal financial costs to themselves.

Remember, President Obama won an election in the middle of the financial meltdown of 2008, the markets were in freefall. The day the president took office was reportedly the worst inauguration day in American history for stock prices. The Dow was just under 8,000, which would suggest anyone liquidating their assets at the time was likely taking a bath on them.

Now, on the eve of Trump`s ascendancy, a completely different economic environment. The Dow is just under 20,000. The markets have been hitting record highs for months, and yet even in such a beneficial atmosphere, Donald Trump still refuses to sell his holdings in his company. His lawyer explaining yesterday it`s just too great a financial sacrifice.

Instead, he`s placing his business in a trust run by his sons, a measure so out of the norms of government ethics and the practices of generations of presidents and the people who serve them, that the head of the non-partisan and independent Office of Government Ethics, a man named Walter Shaub, addressed the president-elect`s conflicts directly with a remarkably brave and earnest speech yesterday.


WALTER SHAUB, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS: You don`t hear about ethics when things are going well, you`ve been hearing a lot about ethics lately.

I need to talk about ethics today because the plan the president has announced doesn`t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the past four decades has met.

The idea of setting up a trust to hold his operating businesses adds nothing to the equation. This is not a blind trust, it`s not even close. I think Politico called this a half-blind trust, but it`s not even halfway blind. The only thing it has in common with a blind trust is the label, trust.

His sons are still running the business. And, of course, he knows what he owns. His own attorney said today he can`t unknow that he owns Trump Tower, the same is true of his other holdings. The idea of limiting direct communication about the business is wholly inadequate. That`s not how a blind trust works. There`s not supposed to be any information at all.

In developing the current plan, the president-elect didn`t have the benefit of OGE`s guidance so, to be clear, OGE`s primary recommendation is that he divest his conflicting assets. Nothing short of divestiture will resolve these conflicts.

I appreciate that divestiture can be costly, but the president-elect would not be alone in making that sacrifice. I`ve been involved in just about every presidential nomination in the past 10 years. I`ve also been involved in the ethics review of presidents, vice presidents, and most top White House officials. I`ve seen the sacrifices these individuals have had to make.

It`s important to understand that the president is now entering a world of public service. He`s going to be asking his own appointees to make sacrifices. He`s going to be asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives in conflicts around the world.

So, no, I don`t think divestiture is too high a price to pay to be the president of the United States of America.

In closing, I would like to add that I`m happy to offer my assistance and the assistance of my staff if he decides to adjust his plan. Thank you.




OBAMA: For the final time as president, I am pleased to award our nation`s highest civilian honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.



OBAMA: Vice President Joe Biden genuinely moved today as President Obama surprised him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction, that`s an honor President Obama has never bestowed before, an honor the vice president now shares with only three other people in recent history -- Pope John Paul II, President Ronald Reagan and General Colin Powell.

The surprise ceremony capped a day spent talking to the news media, including a wide-ranging interview with our own Andrea Mitchell.


ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Looking back now, President Obama said that he could have defeated Donald Trump. Could Joe Biden have defeated Donald Trump?

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, I don`t know. I don`t know. I`m not going to speculate on that.

MITCHELL: In your heart of hearts, the criticism is there was a lack of an economic message, that`s your ballpark. Pennsylvania, the Rust Belt, your home territory. Regrets?

BIDEN: I have no regret in the sense that did I make the wrong decision. I made the right decision. And -- but do I regret that my point of view is not going to be reflected in the next administration because we have Mr. Trump? Yeah, I do regret that.

MITCHELL: I mean, he says that he can get Obamacare repealed and replaced on the same day in the same hour. What is he missing here?

BIDEN: I`m much older than you, but remember the expression you would have when you passed around your yearbook to be signed and someone would say "lots of luck in your senior year." Lots of luck in your senior year, Mr. Trump.

He lost the popular vote and but for 175,000 votes in three states it would be a different outcome. So there`s a thousand reasons why you could attribute our candidate`s loss. It could be anything from the failure to speak to the constituency I`m giving credit for having a relationship with, working class and middle-class people, it could be what happened with the FBI. It could be a whole range of things, but this is one election, Andrea, where I don`t think the issues really intruded.

I`ll lay you 8-5 that you ask any informed person in the news media and say "what was Hillary`s position on free college? Can you explain it? What was Hillary`s position on helping people with child care?" Those issues never got into the game.

All the outrageous things that were said and done by the candidate sucked the oxygen out of the air so there`s never a discussion about the economic issues. It never got there. It wasn`t the press`s fault.

I mean if you get a chance to have to talk about whether or not a candidate groped somebody or whether or not the other candidate`s position is how they fund college tuition, what`s going to get in the news is whether or not somebody gropes somebody. And so we never got a discussion.

MITCHELL: One of the big issues is he said drain the swamp. Now he is -- yesterday he repeated that he`s not going to release his taxes, ever, and says he doesn`t need a blind trust. He`s going to just turn it over to the sons. Has he done enough?

The Office of Government Ethics,which is non-partisan, says what he did is meaningless.

BIDEN: No, I don`t think he`s done enough. And he may sink in the swamp. If you don`t drain it, you sink in it.

It`s -- look...

MITCHELL: You`re one of the -- with all due respect, sir, one of the poorest people to ever emerge from public office. You were one of the poorest guys in the Senate. You have got a house, I don`t know what other assets you have. Can you -- he said that he could run his business as well as run the government, the laws do say he can.

BIDEN: I don`t doubt he could but you shouldn`t run both. Are you going to be president or are you going to be a businessman? You don`t do both. You ran for the most coveted office in the world, the most important office in the world, the thing that the American public looks to most for their security, opportunity, guarantees and focus on your job. That`s the job.

I`ve found it bizarre to talk about well I could have made it a $2 billion deal. I could have done both, but I decided not to. As if you`re doing the country a favor.

I just think it`s -- look, this is a place where the public is going to decide whether or not the failure to divest, the failure to meet what were considered to be the basic minimum ethical standards of disclosure. And if the public turns around and 50 percent say no problem, or if 80 percent say this is a big problem, that`s going to alter the outcome.


HAYES: A really remarkable interview with Andrea Mitchell with Joe Biden there and a sort of amazing moment earlier today when the president offered him that -- or gave him that Medal of Freedom. It`s very rare you see in public life people genuinely surprised in public moments, unguarded and surprised. We got to see that today.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now. Good evening Rachel.


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